Initiation I – The Birth at Bethlehem – Ray VII
The Energy of Order or Ceremonial Magic.
First of all, let us consider the type of energy which the seventh ray expresses and wherein lies its potency and efficacy, from the angle of the initiation. As we study these initiations and their conditioning rays, we will divide our ideas into three parts:
- The type of energy and its quality in relation to the processes of the particular initiation with which it is associated.
- Its effect upon humanity, regarding humanity as a world disciple.
- The stimulating nature of the energy as it expresses itself:
In the three aspects of the initiate’s nature – mental, astral and physical.
Through the soul-infused personality, the initiate “in good standing” – a phrase of the deepest occult implication.
At this particular time in world history, seventh ray energy is of a growing potency because it is the new and incoming ray, superseding the sixth ray which has for so long held sway. When we speak of ray energy we are in reality considering the quality and the will-purpose aspect of a certain great Life to Whom we give the name “Lord of a Ray.” You will find much about these Ray Lords in the earlier volumes of A Treatise on the Seven Rays. His divine intention, will, purpose, or the determined projection of His mind, creates a radiation or stream of energy which – according to type and quality – plays upon all forms of manifested life within our planetary ring-pass-not. These Lords of the Rays are the creating and sustaining energies which implement the Will of the planetary Logos. They cooperate with Him in the defining and the expression of His supreme purpose. Their radiating emanations are cyclically objectified and are cyclically withdrawn. As they radiate forth into the three worlds, the impacting energies produce changes, disturbances, progress and unfoldment; they create the needed new forms and vitalize and qualify that through which the immediate divine intention is expressing itself; they intensify both the quality and the receptivity of consciousness.
At other times, during the process of being withdrawn “to their own place,” they cause the fading out or the dying of form aspects, of institutions, and the “organizing organisms” (to use a peculiar phrase); they therefore produce cycles of destruction and of cessation and thus make room for those new forms and life expressions which an incoming ray will produce. It has been the gradual withdrawing of the sixth Ray of Idealism and of one-pointed Devotion which has been responsible for the ferment, crystallization, destruction, death and cleavages of the past century; old things are passing away as the Lord of the sixth Ray withdraws His attention, and therefore His energy; His radiation is today no longer centered or focused in the life of the three worlds. Simultaneously, the energy and radiation of the Lord of the seventh Ray are becoming steadily more powerful in the three worlds.
This incoming of a ray always produces an intensified period of initiatory activity, and this is the case today. The major effect, as far as humanity is concerned, is to make possible the presentation of thousands of aspirants and applicants for the first initiation; men on a large scale and in mass formation can today pass through the experience of the Birth Initiation. Thousands of human beings can experience the birth of the Christ within themselves and can realize that the Christ life, the Christ nature and the Christ consciousness are theirs. This “new birth” initiation of the human family will take place in Bethlehem, symbolically understood, for Bethlehem is the “house of bread” – an occult term signifying physical plane experience. These great initiations, implemented by the ray energies, must be registered in the physical brain and recorded by the waking consciousness of the initiate, and this must be the case in this amazing period wherein – for the first time since humanity appeared on Earth – there can take place a mass initiation. The experience need not be expressed in occult terms, and in the majority of cases will not be; the individual initiate who takes this initiation is aware of great changes in his attitude to himself, to his fellowmen, to circumstances and to his interpretation of life events. These are peculiarly the reactions which attend the first initiation; a new orientation to life and a new world of thought are registered by the initiate. This will be equally true on a large scale where modern man, the world initiate of the first degree, is concerned. Men will recognize the evidences in many lives of the emergence of the Christ-consciousness, and the standard of living will increasingly be adjusted to the truth as it exists in the teachings of the Christ.
This developing Christ-consciousness in the masses of men will create necessarily a ferment in the daily life of peoples everywhere; the life of the personality, oriented hitherto to the attaining of material and purely selfish ends, will be at war with the new and inner realization; the “carnal” man (to use the words of Paul, the initiate) will be battling the spiritual man, each seeking to achieve control. In the early stages, after the “birth” and during the “infancy of the Christ-Child” (again speaking in symbols), the material aspect is triumphant. Later, the Christ life triumphs. This you well know. Each initiation indicates a stage in the growth and the development of this new factor in the human consciousness and expression, and this continues until the third initiation, when there emerges the “full-grown man in Christ.” The initiate is then ready, at the fifth initiation, to register, realize and record the long awaited revelation.
