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THE MODERN CONDITIONS OF MARRIAGE
A Statistician affirmed some time ago that in England 25 percent of married couples were permanently separated; 50 percent lived together without love, and 25 percent were happy. Thus only one-quarter of the marriages taking place in England fulfil the purposes for which they are entered upon, and a person marrying has but one chance in four of happiness. No one who observes the home conditions among his friends and neighbours will regard these figures as unduly pessimistic. It may, indeed, be questioned if the amount of enduring love to be found in married life should be estimated as high as 25 percent.
In the United States, the country of easy divorce, it was stated chat the percentage of happy marriages is as high as 50 percent. Therefore it appears that a condition of misery or boredom is not implicit in the married state, but is due mainly to the selection of unsuitable mates; two people who made each ocher miserable may yet succeed (instructed by experience) in mating happily with ocher companions if their unfortunate union can be dissolved.
There are several admirable books now available which explain the physiology of sex-life to the non-scientific reader, and these have been of great value in lessening the mass of human misery that arises from ignorance; but they do not solve the whole problem, they do not cell us why two well-informed, healthy, human beings may yet feel chat they have failed to realise the higher aspects of love, and so missed the best that life has to give; nor why two people, each highly esteemed in the circle in which they move, may have a devastating effect on each other without a single unkind word or selfish action, so that companionship means misery.
The intuitions of all humanity declare chat marriage can hold the greatest good in life, but it is very rare to see that intuition justified; yet, when this occurs, so great is the happiness achieved, and so uplifting an influence does it exert in its immediate environment, that all the married misery seems outweighed by the completeness of this one attainment.
What line shall we take, then, with regard to the institution of marriage in civilised society? Shall we imitate the Greeks, who required of their wives nothing but the bearing of heirs, while they sought the companions of their heart and mind among free, unmated women, whom we should regard as courtesans. Shall we weaken the marriage-bond by greatly facilitating divorce in conformity with the American practice? Or shall we continue with our present scheme of things, and stake all on a single irrevocable choice? Each of these plans has its disadvantages. By the Greek system women of the highest evolution seldom gave children to the race, for the women of promiscuous habits are usually sterile. Moreover, the mothers of the nation, prized only for fecundity, were given little culture of either character or intellect, and were, therefore, unfitted for the training of their children, being themselves untrained. It is generally agreed nowadays that the influences of early childhood are extremely important in character building, and that ignorant and inexperienced women cannot transcend their own natures and give to their children what they do not themselves possess. It is said that the failure of the Turkish nation to evolve a high standard of national character among its ruling classes is due to the backwardness of its harem-dwelling mothers, whereas the peasantry, who cannot afford to seclude their women, are of a much better type of character.
The American method of easy divorce seems at first sight to solve the problem, but until it has been tested for a century nothing but a provisional opinion can be expressed. It should be remembered that the great majority of middle-class citizens of Anglo-Saxon blood do not avail themselves of it very freely, is the wealthy and the negro who supply the highest percentage of divorces.
The consequence of easy divorce among the wealthy seems twofold; firstly, the character of those indulging in it seems to be undermined, and there is a tendency to shirk responsibilities and take nothing seriously; the depths of life and love are not found in easily-broken unions, and sensuality is fostered. Secondly, the children of divorced couples have no home-life of systematic training and discipline; a step-parent, however conscientious, cannot replace one to whom the child is flesh of his flesh; and all who have worked out the problem of bringing up an orphaned family know that nothing can replace the influence of a mother during childhood, or of a father during adolescence, and that the child deprived of either parent enters life under a heavy handicap. In estimating the best conditions of marriage we must not forget the rights of those for whose well-being marriage was primarily instituted the children.
Finally, as to the modern English system, statistics condemn it - it is not working well. The Anglo-Saxon standard of marriage is the highest in the world, also the most difficult to achieve. What shall we do then? Shall we lower our standards, or shall we try to discover the laws which govern married happiness, and so regulate its conditions? The American branch of the race has followed the former course, but the older branch clings desperately to its ideals.
It is in the hope that knowledge may help to alleviate conditions before desperate misery gives rise to desperate remedies that the following pages are offered to the reader. They are based upon the teaching given in one of the Western esoteric schools.
The reader is asked to endure patiently, unprejudiced by his ignorance, the technicalities of a strange philosophy, and to accept whatever light it throws upon his own life-problems.
THE ORIGIN OF MATTER
Esoteric science premises the existence of the Great Unmanifest, which may be conceived as a sea of limitless but latent force which underlies all things and whence all things derive their substance and draw their life. This concept corresponds to the exoteric concept of God. Secondly, it conceives the outpouring of this ocean in a directed but limited stream; this corresponds to the exoteric conception of energy.
Thirdly, it conceives this now manifested energy, by the intersection of its lines of force, forming whirlpools, which, by the opposition of forces, lead to stability; these whirlpools of locked-up forces, gyrating about their own centres instead of driving straight through space, are the units of stability which, in their varying combinations, form the different kinds of matter.
