Jan Nation died just before the Capricorn full moon in 2001. The following paper contains excerpts from talks she gave for the Capricorn Festival at Lucis Trust Meditation Meetings in London in 1984 and 1993.
The full moon meditation cycle is a universal ritual and rhythm which, on subjective levels, must be making a significant contribution to the awakening of the soul of humanity. Perhaps it's a far more effective contribution than we may credit. For it is a ritual and rhythm that coincides with the strongest flow of spiritual energy into human consciousness. More than this, there are now so many groups and individuals who dedicatedly apply themselves to this selfless service.
Capricorn is known as the sign of the mountain top experience. In the language of symbols, the individual or group reaching the mountain top sees the whole for the first time. Until then the many observation points on the way to the summit have only provided a partial view, a hint of the harmonies and oneness that the initiate experiences on reaching the mountain top.
The man, woman or group strongly influenced by Capricorn yet spiritually immature and unable to respond to this influence as a soul, will find themselves drawn to the mirage of the mountain top experience on the astral plane. Such individuals can be ambitious, proud, hard and selfish in the extreme. The keywords upon the ordinary wheel in Capricorn are: And the Word said: Let ambition rule and let the door stand wide. This they do let ambition rule. They can be ruthless in their efforts to get to what they think is "the top", but for the wrong reasons and the summit they reach is not the summit of the mountain range that calls the disciple to give of his or her best. On the astral levels there are many illusory mountain tops to climb.
Initiates in Capricorn have ambition too. However the ambition that fires their efforts is the ambition to serve: to serve the vision that unfolds before their astonished gaze; to serve humanity; to serve the world; to serve the Great Ones. Initiates in Capricorn have entered into a higher level of awareness. They have passed through the portal of initiation and stand within the periphery of the Ashram. Their ambition is transmuted by long experience on the path of life which has taught them that it is the qualities of compassion, wisdom, courage and love which ensures safe passage to the mountain top. Ambition now goes hand-in-hand with true humility, for the disciple on the mountain-top sees more clearly something of the glory of the One, and therefore knows a little more accurately his or her place in the configuration of greater and lesser lights that constitutes the Forces for Good on planet Earth.
In her writings on Capricorn, Alice Bailey describes the interest with which the Spiritual Hierarchy watched the attempts being made to climb Mt. Everest. These attempts were seen by the Hierarchy as "amazingly symbolic". She wrote that, when humanity emerges into the light and relative glory of the new civilization, at that same time, the summit of Mt. Everest would be reached. We can take this to mean that the outer triumph in the Himalayas in 1953 was an effect, or perhaps it was more a celebration, of interior achievement in the realm of human consciousness. That group of pioneers on Mt. Everest must have had their counterparts in the world discipleship group who were facing the tests and trials of Capricorn in sufficient number and strength to enable humanity to move forward into the "light and relative glory" of the new.
While we can only speculate on the inner happenings in consciousness at that time, we can explore the rich symbology as to the nature of Capricorn in the story of the climbing of Mt. Everest. There are the obvious symbols of the group and individual tests and trials in the ascent, and the experience of triumph - with all that was to mean for everyone in the successful British expedition. The two who reached the summit, Sir Edmund Hillary from New Zealand and the Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, became heroes overnight. The continuing relationship of Hillary and the Sherpa people can also be seen as relevant to the expression of Capricorn.
In 1960 Hillary was on a return expedition to the Himalayas when he became involved in a discussion which was to change his life. He wished to express his gratitude to the Sherpa people for all the help and friendship they had given him and he asked how this could be done. His Sherpa friends told him that their greatest need was for help in building schools and educating their children as most of the Sherpas lived in the remote north-east of Nepal where they were cut off from access to education and health care.
Since then, Hillary has devoted the greater part of his considerable skills and energy to helping the Sherpas. His projects have included building schools throughout Eastern Nepal and where necessary financing teaching staff. A hospital has been built and maintained, and bridges, water supplies and an airfield constructed. In the mid-1960s he set up the Himalayan Trust in New Zealand to organise these many projects and to help raise financial support. Hillary himself spends several months each year working with the Sherpas in building schools, then travels extensively fund raising for this work.
Capricorn is described as being in the nature of a catalyst or "great transformer". In this little human drama we see, acted out symbolically, the way in which the mountaintop experience can transform the life purpose and lead to world service.
