The Third Day
by Jack Courtis
After these the volunteers departed, who because of their ingenuity were suffered to pass, but yet so as never to return again in the same fashion. But if to them (as likewise to the others) anything further were revealed, then they should become welcome guests.
However some at least of the departed, will be welcomed to the Mystery Temple, if they try again. This is the point, we can try again. We are given as many opportunities as we need.
Meanwhile others were stripping, in which also an inequality (according to each man’s demerit) was observed. Some were sent away naked but without other hurt while others were driven out with small bells. Some were scourged forth and in brief, the punishments were so various, that I am not able to recount them all. In the end it came to the last also with whom somewhat a longer time was spent, for while some were hanging, some beheading, some forced to leap into the water, and the rest otherwise dispatching, much time was consumed. Verily at this execution my eyes ran over, not indeed in regard of the punishment, which they otherwise for their impudence well deserved, but in contemplation of human blindness, in that we are continually busying ourselves in that which ever since the first Fall hath been hitherto sealed up to us.
Again, we are shown the meticulous precision with which karmic justice is executed. We get exactly what we deserve and yet remain morally and spiritually blind.
The garden which so lately was quite full, was soon emptied; so that besides the soldiers there was not a man left. Now as soon as this was done, and silence had been kept for the space of five minutes, there came forward a beautiful snow-white unicorn with a golden collar (having it in certain letters) about his neck. In the same place he bowed himself down upon both his fore-feet, as if hereby he had shown honour to the lion, who stood so immovably upon the fountain, that I took him to be of stone or brass. The lion immediately took the naked sword which he bare in his paw, and break it in the middle, the two pieces whereof to my thinking sunk into the fountain. After this the lion long roared, until a white dove brought a branch of olive in her bill, which the lion devoured in an instant, and so was quieted. And so the unicorn returned to his place with joy.
Note the silence. Why is it emphasised? What is it? Before the "beginning", there was just such a silence. It signals a significant change. In the Mysteries, such a silence is a pause in the kosmic rhythm. We need to hear the silence. And what of the animals? The unicorn is the bringer of initiation. Its whiteness refers to our intuitive aspect which in turn, is the very subject of the initiatory process. The lion is a symbol of the sun of Tiferet and therefore of the Son. The fact that it holds a sword tells us that the Son is on the path of the sword, Zain on the Tree of Life and our faculty of insight and right discrimination. By breaking the sword, the lion demonstrates that the path to the Great Mother is now clear. The candidate for initiation can now proceed. We should observe that the broken sword has sunk back into the fountain, the Terror on the Threshold has gone back into the depths of our consciousness, no longer a danger. The white dove as a symbol of our vehicle of consciousness, spirit, brings the branch of olive as a message from a higher level. By absorbing the message, the lion (Fire) aspect of our nature is now quiet. Having done its work of initiation, the unicorn leaves.
Hereupon our Virgin led us down again by the winding stairs from the scaffold, and so we again made our reverence toward the curtain. We were to wash our hands and heads in the fountain, and there a little while to wait in our order until the King through a certain secret gallery were again returned into this hall, and then we also with choice music, pomp, state and pleasant discourse were conducted into our former lodging. And this was done at about four in the afternoon.
CRC is led down a winding stair, into a lower level of reality. He bows to the curtain. This is the veil of the Mysteries and a barrier to those not worthy to enter the Temple. By washing in the fountain, CRC is in direct touch with the basis of his own inner life, the waters of eternal life, the alchemical Fountain of Youth. The King of this Mystery Temple is expected through a secret passage because only someone who has advanced to the stage that CRC has reached, can be allowed to see him.
But that the time might not seem too long to us, the Virgin bestowed on each of us a noble page, who were not only richly attired, but also exceedingly learned, so that they could so aptly discourse upon all subjects, that we had good reason to be ashamed of ourselves. These were commanded to lead us up and down the castle yet but into certain places and if possible to shorten the time according to our desire.
CRC is given a learned page, an inner guide. When we reach this stage on the inner journey, we do require guidance and it is here that the old saying comes true - when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Like CRC in the castle we shall be given complete access to this level of knowledge.
Meantime the Virgin took leave with this consolation, that at supper she would be with us again, and after that celebrate the ceremonies of the hanging up of the weights, requesting that we would in patience wait until the next day, for on the morrow we must be presented to the King. She departed from us and each of us did what best pleased him. One part viewed the excellent paintings, which they copied out for themselves, and considered also what the wonderful characters might signify. Others preferred to recruit themselves again with meat and drink. I indeed caused my page to conduct me (together with my companion) up and down the castle, of which walk I will never regret for as long as I have a day to live. Besides many other glorious antiquities, the royal sepulchre was also showed me and from which I learned more than is extant in all books.
The royal sepulchre which contains more than in all books, reminds us of the Tomb of CRC in the Fama Fraternitatis. That has a similar function, to be a container of gnosis.
