This post starts to describe the characteristics of Bailey’s Group Three, which I have placed on the 6th subplane of the Emotional Plane and given the color of Red. Group Three in Bailey’s model and is transitioning from “Lemurian to Atlantean consciousness, where the focus is increasingly on becoming tribal for the sake of exploiting resources to get initial desires met.  


Now we will focus on Bailey’s Group Three. As we do so things will become a lot more involved especially as we compare Bailey’s model to other models that exist that will help us better understand what Group Three is about. To let you know Bailey makes the claim that Group Three is the third largest group in regards to how many members of the human family belong here (Esoteric Psychology, Vol II, p 204 —205). That means much of the human family is still dealing with the developmental issues this group represents. So what do people in Group Three tend to be like? In general the main development themes could be described as follows:

Main Developmental Themes

  1. Shifting Beyond Survival Needs
  2. Simplified Emotions
  3. Superficial Desire Nature
  4. Struggle Between Dependence vs Independence
  5. Hero Worship
  6. Tribal Identity
  7. Culture of Abuse
  8. Daring & Possibly Lawless
  9. Courage and Risk of Exploitation
  10. Freedom or Free to Be Dumb?

To let you know, Bailey herself does not emphasize all the above points. Some she does. Some she implies and infers. Some she leaves out, but when you correlate other models to hers, you can see how these ten characteristics could be found in her model as well. Let’s take a look at them in order the now.

Shifting Beyond Survival Needs

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In looking at Bailey’s Group One and Group Two we saw how she claimed both groups had what she calls Lemurian consciousness. Lemurian consciousness is  where the everyday level of consciousness, or focus of thought, is focused on mastering the tasks of going through the process of individualization, coordination of the physical body, and getting the basic survival needs for food, clothing, and shelter met. Lemurian consciousness is also primarily instinctual with an additional focus on sexuality that is approached in an indiscriminate way. As we move into Group Three, Bailey claims that they also have Lemurian consciousness, though I personally believe based upon how Bailey talks about Group Three, that we could argue they are making a shift into what Bailey also calls Atlantean consciousness (which should not be confused with the Atlantean race, a group of people who some believe lived a very long time ago and were made extinct due to a world wide flood).

Regarding the shift from Lemurian to Atlantean consciousness Bailey says, “When this shift, in course of time, has been successfully achieved, then the consciousness is no longer entirely identified with the physical vehicle, but it becomes centered in the astral-emotional body. Then the focus of the soul’s attention, working through the slowly evolving man, is in the world of desire, and the soul become’s identified with another response apparatus, the desire or astral body. His consciousness then becomes the ‘Atlantean consciousness.’ His desires are no longer so vague and inchoate; they have hitherto [at the stage of Lemurian consciousness] been concerned with the basic urges or appetites,—first, his urge to self-preservation; then to self-perpetuation through the urge to reproduce; and next, to economic satisfaction” (FIND REFERENCE). But now, during the shift from Lemurian to Atlantean consciousness these desires are freed up to focus on more than these basic needs, which we will see in this chapter.

Atlantean consciousness as defined by Bailey, is primarily astral in nature. The word astral refers to their emotional nature, indicating that even when they do think, emotional reactions color their thoughts and resulting behaviors. That is why they are considered kāma-manasic. The word kāma means desire. The word manansic means mind. Atlanteans are full of desire-mind, meaning their minds are utilized primarily to help them fulfill their desires, which are connected to money/security, pleasure/sex, and power. Bailey states that when the shift to Atlantean consciousness took place, “Desire became something more than simply a response to animal physical urges and to the primitive instincts, but was directed to objects and objectives extraneous to the body, towards material possessions and towards that which (when seen and coveted) could be appropriated.  Just as the major sins of Lemurian times (if they could be called sins in any true sense, because of the low intelligence of the race) were through the misuse of sex, so the major sin of the Atlantean people was theft—widespread and general.  The seeds of aggression and of personal acquisitiveness began to show themselves” (Esoteric Healing, p. 231).

