Myths, Rivers and Cycles
Joann S. Bakula
The myth associated with The Labours of Hercules in Capricorn requires that Hercules, symbol of the world disciple, visit the underworld of the dead to free Prometheus. In the labor of the 10th gate the disciple must cross the River Styx separating the underworld from the world of the living. This myth is similar to Plato's recounting of the story of the warrior Er, told in the last pages of the Republic, who had a near-death experience, crossed the river separating the living from the dead and came back to tell the world of the incredible cycle of death and rebirth he saw in the afterlife.
In Greek mythology there are often said to be nine great rivers encircling the underworld and the over world or heaven world. These are great streams of energy both good and bad that are said to encircle the worlds of heaven and hell invisible to the living. Along with Styx, known as the River of Hate, Acheron, the River of Woe, across which Charon ferries the newly dead in the oldest accounts, is Lethe the River of Forgetfulness and Concealment, from which the returning dead must drink before they can be reincarnated, erasing memory of the previous life. In some accounts, there is another opposite river in the sky world celebrated in some accounts of the ancient mysteries, which is Mnemosyne, the River of Un-forgetting and Un-concealment or Truth. Initiates are encouraged to drink from this river, as it confers the power of omniscience gained from entering the dimension where past, present and future all coexist, revealing the full long term picture of cause and effect. Here again we see a glimpse of the story of humanity's coming into incarnation, as we did in Bailey's account of Cancer, and going out of incarnation as initiate in Capricorn, when the entire human experience may be seen from the mountain top. The belief in incarnation has a history in the west as in the east, with similar elements. Christ is said to have descended into hell, as the ancient Greek warrior Er did, for three days, which has been a subject of much speculation ever since. And Buddha is said to have remembered almost all of his 10,000 lives.
In the next labor of the 11th gate, according to Bailey, the disciple learns to use the River of Light and the River of Love to clean out the accumulated refuse and dirt of the past. The River of Love would be the opposite and corresponding river to the River Styx. When we sound the Great Invocation we say "Let light stream forth" and "Let love stream forth" as if they were great cosmic rivers carrying the Plan to earth. These great redemptive streams of light and love may be seen as coming from the 'heavenly' world of the intuition as pure reason, understanding and the illumination resulting from direct perception, not distorted by the beliefs and assumptions of the day. These "thought currents" are directed mind to mind in the world of ideas and meditation, healing and directing as they impact world conditions and find the hearts and minds of those open to them.
When the intuition functions, we are in touch with "pure and undistorted ideas — free from illusion and coming direct from the divine or universal Mind" (DNA I, 25). Intuition may be called a stream of clear truth, unclouded by the distortions of the socially and culturally conditioned streams of thought that encircle our world like the rivers of Hades! The development of this faculty of intuition will "bring about a world recognition of the Plan," the two streams of light and love, and be the "greatest achievement of the intuition in this present world cycle." (ibid)
"Use your intuition to dissipate illusion," the Tibetan (GL, 124) advises us.
Nations Year of Water Cooperation
In terms of the waters of the middle world, Earth, the United Nations has designated next year as the International Year of Water Cooperation, among other themes, tying in with the theme of rivers on the physical plane as well as streams of thought and energy bringing conscious awareness. This Year is part of the U.N. Decade, Water for Life. Each year awards are given to different countries for best water management and best communication, education and awareness-raising. Here in the deserts of Arizona geologists say there is an underground world rich with water. The aquifer here is said to contain water 10,000 years old, but that water is rapidly being depleted. The falling of the water table is already causing much damage to the infrastructure, they say. The ultimate price of escalating water use for escalating populations is a problem of humanity that looms larger with each decade. The U.N. and its agencies bring experts from around the world together and maintain a permanent focus on this crucial area.
Last year, at the beginning of 2011, we wrote that the beginning of a new cycle in the world's calendar is always a time for new hope and new beginnings, all the more so in troubled times. In the mountain top meditation of Capricorn we ascend the building of the world house to look out ahead, to view where we are going, and what methods we will choose to get there. This year, in particular, many long-term cycles are said to be ending, such as the great Mayan cosmic wheels. When a year or a cycle ends, a new one begins without a second's loss, because calendars are only concepts to help humans organize units of time. What is coming to an end is the approximately 25,600 year cycle of Earth's wobble, the time it takes the Earths' axis and precession of the equinoxes to complete one cycle, called the Platonic Year or Great Year. The ticking of time will not be stopped, despite all of the fear and trepidation of the ignorant. Recognition of the completion of a cycle may be used to review the past and see to the cultivation of the new seed ideas that may bridge between the old and the new, the seen world of phenomena and the unseen spiritual worlds. It will be a time of new beginnings and a new cycle. The "breakdown of outdated systems," as IONS (Institute of Noetic Sciences) calls it, and the needed incoming energies of 7th ray reorganization will no doubt be an ongoing theme for meditation for the esoteric group This year of 2012 also marks the 7 year cycle of the New Group of World Servers Festival week December 21-28, an auspicious coinciding of events at the winter solstice, the Mayan calendar ending, and Christmas.
The seed thought for this meditation suggested in the Alice A. Bailey books for Capricorn is, as we know, "Lost am I in light supernal, yet on that light I turn my back," concluding, as always, with the directing of energy toward humanity itself, and letting the light shine through us in world service.
May your year be one of heightened awareness of preserving universal values while embracing what is good for the future.
Bailey, Alice A. Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I. New York: Lucis Publishing Co.
----Glamour: A World Problem. New York: Lucis Publishing Co.
----The Labours of Hercules. New York: Lucis Publishing Co.
Plato, trans. B. Jowett. Republic. Roslyn, New York: Walter J. Black, 1969.