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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

We are today at the beginning of a new era; not only an "atomic" era but an era of rebirth of the spirit that has become imprisoned in the stones of prejudice, in dogma and ruts in thinking. Man has released the nuclear "fire" kept in latency by the "binding force" of the atom; but his task will not be completed unless he succeeds in releasing as well the dynamic power of soul-transformation that is imprisoned in the stony citadels of traditional religious interpretations all over the earth. Fire must be released out of the stone! The soul must be revealed in its total ascent from the condition of "living soul" to the state of divine Sonship — the soul in you, the soul in me, and as well the soul in Jesus, the Exemplar and Guide for this present humanity.

All things in the universe are made for the soul; all things are ultimately to be transformed by the soul. You and I are souls; and we are moving toward our eventual divine state however drastic the crises, however bitter the seeming failures, however long the process of evolution.

But whence did we come? What can we envision of this divine state? And where do we stand, most of us, today, on the way between past and future?

It is the answer to these crucial questions that we must seek in the Sacred Book of Christianity. "Ask and ye shall receive", we are told. But what one receives is conditioned by the manner of the asking. When man feels himself drowning, every cell of his being, every strand of his will asks for air to breathe. So should we ask for the Truth of the soul if the "Holy Spirit" is to illumine out-understanding.

The "Living Soul"

The world in which man is said to live is a material world. Man appears in it in a material body composed of a myriad of material cells and organs. Through the senses of this body he comes in contact with a multitude of material objects and entities. All human activities necessitate some changes in material arrangements or conditions in which a multiplicity of elements are involved. Matter is, indeed, inevitably an expression of multiplicity; it is a collective term always referring to many things and to many conditions which are moving and changing incessantly. This seemingly endless series of changes is what we call, in terms of our sense experiences and of our organic feelings, "time".

All great religions tell us, however, that this world of matter, of multiplicity, of change and time, is not the only realm of being. There is also a realm of spirit in which God timelessly and changelessly is; a realm of unity. Religious philosophy presents the unity of spirit and the multiplicity of matter as opposites, and establishes a sharp contrast between the material world and the realm of spirit, the "Kingdom of God".

Yet this opposition and contrast can only be relative. Spirit and matter cannot be completely apart from each other or unrelated to each other, otherwise we would have two absolutes, spirit and matter. And the absolute "duality" of spirit and matter would of itself deny any reality to the "unity" of spirit! There must be, therefore, and indeed we know by inner and outer experience that there is, a power and activity which somehow bring together spirit-unity and matter-multiplicity. This power and this activity are experienced by man first of all as "life".

Life is the power of the unity of spirit acting in the midst of a multiplicity of material elements. Through this activity of the power of spirit the myriads of material atoms, molecules and cells in a living body are brought to a condition of interrelationship, interdependence and integration — the condition of "organic unity", the state of living. In all living organisms we can see the power of organic integration pervading the field in which the immensely many molecules and cells are moving, changing, being born and dying, according to a common rhythm of unfoldment. Life in the most general and broadest sense of the term is thus that which establishes an enduring relationship between spirit and matter, unity and multiplicity.

We have thus a philosophical-religious trinity: spirit, life and matter. But the most significant fact, a fact which can easily be and has been forgotten, is that "life" cannot be considered as being independent of "spirit". It is an expression of spirit, a power of spirit, in the world of material multiplicity. Life means integration and integration means: to bring to a condition of wholeness.

Wholeness is unity in manifestation.

A living organism is an integrated whole of cells. The organism occupies a certain space and within this space, acting through the whole of it and radiating from it, is an energy which we call life, or the life-force. The space in which a living organism is extended can thus be considered as a "field of force" broadly similar to the electromagnetic field surrounding a magnet. The energy of life circulates through this field, holding all cells within definite patterns of relationship, somewhat as the "lines of force" of an electromagnetic field compel small particles of iron to organize themselves into set geometrical patterns.

The patterns of organic life are both extremely complex and dynamic. The life-force is essentially one, or unitarian, because it is an expression of the power of unity, spirit. Yet this one life-force becomes differentiated into an immense variety of secondary energies animating and sustaining the vast variety of life-processes in which definite groups and types of cells participate, and through which these cells experience ceaseless, yet ordered and periodic, transformations.

