Kircher accounts for every feeling in human nature as results of changes in our magnetic condition. Anger, jealousy, friendship, love, and hatred, are all modifications of the magnetic atmosphere which is developed in us and constantly emanates from us. Love is one of the most variable, and therefore the aspects of it are numberless. Spiritual love - that of a mother for her children, of an artist for some particular art, love as pure friendship - are purely magnetic manifestations of sympathy in congenial natures. The magnetism of pure love is the originator of every created thing. In its ordinary sense love between the sexes is electricity, and he calls it amor febris species, the fever of species.
I. THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE
There is nothing in the least casual in the sex relation, nor can it by any twist of rationalization be termed irrelevant or insignificant to the inner man's evolution. On the contrary, the right or wrong use of the sex function represents a man's choice either to 'arise and undo the errors of the past' - racial errors, as well as individual - or to succumb to the lure of the downward path, to which previous errors lend an easy glamour.
Ethical teaching carries little weight today, because the presentation lacks the scientific basis that would make it reasonable and practicable to men. Human beings are now too mentally developed to feel satisfied with blind obedience to mere moral precepts. Having lost the fear of a punishing God and a tempting Devil, men are questioning reasons for restraining brute desires. The problem of sex is a case in point. Why is lust wrong? And why is there a rejection by commonsense of its opposite pole of puritanical asceticism? Are marriage and family life a necessity? Is birth control an evil or a legitimate practice? What is the true sublimation of desire? Innumerable are the questions that arise.
How can one comprehend the subject of sex without seeing man as a whole, without understanding the various natures - spiritual, intellectual, psychic and physical - of which his nature is compounded; without tracing the lines of evolution that have made man what he is, or without examining his future destiny?
Man was not "created" as he is today, a two-sexed form, producing eventually an emergence of consciousness. There was a double evolution in contrary directions, starting (1) from the pole of spirit, and working down through the spiritual, psychic, intellectual and animal natures, and (2) from the pole of physical matter, from the simple and homogeneous to the complex and heterogeneous. Spirit falls into matter, which, in its re-ascent, it liberates and raises; the agents in this process forming a third line of evolution, being Intelligences (Minds) from higher planes and previous periods of evolution, the self-conscious link between Spirit and Matter.
Man began - in this Round of evolution, and on this Globe, as a spiritual entity within a huge, diffused, ethereal or astral form. Mindless and speechless on this plane, it was "self-born," the mode of reproduction of this and the succeeding Root-Races showing a similar progression to that now found in the lower kingdoms of nature. There was, first, a simple separation into two individuals (the method now seen in the fission of the homogeneous protoplasmic amoeba, or in the nuclear splitting of a cell into two sub-nuclei, which either develop within the cell wall before bursting it, or else multiply outside it separately). The progeny of the "self-born" was formed by a secondary astral image or shadow oozing out from its parent (in much the same way as a Spiritist medium's astral body is projected), the old form being eventually absorbed into the "shadow."
The Second Root-Race was produced from the First by "budding," as in some vegetables, sea anemones, etc., and the early Second Root-Race reproduced itself in the same way - either by the extrusion of a portion of the organism, which separated finally to develop to the same size as its parent, or by the throwing off of a single cell, which developed into a multicellular organism (as in bacteria and mosses). The later stage, called the "sweat-born," parallels forms of life like plants, worms, snails, etc., in an intermediate hermaphroditism, allied to budding. In this Race the two poles of Spirit and Matter began to approach. It was psycho-spiritual mentally and ethero-physical in its outer form. There was, however, still no self-conscious connection between these constituents and the only language of the Second Race was one of chant-like vowels.
