|Simplified Scientific Christianity
As the years have gone by much valuable material brought out by the investigations of Max Heindel and some of his early students has been lost sight of, in the pages of old magazines, in lecture notes, and in personal reminiscences handed down from disciple to disciple. In this booklet we have brought together the essential points on the Silver Cord and Seed Atoms, using materials which is not readily available to the present-day student.
We must warn the reader to use this material with proper caution, however, for Max Heindel had not completed his investigations at the time of his passing into the higher life in January of 1919. The reader must therefore evaluate this material in the light of his own knowledge and experience; most esoteric students have some small degree of first-hand knowledge which can serve as a guide-line; and furthermore, as Max Heindel has said, logic is the best guide on this and all other planes of being.
The student will do well to re-read all that Max Heindel has published on the Silver Cord and Seed Atoms, for although there is inevitably some repetition, there is also a new ray of light in almost every instance.
We also invite our readers to correspond with us on anything which seems to them of value in research on the subject of Silver Cord and Seed Atom. Research must go on without pause, and each one of us has a duty to the future to retain and pass on every item of scientific knowledge which can be of use.
We are told in the Cosmo-Conception) that the Silver Cord grows anew each life: "Other new and important discoveries have been made: for instance, we know now that the Silver Cord is grown anew in each life (i.e., during the uterine period); that one part sprouts from the seed atom of the desire body in the great vortex of the liver, that the other part grows out of the seed atom of the dense body in the heart, that both parts meet in the seed atom of the vital body in the solar plexus, and that this union of the higher and lower vehicles causes the quickening. Further development of the cord between the heart and solar plexus during the first seven years has an important bearing on the mystery of child life, likewise its fuller growth from the liver to the solar plexus, which takes place during the second septenary period (seven to fourteen), is a contributory cause of adolescence. Completion of the Silver Cord marks the end of child life, and from that time the solar energy, which enters through the spleen and is tinted by refraction through the prismatic seed atom of the vital body located in the solar plexus, commences to give a distinctive and individual coloring to the aura which we observe in adults."
In notes first published in January, 1928, of Rays from the Rose Cross, Max Heindel: "It is the Silver Cord which binds the higher and lower vehicles together. During the first twenty days of the gestation period the blood of the fetus is nucleated by the life of the mother, and she regulates the process of body building. Then the Ego begins to work on the foetus from outside, similarly to the way a Group Spirit works with his charges. At this time some corpuscles are nucleated, and cell life is dominant in a measure. The Ego is in the uterus, but has not yet permeated its vehicles. Then the lower part of the Silver Cord begins to grow out of the seed atom in the heart and stretches upward, and the upper part grows out of the central vortex in the desire body in which the Ego is clothed.
"As the Spirit commenced to draw into its vehicles in the fourth or Atlantean Epoch and gradually interpenetrated them and became dynamically active, so the individual Spirit commences to permeate the fetus in the fourth month and gradually takes possession of the forming organism. When the lower and higher parts of the Silver Cord unite, sentient life begins, and we have the period of quickening. As the physical seed atom is at the pointed end of the heart, called the apex, so the seed atom of the desire body is at the bottom of the great central vortex of that vehicle, which vortex is located in the liver.
"The seed atom of the vital body during the daytime is located in the vulnerable spot called the solar plexus. This seed atom is formed of the two lower ethers, and is the root of that part of the vital body which dies after each embodiment, sometimes confused with the soul. The vital body seed atom gathers around it the two lower ethers from which the matrix of the new vital body is formed when the Ego descends to birth. There is no seed atom of the two higher ethers; they are the immortal part or the part capable of becoming immortal." (We may say in passing that as the Ego works more efficiently to spiritualize the body, these two "immortal" ethers gradually take the place of the two lower ethers.)
It may be inferred, however, that the Silver Cord is something more than a mere "link" between the Ego and its vehicles. It is also the channel for special forces which emanate from the threefold Spirit itself, and without which the vehicles would neither develop in the first place, nor grow.
Take note that the two lower segments of the Cord must be present before birth from the womb, but that they undergo fuller development during the three septenary periods which lead to physical adulthood in the body. Although Mr. Heindel does not mention, in this place, the third segment of the Cord, the part made of mind-stuff which grows down from the seed atom of the mind in the frontal sinus to join the seed atom of the desire in the liver, he describes this elsewhere.
The third segment, made of mind-stuff, is not present in intrauterine life, nor at birth. The path it will take is, however, shown in the archetype, and it exists with, or in, the seed atom of the mind as a root, or sprout — a potential, as we shall see later. The child has the link of mind but little individual thought activity; it lacks control over its body (unlike animals which can take care of themselves very soon after birth due to the link with the Group Spirit.)
The third segment of the Cord develops from the root in the seed atom of the mind, in mind-stuff, during the third septenary period — there is reason to believe that it has been growing slowly during the entire period of childhood and adolescence — but its growth is especially noted during the third septenary period, from fourteen to twenty-one, and its juncture with the astral cord in the great vortex of the desire body marks the beginning of adulthood, and then we say that "the mind is born," at the age of twenty-one, in the same way that "the desire body is born" at the age of fourteen and "the vital body is born" at the age of seven. Max Heindel also describes this occurrence as a kind of quickening," like that of the infant in the womb. The mind, he says is "quickened" at the age of twenty-one.
We understand, therefore, that this "birth" or "quickening" signals a special act of the Ego in connection with its incarnational vehicles. Again, this term "is born" requires elucidation. In various places in Max Heindel's writings we find statements which show that each of the vehicles is enclosed in a kind of sheath, like the "caul" in which a child is enclosed during intrauterine life. As in physical birth, during which the physical infant body emerges from its uterine sheath, so the vital body emerges from an etheric sheath at the age of seven (approximately); the desire body emerges from an astral sheath at the age of fourteen (again approximately) and the mental body from a sheath at about the age of twenty-one. The individual vehicles are of course living and working more or less passively within the sheath, guided and protected by the planetary in which every human being lives and evolves.
The emergence of the vital body at the age of seven from its sheath marks the end of babyhood. During the next seven years the segment of the Cord between desire body and vital body continues to develop, and at fourteen the desire body emerges from its sheath; and in the next seven years, while the third or mental segment of the Cord is maturing, which connects the seed atom of the desire body in the liver with the seed atom of the mind in the frontal sinus, the mind itself is growing strong enough to cast off its sheath at the age of twenty-one. It is only incidental that the juncture is in the liver as viewed from the body. The two segments are joined in the great astral vortex even when the Ego takes its desire body out of the physical body in sleep, Initiation, astral journeyings, or death.