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Again with Lemurian consciousness the everyday consciousness was focused primarily on physical survival and procreation. As that consciousness becomes Atlantean consciousness, we have learned how to survive in the physical world and have plenty of opportunities to satisfy sexual desires and to procreate so that we can reproduce our species. We also start to gain some confidence that our children will survive allowing us to carry our species forward. For the first time then our everyday focus can shift beyond just trying to survive within the physical world (which Groups One and Two tend to do). Now we no longer just exist within “Mother Nature,” we are able to exploit her to  satisfy our desires. At Group Three our capacity to do this is tentative and many insecurities still exist. Only as Atlantean consciousness becomes more dominant in Groups Four, Five, and especially Group Six will the desire nature becomes increasingly rampant to the point where Atlanteans “steal” from not only others, but from the environment as a whole, more than they rightfully need and could possibly use.

As for sex? During the shift from Lemurian consciousness to Atlantean consciousness that also changes. Lemurian consciousness sex is primarily at an animal level. Male animals are pretty much always ready and looking for sex. Female animals are ready mainly when they are in “heat.” Sex is mainly just about procreation and physical relief. There is not a lot of emotional connection there. With Atlantean consciousness sex starts to get attached to emotion and desire. On the positive side, this allows for an increase in sexual intimacy. On the negative side, sex becomes increasingly attached to money, pleasure and power. Sex is even stolen from others through acts of rape, molestation and manipulation. As we move into Groups Three, Four, Five and Six we will see not only in regards to sex, but in regards to everything, how this focus on money/security, pleasure/sex, and power (and the attempt to master these) continues to increase.

Simplified Emotions

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As our basic needs are met allowing our focus to shift towards meeting other desires, various emotions emerge in association with whether those desires get met or not.  At this stage where Group Three is shifting from Lemurian to Atlantean consciousness there is not a lot of skill in regards to getting these desires met. I believe this lack of skill is due to an over-simplified understanding of emotions and how to express them making our emotional nature overly primitive and reactive. Anger, sorrow, confusion, fear, happiness are all impulsively and immediately expressed usually in a heighten ways. When a desire is frustrated it often moves into an explosion of anger. If we are anxious it too rapidly becomes an irrational and unreasonable fear. If we feel attracted to someone that desire or lust to be with them is seized upon inappropriately. The bottom line is we simply don’t have the mental capacity to analyze our emotions and work with them in an effective way.  As our desires increase we feel more intensely, but lack the skill for getting our desires met skillfully by employing insight, reason, empathy, negotiation, or emotional restraint where needed.

This lack of skill in regards to our emotions is why I believe we see exaggerated character types emerge at this stage. The person who lacks skill in managing anger becomes the “bully.” The person who is afraid becomes the “wimp” or “scared-y cat.” The person who can’t manage sexual energy becomes the “predator,” “victim,” or “vamp.” the person who has difficulty sorting through various ideas and becomes confused is a “space cadet.” Someone who can handle emotional states better may be the “uptight prude” or “brainiac.” These caricatures are seen in ancient mythology and modern day movies and are used as stereotypes to help a mind that lacks nuance quickly label people so that one gets a basic understanding of how to relate to others. Sadly, this lack of nuance means these stereotypes are frequently off the mark. Still, for those in Group Three where intelligence in limited and the emotional nature is frequently still not very well controlled, caricatures and stereotypes help them cope for better or worse.

In regards to Bailey’s system, since her books are targeting primarily what she would refer to as Groups Seven and Eight, there is little attention given to Group Three’s emotional difficulties. A student of Bailey’s, Roberto Assagioli, does address the issues Group Three faces to some degree in his Psychosynthesis sub-personality work. Assagioli’s sub-personality types (and even to a great degree Carl Jung’s mythological types), become methods  that enable us to identify and work with these caricatures more skillfully by training them to grow and develop into more mature ways of expressing their various emotions and compulsions so that their desires mature and have a greater chance of being fulfilled in a healthy way.

