Warm greetings from your Editors, Curtis Lang and Jane Sherry. We wish you every blessing during this magical holiday time of year, the time of the Winter Solstice in Capricorn. We are pleased to offer you the following instructions for obtaining “The Gabriel Initiation”. Our guide to this powerful meditation practice offers you a simplified version of an Ancient technique that was originally offered only to advanced students of the Western Mystery School traditions.
At this spiritually potent time of the seasonal cycle, we experience the shortest day and the longest night of the year.
The Winter Solstice in Science, History and Mysticism
The word solstice comes from the Latin “solstitium”, from “sol” or “sun” and “stit” or stopped. In the Northern Hemisphere, we all notice how the sun appears to be higher in the sky during the spring and summer, and slowly rises and sets lower and lower in the sky as autumn and winter unfold. At the time of the Winter Solstice, for a three day period, the sun appears at its lowest point at noon, and appears to stand still in its annual journey across the sky.
For this brief moment in the yearly seasonal round, we notice more readily that the strength of light from the sun over time waxes and wanes throughout the year. Just as the light from the moon waxes & wanes in a monthly cycle, the strength of sunlight waxes & wanes within a yearly cycle, which is what creates four seasons.
This waxing and waning of the sun is the result of the fact that Earth is tilted on its axis, and so for half the year, the northern hemisphere is tilted toward the sun, and for half the year, the Earth tilts increasingly away from the sun. To an observer in the northern hemisphere on planet Earth, beginning at the Summer Solstice in June, the sun appears to decline day by day. It appears lower and lower in the sky, because the sun travels slightly southward in the plane of the ecliptic as the Earth’s seasonal tilt moves the observer further and further northward relative to the solar orb.
On the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year, the beginning of winter, the Earth begins to tilt back in the other direction, but there is a three day period when the relative degree of tilt appears the same to our northern hemisphere observer. Then the sun begins to “rise” in the sky, nights shorten and days begin to lengthen.
For millennia diverse cultures and religions across the Northern Hemisphere have celebrated that moment when the sun once again begins its yearly ascent in the sky, on the third day after the Solstice, which falls on December 25, Christmas Day.
In countries around the world, social rituals evolved at the time of the Solstice which were designed to encourage the sun’s imminent, much hoped-for, ascent, to celebrate the coming “resurrection” of the light, and to affirm abundance and good fortune for the upcoming season by consuming autumnal stores of grain and liquors and by eating newly slaughtered herd animals that for various reasons, could not be supported throughout the long winter months still unfolding.
In Rome, one of the most famous of these celebrations occurred during the Winter Solstice Week, from December 17th through December 24th, when the Sun enters the sign of Capricorn. Because Saturn is the planetary ruler of Capricorn, this Solstice festival was known as Saturnalia. All of Rome celebrated with wine, feasting, and ribald expressions of sexuality. The moment when the sun again begins his apparent ascent, as days begin slowly to lengthen, and the promise of spring is writ large across the sky, was celebrated on December 25th as the Feast of the Invincible Sun.
Wisdom Traditions of both East and West have always taught that the Winter Solstice presents those of us on the Path of Spirit with a unique opportunity for accelerated development in our chosen practices.
Archangel Gabriel, Angel of Winter, Messenger of Love
Those who wish to participate in the Esoteric Mysteries, the Wisdom School Teachings of Mystical Masters of the East and West, are encouraged to call upon Archangel Gabriel, the Guardian Archangel who presides over The Winter Solstice and the winter season at this most sacred time of year.
Gabriel is the Archangel known as the Leader of the Heavenly Hosts, the Messenger of the Lord. As Messenger of the Lord, Gabriel is first and foremost the Archangel of Vision, and also the Archangel of revelation, creativity and faithful service.
Gabriel is known as the messenger who brings good news from Divine realms. In the Old Testament, in the Book of Daniel, verses 8 and 9, Gabriel appeared to interpret Daniel’s dream vision of the future of Israel to the prophet.
Jewish sacred tradition says that Gabriel inspired Moses to write the Book of Genesis, and that Gabriel taught Joseph 70 languages he needed to rule in Egypt.
Islam teaches that the Archangel Gabriel revealed the 114 chapters of the Koran to Mohammed.
Most famously, as the self-announced “Bearer of Good Tidings of Great Joy”, Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary bearing a lily flower at the time of the Annunciation, bringing her the Good News that she was to become the Divine Mother of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. This moment was at once a revelation, a fulfillment of prophecy, an interpretation of a sacred vision, and a unique sacred empowerment of the Virgin Mary.
Gabriel is often pictured with a trumpet, because he is expected to return at the Second Coming of Christ to announce the Turning of the Aeons, the Resurrection of the Dead, and the Last Judgement.
