Each age has left a reflection of a modern fivefold development upon it. Four ages have just passed away, astronomically speaking: Gemini, Taurus, Aries, and Pisces. Today Aquarius, the fifth age, is coming into power. In Gemini, its symbolical sign of the two pillars set its seal upon the Masonic Fraternity of the time and the two pillars of Jachin and Boaz—to give them their Jewish names which are, of course, not their real names—came into being approximately eight thousand years ago. Then came Taurus, the Bull, wherein Mithra came as the world Teacher and instituted the Mysteries of Mithras with an (apparent) worship of the Bull. Next followed Aries the Ram, which saw the start of the Jewish Dispensation which is of importance to the Jews and unfortunately of importance to the Christian religion, but of no importance to the untold millions in the other parts of the world; during this cycle came the Buddha, Shri Krishna and Sankaracharya; finally we have the age of Pisces the Fishes, which brought to us the Christ. The sequence of the Mysteries which each of the signs of the Zodiac embodies will be clarified for us by the Christ, because the public consciousness today demands something more definite and spiritually real than modern astrology, or all the pseudo-occultism so widely extant.
Little as the orthodox Christian may care to admit it, the entire Gospel story in its four forms or presentations, contains little else except symbolic details about the Mysteries which are (as far as humanity is concerned) five in all. These Mysteries indicate, in reality, five important points in the spiritual history of an aspirant; they indicate also five important stages in the progress of human consciousness. This advance will become definite and clear in a manner not understood today, at some point during the Aquarian Age. Humanity, the world disciple (through its various groups all at various stages of unfoldment) will "enter into" new states of awareness and into new realms or spheres of mental and spiritual consciousness, during the next two thousand years. [THE REAPPEARANCE OF CHRIST p126/7]
People are very apt to overlook the fact that though Christ recognised His function as Teacher and spiritual Leader of humanity during the age which is so rapidly drawing to a close, He also recognised the work which He would do when that age came to an end and the new astronomical cycle came into existence.
The average Christian is singularly unaware of the times and cycles through which our planet passes, under influence of solar progression. The at present dubious science of astrology has side-tracked the legitimate interest of humanity in the astronomical teaching and its spiritual interpretation of the passage of the Sun through the signs of the zodiac. Yet, in The New Testament, that recognition is clearly revealed and colours the presentation of the entire Gospel story. It is found also in The Old Testament. What was the sin of the Children of Israel in the desert but a reversion to the old Mithraic worship which distinguished the time when the sun was "in the sign of Taurus, the Bull," as it is technically called. They fell down and worshipped the golden calf and forgot the new teaching of the age of Aries, the Ram, into which they were entering, the teaching of the Scapegoat which colours Jewish history.
The fact that Christ was the Teacher of the new period into which the Sun was entering, the period of Pisces, is forgotten, but is clearly evidenced in the fish symbology which runs consistently through all four Gospels; the symbol of the Fish is the astrological symbol for the sign Pisces, and has been for untold ages. But Christ also looked ahead to the work He would have to do in the Aquarian Age, in the next sign into which the sun would enter. Prior to His "disappearance," He referred to the symbol of the Aquarian Age and to the task He would then perform. With His twelve disciples, He enacted a dramatic episode which epitomises the work which He would later undertake when the two thousand years of the Piscean era would have passed away. He told His disciples to go into the city and that there they would meet a man, carrying a pitcher of water, that they should follow him to the upper room and there make ready the communion feast in which He and they would share. (Luke XXII.10.) This they did and the Last Supper took place.
The ancient symbol for the sign Aquarius (into which our Sun is now entering) is that of the Water-carrier, the man with a pitcher of water. This passing of the Sun into the sign Aquarius is an astronomical fact, as any one can ascertain by writing to any observatory; it is not an astrological prognostication. The great spiritual achievement and evolutionary event of that age will be the communion and human relationships established among all peoples, enabling men everywhere to sit down together in the Presence of the Christ and share the bread and wine (symbols of nourishment). Preparations for that shared feast (symbolically speaking) are on their way, and those preparations are being made by the masses of men themselves, as they fight and struggle and legislate for the economic sustenance of their nations, and as the theme of food occupies the attention of legislators everywhere. This sharing, beginning on the physical plane, will prove equally true of all human relations and this will be the great gift of the Aquarian Age to humanity. This the church has ignored and yet their ecclesiastics cannot explain away the fact that the Jews demonstrated their liking for the Taurian worship of the Bull in the golden calf, that the Jewish dispensation used the symbol of the scapegoat or ram in the age of Aries, the Ram, and that the Christian emphasises the fish in the Piscean era, the Christian era.
