The Sabian Procedures
The Full Moon Meeting
The Full Moon Meeting was the first of the Sabian ritualistic ceremonies to take a definite pattern, apart from the earlier use of the liturgical forms for opening and closing the class sessions, and as such it has been the core of the ordered initiatory procedures under Sabian auspices. It is fundamentally the rehearsal of a seeker's progress upward to each facet of his illumination, and his consequent return downward for service to his fellows. It has been and remains of prime importance in any quickening and requickening of individual morale at the laya center of conscious selfhood.
The time for the assembly normally is the last half hour from 10: 15 to 10:45 p.m., as shown by the common agreement of the local clocks, that can run its course before the precise moment the moon is full at the place of meeting. A tabulation of the days and dates of these special half-hour periods for each United States time zone is supplied the students once a year, and the continuity of the celebrations from the beginning is shown by the number of the session. Also shown is the corresponding lesson to be taken from the Message of the Hierarch, and this determines the proper Statements of Realization and Thanks to be selected. It is the option of any particular Sabian group to establish a continuity of its own, and thus to designate its sessions from their beginning and to use the 1st lesson at that time and so on as long as the chain of observances remains unbroken. It is permissible to begin in this independent fashion, and to start all over again whenever desired, at any convenient lunar month. In special emergencies the meeting may be held according to the time of some adjacent or even distant time zone, provided only this does not place the meeting in a different calendar day.
The ceremony may be conducted by two, three, five or seven aspirants, without reference to the additional number who may be in actual attendance. When seven are used, different questioners interrogate the legate, acolyte and neophyte spokesmen in turn. When five, the questioner is the same person throughout. When three, the legate, acolyte and neophyte parts are combined. When two, the celebrant adds the questioning to his normal role.
Members of the Assembly unable to attend a regular ceremony may go through the ritual by themselves at the proper time. This enables them to share in the general consciousness and so gain its upliftment, but the performance under these circumstances does not create the situation necessary for attendance in fulfillment of the acolyte obligation. Any name signed at this time can only be for the symbolical contribution to the individual sensitiveness. When the ritual is used in this manner the celebrant and questioner parts should be spoken aloud and the legate, acolyte and neophyte statements made voicelessly or by whisper.
Candles should be used if at all possible, and they should be lighted immediately before or during the Invocation to the Living Flame. The privilege of lighting should be rotated through those participating in the ritual more or less regularly in person. At the close of the ceremony, or immediately after the Chaldean Dismissal and before anybody has had a chance to move, the celebrant should extinguish the candles.
Attendance at the Full Moon ceremony is restricted to (1) regular Sabian students, (2) members of their families and their house guests, (3) representatives of the civil authorities or well-established religious or educational bodies desiring to investigate Sabian activities and (4) people present at a prior Sabian meeting in the same quarters on the same evening. In the last instance the formal closing of the preceding meeting is omitted. An opportunity should be given for those who have been in attendance to leave if they wish, and some explanation of the ritual should be given to those who choose to remain. By house guest is meant any individual who has broken bread with a Sabian aspirant in the aspirant's home during the calendar day in which the ceremony is performed.
The signing of the names should be at a table where each aspirant may sit in turn as he does so, and always in a signature book used specially for this purpose. As far as possible those present should stand in a semicircle for this part of the ritual, and the order of signing should be counterclockwise through the arc. In all other circumstances the celebrant should arrange the order of signing in advance. Each one signing should come forward in his proper turn, and then go back to his place. Not until then should the next in order make any move. All present should sign, including any nonmembers of the Assembly. The celebrant should repeat each name aloud as it is written in the book, and add an audible thank-you. Those who bear proxies made out to them should sign the additional names after their own, repeating each aloud as they do so and then delivering the proxy forms to the celebrant. He should continue to add his thank-you after each proxy signature. If there are proxies made out to him he may designate some aspirant to come forward to sign first and to remain standing at his side until all others have come forward. Thereupon the celebrant should take his place at the table to sign the names of those designating him as proxy, either as he reads the names aloud himself on signing or as they are read aloud for him by the aspirant he has designated to do so. He should repeat each name aloud as he signs, and in all cases add his audible thank-you. When every name has been signed he should write his own in the book as witness and thus as himself present.
The proxies and signature books shall be sent to the Esoteric Secretary or person appointed by the Esoteric Secretary whenever they are requested for examination, or they may be handled in whatever other convenient way is prescribed from time to time. Proxy forms should be simple, to the effect that the aspirant appoints the Celebrant of a Full Moon meeting as his proxy to sign him in as present for a given date. They must be dated and signed in ink when mailed by postal service or the date and signature typed at the end of the proxy when sent by electronic means, but no person may be designated a proxy by telephone. After the ceremony the proxies should be filed as any other correspondence, and thus kept available for reference in the case of any confusion.
