Thursday, 22 June 2017

Through the Gates of Gold, Chapter 1, part 4

Here the question  is considered how one is to know what the Gates of Gold are, or is it possible to gain a conception of them? And a certain number of keys are given. First of all by concentration focused on any one idea, knowledge will be gained. Second, by seeking, one can come closer to them. And third, the answer lies within.
“If, therefore, instead of accepting the unknown as unknowable, men were with one accord to turn their thoughts towards it, those Golden Gates would not remain so inexorably shut. It does but need a strong hand to push them open. The courage to enter them is the courage to search the recesses of one’s own nature without fear and without shame. In the fine part, the essence, the flavor of the man, is found the key which unlocks those great Gates. And when they open, what is it that is found? “
It is possible to get an idea by scanning accounts of written testimonies. These can help to awaken one’s intuition and develop the conviction one needs to make the efforts.
“What is to be found within the words of those books is to be found in each one of us; and it is impossible to find in literature or through any channel of thought that which does not exist in the man who studies. This is of course an evident fact known to all real students. But it has to be especially remembered in reference to this profound and obscure subject, as men so readily believe that nothing can exist for others where they themselves find emptiness.
Hidden behind the thin yet seemingly impassable veil which hides it from us as it hid all science, all art, all powers of man till he had the courage to tear away the screen. That courage comes only of conviction. When once man believes that the thing exists which he desires, he will obtain it at any cost. The difficulty in this case lies in man’s incredulity. It requires a great tide of thought and attention to set in towards the unknown region of man’s nature in order that its gates may be unlocked and its glorious vistas explored.”
Some relevant passages from Light on the Path:
Close to the central heart of life, on any plane, there is knowledge, there order reigns completely; and chaos makes dim and confused the outer margin of the circle. In fact, life in every form bears a more or less strong resemblance to a philosophic school. There are always the devotees of knowledge who forget their own lives in their pursuit of it; there are always the flippant crowd who come and go — of such, Epictetus said that it was as easy to teach them philosophy as to eat custard with a fork.
He serves humanity and identifies himself with the whole world; he is ready to make vicarious sacrifice for it at any moment — by living not by dying for it. Why should he not die for it? Because he is part of the great whole, and one of the most valuable parts of it. Because he lives under laws of order which he does not desire to break. His life is not his own, but that of the forces which work behind him.
He is the flower of humanity, the bloom which contains the divine seed. He is, in his own person, a treasure of the universal nature, which is guarded and made safe in order that the fruition shall be perfected. It is only at definite periods of the world's history that he is allowed to go among the herd of men as their redeemer. But for those who have the power to separate themselves from this herd he is always at hand. And for those who are strong enough to conquer the vices of the personal human nature, as set forth in these four rules, he is consciously at hand, easily recognized, ready to answer.  (Comment 4)

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Astrology: Summer Solstice June 21 2017 12:24 pm

Burning Down the House
As the Sun passes from Gemini to Cancer at the Summer Solstice, it is joined in a strong conjunction from Mercury, ruler of Gemini, also in conjunction with the Mid Heaven – this is good for new business ventures, sharpness of mind but also self-absorption and restless tension. Moreover, it makes for very strong-wills and brings much attention from authority, for better or worse, and public recognition from work, reputations can thrive or fall.
Sun/Mercury - Chiron - Mercury T-Square
However this high profile, upbeat energy gets a serious reality check from Saturn, which brings a sense of alienation and inhibition and possible negativity, gloominess and hypercriticism. Indeed, Chiron enters the scenario and will form a Sun – Saturn – Chiron T-Square making for a very intense focus on personal identity, self-esteem, repressed feelings and childhood wounds as well as difficulty getting a message across.
A very sensitive period for ego-based issues as weaknesses can be brought to the fore that may require attention. The Sun-Uranus Trine should help alleviate things with a sense of open-mindedness, self-awareness and intellectual creativity. Surprise sudden events can occur. And the long-standing Saturn-Uranus Trine should also help stabilize the new changes.
Mars-Jupiter-Pluto T-Square
If the previous T-Square represented significant personal challenge, there is also the strong Mars-Jupiter-Pluto T-Square, which is a continuation of the Spring Uranus-Jupiter-Pluto T-Square, signifying the ongoing call for radical socio-political change. Now the Jupiter-Uranus opposition has temporarily faded, replaced by a series of volatile Mars-Saturn and Mars-Pluto Oppositions and an upcoming Mars-Uranus Square. The effects of these can be noticed so far with high-profile terrorists attacks in the UK and political intrigues and turnarounds in the UK and the US. Except for the intense Pluto-Uranus Square, these volatile aspects will eventually fade by the end of October, when we will finally see some smoother sailing.
So we have a Mars-Pluto opposition which brings severe power struggles, authoritarianism and fierce oppositions. The Mars-Jupiter Square brings tendencies over-extending oneself, ego inflation and over-optimism. The Jupiter-Pluto Square can bring conflict with power, obsession and fanaticism. The Moon-Pluto Trine can soften some of the sting of Pluto here. This powerful T-Square can represent a very ambitious, productive energy for change and restructuring, with the power to overcome obstacles.
Venus-Mars-Neptune &  Venus – Neptune – Pluto Minor Grand Trines
Fortunately, there are a couple of interesting Minor Grand Trines that help channel the volatile energies in a peaceful manner. The Venus-Mars-Neptune Trine brings a sense of altruism, charity, strong friendship and creative intellectual imagination to the mix.
There is also a Venus – Neptune – Pluto Minor Grand Trine symmetrically overlapping the other one, making a kind of butterfly formation of Trines and Sextiles. This brings depth to relationships, a sense of renewal  and mind-expanding introspection. These two aspects have a kind of beneficial hippy-trippy “Make love not war” vibe and Venus is kicking up quite a storm or sensual and romantic passions. Additionally, the Venus/ Neptune sextile forms a Yod with Jupiter, placing Jupiter at the apex of a very complex , symmetrical figure composed of a T-Square, Minor Grand Trine and a Yod (call it a Hyper-Yod, to coin a term, or maybe an X-Wing Fighter).
It is hard to say if there is a larger significance, but I think it shows the pivotal role of Jupiter (in Libra) this year and the important Jupiter-Uranus Opposition. The key to solving the Jupiter tendency for over-indulgence and deluded optimism would be the Venus/Neptune Sextile acute sensitivity to the needs and feeling of loved ones and the willingness to put them before our own. The Mars/Neptune (Service, Charity) and Venus/Pluto (Profound relationship insights) Trines can possibly figure as effective keys in resolving this complex formation. This chart has some very difficult Pluto and Saturn aspects, but it also has some well-placed complementary easy aspects that gives it a very interesting complexity for dynamic evolution.

