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A Treatise on White Magic - Rule Eight - Cyclic Ebb and Flow
Cyclic Ebb and Flow

Let us consider now the words "the ebb and flow of the waters."

In the understanding of the law of cycles, we gain knowledge of the underlying laws of evolution and come to a realization of the rhythmic work of creation. Incidentally also we gain poise as we study our own life impulses, for they also have their ebb and flow, and alternate between periods of light and periods of darkness.

We have with us always that symbolic daily occurrence wherein the part of the world in which we live swings out into the clear light of the sun, and later returns into the healing dark of the night. Our very familiarity with the phenomenon causes us to lose sight of its symbolic significance and to forget that under the great law, periods of light and dark, of good and evil, of submergence and emergence, of progress into illumination [243] and apparent betrayal into darkness, characterize the growth of all forms, distinguish the development of races and nations, and constitute the problem of the aspirant who has built for himself a picture of walking in a constant illumined condition and of leaving all dark places behind.

In these Instructions, it is not possible for me to deal with the ebb and flow of the divine life as it manifests in the various kingdoms in nature and through the evolutionary growth of humanity, through experience in races, nations and families. I seek, however, to elaborate somewhat the cyclic experience of a soul in incarnation, indicating the apparent ebb and flow of its unfoldment.

The outstanding cycle for every soul is that of its forthgoing into incarnation and its return or flowing back into the center from whence it came. According to the point of view will be the understanding of this ebb and flow. Souls might esoterically be regarded as those "seeking the light of experience" and therefore turned towards physical expression, and those "seeking the light of understanding", and therefore retreating from the realm of human undertaking to forge their way inward into the soul consciousness, and so become "dwellers in the light eternal". Without appreciating the significance of the terms, the psychologists have sensed these cycles and call certain types, extraverts, and others, introverts. These mark an ebb and flow in individual experience and are the tiny life correspondences to the great soul cycles. This passing into, and passing out of, the web of incarnated existence are the major cycles of any individual soul, and a study of the types of pralaya dealt with in The Secret Doctrine and in A Treatise on Cosmic Fire would be found of real value by the student.

There is also an ebb and flow in soul experience on any one plane and this, in the early stages of development, will cover many lives. They are usually quite extreme in [244] their expression. A study of the racial ebb and flow will make this clearer. In Lemurian days the "flow", or the outward going cycle, spent itself on the physical plane and the ebb carried the life aspect right back to the soul itself, and there was no secondary ebb and flow on the astral or mental planes.

Later, the tide broke on the shores of the astral plane, though including the physical in less degree. The flow directed its attention to the emotional life, and the drift back to the center took no account of the mental life at all. This was at its height for humanity in Atlantean days and is true also of many today. Now the ebb and flow is increasingly inclusive, and the mental experience has its place so that all three aspects are swept by the life of the soul; all are included in the outgoing energy of the incarnating soul, and for many lives and series of lives this cyclic force spends itself. Within the aspirant there arises an understanding of what is going on and he awakens to the desire to control consciously this ebb and flow or (to put it in simple words) to turn the forces of the outgoing energy in any direction he chooses, or to withdraw to his center at will. He seeks to arrest this process of being swept out into incarnation without having any conscious purpose, and refuses to see the tide of his life beat out on emotional or mental spheres of existence, and then again see that life withdrawn without his conscious volition. He stands at the midway point and wants to control his own cycles, the "ebb and flow" as he himself may determine it. With conscious purpose he longs to walk in the dark places of incarnated existence and with equally conscious purpose he seeks to withdraw into his own center. Hence he becomes an aspirant.

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