Christ came to bring to an end the Jewish dispensation which should have climaxed and passed away as a religion with the movement of the sun out of Aries into Pisces. He, therefore, presented Himself to them as their Messiah, manifesting through the Jewish race. In the rejection of the Christ as the Messiah, the Jewish race has remained symbolically and practically in the sign Aries, the Scapegoat; they have to pass—again speaking symbolically—into the sign, Pisces, the Fishes, and recognise their Messiah when He comes again in the sign Aquarius. Otherwise, they will repeat their ancient sin of non-response to the evolutionary process. They rejected that which was new and spiritual in the desert; they did it again in Palestine two thousand years ago; will they do it again, as opportunity is offered to them? The difficulty with the Jew is that he remains satisfied with the religion of nearly five thousand years ago and shows as yet little desire to change.
The coming in of the Aquarian Age, Christ foresaw and reduced to pictorial form for us, thus preserving for us—down the centuries—a prophetic episode, the interpretation of which is possible of demonstration only in our time and age. Astronomically, we are not yet functioning fully within the influence of Aquarius; we are only just emerging from the Piscean influence, and the full impact of the energies which Aquarius will set loose has not yet been felt. Nevertheless, each year carries us closer to the centre of power, the major effect of which will be to induce recognition of man's essential unity, of the processes of sharing and of cooperation and of the emergence of that new world religion whose keynote will be universality and initiation. If the word "initiation" signifies the processes of "entering into," then it is indeed true today that humanity is undergoing a true initiation as it enters into the new age of Aquarius; it will then be subjected to those energies and forces which will break down the barriers of separation, and which will blend and fuse the consciousness of all men into that unity which is distinctive of the Christ consciousness. [THE REAPPEARANCE OF THE CHRIST p79-82]
As we come to an end of our consideration of the world today and it’s dominating rays, working through the nations and conditioning the people, there is a final point which I would like to make; it lies in the realm of religion and concerns the significance of Christmas. From the very night of time, as well you know, the period wherein the sun moves northward again has been regarded as a festival season; for thousands of years it has been associated with the coming of the Sun-God to save the world, to bring light and fruitfulness to the Earth and through the work of the Son of God to bring hope to humanity. The Christmas season is regarded by those who do not know any better as uniquely the Festival of the Christ, and this the Christian churches have emphasised and to this all churchmen testify. This is both true and false. The Founder of the Christian Church — God in the flesh — availed Himself of this period and came to us in the dark of the year and initiated a new era in which light was to be the distinguishing note. This has been true from several angles, even from the purely physical, for today we have a lighted world; everywhere lights are to be seen and the pitch dark nights of olden times are fast disappearing. Light has also descended on the earth in the form of the "light of knowledge." Today, education whose objective is to lead all men on to a "lighted way," is the keynote of our civilisation and is a major pre-occupation in all countries. The removal of illiteracy, the development of a true culture and the ascertaining of truth in all fields of thought and of research are of paramount importance in all lands.
Thus, when Christ proclaimed (as He assuredly did), along with all world Saviours and Sun-Gods, that He was the Light of the worlds; He inaugurated a marvellous period in which humanity has been widely and universally enlightened. This period dates from Christmas Day, two thousand years ago, in Palestine. That was the greatest of all Christmas Days and its emanating influence was more potent than was any previous arrival of a Bearer of Light, because humanity was more ready for the light. Christ came in the sign of Pisces, the Fishes — the sign of the divine Intermediary in the highest sense, or of the medium in the lower; it is the sign of many of the world Saviours and of those Revealers of divinity Who establish world relationships. I would have you note that phrase. The major impulse driving the Christ towards special work was the desire to establish right human relations; it is also the desire — realised or unrealised — of humanity, and we know that some day the Desire of all nations will come, that right human relations will be found everywhere and that goodwill will implement that fulfilment, leading to peace in all lands and among all peoples.
