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Metaphysics and Modern Science :
Towards an Outline Metaphysical Unified Field Theory of Everything
A Selective Survey of Spiritual Phenomena
Introduction : A Physical Spirit ?
The extraordinary revelations of sub-atomic physics have forced modern science to come to terms with some extremely challenging facts. Various eminent physicists have suggested physics may be approaching, however reluctantly, a realisation matter is ultimately so subtle, so insubstantial, it could be recognised in spiritual terms, as a spirit. The distinction between solid matter and ethereal spirit has vanished, with particles appearing from and disappearing back into the empty void. One of the most significant discoveries of modern physics is this recognition of ‘empty space’ or the ‘physical vacuum’ as a highly charged, dynamic field of energy, ‘pulsating in endless rhythms of creation and destruction,’ ‘containing the potentiality for all forms of the particle world.’ (The Tao of Physics Fritjof Capra) This precisely echoes on a physical level the ultimate Buddhist concept of the ‘plenum void,’ the spiritual definition of absolute reality. The infinite potential and ‘emptiness’ in everything.
This physical realm is recognised as the earth spirit in metaphysics. Metaphysics is used here as the science of the spirits, ‘spiritual’ energies beyond physics. Yet physics and physical reality is definitively embraced within its scope. This science recognises a higher, subtler dimension, really a parallel energy, which is usually referred to quite unscientifically in the catch all phrase, ‘spirit’ or ‘spiritual.
This earth spirit is the base foundation of the ascending levels of earth, water, air, fire and the quintessential ethereal spirit. Tibetan Buddhism has attracted widespread respect in the west as a fundamentally rational religion, based on an objective metaphysical science. These five elements, the core of esoteric knowledge worldwide and the metaphysical science of astrology, are blatantly celebrated in the Tibetan stupa, a symbolic structure built big and ubiquitous. (See illustration below.)
The modern recognition of the quasi-spiritual nature of sub-atomic physics could prepare the way for physics to acknowledge the rest of the family of spirits. The grubby, tough, immature, brash earth spirit, that is the physical fact-based common sense of materialism and the physical sciences, growing up fast into an exquisite princess, ready to communicate with her elegant elder sister, the water spirit, her energetic but sophisticated brothers, the princely air and fire spirits (the metaphysical spirits of feeling, thought and intuition.) This dazzling debutante might even discover the modesty to receive the counsel of the holy ethereal itself, the spiritual whisperings of our hearts.
We shall suggest below modern physics may benefit from a recognition of ancient metaphysics in solving the perplexing quandaries quantum physics and relativity theory have thrown up. Metaphysics insists ‘As above, so below.’ This predicts the patterns of the planets within every breast, leaf, stone and sacred crumb. It also assures the ascending subtleties, the five-fold order of the elements, at every level, not least within this material or earth spirit, so-called solid matter. This promises to define a new the patterns of the quantum levels of sub-atomic physics but even more importantly, to ‘fill in the gaps’ which will unite these two theories of the microcosmic and macro cosmology and solve many other mysteries such as gravity, as we shall explore further.
The lovely Chinese illustration of these five elemental spirits in Tao Spirits (reproduced in the centre spread) shows the simple and infinitely complex pattern as it has been defined in metaphysics, from Kabbalistic Cordoba in Spain to cosmopolitan Cochin in South India and distant Canton. The five are like a set of Russian dolls, the four subtler spirits harboured, one within another, within the physical spirit of our bodies and then the full five within each of these. This pattern of division can theoretically be pursued to infinity, beyond man’s understanding.
We can see this characteristic pattern of ascending levels within different spheres of our familiar world, in physiology, modern physics and psychology. And it is not impossible to recognise these familiar spheres of modern science as themselves part of the metaphysical order. This pattern is not just a model to grasp, recognise and analyse, to differentiate the ‘whatever’ spiritual order : its principle value is to help us appreciate the spiritual order includes everything in Creation, not least the physical order, the physical spirit. And, secondly, to recognise there is a scientific order in this infinite range.
This recognition might suggest the beginnings of a ‘Unified Field Theory of Metaphysics,’ not supported by a complex mathematics (which is already discovering its limits within physics) so much as a clarity in defining the nature of things and their relationships and hierarchies in terms of the metaphysical elements. However, the insight this provides into the order of things might well be of interest to both mathematics and physics.
A New World, A New Language
We all know the Inuit (Eskimos) have numerous words for ‘snow’ because it is so important to them, their lives depend on this scientific precision. Our lives depend on the balance of the spirits within but these are subtler than various kinds of snow and we have not developed a science to explore these different levels, much less the language to recognise them.
Below I shall tentatively attempt a preliminary draft of the beginnings of a metaphysical unified field theory, to give examples of the structure involved, rather than to attempt to establish any definitive designations. We are hardly qualified to venture this metaphysical, spiritual realm with any confidence. It cannot be over-emphasised what ignorant strangers we are in this territory, for all that it is our birthright. Our birthright is a kingdom of undreamt treasures which we trample through like dumb beasts with no language to recognise what we see, hear and feel but the contempt of pillaging barbarians for the glorious ‘spiritual world’ we are macho-proud to rape, plunder and despise, to further our own culture of arrogant materialism, hollow promises and looming catastrophe.
Serious Science ?
One can hardly mention the world ‘spiritual’ in normal ‘polite society’ these days, a degree of philistinism the ancient Philistines would find unthinkable. Yet it is more serious than these terms imply. It signifies a presiding ignorance and hostility to the spiritual facts of life, no less dangerous than a similar ignorance and hostility to the physical facts of life would be : it has gone on so long our survival as a species is in doubt.
We do not know ourselves, we do not recognise we need this spiritual oxygen for our spirits to breathe and we are dying in the intoxicating but polluted, suffocating atmosphere of materialism. This ignorance is at its most dangerous when overweening materialists occupy the territory of religion and are able to claim its legitimacy and righteousness and no one can contradict them. This is the way the world is going, on all sides and it is desperately wrong.
This theory is not to be compared too closely with the very serious search of modern science for a physical theory of everything, an attempt to understand the ultimate nature of matter and the mechanics of the universe. That is a highly complex search for an understanding which will unite the Theory of Relativity which has had such impressive success in describing the operation of matter on the macrocosmic scale and Quantum Mechanics which has proved a brilliant recognition of physical laws on the microcosmic scale of sub-atomic physics.
This proposal of a Metaphysical Unified Field Theory of Everything is merely an amateurish game, a mere bagatelle which attempts to make a virtue of its uncertainties and confusions. Yet this proposal fondly embraces both the macrocosmic cosmology of the solar system and the microcosmic wonder of sub-atomic physics in a comprehensive recognition of the infinite spectrum of existence, of being, far beyond the limits of simple physical dimensions. This metaphysical proposition dances with the nimbleness and confidence of the pierrot ballerina into proven parallel dimensions while in desperation modern physicists are beginning to conjure chimeras of these multiplying worlds to understand the sources and science of matter.
We shall return again elsewhere to this question of metaphysics in relation to the parallel dimensions being proposed by modern physicists. (Ancient Astrology and Modern Science) At present we need merely suggest the obvious. The ancient science of metaphysics, empirically demonstrated by astrology, recognises the physical order of matter as the ‘earth’ spirit, the base level, in a fully integrated spectrum of spiritual reality in which every level is entirely dependent on the others and cannot be isolated or treated as a self-sufficient, independently arising phenomenon. Here we have parallel dimensions which have been recognised by the wise throughout human history and form the basis for a practical, popular and sophisticated science of life.
If physics wants to pursue its search for a unified field theory which will unite the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics, it will have to take these higher metaphysical dimensions into account. It will have to accept the ultimate heresy of recognising non-material levels of energy, the spiritual, metaphysical energy, on which all matter ultimately depends. And it will have to recognise the urgent imperative for a spiritual dimension in every life as the price to buy the time to complete its search. For without this general recognition humanity will simply give up the ghost, for the game will not seem worth the candle.
Earth, Air, Fire and Water and the Transcendent Spirit Within Every Body
This childish game of ‘name the next level’ is much closer to the truth than the august theories of physics can ever be and it offers humanity life rather than the sterile deadly gambles into which the pursuit of a physical utopia has already seduced us far too far. Life is not the narrow, grim competition we have chosen to make it but a game and an uncertain hotchpotch of the spirits and in this lies weal and wealth beyond telling. The serious searching for a blindly physical calculation can only fall hopelessly short and lead to a dead end, away from life and hope and the future. This is the immemorial truth and the jest of ancient wisdom which smiles inscrutable at its mockers and murderers. Unrelieved gravity has always failed to convince.
