Online Store Directory
Spiritual Meditations and Exercises
Who We Are and What We Teach
Brotherhood of Light Lessons: Course Books on Astrology, Alchemy and Tarot
Calendar of Activities
Astrological Sunday Services
Church of Light TV
Serial Lesson 80
From Course VII, Spiritual Astrology, Chapter 10
Original Copyright 1935, Elbert Benjamine (a.k.a. C. C. Zain)
Copyright 2011, The Church of Light
Subheadings: THE Luck of the Horseshoe The Harp on Which the Angels Play The Eagle Takes a Trip to Heaven The Arrow that Slew the Cyclopes
Illustrations: Sagittarius - I SEE Sagittarius/Sagittarius: Lyra - Devotion Sagittarius/Aries: Aquila - Exploration Sagittarius/Leo: Sagita - Illumination
The Bow of Bright Promise
THE Luck of the Horseshoe
In northern Arizona, over rough country to the east of Grand Canyon National Park, is a great arch of stone, carved by the forces of erosion, known to the world as Rainbow Bridge. To it, for centuries past, the Indians have made pilgrimage, holding it to be a symbol given to them by the Great Spirit, a religious token to which in reverence they pay homage. It is the bow of bright promise, wrought in imperishable rock, a crystallized replica of the many-hued bow to be seen after rain when once more the Sun is shining.
The Archer, Sagittarius, where the Sun may be found from November 22 to December 22, also holds a bow, and aims its arrow straight at the treacherous Scorpion’s heart, ready to prevent further depredations, and guarding humanity against its inversive legions. This Bowman of the sky pictures the sign of Religion, the so-called sign of the Higher Mind, which has rule also over teaching, long journeys, publishing and all public expression of opinions.
The Bow was known as a beneficent religious symbol early in the Bible days. Jupiter, the planet of religion, known in astrology as the greater benefic, having chief power to protect from danger, is the ruler of the sign Sagittarius. Therefore, when the earth had been ravaged by flood and all flesh destroyed, except that which had entered the ark with Noah, and a token was desired by which those whose religious devotion had saved them, that no more would such destruction take place on earth, the most appropriate symbol of divine protection that could have been selected would pertain to Sagittarius. The Bow is such a universal symbol:
"I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth."
The protection and good luck which Sagittarius, the hunting Horseman, is able to bring to those whom he favors is also indicated in the present-day custom of hanging a horseshoe over the door. A horseshoe in form is a Bow. But because it is used on the foot of a horse it takes on the significance of understanding as well as Jupiterian good fortune. That is, symbolically it denotes the sound judgment which the activities of the Higher Mind promote, in addition to the benevolent influence of the major benefic.
This matter of the Higher Mind and the Lower Mind, because it so frequently is referred to in occult literature needs some explaining. As a matter of fact there are not two minds, but only one. Nor does this refer to objective consciousness and subjective consciousness, as do Castor and Pollux. Instead, it refers to the motives and aims of the mind, or soul. There is really no distinction between the term soul, mind and character. They are the same thing, and embrace all the experiences, including those derived from mental activities, which are retained and organized within the finer forms.
The motives which prompt the thoughts and the actions which they direct, however, can be divided into two categories quite as much in opposition as are the signs Gemini and Sagittarius. The motive may be self centered, having no concern as to how others will be affected. This need not impair the intelligence. And frequently work done solely from this motive in the end proves a boon to humanity.
Thus an inventor may have no thought of whether his invention will conduce to human good, such as a labor-saving machine, or to human destruction, such as a more effective type of gun. His sole aim may be to produce something which will bring him a lot of money; and he may care not one whit how it affects the human race. Such an attitude betokens a dominance of the Lower Mind. But in spite of his indifference to the welfare of others, he may find it more easy and profitable to invent something which will benefit humanity.
The healer may have no interest in getting the patient well. He may be interested merely in moneymaking. He is dominated by the Lower Mind. But if his great desire is to alleviate suffering and to benefit his patients; if he looks upon the financial rewards of his profession as affording him a livelihood through which he can be of greater benefit to others than he could be if he were without money, this indicates that the Higher Mind is dominant.
