proportion/division, individuality, unique qualities that distinguish one thing from another, clarity of mind, a sense of proportion, aesthetic elegance.
|Quality:||science, intelligent discrimination|
|Fifth ray signs:||Aquarius (Sagittarius, Leo). Fifth ray triangle: Leo-Sagittarius-Aquarius|
|Symbols:||the optimum division of space in the golden section and pentagram: the smaller part is to the greater part as is the greater part to the whole.|
This ray is the origin of all forms of distinction. The principle of distinction can be defined as the ability to distinguish the qualities of one thing from another. Because this process marks the differences between things, paradoxically it gives rise to both unity and diversity, in that it highlights similarities as well as differences. Alice Bailey’s assignation of Venus to this ray of ‘concrete science’ has confused many astrologers. 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; but the average bond of affection is also divisive, since it excludes everyone else apart from the lover. 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 potentially confusing mass of data gleaned from experimentation and observation. The intellectual influence of this ray appears initially to differ from its emotional impact, but 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 mathematical ratio that has been artistically revered since the mathematics of ancient Greek culture identified it as being of especial beauty. In a line divided once in this proportion, the smaller part of the line is to the greater part as the greater part is to the whole line. When applied to personal evolution and spiritual awareness the metaphor is obvious, and succinctly conveys both the place of the human soul in the inner world, and the idea of creative ‘division’ which symbolises fifth ray energy.
The fifth ray is at work in groups working in areas where some kind of division is necessary. Divisions between cultures, tastes and needs help define those cultures, tastes and needs. Fifth ray groups work with the energy of clarification through distinction. They tease the relevant from the irrelevant, the true from the false, and provide boundaries within which that which has emerged can develop.
Those 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 they understand how best to fulfil their purpose without expending energy wastefully. Their primary strength is in a clarity of mind and emotion that enables them to concentrate on the essentials, and discover the meaning behind the manifest world or the visible personality. For these reasons they often work in the sciences, or alternatively with scientific accuracy in whatever area they choose. In the ‘softer’ sciences such as psychology, sociology or even parapsychology, the fifth ray group will be concerned with accuracy and truth, 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.
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.
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 militate against the unification of the personality with the inner self are divided from those which do, creating personal cleavages that demand initially a more inclusive sense of 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 divide or unite that self—either internally or with others—as necessary.
This economical use of personal energy can lead to an intense application of the mind to some problem for the furtherance of human development; the bending of the intellect and the co-ordination of the personal self in a supreme endeavour to pierce through that which 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.
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 to an appreciation of the principle of balance) develops from the ability to create limits for one’s own activities. Those limits can be as wide or as narrow as necessary or desired, but they are still limits, within which we feel confident or safe enough to give ourselves the freedom to explore the emotional realms of the psyche.
Familiarity with our own boundaries, and respect for those of others, is an essential precursor of self-knowledge, and in our emotional life allows us to develop bonds that reflect our 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 ‘self-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 so that it becomes sensitive to the feel of the soul. We thereby develop the power to recognise and share this deeper quality in others.
The fifth ray puts 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 wisely 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 to growth, a desire for ease and comfort, or simple vanity. Through the successive experiences needed for this process to develop, patience, perseverance and tolerance for the ideas of others grows, together with the confidence to make independent evaluations of our personal lives.
If handled in ignorance, this quality of division can foster harsh criticism, arrogant narrow-mindedness, an unforgiving temper, 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 the merciless destruction of the ideas of others. This intense material activity and detailed analysis intensifies 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 theology 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 allows respect for the ideas of others.
The fifth ray stimulates the intellect and the development of the mind in general, especially as it affects the emotional life, bringing wisdom and intelligence to the compelling tides of desire and emotion. Through this process it stimulates those cultural areas that bring about a refinement of taste, artistic, scientific, personal or other. ‘Taste’ could be defined as the ability to creatively distinguish sympathies and antipathies, or similarities and differences, 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. Lately, through the mathematical research of chaos theory and fractals, the number patterns that determine the beauty of apparently random 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 the deeper causes of apparently random phenomena and the beauty of the spiritual when it is expressed through the medium of a responsive material medium. If applied to the psyche, the parallels are obvious.
The energy of the fifth ray is so much a part of the modern world that it is taken for granted. Every time we pick up a telephone, use a computer, or vacuum the carpet, 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 can also foster the kind of co-operation that would free many people from unnecessary activity. Those who are dedicated to an intelligent, methodical investigation of the world gain insights that enable others to develop the various technologies that we all take for granted. The same goes for the world of the psyche, and the benefits of counselling and psychology owe their existence to a handful of individuals whose dedication to their research led to insights that are rapidly becoming a part of everyday life.
Behind these developments is a sense of the spiritual reality of which our familiar world is a manifestation. Giving expression to new and more exact ideas about this spiritual reality helps to prepare the ground for a more deeply conscious inner life, while the wise utilisation of technology can help extend the free time needed for psychological growth.
If there is no union between the inner needs of the culture and the outer technological developments, a kind of cultural schizophrenia is the result, with the collective inner self becoming divided from the world in which it is obliged to live.