Rays: 5—science, intelligent differentiation

Ray 5 triangle

One of 3 rays of Attribute

proportion and division, individuality, unique qualities that distinguish one thing from another, clarity of mind, a sense of proportion, aesthetic elegance.

Quality:science, intelligent differentiation
Fifth ray signs:Aquarius (Sagittarius, Leo). Fifth ray triangle: Leo-Sagittarius-Aquarius
Planets (inner/outer):Venus/(none)
Colours (inner/outer):orange-yellow/indigo
Technique:differentiating, crystallising
Symbols:the optimum division of space in the golden section and pentagram: the smaller part is to the greater part as the greater part is to the whole.

5.1 Group effect: Synthesis (Cardinal mode)

This ray is the origin of all forms of distinction or categorisation. The primary principle being the ability to distinguish the qualities of one thing from another. Because this process highlights similarities as well as differences, paradoxically it gives rise to both unity and diversity. Alice Bailey’s assignation of Venus to this ray of ‘concrete science’ has confused many astrologers. However, it isn’t as problematic as it appears. The principle of love and attraction assigned to Venus in traditional astrology depends upon the identification of unifying qualities, desires or tastes, or a common bond; yet a relationship makes a distinction between the partners and everyone else. The scientific method also requires a fine appreciation of distinctions, of cause and effect, and the ability to tease that which is relevant from the complex mass of data gleaned from experimentation and observation. Therefore, although the intellectual influence of this ray appears initially to differ from its emotional impact, the same process is at work.

In a five-pointed star, lines drawn between the points intersect each other in the proportion of the ‘golden mean’, a ratio revered since the mathematics and aesthetics of ancient Greek culture, which identified it as a proportion of especial beauty. Its approximation appears in many natural forms in the Fibonnaci sequence of numbers, which appears in many diverse patterns. Two well-documented examples are the proportions of snail shells and the optimal double-spiral arrangement of seeds in a flower head. When a simple straight line is divided in this proportion, the smaller part is to the greater part as the greater part is to the whole line. When applied to personal evolution and spiritual awareness the ‘as in the greater, so in the lesser’ metaphor is obvious, succinctly conveying abstract concepts such as the relationship of the human soul or core self to the outwardly visible personality, and the fundamental ‘intelligent division’ that symbolises the activity of the fifth ray, enabling all to thrive without damaging others.

5.1.1 Effect on groups of integrated beings (‘fifth kingdom’)

The fifth ray is apparent in groups working in areas where clear distinctions or some kind of division is necessary. For instance, divisions between cultures, tastes and needs help define their boundaries. Fifth ray groups work with the energy of clarification through distinction. They tease the relevant from the irrelevant, the true from the false, and create boundaries so that emerging ideas or forms can develop without undue or premature influence from other qualities.

5.1.2 Effect on groups of self-aware, integrating individuals (‘soul groups’)

Subjective groups learning through fifth ray methods are likely to be involved in some kind of experimentation, personal or intellectual. They are acutely aware of their ‘place’ in the scheme of things, and understand how best to fulfil their purpose without expending energy wastefully. Their primary strength is seen in a clarity of mind and steadiness of emotion that enables them to concentrate on the essentials, and discover the meaning behind the manifest world or the visible self. For these reasons they often work in the sciences, or alternatively with scientific or logical accuracy in whatever area they choose. In disciplines such as psychology or sociology the fifth ray group will be concerned with precision and fidelity, seeking to make creative distinctions between things as they are and things as they appear to be, or as interested parties would like them to be.

5.2 Personal effect: Intensification (Fixed mode)—role in the growth of human consciousness

Essentially the ray of the principle of soul (distinct from the individual soul ray), the fifth ray enables us to grow the organic ‘map of the psyche’ that enables us to develop a sense of place and timing in our self-development, and eventually a lucid sense of our true self.

5.2.1 In the process of alignment (Cardinal: integration of personality and soul—will)

The ability to distinguish the self from the not-self is the primary fifth ray quality. This creates boundaries within which we can strengthen our distinctive psychological identity and move towards an integration of the various facets of personal life, within the context of clearly defined surroundings. Concepts, emotions and behaviour that assist the unification of the outer personality with the inner self are divided from those that hinder the process, creating intelligently-applied cleavages that almost force a more integrated sense of self, separating it from behaviour and influences that work against that self. Eventually, this leads to an array of personal qualities that, while all being accepted as part of the self, can be called upon to unite or intelligently divide that self—either internally or with others—as necessary.

This urge to economise the use of personal energy can lead to intense applications of the mind to some problem for the furtherance of human development; from everyday ‘mind hacks’ to radical solutions to existing problems. The intellect and personal self can be coordinated in a supreme endeavour to pierce through whatever obscures an insight or breakthrough. The boundaries of the personal self can be broken so frequently in this effort that they cease to have meaning, and the wider life of the inner group becomes the new boundary.