While this scheme cannot persuade us of its precise validity, it does begin to reveal an overview of a whole order of phenomena which lies outside the understanding and even the recognition of modern material science. The closest precedent to this theory is perhaps contained in the Nobel laureate, Hermann Hesse’s concept of the Glass Bead Game, in his masterpiece of the same name.
This imaginary Game proposed common underlying principles or a common definition which unites all branches of intellectual thought, music of course – which Pythagoras recognised as the fundamental bridge between science and art – literature, theology, painting and sculpture, architecture and the sciences. This can only sensibly be understood in terms of the different spirits at play within these disciplines, striking resonances and harmonies with similar spirits, impulses, movements, features in another field.
The brief outline map of our metaphysical scheme below will be expanded and explained further. Its differences with the Tao Spirits illustration and designations are a salutary suggestion of the somewhat tentative and arbitrary nature of these attributions at this stage. The question is not one of details but the fundamental principle of whether we are prepared to pursue the truth and recognise this metaphysical dimension and this metaphysical order.
The logic is quite simple, as is the empirical foundation. If astrology does work, then this metaphysical order must reign and pervade all creation. It cannot work partially. If astrology does not work, the greats of many distant millennia and many recent centuries and even such modern figures as Jung and Einstein and today’s growing army of dedicated, sober astrologers must be very gullible and fond fools.
Isaac Newton has been quoted as telling Halley who disagreed with him, possibly on astrology but more likely on theology, ‘The difference between you and I, Sir, is that I have studied it and you have not.’ If astrology does not work those who have not studied it would understand it better than those who have.
Astrology recognises non-physical forces which shape and pattern all our lives, subtle and elusive as they may be. All creation can be recognised in the metaphysical, spiritual pattern of these five elements which, dismissed and marginalized as they are, are more certain than any physical law we have yet discovered. We need only consider the baffling physics we are confronted with elsewhere in the solar system to glimpse the fragility of this young science.
Copernicus’ theory that the Earth revolved around the Sun and not vice-versa was held back for thirty years and only published at his death. Anathematised by orthodoxy, the Church, this idea took many years to find acceptance, despite the obvious logic and the strength of the evidence. Our institutional and human weaknesses have not evolved as quickly as the material technologies which surround us in the intervening centuries. The fact we would believe otherwise is not the least part of the problem.
Modern material science is the current religion in which we are told to place our absolute faith. It jealously protects its status and exclusive rights in a somewhat traditional manner. Prejudice against competing ideologies is understandable and only natural. This is not the Middle Ages and we do not have the luxury of decades before it is too late, before the End of Time.
Towards a Metaphysical Unified Field Theory of Everything :
A Skeletal Summary
Earth : bone, solid material
Water : fluids
Earth of Earth Air : gases
(Body) Fire : heat
Ether : space
Water of Earth Earth : melancholic (serious, sensible, stubborn)
(the Four Humours Water : phlegmatic (sensitive, sympathetic, jealous) Physical emotions, Air : sanguine (confident, friendly, frenetic)
emotional Fire : choleric (warm, energetic, angry)
states) Ether : ethereal, fey (spiritual, loving, unworldly)
Earth : atoms
Air of Earth Water : sub-atomic particles: electrons, photons, gravitons (Atomic physics, Air : quarks
electro-magnetic Fire : Strings, Super Strings ?
energies etc) Ether : ‘physical void’
Earth : motion, energy
Water : determination
Fire of Earth Air : initiative
(energy) Fire : action
Ether : ka
Earth : senses
Ether of Earth Water : psychology
Subtle Body, Air : astrology
Spirit Energy Fire : healing, spirit, energy
Ether : the Spirit within
Earth : touch/ taste
Earth of Ether Water : smell
of Earth Air : hearing
(Senses) Fire : sight
Ether : sixth sense
Earth : sensible, sensation
Water of Ether Water : sensitive, sympathetic, feeling
of Earth Air : thinking, confident,
(psychology) Fire : intuitive, active
Ether : Self, 'transcendent function'; love.
Air of Ether Earth : earth spirit
of Earth Water : water spirit
(Astrological Air : air spirit
energies. logos, Fire : fire spirit
metaphysics) Ether : spirit of ether
Earth : cranial osteopathy, homeopathy
Fire of Ether Water : reiki
of Earth Air : faith healing
(Spirit energy Fire : happiness, love energy
healing) Ether : divine grace
Earth : aura
Ether of Ether Water : psychic powers, mind-reading,
of Earth Air : prophecy
(The Glory of Fire: kinetic spiritual powers, levitation, ka
the Spirit) Ether : Immortal Spirit, ba.
An Arbitrary Point of Departure
This scheme begins rather arbitrarily with the definition Earth of Earth. We are certainly dealing with the physical earth spirit which is our bodies. If we set this in a wider context we can see it is difficult to define these levels, even at this apparently most basic point. If we try to define the most basic level of these elements, the absolute earth of earth, we will probably choose the elementary physical forms of our environment, the solid land forms, liquid water forms and so on which image the elemental Signs of the zodiac. For example, the mountains, lakes, breezes, the unquenchable fire of the Sun and the void of Space.
At another level, perhaps the fire of earth at some rather higher tier, we might recognise the higher orders of life, again evidently divided into these five elemental levels. The reptiles are ready candidates for the first base earth level, closely attached as they are to the physical level of the earth; the fish are even more obvious representations of the water level of life; the birds almost too plainly embrace the element of the air while the more lively and active animal kingdom, defined partly by its warm-blood, would seem to fit the level of fire.
If we look for a still higher level of life to represent the ethereal element we don’t need to look too far to suggest man’s quasi-divine qualities : his reflective consciousness and his knowledge of so many of the mysteries of creation and not least his tremendous potential to know much more. These quite transcendent qualities naturally place mankind in the higher order we instinctively claim as our inheritance. Neither apes nor angels but apes who have transcended beyond our mere animal instincts, for all that we still depend on these and the rest of the lower physical imperatives, food and drink, air, shelter, warmth and the strength of togetherness, relationships.
It is in this context we should recognise our physical bodies as the base physical earth spirit for this highest form of life, the most elevated form the teeming beauty of the Earth has yet produced.
The Earth of Earth : Our Body
The first, earth level of our earth spirit, our bodies, the earth of earth, defines our familiar physical reality. The five metaphysical levels can be recognised in the different physical states within our bodies, the solid parts, particularly the bones, (earth), the many essential fluids, (water), the vital role played by gases, especially oxygen and carbon dioxide, (air), and the critical factor of temperature, heat, within the body (fire). Each vitally interspersed with the all-pervading subtlest element of space (ether). These are the five elemental levels within the earth of earth level. Purely physical. Increasingly rarefied and active physical states.
Water of Earth : Our Emotional States, the Four Humours
The‘water’ level of our physical earth spirit, our bodies, is our feeling, or emotion, and we readily recognise this can have both a physiological genesis and a physical manifestation. Physical or mental exhaustion will always produce ‘dangerous’ toxins which give rise to emotional outbursts; chocolate is supposed to produce feelings of satisfaction and so on.
Within this next level, the water of earth, the five metaphysical levels can be recognised in our spectrum of emotional states, the physical manifestations of our emotions, or attitudes, our physical psychology. This might be exemplified by the sensible practicality of earth; sympathy or sadness for water; a thoughtful, logical attitude for air and the restless energy, anger or simple warmth for fire. The elusive transcendent element of ether is highlighted best by love which rules and embraces all four.
It is no surprise to find metaphysics has covered this vital territory long since, recognising the different emotional temperaments in terms of the four elements, broadly portrayed in the four humours. The four humours are essentially the physical manifestations of the four psychological types outlined by CG Jung, the eminent psychologist. Jung was well acquainted with astrology and based his four types on the psychology of the four elements.
The four humours or temperaments, melancholic, phlegmatic, sanguine and choleric represented the elements of earth, water, air and fire respectively. The despondency and depressive qualities of melancholy are still readily recognised, while the bad tempered, quick to anger temperament of choler equally needs little explanation. A sanguine nature is well known to be optimistic and courageous, again much like the classic definition, while the cool, unemotional phlegmatic nature is also familiar in modern vocabulary.