Gabriel figures prominently in the Sacred Tarot, the repository of the Wisdom Teachings of the West during the time of the Inquisition and thereafter, appearing in Trump 20, known as “Judgement”, which is also called “The Aeon” in some modern decks.
All the people, places and events pictured in the Tarot are not just archetypical figurations of chapters in the world’s history, they are, perhaps more importantly, representations of archetypical stages in the evolution of the Soul on its journey from animalistic instinctual behavior to rationalistic egoistic mentality and eventually to achievement of the ultimate goal, Unity consciousness and Self-realization. (For more information on the Tarot and the true Mystery Teachings of the East and West, see my article, “Tarot: The Yoga of the West”.
The Tarot teachings concerning the Last Judgement consider that apocryphal event to be the culmination of a lifetime’s spiritual practice, the doorway to liberation of the mind and enlightenment.
The Judgement or Aeon card is about transformation of the egoistic personality, and awakening to a higher consciousness, the birth of the Higher Mind, the dawning of the Higher Self, and represents the final preparations before the disciple can attain the final goal, Christ Consciousness, or Cosmic Consciousness, Self-Realization, pictured in Trump XXI, called The Universe.
In the Waite deck, Judgement pictures the Archangel Gabriel blowing his trumpet, as three figures, a man, a child and a woman, rise from coffins in the lower foreground. The man represents the conscious, rational egoistic mind, the woman represents the unconscious powers of instinctual wisdom, and the child represents the infant born of their union, the intuitive consciousness residing in the Higher Mind.
Gabriel’s golden horn delivers the sacred sound that triggers our awakening from the living death and spiritual imprisonment represented by consciousness dominated by the egoistic personality and the instinctual impulses of the unconscious mind. The energy signature of Gabriel’s horn is a sacred tone, or mantram, which also exists as a vision – a frequency of golden light. This golden light of inner awakening, which emanates from Gabriel’s horn, and at his command, appears in the mind’s eye on a field of deepest midnight blue during the meditative state at the moment of initiation and realization.
In the Western Mystery School Tradition, the Winter Solstice is traditionally the time when the initiate strives most intensely to attain this Gabriel initiation, which comprises the inner nativity, the birth of the Higher Mind and the Higher Self, the moment when the Inner Christ manifests to us offering us at least a transitory glimpse of Higher Worlds.
For students of the Ancient Wisdom, Gabriel’s role as bringer of visions makes him the Archangel who reveals the truth of one’s unique role in the world – which is known as the Higher Purpose, the Soul’s true calling, and empowers one to pursue that Higher Purpose successfully.
Thus the time of the Winter Solstice is the time for those walking the arduous path of Spirit to seek a vision of their Higher Purpose, to connect with the Divine Wisdom as revealed by Archangel Gabriel, and to connect with Higher Self and Higher Mind through the intercession of Gabriel, who interprets the super-rational wisdom found in Higher Realms into words and symbols that can be understood by the rational mind. Through Gabriel’s intercession, we can gain understanding of the mysteries of our own life’s journey, and of the larger mysteries surrounding the evolution of our spiritual brothers and sisters, our nation, and humanity as a whole.
Gabriel’s element is water and his chakra is the throat chakra, which is associated with the color blue, with creativity, and with communication. Traditionally, the opening of the throat chakra represents the beginning of the attainment of Higher Consciousness, once the heart is opened and compassion is attained. The opening of the heart chakra is a long, arduous process, which depends upon the purification of the emotions, which are associated with the element of water.
When we have successfully banished negative emotions, such as jealousy, greed, lust, and anger, and successfully released the old energies of past emotional traumas and failed relationships, then we are prepared for the Gabriel Initiation of the Winter Solstice.
This is why the season of Advent is traditionally a time of purification, and Christians are encouraged to perform acts of penance, fasting, and abstinence during the forty days prior to Christmas. Penance, fasting and abstinence are designed to purify the physical body, and also to cleanse the emotions, as well as turning our attention away from material pleasures and toward the summits of spiritual attainment.
The Gabriel Initiation
Those who wish to pursue the path leading to the Gabriel Initiation of the Winter Solstice are encouraged to spend the three day period of the Winter Solstice through Christmas in a spirit of wakeful awareness, open and waiting for a revelation, and to perform their normal spiritual practices in a relaxed, yet determined manner, in an attitude of certainty born of faith, for Gabriel is the Archangel of Faith.
As Messenger of the Lord, Gabriel appeared to the Shepherds in the Fields near Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, and announced to them the Nativity of Jesus Christ.
As it says in the second chapter of Luke, “. . . there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
On these three sacred days of the Solstice Festival, especially on Christmas Eve, the aspirant is encouraged to seek the Vision of the Inner Sunrise in a late night meditation session. If the preparation is adequate, and if the disciple’s spiritual evolution has brought the individual to a moment of inner awakening, and if the individual’s karma allows it, the disciple will receive an initiation.
