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Gleanings of a Mystic


[Illustration: Colophon]




International Headquarters
Mt. Ecclesia
Oceanside, California

L. N. Fowler & Co., 7 Imperial Arcade
Ludgate Circus




The contents of this book are among the last writings of Max Heindel,
the mystic. They contain some of his deepest thoughts, and are the
result of years of research and occult investigation. He, too, could
say as did Parsifal: “Through error and through suffering I came,
through many failures and through countless woes.” At last he was given
the living water with which he was able to quench the spiritual thirst
of many souls. He also developed to their depths pity and love, and
could feel the heart throbs of suffering humanity.

Strong souls are usually endowed with great energy and impulse, and
through these very forces, they forge to the front ranks though they
often suffer much. As a result they are filled with compassion for
others. The writer of these lessons sacrificed his physical body on the
altar of service.

In writing the books and monthly lessons of the Fellowship, in
his lectures and class work, and in the arduous pioneer work of
establishing Headquarters within the short span of ten years, Max
Heindel accomplished more than many who are blessed with perfect
health could have accomplished in a lifetime. His first book, his
masterpiece, “The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception,” was written under the
direct guidance of the Elder Brothers of the Rose Cross. It carries
a vital message to the world. It satisfies not alone the intellect,
but also the heart. His “Freemasonry and Catholicism,” has found its
way into many Masonic libraries. The occultist has received much from
the book entitled, “The Web of Destiny,” which is a mine of mystical
knowledge and helpful occult truths. It is also a guide to the
investigator, establishing danger signals for the venturesome ones who
wish to take heaven by storm. To the science of astrology he has given
more in a few years than has previously been discovered in centuries.
His two valuable works, “Simplified Scientific Astrology” and “The
Message of the Stars,” deal largely with the spiritual and medical
aspects of astrology. The latter gives methods of diagnosis and healing
which form a valuable addition to the works of other authors, both
ancient and modern. These books may be found in the libraries of many
doctors of the old school.

In “Gleanings of a Mystic” are found twenty-four lessons which were
formerly sent out to students. It is the wish of the writer of this
introduction that these lessons may carry a message of love and cheer
to the soul-hungry reader and hope to the disconsolate one.

—_Augusta Foss Heindel._

Table of Contents

Chapter I.

Initiation: What It Is and Is Not—Part I. 7

Chapter II.

Initiation: What It Is and Is Not—Part II. 14

Chapter III.

The Sacrament of Communion—Part I. 21

Chapter IV.

The Sacrament of Communion—Part II. 28

Chapter V.

The Sacrament of Baptism. 37

Chapter VI.

The Sacrament of Marriage. 46

Chapter VII.

The Unpardonable Sin and Lost Souls. 54

Chapter VIII.

The Immaculate Conception. 61

Chapter IX.

The Coming Christ. 69

Chapter X.

The Coming Age. 77

Chapter XI.

Meat and Drink as Factors in Evolution. 85

Chapter XII.

A Living Sacrifice. 94

Chapter XIII.

Magic, White and Black. 101

Chapter XIV.

Our Invisible Government. 108

Chapter XV.

Practical Precepts for Practical People. 114

Chapter XVI.

Sound, Silence, and Soul Growth. 121

Chapter XVII.

The “Mysterium Magnum” of the Rose Cross. 130

Chapter XVIII.

Stumbling Blocks. 138

Chapter XIX.

The Lock of Upliftment. 147

Chapter XX.

The Cosmic Meaning of Easter—Part I. 153

Chapter XXI.

The Cosmic Meaning of Easter—Part II. 160

Chapter XXII.

The Newborn Christ. 167

Chapter XXIII.

Why I am a Rosicrucian. 173

Chapter XXIV.

The Object of the Rosicrucian Fellowship. 180

Catalogue of Publications.

Chapter I



It is no rare occurrence to receive questions relating to Initiation,
and we are also frequently asked to state whether this order or that
society is genuine, and whether the initiations they offer to all
comers who have the price are _bona fide_. For that reason it seems
necessary to write a treatise on the subject so that students of the
Rosicrucian Fellowship may have an official statement for reference and
guidance in the future.

