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The Labors of Hercules - Labor IX
Silence

Sagittarius is the sign preparatory to Capricorn and it is called in some ancient books "the sign of silence". In ancient mysteries the newly admitted brother had to sit in silence, he was not allowed to walk or speak; he had to be, to work and to watch, because one cannot enter the fifth kingdom in nature, the spiritual kingdom, or climb the mountain of Capricorn, until there has been restraint of speech and control of thought. That is the lesson of Sagittarius: restraint of speech through control of thought. That will keep us busy, because after you have given up using the ordinary forms of speech, such as gossip, then you have to learn restraint of speech about things spiritual. You have to learn what not to say about the life of the soul, very [161] copious talking about things for which people may not as yet be ready.

Right use of thought, restraint of speech, and consequent harmlessness on the physical plane, result in liberation; for we are held in the human unit, we are imprisoned to the planet not by some outside force that holds us there, but by what we ourselves have said and done. The moment we no longer set up wrong relations with people by the things we say that should not have been said, the moment we stop thinking things about people that we should not think, little by little those ties that hold us to planetary existence are severed, we are freed and we climb the mountain like the goat in Capricorn.

It has been asked: "Must we never make karma for ourselves or do anything that would tie us to any human being, because as long as we tie ourselves to any human being, we have got to go on reincarnating?" Well, I am going to tie myself to humanity by service, by love, by disinterested thought. That means something. But I am not going to tie myself by critical thought, self-pitying thoughts, by gossip, by words that I should not say. I am not going to have for my motive my own liberation.

A caution: don't be good, don't be harmless, don't serve merely in order to get away from it all, which is what a lot of people do. Stay with humanity as Christ does, or like that great Life whom we are told will stay in His appointed place until the last pilgrim has found his way home.

Two Gates, Three Constellations

Sagittarius is the little gate to Capricorn. There are two cosmic gates: Cancer, the gate into incarnation; Capricorn, the gate into the spiritual kingdom. Prior to Capricorn is Sagittarius, spoken of as "a lesser gate". I like to think of it as the little gate at the foot of the hill through which we pass before climbing the mountain and in passing through that little gate, we demonstrate our ability to rightly use the arrows of thought. That is the great test. [162]

There are two birds to be seen in the heavens close to Sagittarius. One, Aquila, the eagle flying straight into the face of the sun, the bird out of time and space, the symbol of immortality, the symbol of that secret hidden thing that lies back of our souls even; for we are told that matter or form is the vehicle for the manifestation of soul, and soul on a higher turn of the spiral is the vehicle for the manifestation of spirit, and these three are a trinity unified by life that pervades them all.

The other constellation is Cygnus, symbol of soul. Sagittarius, the aspirant, looking to the left and to the right: to the right seeing Aquila and saying to himself, "I am spirit flying straight for my home"; looking the other side and seeing Cygnus, the swan, with its four stars in the form of a cross and saying, "I am the soul crucified in matter from which I shall release myself."

Remember, the day is coming when we shall talk about the soul as we now talk about the personality, as something from which we have eventually to be released. That is the problem, if I may use that word, of the man who has taken the third initiation, to release himself from soul.

Will you take those three constellations as your symbol: Cygnus, Aquila and Sagittarius? Aquila, the eagle in the U.S. standard; the arrows of Sagittarius. And have you ever thought that wherever you go you see the cross of Cygnus, the Red Cross? That is what the United States stands for. You have it right in the heavens.

Sagittarius is the ninth sign. Think about this sequence of thought. In Virgo, the sixth sign, we have the indication of life; in Sagittarius, the ninth sign, the completion of the prenatal period before the birth of the Christ in Capricorn in December. It is amazing how your correspondences, your analogies work out. That is why we are told to study the human being. It is through the symbolism of the human being that we arrive at understanding of the great Life which includes us all in its existence. [163]

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