The Womb of Time and Space
Month after month the light of the sun reflects off the moon and onto earth, transforming the dark of night into a gentle, soft, somewhat eerie twilight. The 'feel' of moonlight is very real, it can touch the soul, and has long been associated with romance. Esotericism is all about the hidden meanings and significance of outer events. Through the meditation work we begin to 'see' in a poetic, intuitive and symbolic sense that the romantic 'feel' of moonlight in the outer world reflects a subtle flow of lighted, loving, purposeful energy in the inner worlds which pours from the heart of the sun into fields of mind, of emotion, and the etheric realms. We 'see' that this energy flow brings a stimulating charge into all sorts of human groupings (service groups, nations, races etc) as well as individuals. It is the essential rhythmic pulse that fuels, conditions and informs the evolutionary process, considering evolution in terms of the development of consciousness and progress on the Way of Light.
To my mind one of the best ways to prepare for the meditations is to spend some time before each monthly festival studying Alice Bailey's writings on the qualities and significance of the zodiacal energies of the month. There are two main sources for this: the section in Esoteric Astrology (Volume III of A Treatise on the Seven Rays) from pages 73 to 404, and The Labours of Hercules . Over the years, reading these passages again and again and again, together with the meditation work, one cannot help but develop some sort of glimmer of insight into the Plan and the purposeful design of the evolution of consciousness.
It helps us to view life and all events from the vantage point of the soul, outside of time and space, removed from the personal. We become sensitive to the soul's agenda of entering into a sequence of incarnations with the purpose of redeeming and transforming the substance of mind and emotion; sensitive to the greater evolutionary process whereby the earth is becoming a sacred planet; and we become acutely aware of the process of transition into a new Aquarian humanity with its own distinctive civilisation and culture. More than anything else, regular participation in this full moon work helps us to develop a sense that we have a part to play in co-operating with this transition process, that we can take steps which will help us to blend our own personal will with the divine will. In a subtle, organic and totally non-dogmatic way, it helps produce a shift in our sense of who we are, our sense of self. We begin to grow in our perspective of 'I' as the divine Self in incarnation - rather than our instinctual experience of 'I' as the personal self with a soul somewhere, vaguely, in the background.
These thoughts seem especially appropriate as we prepare for the meditation in Virgo, when we consider those "critical moments in the life of the soul as it experiences incarnation" when: "Within the womb of time and circumscribed by space and limited by darkness - though sustained always by warmth - the life evolves." [The Rays & The Initiations, p. 116].
Think for a moment of the field of human consciousness - the field created by all the human beings in incarnation at this time - consider all the crises of human experience - the pain, the joy, the challenges, the love, the despair, the creativity. Consider this vast body of experience as providing the womb of time and space in which the Christ child is embedded. In each individual, and in humanity as a whole, the unborn, embryonic seed of the Christ lives, in varying stages of germination.
And think of the presences of Wisdom and Compassion Who watch over the womb, knowing that the birth will come at the right time. Think of the radiance of the Mother of the World, shining through every atom of substance. Imagine the radiations from Her shielded eyes, Her face, Her heart. Sense the higher angelic presences that guard and watch over all the unseen dimensions of the maturing and ultimate birthing of the Christ within.
In the centre of all love I stand;
From that centre, I the soul will outward move;
From that centre, I the one who serves will work.
May the love of the divine Self be shed abroad in my heart, through my group and throughout the world.
Gardeners plant a seed in the soil. They nourish it and care for it in the knowledge that nature will do its work, the seed will germinate and, at the appropriate time, will burst forth into the growing, vibrant plant. The soul plants its seed in the soil of a human life - this soil, which is often thought of as the feminine, mother aspect, contains all the elements of the human persona: physical, emotional and mental. The seed sits, apparently dormant, for a long time, through several incarnations, as the circumstances of life provide the experiences needed to prepare the environment of mind and heart for the seed to germinate.
First the soil has to be dug over; organic matter needs to be added - lots of it. In the early stages of the soul's journey this preparing of the soil of mind, emotions and body takes time; many lives. Initially the mind is asleep; instinct dominates and there is a negative psychic sensitivity to impressions that come from all sides. The soul lies hidden, imprisoned in form. Then there is a focussing of personal desire, and a concentration of the ability to satisfy selfish goals. The person is waking up - the soul continues to be hidden and asleep. Then a life comes when Virgo provides a gentle stimulation to the seed. The intellect begins to wake up, the critical and analytical mind becomes active - and there is a faint sense of conscience as the soul moves in the womb and starts to make its presence felt. Now that the seed has sprouted a life or a series of lives follows in which duality is the keynote. An 'other world' is sensed, there is recognition of the shallowness of the personal life, and a longing to be united with the higher Self.
