First published in The Occult Digest, May 1930

C. F. Russell

SOMEONE has complained recently of "the stagnation throughout the world in the matter of occult study"! The appearance of such a state of affairs is directly due to insularity, or, shall we say, selfishness of groups. It is a fact very well known to all advanced occultists that no Attainment soever is officially recognised by the Masters unless the immediate inferior of the person in question has been fitted by him to take his place. Every man or woman living on this planet came here at a definite moment for a definite purpose. The general term which covers every single one of these myriad purposes is this, the performance of THE GREAT WORK. Each child at birth is fully equipped with all the power necessary to accomplish that part of this Task which is allotted to the particular incarnation undertaken. As the child grows and unfolds its personality it moves with unhesitating footsteps toward its final destiny. Before a certain stage of illumination has been reached all progress is blind. Consciousness, complacent and conceited, conceives itself the master. The true Master is hidden beyond the Abyss contriving and directing even the tiniest and palpably insignificant detail. During this period of darkness the aspirant is merely collecting and co-ordinating the forces united together within his own magical being; these are the integral spiritual entities conquered and assimilated in the course of the person's previous lives. You may ask why is not one born with perfect self-possession and awareness of identity? The answer is simply that Nature is the enemy of Man, and in the brief space between death and re-birth so successfully perplexes the naked soul that often scores of years of the following life glide away ere the tangle is loosened and the man or woman gets hold of the rights and privileges he or she has once earned. Nevertheless this very moment comes to every one of us; perhaps, to some, not until the hour of another dying. No two seers, mystics, or teachers are likely to describe this peculiar experience in the same language, by reason of cecity and bigotry. This is the fault of the schools and movements. Each occult association has been devoting all its time to its own aggrandisement, leaving the fate of all other occult orders to the malice of the powers that be, whether of good or evil.

Obviously no society can as a whole pass any barrier which stops even one of its members. Indeed it might be suggested that some societies sever the link which binds certain members to the body, as a therapeutic measure, not otherwise than a physician excises a malignant tumour. But of course such procedure could not be countenanced by the Great White Brotherhood, for whenever a candidate is accepted the Order which takes him must also take over all responsibility for the neophyte building the being of the new member up into its own magical hierarchy. This represents a tremendous gain to the person brought within the pale, however at the same time the Order is assuming a very serious trust, namely the total Karma of the candidate. Knowledge of this fact may explain the severity and rigidity of tests instituted to ward the portals of certain Brotherhoods whose robes are not the whitest of the white. These misguided brethren presume that it is part of wisdom not to undertake too much burdensome Karma. Thus they imagine to preserve their own strength husbanding their accumulated wealth for their own advancement. But an error of this type is fatal. The secret of opening the barriers above lies in opening those below (see the Emerald Tablet of Hermes). Just as no individual can rise unless he helps his fellowmen, similarly no Organization can enter the Sanctuary before it be wholly purged of greed.

The majority of existing occult bodies today find themselves on a pilgrimage in a dark, dark country. They grope for light from the center of the shadow cast by the blackness of their own hearts; the source of Light, Life, Love and Liberty is obscured by their own folly and weakness in supposing for an instant to set themselves apart from other bodies of initiates and semi-initiates. The inevitable result is nothing but a conglomeration of creeds, a confusion and confliction of congregations and sects. Unless the executive heads of all the occult orders on this planet awake in time to the significance of this warning, the actual interpretation of "the Dark Night of the World Soul," they will have to face as best they can, a fierce attack on their corporate stronghold from an entirely unexpected quarter.

Religions incarnate even as individuals. If it should happen that a new god, that is yet one exceedingly ancient, should have been born recently, and with incurred Karma so well disciplined that even its tiny, infant fingers could brush away the cobwebs the enemy has spun to blur its vision, then mankind throughout the world would suddenly receive an illumination simultaneously with the complete overthrow of the old and the establishment of the new religion. Whether or not this would be fortunate for the human race is a question it would be idle to discuss. The really pertinent question is how such an event interests and would affect the great number of occult societies. Those which have already abandoned their swaddling clothes, and attained consciousness of their corporate identity with its attendant responsibilities have nothing to fear, they will continue on their courses as stars through the heavens absolutely free from interference. On the other hand, those who have shut themselves up, "who refuse their blood to the Cup, who have trampled Love in the race for self-aggrandisement" shall quite naturally become "Eaters of Dung in the Day of Be-with-us."

To summarize the whole business in a few words: let all those, both societies and individuals, who feel themselves in a state of dryness with regard to occult matters, realize that the genuine cause is the thirst of their companions for Love. The Law of Love decrees that individuals and societies shall unite to perform THE GREAT WORK!