What I mean by “God”
From “The Kingdom of the Gods” by Geoffrey Hodson 1952
DEFINITION OF TERMS
SINCE in this book certain familiar words are used in a special sense and certain ideas unfamiliar to most Western readers are presented, this first Chapter consists of a definition of terms and a brief exposition of the philosophic basis upon which the book is founded.
In Occult philosophy, the Deific Power of the universe is not regarded as a personal God. Although imbued with intelligence, It is not an Intellect. Although using the One Life as vehicle, It is not Itself a Life. Deity is an inherent Principle in Nature, having Its extensions beyond the realm of manifested forms, however tenuous.
The Immanence of God is not personal, neither is the Transcendence. Each is an expression in time, space and motion of an impersonal Principle, which of Itself is eternal, omnipresent and at rest.
Finiteness is essential to the manifestation of THAT which is Infinite. Ideas, rhythms and forms are essential for the expression of THAT which is Absolute. God, then, may best be defined as Infinity and Absoluteness made manifest through finite forms. Such manifestation can never be singular or even dual alone; it must always be primarily threefold and secondarily sevenfold. Point, circumference and radii; power, receiver and conveyer; knower, known and knowledge; these must ever constitute the basic triplicity without which Absoluteness can never produce finiteness, at however lofty a level.
Creation, therefore, involves a change from a unity to a triplicity. In order to become the many, the One must first become the three. The possible combinations of three are seven. Continuance of advance from unity to diversity inevitably involves passage through seven modes of the manifestation and expression of that which essentially is one. Thus divisions arise in the One Alone. Thus beings arise within the One Life and intelligences appear within Universal Mind, all inherent within the Whole.
Of the Trinity, the point is the highest because the Source. Of the Seven, the Trinity is the highest because the parent. Thus hierarchy exists when manifestation occurs Parent hierarchies give birth to offspring in a descending scale of nearness to the original Source. Emanated beings in hierarchical order inevitably come into existence when movement first occurs in THAT which of Itself is still.
Absolute stillness implies absolute motion, the two terms being synonymous. The Absolute, therefore, can be both still and in motion whilst retaining absoluteness. The finite is therefore contained within the Absolute, which in its turn enfolds and permeates the finite. Because of this, finite beings have regarded the Absolute as divine and have named it God.
The worship of the all-enfolding and all-permeating Source of all is true religion. To reverence the omnipresent Source and to conform to its laws of manifestation is true religious practice. To conceive the Source of all as a person, however exalted, and to give it human attributes, is not true religion. To reverence that false conception and live in fear of its vengeance is not true religious practice.
Absolute existence and absolute law — these are the highest existences and therefore are worthy of man’s study and reverence. Finite existence and finite law are not the highest existences and therefore are not worthy of the title “God”. They are offspring and not parent, secondary and not primary, and their elevation to primary rank can only lead to confusion and dismay.
Modern man needs to emancipate himself from the delusion and worship of a personal, and therefore finite, God, and to substitute therefore an impersonal and infinite Deific Power and Law, with Deific Life as the essential Third.
Deific Life is the vehicle of Deific Power, and Deific Law rules their combined expression. By the instrumentation of Life, therefore, all things truly were made. Life is the Creator. Sustainer and Transformer of the Cosmos. Life should be reverenced in all its manifestations and such reverence of omnipresent, ever-active Life is true religion.
What, then, is Life to the human intellect? How may Deific Life be conceived, perceived and worshipped — that is the supreme problem. Life may be conceived as the soul of form, its relationship to which is comparable to that of the sun to the solar system. The difference between the two relationships is that Life is omnipresent and the sun has a fixed location, even though its rays pervade the universe. Life does not send forth rays; for as the interior source of existence, Life is all-pervading and all-penetrating.
Life is beneficent in that by it all things are sustained. Without it, nothing can exist that does exist. It is the Thought-Soul, the Spirit-Intelligence, of all Creation. Vehicle for Power imbued with ideative thought, Life is the one essential to existence, to evolution and to transfiguration. “Life, then, is God and God is Life.”
The term “God” thus implies all Nature, physical and superphysical, the evolutionary impulse imparted to it and the irresistible creative force which bestows the attribute of self-reproduction and the capacity to express it indefinitely. This concept of Deity includes the creative Intelligences — the Elohim — which direct the manifestations and the operations of the one creative force, the divine thought or Ideation of the whole Cosmos from its beginning to its end and the “sound” of the Creative “Voice” by which that Ideation is impressed upon the matter of Cosmos. All these, together with all seeds and all beings, forces and laws, including the one parent law of harmony, constitute that totality of existence to which in this work is given the title “God”.
If so vast a synthesis may be designated a Being, then that Being is so complex, so all-inclusive as to be beyond the comprehension of the human mind and beyond the possibility of restriction to any single form: for the idea of God includes Everlasting Law, Everlasting Will, Everlasting Life, Everlasting Mind.
In manifestation, “God” is objectively active. In nonmanifestation, “God” is quiescent. Behind both activity and quiescence is THAT which is eternal and unchanging, the Absolute, Self-Existent Self. The Creative Agent referred to by various names in the world’s cosmogonies is the active expression of that eternal, incomprehensible One Alone.