At the close of the meeting each aspirant, as far as possible in decent conformity to the social amenities or in meeting any of the necessities of physical existence, should go home and to bed without conversation or special activity such as might dissipate the consciousness gained at the core of self.
The astrological symbolism of the ceremony requires no consideration of appreciably technical sort. The annual passage of the sun through the zodiac has been taken from ancient times as an allegory both of man's spiritual progress in general and of any individual initiation in particular. The successive ordeals in the earth life of an avatar, as charted through the zodiacal signs, are known collectively as the solar myth and taken to dramatize an inevitable recapitulation of the history of the race in the lives of each of its great initiate leaders. The very considerable uniformity of events in the careers of the messiahs from age to age becomes a pattern for the spiritual outreaching of the seeker, and thus can provide an essential underlay of significance in the ritual. Astrology in even its everyday horoscopy reflects the great myth through its doctrine of the heavenly man, or the schematism pictured in the old time drugstore almanac with the signs of the zodiac distributed to the organic parts or divisions of labor in the human body. This anatomical correlation gives a language for the ceremonial rehearsal of the Solar ordeals.
The cycle of Aries-Cancer is the symbolical head-to-stomach arc in the cosmic organism, or the succession of (1) aspiration or the desire to be alive, (2) expenditure and replenishment, (3) taking and outgiving of the psychological vitality and (4) the personal rehearsal of existence. Here lies the conscious control of all experience as the work of initiation on the legate level. It is the recognition of fullness in the realm of self, and a concomitant repudiation of everything in life from which no welcoming response can be gained or with which no creative reciprocity can be quickened.
The cycle of Leo-Scorpio is the symbolical heart-to-genitals arc in the cosmic organism, or the successive necessities for (1) the poise of simple aliveneess or a basic health of body, (2) the poise of social co-operation or a fundamental gift for the assimilation of reality to self in an everyday prosperity, (3) the poise of a more definitely personal or self-distilled relationship with others as made manifest in a resourcefulness of temperament or a root happiness and (4) the poise of a genuinely rational administration of self and its powers or the continual creation and refinement of a foundation understanding. Here lies the conscious control of personality as the work of initiation on the acolyte level. The occult discipline strengthens a cleansing of consciousness at the laya center of responsible selfhood, and a consequent elimination of all useless accretions in the outer being. Spiritual healing is facilitated by a consistent and rigorous repudiation of any or every element of experience from which all possible potentiality of sharable worth has been extracted.
The cycle of Sagittarius-Pisces in the symbolical thighs-to-feet arc in the cosmic organism, or the successive emphases of (1) incarnate flesh as the basis of the personal fellowship through which all higher realization must be sustained, (2) the bony structure in the body as the basis for any moral stability in either individual or social aggregate, (3) the blood circulation or the flow of consciousness as the basic instrumentation of all group fellowship or practical social integrity and (4) the lymphatic or self-policing capacity of the human organism as the basic organization of all conscious effort to achieve a perfection of the self and its world and thereby pave the way for aspiration at the threshold of any next dimension of seeking. The correlation of thighs to flesh, of knees to bone, of ankles to blood and of the feet to the lymphatics represents astrological technicalities that hardly would be obvious to the layman. Through these curious correspondences, however, lies the continual enhancement of experience in its essentially na´ve potentiality as the work of initiation on the neophyte level. The arcane discipline furthers an elimination from the aspirant's everyday realization of all the stultifying inhibitions and senseless prejudices that have been allowed to clutter his thoughts and to confuse his instinctive reactions, and strengthens a concomitant and increasing rejection of every potentiality of experience from which nothing of enduring worth will ever be gained.
In the first of the three periods of silence the aspirant should attempt an inventory of his spiritual progress on the path, and to observe through his inward examination where he may have failed to meet the fullest challenge of the responsibilities he has accepted on achieving his present level in the discipline. In the second period of silence the inward self-inventory should be directed to his cooperation with the healing ministry of the invisible fellowship, and with the work of the great Lodge in helping sustain the steady rhythm through which the race itself has an underlying and continual rehearsal of its experience. In the third period of silence he should seek to recommit himself to the fullness of his aspiration through any meditative means that may help him envision it, and thus re-enthrone it as an enduring reality in his own ongoing.
The thanks to which the aspirant gives expression, after his statements of realization for the current lunar month, are addressed to the living flame of divine aspiration as this must be quickened in the spiritual depths of every true seeker of the Solar path.