The Brotherhood of Light Teachings Come to Earth
A tribute to Elbert Benjamine’s extraordinary achievement
by DW Sutton
Part Two: Books and Chapters in Detail
The Books & Chapters:
Outline of Initiation CS1: Laws of Occultism CS2: Astrological Signatures CS3: Spiritual Alchemy CS4: Ancient Masonry CS5: Esoteric Psychology CS6: The Sacred Tarot CS7: Spiritual Astrology CS8: Horary Astrology CS9: Mental Alchemy CS10-1: Delineating the Horoscope and CS10-2: Progressing the Horoscope CS11: Divination and Character Analysis CS12-1: Evolution of Life and CS12-2: Evolution of Religion CS13: Mundane Astrology CS14: Occultism Applied to Daily Life CS15: Weather Predicting CS16: Stellar Diagnosis and Stellar Healing CS17: Cosmic Alchemy CS18: Imponderable Forces CS19: Organic Alchemy CS20: The Next Life CS21: Personal Alchemy The Not-Sold Award Manuscripts CS22: Index to The Brotherhood of Light lessons
In 1909 a group of progressive thinkers – The Brotherhood of Light – were trying to form a corporation as a means to getting the great cause in which they believed established on the Earth. The organization’s Articles of Incorporation included a seemingly impossible aim:
To place intelligently before the world the philosophy of planetary influences, to teach those who desire to learn the philosophy, to publish books as pertain to astrology and various occult subjects, to establish a Church and College of Astrologers, and to diligently search for Truth.’
And in the spring of 1910 Elbert Benjamine promised to fulfill the organization’s aims and in particular write a series of courses of lessons on each of the 21 occult sciences: 21 separate courses to be ultimately published as 21 separate books. Then, after a four year preparation, on March 21, 1914, when the Sun on its annual journey around the zodiac entered Aries Elbert commenced writing The Brotherhood of Light lessons.
In a Brotherhood of Light promotion issued in 1931 Elbert Benjamine explained:
The Brotherhood of Light is custodian of knowledge concerning every branch of Occult Science. In every lesson it issues will be found information of value not to be found elsewhere. These lessons, in the order they are listed, lead by easy steps from first principles to complete mastery of the most difficult occult subject. The most advanced student, as well as beginners, will receive new light from every lesson. They are issued with the definite purpose of reviving The Religion of the Stars – which is a Religion of Natural Law – as understood and taught by the Hermetic Initiates of ancient Egypt and Chaldea. The world has outgrown the dogmas of the Piscean Age. The Religion of the Stars is the Religion of the Aquarian Age.
Any person may buy one or all of these lessons, except the Degree MSS. The Degree MSS. are sold to no one, and can only be procured by members who pass the degrees to which they pertain. They are given without charge as a reward for Occult Advancement.
Promotional material issued by The Church of Light always states: Brotherhood of Light Lessons – Standard the World Over – 21 Courses – 210 lessons. Course 10 and Course 12, due to their size, consist of 2 volumes – parts 1 and 2.
If you go by the numbers Elbert wrote 232 Brotherhood of Light lessons. Lesson No. 1 is Ritual of Initiation and Lesson No. 232 is not-sold award How to control inner plane activities. There are 21 not-sold award lessons so that makes 211 regular lessons (232 less 21) but as there is no lesson No. 102 there are 210 regular Brotherhood of Light lessons. Lesson No. 1 was probably completed soon after he commenced writing on March 21, 1914 and the final revisions were made to Course 15 – the last course to be revised – in the summer of 1949.
But documenting an accurate time sequence for the writing and revision of each lesson is nigh on impossible. The copyright dates given in the book or e-book versions of each Brotherhood of Light lesson are unreliable. Serial 40, for example, in Course 1 has a 1926 copyright yet it was completely re-written in 1948. In fact most of its information content was unknown in 1926. And lesson No. 86, which explains How to Erect a Horoscope, was issued in 1921 and Course 10-1 was issued in 1922 but in May 1915 Elbert had commenced teaching an astrology class and in December 1918 – on a Tuesday night – Fred Skinner commenced teaching a chart construction class and there were versions of both Course 8 and Course 10 available to students before 1920.
In January 1920 Elbert Benjamine published the first Brotherhood of Light Annual. It consisted of a six page manuscript entitled Clouds Dispelled from Popular Customs and in it he explained The Brotherhood of Light’s information product. He wrote:
The lessons issued by The Brotherhood of Light are for the express purpose of providing those who wish to know more about nature’s laws and less about isms and cults with reliable information. We teach the student to investigate and demonstrate for himself, rather than merely rely upon the authority of others. Blind belief and acceptance of statements upon authority without demonstration has been the curse of the world. Sooner or later each individual must work out his own destiny. Our lessons point the road to Self-Conscious-Immortality.
He then explained:
Suffice to say that present-day religions borrowed their symbolism and customs, without exception, from still older religions; and these from those that went before; until we find at their source the spiritual conceptions of an Astronomical Religion, a religion of natural law, which is destined to be the Religion of the Aquarian Age – The Religion of the Stars.
those who scoff at astrology are almost without exception those who have never studied the subject and have never put it to the test. Astrology may be proven experimentally by any person of average intelligence who will devote a little time to the study of Courses 8 and 10.
Elbert then set the record straight.
Astrological influences only affect man through environment, physical or astral…So, by knowing what forces will be brought to bear upon him he can shape his environment to take advantage of conditions. The mechanical details of how planetary influences reach man and influence him are fully explained in Course 1.
It is impossible to understand many of our popular sayings without some knowledge of astrology. Thus it is said of March: “If it comes in like a Lion it goes out like a Lamb, but if it comes in like a Lamb it goes out like a Lion.” The student is referred to Course 2 for a more detailed explanation of signs, houses, planets etc.
Then, in keeping with the article’s title, Elbert dispelled the clouds from some popular customs.
The serpent’ he wrote ‘is, and ever has been the symbol of wisdom. It tempted Adam and Eve to partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Before the advent of Christianity the inhabitants of Ireland understood astrology, as is recorded by the Roman conquerors, and commonly conversed with those who had passed to the next world. But St. Patrick drove the serpents, or true knowledge of natural law, from Ireland; though he was never able to eradicate its symbolism. This symbolism together with that of Masonry is explained in detail in Course 4.’ And ‘Maunday Thursday is the day before Good Friday. On this Thursday it is the custom of those in high office to wash the feet of the poor, similar to the practice of the Love Feats of certain sects. The feet symbolize understanding, and the ceremony really signifies the understanding of the law of sacrifice or personal pride for universal good. Pisces is the sign of expiation, as is fully explained, with a vast amount of other occult information, in Course 6.
In Course 7 I have already explained the origin and significance of the Jewish Passover and its ceremonies – fasting, eating bitter roots and unleavened bread, and daubing door-posts with blood – also the significance of circumcision. Therefore I shall dismiss Easter with mentioning the custom in Ireland on midnight before Easter of clapping hands and shouting, ‘Out with Lent’, and rising before the Sun on Easter morning to ‘See the Sun dance in honor of the resurrection.’ Just what this resurrection signifies in soul-development is fully explained in Course 3.’ And ‘Whit Sunday is said to be kept in commemoration of the descent of the Holy Ghost. It is really a festival held in honor of the passing of the Sun from the sign of greatest fertility, the Bull, to the sign of the greatest mental activity, Gemini. The descent of holy power, therefore, in individual cases must follow the use of the fecundity of Taurus for mental and moral unfoldment. These methods are fully explained in Esoteric Psychology, Course 5.
Elbert then explained:
The meaning of Halloween can only be fully comprehended by knowledge of astrological cycles that occur approximately every 13,000 years, bringing catastrophe by fire or flood. The details governing cataclysmic occurrences are found in Course 7’; and ‘The psychic laws and principles governing the relation of the dead to the living are fully explained in Course 1.
This promotion of The Brotherhood of Light’s information product reveals that Courses 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10 were all available in January 1920. And that ‘Each regular lesson of Brotherhood of Light consists of 9 or 10 pages – about 6,400 words – of condensed information, bound neatly with frontispiece in a MS. Cover. Each lesson, postpaid, 25 cents.’ So there were early versions of some courses available before their known issue dates, and never one to let useful information go to waste much of what Elbert wrote in Clouds Dispelled by Popular Customs later appeared in Chapter 7 – “Astrological Significance of Holidays” of Astrological Lore of all Ages published in 1944.
This manuscript is issued to all members of The Church of Light. It was first issued in May 1915 but was written before its issue date and since then has undergone considerable revision. The current version lists the 21 Brotherhood of Light Courses and the 21 Award manuscripts that were completed in 1940. It also contains articles written by Elbert that first appeared in The Rising Star during the 1940s and a commentary on the lessons that he wrote in August 1951. It was last revised in 1981. There is an Outline of Initiation Part 2, but it has no author or issue date.
Course 1 examines and explains the various types of psychic phenomena, the nature of the inner-plane, and how it affects human life. All phenomena arising from the properties and energies of the inner-plane – clairvoyance, clairaudience, telepathy, psychometry and precognition – are identified as psi phenomena. Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity indicates how inner-plane energies operate and how they can be brought under personal control and used to personal advantage.
In 1931 Elbert wrote:
This Course of 7 lessons embraces more than its title implies. It explains not only the mechanical details and psychological processes of all psychic and spiritualistic phenomena, but also the mechanical details of planetary influence, and elucidates the fundamental principles upon which all occult science rests. This course is essential to all students of the occult, and advanced students should not make the mistake of skipping it. Occult science in any of its branches can only be thoroughly understood with a knowledge of the facts presented in this Course, and which, in so far as we are aware, cannot be obtained elsewhere.
Course 1 was originally titled The Laws of Mediumship and Spiritism and in 1931 it was available in both manuscript and book form. The book contained a portrait of its author and each lesson commenced with two birthcharts. Then in the March 1940 issue of The Church of Light Quarterly Elbert announced:
Course 1 of Brotherhood of Light lessons explains the interrelation between the inner-plane and the outer-plane, and how it operates not merely in the production of psychic phenomena of all kinds, and how it makes ESP possible, but also as permitting astrological forces to influence human life and destiny, and as responsible for everything occult. To better denote what it really embraces, and to indicate its paramount importance as a basis for the understanding of any branch of occult science, we have changed the title Laws of Mediumship to Laws of Occultism.
In 1948 Course 1 – Laws of Occultism – was revised so some lessons have a misleading copyright date. The birthcharts of popular movie stars may have replaced less well known personalities and Montgomery Clift’s chart in Lesson 43 is a late entry – post 1951.
Lesson 39 – Occult Data – was first issued in manuscript form in January 1919. It was rewritten in January 1921 and issued in booklet form in May 1926. The Prefatory Note states:
This lesson in manuscript form was issued to members of The Brotherhood of Light in January 1919, and since that date has been constantly used in the various chapters of the fraternity. In January, 1921, it was rewritten and issued in its present form. Now, after five years, I find no necessity for changing it in any way even though it is my intention to keep all The Brotherhood of Light lessons revised up to the latest discoveries in both occult and physical science.
