One of 4 rays of Attribute
‘As above, so below, as in the greater, so in the lesser’. Rhythm, cycles, a sense of timing, pattern and order, rituals and ceremonies, groups of individuals acting co-operatively as conscious organic wholes. Correspondences and inner sympathies between differing things, the encapsulation of complex information in symbolic forms.
|Seventh ray signs:||Capricorn (Aries, Cancer). Seventh ray triangle: Aries-Cancer-Capricorn|
|Technique:||co-ordinating, symbolic, physical|
|Symbols:||Six circles fit around a central seventh. The number seven and the heptagon. Symbols, cryptic signs, and emblems in general.|
|Ray 7 triangles:|
7.1 Group effect: Synthesis (Cardinal mode)
In all kinds of ways, the seventh ray produces the tendency for forms to organise themselves in coherent and functional ways, both actively and passively. In human life this quality is demonstrated in the human capacity to seek order and perceive patterns. Meaningful correspondences and connections between different forms thereby create a physical counterpart to the corresponding inner network of meaning and interconnection. This kind of activity provides the basis for any kind of ritual or rhythmic activity, as well as the formation of information or organisational networks. Shared purpose and symbolic correpondence holds both magical systems and human networks of interest together.
Because of this quality, the seventh ray is also responsible for summarising complex information into concise packages; synthetically focused at-a-glance summaries of the interconnected parts. In order for anything to appear or manifest, a form must be built that reflects the inner purpose seeking manifestation. The material substance of forms is drawn from a variety of sources, and the seventh ray symbolises how these cohere and give expression to inner intentions and ideas, or anything seeking an outer form.
Forms are only sustained as long as there is life in them, so the seventh ray only functions if there is a purpose behind the structures built under its influence. As soon as that purpose becomes outmoded or is withdrawn, the form is destroyed or slowly decays. The initial spark and final destructive withdrawal is the work of the first ray, to which the seventh is closely allied.
7.1.1 Effect on groups of integrated beings (‘fifth kingdom’)
The great strength of seventh ray groups is in their power for organisation. They take the best of the old and combine this with new incoming ideas in such a way that the essence of both is given form and is presented as a unified whole.
Their work lies naturally on the physical plane. They can organise the evoked ideal which will embody as much of the \[inner] idea … as the period and humanity can evidence and produce in form upon the earth. Their work is potent and necessary and calls for much skill in action.
—Esoteric Psychology II, p145–6
To bring about the above, these groups work inwardly, to manifest appropriate cultural forms that encapsulate the essence of whatever is seeking manifestation in the spiritual and parallel material life of humanity. The subtle power of carefully constructed phrases as they give form to ideas is an example of this kind of work (e.g., the “Great Invocation” given to Alice Bailey as the inaugurating mantram of the incoming seventh ray, although its original wording is felt to be dated and has been modified).
Overall, the main power of the seventh ray at present lies in the formation of groups everywhere that coordinate activities so that the resulting outcome is greater than anything that could be achieved by individual members alone, or under a single leader (leaders and even the notion of “heroes” belong to the waning sixth ray approach). These outer groups are galvanised and guided by the subjective activities of that inner group whose aim is to create co-operative networks that embody the incoming changes.
7.1.2 Effect on groups of self-aware, integrating individuals (‘soul groups’)
The difference between the methods of the old age and that of the new can be seen expressed in the idea of leadership by one and leadership by a group. It is the difference between the imposition of an individual’s response to an idea upon [others] and the reaction of a group to an idea, producing group idealism and focalising it into definite form, carrying forward the emergence of the idea without the dominance of any one individual. This is the major task today of the seventh ray [worker], and to this end [they] must bend every energy… [and] embody the group aspiration in an organised movement, which… is quite distinct from an organisation. —Esoteric Psychology II, p145–6
Many outer organisations and inner groups are currently experiencing the shift from the sixth to the seventh ray, as is evidenced by the contrast between the idea of leadership represented by a single personality, and the organic growth of networks with shared interests. The average group of self-aware individuals, whether unified by an outer organisation or not, is responding to this shift. There is a growing emphasis on inclusive networks threaded together by ‘nodes’ consisting of decentralised groups of aware individuals who share their ideas, aspirations and activities in an organised way, without the dominance of a leader, elected or otherwise. They are not followers or members of some individual or of a single organisation, they are independently skilled co-workers drawn from a variety of backgrounds. Collectively, they are able to formulate ideas, activities, phrases, standards, visual information, codes of behaviour and other forms of cultural expression that encapsulate the fundamental motivation behind their collective purpose. A good example of this kind of group on the mental level is the think-tank, and such groups now exist for almost every human activity. The open source software movement, where any individual across the globe can contribute to the development of a piece of software, really exemplifies the seventh ray approach; it produced and maintains the operating system and software on which most of the internet depends. Wherever several such groups are interconnected, we have an even more inclusive example of seventh ray activity.
