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A Treatise on White Magic - Rule Ten - Astral Energy and Fear
In considering the sentient body of a human being I will probably help the most if I deal with it in terms of its moods and ordinary expressions, for it is only in dealing with its effects and in seeking to master them that man arrives at knowledge of himself and so becomes a Master. The most ordinary manifestations of astral activity are:
  1. Fear.
  2. Depression or its opposite pole, hilarity.
  3. Desire for the satisfaction of the animal appetites.
  4. Desire for happiness.
  5. Desire for liberation. Aspiration.

In these five are summed up practically most of the sentient experiences of man and we will consider each one from the following angles:

  1. The cause.
  2. The effect.
  3. The method of direction.

You will note that I say "method of direction" not method of control. Aspirants must learn that they are working with, and in, forces, and that right and wrong activity on the physical plane is due simply to a right or wrong direction of the force currents and not to anything inherently wrong or right in the energies themselves.

I. Fear. This is one of the most usual of the manifestations of astral energy, and is put first because it constitutes, for the vast majority, the Dweller on the Threshold and also in the last analysis is the basic astral evil. Every human being knows fear and the range of the fear vibrations extends from the instinctual fears of the savage man based on his ignorance of the laws and forces of nature, and on his terror of the dark and the unknown, to the fears so prevalent today of loss of friends and loved ones, of health, of money, of popularity [298] and on to the final fears of the aspirant - the fear of failure, the fear which has its roots in doubt, the fear of ultimate negation or of annihilation, the fear of death (which he shares equally with all humanity), the fear of the great illusion of the astral plane, of the phantasmagoria of life itself, and also fear of loneliness on the Path, even to the very fear of Fear itself. This list could be largely extended but suffices to indicate the prevalence of fears of all kinds. They dominate most situations and darken many happy moments. They reduce man to a timid and frightened atom of sentient life, standing afraid before the stupendousness of the problems of existence, aware of his insufficiency as a man to cope with all situations and unable to leave his fears and questionings behind and step into his heritage of freedom and of life. Often he is so ridden by fear that he becomes afraid of his very reason. The picture cannot be too blackly colored, for fear is the dominant astral energy at this time and sensitive humanity succumbs all too easily to it.

You ask: What are the basic causes of fear? To that question, if carried far enough back into the esoteric history of the solar system there is no intelligible answer to be given. Only the advanced initiate can comprehend. Fear has its roots in the warp and woof of matter itself, and is par excellence, a formulation or effect of the mind principle, and a result of mental activity. The fact that birds and animals know fear puts the whole subject upon a wider footing than if it were simply a human failing and the result of the activity of the functioning of the human mind. It is not incident upon a man's possessing a reasoning mind; if he used his reason in the correct way he could eliminate fear. It lies in what is called cosmic Evil - a high sounding phrase, conveying little. It is inherent in the fact of matter itself and in the play of the pairs of opposites - soul and matter. The sentient souls [299] of animals and of men are subconsciously aware of factors such as:

  1. The vastness and therefore the sensed oppression of the Whole.
  2. The pressure of all other lives and existences.
  3. The working of inexorable Law.
  4. The sense of imprisonment, of limitation, and of consequent inadequacy.

In these factors, growing out of the manifested process itself and persisting and growing in potency during the ages, are found the causes of all modern fear and the basis of all terror, above all that which is purely psychological and not just the instinctual fear of the animal.

To concretize the matter more clearly would not help. Of what use is it to be told that fear is a quality of evil (or of matter) which colors fundamentally or characterizes the astral or sentient body of our planetary Logos? What have you gained if I outlined to you the problem of the great Life in Whom we live and move and have our being as He, on His Own cosmic plane, seeks liberation and faces His Own peculiar trials and tests? How can words adequate be found to convey a cosmic struggle between Lives so impersonal and exalted in consciousness that the words his, or he or tests prove simply laughable and convey no possible aspect of truth or reality whatsoever? Cosmic evil, cosmic progression, or cosmic problems can well be left to that distant time when aspirants have taken the third initiation, have lost all sense of separateness, and - being identified with the Life Aspect and not with the form side - can therefore enter somewhat into the state of consciousness of our planetary Logos, sense His destiny, and vision fleetingly the wonder of the consummation.

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