The Teaching Autobiography, Contents: Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Photo 4
Interval, The Story Of Beruna And My Initiation
Both Miss Scott and John Bodley wanted to continue the sittings and in the interval between the first circle and the second, there was a period when we sat intermittently at one or other of their homes. It was during this period that Nicholas, the eldest son of the Bodley family, came home on leave. I had heard much of him from his mother, who was justly proud of his success in the Navy. He was the idol of his family with whom I had formed a warm friendship. For myself, I rather dreaded his arrival, half expecting a spoilt young man who might resent the place that I, a stranger to him, had won in the family circle. He was twenty years younger than I, which I also felt, might be a difficult mental gap to bridge. I need not have worried. From our first meeting when he sat on the kitchen table chatting, while I helped with the washing up, it seemed the most natural thing in the world to feel friendly and become friends.
Eventually, both he and his father had more to do than anyone else with the development and continuance of the Teaching, a fact that was all the more strange in his case, because of the inevitable intervals, mostly of years, between our meetings. This barrier was overcome by a regular correspondence that developed between us, uncharacteristically free and personal on my part. To no one else have I so freely discarded reserve, whilst his own equal frankness was received by me with discretion and pleasure.
Both he and his father, I think, accepted the Teaching without difficulty but their mental approach was widely different. I always had the sensation of going back to drag John along and yet sometimes was surprised when most I needed help, to find him alongside. It was entirely owing to his dogged determination that the thing went on. There was one attitude of his mind that I found pathetic and which persisted right up to his death. He knew it would not be given but he always had wistful hope for direct personal guidance. I knew I could not get it for him, a fact so obvious to me from the whole structure of the Teaching but it sometimes distressed me to be the channel of denial.
Nicholas, on the other hand, from the beginning was able to understand at once whatever was given. He once said to me, "It does not seem as if it were new but as if it were something I remembered." He was never startled whereas John once was quite shocked, when he felt I was arguing with Arrantees. I think it was when the identity of Arrantees had been revealed and without having had time to assimilate this revelation, John felt, if it were true I was approaching blasphemy. I had been told we were to be under the direct guidance of Arrantees and I was afraid, because I did not think we were strong enough to stand it. I came back hearing John expressing horror at my defiant attitude, but Nicholas understood that I must express what was in my mind and was trying to reassure John, that it might not sound so bad in the Thought World as it did to him.
Nicholas had this intuitive understanding of what I was trying to express, especially in those early years and at the difficult time of coming back, when so much could be learnt with gentle handling. This lessened a little as the years passed, for youth and age in that arc that stretches from birth to death, are nearer the Thought World, whilst conversely middle age is the farthest point from it. Yet there was and always will be, I think, a close touch between us, in which telepathy has been and could be used again if it were necessary.
It was this understanding that won for him that label of 'the Man that Sees', because I gave these labels to those who joined the circle. They sound clumsy even to me and are due to the fact that communication in the Thought World is by direct thought, so that on earth it is necessary to find a label. I have always worried about the need to find words to describe things of the Thought World. I feel we use words dangerously, sometimes through prejudice, to distort truth. Words which can mean one thing to the speaker can mean something quite different to the person spoken to.
These names given during sittings seem to be connected with the way I thought of their owners in the Thought World, such as 'She who Brings Laughter' or 'The Wind' which was given, because at the time I gave it, it seemed to me curious that she did not know whence she came and wither she was going. Or else they were names I had learnt when wandering in time and had belonged to the Conscious Mind of the person whose life on earth I was seeing, such as Azvard, the name I gave to my Inspirational Unity, and Sanchuniathon the name I gave to my Guardian Unity. This brings me to the first occasion that I remembered this kind of wandering in time.
I was slightly apprehensive when John told me that Nicholas would like to come to a sitting and that he did so hope something might be given that would hold Nicholas' interest. I was apprehensive because I could not control events when I was away and liked to be free from the pressure of other people's desires. I always got anxious if I thought there was a possibility of getting away from the generalities of the Teaching into a tangle of personalities. Yet when the sitting was arranged I knew that not only John's wish would be granted but that I was going to be allowed to wander in time and I was pleased and excited. I also knew that Nicholas could follow me and see what I saw if he liked. I did not then know why he could, only that he might or might not come, so that I must remember what I saw and tell him if he did not come with me.
