On behalf of the international School of the Golden Rosycross we cordially welcome you at this reflection about the soul on the basis of a few texts of Hermes Trismegistus, Hermes, the thrice Great One.
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You ought, O Soul, to get sure knowledge
of your own being, and of its forms and aspects.
Do not think that any one of the things
of which you must seek to get knowledge is outside of you;
no, all things that you ought to get knowledge of are within you.
Beware then of being led into error
by seeking elsewhere the things which are in your possession.
Many men forget where these things are to be found,
and look for them outside themselves,
and are thereby led into error,
but afterwards remember
that these things are within them and not outside of them.
The things of which you have to get knowledge
exist for ever without cause; and none of those things is outside of you.
But the things outside you are those
which are from the first distinct from you;
that is, they are taken up in the process of rising, shining and fading.
And nothing at all except such things is to be found outside you.
Call yourself back then to yourself, O Soul,
lest you fall into the surging tide of things that are in mutual conflict,
and lest their varying qualities toss you about,
even as a troubled and stormy sea tosses the ship that sail on it,
and in the end you neither get any good nor attain to any knowledge.
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If you posses true knowledge, O Soul,
you will understand that you are akin to your Creator;
and thence you will get true pleasure.
But if you are devoid of knowledge,
you will think that you belong to `the worthless kinds of things',
and will seek after these things.
Apply yourself then with all your energy
to the attainment of true knowledge.
Be ever occupied in meditation,
that so you may come to see the truth,
and be rightly guided by it in your ways of action;
and rid yourself of ignorance and blindness,
which results from ignorance.
Misery is brought about by this, that the soul sees and apprehends things
that are in mutual conflict, and are subject to change;
happiness is brought about by this, that the souls sees and apprehends things
that are mutually concordant, and are everlasting.
If then you wish to be at rest from misery, O Soul,
migrate from the world of mutual conflict and mutability
to the world of perpetuity and stability.
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Here below, O Soul, is the physical world
the abode of unsatisfied desire, fear, degradation, and sadness;
there above is the world of the spirit, the abode of satisfaction,
freedom from fear, high dignity, and joy.
You have seen both worlds, and had experience of both;
now make your choice between them, in accordance with your experience.
You can dwell in which of them you will;
you will not be repelled or rejected from either.
But it is impossible for a man to be at the same time
vexed with unsatisfied want and fully satisfied,
tormented by fear and free from fear,
exalted and degraded, joyful and sorrowful.
And therefore it is impossible for a man to combine
love of this world with love of the other world.
That cannot possibly be done.
You have grown forth, O Soul, from a certain tree-trunk;
and of that tree you are a branch.
However far the branch may go forth from its trunk,
there is still connexion and contact between trunk and branch,
whereby every branch seeks nutriment from its trunk.
If anything were interposed between the trunk and the branch,
it would cut off from the branch its supply of nutriment,
and so the branch would forthwith wither and die.
Meditate on this, O Soul, and be assured
that you are destined to return to your Creator,
who is the trunk out of which you have grown.
For that reason, rid yourself of the defilements and burdens of the physical world,
by which you are hindered from returning to your own world above,
and to the trunk out of which you have grown.
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Of the cosmic elements, O Soul, Earth is the heaviest,
inasmuch as it settles down below all other things.
It is gross, thick, dense, and rigid,
and is devoid of light and life.
Next in order comes the element Water,
which is subtler and purer than Earth,
and is nearer to life.
Next comes the element Air, which is subtler than Water,
and has in it more light and life.
And next to Air comes the element Fire,
which is the subtlest of the four elements;
it is superior to the three others,
and is the most largely endowed with Light.
Next to the Fire comes the Element of the Celestial Sphere,
which contains the purest parts of the things placed below it,
and is marked by peculiar excellence
in comparison with the other elements.
Firstly, in that it is subtle and light in the highest degree,
possesses Light in abundance,
is beautifully ordered,
and is near to Life, and is joined in vicinity to things excellent
and participant of Spirit.
Secondly, in that it has that figure which is of all figures the most excellent,
most perfect, and most symmetrical,
namely the figure of a sphere.
And thirdly, in that all the things enveloped by it
are indued with the same figure, sphere following sphere
in order downward even to the sphere of the earth.
Next above the element of the Celestial Sphere,
which is the outermost of all the five elements,
follows in ascending order the substance of Soul,
which bestows on the celestial orbs ordered movement,
and pure and brilliant Light.
Soul is subtler than all the things encompassed by it,
inasmuch as they are bodies and elements,
but Soul is wholly incorporeal.
All things that are situated below Soul
are unable to partake of Life except by means of Soul.
Soul possesses in itself the powers of thought, will, and judgement;
and it extends its own priorities to all things with which it is conjoined,
so far as they are capable of receiving those properties;
and thereby they attain to Life.
But those things with which soul is not conjoined
are utterly destitute of thought, will, movement, and judgement;
and a thing that does not possess these properties in any degree is lifeless.
Next above the substance of Soul comes Spirit.
Spirit is the subtlest of all things discoverable;
it is superior to all the rest, and is situated in the highest place.
And Spirit is inferior only to that supreme Deity
who is eternal and most holy and most lofty.
From Him, without intermediary, does Spirit receive,
and dispense to all things placed below it,
Excellence and Light and Life.
Spirit is the supreme mediator between God and the Cosmos.
Contemplate this system then, O Soul,
assure yourself of its truth, and be fully convinced of it;
for thus it is that things are constituted, ordered, and arranged.
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With God a thousand years are as one day,
`I have given you each day for each year.'
Each day you may begin
to celebrate your farewell to the old life.
You can use each day
to make an absolute New Beginning.
Each day you can free yourself from the grip of death.
As many as accept Him, the Divine Spirit,
to them He has given power to realise the inner revolution
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We would like to conclude this reflection by expressing the wish
that the truth about the essence of the soul may fill your entire being.