Sagittarius: The Sound of Silence
By Phillip Lindsay
In the ninth Sagittarian labour, Hercules clears the marshes of the dreaded Stymphalian birds by resorting to the use of clashing cymbals, creating such an unbearable din that they depart.
Sagittarius rules all that is associated with higher thought and education, esoteric studies and the expansion of the mind by traveling through foreign cultures. It is a sign that is related to sound in several ways: The silence demanded of the aspirant to the mysteries, such as the metaphysical school of Pythogoras in ancient times.
Sagittarius is the beauty of silence which exists in the higher realm of thought – in direct contrast to the chatter of the lower mind which quite often dominates the life of humanity. The latter quality relates exoterically to Gemini, polar opposite to Sagittarius.
Sagittarius is a sign of truth and its opposite Gemini can be a sign of deception, brought about by the distortions which take place in the manifestation of ideas from the higher mind to the lower mind. Yet both can reverse these roles: Gemini searches for truth via the facts and Sagittarius can deceive itself through blinded idealism. Either way, this axis is about truth and deception, unconscious or conscious, yet it aspires through eventual alignment to the illumined expression of truth through speech and communication. Language clothes thought, hence is sacred, as it brings
through the divine ideas and archetypes into correct expression.
Just as the Sagittarian archer releases the arrow, so this sign also stands for the spontaneous release of the OM in meditation, the divine sound that affirms the soul, the start of the man tram, ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ – I am the jewel in the heart of the lotus’.
'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ As John I attests, the world was created through sound, through the formulation of a complex mantra that is still being sounded by the Logos (word) or ‘God’. Likewise, we as souls sound our ‘word’ before birth, the specifically encoded mantram that contains all the karmic patternings that determine the physical, emotional and mental bodies.
As esoteric students know, all sounded mantrams or the ‘keynote’ of a particular life, whether it be a human soul or a newly germinating seed, attract the attention of the 'builders' or the deva kingdom. It is for this reason that Sagittarius is esoterically linked to the ‘lunar lords’ or the hierarchies of lives who are responsible for building all forms in nature. These angelic hierarchies hear the sound and respond automatically to do the job for which they were created. Understanding this building process by the devas has major ramifications for any new student approaching the science of Esoteric Astrology.
From an outer and very generic view, Sagittarius can be seen as silence and its opposite Gemini as noise. Sagittarius is the sacred word, whilst Gemini is human speech. Pause for a moment to consider how loud the world is. The din and racket that emanates from the Earth must be quite palpable to the other inhabitants of our solar system! Earth, in its journey to become a perfected and hence ‘sacred planet’, must present a somewhat discordant note in the orchestra of sacred planets playing their music of the spheres.
Again, in terms of polarities again, it is funny how loud (usually enthusiastically) Sagittarians can be - Jupiter can also be loud and bombastic, not unlike Hercules and his clashing cymbals. In contrast, Gemini’s can be very quiet and timid at times, possibly due to their somewhat tenuous etheric nature. But on the whole, the third sign Gemini is the garrulous one, similar to those who have strong third house or third ray emphasis.
Sagittarius relates to the restraint of speech through control of thought – hence the test for all new applicants to the Pythagorean school to refrain from speech altogether. Not a pleasant prospect for Gemini who has an urgent need to verbally respond to all thoughts and impressions within its environment!
Sagittarius is the quiet retreat and Gemini is the bustling city with its diverse and ramifying life. Yet within this greater urban body exist the Sagittarian ‘outposts’ of churches, schools of higher learning, art galleries and places of cultural worth.
It is curious to note the increasing legislation related to noise reduction as urban living becomes more concentrated in all parts of the world. Paradoxically the world is experiencing an increasing sensitivity and yet the din around us is accelerating; from the ambient roar of traffic and machinery that emanates from all cities, to intrusive blaring music, to the clatter of city cafes and the endless chatter pouring forth from media outlets.
It could be argued that this is the sound of life – (so get over it!), and that is true to a degree; yet there is a sum total of inharmonious sound (noise) that constitutes a destructive and distorting mantram of sorts, which militates against harmony and peace in both obvious and subtle areas of our lives. This can be tortuous for some, and one is reminded of that virtually unsung genius Nikola Tesla, who at times of heightened sensitivity experienced excruciating pain from the slightest sound. A combination of a seventh ray body and strong Virgo-Libra can bring this kind of thing on but there are other combinations as well.
Of course, one of the greatest tests to right meditation is transcending distracting sound - you will know if you are meditating correctly if those outer sounds have been relegated to ‘background noise’ or ‘tuned out’.
