Capricorn guards the secret of the soul, the secret of the hidden glory, revealed to us by the sacred white unicorn at the climax of the third initiation. This is called the transfiguration on the mountain top. What is transfigured? The personality, by the persistent effort of its soul. But this revelation can occur only as the result of effort, of the ability to rise above the limitations of the personality, to persist on the upward way in spite of hindrances and difficulties. There is no easy way for us to free ourselves from our own limitations of selfishness and separateness; and there are no short cuts. It’s a long, painful process in which we learn eventually, by personal experience that self-discipline, self-control and self-sacrifice form the foundation stones of discipleship.
Welcome to the last full moon meeting of 2012. What a week it’s been with the solstice and end of the Mayan Calendar beginning the week on the 21 December, and the Festival Week of the New Group of World Servers running for the whole week and culminating with the full moon on the 28 December. The Capricorn energy governs the New Group of World Servers and so those who strive to server their fellow humans and the kingdoms in nature; who struggle to manifest the new civilisation and culture, and the whole of humanity struggling with its mountainload of karma, have been benefitting from this energy of initiation.
According to Alice Bailey, in this world cycle, Capricorn is producing the moment of crisis —a crisis of initiation plus, ‘a crisis of destruction, paralleled by a crisis of mental perception, precipitated by Mercury.’ This mental perception and our inevitable involvement in the “crumbling of the mountain load of karma”, heralds the vision of the new day from the top of the mountain.’ It is the time in our collective evolution when the ‘I’ changes to the ‘we’ as we transition from the Age of Pisces and the cult of the individual, to the Age of Aquarius and the recognition of the one human family.
Capricorn is symbolised by the goat who loves to climb. Alice Bailey tells us that there are three horned creatures in the zodiac – the ram of Aries, the bull of Taurus and the goat of Capricorn. But in Capricorn, there are two types of goat, the earthy goat who is learning to be an individual – a lusty beast loving to eat, fight for the best mate, tastiest morsel, or best position on top of the hill. Then you have the scapegoat who is the fully-fledged ‘I’, compelled to climb not the hill, but the mountain. It is the symbol of the eternal seeker, visioning a nirvana or perfect place where he can hide away and live in peace away from the rest of the messy world. Of course this is becoming more difficult to do as the masses close in on us – moving across oceans to find a better life. Is retreat to safety the true mark of the server, or the selfish aspirant?
The mountain has many peaks – each representing the culmination of major crises in our life and lives. While all are important places to ascend and inhabit for a while, they are not the ultimate mountain peak that we seek in this world cycle. They are staging posts in our long journey round the wheel of the zodiac. Those born in Capricorn or with this as their rising sign, often need to be at the top of whatever they are doing, and this drive is available while the Sun is in Capricorn. It is the necessary fuel available for us to harness, propelling us forward and up. It gives us the stamina and endurance needed to overcome the challenges that will take us eventually to the top of the highest and most obscure mountain peak on the hardest path we have yet to tread – the place where lives the light supernal guarded by the sacred Unicorn.
The spiritual warrior reined in his horse at the foot of the mountain. He leaned back in his saddle and, squinted against the first rays of sunlight emerging over the horizon. He strained to see the peak, then cast his gaze across the path he aimed to walk in a day. The path traversed the side of the mountain, gradual at first and tufted with grassed and shaggy outcrops, but growing more sheer as the warrior’s eyes travelled upwards trying to see the very top where lived, according to a storyteller’s legend, the sacred guardian of the light supernal – the mighty one-horned unicorn. Its coat is so white, says the legend, that one cannot look with two eyes for they would be burned. ‘How then do we see such a beast?’ asked the warrior of the storyteller. ‘With the eye of fire that never burns,’ came the reply.
The warrior smiled with excitement at the challenge ahead, and leant forward, patting his horse’s strong neck. ‘It looks hard, but we cannot return,’ he whispered, turning in his saddle to glance back at the path through the plains which they had both just trodden. ‘We will continue on together my trusty steed’, he promised, as he nudged the horse to an eager trot.
