The Eternal Feminine: Archetype, Changing Image, and Creativity

Joann S. Bakula

Myths related to the Virgo meditation nearly all center on the archetypal feminine, on mother, on mother-child, on archetypal figures and patterns, and on creativity. This month there is a veritable cascade of creative initiatives for peace from this creative group of esoteric meditators and their organizations, from the International Day of Peace on Sept 21, to the Global Alliance for the Culture of Peace, to Peace through Unity, the Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructure of Peace, Pathways to Peace, and many related efforts.

Eternal Archetypes and Changing Images
The archetypes per se, as we know, do not have images, but each culture and time creates the changing images that are recognized as Platonic or Jungian archetypes. Mary, the mother of God, archetype of motherhood and feminine qualities, is best known in the art and religion of the West; the Buddhist female Bodhisattva Quan Yin is perhaps the most famous in the art and religion of the East. Her name means 'hearing the cries of the world' and she is known as compassion personified. In Greek mythology the mysteries of Demeter and her daughter Persephone as symbolic of the divine and its incarnation, the human personality, is represented by the glyph of wheat (ceres, nourishment) or the female figure, the signs of Virgo. Since discovery of the Gnostic gospels at Nag Hammadi we are experiencing a changing perception of Mary Magdalene's image and character from a prostitute to a highly intelligent and knowledgeable disciple of Jesus Christ. The changing image of woman as intellectual equals of men and equals before the law are both themes that draw us to world service as right human relations and the social evolution of civilization emerging into a functioning whole, from dysfunctional and unequal relationships, to equality as an essential component of both freedom and justice.

Mary Magdalene and the Gospel of Mary
The confusion of having many women named Mary in the 1st c., after Herod's wife, resulted in Mary of Magdala being confused with a prostitute named Mary by an early pope. Since discovery of the fragmentary Gnostic Gospel of Mary at Nag Hammadi in 1896, we are able to see Magdalene in a much different light as a close and trusted follower of Jesus Christ who enjoyed teachings unshared with the other disciples, which are made reference to in part I. In part II, Mary saw the Lord in a vision and he said, "Where the mind is, there is the treasure." Then she queried him regarding vision, "Does he who sees the vision see through the soul or the spirit? And he said "He does not see through the soul nor through the spirit but through the mind which is between the two," suggestive of the 'vaulting of manas' in the cathedral of creative compassion. Then she responds to Peter and the others gathered who inquired of the esoteric teachings that he had shared with her. Perhaps it is no accident that this gospel was discovered just as the 20 c. was about to dawn with its terrible weapons of wrath. Now as the International Day of Peace approaches on Sept 21 and the world again witnesses the use of dreadful chemical weapons and possible war in the Middle East, we may ponder on what he said regarding wrath. He taught her of the seven powers of wrath to be overcome: "darkness, desire, ignorance, the excitement of death, the kingdom of the flesh, foolish wisdom of the flesh, and wrathful wisdom." Afterward, some doubted her word and Levi said, "If the Savior made her worthy, who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Savior knows her very well. That is why he loved her more than us. Rather let us be ashamed and put on the perfect man and acquire him for ourselves as he commanded us, and preach the gospel, not laying down any other rule or other law beyond what the savior said."

Equality Leads to the State of Equilibrium
'Putting on the perfect man' hasn't been easy through the millennia! Nor has putting on the perfect woman. Gradually, though, equality is becoming an ideal written into law and women are able to exalt in each phase of the evolution of the feminine archetype, from physically attractive and reproductive, to socially independent and equal, to equality in leadership and intellectual roles, to the wise and enlightened woman, in the same way that men are (see Jung's progression of the archetype). This equality is part of the equilibrium of peace.

Of course social change is always accompanied by resistance from the status quo, countered by a driving need for change and sacrifice by those who dedicate their lives to this purpose. Have you counted the cost? This is a question frequently asked of those who would force change in their own lives and in the world by discipline, dedication and a drive to see change and realize a higher purpose. A price is always paid. Alice Bailey paid with her reputation as evidenced by the Wikipedia pages describing her in extremely negative, unflattering and distorted ways, as contrasted with Lucis Trust, her publisher's pages, which describe her 24 volumes of books, the Arcane School and other projects that she founded with customary factuality. The sacrifice of reputation is a price that is being paid by many of us in the Bailey groups. Some of us first learned meditation from Bailey's Arcane School in the '60s before her books were even indexed, and the decade long program of study has changed our lives. Paying the price has happened to many pioneers who have led the world in change. Co-founder of the suffrage movement with Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was shunned in later years by her own organization after a lifetime of service for developing the theory of the Sovereign Self. Historians and film makers like Ken Burns have taken the opportunity to make clear such distortions later. The importance of self-sovereignty in medical decisions, child birth, and especially end-of-life care and choices are due to gain greater emphasis as the elderly demand increasing control of their own circumstances.

