That evolutionary potential within each atom is so because it "demonstrates the quality of intelligence; it shows symptoms of discriminative mind, and the rudiments of selective capacity"1, as we all know it is the basic building block within every form in the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms but it is also stimulated subconsciously by the initiating life impulse within the lunar pitris, or progenitors. These are a group of our distant ancestors who are known as the lesser builders because they are only able to stimulate form building through the expression of physical creative fire. Yet long ago in the Lemurian period, through their greatest expressive effort within the animal kingdom, they were able to produce animal man through the stimulation of his consciousness-centre, they thus allowed early man to feel instinctually and to respond to that feeling. At this stage of animal man their work was taken over by the solar pitris, these are known as the Dhyani-Chohans, the egoic builders, whose force is most adequately expressed through man because they are the source of his self-consciousness. In other words, and this is a profoundly important point to realise, the Dhyani-Chohans are actually our own selves! We are born from them for they are our own monads and we are the forms belonging to the souls projected by the Dhyanis in order to materialise monadic consciousness upon the plane of matter through the development in us of the higher mind in which our own spiritual will can manifest.
As the vehicle of man's consciousness steadily develops he is increasingly able to respond, at first subconsciously and later consciously to the monad and the influences coming to him from many sources both planetary and from the cosmos through the stimulation of the mind principle by that divine centre hidden within him. Through this work of the Dhyanis he is now able to grow mentally because he has the potential to learn the lessons that are presented to him and he is able to resolve those crises that they produce. Thus his self-consciousness is able to evolve as he resolves the mental problems and is able to work from sign to sign around the wheel of life. This is the first stage of the work of consciousness upon what is called the mutable cross, sometimes called the cross of "repeated incarnations" because this presents the opportunity in man for successive and continuous expansions of consciousness through those many lives in which he gains experience in order to enhance the functioning ability of the personality vehicle.
In the early period of animal man, I understand that the wheel of life consisted of only eight signs because man lacked the capacity to respond any further, but as early man became more fully responsive to both monadic and those planetary and solar influences during the Lemurian period, the seed of the Christ or Buddhic consciousness, that potential for soul expression was planted in him and individualisation was able to take place. Now he was able to respond to more influences streaming into the planet from Leo and Virgo so the wheel grew to ten signs with Capricorn as the last sign upon that wheel.
In Atlantean times the potential response of man to those planetary and solar influences became so great that the entrance into Hierarchy was opened. Now his sensitivity made it possible for him to go beyond his present cycle of influence and a portal into Christ or initiate-consciousness was opened in Capricorn and so Aquarius and Pisces were incorporated into the wheel of life because man was now capable of responding to them, this meant that the total number of signs became the twelve that we know today. Now through this portal, the union of personality with the soul was possible, enabling the dedicated man or woman to reverse their travel upon the wheel of life and to begin to work as the aspiring disciple. This first opportunity to build a bridge of consciousness between matter and spirit caused the inevitable beginning of the battle between the Lords of Darkness (the forces of materiality and obstruction) and the Lords of Light.
That battle continues today upon a higher turn of the spiral because sufficient of the world disciples are ready to mount the second stage of the expansion of consciousness upon the Cardinal Cross, the cross of the Monad, of the Planetary Logos and of the cosmic Christ. Here they can be initiated into the higher aspects of the plan for humanity. This will enable them to more clearly work for the Hierarchy of the planet who are under the control of the Forces of Light and to work for humanity against the forces of materiality, obstruction and darkness. All men are implicated in some way or other in this conflict between darkness and light, there are no exceptions and so we must ever remain alert to the implications that each life decision that we make to be sure that it does not contribute to the conflict that we can so clearly see playing out at many levels around the world today.
Those decisions are often difficult because we are on the threshold of the New Age and the whole of humanity has been thrown into turmoil because it is being prepared to take a great step forward in the group unfoldment of self-consciousness; this is the expression of a sense of inclusive and planetary responsibility. Now, so many men and women are sensing this need and are attempting to express this sense of responsibility at least towards the animal, vegetable or mineral worlds but increasingly they are making a stand in order to resolve the problems at the centre of all these issues and these are those which are central to the problem of humanity itself. The conclusion of that war between darkness and light lies in the resolution of that central problem of humanity, that of right relationship, so this will happen when all men and women can respect each other, no matter what religious, cultural or ethnic differences are perceived between them, can rightly value all life and are able to stand together united on the side of the forces of light.
The pressure of the current turmoil is more especially on the thinkers and aspiring disciples of the world because they are being tested in order to prove their preparedness for an increased stimulation of their consciousness that will allow them to enter the first two stages of world discipleship and for them to be able to do the work required of them in the Aquarian Age. This stimulation will allow the personality and the soul to be united, and allow the disciples to do the work of grounding the Christ or Buddhic principle through soul expression in humanity as a whole, so a powerful stimulation of the intelligence of man is needed by the thinkers of the race so that all lives may be enriched through their own ability to use the process of creative thinking. The stimulation of spiritual will in all spiritual men and women is essential but many disciples today have insufficient love for humanity as a whole and this is their main problem, they must learn that it is the worldwide community to whom they must freely give their loyalty and their service. To serve them not as if they were poor souls 'who know no better' but as brothers and sister whose life and faith we hold as our equal. This sense of one humanity is central to the plan of deity.