7.2 Personal effect: Intensification (Fixed mode)—role in the growth of human consciousness
Summed up, the outcome of the seventh ray influence might be stated as follows: coordinated precision and rhythmic order, free from undue control, manipulation or inflexibility.
One of the main contributions of the seventh ray to the individual growth process is an appreciation of the cyclic nature of time. The whole idea of cycles liberates us from the sixth ray intensity of the urgent now by offering a wider context within which intensely focused moments (of pleasure or pain, conflict and idealism, etc.) are seen as phases within a more inclusive span. With such a perspective, it is easier to organise and structure activities to enable a more informed use of personal qualities and time.
[the seventh ray is also] linked with the incoming Aquarian influence, [with one of the personal qualities needed to work with this energy being a willingness] to work in a group as an integral part of the group, …having no idea of personal ambition or any wish to be a leader. —Edited from Bailey, Esoteric Psychology II, p145–6
7.2.1 In the process of alignment (Cardinal: integration of personality and soul—will)
Integration comes about through a very practical understanding of the natural laws of matter on all three personal levels—an understanding of the “karmic” implications of our thoughts, feelings and actions. Applying this how and why approach supersedes the need for trial-and-error learning because, as the process takes effect, the individual gradually becomes unable to commit any action without being simultaneously aware of the consequences. Such an individual can become an expert—in an often intuitive way—on the human personality and its cyclic interaction with the mental, emotional and physical fields of personal experience. This eventually enables them to function confidently as an integrated being without causing or experiencing too many ripples in the pool of human consciousness that reflects the inner self.
It is a quality of this path that a fine appreciation of form on all levels is acquired; the resulting breadth of experience is not so immediately evident in other ray approaches. Through the practice of care over details, the seventh ray individual is able to move with facility on every level, although their emotional life may be marked by a certain methodical coolness or detachment. However, this is quite distinct from the defensive or fearful withdrawal that can be apparent in an unthinking application of even-numbered ray qualities, as a dispassionate gentleness and love are present, free from personal manipulation and expectation.
7.2.2 In the development of self-awareness (Fixed: emotional balance—love-wisdom)
The seventh ray was originally seen as the ray of ritual magic. However, the practice of creative visualisation—with its allied practical materialisation of a concept, plan or ideal—is part of the same process. In A Treatise on White Magic Alice Bailey offers a contemporary approach to this kind of magical manifestation. In place of the traditional techniques, she details methods that are centred around the creative involvement of the whole inner person, focusing on the mind’s ability to formulate and hold a process steady. The seventh ray concern is to gain an understanding of each of the three human worlds—mental, emotional and physical—and their role in the materialisation of some spiritual or inwardly-intended principle. The essential quality is that of manifestation. It is crucial that the desired inner plan sees the light of day, and does not remain sterile in a theoretical or idealistic state. Rather than aspiring inwards to an abstract ideal, the seventh ray moves from the inner ideal outwards into materialisation, so that something that otherwise exists only inwardly, gains an outer form accessible to others.
There are many magical and shamanic traditions, each with their own history. The one thing they have in common is that, unlike mystical paths, they focus on forging—rather than dissolving—the link between the inner and the outer worlds, aiming to stabilise this link through personal development and connection to a physically-realised practice. In this way, the individual not only moves through their own process, but also builds something tangible on each of the three human levels, actually changing the substance of each, for others to access and contribute to the same process. Over time, this modifies the structure of the human world, and brings about changes that reflect the developing human psyche and wider culture in a tangible way.
Eventually, there is no comforting idealised inner world on this path, just the bare and often awesome reality of the world of energy in which we have our being, just as it is. Without preconception, the world lacks the illusory structure of levels and planes, spirits and rays, and is apprehended in its raw form. Magical and shamanic practices both offer and deny such a structure, for when the formulas have been used and the ritual path has been trodden, it becomes redundant; replaced by the value of experience itself. The individual searching for a structure is thus led towards a realisation of the vastness and interconnectedness of everything, and moves beyond the confines of personal practice into what Alice Bailey describes as
the magical work of interpretation (Bailey, Esoteric Psychology II p43).