In connection with the individual and the first initiation, the seventh ray is always active and the man is enabled consciously to register the fact of initiation because either the brain or the mind (and frequently both) are controlled by the seventh ray. It is this fact which is of importance today in connection with humanity, for it will enable mankind to pass through the door admitting them to the first initiatory process. It will be apparent to you why the present period in which human beings (in large groups) can take the first initiation corresponds to a situation in which bread is the major interest of men everywhere. Humanity will pass through this “birth” initiation and manifest the Christ life on a large scale for the first time during a period of economic adjustment of which the word “bread” is but a symbol. This period started in the year 1825 and will continue until the end of this century. The unfoldment of the Christ life – as a result of the presence and activities of the second divine aspect of love – will result in the ending of economic fear, and the “house of bread” will become the “house of plenty.” Bread – as the symbol of material human need – will eventually be controlled by a vast group of initiates of the first initiation – by those whose lives are beginning to be controlled by the Christ-consciousness, which is the consciousness of responsibility and service. These initiates exist in their thousands today; they will be present in their millions by the time the year 2025 arrives. All this, reorientation and unfoldment will be the result of the activity of the seventh ray and of the impact of its radiation upon humanity.
The seventh ray is, par excellence, the medium of relationship. It brings together the two fundamental aspects of spirit and matter. It relates soul and form and, where humanity is concerned, it relates soul and personality. In the first initiation, it makes the initiate aware of that relation; it enables him to take advantage of this “approaching duality” and – by the perfecting of the contact – to produce upon the physical plane the emergence into manifestation of the “new man.” At the first initiation, through the stimulation brought about by seventh ray energy, the personality of the initiate and the hovering over-shadowing soul are consciously brought together; the initiate then knows that he is – for the first time – a soul-infused personality. His task is now to grow into the likeness of what he essentially is. This development is demonstrated at the third initiation, that of the Transfiguration.
The major function of this seventh ray is to bring together the negative and positive aspects of the natural processes. It consequently governs the sex relationship of all forms; it is the potency underlying the marriage relation, and hence as this ray comes into manifestation in this world cycle, we have the appearance of fundamental sex problems – license, disturbance in the marriage relation, divorce and the setting in motion of those forces which will eventually produce a new attitude to sex and the establishing of those practices, attitudes and moral perceptions which will govern the relation between the sexes during the coming New Age.
The first initiation is therefore closely related to this problem. The seventh ray governs the sacral center and the sublimation of its energy into the throat or into the higher creative center; this ray is therefore setting in motion a period of tremendous creative activity, both on the material plane through the stimulation of the sex life of all peoples and in the three worlds through the stimulation brought about when soul and form are consciously related. The first major proof that humanity (through the medium of the majority of its advanced people) has undergone the first initiation will be the appearance of a cycle of entirely new creative art. This creative urge will take forms which will express the new incoming energies. Just as the period governed by the sixth ray has culminated in a world wherein men work in great workshops and factories to produce the plethora of objects men deem needful for their happiness and well-being, so in the seventh ray cycle we shall see men engaged on an even larger scale in the field of creative art. Devotion to objects will eventually be superseded by the creation of that which will more truly express the Real; ugliness and materiality will give place to beauty and reality. On a large scale, humanity has already been “led from darkness to light” and the light of knowledge fills the land. In the period which lies ahead and under the influencing radiation of the seventh ray, humanity will be “led from the unreal to the Real.” This the first initiation makes possible for the individual and will make possible for the mass of men.
Seventh ray energy is the energy needed to bring order out of chaos and rhythm to replace disorder. It is this energy which will bring in the new world order for which all men wait; it will restore the ancient landmarks, indicate the new institutions and forms of civilization and culture which human progress demands, and nurture the new life and the new states of consciousness which advanced humanity will increasingly register. Nothing can arrest this activity; all that is happening today as men search for the new ways, for organized unity and peaceful security, is being implemented through the incoming Ray of Order or Ceremonial Magic. The white magic of right human relations cannot be stopped; it must inevitably demonstrate effectively, because the energy of this seventh ray is present, and the Lord of the Ray is cooperating with the Lord of the World to bring about the needed “reforming.” Soul-infused personalities, acting under this ray influence, will create the new world, express the new qualities and institute those new regimes and organized modes of creative activity which will demonstrate the new livingness and the new techniques of living. It is the distortion of these seventh ray ideals and the prostitution of this incoming energy to serve the unenlightened and selfish ambitions of greedy men which has produced those totalitarian systems which today so terribly imprison the free spirit of men.
To sum up what I have said:
The energy of the seventh ray is the potent agent of initiation when taken on the physical plane, that is, during the process of the first initiation.
Its effect upon humanity will be:
To bring about the birth of the Christ-consciousness among the masses of intelligently aspiring human beings.
