Works and Days
George William Russell - A.E.

When we were boys with what anxiety we watched for the rare smile on the master's face ere we preferred a request for some favor, a holiday or early release. There was wisdom in that. As we grow up we act more or less consciously upon intuitions as to time and place. My companion, I shall not invite you to a merrymaking when a bitter moment befalls you and the flame of life sinks into ashes in your heart; nor yet, however true and trusted, will I confide to you what inward revelations of the mysteries I may have while I sense in you a momentary outwardness. The gifts of the heart are too sacred to be laid before a closed door. Your mood, I know, will pass, and tomorrow we shall have this bond between us. I wait, for it can be said but once: I cannot commune magically twice on the same theme with you. I do not propose we should be opportunists, nor lay down a formula; but to be skillful in action we must work with and comprehend the ebb and flow of power. Mystery and gloom, dark blue and starshine, doubt and feebleness alternate with the clear and shining, opal skies and sunglow, heroic ardor and the exultation of power. Ever varying, prismatic and fleeting, the days go by and the secret of change eludes us here. I bend the bow of thought at a mark and it is already gone. I lay the shaft aside and while unprepared the quarry again fleets by. We have to seek elsewhere for the source of that power which momentarily overflows into our world and transforms it with its enchantment.

On the motions of an inner sphere, we are told, all things here depend; on spheres of the less evanescent which, in their turn, are enclosed in spheres of the real, whose solemn chariot movements again are guided by the inflexible will of Fire. In all of these we have part. This dim consciousness which burns in my brain is not all of myself. Behind me it widens out and upward into God. I feel in some other world it shines with purer light: in some sphere more divine than this it has a larger day and a deeper rest. That day of the inner self illuminates many of our mortal days; its night leaves many of them dark. And so the One Ray expanding lives in many vestures. It is last of all the King-Self who wakes at the dawn of ages, whose day is the day of Brahma, whose rest is his rest. Here is the clue to cyclic change, to the individual feebleness and power, the gloom of one epoch and the glory of another. The Bright Fortnight, the Northern Sun, Light and Flame name the days of other spheres, and wandering on from day to day man may at last reach the end of his journey. You would pass from rapidly revolving day and night to where the mystical sunlight streams. The way lies through yourself and the portals open as the inner day expands. Who is there who has not felt in some way or other the rhythmic recurrence of light within? We were weary of life, baffled, ready to forswear endeavor, when half insensibly a change comes over us; we doubt no more but do joyfully our work; we renew the sweet magical affinities with nature: out of a heart more laden with love we think and act; our meditations prolong themselves into the shining wonderful life of soul; we tremble on the verge of the vast halls of the gods where their mighty speech may be heard, their message of radiant will be seen. They speak a universal language not for themselves only but for all. What is poetry but a mingling of some tone of theirs with the sounds that below we utter? What is love but a breath of their very being?  Their every mood has colors beyond the rainbow; every thought rings in far-heard melody.  So the gods speak to each other across the expanses of ethereal light, breaking the divine silences with words which are deeds. So, too, they speak to the soul. Mystics of all time have tried to express it, likening it to peals of faery bells, the singing of enchanted birds, the clanging of silver cymbals, the organ voices of wind and water bent together - but in vain, in vain. Perhaps in this there is a danger, for the true is realized in being and not in perception.  The gods are ourselves beyond the changes of time which harass and vex us here. They do not demand adoration but an equal will to bind us consciously in unity with themselves. The heresy of separateness cuts us asunder in these enraptured moments; but when thrilled by the deepest breath, when the silent, unseen, uncomprehended takes possession of thee, think "Thou art That," and something of thee will abide for ever in It. All thought not based on this is a weaving of new bonds, of illusions more difficult to break; it begets only more passionate longing and pain.

Still we must learn to know the hidden ways, to use the luminous rivers for the commerce of thought. Our Druid forefathers began their magical operations on the sixth day of the new moon, taking the Bright Fortnight at its flood-time. In these hours of expansion what we think has more force, more freedom, more electric and penetrating power. We find too, if we have co-workers, that we draw from a common fountain, the same impulse visits us and them.

What one possess all become possessed of; and something of the same unity and harmony arises between us here as exists for all time between us in the worlds above. While the currents circulate we are to see to it that they part from us no less pure than they came. To this dawn of an inner day may in some measure be traced the sudden inspirations of movements, such as we lately feel, not all due to the abrupt descent into our midst of a new messenger, for the elder Brothers work with law and foresee when nature, time, and the awakening souls of men will aid them. Much may now be done. On whosoever accepts, acknowledges and does the will of the Light in these awakenings the die and image of divinity is more firmly set, his thought grows more consciously into the being of the presiding god. Yet not while seeking for ourselves can we lay hold of final truths, for then what we perceive we retain but in thought and memory. The Highest is a motion, a breath. We become it only in the imparting. It is in all, for all and goes out to all. It will not be restrained in a narrow basin, but through the free-giver it freely flows. There are throngs innumerable who await this gift. Can we let this most ancient light which again returns to us be felt by them only as a vague emotion, a little peace of uncertain duration, a passing sweetness of the heart? Can we not do something to allay the sorrow of the world? My brothers, the time of opportunity has come. One day in the long-marshaled line of endless days has dawned for our race, and the buried treasure-houses in the bosom of the deep have been opened to endow it with more light, to fill it with more power.

The divine ascetics stand with torches lit before the temple of wisdom. Those who are nigh them have caught the fire and offer to us in turn to light the torch, the blazing torch of soul.  Let us accept the gift and pass it on, pointing out the prime givers. We shall see in time the eager races of men starting on their pilgrimage of return and facing the light. So in the mystical past the call of light was seen on the sacred hills; the rays were spread and gathered; and returning with them the initiate-children were buried in the Father-Flame.

Irish Theosophist, June 15, 1896

Present article was scanned and proofread and made available for publication by Mr. Jake Jaqua.

Last update: januar 2009
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