Emotionally, these seventh ray processes build resilience and strength through the need for perseverance, courage and self–reliance. From the inner confidence built from a place of strength, courtesy, tolerance, humility and respect for the ways of others follows. One of the inevitable consequences of developing personal congruency between the inner and outer self is that our emotions are more readily apparent in our bodily expression, through posture, through the quality of light on and through the skin, and through facial expression; provided that the cells of the body have been vitalised through balanced material living. Such transparency can only come from an unassuming strength.
7.2.3 In the need for experience (Mutable: physical refinement—intelligent activity)
The archetypal magician seeks one thing above all else—control. Magician or no, the seventh ray individual learns through this process to manipulate and gain experience in the three fields of human endeavour: mental, emotional and physical. Motive is everything at this point, since the attempt to manipulate and control for personal ends inevitably returns to its source. It is no accident that one of the best methods of psychic defence, both magically and psychologically, is reflection—the neutral return of the controlling force back to its origin.
So-called “black magic” is simply an attempt—often generated by fear—to control events and people so that they fall in line with the practitioner’s intent. The patience and attention to detail required stimulates the development of personal qualities that remain in the psyche and, hopefully, can eventually be utilised for altruistic ends. However, while the motive remains self-centred, the result is often chaos and disorder, brought on by an incomplete appreciation of all the interlinked factors involved in whatever the individual is seeking to control. Because they fail to see the greater picture, their meddling often results in disarray, rather than in creative change. The danger is that they will then attempt to force control through speech, personal power, sexuality, money; anything that appears to offer a way of regaining control.
In formalised ritual organisations, such as the Masonic orders or traditional magical schools, there is always the opportunity to abuse power, which is why the codes of conduct in such organisations are so strict and detailed. But where formalism, bigotry, pride, narrowness, superficial judgements, and self–interest hold sway, such organisations can wreak inner havoc with the fabric of society, and the individuals involved pile up so much in the way of ethical consequence that they risk being submerged by it. In such cases, the learning process leads the individual, who is in danger of resorting to manipulation, to realise through an understanding of the whole picture that true “magic” concerns their own psyche so intimately, that any attempt to influence any individual or course of events is always going to impact upon their own life.
7.3 General effect: Change (Mutable mode)
The seventh ray has a greater affinity with the etheric or energetic levels than it has with the atoms and molecules of the physical world—with the ‘wave’ more than the ‘particle’ (although they are essentially the same thing, depending on viewpoint). As a result, it is closely bound up with the current refinement of the physical so that it becomes a transparent carrier of energy. This process lies behind the now-widespread holistic approaches to bodily health and ethical living, and how this integrates with the ecology of the planet. The upsurge of interest in the ‘energy body’ as expressed (for instance) in the acupuncture meridians corresponds to a growing sensitivity to so-called “earth energies” originally popularised by the idea of ley-lines and geomantic practices such as Feng Shui. The idea is that the body of the Earth, as well as that of human lives are, through this change, becoming more able to respond in a more agile manner to the inner forces that motivate the more tangible material we think of as “matter”.
The seventh ray also works in a more mundane manner, for instance, behind the “corporate image” of an organisation. Logos and advertising summarise, embody and then present aims in an easily-digestible form. For example, the mini-movies of advertising encapsulate the feel an organisation wants to convey about a brand or product. The systematization of business, technical and engineering processes is also essentially a seventh ray approach. More significantly, this ray describes the activities of international campaign groups: an example of those “organised movements” mentioned by Alice Bailey that tackle issues as an alternative to political organisations, governments and corporate agendas with narrower views.
The ritualistic “pomp and circumstance” of national, military, religious and royal ceremonies is an older representation of seventh ray methods, more allied to the passing energy of the sixth ray, because the focus is on individuals or on a single idealistic view.
7.3.1 Effect on average individual
The seventh ray tendency for cyclic order arranges mundane activities so that they are reasonably manageable. The average demands of ordinary life, including the necessary structures required for reasonably-functioning families, are a good forcing ground for the seventh ray qualities of cyclic order. The organisation necessary for coherent everyday life calls on the kind of skills that transfer well during the integration of an individual personality into a functioning whole, and the integration of that functioning whole into a wider collective purpose.
The actual structure behind information networks—the underlying code and digital technologies—are a key manifestation of seventh ray energy, and demonstrate a sympathy with the third ray in that they expand and greatly enhance communication. The popularity of the web and the ability to share interests and aims across the world is, perhaps, the closest embodimaent of the seventh ray—essentially bringing the astral plane or realm of emotion or affective connection into physical being, with the sharing of strong convictions, and geographically decentralised groups both benign and malefic. For many, it has transformed social life from the narrower circles of familiy and friends into an extended network of connections, exploited by corporations but also enabling anyone with access to have a more inclusive view of the world, if they so wish.