Shallow Wish-Life 

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One of the main things mentioned about Group Three directly by Bailey is that they possess a “shallow wish life.” Bailey says those in Group Three are “child souls, and though the mental equipment is there and some of them can be trained to use it, the preponderance of the life emphasis is entirely upon physical activity as it is motivated by the desire for satisfaction of some kind, and by a shallow ‘wish-life’ or desire nature, almost entirely oriented towards the physical life” (Esoteric Psychology, Vol II, p 204 —205).

Michael Robbins, who comments extensively on Bailey’s teachings, adds in his Egoic Lotus Webinar Commentaries 3 Series starting at around 50:00, that the desires of those connected to Group Three are thought to be frequently “running wild and out of control.” Robbins also says that though those in this group are more emotionally alive, their everyday lives are still mostly involved in activities connected to the physical world. Finally, Robbins emphasizes that those in this group tend to have a shallow wish-life because they lack the mental discernment to really understand what is of value. Robbins gives an example of their being confronted with a diamond and a shiny piece of glass and taking the glass simply because it seems more shiny. In short, it appears they have little depth (emotional or otherwise). Though they finally have more mind development than Groups One and Two, Robbins says their minds still tend to be very unawake and when used are employed primarily to satisfy their selfish, superficial, and mostly physical desires (especially for money and sex).

Summarizing where we are at so far with Group Three I would like to include the following video clip from a very popular American movie known as The Christmas Story. This movie is relevant to helping us understand Group Three at many levels. First, it features a main character who is a boy at the developmental stage when most human beings start to move more fully into Group Three around each eight or nine years of age. The movie shows a family that clearly is focused on fulfillment of desires as the main “Christmas story” theme. The young boy wants a be-be gun in part so that he can feel empowered to stop the bully who keeps beating him up on the way to school, but also to feel more like a man in the way his television cowboy hero is. The boy’s father runs into trouble with his wife when he spends a good sum of money on a lamp shaped like a woman’s leg. Both the children and the adults are rather immature in their expression of emotions, but they are learning to bond regardless (which makes them like Group Four in many ways as well as Group Three). The movie resolves in a positive way with the boy defeating the bully, winning his father’s approval, getting his gun, and feeling like he can now identify more with his super-hero, all classic Group Three themes. The movie is also endearing and as a heart-felt reminder of the struggles that go on when we are young (or are developmentally still at the Group Three stage), when we are trying to master our emotions, fit in with others, and learn what is, or is not, worth desiring in the end.

GROUP THREE THEMES: Emotional and sexual immaturity. Being bullied. Name calling. Impulsive acting out. Wanting independence from parents, but then getting overly dependent on others. Heroic acts.

Struggle Between Dependence vs Independence

As we come to this section on what Group Three can be like I need to stress that none of the information in the section that I am writing about on dependence vs independence comes from Bailey’s writings. Rather, they come from the modern field of Developmental Psychology. I am writing this section because I feel very strongly that this developmental challenge of dependence vs independence belongs to Group Three, which starts to emerge (or recapitulates) in human beings around age 8 to 9 according to what most developmental psychologists say.  Starting at age 8 or 9 children pull away more from the rules and norms their parents have set for them as they venture out into a larger social world beyond their family. As they do so they are torn between wanting to rebel against the norms and rules their family has set for them, while at the same time wanting to still play by the rules of their family to feel safe and secure.

Children at this age also want to take on more responsibilities that come with increased independence, while still being able to have plenty of free time to play, have fun and be care free. And, they want to think for themselves, while also finding ways to earn the respect of others, meaning that they as they try to break free from the influence of their immediate families, they often end up as part of another group in the way of a club, clan, group or tribe to ensure they still have some protection as they attempt to get their desires met in what they still often perceive as a dangerous world. In the coming decade, up to about age eighteen and at times even well beyond, this push pull between wanting to be independent and yet dependent on some group continues. Until, as we shall see, when those in Group Three merge into Group Four, they have pretty much selected the club, clan, group or tribe they will belong to in the larger world that they increasingly more willingly conform to.

