Mercury And The Activities Of The Sushumna
( Originally Published 1908 )
HERMES, as the messenger of God, reveals to us His paternal will, and developing in us intuition—imparts to us knowledge. The knowledge which descends into the soul from above, excels any that can be attained by the mere exercise of the intellect."
This quotation from the Neoplatonist Proclus is a most fitting introduction to our study of the influence of the planet Mercury — called by the Greeks, "Hermes "— upon human life, for by the illuminating light of the Tattvic Law we are able to remove the statement from the realm of "mere speculation," to which it has been indulgently relegated for centuries, and to feel convinced of the intuitional truth embodied in the ancient Greek thought. All scientific data concerning the planet Mercury as well as the fables and ancient myths connecting planet and god are strictly in harmony with what I believe to be Mercury's activities and influences, whether heavenly or terrestrial.
Briefly reviewing the first mentioned, we learn that as a stellar body Mercury is exceptional in many ways, and has always baffled the astronomer in his efforts to obtain accurate data concerning its constitution and environment. It is the smallest planet in diameter but the swiftest in motion; has the least mass but the greatest density, being two and one-fourth times denser than the earth, and only slightly less dense than the metal mercury; is nearest to the sun and has the most eccentric orbit. As seen from the sun, Mercury passes through one constellation of the Zodiac in a fraction over seven days, completing the circuit of the Zodiac in eighty-eight days; and as seen from the earth it makes three complete circuits of the sun in three hundred and forty-eight days. Also from our point of view, the planet is usually in the same constellation with the sun, and is never farther away than a nearby sign.
The astronomer considers it more than doubtful if Mercury has any atmosphere, and it has no satellite. When it can be observed in the same telescopic field with Venus, its totally different constitution is plainly betrayed by its markedly lower Albedo, or reflecting power; for Mercury_ appears as zinc or lead contrasted with the dazzling silver-white radiance of Venus. Now, I should like you to remember, in this connection, that wherever or whenever the Apas Tattva — most prevalent in Venus — can be isolated, it is recognized by its glistening silvery whiteness. It is said to impart a silvery edge to the human aura.
I wish I knew how many of my readers could answer the question : What are the three principal Nâdis in the physical body? Those who cannot would better re-read Chapter XII. and fix firmly in their minds the names and offices of " the great main reservoir and conduits of life-force." You will understand perfectly then that the Pingalâ, on the right side of the spine, is the conduit of the solar current (positive), and the Idâ, on the left side, of the lunar current (negative) ; and, there-fore, these Nadis correspond respectively with the sun and the moon and are influenced by their activities. With what does the Sushumnâ, in which the two currents meet, correspond?
In our study of planetary relations and influences, we have traced the correspondence of the organic activities in the human body with the whole solar system, and the truth of the old Greek aphorism, " As it is above, so is it below," has been made to us a living reality. " When once your attention is drawn to the fact, you will constantly come upon proof that to many ancient people this was a familiar truth. Bacon says the ancients styled man, " a little world in himself." Now, the correspondence of the constellations of the Zodiac and the planets with all the organs of the human body through its nervous system is but the microcosmic reflection of the vast system of Kosmic vibrations. Therefore, in the solar system we must find the Kosmic Sushumna in which the solar and lunar currents meet.
In the progress of the human soul, in its evolution, its growth and development, there is nothing more important than the office of the Sushumna. Consequently it is inconceivable that it has not a Kosmic prototype of equal importance to the solar system. In the gloaming, at dawn and at twilight, the solar and lunar currents meet in the Kosmic Sushumnâ. The identification of Mercury as this Sushumnâ of the macrocosm makes perfectly clear and comprehensible all the dignities, attributes, and influences which legend and fable have conferred upon the planet, both actually and symbolically; and explains many of the characteristics that have puzzled the astronomer. No other planet possesses any attributes that connect it with the office of the Sushumnâ.
Again giving precedence to known facts, our first clue is that Mercury is in the closest Kosmical relation to the sun. Indeed, so close is it that only the patient observer who keeps in touch with the movements of the planet and knows when and where to look for it ever sees it. There is a tradition that the eyes of Copernicus were never gratified by the sight of this swift solar attendant. In the latitude of New York and neighboring States, for about a fortnight during its greatest Eastern elongation from the sun, Mercury can be seen in the early twilight just before its setting; and for a like period when the planet is West of the sun, rising before the orb of day, it can be seen in the early dawn. During the first weeks of December, 1906, Mercury was a morning star, and was seen in close companionship with Venus. These neighboring planets were in Scorpio; and only two signs to the Southwest, in Virgo, the crescent of the waning moon was in conjunction with Mars. The. spectacle was unforgetably beautiful,— worth many early risings to enjoy.
It was a reminder, also, that both esoterically and astrologically, Mercury and Venus are considered spiritual affinities, while Mars and Saturn are thought to have a close physical sympathy. This latter may be beneficial or harmful according as the physical is kept under subjection and subordinated to its divinely planned office as a perfectly fitted vehicle for the soul's activities, or is given free rein and stifles all higher interests.
Now, Mercury is the unifying element between the several Principles of man as between the Tait-vas. The strife the planet arouses is that it is ever impelling upward and resists downward tendencies. It is Mercury's rod that pricks the conscience and would ever extend its support in the struggle against wayward impulses. When you fully understand the entire office of the Sushumnâ, this will be quite plain.
