The Sixth Day
24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind, and it was so.
25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
There is a Babylonian tablet in cuneiform characters which gives the same tradition:
- “At the time that the Gods all together had created (the heavens?),
2) Formed the magnificent (?) constellation (?),
3) They let go forth all ensouled creatures,
4) The cattle of the field, the wild animals of the field and the creeping animals of the field.”
The “evening” of the Sixth Day is the period of the Water-Sign of Scorpio, ruled on the Night-throne by Mars, the Archangel of the Element Fire. The “morning” of the Sixth Day is the period of the Fire-Signof Sagittarius, ruled on the Day-throne by Jupiter, Enlightener or Guru, wielder of the Lightning, which warns and kills the Fallen Man, but gives the pilgrim who attains Manhood, : the flash of Illumination”. The Sixth Day forms the decisive, last stage of the Path. It marks the attainment of Manhood, after the animal man has been subjected and perfected.
The 24th and 25th verses of Genesis 1deal with the perfection of the animal man. If we read the texts of Genesis and the Babylonian tablet carefully, we note that four classes of animals are mentioned, symbolizing the mental and moral realm in connection with the Four Elements: In the 24th verse there is mention of “the living creature, or soul”. It symbolizes the animal function touched by the Spirit, the function of true life. Next there is mention of cattle. These represent the animals of the field, that live on grass. They symbolize the animal function in connection with the emotional plane, the Element Water. Thirdly the verse mentions “the creeping thing”; it symbolizes the animal function expressing itself on the physical plane, the Element Earth. To a great extent it has a sexual meaning. In astrological tradition the sexual problem is especially connected with Scorpio. The scorpion which gives its name to the Sign of the Zodiac, is itself “a creeping thing”. Other well-known creeping things are the worm that burrows in the earth and the snake that creeps on its belly. Fourthly the 24th verse mentions “the beast of the earth”. “Beasts” always symbolize the animal function “in its own element”, the Element Fire, representing the mental and moral plane, with its strong urges, which make the Fallen Man into a beastly shadow of humankind, roaming about in the wilderness of the world.
In the 25th verse three of the four classes of animals are repeated: firstly the beast of the world of the Element Fire, secondly the cattle of the field of the Element Water, and thirdly “the thing that creepeth upon the earth”, pertaining to the Element Earth. Where is the fourth class, “the living soul”? It is so important that the two verses to follow are devoted to it. The living creature is Man. The Spirit is the life-giving factor.
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
The plants and animals which have been “created” so far, were all made “after their kind”. These words destroy the illusion that Genesis deals with an actual beginning — if by now there is still such conception left in the mind of the reader. The “kind”, after which the plants and animals were formed, belonged to a previous life-cycle. I have shown elsewhere that ancestry is in all traditions symbolically connected with the causes of actions — what has become widely known under the name of Karma. In the modern mind there has been a clash between the conceptions of heredity and reincarnation. Originally the former were largely symbolic for the latter.
When Manhood is attained, there is no more question of creation “after his kind”. Instead we read “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” We must note that the sentence is in plural, and that “God” is the Elohim. Elsewhere I have substantiated that the place of the Elohim in the Scheme of Tradition is in Scorpio (and Sagittarius). All through Genesis the Elohim have worked up to this stage on the path, which is their own. Scorpio and Sagittarius form the spiritual section of the spiritual path. At the final stage of that the vegetable and animal factors of Karma, expressed in “after their kind”, cease to predominate. Another factor enters in, “from above”. The man who has attained Manhood is no longer burdened with Karma, emotional and “animal”, he is formed in the image of God. The idea of a reflection or image is, of course, closely associated with the conception of a mirror. We have seen before that the mirror is symbolically associated with consciousness, and that Consciousness forms the image of Being, as the moon reflects the light of the sun. Not only is man, when he attains Manhood, the image of the Elohim, but he is like them. The idea of likeness is derived from the conception of the state of likes. Between likes there is equality. Perfected Man becomes one of the Elohim. The average man, however, who is what is symbolically called the Fallen Man, is far from being an image of a God. Many have gone to the extent of interpreting verse 26 literally and accusing religion of creating an anthropomorphic deity.
