The essential next step in the evolution of human consciousness cannot be further delayed to accommodate fear. We are now living in what the Ageless Wisdom teaching describe as the age of occultism-the Aquarian Age-as we move out of the Piscean Age of Mysticism.
A friend told me years ago after paging through my first book 'Understanding Your Choice' and seeing the words occult/occultism that the Christian community would greatly object to those terms and so she suggested I change them in my book. I, of course, told her I would do no such thing and that in fact they should be emphasized given the fact that according to the arcane mystery teachings, this Age of Aquarius is one of developing an occult understanding of life. The paralyzing effects of the fear of anything should always be countered by the light of knowledge and pure reason.
The first step of any sincere aspirant of this age is to take the time to understand the fundamental differences between the Age of Pisces and its dominant feature of Mysticism and the New Age of Aquarius with its dominant focus of Occultism.
The aspirant must have an understanding of the basic and enduring potencies of the last two thousand years of the Age of Pisces, and must be achieved so that they can be counted upon. And at the same time are balanced within the context of the new ideas and idealisms of the Aquarian Age to be brought into objectivity and expressed in a new way. This is essential for the new Aquarian civilization and culture to be wisely and sanely produced and for the foundations to be laid for the correct development of the human family in this new cycle.
It is important then to compare this new age ways of training and discipline with those of the old age of Pisces. 1
I will lay out some of the objectives and orientations of each age to give a better understanding hopefully of the aims of the Spiritual Hierarchy in its continued goal of achieving humanity's liberation.
The Objectives of the Mystical Age of Pisces:
1. To orient man to the world of higher values, since the outstanding characteristic under the old regime was devotion. Now humanity must seek and hold a one-pointedness toward the soul in preparation for the emergence of the fifth kingdom-God-Man-in the Aquarian age. All world religions have been built around an embodied Idea and these different world religions under the Piscean age were adapted to specific nations, races and times and were designed to embody some truth through the medium of a particular teacher who would attract those for whom he expressed the highest goal toward which they could strive.
2. To unfold the "capacity for abstraction" in man to enable him to appreciate ideas and become able to formulate these ideas toward ideals-a direct evidence of the work of the Spiritual Hierarchy in expanding human consciousness through education, emotional development and maturity during the Piscean cycle.
3. To fade out the desire of devotees to impose their idealistic fanatical dreams of religious idealism on others to merciless excesses.
4. Under the principle of desire, large numbers of mankind have been shifted away from the material values of life. Unlike in previous times, when a few great sons of God would, at this time large numbers of mankind are motivated and are now ready to make great sacrifices for an Idea they believe in. This includes even being ready to die for a major world need, an empire or a nation. This is a major racial achievement of the Spiritual Hierarchy who has been able to shift the attention of humanity into the world from which these ideas emerge and onto higher and less material values.
5. The sense of taste is associated with discrimination and the development of taste reached a very high state over the last two thousand years of the age of Pisces era. This new and highly cherished sense of "good taste" is a new thing since this was usually the prerogative or a highly cultured few. This is an evolutionary achievement and is the correspondence on the higher plane of discriminating sense of values. The Piscean Age can therefore been noted for the evolutionary unfoldment of-Desire, Taste and Discrimination- a preparation of the personality vehicle of the more mature individual for the inflow of the soul forces for the intrinsic expression of the true nature of the man.2
The Objectives for the Occult Age of Aquarius:
This new age will be characterized by the many changes. We are beginning to see them, and they are generating much fear in the public at large who are seeing an almost radial departure from the way things were. This age is called one of Alchemy, Ceremonial Order and Magic, one in which the magical work will be that process in which man goes in search of the magical agent within himself used in the making of the Philosopher's Stone-integrating the physical, astral and emotional bodies, not only in the individual man but the Body of the race of Man. Organization, Service, Relationship, Brotherhood and the rise of the Feminine to her rightful place of equality, power and rulership are some of the hallmarks of this age. The three things that will definitely be manifested on the planet are;
1. Changes in civilization and the culture of humanity initiated by the intelligentsia to whom these energies of differences of the age are understood. They in turn transmit them downward to reverse the involutionary path and re-direct humanity on the upward path toward liberation.
2. These forces are also directed downward to the other kingdoms in nature to initiate and produce a different quality in the soul manifestation to consequently produce changes in their forms.
3. A difference in the types of souls which will now be incarnating on the planet. As the occult energies pour into the etheric body of the planet and consequently into that of each individual, a new world order is being put in place so that the arcane mysteries can be revealed through them. The majority of the souls who were in incarnation in the age that is moving out were mystical in nature, and so we are seeing the emergence of seventh ray or occult types appearing who will carry out the work of synthesis, fusion, and oneness. The separation and division of the outgoing age being replaced!
