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DIVISION C - THE ETHERIC BODY AND PRANA - Part 1

THE ETHERIC BODY AND PRANA [xxxiv]34

I. The nature of the etheric body.

1. Its purpose and description.

2. Eight statements.

II. The nature of prana.

1. Solar prana.

2. Planetary prana.

3. The prana of forms.

III. The function of the etheric body.

1. It is the receiver of prana.

2. It is the assimilator of prana.

3. It is the transmitter of prana.

4. Disorders of the etheric body.

IV. Macrocosmic and microcosmic ethers.

1. The planetary Logos and the ethers.

2. Cosmic and systemic ethers.

3. Protective purpose of etheric body.

V. Death and the etheric body.

1. Microcosmic death.

2. Macrocosmic pralaya.

I. THE NATURE OF THE ETHERIC BODY

In our consideration of the internal fires of the system we shall find much of very real interest to the coming [78] generation of thinkers for three main reasons, which might be enumerated as follows:

1. Its Purpose and Description

First. In the study of the etheric body lies hid (for scientists and those of the medical profession) a fuller comprehension of the laws of matter and the laws of health. The word health has become too localised in the past, and its meaning confined to the sanity of the body corporeal, to the co-operative action of the atoms of the physical body of man, and to the full expression of the powers of the physical elemental. In days to come it will be realised that the health of man is dependent upon the health of all allied evolutions, and upon the co-operative action and full expression of the matter of the planet and of the planetary elemental who is himself a composite manifestation of the physical elementals of all manifested nature.

Second. In the study of the etheric body and prana lies the revelation of the effects of those rays of the sun which (for lack of better expression), we will call "solar pranic emanations." These solar pranic emanations are the produced effect of the central heat of the sun approaching other bodies within the solar system by one of the three main channels of contact, and producing on the bodies then contacted certain effects differing somewhat from those produced by the other emanations. These effects might be considered as definitely stimulating and constructive, and (through their essential quality) as producing conditions that further the growth of cellular matter, and concern its adjustment to environing conditions; they concern likewise the internal health (demonstrating as the heat of the atom and its consequent activity) and the uniform evolution of the form of which that particular atom of matter forms a constituent part. Emanative prana does little in connection with [79] form building; that is not its province, but it conserves the form through the preservation of the health of its component parts. Other rays of the sun act differently, upon the forms and upon their substance. Some perform the work of the Destroyer of forms, and others carry on the work of cohering and of attracting; the work of the Destroyer and of the Preserver is carried on under the Law of Attraction and Repulsion. Some rays definitely produce accelerated motion, others produce retardation. The ones we are dealing with here—pranic solar emanations—work within the four ethers, that matter which (though physical) is not as yet objectively visible to the eye of man. They are the basis of all physical plane life considered solely in connection with the life of the physical plane atoms of matter, their inherent heat and their rotary motion. These emanations are the basis of that "fire by friction" which demonstrates in the activity of matter.

Finally, in the study of the etheric body and prana comes comprehension of the method of logoic manifestation, and therefore much of interest to the metaphysician, and all abstract thinkers. The etheric body of man holds hid the secret of his objectivity. It has its correspondence on the archetypal plane,—the plane we call that of the divine manifestation, the first plane of our solar system, the plane Adi. The matter of that highest plane is called often the "sea of fire" and it is the root of the akasha, the term applied to the substance of the second plane of manifestation. Let us trace the analogy a little more in detail, for in its just apprehension will be found much of illumination and much that will serve to elucidate problems both macrocosmic and microcosmic. We will begin with man and his etheric body.

The etheric body has been described as a network, permeated with fire, or as a web, animated with golden light. It is spoken of in the Bible as the "golden bowl." [80] It is a composition of that matter of the physical plane which we call etheric, and its shape is brought about by the fine interlacing strands of this matter being built by the action of the lesser Builders into the form or mould upon which later the dense physical body can be moulded. Under the Law of Attraction, the denser matter of the physical plane is made to cohere to this vitalised form, and is gradually built up around it, and within it, until the interpenetration is so complete that the two forms make but one unit; the pranic emanations of the etheric body itself play upon the dense physical body in the same manner as the pranic emanations of the sun play upon the etheric body. It is all one vast system of transmission and of interdependence within the system. All receive in order to give, and to pass on to that which is lesser or not so evolved. Upon every plane this process can be seen.