Both the density and the swiftness of Mercury are accounted for, or explained, by the Tattvic state of Prâna when in the Sushumnâ. Of course it is the same in the macrocosm as in the microcosm, only on a vaster scale. Though apparently quiescent during the moment of conjunction, the quiescence is but seeming. The concentrated energy of the Tattvas through their closely compacted atoms in the united currents as they meet in the Sushumnâ produces a state of extreme density. During concentration, when alone the higher office of the Sushumna is called into activity, the velocity of the vibrations is stimulated to an inconceivable speed.
(Six months after this study of Mercury's influences was first set in type, I had the extreme gratification of finding the following corroboration of my belief. Alchemists knew " Mercury has to be ever near Isis [the moon] as her minister, as with-out Mercury neither Isis nor Osiris [the sun] can accomplish anything in their great work."— Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 388).
Curiously enough, we have in the rise of mercury in a thermometer a perfect symbol of the rise of the vital force in the Sushumna, for the state of in-creased activity and density and vastly increased velocity is also one of rising temperature. The spinal -Sushumnâ, which we have now specially to consider, is a hollow canal in the center of the spinal cord. In ordinary persons who are absorbed in trivialities and purely material interests, it is closed at the base, the point of union between the Pingalâ and Idâ, where the residual nervous action — the memory of sensations — is stored in the sacral plexus. This canal is the so-called Occult channel of Prâna, through which, when roused to activity, the coiled-up latent Pratt, or Kundalini, ascends from the sacral plexus to the brain, and striking upon the pituitary body (the will-energizer) stimulates it to such activity that it in turn kindles the spiritual fire of the pineal gland. The first hint the student has that he is rousing this slumbering power is a sensation of warmth in the basic plexus the Mulâdhari of the Yogi— where it is " coiled-up " ; and as the soul-governed will controls Prâna and holds it to the ascent through the canal, the heat increases.
All aspirations for higher things, all exaltation of prayer and worship, tend to set free a minute portion of this Kundalini, the " coiled-up one." Thus, you see, the path to " the Mystic Realm of the Undiscovered " leads through the Sushumnâ. We enter it in meditation. Often unknowingly, it is traversed by many a rapt enthusiast, and by the ardent inventor who wrests Nature's secrets from her vast repositories. Intuitional truths are never discovered elsewhere. Swâmi Vivekânanda says: " Wherever there is any manifestation of what is ordinarily called supernatural power or wisdom, there must have been a little current of Kundalini which found its way into the Sushumnâ."
The data concerning Mercury's close association with our spiritual natures is practically with-out limit, as he who begins to search will find. The symbol of the planet expresses the trinity or three in one, the circle representing the Spirit be-cause without beginning or end. The crescent is the reflection, or Soul,— the negative of the Spirit as is the Moon of the Sun; and the cross typifies the four elements of the physical, or gross, plane of activity. There are four elemental divisions, called the " triplicities," of the Zodiac, and Mercury's influence in the varying signs is distinct. The astrologer Hazelrigg finds all the planetary symbols equally significant with that of Mercury, and believes none to be arbitrary signs, which is in agreement with all Occult teaching.
In all ancient lore, we find Mercury accredited as ruling the mind. Everywhere in myth and story he is sent as the interpreter and messenger to the understanding and reason of man. Even the thievish disposition attributed to Mercury symbolized the facility with which reason and under-standing appropriate all knowledge. The very term thought is said by Anna Kingsford to be " the Egyptian equivalent for Hermes, the God Thaut, frequently written Thoth; these being for the Greeks and Egyptians the personification of the Divine Intelligence," that is, His messenger. The same Spirit was manifested to the Hebrew as Raphael,— like Hermes called " the physician of souls; " and to the Hindu as Buddhi.
One of the chief glories of Hermes was his con-quest of the hundred-eyed Argus, which denotes, Mrs. Kingsford says : " The victory of the understanding over fate. For Argus represents the power of the stars over the unenfranchised soul." This corroborates what I have constantly endeavored to make emphatic, that the power of human thought guided by reason can change the planetary currents. The powers of reason and understanding to which Mercury guides us are above mere cold intellection. It is the stifling of pure reason by the exaltation of the human sense-governed mind that produced the rank materialism which has marked recent decades and from which Higher Thought is freeing the race of mankind.
The Roman name Mercury, by which we designate the planet, comes from merx, merchandise. Their god was of a much more material and sordid character than the Greek Hermes with whom they identified him, which betrays the truth that the people had degenerated and become more material. They chose to degrade " Hermes * * * Archangel, who bears the rod of knowledge by which all things in heaven and earth are measured " (The Perfect Way, p. 367), to a crafty, commercial god.
The farther back we go the more elemental, more spiritual are all the gods. Zeus is believed to have meant originally " the glistening ether." Hindu genius spiritualizes its sense-conceptions with wonderful readiness. The more remotely, their myths are traced the more " atmospheric " do they become. The more the god merges with the planet and its ensouling Force.
A concluding word as to practice : When our wills hold our minds in check and thus restrain the scattering of forces through wasteful and, oftener than not, discordant activities, the Pranic currents flow rhythmically and gather force and strength as all the molecules of the body yield to the harmony and tend to move in the same direction,—which means a tremendous gain in electric power: Only by the uplift of this conscious direction can we connect with the great Central Dynamo, the Divine Spirit.
Thus the soul-directed thought is electrical, it-self a ray of spiritual powers, the effectual energy of which is gauged by the steadfastness of purpose,