The names “God” and “Logos” are thus used in this book to connote a Divine Being, omnipresent as the Universal Energising Power, Indwelling Life and Directing Intelligence within all substance, all beings and all things, separate from none. This Being is manifest throughout the Solar System as Divine Law, Power, Wisdom, Love and Truth, as Beauty, Justice and Order.
The Solar Logos is regarded as both immanent within and transcendent beyond His System, of which He is the threefold “Creator”, Sustainer and Regenerator of all worlds and the Spiritual Parent of all beings.
Whether as Principle or Being, God has been conceived in many aspects and as playing many roles. Ancient Egyptian, Hellenic, Hebrew, Hindu and Christian Cosmogonies represent Him as bringing His worlds into existence by means of the creative power of sound. In Christianity we are told: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Then God spake and in six creative epochs or “days”, each followed by a period of quiescence or “night”, all worlds, all kingdoms of Nature and all beings came into existence. As a result of this outpouring of creative energy as sound, forms appeared expressive of the divine creative Intent, embodiments of divine Life and vehicles for divine Intelligence. Thus God may be conceived as Celestial Composer, Divine Musician, perpetually composing and performing His creative symphony; with its central theme and myriad variations. This concept of creation by the Voice, known as the Logos doctrine, important in the study of the subject of the Gods, is developed in later Chapters of this book.
God has also been poetically and mystically described as Divine Dancer. Nature — with all its varied rhythmic motions, including the cyclic swing of planets round the sun, terrestrial changes, the flow of river, waterfall, and stream, the ceaseless movement of the ocean waves, the swaying of the trees and flowers, the ever-changing forms of fire and flame, the motions of electrons around their nuclei—is conceived, notably in Hinduism, as part of the great dance of the Supreme by which all things are created and sustained.
Again, God is variously portrayed, as Dramatist whose stage upon which the drama of life is played is the Solar System; as Weaver, whose many-coloured tapestry, Nature and all her sons, is woven on the loom of time and space; as Gardener, with the Angelic Hosts as husbandmen, the universe His garden sown with every kind of seed of His own creating, and every one destined to produce its own facsimile of Himself. He further is regarded as Architect and Engineer, Geometrician and Scientist, Magician and Ceremonialist with the universe as a temple of many shrines in which creative rituals are perpetually performed. A still higher conception reveals Him as Spiritual King, Divine Emperor, ruling through His hierarchy of ministers His Solar Empire. All beings are His subjects over whom He presides with all-inclusive knowledge and wisdom all-embracing. All these He is and doubtless far more — Creator, Preserver, Transformer of the universe, Spiritual Parent of all its inhabitants.
“A man’s idea of God is that image of blinding light that he sees reflected in the concave mirror of his own soul, and yet this is not in very truth God, but only His reflection. His glory is there, but it is the light of his own Spirit that man sees, and it is all he can bear to look upon. The clearer the mirror, the brighter will be the divine image. But the external world cannot be witnessed in it at the same moment. In the ecstatic Yogin, in the illuminated Seer, the spirit will shine like the noon-day sun; in the debased victim of earthly attraction, the radiance has disappeared, for the mirror is obscured with the stains of matter.”
THE EVOLUTIONARY PLAN
From these concepts of the Deity there emerges inevitably the idea of a divine purpose, a great plan. That plan is assumed throughout this book to be evolution, but not of form alone. The word “evolution” is herein used to connote a process which is dual in its operation, spiritual as well as material, and directed rather than purely natural or “blind”. This process is understood to consist of a continuous development of form accompanied by a complementary and parallel unfolding of consciousness within the form.
Although man cannot completely know the evolutionary plan – from his Superiors, Sages and Spiritual Teachers throughout the ages he learns that the motive is to awaken and bring to fulfilment that which is latent, seed-like, germinal. Divine Will, divine Wisdom, divine Intellect and divine Beauty, these are latent in all seeds, Macrocosmic and microcosmic. The apparent purpose for which the universe comes into existence is to change potentialities into actively manifested powers.
On Earth, for example, for each of the kingdoms of Nature there is a standard or ideal which is dual, as is the evolutionary process. The ideal for consciousness in the mineral kingdom is physical awareness and for form, hardness and beauty. For plant consciousness the ideal is sensitivity, capacity to feel, and for the plant form, beauty. For animal consciousness, it is self-consciousness of feeling and thought, and for animal form it is beauty. For man the evolutionary goal is the complete unfoldment and expression of his inherent divine powers — will to omnipotence, wisdom to omnipresence and intellect to omniscience. In the “perfect” man or Adept, these powers are expressed in fully conscious unity, and therefore perfect co-operation, with the Creator of all in the fulfilment of His plan.
