The number seven plays a special role in probably all cultures. In the Rig Veda, the oldest Hindu scripture, it is written: “The seven sages form seven paths. On one of these the desolate mortal can come.” The „seven sages“ represent seven cosmic rays that connect man with the divine. Genesis tells of seven days of creation, the prophet Isaiah names seven spirits of God (Is. 11:2), Paul lists seven gifts of grace (Rom. 12:6-8). The Book of Revelation speaks of “seven spirits […] before his throne” (Rev 1:4), and in a vision John experiences the cosmic Christ standing in the midst of “seven golden lamps” and with “seven stars in his right hand” (Rev 1:12-16).
We all know about the “seventh heaven” to which we feel elevated in special moments of life, and which is in the strongest possible contrast to “normal” life. Paul writes that he was once taken up into the third heaven (2 Cor. 12:2).
The knowledge of the seven rays is ancient. They bow down to us and we can let ourselves be seized by them. Then a sevenfold path of steps is formed upwards, on which the soul is transformed. The rays, we learn, are present in the entire universe, they penetrate all bodies of material and ethereal nature and produce a flow, starting from the Ineffable, through the suns and planets to man and further into the kingdoms of nature to what is fossilised. They are the creatively active “hands” of the primeval cause.
Alice A. Bailey wrote A Treatise on the Seven Rays in several volumes, from which we would like to present some basic ideas. Going deep into the subject can awaken the sensitivity for the spiritual divine basis of our world. The rays can create a resonance in us because we have a deep correspondence to them, yet in a still largely undeveloped potential.
These rays enter our solar system from the Spirit Sun (Vulcan). In their interaction they bring forth the Word, the revelation of the divine energy. Each of the rays contains all the others within itself and multiplies them in its own way, so that altogether one speaks of 49 degrees of vibration.
The rays act like a breathing process. Individually, they increase their intensity for a few centuries, only to weaken again and fade into the background for a longer period of time.
The first ray
The first ray works completely in the background, in the intangible. It is called “Will and Power” and is the “Opener of the Door” for life renewal. Through it, the human being comes into contact with the cosmic divine will and can arrive at the statement from inner knowledge: “Your will be done”.
This ray is the power that initiates all developments and revelations. It prepares a new soul basis in the person who opens himself for the divine, which leads to deepened processes of cognition. This includes experiencing the extent to which the unconscious acts as an obstacle to the orientation of the new soul. The words of Christ: „You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free“ (John 8:32) contains the fundamental divine magic of this ray.
The sevenfold character unfolds in the individual on the basis of his search for the truth. But the rays also work collectively. They influence the path of humanity, initiate and complete cultural development.
The second ray
The second ray unites two fundamental principles and energies of origin: Wisdom and Love. According to Alice Bailey, it is the ray that exerts a supreme influence on our solar system. It generates the primary quality of the solar Logos, the spiritual aspect of the Sun. The qualities of Love and Wisdom are so closely interwoven in it that they can be regarded as a single quality. The effectiveness of all the other rays converges in this ray; they find their completion in it. We then live in a “solar age of the second ray”.
Love and Wisdom form the spiritual basis for the path. They bring about the unity of heart and head, enable spiritual perception and a new intuitive faculty. The fact that all life is embedded in this ray becomes clear in the words of Sri Krishna: “By whatever path people may travel, it is my path; it does not matter where they go, every path leads to ME”.
The Third Ray
The third ray is called the “Connection Maker”. Insight and Intelligence must be transmitted to enable man to implement the divine plan underlying his existence. It is the ray of adaptability that makes it possible to accept the concrete circumstances of life and to find ones very own path of self-initiation in the midst of them. The spiritual being desires to be reflected and realised in the material sphere of life. This happens in the higher thinking of the awakened soul. The “rediscovered son”, the “rediscovered daughter” makes it possible for God to think within him/her. This is how impressions of omnipresence come about.
Buddha said in his last sermon: “Be a lamp unto yourself. Hold on to the truth in your own light. Do not seek refuge in anyone but yourself.“ 
The first three rays form the vibratory foundation for the new birth, and through them man can “build up” himself anew as to the soul.
The fourth ray
The fourth ray is called “Creative Harmony” or simply “Harmony”. This does not mean the harmony we strive for in our daily existence with all its joys and sorrows. The aim of the fourth ray is rather to unite the soul with the form, with the earthly personality. When the first three rays are granted entrance, new soul forces work within us. They are cosmic forces which desire to make themselves our new soul. It is incumbent upon us, in cooperation with them, to create the conditions for them to anchor themselves in earthly life.