The 26th verse tells us that the Spiritual Man should rule the lower functions of his psyche. He should have dominion over the fish of the sea, symbolizing the lower emotional or erotic life, and over the fowl of the air, symbolizing the lower aspects of the spiritual life. These have been mentioned in verse 21. Further he should have dominion over the cattle, symbolizing the higher, creative, emotional life. Cattle yield milk. Milk is in many traditions symbolic of “the stream of consciousness” and of the nourishing properties of the Motherly Moon-Sphere. It yields cream, universally a symbol of the Quintessence or Ether. The “chrism” of Christianity is a form of this “cream”. The words are even etymologically related. I have dealt with the symbolism of milk and its various products, as symbolically representing the various Elements, elsewhere. The cattle here represent a creative aspect of the higher Water, whereas the fishes in the sea represent forces in the lower Water.
Next man must have dominion “over all the earth”. Here we must read “world”. In accordance with verses 24 and 25 the “world” is the dominion of the “beast” or warm-blooded animal. Man must rule the urges in his lower mind.
Finally man must have dominion over “every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth”. This has reference to the libido manifesting physically or with regard to the material plane.
In accordance with the verses applying to the stage of the Sixth Day, the traditional figure, representing Sagittarius, is a Centaur or being half man, half animal, the human part having “the upper hand”.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them.
The “four living creatures” which Ezekiel saw in a vision, “had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side”, and the face of an ox and the face of an eagle, on the left side. If we draw a cross between what are called “the fixed Signs of the Zodiac”, the branches touch the Signs of Scorpio, Leo, Taurus and Aquarius. The Air-House of Aquarius is represented in many traditions by an Eagle. It forms an aspect of “the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters.” The Ox is Taurus and the Lion, Leo. Scorpio is represented by the living creature with the face of a man, because the Sixth Day, the period of Scorpio and Sagittarius, is the stage of the path of the attainment of Manhood. St. John describes in the Apocalypse his vision of four beasts, one like a lion, one like a calf, one with the face of a man and one like a flying eagle.
There is an old Christian tradition which connects the four Gospels with the four fixed Signs of the Zodiac and with the four living creatures mentioned. The Gospel of St. John has the being with the eagle-face connected with it. This is the case, because it deals with the beginning of the spiritual path, as also with the stage which follows on its end. Because the St. John’s gospel deals with “the beginning”, it begins with the famous verses which have already been quoted: “In the beginning was the Word,… And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness overcame it not.” Therefore, also, the day of St. John, the Evangelist, is celebrated on December 27th, only two days after Christmas. The highly mystical nature of the Gospel of St. John stands in relation to the fact that Aquarius is an Air-Sign.
St. Luke has the being with the bull’s face connected with it. It has special reference to the stage of the path which is centred in the Earth-Sign of Taurus. Therefore it begins with the myth of “the Mothers” — for these are traditionally placed in Taurus.
St. Mark’s Gospel has the being with the lion-face connected with it. This is the case because it has special reference to the stage of the path which is centred in the Fire-Sign of Leo. St. Mark begins with “the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” This is the voice of the Lion, represented by St. John the Baptist, whose birthday is celebrated on June 24th, marking the beginning of the Cancer-period or the beginning of the Fourth Day, and whose beheading is commemorated on August 29th, just after the period of the Fourth Day has come to a close.
St. Matthew’s Gospel has the being with the human face connected with it. This is the case because it has special reference to the stage of the path of the attainment of Manhood. St. Matthew begins with the human ancestry of Jesus.
I mentioned that the Gospel of St. John has special reference to the beginning of the spiritual path and to the stageless stage after attainment. The exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt is also a myth of the spiritual path. It begins on the First Day. The Eagle of Aquarius appears in the words of the Lord to Moses: “I bare you on eagle’s wings and brought you unto myself.” We read in the song of Moses: “He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.” These words, applying to Jacob, first show us the state of the “evening” of the First Day, symbolized in Genesis 1:2 by wasteness, voidness and darkness. The rest of the sentence applies to the spiritual path. The sentence which follows has reference to the “morning” of the First (and Seventh) Day: Aquarius. “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the Lord alone did lead him.”