Even a priest or preacher may be actuated in the choice of profession chiefly by the dictates of his Lower Mind. He may view the matter from the selfish standpoint, not of the occupation in which he can be of most service to his flock, but as the avenue through which, with his special talents, he can do the utmost for himself.
Almost anything or any ability that can be used for the benefit of the world, can also be used for the benefit of its possessor at the expense of others. The findings of material science, for instance, give the knowledge and facilities for making the world a better place in which to live. But often they are not used for the benefit of the race, but as a means by which the few can oppress and exploit the many.
Research, study, and thought are ruled astrologically by the third house, and thus are related to Gemini, the sign of the Lower Mind. But when the results of research, study and thought are given to the world through publishing, preaching or teaching, this public expression is ruled by the ninth house, and is related to Sagittarius, the sign of the Higher Mind. The implication is that the wide dissemination of information is advantageous to the race.
Yet while Sagittarius rules the Higher Mind, or Divine soul, it is only the human part of the sign that has this significance. Chiron, one of these half-man half-horse characters of Greek mythology was famous for his knowledge of music, medicine, and shooting; and taught mankind the use of plants and medicinal herbs. He was a great instructor, and taught such heroes as Jason, Medeus, Hercules, Aesculapius and Achilles.
He also, as a fitting end to a completely noble career, took the place of Prometheus, and underwent the agony of having his liver devoured daily that the hero who had conferred the greatest possible boon on mankind might be free. Prometheus, who in the sky is pictured as Andromeda of the middle decanate of Pisces, in his zeal to serve mankind had stolen the divine fire from heaven. That is, he had enabled mankind to attain spiritual illumination.
The great discernment when the Higher Mind is developed gives to this sign the Key phase, I See. But the sporting, animal side, which nourishes the Animal Soul, shuts its eyes to everything that interferes with its desires. It is heedless and impulsive, as is illustrated by the Greek story of Eurytion, who was one of the Sagittarians.
Being invited to the marriage of Pirithous, he became intoxicated with wine, and, although when sober, a jolly good fellow, such as Sagittarians usually are, under the influence of wine he attempted violence to the bride. The other Centaurs who had gone to the wedding party with him, and who also were drunk, thought that a good idea, and each grabbed a woman. In the resulting brawl a number of them were slain.
Across the zodiac from north to south is a wall, or colure, which divides the signs in which the days continue to grow shorter, as they do from June 22 to December 22, from the signs in which the days continue to grow longer, as they do from December 22 to June 22. This wall, or chimney as it is sometimes called because it runs from Capricorn down to the sign of the house, Cancer, touches the horse sign Sagittarius on one side.
It seems, as related in II Kings 9, that Jezebel, for the time being no longer practicing witchcraft, had come under the influence of the sporting side of Sagittarius. When Jehu entered the city she, "Painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window."
It is evident she was attempting to make a feminine conquest, but the religious convictions, the human side of Jehu was too strong; and as inevitably happens to those who exalt their own pleasures above the pain and suffering they cause others, these lower Sagittarian expressions, as symbolized by horses, destroyed her:
"And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down: and some of the blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trode her under foot."
Science, which observes how nature acts, and classifies these observations in formulas which are called laws, is under Gemini. But when these sciences which have classified knowledge are used as a basis for a pattern of life, the resulting design is called a philosophy, or religion, and then comes under the dominion of Sagittarius.
The Higher Mind then perceives, as the result of correlating the sciences and bringing to bear upon them the inner vision which it customarily uses, that the universe is not an insensate machine, but a living organism, the various entities comprising it constituting the cells, each cell and each group of cells, with its own particular function to perform. Furthermore, it perceives that the cosmic whole is moving in a definite direction, developing constantly a more complex structure, with a specific, although ever expanding accomplishment as its aim. There is Divine Plan.