The diagrams shown on the following pages are simplifications. The third segment actually follows a complicated path in its growth. The overall picture is as follows:
The Silver Cord is composed of ether, desire-stuff, and mind-stuff. It is shaped much like two figure sixes reversed, one of which is upright and the other horizontally placed, the two being connected at the extremity of the hooks in the solar plexus. The mind-stuff or third part of the Cord grows from the seed atom of the mind located in the mind-stuff which interpenetrates the frontal sinus area, and from this point it passes downward between the pituitary and pineal glands, turns left to connect with the spleen and crosses back right to the adrenals and finally joins the second part of the Cord which —
— is made of desire-stuff and is rooted in the great astral vortex interpenetrating the liver. From here the astral Cord goes to the solar plexus, where it joins the etheric Cord coming from the seed atom of the heart.
But, as shown in the Cosmo-Conception, this Cord was rooted first in intrauterine life, and then (as indicated elsewhere) a secondary development takes place after birth, during the time from birth to twenty-eight years of age. The union of the first and second segments marks the quickening in the womb, but twenty-one years (and even twenty-eight) are required for the full maturation of the mental segment and its permanent juncture with the seed atom of the desire body with the great astral vortex permeating the liver.
Let the student take note here of a point often misunderstood: the before-birth panorama which the Ego sees reflected in the etheric body as a preview of the coming life, is seen at the time when it first contacts the fetus, at the end of the twenty days, and not at the quickening which occurs in the fourth month.
Max Heindel says again that of the four points where the Cord is attached — heart, solar plexus, liver, and frontal sinus — only the end of the Cord in the —
— seed atom in the heart is immovable; the other parts with their seed atoms are movable.
During the daytime when we are awake in the body, the threefold Silver Cord is coiled in a spiral within the dense body, principally about the solar plexus or epigastrium; but at night when the Ego withdraws from its dense and vital bodies, leaving them on the bed to recuperate after the labors of the day, the Silver Cord protrudes from the skull. The ovoid desire body usually floats above, or near, the sleeping body, resembling a captive balloon.
In this section brief reference will be made to statements found in notes which Max Heindel left, and which were not verified by his later research. Please consider them with this fact in mind. The description of the threefold Cord given in Section I is substantially the whole of the material which Mr. Heindel himself published. In this section we use the same basic published data, with the addition of the unverified material, care being taken to let the student know when the latter material is used.
The unpublished notes deal with that "further development" of the Cord which tales place after birth in the physical world, and are concerned chiefly with the added unfoldment and maturation of the etheric Cord, together with the extended growth of the mental segment as described in Section I. Of the four ethers, only two have been mentioned thus far. The notes deal further with the other two ethers: the Light and Reflecting Ethers, for which, however, there are no seed atoms.
The mental segment is not in evidence at birth, though visible in the archetype and present as a potential of its root center, the seed atom of the mind located near the frontal sinus.
In addition to the growth of threefold Cord of etheric, desire, and mental substance, the etheric Cord continues to grow during the first twenty-eight years of life, according to Max Heindel's notes, paralleling the growth of the Cord as described previously and paralleling also the maturing of the etheric, desire, and mental bodies. The four ethers mature in septenary periods, and the four parts of the etheric strand of the Cord mature in the same periods.
From birth to seven years, the Chemical Ether part of the Cord is the most active. Max Heindel says that the vital body seed atom in the solar plexus consists both of Chemical and Life Ether; we may therefore assume that the part of the Cord extending from the heart seed atom to solar plexus seed atom is made up of these two ethers at birth, although the Chemical Ether (important to the processes of assimilation and excretion) is the more active. Mr. Heindel states that the "negative pole" is more active than the "positive pole" of the ether during childhood, and that the process of maturation has a special connection with the "positive pole." During the next septenary period, from seven to fourteen, the Life Ether strand of the Cord is maturing in preparation for adolescence, its growth synchronizing with the growth of the desire segment of the Cord from the seed atom of the desire body in the liver to the seed atom of the vital body in the solar plexus. Its growth is a contributing cause of adolescence.
At fourteen the desire body is born, and with it the Light Ether matures, which occasions the "hot-blooded" period of adolescence, the heat of the blood being a function of the Light Ether, in which the Ego makes its presence felt in the body. The child now knows himself as an individual and begins to throw off parental restraint, but the mental segment of the Silver Cord is as yet incomplete, and the Ego does not have full control of his vehicles; there is a notable lack of control of the emotional nature; desires, hopes, and wishes.
According to the notes, the Light Ether strand of the etheric Cord grows between the seed atoms of the desire body in the liver and of the mind in the frontal sinus. The implication seems to be that the etheric Cord is growing in a continuous line from below upward.
Meanwhile there is a fourth strand of the etheric Cord, corresponding to the mental segment and its maturing. This fourth strand of the etheric Cord consists of Reflecting Ether and it continues to mature until the age of twenty-eight, as described in these notes. This elastic segment accompanies the mental segment of the Cord, apparently which in the notes Max Heindel says is the only part of the etheric Cord which goes out to infinity with the wandering Ego when it withdraws from the body in sleep, Invisible Helpership, or Initiation. The lowest part of the etheric Cord is not elastic, and though it lifts up out of the sleeping body to its full length, it stretches no farther than a few feet. In the material published in his writings before his death Max Heindel says only that the seed atoms in the frontal sinus area and in the liver and solar plexus areas are all movable; while the seed atom of the dense physical body in the apex of the physical heart is immovable. However, since the Cord sprouts from the seed atom, it is evident that the Cord attached to the movable seed atom must also be movable.
Analysis of the published material correlated with these experimental notes suggests that the etheric Silver Cord, though movable, actually stays close to the body, and this would account for the thicker section seen close to the body described by clairvoyants.
On stereopticon slides which Max Heindel had prepared, the desire body is shown floating like a balloon over the sleeping body, attached by the Silver Cord which pinches into the pattern of the sixes midway between the desire body and physical body. He has said that there is no difference between sleep —
— and death, except that in the former the Ego can return to the body, while in death the seed atom in the heart is ruptured and the Cord breaks at the "sixes" after which the Ego cannot re-enter the body, which is dead.
