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A Second Birth

New birth, of which we have spoken before, depends as much upon sex energy as do physical birth and the propagation of species.
′Hydrogen′ Si-12 is the ′hydrogen′ which represents the final product of the transformation of food in the human organism. This is the matter with which sex works and which sex manufactures. It is ′seed′ or ′fruit.′
′Hydrogen′ Si-12 can pass into Do of the next octave with the help of an ′additional shock.′ But this ′shock′ can be of a dual nature and different octaves can begin, one outside the organism which has produced Si, and the other in the organism itself.
The union of male and female Si-12, and all that accompanies it, constitutes the ′shock′ of the first kind and the new octave begun with its help develops independently as a new organism or a new life. This is the normal and natural way to use the energy of Si-12.
But, in the same organism there is a further possibility. And this is the possibility of creating a new life within the actual organism, in which the Si-12 has been manufactured, without the union of the two principles, the male and the female. A new octave then develops within the organism, not outside it. This is the birth of the ′astral body.′ You must understand that the ′astral body′ is born of the same material, of the same matter, as the physical body, only the process is different. The whole of the physical body, all its cells, are, so to speak, permeated by emanations of the matter Si-12. And when they have become sufficiently saturated the matter Si-12 begins to crystallize. The crystallization of this matter constitutes the formation of the ′astral body.′
The transition of matter Si-12 into emanations and the gradual saturation of the whole organism by it is what alchemy calls ′transmutation′ or transformation. It is first this transformation of the physical body into the astral that alchemy called the transformation of the ′coarse′ into the ′fine′ or the transformation of base metals into gold.
Completed transmutation, that is to say, the formation of the ′astral body,′ is possible only in a healthy, normally functioning organism. In a sick, or a perverted, or a crippled organism, no transmutation is possible.

We asked him:

"Is complete sexual abstinence necessary for transmutation and is sexual abstinence, in general, useful for work on oneself?"

Here there is not one but a number of questions, said G. In the first place sexual abstinence is necessary for transmutation only in certain cases, that is, for certain types of people. For others it is not at all necessary. And with yet others it comes by itself when transmutation begins. I will explain this more clearly.
For certain types a long and complete sexual abstinence is necessary for transmutation to begin; this means in other words that without a long and complete sexual abstinence transmutation will not begin. But once it has begun abstinence is no longer necessary.
In other cases, that is, with other types, transmutation can begin in a normal sexual life - and on the contrary, can begin sooner and proceed better with a very great outward expenditure of sex energy.
In the third case the beginning of transmutation does not require abstinence, but, having begun, transmutation takes the whole of sexual energy and puts an end to normal sexual life or the outward expenditure of sex energy.
Then the other question - "Is sexual abstinence useful for the work or not?"
It is useful if there is abstinence in all centers. If there is abstinence in one center and full liberty of imagination in the others, then there could be nothing worse. And still more, abstinence can be useful if a man knows what to do with the energy which he saves in this way. If he does not know what to do with it, nothing whatever can be gained by abstinence.

"Speaking in general, what is the most correct form of life in this connection from the point of view of the work?"

It is impossible to say. I repeat that while a man does not know it is better for him not to attempt anything. Until he has new and exact knowledge it will be quite enough if his life is guided by the usual rules and principles. If a man begins to theorize and invent in this sphere, it will lead to nothing except psychopathy.
But it must again be remembered that only a person who is completely normal as regards sex has any chance in the work. Any kind of ′originality,′ strange tastes, strange desires, or, on the other hand, fears, constantly working ′buffers,′ must be destroyed from the very beginning. Modem education and modem life create an enormous number of sexual psychopaths. They have no chance at all in the work.

(Gurdjieff in Ouspensky′s In Search of the Miraculous.)