In the first place let it be clearly understood that we consider it
reprehensible to express condemnation of any society or order, no
matter what its practices. It may be perfectly sincere and honest
_according to its light_. We do not believe that we rise in the opinion
of discriminating men and women by speaking in disparaging terms of
others; neither are we laboring under the delusion that _we_ have all
the truth and other societies are plunged in Egyptian darkness. We
reiterate what we have often said before, that all religions have
been given to mankind by the Recording Angels, who know the spiritual
requirements of each class, nation, and race, and have the intelligence
to give to each a form of worship perfectly suited to its particular
need; that thus Hinduism is suited to the Hindu, Mohammedanism to
the Arab, and the Christian religion to those born in the Western

The Mystery Schools of each religion furnish to the more advanced
members of the race or nation embracing it a higher teaching, which,
_if lived_, advances them into a higher sphere of spirituality than
their brethren. But as the religion of the backward races is of a lower
order than the religion of the pioneers, the Christian nations, so also
the _Mystery Teaching of the East is more elementary than that of the
West_, and the Hindu or Chinese Initiate is on a correspondingly lower
rung of the ladder of attainment than the Western Mystic. Please ponder
this well so that you may not fall a victim to misguided people who try
to persuade others that the Christian religion is crude compared with
oriental cults. Ever westward in the wake of the shining sun, the light
of the world, has gone the star of empire, and is it not reasonable to
suppose that the spiritual light has kept pace with civilization, or
even preceded it as thought precedes action? We hold that such is the
case, that the Christian religion is the loftiest yet given to man, and
that to repudiate the Christian religion, esoteric or exoteric, for any
of the older systems is analogous to preferring the older textbooks of
science to the newer ones which embrace discoveries to date.

Neither are the practices of Eastern aspirants to the higher life to
be imitated by Westerners; we refer particularly to the breathing
exercises. They are both beneficial and necessary to the unfoldment
of the Hindu, but it is otherwise with the Western aspirant. To him
it is dangerous to practice breathing exercises for soul unfoldment;
they will even prove subversive of soul growth, and they are, moreover,
absolutely unnecessary. The reason is this:

During involution the threefold spirit has become gradually incrusted
in a threefold body. In the Atlantean Epoch man was at the nadir of
materiality. We are just now rounding the lowest point on the arc of
involution, and starting upward on the arc of evolution. At this point,
then, all mankind is immured in this earthly prison house to such a
degree that spiritual vibrations are almost killed. This is, of course,
particularly true of the backward races and the lower classes in the
Western world. The atoms in such backward race bodies are vibrating at
an exceedingly low rate, and when in the course of time one of these
people develops to a point where it is possible to further him upon
the path of attainment, it is necessary to raise this vibratory pitch
of the atom so that the vital body, which is the medium of occult
growth, may to a certain extent be liberated from the deadening force
of the physical atom. This result is attained by means of breathing
exercises, which in time accelerate the vibration of the atom, and
allow the spiritual growth necessary to the individual to take place.

These exercises may also be used by a great number of people in
the Western world, particularly those who are not at all concerned
about their spiritual advancement. But even among those who desire
soul growth there are many who are not yet at the point where the
atoms of their bodies have evolved to such a pitch of vibration that
acceleration beyond the usual measure would injure them. Here the
breathing exercises would do no harm; but if given to a person who
is really at the point where he can enter the path of advancement
ordinarily mapped out for the Hindu’s precocious brothers and sisters
in the West, in other words, when he is nearly ready for Initiation and
when he would be benefited _by spiritual exercises_, then the case is
far otherwise.

During the aeons which we have spent in evolution since the time when
we were in Hindu bodies, our atoms have accelerated their vibratory
pitch enormously, and as said in the case of one who is really nearly
ready for Initiation, the pitch of vibration is higher than that of the
average man or woman. Therefore he does not need breathing exercises
to _accelerate_ this pitch, but certain spiritual exercises suited to
him individually which will advance him on the proper path. If such
a person at this critical period meets some one who ignorantly or
unscrupulously gives him breathing exercises, and if he follows the
instructions accurately in the hope of _getting quick results_, he
will get them quickly but in a manner he has not looked for, since
the vibratory rate of the atoms in his body will in a very short time
become accelerated to such a pitch that it will seem to him as if he
were walking on air; then also an improper cleavage of the vital body
may take place, and either consumption or insanity follows. Now please
put this down where it will burn itself into your consciousness in
letters of fire: _Initiation is a spiritual process, and spiritual
progress cannot be accomplished by physical means, but only by
spiritual exercises._

There are many orders in the West which profess to _initiate anyone
who has the price_. Some of these orders have names closely resembling
our own, and we are constantly asked by students whether they are
affiliated with us. In order to settle this once and for all, please
note that the Rosicrucian Fellowship has constantly taught that _no
spiritual gift may ever be traded for money_. If you bear this in mind,
you may know we have no connection with any order which demands money
for the transference of spiritual power. He who has something to give
of a truly spiritual nature will not barter it for money. I received
a particular injunction to this effect from the Elder Brothers in the
Rosicrucian Temple, when they told me to go to the English speaking
world as their messenger, a claim I do not expect you to believe _save
as you see it justified by fruits_.

