Colum writes: One of the activities around which our work in the new London Lodge is built is a mid-afternoon discussion each Thursday. This has had different themes and taken different forms, but we are currently discovering that there is nothing more stimulating than slowly working through the very first White Eagle Inner Teachings ever given. ‘The very first’ actually date from 1936, the year the Lodge first opened, and sitting in a circle taking them one paragraph at a time they come alive for us in an extraordinary way. The effect is of enhancing our brotherhood work: we feel as though we are a group of equals, exploring and seeking to understand them together. Though they are 83 years old, they feel as though they have been given afresh: as though we were actually the live audience for whom they were designed.
The two most recent teachings have been about reincarnation. I’ve written in Stella Polaris recently (December 2018) that reincarnation is one of the topics around which White Eagle is most equivocal. He says, variously, that it is both true and not true at the same time; that it is a crude representation of something much deeper and much richer - for which we are not ready! Very frustrating.
Yet as we talk in these discussions, some intimations arise. The first one I remember from the first of the teachings on the subject (no. 6 overall, 22 April 1936) is the awareness that reincarnation is a very ‘this world’ concept, centred on individual identity, and of course very tied to linear time, which we do not believe exists ‘on the other side’. From that other side, it may all look and feel very different. In short, maybe one of the inadequacies of the doctrine of reincarnation is that as you evolve, the separation between one individual and the next becomes much less marked. The more our spiritual awareness grows, the more we are one another – or at least the closer we are to one another.
That’s one thing. White Eagle continued his theme of the Wheel of Rebirth in a second teaching a week later. The early paragraphs contain the sentence, ‘In the search for a clear understanding of reincarnation, we must be acquainted with the man or woman within’. Later paragraphs cover the theme, ‘How does the radiant soul become radiant?’, and White Eagle stresses the discipline, and the number of incarnations, that go into manifesting that radiance. But the reference to the man/woman within feels to me to be a reminder that we tend to see reincarnation as a resurrection of personality. Of course, it is not. It is a resurrection of a growing jewel, slowly becoming radiant – and using personalities as a way to do this. Reincarnation is an inadequate concept because it assumes a linear resurrection of our individuality, where the soul becoming radiant will maybe put down personalities, incarnations, like roots into the earth – not in a linear sense at all – and learn from them all.
And so our enquiries about the wheel of rebirth continue.
On the subject of reincarnation, and without this being an endorsement, exactly, of all I have just said, I had a strange intimation while we were going through the second of the two teachings. White Eagle says there, ‘The heart of truth lies in the spirit, and only you, my beloved soul, can know truth’. It’s an interesting turn of phrase to use before a group, ‘my beloved soul ‘, and I really think what he was trying to do was to address every single individual gathered to hear him, and make them feel that they were loved by him. This is an entirely personal view, but I suddenly had a perception of the person of St John and his followers in Ephesus, to whom (in his first Epistle) John constantly implored that they should love one another – simply that. Or the St John who, according to St Jerome, at the end of his life continually reiterated the phrase, ‘Little children, love one another’ I suddenly realized how close White Eagle and St John (and the eagle is the symbol of John, of course) may be to one another.
See the 2019 Events Brochure or here for our plans for next year, when our day on Pythagoras in July may prove to be equally popular.'