These four humours were originally intended as amalgams of two different types by Galen in the 2nd century AD and it is probably unhelpful to try to attach them too closely to the astrological Signs. In any case there seems to be the morbid emphasis on negative qualities particularly of concern to physicians. We might readily produce a more modern definition of these four emotional types which would illustrate this basic metaphysical pattern within the ‘water of earth,’ our emotional states, our all-powerful motivations.
These should include all the outstanding emotional traits of the twelve Signs, divided into their four elemental groups. As an example we might list sensible, serious, loyal, anxious and stubborn among the emotional characteristics for earth; sympathetic, sensitive, caring, critical and jealous for water; confident, inspired, thoughtful, friendly and frenetic for air and energetic, warm, generous, playful and angry for the element of fire. The fifth, ethereal temperament we might call spiritual, unworldly or high-minded. We will all display most of this full range at various times because we all have all of these elements active within our horoscopes, within our characters, to different degrees. Some of these will predominate, not necessarily simply according to our Sun Signs.
Air of Earth : Atomic Physics
If we move on to examine the level of the air spirit of earth, this is the logos, the science or ‘-logy’ of matter, essentially the world of sub-atomic physics. It is no great leap from the recognition of the air spirit as the ‘thinking’ or logical function of our psychology to this association with the logos, which has always had a prominent place in ancient science, still preserved in our language as the definition of science, rational discourse which confirms knowledge : biology, geology, astrology.
We should expect to find these ascending metaphysical levels reflected at this most refined level of matter and we see the beginnings of this pattern as the relatively solid, basic earth level of the atom reveals within it the higher, finer, more mobile, even fluid level of sub-atomic particles : photons, protons, electrons, neutrons and other leptons, baryons and mesons, presumably including the elusive gravitons, the subtler water level; within and beyond these particles we appear to have a still subtler level of the mysterious quarks, possibly corresponding to the higher air. In accord with this pattern, all these levels comprise a range of variations which should eventually reveal further levels of this pattern but this is still a developing science where many areas are ultimately unclear.
Beyond the level of the quarks, physicists are still groping but tend to agree there is yet another higher, super-refined level. This may be the vibrating strings of ‘String Theory’ where the essentially active, creative, ‘musical’ qualities of ‘strings’ echo the energetic quality of fire. At the highest level quantum physicists have long recognised the ethereal creative power of the void, empty space, which chimes precisely with the potent nature of the ethereal Spirit in metaphysics - albeit within this rarefied physical realm. We have already noted the phenomenon of particles disappearing into the void and appearing from it, created out of nothing, disappearing into nothing. Perhaps we can spell out this paradox more clearly by saying, ‘created out of no thing, disappearing into no thing.’ No material thing, material nothing.
Within our bodies these subatomic levels are most recognisable in the electro-magnetic energy which is so vital for the body’s functions, from the brain to the operation of the nervous system. This electro-magnetic energy is the perfect physical metaphor for the metaphysical cosmic energy of the air Sign, Aquarius, symbolised on the physical level as the starry heavens and the infinitely complex dynamics connecting the celestial spheres. Metaphysically it is represented as the logos.
This celestial Aquarian spirit of the logos plays a significant role in the theology of divinity. As the Word, the logos has long been identified with Christ but it properly defines a slightly different spirit, the supreme quiet inspiration of the Holy Spirit or Sophia, Wisdom. The spirit with the gift of words, the Spirit of Truth. This is explored at length in another article, The Holy Spirit is Sophia, Wisdom : God’s Consort; and the Logos, the Aquarian Spirit of Truth for the New Age.
The most momentous point in this is not the theological reassessment of the Christian Trinity. It is the recognition of the science of metaphysics, essentially the science of astrology, at the heart of Christian thinking, at the heart of the Christian Trinity.
We have already recognised the sub-atomic world is such a refined realm, modern physics is by no means able to present a clear pattern and there are plenty of uncertainties. Still there does seem to be a prima facie, apparent similarity between these physical and metaphysical patterns which invites serious consideration. What is clear is the common structure of a ‘Russian doll' hierarchy of energy levels, quantum levels perhaps, one within another, in both physics and metaphysics. Quantum physics is not too far from the conception of a scheme of five quantum levels, mirroring metaphysics.
Serious metaphysicians would be surprised if it were otherwise. They might even say, it must be so. The public might say it is about time these quarrelling cousins, rival siblings, started talking to one another and got their act together, as neither is very attractive or impressive at present.
Fire of Earth : Energy
Trying to define the next level, the fire of earth is a yet more perilous adventure in far more rarefied and uncharted territory. At this stage it is perhaps more important to point the direction and assert the existence of this new land, rather than to claim to hold a definitive map. We might suggest the level of the fire spirit of our earth spirit, our bodies, is all about the essential energy levels which keep us alive in so many ways.
To recognise the five metaphysical levels within this most rarefied realm, we might begin with the most basic of these : the earth, or physical level, is probably simple motion and physical energy itself; this is dependent on the higher psychological level of our determination or motivation (water) which in turn is subject to the more mental level of initiative (air) which is itself dependent on the higher energy of the instantaneous instinct or impulse to action (fire.)
To suggest the ethereal level of this rarefied energy we might propose the subtle faculty of intuition : we know things but we are not sure how; we act with an understanding that proves right but can hardly be explained. Sport seems to show plenty of examples of this and sportsmen talk of ‘being in the zone,’ where everything goes just right, especially in complex operations like the triple-jump. A state which can never be manufactured or summoned to order. It sounds almost like some kind of spiritual or mystical state.
We see footballers, for instance, judge their kicks over forty to seventy yards to precision, in direction, distance and ‘weight,’ or force, which may be trained for long hours but finally must be performed without a second’s thought, automatically. Or snooker players where the touch on the cue ball must involve a number of precise calculations, not merely to achieve the chosen shot but to set up the next shot, like a chess player working out several moves ahead. This is translated into a physical movement which can never be measured except intuitively, instinctively. The endless training seems only to give the confidence we can do it and we allow our unconscious mind or spirit to make the necessary calculations and send the signals. When we are ‘on song,’ it comes off. The more consciously we try to make it right, the less likely we are to succeed. Jungian psychology clearly identifies the ‘transcendent function’ of our unconscious minds with the Spirit within. The Spirit we don’t know.
The value of this present attempt, limited as it is, may be to raise more questions than it answers. This is as it should be. At a time when science denies the very existence of a spiritual dimension and the validity of metaphysics, our initial concern is not to produce a polished theory.
If we can summon enough interest to recognise the inaccuracies of this tentative scheme, we might find wisdom enough to buy the time we need to explore this ultimate understanding.
In the present exercise we have chosen to recognise the physical reflection of these metaphysical levels within the colourful complexity of our own bodies. Metaphysics would not be disappointed by modern science in expecting to find these same developing physical levels defined within all creation, from rocks to plants to insects and animals. Science has given us the understanding to fulfil this expectation, to recognise these levels in all creation, as exampled above. Metaphysics goes further. It is the science of the spirits. This scheme has merely attempted to suggest its patterns can be recognised in the ascending complexity of the physical world, the realm of modern science with which we are familiar. The physical realm is the earth spirit, the first, basic level of metaphysics.
The Indian theological concept of metaphysics clearly recognises the higher levels of the spirit within all things, all creation, including what we call ‘inanimate’ matter. It seems to be a function not of life, ‘animate matter,’ animals, humans, as we in the west tend to recognise the spiritual dimension, when we recognise it at all. This spiritual dimension seems to be something much more basic. The Indian sage would probably point out just as the quasi-spiritual glories of electrons, photons and quarks are not confined to life forms, so Brahman, the glories of the slightly higher spirit of Brahma, the Creator, is not withheld from the rocks, the river, the wind or the flame.
In Hindu philosophy this ultimate Spirit is recognised as immanent within all Creation. This immanent Spirit not only echoes the basic premise of metaphysics, it is empirically essential to the operation of astrology. This is a metaphysical understanding of reality which has survived almost three millennia of intense debate and inquiry, rejection and reinstatement. This analysis should not be dismissed lightly by a modern science which has no metaphysical debate beyond the intellectual equivalent of book burning or worse.