The Higher Mind endeavors, in as great detail as possible, to grasp the significance of this Divine Plan. And then it strives to understand where, to the best possible advantage, it can fit into this Plan as a constructive factor. It assays its various abilities and possibilities to discover how these may be used to forward the movement of universal progression. And having determined the line of effort it should follow to be of greatest use, it sets to work to render that service.
Thus the expression of true religion is perfect or imperfect according to the abilities, and according to the correctness of the insight into what needs to be accomplished in the furtherance of the universal scheme. This conception is set forth in the text: True Religion is the Discernment of the Divine Plan and a Conscious Cooperation in its Fulfillment.
The Harp on Which the Angels Play
It was by no accident that the Crown which implies the Great White Throne and the Harp on which the angels play are so located in heaven that they picture adjoining decanates of the celestial circle. And if we consider Sagittarius as ruling not only far travel, but also the highways on which such travel is made, then the Sun, ruler of gold, in this sign gives rise to the thought of golden streets. Thus do we have a zodiacal origin of an after life and a Crown or throne relating to the last of Scorpio, to streets paved with gold, and to angels playing eternally on harps before the throne, as indicated by the next decanate, by Lyra, picturing the Sagittarius section of the sign of religion.
The intimate relation existing between both religion and the underworld of Pluto, co-ruler of Scorpio, and between harmony and this invisible realm, is set forth in the Greek story of Orpheus and his lost bride Euridice. Pluto, ruler of the sign of sex, on its higher, or Eagle side, relates to perfect union, to regenerate marriage, and to the union of true soul mates. On its inversive, or Scorpion side, it relates to separation, to antagonism and to dissolution.
The harmonies within ourselves are chiefly set in motion by our thoughts, and as the Harp pictures a section of the sign ruling the Higher Mind, and as thoughts are ruled by Mercury, Greek legend quite appropriately held that the famous Harp on which Orpheus could play so sweetly that rivers ceased to flow and savage beasts forgot their wildness, was given to him by Mercury.
Orpheus, the master harpist of all time, married his ideal, his soul mate, Euridice, to whom he was tenderly devoted. Apparently, however, their adjustment was not so successful as that which the Biblical Jacob made; for the serpent with which Ophiuchus still wrestles bit Euridice. Instead of attaining the Crown, which pictures triumph over the sign of Death, she was bitten by the serpent, died, and passed to the realm of Pluto.
Orpheus was disconsolate. He could not reconcile himself to the loss of his beloved mate. Therefore, to recover her, he made a visit to the infernal regions. Taking his Lyre along, he played so sweetly that the wheel of Ixion stopped, the stone of Sisyphus stood still, Tantalus forgot his burning thirst, and even the Furies relented. More important still, so enraptured did Pluto become with the music, and so moved by the depth of Orpheus’ sorrow, that finally he agreed to restore Euridice to him. This reunion of Orpheus and his lost Euridice is one of the most touching incidents of legendary lore.
In the story, first of all we have set forth that the abuse of sex is destructive, even when those married are ideally suited each to the other. It led to the death of Euridice.
Then there is set forth the power of harmonious thoughts engendered by love to find the object of its affection, even across the border line of death. The invisible realm of Pluto can be contacted and controlled through the harmonies engendered by pleasant emotional states and loving thoughts more successfully than in any other way.
Ixion was tied to a wheel in hell, that continually whirled around, keeping him in perpetual torture. Sisyphus, in the infernal regions, was condemned to roll a stone to the summit of a hill; but the stone always rolled back, thus making his punishment eternal. Tantalus, in the underworld was in a pool of water which flowed from him whenever he attempted to take a drink, causing him perpetual thirst. But the music of Orpheus had so powerful an influence in the region where these condemned souls were undergoing punishment that their torture ceased.
Those who have attained the Laurel Crown of adeptship not only work upon the physical plane, but often also use their abilities to release from suffering those who have passed to the after life in a state of mind which keeps them in torture. The suicide, for instance, often, like Ixion, is tied to the wheel of the mental images which caused him thus to try to flee from reality. By taking his own life he hoped to free himself from a distress which seemed too great for him to bear. But he merely transferred his suffering to another region. Round and round he goes with the images of the awful conditions from which vainly he hoped to escape.
