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By Alice A. Bailey* It would be of value to many students of modern conditions in the world of thought, if certain basic differentiations were emphasized, and certain lines or trends of ideas were placed in juxtaposition, and their relation to each other studied. No movement is wholly evil and no movement is wholly right. No group of thinkers is the custodian of the whole truth, nor does any Bible or the presentation of truth by any Teacher convey all that can be known of God and His ways. Questions of right or wrong are individual and personal, and no man is his brother’s keeper nor may he dictate to his brother’s conscience. The distinctions to be made fall into two main groups—those which concern the outer form and its inner teaching, or the esoteric and exoteric aspects of truth, and those which are the outcome of the old age which is passing and which indicate the coming influence of the new age. With exoteric truth we need not concern ourselves. Forms of religion and of thought are but indications of life and growth. They are the distorted outer semblances of an inner reality; they are the symbolic interpretations that men’s minds have given to the truth, varying from age to age and from cycle to cycle. They rise and fall, they come and go, and during their life time serve a useful purpose and after their passing are regarded as limitations. The forms that all group thought passes through, be they vast as a great religion or small as any of the insignificant cults or isms, demonstrate a similar history, and travel an analogous course. There is the period of their inception when the vision is seen in its initial beauty and the ideal is glimpsed in its glory and continuity. Some clear thinker, some great teacher, descending from the Mount of Initiation enunciates the truth, and pictures the vision. Thus the first form appears. As time passes on, a period of growth ensues during which the truth is covered up more and more and the vision recedes. Finally, we have a religion, or science, or art expressed in dogmatic formulas, laws, rituals and doctrines, with the usual paraphernalia of authoritative teaching and exalted teachers. As the form grows, the life weakens, but all the time a purpose is served, and use is made by many of the embodied truth. Old age follows next, accompanied by crystallization, and the revolt of thinkers against the imposed limitations. Then it becomes apparent that the form is useless and eventually its destruction takes place with the consequent release of the life, so that it can build for itself a more adequate expression. Thus has it been down the ages, and thus it ever will be, though (as the race evolves in understanding, harmonious relationships and wisdom) the cycles of growth, old age, and death may well be more gentle, gradual, and smoothly transited. An Age of Transition We are now in an age wherein much destruction of old forms and old presentations of truth is to be seen, and this period of revolt and difficulty is increased beyond the usual extent, for we are not only transiting out of pre-war conditions into an era of extension and development, but are passing out of one great solar cycle into another. A study of the past will reveal the fact that similar tremendous epochs have always been distinguished by such radical changes in conditions (economic, social, racial and religious) that it is almost as if a new form-world was being ushered in. The cycles to which I refer are not only astrological, but are astronomical facts which can be verified at any astronomical observatory. Beneath these exoteric forms, either rising into manifestation, attaining their growth, or passing away, lies that which is hidden, occult or esoteric—the life which is the cause of their being, the spiritual impulses which produce the tangible. Movements, therefore, which are termed esoteric are those which deal with the subjective side, with the soul indwelling the forms, with the life aspect in contradistinction to the material and objective. True esotericism touches the hidden roots of every man’s being; it concerns the side of
* Printed in The Beacon October 1927 and July 1996.
