PAUL FOSTER CASE
Let me say again that the connection between tone and color is not fanciful. It is as much a fact that red corresponds to C as that two and two are four. Every sound is caused by vibration. So many vibrations per second produce a given tone. Double the number of vibrations, and you get the octave of that tone. Keep on doubling the numbers of vibrations, and presently you get beyond what the ear can distinguish. Continue this doubling, octave by octave, and finally you have a number of vibrations per second which affects the sense of sight, and is expressed as color-consciousness.
Thus, by repeatedly doubling the number of vibrations which produces the sound impressions we call “C” you come at last to a number which is that of the vibrations per second which produce the sight- impression “red”. So it is with all the tones of the musical scale. Doubled often enough, the number of vibrations which produces a tone, becomes the number of vibrations which affects the eye as a particular color.
To Edward Maryon belongs the credit for the modern scientific demonstration of this correlation between color and sound; but he himself is the first to admit that his work is based on ancient wisdom. In large measure, what you will find in these pages comes from the same ancient sources. I emphasize the scientific aspect, because I want you to understand that to sing a note and visualize its corresponding color is not merely an exercise in auto-suggestion. It is very forces which have brought the whole universe be thoroughly acquainted with the correspondences colors is to hold keys to almost limitless power.
In this lesson we shall take up the study of the seven color- rays proceeding from the three primary ones considered in Part 2. In astrology these seven rays are called “planetary influences.” In alchemy they are designated by the names of seven metals, and these names are the same as those of the celestial bodies known to the ancients. In the Kabalah, each of these rays is symbolized by a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and these seven are called “double letters” in the Sepher Yetzirah. In the fourth chapter of that work we read:
Sect. 1. The seven double letters, Beth, Gimel, Daleth, Kaph, Pe, Resh, Tau, with a duplicity of pronunciation, aspirated and unaspirated, serve as a model of softness and hardness, strength and weakness.
Sect. 2. Seven double letters, BGD KPRTh, shall, as it were, symbolize wisdom, wealth, fruitfulness, life, dominion, peace and grace.
(Note: The Hebrew letters in the original text are grouped above, so the seven are presented to the eye as being composed of a triad, BGD, and a tetrad, KPRTh. This is not the place for explanation, but I wish you to notice this grouping and remember it.)
Sect. 3. Seven double letters serve to signify the antithesis to which human life is exposed. The antithesis of wisdom is foolishness; of wealth, poverty; of fruitfulness, sterility; of life, death; of dominion, servitude; of peace, war; and of grace, indignation.
Sect. 4. The Seven double consonants are analogous to the six dimensions: height and depth, East and West, North and South, and the holy temple that stands in the center, which carries them all.
(Note: The “holy temple” is man himself, as the Bible tells us, and in the phrase “which carries them all”, we have a hint of the doctrine that man is a microcosm, containing in himself the six dimensions of space and the forces therein. Furthermore, as he carries them they are dependent on him.)
Sect. 5. The double consonants are seven, BGD KPRTh, and not six, they are seven and not eight; reflect upon this fact, inquiry about it, and make it so evident that the Creator be acknowledged to be on His throne again.
In the fifth section the letters are again grouped as a triad and a tetrad, and the phrase “seven and not six”, “seven and not eight” is a characteristic Kabalistic formula. It is used to call attention to some classification as being not arbitrary, but a fact in nature. In our studies of the Kabalah we shall go more deeply into these teachings of the Sepher Yetzirah.
The first of the double letters, Beth, is represented in the English alphabet by B. Its aspirated or hard pronounciation is like “b” in “boy”, and its unaspirated or soft sound is like the Spanish “b” in “Habana”, which we pronounce “Havana”. The hard sound is indicated by a dot, called “Dagesh,” placed in the center of the letter.
The planet corresponding to Beth is Mercury. Any primer on astrology such as Alan Leo’s little manual, Planetary Influences, or Max Heindel’s larger work, The Message of the Stars, will give you all the information you need as to the astrological meaning of this and the other planets. You should also see what you can find in some standard reference book of mythology about the Greek god Hermes, and the Egyptian Thoth, who also personify the same influence.
It is from Mercury, or Hermes, that the Western version of the secret wisdom takes its name, “Hermetic Science.” In alchemy, as you learned in Part 2, Mercury is that one of the “three principles” which corresponds to the quality Sattva, or wisdom, in Hindu philosophy. So, in Greek mythology, Hermes is the messenger of the gods, the measurer of time and the inventor of numbers. The influence thus personified in the old Pantheons is a cosmic force, or aspect of the One Life-Power, which is behind all those activities of human consciousness which lead to our grasp of the natural laws.
