“Honor thy father and thy mother” is usually itself only “honored” when parents quote it to their children to justify their demands on them. But we should look at the true meaning that is far beyond the realm of selfish manipulation.
There is indeed a profound connection, a deep affinity, between our parents and ourselves. If that were not so, we could not have been born to them. At the time of sexual intercourse an astral light is produced, shining from the base of the spines of the man and woman. Spirits that have re-entered the earth plane for their reincarnation see that light and are attracted to it, like moths to a flame. At first all the spirits that see the light come rushing toward it. But when they draw near, they become aware of the light’s specific rate of vibration. Then only those spirits whose energy bodies are of like vibration are able to go closer–the others are turned away by the radiation of the light, experiencing it as a repelling magnetic force. The greater the degree of affinity the nearer the spirits can come until at last one of them is drawn into the light and conception occurs. Only when there is a spirit whose bodies are of the right energy configuration in conformity with those of the man and woman can there be conception. There are no exceptions.
This is why many people who desire children seem unable to have them although they have no physical impediments–there simply are no spirits on their particular “wave length” needing to incarnate at that time. Understanding this, we can realize how intimately we are connected to our parents despite any superficial differences. No amount of external estrangement can alter the deep bonds of nature and karma between us and our parents. Meditation is the only force that in special cases may alter our karmic connections and our natural affinity with our parents. Even then, the commandment to render them honor–if only inwardly or from afar–is not abrogated.
Our parents, our benefactors
Without our body we could not evolve, we could not seek God. Therefore our mother and father are our first spiritual benefactors, whatever their state of evolution might be. Father and mother are priest and priestess within the cosmos. Whatever spiritual attainments we make in this life, some of the merit accrues to them. All the scriptures and spiritual teachers and spiritual practices we might have would be inaccessible to us without our mother and father having first been the means for our earthly embodiment. Whatever their motivation may or may not have been, our debt is incalculable. In fact, the more actively we pursue spiritual life, the more indebted we are to them. Those who hate or scorn their parents cast a blight on their future prospects for spiritual life.
Why then do we sometimes seem so different from our parents? Obviously the differences are superficial, otherwise we could not have become their child. Usually if we can find out what our parents were like as children or youths, we will see that they were very much like us even though the intervening years may have buried their basic nature and early aspirations. And we should consider, lest the same thing happen to us.
Many times there is more affinity between the grandparents and the child than between the parents and the child. The karmic cycles of the child prevented his being born to the grandparents, so he was born as their grandchild in order to come into their karmic orbit. On rare occasions a child may be born to someone so he will come into close contact with a person in their close environment who for some reason could not themselves become his physical parent.
Some spirits are born to parents who will die or reject them in order that they can be adopted and come into the family life of those who in the present life cycle are unable to engender or bear children. In such cases it is not those to whom they are born but those in whose family they eventually find themselves that they have strong bonds with. It is sad that those who do not understand the laws of rebirth and karma think that if they are adopted they do not have their “real” parents, for they most certainly do–the bonds being usually stronger in such cases.
Often we try to clear ourselves of our duty to our parents by citing negative things they did to us or some neglect of us during our childhood. But if we realize that one of the very reasons we have come into human birth is to reap our karma–which we created, and none other–then our parents are seen as simply the instruments by which we reaped our own sowing. Without the reaping of negative karma our spiritual life would be stymied, therefore even those who mistreat us are yet our benefactors by helping us clear up our karmic debts. “Even though it be a cross that raiseth me” is not mere poetry.
What must be done
Sad to say, many children are not able to like their parents or to respect their way of life because the parents are indeed negative. Certainly they cannot–indeed should not in some cases–always obey them or please them. Yet honor them they must, for we can see clearly from the second half of this commandment–“that thy days may be long upon the land” (Exodus 20:12)–and other passages in the Bible that parents have the ability to bless and foster the life of their children in a very real way. We, too, should bless our parents by daily remembering them in our prayers.
A broader view
Looking at it from a higher level we should first realize that since we have been born millions of times upon the earth–mostly before reaching the human level–it is reasonable to assume that a great number of our fellow human beings have at one time or another been our mother or father. As a consequence we should attempt to honor and bless all humanity.
The inner, esoteric aspect
Since each of us is a mirroring of the Holy Trinity, we all bear within ourselves reflections of both the divine Fatherhood and the divine Motherhood. This inner holy parentage was ours before we ever came into manifestation through physical parents. And this inner divinity, too, must be honored through developing and manifesting it. Although it has been corrupted into an often-misapplied cliche, it is true that the masculine nature is primarily intellectual and the feminine is primarily intuitive. Neither side of us should dominate, for when both “parents” are harmonized and united they give birth to Divine Wisdom (Gnosis) which transcends and glorifies them both.
Because of this we must be sure to pay attention to and work with both sides of our nature, neglecting neither but developing them with equal devotion, so that in time they may conceive and bring forth the Fruit of the Tree of Life: our eternal Christhood. It is this inward Immaculate Conception that was mirrored in the miraculous Conception of the Virgin Mary. According to esoteric Christian tradition the priests of the Temple in Jerusalem knew that Saints Joachim and Anna were destined to be the parents of the Mother of the Messiah, and prepared them accordingly. A passage ran beneath the Holy of Holies, and they placed the holy pair–one at each end–and directed them to walk forward. They did so, and met directly beneath the Ark of the Covenant. They embraced one another, and Light descended from the Ark above into the womb of Anna and she conceived the Virgin Mary. Thus the Virgin was conceived in the manner of Paradise rather than the manner of earth.
