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Of course, the Cord rises up through the head, with the movable seed atoms. According to the notes, the Reflecting Ether segment and, we infer, the Light Ether segment as well, accompany the higher vehicles and desire-stuff- mental cord when they leave the body. The Reflecting Ether strand of the etheric Cord grows downward from the frontal sinus area to the seed atom in the apex of the heart, thus completing a circuit, tying the Ego into its vehicles firmly for the incarnation, according to these notes. Observe that the seed atom of the heart, which is the oldest of the seed atoms, having been given in the Saturn Period, is called "really the forces of that atom.

Heindel says that these forces are of a very high nature; but as to the etheric counterpart of the atom, it consists of all four ethers, like all atoms in the body. But in the heart seed atom there is something very special, something not found in any other atom of the body. Max Heindel says that this heart seed atom "swims in a sea of the highest ether," the Reflecting Ether, but it has the other ethers also, as he indicates elsewhere, since without them there could be no bodily form at all.

But this seed atom in the heart would possess a greater amount of Reflecting Ether than any other in the body. The Light and Reflecting Ethers together envelop this special seed atom, which is the Book of God's Remembrance, containing ALL records of previous life cycles, back to the very beginning.

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It is of course true that the forces of every atom in the body are, as Mr. Heindel says, an expression of "the undifferentiated life of God" crystallizations around the negative pole of spirit ; but the seed atom of the heart is so in a very special sense. Each molecule and cell of the body has a matrix of the two lower ethers, but is also surrounded by a sheath of Reflecting and Light Ether.

But again, this is especially so in the case of the heart seed atom which sets the keynote for all the atoms of the body. When the Ego rises out of the body in sleep or death, or for work on the inner planes of Nature, it is the mental and Reflecting Ether segments which are seen as a fine silvery thread, infinitely elastic, extending into far distances in inner space according to these notes.

The desire-stuff segment is also elastic and is part of this Cord in its extension in the Desire World, where distance is virtually non-existent. Some occult scientists have said that when close to the body the Silver Cord is very thick, more than an inch in diameter. It is often described as being as thick as a little finger, or of the size of a clothes line or length of twine or cord, which diminishes sharply as it winds off into inner space. We have suggested that it would naturally be thicker near the body, since that is where the movable etheric Cord is found, while the desire-stuff and mental segments trail away into inner space.

It would seem that reports of an excessively bulky Silver Cord arise from a misunderstanding. At death the entire etheric substance of the two lower ethers rises up from the body, and is so dense as to be seen by many people. These ethers rising up at the same time that the Ego withdraws would naturally be taken for the Silver Cord. Again, in mediumistic development much the same thing happens, because a separation has taken place between the physical body and the Chemical and Life Ethers which allow these ethers to be drawn up from the body with the Silver Cord, to which they adhere.

In the work of the Mystery School this is not supposed to happen. Max Heindel states that an improper cleavage takes place when the wrong method of development us used, as in mediumistic classes. Negative development means that a cleavage takes place between the Chemical Ether and the body, or between the Chemical and Life Ethers, and this is the wrong cleavage which may result in various physical illnesses such as tuberculosis, heart trouble, nerve exhaustion, or mental derangement.

The proper cleavage, which takes place between the two higher and the two lower ethers, results from the discipline of the positive training of the Mystery Schools, which includes the work of Meditation and Contemplation, and further includes the Evening and Morning exercises, and the esoteric instruction from the teacher when the pupil qualifies.

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But note this: even the Evening and Morning Exercises alone actually bring about the right cleavage when faithfully performed if the pupil is living a spiritually oriented life. For example: the desire-stuff part of the major Cord connects the seed atom of the desire body in the great vortex in the liver with the seed atom of the vital body in the solar plexus.

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It is not that they connect liver with solar plexus; they connect desire body with vital body, by way of the Cord and seed atoms. This segment passing from liver to solar plexus as seen in the body is made up of desire-stuff, and is the means, obviously, by which the harmonic essence of the Desire World is able to pass down and work upon the etheric body and, eventually, the physical organism. In the material published during his lifetime, Max Heindel mentions only the desire-stuff segment as going out with the desire body and mind; but as has been indicated, stereopticon slides which had had prepared, and which he used, show the "sixes" lifted up out of the body in their entirety, both in sleep and in death.