It started rather as if I were watching a film. I saw a roofless stone building which I knew to be the temple of Beruna. Outside on an open terrace stood a slight dark girl. There was a little crooked stunted tree growing from the outside wall, on the other side of her. She was watching someone in the temple and when I too looked, I saw the temple priest Sanchuniathon, standing in front of a roughly triangular stone, which was the grey stone of Beruna. He was a striking figure, tall, lean, with a fine hawklike profile and very beautifully winged eyebrows. It was whilst he spoke the invocation that I ceased to be the observer and entered into the mind of the girl, in fact became Kophra. She was admiring him, but at the same time laughing to herself at him because she knew he knew she was there and was pretending not to notice her. Then the scene faded and I came back.
Next time at the second sitting I saw both of them, Sanchuniathon with Kophra, sitting in the gardens. She was leaning back in his arms. Then I saw her sit bolt upright and say in distress: "No no Sanchuniathon." I knew that they had become lovers, also because of that and according to custom, at some full moon she would have to die by fire. It was when she called out that I again entered into her mind and learned, when her distress was my distress, the cause of it. It was not the thought of her death that had caused her to cry out that was inevitable and in a sense natural, for she had been brought up and trained to the custom. It was because of what Sanchuniathon had been telling her, that in spite of death they should not be separated; that Marazahn, priestess of the temple and chief exponent of the Black Arts, had promised to call her back after death. Kophra knew Marazahn could do this but it was an idea that horrified her. She knew it was wrong and protested with tears. When Sanchuniathon saw how this idea distressed Kophra, he dropped the subject and "stopped my mouth with kisses". That was the end of the second sitting.
The third sitting was different and after it was over I learnt that Kophra was myself, my Conscious Mind in another life and that the priest Sanchuniathon was a Conscious Mind of my Guardian Eternal Mind and that is the reason why I have called my Guardian Eternal Mind Sanchuniathon. But I did not learn then but years later that Nicholas was the Conscious Mind of Sanchuniathon living in this life, which makes Nicholas and me Unity Conscious Minds (6). When this third sitting began it was not like the first two when I had started as a spectator. From the beginning I was Kophra and was existing in the Thought World, for it was after my death on earth. I heard a sound which interrupted what I was doing. It persisted and listening I became aware it was Sanchuniathon calling. It sounded as if it were far away. I asked Azrael if I might go to him and he replied: "Child where there is love there are no barriers." So I went with a heart as light as a falling leaf and dancing feet. I must have caused a disturbance for I heard a man say: "Tut Tut" and another looked up at my passing but I caught his glance, there was understanding in it and I felt his blessing as I passed. So I came to the temple at Beruna where Sanchuniathon and Marazahn stood waiting for me. As I looked I saw Sanchuniathon's face change to an expression of frozen horror and disgust. Then he turned and cursed Marazahn and she stood and laughed at him, peal after peal. That laughter was and still is to me the most evil sound I have heard. Then I turned and left them broken hearted, for I did not know she had given me a body of death and decay to return in.
That third scene in the picture of Beruna had been the climax of a struggle in which Marazahn strove to maintain her influence over Sanchuniathon. She was not jealous of a small temple girl, in fact it was she who in the beginning had deliberately thrown us together. I might be a useful pawn and if love grew between us, that love would be a snare by which she could, if she wished, get rid of me, as she did.
Sanchuniathon had chosen me to work for him, not at first from personal motives but because of my gift, for even then I had psychic powers. He was seeking touch with what I have called the Thought World and found in me a channel of communication. This gradually came between him and Marazahn for he was more interested in my approach than in her black magic. It was the loss of this power and of her influence that made Marazahn take the opportunity of our being lovers first to get rid of me and then the hideous revenge.
It had been rather terrible for me to relive this part of that life and in particular to hear Marazahn's laughter again but I gained some knowledge from this experience that made it worth while. I do not know why but I had never learnt the reason why Sanchuniathon had turned from me in such a loathing after he had allowed Marazahn to call me back, for I was unaware of the body in which I had come. Now with Nicholas beside me I was able to see and discover the cause and that knowledge took away all bitterness. I realised that Sanchuniathon the priest wanted my forgiveness and I told him that where understanding is there is no need for forgiveness.
I also learnt as a result of that scene, that Sanchuniathon's love for Kophra did not fade at her death or at her hideous return but changed and deepened to something that endured, so that he turned Marazahn out and during his life-time prevented the use of black arts. It is curious but even in this present life, that gave me happiness. I knew too that he had written down the laws and customs that he had formulated for his people.