Down through the ages, Christmas Day has been recognised and kept as a season of new beginnings, of better human contacts and of happier relations among families and communities. Yet just as the churches have descended into a profoundly materialistic presentation of Christianity, so the simple Christmas Day which would have pleased the heart of Christ has degenerated into an orgy of spending, of acquiring good things, and is regarded as a period which is "good for trade." We need, therefore, to remember that when any phase of life-inspired religion is interpreted entirely materially, when any civilisation and culture loses its sense of spiritual values and responds mainly to the material values, then it has served its usefulness and must pass away, and this in the interests of life itself and progress.
The message of the birth of Christ rings ever new but is not today understood. The emphasis during the Aquarian Age, the age into which we are fast entering, will shift away from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, and from the infant Saviour to the Risen Christ. Pisces has seen, during two thousand years, the spreading light; Aquarius will see the Rising Light, and of both of these the Christ is the eternal symbol.
The ancient story of the Birth will become universalised and be seen as the story of every disciple and initiate who takes the first initiation and in his time and place becomes a server and a lightbearer. In the Aquarian Age two momentous developments will take place:
1. The Birth Initiation will condition human thinking and aspiration everywhere.
2. The religion of the Risen Christ, and not of the newly born Christ or of the crucified Christ, will be the distinctive keynote.
It is seldom realised that hundreds of thousands of people in every land have taken, or are preparing to take, this first initiation, called the Birth at Bethlehem, the House of Bread. Humanity, the world disciple, is now ready for this. Indications of the accuracy of the above statement can be seen in the re-orientation of people everywhere to things spiritual, their interest in human good and human welfare, the perseverance they show in their search for light and their longing and desire for a true peace, based on right human relations, implemented by goodwill. This "mind as it is in Christ" can be seen in their revolt against materialistic religion and in the widespread effort to be seen in Europe and elsewhere to return the land (Mother-Earth, the true Virgin Mary) to the people. It can be seen in the constant movement of people throughout the world from place to place, symbolised in the Gospel story by the journey of Mary with the infant Jesus into Egypt.
Then followed, as we are told in the New Testament, a cycle of thirty years wherein all we know is that the infant Jesus grew to manhood and could then take the second initiation, the Baptism in Jordan, and begin His public service. Today the many who in this life have taken the first initiation are entering the long silence of that symbolic thirty years wherein they too will grow to manhood and take the second initiation. This initiation demonstrates the complete control of the emotional nature and of all Piscean characteristics. The thirty years can be looked upon as a period of spiritual unfoldment during the three divisions into which Aquarius (and consequently the New Age now upon us) will be divided. I refer to what is technically known as the three decans of each sign. In this sign the waters of the Piscean age will, symbolically speaking, be absorbed into the water-pot carried on the shoulder of Aquarius in the symbol which is distinctive of this sign, for Aquarius is the water-carrier, bringing the water of life to the people — life more abundantly.
In the Aquarian Age, the Risen Christ is Himself the Water-Carrier; He will not this time demonstrate the perfected life of a Son of God, which was His main mission before; He will appear as the supreme Head of the Spiritual Hierarchy, meeting the need of the thirsty nations of the world — thirsty for truth, for right human relations and for loving understanding. He will be recognised this time by all and in His Own Person will testify to the fact of the resurrection, and hence demonstrate the paralleling fact of the immortality of the soul, of the spiritual man. The emphasis during the past two thousand years has been on death; it has coloured all the teaching of the orthodox churches; only one day in the year has been dedicated to the thought of the resurrection. The emphasis in the Aquarian Age will be on life and freedom from the tomb of matter, and this is the note which will distinguish the new world religion from all that have preceded it.
The Festival of Easter and the Feast of Pentecost will be the two outstanding days of the religious year. Pentecost is, as you must well know, the symbol of right human relations in which all men and nations will understand each other and — though speaking in many and diverse languages — will know only one spiritual speech.
It is significant that two important episodes are related in the final part of the Gospel story — one preceding and one following immediately after the apparent death of the Christ. They are:
1. The story of the upper chamber to which the man carrying the water pot and typifying Aquarius led the disciples, and in which the first communion service was held, participated in by all and foretelling that great relationship which will distinguish humanity in the coming age, after the tests of the Piscean Age. Such a communion service has never yet been held, but the New Age will see it take place.
2. The story of the upper chamber in which the disciples met and arrived at a true recognition of the Risen Christ and at a perfect and complete understanding of each other in spite of the symbolic diversity of tongues. They had a touch of prevision, of prophetic insight, and foresaw a little of the wonder of the Aquarian Age.
The vision in men's minds today is that of the Aquarian Age, even if they recognise it not. The future will see right relationships, true communion, a sharing of all things (wine, the blood, the life and bread, economic satisfaction) and goodwill; we have also a picture of the future of humanity when all nations are united in complete understanding and the diversity of languages — symbolic of differing traditions, cultures, civilisations and points of view — will provide no barrier to right human relations. At the centre of each of these pictures is to be found the Christ.
Thus the expressed aims and efforts of the United Nations will be eventually brought to fruition and a new church of God, gathered out of all religions and spiritual groups, will unitedly bring to an end the great heresy of separateness. Love, unity, and the Risen Christ will be present, and He will demonstrate to us the perfect life. [THE DESTINY OF NATIONS pp147-152]
In the first cycle of experience upon the wheel, the soul itself is in captivity to substance; it has come down into the prison house of matter and linked itself to form. Hence the symbol of Pisces, of the two fishes linked together by a band. One fish stands for the soul and the other for the personality or form nature, and between them is to be found the "thread or sutratma," the silver cord which keeps them bound to each other throughout the cycle of manifested life. Later on, upon the reversed wheel, the personality is brought into captivity by the soul, but for long aeons the situation is reversed and the soul is the prisoner of the personality. This dual bondage is brought to an end by what is called the final death, when the complete release of the life aspect from the life of form takes place. It should be borne in mind also that the soul itself is of the nature of form from the standpoint of the Monad, though it is a form far subtler than any that we know in the three worlds of human evolution. There is also a dual renunciation referred to in these key words, for first of all the soul renounces the life and light of the Monad, its source (symbolized by the words "the Father's home"), and descends into the ocean of matter; then, reversing itself, the soul renounces the life of form, the personality centre. The soul detaches itself (in consciousness) from the Monad, the One, and functions from its own centre, making its own new and material attachments. Then, upon the reversal of the wheel, it proceeds to detach itself from the personality and re-attach itself in consciousness to the One Who sent it forth. Such is the climaxing story of Pisces. The Lords of Will and Sacrifice come down into manifestation, sacrificing their high position and opportunities upon the higher planes of manifestation in order to redeem matter and raise the lives by which it is informed (the lower Creative Hierarchies) to the status of Themselves in so far as They constitute the fourth Creative Hierarchy. This is the subjective purpose, underlying the sacrifice of these divine Lives Who are ourselves essentially, Who are qualified by knowledge, love and will, and animated by ceaseless persevering devotion. They seek to bring about the death of the form in its occult significance and the consequent release of the indwelling lives into a higher state of consciousness. Of this process, all the world Saviours—past, present and to come—are the manifested symbols and the eternal guarantees. It is in such recognitions as these that the mainspring to the life of service must be sought. People born in this sign are frequently to be found serving the race and ministering to its needs upon some level of consciousness. Thus they are prepared for the final sacrifice in Pisces which "absorbs them back into their originating Motive," as the Old Commentary expresses it. It is for this reason that the life of service and the directed intention to serve constitute a scientific mode of achieving release. In Aquarius, the sign of world service, the lesson is finally learned which produces the world Saviour in Pisces. Hence my constant emphasis upon service. [ESOTERIC ASTROLOGY p116/7]
In ancient days, as you may perchance have heard, there were only ten signs, and—at that time—Capricorn marked the end of the zodiacal wheel, and not Pisces as is at this time the case. The two signs of Aquarius and Pisces were not incorporated in the signs for the simple and sufficient reason that humanity could not respond to their peculiar influences; the vehicles of contact and the mechanisms for responses were not adequately developed. Originally, there were eight signs; then there were ten and now twelve.