Esoteric science recognises more forms of matter than are known to physics and chemistry. It distinguishes, firstly, the original vortices of stability; secondly, their combinations into seven simple types of molecules; thirdly, it conceives combinations of these molecules into denser and more complex structures; and fourthly, the further combinations, of which these relatively complex structures form the units. In fine, it distinguishes the prime atom of manifestation arising from the Great Unmanifest and seven types of molecules, and these great divisions of matter, as known to esoteric science, are called the Seven Planes of Manifestation, of which the matter that composes our material world, and which alone is known to the exoteric scientist, forms the densest and most inert subdivision, and the latest to be formed in evolutionary time. Thus it will be seen chat the esoteric scientist has for his studies a manifested universe seven times as great as that cognised by the exoteric scientist.
These seven planes, while all arising from the Unmanifest as First Cause, are conceived of as having immediate causal relations among themselves; thus the first plane to develop gives rise to the second and determines its manifestations, and the second to the third, and so on, down to the final plane of physical matter, which may be called the Plane of Effects, where on the results of activities on the subtler planes may be observed and their consequences are finally reaped. It will thus be seen chat the esoteric scientist acquainted with the laws of one of the higher planes could control conditions on all planes lying below it, being in his turn controlled by anyone who was master of a plane superior to his own. The final control is regarded as vested in the inherent nature of the Prime Manifestation.
It is the aim of that branch of esoteric science which is popularly called Magic, to obtain control of conditions upon one plane by acting upon the forces of the plane immediately above it, which acts as causal plane to the lower one. White Magic is distinguished as chat exploitation of knowledge which aims at harmonising and uplifting existence along the lines of advancing evolution, and which, though it may concentrate its efforts upon a particular point, excludes from its benefits nothing which by its nature is capable of receiving them. Black Magic may be defined as that use of superior knowledge which endeavours to cause any section of existence to return to a phase of evolution below that to which it has attained, or which attempts to benefic any special section of manifestation at the expense of the rest.
THE ORIGIN OF MAN
Esoteric science, having conceived the first or Atomic Outpouring of force, of which the unit of manifestation is the primal vortex or so-called atom whose development forms the matter-substance of each plane of manifestation, next conceives a second or Monadic Outpouring, of which the unit of manifestation is the Monad, or spark of Divine consciousness, whose evolution leads, to the development of the human soul and the heights of spiritual grandeur that lie beyond it. This Monad, or spark of spiritual consciousness, is conceived as forming about itself a body built out of the atoms of the plane below that upon which it comes into manifestation; this body is formed upon the lines of force inherent in the spiritual Monad in the same way that the particles of a crystalline substance in solution build themselves up along the lines of force of the parent crystal; for the ensouling life determines the configuration of the body.
Each plane is, comparatively speaking, a plane of free flowing life-force as compared to the relative density of the plane below, out of which it builds a vehicle in which to confine its energies so that they may be directed to specific ends. The Monad, then, as an unconditioned life, builds itself a vehicle of the matter of the plane below that of its own substance; this vehicle, however, though material when compared to the density of the plane of its ensouling life, is non-material when compared with the plane below it, and this newly-formed two-matter unit can build itself another and yet more conditioning body of manifestation on the next lower plane; and so the building up of vehicles goes on, each giving a greater definiteness to the expression of the in-dwelling life, each laid down, metaphorically speaking, in concentric layers of accretion about the nucleus of the spiritual Monad until the final form is developed upon the material plane, the physical body as we know it.
A human being, therefore, is regarded by esoteric science as a sevenfold creature, not merely a quality of mind and body; he is considered to have a vehicle built out of the matter of each plane of manifestation, subject to the laws and conditions of that plane, and capable of functioning thereon and nowhere else. Each vehicle is built about and controlled by the vehicle of the plane above, and the core of all, the Monad, derives its substance from the Unmanifest as from an infinite reservoir of constant pressure.
THE EVOLUTION OF MAN
We have learned that the Monad builds up its bodies out of the matter developed upon each lower plane in the course of the first Outpouring: we have next to see how it learns to use chose bodies. At the beginning of its evolution it grows by accretion, as the mineral kingdom does, adding body to body until the last plane is reached, and it has a sevenfold form; thenceforward it adds no more bodies, but grows in complexity, body by body, beginning with the organisation of the last to be developed, the physical body; the latter, therefore, is brought to perfection while the subtler vehicles are still undeveloped, mere potentialities.
The Monad, as we saw, is a spark of Divine consciousness sensitive to the conditions upon its plane of manifestation; as soon as it gathers about itself a vehicle of matter of the plane below its own, it obscures its consciousness of its own plane, but extends its consciousness to its vehicle; and so it proceeds down the planes till the physical body is developed. There in the buried Monad has direct consciousness of one plane only; dim at first in the primitive organisation of the earliest cycle of evolution, and growing in clearness as sense organs were evolved, till we have the wonderful capacities of the human eye and ear.