In other stereopticon slides, prepared by early pupils of Max Heindel, the juncture of the sixes is shown just above the head of the sleeping body, almost lying on the pillow, while the desire-stuff segment rises up and is fastened in the great vortex of the desire body which floats like a balloon above the bed, parallel with the sleeping physical body. Of course, the Cord rises up through the head, with the movable seed atoms.
According to the notes, the Reflecting Ether segment and, we infer, the Light Ether segment as well, accompany the higher vehicles and desire-stuff-mental cord when they leave the body.
The Reflecting Ether strand of the etheric Cord grows downward from the frontal sinus area to the seed atom in the apex of the heart, thus completing a circuit, tying the Ego into its vehicles firmly for the incarnation, according to these notes.
Observe that the seed atom of the heart, which is the oldest of the seed atoms, having been given in the Saturn Period, is called "really the forces of that atom." Mr. Heindel says that these forces are of a very high nature; but as to the etheric counterpart of the atom, it consists of all four ethers, like all atoms in the body. But in the heart seed atom there is something very special, something not found in any other atom of the body.
Max Heindel says that this heart seed atom "swims in a sea of the highest ether," the Reflecting Ether, but it has the other ethers also, as he indicates elsewhere, since without them there could be no bodily form at all. But this seed atom in the heart would possess a greater amount of Reflecting Ether than any other in the body.
The Light and Reflecting Ethers together envelop this special seed atom, which is the Book of God's Remembrance, containing all records of previous life cycles, back to the very beginning. It is of course true that the forces of every atom in the body are, as Mr. Heindel says, an expression of "the undifferentiated life of God" (crystallizations around the negative pole of spirit); but the seed atom of the heart is so in a very special sense. Each molecule and cell of the body has a matrix of the two lower ethers, but is also surrounded by a sheath of Reflecting and Light Ether. But again, this is especially so in the case of the heart seed atom which sets the keynote for all the atoms of the body.
When the Ego rises out of the body in sleep or death, or for work on the inner planes of Nature, it is the mental and Reflecting Ether segments which are seen as a fine silvery thread, infinitely elastic, extending into far distances in inner space according to these notes. The desire-stuff segment is also elsatic and is part of this Cord in its extension in the Desire World, where distance is virtually non-existent.
Some esoteric scientists have said that when close to the body the Silver Cord is very thick, more than an inch in diameter. It is often described as being as thick as a little finger, or of the size of a clothes line or length of twine or cord, which diminishes sharply as it winds off into inner space. We have suggested that it would naturally be thicker near the body, since that is where the movable etheric Cord is found, while the desire-stuff and mental segments trail away into inner space.
It would seem that reports of an excessively bulky Silver Cord arise from a misunderstanding. At death the entire etheric substance of the two lower ethers rises up from the body, and is so dense as to be seen by many people. These ethers rising up at the same time that the Ego withdraws would naturally be taken for the Silver Cord. Again, in mediumistic development much the same thing happens, because a separation has taken place between the physical body and the Chemical and Life Ethers which allow these ethers to be drawn up from the body with the Silver Cord, to which they adhere. In the work of the Mystery School this is not supposed to happen.
Max Heindel states that an improper cleavage takes place when the wrong method of development us used, as in mediumistic classes. Negative development means that a cleavage takes place between the Chemical Ether and the body, or between the Chemical and Life Ethers, and this is the wrong cleavage which may result in various physical illnesses such as tuberculosis, heart trouble, nerve exhaustion, or mental derangement. The proper cleavage, which takes place between the two higher and the two lower ethers, results from the discipline of the positive training of the Mystery Schools, which includes the work of Meditation and Contemplation, and further includes the Evening and Morning exercises, and the esoteric instruction from the teacher when the pupil qualifies. But note this: even the Evening and Morning Exercises alone actually bring about the right cleavage when faithfully performed if the pupil is living a spiritually oriented life.
A point to be kept in mind concerning the Silver Cord is that the higher parts of the Cord belong to the higher vehicles and go with them. For example: the desire-stuff part of the major Cord connects the seed atom of the desire body in the great vortex in the liver with the seed atom of the vital body in the solar plexus. It is not that they connect liver with solar plexus; they connect desire body with vital body, by way of the Cord and seed atoms. This segment passing from liver to solar plexus (as seen in the body) is made up of desire-stuff, and is the means, obviously, by which the harmonic essence of the Desire World is able to pass down and work upon the etheric body and, eventually, the physical organism.
In the material published during his lifetime, Max Heindel mentions only the desire-stuff segment as going out with the desire body and mind; but as has been indicated, stereopticon slides which had had prepared, and which he used, show the "sixes" lifted up out of the body in their entirety, both in sleep and in death. This means that the etheric segment too, with its movable seed atom, is also drawn up out of the body.
In other words, the desire-stuff part of the Cord and the seed atom of the desire body are of desire-stuff. The seed atom of the desire body is in the great vortex of the desire body, which, while the Ego is within the body, lies in the area of the physical liver, appearing to clairvoyant vision to be in the lower part of the liver as the heart seed atom is in the lower tip of that organ. To repeat: the seed atom of the desire body is not in the physical liver, but in the great vortex of force of the desire body, which interpenetrates the liver as seen clairvoyantly.
Similarly, the seed atom of the mind is not in the bones (nor even in the spaces) of the frontal sinus, but in the mental sheath of mind-stuff which interpenetrates that region. When the Ego rises out of the dense body in the desire-stuff and mental sheaths, the ends of the Silver Cord which are fastened to the seed atoms of desire body and mind must go with it, and their corresponding lengths of cord. The only etheric Cord which Max Heindel specifically mentions anywhere as going out is that fourth segment formed of Reflecting Ether, as stated in the experimental notes. But though this segment alone is mentioned specifically, it would seem logical that the Light Ether strand correlative to the desire-stuff Cord might also accompany it. The major Cord which goes out any great distance from the body consists of Desire World stuff and mind-stuff. The etheric segment, non-elastic, remains near the body.
It is normal for the Silver Cord to be twined in a sort of spiral within the body when the Ego is within that vehicle, and it is observed coiled chiefly around the solar plexus, for there is a great deal of it. Thus when we say that the Silver Cord is lifted up out of the body with the higher vehicles, we mean the parts attached to the movable seed atoms. The heart atom is the only one that is immovable.