At the beginning the journey was pleasant, and he passed or shared the way with many others, all going, they said, to find the sacred unicorn. ‘Why are there none descending?’ pondered the warrior as the path grew steeper and his horse slowed to a walk. The warrior’s body moved lazily this way and that in time with the horses’ rhythmic gait.
It was nice to have the company of like-minded individuals. Even if they all had different ideas about how to get to the top of the mountain, they all believed it was theirs to surmount and win the glory waiting at the summit.
As the warrior and his horse climbed slowly up the mountain path, the warrior leant down to occasionally pat his horse’s neck, marvelling in its taut strength as the hair glistened with sweat from the effort. When the sun reached midday, the warrior reined in his steed and slid to the ground.
His legs wobbled, so tiring was he finding the effort in keeping his horse on the narrowing path. The horse sniffed the ground for watery leaves of grass to quench its thirst. ‘This is already hard and we’re only half-way there,’ moaned the warrior to himself. ‘And where are the other seekers?’ he wondered as now only one or two seemed to be walking with him on this part of the way. Yet even they were long behind him.
As he sat watching his horse search for succour, admiring as he always did, the animal’s fine physique and smooth coat, he noticed here and there, flecks of white and grey. The colours mingled with the black coat to form a rippling patterning of shades across its body. ‘His coat is changing, but his body is still taut and strong, his will good, his devotion to me unerring,’ reflected the warrior with pride.
After a time the warrior knew he must again mount his horse and continue his journey. Although still weary, he felt the urgency of his quest to reach the summit before nightfall. ‘I must be the first to gain the peak and win the prize – the secret of the soul held in trust by the sacred unicorn,’ he told his horse. Swinging into the saddle with renewed enthusiasm, the warrior clicked his tongue and the horse moved forward reluctant to leave the juicy grasses.
‘Come on, a little faster please,’ urged the warrior, sensing the horse’s reluctance. Eager to outstrip those coming after him, the warrior dug in his heels. As he did, the animal with whom he had travelled since the beginning of their time together, stumbled and threatened to fall. The warrior jumped from its back and threw his arms about the horse’s strong neck, trying to steady it.
But the horse was too heavy for his master to support and the warrior had to stand aside and allow the animal to slowly collapse to the ground. Still laden with all that his master owned in the world, the horse could no longer sustain the load.
The warrior sank to his knees beside his beloved companion, and holding the horses head in his lap, he wept. After a while the warrior wiped his eyes and looked around him gasping in horror at the now changed landscape. Where once was green grass and tall trees, now only sand blew in swirling spirals filling his eyes, as clouds darkened the sun in the western sky.
‘What’s happening?’ cried the warrior in fear at this sudden change in his circumstance. Always so sure of himself and his mastery of the material world, the warrior now found himself in an alien land and with a horse now so weak it could no longer obey his every whim.
‘What have I done to bring on this tragedy?’ he called to the wind and drying lands. ‘What can I do to continue my journey?’ he whispered to the sands drifting across the barren earth. The warrior closed his eyes, unable to keep them open against the elements, and lay his head against the horse’s flank.
Whether he slept and dreamed, or whether he was indeed in another land, the warrior never knew, but as the wind howled around him, and the sands bit and stung his hands and face, as his horse breathed slowly and deeply beside him, and the sun sank slowly below the horizon, the warrior became engrossed in a vision.
He was riding up the mountain path, his horse’s step strong and sure beneath him. The warrior was pleased with their progress as they had already passed many on the path and he felt sure they would reach their destination before sunset. ‘This is easy,’ he thought, as the birds chirped and the sun warmed him while the breeze played in his long, dark hair. He imagined himself basking in the glory of the love, life and light supernal of the mystical beast, the sacred unicorn, who would bestow upon him the secrets of the soul. He felt sure that, once these secrets were his, he would have a much better life than he had to date. For, although he wanted for little, there was always something to worry about, someone who annoyed him no matter how he tried to love, something was always missing. He felt sure that soon, all these fears and questions would be gone in a flood of light.
