At the heart of these activities are the weekly "lesson sets." Dr. Marc Edmund Jones, the founder of the Sabian Assembly, was both erudite and prolific. He wrote practical commentaries on the major works of the ancient philosophers, on the Old and New Testament and on various aspects of psychology. These are typically in the format of twenty-six chapters of three-pages each. Members receive one "Bible" and one "Philosophy" lesson each week (these words are in quotes because there are a variety of topics under these designations). He also wrote approximately 1200 weekly messages to the Sabian students called "Blue Letters" because they are issued on blue paper. We read these privately, then meet once a week with our local group to discuss our insights on the current lessons. There are enough of these lesson sets to last twenty years before they repeat.
These weekly study meetings begin with a brief healing ritual in which we remember the needs of those who ask to be held in consciousness. Although brief, the healing ritual is at the heart of Sabian work. It puts us in quiet touch with the needs of self and provides a silent ministry of service to others. These weekly, round-robin meetings last about two hours and end with refreshments.
Once a month we meet at the time of the full moon to join in consciousness with others all over the globe who dedicate this time to the ideals of world service. The meeting lasts about one-half hour and leaves an ever fresh and lasting impression on those who attend.
From a financial perspective, the Sabian Assembly is a very low overhead group. What we do to maintain the ongoing of our group is done on a voluntary basis (like editing and mailing the weekly lessons).
The Assembly has two yearly gatherings: once in the winter and once in the summer. The winter conference is the smaller of the two and has been held, for the last 40 years at the home of one of the members. It takes place over a weekend and is "engineered" on the spot. People come with different topics and volunteer to be put on the day's program.
The summer conference is held in various US cities. Members from all over the world attend. The presentations are more formal than those at the winter conference. There are a variety of activities including "art and talent night." Getting together with old friends is an enjoyable part of the gathering.
Members of the Sabian Assembly are encouraged to develop their own unique talents and skills through whatever means and in whatever areas they choose.
Arts and Crafts
Some of our members are professional artists, musicians, and writers. Many others express themselves creatively in hobbies such as woodcarving, watercolor painting, photography and quilting. Many of the members bring their "creations" to the annual summer conference and share them on Art and Talent night.
About half of the Sabian members have an interest in astrology. Some are practicing professional astrologers while others use Sabian Astrology™ as a self-help tool. New members can choose to join the Sabian Assembly under the astrological classification and receive special astrology lesson sets.
All of the members have the opportunity to work with the philosophical lesson sets on a weekly basis. Special philosophical lesson sets, typescripts, books and other materials are also available for study. Of special note, are the materials incorporating the works of the medieval philosopher ibn Gabirol. Dr. Jones was especially influenced by the cabalistic structuring of Gabirol's major work, The Fountain of Life. From this work, Jones developed a tool he called the philosophical "Magic Square." The Magic Square patterns are the focus of Dr. Jones' last book, Patterns of Consciousness: The Ibn Gabirol Magic Squares, which was published posthumously in 2010.
The Sabian Assembly is a not a religious organization. It has no affiliation with any particular belief system. Religious affiliation is encouraged but as an entirely private matter. Some members are devoutly religious, some have no formal religious affiliation and a few are skeptics or agnostic. The Christian Bible is studied, as part of the lesson sets, but the approach to these is always from an ethical and moral viewpoint as these have been inculcated into western culture.
Many of our members study and work with the Sabian Symbols, and they are very popular with the world at large. While many of our members use the Sabian symbols in their astrological work, others use them more creatively in photography, art, with the I-Ching and in other ways. A Sabian Symbols Chapter is available for those who want to share their individual experiences working with the Sabian symbols, or they can choose to work together with others on special Sabian symbol projects.
There is a strong emphasis in the Assembly on refining the intuitive side of our nature. The study of the Tarot is one of the ways to do this. Some students work with the traditional tarot system. Others use the Sabian Tarot. This is a method developed by Dr. Jones, utilizing an ordinary deck of playing cards. Choosing one or the other system to work with is a matter of personal preference and temperament. The goal is the same — to expand and increase awareness, raise our level of consciousness and sharpen our intuitive faculties.
Another Sabian Assembly student activity is the Interchange Chapter. Periodic correspondence is sent to others in the Interchange Chapter sharing what is known as "The Screen of Prophecy." This is a unique Sabian, in-depth, consciousness-expansion tool whereby each participant in the group sums up current events, lesson teachings and personal life experience into a central theme, as this theme seems to be working in his or her current personal life, and shares it with the others in the group. This "discipline" serves to bring the seemingly unconnected kaleidoscope of life circumstances to meaningful pertinence in our everyday lives.
Dr. Jones said many times that his goal was not to teach people what to think, but how to think. There are no "thou must believe" injunctions in the Sabian Assembly. People who join our high adventure are encouraged to think for themselves and, just as importantly, to make a contribution to their fellows using whatever skills may be theirs. "Respect for personality" and "MYOB" (mind your own business) are fundamental principles in the Sabian Assembly.