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Major ray influences
by Benjamin Creme

Discussion of two energies whose simultaneous functioning is causing great tumult in the world.

Behind the discord of the present troubled times stand two great energies. The 7th ray of Ceremonial Order or Ritual is (since 1675) coming into manifestation. The 6th ray of Abstract Idealism or Devotion is (since 1625) gradually passing out. Our present problem is the result of the fact that these two highly potent energies are functioning simultaneously, and in roughly equal potency, so that their effects are balanced. Neither dominates.

In consequence, the world is divided politically, economically, religiously and socially into two main groups; and these groups are in confrontation throughout the world. On the one hand, there are the exponents of the 6th ray approach who, from love of the old forms, are holding on to the outworn structures, fighting a last-ditch stand for their preservation. This group forms the conservative and reactionary forces in all fields throughout the world. The other, the progressive forces, are those who are able to respond to the new incoming energies, who sense the need for new, more living forms through which the new age civilization can manifest. The most impatient would sweep everything away, the good as well as the bad, and need the restraining hand of Hierarchy to produce ordered change.

Since long before the Christian era, the 6th ray has waxed in strength (Christianity being the result of its influence), and although it is now on the wane, its qualities saturate and colour all our structures and institutions, all our ways of thinking, feeling and relating.

The characteristic quality of the 6th ray is devotion to the ideal -- often a fanatical adherence to the ideal at the expense of all others. This ideal, of course, can be expressed on every level, from the most basically selfish desire to `make a million,' to an altruistic devotion to a cause or an abstract vision of sacrifice. It is for this reason that the Crucifixion has been the outstanding symbol of Christianity. The sacrifice of Jesus has been seen as a vicarious atonement for our sins. This 6th ray energy has produced, as its culminating type of aspirant, the mystic. In religious terms, the history of the last two thousand years is the history of the growth of mysticism, both in the East and in the West. The great religious figures and saints of Europe have invariably been mystics, while the same (abstract) approach to God has characterized the teachers and adherents of Islam, the Sufis, the Buddhists and the Jains. The fanatical adherence to, and militant advocacy of, their own ideal has led, of course, to the long succession of religious wars which continue to this day.

This same 6th ray influence has been responsible not only for sectarianism, but also for nationalism and patriotism, dogmatic, doctrinal exclusiveness, narrowness of view in science and philosophical schools of thought -- in short, it has stimulated the individualistic and separative tendencies in humanity. At the same time, it has presented as abstract ideals the ideas of love and brotherhood, of justice and freedom. These ideals are now firmly fixed in the minds and hearts of aspiring humanity, and need but the influence of the incoming 7th ray of Ceremonial Order to bring them into manifestation on the physical plane.

As the rays move cyclically into manifestation (there are never more than four -- and therefore never more than four types of people -- powerfully present at one time) they sweep into incarnation those souls along their own line of force. This process is especially marked at the end of one age and the beginning of another. Today is such a time. During the Piscean age now ending, the 6th ray brought in millions of 6th ray souls through whom it could express its purpose and quality. With the waning of its influence, the bulk of 6th ray souls will gradually be withdrawn from manifestation, their places to be taken by souls of the 7th ray which will dominate during the Aquarian cycle.

The major problem for the 6th ray exponent has been that he cannot externalize his ideal. His highest ideals remain abstractions. He cannot bring them down lower than the plane on which he is focused -- the astral plane, the plane of the emotions. Under the divine plan, each ray prepares the way for its successor. The 7th ray relates spirit to matter, thus synthesizing these opposites. Through its exponents, it will bring into expression, as a physical plane reality, the ideals and visions of the previous cycles. As the 6th ray fostered separatism and exclusiveness, so will the 7th ray bring about fusion and blended oneness. As the 6th ray stimulated the growth of individuality, so will the 7th promote the group spirit and consciousness. It is an intensely practical ray. Its exponents have their feet on the ground and recognize the need for order, rhythm and ritualistic work. As the 6th ray produced the mystic, the 7th will produce -- and is producing -- the magician, the worker in white magic. What are the marvels of our contemporary science but magical applications of certain laws? This is the magic of today, at a higher turn of the spiral than that of earlier Atlantean times, when the emphasis was on the black side. The 7th ray was the dominant influence, too, in that far-off time.