and the influence of the coming Aquarian cycle is producing the general chaos in all fields of thought and bringing about conflict between thinkers and workers everywhere. and that dependence upon the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures were sown. The sun then passed into the sign 2 . as carried on in the Chaldean. whose greater symbol or expression was the Sun itself. including man himself. the Bull. it becomes apparent that we are in the very midst of this most difficult transitional period. Two methods are at work simultaneously. and every basic direction which the social organism may take. those which have been nurtured. as it expresses itself through the cerebral. our sun was passing through the sign Taurus. People learnt to obey implicitly what they heard. organizations and groups embodying the social order which will prevail during the era of stability which must inevitably supervene upon the present age of transition and difficulty. A Clash of Forces The force of the age of Pisces. It is that which lies back of all religious formulas. all scientific research. As we realize the significance of the life and its forms. developed and utilized in the past and which are still most potent and influential. all economic pressures. it should be possible to arrive at certain helpful conclusions and perhaps see how to steer a straight and smoother course.humanity which we term the immortal. The Bull was the great symbol or sign of the Son of God. in view of their prime importance and their responsibility. or antagonized by. that aspect of himself of which man as yet knows so little. Upon the work done by them will depend the quality and the adequacy of those religions. occultism or esotericism concerns the soul. and the seeds of that adherence to the spoken word. Mithraic and Egyptian Mysteries. Many such transitional periods have occurred and always the race has emerged from them benefitted. and those which indicate the newer tendencies and which are characterized by the incipient qualities which are the sign of the coming new era. The fact that they are both with us at the same time and that people are influenced by. It was the great sign of the Voice. but is an inner spiritual awakening which recognizes a similar awakening or potential spirituality in all other human beings and the life latent in all forms. emotional and mechanical apparatus. nothing was self-directed from within. It is these movements which we will consider. Sibyls and Oracles were the directors of the nations and individual activities. and the eternal. The passage of our sun through the round of the heavens and its progression through the twelve signs of the zodiac is as inevitable as time itself. By an understanding of these two types of influence and by a consideration of the differences between the movements which may be claimed as representative of them. is given the function of sounding a note and of indicating the direction which the newer and fuller presentation of truth will take. It deals with that which is the cause of thought. feeling and action. Each solar cycle has seen our planet subjected to differing types of force and these have been responsible for the varying civilisations and cultures. except in the case of those advanced souls who guided the destinies of the peoples. A brief glimpse of the two cycles preceding the Christian (or the Piscean) may make this clearer. We had then the worship of the Bull. is the cause of the present world dilemma and others are left in the direst perplexity through observation of the conflict. It seeks to express and bring into the foreground of consciousness those divine persistent impulses which find expression in the intense activity and change which characterizes all nature. out of which we are now passing.C. complete in all its parts and lasting for approximately 2500 years. and a growth of what may generically be called the God-idea. In terms of the human unit. People were led from without. To them. the Cosmic Christ. stabilized and with an expansion of consciousness.C. realized or unrealized. which has served as a foundation for a newer and better Temple of humanity. an intellectual unfoldment. and as we study the times in which we live. but which makes him what he is. one or the other. The Jewish dispensation was inaugurated 2500 years B. True esotericism is not (as is so often supposed) a profound teaching with ceremonious rituals given under the oath of secrecy. Approximately 5000 B.
said the Christ. with them He frequently went fishing and many of His miracles were associated with fishes. and the sublimation of the emotional nature and its lifting up into the heavens in the person of the great saints. It is interesting to note that the sin of the children of Israel in the wilderness was the worship of the Golden Calf or a reversion to an old form of worship which the race was supposed to have outgrown and left behind. The foundations also of the great altar of sacrifice in the Jewish Tabernacle and Temple. In the Christ was given to the world the revelation of a perfect soul. “What”. which must be subjugated by sacrifice and by self-imposed purification. The Age of Pisces Then our sun began to traverse the sign Pisces. and regulate our personal conduct upon lines laid down in the Sermon on the Mount. and 2000 years ago the Christian dispensation began. In relation to the masses of humanity. It called the attention of a humanity who had hitherto been taught through the medium of the Voice and consequent childlike irresponsible obedience. a foundational aspect. the lamb. mystics and teachers of the Church. social. the Water Carrier. Is there no deep significance underlying this sacrifice of the bull. political. What has been the result of this teaching? The Piscean age as no other age has been distinguished by numbers of outstanding achieving Personalities. Thus we have the basis for the great expansion which came when the next sign was entered and individual effort was inculcated. A New Cycle Now we are passing slowly out of the Piscean age. out of that cycle which is outstandingly Christian. achieve individual perfection. and Pisces the Fishes? In this present cycle we have the development of the heart approach to God. and a picture of a divine possibility open to every son of man. the era of the devotee. the Fishes. or behind. such as music or science. The sacrifice of the individual and his martyrdom out of love for the great Personality that has embodied the God-idea in this era has been the characteristic of this age. and the Church has perpetuated the same idea in the use of fish on Fridays and other fast days. artistic and scientific. the influence of the new age is being felt and increasingly