Pluto, as the story goes, in permitting the reunion of Orpheus with his long lost soul mate, imposed one condition, that the musician was not to look behind him until he was out of Pluto’s realm. Orpheus promised to obey this instruction. But as he was traveling upward and neared the region of the upper world, Euridice following at his heels, he forgot his promise, and looked back at his cherished bride, whereupon she vanished, never more to be seen.
This looking back, of course, as in the story of Lot’s wife who turned to a pillar of salt, is the turning of the thoughts to a contemplation of the conditions and experiences of the past. This tunes the individual in on the old desires, sets in motion the vibrations of the past, and again attracts to him the external conditions from which he is fleeing. If we are to enjoy a condition of greater harmony and bliss, and if we are to prevent separations similar to those which have occurred in the past, we must avoid thinking the thoughts, and thus entering the vibratory conditions, that in the past have resulted in discord and separation. But Orpheus, in spite of the admonition of Pluto, could not refrain from again contemplating Euridice in the same manner he had considered her in bygone times; he looked back at her, and again she left him, this time gone forever.
The result of this separation, of contacting the disintegrating or antagonistic side of Pluto, is dramatically set forth in the tragic ending of Orpheus. The female Scorpion, symbol of the inversive side of Pluto, when her lust is satisfied, tears her mate to pieces and devours him. Orpheus, after the loss of Euridice, separated himself from the rest of mankind. This offended the Thracian women, and during the celebration of the orgies of Bacchus, enraged at his coldness, they set upon him, tore his body to pieces and threw his head into the Hebrus. Having lost love, and with no desire left to cooperate, which desire Pluto rules, the disintegration of Orpheus was to be expected. Love is the one great integrating force.
In Bible times, Saul was accustomed to be troubled by obsessions. Morbid thoughts would occupy his mind, and these would so tune him in on the discordant side of Pluto that astral entities would take possession. I Samuel, 16, relates:
"But the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him. And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee. Let our Lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well."
Thus was the Crown, as represented by the King, and as indicating a decanate of the sign ruling those in Pluto’s realm, brought into association with the Devotion decanate of Sagittarius, where the Sun each year may be found from November 22 to December 2, pictured by the Harp.
"And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him."
David, among the constellations, is pictured with his harp as one of the Twins, which rule the hands; but the Harp itself, as a separate constellation, quite appropriately depicts the most religious decanate of the whole zodiac. Of this harp a master wrote:
"Harp divine, whose strings the angels tune and set in motion sweet waves of music that vibrate round the spheres, and bring to man the tidings of his once celestial state, that says in tones of heavenly sweetness to faint and struggling souls; Look up and onward, thy spirit calls thee home. God Jehovah is, and thou must be."
But in the case of Saul his thoughts were so morose and savage that the inspiration, or vibratory level of intelligence, he often tuned in on was discordant. Instead of tuning in with prayer and devotion he tuned in with anger and revenge. And following the law which governs contacting the invisible realm, he thus came into rapport with entities of the same general vibratory level as his thoughts, and of the same desires. They were malignant, and finding the avenue thus open to them, they took possession of the king.
The one way to cure a condition of this kind is to stimulate thoughts of an entirely different character. When the dominant thoughts are harmonies this immediately cuts off all approach of unseen entities whose essential nature is discord. When the thoughts are elevated, as sweet music has an influence to raise them, to noble aspiration, it tunes the consciousness in on a corresponding invisible plane, and automatically cuts off any association with evil spirits.
When thus understood, the method which was applied by David to soothe the troubled spirit of Saul, and thus cure his obsession, is the most approved and successful method that can be applied to such cases today.
It also explains much of the value to be derived from devotional exercises and prayer. Devotional exercises accompanied by appropriate music are a great help to tune the feelings and emotions in on the plane of intelligence corresponding to such high emotional states. If they perform their office properly, this raises the consciousness to a much higher plane than is its customary vibratory rate. It brings the consciousness into touch with invisible entities on the inner plane who are higher in spirituality and in wisdom than the devotee, and enlists their help.