Let us return to Genesis 1:27. The “creation” of man as “male and female” is not a mere platitude, but also has symbolic implications. Since these are numerous and because the subject is vast and has not much bearing on the rest of the symbolism of the first Chapter of Genesis, it will be sufficient to mention in this place only a few of the most important points.
On the higher plan of symbolism male and female are symbolically connected with the Sun and the Moon, or, in other words, with Being and Consciousness, symbolized (emotionally) also by Father and Mother. Because Consciousness is the Creative Power, the Mother is the Creatrix, a conception which has been preserved to this day clearly and fully in the Hindu conception of Shakti, but which constitutes one of the fundamental traditions of all ancient mythology, including the Bible. Because Being is primal and Consciousness secondary, Adam is created first, and Eve formed from something out of Adam. Therefore, too, it is Eve who gets involved in the trouble of the Fall.
On the middle plan of symbolism, which pertains to the spiritual processes, connected with the Element Air, the above-mentioned duality manifests itself as immortality-mortality. The spiritual man is dual, as it were half immortal, half mortal. The myth of the Spiritual Twins deal with the problem arising from this condition. In so far the spiritual man is “a Son of his Father”, he is immortal, for “I and the Father are one”. But to the extent the spiritual man is bound up with the creative processes and productions of his consciousness, he is mortal, for his creations are not lasting. In the soul of the pilgrim on the path a great struggle is ever going on between his immortal and his mortal natures.
On the lower plan of symbolism the male and female aspects of the psyche are connected with the functions of the lower mind and of feeling. The male function is the one of the Element Fire, reflecting the action of the Sun “below”. The Lord of the lower mind is Mars. The female function is the one of the Element Water, forming the reflection of the Sphere of the Moon “below”. The field of the emotions is ruled by Venus.
As the Sun is higher than the Moon, because Being is more fundamental than Consciousness and its Creative Power, Mars is also higher than Venus. Thus the male function is higher than the female function — a truth which literalists in former ages have misinterpreted by stating that the male sex is superior to the female! Actually, of course, both “male” and “female” functions are represented within the psyche of every man and of every woman. This truth has been rediscovered in modern days, and the conceptions of the animus and the anima of Analytical Psychology are based upon it.
Manhood is attained by the perfect balancing of the male and female “elements” within the psyche, on all levels. In this connection it is interesting to consider that Scorpio is a Water-Sign which is rules by Mars. In the final stage of the spiritual path during the “evening” of the Sixth Day the emotional element must be perfectly controlled by the Divine Intelligence and Power of the fiery element of the lower mind.
Further it is significant that Sagittarius is a Fire-Sign which is ruled by Jupither, Lord and Enlightener. During the “morning” of the Sixth Day the lower mind is finally subjected and controlled by the function of faith and insight into the mystery of life. And therewith the spiritual stage of the spiritual path comes to an end. But before this can take place, the final injunctions of the Tradition should be fulfilled.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth.
The previous blessing had reference to the moral and the present applies to the spiritual endeavors of man. When the spiritual state of Manhood has been attained, the spiritual activities should penetrate the world of the lower mind, expand there and fill it with true life. Genesis describes the phases or aspects of the process by, respectively, being fruitful, multiplying and replenishing. “The earth” is in this connection “the world”, that is, the world of creative thought and of morality. It should be subdued by the spiritual man.
“Fruitfulness” is attained by the aid of the Spirit. The fruits of plants are fertilized by wind or by winged insects, both of which are symbolically connected with the Element Air, the Sphere of the Spirit. “Be fruitful” and “multiply” have been interpreted by literalists to signify that men and women should have as many children as they possibly can. The meaning is, however, that people should have “children in the spirit”, symbolizing both actions in the world of society and “followers” on the sacred path of the Tradition.
But there is a still higher meaning in “the child in the spirit” or “the child of the spirit”. The stage of the Sixth Day forms the period of Man, the following stage, that of the Seventh Day, forms the period of the Son of Man. The Son of Man is traditionally born at the beginning of Capricorn. His birth in the life of a man marks the beginning of the stage of Rest. About this presently.
