THE BLUE LETTERS
OF MARC EDMUND JONES
These letters, written on blue paper by its founding chancellor Marc Edmund Jones to members of the Sabian Assembly, were issued on a regular basis over the span of many years. Among them can be found hundreds of brief, insightful writings on Astrology, Bible, Fellowship, Healing, Initiation, Mastership, Meditation, Occultism, Philosophy, the Sabian Assembly and related subjects, all oriented to the special needs of the spiritual seeker. One Blue Letter out of the twenty-year cycle is sent together with the mailing to students of weekly lessons in Bible and Philosophy. Titles of the entire series of lessons are found in the Sabian Assembly Brochure.
BLUE LETTER 171 (Astrology)
The most surprising phenomenon, to a thinking or observing individual coming into the occult or New Thought field from orthodox associations, is the general narrowness of those who profess great and broad truth. But this is a harmless superficiality on the whole, or a characteristic of a degree of faith that like the small boy on an unfrequented and dark road must whistle to keep up courage. A narrow vision at least holds to its outlook as a virtue in comparison with an indefinite diffusion masquerading as breadth. Small groups of narrow views at least preserve their own integrity. Often the claims of the leaders are such as would appeal only to the gullible, and therefore a man who has not been protected from himself in tumbling into one order of belief must be protected by the administrators of that order from further tumbling in a new direction. Most interesting however in the consideration of the tendency is a revelation of the ingenuousness inherent in most human nature. Thus a highly successful truth teacher, whose public criticism of astrology and numerology suggests this issue of the regular student letter, is perhaps best known for his promotion of highly speculative mining securities under the implication that the divine nature of his special truth message would protect the purse belonging to the naïve trusting feminine follower to whom most generally he appealed and the fact that he has escaped any legal penalties is an operation of the occult law to some extent since he seems to have been more ill-advised than at heart the callous promoter of his fellows and perhaps even himself supposing that high truth will police petty risk.
BLUE LETTER 480 (The Bible)
At the Convocation of the First Assembly, April 5, 1936, the outer form of the instruction on which admission to the real inner work was to be based was the Ten Words, and it was more than encouraging to me to see the real interest with which these were received both at the time and in subsequent reference to them. They have an analogy in more ways than will be realized to the Ten Commandments engraved on the tablets for Moses up on Sinai. In English it obviously is impossible to embody the whole substance of each in any single word, and with their refinement it also became impossible to do it in the Hebrew or more highly inflected original, but cabalistically the pattern is a lower and higher five-pointed star with each star point a fundamentally simple and one-word aspect of immortal ethics. As the ultimate or eternal meaning of the Ten Words becomes evident to the seeker he then in truth will know each in a single and nonarticulated word.
What Moses gave the Israelites in the wilderness was not a body of legislation and no series of rules. They already knew that the welfare of society depended on the sanctity of life and possession of property, and they also knew that any actuality of touch with eternity required a God concept standing supreme among all ideas. In the Ten Words was neither a first codification nor a revised restating but rather a transcendent realization of the possible significance of laws and their discipline of human living. There are elevated meanings in life, and these are a matter of individual acceptance. We who are on the Path in our generation are not in these new Ten Words here calling on ourselves to refrain from what we would avoid as decent citizens of our age, but we are to see that such decency alone is hardly adequate.
BLUE LETTER 661 (Fellowship)
The mere fact that a spiritual fellowship is never to be taken as an end in itself is no denial of its great functional actuality. The point is merely that what it is to the individual is exactly what he causes it to be by his own employment of it. It exists in the precise situation of an individual's body that has existence quite apart from him when considered as mere organic substance. Fellowship as spiritual or not can be analyzed literally and correctly as the obvious simple congregating of people at a meeting or as the morale evident in the gathering or the community of interest exhibited and so on but any identification of this sort is meaningless in a higher view and understanding. There is the body of a given individual and there is much that might be said about it fruitfully and from many angles in terms of various categories but ultimately what it is becomes what the individuality is enabled to do because of it and through it as the organism of his living activity or self-continuity. In the same way it can be said that here is the fellowship of the Sabian Assembly as taking it to be evident in one or another feature of the work, and an analysis will be equally fruitful from many different angles. Yet what else can be said of what it is fundamentally other than in terms of an aspirant's own achievement through the spiritual organism it provides?
Clear to any seeker is what the body provides for him as an organism and if the analogy is to be taken it is necessary to indicate what parallel organic function the fellowship may serve. After all the body exists to create and dramatize the needs of basic existence until man desires to exist, and the fellowship similarly furthers a spiritual desire.
