The Seven Rays is a metaphysical concept that has appeared in several religions and esoteric philosophies since at least the sixth century BCE, in both Western culture and in India. In the west, it can be seen in early western mystery traditions such as Gnosticism and the Roman Mithraic Mysteries; and in texts and iconic art of the Catholic Church as early as the Byzantine era.
In India, the concept has been part of Hindu religious philosophy and scripture since at least the Vishnu Purana, dating from the post-Vedic era.
Beginning in the late nineteenth century, the seven rays appeared in a modified and elaborated form in the teachings of Theosophy, first presented by H. P. Blavatsky The Theosophical concept of the Seven Rays was further developed in the late 1800s and early 1900s in the writings of C. W. Leadbeater, Alice Bailey, Helena Roerich, Manly P. Hall, and others; and in the philosophies of organizations such as Agni Yoga, The "I AM" Activity, The Bridge to Freedom, The Summit Lighthouse, Share International, The Temple of The Presence (1995), and various other organizations.
As the New Age movement of the mid-to-late 20th century developed, the Seven Rays concept appeared as an element of metaphysical healing methods such as Reiki and other modalities, and in esoteric astrology.
In early mystery traditions of the west and near east and The Seven Rays:
In ancient Greek mythology, Zeus takes the bull-form known as Taurus in order to win Europa. Taurus is also associated with Aphrodite and other goddesses, as well as Pan and Dionysus. The face of Taurus "gleams with the seven rays of fire". In the Gnosticism of the Mediterranean and middle eastern regions, from 6th century BCE in Chaldea (a Hellenistic designation for a part of Babylonia, through the Mysteries of Mithras in Rome, to the second or third centuries CE, the Seven Rays are found in a variety of syncretistic elements of symbolism in these ancient religions. The Chaldean Oracles have survived as fragmentary texts from the 2nd century AD, and may have been compilations from several sources, combining neo-Platonic elements with others that were Persian or Babylonian in origin. Later neo-Platonists, such as Proclus and Iamblichus, rated them highly.
Moses was of the race of the Chaldeans. The Chaldean Mithra had his Seven Rays, and Moses his Seven Days. The other planets which circling around the sun lead the dance as round the King of heaven receive from him with the light also their powers; while as the light comes to them from the sun so from him they receive their powers that he pours out into the Seven Spheres of the Seven Planets of which the sun is the centre. He wrote that the idea of spirit as the ultimate cause is present in all of the great religions of the East (which in the terminology of his time included the area now known as the Near East or Middle East),and that this idea can be found in "the Seven Rays of the Chaldaean Mithra and the Seven Days of Genesis. From the Sun came fire and spirit. This was the astronomical religion of the Chaldeans, Jews, Persians, Syrians, Phoenicians and Egyptians." Dunlap compared the nimbus of Apollo to the Seven Rays of Dionysus, presiding over the orbits of the seven planets. The Seven Rays are found also in the Chaldean mystery of the "the God of the Seven Rays, who held the Seven Stars in his hand, through whom (as Chaldaeans supposed) the souls were raised",. Prior to the Christian era, this deity was known as Iao (the first birth) or Sabaoth (the Sun), and later described as "Christos of the Resurrection of Souls." Later, in the fourth century CE, Emperor Julian Saturnalia composed a "Hymn to the Solemn Sun", and spoke of "unspeakable mysteries hidden from the crowd such as Julian the Chaldean prophesied concerning the god of the seven rays" In Greek gnostic magic of the same era, colored gemstones were often used as talismans for medicine or healing; they were often engraved with a symbol borrowed from Egyptian deity Chnuphis: a hooded serpent or great snake. The snake was shown with a lion's head, from which emanated either twelve or seven rays. The twelve represented the zodiac and the seven rays represented the planets, usually with the seven Greek vowels engraved at the tips of the seven rays. The reverse side of the talismans were engraved with a snake twisting around a vertical rod. These were known as "Gnostic amulets", sometimes also engraved with the names "Iao Sabao".
