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The Sun and God of Fire

Joann S. Bakula
July 2007


This is the fifth monthly meditation for world service, and it is considered the most important after the first three meditations, those of the higher interlude. The qualities highlighted in this meditation are sensitive self-awareness and individuality, leading to both independence and identification with God-immanent or Self-awareness. Only from this foundation of strength, stability, and sound self-knowledge can a true sensitivity to other environments, both spiritual and natural, emerge, leading to a widening circle of love and understanding. From this subjective link, greater light, knowledge and love/wisdom can act as a magnet to humanity's desire for better relationships within its own family, with the environment, and with its spiritual relations, in all of the many forms and formless ways that that spiritual relation may be expressed. When humanity sees a world server or hears a note of love/wisdom, it responds like the earth to the sun. It feels the warmth of right human relationships and the light coming from a larger world than an individual bulb alone can reveal.

The sun is one of the symbols of this meditation. Whether we consider the sun as the only rational and visible symbol of God, as the father of life, warmth and light, the source of energy, or in the "astromythological" context, as Jung calls it, of the zodiacal sign of Leo or August. The sun is the king of the system and as such has the power both to give life and to destroy it, as does the creative power of our own 'sol', and of the power of the Biblical God, the Father. The sun is pure fire, and Leo provides the "great endurance against the strength of fire", (in Jung, Vol. 14, p. 176). It gives us the necessary strength of individualism and the ability to stand alone, with "freedom from outside control", as Bailey puts it (Esoteric Astrology, p. 310), in the developmental struggle for independence from dependency. This power provides not only the ability to stand up but the ability to withstand. It is a guard against both inflation and deflation, or being too big or too small, to enter through the door of initiation. Leo stands for the strength to accept within ourselves both God-nature and mammal. This means being able to say 'I am that' on both accounts, with subjective realization of the implications of both and projections of both. To find transcendent reality, we must first find the integrated self, individuality as the reflection in the mirror (without vanity or horror).God-immanent is a reflection of God-transcendent. Looking in the mirror of God-immanent to explore the nature of God-transcendent takes both courage and strength. "The onslaught of instinct then becomes an experience of divinity, provided that man does not succumb to it or follow it blindly, but defends his humanity against the animal nature of the divine power, " Jung writes. This idea is at home in the Judeo-Christian-Muslim traditions, as well as widespread world mythologies. Jung quotes Biblical sources: "It is 'a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God,' and 'whoso is near to me is near unto fire, and whoso is far from me is far from the kingdom'; for 'the Lord is a consuming fire (Symbols of Transformation, p. 337-339) In a footnote, he adds the interesting comment that "Christ successfully resisted the temptations of the power-devil in the wilderness. Whoever prefers power is therefore, in the Christian view, possessed by the devil. The psychologist can only agree." Christ walked through the transition from life to death and came back again from the other shore, an "undiscovered country" we will all discover in due time. In the meantime, the deep experience of samahdi meditation is entrance of consciousness into this magical realm that is always available to those who think that the best way to live life is with the view of the whole country and the values of both shores, the animal nature and the spiritual nature, constantly linking the two.

In the USA we have a bias toward individualism. This trait predisposes us to believing that dispositions, or personality traits, account for more than situational influences. Individualism predisposes us to think that disposition matters more than situational forces, hence the overemphasis on personality analysis to the neglect of social and collective forces. This is a fundamental attribution error that precludes "attributional charity," which means looking for factors in a social environment before blaming character disposition. It means identifying the distortions in the attributional process. Social psychologist, Philip Zimbardo, famous for having conducted the Stanford Prison Experiment, points out that analyzing personality attributes should come after situational analysis. "We should yield to dispositional analyses (genes, personality traits, personal pathologies, and so on) only when the situationally based" factors fail to provide explanation. "We overemphasize personality in explaining any behavior while concurrently underemphasizing situational influences." (Zimbardo, The Lucifer Effect, p 212.) This results in distorted judgment and a punitive, authoritarian attitude toward individuals. As situational forces increase their dominance, awareness of authoritarian patterns becomes more obvious and the mistaken focus on personality variables part of the pattern.

Situations are created by the systems in control. "System Power involves authorization or institutional permission to behave in prescribed ways or to forbid and punish actions that are contrary to them. It provides the 'higher authority' that gives validation to playing new roles, following new rules, and taking actions that would ordinarily be constrained by preexisting laws, norms, morals, and ethics. Such validation usually comes cloaked in the mantle of ideology. Ideology is a slogan or proposition that legitimizes whatever means are necessary to achieve the ultimate goal….Those in authority present the program as good and virtuous, as a highly valuable moral imperative….The System's procedures are considered reasonable and appropriate as the ideology comes to be accepted as sacred" (Zimbardo, p. 226). Accepting any ideology contrary to one's values is something the Leo type and quality will resist. Courage under fire is a most cherished quality in all times and cultures and one, many think, especially valued today in this time of transition.

