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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 "Individual Soul"

The relation unity-to-plurality must be understood in this context as essentially distinct from the relation unity-to-multiplicity, provided we mean by the term "plurality" a collective status, most simply expressed by the pronoum "we".

Wherever several entities can say "we", two basic factors must be present in them: first, the awareness of being one of several units; then, the realization that these several units are related to one another because they have some element in common. Without this common "something" there cannot be any feeling of "we". We is the plural of I. "We" presupposes "I", but also that which unifies, potentially if not actually, the several "I"s. The unifying common factor may be a community of life-origin, as in the case of children of the same parents; or a common experience important enough to gather into a "group" those who have had it; or a community of purpose, as when people join as partners to establish a business, a new religion, a new community with commonly shared goals. But common factor there must be.

Matter can be called an expression of "multiplicity" because, in the condition of pure matter, the material units or particles share nothing; they exist in a state of almost (but not quite) absolute separativeness, indifference to each other, and inertia (i.e. resistance to change and thus to the very idea or feeling of "purpose"). But the "living souls" are in a condition of "plurality" or community because they have, and are aware of having, a common origin; a common energy — the life-force — sustains them, and they have common basic experiences in the life-sphere.

Once we deal with souls we deal, moreover, not only with life-energies, but with a more or less unified condition of consciousness. The more the soul turns away from the ever-changing variety of material cravings and organic impulses and the more it orients itself in intuition to the One God, the more also the life-consciousness of the soul comes to partake of the characteristics of God, that is, of unity. But the more the soul becomes conscious of unity and the more clearly it seeks to adjust its consciousness to the light of God, the more does it also tend to become God-like; and as God is "the One", the more therefore the "living soul" feels itself to be a one. Then a new process of integration begins.

As this feeling of being "a one" increases in intensity and maintains itself, a sense of exaltation and of being "set apart" inevitably takes hold of the consciousness of the man having this experience. Yet fear also enters the "living soul", for the sense of elation is matched by an equally vivid sense of isolation. Then follows an ever-renewed experience of conflict, as the energies of life-instincts reassert themselves and pull the consciousness away from the realization of unity and toss it upon the heaving sea of passions.

Man reacts in many ways to this experience of seeing himself as a one, an individual "I". He reacts to elation, to fear, to conflicts.

He seeks to repeat the exalting experience, to rationalize and attenuate his fear, to protect his consciousness from the devastating sense of isolation, by drawing to himself other men who have become entranced and awed by what he told them of his experience. He seeks to hide or in some manner to compensate for the conflicts which tend to tear down his consciousness of integration. Or he tries to accept calmly and to rationalize his living in two spheres of consciousness. All these reactions transform his life-consciousness and refer it, positively or negatively, to a new center of integration — the individual soul.

The story of Moses, of the Exodus and of the gradual reorganization of the "Elect People" in the Promised Land, deals symbolically — even if on the basis of the historical evolution of a people — with this all-important change of level of integration. And the essential point which the Biblical narrative reveals and stresses is that, then as always, the initiative is with God.

It is God Who calls forth Moses, once He finds the latter ready; and Moses' hesitation and fears tell plainly how unready he really felt himself to be when confronted with the challenge of the I AM THAT I AM; that is, with the challenge to act in the realm of human passions and materialistic powers (the symbolical Egypt) as an agent of the I AM, as a leader in a process of human transformation (or soul "mutation").

This process is the process of individualization. As he experiences it, man, the "living soul", comes to realize himself as an "individual soul", and gradually shifts his attention and the focus of his energies from one level of integration to another. At the first level, life rules supreme; at the second, mind is the formative power which coordinates and organizes the results of human experiences in the life-sphere into an individual mind-ego. Human beings thus become able to consider themselves as individualized selves, each self proclaiming, either proudly or hesitantly, passionately or guiltily, "I am".

