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Inner Source Course: Part 3 - PARACELSUS


KNOWING AND ACTING!

Early in 2014 the British newspaper, The Guardian, launched a new supplement entitled “Do something”, in which the editors urged the readers to at long last get out of the rut, to start learning new things and particularly to implement them.
It is of course a fact that without routine our daily life would collapse, because it is routine that enables us to work, to keep the house clean, to get the kids to school and so on. But with routine alone, our life becomes calcified; the years grow hollow and collapse, and soon we forget what we did the week before. Those who seek new experiences and who are inquisitive create for themselves a longer lasting happiness than those who lose themselves in merely enjoying that which they already acquired. This, according to The Guardian.

How could we break through the bounds of routine as suggested by The Guardian? Experiencing boundaries can, on the one hand have a paralysing effect, but it can on the other, also just incite decisiveness. As a human being, as a biological creature, we do not, however, get past the boundaries established by nature. But, as we discussed before, we can only change when we actually open ourselves to the Light that is surrounding us like an atmospheric force.
Only then can three forces be released from our core being that are needed to transform the heart, the head and our life of actions. These three renewed aspects express themselves completely as a matter-of- course and spontaneously in values like goodness, truth and justice.

Although we seldom meet them in the history books, there have always been people spread across Europe who represented these new values.
Gottfried Arnold, who lived and wrote in the seventeenth century, enumerated one hundred and eighty people and groups who, according to his idea, sought and strove for these values.
Thus through the writings of this rebel, it was made public what the established order had always concealed and oppressed.

One of the persons he mentioned was Theophrastus van Hohenheim at times also called Paracelsus, which means the elevated one. He lived from 1493 to 1541.
In “The Call of the Brotherhood of the Rosycross” he is referred to in the following passage:
Truly, we must acknowledge that in those days the world was already pregnant with great commotions, and after having laboured to be delivered of them, it brought forth highly renowned and indefatigable heroes, who with all their might, broke through darkness and barbarism and so enabled us, the weaker ones, to follow them.
Assuredly they have become the apex of the Fiery Triangle, whose flames will from now on grow ever brighter and will undoubtedly ignite the last world conflagration.
Theophrastus was such a hero, in accordance with his vocation. Although not a member of our Brotherhood he had diligently read the book M., whereby his sharp insight was exalted.
But the presumption of the learned and the know-it-alls also hampered this man so much in his progress that he has never been able to speak peacefully with others about his conceptions regarding nature.

LET NOBODY BELONG TO ANOTHER, WHO CAN BELONG TO HIMSELF.

Paracelsus is for us a shining example, a prototype of a decisive person and a great reformer. Particularly in the field of medical science, of scholarship and also of religion he has left his marks. As inspiration for our exploration of the inner path we would like to take some quotations from his texts as a guideline.
His motto testifies concisely to his independent character:
“Alterius non sit, qui suus esse potest” that is “Let nobody belong to another who can belong to himself. ”
Paracelsus clarifies this pronouncement as follows:

Do not force someone else into doing something. Nobody may be forced to the faith. For something that has been exacted is useless. If some authority would drive all people from the whole world to one belief, it would be an imaginary belief and not a beloved one. It would therefore be preferable to leave everything the way it was.

God is the greatest, which means: He is above everything and nobody above Him. What might exist furthermore, all of it is placed under God and nobody is someone else’s lord or master. Be perfect like God is perfect: like God in heaven associates with those who are his, that is to say with the angels and the saints.
That’s the way He is and He also wishes that the governments on earth are with their opinions not aimed at judgements or vengeance but at peace.
The imperfect ought to be ruled by the perfect.

In order to gain knowledge, Paracelsus travelled extensively, roaming through a great number of countries, including the Netherlands. He spoke with a great number of masters, ever in search of a broadening and a deepening of his knowledge and insight. And wherever he found himself he had an open ear for doctors, alchemists and monks, the educated and the illiterate, the noble and the ignoble. His many wanderings he describes and justifies as follows:

My walking the way I performed it thus far satisfied me very well, because no one becomes a master at home, neither has one his taskmaster staying at home. Likewise are not all arts practised in the native country only but are they scattered across the whole world. Neither are they represented in one person or at one place, but they have to be united, taken and searched for there where they are situated. Might it not seem well to me to explore this aim, to investigate it and to find out what kind of effect it has on each of us? If I would not do this I would not be worth the Theophrastus I am. It has always been such that one has to follow the art because it does not call on anyone. I am therefore so smart that I call on her and she not on me.

THE FLAMING TRIANGLE

The Call of the Rosicrucian Brotherhood lets us get acquainted with the heroes of the spirit; heroes who are able to pave the way from the world of space and time to a higher spiral of development. They are human nature’s spiritual trailblazers. In the fragment we quoted earlier we read:

Assuredly they have become the apex of the Fiery Triangle, whose flames will from now on grow ever brighter and will undoubtedly ignite the last world conflagration..

