Follow the Arrow of Freedom
By Trevor Leese
Keynote: "I see the goal. I reach that goal and then I see another".
The Sagittarius full moon falls on the 15th December this year, Sagittarius is a very influential sign for humanity. The inherent quality of the energy streaming through this constellation has continually pushed human understanding forward towards new goals, affecting the growth of human consciousness at every stage in our development as sentient beings. Since our first few steps away from mass consciousness these qualities have influenced our progress towards true self-consciousness, this has continued up to our present point of evolution and there is yet much spiritual quality for it to help reveal in our species.
When I look at the ancient Greek carvings of men, women and of horses with their superb anatomical detail with every muscle and sinew flexed for action that seems to make them so alive and full of movement, like real figures frozen in time like 3D images of living procession it is easy to forget that the Centaurs in their midst, those beasts half man half horse, do not belong to this world but to the world of mythology. I wonder how far back in the racial memory mythology goes and what part it played in the early period of our religions compared to what remains in the surviving texts?
Centaurs are a very early image of those qualities that Sagittarius expresses, depicting the drive of the self-conscious man as he emerges from the beast that had carried him up to the point of human unfoldment. He is now a man, yet still a beast, but the innocence of the beast is now lost forever in him and he now has more cunning than any beast but also the spiritual potential to care for all of them. The Centaur is thoroughly Sagittarian in the way that he carries his bow and arrow, the symbol of the force in him that drives him ever forward towards his goal. The first drive of the centaur is ambition but as he continually takes up his bow and arrow to fire towards a new target there is a change that takes place in him towards aspiration and focussed direction, the former is a human goal but the latter is a goal of the soul. This goal-centeredness has been responsible for much of human development as mankind sees a goal strikes out to reach that goal and as we reach it we sees another. We see this in scientific and technological development, in any exploration of the unknown. We see this today in the athlete who places no limit to his physical potential if sufficient will is there to focus his attention upon his next goal. So records are constantly being broken in athletics or by the single-handed boat racer pitting their wits against wind and ocean, testing the latest developments in marine technology in a boat that becomes an extension of the physical body. We see it in the great explorers who strike out into the unknown parts of our planet and the astronauts who strike out into the cosmos, making it a part of their own expanding world. We see it in the spiritual man or woman whose life is transformed into the spiritual dimension of the world servers.
The horse is used a lot in spiritual symbolism to indicate the vehicle that carries human and divine consciousness. It is said (in the Book of Revelation and elsewhere) that the Cosmic Christ will return riding on a white horse; this to my mind is likely to mean that he will return through the expression of a pure and transparent personality vehicle, that horse of the soul. For he is no different to us other than he is our highly evolved elder brother and world teacher who whenever he walks the earth of the physical plane chooses to work through the vehicle of the human form.
As the early stages of human development are left behind the image of the centaur is transformed into a rider on the horse. The beast is now so thoroughly co-ordinated by him that he can ride it at the gallop without hands on the reins, hands that are needed to draw his arrow across the bowstring and to take careful aim at the target of his thoughts and aspirations even as he hurtles at speed towards it. For so much of the control of his physical vehicle has become automatic, with a considerable measure of integration or at least operating in the background of his consciousness leaving him free to focus his mind on other things. He has become self-conscious and can now begin to become so focussed as a personality that all his physical, emotional and mental effort can be used to attain his goal, to reach the very centre of his target only to reveal yet another target that he must once again aim towards. And so this process is repeated and repeated until the personality becomes the vehicle of the soul, or later as the unified man/soul becomes the vehicle of expression of the spiritual triad.
Today we see so many who have considerable control of the personality vehicle, be it only in a prescribed area of life or towards some special field of activity. With that somewhat limited control they can achieve remarkable things in one sphere or another, but the effort that now attracts a growing number of people is towards a much greater focussing of consciousness. Not a focussing of the personality upon one task, like the developing of technology or pushing the personality towards greater physical endurance, etc, but a focussing of the whole personality upon the whole of life and the purpose of its being.
This is the point of transformation of an integrated personality into an aspiring spiritual being, it is that point that drives us beyond complete individuation, or full human integration, in the search for discipleship and of spiritual fulfilment. But remember spiritual unfoldment is not self-development per se, for it is a journey that will take us out of the self and into an all-inclusive framework of relationships. It is the point where we seek to become one with the spiritual human soul whose purpose is to serve all. This is a most significant waypoint upon our journey of consciousness, the threshold of an entirely new dimension of our being. We stand balanced between that individuation and the intuition or immediate perception of truth and so the archer in us wants to strike out beyond the personality towards the egoic or monadic consciousness that is now sensed. It is a stage of great pliability that will mark the end of the long established personality self interest and a decentralisation of our consciousness. It will require a great re-orientation so that the real push towards the greater goal can begin. Yet it is the period of time when our sense of duality is at its greatest because of the struggle between self-centredness and service. We struggle to lay aside our needs, needs that can never be satisfied because they exist within the vacuum of our self-hood. On the other hand we imagine that if we give we shall lose something of our self; the truth is that as we begin to give freely we find yet more of the 'self' to give. So at this point we will be increasingly given the capacity to give and as we give we are given so that we may give again and again. It is in this giving away of ourselves that we make the true gain in our wholeness, for as we give in self-forgetfulness we imitate the soul and thus we draw the soul into full expression through our human vehicle of consciousness.
