the feeling nature as a sense in itself, inclusion and exclusion (in-crowds and out-crowds), idealism and devotion (groups acting unconsciously as one), mood and atmosphere.
|Quality:||idealism, responsive, fluidic, intense|
|Sixth ray signs:||Sagittarius (Virgo, Pisces). Sixth ray triangle: Virgo-Sagittarius-Pisces|
|Symbols:||The hexagon: a circle approximated, inside and outside; the complementary/opposing triangles of the star of David.|
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—they are motivated by the energy of this ray. This motivation or aspiration is felt as some kind of emotion, a refined desire that may be shared by 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 that idealism requires: with any ideal, there has also to be something ‘less than’ or ‘opposed to’ the ideal with which to compare it. 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: sensual gratification is pleasurable; wounds 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 same. It is obvious how this ray is related this ray to the second, showing a kind of emotional exaggeration of its qualities.
‘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.
There are many external groups at present working with the twin issues of glamour and disillusion. The participants in such groups start out by earnestly believing in the beliefs of the group, or in channelled messages 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 expectations, fears and anxieties which, when combined with a subtle desire to control others, produce a millennial ‘end of the world’ flavour. They also provide a religious substitute for those disillusioned by conventional religion; a form of emotional belief that remains necessary for the well-trodden mystical path of growth. The real issue at stake here is the process of dispelling glamour and seeing through cherished emotional illusion. When the predicted event fails to take place, or the beliefs—or beloved guru—is discredited, the individuals in the group have an opportunity to fall back on their own resources, and realistically to 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 would otherwise be lacking.
‘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
Devotional paths to growth are slowly giving way to more psychologically informed methods of development that do not by-pass the mind. Current demands are beginning evolve a more inclusive path that incorporates the mind and body in a fuller sense. However, the kind of (literally) thoughtless devotion to a spiritual teacher or religious ideal that encourages physical asceticism, emotional suppression and mental emptiness can still be a source of refined emotional inspiration, and serve to stimulate the process of development fostered by idealism. In occult terms, the Bhagavad Gita is the seminal devotional text with Krishna as the soul and Arjuna as the battling personality. 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 are always valid to the sixth ray individual.
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. This consists of devoting the entire self to the love of some cause 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 co-workers, the personality expands beyond purely personal goals and the individual ego is dissolved in the greater purpose.
The sixth ray also integrates by stimulating the human capacity for huge personal sacrifice in the name of some noble cause (or in former times, a spiritual teacher), and 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 (see 6.2.2) are also present, and the person remains true to their inner self by aligning outer and inner activities, the dramatic one-pointedness of this ray can then bring about integration.
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 2,000 years, and there is currently no shortage of developing individuals on this ray. The aware sixth ray individual is often a formerly wilful personality who is learning to sympathise with others, and perhaps compensating for a period of intense idealistically-driven selfishness, like the humanitarian who neglects or abuses personal relationships. 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 common sense. 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
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 there is less wisdom and the overview is lacking. All is subordinated to the chosen way, with a powerful urge to encourage others to follow the same path. The result is often mass fanaticism or—at the least—collective unthinking devotion. Individuals can thus be drawn to those cults and new age or religious movements in which they give up all their own power for devotion to a leader or a vision, and become willing to do anything sanctioned by this authority.
Many people who find life difficult, or who are carrying 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 the more tenaciously they cling to their chosen ideal, the deeper their own problems are driven 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 concealed 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 the quick rhetoric and easy conclusions of thoughtless idealism, seeking others with whom they can join forces in support of ‘the cause’. Deep down, though, there is often a suspicion that they are deceiving themselves, and this realisation—if it is not denied beneath a sectarian rigidity—can lead to a crisis of faith which then enables them to empathise with others in a similar situation.
The sixth ray personality can, when blinded to the needs of others by their own ideals, swing from extreme to extreme, 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 selfishness and jealousy, caused by the vulnerability of over–dependence on others.
The most obvious general effect of this ray at present can be seen in the power of groups to whip up an uncritical enthusiasm for ideals covering a variety of causes spanning the entire range of human activity. The result, however, is the same no matter what the cause—from militant ‘lifers’ to eco warriors and animal rights—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 society is concerned.
Because this ray is nearing the end of its current cycle, the results of its impact are becoming increasingly destructive, as evidenced by the many current religious and territorial conflicts. Suicide cults, avid militarism and militant idealism 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 pondering the facts. Generally though, the decline of the sixth ray shows itself in popular culture through mass emotion; fads, fan clubs, crazes and hero worship; vigilante groups seeking rough justice; sentimentality as a substitute for real emotion; and all kinds of inflexible and extreme beliefs.
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 gratification of these desires, fuelled by peer pressure, advertising and the manipulation of public feeling, occupies many people much of the time. In addition to this, the general emotional backdrop to popular commercial culture plays us off against each other with concepts like ‘success’ 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’. The more nebulous destructiveness of the waning sixth ray can be seen in the powerfully personal emotional attachment to illusions generated by this process.
The thoughtlessness of this ray can produce many differing outcomes. At one end, 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 projected onto others. When such sentiments are combined with well-informed ideas, idealism is the result, while ill-informed ideas give birth to simple nostalgia or deep prejudice.