The divine archetypes
On a greater level we must not neglect to honor and communicate with the Divine Archetypes of our inner father and mother: the Divine Logos Father and the Holy Spirit Mother. They are very real–far more so than their reflections within or without us–and it is They who give us birth both into the evolving worlds of relative existence and back into the Bosom of the transcendent Father. Upon Them our life, physical and spiritual, depends utterly; therefore to ignore Them in a naive illusion of independence–as do simple-minded children in relation to their parents–is a sublime folly. Through attuning ourselves to Them by means of worship and prayer to Their manifestations, Jesus the Christ and Mary the Virgin, we will rapidly awaken and develop our inner imaging.
Worship of the Father and the Mother
In all living religions–whether openly or only subliminally–God is understood as being both Male and Female and is worshipped as such.
True worship is not flattery or cajolery of some deity that must be won over, but rather is a drawing near to and a linking of the worshipper with the worshipped. True worship is an esoteric act of dynamic effect, sometimes clothed in formulas of prayers and ritual acts whose import and effects are made plain to the opened eyes of the mystic. Just as the physical body is the vehicle and expression of the invisible spirit, so authentic worship is the means of communication and communion between the spirits evolving within relativity and the Divine Unity “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see” (I Timothy 6:16). But those who ascend beyond humanity into divinity shall indeed see and be seen in that Immortality which is their only goal. “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (I Corinthians 13:12).
This being so, our religion must include the worship of God as Father and Mother, otherwise there will be no balance in our development. There must be a harmonious awakening within us of both divine principles.
The womb of the Mother
“For the earnest expectation of the creature [i.e., creation, the universe] waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19), says Saint Paul. And: “We know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22). This picture of a living, conscious universe that is the womb of the Divine Mother, the Holy Spirit, whose whole intent is the manifestation–through evolution–of every spirit within it as a liberated Son of God, is an essential part of all esoteric philosophy, Christian and non-Christian.
Every spirit has come forth from the Bosom of the transcendent Father into the hands of the Son–Who is also Father in His immanence. The Son-Father then casts the spirits into the womb of the Holy Spirit-Mother, just as the earthly father impregnates the earthly mother. Then the spirits begin to evolve through a series of increasingly complex embodiments, expanding their capacity for consciousness a step at a time until, having traversed the entire range of evolution and attained the capacity to experience and participate in infinite Consciousness, the Mother gives “birth” to them into the realm of the Son of God, placing them once more within the lap of the Father-Son. And from thence they re-enter the Bosom of the Transcendent Father. (This is fully outlined in Robe of Light.).
To intentionally and earnestly cooperate with this divine intention through conscious self-evolution is the highest form of honoring our Father and Mother and is the prime duty of all awakened spirits.
The world is Mother
It is also important to realize that this world is not dead matter, but is living God. But there are two worlds: the world of divine manifestation and the illusion of the world we create in our own ego-dominated minds. The world of human ego is the world we are referring to when we speak of a world of bondage, of ignorance, and of suffering. When we see the world as “ours,” or as an object to manipulate and exploit, then it becomes a trap of delusion. As soon as we see it as an objectification of the infinite Love that is our Divine Mother, it becomes a ladder to Paradise. And we honor Her by “climbing up” Her Golden Stair, using it as a means to return to God, instead of using it as a means to forget or evade God. We dishonor the World-Mother when we use it to blind ourselves to God, rather than using it to reveal God to us.
Since the twin Laws of Karma and Rebirth are the domain of the Mother, we certainly honor Her when we conduct our every deed in keeping with those Laws and with full consciousness of their meaning and purpose.
Honoring our own trinity
As has been said, we are ourselves a Trinity. Our essential being of pure consciousness, our spirit, is the Father. Our higher intelligence-creativity-will level is the Son, and our body-energy-sense-feeling level is the Holy Spirit. (This simile is not perfect, but it will do for our purpose.) To honor the Father within is to hold in mind our true nature as unconditioned spirit. To honor the Son-Father is to continually lift our minds through meditation, worship, and study of true wisdom, filling our daily awareness with thoughts and aspirations to the Highest. To honor the Mother is to cooperate with Her impelling of us unto our ever-increasing evolution. To do this we must purify ourselves on all levels–especially through avoidance of the Four Soul Killers. (See The Four Soul Killers and Christian Vegetarianism.) But especially we must cultivate genuine love of God, to “groan and travail” with Her in yearning for union with the One Beloved.
Since our physical entity is part of the Mother’s domain, we will use our bodies to elevate our consciousness and to reflect the light of the inner spirit rather than exploit and abuse it through sensuality and the frantic pursuit of physical pleasures.
Just as the earth has become polluted and permanently maimed through stupid and selfish misuse, so it is with our bodies. And just as the earth is becoming less and less capable of sustaining life, so our bodies are becoming increasingly incapable of reflecting the true life of the spirit. Now is certainly the time to reverse this deadly trend, both in the world around us and in our bodies.
The supreme path
Of course the supreme way of honoring the Father and Mother within and without is to follow the path of full illumination within Their Being.
Read the next article in Gnosis of the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes: Thou shalt not kill.