The Seven Rays – part 1

The Bible speaks of the seven Spirits before the throne of God: it’s a phrase from Revelation; and the ancient Hindu texts, the Vedas, speak of the seven Rishis, and I think there’s some tradition in mythology that says the sun—meaning the orb in the sky—is one who is driven by seven horses. So, these are references to the same recognition: that life is expressed in a sevenfold manner. 

Robert: Welcome to Inner Sight. Inner sight is simply seeing that which is always present but not yet fully recognized. You have within you the ability to see yourself and the world around you in a new way with new eyes, so stay with us and together we’ll look at the world and ourselves with inner sight. Our topic for today is the seven rays. There’s a thought that relates to this particular subject that comes from the works of Alice Bailey in Esoteric Psychology Volume 1—Alice Bailey is the founder of the Lucis Trust organization, and she’s authored twenty-four volumes of literature and all of our discussions emanate from her literature—and this thought is: “There is one Life which expresses Itself primarily through seven basic qualities or aspects, and secondarily, through the myriad diversity of forms. These seven radiant qualities are the seven Rays.” Why is the word ray used to describe qualities of the one Life and why seven? 

Sarah: A ray is an expression of energy; a beam of light is a ray, and that’s probably a good simile for the seven Rays as expressed in the teaching of the Ageless Wisdom. The other day Dale and I were talking about a good analogy or a good simile for the seven rays, and I think you came up with the idea of a prism. 

Dale: Yes, that’s one way to describe it, by way of analogy. When light is shone through a prism it subdivides into seven basic colours and these are actually the seven rates of vibration that appear as colour and the combined effect of all of those vibrations gives us a white light. So, within that one light there are seven differentiations. You might liken this to the spiritual light of God also; when it focuses through the human kingdom, it breaks down and subdivides into seven paths—seven spiritual streams of energy. 

Sarah: Well, first I suppose one should say out of the one there is the three followed by the seven; the one, the three, and the seven is the pattern. The triplicity of divinity, I think, is a common concept in a number of religions, certainly in Christianity. 

Dale: As the basic Trinity, the one in three and the three in one. 

Sarah: Right. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost of Christianity or in Hinduism, Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma. So, there is the one Life, the one creator called God or Deity, expressed or manifested as three and qualified or differentiated as seven. The seven Rays are seven expressions of the One; seven qualities of divinity as they manifest in the world. 

Dale: Yes. And I think it’s important to realize that these are energies; when we say the word ray, we’re not talking about a ray gun or anything… 

Sarah: Clear images of bad movies come to light. (laughter) 

Robert: Or someone by the name of Ray. (laughter) 

Sarah: No little boys and phony pistols. (laughter) 

Dale: Nothing like that. These are energies that qualify all manifested life on the Earth. Now that’s a huge statement from the teachings and the writings of Alice Bailey, and all of what we’re saying here about this vast science of the seven rays is from the teachings in the Bailey books. It’s rather difficult to understand at first because it’s so abstract and it’s so new. It will be in the future we’re told—and it’s already beginning to be today—a new science of psychology, because it enables us to understand ourselves in a completely different way, from the standpoint of these seven rays. 

Sarah: Coming back to the seven rays as expressed in the writings of Alice Bailey, there are parallels in some other systems of thought. The Bible speaks of the seven Spirits before the throne of God: it’s a phrase from Revelation; and the ancient Hindu texts, the Vedas, speak of the seven Rishis, and I think there’s some tradition in mythology that says the sun—meaning the orb in the sky—is one who is driven by seven horses. So, these are references to the same recognition: that life is expressed in a sevenfold manner. 

Dale:  Yes, and there are many other examples of the seven, as I mentioned before; the seven colours that break down for the light spectrum, and the seven colours in the rainbow are the same thing, as sunlight shining through the spectrum of water vapor, which gives us the rainbow in the sky. 

Sarah: And seven major glands in the human being. 

Dale: In addition to the seven glands there are seven chakras, or centres, up and down the spine. 

Sarah: Energy centres, in other words—areas within the spinal column or very close to the spinal column that are centres for the inlet of spiritual energy. 

Dale: And there are seven ventricles in the human brain, I’m told. And there’s seven days in the week; that’s not by accident. 

Sarah: Right. God created the world in seven days according to the Book of Genesis—or in six days and rested on the seventh. 

Dale: Well, we have to count the seventh. There’s also an interesting analogy of the diatonic scale in Western music which is based on seven basic notes, and this is not by accident. It’s a very esoteric arrangement. 

Robert: Within the last century, it’s been discovered by scientists that in seven years the human body has replaced every cell, so virtually we have a new body every seven years. The number seven is really a mystical spiritual number in so many ways. 

