Orientation

Steve Nation
December 2011


One of the key words for Sagittarius is orientation. It is about knowing where we stand and where we are headed. Knowing what is ahead and what lies behind. On the spiritual path this sense of orientation is what directs us onwards towards a goal.

In the natural world the sense of orientation involves knowing the compass points — north, south, east and west so that we can place where we stand and where we are looking in a wider context than what we can actually see. It also requires us to look up towards the heavens and down towards the earth so that we can know our place, our position in the scheme of things. We need to understand our place in terms of both the physical and human geography to be rightly oriented within our environment. So we stand as part of a particular, unique community; part of particular networks of service; part of a region, a State, a nation, part of humanity. Right orientation in the world — the physical world and the human world — is one of the keys to understanding the energies of Sagittarius. This is because knowing where we are in the world helps us to understand where we are headed (where our part of the physical environment is headed, our community, our service group, the core seed group we identify with). What is the direction of evolution, what is in process of emerging? Understanding this dynamic of the future emerging is central to the clarifying of our role in this emergence, and hence of the purpose and meaning of our life.

We also need to understand our place in terms of the wider geography of the heavens — and here I am thinking particularly of the phases of the moon, the most noticeable feature of the sky. By having a mental picture of the monthly rhythm of sunlight shining off the face of the moon we are able to place ourselves in a cycle of time that is so much greater than ourselves and that relates us to the life of the Earth and the solar system. As this largest source of light we see in the sky moves from the thinnest crescent of the new moon through to the luxurious abundance of the full moon we can orient ourselves to the incoming light. In time this act of orientation to the sunlight shining off the face of the moon can become almost second nature — a universal rhythm that we find ourselves to be a part of and that becomes central to our sense of place within the stream of time.

As individuals, as serving groups, as nations and as a species, humanity our orientation is to do with our understanding of where we are headed, who we are becoming, of the future that is waiting to emerge through us.

One of the first things to consider when observing 'where do I actually stand, where am I looking, and where am I headed' is to consider the inner environment in which I am locating myself. Where do I stand, for example, in relation to the fears, fantasies, illusions and glamours that are such a fundamental part of the psychology of the human being? Am I identified with these challenging aspects of the psyche? Do they define my sense of self? Am I in process of becoming liberated from these clouds that obscure the Real or do they still absorb a great part of my being? This is not about judgment, about good or bad, worthy or unworthy. All of these come from the illusory worlds of fear. It is about observing with detached love — seeing things as they are, free of criticism. In other words it is about knowing the material one is working with and how we want to work with it.

And this raises a critical point. For to observe with detached love, to have the ability to observe in this way, requires a growing facility in seeing through the eyes of the soul. Right orientation requires, not just ideas about the soul, it requires purposeful, directed action to help me to begin to see through the eyes of my own soul. It is not possible to observe ourselves with detached love without contact with the Soul, because it is only from the altitude of the Soul that we can have the orientation towards the personality that enables us to see it with detachment. That means we have to approach the soul as it exists on its own plane — the soul that will survive our personal death.

Questions about inner orientation lead inevitably into the wider, more eternal environment of the human being. What is my orientation towards soul and spirit; towards the limitless beauty that can be sensed within; and towards the realms of Magic that have the ability to pierce the heart, to reveal that which is hidden and mysterious and to enter into realms of unlimited Love? This I think is the essential point to ponder about orientation during the Sagittarius full moon.

If Soul and Spirit are real parts of our identity, real aspects of our sense of who we are (rather than ideas about who we are), then the Sagittarian energies help us to become more focused and single-pointed in the goal of bringing the Soul qualities of light, love and spiritual direction into a central position in our lives. In our communities, service groups and nations Sagittarius helps to orient us to a wider sense of purpose. For example, I have just been reading about a remarkable Action for Happiness initiative that is working to change the mental environment in nations, moving from a commonly accepted goal of increasing material wealth towards a goal of maximizing people's satisfaction, engagement in life and general happiness. Imagine what a change in direction this would mean for society to be oriented towards Gross National Happiness. (www.actionforhappiness.org). Imagine what it would mean for popular pressure to lead Western governments to remove all subsidies for fossil fuels and to invest those funds in support for a green economy; and imagine popular pressure also leading corporations to stop pressuring governments to retain a reliance on fossil fuels — imagine a future when this sense of purpose will drive democracies towards a Gross National Happiness approach.

The keynote for our meditation in Sagittarius is I see the goal, I reach that goal, and then I see another. This leads us to ponder the nature of purpose, goal and direction in the spiritual life more deeply. When we begin it can seem as if the quest for light and understanding is all or nothing. We can be led into paths of fanatical orientation. It takes time for the transformation of the substance of consciousness — step by step, slowly revelations that change my identity, change my sense of self, let in the light.

Last year, in her Sagittarius full moon talk for the Lucis Trust in New York, Sarah McKechnie explored this idea. www.lucistrust.org/en/arcane_school/twelve_spiritual_festivals/sagittarius/sagittarius_festival_talk

The Tibetan makes an interesting observation when he writes of the need for the disciple to develop "the capacity to take the light". This suggests that the incoming light has to be managed, somehow, and this thought lies behind the keynote for Sagittarius - I see the goal. I reach that goal, and then I see another. Spiritual evolution unfolds step by step, and no phase of the way may be evaded. As the Tibetan puts it, "revelation comes step by step, moving from one great point of focus to another until naught more remains to be revealed." The disciple moves forward as he learns to use the mind as a searchlight to penetrate into new fields of awareness and recognition. This requires right interpretation and right relation to that which is seen and contacted, a process of assimilation and alignment that cannot be rushed.
Later Sarah suggests that hints are more useful in esoteric teachings than direct, head on, statements. … the giving of hints allows the disciple to take a kernel of Truth and go away and ponder on it, apply it to his life, experience the consequences of the hint, and learn to take it deeply into his consciousness before returning for further instruction.

This way the goals that guide us become increasingly real, increasingly our own goals that have emerged out of us and out of our engagement with our lives and with the world.

One final passage from Sarah:

It's never easy to gain a sense of direction when facing a situation, a step forward, for which one has no prior experience. Added to this difficulty is the complication of today's world, in which there can seem to be a multitude of choices, an overload of information to deal with, and, added to that, the powerful impact of the Shamballa force, the energy of synthesis which is so new to humanity. Perhaps an insight comes in the achievement of the ancient Polynesians who settled the Pacific islands eons ago. Have you ever wondered how they did that, setting out in small boats and crossing incredible distances on the ocean before coming to previously uninhabited islands? They used the stars, the constellations, as their guide. They had an extensive knowledge of astronomy and they had unwavering focus. This is the gift of Sagittarius: focus, a sense of direction, and a willingness to set out on a journey without any certainty of the final goal-only a compelling need to move forward, in consciousness, into greater light.

 
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