No changes were made to this lesson in 1948 when Course 1 was revised.
Lesson 40 – Astral Substance – was issued in manuscript form in February 1919. It was rewritten in February 1921 and issued as a booklet in January 1926. The Prefatory Note in the booklet states:
Now, after a lapse of five years I find no necessity for changing this lesson in any way beyond the addition of two paragraphs relating to a discovery made in 1925.
This lesson was completely rewritten in 1948 so the 1926 copyright is misleading.
Lesson 41 – Astral Vibration – was issued in manuscript form in February 1919. It was completely rewritten in September 1923 and issued as a booklet. In the Prefatory Note Elbert wrote:
I have now entirely rewritten this lesson with the objects in view of including in it the latest discoveries of science relative to its subject matter and presenting the whole in a more readable style.
This lesson was revised and rewritten in 1948 – the comments on Pluto and the signs, houses and aspects were all added – so the 1923 copyright is misleading.
Lesson 42 – The Doctrine of Nativities – was issued as a manuscript in February 1919. It was rewritten and issued in booklet form in February 1924. The Prefatory Note Elbert states:
I have now entirely rewritten this lesson with the objects in view of including in it the latest discoveries of science relative to its subject matters, and presenting the whole in a more readable style.
This lesson was revised and rewritten in 1948 so the 1924 copyright is misleading. (In 1924 there were 110 million people in the USA. In 1948 there were 180 million. Now in 2014 there are 316 million.)
Lesson 43 – Doctrine of Mediumship – was issued in manuscript form in February 1919. It was rewritten and issued as a booklet in November 1924. In the Prefatory Note Elbert wrote:
I have now entirely rewritten this lesson with the objects in view of including in it the latest discoveries of science relative to its subject matters, and presenting the whole, I trust, in a somewhat more readable style.
No changes were made when Course 1 was revised in 1948.
Lesson 44 – Spiritism – was issued as a manuscript in February 1919. It was rewritten and issued in booklet form in December 1924. Subheadings were inserted. In the Prefatory Note Elbert states:
I have now entirely rewritten this lesson with the objects in view of including in it the latest discoveries of science relative to its subject matter, and presenting the whole, I trust, in a somewhat more readable style.
No changes were made in 1948 when Course 1 was revised.
Lesson 45 – Phenomenal Spiritism – was issued in manuscript form in February 1919. It was rewritten and issued as a booklet in January 1925 when subheadings were inserted. No changes were made to this lesson when Course 1 was revised in 1948.
The subject matter of this course is the soul and the astrological environment that influences its destiny. It explains why the soul was brought into existence, why physical life provides it with the necessary developmental experiences, why it will always occupy a form, the manner in which it makes progress and the significance of each planet, sign, aspect and house in astrology. It explains how self-conscious immortality is attained and the symbolical significance of the ancient Egyptian initiation.
In 1931 Elbert wrote:
This course is embraced in nine lessons, which explain the Hermetic Philosophy of the origin, nature and destiny of the soul. It reveals the purpose of human life, the steps leading up to it, the various forces that influence the soul, and the method by which the soul can solve all problems with certainty.
Course 2 was originally titled Laws of Astrological Signatures. Lesson 2 – The Two Keys – was issued in May 1916; Lessons 46 and 47 were issued in March 1919; Lesson 4 was issued in July 1916; Lesson 3 was issued in June 1916; Lesson 5 was issued in August 1916; Lessons 20 and 21 were issued in November and December 1917; and Lesson 1 – The Ritual of Egyptian Initiation – was issued in April 1916. Lesson 46 was originally titled – First Principles – The Zodiac – and Lesson 47 – First Principles – The Houses. Each serial was originally sold as an individual lesson and in 1918 they were combined into Brotherhood of Light Course 2 – Laws of Astrological Signatures – in an order that favored the logical sequencing of the information.
Then in 1925 Lesson 2 – The Two Keys – was rewritten. In 1926 Lesson 46 was rewritten and re-titled – The Zodiac. In 1927 Lesson 47 was rewritten and re-titled – Mundane Houses; but all the references to Pluto are post 1932. In 1927 Lesson 4 – The Mission of the Soul, Lesson 3 – Physiology and Correspondences, and Lesson 5 – Doctrine of Signatures – were rewritten. The comments at the end of Serial 3 explaining the relationship of the nine-point plan to the gestation of a healthy child were the known facts in 1927, but they’re incorrect and awaiting revision. In 1928 Lessons 1, 20 and 21 were rewritten. In 1931 The Laws of Astrological Signatures was available as a cloth-bound book and in 1932 its title was changed to Astrological Signatures.
The experiences of life are symbolized by the metals of alchemy and this course explains how your character is built by the events and conditions you experience. It explains why the right mental attitude is the crucial factor when it comes to building your character and a truly spiritual body.
In 1931 Elbert wrote:
This course is explained in 5 lessons which fully explain the teachings of ancient and medieval alchemists in regard to spiritual matters. This is the first time the true meaning of the metals and the true nature of alchemical terms and processes have been rendered into common language. There are no blinds in these lessons and every process in the work is clearly and fully explained. Course 3 is intensely practical, and of utmost value to any person in solving the difficulties of everyday life.
Lessons 49 to 53 – the five lessons that comprise Course 3 – Spiritual Alchemy – were written and made available to Brotherhood of Light members in April and May 1919. It was revised and rewritten in 1931. The indications are that only minor revisions occurred after that date.
Elbert Benjamine’s writing and revising of Course 4 – Ancient Masonry – was a spectacular achievement. It’s a storehouse of occult wisdom. Breathtaking information lifts and leaves the reader spellbound. The subject matter is the ancient secret doctrine that has been bequeathed to us by spiritual masters of the ancient past. The important truths their doctrines impart, which embrace the soul’s proper relationship to the universe and God, are written in the language of universal symbolism.
In 1931 Elbert explained:
This course is embraced in 13 lessons on Ancient Masonry. In this treatise the threefold interpretation of every ritual and symbol of Masonry is fully explained. The astrological meaning and derivation of each symbol and its meaning as applied to the individual and to mankind as a whole is given, and the principle it contains as used in the unfoldment of the powers of the soul is elucidated. Every degree is given in detail. Few people realize what a fund of information regarding Occult Law lies concealed beneath the rites and symbols of the Ancient Masons, who were the original magi. This wisdom is now, for the first time, made accessible to the reading public.
The 13 lessons that comprise Course 4 were written and issued from September 1916 to September 1917. They were revised in 1926-1927 and in 1938-39. Their final revision saw subheadings inserted and examination questions changed and reduced from 27 to 25.
Throughout The Brotherhood of Light lessons Elbert regularly opposed the idea that a particular lesson contained the last word on its subject matter. And in August 1951 he wrote:
This writer is not so foolish to believe that what has already been published in the 210 Brotherhood of Light lessons is the last word, or that no errors have been made in them, or that new demonstrated facts may not make necessary some revision of the ideas there presented.
And throughout the revisions of the lessons he practiced what he preached. All the astrology lessons written before 1930 contained no references to Pluto and Pluto’s discovery necessitated their complete revision. And some astrological comment that was refuted by new evidence was later discarded.
Lesson 6 – Ancient Masonry Introduction – was written and issued in September 1916. It was revised in 1938 when the comments under the subheading – Where the Ritual Places Emphasis – were added.
Lesson 7 – Entered Apprentice – was written and issued in October 1916. It was revised in May 1926 and in 1938 was rewritten and restructured. Its title was changed to Entered Apprentice and the Planets. In 1916 Elbert wrote:
Perhaps, also, beyond the orbit of Neptune, which marks the present day frontier, lie other yet to be discovered orbs. With these we need not be concerned; for our observation of newly discovered planets in the past implies that man is not yet refined enough to respond to their influence. They will only have a meaning to human life when man is further evolved and when one or more of the planets in the present chain of ten becomes dormant in its influences over human life. Then, according to the teachings of the Ancient Masons, will the effect of ultra-Neptune planets become important.
But in 1938 these comments were discarded. The comments under the subheading – New Planets Usher in New Periods in World Affairs – were based on new research and Elbert wrote:
…the work of the Church of Light Research Department on the charts of those who lived before the Periods of each of the super-octave planets began, shows conclusively that, despite astrological ignorance of their existence, these planets were then profoundly affecting people’s lives through such conditions as were already at hand.
Astrologers are not omniscient, no more so than chemists. At the turn of this century chemistry had only atoms and molecules. Then it found within the atom the electron and the proton, and became satisfied it had all the building blocks. But this family of two expanded by 1938 to embrace no less than six fundamental particles within the atom. Yet the world would have been vastly poorer had it been without chemists in 1900. Astrology, like chemistry, is a progressive science; and it is foolish for astrologers now to claim they know all there is about astrology, as it would for chemists to insist there is no more to learn about chemistry. Nevertheless, both even in their present state are practical and highly useful sciences.
Lesson 8 – Entered Apprentice continued – was written and issued in November 1916. It was first revised in November 1926 and in 1938 the comments under the subheading Contrast of Ancient Masonry Teachings with those of Present Day Orient were added.
Lesson 9 – Opening the Lodge – was written and issued in December 1916. It was first revised in July 1926 and in 1938 had its title changed to Numbers and Opening the Lodge. The comments relating to thought-cells and training the brain to control the thoughts under the subheading – The Important Duty of the Tyler – were added.
Lesson 10 was written and issued in January 1917. It was first revised in January 1927 and in its final revision in 1938 the comments under the subheading – Jachin and Boaz are United by Electromagnetic Boundary Line Energy – were added. Elbert coined the terms Boundary Line region and Boundary Line substance in 1937.
Lesson 11 was written and issued in February 1917. It was first revised in September 1926 and in 1939 some comment was discarded and those under the subheading – The River Jordan is the Dense Etheric-Astral Belt Separating the Physical from the Upper Astral – were added.
Lesson 12 was written and issued in March 1917. It was first revised in November 1927 and in 1939 got a new introduction.
Lesson 13 was written and issued in April 1917. It was first revised in September 1928 and in the final revision in 1939 the comments relating to velocities under the subheading – How the Five Points of Fellowship Do Their Work – were added.
Lesson 14 – Mark Master, Etc. – was written and issued in May 1917. It was revised in April 1927 and in 1939 had its title changed to Mark Master Mason. Some comments were discarded and the comments under the subheadings – The Keystone of Psychic Development is proper Electrification and The Keystone as Applied to Natal Astrology – were added. The comments on Select Master Degree, Super Excellent Master Mason Degree and Heroine of Jerico were moved to Lesson 15 and the comments on Secret Monitor were moved to Lesson 16.
Lesson 15 was written and issued in June 1917. It was revised in May 1927 and in 1939 some comment was discarded and the end comments were rewritten and moved to the start of Lesson 17.