1. In Lemurian days, during the early period of animal man and before humanity appeared on earth, in the interim period of development, eight signs influenced the planet and the kingdoms of nature found upon it. There was no response to the influences of Leo and Virgo. The mystery of the Sphinx did not exist and these two signs were not then part of the zodiacal wheel. Then individualisation took place and the seed of Christhood was planted in man and these two signs began to influence humanity, and gradually that influence was recognised and the zodiac was then known to have ten signs. The Mutable Cross dominated, but it was then the Tau, for Pisces was lacking and only Gemini, Virgo and Sagittarius were evidenced. Aries to Capricorn marked the circle of experience.
2. In Atlantean days, man had become so responsive to the planetary and solar influence that the door of initiation into hierarchical experience was opened and two more signs were added. These two signs were the higher correspondences of Leo and Virgo and were the polar opposites of these two: Aquarius and Pisces. Their influence became active and effective and thus they formed part of the zodiacal wheel because man began to respond to their potencies. It then became possible for the Fixed Cross to function esoterically in the life of humanity, and the first reversals of the wheel in the life of the advanced men of the period took place. It was this reversal which was the true cause of the great contest or battle between the Lords of the Dark Face (as they are called in The Secret Doctrine) and the Lords of Light—a contest which is today persisting. Certain men then reached the stage of discipleship wherein they could consciously mount the Fixed Cross and be prepared for a major initiation. This the Forces of Materiality and of Obstruction (as they are sometimes called) fought and the battle was fought out and conditioned in the sign Scorpio.
3. Today, in Aryan times, a similar conflict upon a higher turn of the spiral is taking place. The reason is that certain world disciples and initiates have reached the point in their unfoldment wherein they are ready to mount the Cardinal Cross and take some of the higher initiations. So the conflict is on between humanity (under the control of the Lords of Materiality) and the Hierarchy (under the control of the Forces of Light and Love), and right before our eyes the battle is being waged. The influences of the twelve signs of the zodiac (particularly of seven of the signs) are being engaged, for today men of all types and rays are responsive to their influences and are implicated in some form or another in the affair. [ESOTERIC ASTROLOGY p159/61]
From the above few points, hints can be gathered together as to the interlocking forces of all the twelve constellations, as they pour into and through all the kingdoms in nature, carrying with them also not only their own individual potencies but also those of the seven rays, focussed through the sacred and non-sacred planets—the discovered and undiscovered planetary Lives. It has been occultly said that a vision of these powers and their many weaving lines (seen as rivers and streams of light) is given to the initiate from the mountain top of Capricorn, once that summit has been reached. It is at the Transfiguration initiation that this vision appears before the eyes of the astounded disciple. The great experiences upon the various mountain tops as related in the Bible have all to do with Capricorn. Moses, the Lawgiver on Mount Sinai, is Saturn in Capricorn imposing the law of karma upon the people. A clue to the significance of the Jewish people as a karmic clearing house can be found here. Ponder on those words "a karmic clearing house." The Mount of Transfiguration in the New Testament is Venus in Capricorn when love and mind and will meet in the person of the Christ, and "He was transfigured" before all men. At the same time, He received the vision of the Father and of what He had to do as He "went up to Jerusalem," the place of death and likewise the city of peace. This Jerusalem is Pisces. In Aquarius, Christ put His disciples in touch with the "man, bearing a pitcher of water," Aquarius, and in the upper room introduced them to union and unity under the symbolism of the communion feast. For that feast, humanity is today preparing, as we saw when studying the last constellation. The astrological significance of the New Testament is as yet little understood. Christ was born in Capricorn, fulfilled the law under Saturn, initiated the era of intelligent brotherhood under Venus and is the perfect example of the Capricornian initiate who becomes the world Server in Aquarius, and the world Saviour in Pisces, thus completing the round of the zodiac and able to say triumphantly in Pisces "It is finished." [ESOTREIC ASTROLOGY P167/8]