Now, however, about Initiation: What is it? Is it ceremony as claimed
by these other orders? If so, any order can certainly invent ceremonies
of a more or less elaborate kind. They may by flowing robes and
clashing swords appeal to the emotions; they may appeal to the sense
of wonder and awe by rattling chains and by deep sounding gongs, and
thus produce in their members an “_occult feeling_.” Many revel in the
adventures and experiences of the hero in “The Brother of the Third
Degree,” thinking that this is surely Initiation, but I tell you that
it is very far from being the case. _No ceremony can ever give to any
one that inward experience_ which constitutes Initiation, no matter how
much is charged or how fearful the oaths, how awful or beautiful the
ceremony, or how gorgeous the robes, any more than passing through a
ceremony can convert a sinner and make him a saint, for conversion is
to the exoteric religionist exactly what Initiation is in the higher
mysticism. Please consider this point thoroughly, and you will have the
key to the problem.

Do you think that any one could go to a person of depraved character
and agree to convert him for a certain sum and carry out his part of
the agreement? Surely you know that no amount of money could bring
about that change in a man’s character. Ask a true convert where he got
his religion and how he got it. One may tell you that he received it
upon the road as he was walking along; another says that the light and
the change came to him in the solitude of his room; another that the
_light struck_ him as it struck Paul upon the road to Damascus, and
forced him to change. Every one has a different experience, but it is
in every case _an inward experience_, and the outward manifestation of
that inward experience is that _it changes the man’s whole life_ from
the very least to the very greatest aspects.

So it is also with Initiation; it is an inward experience, entirely
_separate and apart from any ceremonial whatever_, and therefore it is
an absolute impossibility that any one could sell it to any one else.
Initiation changes a man’s whole life. It gives him a confidence that
he never possessed before. It clothes him with a mantle of authority
that never can be taken from him. No matter what the circumstances in
life, it sheds a light upon his whole being that is simply wonderful.
Nor can any ceremony effect such a change. We therefore hold that
anyone who offers initiation into an occult order by ceremonials to
every one who has the price, brands himself as an imposter. For the
true teacher, if he were approached by an aspirant with an offer of
money for spiritual attainment would answer indignantly in the words
used by Peter to Simon, the sorcerer, who offered him money for
spiritual powers: “Thy silver perish with thee.”

Chapter II



To obtain a better understanding of what constitutes Initiation and
what the prerequisites are, let the student first fix firmly in his
mind the fact that humanity as a whole is slowly progressing upon
the path of evolution, and thus very slowly, almost imperceptibly,
attaining higher and higher states of consciousness. The path of
evolution is a spiral when we regard it from the physical side only,
but a lemniscate when viewed in both its physical and spiritual
phases. (See the diagram of chemical caduceus in _The Rosicrucian
Cosmo-Conception_, page 410.) In the lemniscate, or figure 8, there
are two circles which converge to a central point, which circles may
be taken to symbolize the immortal spirit, the evolving ego. One of
the circles signifies its life in the physical world from birth to
death. During this span of time it sows a seed by every act and should
reap in return a certain amount of experience. But as we may sow seed
in the field and lose return on that which falls on stony ground,
among thorns, et cetera, so also may the seed of opportunity be wasted
because of neglect to till the soil and the life will then be barren
of fruit. Conversely, as diligence and care in cultivation increase
the productive power of garden seed enormously, so earnest application
to the business of life—improvement of opportunities to learn life’s
lessons and extract from our environment the experience it holds—brings
added opportunities; and at the end of the life-day the ego finds
itself at the door of death laden with the richest fruits of life.

The objective work of physical existence over, the race run, and
the day of action spent, the ego enters upon the subjective work of
assimilation accomplished during its sojourn in the invisible worlds,
which it traverses during the period from death to birth, symbolized by
the other ring of the lemniscate. As the method of accomplishing this
assimilation has been most minutely described in various parts of our
literature, it is needless to repeat it here. Suffice it to say that at
the time when an ego arrives at the central point in the lemniscate,
which divides the physical from the psychic worlds and which we call
the gate of birth or death according to whether the ego is entering
or leaving the realm where we, ourselves, happen to be at the time,
it has with it an aggregate of faculties or talents acquired in all
its previous lives, which it may then put to usury or bury during the
coming life-day as it sees fit; but upon the use it makes of what it
has, depends the amount of soul growth it makes.

