Since at least the sixth century BCE, the seven rays have appeared in numerous faiths and esoteric ideas in both Western and Indian culture. They are also known as chohans, or heaven’s angels.
They can be seen in early Western mystery religions such as Gnosticism and Mithraism, as well as in Catholic Church scriptures and iconic art dating back to the Byzantine Empire. Since at least the post-Vedic era’s Vishnu Purana, the notion has been part of Hindu religious philosophy and scripture in India.
In Modern Times
The seven rays initially appeared in Helena Blavatsky’s Theosophy teachings in the late nineteenth century, in a modified and elaborated form. The concept of the seven rays was further developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the writings of Theosophist Charles Webster Leadbeater, as well as other authors such as Alice Bailey, Manly P. Hall, and others — notably including the teachings of Benjamin Creme and his organization Share International.
The seven rays concept appeared as an aspect of metaphysical healing treatments, such as Reiki and other modalities, and in esoteric astrology as the New Age movement progressed in the mid-to-late twentieth century.
The Essential Concept
It is Leadbetter and Bailey’s work that is the focus of this article. According to Alice A. Bailey, each individual has a soul ray that stays the same across all of their incarnations and a personality ray that changes with each one. Each ray also corresponds to specific Masters of Wisdom, as well as specific planets, cycles, nations, and so on.
The seven rays form the foundation of what Alice A. Bailey dubbed “New Age Psychology,” in which she categorizes everyone into one of seven psychological categories. Leadbetter chose to distinguish the Seven Rays into seven types of magic. Below are their different designations.
Alice Bailey’s Soul Rays
- First – Will or Power
- Second – Love-Wisdom
- Third – Adaptability
- Fourth – Beauty or Harmony
- Fifth – Science
- Sixth – Devotion
- Seventh – Ritual
Leadbetter’s Magical Types
- First – The Will of the Magician
- Second – The Magic of Raja Yoga
- Third – The Magic of Astrology
- Fourth – The Magic of Hatha Yoga
- Fifth – The Magic of Alchemy
- Sixth – The Magic of Bhakti Yoga
- Seventh – Ceremonial Magic
Determining Your Ray
There are several online sites with quizzes to determine your rays. I took two of them; one at Prana World (https://pranaworld.net/which-of-the-7-rays-are-you/) and the other at Soul Bridging (https://soulbridging.com/rayology-seven-ray-quiz/). And here are my results:
My ray is number 6. The result says:
This is called the ray of devotion. You are full of depth in your instincts and impulses, and of intense personal feeling. Everything, in your eyes, is either perfect or intolerable; your friends are angels, his enemies a very much the reverse; Your view depends on how the persons treat you, how much on the same wavelength they are with you, and how devoted they are to the causes and passions that you share.
You are often of gentle nature, but can flame into fury and fiery wrath. You sacrifice a lot, and will happily lay down your life for the people you love and respect. You hate fighting and will not start a fight, but once roused, you fight furiously and can easily end the fight. Business may not be your thing, but you’re easily a great preacher or orator.
According to this quiz, my ray is number 2. The result says:
The second ray is a stream of energy that seeks to unite (through the power of attraction) and illumine. It overshadows consciousness in all forms through wisdom and love. The urge to teach and heal arises from the energy of the second ray. These individuals tend to be patient, inclusive, and loving. Alternatively, they can manifest a strong power of wisdom and understanding, which might seem more aloof. The second ray corresponds to the Son aspect of the holy trinity. The Astrological signs of Gemini, Virgo, and Pisces express the second ray. Keywords: Unite and Illumine. Learn more about how the Seven Rays, or Rayology, can help you better understand yourself, others, and the world around you.
As you can see, I did not get the same result.
Determining Your Ray through Astrology (Alan Oken)
In his book Soul Centered Astrology, Alan Oken drew astrological connections for the Seven Rays that he determined from the Sun Sign and Ascendant. Here are the results:
- If your Sun Sign or Ascendant is Aries, Leo, or Capricorn, you are functioning on the FIRST RAY OF WILL/POWER. “The energy of the First Ray acts as a catalyst, breaking up old existing conditions so that new ones may eventuate.
