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Riders on the Storm

By Glenys Lowery
November 2004

The keynote is

<I see a goal; I reach that goal, and then I see another>

In ancient symbolism Sagittarius was represented by the Centaur, the mythical creature, half-horse and half-man, shooting his arrows heavenward. While many use this symbolism to describe the dual nature of the disciple and the struggle between the human and animal natures, the fact is that there is a struggle between opposite energies throughout the entire Zodiac. So one must delve further to understand the deeper significance of the symbol.

In every culture, horses represent potent power; a power which can be tamed and harnessed to increase activity and usefulness. In Sagittarius one has therefore become identified with power - power that burns in the "groins" and is centred in the region of the solar plexus. So the symbol of the Centaur is half "power" and half "the one who uses power" - that is, the conscious mind - so that taken together as a whole means the power of the conscious mind. Add to this potent combination the third attribute (bow and arrow) and one has direction and purpose, represented by the keynote of Sagittarius.

Therefore, the issue for Sagittarius does not refer essentially to a struggle between two natures but rather the 'right use' or right choice of direction for the power which is now second nature. And the symbolism indicates what the correct direction is by the 45° angle at which the Centaur shoots his arrows upward, symbolic of the maximum mobilisation of energies.

The right and focussed use of power and the associated symbolism of horses was recently highlighted in the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. On the one hand, we have the nine united and courageous beings, the Fellowship of the Ring, riding bravely on their equally courageous steeds in their effort to return the Ring to Mordor, the Land Where Shadows Lie, and in so doing, saving Middle Earth, despite the seemingly impossible odds. It would be difficult to imagine the achievement of the goal without the power represented by the horses (and ponies for the hobbits!). But on the other hand, we also have the nine Dark Riders, the RingWraiths, also riding, usually separately, on their equally dark and menacing horses. Both groups had the same fixed focus, similar intelligence, and apparently the same inbuilt power represented by their horses. The difference was how they used their focus and power, and this is the crux of the Sagittarian experience.

In post-Atlantean times, the Centaur was dropped and the symbol for Sagittarius became the Archer on the white horse signifying the one-pointed disciple working with the soul. Human ambition became spiritual aspiration and the arrow of the mind was projected unerringly towards the goal. In more recent times, the symbol has become the bow and arrow only, with the man and horse gone and the freedom, one pointedness and focussed concentration of the disciple becoming the objective.

To focus on something is to concentrate our energy, attention or attraction on it with the objective of achieving maximum clarity or distinctness of an idea. In order to do this a disciplined mind is necessary and few would argue that the mind is the greatest instrument of the personality, and the greatest blessing and curse of the evolving consciousness (providing that one has gained a measure of control of the astral-emotional body).

For the disciple, the mind has two main functions:

  1. to be an effective instrument for integrating and maintaining the personality (horizontal focus)
  2. to be responsive to the soul (vertical focus)

As if that is not challenging enough, a "good" mind must develop in two distinctly different and apparently contradictory directions. It must be able to focus sharply on any subject or object at will, and it must be trained to expand the focus of attention in the broadest and deepest manner feasible. In other words, it must be concerned with both the short and long term views.

When discussing Sagittarius, astrologer Dane Rudhyar says in his book, The Pulse of Life,i "whereas in the opposite [to Sagittarius] zodiacal Sign, Gemini, man was trying eagerly to build a tight web of close connections - a nervous system, an intellectual system of logic, a technique of experiments to satisfy his curiosity about phenomena surrounding him - in Sagittarius the individual, completely absorbed by social or mystical factors, searches for distant connections.

"Connections, close or distant, mean intelligence and mental activities. Thus Gemini and Sagittarius are "mental" Signs. The former represents mind functioning within the lesser sphere of personality; the latter, mind operating within the greater sphere of society. In both cases the mental activities are direct and constructive."

So it would seem that Sagittarian energy assists the disciple focus on the long term goal represented by the flight of his arrow, the arrow being the trained mind. Indeed, Alice Bailey says in Esoteric Astrology,ii the Sagittarian "projects the arrow of the mind …… unerringly towards the goal".

And what is the goal of the Sagittarian disciple? It is discipleship leading to initiation (in Capricorn). We are told in Esoteric Astrology,iii "The keynote of the Centaur is ambition. The keynote of the Archer is aspiration and direction, and both are expressions of human goals but one is of the personality and the other of the soul. From ambition to aspiration, from selfishness to an intense desire for selflessness, from individual one-pointed self-interest in Leo to the one-pointedness of the disciple in Sagittarius and thence to initiation in Capricorn…….".

Discipleship is the second stage upon the spiritual path and begins when probationers have purified and prepared themselves for service, and after they are on the way to being free from karmic limitations. While probation is a path of mostly (and necessarily) self-centred preparation, discipleship is a path of conscious service, a determined effort to identify and cooperate with the Plan for humanity.

Disciples identify themselves with the soul - the distant goal - and with humanity - the connection of brotherhood suggested by Rudhyar. This is in contrast to the masses of humanity who identify themselves with the body, mind, and individualistic lower self. Disciples know with greater reality what and where they are.