Lesson 16 was written and issued in July 1917. It was revised in July 1927 and in 1939 the introductory comments were moved to the start of Lesson 18. The comments under the subheadings – Time on the Inner-Plane, Distance on the Inner-Plane and Gravitation on the Inner Plane – were added. Under the subheading Order of Knights Templar the reference to ‘Pluto, ruler of the sign of death’ replaced the original reference to ‘the lost orb of heaven.’
Lesson 17 was written and issued in August 1917. It was revised in August 1927 and in 1939 the introductory comments were moved to the start of Lesson 18. The comments under the subheading – That Which Determines Control – and the references to Upper-Pluto – were added.
Lesson 18 was written and issued in September 1917. It was revised in September 1927 and in 1939 the comments under the subheadings – Three Methods of Acquiring Information from the Inner Plane, Mediumship, Two Methods of Independent Psychic Work, Feeling ESP and Intellectual ESP – were added.
Course 5 explains how the mind is formed, the laws that govern its development and functionality, the value of dreams, what desire is, the role of strong desire in accomplishment, how you can cultivate constructive thinking and creative imagination, and how you can rule your stars and use your mind to maximize your self-development and reach your highest potential.
In 1931 Elbert wrote:
These 12 lessons trace the expanding consciousness from its first dim inception through the various stages of its development. The mechanical details of reason, morality, intuition, suggestion, affirmation, dreams, creative imagination etc. are fully explained with valuable instructions how this knowledge should be used as a constructive agent in demonstrating success. Course 5 is clear, comprehensive, and unlike any other treatise in print.
Course 5 – Esoteric Psychology – comprises lessons 56 to 67. Lessons 56 to 59 were issued in June 1919; Lessons 60 to 63 were issued in July 1919; and lessons 64 to 67 were issued in August 1919. Lessons 56 to 59 were revised in 1936; and Lessons 60 to 67 were revised in 1937. The revision involved the extensive use of the term ‘thought-cells’ which was coined and first used in 1934. Esoteric Psychology was available in book form in 1938.
This course explains the science of numbers, the science of vibration and the universal symbolism and use of the Tarot cards. These cards are the best means for facilitating the extension of consciousness (ESP). They were developed to help you extend your own consciousness to specific inner-plane information and to make correct observations.
In 1931 Elbert wrote:
The 13 lessons of this course explain all the important ideas of the Jewish and other Kabbalistical works by means of the Silver Key to all mysteries, the most ancient book in the world, The Egyptian Tarot. These lessons are an authentic exposition of The Sacred Tarot and Hermetic System of Names and Numbers. There are no subterfuges in this work and the symbolism of the Tarot is fully explained. Detailed information is given on the significance of Names, Numbers, Colors, Tones, Herbs, Gems, Metals and Stones; and their specific effect upon an individual associated with them. Each lesson explains a different method of Reading the Tarot Cards.
The lessons (serials) that comprise The Sacred Tarot were written during 1918 – one lesson per month. They didn’t have titles and each was identified as a lesson – Serial 22 as Lesson 1, Serial 23 as lesson 2 etc. Each lesson consisted of ten typed pages bound by an aqua blue (Aquarius) cover. And as soon as each lesson was written it was mimeographed and made available to students. There were no illustrations. In the Church of Light Quarterly Course 6 was always publicized as Tarot and Numerology.
The revision and rewriting of Course 6 in 1936 was a massive task that involved the deletion and revision of some comments, the insertion of new comments and the processing of sentences and paragraphs. Elbert’s comprehension of the subject matter was constantly expanding and The Sacred Tarot you study today is a superior version to the original 1918 version. To enhance the quality of the presentation sub-headings were inserted. The examination questions were changed and the number reduced from 27 to 25. The new questions may have been developed by Fred Skinner who was in charge of The Tarot Education Department in 1936. And references to the astrodynes and Astrological Lore of All Ages represent last minute revisions made in 1947-48.
The publishing of The Sacred Tarot in book form in 1936 was an important event for Elbert and The Church of Light. And to coincide with its publication the Church produced its own deck of Tarot cards. To promote the book and the cards Elbert presented an illustration of each Tarot card on the lead page of The Church of Light Quarterly. Six cards were presented in each edition starting with September 1934. The illustrations on the cards were done by Gloria Beresford. Gloria lived in Tujunga (Los Angeles) and was an ordained Church of Light minister.
Lesson 48 – Doctrine of Kabbalism – was not included in the original Course 6. It was written and issued in 1919 and then, due to its subject matter, located as the first lesson in The Sacred Tarot. It was revised in 1936.
Lesson 22 was written and issued in January 1918. Its subject matter included an introduction to the Silver Key of Nature’s Sanctuary, ‘The Aphoresmata of The Logos’, and a history of the Tarot and Tarot cards. But as The Brotherhood of Light did not have its own Tarot card deck Elbert explained:
Eliphas Levi expresses great surprise that he should find…a set of the Tarot cards that had undergone scarcely any alteration from their primitive form. But altho he gives the data for the construction of better cards than those prevalent we are not aware that he indicated where the primitive set could be found, and the ones designed from his advice leave much to be desired. We, also, have discovered a copy of the original Egyptian Tarot in a most unexpected place, easily accessible to all. They constitute the most important part of a book misnamed "Practical Astrology" by Comte de St. Germain. The book really treats of Kabbalistical Astrology applied to divination, and gives little light upon true Scientific Astrology. This book may be purchased at most book-stores in paper for 50 cents and no better cards can be had than those made by cutting out the pictures of the Arcana there given and pasting on suitable cards. At the bottom of each Major Arcanum is its proper Egyptian letter whose name we give with its equivalent in Hebrew and English. The astrological characters on the pictures belong to the decanate system of Kabbalistical reading and should be ignored. We will supply the correct astrological correspondence of each.
In 1936 Lesson 22 was rewritten, revised and given the title: Foundation of the Science. There was considerable change. Paragraphs were deleted, information was re-sequenced and subheadings inserted.
Lesson 23 was written and issued in manuscript form in February 1918. The occult science allocated to Major Arcanum 1 was Psychology; and Signatures was allocated to Major Arcanum 2. It was rewritten and revised in 1936 and given the title: Scope and Use of the Tarot. The occult science relating to Major Arcana 1 and 2 was specified as Esoteric Psychology and Astrological Signatures respectively, but in both instances the information content stayed the same.
Lesson 24 was written and issued in March 1918. Major Arcanum 3 was allocated the science of cycles – Periodicity; and Major Arcanum 4 was allocated the science of transmuting the procreative fluids – Physical Alchemy. In 1936 it was rewritten, revised and given the title: Involution and Evolution of Numbers. Comments were rewritten, words were changed and sentences were reconstructed and relocated. Elbert was word processing – cut and pasting – without a computer. The subject matter was very abstruse and he was striving to present complex thoughts and ideas in easy to understand words and sentences. The occult sciences relating to Major Arcana 3 and 4 were changed to Spiritual Alchemy and Imponderable Forces.
Lesson 25 was written and issued in April 1918. The occult sciences allocated to Major Arcana 5 and 6 were Spiritual Astrology and Natural Alchemy respectively. It was revised in 1936 and given the title: Reading the Meaning of Numbers. The start comments were rewritten and many comments were deleted or processed to improve their readability. The occult sciences allocated to Major Arcana 5 and 6 were changed to Masonry and Kabalism respectively. The reference to the great Caruso was added. Enrico Caruso (1873-1921) was an Italian operatic tenor. His voice had a remarkable dynamic range and in Lessons 22 and 25 Elbert comments on his apparent ability to shatter a wine glass by singing its tone with his powerful voice. But no evidence exists to corroborate Caruso’s claim and his wife is reported to have denied he did it. So no one knows if he really did it, although it is considered possible.
Lesson 26 was written and issued in manuscript form in May 1918. The undiscovered planet, Pluto, was identified as The Dark Satellite. The occult science allocated to Major Arcanum 7 was Masonry – the science of symbolism and rituals; and Major Arcanum 8 was allocated Mundane Astrology. In 1936 it was revised and given the title: Making an Astrological Chart of a Name. In the interim a revolution in the understanding of the birthchart had occurred. The example name readings – Jesus, Ra, Aum, Buddha etc – were added and The Dark Satellite became Pluto. The occult sciences pertaining to Major Arcana 7 and 8 were changed to Spiritual Astrology and Horary Astrology respectively.
Lesson 27 was written and issued in June 1918. When referring to the 10 Emanations of the Sephiroth Elbert wrote: ‘Above all is the Limitless Light – Ain-Soph-Aur (1) – The Unknown Planet, Kabalistically, Kether or Crown.’ Fauns, Elves, Nymphs and Fairies were classed as cosmic elementals. The occult science Mental Alchemy was allocated to Major Arcanum 9 and Kabalism was allocated to Major Arcanum 10. When it was revised in 1936 it was given the title: Influence of Changing the Name. The start comments, including the detailed reading of the name – CC Zain, were rewritten. Fauns, Elves, Nymphs and Fairies were classed as magnetic elementals and The Unknown Planet became Pluto. Mental Alchemy stayed with Major Arcanum 9, but Natal Astrology was allocated to Major Arcanum 10.
Lesson 28 was written and issued in manuscript form in July 1918. The start comments were entirely devoted to reading the name, Abraham Lincoln. Imponderable Forces was the occult science allocated to Major Arcanum 11; and Organic Alchemy was allocated to Major Arcanum 12. In 1936 it was rewritten, revised and given the title: Reading Names in Detail. The George Washington comments were added. The occult sciences pertaining to Major Arcana 11 and 12 were changed to Divination and Character Reading and Natural Alchemy respectively.
Lesson 29 was written and issued in August 1918. The occult science allocated to Major Arcanum 13 was Horary Astrology; and Major Arcanum 14 was allocated Medical Alchemy. In 1936 it was revised and given the title: The Color of a Name. The start comments were rewritten, sentences were reworded and paragraphs restructured. The section related to Magic was rewritten. As Elbert’s discrimination skills developed he knew exactly what was needed to explain a particular issue and the not needed comment was discarded. The occult sciences pertaining to Major Arcana 13 and 14 were changed to Mundane Astrology and Occultism Applied to Daily Life respectively.
Lesson 30 was written and issued in manuscript form in September 1918. The occult science allocated to Major Arcanum 15 was ceremonial magic. (Satan in sacred writings is Saturn.) And Astro-Meteorology was allocated to Major Arcanum 16. It was revised in 1936 and given the title: Talismans and Charms. The start comments were rewritten. Comments were deleted and new comments added. Sentences and paragraphs were restructured. The rewriting had one objective – to provide a better, improved explanation. Major Arcanum 15 was allocated the occult science Weather Predicting; and Major Arcanum 16 was allocated Stellar Diagnosis and Stellar Healing.
Lesson 31 was written and issued in October 1918. The Horseman cards were identified as Warriors – The warrior of Scepters; the warrior of Cups etc. The occult science allocated to Major Arcanum 17 was Genethical (Natal) Astrology; and Major Arcanum 18 was allocated Mediumship. In 1936 it was rewritten, revised and given the title: Chronology of the Tarot. Explanations were expanded and sentences were deleted or restructured. Very long paragraphs were broken up into 3, maybe 4, shorter paragraphs. The Warriors became Horsemen. Major Arcanum 17 was allocated the occult science Cosmic Alchemy, but Mediumship (Course 1) stayed with Major Arcanum 18.