Sagittarius is about universal principles and laws and it is through the knowledge of the occult laws that sound can be used constructively or destructively. Sound literally builds and destroys the worlds:
“…a tale which has descended to us from Atlantean days. In those days the use of sound on physical and emotional levels was understood and practised, being utilised for selfish ends in most of the cases. You read that at the sound of trumpets, sounded a certain number of times after a rhythmical circuit of the walls of Jericho those walls collapsed. This was made possible by the occult knowledge of the leaders of the people who—being versed in the science of sound and having studied its destructive and creative effects,—knew just the moment to apply that science and effect the desired end…
…The laws that govern the erection of large buildings and the handling of great weights will some day be understood in terms of sound. The cycle returns, and in the days to come will be seen the re-appearance of the faculty of the Lemurians and early Atlanteans to raise great masses,—this time on a higher turn of the spiral. Mental comprehension of the method will be developed. They were raised through the ability of the early builders to create a vacuum through sound, and to utilise it for their own purposes.” 
And likewise, in meditation these same principles can be applied:
“Therefore, in the sounding of the Sacred Word in meditation, man should (if rightly sounding it forth) be able to do both the creative work and the destructive work as does the Logos. It will be the reflection in the microcosm of the cosmic process. He will attract to his bodies, matter of the finer kind and cast out that which is coarser. He will formulate thoughtforms that attract to themselves finer matter and repudiate that which is of a lower vibration. He should so sound the Word that alignment will be automatically made, and the necessary vacuum created, eventuating in a downflow from above. All these effects can transpire when the Word is correctly intoned, and each meditation should see the man more aligned, should disperse some of the matter of low vibration in one or other of his bodies, should open up the channel to a greater extent, and so provide a more adequate vehicle for the illumination from higher levels.” 
In the coming unfolding science of Esoteric Astrology, the consideration of the whole cross of which a sign is a part, will be far more prominent. In the case of Sagittarius, it shares the mutable cross with Gemini, Virgo and Pisces.
Sagittarius and Pisces are both ‘big picture’ signs, ruled by ‘big planet’ Jupiter, ruler of the second ray of Love-Wisdom, the very ‘substance’ which underlies this solar system.
Jupiter ruling watery Pisces represents the vast ocean of cosmic consciousness within and without this solar system. Jupiter ruling fiery Sagittarius is the expansive thought of humans who aspire to precipitate that which is hidden in the ‘raincloud of knowable things’, to align earthly laws with the truths of universal laws.
Mercury ruling airy Gemini relates to thought, formulated as speech, and communication in general. Mercury ruling earthy Virgo is the wordsmith or artist who manifests thought into greater tangibility upon the physical plane.
Symbolically there is a passage from cosmic Pisces to earthly Virgo, via Sagittarius and Gemini: The ‘soundless sound’, the ‘ineffable word’ that emanates from Pisces - the ‘ocean’ of the cosmic astral plane; the impressing of that sound or divine word upon the consciousness of questing Sagittarius; the expression of sound as sacred speech in Gemini; the precipitation on earth in Virgo of the written word in sacred writings.
Interestingly Beethoven, who was ever open to divine sounds from on high, reinterpreting them into earthly music, eventually going deaf to physical sounds - had Sun, Moon and Mercury in Sagittarius, with Mercury opposing Mars in Gemini.
The planet in common between Gemini and Sagittarius is the Earth, hierarchical ruler of the former and esoteric ruler of the latter. These are the only two signs ruled by the Earth and hence they condition humanity in general, guaranteeing eventual soul development and the unfoldment of form as an expression of the soul.
The Hierarchy of Masters are themselves sagaciously Sagittarian. Lord Maitreya the ‘Master of all Masters, devas and humanity’ and the one who holds the Office of the Christ, has been depicted in both eastern and western traditions as the Rider on the White Horse, as also one of his future messengers:
“The point to bear in mind is that this Rider on the white horse is no extra-planetary Entity or Life, but is essentially One like unto ourselves—human and animal combined as are we all, but fused with divinity and inspired from on high, informed by some cosmic and divine Principle, as Christ was informed with the Love of God and carried the revelation of love to man. The Rider is one of our humanity Who has reached a predestined goal and Who—for very love and understanding of man—has remained for ages in the secret place of revelation (as it is esoterically called), waiting until His hour comes around again and He can then issue forth to lead His people to triumphant victory.” 