will it become dominant. and of the laver of brass in the outer court were oxen.Aries. It shows itself in any man who reaches great heights in any constructive field. Aries the Lamb. but the great teaching given that we have to work out our own salvation. The same idea is to be seen working out in the Orient in the teaching of the Gita on the Self and the Yoga Systems which teach Self-development. What was the great proclamation of the Christ? Save your Soul! No emphasis laid upon groups. It is interesting to note that Christ (as every great world Teacher has done) not only embodied the note for the cycle which He represented but linked Himself with the coming age and 3 . also frequently seen depicted in the catacombs. He chose fishermen for His disciples. and whose genius exalts itself above the rank and file. for the Christ principle does not only manifest through the medium of religious fervour and devotion. to the fact that there was an animal nature. Great men and great women have emerged into prominence and demonstrated divine characteristics in every walk of life. One who has found the divine Christ within himself will be superlative along his own line but that not necessarily a religious one. religious. Though 500 years at least must elapse before the transition is completed. typifying that which lay underneath. their numbers are relatively few but their names are remembered for achievement in every department of our civilisation. He sent them out to be “fishers of men”. the Lamb. and we have the institution of the Passover Lamb and the sacrifice of sheep and goats and lambs in place of the earlier use of oxen. The Great Master of Galilee is ever associated in the minds of men with the fish symbol. into that of Aquarius. “shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his Soul?” In response to this men have emphasized the need of personal salvation and the development of the Christ principle in their hearts at any cost. and the fish in religious ceremonies as they have sequentially developed when the Sun has passed through the signs Taurus the Bull. A fish drawn in the sand was a secret sign of the early Christians.
and now finds its apotheosis in the worthy but often unreasoning idolatry of leaders. Follow the leader. Appeal for personal devotion to Christ has ever been made and men and women have laid down their lives gladly and willingly for the beloved leader. Desire has been trained into aspiration and feeling has been translated into heaven. we need to remember that the Piscean movements have met a world need.. and also their unavoidable dangers. Thus idealism. “I am the water of life. These are the rules” have been the intended and rightful method. What will be the tendency of the new age? Group service and work! No longer will the emphasis be laid upon individual salvation. Under these conditions no clear thinking is possible. has been unfolded in the race. and often meaningless information. or because he is fed with a constant stream of mysterious. his followers regard themselves as the elect of the Lord. Anything that stultifies the human mind and produces blind unquestioning obedience must be deplored in an age when better things are possible. It will be apparent that the worst side of the Aquarian age tendencies will be hidden to us as they only demonstrate in their strength at the close of the age. what will be its 4 . coupled with obedience to that leader. no self-reliance is developed. aspiration. and prominent public figures in all departments of life. A claim making leader sets himself on a pedestal apart from the rank and file. things unknown on a large scale 500 years ago. He said. but the unit who has realized himself will lose himself and his interests in the good of the whole. the Christ. for that was the need of the race. It might be of value in understanding where we ourselves stand and what our attitude should be... The key to the danger of the Piscean influence lies in the idea of separateness.showed the unity of the life force. set the note for His workers in the words “Feed my sheep. and condemn to varied penalties all who do not recognize their leader. and perhaps it is the Aquarian influence that lies back of the increased tendency of people to use water. Therefore. Bible or formulation of truth as correct. and that is why His example will persist when all the present claim makers are forgotten. They have brought us to our present point of evolution. in a personal sense. is there because he personally likes the leader. Developed people (and their numbers will be increasingly great) will “carry the water of life” to all. the results aimed at in many cases are quite diverse. and the keynote of each age is very different. Therefore the Voice that said “I am among you as him that serveth” has grown very dim and the newer less worthy voices very loud. but let us recognize the passing of an old form and the need for a newer presentation. to store it and bathe in it. The Great Teacher of the Piscean age. and to take and accept the food that is given to them. Do as we say.. and group need will be dealt with. and noted their characteristics and benefits.. The ideal has been held up. It is only the distance that we have travelled since the Great Personality Who inaugurated our Piscean Age was with us that has caused the trouble. How to follow His example and how to get into heaven so as to be with Him. The methods employed in the Piscean age and in the Aquarian are unlike. has been the work which the Church has set itself to teach. Thus obedience to imposed authority and the following of the leader has been the method employed. if we compared these two great movements. Group consciousness will be emphasized. and ability to recognize a leader. let us not criticise. and a divine fanaticism in pursuit of it has been fanned. Teachings on the nature of the Christ have been the main fundamental and with that the New Testament deals. The claim He made was a life lived and a service rendered. The emotions and the heart have been deliberately nurtured. that in their day they have been right and have developed in humanity that which needed developing.. devotion. or because his friends are there too. and a mediumistic response to statements made by a personality or a group is most undesirable. or directions purporting to come from planetary intelligences and masters. organized around a personality. The re-iterated statements that “This is the way. workers. Thus the great heresy of separateness spreads.” Sheep are trained to follow. The Aquarian Age As the influence of the incoming Aquarian age spreads and increases.” Water is the symbol of the new age. Yet in view of all this. and the average member of a group.
