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Eight Mansion - TO RENEW

Eighth mansion is reached through portals which often appear illumined by the ghostly light of deprivation and death. But these portals reveal, for whosoever dares face the mystery of relationship and the magic of love in freedom and purity, the great temple of reality. The world understands little of this feared and darkened mansion; because the world understands little of the wondrous equation of destiny in which selfhood and love are linked and integrated by him who can wield the power of creative significance.

With the seventh mansion we began a new cycle or hemi-cycle, the keynote of which is: Relationship. In a sense, every mansion of this new pilgrimage of the self will appear to oppose the corresponding mansion of the first cycle. Considered therefore from the point of view of individual selfhood, the new mansions appear negative and spell deprivation. Love often means the loss of the integrity of the self, passionate formlessness. Likewise in the eighth mansion the individual is often seen to lose whatever he had owned in the second; indeed, the very substance of his being, the very materials and chemicals which gave him concreteness.

This is so because, in the eighth mansion, love finds its own substance; relationship, its own material for subsistence. Who can furnish this substance, save it be the individuals now commingling in love or deep partnership? Thus the love becomes substantiated at the expense of the lovers. Love has two parents, who are the lovers. And the parents must endow the child, Love. Thus, deprivation of substance for the individuals who enter into relationship; just as the gestation and birth of a child means physiological and financial deprivation for its parents.

What is lost by the individuals is more than substance per se; it is all that they had built to give weight and dignity and earth-solidity to their abstract selfhoods: the habits, the privacy, the pride which had been the daily support of their very sense of I-am-ness. Love cannot gain substance and concrete power unless it be enriched by the sacrifices and the gifts made to it by the lovers. Every lasting partnership likewise demands a more or less complete pooling of the resources of the partners, the sacrifice of their absolute individualistic control over their own possessions. And for the individual who is thoroughly identified with his possessions and his habits of behavior or traditions, this means "death" indeed.

Thus love may seem often to cause the exhaustion of the resources of the individual. The very act of love may have such a meaning for its participants — especially for the male, who (in the lower stages of biological development) loses its very body as the result of the mating, and serves as foodstuff for the female. Its substance is utterly consecrated to the rearing of the progeny. Thus love becomes insubstantiated, incorporated into the progeny — at the expense of the very being of one of the lovers, sometimes of both of them. Wherefore love and death have often been seen in close conjunction. Death is the food of love. The eighth mansion follows after the seventh. Relationship often absorbs and feeds upon the related individuals.

It may seem strange that an abstract thing such as "relationship", or a state of experience such as "love", can absorb and even kill individual beings. But we must not forget that individual selfhood also is but an abstraction. This abstraction gains substance in the second mansion, and becomes fully concrete in the fourth mansion as a psycho-physiological organism. This substance, however, needs always to be replenished. It is a portion of the earth, a mass of earth chemicals (or, at a higher level, of collective and ancestral elements), assimilated by the individual. The individual must keep assimilating constantly this substance. He needs constantly to build it into his own personality.

The relationship, or the love, that conjoins individuals must also find its own substance and assimilate it. And it can find it only as the related individuals provide for it out of the substance of their own beings. Moreover, this substance assimilated by the relationship takes the form and grows into the likeness of the relationship. Eventually it may return to the individuals; but not until after a long series of transformations which may make it unassimilable to them.

This is, obviously, the way in which the eighth mansion and its fatality appear to the individuals, and to those only, who have become profoundly identified with the substance of their own being as well as with their possessions. It is thus only a negative attitude, a negative approach to that stage of the process of development of the wholeness of being which the eighth mansion represents. But it was the approach which had to be emphasized in a period of the world-history when possessiveness and identification with ancestral or family traditions were such powerful factors in the development of the personality.

On the other hand, wherever the mystical ideas of higher Christianity have been emphasized, a positive meaning should have been given to the eighth mansion of the Soul. For if Love is the fulfillment of the Law, and if self-abnegation is the means to reach holiness and perfection, then the eighth mansion becomes the mansion where holiness and love find their own sustainment. In it, love becomes real through the lovers' sacrifice and renunciation of all that does not carry the seal of this love. In it, the individual frees itself from the shackles of individualism and is reborn as a servant of omnipotent Love.

Thus, rather than being seen as the mansion of death — as was usually the case throughout the Middle Ages — it should have been understood as the mansion of regeneration. Its keynote should thus be: to renew. Through the magic of love all things and all men are made anew. The separated lives, united at last, willingly throw their treasures of selfhood into the all-consuming fire of love, all-encompassing. And the portals of death are transfigured into the gates of omnipotent love: the gates of the greater Mysteries, in which men learn how to act as functional parts of the greater whole in which thenceforth they live and have their being.

Here, everything depends upon the willingness of the individual self to give of the substance of his being to the relationship — or to the partnership, at a more material level. His resistance to the law of love brings upon him the judgment of death. His half-hearted acquiescence to the demands of the partnership, curtailing as it does the efficiency and power of this partnership, may mean the loss of his individual resources. From him who is willing to give but little, much shall be taken. To him who deprives himself of all for the sake of love, for the sake of that commerging of values which builds a culture and a strong society, much shall be given, and his name shall be immortalized.