Note the description ‘human and animal combined’, evoking the image of the Centaur, half human and half horse – or Chiron, co-ruler of Sagittarius. Chiron’s passage into Aquarius in 2005 through to 2011 may well see the emergence of the ‘Rider’. God knows, humanity is surely invoking this Entity, invocation being another Sagittarian quality – the aspiring upward and calling forth that which is earnestly yearned. Evocation is of course the response that comes forth as a result of the Law of Invocation. The Science of Invocation and Evocation will be a major study in the coming Aquarian Age, allowing humanity to take quantum leaps in the unfoldment of consciousness.
We are on the eve of the Externalisation of the Hierarchy, an event that has been long awaited and which has not occurred since they withdrew from human contact in the ancient days of Atlantis. For the Masters to re-emerge amongst the din of humanity must surely be a daunting prospect:
“The problem, therefore, before the Masters and Their disciples is to work (when the externalisation takes place) in the midst of physical plane existence, no longer withdrawn, isolated and protected, but functioning openly in the middle of events and physical realities and all the diversity of contacts which the three worlds present….
When the Christ reappears and the Hierarchy externalises itself on earth, conditions will be totally different; there are today no empty spaces; the population of the world is enormously enlarged and is growing from year to year; no locality is isolated or unattainable; the jungles are open territory to the explorer and to the numerous commercial agents; vast cities cover the planet and oceans are traversed by multitudes of ships; the airways of the world are travelled by millions of passengers annually; the land is divided into minute sections by railroads, highways, speedways and myriads of lesser roads and streets. In fact, every living unit in the world is in touch with thousands of other units and can—through the many means of information—be in touch with millions; the news presses grind out the news from hour to hour and the eyes of millions are ceaselessly glued to the printed page at all hours of the day or night; the ears of other millions are daily and hourly attuned to the voice of the radio. Only the inner perceptive sense remains inactive, for only advanced humanity lives constantly in touch with the world of spiritual perception and intention. [Author’s note: Here we see a vivid example of the busy Gemini world, versus the silence of Sagittarius and the realm of ‘spiritual perception’.] The conditions, therefore, confronting the Hierarchy constitute a serious and drastic problem …The majority of the Masters and initiates, in Their turn, also relinquish much in order to work exoterically among men.” 
Hence the call to ‘live in the world but not of it’ constitutes the razor edge path for many sensitive aspirants today. To identify with one’s fellow humanity but not ‘buy in’ to a alot of the ignorance that goes with that; to live serenely yet maintain one’s steady core amidst the ruckus; to utilise the information sources around us but not be affected by the layers of maya that surround them. For some, staying sensitive but resilient is often a difficult combination to achieve.
The Sagittarian zen archer must adopt a stance (make a stand, so to speak), and with a steady hand and eye, positioned and poised in stillness and silence, release her arrow of truth and pierce the veil of illusion. This is a metaphor for the meditative mind and compulsory entry into the chamber of silence within the heart - to achieve this clear vision. ‘Piercing’ also relates to,
“… the sign Gemini begins potently to play its part in the life of the disciples, with Sagittarius gradually "piercing the heart with his arrows, and then upon the flight of the arrow, the man reaches Capricorn. [and initiation]” 
How many of us, when trying to meditate, get overwhelmed by the chattering monkey mind in the first five minutes, and as a result cease our pursuit of the most empowering gift we can ever receive? This is something that strikes at non-experienced and experienced meditators continually and requires ongoing discipline.
Without meditation we get caught up in the lower expression of Gemini, the ceaseless chatter and verbiage going on all around us – the world of blah, blah, blah - as Australian cartoonist Leunig so brilliantly depicts; we deny ourselves the big picture overview that Sagittarius can provide - a sense of proportion and clarity to the manifold distractions of the physical plane.
Both Gemini and Sagittarius tend to be undiscriminating, unless drawing upon that arm of the mutable cross conditioned by Virgo. Hence Sagittarius in a lower sense can be fooled by its Gemini impressionability and lack of discrimination; this leads to misguided or distorted philosophies that can seriously distract the seeker - who may find themselves enmeshed in their own cleverness or wish to be right – a most potent glamour of Sagittarius. This in turn moves to the misleading of many others and the incurring of a certain amount of karma no doubt.
As Pluto transits Sagittarius, we are witnessing many of these traits finding their most extreme expression through fundamentalism – Islamic, Christian and esoteric! Fundamentalism is Sagittarius with blinkers on, a horsey metaphor appropriate for this sign; it is also known as the sign of one-pointedness, and whilst blinkers are good for running an undistracted race against all the other Geminian nags, it can be blind to the point of the race becoming a major handicap – if you’ll excuse the pun – the handicap of limited vision – a paradox for big-picture Sagittarius.