The Spiritual trailblazers form the apex of the flaming triangle. What does this mean? In Freemasonry the triangle is the basic principle and the ultimate goal of all spiritual building. The aforementioned values like goodness, truth and justice, could be considered to be like the sides of an equilateral triangle that function in complete harmony with each other.

The basis of this equilateral triangle is formed by the value goodness. Goodness is a quality that lies deeply hidden in the heart. Because of it, total self-sacrifice and absolute pity will be possible. First from this basic quality of goodness stems truth. Truth means having a clear understanding and it is a quality of the head. From goodness the higher reason is aroused. Head and heart thus cooperate in complete harmony. From the basis of goodness another quality should originate, namely, justice. Justice expresses itself in action and impels a person to realisation. Thus we see that goodness, truth and justice are the three basic qualities of the heart, the head and the hands. Together they form the three most important attributes for those who are striving for liberation.

If these three go forth together completely equilaterally and are well-balanced, then the flaming triangle will flawlessly be aimed at the high objective.
If one side is shorter than the other, the triangle deviates and with that the mark will be missed. If we, for instance, are only aimed at truth and we forget goodness and justice, we will become lost in fantasy. If we only realise the first two sides of the triangle, and lack enough courage to implement justice, our striving will also remain without tangible result. If we only focus on justice, without bothering about goodness and truth, this would undoubtedly result in an unceasing struggle. The mighty symbol of the flaming triangle is for us the inner challenge, the inner demand, which we will, at a given time, have to face.

PARACELSUS AS PHYSICIAN


Paracelsus is rated among the spiritual heroes. During his time he belonged to the peak of the flaming triangle. One can characterize him by recording that he fought with all his strength against rooted traditions. With respect to medical science he did not indiscriminately echo the old physicians like Galenus and Hippocrates, but did his own investigations. He wished to determine experimentally whether or not medicines took effect or not. Neither did he give his university classes in Latin, as was customary in earlier times, but in German. With that, he breached the elite codes of physicians and pharmacists. Briefly and to the point he told his audience:
“Nicht wahnen, doch wissen!” ( Do not believe, but know!)
In Basel he demonstratively threw the Galenus medical codex in the fire.
He wanted to shake his contemporaries awake. But it is predictable that the
establishment was not taken with this agitator. He was quickly forced to run away from Basel in order to prevent “incarceration”. But, as he himself testified, “the ill ones liked me”.

Nowadays Paracelsus is appreciated as the founding father of the scientific research regarding the causes of illness and likewise as one of the first who recognized and successfully applied the principle of homeopathy.
In medical science, he towers head and shoulders above his contemporaries, because he does not stop at nature’s light, but breaks through to the Spirit’s Light. He fathomed the principles underlying the phenomena.

THE DIVINE AND THE NATURAL

Paracelsus is theosophical to the core in the literal sense of the word.
Theosophy means, namely, wisdom concerning God. In all his lines of argument he explicitly bases himself on the wisdom of God.
In the Paramirum, that next to the Paragranum is part of his most important works, we read:

Everything only takes place in order that we might fathom their cause. Everything moves owing to God. Only on this ground things come into being, God wants to tell us something, in order that we might fathom its Divine wisdom, that we understand the miraculous thread in the secrets and their meanings. And furthermore in order that we might accept and understand its infinite and deepest wisdom as well as reveal his great mysteries which are inaccessible for the human eye. Because he then opens the gateway to his garden for us we are to stride across the threshold with dignity. Not to sleep but to keep watch have we been born, our lamp should be on at the moment of His arrival.

God wants that we not so much be satisfied with the phenomena but that we be able to regard and to understand his Plan.

Paracelsus explicitly distinguishes between the Divine and the natural and gives both the place to which they are entitled. He sharply and extremely subtly observes things and this is characteristic for all his discourses. And with that, he does not adopt the attitude of an authority, but instead urges his listeners to investigate everything themselves.

How prominent, sweet and fine well-being is it when the person knows itself well and is aware of his qualities. Because it is of great benefit for the person that he knows who and what he is, in order that the eternal wisdom rules over all of that so as to understand what he should preserve and what he should part with.

Learn with a new power and say farewell to the old foolishness and the useless way of behaviour. By way of the astronomy you are acquainted with the latest detail, the influence of the planets, the stars and the celestial bodies of all sorts, do you recognize all of it and can you speak about it in detail. This is an introduction, a commencement of our teachings that in the same way as a firmament with celestial bodies, planets and stars, as a likewise constellation, a similar firmament is situated around the human being.

In the following three quotations we recognize the picture of the “sphere of revelation”, the revelation of the cosmos with which we began the first lesson of this series.