It is significant that the modern symbol for Sagittarius is just an arrow, gone are the centaur and the archer, this is likely to be because the focus of life today is not based so much upon outer objective goals but upon the many stages of interior striving and these range from emotional ambition to spiritual aspiration, or from the lower mind focussed upon self interest towards the illumination of that mind. What the ancient wisdom has to say in this regard is that the animal and the man have fused and become one, all that remains is the deep fire of desire and of aspiration.
Those who are driven, speed ahead towards the pillars of an open door; these are those pillars of initiation symbolised in Masonry. When the time comes we will follow after the flight of our own arrow, leaving the horse (the symbol of the physical body) at that door. The arrow increasingly becomes a clear shaft of light reaching back towards us as we get nearer to that doorway; it is the symbol of our spiritual intuition and of the one-pointed attitude of a committed disciple. Reflecting ever-clearer back along that shaft of light and towards us, we see the image of truth; through that clarifying vision we may grow in true wisdom, we will be able to love freely and to direct our course precisely to its goal.
As you can see, this drive of Sagittarius is always goal led, from that first targeting of the animal desire through every stage of human ambition, followed by the stages of aspiration and all the way towards spiritual oneness, this is because the work of the sign is to increasingly sensitise the intellect until that shaft of the spiritual intuition can be fully formed. Then we can completely direct the tasks of our spiritual being, which is to serve all others and to encourage them as ever we can to nurture the full expression of all that they are as both human and divine beings.
I talked last month about the overcoming of illusion which is our task in Scorpio. Sagittarius is sometimes called the sign of the effect of Scorpio because the moment we are freed from that illusion, that multi-headed astral beast of our own making, we can see our goal. We were unable to see that goal because of the cloud of thought forms that we had built concerning our aspirations. Aspiration is a necessary stage in our divine unfoldment but we reach the point where we need to stop thinking so much about what we need to do and to learn simply 'to be' in this moment. We must just be, we can continue to work but must give time to watching and must learn to restrain our speech and to control our thoughts if we wish to enter into the spiritual world, this is not just about the control of gossip but we must also restrain our speech about higher things. These are equally difficult tasks to my mind.
These things were talked about many centuries ago by elder brothers of our race like Patanjali in his yoga sutras and we are reminded of them again by Alice Bailey who writes; "Right use of thought, restraint of speech, and consequent harmlessness on the physical plane, result in liberation; for we are held in the human unit, we are imprisoned to the planet not by some outside force that holds us there, but by what we ourselves have done. The moment we no longer set up wrong relations with people by the things we say that should not have been said, the moment we stop thinking things about people that we should not think, little by little those ties that hold us to planetary existence are severed, we are freed and we climb the mountain like the goat in Capricorn". 1
The Labour of Hercules that was his task in the sign of Sagittarius was the conquering of the Stymphalian birds. These were very loud and raucous man-eating birds with beaks as strong and sharp as swords and feathers like pointed steel shafts that falling on a man could cleave his head in two. They lived in the marshes of Stymphalus in Acadia. The marshes symbolise the mind swamped by the emotions, the raucous noise of the birds symbolise cruel gossip, selfish talk and talk of things about which people are not yet prepared, (it has been said that gossip is 'spiritual murder' for lives are often wrecked by it). Hercules got the birds to fly out of the marsh and up into the air by clashing the cymbals that Athena had given him. Then he mounted his winged horse (the symbol of the discriminating soul body) and shot them with his arrows.
We must remember that the closer we get to expressing our spiritual nature the more potent we become and we can do greater harm to others than ever before. We become forceful personalities who can wield power and influence through the way we think and we are likely to be at the centre of our group. If you are an aspiring disciple then your thoughts and speech will be your main activity. So you must learn to weigh your thoughts carefully because they are so potent, much more potent than the thoughts of those brothers and sisters who follow some way behind you upon the path. So when you think wrongly you are likely to cause much harm. Remember that wisdom is a serpent that must be carefully managed; beware then, for it is that same serpent that we encountered in the Garden. We failed to manage it then because we simply had no idea how to discriminate in managing our thoughts and emotions and this has often been the source of our undoing since that time. So seek to see the goal with right discrimination, focus your forces to reach that goal and then you will see another.
1. The Labours of Hercules, p 161, Lucis Press.