Lesson 32 was written and issued in manuscript form in November 1918. The data for Elbert’s Aquarian age chart was given for the first time. The occult science allocated to Major Arcanum 19 was Inorganic Alchemy; and Major Arcanum 20 was allocated Spiritual Astrology. It was revised in 1936 and given the title: The Solution of Ancient Cycles. Sections were rewritten. Long paragraphs were broken up into shorter paragraphs and sub-headings were inserted. The occult sciences pertaining to Major Arcana 19 and 20 were changed to Organic Alchemy and The Next Life respectively.
Lesson 33 was written and issued in December 1918. Divination – the science of foretelling the future or revealing secrets by the aid of various instruments, such as the magic mirror, crystal, tea and coffee grounds, etc – was allocated to Major Arcanum 21. There was no Major Arcanum 22 and Major Arcanum 0 was astrologically identified with the Earth. It was given the color black, the tone silence and allocated the occult science materialism or spirituality.
In 1936 Lesson 33 was given the title: How to read the Tarot. The start text was rewritten and reformatted. The occult science pertaining to Major Arcanum 21 was changed to Personal Alchemy. With the discovery of Pluto in 1930 the section relating to MA 0 had to be rewritten to include Major Arcanum 22. All the comments relating to Major Arcanum 22 were added and Major Arcanum 22 or 0 was allocated Pluto. Its color was changed to ultra-violent and infra-red or black and its tone changed to harmony or inharmony. Major Arcanum 22 was allocated the occult science Materialism – the soul-annihilating dogmas of materialism; and MA 0 was allocated Spirituality – the soul uplifting teachings of The Religion of the Stars.
This course sets forth valuable astrological information – the spiritual significance of each of the 48 constellations. It indicates the outstanding characteristics of those born when the Sun is in each section of the zodiac and its spiritual text. When taken as a whole these spiritual texts constitute a complete treatise on spirituality.
In 1931 Elbert wrote:
This Course is embraced in 13 lessons on The Religion of the Stars. Nothing like it has ever been offered before at any time or in any place. This is the most startling and amazing Course of lessons ever offered. It is the Long Lost key for which occult students have vainly searched. It explains The Religion from which all Religions have sprung. By means of the 48 ancient constellations it enables any person of average intelligence to correctly interpret all Scripture of all lands. It explains every important story of the Bible and shows each to be true. Every lesson contains information that will help you every day. Practical! Intensely interesting! Easy to understand! The Religion of the Stars is the religion of the Aquarian Age. Get this course and you will never regret it. It has a vital message for you!
Course 7 was originally titled The Religion of the Stars – not Spiritual Astrology. It consisted of 13 lessons that were written from December 1919 to October 1920. The lesson titles and their issue dates were:
||Origin of Man and Religion – December 1919
||Ancient Monuments of Spiritual Astrology – December 1919
||The Doctrine of Spiritual Astrology – January 1920
||Myths of Creation – January 1920
||Moses, Orion, Jason and the Bull – February 1920
||The Dog Star, David and Jonathon – March 1920
||The Great Bear, the Little Dog and the Hundred-Headed Hydra – April 1920
||The Flood and the Tower of Babel – May 1920
||Samson, Rebekah, the Sea Serpent and The Holy Grail – June 1920
||The Passion Cup, Virgin Mother, Crucifixion and Santa Claus – July 1920
||Slain Gods, the Eucharist, Scapegoats, Dragon and Alter – August 1920
||Harp of Heaven, the Eagle, Sea Goat and Dolphin Savior – September 1920
||The Ethics of Stellar Religion – September-October 1920.
In 1922 Course 7, The Religion of the Stars, had its title changed to Spiritual Astrology and in The Brotherhood of Light Annual for 1929 Elbert announced that an important milestone in spiritual astrology had been reached. He wrote:
This, the tenth year of issuing the Annual, it gives me great pleasure to present what I believe to be an accurate rendering of the spiritual teaching associated by the ancients with each of the 48 constellations. I have been striving consistently for this end since writing the Course on Spiritual Astrology in 1919-1920. To that Course I must refer those who would have greater detail than here presented; for the space at my disposal permits only the most concise statement of the religious and moral ideas associated with each of the constellations. We have here, then, I believe for the first time, a translation of stellar texts giving the spiritual ideals, the moral conceptions, and the practical religious doctrine of the wise men of old.
Lesson 83 was then revised to include these spiritual texts although it retained its original issue date – September-December 1920.
When Elbert completed writing the lessons in February 1934 Course 7 – Spiritual Astrology – The Religion of the Stars – was part of The Brotherhood of Light information package. But in 1935 something happened. It’s not correct to say that Course 7 was revised. It wasn’t. It was completely discarded and a new Course 7 – Spiritual Astrology – was written and issued in its place. Chances are the completely new lessons – 71 to 83 – were written over several years although in Lesson 76 Elbert wrote: At the time this is being written (1935)….And in 1936 the new Course 7 was published in book form. Minor revisions occurred after this date. In Lesson 71 there’s a reference to Astrological Lore of All Ages which was published in 1944. And what happened to Spiritual Astrology – The Religion of the Stars? Well the book Elbert described as the ‘most startling and amazing Course of lessons ever offered’ just vanished. And its fate remains a complete mystery. It was never published as an independent book and its contents were never recycled in articles.
This course explains how to calculate and construct a birthchart and sets forth the first seven steps in chart delineation. It then introduces you to Horary Astrology and explains how a horary chart can be used to supplement the information provided by your birthchart and to get the correct answer to any question. It provides specific instructions for starting a venture at the most opportune time and indicates the Moon positions that favor 62 different human activities.
In 1931 Elbert wrote:
This course is embraced in 7 lessons. The first three are equally essential for the mastery of any branch of astrology, and should be studied by all who expect to take up Natal Astrology. The last lesson of the Course is especially important. It teaches how to select the best time to start anything under the Sun. The success of any venture depends to a great extent upon its being commenced at the proper time.
Even though its first issue date is 1921 Course 8 – Horary Astrology – was available to students in 1918 and a version may have been available in May 1915 when Elbert first started teaching astrology. Lessons 86, 87 and 88 have a 1930 copyright but all the references to astrodynes, harmodynes and discordynes were added after 1946. It’s unfortunate that Elbert didn’t revise this course. The development of the astrodynes in 1946 made many of the old rules for judging a birthchart obsolete.
Lessons 89, 90, 91 and 92 – the Horary Astrology lessons – were issued in 1921 and their current copyright is 1931. But the comments in Lesson 91 under the subheading Horary Astrology’s Greatest Usefulness were added after 1943.
Lesson 36 – Chart Erection Short Cuts and Examples – has a 1948 copyright but it was written in 1921 as a supplement to Lesson 86 – ‘For those who have difficulty with this part of the work.’ In 1932 Horary Astrology was one of the first courses to be published in book form, but the cloth-bound book only contained 7 lessons – there was no Lesson 36. This lesson addressed a major problem for astrology students and eight of the example charts are for 1920, one is for 1941 and one is for 1945. The 1948 copyright is explained by the comments under the subheading – Timing Events Indicated by a Horary Chart – which are the result of research done in 1948.
This course explains how the thought-cells in your unconscious mind have been formed before your human birth and how they are modified after birth by human-life experiences. They work to attract fortunate or unfortunate events and conditions and the only way you can modify, change and control your astrological destiny is to give these thought-cell groups different desires.
In 1931 Elbert wrote:
This course is embraced in 7 lessons that show the specific kind of thinking that causes each disease, each variety of failure, and each difficulty in life. It also indicates the particular kind of thinking that should be used to cure any of these conditions, and how and why a specific thought should be used in a given case to produce desired results. The most practical set of instructions ever issued.
Course 9 – Mental Alchemy – was written and issued to students from April to October 1921 and in 1936 it was completely revised and rewritten. In the 15 year interim a revolution in knowledge and understanding occurred. It was available in book form in March 1938.
Lesson 95 was written and issued in April 1921 and in 1936 was completely revised and rewritten. The start comments were rewritten, the terms thought-cell and thought-element were introduced and subheadings inserted. The references to Theodore Roosevelt and Mark Twain were expanded and the reference to Billy Sunday was added. But all the comment relating to their birthcharts is doubtful due to wrong or uncertain birth times.
Lesson 96 was written and issued in May 1921 and in 1936 most of its commentary ended up on the cutting room floor. In 1921 Elbert used the term ‘elemental urges comprised of elements.’ In 1936 it became thought-elements and thought-cells and the comments on Pluto and the universal welfare thought-elements were added. The comments on the ten compounds corresponding to the aspects in natal astrology were rewritten – complex was used in 1921 – and sub-headings inserted.
Lesson 97 was written and issued in June 1921 and in 1936 it was revised and rewritten. In 1921 Mars was given as the antidote for Saturn and Saturn was given as the antidote for Mars and there was no comment on discordant universal welfare urges. In 1936 Moon was the antidote for Mars and Sun and Venus were the antidotes for Saturn.
Serial 98 was written and issued in July 1921 and in 1936 it was completely rewritten. In 1921 the terms thought-element and thought compound were used and there was no reference to conversion. The advice was to add safety energy to the aggressive urges and aggressive energy to the safety urges when they were discordant. In 1936 Moon energy became the antidote for discordant aggressive urges and power and social energy became the antidotes for discordant security urges.
Serial 99 was written in August 1921 and in 1936 it was completely rewritten. In 1921 there was no reference to rallying forces, harmonious conditioning energy, conversion of thought-elements or reconditioning thought-compounds. The reference to Course 16 and 160 diseases was added in 1947 when Course 16 was revised; and the reference to Course 21 was added in 1949 when Personal Alchemy was revised. Lesson 99 – Just How to Heal Yourself – makes it plain that astrology is a self-science. And you can use the information it provides to heal yourself.
Lesson 100 was written and issued in September 1921 and in 1936 it was completely rewritten. The references to free-association and self psychoanalysis were added and the comments on acquiring positiveness and vitality, abundance, good-fortune with the populace and the opposite sex and affectional success were all rewritten.
Lesson 101 was written and issued in October 1921 and in 1936 was revised. Some comment stayed the same, some was rearranged and some ended up in the recycle bin. Subheadings were inserted.
Part 1 of Course 10 explains how to read your life-story from the astrological script written in your birthchart. The chart is a tell-all self-information provider. It reveals your character and the thought-cell groups in your unconscious mind that, in the interest of effective self-development, need to have their desires altered through the principles of mental alchemy. The chart explains how you can make the most of your natural talents and select your most favorable environmental associations.
Part 2 of Course 10 explains how to read your progressed chart; how to determine when a group of thought-cells in your unconscious mind will receive a new supply of energy; how to judge the quality of this new supply of energy; the measures you should take to enhance good-fortune or avoid misfortune; and the nature of the event that a specified progressed aspect is likely to attract if you do nothing to change what’s indicated.
