Last month, in Leo, our attention was directed towards the development of a strong sense of personal self - recognizing the significance of this in the wider evolutionary process. This month, as we make our approach to the equinox on September 20 and International Day of Peace on September 21, our attention is drawn towards the self in a different light. Virgo speaks to us of self and individuality as a space where the Christ within, our eternal, divine side begins to find its place - quietly developing roots and becoming our point of identity. Conflict between the essential Self and the outer, personal self recedes as the experiences of life nurture the inner Christ.
Virgo is the sign of the Mother. In Alice Bailey's words:
Virgo symbolises depths, darkness, quiet and warmth; it is the valley of deep experience wherein secrets are discovered and eventually "brought to light"; it is the place of slow, gentle and yet powerful crises and periodic developments which take place in the dark and yet which lead to light. [Esoteric Astrology, p. 260]
Can we pause for a moment as we contemplate the human family in its entirety, the billions of individuals, as a 'valley of deep experience' - watched over lovingly by the Mother of the World? In the womb of time and space, the Christ is being nurtured through us and in us - individually and collectively.
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.
The United Nations International Day of Peace is observed every year on September 21st - around the time of the equinox when the sun can be observed to be positioned directly above the earth's equator. The equinox can be thought of as symbolic of the perfect balance and wholeness of the earth in its relations with the sun. It doesn't matter where you are on the face of the earth, in the northern or southern hemisphere, night and day are of nearly the same length, the centre of the sun spending an almost equal time above and below the horizon.
How appropriate that this time of balance between North and South on the earth and between the earth as a whole and the sun is observed as the United Nations International Day of Peace. The balance symbol is further emphasized by the fact that the most widespread way in which the Day is observed is through a minute of silence at 12-noon across the globe. Imagine how the passage of time, through the different time zones, is marked by this rhythm of significant numbers of people holding silence. Silence is important because it offers a way of approach to the inner worlds of imagination where the soul is to be found - and where we can be led through the intuition, into a direct sense of the Plan as it exists in the mind of God and as it relates to ourselves and the meaning of our own life.
This may sound to be too wild a claim for the value of silence. But consider the energetic magnetism of a field of thought built through millions of people reflecting on the goal of peace and the meaning of cultures of peace. People - just people - so-called 'ordinary' people whatever that may mean. Consider too, that most of those who participate in International Day of Peace vigils in their local community 1 (or in global meditations such as the focussed use of the Great Invocation sponsored by Intuition in Service) are people who are working, through their lives, on initiatives aimed to build peace: either nourishing peace within, or fostering the peaceful resolution of disputes, or promoting long-term peace by working to lift the quality and depth of all areas of human relations. In other words the wide network of millions of people who enter silence on September 21st (even if only for a minute at 12 noon) is drawn from the ranks of the New Group of World Servers augmented by people of goodwill. To express it in another way Peace Day brings into focus (probably more than any other single Day in the calendar) the thinking of significant numbers of people on the various stages of the discipleship path. So what we can imagine the Hierarchy will see in the fields of imaginative thinking created during periods of focused silence on Peace Day is a concentrated aspiration leading into a clear will to take responsibility for building Cultures of Peace. And for me 'cultures of peace' suggest cultures that are actively engaged in expressing a vision of wholeness and interdependence through all areas of inner and outer relations including relations within one's community and nation, and relations between the human and non-human kingdoms of nature.
It is appropriate too that International Day of Peace is observed under the influence of the Virgo full moon. Indeed the significance of Virgo in the evolution and maturing of the human being and the human community offers a perfect way of understanding International Day of Peace. For the Virgo energy is about the ability to find pathways into a sense of the universal - into a centre of peace, balance, detachment, and wholeness - within oneself. This is less about dramatic and sporadic crisis points and radical transformations; rather it is about the slow maturing of a sense of relationship with one's deeper Self. In Virgo we see that the goal of human experience - of cycles of incarnation - is to nourish the hidden spiritual reality within us (the Soul or Christ within) so that we may begin to work at revealing this reality and giving it expression in the world. Before we can reveal we must know the Centre within - know it in its 'uniqueness' to ourselves - know it's mental 'feel' - know something of it's perspective on life - know it's difference from our own concrete and rational thinking processes - yet know the clarity and simplicity of its thinking.
The Christ within can be compared to inner peace - finding a centre within where there is a point of tranquility that is in the flow of the evolutionary momentum. There is a misconception that tranquility is a passive energy - just as peace is often considered to be passive. Yet the tranquility experienced in deep silence is the tranquility of the soul - where the argumentative mind and conflicting emotions fall away to be replaced by identification with life and with the purposes of evolution.
Imagine, on a cosmic level, how the Christ stands, observing the fray of the evolutionary processes in humanity. The Christ stands, not as a neutral observer - for He is identified with the process of bringing to light the Love that underlies the happenings of the time. Yet He is able to stand as the Silent Watcher; peaceful; at the centre of a vast community of Beings; an embodiment of the Good, Beautiful and True; a Mind that sees what is emerging and being created in the heart, that is clear and purposeful - and also a burning flame that is at once ferocious and totally harmless.
Or again, in Virgo and in relation to the United Nations International Day of Peace, imagine for a moment the face of the Mother of the World - the face depicted in Nicholas Roerich's famous painting. The eyes are veiled to hide the tears. This is an image of the tranquility of the deep heart - observing the valleys of despair and confusion that are such a mark of incarnated awareness - yet also observing the beauty of the diverse points of consciousness produced by the Soul - and seeing clearly that experiences of pain and trauma are connected with the pains of labour and birth. So pain is seen as a part of the beauty. The Mother of the World, we can surmise, sees and feels that the whole of creation groans with birth pains and is moved by the question, 'how long will it take'? Happenings, like an election or a great trauma such as the USA experienced on September 11 2001, or like Pakistan has been experiencing through the past twelve months, or Zimbabwe has been living through in recent years - are seen as part of the birthing process and part of the awakening of a people to their responsibilities and their ability to create healthy, wholesome, creative communities which will be cultures of peace and goodwill.
Reflecting on the allegorical significances of astrology can produce deep insight. Compare, for example, the images of soul-personality relations in Gemini and Virgo. In Gemini all the energy in the relationship is about conflict - and the values of this conflict in awakening the personality to the opportunities of cooperation with the Soul. In Virgo the energy and the dynamics of the relationship is all about two-way cooperation: soul and personality are seen to be of great importance to each other. That understanding is allowed to deepen and mature through time. Experience in Virgo brings richness to the relationship. The keynote of the sign, I am the mother and the child. I, God, I, matter am, leads us to reflect on an organic, incarnated experience of self that embraces both Soul and Personality in a way in which the two are deeply connected. It gives us a vision of ourselves in which the environment and circumstances of our life provide the perfect setting for divinity to send out new shoots into the human. We see our lives as fertile environments for goodness, beauty and truth to take root leading to an inevitable flowering.
1. Find local events for International Day of Peace at:
See also the special event in Detroit, USA, featuring Sarvodaya Shramadana founder from Sri Lanka, Dr. AT Ariyaratne: http://www.onepeace.us/