The Great Invocation, The Sword of God
Reprinted from the April-June 2010 issue of The Beacon
Deceptively, the Great Invocation is in its immediate appearance a gentle and simple composition of words, yet behind the words is the driving force of an immense potency of quite magical and awesome effect carried on the wings of thought and speech.
THE MASTER JESUS SAID "I come not to bring peace but a sword". This is both an arresting and at the same time rather a challenging statement not least because the sense of expectancy associated with His reappearance rests mainly on the idea that it is most definitely peace that He will bring. In fact, many assume that it is His divine task to bring peace, to end world problems, and because of this humanity is exempt from all responsibility. Equally, there is a tendency to imagine His reappearance will manifest in the form He took before as Jesus of Nazareth. Whilst the appearance He will take is as yet unknown, it does seem reasonable that the first signs of this event will be of an awakening in human consciousness—that is, He will become present first in consciousness itself. As the human heart and mind discovers, experiences and increasingly expresses the Christ principle through right action and right human relationships He will reappear. One way in which this can be seen to be happening is through the thousands who have passed through the first initiation, the "birth of Christ in the cave of the heart". Therefore, the sword that He brings is worthy of examination for it has several implications both as symbol and energy.
That He alone and unaided will bring peace and solve humanity’s problems is not only a dangerous illusion, reinforcing apathy and dependency, it also encourages the glamour of seeing the Christ in a strictly astral form that is highly charged with emotional or aspirational fervency. There is then an important part that the sword is playing in first cutting out and uprooting the illusions and glamours surrounding the distorted thoughtforms of the Christ. The Great Invocation, like the sword of truth, points consciousness directly to reality—to the centres where the mind, the heart, and the will of God are known and experienced. The united invocation for His return to Earth in the second stanza is about the release of an essential energy, that of love, rather than the apparition of a divine form, no matter how remarkable. In this the Hierarchy have used words as a formula which instantly raise the heart and mind above the astral forms of Christ, thereby positioning awareness in an impersonal state, a truly group conscious state of mind and being.
Deceptively, the Great Invocation is in its immediate appearance a gentle and simple composition of words, yet behind the words is the driving force of an immense potency of quite magical and awesome effect, carried on the wings of thought and speech. One of the most rudimentary lessons the disciple must learn is that of the control of speech, not least because the wrong use of speech can open the door to the most harmful elements of astral force. In this context we are considering the power of words, symbols and images and how they can be used to invoke spiritual energies and create certain effects. In saying the Great Invocation we are clear, whether alone or in a group, that it is the highest forces of light, love and power that we wish to invoke. It is in a sense intuitive poetry in that the form and structure used promotes the four qualities of intuition, illumination, understanding and love. As it is being said it precipitates the effects it sets out to cause—to call forth reality through the intuition as the opposite of illusion.
The Word as the Sword
It is interesting to note that "sword" becomes "word" when the letter "s" is dropped and it might be said that through the Great Invocation we are wielding His word in the name of Christ as the divine representative of God’s Will.
The form the Great Invocation takes is based upon a series of words which serve as the energizing vehicle through which the encapsulated message of the plan can be delivered. Therefore, it might be said that any individual or group using the Great Invocation takes up the sword/word and aids in the "creative-destruction" of the obstacles barring the path of His return: On the one hand destroying the barriers and on the other cutting into etherised matter through the power of right speech to create the shape and form the path must take—a path sculpted from truth, love and united intention. The Great Invocation is training the heart and mind in the skillful art of wielding the s/word in spiritual combat so that the forces of light, love and power can emerge triumphant on Earth.
However, the sword, like Excalibur, has still to be pulled from the stone, the concrete boulder of the lower mind. The Great Invocation can be seen as the Excalibur that is released from the stone and comes to life for all who apply the will-to-good to use it—the sword in the stone waiting to be seized and fulfill its destiny, the promise of paradise regained. Although the Arthurian legend is beyond the scope of this piece, there are some interesting parallels between the key symbols of Excalibur/Arthur and the Great Invocation/Reappearance of the Christ. For example, one theme—the belief that Arthur is not dead and will return—remained rooted in the popular mind throughout the centuries. The earliest references come from Celtic areas—a Welsh poem which remarks cryptically, "A mystery until Doomsday is the grave of Arthur"; a mention of a fight which broke out at Bodwin (Cornwall) in 1113 because a Frenchman laughed at a local man who assured them Arthur was alive; allusions to an obstinate belief among the people that he would return. Additionally, Arthur became the embodiment of the ideal Christian knight receiving his death wound from Mordred his nephew, treacherous knight and betrayer, the Judas of Camelot who opened the door to evil. On the subject of words and symbols and their implications it is interesting to note that "evil" is "live" spelt backwards.
Arthur may be likened to sharing a similar role as the Christ principle in that his presence or appearance is key to unlocking the sword from the stone. In this context it is representative of the transition from the "stuckness" of the lower concrete mind to the higher rapier-like speed of the intuition, giving the Great Invocation a transformative effect upon the mental plane.
Legend has it that only Arthur of the very pure heart could pull the sword from the stone and this corresponds to the requirement of a purified and unfolding heart centre as an essential foundation to the use of the will aspect in relation to esoteric work. Likewise the Great Invocation, like Excalibur/Arthur, works more effectively when wielded by a pure heart and motive.
The Sword of Mercury
Another example of the use of the sword and its symbolic correspondence to the preparatory work is to be found in the story of Hercules as the world disciple. Before Hercules began his twelve labours he was given a number of gifts by the gods. We are told that "With graceful speech and brilliant wit came Mercury, carrying a sword of rare design, which he proffered, in a silver sheath, to Hercules. He strapped it on the thigh of Hercules, bidding him keep it shiny and bright. ‘It must divide and cut,’ said Mercury, "and with precision and acquired skill must move.’"1
We are also told that "the gift of a sword that came from Mercury, the messenger of the gods, is of profound significance, for the sword is the symbol of the mind which divides asunder, separates and cuts off. Through its use, Mercury added to the other gifts bestowed upon Hercules that of mental analysis and discrimination."2 Mercury, also called the winged messenger, is associated with communication; in essence he is the "messenger of heaven" or in this context the messenger of the Hierarchy epitomizing the power of the spoken word in conjunction with the technique of invocation. The Greek version of Mercury is Hermes signifying "interpreter or mediator"; certainly there would seem to be an interplay of these skills required if humanity as the world disciple is to act as ambassador to the Hierarchy in presenting the Great Invocation to others.
The alchemists equated Mercury with related concepts of fluency and transmutation and because of its fluidity (as in the case of all liquids) the use of the Great Invocation is one of the most alchemical processes taking place as it transmutes matter into spirit, raising it from the inferior to the superior and from the transitory to the stable. Mercury, we are told, is "supremely mental", being the prime agent of the third aspect of active intelligence and at the same time embodying the second aspect of love-wisdom, in particular the wisdom aspect. It is referred to as a dual energy as it expresses both the concrete mind and the abstract mind of God. Another point of interest is that the lower concrete mind was unfolded in the first solar system, the higher abstract or intuitional mind, pure reason, is unfolding in this system. Therefore, by saying the Great Invocation, distributing it and bringing it to public attention we are aiding in this process on a cosmic scale. Mercury energy is of a synthesizing nature, bringing together mind-wisdom expressing itself through the human soul. Additionally, Mercury rules the bridge or antahkarana.
The implications of Mercury are many, even the nervous system is controlled by this energy, for the nerves are messengers on the biological plane. Also, as a point of interest the famous herbal physician and astrologer Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) appropriated herbs, roots, flowers and seeds to their governing planet, perceiving that they contained the virtues of the planet for medicinal and healing purposes. In his book he quotes "Because out of thy thoughts God shall not pass, His image stamped is on every grass." Those herbs governed by Mercury were particularly beneficial for "afflictions of the brain" as in calamint or mountain mint; likewise he said that dill "strengthens the brain".
The sword is in essence composed of a blade and a guard; it is therefore a symbol of "conjunction", especially as when, in the Middle Ages, it takes on the form of a cross. In astrological terms a conjunction is the closeness or proximity of two heavenly bodies, meeting or passing, or the presence in the same part of the heavens of two celestial bodies. It could be said that a similar correspondence is taking place as Pisces passes away from its long rule and is superseded by the incoming energy of Aquarius, causing a sense of the two energies crossing, even clashing until the transition from a sixth to a seventh ray cycle is fully established.
In terms of the sword, where the Romans where concerned they believed that iron, because of its association with Mars, was capable of warding off evil spirits. Its primary symbolic meaning, however, is of a wound and the power to wound, and yet it is the motive behind wounding that makes it good or bad. For example, a doctor might inflict pain to treat a wound or a soldier take one life in order to save hundreds. Since those who say the Great Invocation are not wielding the sword to wound but to heal, the sword then is the disciple’s ally in the fight to liberate the "prisoners of the planet". To this effect the sword of invocation can penetrate and pierce through the material world into the spiritual and discharge the awaiting evocation of redemptive force. On this theme war weapons can be positive symbols, the sword standing for justice and a higher authority. Whilst the dagger represents the phallus and masculinity in general, in Megalithic culture the sword is the counterpart of the distaff, which is the feminine symbol of the continuity of life. The sword and the distaff symbolize, respectively, death and fertility, the two opposites which constitute the basic symbolism of the mountain, and the mountain is shaped like a triangle, the sacred signature of God.
This relates to the purpose of invocation which is to create points of sword-like tension in mountain peaks of triangular energy through which the Voiced demand can swell and move heavenwards. In turn, the four stanzas compiling the Great Invocation are positioned like four solid mountains within the terrain of the group mind. In Chinese philosophy mountains standing close together give the image of keeping still; the success of invocation and the resultant evocation is tied in with the ability to fuse with the "still point at the centre" prior to releasing the group’s "massed intent". This way the mind, like a great mountain bathed in sunlight, is held steady in the light of the soul and aligned to Hierarchical effort and intention. In this respect we are aligning the group effort with the "constancy, exactitude and power" that the Christ and the Spiritual Hierarchy adopt when saying the Great Invocation and as one united force take up the swords and therefore the word(s) of God. [-]
1Labours of Hercules, by Alice Bailey. pp. 15-16
2 Ibid. p. 25