Course 10 was originally issued as a single volume. Its title was Natal Astrology (Hermetic System). With 16 lessons it was the largest Brotherhood of Light course. It comprised Lesson 19 and Lessons 103 to 117 and there’s a version that has a 1922-1923 issue date. Starting with Lesson 103 each lesson was issued in consecutive order from March 1922 to October 1923. Lesson 19 – originally titled The Hermetic System of Directing – was issued in October 1917, but manuscripts of all these Course 10 lessons were available before 1920.
In the first Brotherhood of Light Annual issued in January 1920 – Clouds Dispelled from Popular Customs – Elbert wrote:
And those who scoff at astrology are almost without exception those who have never studied the subject and have never put it to the test. For astrology may be proven experimentally true by any person of average intelligence who will devote a little time to the study of Course 8 and Course 10.
And in the June 1948 issue of The Church of Light Quarterly he wrote: ‘Course 10, Natal Astrology, was published in mimeograph form in 1920.’ This seems to imply that manuscripts of the Course 10 lessons were available before then and maybe as early as May 1915 when Elbert first began teaching the Monday night astrology class. So it’s safe to say that the 16 lessons in Course 10 were all issued before 1920 and that they were revised and rewritten from March 1922 to October 1923.
In November 1922 Lesson 103 was the first lesson published in printed booklet form. In a Prefatory Note Elbert explained:
This lesson was first issued to members of The Brotherhood of Light in manuscript form. After having used it in class work I have somewhat revised it, and it is now made available in its present dress through the kindness of one of our members. That it might be presented in better form, and thus possibly find a wider circulation, CM Clifford has donated the finances for publishing it as it now appears.
And in December 1922 Lesson 104 was published in booklet form. Elbert explained:
This lesson was first issued to members of The Brotherhood of Light in manuscript form. After having used it in class work I have somewhat revised it, and it is now presented in printed form as a companion to First Eighteen Decanates Analyzed.
Then in 1934 Course 10 – Natal Astrology – was divided into 2 parts. Course 10-1 was given the title Delineating the Horoscope. It comprises lessons 103 to 110. Course 10-2 was titled Predicting Time of Events. It comprises Lesson 17 and Lessons 111 to 117.
The lessons that comprise Course 10-1 were completely revised and rewritten in 1934. All the Pluto comments were added, but the descriptions given to people born under each zodiac sign and planet in Lesson 105 and the environmental associations given in lesson 108 all stayed the same. The aspect comments in lesson 108 were all rewritten. In 1922 Elbert judged the dominant and best planets using general rules and in 1934 the rules stayed the same. But the comments on judging when a planet is prominent are new. The planet prominence rule was developed in 1929 by The Brotherhood of Light Astrological Research Department, but it has now been made redundant by the astrodynes. All the example birthcharts are new except for Professor A Vander Nailen, but many have wrong birth data which makes the astrological comment wrong too. The charts of Napoleon, Abraham Lincoln and Professor A Vander Nailen have Pluto missing and Pat O’Brien’s and Thomas Dooley’s charts are late entries – post 1962. Lessons 103 and 104 retain a 1922 copyright but were revised in 1934. Course 10-1 was available in book form in June 1934.
The lessons that comprise Course 10-2 were completely revised and rewritten in 1934. That’s when progressions replaced directions. In Lesson 17 the epoch calculation comments were rewritten although the 2 example charts were retained. And this course went through major revisions after 1934. All the comments on how to handle each planet’s progressed aspects and the three different types of progressions are post 1934. They are the result of research done by The Brotherhood of Light Astrological Research Department during 1939, 1940 and 1941. Course 10-2 was available as a book in March 1935 and in 1964 its title was changed to Progressing the Horoscope. Suffice to say that in 2014 it explains mathematical calculations that are now done by computer so much of the text has become redundant.
This course explains the various divining devices that can assist you to extend your consciousness to desired information on the inner-plane. It explains how consciousness – starting from a now point – can follow world lines either backward or forward and perceive on and report past and future happenings. And then it introduces you to instantaneous character reading – a quick way of learning about and dealing with your family members, friends, neighbors, work-mates and those you meet casually.
Course 11 is titled Divination and Character Reading although at one stage it was simply titled Divination. It was first issued in 1925 and revised in 1940. References to ESP and the endocrine glands and the constant use of the term thought-cells in the revised version indicate the original text went through considerable revision and rewriting. It was available as a cloth-bound book in September 1941.
The subject matter of Course 12-Part 1 is the evolution of life on Earth. The record of the rocks reveals how life-forms developed from single-celled organisms, through colonial forms, to vertebrate creatures such as fish, reptiles and mammals and finally into the human form. And information like this allows you to understand your relationship to other life-forms, other people and to God.
The subject matter of Course 12-Part 2 is the evolution of those ideas which constitute humanity’s religions. Starting with the most primitive religions it traces how they and the cultures they influenced gradually developed into the more complex belief systems of today. The tenets of each important present day religion are explained and finally the basic tenets of The Religion of the Stars are set forth.
Course 12 - >Natural Alchemy of Religious Opinion – was issued in 1924. It comprised Lessons 125 to 140 and with 16 lessons it, along with Course 10 – Natal Astrology, was the largest course. In 1949 it was rewritten and revised and divided into two parts – Evolution of Life and Evolution of Religion.
Part 1 – Evolution of Life – was published in March 1949. It comprises Lessons 125 to 132. Lesson 132 had its title changed from Man’s First Religion to Development of Knowledge and Lesson 127 presents the chart of Elbert’s dog, Duke. And because new discoveries resulted in the subject matter’s constant revision Elbert left their rewriting to the very last minute. In the March 1949 Quarterly he wrote:
Evolution of Life provides a highly interesting and readable account of each important evolutionary step. As it is now rewritten this Section 1 of Course 12 is about one-half new up-to-the-minute information.
In explaining adaptation and natural selection it shows that the inner-plane weather had as much influence over evolution as the outer-plane weather, and that these astrological forces channeled evolution undeviatingly toward developing that miniature replica of the universe and its presiding Super-Intelligence which we now know as man.
It shows how the direction of adaptation was guided by extrasensory perception and accomplished through psychokinesis. The actual mutations in response to psychokinesis were accomplished through environmental influences, chiefly radioactivity, which altered the hereditary genes.
If man is a special creation, put here by an arbitrary deity, there may be a hell to be dreaded, and a heaven which as usually described would be so monotonous that extinction would be preferable. But as all the evidence goes to show that the soul, actuated by the drive for nutrition, the drive for reproduction, and the drive for significance has developed a lowly single cell into higher animals and man, the possibilities of still further progress on the inner-plane seem infinite.
Yet within 12 months of its publication it was already in need of revision. In an article entitled Evolution and Religion written in 1950 Elbert explained just how quickly our knowledge of the universe was expanding and changing. He wrote:
Extra galactic nebulae are other universes. In 1949, when Brotherhood of Light Course 12-1 was published we could only report the number of such universes as could be observed by the 100 inch telescope on Mt. Wilson – between 50 million and 100 million. But now, with the 200 inch telescope on Palomar Mountain, the observable cosmos has been extended. No limit has been found, but it is reported that as many universes other than our own can now be observed as there are people on the earth – over 2 billion.’
Part 2 – Evolution of Religion – was published in July 1949. It comprises lessons 133 to 140 and each lesson had its title changed. Their original titles were: Lesson 133 – Significance of Primitive Religion; Lesson 134 – Six most Ancient Civilized Religions; Lesson 135 – Subsequent Religious Development; Lesson 136 – Religions of Various Lands; Lesson 137 – Lesser Religions; Lesson 138 – Transmutations in Belief; Lesson 139 – Most Influential Present Religions; and Lesson 140 – Religion of the Aquarian Age. No birthcharts are presented in this course. The drawings were done by Mildred Schuler and originally appeared in The Church of Light Quarterly. In the June 1949 Quarterly Elbert wrote:
As rewritten, this section 2 of Course 12 has new material in each of its eight booklet lessons. More than half of Lesson 133 is new, and all the material in lessons 139 – The Stellar Religion – and 140 – Astrology is Religion’s Road Map – is new. This book covers the religions of the world, gives the history of their origin, their chief doctrines, and points out both the sound features and the weaknesses of each.
Lesson 133 – The Foundation of Religion – indicates the nature of religion and just what in reality it attempts to accomplish. It is shown that all religion, in spite of the peculiar notions about it, in reality is the attempt to use nonphysical means to find satisfaction for the three irrepressible drives which are the force behind the struggle for survival and adaptation of all life-forms. It indicates why religion should never remain static, why truth alone can make men free, and why emotions, including religious emotions, should be conditioned to conform to knowledge. In also indicates the commencement of religion with Naturism, and its evolution through Fetishism, Totemism, Hero Cult and Phallic Worship.
Lessons 134 to 138 provide a history of religion starting with the prevalence of Heliolithic religion through early times to the religions of the American Indians, Oceania, Asia and Africa. Lesson 135 covers Religion in Historic Times including the religion of early Rome, Britain, the Mormons, Vedanta, the Sikhs and Zenism. Lesson 136 covers the origins and beliefs of Tao, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism and Mohammedanism; Lesson 137 is devoted to Hinduism and Buddhism; and Lesson 138 to Judaism and Christianity. Lesson 138 shows that Jesus had extraordinary extrasensory ability and psychokinetic power and explains the strong points and weakness of modern Christianity. And Lesson 139 – The Stellar Religion – shows the chief tenets of The Religion of the Stars and explains why materialism and orthodoxy must eventually succumb to scientific findings. In regard to Lesson 140 – Astrology is Religion’s Road Map – Elbert wrote:
This is also all new material. No Stellarian and no believer in astrology, whatever his other beliefs may be, can afford to be without this information. It shows how all life-forms are influenced by inner-plane weather, that every step in evolution is toward greater freedom, and that astrology is the greatest aid in gaining the four freedoms.
It shows that in attaining the type of conduct demanded by any religion astrology is a tremendous help, that it is highly important knowledge in the training of children, that it indicates at birth the natural aptitudes that can best be trained to give the individual success and enable him to aid others, that it is highly valuable to gain good health, and to avoid or mitigate unfortunate events and to take utmost advantage of fortunate conditions. It indicates how astrology can be used for world peace and to enable people to live together in greater harmony and how it can be used to great advantage by anyone seeking Self-Conscious Immortality.
Course 13 explains the various charts that are used in mundane astrology – their precise role and influence on cities, nations and specific groups of people – and how to time when the events and conditions they indicate are destined to arrive. Foreknowledge of political, economic, conflict, religious and technological trends is useful information.
In 1931 Elbert wrote:
These ten lessons provide instructions on how to predict the event that will happen in a community, and the day on which each event will happen; and how to predict the most important event that will happen on each day of the year both locally and nationally. This method of prediction gives a precision never before attempted.
