By Patricia R. Heidt
A new symbol is emerging towards evolving a new world that is being born. It is not about using the Gnostic symbol but growing into it
First Some Images
Take a deep breath, sit quietly for a moment and picture all people on earth in peace with one another… They are filled with knowledge, gnostic beings, who know and fulfil their great purpose for being on this earth… Their bodies, hearts and minds are strong and supple… there is a luminous core radiating from their being…
See our home, planet earth, breathing safely… expanding and contracting… offering all her gifts to her living creatures, and receiving in return their respect and care… the core of our earth`s being has been unveiled, there is a release of extraordinary energy and power…
And imagine the divine Godhead, as the Sun, with all of us as planets and galaxies of stars moving around the yearly cycle of the heavenly ellipse, receiving from this inexhaustible Sun all the energy needed for our being… We in return acknowledge and reflect this transcendent divinity as the seed and source of all that we are…
See these three-all men and women, their home on earth, and the divine Sun-as a basic triangle… each part balancing the other in perfect harmony… All evolve toward their ideal goal together… all journey through the long cycles and stages of transformation together, unfolding the new way… See a new symbol emerging for this path… the nine planets and the 12 signs of the zodiac, circling an inner sacred triangle… in the centre the zero, the sacred fullness…
The Symbol of the Journey
The accompanying diagram symbolizes these images. I had been searching for the Gnostic Circle for a long time, perhaps longer than I knew. I found it in the USA in the mid-1980s, but I had to come to India to live it, where my teacher lived. She said I couldn`t just use the symbol, I had to grow into it. ‘It must be your philosopher`s stone, your stable constant. You are part of the new world that is being born-and there is a new symbol.’
I knew about some symbols. A crucifix over my bed as a child, the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the bed-stand; I wore St Christopher`s medallion and attended Sunday mass. After graduating from High School I became a religious sister, a life patterned after Christ`s. Years later, I left all that, but not the search.
What did it mean to grow into the Gnostic Circle? In the beginning, it was the idea of expanding my personal boundaries, tuning into a new cosmology: what is this world, what is my purpose here? ‘If there is one word which would characterize our times now it would be universalization,’ my teacher, Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet (Thea) explained. ‘We need a universal language, known by everyone; the changes happening now apply to all people, living in all parts of the world. We need a new seeing.’
Thea was concerned regarding what she called the goal or the direction which traditional religions took. ‘As a child in a Catholic school, I had often repeated from the catechism, the answer to the question: `Why did God make you?` `To know him, to love him and to serve him here on earth, and to be happy with him forever in Heaven`, was the response. And to me, heaven was some place up there.’
The same thing happens in Buddhism, she said, enlightenment is achieved by the seeker liberating him or herself from the wheel of karma and finding a way out of `earth-time` into a timeless, formless void. ‘What madness,’ she added, ‘spending a lifetime to find one`s self and in the end to obliterate it. And how does this help the earth?’
Thea felt there was a great misunderstanding at the root of religions. None follow the only true direction, i.e., inward. ‘Even here in India some of the great spiritual paths lead their seekers to escape into the transcendent in such a magnificent way, it is hard to convince people there can be any other way,’ she explained.
The new seeing is an unveiling process. Like science, it is a progressive and continuous unfolding of divine knowledge, she taught us. It is as if at the heart of creation is a slumbering eye, and the purpose of evolution is the awakening of that eye. If we are to achieve a divine life on earth, she explained, that eye cannot be diverted outward. It is in the centre of the earth, and of the soul of humankind that the divine progressively awakens to the self.
The earth and its peoples will transform into a divine life of immortality. The Circle shows that the journey begins on earth, and only here does transformation happen.
The Inner Sacred Triangle
A triangle lies in the centre of the symbol with the numbers nine, six, and three at each of the angles and the zero in the centre. The nine is the divine, the six is the Cosmos and the three is the individual person-the three basic structures of all spiritual systems. Nine, six and three in that order of descent indicate the formless transcendent divine coming to earth (the human soul), making time and form manifest. The zero at the centre of the symbol is where the one emerges, the immanent transcendent-the source of the new consciousness, the future race of Gnostic people.
