As most of you are aware groups from around the world, inspired by the Alice Bailey teachings, gather for work in meditation around the time of the full moon. We need to remember that in the various religions rituals, festivals and prayer meetings are also often held around this time. Tibetan Buddhism, for example, suggests that the full and new moon offer opportunities which are auspicious for particular activities. Michael Erlewine notes that:
These ... opportunities are sometimes referred to as gaps or openings in the otherwise continuous streams of our lives - windows. ... At these lunar gaps ... it is possible to get special insight into various areas of our lives. In fact, the Tibetans take full advantage of these lunar gaps to perform very specific practices. The Buddhist view is that mental obscurations (the general fog that tends to cloud our minds) can sometimes clear up, just as the sun will come from behind the clouds. These moments of clarity are the gaps in our personal obscurations...
From the Bailey perspective the key point about the full moon is not the moon - it is the relation between earth and sun that is the significant outer event in the universe which makes subjective service particularly appropriate and auspicious. The full moon reflects the fact that the earth receives the full radiance of the sun - the moon is right out of the way, allowing solar energy to pour onto the face of the earth.
This outer relation between sun and earth symbolises an inner event. Just as the sun pours the full blessing of it's life-giving powers onto and into the earth during the full moon period - so the inner sun of consciousness - the powers of divinity - pour a blessing into the field of human consciousness during the full moon period.
This can sound like some sort of psychic 'buzz'. The image of an electrical surge, of a sudden charge of electricity pouring through the grid of consciousness made up of human minds and hearts comes to mind.
In a way there is some truth to this image - but it is a very crude and simplistic picture, and it bears little relation to the esoteric understanding of what happens at the full moon festivals. After all electricity is a raw, vital force of nature.
The energies of divinity that flow into the field of consciousness on the other hand can best be understood in terms of qualities - or of a radiation of potencies. The fundamental image is of three distinct qualities permeating consciousness:
- Light which illuminates the good, the beautiful and the true and enables us to see the beauty and the livingness of the whole of which we are a part;
- Love which irradiates the mind and heart and stimulates the human tendency to think of others and to grow in wisdom and selflessness;
- And of Spiritual Will which refines our sense of purpose and direction.
In the annual rhythm of twelve full moon festivals when benign forces of divinity pour forth a blessing the Bailey teachings suggest that there are three festivals which stand out as being of special significance. They mark the beginning of the yearly cycle. This month we are working within the energy flow of the first of these three special spiritual festivals: Aries. Next month, when the sun is in the sign Taurus, is the second and the third follows on in June in the sign of Gemini. These three festivals mark the spiritual high point of the year, and this is reflected in the fact that Aries is celebrated througout the Christian world as Easter, while the Taurus festival is, more often than not, celebrated throughout the Buddhist world as Wesak (the festival marking the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha). The Gemini festival is not widely observed in the religious world but, the Tibetan suggests that it will become a highly significant festival in the religious life of the future - it is celebrated as the Festival of Goodwill and is marked as World Invocation Day.
The Tibetan writes that at the Aries full moon, the Easter Festival, the energies that are released into consciousness come from the mind of God - they stimulate human thought, intelligence and planning. The Aries seed thought for meditation is: I come forth and from the plane of mind I rule. So when we work within the flow of this festival we can visualise the awakening of the collective power of the human family to think and to act on the basis of clear thought, rather than emotion. Thought enables us to plan and direct our activity in line with particular goals. The subjective atmosphere of this full moon period is also strongly qualified by the spirit of the living, risen Christ - the resurrection spirit.
Next month, at the Wesak festival, the suggestion is that the energies released come from the heart of God. These are forces of enlightenment that empower, strengthen and support the network of all who love and serve humanity. It is the quality of love - wisdom that streams through consciousness at this time and the Wesak energies have a special effect amongst the movements that seek to raise the level of human consciousness - movements in the arts, literature, media, education, environment that see their task as building awareness.
In June, World Invocation Day sees the release of a radiance of will energy. In evolutionary terms it is this energy which, when motivated by love and a harmless spirit, is most needed in addressing the major issues facing the human family through the United Nations. These are the big issues of our time: poverty, the environment, human rights and freedoms, democracy, a new humanitarian order etc.
In the meditation work that we do for all of the twelve spiritual festivals we are training our minds to think as we think in the soul - raising our sights to the heights of soul vision where we begin to see, and be sensitive to the evolutionary forces at work in the human family. In Aries we look to images of the awakening of mind and the powers of intelligent activity - we sense the process whereby the collective awareness of human beings is moving from a point of focus in the emotions towards a centre in the mind.
At another level we can sense that within the mind of humanity there is an awakening vision of the oneness of life. The mind is sensing the subtle realities of unity - and building thought forms that are in conformity with this vision. It is these two processes in evolution (the growth of intelligent activity and the creation of thought forms of unity) which will be strengthened and fed by the energies flowing through consciousness over this festival period.
There is a passage in Esoteric Psychology, Volume II, which I have found particularly evocative in thinking about this Easter festival. The Tibetan is writing about the initiations which mark stages on the spiritual path. When the personality becomes integrated, blended and a strong presence - dominating the dense physical body - the soul begins to become increasingly active. The soul ray is described as the ray of persistent and magnetic grasp and in the brain of the developed personality a vibration develops between soul and personality. The image most often used is of a period of conflict and battle between the two. There is a tension here which lasts for many lives as soul and personality begin to face each other, and the personality sees its agenda as being threatened by the soul.
In this process, which does seem to be a characteristic of modern culture, higher values and a sense of unity are registered by the mind (they form a key theme in modern literature, in social movements and in science, religion and psychology), but are resisted by the powerful forces which dominate memory and the glandular level of psyche as well as economic and social systems. The discipleship path which humanity is in the process of entering upon begins as increasing numbers of people become dynamically engaged in the process of giving incarnation to the higher values in their individual lives and in all aspects of society: economics, environment, politics, health and so on. The fact that there are today so many people engaged in this process, and finding their life meaning and purpose in it, is the clearest sign that humanity as a collective or a group, is stepping onto the path.
The image use by the Tibetan is of the chief actor in the Bhagavad Gita: Arjuna. As personality and soul face each other in what seems like eternal conflict, Arjuna emerges as the onlooker, midway between the conflicting forces. The phrase used is of Arjuna as a conscious tiny point of sentient awareness and of light. All around him soul and personality are at loggerheads - the two appear to be contradictory and opposed. Arjuna is perplexed and feels lost amidst this battle. He feels himself to be impotent, simply a bystander. But gradually he becomes an active participant. And this is the point of entry onto the discipleship path - this is the moment of the first initiation - and this it seems to me speaks of the crisis that we can be holding in mind as we think of the Aries energy awakening the mind of humanity. This is how the Tibetan presents the Arjuna image:
Gradually, as the battle continues to rage, he becomes a more active factor, and drops the attitude of the detached and uninterested onlooker. When he is definitely aware of the issues involved, and definitely throws the weight of his influence, desires, and mind onto the side of the soul, he can take the first initiation. When the ray of the soul focuses itself fully through him, and all his centres are controlled by that focussed soul ray, then he becomes the transfigured Initiate, and takes the third initiation. p. 17
This is what we are holding in mind: a significant number of human beings throwing the weight of their influence, desires and mind onto the side of soul values. And that is a thought that we can hold onto and explore in the seed thought for tonight: 'I come forth and from the plane of mind, I rule'. The disciple emerging from a total immersion in the personality, and the personality battle with the soul, to take charge and, from the plane of mind, to rule the personal life and the structures of community affairs from the vantage point of human unity and of human rights and freedoms.