There were three main stages in the Third Root-Race, which began in the later Primary geological period. At first propagation was by (un-self-conscious) "will, by sight, by touch and by yoga." The first two stages were parthogenetic (virgin-born) and oviparous, the egg-cell forming inside the body but maturing outside it before the separation into sexes - first without the help of the fertilizing spore. It was exuded during the procreative season as drops of vital fluid which gradually coalesced, forming a large, soft, external "egg." This hardened after several years' gestation and the young emerged unaided, as birds do. In the early sub-races of the Third Root-Race, the "sweat-born" and "egg-born," man was still bereft of intellect, speaking only animal-like sounds. The body was astro-physical, but the inner intelligence, psycho-spiritual in nature, had no working connection with the just developing physical senses, since there was no individual Ego as yet. Nor was the Third Eye of spiritual vision focussed on this plane, communication, such as it was, being by a kind of "thought" transference. These beings, pure and holy as they were, were called "the Sons of Passive Yoga."
In the stage of the "sweat-born" the vital fluid, involuntarily scattering far and wide, produced not only the "pre-human" form, but also went to build the first mammalian forms, since the evolution of the lower-kingdoms, except the mineral, is dependent on man's "cast-off clothing." The astro-physical body, still gigantic and physically unconsolidated, became rapidly more dense through the re-absorption of the matter previously thrown off and built up the monstrous "prehistoric" animal forms of that time.
The "sweat-born" and the "egg-born" were androgynes - Plato in The Banquet speaks of them as circular in form and motion. Gradually, from the hermaphrodite condition the young assumed more dominantly one or other sex-form until finally distinct male and female beings developed. The first two-sexed sub-race had monosyllabic speech and were one-eyed Cyclops, the two front eyes not developing fully as physical organs until the beginning of the Fourth Root-Race, which was the densest materially, the first "truly human" race, the physical forefathers of present mankind.
The final separation into sexes and sexual procreation took place at the midway point of evolution, in the fifth sub-race of the Third Root-Race, still in the "age of the reptiles," in the earliest Mesozoic or Secondary age, some eighteen million years ago. But the descent of the Divine Intelligences to inhabit and light up mindless man into self-consciousness began in the preceding sub-race, which was still immaculately egg-born, before the complete separation of the sexes.
It is the presence of the indwelling God or Dhyani, endowing the lower man with a portion or reflection of his own essence - in some cases with the whole of it - that gives man the knowledge and free-will to carry on his own evolution, to blend Spirit and Matter, thus becoming Master of Life, knowing himself as Spirit, while working in matter. It is the presence of the conscious, rational, individualized Soul or Mind (Manas) that enables man to eat of the Fruit of Knowledge from the Tree of Good and Evil. And though the gift of free-will produces all the tortures man endures, through the results of wrong choice and sin, better to have the curse of evil, containing the seed of redemption than mental vacancy however blissful.
There were three groups of the incarnating Dhyanis. First came the "Sons of Wisdom," the Egos who incarnated at the beginning of the midway point, as soon as the vehicles were physiologically and physically ready. Adding conscious knowledge and will to their inherent divine purity, they, in turn, consciously and immaculately, by the power of Kriyasakti (the intense power of imaginative thought and will that can make a subjective idea develop into an objective form), created a progeny called "the Sons of Will and Yoga," a progeny set apart from the ordinary line of race evolution. In these incarnated the highest Dhyanis who acted as the Guides and Rulers of the "newly awakened" human beings who formed the mass of humanity, the latter being generated sexually, not created by Kriyasakti. The Divine Kings and Rulers taught infant humanity the fundamentals of the arts and sciences and established the marvelous ancient civilizations that astonish the moderns. These divine and semi-divine beings were the spiritual forefathers of the long line of Adepts, Mahatmas and Initiates of succeeding centuries.
The second class of incarnating Egos are those who inform the general mass of humanity. These had delayed their incarnation, being "jealous of their intellectual freedom (unfettered as it was then by the bonds of matter)," but the vehicles for their occupation were of an inferior degree. The Egos could not incarnate fully in them; they could only be quickened by a spark of the self-conscious essence. But the third class, who delayed still longer, till the beginning of the Fourth Root-Race, set up a terrible nemesis, through their procrastination.
