And so we meet again - this month to serve in the light of Aquarius. We do so at a time when the new Aquarian Civilisation of interdependence is in process of coming to birth - at a time when the collective heart and mind are being stirred to their depths by the persistent, pervasive, airy radiations of the water carrier. It is not so easy to comprehend Aquarius with the analytical, rational mind - it is so all-pervasive that we cannot easily see it if we are to focused on the immediate and the concrete. We need to call on our intuitive minds to see how Aquarius is reshaping consciousness, relationships and the world.
To do this we need to sit quietly and align with our higher mind. Think about the nature of our own mind. We can get to know our mind well if we observe it. Think about our mind from the perspective of altitude - its heights and valleys - recalling the experience of higher mind and lower mind. Focus especially on what we remember of our experiences of the higher mind. We will be thinking of a quality of mind that is loving (not emotion but mind), that is insightful, detached from us personally; a mind that perceives and recognizes beauty. Can we just have a moment of quiet, using the higher mind to contemplate the Aquarian keynote of abundant life-giving service: Water of Life am I, poured forth for thirsty men; concluding this brief reflection with the Noontime Recollection:
There is something deeply moving and inherently beautiful about the Aquarian image of the path. Each of the signs gives us an image or a story or a way of understanding the Path that lies ahead in the evolution of consciousness. These are not abstract fables to entertain us, or titillate our imagination; they are images and stories for our own lives, helping us to frame our lives within the context of that silent watcher within - the soul. Part of the challenge of incarnation is to stand back from the immediacy of our random thoughts and experiences, desires and relationships so that we may begin to see something of the meaning and purpose of our lives from the vantage point of the soul on its own plane. To do this means to see our lives and the lives of those with whom we have bonds of affection or disaffection, and the lives of communities and nations, in terms of the Souls Work. We need to stand back if we are to see our lives in terms of the polishing of roughly hewn stones; or of the harmonizing of spirit and matter, or in terms of the incarnation of love. Each sign gives us a different way of seeing this path.
When we think of the Aquarian story we need to have in mind that everything around us, including the people and their relationships, the organized structures and fields of mind and heart, everything is being electrically stimulated by this story. The evolutionary trajectory is pointing towards Aquarius, towards the water Carrier. This is what it means to be living through the cusp times of entry into a new age when the Aquarian sap is rising.
So here is the story in outline, adapted from Alice Bailey's book, Esoteric Astrology. The spiritual path sees the individual in transition: for the vast masses of the individuals of the world the focus is on serving the desires, needs and ambitions of the personal self while for those on the path (a very significant number of people) this is in process of changing into a focus on serving humanity. Think about what this transition, this great turning, means for the sense of self: the focus shifts from a primary orientation towards serving personal goals into a primary orientation of serving humanity.
Another view of the Aquarian story is to see that consciousness is moving from a focus on the superficial and transitory into a deep and dynamic "intention to be active on behalf of hierarchy". Think about what this means in terms of the Path: the organic and authentic re-shaping of will to serve a greater vision and a higher purpose.
And from another perspective a strong awareness of the importance and significance of ones own life story changes into a "sensitive humanitarian awareness" … a sensitivity to the working out of the Plan in the lives of others and to the spiritual growth of individuals and groups that we meet in our lives.
Here is the Aquarian story in Alice Bailey's words:
The low grade and undeveloped Aquarian … manifests through a superficial self-awareness. This matures in Leo and becomes a deep-seated self-consciousness and a profound interest in self and its need and wishes. As the interplay goes on between Leo and Aquarius (for they are polar opposites) there comes a deepening of all qualities and the superficialities disappear until-upon the reversed wheel-the intensive self-consciousness of Leo expands into the group awareness of Aquarius. The individual becomes the universal. Man, alone and separative, becomes mankind in his reactions and awareness and yet, at the same time, preserves his individuality; he is no longer just a human being, individually self-centred and separative, but becomes humanity itself, losing his personal identity in the good of the whole yet retaining his spiritual Identity. From self-service, he proceeds to world service and yet is always the individualised Son of God until after the third initiation.
Transition into the Aquarian Age means that we are all, as individuals and communities, involved in some way in this story. It is the new sense of self and service, the new sensitivity to the good of the whole and the change that is occurring in our sense of family, where new ties of intimacy, partnership and responsibility are seeping into the psyche.