Sarah: That’s right. It’s said in the writings of Alice Bailey to be the number that governs evolution. So that implies that a sevenfold expression pertains to the outer physical realm, the realm of manifestation. The realm of pure spirit is not governed by seven. I think it’s governed by one or nine, I’m not sure. I’m not very adept at numerology, but seven is said to be the number of evolution which would explain why the body, for example, renews itself every seven years. 

Dale: There is also a bodily cycle of seven years where rather significant changes occur—or the potential is there to occur—in a person’s life. The ages of twenty-one, twenty-eight, and thirty-five tend to be very pivotal years with a lot of people. I know it was in my life because it was at age thirty-five that I discovered the Bailey books and that turned my whole life around. I haven’t been the same since! (laughter) 

Sarah: For many reasons. (laughter) 

Robert: I’m sure if our listeners read the books they’ll find out why, and then maybe they’ll be on the same path of discovery that you were on, Dale. 

Dale: So, there are these very hidden sevens that keep cropping up. Also, there are the seven lean years and the seven fat years that are mentioned in the story of Joseph in the Bible. This is symbolic of the esoteric nature of seven. 

Sarah: Coming back to the idea of the seven rays, to remind our listeners, this is a teaching that expresses the sevenfold quality of divinity, of deity. So, when we start talking about the rays, we are talking about expressions of divine energy, and I think that’s really important to keep in mind. One isn’t better than another, one isn’t greater than another, or lesser, but they are seven differentiations of God in manifestation. Maybe at this point we should try to name or describe the Rays. The first ray is the Ray of Will or Power. 

Robert: And once again, these rays are energies that affect us and humanity?  

Sarah: Energies that express divinity in the world. God as Will or Power is an expression of divine purpose, not of will used to overcome or subdue, but in its most pure state, a tremendously potent spiritual energy of Will or Power. 

Dale:  The second ray is called by the title, the Ray of Love-Wisdom, and that is a very powerful ray, a very significant ray, because it is the ray that the Buddha is said to have come and worked under, that particular quality of energy. 

Sarah: And the Christ; all the great world Teachers incarnate on the Ray of Love-Wisdom. People may not be accustomed to thinking of love as associated with wisdom. We think of romantic love as making us kind of crazy in fact, but love and wisdom are two sides of one divine energy. The third ray is often called the Ray of Active Intelligence, or the Ray of Creativity. 

Dale: And it’s also the ray of adaptability, which is another word that’s used to describe that energy. That’s a very interesting ray, because some people who are strong in this ray have the ability to adapt to their situation, where other people simply couldn’t.  

Sarah: We spoke of the one, the three and the seven. We’ve named the first three rays. The Ray of Will, the Ray of Love, and the Ray of Intelligence. Those are the equivalents of life, quality and appearance or life, soul and form. And then the next four rays are all sub-rays in a sense of the third Ray of Creative Intelligence.  

Dale: The fourth ray is called the Ray of Harmony Through Conflict, and that is the ray that is said to govern the whole human race right now. And perhaps it’s one reason why we experience in the world so much conflict, not only in our personal lives, but as a species, as a human race.  

Sarah: But it leads ultimately to harmony. 

Dale:  Right. If it is carried through properly, it will lead to harmony. 

Sarah: The fifth ray is the Ray of Concrete Knowledge, knowledge about the physical world. 

Dale: Many of the famous scientists are on this ray. Einstein would perhaps be a good example of that, the pure scientist. And then the sixth ray is the Ray of Idealism and Devotion. We’ll get into a discussion of all these later on, but for now we’ll give you an overview.  

Sarah: And then finally the seventh ray is the Ray of Organization, of Order and Ceremony. 

Robert: I understand at this point that these rays are energies that affect all of humanity, on an individual level, as well as a group level, on a national level. They influence who we are, our personality makeup, and they intertwine with us. But one thing I’m confused about is the opening thought by Alice Bailey, where she says, “one Life.” What does she mean by that?  

Sarah: God. 

Robert: How would that relate to the three hundred million people in the United States then, because they might argue that they’re a life also? 

Sarah: Or the six billion souls on our planet at this time? Well, according to spiritual belief, you either accept it intuitively or you don’t. There is a spiritual belief in the esoteric tradition that Life is one and that all outer incarnations and expressions of life—human, animal, vegetable and mineral—are ell manifestations of what is essentially one divine Source. True, it’s a stretch to look around you on the subway and say “we are all one,” because you see people who are so different from yourself. That’s true on the outer level; we are very different. But essentially, in origin, and in destiny, we are one human family. 

Robert: We’re all connected then. 

Sarah: Yes, we are all connected. 

Robert: We’ve talked before about a Plan for the world. Are the seven rays related to the Plan? 

Dale: Yes, very definitely. We have talked about the Plan; we did a whole program on the Plan some time ago and it is of course the Plan of God. It’s God’s Plan for the world, which is essentially his vision of the objectives that he is trying to work out on planet Earth.  