In the fourth sub-race of the Third Root-Race, the period of the "egg-born," huge animals, of species now unknown, often tampered with the eggs before they hardened, producing a hybrid, half-"human," half-animal. Though these soon died out, some of the "egg-born" Race, still left mindless by their responsible Egos, after the point of the natural separation of the sexes, mated with intermediate types (since the animal kingdom had separated into sexes previously, and the difference between the human and animal species was not at that time fully equilibrized), and bred other human monsters. This miscegenation of the "mindless" was no "sin" for them, since they were unconscious, but the retribution for the abnormal sexual link made by them with the animal kingdom, and the tendencies induced in their nature by the act, became the moral responsibility and dire handicap of the Egos who incarnated belatedly in the later Third and early Fourth Root-Race. They had to use bodies tainted with too great an attraction to animal matter - since habits set up tend to reproduce themselves. This indeed happened, this time with full responsibility, in the later Fourth Root-Race when the Atlanteans knowingly mated again with the female descendants of the human-animal cross-breeds, the lower apes of the Miocene period. Thus were produced the anthropoid apes of today, the only class of the animal kingdom which will become human in this period of evolution.
With the final separation into sexes, the spiritual power of creation was gradually superseded by its material counterpart, the power of physical procreation. And as the outer physiological senses developed into activity, the inner senses lost their power, the Third Eye of clairvoyant understanding disappearing into latency, until by the end of the Fourth Root-Race, it left only a dormant physical representative, the pineal gland. The Fourth Root-Race were still giants in form, gradually dwindling down to the present stature in our Fifth Root-Race. They were also giants mentally, but, with the exception of the Race "set apart," spiritual discrimination had not yet fully linked itself to the compound human being and found expression in him. The physical evolution began to outrun the spiritual, and humanity, becoming conscious of its material powers, abused and misused them. The separation into sexes was a natural sequence of evolution, and natural sexual union should have been reverenced as the outward expression of the divine creative power. Had it been used according to natural law, conception and bearing would have been as easy and painless for the woman as it is for the animal kingdom, where there is no conflict between opposed natures to create an unbalance. But the mind of man, surrounded as it was by the animal instincts and passions in his nature, led him in his pride of free-will to transgress the law, to squander his power simply for sensual gratification, oblivious of his responsibility in the act. The gift of free-will bestowed by the indwelling god proved therefore temporarily a curse, since humanity has, through the exercise of that free-will in unnatural, selfish, bestial ways, produced the nemesis of dire physical disease and degeneration, the psychological disorders and the social and moral ills that destroy whole civilizations.
Even from the days of the early Atlanteans mankind divided into two groups, those who kept the remembrance of their spiritual origin alive, and who worshipped the One, Infinite, Formless Deity; and those who, overcome by the intoxicating awareness of their own physical powers, worshipped the human body. Thus was established the beginning of phallicism, whose symbols form the basis of "every exoteric religion of ritual, dogma and form," producing one of the most prolific causes of fanatic strife and evil.
But life moves in cycles, and the descent sweeps round the circle inevitably into re-ascent. The dominance of matter will lessen and that of Spirit reassert itself. The form of man will lose its physical density and on the returning arc will become physico-ethereal, with involution of sex. The spiritual senses will once more come to life, and the natural swing of progress will strengthen the power of the incarnating Soul or Mind to assume the lordship over its lower nature, unless the force of matter, through repeated voluntary attachments to it, fetters the uprising Soul beyond all hope. We should be, at the present day, less under the dominance of selfishness and vice than we are. But that potential balance between Spirit and Matter was disturbed when the "sin of the mindless" weighted the human combination with too great a proportion of the animal, material element, and the Atlanteans weighted it still further by their voluntary degradation of their own divinity. And mankind today - those Atlanteans reincarnated - blindly repeats and blindly suffers the consequences of similar sins. What weights the soul most is not merely the lust of sex, the avarice of possessions, the greed for animal foods that impart their own psychic qualities to the eater, or for drink that robs him of his self-control; not even miscegenation of various kinds - the mixing of alien strains, as in blood transfusion and serum-therapy - but chiefly the tendency of the mind to identify itself with all the lower things, so that materialistic civilization makes of sensuality a cultivated art, and of vice an ethic of success to be admired and followed.
