Greetings friends and welcome to our shared inner Work during this Cancer festival meditation. It is always useful to begin with a brief alignment exercise. Firstly can we just be centred within the small group reading this paper on the web. Let us silently affirm our united aspiration to be a serving group at this special time in the monthly rhythm of energy flows. Now extend the circle of our thought to include all the other groups around the world meditating for world service over this full moon period. And see all of those groups blending and concentrating into one centre of consciousness. In our mind's eye we can imagine ourselves to be one with this global group. We can reflect on the higher human qualities of mind and heart that are present in abundance in this centre of consciousness - qualities of lighted intelligence, of loving insight, of wisdom, of inclusiveness. The group includes some meditators who have wonderful skills in using the powers of thought in service and we might register our gratitude for the contribution they make to our shared labour. And the group includes many who are just beginning to develop their skills in meditation. But remember the light of the group that we are identified with has been built over many decades. All over the world there have been groups meeting month after month for this work in the spirit of the Bailey teachings. It is a potent centre of lighted energy and, whatever contribution we make, we are part of it.
And now look upwards and inwards to the world of soul where a group of Great Ones, liberated masters of wisdom, love and compassion, stand on the inner side of life, as a silent beacon of light. These Great Ones use the rhythm of the full moon cycle in their work to raise and transform human consciousness. In their midst, at the very centre of the Ashram, we might identify the Christ. And beyond, in the highest dimensions of spirit we might identify the centre where the will of God is known - the peaceful silent will of Shamballa.
This is our higher alignment. Can we for a moment hold this vertical point of tension - and, as we do so, look outwards. What we are doing now is centering the group within an image of the even-armed cross, with its vertical axis reaching upwards, and its horizontal axis reaching outwards. Looking out on that horizontal axis we can identify that centre in human consciousness, that group, which contains all those individuals who find their life's meaning and purpose in contributing to the lifting of human consciousness and the creation of a better, more just and unified world. This is the group of servers who are pioneering the creation of a new humanity - here are those who serve in the fields of ecology, of the arts, religion, psychology, community, conflict resolution, education and so on - and here are those whose presence tends to lift the quality of the lives of those around them. As we observe from our point of tension we might notice that this network of servers radiates energy - quite unconsciously it radiates and transmits the lighted, loving qualities of the Great Ones on the inner side of light.
Beyond this group of servers in humanity there is another body of light in the field of human consciousness - the group of men and women of goodwill. Everyone whose life is qualified by a spirit of goodwill is a part of this diffuse broad group. People of goodwill sweeten the atmosphere and create the climate of thought in which the servers can bring to fruition initiatives to build a better world.
And if we extend the circle of our thoughts outwards we might identify the mass, base level of human consciousness. This is the broad body of relatively unthinking people. It is here, in the mass consciousness, that the energy of Cancer exerts a potent influence. And it is here that we need to look when we reflect on the keynote we will be using later for our meditation: 'I build a lighted house and therein dwell'.
So let us pause as we hold the tension of this alignment upwards through the meditating group, the hierarchy of Great Ones, and the centre of the peaceful silent will - and outwards through the group of world servers, the people of goodwill and the broad field of the mass consciousness.
O Thou Who givest sustenance to the universe,
From Whom all things proceed
To Whom all things return,
Unveil to us the place of the true Spiritual Sun
Hidden by a disc of golden Light
That we may know the Truth
And do our whole duty
As we journey to Thy sacred feet.
In this paper I want to work with two themes - firstly, and rather briefly, with the theme of radiation, for it is so essential to all of our work during these full moon festivals; and secondly with some of the keynotes of the Cancer energies.
Work in meditation is, essentially, work with radiation. We will all have some experience of this. Our day to day thought tends to be pretty un-focussed, dreamy and is often centred in our emotions. In Buddhist terms, we might say, that it lacks mindfulness. But when we meditate, particularly when we exercise the higher aspects of mind we sense what can only be called a radiatory quality. As our understanding deepens and we begin to see through illusion into aspects of truth we can sense this radiant power of thought. And as our thinking radiates higher energies it has a profound effect on the surrounding mental, emotional and etheric environment. Radiation in this sense can be understood as a result of invocation. In silence we reach up to that which is higher (completely free of time and space … filled with a fire of love that inspires awe … with an almost unimaginably broad vision of the relationships between different levels and dimensions of being) calling on that Greater Awareness to flow into the field of group mind and heart where, at some lower harmonic it can be sensed and where in some measure the group can sit with it. It is this Greater Awareness called into the group field that makes the field radioactive and a factor of significance in the environment of human thought and emotion.