If, however, we refuse to accept the emphasis which the Christian altruist and the devotee put upon self-surrender to love, if we believe that selfhood and relationship are to be balanced and integrated, instead of either one being utterly sacrificed to the other, then we shall have to modify somewhat this last interpretation of the eighth mansion. It may retain its meaning of "renewal", but in this renewal there shall be no death of selfhood — rather a transfiguration of the contents of personality. The "form" of personality will remain the same, generally speaking; but the "light" that shall illumine the contents of personality will be indeed new. The dark of selfhood will become the radiance of love.

Selfhood is of the darkness, because it is abstract and it antedates manifestation. It antedates God's command: "Let there be light!" It is the Idea before it becomes the living Word. Relationship, by the fact of its bringing two or more entities into close contact, generates tension and the spark that is light. The integration of selfhood and relationship is the integration of Form and Light. It is therefore symbolized in the Gospels by the Transfiguration. The body of the Christ-being is made to shine. Light emanates from every facet of the Christ-like Person. Not that the human organism is destroyed. Not that the form of selfhood of the man Jesus is destroyed. But the Christ-light is seen to pervade, to suffuse, to shine through all the purified earthliness of the man Jesus.

This obviously applies only to the realm of the third birth, when the mystery of the seventh house is that of the union of personality to its divine complement — the Christ-light. But even in the biological realm of the first birth, the miracle of love transfigures the dullest creature. It paints ecstasies of color on the wings of birds as on the petals of flowers. It gives vibrant tone to inarticulate throats. It makes the humblest earth-being glow with a light that overcomes the earth and transfigures the heavy flesh. And in the strongly individualized man of the second birth, a creative radiance overflows his harsh sense of uniqueness and his jailed-in self-sufficiency. Romance brushes his mind with emotional wings that stir imaginative flights. The roots of self flame upward, burning all dross, to add to the pure light of love transubstantial.

To him who is strongly centered in individual selfhood love may come as a storm that shatters the deepest seclusion, as an earthquake that throws into confusion all the contents of the home. Relationship may indeed bring the strain of dissonant harmony; and the gates of the eighth house may witness the death of selfishness, of all that is crystallized, harsh, stubborn in self. But, how beautiful the trees and flowers after the storm has fled into the abyss of mere memories! How pure and liquid the air, crystalline with exquisite freshness! Every blade of grass is renewed, and nature is made whole.

The Beloved becomes increasingly an Image of the life within, as the cycle of the second birth runs its dramatic course. It is extracted by the self out of many loves or the one love of this cycle. It builds itself within as the mystic Complement, as a Presence of Light that suffers to be born in the midst of all trials, and lightens the weight of self that is but self.

And at the last comes the final scene of the long drama, the transfiguration of all the separate vital forces of personality into a transcendent flame — a tree of light — crowned by the thousand-petalled flower, the mystic Lotus of the yogis, the halo of Christs and Buddhas alike. Here the drama of love and relationship is concluded within the personality experienced as a perfected microcosm. What is celebrated is the marriage of Kundalini and of selfhood, of fire that has become light, with the pure form of being and of cosmic destiny. The individual self has become identified as personality with a Work, with his own function as a cell of the greater Whole. And this Work receives, as a result of such an identification, the vital substance which the "blood of Christ" symbolizes. It is indeed the "blood" of the greater organic Whole vitalizing the cell that has fully experienced its personality as a cell of the Whole. This inflowing "blood" is the Holy Ghost — and it is Kundalini. The two are one, as above is one with below, and right is one with left, in the consummation of the mystery of Operative Wholeness.

To experience personality as a differentiated cell of the greater Whole: this perhaps is the best way of stating what is underneath this mystic transfiguration. We know that the term "personality" has become extremely ambiguous as the result of its special use in modern theosophy and related philosophies. But what else can be used to signify that which is not only individual selfhood, but also the perfume or quintessence of all the relationships fulfilled through the process of living? That whole of behavior, feeling, thinking, intuition; that which is being in becoming and becoming as actualization of being; that in which heaven and hell unite, and God becomes through constant fruitions and integrations of opposites — what else can it be called save: personality — or, perhaps better, the Living Person?

Personality experienced only in terms of individual selfhood is an organism of darkness; but personality experienced in terms of being a cell in the greater Whole becomes an organism of light. "To live in Christ" is to have "Christ living me". It is to have Wholeness operating within the part, thereby transfigured by the "blood of the Whole". This transfiguration is the deepest reality of Initiation.

Thus motherhood is a true initiation for a woman; because during pregnancy it is not she who lives, but life (Humanity) who lives her. In other words it is Relationship living in and through Selfhood. This permeation of the separate and single individual by love is the reality of the eighth mansion. Love, there, is being clothed with substance within the magic circle of selfhood. It is therefore the mansion of the bearing of seed. And the seed will grow and expand through the ninth mansion, and be born at the mystic Mid-Heaven: a birth of light —while the birth of the body of selfhood was a birth of darkness, deep in the eternal midnight.

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

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