In our century Capricorn, the sign of initiation, is described as hovering over our planet as well as over the destiny of the individual disciple. Millions of people are facing the first initiation of the birth of the Christ in the human heart. Very many know the crisis of the baptism initiation, while those at the heart of the new group of world servers serve from the mountain-top of transfiguration and the periphery of the Ashrams of the Spiritual Hierarchy. In this way human consciousness is being irradiated with spiritual light.
But initiation brings its shadow side, its blindness as well as its light. In the book The Rays and the Initiations we read that "blindness is a prelude to initiation of no matter what degree". The blindness and the light of initiation are integrally linked.
What is this blindness which leads to initiation? It has nothing to do with the blindness of ignorance or the deep spiritual darkness of those who are, as yet, unawakened to the soul. The blindness of the effective serving disciple is imposed by the soul. It "blacks out" the glory of the higher worlds so that the disciple is thrown back upon himself. All that he can see are his problems, his immediate and tiny field of experience and, what seems to him to be, his inadequate equipment. The prophet Isaiah is described as referring to this stage when he spoke of giving the struggling disciple "the treasures of darkness". The rewards of moving forward into this darkness are given by the Tibetan as the beauty of the immediate, the glory of the present opportunity and the need to focus upon the task and service of the moment.
If it were not for this blindness we could imagine that the beauty and the light of the inner Hierarchical life the inner glory would so absorb the attention of the disciple as to make him incapable of world service under the direction of the soul. Occult blindness is designed by the soul to prevent too rapid and too superficial progress, to cultivate depth of understanding and to build sound spiritual foundations. The disciple has to give full concentration and awareness to the soul-presented task in hand, and this very concentration and absorption in service generates the fire and strength of will needed to reach the mountain-top of initiation.
The blindness of the so-called 'masses' is a very different state. This is the blindness of ignorance. It is an inability to recognise the incoming spiritual energies and their expression in the pattern of the new civilisation and the new emerging values.
Some time back I read a report on a highly skilled medical operation which has enabled people born with certain rare forms of blindness to be operated on in adulthood and cured. I want to mention this because it seems to me that there are parallels that can be drawn between the experience of the individual who has his lifelong physical blindness cured and the exposure of the masses to spiritual light.
I was surprised to read of the problems faced by people who have had this eye operation performed successfully. Because they have missed out the visual learning process of the baby and young child it takes them years of effort to learn to see.
Unless they are clever, courageous and persistent they may never learn to use their eyes. Their painful experience is that of exposure to a visual world of spinning light and colours. They are unable to recognise objects or shapes and have no conception of space. They have no mental rules or models to enable them to make sense of this new visual input. Their brain cells are not trained in the rules of seeing. The individual in this position is entirely dependent upon the help of others in the long and tedious task of identifying each new object and shape. During these difficult years there is the added frustration that the intrusion of the sense of sight has the effect of dulling the other senses upon which he or she has relied during the long years of blindness.
Now this is an extreme analogy. Today … the masses are discerning many of the patterns of the new. … our entry into the light of the new has been in the nature of a forcing process in consciousness for all peoples. This pouring in of light and emergence of the new, which we recognise to be the crisis of initiation, is bewildering to those who cannot see what is happening. For it is only those with an awakening spiritual insight who can identify the patterns of the new order that is now emerging in every field.
The work of the new group of world servers, over decades, is to trace these patterns of the new civilisation, to hold the vision of the new humanity so that slowly, painfully, and through experience, the consciousness of the peoples becomes responsive to soul light, so that people everywhere begin to identify and welcome the spiritual changes taking place and to see that they have a role to play in building the new world.
Through occult blindness world servers are able to focus their energies upon their chosen task, each playing a part in the process of leading the people from darkness to light, from ignorance into the light of initiation. Perhaps nothing is more important for the future of humanity right now than this essentially educational/interpretative work of the new group.
The following extract from the book Esoteric Astrology throws light on the spiritual crisis facing the human family: In this particular world cycle it is Capricorn which is producing the moment of crisis - a crisis of initiation plus a crisis of destruction … paralleled by a crisis of mental perception … It is this mental perception plus world participation in the 'crumbling of the mountain load of Karma' which heralds the vision of the new day from the top of the mountain.