Thus the etheric body forms the archetypal plane in relation to the dense physical body. The thinker on his own plane stands, in relation to the physical, as the Logos to His system. In the synthesis of thought it might be expressed thus: The thinker on the astral plane, the plane of desire and of necessity, stands to the physical body as the Logos on the cosmic astral plane stands to His system.

As we continue the study we will work out the correspondence in the cosmos, the system, and in the three worlds, for we need to remember that the analogy must be perfect.

1. Man, the Microcosm, the manifesting Monad, or One.

2. The Heavenly Man, the planetary Logos, or the manifesting group.

3. The Grand Man of the Heavens, the Macrocosm, the solar Logos, the manifestation of all groups and of all evolutions within His Body, the solar system.

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All these bodies—the body of a man, a planetary Logos, and a solar Logos—are the product of desire originating on the planes of abstract mind, whether cosmic, systemic, or mind in the three worlds, whether cosmic desire-mind or human desire-mind, and all their bodies are "Sons of Necessity," as H. P. B. so aptly expressed it. [xxxv]35, [xxxvi]36

2. Eight Statements.

It is with the etheric bodies of all we are dealing, and with their vivification by prana (whether cosmic, solar, planetary or human), with the organs of reception and with the basis of emanations. Here, therefore, we can arrive at certain dicta anent the etheric body which for purposes of clarity might well be enumerated:

First. The etheric body is the mould of the physical body.

Second. The etheric body is the archetype upon which [82] the dense physical form is built, whether it is the form of a solar system, or of a human body in any one incarnation.

Third. The etheric body is a web or network of fine interlacing channels, formed of matter of the four ethers, and built into a specific form. It forms a focal point for certain radiatory emanations, which vivify, stimulate and produce the rotary action of matter.

Fourth. These pranic emanations when focalised and received, react upon the dense matter which is built upon the etheric scaffolding and framework.

Fifth. This etheric web, during incarnation, forms a barrier between the physical and astral planes, which can only be transcended when consciousness is sufficiently developed to permit of escape. This can be seen in both the microcosm and the macrocosm. When a man has, through meditation and concentration, expanded his consciousness to a certain point he is enabled to include the subtler planes, and to escape beyond the limits of the dividing web.

 

PHYSICAL SUB-PLANES

SOLAR SYSTEM PLANES

1. First ether. Atomic plane

Adi. Divine. Sea of fire. First cosmic ether.

2. Second ether. Sub-atomic

Anupadaka. Monadic plane. Akasha. Second cosmic ether.

3. Third ether. Super-etheric

Atmic. Spiritual plane. Aether. Third cosmic ether.

4. Fourth ether. Super-gaseous

Buddhic. Intuitional Plane. Air. Fourth cosmic ether.

 

 

DENSE PHYSICAL

PLANES OF HUMANITY

5. Gaseous. Sub-etheric

Mental. Fire. Cosmic gaseous.

6. Liquid

Astral. Emotional plane. Water. Cosmic liquid.

7. Earthly. Dense

Physical plane. Earth. Cosmic dense.

 

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When the Logos has expanded His Consciousness on cosmic levels He can then transcend the logoic etheric web, and escape beyond the ring-pass-not of His objective manifestation. In thinking out this analogy we must hold closely in mind the fact that the seven major planes of our solar system are the seven subplanes of the cosmic physical or the lowest cosmic plane.

We might note here the accurate working out of the correspondence in matter and the radiatory correspondence is equally accurate.

Sixth. In all the three bodies—human, planetary, and systemic or logoic—will be found a great organ within the organism which acts as the receiver of prana. This organ has its etheric manifestation and its dense physical correspondence.

In the system. In the system, the organ of cosmic prana, of the force vitalising matter, is the central sun, which is the direct receiver and dispenser of cosmic radiation. This is one of the threefold divisions of the Primordial Ray of active intelligence. Each of the cosmic Rays is in essence threefold, a fact which is oft overlooked, though logically obvious; each Ray is the vehicle for a cosmic Entity, and all existence is necessarily triple in manifestation. The central Sun has within its periphery a centre of reception with a surface radiation.

