Among the Adepts, the rise and fall of nations and civilizations are subjects which are studied under the great cyclic movements. They hold that there is an indissoluble connection between man and every event that takes place on this globe, not only the ordinary changes in politics and social life, but all the happenings in the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms. The changes in the seasons are for and through man; the great upheavals of continents, the movements of immense glaciers, the terrific eruptions of volcanoes, or the sudden overflowings of great rivers, are all for and through man, whether he be conscious of it, or present, or absent. And they tell of great changes in the inclination of the axis of the earth, past and to come, all due to man.
This doctrine is incomprehensible to the Western nineteenth century, for it is hidden from observation, opposed to tradition, and contradicted by education. But the Theosophist who has passed beyond the elementary stages knows that it is true nevertheless. “What,” says the worshipper of Science, “has man got to do with the Charleston earthquake, or with the showers of cosmic dust that invade our atmosphere? Nothing.”
But the Adept, standing on the immeasurable height where centuries lie under his glance, sees the great cycles and the lesser ones rolling onward, influenced by man and working out their changes for his punishment, reward, experience and development.
It is not necessary now to try to make it clear how the thoughts and deeds of men effect any changes in material things; that I will lay down for the present as a dogma, if you please, to be made clear later on.
The great subject of cycles has been touched upon, and brings us close to a most fascinating statement made by the Theosophical Adepts. It is this, that the cycles in their movement are bringing up to the surface now, in the United States and America generally, not only a great glory of civilization which was forgotten eleven thousand or more years ago, but also the very men, the monads — the egos, as they call them — who were concerned so many ages since in developing and bringing it to its final lustre. In fact, we of the nineteenth century, hearing of new discoveries and inventions every day, and dreaming of great advances in all arts and sciences, are the same individuals who inhabited bodies among the powerful and brilliant, as well as wicked, Atlanteans, whose name is forever set immortal in the Atlantic Ocean. The Europeans are also Atlantean monads; but the flower, so to speak, of this revival or resurrection, is and is to be on the American continent. I will not say the United States, for mayhap, when the sun of our power has risen again, there may be no United States for it to rise upon.
Of course, in order to be able to accept in any degree this theory, it is essential that one should believe in the twin Theosophical doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation. To me it seems quite plain. I can almost see the Atlanteans in these citizens of America, sleepy, and not well aware who they are, but yet full of the Atlantean ideas, which are only prevented from full and clear expression by the inherited bodily and mental environment which cramps and binds the mighty man within. This again is Nemesis-Karma that punishes us by means of these galling limitations, penning up our power and for the time frustrating our ambition. It is because, when we were in Atlantean bodies, we did wickedly, not the mere sordid wicked things of this day, but high deeds of evil such as by St. Paul were attributed to unknown spiritual beings in high places. We degraded spiritual things and turned mighty powers over nature to base uses; we did in excelsis that which is hinted at now in the glorification of wealth, of material goods, of the individual over the spiritual and above the great Man — Humanity. This has now its compensation in our present inability to attain what we want or to remove from among us the grinding-stones of poverty. We are, as yet, only preparers, much as we may exalt our plainly crude American development.
Herein lies the very gist of the cycle’s meaning. It is a preparatory cycle with much of necessary destruction in it; for, before construction, we must have some disintegration. We are preparing here in America a new race which will exhibit the perfection of the glories that I said were being slowly brought to the surface from the long forgotten past. This is why the Americas are seen to be in a perpetual ferment. It is the seething and bubbling of the older races in the refining-pot, and the slow coming up of the material for the new race. Here, and nowhere else, are to be found men and women of every race living together, being governed together, attacking nature and the problems of life together, and bringing forth children who combine, each one, two races. This process will go on until in the course of many generations there will be produced on the American continents an entirely new race; new bodies; new orders of intellect; new powers of the mind; curious and unheard-of psychic powers, as well as extraordinary physical ones; with new senses and extensions of present senses now unforeseen. When this new sort of body and mind are generated — then other monads, or our own again, will animate them and paint upon the screen of time the pictures of 100,000 years ago.