Sarah: Through the cooperation of humanity.  

Dale: Right, and there is a Plan for humanity, as well as the other kingdoms in nature. The animal kingdom, vegetable and mineral kingdoms also have their part in the Plan. The rays come into it because they are the essential quality that everything is made up of. Each of these rays are in the process of expressing some divine truth in the world, so that is directly related to what is working out through the Plan. 

Sarah: And rays come in cycles. This is one of the aspects of the teaching on the seven rays that is so profound and so difficult to understand. There are cycles of rays, and they vary in length from several centuries, perhaps five or six hundred years to two thousand years or more, and these cycles overlap. There isn’t just one ray working out through the world at a time, there might be several rays. Presently, we’re told the most important ray cycles governing our world are the first, second and seventh rays and so they impinge upon each other. They overlap and they enable the Plan to work out, to manifest. There are cycles; like Dale said, there’s seven lean years followed by seven fat years, and that suggests the idea of cycles, which are facilitated by the rays. People are probably familiar with the idea of a new age that we’re supposedly entering into. We can talk about this in a later program, but this also is affected by the rays. 

Dale: They’re very definitely cycling in and out, and as you said, the new age and the old age each has their dominant ray quality. 

Robert: So, from what I understand, these energies are not fixated; they don’t stay the same forever, and they can change. 

Sarah: They can change and the individual who is affected by the rays also finds that the rays change; nothing is static in the world. We should mention that every individual is affected by up to five rays, not just one. By that I mean, our soul is governed by a particular ray—a first ray soul perhaps, or a second ray soul of love-wisdom or whatever. The personality, the self that we present to the world, is governed by another ray energy, and then there is our mind, our mental capacity that’s governed by a particular ray, our emotional nature by yet another ray, and our physical body by still another ray. So, there are up to five rays—unless there might be the possibility that your soul ray and your emotional ray are the same— but most individuals are affected by up to five different rays. All of these impinge upon each other. 

Dale:  And this is where the whole fascinating study of psychology comes in—or what I think will be, and what the Alice Bailey writings seem to indicate will be—a new study of psychology in the future. It will involve a study of these five basic rays that everyone is made up of. And it’s not just each individual ray; it’s how the rays interact, because we’re talking about qualities of energy that manifest through the soul, the mind, the physical body, the emotional body and the personality. These qualities are constantly changing and one interacts upon the other, so it’s very difficult to pin it down and differentiate it sometimes. But that’s the whole science that is working out. 

Robert: What practical use can it be for the individual, for the audience, this knowledge that we’ve spoken about today? 

Sarah: There is a practical basis to it. When you mention our audience, I’m wondering if at this point they’re totally befuddled. I hope not. Stay with us because we’re going to pursue this topic in programs to follow. It’s very complex and very deep and there is a tendency among some people when they encounter the rays to use these qualities as a way of pigeonholing or typing people, stereotyping people, but that really does the science a great injustice because it is so complex. The practical basis of it is to understand ourselves and our own psychology, and also to understand others. When you remember that these rays are expressions of divine quality, it makes you realize that God expresses his essence, his quality, through a diversity of forms. It’s wonderful that we’re not all alike; diversity is needed. It gives tolerance. 

Dale: Absolutely and if we were all the same, then it would be a very dull world. And it’s not only human beings, but it’s whole nations that are governed by these rays. Each nation has a soul ray and a personality ray, and as I said earlier, I think the human race is on the fourth Ray of Harmony through Conflict. So, it’s seeing that the rays work out in human behavior in the world, and in the great institutions that human creativity has produced, our results and products of these rare qualities. Down through history, we can see these ray qualities manifesting, and it’s really a fascinating study if one stays with it. 

Sarah: It can also help you to understand your potential talents and strengths that your soul wants to develop through you and also, perhaps, areas where you might be a bit weak and not particularly adept.  It can help you to determine your life orientation in your career and so on. There’s a lot of very practical understanding that can be gained through the seven rays, and I hope in our following discussions we’ll get to that. 

Robert: If anyone is questioning these rays or these energies, just think about how calming classical music can affect us. The energy of quiet, calm, music can put us to sleep, and on the other hand music that’s full of high notes and quick music can wake us up and get us going. That’s about all the time we have for our discussion today. You’ve been listening to Inner Sight. Now we would like to close with the world prayer called the Great Invocation. It’s a call for light and love and goodwill to flow into the world and into our hearts. Let’s listen for a moment to these powerful words. 

Sarah: Closes the program by reciting the adapted version of the Great Invocation

(This is an edited transcript of a recorded radio program called “Inner Sight”. This conversation was recorded between the host, Robert Anderson, and the then President and Vice-President of Lucis Trust, Sarah and Dale McKechnie.)

(Transcribed and edited by Carla McLeod)




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