From midnight on the morning of this 2006 World Invocation Day, through to midnight at the close of the Day the inner atmosphere of each of our countries, our regions and of the entire world will be conditioned by the repeated use of the Great Invocation.
In some parts of the world (the great continent of the Americas, embracing as it does a rich diversity of peoples and cultures, and the tiny nation of New Zealand, Aotearoa) groups will sound this magical call to divinity every 15 minutes on a rhythmic pulse which will last for 24 hours.
We should think about this focus on the Great Invocation, and what it means for it to be used with such focus and concentration on the day of the Gemini Full Moon.
Many of us who have used the Great Invocation for a number of years have come to know it as an incredibly potent means of calling on divine aid. It is a prayer of enormous power. Many have had the experience that repeated use of the prayer changes our lives, shifts our sense of who we are and what we want. The Great Invocation changes us because it helps to take our focus away from ourselves, and because it makes us sensitive to the needs of humanity (the need for spiritual guidance and for love) and it makes us sensitive to those great centres of consciousness on the inner side of life Who can give the strength, the fire, the clarity of mind, the inspiration and the love that are needed to truly transform our world.
When we use the Great Invocation at the Gemini Festival we are asked to focus the deepest aspirations of humanity, and to carry the human cry for a better, more loving and just world on the wings of our imagination; lift it up to the heart of love which we find deep within ourselves, to that great inner heart centre which is the Christ.
What better way to prepare ourselves for this work than by tuning in to the rhythm of invocation flooding the inner atmosphere of our nation, our region and the world. When this has been done, sound the Great Invocation aloud, with 'deliberation', and with 'full commitment to its meaning'. There are two versions that are most widely used - the original as given by the Tibetan, and an adapted version issued by the Lucis Trust in 2000. I believe it is a service for all students of the teachings to become familiar with the adapted version, training their elemental cells to hear the universality and beauty of its slightly changed sounds and rhythms.
From the point of Light within the mind of God
Let light stream forth into human minds.
Let Light descend on Earth.
From the point of Love within the Heart of God
Let love stream forth into human hearts.
May the Coming One return to Earth.
From the centre where the Will of God is known
Let purpose guide all little human wills-
The purpose which the Masters know and serve.
From the centre which we call the human race
Let the Plan of Love and Light work out.
And may it seal the door where evil dwells.
Let Light and Love and Power restore the Plan on Earth.
Gemini, with its image of the twins, is the outstanding sign of duality, that universal human experience that tends to be unsettling, disturbing and is often a source of tension and stress. We may think of our dual nature in terms of head and heart - each with different perspectives, apparently pulling us in different directions. How do we choose? At a deeper level Gemini speaks to us of the period (often lifetimes) when we are aware of the soul's detached, impersonal love sitting uneasily with our personal desires. It appears as if our soul and personality have two entirely different agendas and it is easy to feel that these two parts of ourselves are 'tearing us apart'.
Yet this experience of an apparent conflict between the light and the shadow, with all of its stress and discomfort, represents a vitally important part of the spiritual journey. It provides us with a fertile environment in which to grow and change and undergo transformation.
It can help if we think about events from the vantage point of the soul. The soul comes into incarnation for life after life with a mission: its task is to redeem and transform the substance of our individual minds and hearts - to bring light and love into incarnation so that the world of time and space may become a field of expression for the immortal principles of the inner Christ. This is the soul's great alchemical work. For many lives we are asleep to the Christ Who lives within us, but then there comes a time when we wake up and experience our higher Self as something Other, something distant, and apart - a mythical reality that we dream about and yearn for.
When Gemini is such a sign of change and all the distress that this involves, why is it that it marks the spiritual high point of the year?
First, in the Gemini festival, light pours into human consciousness. Light is the great revealer - turn on the light in a dark room, and we suddenly see what we were previously unable to see. Light pours into the world, and it reveals virtue and shadow in us and in others. Our duality is highlighted and that makes us want to resolve the duality - it leads us onto the path. In subtle and not so subtle ways our desires, what we want out of life, begin to change.
