What does it mean that the light of an era has gone out? First it is necessary to understand what is meant by “the light of an era.” From a spiritual perspective each era of humanity has a spiritual light that gives rise to the evolution of consciousness that belongs to that era. The evolution of humanity is an evolution of consciousness[i], and it is the light of the era in the inner world that both guides and facilitates this evolution. Humanity has a unique quality of consciousness, mythologically imaged as fire stolen from the gods, that is quite distinct to the instinctual consciousness that belongs to the animal kingdom. Throughout human history our consciousness has evolved and changed. In each era this inner light has particular qualities that enable human consciousness to change and evolve in a specific way. In our present era which is coming to an end, this light has enabled us to develop an understanding of the physical world that has fundamentally changed our human experience.
One way this inner spiritual light directly manifests itself is through human discoveries. For example the Gothic Age was made possible through an understanding of how stone can create cathedrals of stained-glass and light that were almost unimaginable before. The Gothic Age was an outpouring of this inner energy that resulted both in a spiritual resurgence and what is arguably the most beautiful architecture ever created in Europe. Similarly the Renaissance was a development of consciousness expressed through the medium of art and architecture that celebrated the human spirit.
Since the eighteenth century “Age of Enlightenment” we have been given many discoveries, particularly in the fields of science, that have helped to create our present civilization. We may think that these discoveries were human achievements, but from a spiritual perspective they happened through a moment of “illumination” when a light from the inner world resulted in an inspiration or understanding, as in the instant when the apple fell on Newton’s head and the law of gravity was uncovered. Behind any great human discovery is the light that gives birth to such an inspiration. In the last era this light had a quality, or knowledge, of an understanding of the physical world and the properties of matter. Through this light human consciousness has been given an understanding of matter that it did not have in earlier eras. In previous eras human consciousness evolved through an understanding of other realities, for example through a knowledge of the interior world of symbols and their magical properties, much of which knowledge we have now lost.
Sadly, while the earlier discoveries combined spirit and matter—for example the Gothic cathedrals were an celebration of the divine—more recent knowledge appears to have been at the cost of the sacred. Newton may have been fascinated by magic and alchemy, but his “laws” gave birth to a vision of the world as a machine without a soul. It is this soulless world, cut off from an understanding of the sacredness of creation, that our civilization now inhabits. And as humanity developed a consciousness that no longer related to the sacred, so a cloud of forgetfulness developed between the inner and outer worlds, between the world of matter and the inner world of light. More recently this cloud has become denser and darker, attracting to it darker energies (for example those embodied in corporate global exploitation) that make the inner light that should be guiding humanity more inaccessible. Because our attitude of consciousness affects the inner world, the greed that dominates our present culture, the focus on “me” as opposed to “we,” has fuelled this gathering darkness. Our collective exploitation of our environment that has resulted in irreversible climate change, mass extinction of species, and pollution, is also an expression of this attitude. Continue reading “Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee”