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2. The Crosses and the Signs

We will follow man from sign to sign as he—in travail and pain—forges the equipment and develops painfully the mechanism which will enable him to arrive at a major moment of crisis in his cyclic life wherein he will begin to free himself from the path of the great illusion along which he has travelled for aeons from Aries to Taurus, via Pisces and—reversing himself—will begin to travel the path of light from Aries to Pisces, via Taurus. This changing experience is expressed for us most beautifully in the sixth section of the Old Commentary:

"The Cross of many changes (the Mutable Cross. A.A.B.) continues with its whirling, carrying [82] crucified thereon the form of a man in whom is found the seed of all illusion.

But, from the Cross whereon he has been slain—e'en though he knew it not—the man climbs down and feels his way (with pain and many tears) on to another Cross—a Cross of blinding light, of fiery pain, of bitter woe, and yet the Cross of liberation. It is a stationary Cross, fixed in the Heavens, and guarded by the Angel.

Behind the Cross, another Cross appears, but that he may not reach (the Angel guards the way!) until the Bull has rent and torn the man, and then—the light shines forth; until the Serpent dread has wrestled with the man and brought him to his knees, and then—the lifting up into the light; until the Lion has been tamed, the secret of the Sphinx revealed, and then—the revelation of the inner light; until the man has lifted up his water-pot and joined the ranks of those who are the Water-bearers, and then the flowing of the stream of life will fill his water-pot and drain the rancid pool and cleanse its source and thus reveal the hidden way which leads unto the innermost light, hid by the final Cross. Then, from the Cross of man, the initiate finds his way, passes the Angel and leaves behind the inner torn veil, mounts the major Cross and passes into day, the final day. The wheel for him stands still. The sun and stars, for him, fade out. A great light is seen and..."

The three crosses on Mount Golgotha were Biblical symbols of these three astrological crosses, the Common or Mutable Cross, the Fixed Cross and the Cardinal Cross.

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I would ask you to remember that though I shall trace the progress of the man from sign to sign around the zodiacal way, yet there is not necessarily this ordered sequence of travel or the smooth passage from sign to sign as I may portray it. All souls come into incarnation in the sign Cancer. By this I mean that the very first human incarnation was always taken in this sign which has been recognised down the ages as "the doorway into life of those who must know death," just as the constellation Capricorn is ever regarded as another door and is called esoterically the "doorway into life of those who know not death." As the ages slip away, the man passes into and out of all the signs, the particular sign being determined by the nature of the personality ray which itself changes, as you know, from life to life. In those signs he learns the needed lessons, broadens his horizon, integrates his personality, begins to sense the conditioning soul, and thus discovers his essential duality. When he is upon the Path of Discipleship (and here I include the Path of Initiation) occult rumour says that he then becomes conditioned by the tireless Watcher, the soul, and is subjected (during the final stages of the path) to exactly twelve incarnations, passing one in each of the twelve signs. In them he has to prove himself, attaining great moments of crisis in each of the constellations of the Fixed Cross in particular. From point to point, stage to stage, and finally Cross to Cross, he fights for his spiritual life, in all the twelve houses and all the twelve constellations, subjected to countless combinations of forces and energies—ray, planetary, zodiacal and cosmic—until he is "made anew," becomes the "new man," is sensitive to the entire range of spiritual vibrations in our solar system and has achieved that detachment which will enable him to escape from the wheel of rebirth. He has accomplished [84] this by mounting the three Crosses—the cross of the Personality or the changing form, the Cross of the Disciple or the eternal soul, and the Cross of the Spirit. This really means that he has passed through three momentous crises in his life cycle.

 

I.

 The Crisis of Incarnation . . . . . . . The Mutable Cross

 

The Mounting of the Wheel . . . . . .Personality and form life

 

The Cycle of Rebirth in Form . . . . Experience

 

Manifestation of Manhood

 

 

II.

 The Crisis of Reorientation . . . . . . The Fixed Cross

 

The Changing to the 2nd Cross . . . The life of the soul

 

Preparation for the 2nd Birth . . . . . Consciousness

 

Manifestation of Christhood

 

 

III.