But for those who are able to take advantage of the natural uprising cycle, in that gradual change back from the solid physical state to the original ethereal condition of matter, there will be a resumption of the previous creative faculty, replacing the present sexual mode of generation, which will have died out in the next Root-Race. When mankind has learnt the lessons of material existence and through repeated efforts has produced an integrated balance in its own individual nature, and achieved unity in the polarity of the sexes, then it will once more create Mind-born, immaculate progeny, Buddha-like and Christ-like, through its own intuitive perception, imagination and will. Then it will re-become Mind-born, and the Seventh Root-Race will be one of great Adepts and Initiates. But the beginning of that development for the ordinary man now is the humble task of fulfilling the practical duties of every day, of using the help and the discipline of true family life, for no one can leap to the pure state of power and knowledge direct from his present stage. The spiritual life does not demand a sundering of ties of family or friendship, a cutting loose from duties to the community, an ascetic escapism from temptations, a denial of powers, which have rather to be "tried, conquered, used, subdued," so that the lower self, illumined by the higher nature, may shine with reflected glory. To recognize the presence of the God within each one, to reverence the sacredness of marriage and the power that makes man a Creator, and to listen to the voice of past experience that sums itself up in true conscience - these lead us in the upward struggle towards conscious Godhood, when we shall come naturally to transcend material limitations, and the problem of sex will simply cease to be.
II. POLARITY AND BALANCE
The function of sex, as of any creative power, is a sacred thing in the Theosophist's eyes and may not, without severe detriment to himself and others, be entered into apart from a regard for its sanctity, or lacking a spirit of dedication to the highest attributes of the human being made manifest on the physical plane.
The Hermetic philosophers used the formula "as above, so below" as the basis for their science and viewed all creatures as evolutions from primordial Spirit-Matter - Matter here standing for the very sublimation of substance, not for gross matter. But we cannot understand life or any of its aspects if we only begin at the lower material point and try to deduce on the principle of "as below, so above." Many have tried to see the universe in terms of sex relations, applying the crude physiological interpretation even to the highest mysteries of creation, just as they have imagined an anthropomorphic God that is only a magnified reflection of their own imperfect, transient personal nature.
To understand life and sex we must start from the origin. Throughout the whole of manifestation, duality inevitably shows itself, not as a fundamental and fixed separation, but as a mutually dependent polar relationship of Spirit-Matter, in which one aspect cannot exist without the other. Throughout nature there is a constant play between the active, positive force and its passive, negative counterpart, as between the centrifugal and the centripetal forces, which on the descending path, are those of Spirit and Matter respectively. The eternal cycles of existence are the outcome of the attraction of the one by the other. Universal spirit expands and gives out; universal matter takes in and fecundates, thus producing life and consciousness. The human sex relationship that first developed at the midway point of evolution, some eighteen million years ago, is itself only a microcosmic reflection of the divine act of creation. To the first two-sexed races, who knew themselves to be descended from androgyne forefathers, and to whom their own, just developed sex polarity and power of procreation were sources of pure and reverent wonder, such symbols as the lingham and the yoni were as pure as the act itself. Even in the early religions of our present Root-Race, in India and Egypt, these emblems held no unclean significance, but were simply the material symbols of the original abstract force, the creative, spiritual power. Those Brahmins who still follow the Laws of Manu keep the procreative function in deep respect, regarding procreation as a religious ceremony and considering that not till they have fulfilled their natural duty as parents and householders are they free to tread the higher levels of the spiritual life.
It is not sex and sex symbols that are themselves unclean but the polluted gross ideas that gathered around them through the very misuse of sex forces in Atlantean times and later. It degraded the whole idea and eventually the doctrine of "original sin" was brought to the West through the later Semitic religion. Yet this religion which exoterically proclaimed as an eternal Curse, a Fall into Evil, what was actually a natural development, at the same time esoterically made the phallus itself the holiest symbol of God. The Western Christian sects took over from the Jews the elements of materiality in the idea, until the spiritual understanding of cosmic conception was completely lost, and now, to the average scientific mind, though it may have shed religious dogmas, the sex relationship is simply one of mere animal function. If this were otherwise, there could be no support or practice of birth control by any other means than self-control. The religious task of the present and the future will be to retranslate the idea back into its noumenal and spiritual aspect. "The letter killeth, the spirit giveth life."