This means that the etheric segment too, with its movable seed atom, is also drawn up out of the body. In other words, the desire-stuff part of the Cord and the seed atom of the desire body are of desire-stuff. To repeat: the seed atom of the desire body is not in the PHYSICAL liver, but in the great vortex of force of the desire body, which interpenetrates the liver as seen clairvoyantly.

Similarly, the seed atom of the mind is not in the bones nor even in the spaces of the frontal sinus, but in the mental sheath of mind-stuff which interpenetrates that region. When the Ego rises out of the dense body in the desire-stuff and mental sheaths, the ends of the Silver Cord which are fastened to the seed atoms of desire body and mind must go with it, and their corresponding lengths of cord.

The only etheric Cord which Max Heindel specifically mentions anywhere as going out is that fourth segment formed of Reflecting Ether, as stated in the experimental notes. But though this segment alone is mentioned specifically, it would seem logical that the Light Ether strand correlative to the desire-stuff Cord might also accompany it. The major Cord which goes out any great distance from the body consists of Desire World stuff and mind-stuff.

The etheric segment, non-elastic, remains near the body. It is normal for the Silver Cord to be twined in a sort of spiral within the body when the Ego is within that vehicle, and it is observed coiled chiefly around the solar plexus, for there is a great deal of it. Thus when we say that the Silver Cord is lifted up out of the body with the higher vehicles, we mean the parts attached to the movable seed atoms.


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The heart atom is the only one that is immovable. During sleep, however, the vital body itself as a whole normally remains with the dense body, but its seed atom is movable and has the capability of moving up and out of the body with the Silver Cord. When the Ego leaves the body, it takes not only the higher vehicles--desire body and mind--with it, but the Silver Cord rises up with it so that only the lower end, terminating in the seed atom in the heart, remains inside the body.

The juncture of the etheric and desire Cord in the vital body seed atom causes a "crease" or bend--the "sixes"--in the Cord, and one occultist has described feeling that Cord "banging" about his head one night when he happened to leave the body face downward. The Cord extends out from the top of the head during life, and since this lower part of the Cord consists of ether as well as of desire-stuff, it naturally is the "thick" part of the cord.

From this then extends the mental segment, which is elastic and stretches to any distance whatever, accompanied by the Reflecting Ether strand, and perhaps also the Light Ether strand. In the "balloon" of the desire-stuff aura which floats above the sleeping physical body, the upper end of the desire-stuff segment of the Cord is seen attached to the great vortex, while the upper portion of the Cord proceeds from that point to the frontal sinus of the sleeping Soul Body, which is really rooted in mind-stuff. The mental aura and desire body act as a single unit, with the Ego in the Soul Body within it.

To separate the mind sheath from the desire sheath is the work belonging to a higher Initiation which allows the Ego to rise in its mind-body into the Region of Concrete Thought. There is a close union between the soul body and the desire body in sleep, but concentration of will exerted by the Ego to re-enter the body dissolves that connection. To summarize: We have relying on Max Heindel's notes a major Cord, two parts of which desire-stuff and two lower ethers develop during intrauterine life, and a third which develops during youth, which is formed of mind-stuff COSMO, p.

Of this latter development, only the Reflecting Ether segment is definitely described as going out with the Ego from the body; but it seems implicit in the data that the Light Ether segment may also go out with the Reflecting Ether segment. This latter is the segment which re-connects with the heart according to the notes , where the seed atom has fully active components of both Light and Reflecting Ethers.

The notes do not make clear just what happens to the lower ether segment, although, since it is attached to the vital body seed atom in the solar plexus, and this seed atom is also movable only the seed atom of the heart being immovable , it is evident that this basic segment of the etheric Cord also is capable of rising up from the body, when the Ego rises out of the body in its higher vehicles. We know at any rate that during sleep the life-essence of the Desire World first revivifies the desire body of the sleeping Ego, then this in turn works upon the vital body, and the vital body restores the physical; and from the notes it seems indicated that the flow of life-essence from the Desire World is really by way of the Silver Cord, all the way down its length, through the etheric segments, and terminating in the seed atom of the heart which is the pilot-atom for the entire physical organism.

Discussing sleep, Max Heindel says: "The vital fluid has a function similar to that of electricity in a telegraph system, for even when such a system is built with wires connecting different stations, and operators at their keys, the system will be dead until electricity speeds along the lines and carries the messages. So is the dense body useless unless the nerves are traversed by this vital fluid.