In the Planet. In the planet there will be found a similar organ or receiver within its etheric body, the locality of which is not for exoteric publication and cannot therefore be revealed. It is connected with the location of the two poles, north and south, and is the centre around which the globe rotates, and is the source of the legend of a sacred fertile land within the sphere of polar influences. The mythic land of exceeding fertility, of abundant [84] luxuriance, and of phenomenal growth, vegetable, animal and human would naturally lie where prana is received. It is the esoteric Garden of Eden, the land of physical perfection. Surface radiation demonstrates, after distribution, as planetary prana.

In Man. The organ of reception is the spleen through its etheric counterpart. After distribution over the entire body via the etheric network it demonstrates in surface radiation as the health aura.

Seventh. Thus in all the three bodies will the resemblance clearly be seen, and the working out in perfect correspondence is easily demonstrable:

PRANA OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM

 

THE SOLAR SYSTEM

Entity manifesting

The solar Logos.

Body of manifestation

The solar system.

Receptive centre

Pole of the central Sun.

Surface radiation or emanation

Solar prana.

Movement produced

Systemic rotation.

Distributive effect

Solar etheric radiation (felt cosmically).

 

THE PLANET

Entity manifesting

A planetary Logos.

Body of manifestation

A planet.

Receptive centre

The planetary pole.

Surface radiation or emanation

Planetary prana.

Movement produced

Planetary rotation.

Distributive effect

Planetary etheric radiation (felt within the system).

 

A HUMAN BEING

Entity manifesting

The thinker, a Dhyan Chohan

Body of manifestation

Physical body.

Receptive centre

The spleen.

Surface radiation or emanation

Health aura.

Movement produced

Atomic rotation.

Distributive effect

Human etheric radiation (felt by environment).

 

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THE ATOM OF MATTER

Entity manifesting

An elementary life.

Body of manifestation

The atomic sphere.

Receptive centre

Pole of the atom.

Surface radiation or emanation

Contribution of atom to the united health aura of body.

Movement produced

Atomic rotation.

Distributive effect

Atomic etheric radiation (felt within the physical form).

 

Eighth. When the "will to live" vanishes, then the "Sons of Necessity" cease from objective manifestation. This is logically inevitable, and its working out can be seen in every case of entifed objectivity. When the Thinker on his own plane withdraws his attention from his little system within the three worlds and gathers within himself all his forces, then physical plane existence comes to an end and all returns within the causal consciousness; this is as much an abstraction in the three worlds of the Thinker as the Absolute is in the threefold solar system of the Logos. This demonstrates on the physical plane in the withdrawing from out of the top of the head of the radiant etheric body and the consequent disintegration of the physical. The framework goes and the dense physical form falls apart; the pranic life is abstracted bodily from out of the dense sheath, and the stimulation of the fires of matter ceases to be. The latent fire of the atom remains; it is inherent, but the form is made by the action of the two fires of matter—active and latent, radiatory and inherent—aided by the fire of the second Logos, and when they are separated the form falls apart. This is a picture in miniature of the essential duality of all things acted upon by Fohat.

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There is a close connection between the spleen and the top of the head in connection with the etheric body. The organ of the spleen has an interesting correspondence to the umbilical cord which attaches an infant to the mother for purposes of nourishment, and which is separated at birth. When a man starts to live his own life of conscious desire, when a man is born into a new world of a subtler form of life, that interlaced cord of etheric matter (which had united him to his physical body) is broken; the "silver cord is loosed" and the man severs his connection with the dense physical body and passes out through the highest center of the body instead of the lowest to life in a higher world and of another dimension. So it will be found in all the bodies and sheaths of the microcosm, for the analogy will persist on all planes during manifestation. When more scientific knowledge has been gained it will be found that the same procedure on a larger scale, takes place in planetary manifestation. A planet is but the body of a planetary Logos, that body being etheric, and the Logos expressing Himself through it and building upon the etheric scaffolding a vehicle of manifestation. The MOON once was the body of expression for one of the Logoi; the Earth now is, and the cycles change continuously. The centre of escape for the etheric body is found likewise in a physical planet, and the planetary silver cord is loosed at the time appointed; but the times and cycles, their commencement and termination are hid in the mysteries of Initiation, and do not concern us.