To set in motion certain relatively new evolutionary processes which will transform humanity (the world disciple) into humanity (the world initiate).
To establish in a new and intelligible manner the ever-existent sense of relationship and thus bring about upon the physical plane right human relations. The agent of this is goodwill, a reflection of the will-to-good of the first divine aspect. Of this first Ray of Will or Purpose, goodwill is the reflection.
To readjust negative and positive relationships, and – today – this will be carried forward primarily in connection with the sex relation and marriage.
To intensify human creativity and thus bring in the new art as a basis for the new culture and as a conditioning factor in the new civilization.
To reorganize world affairs and so initiate the new world order. This is definitely in the realm of ceremonial magic.
The stimulation of this seventh ray will, in relation to the individual initiate,
Bring into being upon the mental plane a widespread and recognized relation between the soul and the mind.
Produce a measure of order in the emotional processes of the initiate, thus aiding the preparatory work of the second initiation.
Enable the initiate – upon the physical plane – to establish certain service relationships, to learn the practice of elementary white magic, and to demonstrate the first stage of a truly creative life.
As far as the individual initiate is concerned, the effect of seventh ray energy in his life is potent in the extreme; this is easily realized, owing to the fact that his mind and his brain are conditioned by the seventh ray at the time that the initiatory process is consciously taking place. The effect of this upon the mental plane is similar to that seen – on a much larger scale – in the planet, for it was this ray energy which the planetary Logos utilized when He brought together the major dualities of spirit and matter at the commencement of His creative work. The two aspects of the mind (the lower concrete mind and the soul, the Son of Mind) become more closely related and enter eventually into a conscious, recognized association on the astral plane; it is the seventh ray which restores order within the astral consciousness, and (on the mental plane) it is this influence which produces creativity, the organizing of the life, and the bringing together “within the head” of the lower and higher energies in such a manner that “the Christ is born.” This latter point we shall consider in some detail when we take up the significance of the initiations; we shall then find that the relationship between the pituitary body and the pineal gland is involved.
Finally, it is seventh ray energy which – in the initiatory process between the first and the second initiations – enables the initiate (in his physical plane life) to demonstrate a developing sense of order and of organization, to express consciously and increasingly a desire to help his fellowmen, and thereby establish relationship with them, and to make his life creative in many ways.
All these factors are embryonic in his nature, but he now begins to consciously lay the foundation for the future initiatory work; the physical disciplines are at this time of great importance, though their value is frequently over-emphasized and their effect is not always good; the relationships established and fostered are sometimes of small value, owing to the disciple being usually self-centered and thus lacking – from ignorance and lack of discrimination – complete purity of motive. Nevertheless, the changes brought about by the influence of this ray become increasingly effective from life to life; the disciple’s relation to the Hierarchy, the reorganizing of his life on the physical plane, and his growing effort to demonstrate the esoteric sense of white magic will become more and more vital, until he is ready for the second initiation.
Initiation I – The Birth at Bethlehem
I have preserved the above Christian nomenclature because of its familiarity and because (symbolically speaking) it conveys an aspect of a major truth. Just as the birth of a child is an entrance into light, literally speaking, and the beginning of an entirely new way of life, so each successive initiation is in an exactly similar manner an entrance into light, involving the revelation of a different world to the one hitherto known, and the undergoing of entirely new experiences. If students would keep this symbology and this definition carefully in mind, they would arrive at a keener concept of the processes which lie ahead of them. This is particularly true in connection with this first initiation; the analogy holds good from the very dawn of history, where humanity is considered.
In ancient Lemuria, with the coming in of the mental idea and mechanism, the low grade animal life (which, to a certain extent, looked human but was definitely mindless, unknowing and unseeing) became suddenly aware of that which threw light upon its way. It meant little to the animal men of those days, but it came increasingly to have significance as millennia of years elapsed; civilizations came and went; races developed and disappeared. In Lemurian days, the indwelling light of perception (though it was a perception so remote from ours as to be practically inconceivable) revealed the physical world and that found upon it which the human being of that time would deem desirable. Later, in Atlantean times, that same indwelling light and unfolding light of the mind served to reveal the world of emotions, and in the later half of that period it revealed the more aesthetic values; the arts began to flourish; color and beauty were registered. In our more modern Aryan race, the light has revealed the world of thought and has brought us to a synthesis of the senses; these senses were developed in earlier cycles of human living. Each of these three races, in a mysterious manner, has a correspondence on a racial scale to the first three initiations.