Notice that I say “personified.” The gods of all peoples are always to be understood as cosmic forces, crystallized into human form by the imagination of primitive minds. The gods of all peoples, I repeat, and this statement applies also to the angels and devils. In reality, the gods, angels and devils are aspects of a single Life-Power, that we may call “God”, with a capital “G”, if we like, but that we are far from understanding so long as we regard it as being a “person”, even on the grandest scale. This Life-Power has the quality of personality (for which Judge Troward coined the noun “personal-ness”) but It is Itself impersonal. I have elaborated upon this point, because in the course of your studies, you will have occasion to learn many divine and angelic names, and I want to make sure that you never think of those names designating personal beings. They are names for cosmic forces, and all aspects of the one Life-Power; and because all cosmic forces, and all aspects of the Life-Power, are concentrated or focused into each human personality, there is a very real sense in which man may be regarded as a temple of all the gods.
The Kabalah makes it very clear that every aspect of the Life-Power may be regarded as a phase of consciousness. Gods, angels and devils on the one hand, and all forms of physical existence on the other, are referred in the secret wisdom of Israel, as they are in the wisdom of Egypt and India, to a single source. That source is the consciousness of the Life-Power. The sages of old are all agreed with the opening words of John’s Gospel: “In the beginning was the THOUGHT, and the THOUGHT was with God, and the THOUGHT was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him…. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”
Theologians have almost succeeded in “spiritualizing” all the meaning out of this plain statement that Thought is the original formative power, the maker of all things. But the comparatively few “ripe ones” in every generation who have been able to receive the true spirit of the Scriptures, have always known that this text of John’s means just what it says – that THOUGHT is the animating power of LIFE, made manifest to man as LIGHT. Get this firmly fixed in mind. Accustom yourself to thinking of these three words as designating, not three different things, but three phases of the One Thing, and you will be surprised to find how many dark sayings in the Bible and in other ancient writings will be transformed into messages of light.
To return to the letter Beth. The aspect of consciousness that it is associated with is called “Intelligence of Transparency” or “Intelligence of Light.” The Kabalistic text says this is because it is the image of Magnificence, that is to say, the reflection of the Limitless Light, for which “Magnificence” (Gedulah, GDULH), is a technical term in the Kabalah. “Intelligence of Transparency” clearly means “the mode of consciousness which lets the light shine through,” the mode of consciousness which transmits the wisdom of the Life-Power from Its universal to Its specialized and personal aspects. Thus it is, indeed, the mode of consciousness which is the “messenger of the gods.” In human life it is the consciousness that gives names to things, that works out mathematical problems, that discovers the laws of the Life- Power by patient observation of various sequences of cause and effect. In brief, it is the objective consciousness which we use in our waking hours.
The light-vibration corresponding to this letter is yellow, the same as that assigned to Mercury-Sattva-AUIR in Part 2. The note, of course, is E. The parts of the body in which this color-ray has important centers of influence are those governed by the planet Mercury, namely: the eyes, since sight, more than any other sense, is the one we rely upon for information; the arms, shoulders, neck and lungs, which are ruled by the zodiacal sign Gemini, the “day-house” of Mercury; the intestines, liver and pancreas, ruled by Virgo, the “night-house” of the same planet. To some considerable extent, also, the influence of this planet is felt in the hands, particularly in the little finger.
The dual pronunciation of the letter, hard and soft, is related to a duality of antithetical ideas associated with it, in accordance with sections 2 and 3 of the chapter of the Sepher Yetzirah quoted above. Beth is the “house,” so that its name suggests locality, dwelling-place, habitation, and similar ideas connected with the manifested existence which finds its mental correspondence in objective consciousness. To it are assigned the opposites, Life and Death. This will remind students of alchemy that the philosophical Mercury is at once a deadly poison and the basis of the Elixir of Life. So, also, is the objective consciousness the cause of the seeming opposition between Life and Death. Nay, more than this. Its unripe, imperfect manifestations bring death into our experience, even as it is written that in Adam all die; but when it is ripened, when the objective consciousness, purified and perfected, becomes the “Intelligence of Transparency,” then does it show forth the redeeming and transforming power of life eternal.
Do I seem to speak mystically and without that definiteness that you expect from these lessons? Be patient and ponder over these words. They are seeds of understanding, but that understanding cannot be given to you in predigested forms. Try to trace out the connecting links of thought that made the Kabalists give these attributions to the double letters. Your mind works by the same law as did theirs. Given the same materials to work upon, it will produce the same results. Continually ask yourself the questions: “Why are these attributions what they are?” and “What is their deeper import?” Keep a note-book to jot down the answers you receive from the Limitless source of all supply, “both spiritual and material,” of which you are the manifestations. You will find that today it is as true as ever it was that if you ask you shall receive, if you seek you shall find.