Again in the solar system itself similar action will eventuate at the close of a Mahamanvantara. The Logos will withdraw within Himself, abstracting His three major principles. [xxxvii]37 His body of manifestation—the Sun [87] and the seven sacred Planets, all existing in etheric matter—will withdraw from objectivity and become obscured. From the usual physical standpoint, the light of the system will go out. This will be succeeded by a gradual inbreathing until He shall have gathered all unto Himself; the etheric will cease to exist, and the web will be no more. Full consciousness will be achieved, and in the moment of achievement existence or entified manifestation will cease. All will be reabsorbed within the Absolute; pralaya, [xxxviii]38 or the cosmic heaven of rest will then ensue, and the Voice of the Silence will be heard no more. The reverberations of the WORD will die away, and the "Silence of the High Places" will reign supreme.

II. THE NATURE OF PRANA

In dealing with the subject of the etheric body and its functions as an assimilator and distributor of prana, we have dealt with it from the standpoint of its place in the scheme of things. We have considered this matter of etherics from the angle of correspondences, and have traced analogies in the system, the planet, and man. We have seen that it formed the foundation of the dense physical form, and in itself constituted a most important link between:

a. Physical man, and the emotional or astral plane.

b. Planetary Man, and essential emotional quality.

c. The Logos, the grand Heavenly Man, and the cosmic astral plane.

We might now narrow the subject down to the consideration of the etheric body of the human being and not touch upon correspondences to things systemic or cosmic at all, though it may be necessary to remind ourselves that for the wise student the line along which wisdom [88] comes is the interpretative one; he who knows himself (in objective manifestation, essential quality, and comprehensive development) knows likewise the Lord of his Ray, and the Logos of his system. It is only then a matter of application, conscious expansion, and intelligent interpretation, coupled to a wise abstention from dogmatic assertion, and a recognition that the correspondence lies in quality and method more than in detailed adherence to a specified action at any given time in evolution.

All that it is possible to give here is material which, if rightly pondered on, may result in more intelligent practical living in the occult sense of the term "living"; which, if studied scientifically, religiously and philosophically, may lead to the furthering of the aims of the evolutionary process in the immediately coming lesser cycle. Our aim, therefore, is to make the secondary body of man more real, and to show some of its functions and how it can eventually be brought consciously into the range of mental comprehension.

Science, as we know, is fast reaching the point where it will be forced to admit the fact of the etheric body, because the difficulties of refusing to acknowledge it, will be far more insuperable than an admission of its existence. Scientists admit already the fact of etheric matter; the success of photographic endeavor has demonstrated the reality of that which has hitherto been considered unreal, because (from the standpoint of the physical) intangible. Phenomena are occurring all the time which remain in the domain of the supernatural unless accounted for through the medium of etheric matter, and in their anxiety to prove the spiritualists wrong, scientists have aided the cause of the true and higher spiritism by falling back on reality, and on the fact of the etheric body, even though they consider it a body of [89] emanative radiation—being concerned with the effect and not having yet ascertained the cause. Medical men are beginning to study (blindly as yet) the question of vitality, the effect of solar rays upon the physical organism, and the underlying laws of inherent and radiatory heat. They are beginning to ascribe to the spleen functions hitherto not recognised, to study the effect of the action of the glands, and their relation to the assimilation of the vital essences by the bodily frame. They are on the right road, and before long (perhaps within this century) the FACT of the etheric body and its basic function will be established past all controversy, and the whole aim of preventive and curative medicine will shift to a higher level. All we can do here is to give simply, and in a condensed form, a few facts which may hasten the day of recognition, and further the interest of the true investigator. Let me, therefore, briefly state what will be dealt with in our remaining three points:

The functions of the etheric body.

Its relation to the physical during life.

The ills or diseases of the etheric body (taking care to retain the original meaning of the word "disease.")

Its after death condition.

This will embody all that is as yet of practical use. More may later be forthcoming for our helping if that which is now given to the public is carefully followed up, and if investigators wisely, sanely and broadly study this important matter.

