Modern exoteric science has proved the ancient and fundamental esoteric axiom: there is nothing in the whole of the manifested universe but energies, in some relationship, each vibrating at a particular frequency. The esoteric science postulates seven such streams of energy or rays, whose interaction, at every conceivable frequency, creates the solar systems, galaxies and universes. The movement of these seven rays of energy, in spiraling cycles, draws all Being into and out of manifestation, and colors and saturates it with their own individual qualities and attributes. This is as true for a grain of sand as for a man or a solar system. Each is the expression of a Life. As far as our own solar system is concerned, these seven energies are the expression of seven great Lives embodied by seven stars in the constellation of the Great Bear. In our system, one of these rays, the 2nd ray, is focused. The other six rays are therefore sub-rays of this basic ray. The manipulation of these subdivisions by our Solar Logos creates every variation of life within His system. So complex is the subject of the rays, so pervasive and all-embracing is their influence, that it will be possible in this article to skim the surface of their action only, and to show something of their relevance to our lives and relationships. The aim will be to demonstrate the value of knowing the qualities of the rays governing ourselves and our nations and in this way to stimulate the reader to enter into a deeper study of these forces which, on every plane, condition our nature and make us what we are. The rays are particular types of energy, the emphasis being on the quality which that energy demonstrates rather than on the form which it creates. To say that a man or a nation or a planet is `on' the 1st or 2nd ray, is to say that they are colored by, and express the quality of, that ray. Consequently, there are seven ray-types of people, and the idea of the septenate is to be found at many levels and in many branches of our lives: "the seventh son of a seventh son," "the seven sacred Planets." "Seven is a number in magic," as Dylan Thomas put it.
There are three primary rays, or rays of aspect, and four secondary rays of attribute. They have many names describing their many qualities and actions but are usually enumerated as follows:
- Rays of Aspect:
- 1st ray of Power, Will or Purpose
2nd ray of Love-Wisdom
3rd ray of Active, Creative Intelligence
- Rays of Attribute:
- 4th ray of Harmony through Conflict, or Beauty, or Art
5th ray of Concrete Science or Knowledge
6th ray of Abstract Idealism or Devotion
7th ray of Ceremonial Order or Magic or Ritual or Organization
Cyclically, according to the plan of the Logos, the rays come into manifestation, producing through their influence the succession of civilizations and cultures which mark and measure the evolution of the races. The three major planetary centers, Shamballa, Hierarchy and Humanity, are, respectively, the exponents of the three major rays of aspect: Will, Love-Wisdom and Active Intelligence. Every human being finds himself on one or other of these seven energies, and all of us are governed basically by five ray forces:
- the ray of the soul, which remains the same for countless eons;
- the personality ray, which varies from life to life until all the qualities are developed;
- the ray governing the mental body;
- that governing the astral-emotional equipment;
- and the ray of the physical body, including the brain.
These all vary cyclically.
Each ray works primarily through one center (or chakra), and together they determine the physical structure and appearance, the astral-emotional nature, and the quality of the mental unit. They predispose us to certain attitudes of mind and certain strengths and weaknesses (the virtues and vices of the rays). They give us our particular personality color and general tone on the physical plane. For the greater part of our evolutionary experience on this earth the rays of the personality govern our expression, but when we are two-thirds of the way along the path, the soul ray begins to dominate and to be expressed.
"Man, know thyself," said the ancient Greeks.
"Man, know thy rays," says the esotericist.
A knowledge of one's rays provides one with an insight into one's strengths and limitations, one's line of least resistance in this life and also an understanding of the bridges and the barriers between oneself and others, erected by our individual ray structure.
Those on similar rays tend to see things from the same point of view, to have the same approach to life, while those on disparate rays find it difficult to come to an understanding of each other's attitudes and meaning. It will be obvious how this factor conditions the quality of married life. It affects, too, the success or failure of the meetings of leaders of nations, especially when it is realized that each nation is governed by two rays: the higher soul ray, expressing the highest (usually as yet unmanifested) ideals of the nation; and the lower personality ray, governing the people's selfish national desires.
To view history from an understanding of the rays governing the nations and races is to see it in a new light. It becomes obvious why certain nations are allies while others have little in common and are traditionally hostile to each other. It becomes fascinatingly clear why particular ideas, movements and religions flourish at one period and fall into decay at another; why some countries emerge for a time and become dominant influences in the world while others lie fallow, as it were, awaiting their time of awakening through the stimulus of an incoming ray.
A knowledge of the ray structure of some of the great individuals who have created our culture and civilization enables us to see how their rays made them what they were, conditioned their actions and qualities, and shaped their destinies.
The science of psychology is in its infancy. It seeks to understand the workings of the human psyche, and in psychotherapy it works to alleviate the symptoms of stress and disorder. But until an understanding is reached of man as a soul in incarnation, governed by certain ray influences, much will remain obscure. It is the soul which determines the rays (and therefore the influences and limiting factors) of the personality and its vehicles. The new psychology, today esoteric, will begin from that premise.