The following is an account of my initiation which actually took place in the first circle and therefore preceded this picture of Beruna that I saw with Nicholas and John Bodley but although not in its proper sequence, I think it fits in better here. Perhaps it was not the pure chance it seemed at the time, that influenced events, so that only John Bodley and Miss Scott of the members of the first circle, were present at this initiation. All they knew at the time was, that if we were to continue, there was need of an entirely silent sitting in which nothing would appear to happen or be said. This they accepted. I myself, when it was over lost all memory of what had happened and was only aware of extreme physical exhaustion. Long after this, indeed not many years ago, whilst staying with Nicholas and his wife I was told there would be a sitting with them, a reproduction of this initiation which would not be the reality but only a remembrance of what had happened so that it might be recorded in words. Even though I knew it was not the reality I still dreaded this.
When it was reproduced I learnt that the real initiation had been a necessary experience before my Conscious Mind could practise remembrance and so bring back the Teaching. I also learnt that in all initiations, I think, there is this common factor. The Conscious Mind must enter the Thought World alone and there meet the Force of Evil. In this encounter it must maintain the integrity of its own personality. The severity of the struggle will correspond to the height of awareness that Conscious Mind must reach if it is successful. Those whose understanding has advanced sufficiently perceive there is no individual personality in this Force of Evil, only degrees of strength. But before that understanding is reached, Conscious Minds are apt to give it personality.
Before it started, I learnt that Sanchuniathon, my Guardian Eternal Mind, had given me this sole instruction for it. "Go into the Darkness as far as you are able and remember, there is no Darkness into which the Light cannot come." I know now that if I had failed in this initiation, or test, the Teaching would not have been given to me in this life and that if I had turned back halfway, only the first six chapters of the Summary would have been written and not all of that. An initiation seems to be a test of how far a Conscious Mind may penetrate the Thought World if it is to bring back what it learns there and it is for the safety of that Conscious Mind in that life, that it is given.
This is a verbal translation of that initiation in a symbolic form which is capable of word translation, although these words seem to me to be entirely inadequate to convey the real horror of the experience. First I wandered into something resembling a desert, indescribably grey, arid and desolate, in a sort of half light. The thing that worried me most was a perpetual sound, like that of sand shifting in the wind, a dry rustle. It never ceased but there was no other sound, I wished there were. I was able to see and feel and hear. There was no colour. It was toneless without light or shade. Silent but not still, without form, void. It seemed to drain one of all joy and hope. I had a strong urge to turn back, before I too became nothing. Then I remembered: "Go as far as you can." and I knew that I could go on, so I went.
Then I became aware I was in the Darkness. I could not see but I could still feel and hear but there was nothing to hear. It was oppressive malignant and closing in. For a moment I wished I could hear something, even that sand shifting and with that thought came the first suggestion from the Darkness. I learnt that it had not been sand at all but corrupting thought passing by and coming here. It was all around me. Then without warning Marazahn's terrible laugh rang out, as I had heard it once before and I shouted: "Stop, you did that once long ago but I still live." and the laughter ceased and in that moment I knew it was not Marazahn I had come to contest, there was no personality here, only the Force of Evil itself. I challenged and thought: "I came here of my own free-will." and the Force answered: "Yes but you cannot go back." I knew that to be true, so I had to accept it and challenged again: "Still I am myself and Sanchuniathon sent me." and thought answered: "But Sanchuniathon cannot fetch you back." That too was true and my first reaction was to think in anguish: "Sanchuniathon why did you send me?" With that thought I felt the Force strengthen, so I gathered myself together. "That brought you closer didn't it? I cannot go back and Sanchuniathon cannot fetch me, that is true and I accept it, but still I am I and you cannot possess me yet." Then came the most dreadful suggestion of all. "There is no time, no yet, no now." and I was sinking down into a Darkness that had no end. My senses left me and thought came with great difficulty but I said more and more slowly. "That is true I accept it also but although I have failed and Sanchuniathon cannot fetch me, though you hold me here for all eternity I am." I held that thought and slowly oh, so slowly struggling for more than my earth life, Sanchuniathon's message came back: "There is no Darkness into which the Light cannot come." I knew I had failed and Sanchuniathon could not come, but Azrael could and I called Azrael. Three times I called and he came and took me out of the Darkness.
(6) For explanations of the terms see the Summary of the Teaching. Back to text.