The Mystery of Easter: The Triumph of Light
Of all the days in our Earth’s year, truly Easter Sunday is the Sun’s Day. Occultly, this is the hour of the Sun’s resurrection. The stone of the physical world has been pushed aside; the cave of the cold winter has been vacated; the Light of the world rises to new life and testifies to the permanence of Spirit.
As the Ego is buried in the dense body, so the seed of divine Light was planted in the deep darkness, all but lost to outward vision. This seed is a spiritual quantum of Cosmic Love which annually dies to Itself and gives of its Life that a lower form of life might be revitalised and raised by new and higher impulse. This sacrifice demonstrates that most lofty spiritual mode of the Manichees, the Zoroastrian Initiates who overcome darkness by living in it and overcome hate by loving it, even as taught by Christ Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount and exemplified in His life.
So, in the hour of greatest darkness, we may perceive our greatest promise, and we may acknowledge our greatest opportunity for regeneration. “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it cannot be reborn”. A Cosmic Ray of the Sun died to the higher Worlds, to be mortified by an earthly identity. Now, however, we see and celebrate the rebirth of life and with it the rising of the Lord of Light into the higher realms.
Here is confirmation of our hope. Here is evidence of, and symbol for our own self-transcendence. Innately spiritual, we yet, for a time, live consciously in the lower, in darkness, in matter, with a limited perspective, in most cramped conditions. This dark servitude, however, has its occult purpose and its abundant recompense, and Easter Sunday is the opportune time to bear witness to the liberating effect of our efforts. Sun-oriented, we, too, feel an irrepressible rising up out of our familiar selves; we know ourselves to be more self-consciously in and of the Light; we are able to re-affirm our essence as Spirits.
Truly it seems as if Easter commemorates the birth of the New Year, since we yet live by our physical eyes and can see the consequence of fall’s conception and winter’s quickening of the new Life impulse. Infact, the early Romans so ordered their calendar year. The first month was inaugurated by the energetic thrust of Mars; it bore and bears its name – then Martius, now March. Easter is the outward proof of the work done in the darkness during the preceding three months. Its proper and irresistible spirit is one of rejoicing. The victory of Light is now an established fact. All life feels and demonstrates a mighty surge of vigour, expansion, and creativity.
As the year has seasonal subdivisions, so also, in accordance with the laws of analogy, the evolution of Earth and man have corresponding phases or seasons. The Saturn Period of Earth’s development relates to dark winter, initiated by Capricorn, when mineral earth predominates and life is withdrawn, hibernating or working interiorly. Likewise, this is the formative season for the newly incarnate Spirit, the time for specialising and elaborating physical structures.
The Sun Period relates to the dawn of Light, to the advent of Spring, initiated by Aries, wherein the Sun is exalted, and the life impulse is most prominently asserted. It corresponds to the onset of vital body growth in man.
Summer commences with the enthronement of Light. It is initiated by Cancer and advance into the season that begins to yield the fruits of Light’s labour. Light ramifies into a substantial harvest that feeds and pleases all the senses. This season corresponds to the Moon Period of earth evolution and to the birth and growth of the individual desire body in man.
Libra and the Autumn initiate the conclusion to one fourfold cycle. It is a time of retrospection, of nostalgia, of turning inward and becoming pensive, meditating on the outer experiences of the preceding seasons. This season has its evolutionary analogue in the Earth Period, when man was given the faculty of mind. It corresponds to the birth and growth of the mental body in individual development. As human evolution proceeds, this cycle is repeated on soul and Spirit levels, the same emphasis prevailing.
Thus, the second cycle of Earth embodiments, following upon the form cycle, pertains to the growth and extension of self-consciousness in man through experience in his higher vehicles. During the Jupiter Period, or new winter phase, man’s vital body, now his denser, is perfected. In the Spring of his higher spiritual consciousness, correlating with the Venus Period, man’s desire body is perfected. In the Summer of his spiritual evolution, the Vulcan Period, man’s mental body is brought to fruition. The Cosmic Night following the full cycle or Ray of Cosmic manifestation marks the consummation of work on his lesser principles and the initiation into yet a higher order of development.
So, we see that growth on all levels, in dimensions lesser and greater, is seasonal, cyclical, and spiraling, always with a new increment added. Repetition is ever with a difference, compounded and enriched. The pattern of growth is constant, consisting of periods of evolving and involving, of sleeping to one mode of experience and of waking to another, of dying and being born again. Thus, does man relentlessly unfold his God-nature.
In some respects, however, this present phase, time, and moment of Earth’s development is most significant, for we participate in the joyful advent of Life and Light after maximum darkness. We remember that Christ was born to human consciousness in Jesus’s body at the nadir of man’s material development. Man required a spiritual boost of cosmic proportions to overcome the inertia and myopia that eons of selfish and material preoccupations had engendered in him. The spiritual impetus given by Christ’s sacrifice is confirmed at Easter. The dense body is thrown off like an outworn garment. Gravity and the grave are rendered powerless. The burial linens remain as mute testimony to the truth; man is spirit. He is differentiated in God. He comes out and away from God. He returns to God. Ultimately, he becomes as God.
In so doing, man struggles not only against his lower nature, the desires of the flesh, and the promptings of the personal self; he also contends with the very powers and forces which operate in the planet as a whole to limit consciousness to the domain of the outward physical. These powers would have man believe in the sole and exclusive reality of the physical Earth, and they employ every means and measure to detain and thwart regeneration of consciousness and transcendence of the material perspective. We are describing a Cosmic struggle. The Spirit so engaged is subject to trials and ordeals that are every bit as heroic as any depicted in classical myth and legend. We come somewhat more clearly to understand the spiritual task assigned man and how he is to attain his goal of contributing to the floating of the planet Earth. In overcoming his mortal, personal self, man, like Christ, overcomes the world, and in the process lightens the Earth’s materiality. Hereby we may appreciate the universal applicability of the Scripture: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32).
Easter celebrates this victory. In the sepulchre of Earth, Christ’s physical vessel disperses utterly. The higher principles consciously sour above the dead weight of the incarnate form. The apparent death of winter is really the genesis of a new advancing life to which the vast flowering of spring so exuberantly testifies. Infact, there is no death, there is but change of form, a transforming of consciousness. Death is but a door, a passing over from the physical-visible into the spiritual-visible or vice versa. In either case, death is the term used by one whose perception is limited to the particular plane on which the external Spirit is primarily manifesting, be it high or low.
Easter celebrates the triumph of Light. Let us rcognise and reaffirm throughout this year our individual and collective light and resolve to direct that light out upon our total field of earthly endeavour, so that next year’s Easter may find us further along the path of spiritual attainment, more consciously living and walking in the Light.
Easter heralds the invincibility of man’s Spirit, and the Sun’s phoenix-like rebirth into the higher worlds is the living symbol of this cosmic truth: The Lord is risen: He is risen indeed!
By Students of the London Centre
Extracts from Max Heindel’s Books.