But more than that, they identify with the very mind of God Himself and this is the particular work of Sagittarius. Consider this quote from Esoteric Astrology,iv "in studying Sagittarius, it becomes obvious that one of the major underlying themes is that of Direction. The Archer is guiding his horse towards some one specific objective; he is sending or directing his arrow towards a desired point; he is aiming at some specific goal. This sense of direction or guidance is characteristic of the enlightened man, of the aspirant and disciple, and this is a growing recognition; when this faculty of sensitive direction is rightly developed it becomes, in the early stages, an effort to identify all soul and personality activity with God's Plan, and this is, in the last analysis, the ordered direction of God's thought. There is no true direction apart from thought, and I would have you remember that thought is power. This is a statement upon which all disciples should ponder, for they can achieve no real comprehension of the direction of God's Plan unless they work with a phase in their own lives which is subject to their own mental direction. Then and only then, can they understand".

St Paul tells the Romans to "be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will."v And if there is any doubt as to what kind of mind that is, he clarifies it when he tells the Corinthians, "…… we have the mind of Christ" vi

Like the Christ, it is the work of disciples to reveal the nature of the divine consciousness; to reveal to humanity what has been hidden in the Mind of God. To do that, they must have the same mind as Christ: "Hence the injunction before us to possess in ourselves 'the mind of Christ'. This mind must dwell in us and reveal itself in the human race in ever greater fullness".vii The disciple in Sagittarius knows this is possible and fixes all attention on the goal knowing that as Christ revealed the Father to humanity, so will they as they have been told by the Christ Himself that those who believe in Him will do "greater things".

The mind of Christ is the intuitive mind of the Buddhi plane; the Christ consciousness we hear so much about nowadays. It is the realm of pure consciousness - the energy of Love/Wisdom - gained by direct spiritual cognition that bypasses the concrete mind. It is a direct knowing and because it is a soul faculty, it can only be reached via the soul.

As the Sagittarian archer sends forth his arrow with focussed concentration, it eventually reappears as the " 'returning arrow of the intuition' …… for it is the shaft of the arrow of aspiration which returns to the sender as the arrow of the intuition. Sagittarius is one of the intuitive signs, for only the intuition will suffice to carry a man to the foot of the mountain of initiation in Capricorn".viii

This is because the intuitive mind is sensitive to and can respond to the soul. It can only be developed as the mind is controlled and the illusions it contains dissipated. In fact, it has been called the opposite of illusion "remembering that illusion imprisons a man upon the mental plane and surrounds him entirely with man-made thoughtforms, barring out escape into the higher realms of awareness or into that loving service which must be given in the lower worlds of conscious, manifested effort".ix The intuition bestows revelation and is formed by blending the light of the personality, focussed in the mind, the light of the soul, focussed in the Angel of the Presence, and the universal light which the Angel emits.

When this happens, two results are produced:

  1. There will suddenly dawn upon the disciple's waiting mind (which still remains the agent of reception) the answer to his problem, the clue to what is needed to bring relief to humanity; the information desired which, when applied, will unlock some door in the realm of science, psychology or religion. This door, when opened, will bring relief or release to many. As before I have told you, the intuition is never concerned with individual problems or enquiries, as so many self-centred aspirants think. It is purely impersonal and only applicable to humanity in a synthetic sense.
  2. The "intruding agent of light" (as the Old Commentary calls these adventuring intuitives) is recognised as one to whom can be entrusted some revelation, some new impartation of truth, some significant expansion from a seed of truth already given to the race. He then sees a vision, hears a voice, registers a message, or -highest form of all- he becomes a channel of power and light to the world, a conscious Embodiment of divinity, or a Custodian of a divine principle. These forms constitute true revelation, imparted or embodied; they are still rare but will increasingly be developed in humanity".x

Disciples who have developed their intuitive abilities are like Riders on the Storm. They are not unduly distressed at personal, group and world unrest and upheaval for they know that the storms are an indication that the goal they have aspired to in Sagittarius is near. They know that storms disperse the clouds and clear the air in preparation for the sun to burst forth.

They are able to carry on with the work with patience and calm in the knowledge that God's Plan for humanity will not be thwarted. They are able to maintain their one pointed focus and never lose sight of the distant goal in the knowledge that this protects them from the discouragement and despair of the narrow view and the passing dramas of the storm.

They are able to call upon the power they have which is based on the Reality of the known and the experienced, and with their long range vision, they can see the hidden connections in all events, no matter how disparate and chaotic they seem to others.

Disciples who have mastered the energies of Sagittarius know the formless forces that are at work through all of life's events and they can not only see the order in the seeming chaos, but they forge themselves into weapons of mass construction who bring new life to needy humanity.

They hold fast to the inner vision steadily and "have that long patience which endures through the lesser cycle, because the key to the greater cycle has been held with firmness" xi (the greater cycle being the certain achievement of God's Plan for Humanity).

It is my hope that disciples everywhere will join together to tap into the qualities of Sagittarius this full moon and fill their hearts and minds with expansive daring, unfailing courage, single-minded focus and soul-inspired strength, as they identify their marks, God's Plan for their lives, and prepare to take aim. By harnessing Sagittarius energy, the arrows can fly straight to their marks so that even more upward targets may be revealed and we can declare with triumphant joy, "I see a goal; I reach that goal, and then I see another".

  1. Dane Rudhyar, 1974, The Pulse of Life Shambhala p.53

  2. Alice Bailey,1951, Esoteric Astrology, Lucis Trust p.176
  3. ibid p.176
  4. ibid p.191
  5. Romans 12:2, NIV
  6. 1 Corinthians 2:16, NIV
  7. Alice Bailey, 1936, Esoteric Psychology, Lucis Trust, P. 313
  8. Alice Bailey,1951, Esoteric Astrology, Lucis Trust p.178
  9. Alice Bailey, 1950, Glamour: A World Problem, Lucis Trust , P.136
  10. ibid, p.182
  11. ibid, p.326

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