Next we begin to see another and yet more wonderful sense developing, sporadically, but in a constantly increasing number of individuals. We find people who are aware of subtleties which escape the five physical senses; they are sensitive to the emotional states of their fellows, they may even be able to read their thoughts. This means that evolution is bringing about the organisation of the next body to be developed, and that its sense-organs are beginning to cognise the conditions of the plane to which they correspond. In this way evolution will continue to bring body after body into function until all seven bodies are organised and correlated and the Monad has complete expression.
THE SEVEN PLANES OF EXISTENCE
The Planes of Manifestation are commonly designated numerically, but they are not numbered from above downwards in the order in which they come into manifestation and in which order they have, for clearness sake, been presented to the reader, but from below upwards in the order in which they become perceptible to the esotericist who is developing clairvoyance; and this nomenclature, being the one established by custom, will therefore be employed, so that those already familiar with the subject may not be confused.
THE SEVENTH PLANE, also known as the UPPER SPIRITUAL, the PLANE OF PURE SPIRIT, or, the PLANE of ABSTRACT SPIRIT, is the first phase of manifestation; it draws its substance and energy direct from the Great Unmanifest, which (using the pictorial method, the only method by which esoteric science can be taught) may be conceived as lying immediately above the seventh plane and as being a reservoir of infinite potential force which, when it becomes actual, is referred to as being upon the seventh plane of manifestation.
Upon this plane there is no differentiation whatever, and it is the plane upon which "All are One, and One is All." It has but two characteristics, the first is absolute harmony, and the second a tendency towards combination among its particles. Upon this plane, at the beginning of an evolution, issues into manifestation the Monadic Essence in which may be conceived as floating those innumerable nuclei of life, the monads, which eventually develop into individualised human lives.
THE SIXTH PLANE, LOWER SPIRITUAL OR PLANE OF CONCRETE SPIRIT. In the course of ages of cosmic time, evolution brings the organisation of the monadic essence to the phase of the sixth plane. Hereon it is found to diverge into seven different tendencies, seven currents of out flowing, which are called the Seven Rays and are designated by colour names, and it is held that the monads which may be conceived of as floating in each of these streams of spiritual tendency will evolve to their ultimate perfection by means of a different type of activity. This partiality does not imply a one-sided development, but that, although all elements must be present, one will predominate and give the keynote. The prime characteristic of the sixth plane is Tendency.
THE FIFTH PLANE, THE UPPER MENTAL OR PLANE OF ABSTRACT MIND, sees the development of QUALITIES in the monadic essence, and its differentiation into TYPES. From this point onwards it would no longer be justifiable to speak of the Monadic Essence, for upon this plane the life nuclei come into function, and Life becomes lives.
THE FOURTH PLANE, THE LOWER MENTAL OR PLANE OF CONCRETE MIND, is characterised by finiteness which, while it limits, gives a definiteness which is lacking upon the higher planes; it is the plane of concrete thought and is characterised by memory.
THE THIRD PLANE OR UPPER ASTRAL is the plane of the emotions, and is characterised by response to attraction, the desire for union.
THE SECOND PLANE, LOWER ASTRAL OR PSYCHIC PLANE, is the plane of the instincts and passions, and is characterised by the desire to attract or possess.
THE FIRST OR PHYSICAL PLANE, is the material world as known by human beings incarnate in bodies of flesh and blood.
Excerpted from THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY OF LOVE AND MARRIAGE by DION FORTUNE. Copyright © 2000 Society of Inner Light, London. Excerpted by permission of Samuel Weiser, Inc..
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I. THE MODERN CONDITIONS OF MARRIAGE
II. THE ORIGIN OF MATTER
III. THE ORIGIN OF MAN
IV. THE EVOLUTION OF MAN
V. THE SEVEN PLANES OF EXISTENCE
VI. THE SEVENFOLD MAN
VII. THE ESOTERIC CONCEPT OF LIFE AND DEATH
VIII. EVOLUTION AND INITIATION
IX. THE ESOTERIC CONCEPT OF SEX
X. THE ESOTERIC CONCEPT OF MALE AND FEMALE
XI. THE INTERACTION BETWEEN POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE UPON THE NON-PHYSICAL
XII. POLARITY UPON THE PHYSICAL PLANE
XIII. POLARITY WITHIN THE ORGANISM
XIV. POLARITY WITHIN A GROUP
XV. THE IDEAL MARRIAGE
XVI. THE LAWS OF MATING UPON EACH PLANE
XVII. THE ESOTERIC TEACHING; CONCERNING "TWIN SOULS"
XVIII. THE NATURE OF THE TIES BETWEEN SOULS
XIX. HOW SOULS FIND THEIR MATES
XX. ESOTERIC TEACHING CONCERNING MARRIAGE
XXI. ESOTERIC ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE CHILD
XXII. ESOTERIC TEACHING CONCERNING THE PREVENTION OF CONCEPTION AND
XXIII. PROMISCUOUS INTERCOURSE AND UNNATURAL USE OF THE SEX FUNCTIONS
XXIV. ABSTINENCE AND ASCETICISM
THE SOCIETY OF INNER LIGHT
ABOUT THE AUTHOR