Thea mentions in her biography that in the early 1970s, she realized the integral nature of numbers. During her initiation with the Mother, she was told the nine `is creation in matter`. What followed was a deep realization of the nine and the meaning of the zero.
She saw that the number scale was zero to nine, not one to ten, as had in other esoteric teachings. And once she had this knowledge, she was given the key to the Gnostic Circle. Thea wrote in her book Tenth Day of Victory (Aeon Books): ‘…Symbols were no longer abstract figures; they lived. There was no separation between what they stood for and the actual figure. I had penetrated a realm in which these separations do not exist… I had reached the source of every symbol, of everything in creation in fact. And that source was the Divine Mother.’
After this experience she discovered what she called the Map of the 12 manifestations. Once she could chart the ages of man, then the dates and appearances of evolutionary avatars on earth were possible, as well as their mission during their incarnations. The avatar is not the founder of a new religion, she told us ‘he/she is the seed of a new movement, and realization of the divine’.
India celebrates the feats of Sri Ram and Sri Krishna (the avatars of the 7th and 8th ages). What Thea added was the knowledge of this 9th age of man, and the fact that the work of the avatars was carried out over a definite period of time by four incarnations. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother of Pondicherry were born during the latter part of the Piscean age-they are the Transcendent (9) and Cosmic (6) energies. Thea, born at the beginning of the Aquarian Age, is the Individual (the 3) in the triangle. The fourth incarnation (the 0) is the 9 reborn as the One, making the 9 and the 0 equal. By the ancient symbol of the serpent biting its tail and its descent, the circle is complete.
The Outer Circles
When I found the Gnostic Circle in 1985, I was teaching and working as a psychotherapist in New York. I celebrated my 50th birthday on November 3 of the previous year. I remember feeling satisfied with my life, having accomplished professional and personal goals. Happy on the surface. Down inside, I wanted to know the purpose of my life in the many years ahead of me.
Further down, there was unrest. Looking back, I must have sent out a big call to the divine. A friend suggested I meet one of Thea`s students who had been with her in India. On that snowy February day in her home, she showed me the book, which contained the large diagram of the symbol.
I went home and began to read Thea`s The Magical Carousel, a story of two children who find themselves speeding toward the sun, in their rocket Fritz. Their journey starts in Aries-land, the first sign (place) of the zodiac and they `follow the sun` through each of the twelve signs. Thea wrote in the commentaries of this text: ‘…The symbol-images of the zodiac are all the different aspects of the divine consciousness… The supreme is no longer outside of creation but is revealed as its most intimate part, through the evolving consciousness of the human being.’ In this story, she says there is no mention of a stern creator above, looking down on his sinful children, or of God, heaven or hell.
As they enter the tenth, Capricorn, sign, the land of mountain, material creation, they go deep into the mountain cave. They meet the time-spirit here, and their initiation begins-alone. Face to face with the divine they must forge their own stable constant, that centre or core of inner truth.
Capricorn starts the last of the four quarters of the zodiacal journey, the spiritual plane. The children have reached the summit and it is here that I realized that story and reality are the same: it is towards the Capricorn that planet earth now moves, toward that `Golden Age`, when we will know the full truth. The children are the first travelers on the path; we must follow their journey deep into the mountain.
Some time later I started reading Sri Aurobindo on humankind`s evolution. He saw that a great change was needed in the goal of traditional yogic quests, our lives to be transformed by what he called `Integral Yoga`.
Through his yoga, he unlocked the key to the Rig Veda. Describing the progress of the human soul evolving from man to superman as a journey, a pilgrimage and battle, he wrote of it as: ‘a travel towards the gods’. The Vedic journey was done in 12 stages-our earth year of 12 months. It moved through the four planes of consciousness-from the physical, emotional, mental to the highest summit of the spiritual-our four seasons marked by the four cardinal points of the earth.