5.2.2 In the development of self-awareness (Fixed: emotional balance—love-wisdom)

The greatest contribution of the fifth ray to self-awareness is seen in the process of creative discrimination and the understanding of the need for boundaries. A sense of proportion (quite distinct from a sense of balance) develops from the ability to create limits for one’s own activities. Those limits can be wide or narrow according to need and choice, but they are still limits, within which we feel confident or safe enough to give ourselves the freedom to explore the boundaries and connections of emotional life.

Familiarity with our own boundaries, and respect for those of others, is an essential precursor of self-knowledge, and in emotional life it eventually enables us to develop bonds that reflect our genuine inner need. Essentially, our closest bonds with others reflect the relationship we each have with our deeper self; our own boundaries, together with an understanding of exactly which experiences or qualities stimulate contact with that deeper self, enable us to bond deeply and ‘accurately’ with others and thereby to enhance and not obscure or lose track of our own ‘flavour’.

Through this process, we develop the wisdom that enables us to enjoy a clear knowledge of reality, free from personal illusion with its expectations and disappointments; freeing the emotional self from excessive agitation or anxiety so that it becomes sensitive to the feel of the soul or inner self. We thereby develop the power to recognise this deeper quality in others and share it with them.

5.2.3 In the need for experience (Mutable: physical refinement—intelligent activity)

The fifth ray offers some kind of structure to intelligent human activity, by creating limits within which we feel confident or safe enough to give ourselves the freedom to experiment with experience. It also encourages a certain degree of intellectual rigour that discriminates between mere opinion and an informed, carefully considered viewpoint. Through the idea of cause and effect, it enables us to choose with wisdom those ideas, situations and people we feel comfortable with, and to determine where we don’t feel at ease; these choices may be motivated by the urge for growth, a more passively from a desire for ease and comfort, or protective self-interest. Through the successive experiences needed for this process to develop, patience, perseverance and tolerance for the ideas of others can grow, together with the confidence to make an independent evaluation of our personal lives.

If handled in ignorance, this quality of division can foster harsh criticism, arrogant narrow-mindedness, an unforgiving impatience, lack of sympathy and reverence, and—at its worst extreme—prejudice. By the same token, the power to rationalise and the desire for advancement along a certain branch of knowledge can cause mental separation, division and a merciless destruction of the ideas and beliefs of others. This kind of intensely detailed and analytical fifth ray activity can, when outwardly-directed, intensify the power to isolate; without wisdom the entire emphasis of the resulting knowledge can be misdirected, producing distorted views of the truth. This is as true of spirituality or religion as it is for science or psychology. In such instances, there is a clear need for an adherence to accuracy free from personal bias, and a broad–mindedness that respects the ideas and viewpoints of others.

5.3 General effect: Change (Mutable mode)

The fifth ray stimulates the intellect and the development of the mind in general, especially as it affects emotional life, bringing wisdom and intelligence to the compelling tides of desire, belief and emotion. Through this process it stimulates those cultural activities that bring about the refinement of taste: artistic, scientific, personal or other. ‘Taste’ could be defined as the ability to creatively distinguish sympathies and antipathies, or similarity and difference, with a general sense, aim or overview in mind.

It also serves to bring refinement to the scientific process, by stimulating the mind’s ability to distinguish experimental data from the subtle emotional intentions of the experimenter, or by demonstrating how these are interconnected. For instance, through the mathematical research involved in chaos theory and fractals, the mathematical patterns that determine the beauty of natural forms have been brought to light. In its own field, this discovery is as momentous as Newton’s laws of motion or Einstein’s relativity theories. It is a good example of the dependence of beauty on exact proportion and the ability of lucid thought and research to unearth and simplify the deeper causes of apparently complex phenomena, as well as the beauty of the way energy creates forms when expressed through the medium of responsive material. If applied to the psyche, the parallels are obvious.

5.3.1 Effect on average individual

The energy of the fifth ray is so much a part of the modern world that it is taken for granted. Every time we use a communication device, computer, or even vacuum the floor, it is easy to forget the painstaking research that went into the discoveries that enabled these inventions to be made. When added to the steadily growing idea of group interdependence, shared technology (such as 3D printing from free online templates and models) can also foster the kind of co-operation that has the potential to liberate many people from unnecessary activity. Those dedicated to intelligent, methodical investigations of the natural world gain insights that enable others to develop the various technologies that are so readily taken for granted. The same goes for the world of the psyche; the benefits of counselling and psychology owe their existence to a handful of individuals whose dedication to research led to the valuable insights that are rapidly being integrated into common knowledge.

Behind these developments is a sense of the hidden reality—the interplay of energies and forces—of which our familiar world is a manifestation. Giving expression to new and well-formed ideas about this reality prepares the ground for a more deeply conscious inner life, while the wise utilisation of technology can help extend the free time needed to elevate people beyond the burden of day-to-day survival.

If there is no union between the inner needs of a culture and its outer technological developments, a kind of cultural schizm is the result, with the collective inner self becoming divided from the world in which it is obliged to live.