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Looking into the Face of the Archer

By Steve Nation
December 2006

As we read these papers on the web we might consider ourselves to be sitting with others from around the world as part of a meditation circle. In the silence of our own minds and hearts we can think of ourselves as working together subjectively, as co-workers, in service of the evolution of the human psyche. Reading the paper online can serve as a preparation for the meditation itself.

So lets begin with a moment of silence.

The way we think and the thoughts we think have an impact on the inner environment. We are, as a species, becoming increasingly aware of the outer environment, the natural worlds of animal, plant and mineral. Increasingly we are learning to become responsible and mature in our relations with this physical environment. But we still undervalue or ignore the subtle inner environment. Our thoughts, our feelings, desires, goals, ambitions, relationships - these are the subtle aspects of ourselves that, more than anything else, condition and shape our behaviour, the quality of our communities and our impact on the outer environment. Yes, more work is needed to clean up and purify the outer environment - but there is at the very least an equal need for work to address the causal level of the human attitudes and values which lie behind our damaging impact on the environment.

The monthly service meditations during the full moon period help in invoking and anchoring the higher energies which bring inspiration, vitality, and a sense of purpose and direction to the network of all who love and serve. Together with others around the planet we are engaged in the transformation, redemption and healing of the subtle inner environment within which we all live out our lives. We are using thought as a way of healing the mental and emotional environment on the planet.

The technique is one of invocation. In the silence of the meditation process, each of us can endeavour to touch the heights of our being, and to see something of the higher vision for humanity. We need constantly to remind ourselves that in the inner realms there are no barriers of time and space. The countless groups and individuals working in meditation for world renewal during the full moon period are part of a global meditating group. It is as part of this planetary field of thought, aspiration and heart-filled focus that we can be open to higher vision and to a sense of the pool of loving, lighted thought that is the hierarchy - the communion of saints on the inner side of life. Our meditative process seeks to invoke these higher, lighted energies and to clearly consider the many ways in which these energies can transform how we think and act as individuals, communities, nations and as an international community. In the meditation we have the opportunity to use all our accumulated skills of imagination, visualisation, reflection, contemplation to help the incoming energies bring their transforming potencies into the mix of light and dark which makes up the human psyche.

During the period of this full moon the sun is in the sign of Sagittarius. This is a peculiarly human sign — the energies pouring into and through the inner realms of mind and heart bring gifts which are of great value for a transitional period. The last century and this new century we are embarking upon are all about transition. An entirely new global civilisation is in process of emerging. This new civilisation draws its note and colour and character from Aquarius. The immediate present, with all of the crises and struggles that fill the pages of our newspapers, and with the crises of our own individual lives, is all about the incarnation by human beings of Aquarian principles. The great mythical, magical event of the transition from Pisces to Aquarius is playing itself out in the intimacy of the lives and relationships of every human being.

Sagittarius brings into this process of transition key energies needed to make progress on the Path and to move forward towards the goal. In essence these are energies of will, direction and purpose. Remember the keynote which we will be using in meditation: I see the goal. I reach that goal and then I see another. There is a terrific sense of momentum and movement here. This is not the balance and poise of Libra — it is clear perception of goal — I see the goal — the goal becomes all important. As we give mental energy to it, the goal begins to clarify in our mind. Our life begins to find purpose and meaning in relation to the goal. Think of the force for good that is released when that goal is in harmony with the Plan.

The image of Sagittarius is of the archer on the white horse. Just for a moment drop the image of the archer, and think instead of an experienced rider on a horse that is an old friend and companion. These two have been together for many years. The rider is perfectly at ease in the saddle — relaxed in complete trust of the horse. The two are in harmony. Both horse and rider willingly accept the fact that it is the rider who holds the reins, who is deciding on the direction of the ride, and the route that will be followed. The rider is taking the leading role, but the rider also knows the horse, knows where the horse can be taken and where not, knows what might upset the horse and what might be unacceptable for the horse — in short knows the horse well enough to be able to sit easily and confidently in the saddle.

This is the first level in the image of the archer on the white horse, and I think it is important. It is important to see that the archer is first and foremost a rider who knows the horse so fully and completely and has absolute trust that the horse will follow their lead and will support them. The knowledge of the horse and the trust and bond between rider and horse has to be so great that the archer can concentrate everything on the archery. If the archer is being sidetracked, or concerned about what the horse might do, the arrow is not so likely to reach its target. The idea behind this image is that the horse is symbolic of the purely human part of the personality — integrated and whole (if the horse was not symbolic of an integrated and whole personality it would not be so trustworthy and would not be sufficiently dependable for the rider to practise archery). The rider is no longer identified with the preoccupations and desires of the personality. The individual has become like the rider who has built up a relationship of trust with the personality, has recognised, understood and transformed some of the excesses of the personality, and who can, consequently sit easy in the saddle.

There is an interesting thought here that the trust between archer and horse has to be so great that the archer can still confidently direct and steer the horse, even though both hands are needed to hold the bow and arrow. The reins have to hang loose. So the archer uses his or her legs to steer the horse. And it is interesting to note in the book Esoteric Astrology that Sagittarius governs the thighs. These upper areas of the leg are, we are told, the main centre of physical power and protective strength. Sagittarius also governs the sacral centre which provides the energy for the use of the creative powers of the physical life. In Esoteric Astrology the Tibetan interprets these snippets of information with an interesting comment:

In Sagittarius the disciple has two things to discover within himself; these are the power to make progress upon the path and to walk the Way, and also the ability to create in the higher and spiritual sense. This concerns the relationship between the sacral and the throat centres. These powers (the higher powers) are as yet embryonic in the earlier Sagittarian experience of the disciple, but they become more developed and potent as he cyclically returns to life experience in this sign. [p 191]