When that fails in whole or in part, we say that the body is paralyzed to that extent.

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Sleep, he observes, comes when the fatigue poisons miasmas in the body prevent passage of this solar fluid; and thus we see that sleep is, in a special sense of the word, a mild form of partial paralysis, or includes this, as recent medical and psychiatric experiments have begun to prove. Sometimes the Ego awakens for a moment when coming into the body or going out while this condition of vital fluid-paralysis is still in force, and then he notes that his body is slow to respond to his commands although his mind is wholly wide-awake within the body.

Nature has wisely cushioned this period with a kind of anesthesia, and this is why many students find that they seem to "fall asleep" or become drowsy on the inner planes just prior to waking in the physical body.

Also this is why the student first falls asleep, as a rule, and then later awakens to awareness of his surrounding in the Soul World. The first named is operated directly by the desire nature, and controls the movements of the body, tends to break down and destroy, only partially restrained in its ruthless task by the mind. The involuntary system has its particular vantage in the vital body; it governs the digestive and respiratory organs, which rebuild and restore the dense body.

Just as occult scientists have identified, or perhaps confused, etheric centers with the nerve ganglia of the body, with which they are so intimately concerned, so also clairvoyants who observed the Silver Cord and who learned of the nature and extent of the vagus wandering nerve in the autonomic system thought that the one was, perhaps, a reflection or counterpart of the other, and in this they were not wholly at fault. When the seed atom is ruptured, it is the result of the Ego's taking out of that atom its "forces," which hold the permanent record of the Ego's entire evolution, from the very beginning in the Saturn Period.

The etheric cord is still attached to the ruptured shell of the seed atom in the apex of the heart, however, and for not more than three and one-half days after death the vital body, enclosed in the desire body, may still be seen floating above the body. The floating "double" is in a deep sleep. During this time it reviews its panorama of the life just past which has been taken out of the heart's seed atom of the Reflecting Ether.

At the moment of death the vital body my be seen rising out of the body through the top of the head, then re-forming in the likeness of the person and floating horizontally there above the dead body. The Silver Cord also goes up and out with the whole vital body, but the forces of the seed atom in the heart rise up by way of the pneumogastric nerve and the Cord is seen protruding outward from the BACK of the head.

One is fastened to the heart by means of the seed atom, and it is the rupture of the seed atom which causes the heart to stop. The Cord itself is not snapped until the panorama of the past life, contained in the vital body, has been reviewed The Silver Cord snaps at the point where the sixes unite, half remaining with the dense body and etheric double and half with the higher vehicles. From the time the Cord snaps the dense body is quite dead" "The rupture of the seed atom in the heart releases the vital body, and that, together with the desire body and mind, floats above the visible body for not more than three and one-half days, while the Spirit is engaged in reviewing the past life.

After the second "rupture," which is the snapping of the Cord at the point of junction of the two "sixes," the matrix of the two lower ethers remains with the dense body, to which it is attached by the lowest part of the Silver Cord, and decays synchronously with it. The etheric double is itself surrounded by a kind of aura of free ether atoms--a haze or mist--as it continues to accompany the deceased body. This is known in legend as the "corpse candle," because it is faintly luminous. It has been seen floating above graves and in mausoleums, sometimes resembling an oblong cloud of a bluish, grayish or greenish hue.

Sometimes the vital body matrix itself is seen in the midst of the misty etheric aura, decaying with the body in the grave, and this has undoubtedly contributed to the folklore of vampires. Occultists believe that funeral rites should not take place for at least three and one-half days after death, and that the body should be kept either in some familiar place or at least in a place that is pleasant and harmonious, during which time the Ego will have a chance to complete his life retrospection and to awaken peacefully.

However, no matter where or when he awakens, there will always be friends and angelic helpers present with him. The panorama being terminated by the breaking of the Silver Cord in the vital body seed atom, the Ego, in its higher vehicles, is free to move away. His aura has taken on the appearance of the body he has just left, but this body is not the etheric double, which goes with the corpse and decays synchronously with it.

This new "body" of the two higher ethers and the desire body still resembles the man as he was on earth because the Ego continues to think of himself in the accustomed way. He will continue to think of himself as he was on earth throughout his stay in the lower Desire World undergoing purgation. Needless to say, Purgatory is not a dreadful place, except for the very lowest human beings. Small groups are a place you can grow with others to become more like Jesus and reach the potential God has put inside of you.

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