Discouragement and feelings of self disapproval keep the mind tuned in on the lower states of Pluto’s realm. But faith and devotion tend to enable the individual to rise above all such sordid and discordant feelings, so that they, for the time being are no longer troublesome, no longer attract discordant intelligences from the invisible. Like the music of David’s Harp, faith and devotion soothe and lift the thoughts. For as the text states: On Every Plane Harmony is Life and Discord is Death.
The Eagle Takes a Trip to Heaven
Of all creatures it was believed that the Eagle flew highest, and thus was the explorer of heaven. He was the bird of Jove, the bearer of his Thunder, the one who, when a cup bearer was needed for the king of the gods, was sent forth and brought back the youthful Ganymede. Quite appropriately, therefore, was he placed in the sky where he would picture the Exploration decanate of Sagittarius, in which each year the Sun may be found from December 2 to December 12.
When Jupiter, ruler of Sagittarius, lay concealed in the cave at Crete, to avoid the fury of his father, Saturn, Aquila brought him nectar that his hunger might be satisfied. And the Rig-Veda states that it was this Eagle which brought the Soma juice to India.
The cup in which Aquila carried the spiritualizing juice to India, and which it was the duty of Ganymede to keep handy that Jove might quaff and assuage his thirst, relates to the first decanate of the pleasure-loving sign Leo. It thus pictures the love-affair decanate of the love-affair sign; the region of the sky where desire burns with its hottest flame. Both wine and soma juice are intoxicating. They are stimulants, even as desire is stimulating and causes action to flow spontaneously and without hindrance toward those things in which most pleasure is found. The more intense the pleasure, the more readily does action take the direction of its fulfillment.
The Eagle now pictures the middle decanate of Sagittarius. But tradition also associates it with the sex sign Scorpio. When sex takes wings and soars on the pinions of regeneration to the utmost heights, it moves from the house of Death, from Scorpio, over into the house of Religion. In fact, it is only under the influence of religion, of the desire to spiritualize sex, that this transmutation takes place. Yet the religious aspirations expressed by Sagittarius, in turn are due to the sublimation of the love impulse. The Thunderbird of our Southwest Indians expresses this not less than the classical bird of Jove.
Love or desire is the motive power behind every action. It also stimulates every thought. Activity takes, therefore, the direction of the strongest desire; that desire so well symbolized by Crater, which is Jove’s cup of wine and the goblet which carried the oriental soma juice.
The wine or soma is the stimulant; the desire which gives rise to action. Yet whether that action be powerful or weak depends not merely upon the stimulant, upon the desire, but also upon the amount of energy which is available. A weakened swimmer may intensely desire to save his life; but unless there is sufficient energy available, he will be unable to make the shore. Desire alone is not sufficient for accomplishment; otherwise there would be more successful men and women. Desire can only direct such energy as is available into a definite channel of activity.
Scorpio is the great energy reservoir. It contains an energy which must be expressed through some channel. Since life began on earth those who have yielded to the mating impulse have left offspring, and those who have resisted the impulse to mate have been sterile. That condition remains today. Nuns and celibate priests seal the death warrant on the Perpetuation of their strain. Those who successfully resist reproduction leave no biological heritage; they die out. Thus do only those racial strains survive in which the impulse to mate overcomes any artificial prejudice to remain barren.
Natural selection has thus, since life on earth began, been building up the power of the reproducing energy until it has gained such strength in every normal human being that it will not be denied expression. Yet nature has dictated no rigid channel through which alone this creative energy must flow. The extent to which it can be sublimated and made successfully to flow through more spiritual channels is an individual problem. All creative work, however, tends to afford it some expression; and many find it possible so fully to transmute into more spiritual endeavors that other expression is unnecessary to a completely satisfactory life adjustment.
Such spiritualizing of the Scorpio energy, expressing it on the higher side of Pluto, is pictured by the Eagle. The cup of Desire is the stimulant, but the Thunderbird, which is associated with Jove’s lightning, affords the energy which is thus carried to the place where Religion dwells.