Second, Gemini gives us the gift of a fluid, agile mind that helps us to cope with all the extremes and apparent contradictions in our lives and in the world. It brings a way of thinking that finds compromise, balance and synthesis. The instinctive way of coping with opposites is to say one is right, one is wrong. Extreme and fanatical religious and spiritual movements thrive on this energy: there is only One Way to Truth - and it is My Way. We recognise this clearly in extreme religious movements (of all traditions) - yet we see it too, closer to home, in aspects of the esoteric movement. But Gemini is giving us a picture of Truth as multi-faceted. Conflict between extremes is replaced by creative tension and a magnetic interplay.
There is also a third point why Gemini marks the spiritual high point of the year. Humanity is passing through an enormous process of transformation as we move from the Piscean to the Aquarian Age. A new world is in process of forming. What makes it new is the way in which people think and the values they share. The new world is centred on thinking that is inherently holistic and that recognises humanity as One, the Earth as One. The holistic, inclusive way of thinking requires that we use higher aspects of mind, that we get some altitude in our thought processes.
The orthodox ruler of Gemini is the planet Mercury - the Messenger of the Gods; and the mediating, communicating function of Mercury is especially active in passing messages between the higher and lower levels of mind. Mercury stimulates the illumined mind; it mediates between that aspect of our mind that is a part of our Soul - that thinks with love and sees life whole, and the concrete, analytical mind that is centred in the brain. So Gemini, through the planet Mercury, provides the perfect environment for us to work at bridging the gap between our higher and lower minds. There is nothing more important today than this.
And there is a final reason why World Invocation Day is celebrated in the light of Gemini. It is the major sign in which humanity is becoming more aware of the spiritual realities of a kingdom beyond the human - of the Christ within, the heart centre of our planetary life, the kingdom of Saints and of Masters and Illumined Ones. Most of us are familiar with the idea of our individual heart centre, or chakra; here the suggestion is that the planet has its chakras - its energy centres. The Saints, the Lords of Compassion, form the heart centre for the planetary life. Gemini provides the psychic atmosphere for a revival and renewal of our religious sense of relationship with this planetary heart. There is today a desperate need for a new religious spirit - within all the faiths and outside the traditional religions. We need a living sense of relationship with the those great centres of love Who are to be found in the inner realms of the heart.
My late former wife, Jan, gave many talks over the years for World Invocation Day. One of her favourite images in relation to Gemini was of two birds that are referred to in the Upanishads. The two are close companions, they spend their time together on the same tree. One feeds on sweet fruit from the tree, the other looks on. The bird who watches can be seen as the immortal Self, or the Infinite Beings Who watch over humanity, while the bird who eats is the finite, the mortal self. The delight of the watching bird is great. It finds its joy in its permanent state of bliss, watching its sister, and taking delight in each small step of spiritual growth, each feed of spiritual nourishment. Both birds are within us - soul and personality are not yet fused within us, so both birds are distinct entities. The goal is for the two birds to share a common vision, a common sense of purpose, for mutual support and co-operation.
The bird of bliss, the immortal Self, has no knowledge of the self-centredness that is such an intrinsic part of the life of the bird of time and space, the personality. This selfishness is bewildering to the Soul whose state of bliss revolves around a preoccupation with universal truths of freedom, justice, beauty, brotherhood and the mysteries of cosmic awareness.
Our first experience of this impersonal state of bliss can be startling. For some it can bring an experience where the world is seen to be alive; where stones, trees, rocks, buildings and people radiate light. The challenge is to be in that state of bliss, to be aware of a tiny part of the consciousness of the bird of delight, while functioning as an intelligent, serving human being.
Jung gives an image of the dualistic state which follows our awareness of the presence of the bird of bliss in our life. What often happens, he says, is that the personal psyche ends up running around the centre (the soul, the bird of bliss) like a shy animal, at once both fascinated and frightened, always in flight and yet, steadily drawing nearer.
We can take heart at the joy the bird of bliss feels at each step we take in bridging into the higher mind, in moving our understanding of reality into a higher dimension, in expressing our higher understanding with intelligence, wisdom and love.
And we can know that in our invocation at the Gemini Festival to the Light, Love and Purpose of God - we are also calling on this bird of bliss to fly right into our mind and heart, bringing its precious gifts of insight, vision and universal love. Perhaps we can see both birds, leaving the bough of the tree and flying together, in synchronicity, before returning to the tree and landing together with symmetry and harmony. Still separate, still two birds - but at ease with each other. This, it seems to me, is an image both for ourselves and for the whole of which we are a part - humanity.