To best prepare to receive this initiation, the disciple is encouraged to identify with the shepherds in the field near Jerusalem.
Quiet the mind, and enter into a meditative state using whatever practices have been taught to you by your Teachers and Guides. Call upon the Archangel Gabriel to illuminate your mind, to elevate your Soul, and to grant you a Vision of the Birth of the Christ Child, Unity Consciousness, your own Higher Self or Higher Mind.
Allow the indigo blue of a clear, cold starry night to permeate your cons
ciousness. Ideally, you will see a field of deep midnight blue in your mind’s eye. Maintain an attitude of watchful wakefulness, expectant but open and relaxed.
Then, cast your consciousness through the center of the Earth, and into deep space on the other side of the globe, where the Sun is shining, radiant and golden. Imagine a ray of illumination, extending from your third eye, and penetrating through the depths of the Earth, and imagine that as this illuminating ray penetrates the Earth, your consciousness penetrates and illuminates the roots of your own personality, your own egoistic mind, your own human nature.
Allow images of the high and low points of your life, and of your past lives, if they are granted you, to appear as you penetrate deeper and deeper into your own Earthly nature. Maintain your inner equilibrium, and remain identified with the Inner Watcher who sees all without becoming emotionally involved, no matter how turbulent or difficult or painful or delightful those images of your inner lifetimes become as you envision them within your mind’s eye.
As each vision appears before you, simply observe what happens. Observe the emotions attached to these actions. Simply observe your own emotional reactions, and identify with that watchful presence within you rather than with the visions or the emotions they release.
Continue this practice in your meditation until you reach a point where you achieve inner stillness. For the Birth of the Word of God is found only in Silence. Although Gabriel’s element is water, his inner nature is Fire, and his Word which is a mantric blast from his trumpet is a brilliant Light. You will know you have achieved this inner stillness when the inner visions of your own Earthly nature dissipate and your field of vision is filled with the midnight blue of the starry night of Bethlehem.
Feel the peace that passes all understanding, for this is what the shepherds felt on that Nativity Night so long ago. Relax into this peaceful indigo blue energy. Allow the mind to completely relax. Let go of all thoughts, emotions and mental considerations. If you like, you may again call upon Archangel Gabriel to grant you an initiation or to grant you an initiation into the Birth of the Christ Child at this time.
If you are successful in this meditation, you will see a small, brilliant globe of golden light appear within the field of midnight blue in your mind’s eye and this golden globe will grow until a brilliant light fills your field of vision and you will have a sensation similar to that of being in an open field on a summer’s day, but without the heat – you will sense a downpouring of this brilliant light from above the crown of your head, streaming into your being, filling you with a brilliant, yet cool, golden light.
This is the golden dawn of the invincible sun within you. Know that this is the Gabriel Initiation, the announcement to you of your own inner awakening to Higher Consciousness. Whether or not you see everything described here in this meditation, it is highly productive spiritually to repeat this meditation as often as possible during the period between Christmas and Epiphany.
Consecrate this time as a time of your own personal Vision Quest. Concentrate during this period of inner questing upon your own strong, heartfelt desire to receive an understanding of your own Higher Purpose, and of the best path forward for you to achieve that Higher Purpose during the upcoming year. Open yourself to receive messages from the Universe in meditation, and in your daily life as synchronicities and in the form of meaningful coincidences of all kinds. Remain observant day and night.
May the Archangel Gabriel favor you with a Vision of your path forward in life during this High Holy Season, and may the Archangel’s trumpet blast penetrate your inner ear, awakening you to the Life Divine that dwells within you. May you be present this year and every year to come at the Nativity of the Christ Child, and may his birth signal a birth of Unity Consciousness within you that will connect you ever more closely to the Spirit of the Invincible Sun.
Meditation Moment: The Invincible Sun
"In reality, the light we see is the materialization of primordial light. And this primordial light, the first emanation of God, is the Christ, the cosmic Sun.
Yes, the spirit which manifests and speaks to us through the sun is the spirit of Christ, and if we learn to unite with it, we will receive all its blessings: light, warmth, life, beauty, purity and health.
But for this it is not enough to expose ourselves to the sun instinctively, without conscious participation, as many people do: the few rays they receive at such moments are of little benefit.
To receive elements from the sun that are truly divine, our spirit must touch it, enter into relationship with it, penetrate it and dissolve in it.
Yes, our spirit, not merely our skin! To expose yourself physically to the sun is good in itself, but if your consciousness, your intelligence and your spirit participate in this encounter, the sun will give you a great deal more than health and vitality: it will give you understanding and enlightenment."
-- Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov