Festival of Cancer Talk
The text which follows was an address given by a member of the Headquarters staff of Lucis Trust at one of our public meetings. The purpose of these brief talks is to prepare and seed the group mind for the real work to be done--group meditation. This talk can be used by individuals and groups who wish to cooperate with this service.
Good evening everyone and welcome to our celebration of the full moon of Cancer. Cancer is an important sign within the annual cycle. In the cycle of the breath it is symbolic of the time of outbreathing, the time that follows upon the period of the higher interlude of the spiritual year, the period of Aries, Taurus and Gemini--the time when we hold our minds open to spiritual impression. Then, when we reach this phase of outbreathing, the energies that were contacted during that higher interlude period are distributed into the mass consciousness. So it’s an important opportunity for all of us who work with these cycles to understand that during this period our objective is to shed abroad the light and love that was contacted during the interlude period so that the masses of humanity can benefit from the contacted energies.
Let us now take a moment of silence to link up with all those individuals and groups throughout the world who are working with us at this time of preparation for the Cancer full moon:
O Thou Who givest sustenance to the universe,
One of Cancer’s underlying themes is sensitivity to impression. It’s an intuitive sign, giving the ability to see beyond the symbol, beyond the form, into the underlying meaning that sustains the outer life. And this idea of sensitivity is related to one of the central themes of esotericism first put forward by H.P. Blavatsky, the idea that space is an entity that is permeated with an etheric network through which the energy of life pours. The interconnectedness of all life forms as a result of this interlinking light is the basis for the cosmological worldview. We’re all connected, from sun to sun, star to star, planet to planet, and all forms within our planetary life. Through the ethers of space stream magnetic currents of energy and force that pour into our system from distant stars, constellations and planets. It’s said that the constellations are related to the planets through “ancient relationships.” This chain of being brings the energies right down into all aspects of our planetary life, distributing the particular energies of the signs, ray and planetary stimulation that qualify each sign of the zodiac.
Advanced individuals born under the influence of Cancer are ruled by Neptune on all three levels--exoterically, esoterically and hierarchically. It is this powerful singular planetary rulership that supplies the depth of intuitive response which is one of the key qualities of the Cancerian subject. And it also demonstrates the importance of this sign for through Neptune, it acts as a systemic transmitter of the energies of the cosmic Christ.
In The Secret Doctrine Helena Blavatsky writes, “Neptune does not really belong to our system, in spite of its apparent connection with the Sun. The connection is imaginary.” (S.D. I. 129. Note) This is certainly a revelatory statement because obviously the astronomers view Neptune as very much belonging to our solar system. This is another example of the divergence of opinion that often exists between the exoteric and esoteric sciences. There could be other planets within our solar system that also have different functions, such as Jupiter, which is almost like a sun in its own right. Venus and Mercury also, because of their esoteric function as light bearers, also act as little suns to Earth. Obviously because of Neptune’s relationship to another system, it would naturally bring in potent energies from different sources.
In Cosmic Fire we’re told Neptune is related to the perfecting process and to the second initiation. The planets involved in the second initiation also include Venus and Jupiter. And, as you know, the second initiation is related to the purification and control of the astral vehicle. It relates to what’s called a stilling of the waters. Neptune, known as the God of the Waters, naturally holds a key function in this event. Neptune exerts a strong influence over the purification process, known in the teachings as the Baptism, wherein the astral body becomes calm and no longer so easily stirred up by the lower aspects of the sixth ray planet Mars and instead begins to respond more readily to Neptune, the sacred sixth ray planet. From certain perspectives the second initiation is often considered the most difficult to achieve. The difficulties are related to the fact that the emotional vehicle is easily stirred up into storms. But once this second initiation is taken the emotional vehicle can be converted into a reflector of the light, the light of buddhi. There is a strong relationship between the astral vehicle and the buddhic vehicle. And this again illustrates the receptivity of the sign Cancer to buddhic impression, to the plane of the intuition. And since Cancer is a sign of mass consciousness, during this month when the sun is in Cancer, the disciples in the world have the opportunity to visualize the astral body of humanity being permeated with a great influx of the energy of love.
Cancer is a misunderstood sign, as are all four signs of the Cardinal Cross in the heavens. These four signs are Cancer, Capricorn, Aries and Libra. There are three crosses within our zodiac-- three crosses, each composed of four signs. The signs pertaining to the Cardinal Cross are, from one perspective, the most potent and most mysterious of the three. This cross deals with wholes, with collective experience and with those individuals and groups that are beginning to understand the planetary purpose. Emanating from this cross is an energy that can only be tapped into and vaguely understood once an individual has passed through the third initiation.
It is perhaps helpful for us to ponder the symbol of this cross as given to us by the Tibetan. It consists of an equilateral triangle and on each point of the triangle there is a small circle. From the middle of the base of the triangle a line extends downward. Perhaps at the apex of the triangle we find the sign of Capricorn, the sign of the mountain top, the sign of periodic arresting beyond which we cannot go during any particular cycle. And the two other points would be Aries and Libra, and the long line going down into the masses of humanity would be symbolic of the Cancerian experience wherein the energies are released.
