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Dane Rudhyar's Fire Out of the Stone. Image Copyright 2007 by Michael R. Meyer.

A Reformulation of the
Basic Images of the
Judeo-Christian Tradition

by Dane Rudhyar, 1962

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This title was first published by Sevire, 1963.

Cover for the online edition copyright © 2008
by Michael R. Meyer.

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"Thy God is a cosumming fire."
Duet. 4:25

"He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Matthew 3:11

"I am come to send fire on the earth."
Luke 12:49

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"Before Abraham was, I am."
John 5 : 48

"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
Matthew 5 : 48

The Fatherhood of God implies the Brotherhood of men who are His sons. The image of divine Sonship is the inevitable sequence to the image of God's Fatherhood. And if we seek to illumine and to renew the image of the Fatherhood, it also follows that we must revivify and dynamize anew the image of divine Sonship, so basic in Christian faith; for the latter is even closer to us. Indeed it is the very core of our essential being. Yet we are blind to this inner fact; and we shrink in disbelief and fear from acknowledging that which is the foundation of the divine in us — the God-seed.

"That" is the soul. It is the soul that is destined, sooner or later, to reach "perfection". It is the soul that, in due course of evolution and unfoldment, will experience God as Father and, in this experience, will know itself a "son" of the Father. We cannot understand the meaning of perfection and divine Sonship unless we understand what the soul is, whence it comes, how it unfolds its powers and ceaselessly renews itself from level to level of realization on this way to perfection.

In this world of matter-bent awareness and duality, of conflicts and pain, to understand what anything pertaining to the divine in man is requires as well a knowledge, and often a tragic experience, of what it is not. The soul is not that part of us, modern men and women, which is full of fears and psychological complexes; it is not the ego with which we identify ourselves when we say "I am Mr. or Mrs. So-and-so" — the ego which gets angry, depressed, lustful, greedy and embittered or tyrannical on the slightest pretext. Neither is the soul our intellectual mind trained in our academic institutions of learning — the mind which worships sense-data, quantitative measurements, technique and all that produces material success and social respectability through conformity to a norm which bears but a remote likeness to the ideal of man which Jesus lived by and incorporated.

If I speak of "my" soul and of "having" a soul, I acknowledge by these statements that my consciousness of self, my sense of identity, is not an expression of centrality of being and integration. If "I" have a soul, then I am not soul and this I is not the true Self. Such an I cannot experience God as Father but only as a kind of remote foster-Father, at best a Father by adoption. Only the soul can experience God as Father because only the soul can unfold into the condition of perfection "even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." All else in man can only attain vicarious, shadowy and often considerably distorted experiences — or rather emotional "feelings" and intellectual glimpses — of God, the All-Father.

The problem for men and women of our day, even though we have absorbed the images and general concepts of Christianity since childhood, is to distinguish between the shadow and the reality. We can make such a distinction intellectually and out of book knowledge; but unless we come to understand and feel, in moments of crisis and inner intensity, that what we have so far considered as "I" cannot be the real core of selfhood, unless we sense that what we imagined in idealistic moments as "our" soul cannot really be the potent seed of the divine in us, our intellectual knowing will not be sufficient to transform our consciousness and our lives.

Only through these poignant realizations of what the soul is not can we begin to feel, inescapably and with inner certainty, that there is within us an as yet secret soul-reality; and that we are That. We are soul. We are in potentiality "sons of God"; but only in potentiality! As the grub is the potentiality of the butterfly, so every man is the grub of "more-than-man".

How can the grub have faith in its potentiality of butterfly-being? This is the difficulty. The grub must have "faith" lest it cling so stubbornly to its grubhood for fear of losing itself, that the process of metamorphosis may actually be thwarted or stunted. Faith, creative faith, is the power to imagine vividly the actual next step in one's inner evolution, and the ability to desire what has thus been "imaged forth" to the exclusion of all else.

Such a transforming faith can hardly be experienced, however, unless there is first of all a deep dissatisfaction in the grub-man with his grubhood — a "divine discontent" caused by the inner pressure of the spirit-led evolutionary process operating within the organism, as well as by a sense of futility in, and perhaps acute suffering from, the experiences of the grub state.