Human perfection attained, superhuman ideals present themselves. We as men can but conceive of the nature of these by the aid of analogy and the little that the Supermen Themselves have in these days permitted us to know. We may conceive these ideals to be: to compose and perform perfectly with God the great symphony of creation; to produce and enact with Him the drama of life; to weave with and for Him, consciously contributing to the perfection of His great design; to till His garden with Him, tending His plants of the fullness of their flowering; to manage as Heads of Departments, the organisation which is His Solar System; to build with Him His temple of the universe and, as Principal Officers, to enact therein great rituals of creation; to serve as Regents and Ministers in the Solar and Planetary Governments through which He, as Solar Emperor, administers His wide dominions beneath the stars. This in part, we may assume, is God’s plan for Supermen, and indeed for all, since the attainment of superhumanity is the destiny of all:
“the one far-off divine event
towards which the whole creation moves.”
The emergence and subsequent development of a universe and its contents is regarded in occult science as being less the result of an act of creation, followed by natural evolution, than a process of emanation guided by intelligent Forces under immutable Law. The creation or emergence of universes from nothing is not an acceptable concept, all being regarded as emanating from an all-containing, Sourceless Source. This Source is regarded as triune, consisting of pre-cosmic spirit, pre-cosmic matter and eternal motion. This doctrine is further expounded in Part II of this book.
As part of the unfoldment of the human intellect into omniscience, the development occurs at a certain stage of human evolution of the faculty of fully-conscious, positive clairvoyance. This implies an extension, which can be hastened by means of self-training, of the normal range of visual response to include both physical rays beyond the violet and, beyond them again, the light of the superphysical worlds.
The mechanism of supersensual vision and the process of its development are referred to in the descriptive matter accompanying Plate 28. It is important to differentiate between the passive psychism of the medium, and even the extra sensory perception (ESP) of parapsychology, and the positive clairvoyance of the student of Occultism. This latter, completely under the control of the will and used in full waking consciousness, is the instrument of research with which during the past thirty years I have endeavoured to enter and explore the Kingdom of the Gods.
This term is used throughout this book to denote, not the symbolic images to which the title was given by ancient peoples, but hierarchical Orders of Intelligences, quite distinct from man in this Solar System, but who either have been or will be men. Information concerning their immensely varied nature and functions forms the subject matter of the third Chapter of Part I and succeeding Chapters of this book. Part V consists of illustrations and descriptions of various types of Gods, as they have appeared to me when attempting to study them by means of extended vision.
Eastern peoples, as well as numerous members of the Keltic and other naturally psychic races, are familiar with the idea of the existence of the Gods. In the East they are called devas, a Sanskrit word meaning “shining ones” and referring to their self-luminous appearance. They are regarded as omnipresent, superphysical agents of the Creative Will, as directors of all natural forces, laws and processes, solar, interplanetary and planetary.
For these beings the term “the Gods” is chiefly employed in this work. The Kabbalistic term “Sephira” is used in Part III. Deva occurs occasionally, as does its useful adjective devic, which applies equally to Archangels, angels and nature spirits. Certain types of Gods, associated more closely with man than with Nature, are referred to as “angels”, the four terms being used synonymously. The three main stages of devic development have each their own names. Nature spirits, like animals and birds, are actuated by a group-consciousness shared with others of the same genus. Gods, Sephiras, devas and angels, have evolved out of group consciousness into separate individuality, as has man. Archangels, especially, have transcended the limitations of individuality and have entered into universal or cosmic consciousness, as has the Superman or Adept.
* * * * *
Before proceeding to a fuller consideration of the nature, the functions and the activities of the Gods, I offer an answer to those who quite naturally will ask: “Where is the proof of their existence?” Of concrete, demonstrable proof of the fruits of mystical experience there can be none. Of evidence for mystical states of consciousness, in which supersensual faculties may operate, and for the existence of the superphysical worlds and their inhabitants, there is an abundance. Most universal and enduring of this evidence is the folklore of all nations. Throughout all time of which records exist, men have borne testimony to their perception of forces, phenomena and beings not normally visible. Despite wide separation both in time and space, there is a remarkable resemblance between the myths, the legends and the folklore of the various peoples of the earth. This universality, similarity and persistence through the ages of belief in the Gods and the Kingdom of the Gods is strong evidence, I submit, for the existence of a kernel of reality within that belief, a basis of fact upon which folklore is founded.
Added to this is the testimony of those who have made both a science and an art of the process of self-illumination called in the East “yoga”. The followers of this, the oldest and greatest of the sciences, the science of the Soul, aver that extension of visual and auditory power and mastery of the forces, first of one’s own nature and then of Nature herself, can be deliberately and consciously achieved. Anyone, they say, who will fulfil the necessary conditions, who will obey laws as certain in their operation as those to which the chemist subscribes in his laboratory, can pierce the veil of matter which normally hides from view the eternal, spiritual realities, as the veil of day conceals the ever-shining stars.
In individual experiment and individual investigation alone is proof to be found. Whilst demonstration is admittedly impossible, test by personal research is not. That test I have attempted to apply, and this book is in part a record of my own findings. Whilst all are entitled to question, only those, I submit, who have similarly experimented and explored, have the right to deny.
– From “The Kingdom of the Gods” by Geoffrey Hodson 1952