Change has also come to the papacy in the form of Pope Francis, the first pope from South America. After the Polish and German popes, who survived Europe during WWII and later became close friends, the times have moved on to the new world and to a new emphasis. Pope Francis has named himself after Francis of Assisi, one of the most popular saints, who was anti-materialistic, lived very simply, served the poor, loved the creatures of nature, and who was given the task of rebuilding the church. Change does inevitably come and the events of the past are left behind in the new, more pressing concerns of the present. Was his Day of Prayer for Syria remarkably effective, or what!

Creativity and Art as the Precursor of Social Change
Plato famously wrote that music was the forerunner of revolution and should be watched for as an indicator of a new order. Bailey writes that, "The first major proof that humanity (through the medium of the majority of its advanced people) has undergone the first initiation will be a cycle of entirely new creative art," (The Rays and the Initiations, p. 572). The effect of the 7th ray, the energy of order and organization, will be "to intensify human creativity and thus bring in the new art as a basis for the new culture and as a conditioning factor in the new civilization" (ibid, p. 574). The development of the new art "will be expressive of a sensitive response to ideas." In the past beauty was understood in the context of phenomena, nature or human form. "It is in the realm of words that this new art is most adequately expressing itself. The art of music will be the next approach nearer to the truth, and to the revelation of the emerging beauty; the art of the painter and of the sculptor will appear later," Bailey predicts, and concludes that. "none of this is the art of expressing ideas creatively, which will be the glory of the Aquarian Age." (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, pp. 707-708).

"The thread of purpose will be noted and followed through, century after century, integrating not only history into one complete story or the revelation of divine qualities through the medium of humanity, but integrating with it and into it all world philosophies, the central theme of all creative art, the symbolism of architecture and the conclusions of science." (Bailey, The Externalisation of the Hierarchy, p. 589). The art of living, the art of visualization, and the art of invocation — becoming the energy you invoke by evoking the divine energy from yourself — are other aspects of creativity.

Life Imitating Art and the Art of Design
From Aristotle's Poetics: 'art imitates nature and life,' to Oscar Wilde's ironic reversal that 'life imitates art,' we enact the polarities of human nature in our lives and they are reflected in our values. Science and technology are what the post WWII, space flight and internet generations are best known for and this emphasis is becoming greater, if anything, not less so. Today we follow science, the universal language of universities — yes, even in English and Art Departments. That science is the universal language of universities worldwide, is well known, and that technology has changed methodology the world over is growing. Science has made great strides in biology, communications, earth science, and other fields, as we know, and is transforming our world in many miraculous ways. For followers of Bailey's theory of the seven ray energies of the electro-magnetic spectrum as a TOE (theory of everything) this is 7th ray art with an explosion of knowledge available to all about everything. It is a revolution in knowledge available to the masses equal to the printing press and paperbacks.

Many people today would note the prodigious creativity and eloquent designs of Steve Jobs' IPhone and ITunes as the newest art form to be wildly sought after and the most revolutionary art form by far of the 21 c. so far. The IPhone is said to take priority over indoor plumbing in terms of necessity in the third world! Jobs invented a whole new form of creativity for generations to benefit from. His art has revolutionized whole fields like music, film, communications, computers and artful inventions. He made accessible to the masses what they rank as necessities: keeping in touch with others, doing business, assessing knowledge banks, possessing your favorite music and films, etc. This tech art is revolutionary in form rather than cultural content and its repercussions extend far into the future. It touches individual lives in ways that no art has done in the past. It has made the worldwide web visible, open, and characterized by equality and freedom — if we can keep it.

What remains is the transfiguration of life in terms of right human relationships to create a new world and for the building up of a culture of peace from the value of the individual or the sovereignty of each Self, man and woman, to a functional world civilization whose presence is already emerging on the horizon, just as its opposite dysfunctional, suspicious, wrathful and warring spy culture dominate in the foreground of daily life and the popular media.

Best wishes for the Virgo meditation to serve the world from the plane of intuitive mind and compassionate heart, the androgynous field of mind above and before the separation into two, masculine/feminine and particle/wave. From this intuitive energy field the archetypal energies of compassion, creativity and manas arise and are available to us and to the world.

Joann S. Bakula, Ph.D.

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