The Spanish Inquisition occurred in a sub-period of the Piscean Age (1397-1577) ruled by Sagittarius. Blinded by their zealotry and sanctimony (both Sagittarian traits) – yet having clear vision and one-pointedness as to the outcome, the slaughter of millions was justified. And wouldn’t you know it? – Spain is a Sagittarian soul and a great example of how soul energy was distorted through her Capricorn personality.
Sagittarius is also a sign of ‘interlude’ with similarities to Libra, another sign of interlude; both have Scorpio sandwiched in between, delivering its potent tests. This interlude can also be seen as the moment between inbreath and outbreath in meditation:
“Next we read "he concentrates his forces." Here we have the stage indicated which can be called retention of the breath. It is a holding of all the forces of the life steadily in the place of silence, and when this can be done with ease and with forgetfulness of process through familiarity and experience, then the man can see and hear and know in a realm other than the phenomenal world. In the higher sense this is the stage of contemplation, that "lull between two activities" as it has been so aptly called. The soul, the breath, the life has withdrawn out of the three worlds, and in the "secret place of the most high" is at rest and at peace, contemplating the beatific vision. In the life of the active disciple it produces those interludes which every disciple knows, when (through detachment and the capacity to withdraw) he is held by nothing in the world of form. As he is but wrestling toward perfection and has not yet attained, these interludes of silence, withdrawingness, and of detachment are frequently difficult and dark. All is silence and he stands appalled by the unknown, and by the apparently empty stillness in which he finds himself. This is called, in advanced cases, "the dark night of the soul"—the moment before the dawn, the hour before the light streams forth.” 
Both Sagittarius and Pisces are related to ‘retreats’, where one can withdraw or ‘repair’ to the life of the soul, away from the bustle of the three worlds. Many aspirants today have spent lives in monasteries east and west in these last thousand years or so, honing meditation skills, only now to incarnate in the big cities, carrying the fruits of their past subjective work with them.
It is interesting that in the above passage DK talks about “the dark night of the soul, the moment before the dawn”, because in the northern hemisphere symbolism, Sagittarius precedes the winter solstice at the first degree of Capricorn, the darkest day of winter.
The ‘dark night of the soul’ is of course the battle between the Dweller on the Threshold (shadow) and the Angel of the Presence (soul). It is said that Sagittarius controls the ‘negative dweller’, meaning that the one-pointed aspirant of Sagittarius has through positive soul control, relegated the dweller to a negative state where it is not in control. This is in contradistinction to Leo, said to control the ‘positive dweller’ in the early stages of soul unfoldment, when the sense of identity and personality was a necessary stage in development - where the dweller was in control and the soul was quiescent.
The so-called ‘fusion of the dweller and the angel’ comes at a stage where the individual undergoes initiation in the next sign Capricorn, as a result of their questing to gain soul control:
“The definite goal of the Centaur, which is the satisfaction of desire and animal incentives, becomes in the later stages the goal of initiation, which meets with satisfaction in Capricorn, after the preliminary work has been done in Sagittarius. The keynote of the Centaur is ambition. The keynote of the Archer is aspiration and direction, and both are expressions of human goals but one is of the personality and the other of the soul. From ambition to aspiration, from selfishness to an intense desire for selflessness, from individual one-pointed self-interest in Leo to the one-pointedness of the disciple in Sagittarius and thence to initiation in Capricorn.
Or to put it otherwise,
“Scorpio descends to the lowest depths and encounters the darkest parts of human nature. It is followed by Sagittarius, which rises from the pit and ranges far and wide in search of optimistic future possibilities and shining, beckoning ideals. Then filled with these two contrasting experiences, the seeker enters Capricorn, where he settles in for a long process of steady, hard work. Scorpio has shown him the Dweller, and he knows the darkness of his lower nature that he must conquer. Sagittarius has shown him the radiant possibilities inherent in his higher nature, and the theoretical—highly theoretical, so far—means of reaching them. Capricorn’s job is to establish a reliable link with the higher nature (through meditation), then scientifically apply its energy to the lower nature until it is refined and purified…”
Washington is ruled at a personality level by Sagittarius as is the rising sign of the exoteric American chart (Sibley). I have commented at length on this in other newsletters and articles, along with the emphasis of the sixth ray of idealism and devotion which expresses most powerfully through Sagittarius more than any other.
Comedian Billy Connolly is a Sagittarian Sun and Venus, and has Moon, Saturn and Uranus in Gemini opposite – a funny study (funny peculiar and funny ha ha) of someone balancing these opposites! Other notable Sagittarian Suns are Churchill, Spinoza, Blake and Akbar the Great.