- If your Sun Sign or Ascendant is Gemini, Virgo, or Pisces, you are functioning on the SECOND RAY OF LOVE/WISDOM. “The Second Ray is called the Master Builder…. It represents the cohesive force in the universe…. The Second Ray is the energy behind what we call “universal love” … connected to the powers of intuition…. The Second Ray instills cooperation between people, philanthropy, and the urge to serve.
- If your Sun Sign or Ascendant is Cancer, Libra, or Capricorn, you are functioning on the THIRD RAY OF ACTIVE INTELLIGENCE. “The energy of the Third Ray … permeates into every form of life. The Third is the Active Intelligence of Divinity, and represents the inherent intelligence within all matter…. All of humanity is strongly governed by the Third Ray…. The Ray of activity. People who are closely connected to the Third Ray are very much on the go.
- If your Sun Sign or Ascendant is Taurus, Scorpio, or Sagittarius, you are functioning on the FOURTH RAY OF HARMONY THROUGH CONFLICT. “The purpose of the Fourth Ray [is to be] an agent of balance. The Fourth Ray leads to that type of discrimination required for the life of the Soul and the way of service. It is thus the Ray of trial and error, so that we may move from the unreal to the real. The Fourth Ray is the energy behind what we may call ‘Divine Discontent’…. As the Ray of beauty and art, the Fourth Ray is also essentially the refiner—the urge for an ever-more-perfect representation of the Will of God in the many forms of Its expression.
- If your Sun Sign or Ascendant is Leo, Sagittarius, or Aquarius, you are functioning on the FIFTH RAY OF CONCRETE KNOWLEDGE. “The Fifth Ray is the expression of Love/Wisdom through the intellect. This occurs through scientific research and experimentation in order that the Plan of Divinity may be revealed through the mind of man…. It is the purpose of the Higher Mind to penetrate and purify the lower so that humanity may perceive, identify, and know the Mind of God behind all the forms of manifestation.
- If your Sun Sign or Ascendant is Virgo, Sagittarius, or Pisces, you are functioning on the SIXTH RAY OF DEVOTION & IDEALISM. “The Sixth has been the primary Ray of the Piscean Age—[the Age now ending]…. The religious creeds and ideals connected to martyrdom are still influential wherever the Sixth Ray energy predominates…. Terrorism, suicide, and all other urges for self-annihilation based on religious and/or philosophical idealism are very much under the influence of the Sixth Ray…. One finds in its expression those devotional qualities that keep families together, instill great and small philanthropic gestures, and denote such saintly people as Mother Teresa and St. Francis of Assisi…. The Sixth Ray is also the inspiring force of people for whom the principles of Love, Goodness, Purity of Heart, and Selflessness are living energies and form their way of life.
- If your Sun Sign or Ascendant is Aries, Cancer, or Capricorn, you are functioning on the SEVENTH RAY OF CEREMONIAL ORDER & MAGIC. “The Seventh Ray’s main function is to work for the infusion of the energies of spirit with the substance of matter. It is the working of the Seventh Ray which aids in the fusion of the Soul and the personality, and the resulting reorientation of an individual’s life purpose and direction. It is this process of Soul infusion that can be symbolically rendered by the Seventh Ray alchemist as the process of changing lead into gold.
So, according to Oken, since I have an Aries Sun and Scorpio Rising, my Rays would be the 1st, 4th, and 7th.
Looking at Your Life Patterns, and Past Lives
If we get far enough in life, we can see our patterns. If we decide to do some Past Life Regression work, we can see our soul patterns. In Bailey’s concept of the Seven Rays, the Past Life Soul pattern would be your Soul Ray, and the patterns in this life would be your Personality Ray. I have done the Past Life Regression work, and discovered my Soul Ray is number 4, but my Personality Ray in this lifetime is number 2.