During sleep, however, the vital body itself as a whole normally remains with the dense body, but its seed atom is movable and has the capability of moving up and out of the body with the Silver Cord.
When the Ego leaves the body, it takes not only the higher vehicles — desire body and mind — with it, but the Silver Cord rises up with it so that only the lower end, terminating in the seed atom in the heart, remains inside the body. The juncture of the etheric and desire Cord in the vital body seed atom causes a "crease" or bend — the "sixes" — in the Cord, and one esotericist has described feeling that Cord "banging" about his head one night when he happened to leave the body face downward.
The Cord extends out from the top of the head during life, and since this lower part of the Cord consists of ether as well as of desire-stuff, it naturally is the "thick" part of the cord. From this then extends the mental segment, which is elastic and stretches to any distance whatever, accompanied by the Reflecting Ether strand, and perhaps also the Light Ether strand.
In the "balloon" of the desire-stuff aura which floats above the sleeping physical body, the upper end of the desire-stuff segment of the Cord is seen attached to the great vortex, while the upper portion of the Cord proceeds from that point to the frontal sinus of the sleeping Soul Body, which is really rooted in mind-stuff.
The mental aura and desire body act as a single unit, with the Ego in the Soul Body within it. To separate the mind sheath from the desire sheath is the work belonging to a higher Initiation which allows the Ego to rise in its mind-body into the Region of Concrete Thought.
There is a close union between the soul body and the desire body in sleep, but concentration of will exerted by the Ego to re-enter the body dissolves that connection.
To summarize: We have (relying on Max Hiendel's notes) a major Cord, two parts of which (desire-stuff and two lower ethers) develop during intrauterine life, and a third which develops during youth, which is formed of mind-stuff (Cosmo); plus a secondary etheric development involving the further maturing of the two lower ether segments and the growth of the Light and Reflecting Ether segments in adolescence and adulthood. Of this latter development, only the Reflecting Ether segment is definitely described as going out with the Ego from the body; but it seems implicit in the data that the Light Ether segment may also go out with the Reflecting Ether segment. This latter is the segment which re-connects with the heart (according to the notes), where the seed atom has fully active components of both Light and Reflecting Ethers.
The notes do not make clear just what happens to the lower ether segment, although, since it is attached to the vital body seed atom in the solar plexus, and this seed atom is also movable (only the seed atom of the heart being immovable), it is evident that this basic segment of the etheric Cord also is capable of rising up from the body, when the Ego rises out of the body in its higher vehicles. We know at any rate that during sleep the life-essence of the Desire World first revivifies the desire body of the sleeping Ego, then this in turn works upon the vital body, and the vital body restores the physical; and from the notes it seems indicated that the flow of life-essence from the Desire World is really by way of the Silver Cord, all the way down its length, through the etheric segments, and terminating in the seed atom of the heart which is the pilot-atom for the entire physical organism.
Discussing sleep, Max Heindel says: "The vital fluid has a function similar to that of electricity in a telegraph system, for even when such a system is built with wires connecting different stations, and operators at their keys, the system will be dead until electricity speeds along the lines and carries the messages. So is the dense body useless unless the nerves are traversed by this vital fluid. When that fails in whole or in part, we say that the body is paralyzed to that extent." (Christianity Lectures). Sleep, he observes, comes when the fatigue poisons (miasmas) in the body prevent passage of this solar fluid; and thus we see that sleep is, in a special sense of the word, a mild form of partial paralysis, or includes this, as recent medical and psychiatric experiments have begun to prove. Sometimes the Ego awakens for a moment when coming into the body or going out while this condition of vital fluid-paralysis is still in force, and then he notes that his body is slow to respond to his commands although his mind is wholly wide-awake within the body. Nature has wisely cushioned this period with a kind of anesthesia, and this is why many students find that they seem to "fall asleep" or become drowsy on the inner planes just prior to waking in the physical body. Also this is why the student first falls asleep, as a rule, and then later awakens to awareness of his surrounding in the Soul World.
Max Heindel says further (Christianity Lectures): "We have in our body two nervous systems, the voluntary and the involuntary. The first named is operated directly by the desire nature, and controls the movements of the body, tends to break down and destroy, only partially restrained in its ruthless task by the mind. The involuntary system has its particular vantage in the vital body; it governs the digestive and respiratory organs, which rebuild and restore the dense body."
The Silver Cord has a very special correlation with this sympathetic nervous system, especially the pneumogastric or vagus nerve, with which it is sometimes confused by clairvoyant investigators, for, like the Silver Cord, the vagus nerve winds from one vital organ to another, and has an associated activity with the Silver Cord and seed atoms, as will be shown in a later section.
Just as esoteric scientists have identified, or perhaps confused, etheric centers with the nerve ganglia of the body, with which they are so intimately concerned, so also clairvoyants who observed the Silver Cord and who learned of the nature and extent of the vagus (wandering) nerve in the autonomic system thought that the one was, perhaps, a reflection or counterpart of the other, and in this they were not wholly at fault.
Death of the physical body takes place when, as a result of the collapse of the archetype, the vital body collapses completely and the seed atom in the apex of the heart is ruptured, the Ego rising out of the body in its astral aura and taking the etheric matrix with it. When the seed atom is ruptured, it is the result of the Ego's taking out of that atom its "forces," which hold the permanent record of the Ego's entire evolution, from the very beginning in the Saturn Period. The etheric cord is still attached to the ruptured shell of the seed atom in the apex of the heart, however, and for not more than three and one-half days after death the vital body, enclosed in the desire body, may still be seen floating above the body. The floating "double" is in a deep sleep. During this time it reviews its panorama of the life just past which has been taken out of the heart's seed atom of the Reflecting Ether.
At the moment of death the vital body my be seen rising out of the body through the top of the head, then re-forming in the likeness of the person and floating horizontally there above the dead body. The Silver Cord also goes up and out with the whole vital body, but the forces of the seed atom in the heart rise up by way of the pneumogastric nerve and the Cord is seen protruding outward from the back of the head. The entire vital body (Chemical and Life Ethers) and the entire Silver Cord and all of the seed atoms rise up and out of the body; but, as stated, the Cord is still attached to the ruptured physical atom in the heart.