Your work on this lesson, then, is just begun when you have read it. The tracing out of connections that you do afterward, is what will enable you to discover the true purport of the Kabalah. More than this, such work will develop your skill in using a mental power which gets little training in our schools – the power of discerning hidden relationships between things which seem to be unlike. The more you see how everything in the universe is linked up with everything else, the deeper becomes your consciousness of the One behind the veil of the Many. This is one of the main virtues of Kabalistic studies; for whatever leads us from the falsehood of separateness into the truth of unity, leads also into an ever-increasing realization and actualization of freedom.
I have therefore made the explanation of the remaining six double letters much briefer than that of the letter Beth. You should learn the following paragraphs practically by heart, so that you may ponder on them at odd moments, instead of letting your mind wander unchecked through a series of purposeless reminiscences of anticipation. The whole art of getting control of thought-force consists largely in having something worth thinking about, and these attributions certainly supply that need.
Gimel (G, as in “girl”)
CAMEL: “Ship of the desert”; commerce; transportation; communication. The ability of the camel to store water should be noted, in connection with the color-attribution below.
MOON: “Ship of the skies”; ruler also of the tides. Through this attribution, Gimel has influence upon the lymphatic system, which is governed by the moon; also upon the breast and stomach, governed by Cancer, the zodiacal throne of the moon; and to some extent the throat, through the sign Taurus, in which the moon is said to be exalted. Astrologically the moon is particularly the ruler of Personality, as contrasted with Individuality.
UNITING INTELLIGENCE: The mode of consciousness which joins the waking consciousness of one day to that of the next, and, on a grander scale, links life to life; the consciousness whose chief power is memory; the subjective, or subliminal mind of modern psychology.
BLUE: Assigned to the moon’s letter because moonlight is blue and cold, also because the subliminal consciousness is the seat of the Tamas quality of inertia, a fact which accounts for much that is written in various scriptures concerning the part played by Woman in bringing evil into the world. This color, it should be noted, is that of the Virgin Mary’s robe, according to canonical color-symbolism, just as it is the color of the robe of Isis.
The musical note is G-sharp, and when it is intoned for the special purposes connected with this letter, it may be used either with the letter-name (pronounced ghee-mel, with accent on the first syllable), or with Chokmah, “Wisdom”.
PEACE AND STRIFE: This pair of opposites of course, is related to the pair noted in connection with Beth. In fact all the pairs of opposites assigned to the double letters are variations of the fundamental opposition attributed to the letter Resh and the Sun. This particular pair is given to Gimel because that letter as a symbol of commerce and transportation implies the working of all the real causes of war and peace. Remember, in this connection, that external events reflect internal causes. Your personal peace is a manifestation of the Gimel- ray, in its positive expression.
DOOR: The leaf of the door, not the opening. That which bars, and that which admits.
VENUS: Ruler of the feelings and affections. The “lesser fortune” in astrology. Governs the reproductive system, the veins, kidneys and throat. (See any text of elementary astrology.)
ILLUMINATING INTELLIGENCE: Said to be “The institutor of arcana and the foundation of holiness”. See any good dictionary for the derivation of the word “arcanum”. In many occult allegories itr is made very clear that what Venus governs and represents is the foundation of the mysteries and the basis for true “holiness”, that is, for true “completeness” in every-day living. This particular mode of consciousness is a subjective, or subliminal response to objective impressions. It is the subjective mind as mother of ideas.
GREEN: Emerald green, on account of the Venusian attribution, and for other reasons which will be mentioned in later lessons. The note corresponding is F-sharp.
KNOWLEDGE AND IGNORANCE: or “Wisdom and Folly,” the “Vidya” and “Avidya” of Hindu philosophers. Bondage is Avidya or ignorance; liberation is Vidya, or knowledge. Daleth is the “door” through which the I AM enters into the illusions of existence. Through this same door the I AM escapes, by return to itself, from all illusion.
PALM OF HAND: Regarded throughout the Orient as the map of life, hence connected with all the ideas of fortune, destiny, Providence, and the like.
JUPITER: The “Lord of destiny” in mythology and in astrology. Jupiter’s ray is active in the sense of smell, and has special centers in the feet and thighs. Thus it implies discernment (smell) and is related to the act of walking, which traces the path of personal unfoldment, and marks that path on the palm. The influence of this ray is also felt in the whole digestive system.
INTELLIGENCE OF CONCILIATION: Called “the rewarding intelligence of those who seek. It receives the divine influence, and it influences by its benediction all existing things.” Compare with the astrological idea that Jupiter is the “greater fortune.”
VIOLET: This color is beyond blue in the color-scale, and contains a certain amount of red. It suggests the ascent of the Fire-power through the form-giving water-element. In nature this is evolution, and personal evolution is destiny, marked in the palm. The musical note is A-sharp.