As the nature and functions of the etheric body of man assume their rightful place in the thought of the world and as it is realised that the etheric is the most important of the two physical bodies, man will be brought into closer conscious contact with the other evolutions [90] that evolve in etheric matter just as he does in a dense physical body. There are certain large groups of devas, called "the devas of the shadows," or the violet devas, who are closely allied with the evolutionary development of man's etheric body, and who transmit to him solar and planetary radiation. The etheric body of man receives prana in different ways and of different kinds, and all these ways bring him into touch with varying entities.

1. Solar prana.

This is that vital and magnetic fluid which radiates from the sun, and which is transmitted to man's etheric body through the agency of certain deva entities of a very high order, and of a golden hue. It is passed through their bodies and emitted as powerful radiations, which are applied direct through certain plexi in the uppermost part of the etheric body, the head and shoulders, and passed down to the etheric correspondence of the physical organ, the spleen, and from thence forcibly transmitted into the spleen itself. These golden hued pranic entities are in the air above us, and are specially active in such parts of the world as California, in those tropical countries where the air is pure and dry, and the rays of the sun are recognised as being specially beneficial. Relations between man and this group of devas are very close, but fraught as yet with much danger to man. These devas are of a very powerful order, and, along their own line, are further evolved than man himself. Unprotected man lies at their mercy, and in this lack of protection, and man's failure to understand the laws of magnetic resistance, or of solar repulsion comes, for instance, the menace of sunstroke. When the etheric body and its assimilative processes are comprehended scientifically, man will then be immune from dangers due to solar radiation. He will protect himself by the application of the laws governing [91] magnetic repulsion and attraction, and not so much by clothing and shelter. It is largely a question of polarisation. One hint might here be given: When men understand the deva evolution somewhat more correctly and recognise their work along certain lines in connection with the Sun and realise that they represent the feminine pole as they themselves represent the masculine (the fourth Creative Hierarchy being male) [xxxix]39 they will comprehend the mutual relationship, and govern that relationship by law.

These solar devas take the radiatory rays of the sun which reach from its centre to the periphery along one of the three channels of approach, pass them through their organism and focalise them there. They act almost as a burning glass acts. These rays are then reflected or transmitted to man's etheric body, and caught up by him and again assimilated. When the etheric body is in good order and functioning correctly, enough of this prana is absorbed to keep the form organised. This is the whole object of the etheric body's functioning, and is a point which cannot be sufficiently emphasised. The remainder is cast off in the form of animal radiation, or physical magnetism—all terms expressing the same idea. Man therefore repeats on a lesser scale the work of the great solar devas, and in his turn adds his quota of repolarised or remagnetised emanation to the sumtotal of the planetary aura.

2. Planetary prana.

This is the vital fluid emanated from any planet, which constitutes its basic coloring or quality, and is produced by a repetition within the planet of the same process [92] which is undergone in connection with man and solar prana. The planet (the Earth, or any other planet) absorbs solar prana, assimilates what is required, and radiates off that which is not essential to its well-being in the form of planetary radiation. Planetary prana, therefore, is solar prana which has passed throughout the planet, has circulated through the planetary etheric body, has been transmitted to the dense physical planet, and has been cast off thence in the form of a radiation of the same essential character as solar prana, plus the individual and distinctive quality of the particular planet concerned. This again repeats the process undergone in the human body. The physical radiations of men differ according to the quality of their physical bodies. So it is with a planet.

Planetary emanative prana (as in the case of solar prana) is caught up and transmitted via a particular group of devas, called the "devas of the shadows," who are ethereal devas of a slightly violet hue. Their bodies are composed of the matter of one or other of the four ethers, and they focalise and concentrate the emanations of the planet, and of all forms upon the planet. They have a specially close connection with human beings owing to the fact of the essential resemblance of their bodily substance to man's etheric substance, and because they transmit to him the magnetism of "Mother Earth" as it is called. Therefore we see that there are two groups of devas working in connection with man:

a. Solar devas, who transmit the vital fluid which circulates in the etheric body.

b. Planetary devas of a violet color, who are allied to man's etheric body, and who transmit earth's prana, or the prana of whichever planet man may be functioning upon during a physical incarnation.