Max Heindel says of this condition as it appears in the three-day interval after death, when the Ego is floating in its etheric and desire bodies above the "dead" dense body on the bed:
"When the higher vehicles have left the dense body they are still connected with it by a slender, glistening, silvery Cord, shaped much like two figure sixes reversed, one upright and one horizontally placed, the two connected at the extremities of the hooks. One is fastened to the heart by means of the seed atom, and it is the rupture of the seed atom which causes the heart to stop. The Cord itself is not snapped until the panorama of the past life, contained in the vital body, has been reviewed....The Silver Cord snaps at the point where the sixes unite, half remaining with the dense body (and etheric double) and half with the higher vehicles. From the time the Cord snaps the dense body is quite dead" "The rupture (of the seed atom in the heart) releases the vital body, and that, together with the desire body and mind, floats above the visible body for not more than three and one-half days, while the Spirit is engaged in reviewing the past life." These pictures are in the Light and Reflecting Ethers which are attached to the heart seed atom, and it is this stuff (ethers) which is etched into the desire body during the panoramic review.
After the second "rupture," which is the snapping of the Cord at the point of junction of the two "sixes," the matrix of the two lower ethers remains with the dense body, to which it is attached by the lowest part of the Silver Cord, and decays synchronously with it.
The etheric double is itself surrounded by a kind of aura of free ether atoms — a haze or mist — as it continues to accompany the deceased body. This is known in legend as the "corpse candle," because it is faintly luminous. It has been seen floating above graves and in mausoleums, sometimes resembling an oblong cloud of a bluish, grayish or greenish hue. Sometimes the vital body matrix itself is seen in the midst of the misty etheric aura, decaying with the body in the grave, and this has undoubtedly contributed to the folklore of vampires.
Esotericists believe that funeral rites should not take place for at least three and one-half days after death, and that the body should be kept either in some familiar place or at least in a place that is pleasant and harmonious, during which time the Ego will have a chance to complete his life retrospection and to awaken peacefully. However, no matter where or when he awakens, there will always be friends and angelic helpers present with him. he will not be alone.
The panorama being terminated by the breaking of the Silver Cord in the vital body seed atom, the Ego, in its higher vehicles, is free to move away. His aura has taken on the appearance of the body he has just left, but this body is not the etheric double, which goes with the corpse and decays synchronously with it. This new "body" (of the two higher ethers and the desire body) still resembles the man as he was on earth because the Ego continues to think of himself in the accustomed way. He will continue to think of himself as he was on earth throughout his stay in the lower Desire World undergoing purgation.
Needless to say, Purgatory is not a dreadful place, except for the very lowest human beings. It is far more comparable to a hospital or asylum than to a prison. The Egos there are free to live what seems to them a normal life, and many of them go through the motions of housekeeping for some time after death. Eventually they outgrow earth desires and earth dreams and wishes, and by this time the earthly counterpart has melted away so that only the head of the bodily image remains. Just before or soon after the Ego rises into the First Heaven the head also disappears. Part of the bliss of Heaven is to have the kind of body and personality dreamed of on earth; so the appearance of the Ego in the First Heaven is an idealized body-image, seldom having the appearance known formerly on earth. Only when the Ego desires to establish communication with loved ones on earth will it condescend to take upon itself once more the appearance of the castoff shell.
When the Ego leaves Purgatory and the region of dreams and wishes, it is occupying an aura composed of the substance of the three higher regions of the Desire World: the regions of Soul Life, Soul Light, and Soul Power. It still has the seed atoms of its life just past, and the same mental aura and desire body, but purified. Doubtless also there must be that part of the Silver Cord which is made of mind-stuff, for the mind and desire body continue to function as a unit until this higher astral body is also laid aside, and the Ego rises into the Second Heaven.
One must logically assume that at the end of the purgatorial experience the desire body and segment of astral Cord are cast off together and a similar casting of of the mind-stuff Cord must occur at the Ego's ascent into the Second Heaven. Only the seed atoms and soul essences continue on with the Ego from this point, including some spiritualized portion of the Light and Reflecting Ethers.
After the Ego rises into the Region of Concrete Thought (Second Heaven) it seldom thinks of itself as the being who last lived on earth, although it may still retain the semblance of a head, or assume it from time to time. The Ego is now working with the Nature Forces and celestial Hierarchies, preparing its own future world environment and learning body building by working upon the embodied living beings on earth, so that the dead truly help us to live.
The Ego retains the seed atoms during the sojourn in the Third Heaven — to which it rises after the mental sheath has been cast off — but the stay here is usually brief; and when it returns to rebirth through the womb, the parts of the Silver Cord sprout anew from the points where the seed atoms are implanted. (See the Cosmo.)
Some esotericists have thought that the Silver Cord is in fact a kind of ethereal counterpart of the pneumogastric or vagus nerve, which is one of the most important nerves of the sympathetic system, for tis wanderings in the body seem very like those of the vagus nerve.
The wandering path of the mind-stuff segment of the Silver Cord might well be correlative to the path of the vagus, in some parts of its growth at least. The diagram of the Silver Cord is a simplification. The mind-stuff segment of the Cord runs from the frontal sinus down between the pineal and pituitary glands, touching thyroid and thymus, crossing left to spleen, and back right across the body to the adrenals and liver where it is connected with the seed atom of the desire body. This does indeed bear a rough resemblance to the path of the vagus nerve, and an esoteric connection is indicated in Max Heindel's statement that the seed atom travels upward at death by way of the pneumagrastric nerve, which touches the heart.
We are told the work of Initiation includes releasing the Ego at all those points where seed atoms are located, and therefore also where the Silver Cord is fixed in the body and its sheaths. (This in addition to the work with the Golden Wedding Garment and Neptunian Spirit Fire.)
Observe that the heart, as a physical organ, lies directly in the center of the chest, but it is tilted to the left side, so that the apex, or point of the heart, protrudes from under the breast bone, and that is why we feel it most clearly there and here it beating there. In the apex the seed atom of the physical body is placed as has been noted. Some day the heart will be upright in the chest, the point which is now off to the left will move to the center of the body, and the heart will be aligned with the organs of spiritual vision in the head. In meditation, it is the upper part of the heart, which is in the center of the chest, that is important; and students often feel the currents which are active in that area.