Animism was the ancient expression of this awareness of the spirits within all things and the same recognition is the foundation of astrology. This makes it so alien to modern materialist science. The ‘inanimate’ planets would appear to be anything but. Astrology remains the clearest empirical evidence this ancient animism was not fatuous but it is evidence, like most science, for those with eyes to see : those like Jung, like the many responsible modern astrologers. As with most science, we must trust the experts and judge them by their fruits. The fruits of this science are our ancient birthright, the long-promised, long-scorned glories of heaven on earth. And the best of the legacy of the world’s religions, dropping the dross : our better selves, the best we aspire to.
The Ether of Earth : Our Ka, a Subtle Energy Body
This ethereal level of our earth spirit, our body, is the level we simply call our Spirit or Soul. We are simple souls when it comes to the science of metaphysics and we should perhaps not be too hasty to name names in this world. But we cannot make progress in this area if we are not prepared to make mistakes and our lives, perhaps literally our survival, depends on making some progress. Perhaps we should fight shy of simply identifying every spirit with our immortal Spirit, the Atman recognised by the Hindus which goes on from life to life.
The Egyptian system presents forceful evidence for the ancient awareness of different spirit levels. Although our present understanding has not encouraged us to explore this evidence in depth, somewhat confusing as it naturally appears, we might still pick out one or two highlights to guide our stumbling steps.
In their famous funerary texts, the so-called Book of the Dead, the ancient Egyptians recognised several different spirits attached to a deceased person, possibly as many as six or seven. There is every reason to believe these were essentially based on a sincere, serious, spiritual knowledge and it fits with our own understanding of metaphysics. Among these was included the physical body, or ‘khat,’ which remained on earth but was still recognised in the order of these spirits. Astrology recognises it as the earth spirit. Its importance and relationship to the departed spirit was celebrated in the cult of mummification. This is probably more a recognition of a natural attachment to the body, even after death, than anything more elevated. Perhaps it can be compared to the nineteenth century attachment to graves in expectation of the General Resurrection, a natural but mistaken ‘spiritual materialism.’
The ba seems to have signified what we commonly recognise as our immortal Soul, recognised by astrology and metaphysics as our ethereal Spirit and celebrated in all faiths. Very close to the ba, but not entirely equal to it was its ‘shadow’ : the ka. This perhaps represents a more personal version of our peripatetic Spirit which belongs to a particular life and retains that identity in the afterlife, rather than moving on to a new life, a new identity. For the Egyptians the ka went up to Heaven, and enjoyed the afterlife alongside the ba but without quite the same status and power.
The often rapid turn-around of reincarnation raises questions over the almost unanimous testimony of advanced ‘near death experiences’ (NDEs) which recall the welcome by the spirits of deceased family members. Some of these accounts have been verified by extraordinary information given. Such a residual spirit certainly satisfies our sense we should continue with some kind of consciousness carried over from the momentous experience of a life. The reincarnated spirit sheds the ‘skin’ of this personal ‘life identity’ spirit which remains in the ethereal element above.
We shall discover below a level of spiritual energy where this ka spirit might manifest in a tangible and active way in our lives, even suggesting a possible explanation for the ancient Egyptian hieroglyph for this shadow soul.
Within this ka’s most subtle spirit we should again discover these five levels. As the Tao Spirits illustration portrays (below), we might begin to trace within each of these five another subset of vital energy levels. If we presume to suggest the forms in which we might recognise these internal levels, we will nevertheless remember our novitiate status in this renascent science.
The next section attempts to trace this metaphysical pattern of the elemental levels at a more elevated, ethereal stratum, the realm of our ethereal spirit. This discourse may tend to confirm us as creatures animated by such a sophisticated, ethereal level of energy. For we shall have much to say on the several levels within this ‘immaterial’ realm.
The Earth of Ether of Earth : the Six Senses
The first, earth level on this ethereal level, again of our basic earth spirit, our body, might be recognised in our senses. We think of our senses as entirely physical but they actually involve extremely sophisticated processes which modern material science is hard pressed to trace in their subtlest forms. Numerous ‘out-of-body experiences’ (OBEs) have given verified, true testimony to the sounds and sights they have observed, for instance when they were medically ‘brain dead,’ when all physical bodily functions, including physical consciousness, had ceased, before being revived to later tell the tale.
We might suggest the first, earth, level is the most physical sense of touch and taste, ascending to the more liquid-dependent sense of smell at the water level. The next air level is perhaps our hearing which depends on air pressure while finally the fire level might be recognised in the highest sense, the almost ethereal sense of sight, dependent on the most active energy of light, which connects with the distant reaches, the distant fires of our galaxy. Beyond this, to define the ethereal level of our senses, we escape the physical kingdom recognised by modern science to reach the rarefied outer realms so familiar to popular recognition and lore, our sixth sense, an awareness independent of physical phenomena.
Water of Ether of Earth : Our Psychology
Moving on to the next water level, again on this non-physical ethereal level of our basic earth spirit, our body, we will not be far wrong to recognise this as the subtle level of our psyche and our essential psychology. This is beyond the physical manifestations of our feelings, our emotional states, which we recognised at a more basic level.
We can trace certain physiological processes which accompany our emotional states but any psychologist will concede we are a long way from explaining any emotional state as purely a physical process. Even in this most basic, familiar and visible realm of our lives we would do well to recognise the processes involved are largely beyond physical definition. We have been reluctant to make this admission of the limitations of our science, our knowledge, our materialist dogma. Now we can see this honesty as merely a perfunctory prerequisite to opening new and exciting doors in this vital science. These are the doors to the metaphysical, spiritual dimension, the invisible, vital energies which produce such visible results, the out-of-range colours which unconsciously animate our life.
This intangible psychology is widely recognised in terms of Jung’s four psychological types which we have already encountered. The sensation, feeling, thinking and intuition types. The sensation type defines those who are centred in the physical realm of the senses, taking a sensible view of life, focussing on practical objectives and the circumstances, not least the powers, the politics, involved. The emotional realm of feeling recognises first of all our individual feelings, sympathetic and empathetic, sensitive to the emotional motives which drive us all. The logical sphere of thought emphasises the importance of thinking, the duality of harmony and dialogue behind so many relationships and the complex connections between events. Finally the more intuitive medium values instinct, action, impulse, strength and experience. These define the four elements earth, water, air and fire in the psychological terms in which most modern astrologers prefer to recognise them, the psychological terms in which a horoscope reading is most useful.
These four types have been translated into a popular personality test known as the Myers-Briggs Typology Test which aims to help people, especially in a business context, understand different personality types, particularly those with whom they may not naturally get on. It has proved extremely effective, demonstrating the practical validity and usefulness of Jung’s translation of the four elements of astrology as psychological types. Demonstrating the practical value of the primary foundation of modern astrology. As Jung himself would confirm, a true horoscope is able to provide a much more accurate portrait than the relative simplicity of this psychological translation. Unfortunately practitioners of the Myers-Briggs Test are likely to react to suggestions about the usefulness of astrology with less than wholehearted interest.
Jung’s psychology extended beyond the relatively superficial psychological level of these four to recognise a ‘transcendent function’ which, almost definitively, corresponds to the ethereal level, the still small voice of our heart, our transcendent Spirit which we hear so rarely and heed less. He called this the (Unconscious) Self, or the alter ego (the other I), the psychological manifestation of our immortal Spirit. It is the divine ‘I’ celebrated by the Rastafarian religion in the phrase ‘I and I,’ juxtaposed to the ego, the all-too-conscious ‘I.’ The narrow, security conscious ego which determines the limits of our consciousness, what we don’t want to know. This transcendent ‘I’ appears to coincide closely with the Hindu concept of atman, our individual portion of the divine Spirit of Brahman, the divine Spirit of God.
Our itinerant Bard of beautiful tunes and cruel truth, Bob Dylan celebrates this inner twin in his haunting ballad, ‘I and I’ :
‘I and I,
One says to the other, no man sees my face and lives.’
This repeats the biblical definition of God whom no mere man may see and survive, with the notable exceptions of Moses and Isaiah. Most men see God only in the regretful revelation of death.
The point here is only to recognise these five metaphysical elements in more modern terms within our body’s psychological spirit, our conscious (and unconscious) medium for recognising, processing and responding to impressions of the world. This is the ‘water level of the ethereal spirit of our physical earth body,’ building up the rudiments of a metaphysical ‘unified field theory of everything,’ one which makes sense. Beginning to establish a recognisable pattern which demonstrates these metaphysical elements in all things.