Today, as we enter the new era, the symbology of the fourth initiation, that of the Renunciation, has application; men face the necessity of renouncing the material values and of substituting the spiritual. The ferment of the initiation process goes on all the time, undermining the materialism of the race of men, revealing more and more of the reality underlying the phenomenal world (the only world recognized by the Lemurians) and – at the same time – providing that cultural field of experience in which those sons of men who are ready to do so can undergo the five initiations, technically understood. This is the factor of importance. This, therefore, is our starting point.
The historical process can (and will) reveal the gradual entrance of mankind into ever-expanding “lighted areas” of consciousness; into these areas the way of evolutionary unfoldment has led the race of men right up to the point where there are many, many thousands (and millions if you consider all of humanity – those in incarnation today and those that are out of incarnation upon the inner planes) who have been enabled to step out of the lighted field of the three worlds into another area where the light of the mind can be blended with the still greater light of the soul. They have (in past lives, even though recollection may be lacking) undergone the birth experience and initiation, and as a result of this, that which can reveal what the mind is unable to illumine is now developing and functioning within them. The “light of life” is now available, in a sense far more literally true than you can at this time perceive, and each successive initiation will see this fact more clearly demonstrated. The Birth Initiation lies behind in the experience of many, and this is factually proved by the lives of those who are consciously and willingly oriented towards the light, who see a wider world than that of their own selfish interests, who are sensitive to the Christ life and to the spiritual consciousness in their fellowmen and who see an horizon and vistas of contact unperceived by the average man; they realize a possible spiritual achievement, unknown and undesired by those whose lives are conditioned entirely by either the emotions or the lower concrete mind. At this stage of unfoldment they have a sense of conscious dualism, knowing the fact of the existence of that “something other” than the phenomenal, emotional and mental self.
The first initiation might be regarded as the goal and the reward of the mystical experience; it is fundamentally not an occult experience in the true sense of the term, for it is seldom accurately realized or consciously prepared for, as is the case of the later initiations, and this is why the first two initiations are not considered major initiations. In the mystical realization there is naturally and normally an emphasis upon dualism, but in the new area of unfoldment – visioned and later to be struggled for and attained, initiation by initiation – unity is achieved and dualism disappears. Students should therefore have in mind the following definite occult concept: The mystical Way leads to the first initiation. Having achieved its purpose, it is then renounced, and the “lighted Way” of occultism is then followed, leading to the lighted areas of the higher states of consciousness.
Thus both ways are seen to be essential; the mystical way is for the majority at this time, and an increasingly large number of mystics will emerge out of the modern masses of men; paralleling this, the occult way is attracting more and more of the world intelligentsia. Its experience is not basically religious, as the orthodox churchman understands the word. The way of science is as deeply needed by mankind as is the way of religion, for “God” is found equally on both ways. The scientific way leads the aspirant into the world of energies and forces, which is the true world of occult endeavor, revealing the Universal Mind and the workings of that great Intelligence which created the manifested universe. The “new man” who has come to birth at the first initiation must and will tread the occult or scientific way, which inevitably leads him out of the world of mysticism into the scientific and assured perception of God as life or energy.
The first initiation marks the beginning of a totally new life and mode of living; it marks the commencement of a new manner of thinking and of conscious perception. The life of the personality in the three worlds has for aeons nurtured the germ of this new life and fostered the tiny spark of light within the relative darkness of the lower nature. This process is now being brought to a close, though it is not at this stage entirely discontinued, for the “new man” has to learn to walk, to talk, and to create; the consciousness is now, however, being focused elsewhere. This leads to much pain and suffering until the definite choice is made, a new dedication to service is vouchsafed, and the initiate is ready to undergo the Baptism Initiation.
Members of the New Group of World Servers should watch with care for all those who show signs of having passed through the “birth” experience and should help them toward a greater maturity. They should assume that all those who truly love their fellowmen, who are interested in the esoteric teaching, and who seek to discipline themselves in order to attain greater beauty of life, are initiate and have undergone the first initiation. When they discover those who are seeking mental polarization and who evidence a desire and aspiration to think and to know, coupled with the distinguishing marks of those who have taken the first initiation, they can, in all probability, safely assume that such people have taken the second initiation or are on the verge of so doing. Their duty will then be clear. It is by this close observation on the part of the world servers that the ranks of the New Group are filled. Today, the opportunity and the stimulation are so great that all servers must keep alert, developing in themselves the ability to register the quality for which search must be made, and giving the help and guidance which will weld into one cooperative band those disciples and initiates who should prepare the way for the Christ.
