The monthly meditations at the full moon are above all a time of service in identification with the whole, resulting in a revitalization of relationship itself as sacred, both with spirit and with matter, nature and God, the seen and the unseen. This month we meditate and celebrate the Festival in the sign of Virgo, both as cosmic constellation and connection, and as a symbol of the divine feminine or mother-matter aspect of life. The seed thought for this meditation found in the Alice Bailey books is, "I am the mother and the child, I, God, I, matter am."
From the human perspective we have created and re-created many archetypal Virgo figures, whether as Virgin Mother, mother Mary, the bodhisattva Kwan Yin, the Hermetic Sophia, the Greek Demeter, Egyptian Isis, or the Black Madonna, to name just a few. We find within ourselves the subjective spiritual truth that the compassionate, wise and nurturing figure found in religion and art the world around is in each of us. We know these qualities. We reveal the hidden spiritual reality, the God-seed or Christ consciousness that our personalities sometimes reveal, when our eyes are open to the divine in ourselves and others. The spark of divinity or divine compassion descends to earth in form as us, mother and child, spirit and matter, the light of wisdom.
Isis and Demeter in the ancient Mysteries
In the myth, Isis, the Queen of Egypt, must find the dismembered body of her husband King Osiris, who was killed and scattered to far corners of the kingdom by Seth, who was later killed in turn by their son, Horus. The myth "appears to be a dramatic tale of betrayal and revenge….This myth, however, has a hidden, or esoteric, meaning…. its hidden meaning is a detailed description of the spiritual journey" consistent with modern esoteric interpretations of the myth. (Lansdowne). One aspect of the myth can also be interpreted to mean that the 'dismembered body' of Osiris is the soul of humanity itself and that each of our 'individual' souls are eventually gathered together by Isis as one single group soul of which we are all a part, so that we know ourselves again as one Being, in whom we have lived.
Many myths speak of this same truth, Kabbalists in the fall of Adam Kadmon, the Vedas in the sacrifice of purusha. "The universe was generated through the sacrifice and dismemberment of purusha, the cosmic human, but which, even more profoundly, means consciousness….That which is most radically the Self, the "I", purusha, Atman, is nothing other than this transcendent principle known as the Christ, an idea we also find in Paul: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." (Smoley) As identification progresses from unconsciousness to individuated consciousness to 'group' or integrated consciousness, the path of the soul is revealed. "As the mind begins to dissolve its attachments to its 'own' experience, it begins to regard itself not as an isolated thing but as part of a larger mind. There is no real border between this "I" and the collective "I" in which we all participate. Conversely, the mind's attachment to its own experience causes a symbolic death in that the "I" is, or appears to be, cut off from the whole." In the end comes realization "that what says "I" at the deepest level in ourselves is identical to that which says "I" in everything else, human and nonhuman….To realize this truth, experientially as well as intellectually, is to achieve gnosis, to become conscious in the fullest sense." Smoley
Demeter, one of the dozen ancient Greek Immortals, is known for having given both the sacred mysteries of Eleusis, and the gifts of agriculture. One is a metaphor for the other. Crave the food of the world you are in and you will return, whether to earthly existence or to heavenly existence. One taste will take you there. Demeter is an Olympic goddess whose daughter Persephone was abducted by Hades (Pluto to the Romans), who took her to the dark underworld. Demeter, carrying a torch, sought her daughter everywhere but could not find her. Finally, after eating 3 pomegranate seeds, and many other episodes, Zeus rules that Persephone must spend 3 months below, and then may return to her mother, Demeter, the Immortal goddess, for the rest of the year. Summer is when Persephone is home with her mother, who makes agricultural food grow.
One interpretation of the myth as mystery is that the immortal soul gives birth to the daughter, the personality, who lives 'below' in the land of mortality. Is our soul, as love and light, constantly looking for us in this dark world of sorrowful events, and cannot find us, like Demeter searching with her torch? 'The solar angel in meditation deep seeks to communicate with its reflection' the Bailey books tell us. Do we return again and again as long as we crave the food of experience on earth? Does death finally free us to return to the land of immortality where there is no darkness, and the light is the love? The President of the Theosophical Society in the US, Betty Bland, had one of the most profound near-death experiences I have ever read, describing a "Council of Light" who gave her a key word to take from that realm to this world, which is "others", and this has had a lasting profound aftereffect on her life. (Bakula)
A Sacred Science of Nature
In the ancient traditions, life, light and matter were all inseparable. And somewhere deep within the primordial recesses of human consciousness we remember a divine design now hidden under layers of conditioning, schooling and modern times, an age when the stars were closer to our spirit and the rituals of our religion never failed to acknowledge our home in the stars. "The stars and the heavens themselves, experienced as living beings, enclosed the earth as a fruit encloses a seed, caring for it like a mother. The cosmos was a single organism. There was no distance, only spiritual relationship. Human beings acted as friends of heaven, commissioned to nurture heavenly seeds planted on earth. The human task was circulation. Rising, humanity spiritualized matter; descending, it materialized spirit." (Bamford) The act, the heart of love, and the knowledge of this great purpose infuses all esoteric traditions in one form or another. "The notion of a cold, sterile universe inimical to life, where galaxies, suns and planets spin in isolation, has reflected man's self-absorbed, materialistic consciousness down the ages. But today our steadily shifting perception towards universal brotherhood and interconnectedness is reflected in a new awareness of the electromagnetic nature of the universe." (Newey) The electromagnetic spectrum of energy as wavelengths appears to us as light in the visible spectrum of seven basic colors, and in the non-visible wavelengths of infrared and cosmic waves. The electromagnetic spectrum of rays appears as us in the Light of seven rays of creation, with seven primordial Rays lords.