In May 1915 Elbert Benjamine began teaching an astrology class on a Monday night that later became The Brotherhood of Light Astrological Research Department and in 1928 Course 13 – Mundane Astrology – presented the results of its mundane research. So thirteen years of research went into the book’s preparation. The thoroughness and systematic presentation of the investigative evidence was an extraordinary achievement. Nothing like it had ever been attempted and it revolutionized our understanding and practice of mundane astrology. But in retrospect the book was jam-packed with wrong chart data, wrong charts and wrong delineations. The main problem was inaccurate times for certain astrological events and, of course, there was no Pluto. But when Course 13 was revised in 1935 all the errors were corrected. And in both the 1928 and 1935 versions the chart data – the signs on house cusps and planets positions – for specified mundane charts was presented in the same format.
Lesson 141 was issued in April 1928. Crudely constructed charts for the US and Los Angeles were presented. Elbert wrote:
In the year 1908 desiring to have a correct chart of the US as possible, in order to make some predictions that have since come to pass, I worked with all the more important historical events affecting the country and the result of my researches gave about 7 degrees Gemini on the ascendant. And while it is probably premature to state it positively I am convinced that this is at least the approximate degree. The chart as given is for 2.17am, Philadelphia, Pa. 1776.
And he explained that all the events he researched were based on ‘the planets by transit to the places of the planets in the chart…’ He concluded: ‘And it should be noted that I have not considered aspects in these transits that have an orb wider than about one degree from the perfect aspect. Furthermore, I am convinced that the study of actual examples is the best way to avoid making errors in judgment.’ Then in 1935 Lesson 141 was completely revised and rewritten. The time of the US chart was changed to 2.13am and important historical events were matched with major progressed aspects in the chart.
Lesson 142 – The Cycles of Neptune – was written and issued in May 1928. A crudely constructed Neptune cycle with 00 Aries rising and the planets’ positions at zero hour on March 14, 1863 was presented. In 1935 Lesson 142 was completely rewritten and re-titled The Cycles of Pluto and Neptune. But the Pluto and Neptune cycle charts that were presented had incorrect birth times.
Lesson 143 – The Cycles of Uranus – was written and issued in June 1928. A Uranus cycle chart with 00 Aries rising and the planets’ positions at midnight on May 29, 1843 was presented. In 1935 this lesson was completely rewritten, but the Uranus cycle birth times were inaccurate and the charts unreliable.
Lesson 144 – The Cycles of Saturn – was written and issued in July 1928. The planets’ positions and house cusp data for 8 Saturn cycles were given. This enabled students to construct the charts, observe events unfold and do their own research. The times for each cycle were given as approximate. Lesson 144 was revised and rewritten in 1936.
Lesson 145 – The Cycles of Jupiter – was written and issued in August 1928. The chart data for the previous 16 Jupiter cycles were given. The first Jupiter cycle considered was for March 27, 1809 and Elbert documented historical events coincident with Jupiter’s transit aspects in the chart. This lesson was revised and rewritten in 1936.
Lesson 146 – The Cycles of Mars – was written and issued in August 1928. The chart data for each Mars cycle from 1865 to 1928 were given. In 1927 prohibition was the outstanding national issue and because intoxicants are ruled by Mars Elbert documented the astrology behind the political dilemma – ‘the Republicans being for keeping the country “dry”, and the Democrats advocating modifications of the prohibition laws.’ But on February 21, 1928 a new Uranus cycle commenced and this injected new energy into the debate. Elbert saw prohibition as a Uranus issue. ‘Since Uranus started the struggle (for prohibition) there have been brief periods in which Mars (drink) gained the advantage; but the general trend has been in favor of Uranus (dry as the sign Aquarius which it rules). He predicted ‘prohibition’ will win’ and Hoover did. But on December 5, 1933 the 18th Amendment that declared the country sober on January 16, 1920 was repealed by the 21st Amendment and the ‘noble experiment’ came to an end.
Lesson 147 – Major Conjunctions – was written and issued in September 1928. In 1938 it was completely revised and rewritten. And Lesson 148 – The Vernal Ingress – was written and issued in September 1928. In 1938 it was completely revised and rewritten and had its title changed to The Cycles of the Sun.
Lesson 149 – The Lunation – was written and issued in October 1928. In 1938 it was completely revised and rewritten and had its title changed to The Cycles of the Moon. The comments under the subheadings Studying and Teaching Mundane Astrology and Gauging Elections were originally presented in Lesson 150.
Lesson 150 – Precise Predicting; Eclipses – was written and issued in November 1928. It was completely revised and rewritten in 1938. The comments under the subheadings Significance of New Stars and Significance of Comets were added.
Course 13 – Mundane Astrology – experienced no revisions after 1938 and was available as a cloth-bound book in September 1941. It seems the information, as presented, served its purpose. By presenting the fundamentals of mundane astrology – with an avalanche of supporting evidence – Elbert brought the science of mundane astrology into the Aquarian age and providing more and more evidence based facts didn’t seem necessary.
This course explains how you can use and apply occult energies in your daily life. It explains how your health, social relations, marriage, home-life and employment and career prospects can all be improved through the application of occult knowledge. Bad habits are your enemy and Course 14 explains the three fundamental occult principles that will help you overcome and defeat your enemies.
In 1934 Elbert wrote:
In these lessons all that physical science can contribute to each subject, as well as the standard doctrines of psychology, in so far as they apply are set forth. And in addition, everything of an occult nature that has come to the notice of CC Zain in 30 years of investigation, in so far as it may be applied to these subjects, is explained.
Course 14 – Occultism Applied to Daily Life – comprises Lessons 151 to 162. The lesson booklets were issued in 1929-1930. It was revised and rewritten in 1943-1944. Twenty birthcharts are presented for study purposes, but the charts of Noel Coward, Robert Emmett Sherwood, Josef Stalin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, General Eddie Rickenbacker and Robinson Jeffers are all incorrect based on data updates. The chart of Edward Doane is presented in Lesson 155; and the chart of Maria M Benjamine – Elbert’s third wife – is presented in Lesson 160. Course 14 was published in book form in December 1944 and its promotion in the Church of Light Quarterly read:
Every Phase of Your Life Can Be Improved: Each event, condition and action of your life is influenced by occult energies. By the application of knowledge of the occult energies that commonly influence it, each department of your life can be made more fortunate. You should thus apply occult knowledge every day of your life.
To the specific method of utilizing occult principles to improve each important department of life, as set forth in each mimeographed lesson on the subject has been added additional information based on discoveries made during the last ten years. As now printed, each lesson includes such relevant knowledge of the application of occult principles to the object indicated by its title as is available up to and including the year 1944.
A follow up promotion in the March 1946 Quarterly read:
The Book Most Needed Right Now: Several million Americans must now rebuild their lives. Returning from overseas or relinquishing war jobs, they must make drastic readjustments. Men and women long separated must readjust themselves to marriage and domestic life, and many of those single will wish to attract a suitable mate for marriage. These will also wish to establish a pleasant home.
Many must find jobs. They will wish to resume old friendships and make new friends, will want to be esteemed and to be happy. And for the individual who knows how, this period of great adjustment offers unusual opportunities to realize these desires. But in attaining any one or all of them, know-how as well as determination is essential. And the book that gives explicit know-how information, on how to attain these ends, and therefore the book most needed now is Occultism Applied. Following its instructions will enable any person to be more successful in each department of his life.
Course 15 explains how to use astrology to forecast the weather – days, weeks, months and years in advance. It explains the various charts that are used in astro-meteorology and the influence of each planet and zodiac sign on the temperature, rainfall and wind conditions. Foreknowledge of the weather allows you select favorable days for outdoor events when clear, sunny skies are preferred to cloud and rain.
Course 14 – Occultism Applied to Daily Life – concludes with lesson 162 and Course 15 – Weather Predicting – commences with Lesson 190 so presenting the Courses in lesson number sequence no longer applies. Course 15 comprises lessons 190 – 196. It was written and issued in booklet form in 1933 and had a long and thorough preparation.
In 1949 Course 15 was the last course to be revised, but there was little revision. The introduction to Lesson 190 was rewritten to include a summary of Astrological Signatures, Natal Astrology, Horary Astrology, Stellar Diagnosis, Mundane Astrology, and Spiritual Astrology before getting down to the business of Weather Predicting. And like Course 13 it provides the chart data for all the example weather charts.
The original weather research was done by Elbert Benjamine and The Brotherhood of Light Astrological Research Department in 1931, 1932 and 1933; and in the revised Course 15 the charts stayed the same. The example temperature and air movement charts are for the years 1931-1932 and the example moisture charts cover the years 1931, 1932 and 1933. It seems that ongoing research and the practical application of the weather data by many students since the publication of Course 15 in 1933 only confirmed the original research so no revision was required. The Brotherhood of Light Astrological Research Department got it right the first time. Course 15 was published and made available as a cloth-bound book on December 1, 1949.
Course 16 allows you to prevent disease and sickness. It presents the birthchart and progressed constants of 160 common health problems, and if disease occurs it sets forth what is probably the most effective of all methods of drugless healing. It also presents and explains the astrodyne measuring system that enhances the precision of the astro-data being provided by your birthchart and progressed chart.
Course 16 – Stellar Diagnosis and Stellar Healing – was the last Brotherhood of Light course to be written and issued in 1934. It was many years in preparation and its lesson sequence – 197 to 208 – follows on from Course 15. Each lesson has a 1934 copyright so they were all issued on or before February 20 when the great work was initially completed. Its publication fulfilled Elbert’s promise to write ‘a complete system of education that would enable the public to become more conversant with The Religion of the Stars.’
The original concept of Stellar Healing was an evolving dynamic. Personal Alchemy, with its focus on the endocrine glands and what to eat when a particular planet is afflicted, had been published in 1933. Scientific research into the endocrine glands had provided the fundamental information and Elbert recognized that these glands were the physical agents through which the unconscious mind or soul influenced and directed the functionality of the physical body. Research had matched each endocrine gland with its astrological marker or markers and it was up to The Brotherhood of Light Astrological Research Department to gather the evidence-based science that would explain the birthchart and progressed constants of as many diseases as possible. The research department had been established in April 1924, but at the start progress was slow and its first report was not published till June 1929. Stellar Healing was scheduled for publication in 1934 and it required astrological data based on statistical research. So the research department had five years to gather and evaluate the charts that would become the foundation of the disease research and the nutritional and mental diets that either prevented their development or assisted their healing. And it succeeded.
In 1934 Course 16 provided the most advanced astrological science ever presented and introduced Aquarian age astrologers to the new language of Stellar Dynamics. It employed terms like birthchart constants, progressed constants, prominent planets, stellar aerials, temporary stellar aerials, planetary terminals, stellar cells, stellar structures and rallying forces. In Serial No. 198 – The Basis of Stellar Diagnosis – Elbert employs the term thought-cells for the first time. And seventy-two constructed birthcharts, each one progressed to the date the disease it mapped developed, were presented.