The 28th verse further states the necessity of dominating the animal functions expressing themselves through or in the remaining three Elements: “have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth.” The animals of the Element Water, Air and Earth have been mentioned before. It may be a source of surprise that at this final stage of the path there are “birds of the air” to be subdued. Yet this becomes clear when we realize that these symbolize such tendencies as spiritual vanity and self-satisfaction. The subtlest sins of all are the spiritual shortcomings, and perhaps these are the hardest to overcome in the final stage of the path.
The spiritual man must subdue the animal urges of the Fallen Man. The myths of all the world deal with “the things of the earth”, symbolizing aspects of physical lust and materialistic passion, in many symbolic forms; they deal with “fishes” in the form of whales, crocodiles and sea-monsters, with “warm-blooded animals” in the form of lions, wolves or fire-breathing dragons, with “birds” in the form of Harpies or other monstrous birds. Each of these symbolizes a particular “animal passion”, expressing itself through one or more psychical functions, and the myths in which they appear teach us about the manner in which these passions can be overcome.
29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding sees; to you it shall be for meat.
In this verse there is question of edible grain and fruits, which we have seen to be symbolically connected with, respectively, the Elements Air and Fire. Among the “herbs” wheat is the most important in many countries. A world of symbolism has been associated with it in the cultures around the Mediterranean and elsewhere. The wheatear speaks of spiritual resurrection. The symbolism of the bread which is prepared from it, has already been mentioned. Fruit-trees and their fruits are especially associated with the lower mind.
At the final stage of the spiritual path the fruits of “cultural labour” are enjoyed. Self-culture began during the period of the Third Day, and the seeds sprouted and grew by the life-heat of the Sun and the Water of Heavenly Grace.
But more is implied by the eating of grain and fruits, which symbolize the creative possibilities of the spiritual plane and the realm of thought and morality, as well as their final product. Seeds are symbols of tendencies which will engender actions in the cycle to come in the future.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is a living soul, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
The previous verse had reference to the spiritual function — symbolically connected with true Manhood — feeding upon, and thereby being supported by the sustaining qualities of the Element Air and Fire, that is, of the Spirit and the Intelligence of creative thought and morality. The present verse applies to the “animal functions” (belonging to the Element Fire), feeding upon, and thereby being supported by the sustaining qualities of the Element Water, symbolizing the plane of feeling and love. We have seen before, that “grass: is the plant which is associated with the emotional element. The two verses are thus complimentary to each other, the second applying to a lower level than the first.
It should have been the duty of literalists to be vegetarians. But this has not suited their purposes. Actually, of course, material food is not implied. In fact, it has been carefully omitted in the verse 29 and 30, applying to “food”. There is no reference to material food. As we shall see later, material food is not forgotten, however. There is a tradition which mentions it in connection with the Seventh Day.
“Food” enters in so prominently in this stage of the spiritual path because in the day-cycle the period of the Sixth Day is the time in which the evening meal is taken and in the year-cycle it is the time when the stocks of food are the most plentiful, after the harvest and before the winter sets in.
It may have been observed that in verse 30 the animals symbolizing the creative mind expressing itself through the emotional function — the cattle — have been omitted. But it is self-evident that cattle live on grass. Moreover verse 29 and 30 have an intention apart from what has already been mentioned. It is this. The vegetable kingdom, as such, symbolizes the inner world of feeling; and the digestive process is symbolically connected with the lower mind. Elsewhere I have dealt at length with the symbolic relation of food, stomach and digestion with “the lower mind”, “the animal man” and “the solar plexus”. Therefore the general intention of these verses is to teach that the fiery Element of creative thought and the knowledge of good and evil, lives on and is nourished and supported by the Element of feeling and love. Thus the attainment of Manhood is once more seen to depend upon the right relationship of the “male” and “female” “elements” in the psyche. We have seen in connection with verse 27 that during the period of Scorpio on the spiritual path the emotional element must be perfectly controlled by the ruling Intelligence and Power of the lower mind. Now we learn that the lower mind is dependent upon the function of feeling and love for its very existence. The health and happiness of the “male” element depends upon the “female”.
31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
The only thing which is “very good” in the world is the working out of those matters that are the concomitant of the genesis of Man in the image of a God.