 The Crisis of Initiation . . . . . . . . . The Cardinal Cross

 

The Transfiguration . . . . . . . . . . . The Life of the Spirit

 

Manifestation of Divinity

 

In our study of the interlocking system of energies, in so far as they affect and condition a human being, the theme of the Three Crosses is of profound and practical interest, especially as they provide those points of crisis wherein a man steps off the ordinary path of evolution and treads the path of discipleship or—after the third initiation mounts a third Cross. It will underlie our thought and all that I have to say. A steady recollection of the twelve basic energies [85] (five major and seven minor which are in reality, and apart from astral reversion due to the Great Illusion, seven major and five minor) will be of value. These work out into human expression via the Lords of the twelve signs and the twelve planetary Rulers. These twelve basic energies emanate from the seven stars of the Great Bear (transmitted through seven stars of the Little Bear); two of them come from Sirius and three from the Pleiades. This set-up (if I may use such an unorthodox term) will be the condition of the major solar sphere of influence at the end of the Great Age of Brahma, as it is esoterically called. In the "interim or interlude of evolution" (which is the inadequate translation of an occult phrase given to a world cycle in the Masters' Archives) these energies are stepped down into forces and are literally sixteen all told—from the angle of manifestation, I would remind you—and make literally: 7+7+2=16=7. In these numbers the mystery of our evolutionary process lies hid. Always, however, the emphasis must be laid upon the Rays of Energy and Quality as they pour through the zodiacal constellations and the planets. The new astrology therefore is necessarily based upon an understanding of the rays. The following tabulation is fundamental in its implications in this connection and upon it all that I have to say will be based.

Seven stars of the Great Bear are the originating Sources of the seven rays of our solar system. The seven Rishis (as They are called) of the Great Bear express Themselves through the medium of the seven planetary Logoi Who are Their Representatives and to Whom They stand in the relation of prototype. The seven Planetary Spirits manifest through the medium of the seven sacred planets.

Each of these seven Rays, coming from the Great [86] Bear, are transmitted into our solar system through the medium of three constellations and their ruling planets. The following tabulation makes this clear but must be interpreted only in terms of this present turn of the Great Zodiacal Wheel (25,000 years):

 

TABULATION VIII

 

 

Ray

Constellations

Planets
(Orthodox)

Planets
(Esoteric)

 

Aries, The Ram

Mars

Mercury.

 

   I.

 Will or Power

Leo, the Lion

Sun

Sun.

 

 

Capricorn, the Goat

Saturn

Saturn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gemini, the Twins

Mercury

Venus.

 

  II.

 Love-Wisdom

Virgo, the Virgin

Mercury

Moon (veiling a planet).

 

Pisces, the Fishes

Jupiter

Pluto.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cancer, the Crab

Moon

Neptune.

 

 III.

 Active-Intelligence

Libra, the Scales

Venus

Uranus.

 

Capricorn, the Goat

Saturn

Saturn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taurus, the Bull

Venus

Vulcan.

 

 IV.

 Harmony through

Scorpio, the Scorpion

Mars

Mars.

    

 Conflict

Sagittarius, the Archer

Jupiter

Earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leo, the Lion

Sun

Sun.

 

  V.

Concrete Science

Sagittarius, the Archer

Jupiter

Earth.

 

Aquarius, the Watercarrier

Uranus

Jupiter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virgo, the Virgin

Mercury

Moon.

 

 VI.

Idealism. Devotion

Sagittarius, the Archer

Jupiter

Earth.

 

Pisces, the Fishes

Jupiter

Pluto.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aries, the Ram

Mars

Mercury.

 

VII.

Ceremonial Order

Cancer, the Crab

Moon

Neptune.

 

Capricorn, the Goat

Saturn

Saturn.

 

 

It will be obvious to you how much correlating work and how much readjustment of ideas will be needed as the new astrology is worked out into practical usefulness and eventually substituted for that now holding sway. This new astrology really embodies five sciences:

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1. The Science of the Rays.

2. The Science of Esoteric Interpretation which is carried out through

3. The Science of Triangles.

4. The Science of the Centres.

5. The Science of Destiny.

This latter science will be based upon the four previous ones and will constitute an interpretation of the future which will be founded on a correct understanding of the rays—personal and egoic—of the influence of the triangles—zodiacal, planetary, racial and human. These latter triangles are arrived at by a study of the individual human centres. When all this has been ascertained and worked out in the new style of horoscope which will be later developed, then the Science of Destiny will be applied and the future indications discovered. Of this, the personal progressed horoscope is the embryonic seed.

Some indication of relative values can be gained by a consideration of the human triangles as given in A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, which suggested the following:

"It would repay the student to contemplate the interesting succession of triangles that are to be found and the way in which they must be linked by the progression of the fire before that fire can perfectly vivify them, and thence pass on to other transmutations. We might enumerate some of these triangles, bearing always in mind that, according to the ray, so will proceed the geometric rising of the fire, and according to the ray, so will the points be touched in ordered sequence. Herein lies one of the secrets of initiation, and herein are found some of the dangers entailed in a too quick publication of information concerning the rays.

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1. The pranic triangle.

a. The shoulder centre.

b. The centre near the diaphragm.

c. The spleen.

2. Man controlled from the astral plane.

a. The base of spine.

b. The solar plexus.

c. The heart.

3. Man controlled from the mental plane.

a. The base of spine.

b. The heart.

c. The throat.

4. Man partially controlled by the Ego, advanced man.

a. The heart.

b. The throat.

c. The head, i.e., the four lesser centres and their synthesis, the ajna centre.

5. Spiritual man to the third Initiation.

a. The heart.

b. The throat.

c. The seven head centres.

6. Spiritual man to the fifth Initiation.

a. The heart.

b. The seven head centres.

c. The two many-petalled lotuses.

All these different periods show different triangular radiations. We must not infer from this that when the fire is centred in one triangle it is not demonstrating in others. Once the fire has free passage along any triangle it flames continuously, but always there is one triangle more radiant and luminous than the others, and it is from these glowing triangles of light, issuing from wheels and vortices of fire, [89] that the clairvoyant and the teachers of the race can appraise a man's position in the scheme of things, and judge of his attainment. At the culmination of life experience, and when man has reached his goal, each triangle is a radiant path of fire, and each centre a wheel of living fiery force rotating at terrific speed; the centre at this stage not only rotates in a specific direction, but literally turns upon itself, forming a living flaming iridescent globe of pure fire, and holding within it a certain geometrical shape, yet withal vibrating so rapidly that the eye can scarcely follow it. Above all, at the top of the head will be seen a fiery display that seems to put all the other centres into insignificance; from the heart of this many-petalled lotus issues a flame of fire with the basic hue of a man's ray. This flame mounts upward and seems to attract downward a sheet of electric light, which is the downflow from the spirit on the highest plane. This marks the blending of the fires and the deliverance of man from the trammels of matter."

A Treatise on Cosmic Fire (pp. 169-171)

At present, charts are set up on the basis of the personality condition or of the personality ray, if the astrologer is fortunate enough to know or to guess it accurately; if, however, the subject is an advanced person, then the chart will be frequently wrong as the planets which govern in the case of ordinary or undeveloped man have ceased to influence the spiritual man and the disciple. Average man is primarily conditioned in the events of his physical plane life by the position of the planets in the twelve houses and they are, in their turn, conditioned by certain karmic influences which the advanced man has overcome, or is overcoming. The horoscope will be cast eventually on the basis of the soul ray, and then the zodiacal signs which govern the activities and [90] the influence of the present group of planetary Rulers will be considerably lessened. New planetary potencies (conveying zodiacal energies) will control and take precedence of the old ones, thus putting the man in touch with different forces. Finally the time will come when he will be sensitive to the whole range of vibrations; charts will then be set up which will be called "charts of the crosses" and not simply indications of planetary influences in the twelve houses. I question whether there is any living astrologer capable of doing this as yet. These are the kind of charts by which the Masters gauge Their disciples and they are most interesting; I touched upon them somewhat earlier in this treatise. These "charts of the crosses" are the ones that are prepared prior to the third initiation, at which time the man begins his "approach" to the Cardinal Cross of the heavens. I would here remind you, e'en though it is a piece of useless information, that the fifth major initiation of our planet is the first cosmic initiation, just as the third initiation is the first systemic. The two first initiations are planetary in their implications. The above statement has deep and esoteric astrological significance.