Most of what Max Heindel has given concerning the evolution of the Silver Cord in past epochs is found in the second volume of Questions and Answers, which also recapitulates material in the Cosmo. There we read:
"Three Periods of evolution have preceded our present Earth Period. During the Saturn Period we were mineral-like, in the Sun Period we had a constitution like the plants, and in the Moon Period we developed vehicles similar to the present animals. We say similar, for the constitution of the world was so different that identical construction would have been an impossibility. (There is a recapitulation of former periods in each new World Period, so that in our present Earth Period also the human race traversed the minerl, plant, and animal stages, before entering upon its humanity proper, as anthropologist have been able to prove. — Ed.)
"Fancy now, an immense globe circling in space as a satellite about the sun. It is the body of a great Spirit, Jehovah. As we have soft flesh and hard bones, so also the central part of the body of Jehovah is denser than the outside, which is misty and cloud-like. Though His consciousness pervades the whole, Jehovah appears principally in the cloud, and with Him are His angels, and other Cosmic Hierarchies.
"From the great firmament of cloud depend millions of cords, each with its fetal sac hovering close to the dense central part, and as the vital stream of the human mother circulates through the umbilical cord carrying nourishment to the embryo during antenatal life for the purpose of evolving a vehicle wherein the human Spirit may dwell independently when the period of gestation is completed, so the divine life of Jehovah brooded over us in the cloud and coursed through the whole human family during this embryonic stage of its evolution, and we were then as incapable of initiative as the fetus.
"Since then the Manna (Manas, Mens, Mensch, or Man) has fallen from heaven, from the bosom of the Father, and is now tied by the Silver Cord to the concrete body during his waking hours, and even in sleep it forms the connecting link between the higher and lower vehicles. This connection is broken only at death."
He continues (p. 430): "Having acquainted ourselves with the construction and function of the Silver Cord as a link between the Ego and its vehicles, we shall next study its make-up and use in connection with the animal and the Group Spirit. It has been taught in the Cosmo that the habits, tastes, likes, and dislikes of each species are due to the fact that they are actuated by a common Group Spirit. All squirrels hoard a store of nuts for a winter period of hibernation, all lions crave flesh, horses without exception eat hay, but one man's meat is another man's poison. If we know the habits of one animal we know the habits of all belonging to the same family, but it would be futile to investigate the elder Edison to ascertain the source of Thomas A's genius. (Even the latest science of genetics does not solve this problem. — Ed.) A treatise on the habits on the habits of the horse will apply to all horses but the biography of one man differs entirely from that of every other human being because each acts under the dictates of an individual indwelling Spirit. The animals of a certain group are directed by a common intelligence, the Group Spirit, by means of the Silver Cord. Each animal has its own individual Silver Cord, so far as the two parts are concerned which connect the dense, vital, and desire bodies, but the third (mental) part which is connected to the central vortex of the desire body, located in the liver, is the cord of the group spirit. By means of this elastic bond it governs the animals of its tribe without regard to where in the world they may be, with equal facility. Distance is nonexistent from the viewpoint of the inner worlds, and as the animals have no mind of their own, they obey the suggestions of the Group unquestionably. (There are exceptions among domesticated animals. — Ed.)
"In this respect children are an anomaly, for they also have only the two parts of the Silver Cord developed. However, they have a mind from which the third part is growing. Thus the Ego has no direct communication with its vehicles, and therefore the human offspring, which has the greatest possibility, is at the same time the most helpless of all creatures on earth, amenable principally to the authority of its physical guardians.
"But though man is now individualized, and emancipated from direct interference with his action by the leading strings of the cord by which the Group Spirit forces (there is no other word which will convey the meaning) the animal to do its bidding, he is not yet fit to rule himself any more than a child, over which we hold authority till it is of age, is fit to take charge of its affairs, and Race Spirits (Archangels) still continue to rule the nations. Each nation, except America, has its own Race Spirit which broods in the form of a cloud over the land in which its people live...With every breath they inhale this Spirit...As time flies and we advance, we shall...be emancipated from the Race Spirit which has lived in our breath since the time Jehovah Elohim blew nephesh — the vital air — into our nostrils. These Spirits work in the desire body and the Human Spirit, fostering selfishness and egoism. When we learn to build the glorious Wedding Garment, called the soul body, which is woven by loving, self-forgetting service, and the mystic marriage is consummated — when the Christ is immaculately born within — Universal Love will emancipate us forever from Universal Law, and we shall be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect."
Note particularly that it is because this thrid segment of the Silver Cord is incomplete in the human being at birth that the human child is the most helpless of creatures. In animals the third segment is attached to the Group Spirit and belongs to the Group Spirit, which thus guides the infant animal by means of what is called "Instinct"; but the human child has no such guide. Of course the lines along which the Cord will grow in the human aura are shown in the archetype but it takes twenty-one years for this growth to be completed, when the mental segment of the Cord joins the seed atom of the desire body in the great vortex in the liver, and this ends the adolescence of the human beings so that he becomes the adult, when the Ego is able to control his lower vehicles.
The mind of the Ego is of course active throughout childhood. We know that the child can think, reason, use imagination; but nevertheless it lacks control over the body and emotions, and has no such instinct to guide it as we find in the new born animal. It is dependent upon the care of adults.
No esoteric development is possible for the human being until the third segment of the Silver Cord is fully grown and connected with the great vortex of the astral body in the "liver" (as it appears in the body). Nevertheless it is still true that children can and do possess a rudimentary clairvoyance and that they have some freedom on the inner planes. (This is also true of animals.) Max Heindel describes in the early Echoes adventures of two children who lived at Mt. Ecclesia and who at night while their bodies slept could be seen playing with fairy companions on the inner planes. Since "space" as known in the physical world is virtually non-existent on the inner planes, the children feel no limitation upon their dream-activities while asleep.
We may add that a number of modern seers have said that they saw a slender line of light leading from a fairy disporting itself in play to the plant from which it came. Ordinarily this is never mentioned, yet these etheric creatures also are bound by a kind of "Silver Cord" to the physically living creature which they attend, although the fairy being is not to be confused with the plant-soul which will evolve into a human-like being in the far-off Venus Period of our evolutionary scheme.
That there are exceptional animals Max Heindel admits in a number of places in his writings. The Elberfield horses, for example, could do mathematical problems and "converse" with humans by spelling out words with their hooves on a big alphabet drawn on the stable floor. Even these animals, however, would seem not to be completely cut off from the Group Spirit, although at the point of individualization. When an animal reaches this stage in its evolution it is withdrawn from incarnation so that it can take up its true human-like evolution in the next, or Jupiter Period.
