Rays: 6—sensitivity, intensity

Ray 6 triangle

One of 3 rays of Attribute

the feeling nature as a sense in itself, inclusion and exclusion (in- and out-crowds), idealism and devotion (groups acting unconsciously as one), mood and atmosphere.

Quality:sensitivity, intensity
Sixth ray signs:Sagittarius (Virgo, Pisces). Sixth ray triangle: Virgo-Sagittarius-Pisces
Planets (inner/outer):Neptune/Mars
Colours (inner/outer):silvery–rose/blood–red
Technique:idealism, responsive, fluidic, intense
Symbols:The hexagon: a circle approximated, inside and outside; two complementary/opposing triangles (star of David)

6.1 Group effect: Synthesis (Cardinal mode)

The sixth ray works primarily in the realm of idealism, stimulating sensitivity to and recognition of the value of ideals, in their role as the blueprints of ideas. It has had a major part to play in the growth of the various religious and cultural ideals. Where people aspire to something—a state of being, a set of moral values, an idealised vision of life—their motivation is symbolised by this ray. This is typically felt as a powerful personal belief, a refined desire often shared within an entire cultural group. Initially moved by a need to believe, they are then motivated to act upon that ideal.

As well as offering a symbol of ideal balance, the opposing triangles of the six-pointed star serve as a symbol for the dualism required by idealism: any ideal implies something ‘less than’ or ‘opposed to’ the ideal; which falls outside its boundaries. The twin feelings of repulsion and attraction lie behind human value judgements about the impassive, inherent qualities of things. On a cellular level, this means avoidance of pain and attraction to pleasure: the gratification of physical appetites and needs is—of necessity—pleasurable; wounds and any kind of injury hurt. At the level of idealism the result at best can be gravitation away from what has been deemed undesirable; at worst, a divisive fanaticism and even hatred of ‘the other’. It is obvious how this ray is related to the second, showing as it can a kind of emotional exaggeration of the second ray qualities.

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

The main work of groups on this ray is to capitalise on the developed tendency of humanity to recognise ideas, and—avoiding fanaticism and superficial desire—train these world thinkers so ardently to desire the good, the true and the beautiful, that the idea which should materialise in some form on earth can shift from the plane of mind and clothe itself in some form on earth. These disciples and servers work consciously with the desire element in man; they work scientifically with its correct evocation. Their technique is scientific because it is based upon a right understanding of the human material with which they have to work.

Some people have to be galvanised into activity by an idea, as in the first ray method. Others can be reached more easily by an ideal, and will then subordinate their personal lives and wishes to that ideal. With these the sixth ray group works with facility, encouraging people to recognise the truth by holding steadily before them the ideal, restraining them from a too energetic and fanatical display of interest, in the need for the long pull.

Despite its tendency to stimulate fanaticism, the sixth ray method of evoking desire for the materialising of an ideal is still indispensable.
—paraphrased from Esoteric Psychology II, p143–4.

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

Many external groups at present are working with the twin issues of glamour and disillusion. The participants in such groups start out by earnestly following the beliefs of the group, or devouring ‘messages and signs’ they receive or give out. In some cases such messages are valuable contributions to the spiritual landscape, but too often they are tinged with unconscious cultural bias, fears or anxieties which, when combined with a subtle desire to convert others, can produce a millennial ‘end of the world’ or exclusive ‘new era’ or even ‘chosen ones’ flavour. They also provide a religious substitute for those disillusioned by conventional religion; a form of emotional belief that remains part of the well-trodden mystical path of growth. The real issue at stake here is the process of dispelling glamour and seeing through cherished emotional illusions. When the predicted event fails to take place, or the beliefs (or beloved leader) is discredited, individuals in the group have an opportunity to fall back on their own resources, and realistically build a balanced, self-motivated personality with less need for outer ‘guidance’. Their experience can then be utilised to help dispel the alluring mists surrounding those attracted to similar paths, with a sensitive tenderness and intuition that might be lacking in those who have not undergone the same journey.

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

Devotional paths to growth are slowly giving way to more psychologically informed methods of development that do not by-pass the mind and critical faculties. The demands of a modern spiritual approach are evolving more inclusive paths that incorporate the mind and body in a fuller sense. However, the kind of (literally) thoughtless devotion to charismatic leaders, spiritual teachers or religious ideals that encourage physical asceticism, emotional suppression and mental emptiness can still be a source of refined inspiration, and serve to stimulate the process of development fostered by idealism. In occult terms, the Hindu scripture of the Bhagavad Gita is the seminal devotional text, with Krishna as the soul and Arjuna as the battling personality. For now, with the sixth ray rapidly waning in influence, it is unlikely that this purely mystical path will evolve in any significant way, although the qualities it fosters remain valid for the sixth ray individual.

It is the method of divine fanaticism that counts all lost apart from the vision, and that eventually sacrifices joyously the entire personality.Occult Meditation, p18

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

Although the mode of personal integration for this ray is rapidly passing out of the picture, many still pass through a powerful phase of intensely idealistic sixth ray activity, taking advantage of the tail-end of its influence. The subtler kind of sixth ray path is—like all the other rays—always open to the aware individual. It consists of devoting the entire self to the love of some cause or ideal so that the mind, emotions and body are all focused in a single direction. Through the consequent expansion of the sense of self to include first the ideal, then other individuals supporting that ideal, the personality expands beyond purely personal goals and the individual ego becomes absorbed into a greater purpose.

The sixth ray also aids integration by stimulating the human capacity for huge personal sacrifice in the name of some noble cause, leader or spiritual teacher, or to commit otherwise unthinkable acts of bravery while inspired by a committed idealism. Such fiery actions can then, by their very power, galvanise the entire personality so that it functions as an integrated whole. Provided that the subtler emotional qualities are also present, fanatical cruelty is avoided, and the person remains true to their inner self by aligning outer action with inner motive, the dramatic one-pointedness of this ray can bring about the integration of the personality.

