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Esoteric Astrology - The Nature of Esoteric Astrology - Spiritual Effects of the Zodiacal Constellations
Sagittarius, the Archer

This sign is, as you know, a peculiarly human sign and is connected in a definite manner with the appearance of humanity upon our Earth. There are three of the zodiacal signs which are more closely connected with man than are any of the others. These are: Leo, Sagittarius and Aquarius. In one peculiar (but not yet provable) manner, they are related to the three aspects of body, soul and spirit. The following tabulation or concise statement of rather momentous implications may serve to make this clearer:

Leo Sagittarius Aquarius
The Lion The Centaur The Water-Carrier
The Man The Archer The Server
Self-consciousness Focused consciousness Group consciousness
Physical nature Emotional nature Lower mental nature
Integrated man Aspiring man Intuitive mental man
Human soul Spiritual human soul Spiritual soul
Individualization Discipleship Initiation
Personality Egoic focus Monadic focus
The Fixed Cross The Mutable Cross The Fixed Cross
Centralization Orientation Decentralization
Individual unity Sensed duality Universal unity
Fire Fire Air
Selfishness Struggle Service
Evolution The final path Liberation
I could continue to summarize the qualities and characteristics of these three and their peculiar interrelation but the above will suffice amply to demonstrate the connection between them and their progressive effect upon the subject [175] passing under their influence periodically and cyclically. They are frequently referred to as the signs which - when studied - will reveal divine intent in man, will mark the points of crisis in his progress and will (when the three influences which they express have done their work) carry the man "from door to door, for Leo is the next sign to Cancer, and Sagittarius is the sign which precedes Capricorn." I am quoting from an ancient book on the signs.

Sagittarius is sometimes depicted as an archer on a white horse and a study of the meaning of this symbolism will reveal a great deal of inner teaching. This is one of the later ways of portraying this constellation. Earlier, in Atlantean days (from which period we have inherited what we know about astrology), the sign was frequently depicted by the Centaur - the fabulous animal which was half a man and half a horse. The horse symbolism dominated Atlantean myths and symbols, just as the ram and the lamb are prominently to be found in our modern presentations. This earlier sign of the Centaur stood for the evolution and the development of the human soul, with its human objectives, its selfishness, its identification with form, its desire and its aspirations. The Archer on the white horse, which is the more strictly Aryan symbol for this sign, signifies the orientation of the man towards a definite goal. The man is then not part of the horse but is freed from identification with it and is the controlling factor. The definite goal of the Centaur, which is the satisfaction of desire and animal incentives, becomes in the later stages the goal of initiation, which meets with satisfaction in Capricorn, after the preliminary work has been done in Sagittarius. The keynote of the Centaur is ambition. The keynote of the Archer is aspiration and direction, and both are expressions of human goals but one is of the personality and the other of the soul. [176] From ambition to aspiration, from selfishness to an intense desire for selflessness, from individual one-pointed self-interest in Leo to the one-pointedness of the disciple in Sagittarius and thence to initiation in Capricorn. It is interesting to note that the astrological symbol for this sign currently used is simply the arrow with a fragment of the bow depicted. The Archer as well as the Centaur have dropped out of the picture and this is largely because the emphasis or focus of human living today is not based upon the objective outer facts of life upon the physical plane but upon some form of inner focus or emphasis, which varies from the many stages of astral and emotional ambition to spiritual aspiration, and from the activities of the lower mind bent upon selfish interest to the illumination of the same mind through focus upon the soul. An ancient catechism which all disciples have to master, asks the following questions and supplies the needed answers:

"Where is the animal, O Lanoo?
and where the Man?

Fused into one, O Master of my Life.
The two are one.
But both have disappeared
and naught remains
but the deep fire of my desire.

Where is the horse, the white horse of the soul?
Where is the rider of that horse, O Lanoo?

Gone towards the gate, O Master of my Life.
But something speeds ahead between
the pillars of an open door -
something that I myself have loosed.

And what remains to thee, O wise Lanoo,
now that the horses of two kinds have left thee
and the rider, unattached, stands free?
Now what remains? [177]

Naught but my bow and arrow, O Master of my Life,
but they suffice, and, when the right time comes,
I, thy Lanoo, will follow fast upon the shaft I sent.
The horses I will leave upon this side of the door,
for them I have no further need.
I enter free, regain the arrow which I sent
and speed upon my way, passing from door to door,
and each time the arrow speeds ahead."

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