Bread or Stones?

written by Frater Achad

This, I think you will agree, is a subject of vital importance to everyone. Somewhere in the New Testament there is a question: “If a man ask for bread, will ye give him a stone?” and we need to consider just what that means and whether we are receiving Bread or Stones. It is quite clear, as far as our aspirations and higher needs are concerned, that many of us are unsatisfied with the nourishment we have been receiving. The very fact that so many people are going hither and thither, seeking for some way to satisfy their interior hunger, is, I think, fairly good evidence that some sort of nourishment is lacking and that they cannot exist entirely upon the “stones” and indigestible food they have been receiving. Here I do not refer to “The Philosopher’s Stone,” which although it, too, may not be digestible to some on account of the fact that they have not yet realized its importance, is, in itself, rich with inner nourishment for those who have learned how to extract it. But there are, I am afraid, a good many “philosophers” who deal in “stones” of a very different quality, stones which are less digestible than “The Philosopher’s Stone,” and from which no very great nourishment may be obtained by any human being.

There are many ways in which we may study this matter. For one thing, a stone represents fixity, rigidity of law. An altar is rightly made of stone, or of oak wood, or some very hard and rigid substance, because it represents the solid basis of the Work; but when we come to partake of the sacraments, we do not attempt to eat the altar, we desire to obtain the Eucharist, the summit of the Work, which is quite a different thing.What we need is Living Food, for we ourselves are Living Beings, constantly changing, and there is within us no element that is fixed and unchangeable. We must also realize the difference between, what we may term, a living and a dead teaching. Of course, stone is not in itself “dead.” Insofar as it is a part of the One Substance it is really very full of life, we have only to strike it and it will give forth a spark of the Divine Fire immediately. And yet, it is not a part of the Divine Substance suitable for human consumption in that form.

It must pass through a great many changes, or stages in the evolutionary process, before it may be used as human nourishment; whereas, on the other hand, bread is made from the most perfect and nourishing product of the earth. Wheat, or grain, has been held in the greatest religious veneration from the very earliest times, it is the Symbol of Life itself. Gods of Corn and Wine, otherwise those presiding over human nourishment, were the very earliest type of Gods invented, shall I say, by man.

But there was a very good reason for this, for the human race, the flower of creation, cannot fulfill its purpose on any plane without nourishment. It is impossible to perform any work, much less The Great Work, unless we are properly nourished on all planes. Practically all religions known to us at the present day, including Christianity, have their roots in this Symbolism of Corn and Wine presided over by The Sun. The outer forms may have changed to some extent; but those who have given any attention to the study of the origin of religions, agree that they have their basis in these ideas. Now corn is capable of being made into the most perfect food for human consumption, and it is also a symbol of that which nourishes the higher part of our Being, but it must pass through certain processes.

In the same way we have to pass through a certain process of transformation before we are able to fulfil the Purpose of our existence.It is interesting to note that the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet - ב - means A House; but this does not necessarily mean A House of Stone, although the word “Beth” is usually used to denote a Temple, as, for instance, “Beth-El,” The House of God. We must not, however, overlook the fact that the House of God should be a “Living Temple” - the Temple of our own body.In the New Testament we find many references to Bread, and we find that Christ actually called Himself “The Bread of Life.” Where did Christ come from? He came from Bethlehem or Bethlechem, which means The House of Bread, thus He had good reason to call Himself “The Bread of Life.” It is very significant, too, that he came from a Living House, not a Stone-tomb. Again He has told us that “The Kingdom of Heaven is within us,” and further, that “The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto the leaven which a woman puts into three measures of meal and it leaveneth the whole.” This “leaven” is always necessary in order to make Bread. The substance of our own Being must undergo a similar process before perfection is reached.

Practically all the Religions of the past two thousand years have been based on the misconceived idea of trying to make human beings conform to one pattern.

Trying to deflect their natural change into the image and likeness of something they are not, and were never intended to become. Trying to show that those who are in reality living Temples of the Holy Spirit, should conform to ideas which would make of them Solid Stone without a single bit of individuality left in them, instead of showing them as living, growing beings, containing all the possibilities of an Universe and capable of expansion in any direction according to the Will of God within them. Trying to make of the Universe itself a fixed hard Temple of Stone instead of the Great Living Temple of the Holy Spirit of Light, Life, Love and Liberty. Do you see the difference? One leads to the fixity of the old law, symbolized by Jehovah who is merely the God of the Elements, the other to the understanding of JEHESHUAH the God-Man who represents those same elements but CROWNED by SPIRIT and who is the true representative of the Living Christ, or Horus the Crowned Child of the New Æon. This expression of the living, divine spirit within us is capable of moulding and changing matter in every conceivable direction, and capable of doing so forever under the law of Change which is the Stability of this Universe. Each one of us is thus changing and we cannot avoid this process.

Most of our troubles and sorrows are caused by the fact that we try to prevent this change, we try to imprison in ourselves the Holy Spirit instead of allowing It to go forth freely and naturally, and thus make us living representatives of God upon earth. We have been trying to mould ourselves into a certain pattern, to make ourselves “square” with very sharp angles; each one just the same. So we can hardly wonder as we go on traveling if we knock up against some of our brothers and get hurt. It might have been better had we endeavoured to form ourselves into spheres - at least we should not cut ourselves so badly against the sharp corners. But “The Mills of the Gods grind slowly, and they grind exceedingly small.” All our attempts to build a fixed, rigid temple of the human body and mind are overcome by Nature’s laws, and the process of grinding us down to powder, in the first instance, until we realize that only after this has been accomplished may we become the Living Bread and thus find within ourselves the Leaven of the Kingdom of Heaven.