Nectar, ruled by Venus, the planet of love, symbolized the spiritualized essence of love. Saturn, the cold and crystallizing influence of selfishness is, quite naturally, bitterly opposed to the generous, free hearted and benevolent Jupiter. To the extent this self-seeking influence of Saturn is present are the unselfish impulses of Jupiter in danger. The best way to escape such danger is for the benevolent tendencies to keep away from those seeking only the interest of the material self. So doing, the Higher Mind and Religious Life are fed with the nectar of a spiritualizing love, carried to them by the energy of the Eagle.
As portraying an ideal sex influence, the Eagle is uncommon among birds. With a few exceptions our feathered friends are either polygamous, like the barnyard fowls, or mate only for a single season. But the Eagle, used by the ancients to represent the most spiritual influence of sex, such as conforms to the true Religious Ideal, mates for life. It thus represents that higher side of Pluto in which not only are the energies sublimated to a higher plane of expression, but in which those who are ideally suited one to the other, true soul mates, are united.
In their hunting habits, so strong of wing are they that they go, like the soul in dreams, exploring in far distant places, but always returning to their home, to which they are singularly attached. And the house which Sagittarius rules, the ninth mansion of the birth chart, has dominion over dreams, and over all forms of astral travel. It is the house of long journeys, not merely of the body, but also of the mind.
When the mind explores the universe, even as Sagittarius is a dual sign, so also are the reports which it brings back into the region of objective consciousness of two distinct types. The one type reports the reality of the condition actually contacted. It holds itself strictly to an accurate account of what has been seen and heard, and what has happened. Yet life would sadly miss one of its most alluring phases if it had no power to create, no power to visualize something not yet a reality of substance, but which, under suitable circumstances might become so. In addition to reporting reality the artist, the composer, the writer, the inventor, and all who bring to life its highest joys, must have imagination.
Without imagination the mental life is sterile. But through its use the individual is able mentally to picture the condition or action which finds fulfillment for some desire. The first step in the objective realization of some wish is the formulation of that which is to be sought.
This image making power of the mind not only aids us to the concrete realization of our desires, but plays an important role in enabling us also to obtain some emotional satisfaction merely through associating with the mental images of the thing desired. People read fiction to enjoy vicariously the adventures of the hero and heroine, that is, to find satisfaction for impulses and desires which the practical requirements of objective life forbid. The thrills they long for, but dare not gain through action in the world of reality, they are able to indulge sufficiently to feel satisfied by going to the movies.
According to the dictum of scenario land, if you would produce a picture of unusual success, you must enable the audience to experience, through the screen actors, that which is most lacking in their own lives and which at the same time they most desire.
These images of things desired and of the things to be avoided permit an easier emotional response when seen upon the stage or screen, or presented from the pages of a book. The author has performed the labor of creating visual images, and of skillfully arranging them in a sequence that will arouse the desired emotional response. But each individual possesses and exercises, in some degree, this ability to form fantasies within his own mind.
This building of mental images through which the individual has experiences and feels emotions is carried over into the time of sleep. Such experiences are called dreams. All people have dreams.
In the waking state the mind travels from one series of experiences to another, constantly receiving new impressions or comparing those already received. And in the state of sleep it is no less active, moving from experience to experience, from sensation to sensation, without cessation.
Because the impact of physical environment, and the necessity of perceiving it correctly if the organism is not to suffer injury, tends to a habit of mind in the waking state in which commonly it concerns itself more with reality than with images of its own creation, most people in their waking hours do only a small amount of day dreaming. Within limits, however, it is optional whether the mind is engaged with fantasies or with realities.
In the sleeping state, because there is no such imperative necessity to keep the mind alert to realities, the common habit is chiefly to permit it to wander in fantasies. Nearly all people do, however, at times, direct their attention in sleep to actual happenings. Their dreams then give them warnings, or apprise them of conditions that later are recognized. The extent to which in sleep the mind becomes absorbed in images of its own creation is largely a matter of habit and training. That is, there is no necessity for the mind to engage in fantasy thinking during sleep, no more so than in the waking state. Either waking or in sleep both types of mental activities are open to it.
