We have observed in a recent Rays article that serious esoteric study brings about modifications in the four human vehicles (dense, vital, desire and mental bodies) and that these changes in turn determine our preferences for and heightened sensitivity to particular foods, including the pseudo-foods, coffee, tea, and alcohol.
A consideration of the origin and evolution of human bodies shows that nine celestial hierarchies actually rayed part of their being into inchoate man. Many of these hierarchies continue to influence human development, especially members of the third (Angels, Archangels, Lords of Mind) and second (Lords or Spirits of Form, Motion, and Wisdom) orders. This influence filters down into matters as detailed and specific as the formation of protein (controlled by the Spirits of Form-associated with the constellation Scorpio) and the production of fat (the province of the Spirits of Motion-emanating from Libra).
Let us compare three kinds of food in relation to their cosmic significance as we become more sensible of their effects in ourselves through esoteric training. First, milk and milk products. Milk is a unique substance. While it provides sustenance for living beings, linking individual members to the common human species and uniting them to terrestrial conditions, it does not prevent them at the same time from being citizens of the whole solar system.
We understand that as candidates for initiation it is important for us not to bind ourselves and be weighed down by earth forces. At the same time, should a person develop a love solely for that which detaches him from the earth, he may lose the threads that unite him with human activities on earth. A fanatical enthusiasm for the spiritual could create an obstacle in the physical body that would divorce him from all relationship to what is earthly and human. Milk, in this respect, is unique in that it provides the esoteric student with a kind of ballast, enabling him, as it were, to keep his feet on solid ground but not confining his activities solely to terrestrial affairs.
The consumption of flesh foods, on the other hand, has this binding effect. For not only do they stimulate the instinctive life of the will as it expresses, mostly unconsciously, in the passions as they relate to purely earthly affairs, but, since they are not, like milk products, obtained directly from the life processes of living creatures, human or animal, but from the already transformed part of animal substance, flesh foods deprive humans of the forces that liberate them from the sphere of the earthly. A meat diet promotes a more complete adaptation to specifically material conditions. A determination to consume animal flesh signifies, usually unconsciously, a renunciation of the joys of heaven and a desire to be fully absorbed in an exclusively terrestrial existence.
A vegetarian diet, on the contrary, stimulates in the organism those forces which bring man into a kind of union with the whole solar system, so that his physical sheath participates in these solar forces. The lightness of the organism which results from a vegetarian diet lifts man above terrestrial heaviness and sensitizes him to extramundane influences; so that, for instance, with the elaboration of an inner taste, he can actually savor sunlight.
Let us briefly consider the effects of several articles of food. Firstly, sugar. We understand that a principal aim of psychic (soul) development is to become progressively more selfless. Yet, given that man, by virtue of his physical body, has an earthly task to fulfill, the consumption of sugar creates a kind of innocent egohood which may form a counterpoise to the necessary selflessness in the moral and spiritual sphere. The addition of a certain quantity of sugar to the diet helps anchor man to the earth, encouraging in him a healthy perspective that offsets the temptation to become a dreamer and visionary and lose the capacity for sound judgment in mundane affairs.
Sugar facilitates the imprinting of one's character on the physical body. It may be observed that in countries where sugar consumption is low, the inhabitants have a less defined individuality, manifesting more the typical racial characteristics, than in countries where consumption is high and individuality shows in outward appearance.
The effect of coffee and tea are intensified in the esoteric student. Both are stimulants. But their effects are different. Coffee has the effect of lifting the etheric body out of the physical body in such a way as the latter is felt as a solid foundation for the former. Coffee causes the perception of a differentiation of these two bodies, throwing the physical structure into sharp relief and promoting a physically logical consistency, thinking based on facts, and reinforcement of stability.
Tea produces an analogous effect in differentiating between the physical and etheric nature, but here the physical body is less clearly defined while the tendency of the etheric body is to fluctuate. As a result of drinking tea, thoughts become dissociated, unstable, less capable of adhering to the facts. Dreamy fantasy and a certain nonchalant insouciance are the result. Tea stimulates the imagination, but it does not make for fidelity to truth. It may be appropriate for social gatherings where it can promote flashes of wit and intellectual virtuosity, but it does not promote accommodation to the reality of circumstances and the solid demands of practical life.
If coffee promotes something like stability in the physical body and tea drinking favors a kind of charlatanism or blithe dismissal of the facts, chocolate promotes philistinism, since it curtails the sense of inner mobility and dulls the sensibility. The drinking or eating of chocolate at family gatherings helps to smooth emotional harshness and personalism.
Finally, we will make mention of alcohol, from one vantage only. For one who takes up the Rosicrucian teachings and makes them an integral part of his life, alcohol proves to be not only a dead weight but acts directly as a counter force on the fermentation, when grape juice is transformed into alcohol. Alcohol introduces something into the organism which from the outside acts like the Ego upon the blood. When alcohol is consumed a counter-ego is introduced, an ego which directly opposes the deeds of the spiritual Ego.
We know Lucifer as the great deceiver and the false light. Alcohol is a false spirit. Under its influence self-deception knows no bounds. Since alcohol works on the blood in the same way as the ego, an inner war is unleashed. It has been said that "we condemn to impotence everything that proceeds from the Ego when we consume alcohol, which is the antagonist of the Ego." He who drinks alcohol behaves like someone who wishes to demolish a wall and hammers on one side, at the same time placing people on the other side who hammer in opposition to him. In the same way does the consumption of alcohol nullify the activity of the Ego on the blood.
The thrust of this brief study has been to identify the occult effect of certain substances when taken into the system of the person who has begun esoteric development. This development has the effect of separating and individualizing the internal organs, making them more independent of one another. Under such conditions the aspirant may experience some physical unsettlement. He will also be able to observe for himself the influences of the articles that have been mentioned herein. Always the rule is to prove for one's self that which is true. What is here written is offered as an aid in making that proof.
--Rays from the Rose Cross Magazine, January/February, 1996