Particularly thanks to CG Jung and his interest in astrology, we have the beginnings of this multidisciplined, comprehensive higher knowledge. Smuggled like a Trojan horse within the fortress gates of modern materialist science, ready to open these gates not to rape, plunder and destruction but to the brotherhood of man and the brotherhood of all sciences, physical and metaphysical.
This gossamer realm of our psyche is of paramount importance to us all and yet remains largely an unknown and inexplicable territory to modern science. Psychologists would acknowledge they can recognise some pathological symptoms but have little understanding of the infinitely subtle mechanisms involved. Any physiological analysis of our emotional life is overwhelmingly at a loss, although we have earlier recognised some physiological points of contact. It is becoming an increasingly inescapable realisation this powerful area depends on something infinitely more subtle than any mere physical processes and CG Jung, arguably the greatest psychologist of the last century, had no hesitation in recognising the metaphysical, astrological basis for his patients’ emotional life.
It is a sad disservice to patients and the wider world, the prejudices of modern science do not permit psychology to recognise astrology. This ancient and renascent science offers a precise, modernised insight into the psychology of every individual. The horoscope is an exact psychological map of the different forces at play in an individual psyche. Jung had to use it secretly, clandestinely, and it is an inestimable loss he was unable to write on the subject. This situation is an intolerable nonsense and will redound to the eternal shame of our much vaunted ‘enlightened’ modern science.
We have a few enlightened minds who endorse astrology in the face of the scepticism and worse of modern material science. The overwhelming majority of modern science accepts the dogma and says this is ridiculous, this cannot be, there is no spiritual dimension beyond the recognised physical forms and energies it works with : astrology, like religion, is superstitious nonsense. It is an argument between knowledge and ignorance. Because modern science knows so much, in its field, it claims the right to dictate the limits of knowledge, to dismiss what it knows nothing about and wants to know nothing about, even though its most enlightened luminaries contradict it.
Isaac Newton’s succinct riposte could not be more apposite : the difference is between those who have studied it and those who have not. Of course one does not attempt to study, to verify, atomic theory with a magnifying glass and one should not attempt to verify astrology or Jungian psychology with crude statistical tests which no proper astrologer or psychologist would support. Like obviating, refuting, Copernican and Galilean clarity with the popular and obvious observation of the Sun and the planets going round our Earth, this materialist view can’t stand the test of time. Though Galileo was on trial for his life while the furore lasted.
Medicine was for centuries based on the system of the four humours derived from the four astrological elements. It is credited to Hippocrates himself, the founding father of medicine and author of the Hippocratic Oath and who pronounced, ‘A physician without a knowledge of astrology has no right to call himself a physician.’ The success of modern medicine has brought this time-honoured knowledge into scathing disrepute and, like traditional astrology before the modern era, this ancient wisdom had doubtless acquired an array of dubious practices. Yet many doctors would still agree with the basic principle : sickness can often be traced to a patient’s emotional imbalances. This deeper diagnosis unfortunately gets short shrift in modern medicine, the baby having been thrown out with the bath water, as new regimes usually do.
Air of Ether of Earth
If we look to the next level, the air spirit, again within our ethereal spirit, this is all about rational relationships on quite a technical level. The air Sign of Aquarius defines this powerful energy ranging from electro-magnetic forces to social dynamics. At this level we go beyond to the great cosmic spirit of the logos. The logos is a subtler, more sophisticated spirit yet, beyond our personal psychology and might be recognised in the range of celestial astrological forces which apparently determine our mundane life. We might appreciate we have a level of energy, the air spirit, within our bodies which is in tune with these subtlest astrological wavelengths, mirroring, but at a higher level, the sublime web of electro-magnetic energy described in sub-atomic physics.
It is this spirit which imprints itself, extraordinarily, on each of us at birth to produce the all-too-evident features of our character which every astrologer readily recognises.
At this level we need to recognise these four astrological elements, the spirit energies of earth, air, fire and water, with the ethereal quintessence, in a much wider context than merely our personal psychology. It should not be necessary and this is not the opportunity to consider the deep and detailed understanding of these spirits, these metaphysical energy levels, which is the bedrock of modern astrology. We shall consider instead the more challenging facts of their operation, their role in our lives, our destiny. Suffice it to say these four elemental spirits are, to an astrologer, as well attested and as recognisable, almost, as the physical forms whose titles, with good reason, they carry.
These celestial spirits of the horoscope synchronise, not only with the infinite physical and social geography of every event but also with our individual karma, the moral law of cause and effect which decides our individual ‘spiritual’ needs, the personal story which determines our destiny. This synchronicity between the four astrological elements and our individual, personal karma creates every moment in perfect harmony with what we need for our personal life development. At the same time each new moment is arranged according to the configurations of the planets whirling about our heads and beneath our feet in the distant reaches of outer space. This synchronous nexus of causation essentially determines our lives, producing the ineffable logic and mechanism of fate which is the core principle of all religions, reconciled to the basic mechanical principle of astrology. Extraordinary and mind boggling as the concept is, we should trust it. This sublime synchronicity, beyond comprehension, has the endorsement of Dr Jung. It also has history.
We must be extremely careful not to fall into the trap of dismissing what we cannot understand. Spiritual thinkers are often accused of ‘woolly’ thinking because they cannot precisely define the mechanisms they recognise through the evidence of life. The mechanisms of synchronicity are a case in point being particularly baffling. It is sheer folly to insist our evolving minds and young, modern science should be capable of understanding all the wonders of the natural world. We don’t have to go far to recognise the limits of either in our physical sciences, never mind beyond them.
Even Einstein was famously disconcerted when an experiment (EPR) proved two particles at vast distances apart could respond to one another with a simultaneous immediacy which defies the speed of light. Yet this was accepted by science because the evidence was insistent. It seems to involve the same principle as we are recognising in the synchronicity of fate but at an extremely simplistic level. The great visionary physicist, Neils Bohr, explained the problem by declaring, ‘the universe is fundamentally interconnected, interdependent and inseparable.’ He was referring to connections beyond the range of conventional physics but this tantalising explanation has not been explored further.
The air Signs are recognised in the Kabbalah for their prophetic powers and their subtle matrix of metaphysical energy, the logos, arranges everything according to a divine Plan. This logical spirit will also give us intimations of these arrangements if our conscious minds can open to this knowledge as they occasionally do in dreams. Prognostications, predictions, intimations and dreams have all proved true so often as to be barely remarkable. Like apples falling from trees. They provide a large body of empirical evidence, often strongly corroborated, proving Fate, the predestination of the future, which is necessarily routinely dismissed as hearsay by modern science. William Lilly, the great seventeenth century astrologer was actually tried for arson because he had clearly predicted the Fire of London fourteen years before the event.
Present events must follow an inescapable logic, the law of cause and effect, and this logic can equally be projected into the future. Just as all religions agree, fate, the future, is already fixed, long since, ‘from the foundation of the world.’ (Revelation Ch.17 v.8) However our modern egos may, naturally, predictably, protest. This knowledge is available if we tune in to this wavelength. At this level of our spirit, the air of ether, we are always, unconsciously, on this frequency.
Modern physics has abandoned the nineteenth century belief in a mechanistic determinism. In the face of the profound uncertainties at the heart of sub-atomic physics, which extend well beyond Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, modern science has ultimately had to abandon the very principle of causality at the heart of its logic. This rather undermines the foundations of physical science, the principle of the logos, the logic of cause and effect. If these gaps or uncertainties can be bridged by the subtler energy of metaphysics, as astrology, for instance, suggests, there is every possibility this determinism could be reinstated as a principle of existence. Not limited to the crude mechanistic, physical level which is far from a closed, independent system, but with a much wider scope embracing the subtle and profound metaphysical principles of karma and good. The uncertainties of physics essentially are the room for manoeuvre for subtler energies to determine the future.
CG Jung talked about synchronicity as an ‘acausal connecting principle’ which is really an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms, perhaps reflecting his inability to publicly entertain the idea of forces beyond those physical recognised by modern science. It may well remain a mystery beyond our present imagination how this profound synchronicity is possible. We can at least recognise there are metaphysical forces quite capable of linking our thoughts, actions, feelings and our entire environment with the subtlest motions and natures of the celestial spheres. Forces which to physical science are acausal, non existent.