More difficult than perceiving realities while asleep is the work of bringing them into the memory of everyday consciousness. Yet through training the individual can bring back the reports of his explorations on the inner plane. This leads to the text: In Sleep the Soul Wanders on the Wings of its Desires to the Region Most Attractive to it; Let that Region, therefore, Be the Highest.
The Arrow that Slew the Cyclopes
Sagittarius is the constellation of the Higher Mind and of Religion. Lyra depicts the method by which this mind tunes in on higher planes of existence and responds to inspirational harmonics from such upper spheres; while Aquila represents the power of the soul to free itself from the limitations of physical environment and travel to inner worlds, there to search for information. We may expect the third decanate of the sign, therefore, where the Sun may be found from December 12 to December 22, to portray still another high mental activity; and this it does; for Sagitta relates to Illumination.
This constellation is represented by an arrow, apparently let fly by the celestial Archer. Swifter than the horse of the Bowman, swifter even than the Great Dog represented, the middle decanate of the Lower Mind, Gemini, the Arrow symbolizes the speed of thought, its unswerving aim, and its ability to strike the mark. As shafts of light penetrate the darkness, so do the higher powers of the soul pierce the clouds of illusion.
While the Sun is in this Arrow decanate, the hours of darkness so increase that we have the shortest days of the year just at its end. Directly across the zodiac, where Gemini and Cancer join, is the decanate of the Giant Bear, typifying various other ancient giants such as the Cyclopes. These were the sons of Coelus and Terra, that is, of heaven and earth. They were three in number, Arges, Brontes and Steropes, and they occupied themselves in Vulcan’s workshop, where they forged the thunderbolts used by the king of the gods, who benevolently rules the Sagittarian sign.
These thunderbolts, which thus they manufactured, represented, as yet they do to the Indians of our Southwest, the destructive use of the Scorpion’s power, instead of its constructive use, such as is denoted by the Eagle or Thunderbird. And the Cyclopes who forged them represent Reason, which is the Keyword of the decanate where the Sun climbs highest, the place in the zodiac pictured by the enormous Bear.
These Cyclopes each had but a single eye, located in the middle of the forehead. They were several because Reason is employed in all the various material sciences. Yet in such work but one viewpoint is tolerated, the single eye which can perceive only the happenings and relations of the physical world. The Reason of material science is totally blind to the still more important factors and influences of the inner plane. It takes no account of them, and scoffs at their very existence.
Instead, therefore, of constructing a plan of human life which takes into account the persistence of the soul after the dissolution of the physical body, and the responsibility of each soul for the welfare of other souls in an eternally progressive scheme of existence, it forges doctrines of soul annihilation, thunderbolts which destroy all hope of life on other planes than this. One after another, physical facts are cited to prove all religion is superstition, that there can be no world other than the one which can be seen with the Cyclops eye, that great eye of physical discernment which materialism maintains is the only source of valid information.
Even as at the time of winter solstice, when the Sun has reached the end of the Sagitta decanate, the nights are longest, so do the positive utterances of those who reason from the viewpoint of materialism cast a pall of darkest gloom over the struggling soul. For three days the Sun remains at this same darkest declination before starting back toward the north with its illuminating promise of life for another year; and of Cyclopes, therefore, there are three. But they were exterminated, according to Greek mythology, these three single-eyed giants, by Sagitta, the arrow sped from the bow of Apollo, god of the Sun.
Not force, not physical movement or physical action, dissipates darkness; but it is exterminated by the presence of light. Such light, the beams of which pierce the blackness of physical night, is represented by the celestial Arrow.
Wisdom alone, such as the speeding Arrow brings, however, is not all sufficient to the progress of the soul. Light it must have as a guide to action if that action is to lead to progression; but the action itself which permits the perpetual unfolding of its powers, requires another factor. As a companion to Wisdom, as its polar opposite, both of which in cooperation make evolution possible, there is Love. Love and Wisdom are the avenues through which alone the advancement of the soul is made.