The revision and rewriting of Stellar Healing in 1947-1948 was a monumental achievement. Lesson 197 has a 1947 copyright and lesson 208 has a 1948 copyright. The astrodyne calculations that take up much of the text were developed in early 1946. The number of diseases considered increased from 120 to 160 and to accommodate the increase of new information – in particular the astrodynes – huge portions of the original 1934 text were deleted. The publication of Stellar Healing in book form was announced in the June 1948 issue of The Church of Light Quarterly. Elbert wrote:
Stellar Healing, Revised and Enlarged, is now printed in Book Form: The birthchart indicates disease predispositions. The predisposition is indicated by the prominence or aspects of specific planets. The birthchart indicators are called birthchart constants. And they’re statistically ascertained by analyzing the birthcharts of many people who have had the disease. Course 16 – Stellar Healing – gives the birthchart constants of 160 different diseases, thus covering all usual illness. The advantage of knowing the diseases toward which there is a predisposition is that this enables the individual to take precautionary actions that will usually prevent him from having the disease.
At the time a given disease develops there are progressed aspects involving definite planets. These are called the progressed constants of the disease. The advantage of knowing the progressed constants of a disease toward which there is a birthchart predisposition is that they enable the individual, during any period when the progressed constants are present, to take still more precautionary actions, and thus usually avoid contracting the disease. The progressed constants of each of the 160 different diseases considered are given in Course 16.
In determining how powerful the birthchart constants of a given disease are in a birthchart it is advantageous to calculate in terms of astrodynes the power of each planet in the chart. The astrodynes allow you to judge with certainty the importance of each department of life, the tendency toward events of a particular type, the dominant planet and just how much energy each planet, house and sign in a chart exerts. Course 16 explains and gives an example, of how to calculate the power of each planet, aspect, house and sign in a chart of birth.
In determining the best planet in a chart and the fortunate associations it is advantageous to calculate in terms of harmodynes and discordynes the harmony of each birthchart factor. Harmodynes and discordynes allow you to judge with certainty the fortune associated with each department of life. Course 16 explains and gives an example, of how to calculate the harmony or discord of each planet, aspect, house and sign in a chart of birth.
To be able to ascertain with more precision the fortune or misfortune apt to be attracted by a progressed aspect, unless precautionary actions are taken, it is advantageous to calculate its power in terms of astrodynes, and its harmony in terms of harmodynes and discordynes. This allows you to know how much precautionary action will be necessary to avert disaster or to take the utmost advantage of favorable conditions. And it is well to calculate the power of a minor progressed aspect that re-enforces the energy of a major progressed aspect. Course 16 explains how to calculate – with an example – both the power and the harmony or discord of any progressed aspect, planet, sign or house of the progressed chart and the re-enforcement effect of minor progressed aspects.
In the prevention of disease, both diet and the type of thinking are important. The birthchart constants and progressed constants of a disease, as given in Course 16, indicate both the type of thinking and the special food requirements, both as precautionary measures, and after the disease develops. The special food requirements for each astrological constant are set forth in detail in the last four lessons of Course 21 – Lessons, 222, 223, 224 and 225. The special thought requirements – the thought food which should be administered, and how to administer it – for each astrological constant, are set forth in detail in Course 9, Mental Alchemy.
But in addition to the special food diet and mental food which constitute precautionary actions, and are also beneficial after the given disease has developed, those which develop the disease often need healing help. In Course 16, not only are the principles of Stellar Healing explained, but full instructions are given for healing by this method. The birthchart constants of 160 diseases are given and in each instance brief suggestions relative to the specific stellar treatment of the disease.
So that the astrological birthchart and progressed indications of the disease may be better comprehended, under each of the 160 diseases is given the birth data of some person who actually had the disease, and the date when it developed. The house-cusps of each chart erected from this data are given, together with the birthchart positions of all the planets, and the major progressed positions of all the planets, and the MC and Asc, calculated for the date the disease developed. By copying these positions on a horoscope wheel students can quickly have an astrological picture of the factors involved in any of the 160 illnesses.
This course explains why all the people of the world should have freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom of expression and freedom of religion. It explains your role and responsibility as a citizen of the universe and reveals the truth behind the much maligned and misunderstood word spirituality and explains how it can be attained.
Course 17 – Cosmic Alchemy – was written and issued in 1932. It comprises lessons 164 to 172 and its lesson number sequence follows Course 14. From 1932 to 1946 it was only available in booklet form. It was revised and rewritten in 1946 and in December 1946 was published in book form. In the December 1946 Quarterly Elbert wrote:
The Practice of Cosmic Alchemy Can Cure the Ills of the World: At the present moment there is much turmoil in the world. And unless national leaders change their attitudes this trouble will grow until within a few years it will inaugurate world-wide catastrophe. This turmoil is present for just one reason; because economic and political leaders everywhere, not content with fair bargains and equable cooperation, are driving for selfish advantages.
Cosmic Alchemy explains how these world difficulties can, and ultimately, will be overcome. It also explains the nature of spirituality, reveals the road to spiritual unfoldment, and sets forth in great detail the avenues and methods that may be employed by the individual to make spiritual advancement.
That which is most needed right now, both by the world and the individual, is the practice of Cosmic Alchemy. Fully half of Brotherhood of Light Course 17, as now issued in convenient printed form, is new material, written in 1946 in view of post-war needs. It includes the latest discoveries that benefit individual spiritual progress.
An imponderable force is an energy that has not been investigated by material science and Course 18 explains ceremonial magic, witchcraft and sorcery. It explains how to rate the influence of the three types of astrological progressions; the personal influence of birthstones, numbers, names and environmental vibrations; and how to thwart the efforts of unscrupulous intelligences intent on inflicting coercive control and harm.
Course 18 – Imponderable Forces – was written in the first half of 1932 and issued on June 1, 1932. It comprises Lessons 183 to 189 and its lesson number sequence follows The Next Life – Course 20. It was then revised, rewritten and published in book form in December 1945. In the June 1946 Church of Light Quarterly Elbert wrote:
Imponderable Forces: People should not merely know about the various factors of the inner-plane environment, but they should also know how they operate, how much attention an individual is warranted in giving to each different type, and how to take advantage of those that are beneficial. This whole matter, with instructions on what to do to prevent being unduly influenced by each type, is set forth in detail in the 224 page book, Imponderable Forces, which has now been rewritten to include all the findings up to the end of 1945.
This course explains the universal law of soul progression which allows you to understand the true function of pleasure and pain. It also explains the universal law of compensation which states that the reward for effort is increased ability; and then it explains the universal moral code which states that a soul is completely moral when it contributes its utmost to universal welfare.
A Brotherhood of Light promotion in 1931 listing its information product announced that Course 19 – Inorganic Alchemy – was in preparation. And within six months it was issued in booklet form with the title Organic Alchemy. So, at the very last minute, it had its title changed.
Course 19 – Organic Alchemy – comprises lessons 209 to 215. It was written in 1932 and its lesson number sequence follows Course 16. It was revised and rewritten in 1943-1944. In March 1946 it was available in book form. This course presents the birthcharts of fourteen personalities, but most have faded into obscurity. The one exception is Esther Williams who proves that Hollywood superstars do have staying power, but the time from her father is incorrect.
This course gives a great deal of information about the conditions and activities on the inner-astral-planes where your soul will continue its evolutionary journey after your physical body dies. It describes the astral hells and how souls may become earth-bound. And it explains how a soul advances from the astral into the high-velocity spiritual realms in its quest to attain self-conscious immortality.
Course 20 – The Next Life – comprises Lessons 173 to 182. It was written and issued in 1932 and its lesson number sequence follows Course 17 – Cosmic Alchemy. It was revised and rewritten in 1942-1943 to include recently discovered astrological and other information. It was available in book form in December 1944. This course contains 20 birthcharts and three are of special interest. Lesson 173 presents the chart of Elizabeth D Benjamine, Elbert’s second wife, and the chart for the commencement of The Crusade for the New Civilization. And Lesson 182 presents the chart for the opening of The New Church of Light Home. The New Church Home chart provides a brief summary of the important events in Brotherhood of Light history, but the reference to the organizing and teaching of Brotherhood of Light classes in early May 1915 refers to the private psychic development class. The astrology class that was started at the same time was open to the public. The other charts are of personalities who have since faded into obscurity.
The subject matter of this course pertains to your self-development here and now on planet Earth. It explains the three most essential things you need to know and the three essential habits you need to adopt. It then turns its focus to personal health matters and explains how you can maintain good health by changing your food and thought diet to accommodate changes in your body chemistry brought about by astrological and other events.
Course 21 was originally titled Medical Alchemy. It comprises lessons 216 to 225 and its lesson number sequence follows Course 19 – Organic Alchemy. It was many years in preparation and first issued with the title Personal Alchemy in 1933. Lessons 216 to 222 were issued in late 1932. Lessons 222 and 223 were issued in January 1933; and Lessons 224 and 225 were issued in February 1933.
Personal Alchemy was revised and rewritten in 1949 and because of its subject matter it required considerable revision. It was published and available in book form on October 1, 1949. In the September 1949 Quarterly Elbert wrote:
As rewritten there has been much new material added to the first six lessons of this course. No Stellarian should be without Lesson 220, which now contains The Stellarian Questionnaire. The 50 questions and their answers give a summary of Stellarian teachings and indicate how every Stellarian should try to live. Following each answer is the reference to the pages of Brotherhood of Light courses where a more complete explanation may be found.
And no person interested in diet and health should be without Lesson 221 – How to Keep Mentally and Physically Fit. It’s all new material and includes facts which have been discovered relative to vitamins, diet and the high mortality diseases, since Lessons 222, 223, 224 and 225 were first written. These latter four lessons also constitutes the last four chapters of the reference book, Stellar Dietetics.
Personal Alchemy is the course which explains just what steps to take and in what order to take them to advance most rapidly to become an adept. You will wish to develop, in the quickest most effective manner, your own powers and possibilities, to the end that you can, through their use, be of greatest benefit to others. The last five lessons are of special interest to healers, health seekers and astrologers.
Elbert’s intention was to provide a graduate course in psychic and spiritual development and this required ‘restricted’ information that was only given to members who passed Brotherhood of Light exams. The lessons that contained this information were identified as Not-Sold Award Manuscripts and in 1939 there were 14 degree awards available.
||Lesson 34 – Psychic Unfoldment 1 – issued January 1919
||Lesson 70 – Symbol Reading – issued November 1919
||Lesson 54 – Power of Breath – issued April 1919
||Lesson 55 – Great Pyramid Interpreted – issued 1919
||Lesson 68 – Habits of Elementals – issued September 1919
||Lesson 69 – Soul Mates – issued October 1919 |
||Lesson 84 – How to use Talismans – issued February 1920
||Lesson 85 – Value of Totems – issued April 1920
||Lesson 35 – Psychic Unfoldment 2 – issued February 1919
||Lesson 94 – How to travel on the Astral – issued 1922
||Lesson 93 – How to use personal cycles – issued 1922
||Lesson 163 – Contacting the Masters – issued April 1931
||Lesson 38 – Initiation – issued September 1924
||Lesson 37 – The Practice of White Magic – issued October 1924
Then in 1939 Elbert announced that 7 new award manuscripts were to be issued, bringing the total to 21. In the September, 1939 Quarterly he explained their purpose and published their issue dates. Under the headline – ‘New Not Sold Brotherhood of Light Lessons’ he wrote:
In the Brotherhood of Light lessons which are sold without restriction to the public it is our purpose to include as complete information as possible on the various occult, spiritual and astrological subjects; and through our research department to progressively acquire still further information to include in these lessons as from time to time they are revised. We expect to keep the information in these Brotherhood of Light lessons up-to-the-minute.