This new occult force will produce the Western School of Occultism just as the Piscean Age produced the Eastern School of Occultism. There will be a shift of the light in the East to over Europe and America bringing about a synthesis of the mystical way and the occult path. The rules of the road will not be discarded but, the same road will be followed, the same goals will be achieved but the procedures will be changed to accommodate the new types now in incarnation.3
In the comparison of mysticism and occultism, it must be noted that a mystic is not necessarily an occultist but the occultist embraces the mystic and in fact, mysticism is only one step on the path of occultism. The mystical path is one of "love" and can be termed the probationary Path while the occult path is one of "will". The mystic fails in the purpose of his being if he is unable to co-ordinate love demonstrated in activity through the use of intelligent will, to become an occultist, which he must! In a similar way the occultist becomes a selfish exponent of intelligent power unless he is able to find a purpose of that will and knowledge to express, motivated through love.
Further, the mystic deals with the form in evolution and the God within that form and works from the center to the periphery, while the occultist deal with the form itself, God in outer manifestation, and reverses the process of the periphery to the center.
The mystic mounts the spiritual cross through aspiration and intense devotion to God or a Master who he recognizes, while the occultist attains by the recognition of the law that is in operation and wields that law, which binds matter. He then manipulates matter to meet the needs of the life that is within the given form. In essence, the occultist works with the Intelligences who work with the law until he attains that Intelligence Himself. The mystic at the final initiation is merged into the occultist for he now has become a student of the law who must work with matter. The occultist, therefore, includes the characteristics of the mystic.4
The Mystical Form Type:
The mystic broods on that inner center of consciousness as he concentrates upon the God within him. From this center he attempts to link himself to his Master, some saint or the Divine Himself. He pays little attention, however, to the bodies within which the consciousness dwells. In the elevation of his consciousness, he works with the divine fire within and moves from fire to fire, always concentrating on abstractions and on the essence of that life and not on the concrete aspects of that life. If the mystic had his way he would eliminate form totally, and as he harmonizes, loves, works and burns with fire through devotion, he aspires to leap from the plane of the emotions to that of intuition while attempting to eliminate the concrete mind in meditation. The only form the mystic is said to use if the ladder of fire, and through graded realizations of the indwelling Fire, plans to touch the fire of the universe. He is visionary, dreamy, impractical, emotional, and lacking the quality of mind called discrimination. The mystic is intuitive and prone to martyrdom and self-sacrifice, and before the mystic can achieve Initiation, he must:
Through meditation bring his whole nature under the law, learn to value of form and build it..
Learn to appreciate the concrete, and to understand the many bodies through which life manifests and their place in the whole scheme of things.
Learn about his own spirit-matter microcosmic vehicle in which he exist.5
The Occult Form Type:
For the occultist form presents very little resistance because with the Age of Aquarius embodying the Ray of Form and its focus being Ceremonial Magic, Ritual and Alchemy, the energy of this age powerfully facilitates a rapid development of occult knowledge and its easy assimilation. We will also see the appearance of many occultists in the outer world.
In contrast to the Mystic, the occultist is more pre-occupied with the form though which the Entity manifests, than with the Entity Himself. While the mystic attempts to transcend or eliminate the mind in trying to find the true Self, the occultist because of his interest in the form which veils the Self, and through the intelligent use of the principle of the mind, he arrives at the same point as the mystic.
He recognizes the bodies or sheaths which veil the true Self and applies himself to the study of the laws that govern the solar system that is in manifestation, of which he is the microcosm. In his study, he arrives at the central life by a process of elimination, and through conscious knowledge and control. He meditates on form (e.g. geometric symbols), until the form reveals to him the creator hidden within, and by that form. What is revealed is that the form and the Self veiled by that form are in fact one and the same and that-Spirit is the highest form of Matter, and Matter is the lowest form of Spirit.
The path of the occultist requires that he does the following:
Learn and apply the law to his own unfoldment through rigid self-discipline, not the least because of the potential dangers involved, are quite different from those encountered by the mystic. The need to wield the law from the point of curiosity, and the desire for power must be burnt out of him, so must pride and selfishness. Only then can the secrets of the path be safely entrusted to his care.
He must, through meditation on the form he has built, concentrate upon the indwelling life within and seek the inner burning divine fire that radiates all forms and shelters all divine life.
Through his scientific study of the macrocosm which is the kingdom of God without, he must reach a point where he locates the kingdom of God within, and this is the place where the mystic and the occultist merge and become one.6
In this regard, the Age of Aquarius offers great challenges and opportunities for self-knowing, adeptship and Initiation.
1Bailey, Alice A., Destiny of the Nations, London: Lucis Press Ltd., 1951, p.112
2Ibid. pg. 115
3Ibid, pg. 132
4Bailey, Alice A., Letters on Occult Meditation, London: Lucis Press Ltd., 1951, p.147
6Ibid, pg. 152