One of 3 rays of Aspect
form and structure, spiral patterns of growth and decay, manifestation and materialisation, the intelligent adaptation of thought and substance, emergent properties in complex systems.
|Third ray signs:||Cancer (Libra, Capricorn). Third ray triangle: Cancer-Libra-Capricorn|
|Colours (inner/outer):||green/black or deep violet|
|Symbols:||the green of the Earth, the triangle, the ‘triple goddess’, three-sided stability.|
|Expression:||change/experience Mercury in the chart, planets in Mutable signs|
3.1 Group effect: Synthesis (Cardinal mode)
This ray is primarily the ray of form. ‘Form’ in this context means anything that acts as a vehicle of expression for some life or lives; a group so diverse that an idea, a vegetable and a virus all fall into that vast category. It is also the outer ray of Earth, and the remarkable self-adjusting and interdependent living world is evidence of its activity. The primary role of the third ray lies in the formation of the matter in which we exist, think, feel, and act; the intelligence of that matter responds to stimuli through an intricate web of interconnections.
The third ray was held in Alice Bailey’s works to be the ray of a ‘previous solar system’; the idea being that the natural intelligence of the material world is a legacy from that incomprehensibly ancient period. Its evolutionary development is embodied symbolically by a vast group of lives whose existence is solely concerned with the construction and destruction of forms. Known in occult literature as the ‘devas’ (and differing from the devas of Hindu literature), they exist and develop through increasing their ability to build, destroy and respond to stimuli, free from any moral concern or consideration.
3.1.1 Effect on groups of integrated beings (‘fifth kingdom’)
Exploration and expression of new ways of comprehending the world is stimulated by the activity of this ray. Groups working with the detailed formation of ideas, philosophies, and the cultural paradigms of civilisation respond to this activity, as are those seeking to find ways of bringing such forms into education in ways accessible to people with a finely-tuned intelligence but little intuition. The growth of communications systems and information technology is an important vehicle for this dissemination of ideas and philosophies.
The use of business and finance skills to encourage ethical responsibility and co-operation is another area benefiting from applied third ray intelligence. This is especially apparent in those groups of motivated individuals who are combining business and finance with environmental concerns for the body of the planet, or in organisations that are by-passing established monolithic financial structures and putting ethical standards at the forefront.
3.1.2 Effect on groups of self-aware, integrating individuals (‘soul groups’)
Typically, this is the ray of those ‘technicians of the soul’ who are concerned with the detailed questions of inner evolution, patterns of growth and methods of development. This includes an increasing number of astrologers, some of the more technical or deeply-researched branches of complementary therapy, and advances in thinking that apply the interdisciplinary sciences to social issues.
Those working with the technologies that expand the interconnecting web of global communication is the strongest visible outcome of this ray. The internet itself—a global system of interconnected computer sites carrying every conceivable kind of human information—is seventh ray, but the concepts, protocols and code that enable information to be transmitted represents third ray activity. The effort to preserve the neutral nature of the web and other electronic communication services in the face of increasing commercial interest is crucial, because neutrality—a key third ray concept—is essential for such systems to reflect the human activity they are designed to serve and represent.
3.2 Personal effect: Intensification (Fixed mode)—role in the growth of human consciousness
This ray is, in general, the ray of personality life. The entire principle of the personality is one of intelligence in activity, and includes the resulting learning process. The actual material of our personalities, which changes as we change, is symbolised in occult thought as being shaped by third ray ‘builders’ or ‘devas’, who work in the background, matching the forms through which we seek expression to the evolutionary changes brought in by our personal development.
3.2.1. In the process of alignment (Cardinal: integration of personality and soul—will)
The third ray shows itself here through the effort to adapt the outer form to serve a sensed inner purpose. Ideas, knowledge, techniques and skills are co-ordinated so that little energy is wasted on non-essential activity, and the differing elements of the personality are able to move as one. There are emotional skills as well as intellectual or material ones, and is necessary for a truly self-aware third ray type to demonstrate a degree of ease and flow in their emotional life that reflects their other skills. Once any ‘ivory tower’ of isolation has been destroyed, the co-ordinated third ray personality can materialise with ease the ideas that the inner self desires to express.