The ideal Aquarian will have overcome his animal consciousness. thinking independently and refusing to give unquestioning allegiance to any human being. let us recognize the differing functions. and it may equally be inferred that a person who is developing as an Aquarian and encouraging in himself the independent self-reliant mental standpoint. the self-reliance of a man who knows his own soul and works intelligently under that soul’s direction. harmonious yet siding with no group. The Piscean age utilized and purified the hearts of its people. and the Taurian training will have done its work. When these three aspects of man (the physical. but certain indicative tendencies may even now be noted. no condition of ignorance or wisdom is involved. is it not to be expected that some Word may go forth to the sheep instead of to a handful which will embody the idea of service and of initiative? The sign of Aquarius is called the Sign of Knowledge universally applied. From that centre he will work. are beginning to be noted amongst us. let us realize that both must play their parts for both are needed. In these days of wide general thought and of close and immediate intercommunication. and in the Aquarian age he will learn to work from that heavenly centre by the intelligent use of the mind. 5 . Both Groups are Needed Let us recognize the sincerity of both groups. Many people with Aquarian inclinations. He will be focused in his own centre. self-reliant and selfcentred in the spiritual sense. both parts being equally divine. He will know himself and that which he has to do. not led. The Aquarian man will be distinguished by his mind control acquired through concentration. All dovetails together in a most wonderful way. Let us remember that the Piscean follower of a leader gets into dire trouble when he blindly follows his heart and fails to use his head. are everywhere to be found. he will have found in that centre. one uses his head and the other his heart and who shall say which in the sight of the divine Director of our human destinies is more right. submerging their personalities in the general good. he will have dominated his emotional nature and raised his desires by following his Master into heaven and so the Piscean episode will have left its mark upon him. At present our world is the field for the play of Piscean force plus the growing Aquarian influence. Movements which have grown up along Piscean lines are completing their work. then rapid spiritual growth becomes possible and a new era can be ushered in on earth. The Aquarian age will render the same service to the race. In the Piscean instruction as to work the Master said “Feed my sheep”. He will be self-confident and self-reliant in the higher sense. in that secret place.distinguishing characteristics? Are there indications as to the nature of its types of thinkers? Here we must remember that much water must flow under the bridge before the pure Aquarian type of thinker and movement can be defined. and must necessarily and rightly do so. and that no question of right or more right. in this transition period. following only his head and not his heart also. The ideal Aquarian may well be an intelligent freed soul. his divine Self. the emotional and the mental) are developed and made into the instrument of the soul. may well be most difficult and dangerous! The ideal Aquarian (to be seen presumably on a large scale in about 3000 years) is a synthetic blend of head and heart. self-directed. yet self-initiated. and what could be more apposite and understandable in these days of mind development and the acquirement of that which can be known. It is a question simply of a differing method and the use of a different part of the organism. They will not be built up around some dominating personality but will be organizations of illuminated men and women. catholic in their outlook. rendering self-less. tolerant yet standing squarely on their own feet. or one-pointed attention. and that both. And these Piscean and Aquarian types frequently clash! They fail to understand each other and they omit to recognize that each type is right. free souls. yet banded together for the general uplift of the race. yet clear in their definition. Groups in the Aquarian age will surely be associations of free souls. service to all. being groups of people. only this time working with the mind. the esoteric point of his entire being—God. Movements which are hall-marked as Aquarian. The Piscean works emotionally and the Aquarian mentally. that each group is fulfilling its function. are needed and must learn to work together.