Considering this meditation in another light, the light of mythology, we can draw on the myth of Hercules. Bailey writes of the great battle with the Nemean lion, at the fifth gate (The Labours of Hercules). The animal had been a destructive force for a long time, terrorizing humans. In this case success came by tracking the lion to its lair, only to discover that its home had two ends. Success meant cutting off both avenues of escape and trapping the fear in the cave. Here too we have the idea of two sides, in this case two ends of a cave, or two areas of escape for the fear and power of our own predatory animal instincts. Curiously enough, his only weapons in this battle were his own two hands. (No tanks, no bombs.) Bailey interprets this labor as the sacrifice of the lower self and self-assertion, having been arrived at, of course, after the achievement of individualization. Dependency upon authority is overruled by reason and love in the attainment of independence. Only then does an individual or civilization have the internal strength and courage to travel to that other kingdom of interdependence, and reach out to another undiscovered country. Bailey writes that the "true crucifixion" is "the sacrifice of the reflection to the reality, of the lower aspect to the higher, and of the individual unit to the great sum total. It was these characteristics that the Christ so marvelously demonstrated" (Bailey, The Labours of Hercules, p. 104).

Using a simpler illustration, courage is what the lion in the Wizard of OZ lacks, despite being the king of the beasts. He was prone to fear, most often irrational fear, and fantasies of fear. What Frank Baum, a Theosophist, was saying is that when Dorothy achieved integration of heart (the lion), mind (the tin man) and body (Todo), then her need to go to 'wizard nature' outside of herself was over and she could complete her journey back home, and the nightmare of the storm would be over. Having achieved independence through self-integration, she came to know herself as the worker of the white magic of the soul, and was able to find her way home.

Bailey explores the mystery of the number five in this meditation, a number that is widely used in symbols and art. We are all particles swept along on a wave of time, are we not? And particles, being round, can be divided into quarters with a center, adding up to five. The circle, or mandala, of five directions is found in every culture and time, repeated in imaginative variation throughout the history of symbols. The mandala of 5 directions, with their aspects and attibutes, can be portrayed both as a circle and as a line or wave. The line of Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags is white, blue, yellow, red and green, representing center, east, south, west and north, the ultimate spiral dynamic. The Dalai Lama's five prayer flags have become very famous and widespread now that paper replicas have been, and are being, sent out frequently by Richard Gere and the SaveTibet.org, with the Dalai Lama's blessings. They represent the five Dhyani Buddhas of Tibetan Buddhism and the Theosophic traditions, and the five ages and Rounds. These are the spiritual progenitors of humanity. They are reflected in the microcosm as the four quarters of heart and brain, plus the initiating impulse originating from the center.

The beauty of the Buddhist tradition is that it ties a direct line from the Dhyani Buddhas to the physical nature of each individual in both heart and brain. The five Dhyani Buddhas become the five visions we know as the five manifesting Ray Lords, and are met in the bardos of the Tibetan book of Natural Liberation as the five skandas or vehicles and when each of us meets again our own originating self and plan from heart and mind, from love and light. The Tibetan word for fire, Fohat, links macrocosm and microcosm, "the solar (Dhyani) Buddha principle" and the "bodily vehicle". The Mind is fire-born. The brain's center strip of white matter, the corpus callosum, is, of course, called the Lion's Gate. The four quarters of heart and the four of brain, plus two centers, make ten, which Bailey, after Pythagoras calls the "number of human perfection and of completion, the number of a perfectly developed and unfolded human being, and of the balance achieved between spirit and matter' (The Labours of Hercules, p. 101). She sums up the experience by writing "Through our own will and in full knowledge we are here." In the altered states of meditation and other bardos we refresh ourselves, our memories and the world with where we have come from and where we are going.

Jung often refers to the Anthropos, a circle of the fixed cross, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius, representing the four gospels, with Christ in the center, as an eternal symbol in Gnosticism and medieval alchemy. The circle squared is a symbol of the Self or wholeness he discovered first from his patients' dreams and drawings (The Practice of Psychotherapy, p. 217). "I am therefore, of the opinion, based on my professional work, that the Anthropos idea…[is] the outcome of subjective experience. It is an 'eternal' idea, an archetype that can appear spontaneously at any time and in any place. We meet Anthropos even in ancient Chinese alchemy, in the writings of Wei Po-yang, about A.D. 142. There he is called chen-jen ('true man'). " May the 'true man' or true Self fire forth in the lives of all who seek to serve the world through this meditation.

NOTE: Please pardon the errata in the Leo '07 commentary; the wizard of Oz gave recognition, of course, to the tin man for his heart, to the straw man for his mind, and to the lion for his courage. These three, with Todo as the animal nature and Dorothy as consciousness, make up L. Frank Baum's fivefold portrayal of an integrated human.

 
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