The Cabalistic Screen of Prophecy
Discovering Personal Relevance in the Sabian Lessons
by Mayte Picco-Kline
A cherished memory stays alive from the very first time I attended a Sabian Study Group in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. many years ago. Twelve people or so were gathered in the living room when I arrived a few minutes after 8 p.m. on a Monday night. One of the meeting hosts introduced me to the group and, after shaking hands with each person, I took my place in the room. At 8:15 p.m. the meeting started with the Sabian Healing Ritual. Then we moved to the Lesson study, with everyone reading a paragraph from the Blue Letter (guidelines for Sabian students), followed by the Philosophy and Bible lessons for the week, and those who wished to speak would share their thoughts and relevant experiences before moving on to the next paragraph. When I returned home that evening, the title of the Philosophy Lesson set, "Tools of Intelligence," as well as one or two sentences in the lesson, were on my mind with intensity and depth of meaning, giving me a new way to focus for broader understanding and interpretation of my current experiences in the light of a renewed expansion of consciousness. I had just discovered the Cabalistic Screen of Prophecy and its personal relevance.
The Sabian Lessons
Marc Edmund Jones wrote 3000 Sabian Lessons from 1922 to 1943. "The Sabian materials are cabalistic in the ordering of content, in the use of words and in the structure of each sentence and paragraph." Rather than being approached primarily as a source of information, they are "a basis for a particular kind of experience needed for participation in the Eternal Wisdom." Dr. Jones continues, "as a means for providing the necessary spread of this in a time-and-space reality, nearly all the lessons have been prepared in the guise of commentary on the best known and most available contributions of philosophy and religion to man's understanding in the Western world where the Sabian project has its present and convenient roots."
The 3000 Sabian lessons were placed in cycle on December 4, 1950. There is enough material for endless group study and application and so the Philosophy Lessons, the Bible Lessons, the Blue Letters and Yellow Letters (monthly letter directed to the Acolytes and regular monitors) were scheduled for reissue in cycles of unequal length but roughly two decades each. Dr. Jones carefully worked the lessons out so in any imaginable future they will never again be in the same relation with the other three or very quickly with any other of them. The convergence of these particular expositions, as well as of accompanying other materials that are an integral part of the esoteric discipline, is responsible for the screen of prophecy that becomes most meaningful for the aspirant throughout the years in fulfillment of the Sabian vision.
The continuous repetition in regular order brings varied considerations together in each new edition of the cycles. Today we are reviewing the reissue of the fifth cycle. Long-standing Sabian students who have gone through the lessons more than once have reported they have found expanded significance in each new cycle. I remember once when tears came to the eyes of a student who was reviewing the lessons for the third time during a session I attended and he described eloquently how the lessons looked completely anew and filled with expanded insights in the light of his current state of consciousness.
Some Students Applications
Relevance is in the eye of the beholder, and Sabian students since 1923 have developed significance based on their own personal experience as they review the Sabian Lessons. Here's what some Sabian students have said when considering the core value they have found in the development of the cabalistic Screen of Prophecy:
- This is what we try to find in the lessons for each coming week and share with others. In a larger sense we are training our intuition.
- A whole complex of relationships comes into play, and prophecy is nothing more that the recognition of the coming into play of a complex of relationships.
- In Blue Letter 1212 we find that the Sabian materials as issued have by the circumstances of their refinement a rapport with cosmic order that gives them potential signature value at every moment of their emergence in attention, thus giving us a screen of prophecy.
- To me, this is a way of developing individual sensitiveness.
- With respect to reading the lessons each week, I look for a thread that runs through the three sections (Blue Letter, Bible Lesson and Philosophy Lesson). Sometimes the thread seems to jump out at me — almost as if the three were saying the same thing; sometimes almost the same words. But more often it is a very subjective proposition. I often find a thread that may be somewhat oblique to the material as such but has relevance to the flow of events in my life (sometimes from the past week, sometimes anticipatory to the coming week). Finding this relevance in my screen of prophecy is a drill, a rehearsal that will, hopefully, equip me to find higher relevance in all of life's events and circumstances.
Comments by Marc Edmund Jones
- "The Screen of Prophecy is based upon the fact that experience is the prophecy of experience. If an individual in the course of the years he has lived has had experience of a certain sort, when the opportunity for such experiences arises, the opportunity is prophecy relative to those experiences."
- "Nothing happens in the experience of the individual in isolation from his environment and thus in a true sense the organism is social throughout itself. The Screen of Prophecy is closely tied to the special indications the individual is able to observe everywhere and use for guidance. These outer clues to inner reality are known to students of the eternal values as Signatures, and the acceptance of the fact of these Signatures constitutes the doctrine of discipline or that training by which man is raised from a superstitious imaginative early stage to an adult condition of accurate sensitiveness toward all reality."
- "What must be realized above all else is that our unique achievement is most likely to be the practical development of the screen of prophecy built into the total structure of the Sabian materials as the Philosophy and Bible Lessons, the Blue and Yellow Letters, the weekly affirmations or in fact the rhythmic interweaving of ritualistic detail in repetition, and individual discipline requirements are all placed in regular cycle so that attention to them provides the mind with a screen of relevance to bring commonsensical reliability to human intuition."
- "Anyone who has chosen, as happens in the arts, to swim crosswise to the currents of life in order to achieve something that is enduring, an enduring contribution to others, to the race, and an enduring ongoing of self, the effort for those who are caught up in that, who have wanted to make the great breakthroughs on which to enjoy the deja vu delights of life, is to highten the commonplace, to make everything significant — we do that by asking people to develop the Screen of Prophecy, to develop the fact where circumstances are continually certifying or applauding or challenging or explaining or enlightening the normal happenstances of everyday existence."
- "The lessons provide the psychological screen, the spiritual diffraction grating, by which any functioning in immortal consciousness is possible under this form of the Solar Mysteries."
Our Activity Today
Sabian students continue to develop and experience the cabalistic Screen of Prophecy, many times each day, as part of their participation in the activities of the Assembly. Some of them discover this relevancy individually in the privacy of their inner work, others choose to openly speak about it with other students. As a result of the need to partake in this process with other interested people, the Interchange Chapter was created and has been in continuous activity since 1992. Its function is to encourage, dramatize and share in the development of the Screen of Prophecy. Membership in this Chapter is open to all Sabian students interested in participating.
Quotations used in this article are from The Sabian Manual, Fundamentals of Number Significance, and the following documents of Dr. Marc Edmund Jones, prepared for the students of the Sabian Assembly: Blue Letter 1212, Letters to the Acolytes and Regular Monitors and Fortnightly Field Notes.
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