To metaphysics there appears to be a multiplicity of causation, a profound synchronicity and harmony. It seems impossible to say where the determination lies, within ourselves, stardust microcosms whose actions clearly have consequences, or in the macrocosmic celestial spirits of the planet gods which equally clearly mark the pattern of our lives, or in the evident energies which surround us. This is the wonder of synchronicity, the wonder of astrology. It seems to suggest a synchronicity of determination, a synchronicity of causality. We can only imagine a transcendent universal Spirit which deems ‘all things shall work together for good.’ (Romans Ch.8 v.28,29) A concept of God.
Fire of Ether of Earth
Jauntily and undaunted exploring the next level within our ethereal beings we might turn to the realm of spiritual energy, most practically channelled in the widespread phenomenon of spiritual healing. Spiritual healing, the ‘laying on of hands,’ is a familiar spiritual phenomenon with the usual venerable tradition stretching back to biblical times. In our own time this is still well-known in many different forms. Spiritual healing would not be so popular if it were not so effective, for all the prejudice which cries it down and any charlatans who may have pretended in vain.
Again, we must acknowledge this is the most attenuated territory and an appropriate occasion to repeat our mantric disclaimer : we are only trying to demonstrate the presence and range of this metaphysical pattern of ascending levels, not proposing its ultimate definition at this pioneer stage.
Earth of Fire of Ether of Earth
We might venture to suggest cranial osteopathy as one form of the most physical level of this spiritual energy where practitioners have a tremendously impressive record of solving muscle and bone problems which have proved resistant to conventional physical treatment. This is a version of the ‘laying on of hands’ where the hands touch the patient very gently and are also used to sense intuitively the patient’s condition. There is no physical manipulation involved and practitioners believe they are using subtle energy levels to work with the patient’s own similar energy. The results are dramatic and inexplicable by conventional paradigms.
A very different candidate for this level is the subtle spiritual energies of homeopathy. Homeopathy essentially uses the essences of various plants and other natural materials which have been refined to the stage where there remains no physical molecule of the original substance. Something however does remain which is very specific to the original material and this can only be defined as ‘beyond the physical’ and therefore as metaphysical or spiritual, the spirit essence of the original matter.
We consider homeopathy more fully in Ancient Astrology and Modern Science but two points are worth making briefly here. Classically, the ethereal nature of homeopathy is defined by saying it would take a pill the size of the planet before it contained even one molecule of the original substance. The further it is diluted, rarefied, the greater its strength.
We might well consider homeopathy to be the best empirical evidence for the doctrine of animism with which metaphysics essentially agrees. If any substance can be methodically pared away, diluted, until only a definitively non-physical essence remains, and yet remain highly active according to its character, it demonstrates the residual spirit within.
Secondly, the stock charge of the placebo effect is undermined by the extensive use of homeopathy in farming. The multi-million pound organic farming industry depends on homeopathy and testifies dramatically improved health levels.
This homeopathic spirit should perhaps be arranged at a different level rather than this very active level we are presently considering, were it not that the process of refinement is accompanied by an extremely energetic process of ‘potentisation.’ This involves numerous succussions or intense shaking of the liquid essence which apparently gives it an active potential far beyond a mere passive distillation, even to the degree of a spirit essence. It is this potentisation which may qualify homeopathy to be ranked alongside these other highly active healing energies. Certainly its efficacy more than qualifies it for such company. It may even prove a more appropriate candidate for this level than cranial osteopathy, which might move to a subdivision of the next level. It is probably salutary to leave some questions hanging in this exercise.
Water of Fire of Ether of Earth
Another established tradition of spiritual healing, Reiki, is, like cranial osteopathy, entirely independent of any religious system. This is not unusual. Reiki healing is used even in the most mainstream clinics and can be found available through the National Health Service in Britain. Reiki means ‘spirit energy.’ The practitioner’s hands are placed gently on various widely-recognised energy centres of the body and reiki healing flows from the palms. This energy can also be transmitted without actually touching the body, at a distance of some inches or even feet. At a higher level of initiation it can also be transmitted effectively over great distances, ‘distant healing.’
Reiki is used successfully in treating a wide range of physical conditions yet it clearly also has a strong element which raises emotional and overall well-being and for this reason it might be more appropriately assigned to the water level of this range of spiritual energy.
Practitioners believe this spirit energy comes from outside, through the top of the head, and travels down to the hands. Many experience this as a distinct sensation. This receptivity implies a familiarity with this energy and the necessary circuits to conduct it through the body, both for the practitioner and the patient. Essentially it implies a boosting of our own reserves from outside, in both cases; and a close connection between this metaphysical level of energy and our physical needs, the object of healing.
Reiki and other ‘spirit energy’ healing strongly supports the supposition we have a level of energy, a ‘spiritual body,’ which seems to approximate to the extremely subtle, highly active charge we might expect of this fire of ether spirit. This spiritual body might be associated with the ancient Egyptian recognition of the ka. The striking hieroglyph for the ka, two upraised hands, may even represent the transmission of this spirit energy, not dissimilar to ‘hands off’ reiki healing.
Air of Fire of Ether of Earth
At a higher level still we might recognise the realm of the much-maligned ‘faith healing.’ Perhaps we can begin by repeating that this phenomenon would not be so slighted if it were not so common. There has always been the recognition in medical circles that if a patient believes they are going to get well, that a particular treatment is effective, then their chances of recovery are greatly enhanced. One of the most commonly quoted examples of faith healing is the placebo. The apparent effectiveness of placebos has spawned denigration against homeopathy on an industrial scale, for in truth almost the entire medical profession is involved in this denial. Simply the charge is that because homeopathic pills carry no physical active ingredient, it must be the patient’s faith in them that produces their extraordinary record of success. In such a sceptical climate as we have in modern times the argument is deeply flawed before we even consider homeopathy’s unparalleled record in animal husbandry.
The other great area of success is religious faith healing and, even if the Gospels are more myth than history, there is little doubt this form of healing does have a history which goes back well beyond the time of Jesus. There is also little doubt, just as this practice is alive and kicking in modern times and can claim some impressive successes, now as then it is also exploited shamelessly to gull the gullible. Many things are done in the name of faith which are short-sighted at best. This exploitation would not be possible if it were not founded on some solid and dramatic successes.
Whatever the fashionable contempt for faith healing, we must recognise the coherence and power of the spirit over our physical health which alone can explain the efficacy of this phenomenon.
Fire of Fire of Ether of Earth
Ascending tentatively to the next level, the still more active and intuitive fire level, we might find this an appropriate point to recognise a still higher and more common form of healing energy. Again, this is so commonly recognised we hardly take it seriously yet it is widely recognised and valued within the medical profession. It is simply the irresistible healing power of love and happiness. It can be said, as a generalisation, that happy people don’t get sick, though this might require some insight into what constitutes true happiness. We all know the burning warmth we feel when things are going particularly well and this is accompanied by an instinctive recognition we are immune to such ills as flesh is generally heir to. This instinct is not mistaken.
The power of this internal joie de vivre is widely recognised in the treatment of cancer, one of the most obdurate and difficult of diseases which conventionally requires ruthless surgery and an extremely punishing regime of radiation and chemo therapy. Patients are encouraged to adopt a more healthy lifestyle but above all to learn to enjoy life. The dramatic successes of this ‘fulfilment therapy’ are legendary and commonplace.
It is often acknowledged the time a doctor spends with a patient can be more efficacious in the healing process than any other treatment, making the patient feel valued. Giving them good energy will resonate with their own better energies which may lie latent and depressed because they have been treated rather differently by others or have spent too long on their own.
All these ‘treatments’ suggest the energy of a spirit within us which has an almost unlimited power to right the wrongs of ill health. The sceptical can always argue this is simply the body’s own sophisticated physical systems coming into play and of course this is always true. Physical healing cannot be accomplished independently of our internal physiology but would that we could find some reliable ‘physic’ to stimulate these systems into such healing. This reliable physic is recognised by all as the physic of the spirit. All but modern science, that is.
Modern science’s reaction to the suggestion some level of spiritual energy might be involved in healing, or in any other unexplained phenomena, prompts Hamlet’s mother’s oft coined observation, ‘The lady doth protest too much, methinks.’ When the evidence is legion, denials must fall like confetti. One day there shall be a taming of this beautiful young shrew by her penniless, venerable suitor. These sniping sciences shall prove a fertile unmatched marriage.