Where there is integrated activity there must always be some kind of central focus from and through which the energy that produces integration — life — radiates, and to which it returns. This focus or core of the integrative activity of life is what is called, in Genesis, the "living soul" (Nephesh hayyak in Hebrew). It is the focal point for the operations of the "breath of life" with which God invests man at a certain stage of the Creation.

Much of the confusion about the meaning of the term, soul, comes from the fact that it is used with reference to several levels of integration. Nevertheless "soul", in all cases where the term is significantly and validly used, and not in a merely colloquial sense, has the same basic meaning; it is the focus through and from which the energy of integration operates. It is the core of all integrative processes in the universe. If we speak of the "Soul of the world", this too is a legitimate use of the term, because according to all religious philosophies the world in which we live is a "universe", an integrated whole; and wherever there is an integrated whole there is a dynamic core of integration, a "soul". We may likewise speak, in terms of social integration, of the soul of a community, the soul of a nation, because such collectivities constitute integrated wholes of social activity and consciousness.

There are three basic levels of integration as far as man is concerned. At each of these levels there is "soul". We can say that there are three souls, or else three aspects of the one soul. If we think of soul as a focus for the release of energy (the energy of integration) it is more practical and precise to speak of three souls; the energy is one, but there are three separate yet related foci. Thus religious teachings nearly always have mentioned several souls and given to each a different name; and the Bible is no exception if its teachings are clearly interpreted.

If it is true that where there is integration there is soul, it is also true that where there is soul there is consciousness. Because soul exists at different levels, so also there are different types of consciousness, the lowest of which appears to us today as almost complete unconsiousness. One should nevertheless speak of consciousness whenever some degree or kind of more or less steady relationship is established between spirit and matter, unity and multiplicity. As we can speak of "living soul", so we can also speak of life-consciousness; and instinct is one aspect of this life-consciousness.

There is, however, another aspect which can be called "intuition". Just as "instinct" is life-consciousness oriented toward the problems of life in a material body (above all, the maintenance and reproduction of this body), so "intuition" is essentially life-consciousness oriented toward a realization and strengthening of the connection between life and spirit (the source of the energies of life). Intuition is thus intent upon solving the problems of the "living soul" seeking to maintain itself as a steady focus for the release of the integrative power of life, and for a clear visualization of unity, and thus of God.

Man, as "living soul", is facing in two directions. Indeed the soul always faces in two directions, for it is the core of the process of integration of two opposites. Thus the "living soul" identifies itself, in one direction, with the repetitive, compulsive, ruthless and relentless rhythms of the life-force, as this life-force churns the material particles of the human body and sustains its organic functions. In this aspect, it is an instinctual soul colored by the characteristics of matter and constantly modified by the changing processes of life in the body; indeed, it appears much more as an ever-changing reflection of whatever life-function dominates the organism at any moment than as one soul. But in its intuitive awareness of spirit as unity, the "living soul" faces in another direction, that is, spiritward.

In this aspect the "living soul" is also mirror-like in nature; but what it seeks to reflect is unity. It strives to orient itself to what it dimly grasps as the One, much as the leaves of a plant turn toward the light of the sun. The One, God, is felt by the intuition as the original Source of the power of life, just as the sun-disc in the sky is seen as the source of light. To the heliotropism of the plant (its "turning toward light") we can parallel the theotropism of the simple, yet pure and child-like primitive man, whose "living soul" turns toward God (theos). This "theotropism" is the devotion of creature to Creator, of the reflection in the mirror of organic life to the divine origin, "the Almighty God".

The consciousness of man, at the level of development where the "living soul" operates exclusively, is therefore a combination of instinct and intuition, of compulsive instincts and almost equally compulsive intuitions of spirit. What instinct dictates must be obeyed; likewise what intuition reveals is a divine command, the validity of which is self-evident. The command is "heard"; God is "seen". The experience cannot be denied. What is heard and seen must be acted upon; and, at first, there is no opposition between what intuition and what instinct command. This stage constitutes the "Golden Age", the Age of Innocence, the Age of "Adam" before the dualism Adam-Eve appears.

However, the fact that the One God finds Himself reflected in a great number of "living souls" gives rise to a new situation. These many soul-centers are not, like the myriads of material particles in chaos, opposite in trend and characteristics to the One God. There is no fundamental contrast or antagonism between the One God and the many "living souls" of men. The difference between "one" and "many" therefore takes on a new meaning. To the unity of God, the plurality of souls responds; but the response is at first mostly unconscious.

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

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