In your doctrine you called the human being: microcosm. The name is correct, but in your doctrine you did not give this name a meaning and your explanation is wrong and dark. Listen now to what we understand by a microcosm:
Like the sky constitutes a closed totality, with all firmaments and constellations without exception, so has the human being within itself and for itself a tremendous constellation. Like the firmament in the sky is just itself and is not reigned by any creature, just as little is the firmament that is present in the human being governed by any other creature.
Therefore is it a mighty free firmament, without bonds, just like that.

Notice therefore that there are creations of two sorts, firstly a heaven and earth and secondly a human being.

A human being can simply and solely be understood completely starting from and as a macroscopic, universal totality and not as separate. This knowledge first and foremost, this conformity constitutes a whole for the physician, perfects him. He is acquainted with the world and consequently also with the human beings who together constitute a universal totality and not two separate worlds.
This is confirmed by the experience.

Paracelsus sketches in a transparent way how the human being shows on the one hand a behaviour that can be regarded as animal, but simultaneously he sketches in which respect a human being is different from the animal and also has a completely different assignment in life.

The summer is for the bee the highest good; give him a cheerful honeycomb with wax and honey. Steeling and robbing is for the wolf the highest good. Therefore are sheep and goats his highest good; because he was born that way.
So we can state that for the animals in the air, on earth and in the water, the highest good is that which will do them good as food. They are not looking forward to more. Water remains for the fish therefore the highest good and the grass that for the cow and the air for the bird.

This does not apply for the human being however because his highest good is not of this earth. He must go further when he leaves the earth and has to expect more after this life than the animals. He has to raise himself to the highest therefore. And if he wants to scorn this, he should know: If there is a highest good, there will also be the opposite, the lowest evil. He will have to choose one of the two: for the highest or for the lowest, for the good or for the evil. Because the human being is not regulated by law, only his nature is. That’s what he should rule over because the human being is free from order and from each law.
That’s why he’s got orders, because he is animal, but not forced to live as an animal; is only allowed to be animal insofar the Divine order, the highest good, is not broken and defiled.

Only the ego is bound by the life of time and space and its regularities. The personality is a material form of expressing the actual self. By merely and exclusively identifying ourselves with the form of expression, with saying “I am the personality,” however, we are connecting ourselves with the temporal and we remain bound by the wheel of life and death.

Therefore, those who have not known the human being have held their eyes and others the stomach for the highest good, or the greed or the usury and the like.
However, those who recognise the highest good should drop all this and only consider that after this life there is another life, that this life has been prepared for us and that this life is the highest good because we cannot be given something better. We should therefore have nothing around or within us but the highest good. We should know that we cannot invent a better life than the one God provided for us.

THE GLORIFIED BODY

The new person who comes to life owing to transformation was indicated by Paracelsus in biblical terminology as the “glorified body” or the “resurrection body”. In “Das Mahl des Herr” Paracelsus once again gives a very clear expression to the distinction between the mortal and the eternal:

There are two creatures within the human being, the mortal and the eternal. The mortal was created out of Adam by God the Father, the eternal by God the Son, within everyone who believes in Him. That which now dies in the creation of God the Father will not again rise to live, but that which dies in God the Son will. Therefore is it the whole sum of our philosophy to truly distinguish these creations. Both creations are substance and there is nothing without material substance. This implies that here nothing will occur without body.

One of the bodies happens to be visible for us, namely the one of God the Father, the other one, which is just such a creation, invisible and is the creation of God the Son. And the way all the works of God the Father are visible, the food and everything else, are those of the Son on the other hand invisible.

It was only after this breaking up (of God’s plan) that body and soul were separated and that the body has now become mortal. However, because God decided to have the human beings in heaven physically and not as spirits, has by God the Son the marriage been brought about again and has the soul now been given an eternal body so that this body and this soul have now become one thing. Therefore be aware that: in the resurrection will not Adam’s flesh
rise from the dead but the new body and not just the spirit or the soul. Because God wishes to have the human being physically in heaven and the body becomes Holy, not the Spirit and the soul because they belong to God and rise up to God just like that. Therefore Jesus brought back that which was broken and lost, in order that God would forget his sorrow (about the creation of the human being) like it consequently actually happened.

During the process of transformation the physical body is purified and right through it a fine material body is built up out of pure ethers. This last body is the immortal body that is one with the soul and the spirit. The purified body remains to exist until the natural death and with that gives the reborn spirit soul a possibility of expression in matter. The key-note in Paracelsus’ texts is positive and optimistic which manifests itself in his unswerving trust in a “Good End”.

Therefore, although it indeed starts with nature, it does not follow that it should also end and remain with nature. But continue the seeking and finish in the eternal, that is in the Divine nature and conduct in life!

In that way I started with the light of nature and will I undoubtedly conclude in the Lord God, in the Light of the Everlasting.

Note: This course is based on the book The Call of the Brotherhood of the Rosycross
written by J. van Rijckenborgh and edited by de Rozekruis Pers.