Theosophy and The Seven Rays:
Syncretism is one of the core principles of Theosophy, a religious philosophy originating with Helena Petrovna Blavatsky from the 1870s, and the seven rays appears repeatedly in the related writings. Theosophy holds that all religions are attempts by the "Spiritual Hierarchy" to help humanity in evolving to greater perfection, and that each religion therefore has a portion of the truth. Blavatsky wrote in the first book of The Secret Doctrine of an " analogy between the Aryan or Brahmanical and the Egyptian esotericism" and that the "seven rays of the Chaldean Heptakis or Iao, on the Gnostic stones" represent the seven large stars of the Egyptian"Great Bear" constellation, the seven elemental powers, and the Hindu "seven Rishis". She stated that the seven rays of the Vedic sun diety Vishnu represents the same concept as the "astral fluid or 'Light' of the Kabalists" and that the seven emantaions of the lower seven sephiroth are the "primeval seven rays" and "will be found and recognized in every religion." In the second volume of the Secret Doctrine, Blavatsky discusses the "seven nervous plexuses of the body" and the seven rays they radiate, stating that this principle is found in the Rig Veda, in the mythology of Ahura Mazda, in the beliefs of the Incas, the Chinese Yao, and the Egyptian "Osiris, when he enters the ark, or solar boat, takes seven Rays with him." She describes the seven wise ones of the Veda as " the seven Rays which fall free from the macrocosmic centre". Blavatsky summarizes the syncretistic principle of her doctrine as it relates to the seven rays:
a key which reveals to us on indisputable grounds of comparative analogy... the Indian phonix, the emblem of cyclic and periodical time, the "man-lion" Singha, of whose representations the so-called "gnostic gems" are so full. Over the seven rays of the lion's crown, and corresponding to their points, stand, in many cases, the seven vowels of the Greek alphabet AEHIOYW, testifying to the Seven Heavens. This is the Solar lion and the emblem of the Solar cycle, as Garuda is that of the great cycle, the "Maha-Kalpa" co-eternal with Vishnu, and also, of course, the emblem of the Sun, and Solar cycle. In the third volume of the Secret Doctrine, published posthumously, Blavatsky described the "Seven Primeval Rays" as a group of celestial beings also known as "Gods" or "Angels" or "Powers". She stated that this symbolism was "adopted later on by the Christian Religion as the 'Seven Angels of the Presence.'"
Hindu scripture and The Seven Rays:
Agni is a Hindu and Vedic deity having three forms: fire, lightning and the sun. In Hindu art, Agni is depicted with two or seven hands, two heads and three legs. In each head , he has seven fiery tongues with which he licks sacrificial butter. He rides a ram or in a chariot harnessed by fiery horses. His attributes are an axe, torch, prayer beads and a flaming spear. Agni is represented as red and two-faced, suggesting both his destructive and beneficent qualities, and with black eyes and hair, three legs and seven arms. He rides a ram, or a chariot. Seven rays of light emanate from his body. In the Gayatri prayer from the Vedas, the seven rays are described as the emanations of the Sun, identified with the creator of life, "Because the being who shines with seven rays, assuming the forms of time and illumines all... naturally shines with seven rays is called light or the effulgent power; the light of the Generator or Sun - the light is the sun, the sun is the light, they are identical." The Vishnu Purana, a post-vedic scripture, describes how Vishnu "enters into the seven solar rays which dilate into seven suns"; these are the "seven principal solar rays", the source of heat even to the planet Jupiter, and the "seven suns into which the seven solar rays dilate at the consummation of all things...". Twentieth century Hindu scholar, poet and mystic, Sri Aurobindo, described the Vedic seven rays of knowledge, or Agni, as "the seven forms of the Thought-principle" and wrote that the "the seven brilliant horses of the sun and their full union constitutes the seven-headed Thought of Ayasya by which the lost sun of Truth is recovered. That thought is again established in the seven rivers, the seven principles of being divine and human, the totality of which founds the perfect spiritual existence."