When integrated, the third ray expresses itself in the human realm in much the same way as the refined Saturnian influence is represented: clear intellect, displaying a capacity to embrace wide views on all abstract and philosophical questions, sincerity of purpose, capacity for concentration on studies, patience, caution, and an ability to discard unnecessary details and ponder the deeper essentials.
3.2.2. In the development of self-awareness (Fixed: emotional balance—love-wisdom)
The third ray enables us to understand the roots of our emotions, and to blend the varying and often conflicting needs into an integrated network of sensitive response. This may be stimulated by a crisis in which our nervous energy is exhausted through emotional interests and needs that are too diffuse and varied, leading us to withdraw, so we can identify priorities from multiple affections, ideals and yearnings. The services of a counsellor or therapist may be sought at some point to help build a coherent pattern from the confusion of a troubling emotional life. There may be a tendency to worry the self or others over intricacies, and constantly replay or anticipate events in the confines of an actively imaginative mind.
3.2.3. In the need for experience (Mutable: physical refinement—intelligent activity)
A mind and body that responds to the environment and to the world of ideas and intelligent activity is the principal third ray requirement. In order to achieve this, some practice or programme of development involving the body may be followed or, alternatively, the pursuit of philosophical structures that better serve the needs of the inner self. There may be a turning away from—or towards, if the mind has yet to develop—the abstract detachment of academia, but evidence of the third ray is strongest in the practical application, intelligent expression, and dissemination of ideas.
The third ray can also inspire the capacity to organise and arrange, both in the realm of ideas and by the formation of groups of like-minded people. There may be a tendency to be somewhat inflexible, or critical of the methods of others, with a degree of intellectual pride. During difficult life periods, absent-mindedness and inattention to detail can sometimes mar the work of those who respond strongly to this ray. In such instances there is a need to cultivate tolerance, down-to-earth common sense, sympathy for the limitations of others and a certain amount of warmth, passion or devotion.
3.3 General effect: Change (Mutable mode)
The world’s media and communication systems are gradually externalising the inner interdependency of populations in all nations. Theoretically, if this media is in the hands of those who utilise it for encouraging the free flow of information, no one country or cultural group can act selfishly without the rest of the world knowing of the event—although countries and commercial interests may try to filter access to information, human ingenuity finds ways to route around restrictions. The hopeful outcome of this global communication will be a similarly global sense of responsibility in humanity, where national barriers become cultural distinctions rather than territorial defences, and everyone is aware of the consequences of their actions, both individually, and in their impact on the people and environment of other countries.
There can sometimes be an amoral side to third ray groupings, with a tendency to disclaim responsibility for the impact of their activities or the application their ideas on society or the environment. Those who fail to address ethical issues of injustice or inequality in the name of science, finance or business embody this trait. In the realm of information technology, media and communications, ‘information overload’ is a kind of electronic pollution exacerbated by thoughtless or amoral expansion of marketing and business enterprises. It demonstrates the need for third ray activity to be guided by the long-term and broader perspectives of benevolence and inclusivity.
The impact of electronic technology on culture is a tangible parallel to the way in which the third ray utilises the subtle interconnecting webs of the seventh ray to develop its highly interactive intelligence within the forms it has built.
3.3.1 Effect on average individual
Stand on a hill overlooking any major world city, and you become a witness to the ceaseless activity of human life. The networks of transport, telephone, business and leisure, embody the pervasive effect of the third ray on human life. Since we are all involved—to a greater or lesser degree—in this activity, it is up to us whether our involvement is thoughtless, clannishly imitative and self-oriented, or consciously intelligent and collectively responsible.
This is the choice facing everyone in every culture in the world at present, and it covers issues as culturally diverse (at first glance) as deforestation, famine and conflict, or the thoughtless disposal of the vast amounts of waste—financial and material—generated by the globally irresponsible lifestyles of developed nations. It is a choice upon which the survival of those planetary conditions that foster human life depend, and constitutes the crucial initial initiation of humanity into a condition of collective global self-awareness.