If for many lives it caters mainly to the lower nature, which lives to
eat, drink, and be merry, or if it dreams its life away in metaphysical
speculations upon nature and God, sedulously abstaining from all
unnecessary action, it is gradually passed and left behind by the more
active and progressive. Great companies of these idlers form what we
know as “backward races”; while the active, alert, and wide-awake who
improve a larger percentage of their opportunities, are the pioneers.
Contrary to the commonly accepted idea, this applies also to those
engaged in industrial work. Their money-getting is only an incident,
an incentive, and entirely apart from this phase their work is as
spiritual as or even more so than that of those who spend their time in
prayer to the prejudice of useful work.

From what has been said, it will be clear that the method of soul
growth as accomplished by the process of evolution requires _action_ in
the physical life, followed in the post-mortem state by a _ruminating
process_, during which the lessons of life are extracted and thoroughly
incorporated into the consciousness of the ego, though the experiences
themselves are forgotten—as we forget our labor in learning the
multiplication table, though the faculty of using it remains.

This exceedingly slow and tedious process is perfectly suited to the
needs of the masses; but there are some who habitually exhaust the
experiences commonly given, thus requiring and meriting a larger scope
for their energies. Difference of temperament is responsible for their
division into two classes.

One class, led by their devotion to Christ, simply follow the dictates
of the heart in their work of love for their fellows—beautiful
characters, beacon lights of love in a suffering world, never actuated
by selfish motives, always ready to forego personal comfort to aid
others. Such were the saints; they worked as they prayed; they never
shirked in either direction. Nor are they dead today. The earth would
be a barren wilderness in spite of all its civilization did not their
beautiful feet circle it on errands of mercy, were not the lives of
sufferers made brighter by the light of hope which radiates from their
beautiful faces. Had they but the knowledge possessed by the other
class they would indeed outdistance all in the race for the Kingdom.

Mind is the predominating feature of the other class. In order to
aid it in its efforts toward attainment, mystery schools were early
established wherein the world drama was played to give the aspiring
soul while he was entranced, answers to the questions of the origin
and destiny of humanity. When awakened, he was instructed in the
sacred science of how to climb higher by following the method of
nature—which is God in manifestation—by sowing the seed of action,
meditating upon the experience, and incorporating the essential moral
to make thereby commensurate soul growth; also with this important
feature, that whereas in the ordinary course of things a whole life
is devoted to sowing and a whole post-mortem existence to ruminating
and incorporating the soul substance, this cycle of a thousand years,
more or less, may be reduced to a day, as held by the mystic maxim, “A
day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” To be
explicit, whatever work has been done during a single day, if ruminated
over at night before crossing the neutral point between waking and
sleeping, may thus be incorporated into the consciousness of the spirit
as usable soul power. When that exercise is faithfully performed, the
sins of each day thus reviewed are actually blotted out, and the man
commences each day as if it were a new life, with the added soul power
gained in all the preceding days of his probationary life.

But!—yes, there is a great big _BUT; nature is not to be cheated_;
God is not to be mocked. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he
also reap.” Let no one think that the mere perfunctory review of the
happenings of a day with perhaps the light-hearted admission of,
“I wish I had not done that,” when reviewing a scene where he did
something palpably wrong, will save him from the wrath to come. When we
pass out of the body into purgatory at death and the panorama of our
past life unfolds in reverse order to show us first the effects and
then the causes which produced them, we feel in intensified measure
the pain we gave others; and unless we perform our exercises in a
similar manner _so that we live each evening our hell_ as merited that
day, acutely sensible of every pang we have inflicted, it will avail
nothing. We must also endeavor to feel in the same intense manner,
gratitude for kindness received from others, and approbation on account
of the good we ourselves have done.

Only thus are we really living the post-mortem existence and advancing
scientifically towards the goal of Initiation. The greatest danger of
the aspirant upon this path is that he may become enmeshed in the snare
of egotism, and his only safeguard is to cultivate the faculties of
faith, devotion, and an all-embracing sympathy. It is difficult, but it
can be done, and when it has been accomplished the man or woman becomes
a wonderful power for good in the world.

Now, if the student has pondered the preceding argument well, he has
probably grasped the analogy between the _long cycle_ of evolution
and the short _cycles_ or steps used upon the path of preparation. It
should be quite clear that no one can do this post-mortem work for him
and transmit to him the resulting soul growth, any more than one can
eat the physical food of another and transmit to him the sustenance
and growth. You think it preposterous when a priesthood offers to
shorten the sojourn of a soul in purgatory. How, then, can you believe
that anyone else can—no matter what the consideration—obviate the
necessity of a number of purgatorial existences for your benefit
and transmit to you at once the usable soul power you would have

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