In the words of H.P. Blavatsky's Stanzas of Dzyan (pp.83-85), the structure around which the Secret Doctrine is written, "Father-mother spin a web, whose upper end is fastened to sprit, the light of the one darkness, and the lower one to its shadowy end, matter; and this web is the universe, spun out of the two substances….It expands when the breath of fire is upon it; it contracts when the breath of the mother touches it. Then the sons dissociate and scatter, to return into their mother's bosom, at the end of the 'great day', and re-become one with her. When it is cooling, it becomes radiant. Its sons…embrace infinitude….Each is a part of the web. Reflecting the 'self-existent lord', like a mirror, each becomes in turn a world."
The Movement Toward Unity
Whether meditation on the mystery has engaged a mystic or a scientist, an artist or an astronaut, there is participation in the opening out of consciousness to include the whole. The wonder of this transformative experience, its ability to renew life, and lead in an evolutionary direction is what unites us in monthly meditation with all who share in this knowledge, whether they are religious or not. For us, "the word 'spiritual' refers neither to religious matters (so-called) nor to…the Path of …higher initiations, but to the relationships on every level…from the lowest to the highest." It refers to "every effort of the evolutionary process," and to "all activity which drives the human being forward towards some form of development" (Bailey, RI 364), whether physical, emotional, mental or intuitional. Everyone who loves humanity and the earth adds to this meditation and deeply invocative/evocative ritual. "The world is not temporal, as our psychological consciousness presents it to us. It occurs in wholes, which our senses conceal. But there are gaps or openings in perception, which meditation can reveal," writes Christopher Bamford in "Green Hermeticism," in Quest magazine (Spring 2009).
The sacredness of nature and of relationship itself is developed in the idea of 'green' hermeticism, a biopsychosocial-ecological movement that began emerging a few years ago in the U.S. It is the title of the Spring 2009 Quest magazine of the Theosophical Society, and is based upon the book of the same title from Lindisfarne Books. It describes the current movement toward unity by hermeticists, Christians, Buddhists, Sufis, gnostics and sundry other groups to form a 'green' spiritual movement combining ecology and esoteric teachings of all traditions. "Green hermeticism proposes that it is time to explore the relevance not only of the masters' 'inner' science, but also of their science of nature. Because it is truly holistic, this science transcends and erases all separations such as inner and outer, spirit and matter, divine and human, earthly and heavenly." (Bamford)
A Sacred Cosmos
Just as the individual and the earth may be seen as sacred life forms or bodies of God-seed evolving toward realization, so the solar system may be seen as a group of sacred planets and the divine circulatory system of the sun. The group of seven sacred planets as the seven 'spirits before the throne', ray lords, the prism of the Solar Light, provides qualities of which all life is made and all light is composed. There is no greater scientific truth than Carl Sagan's that we are all made of stardust. We are also the Original Light and the Great Imagination Christopher Bamford writes about as part of hermetic esotericism. These are in bone and blood, deep in the substance and structure of things, as well as mind and monad. This is the basis of the subjective world and its life, visible and invisible. Blavatsky writes that there are "two Ones", one on the unreachable plane on which no speculation is possible, and the second on the plane of emanations. The first is eternal and absolute and the second is the world of phenomena or illusion. The second "emanates from itself-as the upper Sephirothal Triad emanates the lower seven Sephiroth-the seven Rays or Dhyani-Chohans" of Tibetan Buddhism (Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 130.) and the various theosophical writings. We are made of the seven rays of light and are an expression of them in spirit, soul and body. We are the dust of a mother star and a ray of magnetic Light joined in meditation with others in a united act of world service.
Wishing you all the love/wisdom of the Virgo Festival as we expand to include all esotericists in this new movement to find the sacred in nature, in ourselves, in cosmos, in the sacred interpretations of the world's myths, and in daily life. We wish all of our Jewish and Muslim friends a happy holiday season. And we join in celebrating the U.N. International Day of Peace on Sept. 21.
Bailey, Alice A. A Treatise on Cosmic Fire. NY: Lucis Publishing Co.
The Rays and the Initiations. NY: Lucis Pub.
Bakula, Joann S. Meditating on the Mysteries. Esoteric Quarterly, Spring, 2008.
How Death Changes Life: Afteraffects of Near-death Experiences,
Theosophical The Quest magazine (eventually on-line), forthcoming Fall, 2009.
Blavatsky, H.P. Two Books of the Stanzas of Dzyan. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Pub.
The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House.
Bamford, Christopher. Green Hermeticism. Theosophical Quest magazine, Spring 2009 (archives free and on-line).
Lansdowne, Zackary. The Egyptian Myth of Isis and Osiris. Esoteric Quarterly,
Spring 2009 (on-line and free).
Nash, John. Sophia: the Gnostic Heritage. Esoteric Quarterly (on-line and free)
Forthcoming, Fall 2009.
Newey, Laurence. The Electric Gods: Crisis and Revelation in Astro-physics.
The Beacon magazine, April-June 2008.
Smoley, Richard. Why Forgive? Quest magazine, Summer 2009.