There is an interesting passage in the Alice Bailey book, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, which speaks of the way in which an aspirant who is treading the spiritual path "becomes progressively radioactive as the energy of the inner God demonstrates more and more through the lower personality". As the aspirants life begins to radiate it has "a magnetic effect upon others". The passage goes on to say that:
By this I mean he will begin to influence that which is imprisoned in others, for he will reach - through his own powerful vibrations - the hidden centre in each one. I do not mean by this the physical or magnetic effect that many quite unevolved souls have upon others. I refer to that spiritual radiation that is only responded to and realised by those who themselves are becoming aware of the spiritual centre within the heart. At this stage the man is recognised as one who can speak occultly "heart to heart". He becomes a stimulator of the heart centre in his brother, and one who arouses men into activity for others. (p863)
The point is that the radiatory effect of a spiritual life, and the effect of refined and concentrated spiritual thought, is substantial and real. It is a service in itself, for it stimulates the heart and the mind of others. The radiance of the energies we work with as a planetary group during this monthly full moon meditation focus is equally effective: it stimulates the growth of higher values in the mind and heart of humanity.
So what to say about the energies of Cancer? What indeed? It is important to preface any comments about the significance of this sign, even more than most of the other signs, with the rider that because we are all dwellers within a world of time and space our understanding of the mystery of what the sign signifies will be limited, partial and may even be missing the point. Part of the difficulty inherent in the sign is that while most of us at this time are moving into a phase where consciousness is shifting from individual to group, Cancer concerns neither our strong sense of individuality nor our dawning sense of group identity, but rather an earlier immersion in mass consciousness. It is not so much a sign where the focus is on psychology, soul/personality interaction, spiritual growth but rather is to do with a wholly different perspective on the relation between spirit and matter. Cancer makes us consider depth less in terms of the depth of the shadow, or of a rootedness in the physical, than of the deep secrets of substance where matter is spirit at its densest manifestation.
We need to be thinking about the substance of which matter is an expression in considering this sign … about the God of the Waters, the waters of substance; about the thoughtform that God has created appearing in the objective world of time and space to embody "His desire, His will, His purpose, and His plan". (Esoteric Astrology, p. 239) This world of substance which we see all around us as solid matter with its cellular structure is revealed through quantum mechanics to be stranger than fiction with wave like energy patterns changing their nature as they are observed and with alternate universes completely hidden yet existing side by side. In esoteric terminology it is a world of "mysterious essence which is divinity in motion". (Esoteric Astrology, p. 313).
For we human beings Cancer represents the doorway into incarnation - the start of the Soul's journey through lifetimes of different personalities. We can say the beginning is Aries, for this represents Life and Spirit entering into manifestation. Yet Cancer signifies the beginning of the triple nature of our humanity with the Soul first diving into the imprisonment of incarnation and the uniquely human blending of Spirit, Matter and Consciousness giving birth to an 'I' - an 'I' immersed in the fluid, psychic awareness of the mass consciousness.
Of all the animal symbols for the signs the crab, with its house on the back so that it is totally identified with home, journeying ever so slowly between land and water, can be thought of as the most primitive, the most basic. All the growth to take place in consciousness through incarnation is symbolically hidden and latent. The focus is on incarnation in form. We can reflect on what this world of form truly is, as an expression of the pole of spirit. Images that come to mind are of the light of substance itself, of the 'anima mundi', of the hidden, secret subterranean, elemental nature of matter. In Cancer this elemental essence is fused into the quality of relation with spirit and consciousness that takes it into the human realm. In other processes of divinity the elemental essence of matter is fused into the life of animals or plants or minerals.
It is interesting that while writing about Cancer the Tibetan chooses to discuss the theme of the zodiac in terms of light and of the gradual path whereby the light within the human being radiates and shines out through the form. Phrases are given for each sign to signify this story of the growth of 'light in light' - the evolutionary story. So Taurus, for example, reflects the penetrating Light of the Path; Leo, the Light of the Soul; Libra, the Light that moves to rest. Perhaps the reason why this theme is brought up in Cancer is to emphasise that Cancer is all about another, a different light. The phrase given is The Light within the form ; and the commentary tells us that this is "the diffused light of substance itself, the 'dark light' of matter … It is the light awaiting the stimulation coming from the soul light." (Esoteric Astrology, p. 329)
So here we are, human beings - sitting down to meditate - reflecting on the significance of the stars in the sky and the heavenly influences on ourselves, life and all events. For each one of us, our personalities reflect a unique combination of substance and awareness - which was born, will die and that will be the end of it. It is an amazing thing to consider that this personality we know so well and tend to be so instinctively identified with will, at a time of the soul's choosing, at a right time, simply die and exist no more. All the accumulated memory of time and space in this identity, crumble up, decompose, come to a full stop. Yet as we know that is not the full story, for we are magical creatures and within each of us, as our Essential Being, is a hidden face of immortality, a shimmering echo of the divine Who is our Essential Being, the eternal meditator. Why did this hidden Self choose to enter the prison house of form in Cancer, choose to endure an endless procession of these lives with their separate blocks of identity? The classic answer is that the Soul desires to achieve perfection through experience on the plains, valleys and mountaintops of Earth - it desires to feel and know all possible aspects of life with their pleasure and pain and to grow through this experience. Yet the esoteric approach offers a different picture. The Hidden Self is an aspect of God, perfect in its own way, and as such, finds its whole meaning and sense of purpose in doing God's Work - in bringing a higher inspiration into substance so that the lesser lives may themselves break free of the illusion of space/time and attain the perfection which is their destiny. Rebirth reflects, as much as anything else, a magical and magnetic interplay between the form side of life and life itself. (Esoteric Astrology, p. 326) . Through sequential incarnations the substance of our humanness is transformed; the life/form interplay moves from the beginning in Cancer when God breathes the breath of life into the human form to the initiation of Capricorn when the human identity returns to the 'breath of spirit'. At this moment of completion "all returns to spirit with full awareness and properly fulfilled organisation, so that form is a perfect expression of the soul and the Soul is sensitive and responsive to the pulsations of the One Life, as that Life reveals, through its activity, the perfect will of the Logos." (Esoteric Astrology, p. 314).