These two energies, though dominant, are not the only forces playing on and through humanity, and through all the kingdoms. Rays 2, 3, 5 and 7 are in incarnation, openly manifesting. Ray 4, that of Harmony through Conflict, is always subjectively influential where humanity is concerned -- the conflict which it engenders makes for rapid growth -- but will not come in until the next century; then, the harmony aspect will be uppermost. Its influence will provide the stimulus for the unfoldment of the intuition and for art of all kinds, including, for the masses everywhere, the art of living.

The 1st ray of Will or Power is not in incarnation, but nevertheless the potency of its destructive aspect has been most powerfully expressed through the leaders of Nazi Germany, the majority of whom were 1st ray exponents, together with others in Italy and Japan. This is the energy of the antichrist about which there is so much misunderstanding. It is the destructive aspect of the 1st ray which destroys the old, outworn forms of a dying civilization to prepare the way for the building forces of the Christ aspect. It has done its destructive work which, we shall find, will in due course benefit the Plan.

Since 1975, the creative aspect of this powerful, galvanizing 1st ray energy has been released directly into humanity (that is, without going through, and being stepped down by, Hierarchy). This is the Shamballa Force, the will-to-good, the force of Life itself. It is released each year by the Buddha at the Wesak Festival in May, and will continue to be released in increasing potency until the year 2000.

Virtues and Vices of the Ray Characteristics

The various characteristics and qualities of each of the rays are given by the Master D.K. through Alice A. Bailey in Esoteric Psychology, Vol. 1, and others (published by Lucis Publishing Co). They are as follows:

Ray 1: Will or Power.

Virtues: Strength, courage, steadfastness, truthfulness arising from absolute fearlessness, force of will, singleness of purpose, power of ruling, vision, power to good, leadership.

Vices: Pride, ambition, willfulness, hardness, arrogance, desire to control others, obstinacy, anger, solitariness, power for evil.

Virtues to be acquired: Tenderness, humility, sympathy, tolerance, patience.

Ray 2: Love-Wisdom.

Virtues: Calmness, strength, patience and endurance, love of truth, faithfulness, intuition, clear intelligence, serene temper, divine love, wisdom, tact.

Vices: Over-absorption in study, coldness, indifference to others, contempt of mental limitations in others, selfishness, suspicion.

Virtues to be acquired: Love, compassion, unselfishness, energy.

Ray 3: Activity, Adaptability or Intelligence.

Virtues: Wide views on abstract questions, sincerity, clear intellect, capacity for concentration, patience, caution, absence of the tendency to worry himself or others over trifles, mental illumination, philosophic viewpoint.

Vices: Intellectual pride, coldness, isolation, inaccuracy in details, absent-mindedness, obstinacy, selfishness, critical, impractical, unpunctual, idle.

Virtues to be acquired: Sympathy, tolerance, devotion, accuracy, energy, common-sense.

Ray 4: Harmony, Beauty, Art and Unity.

Virtues: Strong affections, sympathy, physical courage, generosity, devotion, quickness of intellect and perception.

Vices: Self-centredness, worrying, inaccuracy, lack of moral courage, strong passions, indolence, extravagance, veiling of intuition.

Virtues to be acquired: Serenity, confidence, self-control, purity, unselfishness, accuracy, mental and moral balance.

Ray 5: Concrete Knowledge or Science.

Virtues: Accuracy, justice (without mercy), perseverance, common-sense, uprightness, independence, keen intellect, truthfulness.

Vices: Harsh criticism, narrowness, arrogance, unforgivingness, lack of sympathy, prejudice, tendency to isolation, mental separation.

Virtues to be acquired: Reverence, devotion, sympathy, love, wide-mindedness.

Ray 6: Abstract Idealism or Devotion.

Virtues: Devotion, single-mindedness, love, tenderness, intuition, loyalty, reverence, inclusiveness, idealism, sympathy.

Vices: Selfish and jealous love, overbearing, partiality, self-deception, sectarianism, superstition, prejudice, over-rapid conclusion, fiery anger, violence, fanaticism, suspicion.

Virtues to be acquired: Strength, self-sacrifice, purity, truth, tolerance, serenity, balance, common-sense.

Ray 7: Ceremonial Order or Magic or Ritual.

Virtues: Strength, perseverance, courage, courtesy, meticulousness, self-reliance, creativity, thoughtfulness, organization.

Vices: Formalism, bigotry, pride, narrowness, poor judgement, arrogance, over-stressing of routine, superstition.

Virtues to be acquired: Realization of unity, wide-mindedness, tolerance, humility, gentleness and love.

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First published April 1999, Last modified: 15-Oct-2005