If we look creatively for the pervasive Aquarian spirit, shaping relationships and self we see its presence everywhere. We see it in the way that human beings all over the world are assuming some responsibility in transforming relations between the human community and the natural world. We see it in the massive 'Make Poverty History' campaigns of 2005. We see it in the sensitive concern about the human issues that lie at the core of global problems. We see it in the organized groups active around the globe to create a more compassionate and caring world. We see it in the growing concern with group dynamics, group intelligence and group consciousness in all spheres of activity - business, sport, government and so on.
One of the keynotes of Aquarius is that it tends to foster fusion - opposites are harmonised and the distinction between inner and outer is blurred. At a gathering for the Festival Week of the New Group of World Servers in December, I was reminded of this by a co-worker who works at the UN. There are two points he made in particular which seem relevant. First he reminded us of the significance of article 1.4 of the United Nations Charter, stating that one of the four purposes of the United Nations is to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of … common ends. We are so often caught up in the immediacy of global problems that we lose sight of this all-pervasive Aquarian purpose that the UN is serving - creating a space where the actions of nations for the common good are harmonized - brought together - brought into harmony. I like the fact that the Charter uses the active word, the verb, harmonizing. For this is something the UN does proactively - it creates an environment which helps powerful national entities to reach a harmony. This is not something that can happen overnight - yet we should remember that in the entire history of the human race there has never before been this organized process seeking to harmonize the actions of nations.
The second thing about the Aquarian process of fusion that this co-worker raised at the Festival Week gathering came in response to a comment that there needs to be a greater focus on disarmament in UN affairs. He replied that perhaps this was true - but did we really understand the enormity of what this statement suggests. It is so easy for any of us to want governments to push forward the disarmament agenda - yet we can also say the same of ourselves. We all know that we need to disarm our own thoughts and actions; that we need to be harmless, yet how much energy are we prepared to put into meeting this need? Raising this question simply makes us realize the enormity of the transformation in human affairs represented by the UN. When we see the link between inner and outer - we can more easily work in a deep way with changes within ourselves and changes in our communities and the world. And we can then work for larger processes like disarmament with a measure of understanding and respect for the participants - knowing that one real step forward may represent a huge change in the human psyche, something which has been won through a mix of labour, of vision, and of grace. This understanding is, it seems to me, a key element in the deepening of love for the whole.
The merging of the inner and outer can be seen as a disincentive for action, as a sort of narcissistic focus on clearing up ourselves before we clear up the world. Yet this is the perspective of the dualistic mind that separates individual from community and inner from outer. Aquarius tells us that true service is the result of a loving heart and an intelligent mind. It tells us that we learn to serve by serving. The lack of integration in the outer world of community and the lack of integration between spirit, soul and personality within us are seen as the same, identical issue, to be addressed in all aspects of our lives: inner and outer. The One Work is the creation of right relations on all levels. The heights of inner sensitivity make us responsive to impressions of beauty and wholeness; these impressions lead us to act in a multitude of ways to bring the inner potential into incarnation. And so we enter the Aquarian path of service; learning to serve and to spread love in our surroundings by serving; refining and developing our sense of self as a point for the radiation of love.
A word from a talk given by Jan Nation in 1997:
The keynote of Aquarius throws light on the pathway through the wasteland of world problems to their redemption: "Water of Life am I poured forth for thirsty men." The symbol of Aquarius is that of the server carrying on his shoulder the vessel from which the waters of life flow to all who thirst - whether that thirst is spiritual, mental, emotional or physical. The vessel contains the water, gives it shape, and enables the flow to be directed to where it is needed. Yet, miraculously, this containment in no way diminishes the life-giving force released, because the vessel never empties. This means, because water is heavy, that it can be quite a burden to be an Aquarian water carrier. And the Tibetan reminds us that to balance such a full container on the shoulder isn't easy, reflecting the difficulty of the path of service. However, the symbol of Aquarius also indicates the extraordinary blessings of the sign, blessings that far outweigh these difficulties, for what greater joy can there be than to be part of the process by which the water of life flows to inspire, heal and nourish those in need.
And so, to meditation, holding in mind the essential Aquarian note of joy in service.