I began to see now what Sri Aurobindo and Thea were getting at. For the Vedic seers, the earth measure is the divine measure. And the Vedic `sacrifice` or journey in 12 stages through four planes of consciousness is our journey as well. It goes beyond the mental level, continuing to the highest point of the sun, swarg, or heaven is reached.
These realizers saw that at the core of our being was the compressed divine seed, veiled, perhaps lost, and their hymns expressed this as the rays of the sun that were darkened. They needed to be found and liberated. It is the divine Agni who is hidden in the core of our being, their hymns sang out; it is he who leads the march or drives the evolution; it is he who finds the lost rays of the sun.
Choosing a Destiny
The Gnostic Circle first came to me when I was practicing psychotherapy. After I`d left my religious community, I needed maturing on an emotional level; psychotherapy offered me that personal growth and healing. Later, I was able to give this kind of healing relationship to my clients.
But as I grew into the Gnostic Circle, Thea explained the differences between psychotherapy and yoga, between `the patterns of a lower and higher destiny`. Psychotherapy helps to form and/or heal the ego; it facilitates our growth into a conscious person, distinct from others. In my case, therapy was necessary for living a more successful daily life or a `lower pattern of destiny`.
Therapy is effective `to cushion the human being into acceptance of our limited being`, she told me; but cautioned that at a certain point it would be a hindrance.
A rational mind and healed emotions were not the end goal of my search. ‘Psychotherapy cannot resolve that inner unrest,’ Thea explained, ‘the void at the centre of your being’. But these kinds of therapies had done their job well, she added; the deeper levels of the psyche had been stirred to such a pitch that people felt a dissatisfaction with the present human condition.
Regarding our anxiety and suffering, it is not that we are a sinful people, in need of a savior. It is rather that we have not yet found those `rays of the Sun`, which could give us the complete knowledge, or truth of our being. It is `ignorance` which lies at the base of our dilemma; we`ve only traveled so far on the journey. Time is the key. As the human being is now on the evolutionary scale, a void is at the centre of our being, we use many ways to escape the disease we feel.
‘The future goal of a divine life here on earth, or a higher destiny, needs a completely new process’, she taught us, ‘keener instrument than the mind is needed for the next part of the journey.’ Because the Avatars were now working on earth, it was a sign that it was time for this `collective leap`.
It took awhile for all this to sink in. Since I had completely rejected religion, I was banking on therapy to help me. In an early letter to her I wrote that I was so busy trying to help myself and the earth, that I had no time for the divine, implying that I certainly did not see any purpose in the spiritual paths I knew. They had not resolved our inner dilemma or our outer problems of war.
To Thea, this was the real crux of my problem. I was out on a limb, separate from the divine, enamored of my own way. I would write my ideas to her, send her the psychology books I liked, and try to convince her of their value. In response, she would start out by writing the merits of these different healing modalities-their strengths and limitations. But she inevitably came down to the fact that in all these quests the individual was at the centre of the circle like in the old, earth-centred astrology. The new times demanded a new cosmology.
The image of the solar system was her model, the planets harmoniously circling the Sun. It is not possible for one of the planets in our solar system to do its own thing, to stray off on its own path. Each one with an individual beauty in relationship to the Sun, not to mention, utterly dependent on this giant orb for its very existence. Or she would refer to the shruti, the musical note used in South Indian ragas to set the scale. All members of the ensemble played their instruments in tune with that background pulse.
Growing into the Gnostic Circle meant seeing the uninterrupted flow of time, and the tremendous beauty and power of the earth. It meant seeing the descent of knowledge from the highest planes of consciousness into earth time, via the powers of the 9-6-3-0 incarnations. Thea wrote to me: ‘…The number Zero, or the Sun in the centre of the Gnostic Circle is the core. Nothing can change in ourselves and hence civilization unless actions stem from a core, and this is the essence of the message I have to give out. The core is the great secret… my task is to realize that…’
As my understanding deepened, I felt as if I wanted to sing out, just as the ancient seers did. Despite the chaos erupting all over the earth, this was really a time of great hope. The dissolution we see all around us of the old structures is appropriate, perhaps necessary. A great `reversal` has taken place; the victory of a new way is ensured.
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