The Protective Web of Light
Continued practice enables the student to determine for himself the position of this etheric body. Hitherto this position depended upon external forces proceeding from the physical body. Through further development the student is able to turn his etheric body to all sides. This faculty is effected by currents moving approximately along both hands and centered in the two-petalled lotus in the region of the eyes. All this is made possible through the radiations from the larynx assuming round forms, of which a number flow to the two-petalled lotus and thence form undulating currents along the hands. As a further development, these currents branch out and ramify in the most delicate manner and become, as it were, a kind of web which then encompasses the entire etheric body as though with a network. Whereas hitherto the etheric body was not closed to the outer world, so that the life currents from the universal ocean of life flowed freely in and out, these currents now have to pass through this membrane. Thus the individual becomes sensitive to these external streams; they become perceptible to him. ...
Now, the particles of the etheric body are in continual motion. Countless currents stream through it in every direction. By these currents, life itself is maintained and regulated. Every body that has life, including animals and plants, possesses an etheric body. Even in minerals traces of it can be observed. These currents and movements are, to begin with, independent of human will and consciousness, just as the action of the heart or stomach is beyond our jurisdiction, and this independence remains unaltered so long as we do not take our development in hand in the sense of acquiring supersensible faculties. For, at a certain stage, development consists precisely in adding to the unconscious currents and movements of the etheric body others that are consciously produced and controlled.
When esoteric development has progressed so far that the lotus flowers begin to stir, much has already been achieved by the student which can result in the formation of certain quite definite currents and movements in his etheric body. The object of this development is the formation of a kind of center in the region of the physical heart, from which radiate currents and movements in the greatest possible variety of colors and forms. The center is in reality not a mere point, but a most complicated structure, a most wonderful organ. It glows and shimmers with every shade of color and displays forms of great symmetry, capable of rapid transformation. Other forms and streams of color radiate from this organ to the other parts of the body, and beyond it to the astral body, completely penetrating and illuminating it. The most important of these currents flow to the lotus flowers. They permeate each petal and regulate its revolutions; then streaming out at the points of the petals, they lose themselves in outer space. The higher the development of a person, the greater the circumference to which these rays extend. - Rudolf Steiner, How to Know Higher Worlds
The subject at present is the sensory impressions subject to the will part of the mind, 'baskets on the head with holes in them' meaning that interior degrees existed without a termination anywhere at all in the middle. Therefore those sensory impressions, as follows from this, were cast aside and condemned. But some explanation must be given of what is meant by 'without a termination anywhere at all in the middle'. Interiorly the human being is divided into separate degrees, and each degree has its own termination that serves to separate it from the degree beneath it. This is so with every degree from the inmost one to the outermost. The interior rational constitutes the first degree, the degree in which celestial angels are, that is, where the inmost or third heaven is. The exterior rational makes up the second degree, the one in which spiritual angels are, that is, where the middle or second heaven is. The interior natural makes up the third degree, the one in which good spirits are, that is, where the last and lowest or first heaven is. And the exterior natural, the level of the senses, makes up the fourth degree, in which man is. These degrees also exist within man, each degree completely distinct and separate. Consequently, if he leads a good life, he is interiorly a miniature heaven; that is, his interiors correspond to the three heavens. Also, if he has led a life of charity and love he can be taken after death all the way up to the third heaven. But if he is to be someone like this, each degree within him must be furnished with its own specific termination that makes it separate from the next one. When those degrees do have those terminations, making them distinct and separate from one another, each degree has a floor on which good flowing in from the Lord can rest and where it is received. Without such terminations acting as floors that good is not received but passes straight through, as if through a sieve or through 'a basket with holes in it', down to the sensory level. There, because it has not received any direction on the way, this good is turned into something foul, though it is seen as good by the recipients of it at that lowest level. That is to say, the good is turned into the kind of delight that belongs to a selfish and worldly love, and consequently into the kind of delight that belongs to hatred, revenge, cruelty, adultery, and avarice, or into sheer self-gratification and personal extravagance. This is what happens if the degrees of a person's will exist without a termination anywhere at all in the middle, that is, if 'they have holes in them'. - Emanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia 5145
The axis of love spins at a very high frequency, and the Friends of God are dynamically attuned to this spinning. Through their spinning, a web of light and love is spun into the world. In this way, the axis of love creates a web throughout the world, throughout all the levels of creation. Through this web of light the world is sustained by a direct access to love that is not distorted by the patterns of illusion. Love is present throughout all of creation; it is the substance of every atom. Yet this substance of love does not know its own meaning or potential - it is not charged with divine consciousness. The Friends of God bring into the world a love fully charged with divine consciousness. Love that is charged with divine consciousness has the potential to awaken humanity to its real nature and purpose. The Friends of God are here in service to this work. They have the ability to infuse a quality of divine consciousness, sirr, into the web of light that nourishes humanity. They can also direct this web of light where it is needed. Spiritual traditions are used to help bring this knowing into life, into the hearts of those who seek Him. This is why "transmission" or "succession" (the direct connection from teacher to teacher) is so important, as it is through this lived link that the energy of divine consciousness, sirr, is given. Without this link the energy of sirr remains on the inner planes and does not penetrate through all the levels. Then an essential part of the process is not lived; a quality of divine awareness that belongs to the physical plane does not come alive. - Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Working with Oneness
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