Syncretistic interpretations and The Seven Rays:
Egyptologist Gerald Massey wrote in 1881 of what he described as connections between Vedic scripture, ancient Egyptian mythology and the Gospel stories. He theorized that IAO, the "Seven-rayed Sun-God of the Gnostic-stones" was also the "Serpent Chnubis", and "the Second Beast in the Book of Revalation." In 1900, he elaborated further, describing the unity of "the seven souls of the Pharaoh", the seven arms of the Hindu god Agni, "the seven stars in the hand of the Christ in Revelation", and "the seven rays of the Chaldean god Heptaktis, or Iao, on the Gnostic stones." In the late 1940s, art historian and writer Ananda Coomaraswamy was curator in the department of Asiatic Art at the Museum of Fine Arts and built the first large collection of Indian art in the United States. His writings in the field of perennial philosophy and the Traditionalist School included complex essays collating symbols of ancient wisdom and metaphysics from widely diverse cultures including Indian, Islamic, Chinese, Hellenic, and Christian. He wrote that the seven rays of the sun appear in both Hindu and Christian symbolism, representing similar concepts; and in particular the symbolism of the seventh ray that "corresponds to the distincton of transcendent from immanent and of infinite from finite", and that "our Axis of the Universe (skambha, divo dharuna, etc.), Islamic qutb, and Gnostic ..... The seventh ray alone passes through the Sun to the suprasolar Brahma worlds, "where no sun shines" (all that is under the Sun being in the power of Death, and all beyond immortal')."
Metaphysics and The Seven Rays:
In Theosophy, the Seven Rays are said to be seven major types of Light-Substance (spirit/matter) (wave/particle) that compose the created universes. These are also believed to convey "Divine Qualities". According to Alice A. Bailey, each person has a soul ray that remains the same through all their incarnations, and a personality ray that is different for each incarnation. Each ray is also correspondent with certain Masters of Wisdom, and with particular planets, cycles, nations, etc. Bailey stated the Seven Rays locally originate within the "Solar Logos", i.e., the consciousness of the "Divine Being" of the Sun. According to Benjamin Creme rays are focused through the Solar Logos from the "Galactic Logos" (the consciousness of the "Divine Beings" of the Milky Way Galaxy), and have their ultimate origin within the mind of God. On the local planetary level, it is believed by adherents of the Theosophical tradition that the Seven Rays are transmitted from the Solar Logos through the God of our planet, Sanat Kumara, then through the spiritual hierarchy of our planet which includes the "Masters of Wisdom" (Some writings term them the Ascended Masters or the Great White Brotherhood). Each of the Seven Rays is believed to be associated with a different kind of occult energy, a different color.
Catholicism and The Seven Rays:
In early Christian iconography, the dove of the Holy Ghost is often shown with an emanation of seven rays, as is the image of the Madonna, often in conjunction with a dove or doves. The Monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai, circa 565 CE shows the Transfiguration of Christ in the apse mosaic, with "seven rays of light shining from the luminous body of Christ over the apostles Peter, James and John". In present day, the Byzantine style St. Louis Cathedral in Missouri, at the center of the sanctuary is engraved a circle with many symbols of the Holy Trinity; inscription reads: "Radiating from this symbol are seven rays of light representing the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost." During the 12th century, Saint Norbert of Xanten founder of the Order of Canons Regular of Prémontré, discovered through a dream, the spot where the relics of Saint Ursula and her companions, of Saint Gereon, and of other martyrs lay hidden. In the dream that led him to this spot, he was guided by "the seven rays of light... surrounding the head of the crucified Redeemer". The Annunciation is an oil painting by Early Netherlandish master Jan van Eyck, from around 1434-1436. The picture depicts the Annunciation by the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she will bear the son of God (Luke 1:26-38). In a prominent element of the complex iconographic work, the Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit descend to her on seven rays of light from the upper window to the left, with the dove symbolising the Holy Spirit following the same path. The seven rays on which the doves descend are unique elements in the painting in that they are of the heavenly realm rather than the earthly realm, with the difference shown by the artist through the use of gold leaf rather than ordinary oil paint, only for the seven rays, and, while all of the other light sources in the painting cast shadows, the seven rays do not. The Italian secret society of the late 1600s, Knights of the Apocalypse, was founded with the professed aim to defend the Catholic Church against the expected Antichrist, though it was accused of having political motives as well. They wore on their breasts a star with seven rays.