The first initiation should be regarded as instituting a new attitude towards relationships. This is not yet the case. The relationships hitherto recognized, speaking generally, have been those karmically, physically and emotionally instituted; they are largely objective and predominantly concern the phenomenal plane with its contacts, duties, responsibilities and obligations. The new relationships however, to be increasingly recognized, are subjective and may have but little phenomenal indication. They embrace the recognition of those who must be served; they involve the expansion of the individual consciousness into a growing group awareness; they lead eventually to an eager response to hierarchical quality and to the magnetic pull of the Ashram. Such a development in the recognition of relationships leads finally to a recognition of the Presence of the Christ and to relationship with Him. With the recognition of and the relationship to the planetary Logos we need not at this point deal. All these relationships begin, in their truest connotation and with a correctly realized objective, at the birth of the “new man.” To this the Christ referred when He said: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” I am here using the Christian terminology but prefer to speak of the “new man” rather than the strictly Christian phrase “the birth of the Christ Child in the heart.” It is by means of the touchstone of relationships that world servers can contact the initiates and the accepted disciples in the world, and can discover those aspirants who can be helped and trained.
Let me bring another point to your attention. In the phenomenal world of the average human being who has not yet passed through the initiatory experience of the rebirth, the emphasis has ever been and is today upon the dual relationship of the sexes and to this our novels, plays, movies and affairs of all men bear testimony. Creativity expresses itself mainly through the propagation of the race, brought about through the relation of male and female, or of the positive and negative poles in the human family. This is right and good and part of the divine Plan. Even though men have prostituted their capacities and debased their relationships, the basic plan is divine and ideal. After the first initiation, the entire sex relationship shifts gradually and steadily into its proper place as simply a natural phase of existence in the three worlds and as one of the normal and correct appetites, but the emphasis changes. The higher experience and correspondence, that of which physical sex is only the symbol, becomes apparent. Instead of male and female, there emerges the magnetic relationship between the now negative personality and the positive soul, with consequent creativity upon the higher planes. Of this relationship the head center and the center between the eyebrows (the ajna center) are the agents and eventually – through the medium of the pituitary body and the pineal gland – they condition the personality, rendering it soul-infused.
I have given you so much information anent initiation and the rays and centers in my many books that there is no need for me to repeat it here; there is, however, great need for you to collect and tabulate the scattered information so that you can register it as a whole. Many who read these instructions and who study the books I have written are in process of preparation for one or other of the initiations, and the entire theme should therefore be of major interest to you. You should decide (at least tentatively) which initiation lies ahead of you and then discover all you possibly can about it and its prerequisites, endeavoring to make practical application of the imparted information; either that which I give to you is true or it is not; if true, it is vital to your future progress and you should aim at achieving a measure of real understanding.
You have been taught that the activity or the inactivity of the centers conditions the personality, working through the endocrine system; the energies which the centers channel and the forces which they generate can be controlled and directed by the soul, by the spiritual man. You have likewise been told that the energy of the sacral center (the center most implicated and active at the time of the first initiation) has to be transmuted and raised to the throat center, thereby transforming the physical creative act into the creative process of producing the good, the beautiful and the true. This is the ABC of your fundamental knowledge: the transmutation of sex. In that transmutative process men have greatly erred and have approached the subject from two angles:
- They have sought to stamp out natural desire and have endeavored to emphasize an enforced celibacy; they have thus frequently warped the nature and subjected the “natural man” to rules and regulations which were not of divine intent.
- They have tried – at the other extreme – to exhaust normal sexual desire by promiscuity, license and perversions, damaging themselves and laying up the basis for trouble for many incarnations ahead.
True transmutation is in reality the achieving of a correct sense of proportion in relation to any phase of human life, and for the race of men today has particular reference to the sacral center and the energies which bring it into activity. When a proper recognition of the place the sex life should play in the daily life is paralleled by the concentration of thought anent the throat center, that center becomes automatically magnetic and attracts the forces of the sacral center upward through the spine into “the place of creative building”; the normal sex life is then regulated and not atrophied, and is relegated to its rightful place as one of the usual faculties or appetites with which man is endowed; it is brought under control through the lack of directed interest and is subordinated to the law of the land as regards its relation to its opposite pole – either negative and feminine or masculine and positive. To the aspirant it becomes mainly the agent for the creation of the vehicles needed for reincarnating souls. Thus by force of example, by the avoiding of all extremes, by the dedication of the bodily energies to the higher uses, and by the acceptance of the law of the land in any given country and at any given time, the present disorder and the current misuse of the sex principle will give way to orderly living and to the right use of this major bodily function.
Excerpted from “The Rays and the Initiations, Section Two – The Aspirant and the Major Initiations”.
By Alice Bailey and Djwhal Kuhl