WEALTH AND POVERTY: The extremes of “fortune”. Wealth in its best sense represents LIFE (Beth) guided by WISDOM (Gimel). On the other hand, poverty is the visible symbol of IGNORANCE (Gimel), and the essence of that ignorance is belief in DEATH (Beth). If you get the full meaning out of these two sentances, you will be well on your way to getting the Great Secret.
Pe (P, Ph)
MOUTH: “Out of the mouth are the issues of life” is a clue to the occult meaning of this letter. The mouth as the organ of speech, the formulator of words.
MARS: Activity is the characteristic of this planet. See mythology for the story of Mars and Venus. In astrology this planet has active centers in the head, the entire muscular system, and the external reproductive organs. It is fiery, expansive, and therefore apparently destructive, since it breaks down old forms in making new ones.
EXCITING INTELLIGENCE: Also called “Active Intelligence” for thence is created the spirit of every creature of the supreme orb, and the activity, that is to say, the motion to which they are subject. “This is the inherent consciousness of the Life-Power, in its FIRE or RAJAS aspect.
RED: The same red as for the mother-letter Shin, with which Pe has many close affinities, even as Sin, the “tooth” is obviously connected with it. The color is related to the tone C.
GRACE AND INDIGNATION: Sometimes these opposites are given as “Grace and Sin.” The key to understanding this pair of opposites is to remember that these are aspects of an activity whose forms are determined by speech and by thought, which is unuttered speech. As it is written: “By thy words shalt thou be justified, and by thy words shalt thou be condemned.”
HEAD OF MAN: Seat of brain; directive center; seat of authority; hence government, rulership and all related ideas.
SUN: In astrology the principle luminary; governor of Individuality, as opposed to personality; the I AM as opposed to the ME. The Sun is “exalted” in Aries, which rules the head, and thus the letter Resh is exalted in the sign which is the throne of the planet Mars. In other words, the mental activity of the Fire-Principle, expressed in speech and thought, is the means of exalting, lifting up, or “raising” the Solar energy. Ponder this; this ray governs the whole circulatory system.
COLLECTING INTELLIGENCE: The mode of consciousness which gathers together and unifies the experiences of a day, a year, a life, and a series of lives. The consciousness of the real Self, as opposed to the partial consciousness of its reflection, the Personality. The physical center of this higher consciousness is in the head, and this consciousness itself may be termed “solar”.
ORANGE: Observe that this is the complementary color of the BLUE which is assigned to Gimel, to the Moon, and to the Personality. Its musical note is D.
FRUITFULNESS AND STERILITY: This is the basic pair of opposites, of which the others are variants. Sunlight makes deserts and covers the land with vegetation, according to its transformations. And we can determine what transformations shall occur, by exercising powers having active centers in the head and brain.
CROSS: Probably originally a symbol for cross-roads, or the intersection and interaction of two streams of activity. See any good encyclopedia for evidence that the cross has always symbolized the union of positive and, male and female. It also symbolizes obstruction, corrosion and so on.
SATURN: Cold and limiting, restricting and binding, according to astrologers. Physical Centers of its influence are bones and spleen. It also governs the excretory system. It is the ray of elimination.
ADMINISTRATIVE INTELLIGENCE: Said to “direct the operation of the seven planets.” This agrees with the astrological idea that Saturn gives concreteness, fixity, stability, purification, and the like.
VIOLET BLUE: Cold, like blue, but with the undertone of higher vibration suggested by violet. Here is the beginning of ascent from inertia, but inertia predominates. To understand Saturn’s ray is to know an important practical occult secret. A hint: Purification and elimination are at the beginning of unfoldment.
DOMINION AND SLAVERY: If Saturn dominates you, you are the slave of your environment. If you know how to use this ray, you become master of all things, and take active part in the administration of cosmic law. The secret of Saturn is what transforms us into gods. Its beginning is restrictive and purificatory. Its end is the perfect freedom of a life at all points in harmony with cosmic law.
My comments on these attributions only give hints. Work them out and be sure to make a record of what is communicated to you from within. Understand, too, that these hints are but one or two out of hundreds that might be given. These attributions are susceptible to almost unlimited development. They should be thoroughly learned, so that you can use them as starting-points for meditation wherever you happen to be.
Do not be surprised if you feel somewhat bewildered by them at first. That is natural because they are more or less unfamiliar. In due time you will begin to see the connections and the practical applications. These first steps are really the hardest, like those of a baby learning to walk. By-and-by these attributions will be second nature to you; you won’t have to try to remember them, for the process of recalling anything you are using constantly is practically automatic. But now you must do the drudgery of memorizing. It will save you time and trouble later on.