Ether of Fire of Ether of Earth
Attaining the highest level of this spectrum of spiritual healing energy we not only reach the most rarefied realm, we might expect to encounter the rarest examples. Yet we shall not have to speculate beyond phenomena familiar to us all, at least by repute. If this scheme of metaphysical levels of energy, this spiritual rainbow, is to have any credibility it’s foundations lie in the ancient elements of astrology.
If there is any breach in our materialist Maginot Line, our determined defences against ‘the black tide of the occult,’ as Freud called it, any breach which admits a scintilla of credibility for astrology, animism or metaphysics, rationalism cannot long withstand the recognition of the planets as gods. With this breach, rationalism cannot long withhold recognition of the ascending realms of divinity defined by the Tradition of the astrological Tree of Life, alien as these may seem in the emerging twenty-first century’s august portals of ‘rational science.’ This metaphysical science, this knowledge, is the great grandfather of all true knowledge, all true science, apparently reborn at this time of unprecedented crisis to rescue his proud progeny, the material sciences, from their wilful follies.
It is not fortunate this provocative, pre-emptive preamble seems almost essential to draw the sting of dismissive dogma before mentioning the phrase ‘divine grace’ outside religious circles. Yet within the innermost religious circles, rationalism is not dismissed with reciprocal alacrity. Rational standards are embraced perhaps more readily than divine grace but divine grace is nevertheless embraced.
At the world-famous Lourdes pilgrimage site where divine grace is the object of the exercise for millions and is claimed many times over, the rigorousness of the assessment process for recognising such miracles bear impressive testimony to several pertinent points. In the last two decades less than a handful of cures have been recognised by this Church body as genuine manifestations of divine grace. The thoroughness of this scrutiny probably assures us these cases are best explained in this way, from any objective standpoint. We should also recognise, however, the scrutiny process accepts only cases where no other explanation is possible. A more mundane explanation will not always be the right one. Equally there should be no doubt divine grace is often masked in many mundane ways, too.
This rigour even more forcefully gives the lie to materialists who insist spiritualists are gullible fools or worse, who know a good earner when they are on to it. ‘Honi soit qui mal y pense.’ ‘The disgrace is in the mind of the beholder;’ this may tell us more about the accuser than the accused. Lourdes is a multi-million pound industry for the Catholic Church and the fact they are prepared to establish a commission which dismisses the claims of all but a tiny fraction of one per cent of the claims to divine healing from this prime site is testimony to a respect for truth which many scientists would do well to emulate, faced as they so often are by an apparent conflict of interests. The establishment of the commission also suggests an extraordinary confidence divine grace does operate and can be demonstrated.
It may well be argued this is faith healing but perhaps its rarity insists otherwise. The point is academic. If divinity exists, divine grace is as inevitable as rain in April, though only the drama of hail in May is noticed.
Ether of Ether of Earth
Finally scaling the uppermost peak in this metaphysical mountaineering, we reach the level designated as the ether of ether, the most spiritual and rarefied of all. Again we will not find we need to search far to define the features and phenomena at this level. Nor will we be surprised by the familiar thrilling disappointment : we have already learned in these metaphysical Himalayas every new peak reveals further heights, the ambition of many lifetimes, perhaps.
Earth of Ether of Ether of Earth
The earth level of this realm of pure spirit we might assign to the most physical manifestation of our spirit, the ‘aura,’ which is commonly seen by many genuinely spiritual or psychic people, not uncommonly with no spiritual training or knowledge, spontaneously. It is apparently the reality stylised in portraits by the Christian halo, copied from the Buddhists who certainly recognise this phenomenon. It is often said this aura changes colour according to our moods and Buddhist iconography readily portrays these haloes and auras in different colours, usually according to the five metaphysical elements which lie at the heart of their theology.
Water of Ether of Ether of Earth
The water level we might assign to the range of psychic powers particularly telepathy or mind-reading which goes beyond the mere sympathetic understanding so commonly achieved by those who can empathise with others, the familiar gift of the water Signs. These powers might include the notorious ability to communicate with the spirits of the dead. Like the claims of divine grace in healing at Lourdes, there are many claims in this realm for every genuine case but if we can accept the spirit does not die but goes somewhere before it returns to a new incarnation, a new body, it is only natural to accept sometimes these spirits will feel the need to communicate with those left behind.
Research would probably provide numerous convincing, even verified instances, for all the innumerable cases which are more likely to be delusional or even charlatans’ tricks. The fact the most convincing instances come from complete ingénues, those with no interest in this world, suggests a convincing principle :if these powers are found in some people, they must be latent in us all. We do not all need to communicate with departed souls, including many who believe they do, desperately.
Finally we might add one more familiar psychic power to this kingdom of the water spirit : the power to dowse for hidden treasures, particularly water. There is no question of the effectiveness of this power because numerous hard-headed bore hole companies depend on it and have a litany of incredible stories of finding water by this method where all others have failed and the conditions are next to impossible. Besides myriad dossiers of wells dowsed in more everyday circumstances. The multi-billion dollar oil industry uses dowsing extensively but dowsing has been employed to locate a wide variety of materials.
Dowsing using a pendulum is now commonly used in medical diagnosis in some of the many cases where conventional diagnosis falls short. It probably still needs to be said, this can only be a testament to its success.
The nature of the pendulum or dowsing rod may vary widely but the common essential is the human agent involved and the psychic nature of this gift now arouses little dispute, if little scientific acknowledgement.
Air of Ether of Ether of Earth
The gift of prophecy, prescience or foresight, is traditionally associated with the air Signs and it is their logical spirit of cause and effect, the great logos, which best explains the mechanism for this most prized and derided gift. This gift surfaces in our dreams where occasionally the precise details of a future event are revealed, far beyond the confusion, the trompe d’oeil, of déjà vu. It is also the commonplace of premonitions. Premonitions prompt people to avoid great danger so often it is unremarkable, however convincing the tale.
Prophecy is endorsed by the sage founders of all faiths and prognostication was a staple trade among the ancients. The fact this was probably widely abused by charlatans again does not diminish its obvious success and this is still true in our own day. Astrologers today fight shy of prognostications which prescribe precise details, though they can certainly give useful information about critical periods and the kind of energies involved. Clairvoyance is a different gift, though not always the sham which opportunity too often prompts.
Clairvoyance traditionally has recourse to ‘consulting the runes’ and these may take many forms. CG Jung proposed synchronicity as an ‘acausal connecting principle’ in his Introduction to Richard Wilhelm’s translation of the Taoist Book of Changes, the Chinese I Ching. The runes in this case are the eight yin yang tri-grams which form the icons of the Taoist faith, still celebrated on the flag of South Korea. They are used for foretelling the future, with an accompanying text of appropriate advice and have been venerated for their wisdom and reliability for over three thousand years. These oracles have become extremely popular in the West in recent decades, with the usual double-edged conclusion of an inscrutable mix of wisdom and folly.
The inextricable magical mix we recognised earlier of cause and effect with synchronicity suggests almost any synchronous event may be taken as a sign of the future. This is very much as the ancient world understood the matter and descrying tea leaves need be no more irrelevant than palmistry, Tarot cards or reading the flight of birds, counting magpies. This last has left its indelible legacy in the terms ‘auspices’ and ‘auspicious,’ tokens of fate. An auspicium was a Roman ‘bird-seer’ from avis, a bird, and specere, to observe.
If we live in a world where the spiritual forces of astrology operate, magic is natural and nothing is impossible. This is perhaps one of the roots of material science’s objections but we will not eliminate the deception this premise invites by denying the spiritual facts of life. There is plenty of scope for the temptation to deception in many other fields while as we have seen time and again in modern history, if we attempt to deny the realm of the spirit, human instinct will deny the denial.
In a world of materialist moral values, corruption is inevitable and modern materialist science has produced more than its fair share ‘up to no good.’ Only trust in a higher truth and recognition of the iron law of karma (‘as you do, so shall you be done by’) offers any better.
Fire of Ether of Ether of Earth
Rising still higher to the level of fire we might identify this spirit with more active spiritual energy, beginning with the kinetic forces again all too familiar from the phenomenon of poltergeists, commonly associated with repressed adolescent energies. Objects fly around the room and typically crash to the ground without any physical excuse. There is equally a long tradition of levitation which includes a few verified accounts of people spontaneously flying through the air. If we are really simply the quasi-spiritual physical beings revealed by sub-atomic physics, the potential to defy gravity must be odds on. When we recognise this is but the crude shadow of the greater glories of the spirit within every mountain, cloud and tree, let alone within a human being, spontaneous levitation is the very least we should expect of our future. When it is not something to fear, something freakish.