But now lets shift our focus to the primary part of the image: the archer. The comments about the horse and rider are, in a sense, all simply filling in the background. Because, if it were a painting we were looking at, the thing that would immediately attract our attention about the image, the area where all the energy was concentrated, would be in the upper torso of the archer: the neck, the face, the eyes, especially the eyes, the hand drawing the bow taught, the arrow about to be unleashed. There is so much latent energy here in this area of the image. The concentration in the face —all attention is on the eyes which look along the line of the arrow to see the target with such enhanced clarity. In that face, those eyes, time stops still. Whenever I think of this image I am always reminded of television pictures of some of the most outstanding athletes waiting for the starters gun in a final of an Olympic sprint event — or of a hurdles race. One has the sense of millions of people watching all over the world — and there you see the image of the faces of some of the competitors — almost Buddha like in their poise and concentration with the eyes seeing only the goal, the finishing line. In those moments it is as if the viewer sees into the soul of the athlete — and is shown something of the extraordinary beauty of the concentrated mind. This has always seemed to me to capture the essence of Sagittarius.

The entire orientation of the archer — the body, the muscles, the angle of the neck, the face, the eyes — tells us that the energies which have in past aeons been lived and incarnated as blind desire and ambition have now been raised into a one-pointed direction of the mind towards higher spiritual possibilities.

This is a wonderful image to work with in meditation because it tells us so much about the mind. There is the role that the mind plays in directing the life towards higher goals, and towards the incarnation of Aquarian principles. There is the discipleship quality of taking the initiative to make progress on the path, and to be self-directed and clear about where we are going and the potential we have to contribute to and be part of the great planetary and cosmic drama which is the reappearance of Christ.

May the Coming One return to Earth we say in the Great Invocation, or May Christ return to Earth. Can we imagine these words being said by the archer — by the sprinter in the starting blocks? We might expect the archer or the sprinter who symbolically sounds these words to see with incredible clarity the small part — the tiny contribution that he or she can make to this vast, cosmological and mythological event. That part — that small and apparently insignificant contribution that each of us has to make to the One Work - is all we have to do. But Sagittarius reminds us that we are challenged to do it with a fullness of concentration, purpose and direction. And perhaps too, Sagittarius reminds us that in playing our small part — in directing our mind towards reaching the immediate spiritual goal, or opportunity that we see straight ahead of us, we are opening ourselves up to the next goal. We are in, other words, on the path that will enable us to see our life, our meaning and purpose in the light of the far, far wider and more significant goal for our era: achieving right relations and in the process building the pathway for the return of Christ.

It is more than Sagittarius 'reminding us' of these aspects of purpose and mental orientation. Rather it is that Sagittarius brings us the gifts, the opportunities, the energies that make it possible for us to exercise these qualities. We may not have Sagittarius in our horoscope — but the inner subtle environment is at this time flooded with Sagittarian energies. So we can draw on these energies in our own spiritual life — and we can see these energies being put to good use in the life of humanity as a whole. You can bet your bottom dollar that the lesser gifts of Sagittarius (ambition and selfish desire) will be stimulated. It is the responsibility of those consciously or unconsciously on the spiritual path — and that is millions of people — to work with the higher potentials which these energies bring during the full moon period.

We are all on the path individually — and collectively we are all on the path. This is true of the nation — we are together responsible for the momentum of the evolutionary, spiritual growth of the nation. As a region, like the Pacific Rim region, or Europe, or the Americas, Asia or Africa there is again a momentum of purpose and direction as the region grows towards its spiritual potentials. And humanity as a whole is on the path. This is not simply some abstract idea for discussion and meditation in New Age or religious circles. It is the reality of the historical process where core values of inclusiveness, the wholeness of things, and the intrinsic value of the individual, (in modern parlance human rights and freedoms and the 'One World' spirit) are being incarnated into the structures of human living.

So in the midst of this historical process — in the heart of the collectives of nation, region and humanity as a whole — we can during this precious full moon period be looking for the image of the archer on the white horse. We can use our inner eye to divine in the collective this image, this presence, and the discipleship qualities that this image represents.

Before we go into meditation I want to mention another theme in the archer image. The trajectory of the arrow, the straight and direct path it takes in reaching the target, speaks to us of a higher aspect of mind — of intuitive insight, direct knowing, straight knowledge. The Tibetan uses the words a clear shaft of light [p177 Esoteric Astrology] to describe the intuitive and focussed attitude of the pledged disciple in Sagittarius. This is so different from the analytical mind — or the reasoning mind - or even the abstract and contemplative mind. It is the mind which is directed straight to the inner core of thought and being; and returns as the arrow of the intuition. Intuitive knowledge comes as a direct knowing of truth — no argument is necessary.

When we hold the image of the archer, or of the sprinter in the starting blocks, poised in the heart of the collective , we might hold to this thought of the intuition. And if that sounds too idealistic, too far-fetched, can we remind ourselves of what this can mean. It can mean that intelligent thinking people all over the globe begin to be impressed by a returning arrow of insight that enables them to know in their entire being that human rights, human responsibilities, human freedoms are the living principles of a whole new way of living for societies, for economies, for healing, for education, religion, art and politics. This intuitive, direct knowledge of the principles of the Plan is what provides the fiery substance which is then expressed as direction, purpose, goal.

The goals of right relationship are becoming alive in the mental life of societies, cultures and nations. They are the subject of reflection, meditation, discussion, debate in every part of the world. We who seek to serve in meditation need to train ourselves to see these goals with a measure of intuitive insight. We need to see the Aquarian goals with increasing clarity and livingness; and to see the way in which these goals are being vitalised by the work of a multitude of servers and service initiatives.