Stones of the Seven Rays: The Science of the Seven Facets of the Soul, by Michel Coquet
Destiny Books, 978-1594774331, 352 pp., 2012
Stones of the Seven Rays contains two major parts: “The Esoteric Tradition of Stones,” and “Stones of the Seven Rays.” The latter catalogues the properties of the primary stones for each Ray. Within each section, substitute stones are listed (e.g., rock crystal for diamond), which expands the usefulness of the material.
This edition is very nicely produced. It is printed on extra-gloss paper, and is full of excellent colour photos, mostly by the author. It gives a structured overview of gemstone lore associated with the doctrine of the seven rays.
The model of the seven rays comes from Theosophy. The best source for anyone who wants more detail on the Rays and their natures would be Alice Bailey’s Esoteric Psychology, Vol. 1: A Treatise on the Seven Rays. The rays are considered to be primary energies and intelligences emanating from the Source, as the archetype of all of our septenary enumerations (planets, heavens, days of the week, and so on), and as forces that condition the course of evolution by cycling in and out of prominence in a great cycle reminiscent of the yugas of Indian cosmology.
The book is aimed at practitioners of new age spirituality, healing, and at students of Theosophy. The author tries to include the Western Esoteric Tradition, but other than the general significance of the heptad in the Pythagorean system and the lore that has descended from that, it does not fit very well.
For readers who are comfortable with Eastern and Theosophical sources, this book should be a valuable resource. Others will still find gems of wisdom and practical suggestions here and there throughout. To give one example, in the section on the Holy Grail,1 Coquet ends with an analogy between the Grail and the Buddha’s alms bowl. In Zen lore, it is said that the robe and bowl were passed down through the first six generations from Gautama through the semi-legendary Master who brought the tradition to China. Bodhidharma did not pass on the bowl to his successor. I had read this before, but an obvious meaning leapt out this time: Buddha’s monks in India lived by begging, and the culture there supported that. In China, it was necessary for the monks to settle down and work the land instead of begging.
The author bills this book as a revelation of ancient lore passed down in secret through generations. I know that sort of thing was common in grimoires and other books of lore in the past, but we can surely dispense with it now. There are also the occasional forays into scientific explanation, which as usual, fail the scientific credibility test.2
If this is revealed ancient lore, then surely the astrological associations would be those of the seven visible planets, as in Vedic and Western Traditional astrology? Apparently not to Coquet’s mind – the outer planets have been wedged in regardless. At least we were spared asteroids.
If you like the Eastern and Theosophical sources, or you want to have every source on gemstone lore you can get your hands on, then this is a solid buy. I still want someone to write the equivalent book from a Hermetic and Renaissance magick viewpoint.Footnotes:
- p. 156-159 [↩]
- See p. 100 for two examples: the enumeration of crystal classes as sympathetic to the Rays is facile (but has anyone looked at lattice systems in that way? That would be more in keeping with the Pythagorean-Platonic current); and a quotation claiming that science has no explanation for why there are seven periods in the periodic table of the elements. I am sure that would surprise Bohr and Schrödinger! [↩]