So he pressed his heels into his horses’ sides and the faithful animal dutifully hastened its pace, snorting and sweating under his master’s aspiration. But soon the warrior tilted his head and the horses ears pricked as a rumbling sound seemed to move towards them. Then the ground before them suddenly opened in a yawning black chasm that seemed to stretch east and west.
From out of the blackness emerged a line of small men – perhaps you’d call them gnomes or earth spirits. The first one held a giant sign. The warrior read it: ‘STOP. Mountain pass closed for annual maintenance’. The warrior struggled with the rage in his throat at this limitation on his sure progress to the top.
He stood in his stirrups and peered over his horses twitching ears. ‘Who are you? Get out of my way, please. I’m on an important journey and must reach the top before sunset.’
The first gnome smiled a wide, toothy grin and then turned to his fellow workers. ‘He’s in a hurry,’ he yelled over his shoulder and his words were met with raucous laughter. ‘Well I’m afraid we’re digging a hole in the road. You can’t go up, you can’t go down you’ll simply have to go around…’ sang the gnome leader while he danced a jig.
The warrior struggled to feel love for this earthly creature who represented all he believed he was about to leave behind. Without a further word, the warrior swung his horse westwards and dug in his heels, forcing the trusty steed into an immediate gallop away from that ugly mess in his well laid plans.
‘Perhaps if I hurry I can still make it before dark,’ the warrior mused as they galloped around the side of the mountain on a narrow path that gently undulated as it wound its way upwards. The speed of their flight whipped up the wind making his blue eyes water, as his black hair streamed behind him.
‘Well the path is easier but much longer,’ thought the warrior fleetingly as he settled into a new acceptance of this change in his journey. No sooner had he thought this than he again heard a sound, but this time it was a higher note, more like the lapping of waves on white sandy beach.
Sure enough, he had to rein in his horse as a massive river opened up before them, its sides steep and sheer. It seemed to fall from the top of the mountain in washing gusts of blue and white. As the warrior peered over his horse’s ears into the waters’ course, it was so dark that he could not divine the depth. He shuddered and sat firmly in his saddle straining to see, first north and then south, for any crossing point.
Then from out of the blue emerged the siren’s song – long, languorous notes, of heavenly hue, ‘climb every mountain, ford every stream…till you find your dream..’ .The warrior sat transfixed as beauty wove itself into a woman’s form, rising slowly, luxuriously, from the watery depths.
‘Who are you?’ stammered the warrior as he felt the sweat of his body’s response to phenomenal beauty and the desire it evoked in him. ‘I must only love you from afar,’ he whispered to the shimmering form as its colours changed from the clearest lavender and rosy-golden lights to the darkest, most ugly browns, greens and blacks. As the colours changed, so did the form, so that the warrior had to turn away in disgust as he watched his changing desires, his desire for comfort, security and the love of others, his lust for happiness and mystical union, his belief in his way, his love for only those who he had chosen – reflected in this kaleidoscopic creature.
The warrior leant down and hugged his horse’s strong warm neck, burying his head in its thick grey mane. Tears of self-revelation mixed with the coarse hair as the warrior realised the fool he’d been. He sat up again in his saddle and watched as the ephemeral form slowly receded into the swirling waters.
‘What are we to do?’ cried the warrior to the dark waters below and the clear sky above. ‘How am I to bring together these two – the dark and the light; the good and evil; the love and fear; the ever-changing energies of spirit and life, and the crystallised stasis of death-giving matter?’
Wearied now from his long journey, the warrior again urged his horse forward, this time following the river’s course. As the waters emerged from somewhere high in the cloud-covered peak and flowed down the mountain, the warrior noticed that they seemed to run more gently, and as the sun’s shadows lengthened, he saw for the first time, his reflection. Only a light breeze ruffled the water, as here and there a fish or green plant, a shining rock and sandy riverbed could be seen. The sun’s rays danced a coat of speckled silvery lights across its surface and the warrior stopped his horse to sit and admire the scene.