We might deepen our understanding of the Cardinal Cross by considering the meaning of the word “cardinal.” We know, for example, that the highest prelates within the Catholic Church are called cardinals. They are second only to the Pope. Their garments are red in color, as are the birds that go by that name. So we can assume that the word cardinal is related to the color red, which we know is esoterically related to the first ray, to the first aspect. This gives another glimpse into the strength and mystery of this Cardinal Cross. We’re told that the word cardinal can be traced back to the Latin adjective cardinalis, which at first meant “serving as a hinge.” The root of this word is the noun cardo meaning “hinge.” Since a hinge is the device on which a door turns, the noun cardo also came to be used for “something on which a development turns or depends,” or in other words, “something very important.”
So if the entire Cardinal Cross is a type of vast hinge, in and of itself, it serves to reason that it must be part of a much larger door, or gate. We know that Cancer is considered a gate, it’s called the wide gate, the gate of easy entry that leads into human incarnation. Capricorn, the opposite polarity, is known as the narrow gate, the gate which is difficult to enter, leading to initiation. But the door associated with the entire cross is clearly something other, leading to unimaginable regions within consciousness. This idea relates to a description of the sixth initiation of decision, which is taken on this Cardinal Cross. This initiation is said to be the first step that leads to the endless way of which Nirvana is just the beginning. Sometimes, because of certain misinterpretations of the teachings of Buddhism, enlightenment was viewed as the end, the ultimate goal, the point beyond which no further progress was possible. But we know from the Ageless Wisdom teachings that there is no such point. Nirvana instead is an “open door,” the beginning of the endless path that leads to the very heart of the universe.
An ancient writing depicts this cross as the “widespread arms, the open heart and the higher mind.” That is a very beautiful visual for us to ponder, describing the very essence of this cross which the Tibetan calls the cross of the risen Christ. The fixed cross is known as the cross of the crucified Christ and the Mutable Cross is the cross of the hidden Christ. So you can see the progression of spiritual development contained within the teachings on the crosses--the Mutable experience being related to the masses of humanity, the Fixed Cross being related to the trials and opportunities of the path of discipleship and the Cardinal Cross of the “Risen Christ” being related to the higher initiations. And if you have the opportunity to study the image of the stars of the constellation Cancer you will see that it contains the widespread arms. The traditional interpretation of this constellation is that those arms are really the claws of the crab, but on a higher turn of the spiral they could easily relate to the widespread arms of the Cardinal Cross. It’s said that “Those who lie upon this cross know omnipresence and omniscience.” They are concerned with essential beingness. This cross carries the energy of that great being known as “The One About Whom Naught May be Said,” and it is thus tinctured with the light emanating from the seven solar systems. Our Planetary Logos is said to be stretched upon the widespread arms of this Cross.
It’s said that “at the centre of this cross is a vortex, a pool of pure, fiery light through which all those who take the higher initiations must eventually pass...They are plunged into the sea or pool of fire which is essentially the fire of God as it has been cleansed from every aspect of the material form through the complete purification of desire.”
Initiates who come forward under the sign of Cancer possess the ability to touch the wholeness of humanity, as it exists as a great entity. Such individuals can penetrate into the collective consciousness and create those forms which can lift and raise that consciousness to greater heights. Humanity has an important destiny to play within our planetary Life and that destiny is about to take an important forward step on its path of evolutionary development. Humanity is on the verge of certain revelations in the not too distant future. This event parallels, on a higher turn of the spiral, the great event that occurred 18.5 million years ago in ancient Lemuria known as individualisation. At that time the spark of mind was planted in the animal men of that day by the Solar Angels, converting them into thinking human beings. And now, on a higher turn of the spiral, there is another event upon the verge of precipitation, another fecundation (to use the Tibetan’s word) of humanity is about to occur that will turn ordinary human beings into spiritual beings. We are living in a period wherein the egoic lotuses of humanity are beginning to open and, in certain cases, are beginning to flower. As a result of this activity on the part of the solar angels, humanity will be better able to assume its responsibility within the planetary life as the distributor of energy from the three higher kingdoms of nature to the three lower, or subhuman kingdoms. That is the destiny of humanity. For aeons of time humanity has broken the chain of Hierarchy and so now all eyes are upon humanity, symbolically speaking, waiting for us to awaken to the responsibility that is before us to become distributors and co-creators within the divine circulatory flow of energy.
It’s said that the great Lives who ensoul our planet deliberately take life under the Law of Sacrifice. They consciously limit themselves in order to free the lesser lives--the so-called prisoners of the planet who are ourselves. Human beings are reaching a point in their evolutionary development where, in their own way, they too will act as transmitters of pure spiritual energy and thus be better equipped to cooperate in this act of freeing the prisoners.
Therefore we’re asked, “let each one act as a transmitter of light in the darkness. Dispelling the glamour around and letting in the radiance of reality. When large numbers of people can so act, then the human family will enter upon its destined work of planetary service. Its mission is to act as a bridge between the world of spirit and the world of material forms. All grades of matter meet in humanity, and all the states of consciousness are possible to us. Humanity can work in all directions, lifting the subhuman kingdoms into heaven and bringing heaven down to earth.”
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THE FESTIVAL OF CANCER