Sanctum Ritual for Plane 5


Salutes in omnibus punctis trianguli!
Beloved Members of the Esoteric Hierarchy:
We are here providing you with a simple but impressive mystical ritual for use in your Sanctum when studying the Plane Five monographs. It is suggested that this ritual, if at all possible, be the opening procedure of each Sanctum period in which you participate in the future. This does not, of course, prohibit you from repeating any other rituals or exercises in your Sanctum which accompanied previous monographs of other Degrees.
It seems hardly necessary to reassert the value of such ritual-ceremonies to our emotional and psychic selves. The act performed in the ritual, in conjunction with the words used, has more of an awakening and stimulating effect upon the deeper aspects of self than can the words alone. For analogy, you know that the reading of a musical score cannot possibly be as inspiring and provide the same emotional satisfaction as listening to the actual playing of the composition. Likewise, reading about a great painting is a poor substitute for the fee ling derived from the actual visual experience of it.

Symbolism of Ritual
Before we describe the ritual itself and how your Sanctum is to be prepared, we wish to inform you about the symbolism of the elements the ritual contains. We believe this will make for a greater appreciation of what the ritual means to you. One of the major faults of the large religious sects, and the reason why their membership at times has decreased, is that the participants are not always thoroughly informed as to the meaning of the various rituals and ceremonies in which they are supposed to faithfully participate. An intelligent person today is not satisfied with the mere statement that what may be unfamiliar acts and terminology to him is a sacred tradition to be followed without question. Such an individual wants to know why this or that is done, and what lesson it has for him. It is not satisfying to the intellect, to the innate curiosity of man, to close his mind and accept blindly on faith a ritual or ceremony. Understanding makes for greater devotion and alleviates doubts and skepticism.
The primary elements of nature impressed prehistoric man—even those dwelling in what we term savagery. By elements we mean the four principal phenomena of which man was so constantly aware because of his dependence upon them and the awe which they invoked in him. These elements, or phenomena, are earth, air, fire, and water. In fact, early Greek philosophers, in their search for the prima materia--the substratum of the physical universe--believed that one of these phenomena was the substance from which all carne. For example, Thales thought that water was the primary element, while Anaximander claimed the same for air.

Characteristics of Elements
Animism is the belief that all things, such as stones, water, sky, and the earth, are imbued with life. Things had within them, it was thought, a spirit, an entity, which manifested their particular quality, the characteristics of which they exhibited. Simply, a thing was what it was because of the god or goddess or the living element which dwelled within it. The natural processes of development, such as growth or fertility, were not understood. Therefore, each thing was conceived as being dual: On the one hand, there was its substance or attributes, and, on the other hand, there was the living force within which gave the object its direction and was the cause of whatever phenomenon it manifested.
was seen as being fertile and bountiful in that it gave birth to plant life and nourished man and a myriad of other living things. Therefore, because of its fertility, the earth was considered female. The rain, light, and heat which seemed to impregnate earth and cause her fertility were considered to be male.
Of all these primary elements, air was to man the most mysterious. As with the wind, it could be heard and felt; yet it was invisible. Air had tremendous force noticeable in the great storms which caused great destruction and struck terror in the heart of primitive man. He soon learned that his life was dependent upon air--this enigmatic quality. When air entered his being he was alive, vital, active. When he ceased to breathe air, life left and with it those qualities which he had associated with it. Consequently, man carne to relate his psychic qualities with air. His very personality, the self, or soul, became identified with the element air. The Greek word pneuma meant air, breath, spirit, or soul. In the ancient Hebrew and other Semitic languages, air was also related to the psychic qualities of man. In ancient theology, the word pneumatic had to do with air, spirit, and soul.
It was primitive reasoning yet a rational conclusion to assume that air was of a supernatural or divine quality. It entered the body at birth from an invisible source and seemed to emerge from the great space above the Earth, the region of sky with its winds. Since it was believed that the attributes of air in man were his intelligence, his emotions and sentiments, it was thought that this element had the quality of a Supreme Being, or a god. Thus the god infused man with air and also took this airy self, or soul, away at death.
was an element much feared by early man and also by the primitives of our time. How man discovered fire, of course, is not known. It was apparently experienced by man eons ago as evidenced by his cave paintings and other illustrations and artifacts. He used fire as early as the Paleolithic period, going back almost to the very dawn of Hominoidea or manlike primates.
It has been theorized by anthropologists and archaeologists that the eruptions from volcanoes provided man with his first terrifying experience of fire. The balls of fiery lava hurled into the night sky were an awesome sight, and they possibly caused great grass and brush fires, driving off all life, including man.
Another theory is that man discovered fire by chipping flints from which sparks flew igniting dry leaves, or by accidentally producing it through friction. Fire is a symbol which has played a prominent part in both primitive and advanced religions even until today. The savage thought of fire as being a force, even a god. The god was placated by throwing into the flames human, animal, or food sacrifices.
Hestia was the goddess of the hearth in ancient Greece. The hearth was a sacred shrine, the flames of which were considered holy. In each little community a central hearth--or communal shrine--was located in what we would term the town hall. When a new colony was formed, it was supplied from this common hearth of the mother-city. In ceremonies the fire was placed in a vestal stand which was always in the form of a tripod.
In ancient Rome there was a great Vestal Temple. The Roman goddess of the sacred flame was known as Vesta. Vestal virgins, chaste young girls, were chosen to care for the flame and to perform sacred rituals at its shrine, serving in this capacity until twenty-one years of age. Our ritualistic Colombes who serve in our Rosicrucian Temples are traditional descendants of that ancient sacred office. However, today we do not consider the flame as a deity but rather as having certain symbolism of Cosmic and human attributes.
The ancient Zoroastrians venerated the flame as an earthly form of Heavenly Light. It was not worshiped or apotheosized in itself, but rather signified a manifestation of the divine force
resident on Earth. We shall touch further in our ritual upon the mystical significance of fire.
as a primeval element was considered to be a living thing. In other words, it was not thought to be acted upon by the laws of force but by life and will. It was believed that inherent in water were spirits, like souls, which caused it to rush and rest and to display kindness or cruelty at times. To the Hindu of today, the Ganges is the greatest of all the sacred and living streams.
In ancient Greece the pilgrims to the great oracles at Delphi were first obliged to purify themselves at the Castalian Springs flowing from the sacred Mt. Parnassus. The springs were sacred to the muses who dwelt upon the mountain. The springs are still flowing today in all their purity.
In tribute to the great Imhotep, statesman, architect, philosopher, and physician who designed the first Pyramid for King Zoser, the scribes of ancient Egypt would pour a libation of water upon the ground in his memory before writing. Immersion in water as a rite of lustration or purification is thousands of years old. Modern baptism is but a syncretic form of this early pre-Christian rite. Since water physically cleans, it became a symbol of the purging or the mystical cleansing of the mind and soul from corruption.
Therefore, these four elements--earth, air, fire, and water--continue to teach us a moral, philosophical, and mystical lesson. They are a constant reminder of how we may adapt their symbolism to our way of life.