Thus there must be "crises"; there must be what the Bible describes as "temptations in the wilderness". However, all great crises of transformation involve serious risks. In the confusion of the "critical state" between two stages or levels of inner evolution, man may not be able to "imagine" vividly enough, and above all not correctly enough, his unfamiliar future status. His "desires" may be and usually are divided. He wants the future condition, or he "would like" to find himself in it; yet much in him hesitates, refuses or is powerless to leave the old ruts of thinking, feeling, behaving. However unsatisfactory these are, they are known and familiar.

Man in such a "critical state" requires help; and only God, or personages who act as God's Agents, can give this assistance. Indeed in the last analysis, the only true and efficacious assistance which can be given is, symbolically speaking, for one who embodies the next step in evolution to come to meet the man struggling toward that next step. The "future" meets the "present" as this present is striving to let go of the "past". This makes it possible for the present to become the future because the future state of evolution, having been imaged out clearly and attractively impersonated, has been felt as an utterly desirable goal.

The reality of the soul must be vividly pictured, then exemplified, to the man who is enthralled by the intellect and centered in the ego — a false and unsteady structure of selfhood built in reaction to the pressures of society and the confusing demands of the instincts. This soul-reality has to be "pictured", because man today is a thinking, conscious being, greatly disturbed or frightened by whatever he cannot visualize as more or less consistent with his past thinking. Man must have his mind reoriented toward the soul by another mind that is "soul-wise", that is an instrumentality of the soul. This is the first step. And it is the step exemplified by John the Baptist, the "Voice crying in the wilderness" of a society which has lost all vivid sense of what the soul is; the Herald who, cycle after cycle, sounds the great Call for Renewal of the ego-mind, the metanoia (of which "repentance" is at best only a phase).

But this is not enough. Following this, the soul must "become flesh". The future status of man must be concretely demonstrated and exemplified for men who still belong to and rely upon the past and its scale of values. This is the Incarnation. The Principle of divine Sonship (Christ, the Son) transfigures Jesus who has become more-than-man; and in the transfigured Jesus men can vividly see their own future state as souls. They can see — provided they do not fall asleep, unable to stand the sight of the Glory, or turn their backs in confusion and fear. Having seen, they may remember and become what they have seen — unless they forget! Men forget because they have not really understood; because their minds had not been sufficiently prepared; because the metamorphosis is too great a challenge and the ego refuses to surrender to the soul its fictitious claims, its temporary privileges and its psychological "police-force" while the soul struggles at its own level of unfoldment to become the "Inner Ruler" of the whole man.

How can we today define and picture the soul, so that men now living may be stirred into recognizing and accepting this soul as the central, controlling and creative reality enfolding the total personality? How can we induce men's minds to serve the purpose of the soul, instead of giving strength to the dictatorship of the ego or following, passively and unquestioningly, the collective mentality of a materialistic society?

What makes the attempt difficult is that the very word, soul, has been given a variety of meanings, most of which are vague or emotional, confusing and unreal. Minds trained in the Christian tradition turn to the Bible if they feel the urge to seek for knowledge about the soul; and indeed the Bible contains a profound knowledge of what the soul is and how, in and through human evolution, it reaches the state of perfection. Yet this knowledge is nowhere presented in easily comprehended intellectual terms such as modern minds are accustomed to. It has to be extracted from the words, the events, the personalities which the Bible presents to us. Its true significance can only be extracted if the Bible as a whole is understood to record, in symbolical terms, the entire process of evolution of the soul. The narrated events have, it is true, an actual historical foundation; but the narrative itself and its contents are meant to impart knowledge about the soul. And this is true of the Sacred Books of all great religions.

All "sacred" knowledge about the soul has always been, and to some extent at least must always be given in and through symbols or parables, simply because the soul must be understood in terms of action as well as, and even more than, in terms of thought or feeling. The minds of men interpret these symbols according to the need of the times, according to the level of evolution man has reached socially and individually. Thus interpretations differ. The needs of men living in this twentieth century differ from those of men of the first or of the sixteenth century because of all that has happened to humanity in the interval. It is true that what constitutes divine reality for man does not change; Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of the great Cycle of existence, does not change. But man is constantly evolving somewhere between this beginning and this end. Man's conscious orientation to Christ and to the inner fact of the soul must therefore inevitably change.

We can assimilate as livingness of knowledge only that to which we are oriented through our actual life-experience. And modern man's experience with vast problems of integration and complex thought processes calls for a reformulation of ancient symbols, for a more conscious, more inclusive and less emotional statement of the meaning, the evolution and the future destiny of the soul.

This edition copyright © 2008 by Michael R. Meyer
All Rights Reserved.

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