2. to use his own terminology. one temple of God but many stones and parts.Three questions arise out of this consideration of our times and the dual influence prevalent. therefore. He avoids (wherever possible) all reference to himself. nothing to cloud his vision. They will. He must make no claims. In his teaching work he has but three things to do. Individuals with a tendency towards the Aquarian nature exist. but they do indicate. Thirdly. but many ways of working.. There are no Aquarian movements for the time is not yet ripe for the successful activity of the latter. he 6 . religion. and to work out his own methods in service. but will accord an equal recognition to all groups who seek to present knowledge of God as it can be gained through science. a Bible and a set of dogmas.. however. for he recognizes that he is only a server. and that by his words and works alone is he justified and known. All. having found it. The true teacher repudiates personality exaltation. and the acceptance of the claims. First. 1. not exclusive. criticism or condemnation of any other leader or group effort. one Great Central Truth but many diverse aspects. for all souls are identical with the Oversoul. what can we look for? What will be their distinguishing marks? They will be characterized by the freedom to think as they choose which they will allow their adherents. he leaves his hearers to make their own deductions. and seeks ever to be in the background. as straws. all we have are forerunners. will be unified in the knowledge that there is one work. the way the wind is blowing. He will eliminate the non-essentials and the points of difference. he will present these fundamentals and their implication in as many aspects as possible and through as many synonyms and symbols as may be. 3. service not selfish pursuits. How can an ordinary man recognize Piscean movements? How can he also recognize a new age movement? What are the functions of a true teacher at this time? The replies might be very briefly given and perhaps should be for the sake of clarity. and to allow. that the Kingdom of God is within. and to express truth as he sees it. the Boundless Immutable Principle in Whom we live and move and have our being. Piscean movements always make an appeal to hierarchical authority. to keep himself unspotted from the world and thus be an instrument that his divine Self can use. and by the broadness of their vision and the trueness of their perspective they will lead humanity towards a consummation of universal recognized unity. to tell every man that he is a divine Son of God. They usually possess a central Authority. and that all power. Some day that wind will be upon us in full force and will blow away our clouds of differences and distinctions. they impose upon their followers fanatical devotion and make them intolerant of all other groups of thinkers. But when they do come and we can truthfully speak of Aquarian movements. as far as he can. and always demand obedience from their followers. and let through the bright light of the Sun dispelling the mists and the fogs of the present era. Everyone will be free to teach as he likes. no matter how loudly they may deny it. and all knowledge is the privilege of a Son of God. art or philosophy. he will enunciate only those fundamental and basic principles which are the equal heritage of all presentations of truth. or organization as the sole repository of truth. and the manifestation of God in nature and of the Spirit in man. Secondly. be conspicuous by the absence of rancour. they will emphasize principles not personalities. stressing those general and universal truths which have stood the test of time and experiment and which every religion recognizes—the Fatherhood of God. Bible. Church or ism arrive at a knowledge of his brother’s way to God. In this way each seeker after truth finds it for himself and in himself and. wishes and demands of the leaders. What are the functions of the true Teacher? To make and keep a contact with his own soul. Having presented the essentials as universally recognized. one divine Life but many forms of expression. Only tendencies in this direction can now be seen. they claim to be backed by authority.. the Brotherhood of man. decisions and applications. they will refuse to emphasize any particular teacher. In their worse aspects and more blindly developed. The Aquarian age is not yet with us. They will be inclusive. Thus only can the student and devotee in any group.
Back of every religion lies the great harmony. have likewise found. 7 .discovers that it is the same truth which knowers in every age and clime. cycle and race. back of every method lies unity and on every path God meets the seeker.