As a reminder, Bailey theorizes that humans who are at the Group Three level of consciousness are the third largest group on our planet. That means they don’t just grow out of this stage at age eighteen like some developmental psychologists assert. Rather Bailey would claim that they remain at this Group Three level of consciousness throughout their adult years. When we compare Bailey’s ideas to that of Integral theorists we will see that Integral makes a similar claim about their “Red” level of consciousness, which is very equivalent to Bailey’s Group Three. Of course Bailey made her claims some sixty to seventy years before Integral theorists did. And, I have even been able to find evidence that Bailey’s ideas may have influenced directly some of the early Integral theorists such as Jean Gebser (see my Evolution of Spiritual Psychology video). Finally, before I close off this section on the pull between dependence vs independence I wanted to share a few video clips that can help you see more clearly some more of the struggles that those who are part of Group Three go through by sharing with you a few clips from the movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid. This movie is about the struggle Greg has as he seeks to launch away from his family out into the larger world. As Greg attempts to do so his older brother Roderick consistently bullies, misguides, and humiliates him in an attempt to prove to Greg that he is not really “ready to launch.” Greg has to endure numerous failures, but eventually he achieves some measure of success when he finds others who are just as “wimpy” as he is.

GROUP THREE THEMES: Fitting in socially. Being bullied. Insecurity. Name calling. Pull between independence from parents, but dependent on others. Emotionally and sexually immature. Dominance through name calling. Heroic efforts. Impulsive acting out.

GROUP THREE THEMES: Fitting in socially. Being bullied. Insecurity. Name calling. Pull between independence from parents, but dependent on others. Emotionally and sexually immature. Dominance through name calling. Impulsive acting out.

Hero Worship

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Another aspect I believe fits in with Group Three that Bailey does not specifically mention that I believe belongs here has to do with the emergence of hero worship. With Group Two I believe we see these heroes first emerge as gods and goddesses “out there” who were really personifications of nature (like Neptune who ruled over the ocean for example). Now, in Group Three we see human beings themselves become heroes and “sheroes.” These human beings typically rose into powerful positions through acts of courage, strength, greater cunning, or even through bullying behaviors. All of this helps those in Group Three to know who to look to to aid them in their survival. Over time a pecking order begins to establish itself until the head of a small group becomes the head of a clan or tribe. Much later in Groups Four, Five and Six as the power of these heroes and sheroes grows, these heroes will become part of established institutions where they are elevated to becoming Kings, Queens, Pharaohs, Emperors, Caesars, Presidents, Chiefs, and even heads of organized crime like the mafia.

Over time we also see in the pecking order how these human leaders help to maintain their power through claims of having been chosen to be representatives of the gods and goddesses here on Earth. Further claims are even made that those at the top of the pecking order are part divine themselves because they are now seen to have Gods or Goddesses as their parents. Though Group Three members are not able to each this kind of god-like status themselves, they tend to acquiesce to those who do. Sadly, if Group Three members are not careful, those they give power to may not be very good leaders over them. Then, as Michael Robbins in his Egoic Lotus Webinar Commentaries 3 Series starting at around 50:00 minutes states, Group Three members do indeed trade a diamond (their freedom) for a shiny piece of glass. Why do Group Three members do this? Because they lack the intelligence to  comprehend who a real heroes may be beyond one who simply has physical might and power.  The incredible fascination with Marvel and DC Comic superheroes reflects this even in our times today. Witness how easily these “action films” become blockbuster movies.

GROUP THREE THEMES: Establishing a pecking order of dominance. Fitting in socially. Being bullied. Insecurity. Name calling. Pull between independence from parents, but dependent on others. Emotionally and sexually immature. Heroic efforts. Impulsive acting out.

GROUP THREE THEMES: Larger than life heroes and sheroes. Heroic efforts primarily by using physical strength and weapons. Forming tribal groups. Simplified thinking creating easy to identify “good and evil” characters.

Continue to Part Two

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