Characteristics of the Rays
by Benjamin Creme

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Summary: Benjamin Creme discussess the virtues and vices of the rays as given by the Master D.K through Alice A. Bailey in Esoteric Psychology, Vol. 1 and other books published by Lucis Trust. Printed in Share International magazine.

     All rays have virtues and vices peculiar to their energy. A vice is an attribute of a ray improperly expressed. The soul expresses only the virtues of the ray while the imperfect personality expresses, more or less, the vices. The evolutionary aim is to transmute the vice of the ray into its higher aspect (virtue).

     The ray characteristics 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, 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: Calm, 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 the 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, criticism, impracticality, idleness. Virtues to be acquired: Sympathy, tolerance, devotion, accuracy, common sense.

Ray 4: Harmony, Beauty, Art and Unity attained through Conflict - Virtues: Strong affections, sympathy, physical courage, generosity, devotion, quickness of intellect and perception. Vices: Self-centeredness, worrying, inaccuracy, lack of moral courage, strong passions, indolence, extravagance, veiling of intuition. Virtues to be acquired: Serenity, confidence, self-control, purity, unselfishness, 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, overbearance, 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, Magic or Ritual - Virtues: Strength, perseverance, courage, courtesy, meticulousness, self-reliance, creativity, thoughtfulness, organization. Vices: Formalism, bigotry, pride, narrowness, poor judgment, arrogance, over-stressing of routine, superstition. Virtues to be acquired: Realization of unity, wide-mindedness, tolerance, humility, gentleness and love.

Individual Ray Structures

     The soul determines the rays of the individual. The rays of the personality and its vehicles (mental, emotional and physical) may, and usually do, change from life to life, but remain the same for the duration of each particular life. Whereas the soul ray remains constant from life to life.

     The personality ray gives the general tone of a person, and the mental ray gives the cast or quality of thought. The ray of the brain is the ray of the physical body, which might make it easier to recognize. Each ray creates a rather specific type of physical body which is quite recognizable even with different racial and national types.

Physical types:

The 1st ray tends to be tall, strongly built and large-boned, with a general air of power.

The 2nd ray is usually (but not always) small and delicately made, with a sense of fastidious refinement and sensitivity.

The 3rd ray (with the 7th ray, the most common) comes in all sizes and shapes. A large number of athletes are of this type which is characterized by an impression of physical co-ordination and adaptability (when healthy and fit).

The 4th ray seems to have some of the characteristics of both the 2nd and 3rd ray types. For example, Charlie Chaplin had a 4th ray physical body.

The 5th ray gives a somewhat stiff, set appearance; a tendency to clumsiness, awkwardness, rather than physical co-ordination.
The 6th ray tends to be large and to run to fat. They have a rather soft, flabby appearance with broad faces. They seem to be rather rare in Europe but are common in the USA.
The 7th ray can be tall or short but is usually thin and rangy. It is an extremely durable type, very athletic, especially in sports demanding stamina.

How do we set about finding our personal ray structure?

     The book Esoteric Psychology Vol. 1, given by the Master D.K. through Alice A. Bailey, provides comprehensive lists of the qualities and attributes, the virtues and vices of each of the seven rays. Study these until you have a firm picture of each ray as it expresses itself through these qualities, and, as honestly and objectively as you can, relate them to yourself -- as a soul and as a personality with three vehicles (mental, emotional and physical). Try to allow your intuition to function and try not to make value judgments about, or show preferences for, particular rays. These prejudices will inhibit the intuition.

     Study each of the ray attributes and, holding the quality in the mind and imagination, try to sense and intuit which vehicle it pertains to. This may sound difficult, but with practice, and through a combination of direct perception and intuition, it becomes possible to recognize the ray influences as they express through our lives.

How do we work with our ray structure?

     Certain rays and combinations of rays incline an individual to a particular kind of activity and line of service -- his line of least resistance -- through which, in any one life, he can best serve the world and carry out his personal destiny.

     The line 1-3-5-7 deals with the form, the concrete world, and with the function of matter, so that those on this line tend to be extroverted to the outer, formal aspect of life. The 2-4-6 rays are connected with the inner, spiritual life, with expression and with quality. Those on this line are, therefore, more drawn to the inner soul quality through introversion.

     The secret in understanding the rays is to know how to use the quality of one ray to make up for the weaknesses or to offset the glamours of another. For instance, the 5th ray of concrete mind would be more successful in offsetting 6th ray fanaticism than would the 4th ray; or, failing that in the make-up, the 2nd ray, which is inclusive and magnetic.

     People of the same ray structure will tend to understand each other’s view and general approach to life and so will be mutually attracted, but it is also true that on the personality level we tend to dislike people who are too like ourselves. It is a truism that we most dislike in others our own faults. On the soul level there is no repulsion; all souls can work together in harmony whatever the ray -- hence the necessity of approaching people as souls and finding contact with them at that level.

     The more advanced a person becomes, the more he will have built into his equipment the qualities of all the rays, synthesized by his soul ray, and the more he will function from the soul level.

Other Elements Of A Ray Structure

What is soul focus?

     In connection with the ray structure, "soul focus" means the body or vehicle (personality, mental, astral or physical) through which the soul is focusing its major stimulus in any particular life. This focus can and does change from life to life as the soul, for its own purposes, gives special stimulus to a particular ray governing a particular vehicle.

     The heightened stimulus given to the ray of the body in which the soul is focused increases the activity and overall influence of that body in the structure. For example, the soul will quite often place its focus in the mental body of someone polarized on the astral, precisely to bring about the necessary shift in polarization from astral to mental. On the other hand, a person mentally polarized might, in the process, have become rather cold and isolated in relation to others. The soul might then focus itself on the astral vehicle, along the 2-4-6 line, to invoke the warmth and love nature into the equipment.

What is polarization?

     "Polarization" means the level (or plane) on which the individual’s consciousness is habitually focused (physical, astral, mental or spiritual). Today, the majority of humanity is polarized at the astral level of consciousness.

     Being mentally polarized allows the soul to work through the mental body and destroy the glamour of the astral plane. Every act of the mind that controls the activity of the emotional body and regulates it to its proper place is an aid to eventual mental polarization.

How does an individual evolve?

     There are five initiations, expansions of consciousness, covering the evolutionary process to Perfection.

     The focus of consciousness shifts upwards as evolution proceeds. Astral polarization continues until about half-way between the first and second initiations. There is then a period in which the polarization oscillates between astral and mental until full mental polarization is achieved and the second initiation can be taken. This shift in polarization takes place slowly over several or many lives.

     The state of mental polarization continues until about half-way between the second and third initiations when spiritual polarization begins and the intuition gradually takes over the functions of the lower mind. This is fully achieved by the fourth initiation.