There is a great deal to think about in all of this, and much mystery in this thought of the One Life revealing through its activity the perfect will of the Logos - all of its activity in all of the kingdoms of nature and in all of the subtle realms.
Two further thoughts, fleshing out the picture somewhat. Firstly in the 'cyclic impulsion' or 'intelligent purposeful repetition' of incarnations we should note that as the soul begins to gain some freedom within the form and to become a positive, dynamic factor in the life incarnation tends to be a group affair. In other words the perfect will of the Logos is best advanced by groups of souls holding a common focus or task, coming into incarnation at a time when (knowing each other or not) they will tend to act in concert. The clearest evidence of this is in groups of influential thinkers or artists, politicians or professionals who bring about changes in a culture or a nation during critical historical periods - think for example of the fascinating developments in philanthropy in the United States at this time, and of the impact that this will have in the emergence of Aquarius.
Secondly, moving beyond the rather abstract meanderings of these notes, we need to ask what relevance the Cancerian energy is for human evolution - how can we visualise these energies fuelling the transformation of consciousness? It is not all about beginnings - what of those many individuals, for example, born with a sun or rising sign in Cancer, who are clearly stepping out on the Path and at least dancing around the Souls agenda?
The energy tends to be related to the mass consciousness, so the evolutionary opportunities are to do with the transformation of popular desires and identifications. We might think of mass market television and media; of advertising campaigns that reach into homes; of popular heroes of sport, stage and screen or politics who speak the language of the common person. We might think of deep shifts in popular attitudes - for example in fields like race relations or male/female relations - looking not to the radical or extreme fringes but to that unknown mass: the silent majority.
The energy is also and particularly related to a tansformation in the way in which human beings relate to form and to material things. The keynote in meditation suggests this: I build a lighted house and therein dwell. The challenge for the vast populations of the world's nations is to turn their identification with form into an immersion in the task of expressing beauty and light through form. In the words of the keynote for meditation it is to "build a lighted house". This does not refer so much to the form of bricks and mortar, plastic and polystyrene. But it refers to the process whereby the population chooses to create a slightly more lighted social system - a fair and caring health system, for example, or a society in which everyone has adequate housing. These are the sort of options that can quite feasibly become the desire and wish of the majority of the people of any nation. This represents a desire to make the human environment something more akin to a 'lighted house' than it is at present.
We often hear it said in spiritual circles that the problem with the world is that we are all too materialistic, and too identified with form. At www.intuition-in-service.org an environmental research scientist, Dr Peter Timmerman, writes a fascinating article with the title Defending Materialism. The theme is that, in spite of what every one says, we really live in "the least materialistic culture in history. If we cared about the things of the world, we would treat them quite differently - we would be concerned with their materiality. We would be interested in their beginnings and their ends, before and after they left our grasp."
Dr. Timmerman suggests that: "what we are really consumed by are the dreams and myths temporarily attached to the objects around us; and when these dreams and myths wear off, the object to which they were attached is pitched into the waste bin. The consumer heads off again on the trail of the beckoning image of delight." We have lost, he says, a mindful awareness of "the rich particularity" of the experience of an object as it comes to our attention. We have lost the ability to be open to the life within form, and to the quality that can be revealed in and through form.
The Cancer keynote directs our attention to a new process in the psyche of the human family. In every society on earth there are, at this time, movements of concerned individuals who are directing their energies towards a re-enchantment of their own lives and of the life of their community. There is the concern to find new ways to look into the graininess and grit of our personal lives, to see the light of the soul within this day to day material reality of experience, and to find ways of positively, pro-actively working with this soul light. And there are pioneers developing responsible sensitivity to the many mysterious workings of the light of substance. In our meditation we can know that through radiation we will be supporting and nourishing all initiatives to build a lighted house and therein dwell.