Men, in their purblindness, do not see the transient nature of the duality of sex whether in a human being, animal or plant. For sex is only the last, most concrete transformation of the universal, bi-une magnetism that works through the attraction of the opposites. Before the physical separation into sexes the differentiation had to be arranged in astral substance; the atoms and the organic forces, gathering together to form more dense and complex groupings, had to follow the pattern and order of nature, fulfilling immaculately the law of Balance, so that the evolution of all existing forms above the mineral was, on this material plane, towards polarization into male and female. It is this magnetism that through its attractions and repulsions is also the basis of all feelings.
Robert Fludd, the fire-philosopher, gave the rationale of this sympathy-antipathy.
When two men approach each other . . . their magnetism is either passive or active; that is, positive or negative. If the emanations which they send out are broken or thrown back, there arises antipathy. But when the emanations pass through each other from both sides, then there is positive magnetism, for the rays proceed from the centre to the circumference. In this case they not only affect sicknesses but also moral sentiments. This magnetism or sympathy is found not only among animals but also in plants and in minerals.
Yet even attraction has its evil as well as its good aspect - lust or love, fascination or sympathy. For magnetism is neither good nor bad in itself, but the motive makes it so. The magnetism that acts physically as sex force is a reservoir of vital, creative power acting on various planes, and the magician is one who has learned the secret of polarizing his magnetism so that it gains the "bi-sexual" power of creation.
There will be a change in the character of sex, even in the present Root-Race, and eventually the contraries will be synthesized once more. The change must, as in the previous differentiation, proceed from with-in/with-out. The differences between male and female are not merely a matter of physical appearance and function, but depend on character and psychic tendencies, and these must change first. The female or negative element exhibits a tendency towards the conservative and the concrete and superficial in thought, speech and act, while a fundamental and abstract outlook characterizes the male or positive element. The feminine principle, since it represents matter, also partakes of the "illusionary and vain" nature of matter, as well as of its quality of inertia that tends to keep "the established order."
But we must remember that matter, in the balance of the human constitution, is, through Karma, overcharged with the irresponsible, psychic, animal element, Kama, from the mating of the "mindless" and the Atlanteans with the female animal hybrids. Matter has become, unnaturally, too earthy a mixture, incapable of reflecting truly the pure "substance," Buddhi. Humanity shows itself as Kama-Manas, the false self, caught in desire, instead of Buddhi-Manas, the self-conscious Mind illumined by Wisdom. That same faulty balance of the individual nature shows also in sex strife, where man misuses his power over woman and is, in turn, enslaved by her. In the true balance woman should embody the heart intuition, wisdom, compassion, acting as one with the guiding active mind and understanding of man, till, through evolution, each pole assimilates the attributes of the other. Yet how often in place of intuition do we find irrational, instinctive emotion! . . .
It should be noted these distinguishing characteristics of the male and female elements do not apply to individual men and women. The soul inhabiting the body of one sex may have its psychic and mental make-up predominantly of the opposite element. Such are the exceptional pioneers among women, for the great mass are content to wait on the endeavours of their men-folk and to follow them. And on the other hand it is said that the greatest Teachers have had most of the womanly in their natures. But, from the point of view of the evolving soul, greatness can be achieved whether in a male or female body, and it is vain and futile to concern ourselves with arguments to prove that one sex is superior to the other. In the Spirit, which is the root and centre of everyone's true existence, all differentiations are merged; and in the course of its active evolution the soul must test both poles of experience, the male and the female.
The Theosophical Movement
It is not generally conceived that the one principle of brotherhood under the inspiration of altruism is also the key to the truest and highest relation of the sexes. The contrast is usually drawn between separation of the sexes, or celibacy, and the present association of the sexes, viz. animality; and all that is known of either of these conditions is far from satisfactory.