Sanctum Preparation and Arrangement:
Be certain that privacy and quiet are available. You are referred to in the ritual as Mystes. The following simple articles should be obtained, and arrangement of the Sanctum be made prior to the performance of the ritual.
1. Place two candleholders with candles on the Sanctum altar, about twenty-five centimeters (ten inches) apart.
2. An incense burner is to be placed between the candles and a few inches behind them .
3 . Place a very small bowl of water directly in front of the incense.
4. Behind the incense burner, place a small vase just sufficient to hold one or two flowers--preferably a rose or, if not available, any flower will suffice. The flower, of course, should be a natural and fresh one.
5. Your membership apron, if you have obtained one, should be placed upon your person {the ritual can be performed, of course, without an apron if one is not available).
6. Matches for igniting the candles and incense should be convenient.

Sanctum Ritual
Mystes: Approach the Sanctum and, while standing before it, first ignite the incense. Next, ignite the candles, the one on the right first, and then the other.
Mystes: When the smoke of the incense becomes visible, representing the air element, read the following softly:
Pervading the air is the vital force of Life. With each breath I infuse my being with the Cosmic force and intelligence which it conveys. (Take two deep breaths--but not of the incense smoke--then exhale.)
Mystes: Now gaze a second or two upon the flower in the vase symbolizing the element earth. Meditate a moment upon the fertility of the earth and the gifts which its abundance has provided man. Now say softly:
Into my being have I taken the elements of earth in their varied forms. They have built my body into a personal temple in which resides my soul personality.
Mystes: Now gaze a moment at each candle flame symbolizing fire and its qualities, then read softly:
The visible radiance which comes forth from fire symbolizes that Light by which darkness is converted into manifestations of reality. Its flame further depicts the illumination that comes from attunement with the Greater Light of Cosmic Effulgence.
Mystes: Dip the thumb and first two fingers of your right hand into the bowl of water. The water symbolizes lustration or purification. Just as water cleanses in the physical sense, it has long depicted the spiritual thought or morality which cleanses the mind and the self from impurities. Now with your moistened fingers draw a cross upon your forehead, then read softly:
With this water I symbolize the desire to purify myself of all thought and action which may obstruct my conscious unity with the God of my Heart.
Mystes: Now place aside this manuscript. Put your left hand over your heart and the right over the left. Softly say:
So mote it be.
Then for the next few moments meditate upon the significance of the mystic elements herein given you. Finally, extinguish the candles with your snuffer and be seated for your study of the monograph.
This ritual should be repeated, if possible, before each Sanctum Period. Of course, the preliminary explanation about the ancient meaning of the four elements need not be read again. Also, if you have one of the AMORC tapes, records, or cassettes of meditation music, you may play such softly during the Sanctum Ritual.
This, however, is not part of the ritual but an appropriate supplementary aspect if you so desire it.
We hope that you derive Peace Profound and inspiration from your Sanctum Ritual in Plane Five.
Sincerely and fraternally,