The "individual soul", by the mere fact of being a soul, is fundamentally a focus for the integrative power whose Source is God. However, a difficult situation inevitably appears when the principle of divine unity begins to be active in many souls, many human centers of unity. These human centers or selves, in order to realize themselves more clearly and definitely as "ones", must inevitably develop separative tendencies, tendencies which not only aim to make each man different from other men and unique as a self, but which also work against man's recognition of God, the One, as the Source of that power in man which makes each individual human organism a one.

These separative tendencies are inherent in the activity of the mind; for the mind in every man seeks to coordinate, organize and give meaning to his experiences and feelings as if they were exclusively his own. Some experiences must indeed appear to be unique when they establish a profound difference between one man and another, especially the experience which a man has who "sees God" for the first time and becomes an Agent of God, a leader in a new evolutionary phase of human history.

The experience of God, direct or indirect; the newly found ability to lead, to be victorious over foes in a spectacular way; the ability to prophesy and to heal; the apparent fact that one is a mouthpiece for the One God and a worker of miracles or a creative genius — all these experiences single out a man here, and a man there, as a "special" one, related in a particular manner, an intimate manner, to the One.

The mind of this special person may at first so directly feel the presence of God as the source of his unique position among men, that he feels awed and humbled by the experience. But if the experience does not repeat itself, if it is seen in retrospect by one who perhaps failed in fulfilling God's trust and succumbed to his instinctual passions, it may cause not only intense elation but pride. The Agent of the I AM THAT I AM then comes to say "I am" in a proud, boastful, arrogant tone.

Moreover, as other men witness the influence he has on the community and the way his personality expands in power, riches and authority, these other men become envious. They too want to expand, to have women and wealth, to command others; and naturally so, because the very nature of life is to expand, increase and multiply. These envious ones, not having the experience of God, try then to simulate its effects. They act as the God-inspired leader acted; they speak in a mysterious, exalted voice; they "put on the mask", so to speak, of the Prophet. In time, by such mimicry they form an hereditary aristocracy, whether of rulers or of priests, in which the "ghost" of an original God-experience — the memory of it in the collective mind of a people, a family, a special group — is worshipped.

On the other hand, because the masses of men at first find it so difficult to raise themselves from the level of unconscious life-urges and appetites to that of the true "individual soul" experience of God, such direct and true experiences have to be preserved. These experiences have to be preserved in a more or less readily understandable form as models, as ideal examples, as revelations of what the next step in soul-evolution for humanity at large will be.

It is on the foundations of such preserved memories of experiences of God and of spiritual reality, by a very few individuals who are heralds of new phases of soul-development, that organized societies, organized religions and definite cultural-ethical patterns are built. The "spiritual" settles down into the "social"; it is given a precise and communicable form by human minds who are particularly well fitted to organize and to manage social, religious, political, cultural activities for generations to come. "Society", its patterns and its laws, represent an intermediary stage between "life" and the "individual soul".

It is essentially in this intermediary realm of society — which includes organized religion, rituals, culture and political rule — that the ego makes its appearance and develops. The ego (using this term in its current psychological sense) is a social factor, inasmuch as it takes form on the basis of the young child's reactions to his family and environment; and it comes to maturity as a result of the youth's progressive adaptation or lack of adaptation to social processes. The ego fulfills itself through the experience of "place and function" in society, or in rebellion against what society presents to its growth.

However, such an analysis of the principle of formation and the nature of the ego leaves the psychological picture incomplete. From the point of view of the soul, the ego has another meaning. The ego develops or nucleates around the effort of the soul to pass from the condition of "living soul" to that of "individual soul". Something of the soul is in the ego. The soul reaches individualization through the experiences of the ego. The ego is an outpost of the soul, feeling its way into and responding to the "social sphere" and the mental patterns of this sphere.

It can and usually does happen that the soul finds itself so involved in the ego and the experiences of the social-cultural sphere that it becomes caught in the endless whirls of activity of a complex society and a highly evolved intellect, just as the "living soul" in its earliest stages found itself caught in the maelstrom of instinctual life-energies. In this case the soul can be said to have become "socialized" rather than "individualized". The means — the social-cultural experiences — have been substituted for the end.