A very pertinent question might here be asked, and though we may not fully explain the mystery, a few suggestive [93] hints may be possible. We might ask: What causes the apparent deadness of the Moon? Is there deva life upon it? Does solar prana have no effect there? What constitutes the difference between the apparently dead Moon, and a live planet, such as the Earth? [xl]40

Here we touch upon a hidden mystery, of which the solution lies revealed for those who seek, in the fact that human beings and certain groups of devas are no longer found upon the Moon. Man has not ceased to exist upon the Moon because it is dead and cannot therefore support his life, but the Moon is dead because man and these deva groups have been removed from off its surface and from its sphere of influence. [xli]41 Man and the devas act on every planet as intermediaries, or as transmitting agencies. Where they are not found, then certain great activities become impossible, and disintegration sets in. The reason for this removal lies in the cosmic Law of Cause and Effect, or cosmic karma, and in the composite, yet individual, history of that one of the Heavenly Men Whose body, the Moon or any other dead planet at any time happened to be.

3. The prana of forms.

It must first be pointed out that forms are necessarily of two kinds, each having a different place in the scheme:

Forms that are the result of the work of the third and the second Logos, and Their united life. Such forms are the units in the vegetable, animal and mineral kingdoms.

Forms that are the result of the united action of the three Logoi, and comprise the strictly deva and human forms.

There is also the still simpler form embodied in the substance of which all the other forms are made. This matter is strictly speaking the atomic and molecular matter, and is animated by the life or energy of the third Logos.

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CHART II — LOGOS OF A SOLAR SYSTEM

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In dealing with the first group of forms, it must be noted that the pranic emanations given off by units of the animal and vegetable kingdom (after they have absorbed both solar and planetary prana) are naturally a combination of the two, and are transmitted by means of surface radiation, as in solar and planetary prana, to certain lesser groups of devas of a not very high order, who have a curious and intricate relationship to the group soul of the radiating animal or vegetable. This matter cannot be dealt with here. These devas are also of a violet hue, but of such a pale color as to be almost grey; they are in a transitional state, and merge with a puzzling confusion with groups of entities that are almost on the involutionary arc. [xlii]42, [xliii]43, [xliv]43a

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In dealing with the second group, the human form transmits the emanative radiations to a much higher grade of deva. These devas are of a more pronounced hue, and after due assimilation of the human radiation, they transmit it principally to the animal kingdom, thus demonstrating the close relationship between the two kingdoms. If the above explanation of the intricate inter-relation between the sun and the planets, between the planets and the evolving forms upon them, between the forms themselves in ever descending importance demonstrates nothing more than the exquisite interdependence of all existences, then much will have been achieved.

Another fact which must also be brought out is the close relationship between all these evolutions of nature, from the celestial sun down to the humblest violet via the [97] deva evolution which acts as the transmitting transmuting force throughout the system.

Lastly, all work with fire. Fire internal, inherent and latent; fire radiatory and emanative; fire generated, assimilated and radiated; fire vivifying stimulating, and destroying; fire transmitted, reflected, and absorbed; fire, the basis of all life; fire, the essence of all existence; fire, the means of development, and the impulse behind all evolutionary process; fire, the builder, the preserver and the constructor; fire, the originator, the process and the goal; fire the purifier and the consumer. The God of Fire and the fire of God interacting upon each other, till all fires blend and blaze and till all that exists, is passed through the fire—from a solar system to an ant—and emerges as a triple perfection. Fire then passes out from the ring-pass-not as perfected essence, whether essence emerging from the human ring-pass-not, the planetary ring-pass-not or the solar. The wheel of fire turns and all within that wheel is subjected to the threefold flame, and eventually stands perfected.

III. THE FUNCTION OF THE ETHERIC BODY

We will now continue with the discussion of the etheric body, and take up the consideration of its function and its relation to the physical body.