There is a temptation to associate the infectious and almost epidemic spiritual skill of fire walking with this level and it certainly demonstrates at a slightly less impressive level the power of – not mere material mind over matter, that cannot be literally countenanced as an adequate explanation, however the phrase appeals – this is the spirit transforming the body.
These are the spiritual energies we might ascribe to our ka, a spirit body the Egyptians recognised as the shadow of the ba, or immortal spirit which transmigrates from life to life, body to body. It is perhaps this ka spirit which is responsible for the phenomenon of ‘astral travelling,’ again familiar in the accounts of spiritual phenomena. These include accounts of the ‘ghosts’ or spirits of living people appearing to their nearest and dearest at times of great stress, across oceans and even accounts of those who can recall making this journey in their ‘astral body,’ stories which are verified by the reports of what they witnessed on arrival. Yet again, there is properly no scientific reason to doubt these accounts when they are otherwise absolutely convincing.
Ether of Ether of Ether of Earth
At the very pinnacle of this great pyramid of quadriform spiritual phenomena we have simply our immortal Spirit. This Spirit can be recognised best in the numerous immensely convincing tales of those who have remembered their past lives sufficiently to overcome the entrenched scepticism of former friends and family. This evidence is plenty for those who are not convinced by the fact reincarnation was accepted by all ancient religions, before we entered the dark ages. But it is only there if we are prepared to look. And see.
Similarly, on top of this we have a catalogue of impressive testimonies of Near Death Experiences (NDEs) where people recall leaving their bodies while clinically dead. Typically they remember, in verified detail, from an elevated perspective, near the ceiling, the frantic efforts to revive them before returning reluctantly to their failing bodies. These experiences clearly demonstrate we have a ‘spirit body’ quite independent of our physical body which removes the chief obstacle to accepting the age old advice we have an immortal spirit.
Christianity proclaims its endorsement of reincarnation quite clearly in the Gospels, particularly in Christ’s unequivocal assertion John the Baptist is Elijah returned. The Christian doctrine of ‘resurrection’ is affirmed by Paul to be identical to the Pharisaic doctrine of resurrection, which is all about reincarnation.
Heaven on Earth is based on the simple premise the spiritual science of astrology, once acknowledged, immediately implies not only the general affirmation of a spiritual dimension and spiritual phenomena but, accordingly, the specific affirmation of our immortal spirit. As our astrological religions unanimously proclaim. These great faiths are not trying to hoodwink us with shameless lies but are intent on convincing us of the spiritual facts of life. Or who would support their sort ?
There has been so much impressive literature on reincarnation and so much impressive evidence, the only possible rational resistance to this is the assertion there can be no spiritual dimension, no level of energy beyond the physical. When this fallacy is exposed by the recognition of astrology or any verified spiritual phenomena, the fact of our Spirit within shines bright, glorious and, rationally, incontrovertible. Then we realise what it is to be ourselves, to come into our inheritance, to claim our birthright, to be human.
Heaven on Earth bases its confidence in the case for astrology firstly on the revelation of the primacy and the supremely sophisticated ancient knowledge of this spiritual science. The Tree of Life shows ancient astrology included the knowledge of the most distant planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto and had an extremely elevated understanding of the spiritual significance of this comprehensive astrology. This sophistication established the position of the Tree of Life at the heart of the Bible and all other ancient faiths, worldwide. When wise men understood these things.
The second major pillar of this confidence in astrology is the exoteric or public face of the same coin. It is the unequalled prestige, strength and lineage which astrology can claim through history : the unquestionable fact it was openly practiced, endorsed and supported by the great and the good for, literally, ages, at the heart of all the great civilisations of ancient days. If this is not a convincing testimony, we perhaps need to examine the jury.
The third pillar is this same elevated endorsement in our own times. The most eminent and qualified minds of the twentieth century, particularly Einstein and Jung, have supported astrology, Jung as an expert practitioner, as part of his profession. A whole army of sincere, rational and professional astrologers have had the courage to stand by their convictions even though it may make them the object of curiosity and contempt in many established circles of society. Then there are the great and the good who quietly endorse and value astrology, too many to enumerate.
Astrology is the science behind the spiritual facts of life. Our immortal soul is the pinnacle and most prized treasure of these priceless truths, the point of the pyramids and the essential message of all the celebrated Pyramid Texts.
The outstanding quality of this Spirit is the testimony of our hearts which understand life a little better than our conscious minds, directed by our short-sighted, ‘I, I,’ egos. This is the testimony of love and goodness, the essential nature of the Sun in astrology at a more mundane level. At this more elevated level this warmth assumes the divine qualities of an immortal Spirit, fearless, omniscient, faultless and indomitable. Unfortunately it is even more deeply unconscious than our mere ethereal Spirit, the ka we have already recognised.
There is no insuperable reason this Spirit must remain unconscious to our conscious minds. It has often surfaced. It can easily be encouraged to surface more often.
This completes a primary recognition of the five basic levels of metaphysical, spiritual energy which make up an individual : the body, the emotions, the level of celestial, astrological energy, the ‘spirit energy’ used in spiritual healing and finally our immortal soul itself. Much more may be said on each of these but the present purpose is merely to begin to establish the pattern of the five elements in every sphere, ‘As above, so below.’ The recognition of the ascending levels of metaphysics within the physical and then the spiritual realms.
As the Tao Spirits illustration begins to show below, there are not merely these five levels within all creation but an infinitely expanding hierarchy of these five within each level itself. This pretty diagram perhaps carries the suggestion of a conceit of complexity. Instead we should respectfully explore these brief, esoteric hints which preserve the wisdom of the ancients. They are the wisdom of several millennia, the fruit of many fine and dedicated minds, of that there should be no question.
This scheme may not be convincing as a definitive map of the metaphysical realm and the pattern of the five spirits within various levels of phenomena. There is a provocative disparity between the scheme outline in the illustration and the pattern proposed in more detail above. This especially differs in the roles played by the ba and the ka, to use the ancient Egyptian terms. These spiritual phenomena are subtle and elusive to our unpractised minds.
By definition they are also unverifiable by the mechanical and materialistic standards of modern science. If we adopt more human standards, these phenomena would convince most unbiased juries they are ‘beyond reasonable doubt.’
It appears to be an essential prerequisite to recognising this definitively human realm that we adopt radically different standards in assessing evidence. In human evidence the standard of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ is considered the ultimate test. The lesser ‘balance of probability’ is widely accepted in civil suits of momentous gravity.
The higher standard would seem an appropriate test of evidence in these cases to satisfy the reasonable scepticism of science, the reasonable standards for ‘knowledge.’ Already there is a wide perception science requires proof in the spiritual sphere ‘beyond unreasonable doubt.’
If science is not prepared to judge by the standards humanity judges, then humanity will judge science itself and convict it all too readily of inhumanity. And one day, as happened to an arrogant church, its baby, too, will be thrown out with the bath water. Rational science will be discredited and overthrown and that would be a great loss.
If we adopt appropriate standards of evidence in this sphere based on natural humanity, what we unquestionably get is an impressive range of phenomena all of which are familiar enough from contemporary folklore, popular anecdote, to suggest something is going on which modern science is at a loss to explain.
The arrangement of these phenomena presented here depends on a metaphysical understanding which is the same in modern western thinking as in ancient Chinese thought, a global science stretching back more millennia than we can safely calculate.
It should persuade modern scientific minds Prof. Stephen Hawking was over-hasty in dismissing the spiritual world as 'porridge,' lacking the clarity of modern physics.* Though it is commendably candid to concede as much, what kind of science admits there is more but recoils from spiritual knowledge and truth because it is not available on a crystal plate, at the end of a lens ? What kind of science promises a ‘Theory of Everything’ while quietly deciding to leave out the cloudy doubts ?
This spiritual realm presents a fascinating new frontier for modern science which we will ignore at our loss and peril. In truth there is no clearly defined border between it and the material world, they occupy the same continent and are of the same family, lately estranged as they may be.
*Hay Festival of Literature, Hay-on-Wye, UK, in response to the author's question.
Towards a Metaphysical Unified Field Theory of Everything