There is a tendency to think of this sense of separation between higher and lower as being 'Piscean', and when we say Piscean we often imply that it's old hat and not very spiritual. But in terms of the birthing of the Christ consciousness it marks a significant development. The path then becomes all about the resolution of duality and the gradual emergence of soul consciousness on the physical plane. Now the soil is well prepared and the seed is sprouting. The mind becomes open to the intuition. Now everything is in place for Virgo to provide the perfect nurturing environment for the soul to grow and become a significant factor in the thought life and the emotions. The mind is stimulated by illumination and revelation. Activity inspired by the soul is carried intelligently forward. The seed grows into the embryo. The sense of separation between soul and personality is replaced by an experience of soul and personality being of great importance to each other. The Virgo keynote, I am the mother and child, I God, I matter am, speaks of this symbiotic relationship. From now on the path leads through a stage of one-pointed discipleship where the mind directs the personality in fields of service inspired by the soul vision … and on to the actual birthing of the Christ, and the emergence of the saviour.
When we speak of the world of time and space we are speaking of the world of what we can see and touch, smell and hear - the world of human experience. Virgo makes us look at this world as providing the warmth, the depths, the quiet and the dark in which deep reflection leads to the uncovering of long lost secrets and to recognition of the good the beautiful and the true.
It's important to develop this sense of humanity as a beautiful vibrant, living centre of experience in which and through which the Christ child is being nourished. In Malvin Artley's paper for this Virgo full moon he writes beautifully of his own city, Adelaide in South Australia, in these terms:
As I made my way along the Salisbury Highway the lights of Adelaide stretched out before me and I felt a strange sort of calm come over me as the distant glow of the lights filled my head with the reverie of fire-gazing. I felt as though I was looking out over a vast womb, with each light holding the promise of unfolding life, of gestating potency and it all gave the impression of a great city moving united toward some future manifest destiny. The thousands of street lights looked liked pearls of fire strung in lines stretching to the horizon and snaking their way throughout the city and suburbs. Most people were at home having tea, getting ready for the weekend Footy and having a few beers while they watched the tellie-in short, moving through their lives, most being oblivious to the larger energies around them. I felt a certain kinship with that collective and a sense of belonging to the greater purpose unfolding through the society.
We can say the same thing of the big ethical issues that confront all societies at this time: issues of genetic engineering, of peace and war, of AIDS, hunger, refugees, race relations, and the environment. These issues and the debates around these issues provide the most perfect environment for the seed of Christ consciousness to grow, and quicken. They are the clearest signs that through the womb of time, God's plan is maturing, human beings are changing, growing, developing and the principles of Aquarius (synthesis, wholeness and freedom) are coming to birth in social institutions, laws, and community processes.
The Virgo full moon occurs this year soon after the closing ceremony of the Athens Olympics. The opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics provide a rare opportunity for humanity as a whole to celebrate the joys and riches of being human and of what can be achieved with a focus of the will of mind, heart and body. In the opening ceremony we were given a glimpse of what the new rituals of Aquarius will be like - involving 'masses' of people, expressing joy and beauty, and using technology to generate a sense of awe, of togetherness and, in those wonderful images of Eros flying over the human participants, a sense of relation with the higher kingdoms. In our meditation we can link with the collective joy of unity which these ceremonies have engendered; seeing this joy as nourishing the embryo of the Christ, and providing fuel for the great exertion of energy needed in the birthing.
We can look forward, too, to another collective high, when countless people around the world unite in prayer and meditation for cultures of peace and non-violence on International Day of Peace on Tuesday, September 21st. You can be a part of this movement of inner activity by linking with local activities, and by registering on the web to participate in a global 24 hour Vigil co-ordinated by Intuition in Service (www.intuition-in-service.org) . You will be pleased to hear that the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement are co-ordinating a massive Vigil in Sri Lanka where they aim to bring together over 250,000 people in Colombo on September 21st to meditate on peace and around 2 million people to participate in a 60-day 'Ahimsa Now' programme of peace and non-violence activities throughout the island nation. Check out Sarvodaya's remarkable record of peace work on the web at www.sarvodaya.org, and search for Peace Day activities in your local area at: www.idpvigil.com.