There in the same place stands also the glorious Phoenix (of which two years since I published a particular small discourse) and am resolved (in case this my narration shall prove useful) to set forth several treatises, concerning the Lion, Eagle, Griffin, Falcon and other like, together with their draughts and inscriptions. It grieves me also for my other consorts, for they neglected such precious treasures. And yet I cannot but think it was the special will of God it should be so. I indeed reaped the most benefit by my page, for according as each one’s genius lay, so he lead his intrusted into the quarters and places which were pleasing to him.
The mythological birds and animals are important because they symbolise the transformed nature of our being. The phoenix is the bird of resurrection, it dies and is then re-born. It is our Divine Spark as revealed in its true glory by the alchemical process. The others are our intuition (eagle), intellect (lion), emotions (falcon) and sense awareness (griffin). Even now, the companions of CRC neglect this knowledge. However with his guide, he continues his search.
Now the keys hereunto were committed to my page, and therefore this good fortune happened to me before the rest; for although he invited others to come in, yet they imagining such tombs to be only in the churchyard, thought they would well enough get thither, when ever anything was to be seen there. Neither shall these monuments (as both of us copied and transcribed them) be withheld from my thankful scholars. The other thing that was showed us two was the noble library as it was altogether before the Reformation. Of which (albeit it rejoices my heart as often as I call it to mind) I have so much the less to say, because the catalogue thereof is very shortly to be published. At the entry of this room stands a great book, the like whereof I never saw, in which all the figures, rooms, portals, also all the writings, riddles and the like, to be seen in the whole castle, are delineated. Now although we made some promise concerning this also, yet at present I must contain myself, and first learn to know the world better. In every book stands its author painted, whereof (as I understood) many were to be burnt, that so even their memory may be blotted out from among the righteous.
The guide is given keys to enter locked rooms. This is the knowledge we receive as the result of initiation. Again, the companions of CRC decline this opportunity. Now CRC enters a great library. This contains the akashic records. It is important to observe that we find this metaphysical place at the time when we truly understand the Discipline of guidance. So far, we have seen 10 of the 12 spiritual Disciplines. The last two are worship and celebration. We shall watch out for them. As to the library, CRC comments that it is as it was before the Reformation. This is a hint that much damage was done and much knowledge lost as a consequence of the "reform" of the Church.
Now having taken a full view hereof, and being scarce gotten forth, another page come running to us, and having whispered somewhat in our page’s ear, he delivered up the keys to him, who immediately carried them up the winding stairs. But our page was very much out of countenance, and we entreated him vigorously and he declared to us that the King’s Majesty would by no means permit that either of the two, namely the library and sepulchres, should be seen by any man and therefore he besought us as we tendered his life to tell no man as he having already utterly denied it. Whereupon both of us stood hovering between joy and fear, yet it continued in silence, and no man made further inquiry about it. Thus in both places we consumed three hours, which does not at all repent me.
But note. The keys of knowledge are taken away, back up the stairs to a higher level of reality. The library and sepulchre are out of bounds even to initiates of CRC’s rank. More important, CRC has already been guided to these places. This is very significant. He has seen forbidden knowledge. He will do so again with the Lady Venus and again, by guidance.
Now although it had already stricken seven, yet nothing was hitherto given us to eat, even though our hunger was easy to be abated by constant revivings, and I could be well content to fast all my life long with such entertainment.
Also of significance is the fact that the very first spiritual Discipline is again emphasised - fasting. Fundamentally, fasting is about the control of our vehicle of consciousness, the body. We need to keep it disciplined so that it does not distract us from the work of transformation during the inner journey.
About this time the curious fountains, mines, and all kind of art-shops, were also shown us, of which there was none but surpassed all our arts, though they should all be melted into one mass. All their chambers were built in semi-circle, so that they might have before their eyes the costly clock-work which was erected upon a fair turret in the centre, and regulate themselves according to the course of the planets, which were to be seen on it in a glorious manner. And hence I could easily conjecture wherein our artists failed, although it is none of my duty to inform them. At length I came into a spacious room (shown indeed to the rest a great while before) in the middle whereof stood a terrestrial globe, whose diameter was thirty feet, albeit near half of it, except a little which was covered with the steps, was let into the earth. Two men might readily turn this globe about with all its furniture, so that more of it was never to be seen, but so much as was above the horizon. Now although I could easily conceive that this was of some special use, yet I could not understand how those ringlets of gold (which were upon it in several places) served; at which my page laughed and advised me to view them more narrowly. In brief, I found there my native country noted with gold also. Whereupon my companion sought his, and found that so too.
This is a vision of Yesod and the inner machinery of the universe. The gold rings identify the location of the initiates in the world.