BLUE LETTER 536 (Healing)
The ends of a valid occultism are twofold, or to further the tradition of an invisible fellowship in the White Lodge and to establish in every passing age the higher perspective and knowledge that endow the age with the racial perspectives by which all great achievement is possible. The backbone of occultism is discipline, and nothing is as distressing to the new student as the discovery that this is increased rather than diminished with progress on the way and that the nature of the higher discipline is if anything more trivial outwardly. What the advanced student comes to learn is that discipline is not the limitation but rather the perpetuation of a special choice and hence a creative agency by which perspective is heightened and livingness made an enhancement of the special or spiritual sensitiveness. Healing is fundamentally in this respect a definite self-chosen discipline and of effectiveness proportionate to its self-acceptance, and in consequence healing is never to be employed except for self or by the request of a conscious selfhood. Anything else is black magic or an effort to use something in a way contrary to its own nature and so destroy its light in the opaqueness of a lost perspective in self, as using pure psychic or animal-magnetism forces to contrive environmental changes, and this is at tremendous personal cost to the practitioner because of the distortion of the self's basic perspective or co-operation with the all.
Healing is especially a discipline in this matter of the approach to a given problem in terms of self. A mother has every duty of healing for her child, but the child is himself in terms of this practical reality. Actually the principle is simple enough, for what healing is possible where there is no direct relationship?
BLUE LETTER 704 (Initiation)
It is difficult to bring intelligence to the choice made of immediate or emergency concern because of lack of perspective. It almost always is necessary to have a choice in reserve as already made in advance of the contingency. This is what is meant by training and culture in general. When it comes to the complete extrication from a series of events of distinct limitation such a choice in advance is of necessity a matter of imaginative application of a generalized experience, and it is here that the real worth of spiritual growth is shown. The Sabian Library of Lessons is a wide coverage of truly universal materials. In the symbolism the student carries through in a vicarious experience of high imaginative sort, and subconsciously is able to know what he would do on his own account in completely general fashion. In the Bible lessons he encounters actual situations in the exalted company of the prophetic souls through the ages and knows deep within himself how he will act and react in a miscellaneous assortment of situations. In the philosophy lessons he trains his mind to realize the nature of things in abstraction, and this equips him to take a dispassionate view of the most personal involvements.
The group work in its discussions and interchange is the common meeting place of ideas in the light of possible choices, and in its activities every alert student is drilled continually in making or considering the choices by which he always is exactly what he is. In the long run of the scheduled years of discipline, each ordered by the requirements of a stage in initiation, the seeker discovers his own or inner creative talents in a conscious fashion and hence is able to use them consciously and under his own direct and full control.
BLUE LETTER 89 (Mastership)
If a Master of Wisdom is to be seen as a laya center, or root type of racial expression, then obviously it can make little real difference whether he is accepted allegorically or literally. As far as his functioning is concerned, this remains true. Contact with one of the Brothers is always possible by higher faculty in such cases because it is essentially an interpretation of the cosmic function as an individual, since in dream or astral experience of all sorts the inner intelligence will give definite substance to what after all is but the contact with the idea, and if he actually were living and in the flesh there would be no difference in this phase of the cosmic contact since one not a Master or operating through a Master is hardly in a position to evaluate a Master qua Master in terms of actual individuality.
What is gained by accepting the fact of personality, for what remains the laya center of intelligence? A reality of necessary limitation is exactly what creates a Master, a laya center or anything eternal. When a man becomes the president of a great nation he finds that his power is immeasurably increased, and that at the same time he is increasingly limited in his own personal affairs. Wherever he may wish to go he is attended by secret service men and is hampered by the unceasing concern in his least movement by those from whom he received his office as a trust, true in consciousness even of a king and an absolute dictator. His ability to frustrate this outer pressure on his inner or personal individuality is his capacity for service, remaining himself and yet something else in every conscious moment. Limitation accepted while also resisted and controlled is the basis of all higher leadership, and Masters are the most limited of all individuals.
BLUE LETTER 364 (Meditation)
The difficulty underlying an otherworldliness of the medieval mystic, and of every modern occult student who fails to realize the nature of the powers with which he is dabbling, is that it depends on a contrast with a world of everyday and that to substitute inward reality he has to repudiate the worth of his outer place in the scheme of things. Nothing eternal is built on a negation. The ingredients of immortality are gathered up in the word love, which is without time and space limitations. Immortality does not progress since how other could it be immortality? And likewise there is no location that determines immortality to be such. Meditation is realization of this here-and-now character of the eternal and universal, and there must be an absolute lack of contrast or comparison with anything other than an inner state of utter completeness that is beyond all contrast. Within medieval times the mystics attained to this state of consciousness, but despite their methods and therefore only infrequently. There may be grades of appreciation of the divine, but any sense of such a grade is a cancellation of the meditation by an intrusion of outer contrast.
