The Power of the Water Bearer

By Betty Bland

Originally printed in the NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2007 issue of Quest magazine. 
Citation: Bland, Betty."The Power of the Water Bearer." Quest  95.6 (NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2007): 204-205.

Theosophical Society - Betty Bland served as President of the Theosophical Society in America and made many important and lasting contributions to the growth and legacy of the TSA.

We hear so much about the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, but many of us do not have a clue as to what that means. Aquarius is represented by the water bearer pouring forth the waters of wisdom, and marks a time in which energy is defined by the term, "I know." According to astrologers (among whose numbers I cannot count myself), as we follow the sidereal progression of the equinoxes, we are moving from the Piscean age, expressed as a focus on faith and orthodoxy, to the Aquarian expression of a more open-minded attitude based on experiential knowledge combined with the energy of group work. In other words, whereas we have been oriented to individual belief, we will now be moving toward cooperative group work within the context of individual understandings.

In the midst of all the turmoil our world is currently experiencing related to rigid beliefs and orthodoxy, or fundamentalist thinking, the hope of an influx of cooperative and open-minded energy is definitely encouraging. When the founders began the Theosophical Society, they introduced an early impetus for change to a world caught in the throes of a mechanical materialistic view on the one hand and an imperialistic, belief-structured orthodoxy on the other. The founders wrought the great experiment, called the Theosophical Society, in order to popularize the wisdom traditions and to stimulate humanity's awareness of its universal kinship'to move thinking from the narrow to a broader perspective.

The Aquarian idea of life-giving wisdom and compassion is an age-old concept and has been symbolized in traditions other than astrology. Kwan Yin is represented as a deity, who tips a vial of the precious elixir of life so that the droplets are available to nourish all. In this form she is also considered to be the oriental feminine version of Avalokiteshvara, or the Buddha of compassion. Pouring out pitchers of water, the kneeling figure in the Star card of the Major Arcana Tarot represents seeking and sharing wisdom in the depths of the psyche. Although free flowing water tends to represent our emotional natures, water contained or controlled by a vial or pitcher seems to represent those emotions contained and controlled by a higher faculty in order to provide wisdom. Notice that the wisdom is not static but is shared with humanity.
The challenge of the water bearer is to be able to contain the emotional nature in a healthy way. One has to find wholeness within oneself in order to function most effectively and freely in cooperation, without being swallowed up or losing one's independence and individuality in the group. Being able to achieve this balance is a major task set before us.
I have always loved science fiction as a vehicle for divulging some of the otherwise barely communicable mysteries of life. One such story is told in Stardance by Spider Robinson. I read it a long time ago, but it transmitted to me a powerful image. As I remember, the story begins with a rather gray, mundane life on planet Earth, where the various characters' lives are separate, colorless, and barely manageable. Yet the threads of events bring them all to be inhabitants of a space station on the outer edges of our planetary system.
As these characters weather various difficulties, they learn to cooperate and synchronize with each other in a freeform, non-gravitational field. Developing their individual talents and contributing to the whole, enables them to gradually unfold empathetic psychic connections with one another. When they have reached a culmination in their harmonious interactions, a rapidly approaching frightful menace appears in the far distant space. The out-posted characters realize that they must figure out how to stop this threat in order to save themselves and their civilization still on Earth.
As the fiery globe, swirling with vibrant energy, approaches, the characters' heightened sensitivity allows them to intuit that this terrible consciousness may be subject to some sort of reason or appeasement. In the end, the characters discover that they are like this amazing space entity'which, though one entity, is yet a composite of many beings who buzz and vibrate together like a huge beehive. This composite being is drawn to the presence of this little pod of humanity which has begun to function as a unit, sensing each others' needs and actions, and caring enough about each other to sacrifice self for the whole. In so doing, they have reached the next developmental stage and are ready to move on as nurslings of a new order.
Although the weavings of the story are fascinating in themselves, the value of the story is in the message. Teilhard de Chardin tried to express the same idea in his description of the noosphere, that field of unified planetary consciousness in which we can all participate by lifting our hearts and minds to the Highest.
Although today's tragedies of terrorism and the uncertainties of global financial institutions are causes for deep concern, they can be viewed as the growing pains of an emerging larger community. Blurred political and economic boundaries challenge our many cultures to find new ways of honoring their individual identities, while at the same time developing peaceful ways to overlap with each other. Whether national groups or individuals, their collective attitudes color the psychic atmosphere and determine the potential welfare and level of peace for the whole planet.
For our part as individuals, we can recognize our responsibility for our own attitudes and spirit of cooperation. We can work to grow in personal strength in order to be fit vessels for the flow of compassion and wisdom. As we do so, the opportunities to join in creative cooperation with others will abound. Certainly the Theosophical Society is particularly suited to channeling group efforts toward supportive community, interfaith understanding, and intercultural cooperation. However we direct our efforts, together we are to be the water bearers, containing our experience with wisdom, and radiating our compassion with effectiveness. What greater human power can there be?


For those who win onwards there is reward past all telling—the power to bless and save humanity. . . 
(Collected Writings of Madame Blavatsky XIII, 219)

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