But in addition to people who have only an intellectual interest in things occult, spiritual and astrological, there are many who desire to enter upon a systematic course of occult development and spiritual training, through which to the best advantage they can awaken the latent powers of their souls, live a more spiritual life, and contribute proportionally more to universal welfare.
One who has not familiarized himself with the information contained in the regular Brotherhood of Light lessons lacks the background of knowledge which will enable him to properly grasp the ideas presented in the Not-Sold lessons. Therefore, that those who get these Not-Sold lessons shall not misinterpret and misapply them, we require that those receiving them shall indicate a certain minimum background of necessary knowledge through passing examinations. Members who pass the final examinations on any Brotherhood of Light course of study or on any lucidic or soul degree, prove their comprehension of certain occult, astrological and spiritual matters; and through thus demonstrating their knowledge are entitled to receive an additional Not-Sold lesson.
For some time the extent of the graduate work afforded by these Not-Sold lessons has been limited to 14 of the lessons. But as the result of our researchers over the past few years we now have on hand valuable material for seven more lessons. This material that we are preparing will be available on the dates given below, so that by next spring this graduate course in occult development and spiritual training will embrace 21 Not-Sold lessons.
Elbert then announced the 21 Degree Awards and the new Not-Sold award lessons and their issue dates:
||Lesson 226 – The Safe and Most Effective Method of Psychic Development – ready (and issued) September 1939.
||Lesson 227 – How to become Conscious on the Inner-Plane – ready (and issued) October 1939.
||Lesson 228 â€“ How to Contact Desired Information on the Inner-Plane - ready (and issued) November 1939.
||4th-Degree: Lesson 229 – How to Hold the Consciousness on the Selected Level of the Inner-Plane - ready (and issued) December 1939.
||Lesson 54 – Breathing to Acquire Adequate Electrification – this lesson was originally titled Power of Breath and first issued in April 1919. It was revised and reissued in September 1940.
||Lesson 230 – How to become Objectively Aware of Information Acquired from the Inner-Plane – ready (and issued) January 1940.
||Lesson 231 – How to use the Transition Technique of ESP – ready (and issued) February 1940.
||Lesson 232 – How to Control Inner-Plane Activities – ready (and issued) March 1940.
||Lesson 34 – How to Use Crystal and Magic Mirror – originally titled Psychic Unfoldment 1, this lesson was first issued in January 1919. It was revised in 1939 and given the title How to use Crystal and Magic Mirror. Then in September 1941 it was again revised and given a new title – How to Develop Soul Activity. This 1941 revision saw all references to the use of crystals and magic mirrors removed. Here’s why.
The ‘magic mirror’ information had been around since 1919 when lesson No. 34 was first written and issued, but it was never available as a regular Brotherhood of Light lesson. As the Not-Sold award for Course 1 it was given to students who passed the Course 1 exam and the mirror, along with crystals, was recommended as traditional aids when developing extrasensory perception. Then in 1937 The Brotherhood of Light ESP Research Department got down to the serious business of investigating and testing ESP ability and during 1938-39 the research findings were published in The Church of Light Quarterly. This scientific research resulted in a new and more effective method of acquiring information which Elbert called ‘The Transition Technique’ and in the June 1938 Church of Light Quarterly he wrote:
Many of those who read this will be able to remember a time when to apply suggestion therapeutically it was considered necessary to place the patient in a deep hypnotic trance. But the work of Emile Coué and others demonstrated that the unconscious mind can be reached quite as effectively, not only by another, but by the individual himself, while he is in a near-sleep trance.
The psychologists also thought that to have access to the material within the unconscious mind it was necessary to analyze the dreams. But later they discovered the method of Free-Association, by which the patient sat listlessly and related whatever fleeting thoughts came spontaneously into his mind.
Disintegrative Mediumship, has taught, like the early hypnotists, that to get information from extrasensory sources, it is necessary to be under the control (invisible Pluto dictatorship) of some other intelligence. Yet far from being the most successful way of developing extrasensory perception, recent experiments of The Brotherhood of Light ESP Research Department indicate that ESP and EPP (Extra Physical Power) can be developed more effectively and safely, not only without invisible control, but without the use of Magic Mirrors, Crystals, and any such traditional aids.
At this time Elbert also identified a very serious problem: The inability of people to know when they are using their own psychic senses and their own unconscious mental powers and when they are allowing themselves to be dominated by some other intelligence, which completely suppresses their efforts to use their own powers. He wrote:
We have always encouraged our students to develop their own powers, and to use their own intelligence. ESP – not mediumship – is a mental activity of the unconscious mind by which it acquires information from the inner-plane where it functions. Our objection to mediumship is that it prevents the development of individual powers and the use of individual intelligence and delivers that function over to some other dictator entity, who may use it to his own advantage and to the disadvantage of the individual.
And in a Rising Star article that focused on the dangers encountered when using knowledge, Elbert explained that he had never heard of anyone being injured through studying a book, or through possessing knowledge of any subject, but any danger that might arise is the result of what a person tries to do with the knowledge. He wrote:
People who have a mere smattering of information about astrology often jump to erroneous conclusions, not infrequently exaggerating what is to be expected from some aspect, especially the influence of transits. Such conclusions arise, however, because of lack of study of the lessons, not because they have all been studied.
That is why, in the very first course of the B of L lessons, the dangers of disintegrative mediumship are pointed out and subsequently frequently emphasized. Ignorance is no protection from negative psychic forces. Therefore the individual who knows about them, and how they are contacted, is in less danger than one who has made no study of them.
It is true that in the actual development of the psychic senses, if the individual follows the negative line, there is peril. Even those who develop in the positive manner, but too greatly sensitize their nervous systems, have disagreeable experiences because they feel discords so keenly.
The Church of Light ESP Research Department developed the transition technique of exercising the psychic senses, so that not only the danger, but also the disagreeable experiences arising from a too sensitive nervous system, could be entirely avoided by those desirous of developing ability to exercise precognition, clairvoyance, etc.
So in 1938, based on new Aquarian age research, Elbert concluded that the magic mirror, which had been considered an effective traditional aid for the development of extrasensory perception, was unsafe, dangerous and less effective. And in 1941 he identified another problem the magic mirror posed: Too many students were spending too much time gazing into it to the detriment of their intellectual and spiritual development. By then only 65 Church of Light members had attained the degree of Hermetician. So, with the evidence stacking up Elbert concluded that the magic mirror was not in the neophyte’s best interest and all the information pertaining to it was removed from the 9th-Degree Award manuscript. There are references to the magic mirror in Lesson 119 in Course 11.
||Lesson 35 – How to Develop Feeling ESP. Originally titled Psychic Unfoldment 2, this lesson was first issued in February 1919. It was revised in July 1943 and given a new title – How to Direct Soul Activity.
||Lesson 94 – How to Travel on the Astral. This lesson was revised in April 1942 and given a new title – How to Travel Consciously on the Astral.
||Lesson 69 – Soul Mates. This lesson was first issued in October 1919 and never revised.
||Lesson 93 – How to use Personal Cycles for Soul-Unfoldment. This lesson was first issued in 1922 and never revised.
||Lesson 84 – How to Use Talismans for Special Purposes. This lesson was first issued in February 1920 and never revised.
||Lesson 68 – Customs and Habits of Elementals. This lesson was first issued in September 1919 and never revised.
||Lesson 85 – Value of Totems. This lesson was first issued in April 1920 and never revised.
||Lesson 163 – Contacting the Masters. It was first issued in April 1931 and never revised.
||Lesson 55 –The Great Pyramid Interpreted. It was first issued in May 1919 and never revised.
||Lesson 70 – Symbol Reading Made Easy. It was first issued in November 1919 and never revised.
||Lesson 38 – Initiation. This lesson was first issued in September 1924 and revised in April 1942.
||Lesson 37 – The Practice of White Magic. It was first issued in October 1924 and never revised.
Elbert concluded his 1939 announcement by explaining:
It is our belief these Not-Sold lessons are superior to anything ever before available in reference to occult and spiritual training. We feel confident of this because the knowledge of the ancient initiates is now supplemented by scientific information and the practical experience and observation of our research departments. That these Not-Sold lessons shall have a sequence so that beginning with the first one, which is given as a reward for passing the final examination on one course, they will follow each other in the order most suitable to the needs of the neophyte who aspires to develop his occult powers and devote himself to a spiritual life, their order of succession has been rearranged as above indicated.
The material in these 21 Not-Sold lessons embraces all our knowledge and experience, derived from sources of ancient initiation, from our research departments and from 25 years of observing the progress made by aspirants who used different methods, up to the present moment relative to the most safe and effective methods that can be used in occult and spiritual training. Yet we are hard at work striving to acquire still more knowledge relative to such training, and as fast as we get it, it will be included in further Not-Sold lessons.
The information in these Not-Sold lessons constitutes a graduate course in occult development and spiritual training. It is given to members who, by passing the examinations, show they are ready to receive it. With the passing of each final examination a diploma is awarded and when all 21 courses are passed a special diploma is awarded which indicates that the student has been initiated a Master of the Hermetic Sciences, and is entitled to be called a Hermetician. Such a diploma hung in the office of one who practices astrology, alchemy, healing or some other science set forth in the Brotherhood of Light lessons, bears proof that the individual has the educational background for such practice.
In 1931 it was announced that an index to The Brotherhood of Light lessons was in preparation. But with the lessons in a constant state of revision it was a futile exercise. In fact, an index could only be compiled when Elbert completed his final revisions in 1949. But, due to the enormity of the task, it was not until August 1964 that Course 22 – Index to the 210 Brotherhood of Light Lessons – was compiled, published and made available. Credit goes to Doris Chase Doane and the other Church of Light members who assisted her in its preparation. The forward comments were written by Elbert Benjamine in August 1951 and the dedication was written by Edward Doane – second President of The Church of Light. He wrote:
In the spring of 1910 Elbert Benjamine gave his irrevocable promise to the Brotherhood of Light on the inner-planes to write the Brotherhood of Light Lessons, which constitute the Religion of the Stars and the Religion of the Aquarian Age. He labored ceaselessly in their preparation and in their rewriting until his passing to a higher plane of endeavor in the Fall of 1951.
In recognition of his valuable contribution to Universal Welfare, we, his co-workers and successors dedicate this index, Volume 22 of The Brotherhood of Light lessons, to CC Zain – Elbert Benjamine.
Part One: Part 1, Elbert Benjamine
Part Three: Articles and Books to Supplement the Lessons
Copyright © 2014 by Dennis Sutton
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