Concerning the forces which reside in the seed atom of the heart, Max Heindel writes (Christianity Lectures): "Physical science knows that whatever the power which moves the heart, it does not come from without, but is inside the heart....The force in that atom like the forces in all other atoms is the undifferentiated life of God; without that force the mineral could not form matter into crystals; the plant, animal, and human kingdoms would be unable to form their bodies. The deeper we go the plainer it becomes to us how fundamentally true it is that in God we live, and move, and have our being.
"That atom is called the seed atom. The force within it moves the heart and keeps the organism alive. All the other atoms in the whole body must vibrate in tune with this atom. The forces of the seed atom have been immanent in every dense body ever possessed by the particular Ego to whom it is attached, and upon its plastic tablet are inscribed all the experiences of that particular Ego in all its lives. When we return to God, when we shall all have become one in God once more, that record, which is peculiarly God's record, —
— will still remain and thus we shall retain our individuality. Our experiences we transmute....into faculties; the evil is transmuted into good and the good we retain as power for higher good, but the record of the experience is of God, and is God, in the most intimate sense."
In the foregoing sections we have discussed the Silver Cord and Seed Atoms from the point of view of the importance of the Cord. In the final sections we will discuss the seed atoms themselves, in terms of their evolution, present condition, and future development.
We have learned that the Silver Cord grows anew in each life, sprouting from the seed atoms, and in The Message of the Stars it is stated that: "Mars and his friend Saturn cut the silver cord and the freed soul soars as an eagle into the empyrean, seeking the celestial spheres which are its true home. Therefore Scorpio is symbolized by both a scorpion and an eagle." It is the great celestial Hierarchs of the constellation Scorpio, known as the Lords of From, who have special charge of the present fourth or Earth Period, but they did not give us any of our seed atoms.
As Mars and Saturn terminate the earth life, the Moon marks its beginning. On page 60 of Simplified Scientific Astrology Max Heindel says: "The philosophy is that the human body is produced by the lunar forces. At the time of conception the Moon may be mathematically demonstrated to have been in the degree which is the Ascendant at birth; at birth it has a different longitude. In one of these positions the Moon may be said to have magnetized the positive pole, in the other the negative pole of the seed atom, which as a magnet draws to itself the chemical substance that builds the dense body. The solar forces vitalize the body and, as it is constantly decaying, a pabulum is necessary to repair waste. That nutriment and all material possession are, therefore, astrologically speaking, derived through the combined influences of the Sun and the before-mentioned two positions of the Moon."
Observe also that the world globes are built around a seed atom in the beginning of each new Cosmic Day of Manifestation, and that during the Cosmic Night the World Spirit of our evolutionary system dissolves its "globes," which are its bodies, and takes with it into the long night of Chaos the Seed Atoms of its Globes, just as the human Ego takes its seed atoms with it into the Third Heaven, between incarnations.
Modern astronomers tell us that "one theory of the origin of the universe is known as the Big Bang Theory, according to which all matter in the universe was once contained in a single primal atom." "About ten to fifteen billions of years ago," they continue, "there was, for some unexplained reason, a great explosion which disrupted this primal atom and sent its fragments flying through space. Later the fragments came together again under the action of cosmic forces and formed themselves into galaxies, but even though some portions formed galaxies, the fragmented masses continued to travel away from each other in open space, continuously expanding into infinity." One may say that, viewed spiritually, the "explosion" of such a universal atom is comparable to the "explosion" of a seed in the earth, when the life forces within it become active in the springtime and begin to force their way upward to the light and air.
A further development of the Big Bang Theory is that of the "Oscillating Universe," in which there is a big bang about every eighty-two billions of years. The galaxies fly apart, but at the end of the cycle they again return and reconstitute the original or primal atom, and are then ready for another big bang. This theory is called a "closed universe" theory.
Both aspects of the Big Bang Theory envisage a Primal Atom, which is strangely reminiscent of that "seed atom" of the World Periods as shown in the Cosmo.
Now we must look at the several human seed atoms once more: the seed atom of the dense body in the apex of the heart, the vital body seed atom in the solar plexus, the desire body seed atom in the greater vortex of the liver, and the mind seed atom in the mind-stuff of the frontal sinus.
The seed atom of the dense body is the oldest, having had its beginning in the Saturn Period. In that dark period of the evolution of the Solar Logos — which also includes the Virgin Spirit life wave of the planet Earth — (Max Heindel writes that we may say we, collectively, are the Earth Spirit) in that Saturn Period, the Lords of Flame who were Hierarchs from the constellation Leo radiated from their own divine bodies the seed atom, or germinal body (Idea and Thought Form) for the infant human race. These Lords of Flame are called Thrones in Christian esotericism. They also awakened the first, or Will Principle, in the Virgin Spirit, called the Divine Spirit, because it is our most godlike attribute, the attribute belonging to the freedom of the Infinite.
Without the divinity of the Will Principle being awakened, there could have been no evolution, but it is to be understood that it was the passive aspect of the Will, or Divine Spirit, which was awakened; that is, the docile and obeying aspect of the Will; for obviously, one must will to obey in order to obey any command. The new humanity had only so much force: the awakened power of Will to obey the spiritual behests of the Lords of Flame. They received the seed atom of the body.
In Diagram 13a of the Cosmo you will find a very helpful and illuminating representation of the evolutionary scheme. Note that in each column it is stated that a certain Hierarchy "gave him (man) the germinal thought form of a....body." This germinal thought form is the seed atom; and we do not find it so incredible that this germinal thought form should have limitless potentialities when we read of the "genes" and the DNA molecule in modern biology, the gene being to some degree a "template" upon which all cells in the body are built, and the DNA the director, so to speak, of the process by which the hereditary pattern is projected upon the otherwise similar cells, for it is now understood that every cell of the human body has the potential of developing into any kind of organ with any variety of functions, but the "gene" and its powers direct its activities into a special and distinctive pattern.
