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A Treatise on Cosmic Fire - Section One - Division C - The Etheric Body and Prana
3. The Protective Purpose of the Etheric Body

Now let us, after this somewhat lengthy digression, leave things cosmic and incomprehensible, and come down to practical evolution, and to the study of the matter of man's etheric body, and of the harm that may ensue to him should that body (through the breaking of the law) no longer perform its protective function. Let us see first of all what those protective functions are:

  • First. The etheric web acts as a separator or a dividing web between the astral and the dense physical body.
  • Second. It circulates the inflowing vitality or pranic fluid and carries on its work in three stages.

The first stage is that wherein the pranic fluid and [123] solar radiations are received, and circulated three times around the triangle, thence being distributed to the periphery of the body, animating and vitalizing all the physical organs and conducing to the automatic subconscious workings of the body of dense matter. When perfectly accomplishing its object it protects from disease, and the ills of the flesh are unknown to the man who absorbs and distributes prana with accuracy. This hint is recommended to all physicians, and when properly comprehended, will result in a basic change in medicine, from a curative to a preventive foundation.

The second stage is that in which the pranic fluids begin to blend with the fire at the base of the spine and to drive that fire slowly upwards, transferring its heat from the centers below the solar plexus to the three higher centers - that of the heart, the throat and the head. This is a long and slow process when left to the unaided force of nature, but it is just here that (in a few cases) a quickening of the process is permitted in order to equip workers in the field of human service. This is the object of all occult training. This angle of the matter we will take up in still greater detail when we handle our next point of "Kundalini and the Spine."

The third stage is that in which active radiatory matter or prana is blended ever more perfectly with the fire latent in matter; this results (as will be brought out later) in certain effects.

It produces a quickening of the normal vibration of the physical body so that it responds with more readiness to the higher note of the Ego, and causes a steady rising of the blending fires through the threefold channel in the spinal column. In the second stage this vitalizing blended fire reaches a center between the lower part of the shoulder blades, which is the point of conjunction, and of complete merging, of the fire from the base of the [124] spine and the fire circulating along the pranic triangle. It will be remembered how one point of this triangle originates there. When the threefold basic fire and the threefold pranic fire meet and merge, then evolution proceeds with greatly increased velocity. This is effected definitely at the first Initiation when the polarization becomes fixed in one or other of the three higher centers - which center being dependent upon a man's ray.

The result of this merging leads to a change in the action of the centers. They become "wheels turning upon themselves," and from a purely rotary movement become fourth dimensional in action, and manifest as radiant whirling centers of living fire.

The three major head centers (the sequence varying according to ray) become active and a similar process is effected between them as was effected in the pranic triangle. From being three centers that react faintly to each other's vibratory movement (feeling the warmth and rhythm of each other, yet separated), the fire leaps from center to center, and each whirling wheel becomes linked by a chain of fire till there is a triangle of fire through which the kundalini and pranic fires radiate back and forth. Circulation is also carried on. The fire of kundalini produces the heat of the center, and its intense radiance and brilliance, while the pranic emanatory fire produces ever increasing activity and rotation.

As time elapses between the first and fourth Initiation, the threefold channel in the spine, and the entire etheric body is gradually cleansed and purified by the action of the fire till all "dross" (as the Christian expresses it) is burnt away, and naught remains to impede the progress of this flame.

As the fire of kundalini and prana proceed with their work, and the channel becomes more and more cleared, the centers more active, and the body purer, the flame [125] of spirit, or the fire from the Ego, comes more actively downwards till a flame of real brilliance issues from the top of the head. This flame surges upwards through the bodies towards its source, the causal body.

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