The Celestial Hierarchy
I am about to say something which may shock certain persons; but those who are too fond of their own ideas, without being willing to grant others their ideas in turn, should not seek to open the jealously guarded doors which separate the land of the so-called living from the land of the certainly not dead.
This is the statement which I have to make: that there are many gods, and that the One God is the sum total of all of them.
All gods exist in God. Do what you like with that statement, dear world, for truth is more vital than anybody’s dream, even yours or mine.
Have I seen God? I have seen Him who has been called the Son of God, and you may remember that He said that whoever had seen the Son had seen the Father.
But what of the other gods you ask? For there are many in the world’s pantheons. Well, the realities exist out here.
What I say to you again, can man create the gods of his imagination and give them a place in the invisible? No. They existed here first, and man became aware of them long ago through his own psychic and spiritual perception of them.
Man did not create them, and the materialists who say that he did know little of the laws of being. Man, primitive man, perceived them through his own spiritual affinities with and nearness to them.
When you have read folktales of this god and that, you have perhaps spoken patronizingly of the old mythmakers and thanked your lucky stars that you lived in a more enlightened age. But those old storytellers were the really enlightened ones, for they saw into the other world and recorded what they saw.
Many of the world’s favorite gods are said to have lived upon the earth as men. They have so lived. Does that idea startle you? How does a man become a god, and how does a god become a man? Have you ever wondered? A man becomes a god by developing god-consciousness, which is not the same as developing his own thought about God. During recent years you have heard and read much of so-called Masters, men of superhuman attainments, who have forgone the small pleasures and recognitions of the world in order to achieve something greater.
Man’s ideas of the gods change as the gods themselves change, for “everything is becoming,” as Heraclitus said about twenty-four centuries ago. Did you fancy that the gods stood still, and that only you progressed? In that case you might some day outstrip your god, and fall to worshipping yourself, having nothing to look up to as superior.
Accompanied by the Teacher, I have stood face to face with some of the older gods. Had I come out here with a superior contempt for all gods save my own, I should hardly have been granted that privilege; for the gods are as exclusive as they are inclusive, and they only reveal themselves to those who can see them as they are.
Does this open the door to polytheism, pantheism, or other dreaded isms? An ism is only a word. Facts are. The day is past when men were burned at the stake for having had a vision of the wrong god. But even now I would hesitate to tell all that I have learned about the gods, though I can tell you much.
Take, for instance, the god whom the Romans called Neptune.
Did you fancy that he was only a poetic creation of the old myth-makers? He was something more than that. He was supposed to rule the ocean.
Now, what could be more orderly and inevitable than that the work of controlling the elements and the floods should be assumed by, and the work parceled out among, those able to perform it? We hear much of the laws of Nature.
Who enforces them? The term “natural law” is in every man’s mouth, but the Law has executors in heaven as on earth.
I have been told that there are also planetary beings, planetary gods, though I have never had the honor of conscious communion with one of them. If a planetary being is so far beyond the daring of my approach, how should I comport myself in approaching the God of gods? O paradoxical mind of man, which stands in awe and trembling before the servant, yet approaches the master without fear! I have been told that the guardian spirit of this planet Earth evolved himself into a god of tremendous power and responsibility in bygone cycles of existence. To him who has ever used a microscope the idea need not be appalling. The infinitely small and the infinitely great are the tail and the head of the Eternal Serpent.
Who do you fancy will be the gods of the future cycles of existence? Will they not be those who in this cycle of planetary life have raised themselves above the mortal? Will they not be the strongest and most sublime among the present spirits of men? Even the gods must have their resting period, and those in office now would doubtless wish to be supplanted.
To those men who are ambitious for growth, the doors of development are always open.
“The Celestial Hierarchy” is an extract from Letters From a Living Dead by Elsa Barker