Therefore, while Sagitta stresses the importance of Wisdom, in the traditions of this heavenly arrow Love has not been overlooked. Mythology holds, not only that it is the arrow of the Sun, but also the one shot from Dan Cupid’s bow. By this is implied that in true Illumination, feeling as well as knowledge, plays an important part; that it is more than an intellectual perception, that Love joins hands with Wisdom.
In the Hopi Indian ceremony of calling back the Sun, a ceremony held at the winter solstice just when the Sun has reached the end of the Sagitta decanate, arrows which are violently thrown into a mound of earth by the Thunderbird man play an important part. And when Elisha lay dying, and Joash asked help of him before he departed, that their enemies might be defeated, mention is made of the horseman, that is, of Sagittarius, of the three—before the light begins to triumph over darkness after the Sun has reached the solstice—and of the arrows. II Kings 13, relates:
"And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Istael and the horsemen thereof. And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows. And he said to the king of Israel, put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands.
"And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, the arrow of the Lord’s deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them. And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed."
That from which men seek deliverance, as Joash sought deliverance from the Syrians, is the darkness of misconception. When the arrow of the soul pierces the illusions imposed by physical limitations, it then perceives the road it must follow to reach the desired spiritual attainment. But unaided Reason is quite inadequate to furnish this illumination. If sufficient light is to be had to see the way clearly an inner faculty of understanding must be brought into play.
When Reason, the one-eyed Cyclops, intrudes its presence, it quite effectually prevents that which spiritual men of all ages have referred to as Illumination. This state of consciousness is an identification of the individual with the knowledge sought. Instead of thinking about it, he feels the truth within himself. Yet such inner feeling cannot gain recognition so long as ordinary mental processes are active. They must be routed, laid to rest, or otherwise vanquished, before the inner contact with the desired information can be felt.
In the use of any of the senses, even those of physical sight and hearing, we tune in on some particular aspect of a thing. That is, our eyes tune in on the light reflected from a surface, or our ears tune in on certain molecular vibrations. In this manner we recognize certain phases of physical existence. But when Illumination takes place, we tune in on the thing quite completely, on its inner character and its qualities. Identifying ourselves for the time with it, we know it from the inside and the outside in all its essential vibrations, and this gives rise to a knowledge of certainty about it.
The astral body has various senses, such as clairvoyance, clairaudience and psychometry, with which to perceive objects and occurrences from the four-dimensional plane. Yet the employment of these inner senses is not Illumination, it is merely the use of more effective organs of perception to get impressions about things. Such impressions, while more comprehensive than those gained through the use of the physical sense organs, only include certain aspects of the thing under consideration.
When, however, the individual can completely tune himself in on the subject of his attention, he so identifies himself with it that there is no sense of separateness; he seems to be that thing and to know all there is to know about it, both inside and outside. This information, or knowledge, instead of coming through the inner sense organs, is felt as if it were a light flooding the utmost recesses of the soul; hence its name of Illumination.
One should not conclude from this that those who experience true Illumination are never in error. Like all other information, to reach objective consciousness it must pass from the unconscious to the conscious mind. Therefore, whether the information comes through the physical senses, through Reason, through the astral senses, or through Illumination, it is always subject to the influence of any opinions or emotions that have a dominant power within the unconscious mind. These control the avenues through which the information must pass to reach objective consciousness.
If the information, however correctly received and true, does not meet the approval of these dominant unconscious factors providing such are present—they act as censors. The information cannot pass them and reach the conscious mind until it conforms to their standards. For this reason information received through any channel should be checked as to accuracy in as many ways as possible.
Nevertheless, whether it is permitted to pass from the unconscious to the conscious without censorship or not, Illumination is the most satisfactory and comprehensive way of securing knowledge. To thus tune in on the desired information requires great concentration, hence the text: Concentration is the Arrow that Pierces the Illusions of Matter and Makes Possible High Accomplishment.