We then realize that we were not intended to be stones, and we no longer need to come under the Law of Stone. Henceforth we shall represent the True Bread of Life.Then, too, we shall begin to recognize that the Center of our Being, the Heaven part of us, is a Star and we shall understand that the Star of the Magi was the Star of Bethlehem that stood over The House of Bread. The Magi knew the proper place to look for the Crowned Child, which must be born within each one of us. This Child is our own True Self, even as we are taught in the Book of the Law, Liber Legis, "Every man and every woman is a star," and there is no need for us to look for this star outside of ourselves, for our Star, our Kingdom of Heaven is within us and It gives out the Light which makes it possible for us to understand the Universe in which we live and move and have our being.

Yet since we ourselves are Centers of Light, carrying it over with us, we often fail to recognize its source. We must learn to discover this central core of our Being, for it is the very Life within the Substance of which we are formed, which causes it to change in the proper way, or it is exactly equal to our true will - not the human will, but the Divine Will in us.

Mercury is representative of both the Divine Will and Wisdom in the Qabalistic System, for these are both attributed to Chokmah on the Tree of Life. So Mercury is the Star of the Magi. We must learn to be guided entirely by this Star within us, not by the lamps that are shown us in some stone temple, but by the Central Light in our own Temple of the Rosy Cross. What do the Rosicrucian consider the most wonderful mystery of their Secret Vault which is said to be situated in Mount Abigenos, the Mountain of the Lamb of God?

The Light which shines from the Rose in the Center of the Ceiling of that Vault, which I may tell you has seven sides which in turn represent the Seven Planets or Spirits of God and the Seven Colors into which the Light is divided. This is one of the mysteries seldom spoke of outside initiated circles, yet we may learn from it to look within the Vault of our own Temples, our bodies, and so discover in the ceiling or Heaven of our Being the Rose or Star which radiates its pure white brilliancy on all below. This light is again broken up into the seven colors of the rainbow, and this sometimes gives us the impression of differentiation in the one Substance, but that is because we have but examined one ray, and have failed to trace it to its source.

The One Substance is Undifferentiated; Life is the Substance of Light. When the Light is broken up into rays on entering into Chaos, the Mind of man, it forms Rays, and we say this is Red, or this is Blue, etc. But we must remember that it is but the breaking up of the One Light of our Own Being in the Prism of the Mind and thus we have the appearance of all the possible variations of color between Light and Darkness. This again is part of the Mystery of the Divine Mercury or Wisdom Who is the Guiding Star of our lives and of all the Universe.

Listen to the Words of the ancient ritual:

At the Ending of the Light,At the Limits of the Night,
Stood Mercury before the Unborn ones of Time.
Then was formulated the Universe;
Then came forth the Gods thereof,
The æons of the Bornless Beyond.
Then was the Voice vibrated;
Then was the Name declared.
At the Threshold of Entrance,
Between the Universe and the Infinite,
In the Sign of the Enterer
Stood Mercury, as before him
The æons were proclaimed.
In Symbols did he record them;
In Breath did he vibrate them;
For between the Light and the Darkness did he stand.

The Gods, or Elohim (called the Æons of the Bornless Beyond) are the Seven Rays of Light, and Mercury is the Reconciler between them. Some of us come under one of these Rays and some under another. But what is meant by “Then was the Voice vibrated, Then was the Name declared?” This does not only refer to the Creative Word of the Æon but has a deep significance for each one of us. Is it not written: “Man cannot live by bread alone, but by every WORD which cometh out of the mouth of God?” The Word is the Will and gives direction to the changes in the One Substance.

Even “bread” does not “live” without the Word or Will to change in the desired direction. You take nourishment into your body, it needs some direction from your automatic consciousness in order that it may be transformed into the right kind of cells, etc., for the different parts and functions of the body. So in a larger sense man does not live by bread alone but by every word which cometh out of the mouth of God.

This is the work of the Ineffable; That which governs this whole system. Each one of us has a Secret Name or Word concealed in the depths of his Being. It is written in the Scripture of those whose Names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life, “And every one shall have a Name written in his forehead.”

When we have this Name written in our foreheads it means that we have discovered the Word, the Lost Word, which brought us into being. Each one of us is a vibration of a Divine Word, each incarnation may be but a letter of our True Name which no one knoweth but Ourself. When we get to the root of our being we discover this Word which is our True Will and we can for the first time cooperate with the Supreme One of the Universe in an intelligent manner, for we have made Free Will one with Destiny.

A “substituted word” is useless here, it will not “raise” us even with the help of the Master of the Lodge, unless that Master be OURSELF and the Word the True One, unique and different from any other. Then even as bread we shall “rise” for the power to raise us will have been found, not outside, but IN THE CENTER of our Being.

Notice, too, in the Ancient Ritual the words “In Breath did he vibrate them.”

Without the Breath of Life, which is the Holy spirit, we cannot thus “rise” for it is by means of this Breath that the Leaven of the Kingdom of Heaven works within us.

Every breath we breath brings to us the Solar Forces from the Father in Heaven - the Sun of the Universe. This breath keeps the hidden fires going in our Furnace, so that the Bread of Life comes to perfection; without it, we should be like mere dough. Do not think of this breath as something mysterious and unobtainable, it is the breath that we have been drawing since the hour of our birth, and we only need to learn to use our “bellows” rightly, to find ourselves literally filled with the power of the Spirit. Let me conclude with these words:

Be NATURAL, follow Nature’s processes without fear, reject the “stones” of idle and useless Dogma, realize that each one of us is a LIVING TEMPLE, a HOUSE OF BREAD, and that this Bread is the BREAD of LIFE itself.