The two may wisely be considered together, for the inter-relation is so close that it is not possible to discuss them separately. Primarily the functions of the etheric body are three in number:

1. It is the receiver of prana.

2. It is the assimilator of prana.

3. It is the transmitter of prana.

1. The receiver of prana.

The etheric body may therefore be described as negative or receptive in respect to the rays of the sun, and as [98] positive and expulsive in respect to the dense physical body. The second function—that of assimilation—is strictly balanced or internal. As stated earlier, the pranic emanations of the sun are absorbed by the etheric body, via certain centres which are found principally in the upper part of the body, from whence they are directed downwards to the centre which is called the etheric spleen, as it is the counterpart in etheric matter of that organ. The main centre for the reception of prana at present is a centre between the shoulder blades. Another has been allowed to become partially dormant in man through the abuses of so-called civilisation, and is situated slightly above the solar plexus. In the coming rootrace, and increasingly in this, the necessity for the exposure of these two centres to the rays of the sun, will be appreciated, with a corresponding improvement in physical vitality and adaptability. These three centres,

1. Between the shoulder blades,

2. Above the diaphragm,

3. And the spleen

make, if one could but see it, a radiant etheric triangle, which triangle is the originating impulse for the later pranic circulation throughout the entire system. The etheric body is really a net-work of fine channels, which are the component parts of one interlacing fine cord,—one portion of this cord being the magnetic link which unites the physical and the astral bodies and which is snapped or broken after the withdrawal of the etheric body from the dense physical body at the time of death. The silver cord is loosed, as the Bible expresses it [xlv]44 and this is the basis of the legend of the fateful sister who cuts the thread of life with the dreaded shears.

The etheric web is composed of the intricate weaving of this vitalised cord, and apart from the seven centres [99] within the web (which correspond to the sacred centres, and of which the spleen is frequently counted as one) it has the two above mentioned, which make—with the spleen—a triangle of activity. The etheric web of the solar system is of an analogous nature, and likewise has its three receptive centres for cosmic prana. The mysterious band in the heavens, which we call the Milky Way, (S. D. II.250) is closely connected with cosmic prana, or that cosmic vitality or nourishment which vitalises the solar etheric system.

2. The assimilator of prana.

The process of assimilation is carried on in this triangle, and the prana which enters into either centre, circulates three times around the triangle before being transmitted to all parts of the etheric vehicle and from thence to the dense physical body. The main organ of assimilation is the spleen—the etheric centre and the dense physical organ. The vital essence from the sun is passed into the etheric spleen, and is there subjected to a process of intensification or devitalisation, according to the condition, healthy or not, of that organ. If the man is in a healthy state the emanation received will be augmented by his own individual vibration, and its rate of vibration will be keyed up before it is passed on into the physical spleen; or it will be slowed down and lowered if the man is in a poor condition of health.

These three centres are in the form that all centres take, of saucer-like depressions, resembling somewhat the appearance of small whirlpools, and which draw within their sphere of influence the currents that come their way.

The centres should be pictured as whirling vortices with a closely woven threefold channel passing from each centre to the other, and forming an almost separate circulatory system. This finds its point of departure for [100] the entire system at the further side of the spleen to that at which the prana entered. The vital fluid circulates through and between these three centres three times, before it finally passes out from them to the periphery of its little system. This final circulation carries the prana, via the fine interlacing channels, to every part of the body, which becomes entirely impregnated by these emanations, if it might be so expressed. These emanations find their way finally out of the etheric system by means of surface radiation. The pranic essence escapes from the circumference of its temporary ring-pass-not as emanative human prana, which is the same prana as earlier received, plus the peculiar quality that any single individual may convey to it during its transitory circulation. The essence escapes, plus individual quality.

Here again can be seen the correspondence to the escape of all essences from within any ring-pass-not when the cycle has been completed.

This matter of the etheric body is of a very practical interest, and when its importance is better realised, men will attend to the distribution of prana within the body with closer attention, and will see that the vitalisation of the body, via the three centres, proceeds unhindered.

The subject has necessarily to be handled in a superficial manner, and only outlines and scattered hints can be given. Nevertheless, it will be found that if this teaching is studied with care, it will convey a knowledge of truths whose calibre and content will prove invaluable and of a kind hitherto not given out. The place of the etheric sheath as a separator or ring-pass-not, and its functions as a receiver and distributor of prana, are dealt with here in a larger sense than heretofore, and the subject may later be enlarged.

Two fundamental truths stand out from the aggregate of facts so slightly dealt with here:

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First. The fourth etheric subplane of the physical plane is the immediate concern of