All the ideals, concepts and patterns of society (including all that refers to culture and organized religion) are, from the point of view of the spirit and of God's purpose of Creation, means to an end. The end is to make of the "living soul" a fully conscious, self-determined, responsible and mature "individual soul", aware of its part in the divine-cosmic pattern of universal unfoldment (evolution) and completely positive to (i.e., able to use and direct) the energies of life and of the human mind, while remaining sensitive and responsive to God's directives.

Society and all its institutions exist for the sake of the soul. Everything in the social-cultural sphere has been inspired, directly or indirectly, by the need of the evolving soul and God's response to that need. Every culture is originally born out of a divine Revelation; every great social, artistic, religious, ethical symbol or ideal can be traced to some kind of vision or experience which an individual singled out by God had, and which he formulated for men of his day and more especially for men of days yet to come.

Alas, when God speaks to the soul, the soul may meet the experience with fear or withdrawal, with ego-inflation or possessive greed. The stage of ego-unfoldment is most dangerous and involves a constant paradox; while the mind of man, which gives communicable form to and perpetuates the highest vision and revelations, always tends to imprison the essence of great experiences in rigid intellectual systems which kill the spirit and worship the letter. Thus the parallel evolutions of man's ego and of human society, each conditioning the other, proceed through seemingly endless cycles of conflicts and tragedies. The binding structures of ego-ruled minds and of rigid societies must be destroyed time after time, and the accumulated results of life-perversions, intellectual fallacies and ego-deviations — the mass of human "sins" — have to be cleansed, wiped away and "redeemed".

The path of individualization is a "tragic" path but it must be followed. Man could not conceivably perform his part in the great drama of world-integration which began in the Divine Creation unless he became a pure, true, free, unconditioned and self-determined "I am". The Promethean fire of individual selfhood must be released in man if he is to reach the goal of soul-perfection. It is the means to man's divinity as a son of God; but the means can become destructive of the end. The ego of man may become a slave to the energies of the matter-bent instincts and to the ambitions (or the dogmas) of the social order. Then the individualizing soul, which blindly identified itself with the ego, must free itself and regather its energies to itself.

The way of tragedy and "sin" can lead through suffering and inner torment to a fundamental catharsis of the ego; then to the illumination and, at long last, the transfiguration of the "individual soul" once it has succeeded in "detaching" its consciousness and its will from the social-cultural order as well as from the instinctual life-sphere. However, man, darkened by a sense of guilt, oppressed by the weight of past failures and torn by mental conflicts, cannot follow unaided this path of regeneration to a completely successful conclusion. A divine power is released to guide and to heal him. This power manifests in the normal course of evolution first as guiding Will; then as Wisdom. And finally it is experienced in the fullness of its essential nature as divine Love-charity.

God comes to meet man. He comes into the realm of division and of sin where the ego struggles in blind rebellion or in hopeless servitude to the "Egypt" of the body. He comes to the many egos of men as the Integrator, the Lawgiver and the Sustainer. He comes to them as "life" comes in the beginnings of earth-evolution to the myriads of scattered material particles of "the deep", to bring them a pattern of integration and the magnetic power that draws all separate entities into a harmonic whole. But while God's integrative power in the realm of organic life is compulsive and unconscious (as what we call instinct), when God manifests to a multitude of human egos He appears to them in their conscious, or at least semiconscious, state. They hear His Voice; a few dare to meet Him face to face; men learn to experience God's will to integration and to develop their own energies in attunement to this will — though in most cases only after numerous set-backs.

Within every conscious and individualized soul that has become aware ever so dimly of the integrative power of God's Purpose and Activity, God's Wisdom and God's Love, a triune realization of the soul's divine nature as Will, Wisdom and Love gradually takes form. The "individual soul" discovers, within yet beyond itself, the "divine soul".

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

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