So far, I have referred to the Gemini full moon festival as World Invocation Day. In fact the festival is known by a number of different names - each telling us something about the way it stimulates the awakening of humanity. It is the Festival of Christ, the Festival of Humanity, and the Festival of Goodwill. On inner levels we are told that a "solemn ceremony" takes place at this time.
At the exact time of the full moon Christ, standing at a central point in Asia, "remote from the throngs and the impact of humanity" pours out a blessing on the world. He then repeats the last sermon delivered by the Buddha when he was on Earth, and the Beatitudes delivered in His incarnation as Jesus. And finally, the Christ sounds the Great Invocation. (Externalisation, p 480).
This occurs on the day of the full moon. The entire ritual is said to be spread over four days: three days of concentrated invocation by the Christ and a broad assembly of Divine Beings and Masters of the Wisdom, followed by a final "climaxing day". On each of the days the Christ sounds the Great Invocation alone, and then it is sounded by the assembled group of higher Beings, and the energies that have been held by the Christ since Wesak are released and poured out upon the field of human consciousness. On the first day Hierarchy invoke Light for humanity, holding in mind the Triangles network. On the second day it is Love that is invoked. Some of the Masters and initiates are said to hold in mind the group of world servers - all the human beings in incarnation who serve with love and a broad spiritual vision. On the third day it is the will of God, the will-to-good, which is invoked - with a concentration on networks and movements for goodwill in the world. On the climaxing, fourth day, the Hierarchy "unitedly and led by the Christ, pronounce the entire Invocation, prefacing each stanza with its appropriate keynote, again sounded in unison". (Externalisation p 556)
We are told that the keynotes are sounds that emanate and radiate a potency or a quality. The sounds are not known or heard by humanity but we are given hints. The Tibetan tells us that if a very large number of world servers were brought together "their united OM might approximate the appropriate keynote" of the fourth and climaxing day. (Externalisation p 556) That is something to exercise the imagination!
There is a fascinating section in the book A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, which may help us to understand a little of the significance of these higher sounds. There is a discussion about the higher correspondences of the senses. Hearing is listed as the first sense - at the physical level this is the hearing of physical sounds (with all its possible refinements and subtleties); at the astral level we hear clairaudiently; at the mental level there is a higher sense of clairaudience; at the level of intuition, Buddhi, hearing becomes "comprehension (of four sounds)"; and at the level of spirit, the Atmic level, the highest form of healing is referred to as 'beatitude'. Perhaps these sounds which are emanating from Hierarchy during the period of this Gemini full moon may be heard as a 'comprehension' and an understanding of particular qualities in all their shades of beauty.
We are urged to approach these festivals with a full play of the imagination - to try to imagine ourselves as part of the inner group taking part in this great sound of invocation and the tremendous release of energy - sensing the Christ's presence - remembering that Christ has, on behalf of humanity, been holding the blessing of the Buddha in a sacred chalice. And in the four days of the inner festival the Christ releases this blessing; it pours through the assembled ashrams of the Lords of Compassion, and radiates out into the field of human consciousness. There it resonates throughout the year, bringing a mighty charge to the forces of love, and of goodwill in the world. It stimulates the goodwill we human beings are, of our own will, creating and bringing into our relations with each other and the world.
To close, some words from Jan Nation:
On World Invocation Day we speak on behalf of the human family. We envision a new order in the world, an order of unity in which the rich diversity of our human family can flower. We affirm the oneness of life on earth. We affirm our wish to serve as co-creators with the forces for good. We call for love and light and we accept the need for change. On World Invocation Day we honour the Great Ones in Shamballa and Hierarchy. We honour the human family in its struggle to find meaning and true service. And we honour the place of manifestation, planet earth.
It is here on earth, that we, the human family, have to manifest love, goodwill, forgiveness, kindness, sharing, and the will-to-good. It is here, on Earth, that the Christ and the Hierarchy have to re-establish their outposts. It is here on Earth, that the Divine Plan is to unfold in significant new ways in the years immediately ahead, if each and every human being who shares the vision of higher spiritual possibilities plays their part in wise and loving service.