Here in the Saturn Period our progenitors, from whom we receive our cosmic heredity where our physical bodies are concerned, were the Thrones, or Lords of Flame from Leo. Leo rules the heart, and their seed atom, or germinal thought form, rules from a throne in the heart. This seed atom is the atom which was placed in the semen of the father prior to the birth of the individual, while the matrix was placed in the womb of the mother. But if the seed atom comes from the Hierarchs, the Lords of Flame, where does the matrix come from? Obviously, the matrix is a product of the vital body seed atom given as a germinal idea or thought form (by the Lords of Wisdom) in the second or Sun Period when the Life Spirit Power was awakened.
The thought form or seed atom body descended one plane farher down in each World Period; each time it was modified by cosmic Hierarchs as evolution proceeded, for the seed atom has the power of infinite unfoldment. The seed atom or thought form bestowed upon man by the Lords of Flame was the imaged representation of the "Germinal Idea" conceived by them in the Region of Abstract Thought. The Thrones, as Diagram 13A of the Cosmo shows, had their highest level of activity in the World of Divine Spirit, and we remember that the dense physical body is a "reflection," "condensation," or "crystallization," in a certain sense, of the Divine Spirit in man.
In the Sun Period, or second Cosmic Day, the Hierarchs of Cancer, the Cherubim, awakened the Life Spirit in humanity and gave man the vital body seed atom, or germinal vital body; and the printing in the second column of the diagram mentioned says clearly: "which was then a thought form." In the third column, representing the third Day or Moon Period, we read that the Seraphims, or Lords from Gemini, awakened the Human Spirit (which now becomes the Ego) and gave the germ (seed atom) of the desire body "which was then a thought form."
Finally, in the lowest, the fourth or Earth Period, the Lords of Form were given charge of our evolution. The Lords of Form represent the constellation Scorpio; and the esoteric scientist really does mean that spiritual Intelligences did in actual fact come to our solar system from that far-off constellation which, with Sagittarius, lies between us and the center of our galaxy. The Lords of Mind from Sagittarius gave to mankind the seed atom, or germ of the mind as thought form; but later on in the Earth Period the Mercurians came to help us to develop that mind. The germ of mind was given to the pioneers of humankind in the Lemurian Epoch; then the germ of mind was given to the masses in the Atlantean Epoch.
The masses of mankind received the germ of mind in the Atlantean Epoch. The germ of mind is the seed atom of the mind. The pioneers, however, received the germ of mind in Lemuria. ["In this Epoch (Lemurian)....the Lords of Mind gave the germ of Mind to the greater part of the pioneers...." — Cosmo] At the end of our evolution in the Vulcan Period, the mind will embody all powers of all the perfected lower vehicles. This is foreshown in the fact that, between embodiments of rebirths on Earth, the Ego takes with it into the Third Heaven the seed atoms of all of the four vehicles, and that the midregion of —
— the World of Thought is called the Region of Archetypal Forces, and the point —
— where Spirit focuses into matter. This region is the most important to the evolution of the seed atoms. Each seed atom is worked over and improved in each World Period.
When, after receiving the germ of mind from the Lords of Mind from Sagittarius, infant mankind was led astray by the Martian Lucifer Spirits, certain ones of the more advanced humanity of the planets Venus and Mercury came to our assistance. We say, a more advanced humanity of those planets, because our life wave of Virgin Spirits (to the number of about sixty billion monads) is distributed on all the planets of out solar system, with the exception of the two outer "mystery" planets, so-called: Neptune and Pluto. Evolution differs from planet to planet, however, so the Egos are not all equal in development, the Venusians and Mercurians being ahead of earth humanity in civilization. However, even among these advanced races some were less advanced than others, and their backward ones, at first exiled, so to speak, to their moons, later were sent to earth to finish their karmic lessons here by aiding us. Meanwhile, the moons which once circled the two inner planets, dissolved and gradually were swept up into the asteroid belt, according to esoteric findings. Moons from other planets may also be there, as from Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.
The Venusians worked with the masses of earth mankind, fostering the plastic arts and teaching the lessons of love, beauty, and harmony. The Mercurians established the Mystery Schools in which the King-Priests were educated, and which evolved into the Mystery Schools which are still with us today. Each School teaches the Nine Lesser Mysteries. The Mercurians work only with the individual Ego, more particularly with the Ego who is preparing for Initiation.
Apropos of this we learn that astrologically the planet Mercury rules the worldly-wise intellect, and when an individual has a trend toward the "black" path, it is generally shown by so-called "bad" aspects to Mercury in the horoscope. Thus anyone who is in the esoteric and who has a square or opposition to Mercury should examine his thoughts carefully and weed out all that tend to separativeness, intellectual conceit or vanity, or a desire to gain esoteric knowledge without making the needed sacrifices. Sacrifice is the law of evolution.
The mind is the path. Without the mind there can be no Path, because the mind is the bridge between the Ego and its vehicles. When that bridge is broken down, say by practice of the black arts, then the Virgin Spirit loses all of its vehicles and their seed atoms, and must return to Chaos to start its career anew in another, future Day of Evolution in a different life wave.
Meanwhile, we become ever closer to the Mercurians, who are our own elder brothers in evolution, but note that the term "Elder Brother of the Rose Cross" is not a term which is applied to them. The Elder Brothers of the Rose Cross belong to Earth's own humanity, who have been taught by the Mercurians from the time the link of mind was given in Lemuria, and are now at the very head of Earth humanity's evolution. In other words, our "Elder Brothers of the Rose Cross" are the younger brethren of the Mercurians.
From all of which it is apparent that the seed atoms belong essentially to the Archetype, and their forces belong essentially to the Archetypal Forces, where spirit focuses into matter; and that they are the signatures of our cosmic heredity.
The Region of Archetypal Forces in one sense divides the worlds of matter from the worlds of spirit. From another viewpoint all planes or worlds below the World of Life Spirit are worlds of matter — including the Third Heaven (Region of Abstract Thought) which is "Chaos, the seed-ground of Cosmos," with its billions of "germinal Ideas."
We have traced the evolution of the seed atoms through the three involutionary World Periods, and to the end of the present Earth Period. What happens to them in the Jupiter Period, Venus Period, and Vulcan Period?
The first Great Initiation "gives the stage of consciousness which will be attained by ordinary humanity at the end of the Earth Period; the second that to which all will attain at the end of the Jupiter Period; the third gives the extension of consciousness to be reached at the close of the Venus Period; the last brings the Initiate the power and omniscience to which the majority will attain only at the end of the Vulcan Period." (Cosmo)
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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