This can lead to great inner tensions. For in countless incarnations our life system has allowed qualities, compulsions and much more to develop within it, which now need to be transformed. Through its astral fire power, the fourth ray leads into a purification process, into a daily practice of self-purification, into a conscious “die and become”. Space must be given to the new, to the forces of eternity.
The fifth ray
The fifth ray is the personality ray of the human being. It gives rise to his material form and his individual consciousness. This ray, we are told, calls forth the ability to think, to reason, to research, to recognise, to decide. It enables self-awareness and is also called the “Revealer of the Truth”. Those who submit themselves to the effectiveness of the seven rays are faced with the task of aligning their thinking and consciousness with the higher triangle of the first three rays, in order to recognise the divine intentions at work in evolution.
It is through the fifth ray that the mental development of man arises. The very vocation of thought is to listen to what desires to reveal itself as forces and energies from the All-Revelation. The connection with the fifth ray neutralises the unconscious and manipulated thinking. Under its influence, consciousness is directed towards the numinous, it opens itself to the thought world of God in order to unravel it.
For this to succeed, close interaction between the fourth and sixth ray is necessary.
The sixth ray
The sixth ray is that of Devotion. The requirement of the fourth ray to move through conflict to harmony can only be crowned with success through unwavering devotion. Of all the rays, the sixth ray has been most atmospherically effective in recent centuries. It can be said that the whole of humanity was or still is gripped by it. Devotion to goals, of whatever kind, was and is inherent in man.
Idealism also goes hand in hand with this. Devotion and idealism have left their mark on human civilisation down to the smallest shades. All peoples, all groups have been and continue to be characterised by certain more or less cultivated ideals.
This ray can also lead to religious fanaticism and likewise to a state of mind that is entirely directed towards life in matter and moves further and further away from the divine, as we can observe today. In all this, the sixth ray drives development forward and leads to necessary experiences. In many ways it causes greater or smaller dramatic failures. The subsequent reflection, disillusionment and inner maturation can create space within and allow impressions of the liberating path to shine through.
Then the actual goal of the sixth ray unfolds, which desires to lead spiritual aspiration through all resistance towards success. By consciously linking the ordinary (“horizontal”) vibrations of existence with the spiritual (“vertical”) vibrations of the Spirit, the awakened soul erects a cross of energy. On it, man can sacrifice his normal striving, which is directed towards the elevation of the ego. He no longer projects his ideals, views and ideas outwards, does not cause more suffering, pain or difficulties to others, but applies the divine spiritual vibrations and requirements to himself.
In this way it becomes possible for the Spirit to be effective in this world through individuals and groups. The sixth ray urges one, in steadfast devotion, to give priority to soul development over personal sensitivities and problems.
The Christ expresses this by saying: Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it (Matthew 16, 25).
In the book The Alchemical Wedding of Christian Rosycross it is described how Christian Rosycross was pulled up from the shaft with the sixth rope.
The seventh ray
The seventh ray brings about the complete regeneration of the natural being, transfiguration, as it is called in the language of the Rosicrucians. If through the sixth ray the Spirit was experienced above all in its omnipresence, through the seventh ray it shows itself as the Holy Spirit. This ray is the ray of Completion.
The penetration of its light, which primarily grips the subconscious, generates an intense force that vibrates through the entire microcosmic system. The person is completely renewed, he accomplishes the rebirth “out of Water and Spirit”.
The Spirit Force now also works “from below” and fills the consciousness of the aspiring person. More and more contents of the subconscious are included in the process of transformation. “Lead turns into gold” said the alchemists. The personality now lives out of the suggestions of the cosmic consciousness inherent in it; it is still “in the world” but no longer “of the world” in soul terms. A continuous connection from the divine to the natural has been formed, a new world order is established in man. He can now truly work for the good of all.
The hermetic axiom “As above so below” is realised in him.
In our days the seventh ray intensifies its effectiveness. It accomplishes what has been striven for in devotion. Its increasing power accelerates all developments so that their results come to light. They are bitter – or joyful
 Geoffrey A. Barborka, The Divine Plan, A Commentary to „The Secret Doctrine“ by H.P. Blavatsky, Chapter 6, first part
 Alice A. Bailey, A Treatise on the Seven Rays
 In: Jan van Rijckenborgh, The Alchemical Wedding of Christian Rosycross