Now for as much as the same happened in like manner to the rest who stood by, the page told us truly that it was yesterday declared to the King’s Majesty by their old Atlas (so is the astronomer named) that all the gilded points did exactly answer to their native countries, according as had been shown of each of them. And therefore he also, as soon as he perceived that I undervalued myself and that nevertheless there stood a point upon my native country, moved one of the captains to entreat for us, that we should be set upon the scale (without our peril) at all adventures; especially seeing one of our native countries had a notable good mark. And truly it was not without cause that he, the page who had the greatest power of all the rest, was bestowed on me. For this I then returned him thanks, and immediately looked more diligently upon my native country, and found more over that besides the ringlet, there were also certain delicate streaks upon it. It is not with thought for my own praise that I relate this. I saw much more too upon this globe than I am willing to tell, but let each man take into consideration why each city produced not a philosopher.
Clearly, there is a pattern on the globe that gives information relevant to these initiates and it suggests an organisation of some description. The Rosicrucian Order perhaps?
After this he led us into the globe, which was thus made. On the sea was a tablet, whereon stood three dedications, and the author’s name, which a man might gently lift up and by a little joined board, go into the centre, which was capable of four persons, being nothing but a round board whereon we could sit and at ease by broad daylight (it was now already dark) contemplate the stars. To my thinking they were mere carbuncles which glittered in an agreeable order, and moved so gallantly, that I had scarce any mind ever to go out again, as the page afterwards told the Virgin, with which she often twitted me.
They go inside the globe. This implies an inner world experience. In Greek mythology, Orpheus enters the Underworld in search of the lost feminine, his wife. The Rosicrucian mysteries are about the feminine. The entrance is through a board inscribed with one name and three dedications: 1 + 3 = 4. This is the formula for the founding of the Rosicrucian Order, described in the
Fama Fraternitatis: 1 (CRC) + 3 (brother monks). The globe takes 4 persons; the guide (1) plus 3 others. Inside the globe, they look at the stars as in a planetarium. All the stars are inside the globe of the earth. That is a hint about the way in which astrology operates. The Greeks referred to the psychic centres or chakras as inner stars. Hence the centres are attributed to the planets. But what is astrology describing, the planets or the psychic centres? The outer or the inner? The Above or the Below? The within or the without?
For it was already supper time, and I had so much amused myself in the globe, that I was almost the last at table; wherefore I made no longer delay, but having again put on my gown (which I had before laid aside) and stepping to the table, the waiters treated me with so much reverence and honour, that for shame I dared not look up, and so unawares permitted the Virgin, who attended me on one side, to stand, which she soon perceiving tugged me by the gown, and so led me to the table. To speak any further concerning the music, or the rest of that magnificent entertainment, I hold it needless both because it is not possible sufficiently to express it, and I have above reported it according my power. In brief, there was nothing there but art and amenity. Now after we had related to the others our employment since noon (though not a word was spoken of the library and monuments). The place being already merry with the wine, the Virgin began thus:
The putting on of his gown is a small detail easily overlooked. It is not only a symbol of his status. It tells us about the way in which CRC uses vehicles of consciousness to enter places that we cannot. We should also observe his humility and note how prone we are to spiritual pride.
"My lords, I have a great contention with one of my sisters. In our chamber we have an eagle. Now we cherish him with such diligence that each of us is desirous to be the best beloved. Upon that score, we have many a squabble. One day, we decided that both would go to him and discover towards whom he should show himself most friendly, this we did. I (as commonly) had in my hand a branch of laurel, but my sister had none. Now as soon as he saw us both, he immediately gave my sister another branch which he had in his beak, and sought at mine which I gave him. Now each of us hereupon imagined herself to be the best beloved of him. Which way am I to resolve myself?"
The eagle is asked to judge the two Virgins. This is an allusion to Greek mythology and the Judgement of Paris, when three Goddesses were judged by the prince of Troy. In this case, the eagle is far more diplomatic. Laurel is the sign of peace and he carefully deals with it by taking from one Virgin and giving to another. Who is the eagle? He symbolises the alchemical element of Air and our inner aspect of intuition. He judges rightly and avoids the conflict that Paris caused.
This modest proposal of the Virgin pleased all mighty well and each one would gladly have heard the solution, but in as much as they all looked upon me and desired to have the beginning form me. My mind was so extremely confounded that I knew not what else to do but propound another in its stead. Therefore I said, "Oh precious Lady, your Ladyship’s question might easily to be resolved if one thing did not perplex me. I had two companions who both loved me exceedingly; now they being doubtful which of them was most dear to me, decided to run to me unaware, and that he whom I should then embrace should be the best loved. They did this, yet one of them could not keep pace with the other and he stayed behind and wept. The other I embraced with amazement. Now when they had afterwards explained the business to me, I knew not how to resolve myself, and have hitherto let it rest in this manner, until I may find some good advice herein."
We are tested without being told of the test. That makes it very difficult because we are given no opportunity to consider the matter. We must act intuitively and then reconsider later, when the full facts are known. Is this fair?