In Virgo we recognise that in our world of human experience, at this time in the cycle of history, a fresh inner spiritual reality is in process of coming to birth. What this means is that humanity as a whole, all the millions of people 'moving through their lives', will have a different overall orientation from previous times. People will still watch the tellie, experience the highs and lows of relationships and so on, we will still all be people with inner conflicts; but the note, the tenor of our cultures will be coloured by a natural automatic sense of unity and wholeness - this will be reflected in all areas of life - there will be a strong sense of the sacred as we go about our lives - and a certain easy facility to manifest a higher purpose and beauty in our individual lives and in our communities. We can expect fresh revelation about the nature of God.
Esoteric teachings give us an image of the birth of the Christ in terms of the relations between the two higher centres: the head centre, reflected in the pineal gland, and the centre between the eyebrows, reflected in the pituitary gland. The head centre which symbolises spirit, and the positive masculine aspect is awakened through meditation, service and aspiration. The centre between the eyebrows blends and concentrates all the energies of the centres below the diaphragm together with the heart and throat - it symbolises matter, and the negative, feminine aspect. "As the soul becomes increasingly potent in the mental and emotional live of the aspirant", the head centre becomes more active and vibrant. As the personality is purified the centre between the eyebrows becomes stronger and more active. When the radiance of the two centres becomes sufficiently potent: "they make contact with each others vibratory or magnetic field, and instantly the light flashes out. Father-spirit and mother-matter unite and are at-one and the Christ is born" [Esoteric Psychology I, p. 291].
In A Treatise on White Magic Alice Bailey applies the symbolism of the relation between these two centres, as it affects the birthing process, to humanity as a whole. The planetary hierarchy, the Great Ones on the inner side of life, form together the head centre of humanity. In the incarnated world of human experience there is a large block of individuals who are living creative lives with a measure of idealism and intuitive perception which makes them a part of the head centre - consciously or unconsciously. This does not refer to people who are members of particular esoteric orders, who are students of a particular teaching - "the fact that a student may belong to any of the outer esoteric groups so-called is no indication of his true esoteric status" [Externalisation, p. 512]. It refers to those who find much of their life's meaning and purpose in giving incarnation in their lives and their work and field of service to the Aquarian principles of synthesis, wholeness, unity; and doing so in a spirit of freedom. This significant body of creative individuals forms, in esoteric terms, those cells within the pineal gland of humanity as a whole that are awake, and "thrilling to the vibrations of the head centre - the occult Hierarchy". Their challenge is to "intensify their endeavour and so awaken others".
The scientists, thinkers and artists who are the leading pioneers of the human family make up the pituitary body, the centre between the eyebrows. Alice Bailey writes:
They express the concrete mind but lack that intuitive perception and idealism which would place them (symbolically speaking) in the pineal gland; they are nevertheless brilliant, expressive and investigating. The objective of the Hierarchy (again symbolically speaking) is to make the pineal gland so potent and, therefore, so attractive that the pituitary body of cell lives may be stimulated and thus a close interplay be brought about. This will lead to such potent action that there will be a streaming forth of new cells to the pineal gland and at the same time such a strong reaction set up that the entire body will be affected, resulting in the streaming upward of many stimulated lives to take the places of those who are finding their way into the centre of hierarchical endeavour. [Treatise on White Magic, 277 - 8]
Can we figuratively stand on the mountain top, looking out, not on Malvin's home city of Adelaide - but upon all the cities and towns and villages of this Earth of ours. Billions of people, moving through their lives and forming the substance, the womb of time and space, in which a new consciousness is steadily quietly growing, watched over by the Mother of the World. The process of this embryo growing in the womb and preparing for birth is beautifully reflected in the image of the tension and dynamic relation between the pineal gland (those who think and live with some echo of an esoteric sense) and the pituitary gland (those who think and live with a strong and positive concrete mind). As these two fields in the brain of the collective human family move into ever closer interplay and relationship so will the embryo of the new come to birth and take shape in a culture and civilisation which will be fully reflective of Aquarius. So will the Christ be born.