He dismounted and patted his horses’ flank. ‘Go and graze for a while,’ he told the animal and smiled as his trusty steed, its coat now a reflection of the waters, snorted before lowering its head to sniff the grass.
Then both man and beast stood still and listened as for a third time, a sound was heard. This time it was like the sizzling zing of electrons confined in lines of power, as a wall of lightening descended, moving with electrifying speed. It stopped as it touched the ground, forming a barrier between the warrior and his horse. Frantic at being separated from his trusted companion, the warrior tried to push through the wall that appeared so flimsy, yet he sprang back in horror as the shock of electricity ran through his body threatening to burn every fibre.
‘What are you?’ he called to the impenetrable barrier. ‘Why are you barring my way?’ The sparking fissions of light responded with a magnificent display of excitable fireworks before settling into an orderly response: ‘your query cannot be answered at this time; you have been placed in a queue…’ The warrior smiled despite his annoyance, and stood determinedly waiting. He was not disappointed. The wall soon came alive with a light show beyond any pyrotechnics dream. All he had ever thought: the spiritual superiority, the aspirational longings for ascension, for authority, his pride in his achievements and arrogance at others ignorance, his wilful sense of personal importance, his hurry along the path and yearning for betterment at the expense of all those who came after – the story of his every thought were shown to him in that wonder park.
The warrior sank to his knees and stretched his arms wide, his palms open. ‘I have been so consumed with my own journey,’ he spoke softly yet clearly and calmly. ‘Like a bear in a cage I have been prodded continually by the red-hot tongs of my lower mind – do more, be more, get more. Now I realise there is no separation – no ‘me’ and ‘you’ – only ‘we’.
The warrior remained on his knees and watched as the sparking, stinging mantle of lighted energy slowly rose into the ethers. Before him now was the mountain path, straight and sure, and beyond that, the peak now quite near. The horse stood unbridled and free. Now the warrior, walking on bended knees, slowly and at times painfully, and his faithful companion, made their way carefully along the path. They stopped here and there to attend to the needs of those they met; to give respect and awareness to the nature spirits and angelic lives that now shared the way with him. They stopped to listen and obey the greater devic beings and spiritual masters who appeared to answer their call for guidance. The warrior dedicated his whole body, feeling and mind to the service of these great beings and the planetary plan and purpose of which they were custodian.
As the sun rose again in the east the warrior woke and stretched, conscious of his horses’ steady breathing beside him. He stood slowly as his horse also rose and shook itself. The warrior gasped when he saw the horses’ coat, now shining and pure white in the morning light. But far greater than this was the single golden horn, long and twining, that seemed to grow from between the horses’ eyes.
The warrior knelt before the unicorn as the light supernal shone from its single eye to fill him with Life, and the peace that ‘passeth all understanding’ filled his heart. His third eye now opened, he knew what he had to do. The warrior of peace stood and turned, looking back at the path he had trodden, seeing clearly the murky death and darkness below. ‘Now I must return to begin the true work for which I have been born again and again’, he told the unicorn. And with joy burning like a fiery jewel in his heart, he began his descent and journey into Aquarius.
The keynote for Capricorn is ‘Lost am I in light supernal, yet on that light I turn my back’. Alice Bailey tells us that the secret given by the sacred unicorn, is the secret held by the soul which is the peace found in the ‘centre where the Will of God is known’. In the ancient scriptures this divine centre has been called, the “place of serene determination and of poised, quiescent will.” Not just a desire for a peaceful life or the cessation of violence, but the cessation of separativeness. How significant is the protracted Israeli/Palestinian struggle as a symbol for this journey from death to peace? The desire to be separate, to be special, the chosen, to be a separated self, is the struggle against life – it is the death knell to which we all succumb. On the mountain top we find the key to life and so to true peace. This is the gift of Capricorn and the sacred unicorn; it is the meaning and significance of the spiritual Will, or the Purpose of our Planetary Logos.
Alice Bailey, ‘Esoteric Astrology’, p. 153 – 174; 415 – 441
Ibid ‘The Reappearance of the Christ’, p.14 – 35