Qualities of The Seven Rays:
Note: Alice A. Bailey and the Church Universal and Triumphant assign different colors and in some cases different Masters to each of the seven rays. It is to be noted that in the Letters on Occult Meditation, Alice Bailey indicates that there is no simple correspondence between the rays and these colors. The colors, Masters, and Retreats indicated here are those indicated by both Alice Bailey and the Church Universal and Triumphant. Note that the colors and Masters assigned by the Church Universal and Triumphant may be different from those indicated by Alice Bailey. According to Alice A. Bailey and C.W. Leadbeater, the Masters live in immortal bodies at a residence on the physical plane at the indicated location (although a given Master may physically travel extensively incognito to various locations, become invisible, teleport to various locations, and walk through walls, as well as influencing humans telepathically and travelling on the inner planes, as required by the demands of his spiritual work). According to the Church Universal and Triumphant, and other Ascended Master Activities, each Master is believed to serve at a Retreat on the physical or etheric plane at the geographical location shown after their name. For the Church Universal and Triumphant is indicated what is called the Gifts of the Holy Spirit for that ray. For both Alice A. Bailey and the Church Universal and Triumphant, each ray has a jewel which is believed to focus the energy of that ray, which is indicated. In the mid to late 20th century, as the New Age movement gained in popularity, the concept and imagery of the seven rays appeared in a variety of settings. In esoteric astrology, the seven rays are considered to be split into three groups: the first two rays represent Will and Wisdom, respectively, and the remaining five rays together form the group that represents Activity. The energy healing system of Reiki requires the student to pass through a sequence of levels, by mastering the "key" to each level. The key for the second level is known as the key of "oneness" and is attained by passing through each of the seven rays.
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C.W. Leadbeater and The Seven Rays:
C.W. Leadbeater gave a list showing the characteristic type of magic for each ray; this list indicates what he regarded as the most compatible type of magic to be performed by persons on each ray (although anyone of any ray can do any of these various types of magic).
1. FIRST RAY: Magic of Will of magician
2. SECOND RAY: Magic of Raja Yoga (Development of Mind).
3. THIRD RAY: Magic of Astrology (Natural Magnetic Forces).
4. FOURTH RAY: Magic of Hatha Yoga (physical development).
5. FIFTH RAY: Magic of Alchemy (Manipulation of Material Substances).
6. SIXTH RAY: Magic of Bhakti Yoga (Selfless Service and Altruistic Love [ agape ]).
7. SEVENTH RAY: Ceremonial magic (Invocation of Elementals, and Devas).
Light therapy or phototherapy consists of exposure to daylight or to specific wavelengths of light using lasers, LEDs, fluorescent lamps, dichroic lamps or very bright, full-spectrum light, for a prescribed amount of time and, in some cases, at a specific time of day. It has proven effective in treating Acne vulgaris, seasonal affective disorder, and is part of the standard treatment regimen for delayed sleep phase syndrome. It has recently been shown effective in non-seasonal depression. Proponents claim demonstrable benefits for skin conditions such as psoriasis.
C.W. Leadbeater (Feb 16, 1854 Stockport, Cheshire, England - March 1, 1934 Perth, Western Australia), was an English clergyman, author, clairvoyant, and prominent early member of the Theosophical Society.
Alice Ann Bailey (June 16, 1880 - December 15, 1949), known as Alice A. Bailey or AAB, was born as Alice LaTrobe Bateman, in Manchester, England--at 7:32 AM GMT, according to Dane Rudhyar. She moved to the United States in 1907, where she spent most of her life as a writer and teacher. She wrote on spiritual, occult, astrological, Theosophical, Christian and other religious themes. Her works, written between 1919 and 1949, describe a wide-ranging system of esoteric thought covering such topics as how spirituality relates to the solar system, meditation, healing, spiritual psychology, the destiny of nations, and prescriptions for society in general. She described the majority of her work as having been telepathically dictated to her by a "Master of the Wisdom," initially referred to only as "the Tibetan," or by the initials "D.K.," later identified as "Djwhal Khul." Her writings were influenced by the works of Madame Blavatsky. Though Bailey's writings differ from Theosophy, they also have much in common with it. She wrote about religious themes, including Christianity, though her writings are fundamentally different from many aspects of Christianity and of other orthodox religions. Her vision of a unified society includes a global "spirit of religion" different from traditional religious forms and including the concept of the Age of Aquarius.
Elena Petrovna Gan, July 30 - July 31, 1831 (O.S.) (August 12, 1831 (N.S.)) Yekaterinoslav, Russian Empire, May 8, 1891 London), better known as Helena Blavatsky or Madame Blavatsky, born Helena von Hahn, was a founder of the Theosophical Society.
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