We cannot work through those first two stages of discipleship until we can address these problems within ourselves so that we may get on with the work required of us today. As we are able to do this work of world service not only with humility but also 'as if' we were the cosmic Christ in terms of the quality of a Christ like expression of selfless love and careful service, then we can enter the third stage of world discipleship. This third stage is really the first stage of complete control of the lower centres by the soul; it is the point at which he (the disciple) is prepared to co-operate completely with the karmic responsibility of the planetary Logos. These stages that I refer to are, of course, the first three initiations of the disciple. I wish I could avoid using words like initiation because in the general understanding today they suggest exclusivity or go towards creating a glamorous or mysterious viewpoint of what is essentially a straightforward, although very difficult, practical task that opens up to all of us when we are prepared to take that particular step. These initiations are not some honour bestowed by some exclusive club but are the processes initiated by ourselves leading to increasing levels of inclusive consciousness.
The thought of this stage of soul control brings me to Capricorn, the sign of the full moon in December, because in Capricorn the seed of death, the death of the separative man, is created. This is the death of all in man that is separate and this can take place when the mind is focused and the soul can take complete control of those lower centres of a man. We are prepared for this in Sagittarius for here we are able to identify fully with the soul and we can thus become as the Christ upon the Earth. Capricorn is the ideal material in which a seed should grow because it is an earth sign, however, it represents the densest point in materialisation but it is none-the less the place where the Christ is born into the world.
Capricorn presents man with so many things that he desires and his ambition drives him on from life to life until he reaches the point where physical gratification for its own sake becomes worthless. Little by little this is replaced by spiritual ambition and the desire for liberation replaces the desire for material things and eventually he develops a true sense of the reality of things. Because the matter of Capricorn is so dense it can be easily shattered and destroyed, likewise those born in the sign eventually bring about their own destruction through their deeply materialistic nature and the working out of their karma which produces what are called 'blows of fate'. Thus at last the ambition and selfish desire of the man in Capricorn can be shattered and destroyed and such destruction prepares the way for the rebuilding of a man's life in such a fashion that releases him from the grip of materialism and self-centredness. Here we see at first the triumph of matter as it reaches its most concrete expression but it is followed by the triumph of the spirit, as man is able to enter the door into the spiritual world.
That final crisis of Capricorn is often referred to as reaching a mountaintop because it marks a point where further ascent under existing forms is impossible and requires a descent into the valley of pain, despair and the death of those forms before a new attempt to climb to the heights can take place. Of course that dense materiality which is seen as earthly success will remain but it will eventually lie beneath the feet of humanity.2 Capricorn heralds a new effort rising up from the defeat of the forces of matter or the overcoming of the strenuous conditions that have lain before the disciple in this sign.
It is easy to see why Capricorn is the sign of the goat because goats are best equipped to survive upon a rocky mountainside and the ambitious animal has to climb to its top. It is also connected to the crocodiles simply because they live half in and half out of the water and the task of man travelling the ordinary direction upon the wheel in Capricorn is to come to terms with a dual nature stemming from the watery and illusory world of the astral or emotional plane, the nature of his desire and to find his right footing in the material world beyond his animal nature. But spiritually it is the sign of the Unicorn, the beast who fights and is triumphant over darkness. Travelling in the reverse direction around the wheel of life man becomes in Capricorn a blend of the soul and the form, the triumphant disciple, known as "the unicorn of God", who stands triumphant with one sharp horn in the centre of his forehead representing focussed and centred thought, the single eye of the mind upon God, instead of the dual horns of the goat. In Punjabi the person who follows his own uncontrolled mind or wild desires (not unlike the goat) is called Manmukh, the opposite word to this is Gurmukh (gur= Guru; mukh= face), meaning one who faces the Guru, the God facing man or the enlightened one, in the Sikh Holy Book there is a saying, "As Gurmukh, look upon all with the single eye of equality; in each and every heart, the Divine Light is contained."3 Capricorn is said to guard the secret of the soul, known as secret of the hidden glory of the spirit, which it reveals to the world disciple at the time of the third initiation, it is then that he can say in truth the Capricorn seed-thought, "Lost am I in light supernal, yet on that light I turn my back" and turning back into the world the aspiring disciple serves.
- Alice A. Bailey, The Consciousness of the Atom, pp 68-70, Lucis Press
- Alice A. Bailey, Esoteric Astrology, p158, Lucis Press
- Shri Guru Granth Sahib, Section 13 - Raag Sorat'h