The next and third step on the Advent path takes us into the animating force, the forces of movement. We see this movement in the starry sky, in the weather, and on the earth, we see it in the animal kingdom. In us, we find it in our soul in the movement of our feeling, thinking, and our will, all directing our inner and outer behaviour. Are these three soul activities the three wise men making their journey to the birth? And do they travel together or do they wander off alone?
The three kings have different gifts but they travel together in harmonious interaction and perfect balance. This speaks to us of the work we must do in our own soul. As we begin to experience the highest in ourselves, our spirit, it is then that our animal-like instincts play up. Animals do not like to be disturbed from their instinctive patterns of life. To counteract instinctive behaviours we need presence of mind.
With presence of mind, we personally and individually distinguish between right and wrong, truth and lies. The awareness that comes with presence of mind reveals to us that the basis of our instinctive behaviour is misunderstanding and misinformation. Let’s call this what is really is: lies!
“For all lies spring ultimately from a subconscious fear, while the utterance of the smallest truth demands a significant degree of courage.” Sergei Prokofieff, The Cycle of the Year p63
The urgent task for us is to have the courage to allow our feeling, thinking, and will to separate, to stop interacting instinctively, and then with full awareness to combine them according to the situation. While they operate instinctively, the human-animal nature is dominant, when they begin to function individually, they become tools of awareness as the highest in us becomes active. This comes with a warning: allowing the three soul activities to work individually brings instability, at worst affecting our mental health. This is why it is so important to bring them together consciously.
When we do this with success we will know the truth and we will never argue with our fellow traveller. Like the Three Kings, we patiently and lovingly travel together, respecting the work each one must do – which, in turn, gives them the space to do it. Argument is a fracturing process, directed by selfishness and the instinctive lower ego. The one who knows the truth knows to apply it to self not others.
At the heart of this activity, it is helpful to know that it is the Archangel Michael’s sword that separates our lower ego from our higher self; and in this way giving us the opportunity to unite feeling, thinking and will, in freedom. The gifts of the Three Kings remind us of this. The child in the manger is there to support and en-courage us, which is why we carry our gifts to him.