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

Sixth ray individuals can be a little too one–pointed and full of personal desire because the tide of evolution has been with them for around the 2,000 years during which this ray has been active. There is currently no shortage of developing individuals on the sixth ray. The aware individual is often a formerly wilful personality, now learning to empathise with others, or perhaps compensating for a period of intense idealistically-driven selfishness. A simple example might be a public humanitarian who evidences neglect or abuse within their private life. The initially self-absorbed and single–minded devotion of this ray can be transformed through personal growth into loyalty, reverence, strength, purity of motive, love of truth, tolerance, serenity, balance and what might be called ‘caring wisdom’. They can also inspire and motivate, and this sixth ray method of evoking desire for the materialising of an ideal remains indispensable.

The nurturing qualities the sixth ray individual can develop are delineated by Alice Bailey as follows:

Directed, inclusive idealism; steadiness of perception through the expansion of consciousness; reaction to, and sympathy with, the point of view of others; willingness to see the work of other people progress along their chosen lines; the choosing of the middle way; peace and not war. The good of the Whole and not the part. —Esoteric Psychology II p43

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

In their fiery one-pointedness, there is some similarity between the sixth ray and the first, except that inexperienced sixth ray personalities can be far more destructive. Since the overview is lacking there is less mental perspective or wisdom to rein in fanatical behaviour. All is subordinated to the chosen way, with a powerful urge to encourage, persuade or even coerce others to follow the same path. The result is often mass fanaticism or—at the least—collective and uncritical devotion. Individuals can thus be drawn to conspiracies, cults and other movements and sects, in which they give up their own power in devotion to leaders or the group’s one-pointed vision, and become willing to do anything sanctioned by the authority of that vision.

Many people who find life difficult, or who carry unresolved emotional issues, seek an easy solution by submerging all their problematic personal feelings beneath a strong belief of some kind, rigidly holding to this in order to avoid their own inner conflicts. Unable to face reality, they turn to the simplicity of emotional devotion and uncluttered belief. But as they cling more tenaciously to their chosen views, their own problems are driven deeper into the background. If so repressed, the sixth ray individual can be violently fanatical, holding to their personally-adopted ideal with wilful and often blind adherence, displaying a tendency to confront or convert others; their zeal the product of buried defensiveness. If challenged, they are capable of reacting with fiery anger. Having difficulty seeing any point except their own, they can become prejudiced and suspicious of others’ motives. They react rapidly to idealistic glamour and illusion and, if bewildered, respond with sectarian retorts and simplisitc conclusions, seeking others with whom they can join forces to support the argument or cause. Deep down, though, there may be a suspicion that they are deceiving themselves, and this realisation—if it is not further buried beneath rigidity—can lead to a crisis of faith which then enables them to empathise with others emerging from similar situations.

The sixth ray personality can, when blinded to the needs of others by their own ideals, swing from one extreme to another, be simultaneously maudlin and sentimental, yet defensive and aggressive. Further, with intense partiality, there is a tendency to exaggerate the power of individual personalities, either elevating them to god-like status or dragging them down as scapegoats or icons of ‘evil’. In relationships there may be coercion and jealousy, caused by the vulnerability of over–dependence on others.

6.3 General effect: Change (Mutable mode)

The most obvious general effect of this ray at present can be seen in the power of groups to whip up uncritical enthusiasm for ideals covering a variety of causes spanning the entire range of human activity. The result, however, is the same despite the cause—from militant ‘lifers’ through jihadists to eco warriors and animal rights activists—the individuals affected submerge their own needs beneath that of the group ideal. An atmosphere is thus created where ‘for a greater cause’ the people involved not only overcome their own limitations but also learn to act as part of a whole; for better or worse, as far as the rest of society is concerned.

Because this ray is nearing the end of its current cycle, its impact is becoming increasingly destructive, as evidenced by the many religious and territorial conflicts. Suicide cults, avid militarism and militant idealism (such as nationalism) are the most extreme manifestations of the tail-end of this ray. On a more mundane level, the popular press often embodies the opinionated views of instant emotional reaction and, by printing that which many people thoughtlessly believe, panders to inner prejudices without real consideration of the facts. Generally though, the decline of the sixth ray shows itself in popular culture through mass emotion; fads, crazes and hero worship or mass mourning; vigilante groups seeking rough justice; sentimentality as a substitute for real emotion; and all kinds of inflexible and extreme beliefs.

6.3.1 Effect on average individual

Every individual is bathed in constant tides and waves of feeling, generated on the one hand by the culture in which they live, and on the other by their own desires. The search for the gratification of these desires, fuelled by peer pressure, advertising and the manipulation of popular emotion, occupies many people much of the time. In addition to this, the general backdrop of popular culture plays us off against each other by emphasising ‘success’, ‘failure’, ‘achievement’ and ‘pleasure’, where gratification—in the form of desire satisfied—is paraded before audiences made hungry through the mass illusions of advertising and the desire to belong or appear successful or attractive. The more nebulous destructiveness of the waning sixth ray can be seen in the powerful and personally-felt attachments to the illusions generated by this process, or to posessions and beliefs into which personal worth has been invested.

The thoughtlessness of the sixth ray can produce many differing outcomes. At one end of the spectrum: co-operation in adversity and the collective growth of a new ideal (for instance, collective social efforts and the urge for peace during war); at the other: rigid superstition and inflexible subconscious fears and opinions projected onto others. When such sentiments are combined with well-informed ideas, a positive idealism is the result, while ill-informed ideas give birth either simple nostalgia or more harmfully to deeply-held prejudice.