Church said, ‘I have a friend in the industry.’
I suppressed a smile. Church always seemed to have a friend in “the industry”, no matter which industry was in question.
'Can you get the Ark of the Covenant?’ I asked dryly.
'The real one or the one from the movies?’ Church asked with a straight face.
One of the most interesting symbols that has come down to us from the ancients is that of the Ark, or the box that was said to contain the sacred relics. Many people believe that this belongs particularly to the Jewish nation, but this is a great mistake, because it has been the birthright of every country to have the Ark. All have, like the Jewish people, lost much of their power and glory when they lost the sacred Ark. In ancient Chaldea and Phoenicia the Ark was well known. India celebrates it as theLotus, and the ancient Egyptians tell how the moon god Osiris was imprisoned in an ark. ￼ In all the Mystery Religions of the world, individually and cosmically, the ark represents the fountain-head of wisdom.
Over it the Shekinah‘s glory hovers, as a column of flames by night and a pillar of smoke by day. Every country has seen and felt its presence when the Priest Kings and Initiates bring it out of an old civilization, lost because of crystallization, the sacred Ark, and surrounded by those faithful to the truth, who carry it into other lands and among other peoples.
In every creed and religion we find crystallization. We find small groups of people separating themselves from their brother man. We find those who, clinging to the old, refuse to advance with the new, and whenever we find this crystallization, we find the spirit of truth carried away to other people and embodied in other doctrines. The ancient Ark of the Israelite never had removed from it the staves by which it was carried and moved, until finally it was placed in Solomon’s temple. Neither does the spirit fire in man rest until finally it is enthroned in the holy place of his solar temple. Ever towards the rising sun its bearers carry this sacred truth.
Nations are born of those who love the truth, and are buried when they forget it. The time has come when its silent bearers have taken the sacred Ark and the Shekinah’s glory, and in solemn file, have moved across the waters and brought it to the new world. The call has sounded through the universe, and those who are true to their own higher principles have surrounded the sacred chest. Those who have sworn alliance to their own higher being are following the priests and their sacred burden, and a beautiful mystery temple is being built in this beautiful land of ours, loved and guarded by those who are laboring for humanity. The staves are still in the Ark, however, and only when real good can be done by it, will it remain.
The opportunity is now confronting the Western World. The knowledge of the ancients, the wisdom of the ages is knocking at the door and seeking those who will follow it. The bearers of the Ark have stopped and are gathering a nucleus of spiritual souls to carry on their work, and whether or not the word of the Lord will remain with a nation depends upon its own actions, and the actions of a nation are the collective actions of its individuals. If it finds nothing here attuned to itself, if it finds few that will answer to its call, the call of service and brotherhood, then will its priests lift again the staves and the sacred work will go out into other lands.
The life of a country thus gone, like the ancient city of the Golden Gate it will be swallowed up in oblivion. The call is sounding, and those who love the Truth and think and care for the Light must join that band of servers who have for centuries dedicated themselves to the preservation of Truth. Their lives they have given a thousand times, their happiness has been second to their duty. They are the keepers of the sacred Word, and the law of attraction draws to them all who love and live the Truth. A great influx of spiritual light comes to those who live the life and have learned the doctrine, and regardless of clan or country they have joined the silent file of watchers and workers around the sacred Ark of the Covenant. Every individual by his daily actions is expressing more plainly than by words his ideals, his desires, and his attitude towards this great work. The composite attitude of a certain number of people either shuts out or lets in the light. Therefore every individual has a great duty, a great work has to be done, and to that the true student must dedicate his life. Then wherever he may go, whatever he may do, he is being led, and the Shekinah’s glory directs his footsteps. In the brain of man, between the wings of the kneeling cherubim, is the mercy seat, and there man speaks with his God as the priest of the tabernacle spoke to the spirit of the Lord hovering between the wings of the Angels. Man is again the Ark, and within him are the three principles, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—the tablets of the law, the pot of manna, and the rod that budded. But as in the case of the ancient Israelites, when they became crystallized the pot of manna and the rod that budded were removed from the Ark, and all that was left were the tablets or the letters of the law. When the individual crystallizes and excludes various sidelights from his mind, he excludes the life force which was flowing to him. In shutting out strangers, he shuts out his own life, and all that he has left are the tablets of the law, the material reasons from which the spiritual life has gone.
Solomon’s temple, or the perfected temple of the human body, the perfected temple of the universe and the perfected temple of the soul, finally forms the perfect shrine for the living Ark. There at the head of a great cross it is placed, and there in man it becomes permanently fixed. The staves of polarity upon which it was carried are removed, and it becomes a living thing, a permanent place where man converses with his God. There man, the purified priest, arrayed in the robes of his order, the garments of his soul, converses with the spirit hovering over the Mercy Seat. This Ark within is always present, but man can only reach it after he has passed through the outer court of the Tabernacle, after he has passed through all the degrees of initiation, and after he has taken the Third Degree and becomes a Grand Master. Then and then only can he enter into the presence of his Lord, and there in the darkened chamber, lighted by the jewels of his own breast plate, he converses with the Most High, the true spiritual essence within himself.
We are working towards this, and the time will come when each person for himself will know the mystery of the Ark, when the student through purification shall be led through the door of the Holy of Holies and there be enveloped by the Light of Truth. This was his birthright which he sold for a mess of pottage. “To this end came he into the world that he might bear witness to this truth, that through this light all men might be saved.” The Ark, that great spiritual principle, surrounded by its loving workers, is calling all to follow it. When through materiality and degeneracy a great people are destroyed or a continent sinks beneath the ocean, then those that are true are called around the Ark, and as its faithful servers are led out of the land of darkness into the new world and a promised paradise. All great teachings set forth the same thing. The student will find that it is true, and when he allies himself with the powers of light, when he becomes a channel for its expression, and when he radiates it from himself to all who need it, then indeed will the Light protect him and he shall become a Sun of God.
“In the religious processionals of the Greeks and Egyptians an ark or ship was carried which contained stone tablets, cones, and vessels of various shapes emblematic of the procreative processes. The Ark of the Israelites–which was patterned after the sacred chests of the Isiac Mysteries–contained three holy objects, each having an important phallic interpretation: the pot of manna, the rod that budded, and the Tablets of the Law–the first, second, and third Principles of the Creative Triad. The manna, the blossoming staff, and the stone tables are also appropriate images respectively of the Qabbalah, the Mishna, and the written law–the spirit, soul, and body of Judaism.”