Meditation does not exclude life or experience. Rather it hallows and sanctifies all outer things. Meditation in nature and form is therefore never an escape from life and its problems but truly an enhancement of every experience and relationship. Meditation must always be remembered to be a reaching out to the consciousness of God, and there cannot be a distinction of meditation and meditation because when in a state of meditation all things other than divinity are lifted into divinity and there found immortally perfect. The testimonial of the world is to unity and in unity there is no division.
BLUE LETTER 1027 (Occultism)
It never seems possible to get the average person to understand that occult philosophy is methodological and not metaphysical in form. In other words, it is a way of life and never the revelation of especially wonderful facts and mysteries. There are those who are caught up in the awe and worship stage of their questing and contented to stay starry-eyed in a never-never land of rounds and races or great periods and globes or worlds and planes or vehicles and centers and so on through all the jargon of superficiality without ever quickening to the higher understanding. What they are doing supposedly is exalting knowledge as such, but they do not realize that the goal of wisdom remains beyond reach with no increasing dimensions of knowing. If they acquire esoteric conceptions, as far as the words for these may go, it yet is impossible without actual experience with what the words represent to possess anything but a verbal mishmash. They assume that the rounds and races are actual sequence in time instead of the measure of temporal syncopation, since they lack living experience in concurrency as such or are transcendentally naïve. Similarly they think that the worlds or planes are places in space, all because of failure to understand that they are dimensions of experience as basic flux in reality.
The language of the occult is like that of anything else in life or a means of experience by proxy. Thus the idiom of science enables scientists to share their special functions and proceed in the task at hand from the forefront of scientific know-how instead of from some starting point of complete non-science. The language of art provides the artist with the co-operative creativeness of fellow artists. The language of everyday living makes it possible to build a society.
BLUE LETTER 462 (Philosophy)
The greatest desire in every human breast, no matter how it may be articulated, is for one or another form of security. It is because of this desire that the way to eternal life, as well as to ultimate destruction, is so clearly marked. When the direction of living is of the latter order the desire for security takes the form of a frantic co-operation with every possible manifestation or sterility or staying put in the superficial realm of sense. And this of course is an end to all progress. But when the direction of living is a way to eternal life the desire for stability then takes the form of a fellowship in stabilities or constancies of human character. No individual ever achieved his salvation alone because it is only as two or three are gathered together in some definite group entity that a greater dimension of reality and existence is possible. We are dependent on an eternal association with living entities of our own order in any reality of more than transient or surface individualism.
The philosophy of this presents no great difficulties to a student. In the way that embodiment or a physical actuality is the necessity of self-wholeness, so the larger embodiment or spiritual actuality is the necessity of the larger wholeness or the group. There is no tangible body for a group and no moving out of individual embodiment to enter a greater physical reality but there is a transfer from a smaller to a larger order of stability and constancy with a realization of the sustainment in the invisible or group organism. Into the organism as far as the individuality is concerned goes everything that is individual transcendency or a higher constant, and this going is an eternal sharing of the constancy in a recognition of constancies.
BLUE LETTER 936 (The Sabian Assembly)
Nothing is more primary in psychology than the fact that no organism ever moves consciously or otherwise except in expanding an amount of energy that promises or furnishes a reward in fulfilling the self or in providing a sensation of successful continuance of selfhood in a desired aspect. People do what they want to do. Often life is too complex to make this obvious, especially in connection with a move toward secondary or substitute desires as well as toward any symbol as representative of reality translated into vicarious satisfactions, but the underlying personal dynamic is the welfare of personality and this in socialized or co-operative form on higher levels simply becomes the phenomenon of shared reality with the self fulfilled as it has assimilated or projected itself into something more than itself. Spiritual living psychologically and functionally is no different from any other manner of living or self-expression except in its social spread or enlarged dimensions of co-operation with fellow life and reality.
The seeker on the path therefore should want what he may be able to substantiate socially and vicariously through the functions of the group since otherwise his participation in the activity becomes pointless. He may visualize the Assembly as a door to the Mysteries, but to do this is meaningless if he thinks in time and space terms instead of recognizing the channelship of a here and now into which constant creative energy is to be poured for furthering the Sabian vision and through which a co-operative and spiritual vitality of his fellows is funneled into his own personal economy of aspiration. An esoteric assembly cannot exist apart from the individual struggles of those who comprise it and it has its power as they have satisfaction through it.