In other words, the crisis of mental perception or right understanding plus world participation in right action are initiating humanity into the higher consciousness of the Aquarian Age.
The new group of world servers is now reaching out to people everywhere with their message of interdependence and their call for new values and for a morality that reflects human unity. It is imperative that this message and this vision reach into every home, for each person must be given the choice between the old and the new. It is world participation that is needed - the peoples of the world and not just their leaders. Everyone has a contribution to make to the "crumbling of the mountain load of karma".
There is so much that can be said about the crisis of mental perception. There is the need to replace an unthinking emotional reaction to events with a clear mental view. There are the crises that come with each new level of understanding.
For the esoteric student, the Ageless Wisdom offers directives to a progression of recognitions from the early stages of the Path onwards! For instance Alice Bailey has this to say about the goals of the Path:
Aspirants are prone to think that the goal towards which they move is
that of soul contact, with a secondary goal of hierarchical position,
and a third goal of service. This, however is not correct. The goal ahead of the aspirant is the consciousness of non-separateness and the recognition of a universal inclusiveness; the secondary goal is the ability to reveal the nature of that reality, Unity; the third goal is the ability to take those measures in the three worlds which will facilitate mankind's apprehension of these fundamentals.
From this view we can rightly value the extraordinary gifts of world servers who have made interdependence and human unity the message they carry to millions. In the Tibetan's words: "It might ... be said that revelation concerns Oneness and nothing else". Here, and in the motto of the new group - "The Glory of the One" - we have a clear directive towards right mental perspective.
These three goals - an inclusive consciousness, the ability to reveal unity, and the work of evoking understanding of non-separateness and unity within the human family - relate to every form of true world service, both in the subjective realm of consciousness and in outer practical work. The new group of world servers are approaching these three goals through all areas of human endeavour. …
The light supernal is described as "that central Life or Energy which holds hid within Itself the purpose and plan towards which all Being tends". It is created by the blending of the seven energies of the seven rays. From the esoteric point of view the promises of the new era can be seen to depend, primarily, upon the precipitation of this light supernal into the three worlds of human consciousness. We can sense, therefore, the value of the sacrifice and effort of those who reach the mountain top and become channels for the precipitation of this extraordinary, revealing light. The Father's house is Shamballa, the "centre where the Will of God is known". It is the place of pure purpose, of stillness and of peace. The experience of the disciple's "whole duty" in Capricorn and Pisces, then, is to turn from the place of bliss and pure intention in order to serve those in need who struggle in the plains and valleys and on the slopes of the mountain of initiation.
Often we limit our understanding to the linear patterns of the intellect. From this perspective the challenge of Capricorn seems impossible of achievement. If you are lost in bliss - and the word is "lost" - lost in the light supernal, how can you turn away? And even if you wanted to, how would you find your way back to the pathway down the mountainside to help those in need?
If we interpret the keyword with the intuition, however, we see the challenge differently. In Capricorn, to stand on the summit, lost in light supernal, is to change, and to change profoundly. To quote from the teachings: ...The interlocking forces of all the twelve constellations, as they pour into and through all the kingdoms in nature, [carry] with them... not only their own individual potencies but also those of the seven rays, focused through the sacred and non-sacred planets... It has been occultly said that a vision of these powers and their many weaving lines (seen as rivers and streams of light) is given to the initiate from the mountain top of Capricorn, once that summit has been reached.
To be lost in the light supernal is to be responsive to the flow of these rivers and streams of light, swept onward by that flow as it is experienced by the human soul into fuller service. And symbolically to turn your back on the summit is not to leave it. That vision, and that inner certainty and bliss it brings, cannot be left behind. For the initiate it lives, and its light shines no matter how appalling the outer circumstances of life as the path of service in the valleys unfolds. …
The disciple on the mountain top in Capricorn is one whose personal ambition has been transmuted into a fiery will-to-serve-the-Plan. This is the man, woman or group who consciously experiences the golden thread of light which links humanity soul-to-soul, and freely chooses to turn away from the mountain top of spiritual bliss in order to serve as a beacon of light for those who struggle in the darkness.
In our meditation ... we can visualise the energies of Capricorn pouring into human consciousness and illuminating "the vision of the new day from the top of the mountain".