Robert Hand, Planets in Transit

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Theosophy Basics: The Doctrine of Cycles, part 2

More from Blavatsky's Isis Unveiled vol. 1, chap. 1:
Sacred Mathematics are key in understanding the evolutionary process, which has an involutionary phase from spiritual to material; and an evolutionary phase from material to spiritual, a return to the spiritual origin.
The sacred numbers of the universe in their esoteric combination solve the great problem and explain the theory of radiation and the cycle of the emanations. The lower orders before they develop into higher ones must emanate from the higher spiritual ones, and when arrived at the turning-point, be reabsorbed again into the infinite. (8)

Misconstrual of the esoteric concepts of the computation of cycles has lead adventist religious sects and all kinds of misguided apocalyptic prophecy theories.
This method of calculating by the neroses, without allowing any consideration for the secrecy in which the ancient philosophers, who were exclusively of the sacerdotal order, held their knowledge, gave rise to the greatest errors. It led the Jews, as well as some of the Christian Platonists, to maintain that the world would be destroyed at the end of six thousand years. Gale shows how firmly this belief was rooted in the Jews. It has also led modern scientists to discredit entirely the hypothesis of the ancients. It has given rise to the formation of different religious sects, which, like the Adventists of our century, are always living in the expectation of the approaching destruction of the world. (34)

The ancient cycle of the Great Year is a cycle of creation and destruction characterized by a formation period followed by a dissolution phase mark by a cataclysm and a changing of the earth poles.
At the close of each “great year,” called by Aristotle — according to Censorinus — the greatest, and which consists of six sars* our planet is subjected to a thorough physical revolution. The polar and equatorial climates gradually exchange places; the former moving slowly toward the Line, and the tropical zone, with its exuberant vegetation and swarming animal life, replacing the forbidding wastes of the icy poles. This change of climate is necessarily attended by cataclysms, earthquakes, and other cosmical throes.*
As the beds of the ocean are displaced, at the end of every decimillennium and about one neros, a semi-universal deluge like the legendary Noachian flood is brought about. This year was called the Heliacal by the Greeks; but no one outside the sanctuary knew anything certain either as to its duration or particulars. The winter of this year was called the Cataclysm or the Deluge, — the Summer, the Ecpyrosis. (30)

An explanation is given of the traditional Hindu concept of the Four Yugas, a key concept that is closely adopted for theosophical purposes.
The Neroses, the Vrihaspati, or the periods called yugas or kalpas, are life-problems to solve. The Satya-yug and Buddhistic cycles of chronology would make a mathematician stand aghast at the array of ciphers. The Maha-kalpa embraces an untold number of periods far SHAPE back in the antediluvian ages. Their system comprises a kalpa or grand period of 4,320,000,000 years, which they divide into four lesser yugas, running as follows:
1st. — Satya yug — 1,728,000 years.
2d. — Tretya yug — 1,296,000 years.
3d. — Dvapa yug —— 864,000 years.
4th. — Kali yug —— 432,000 years.
Total ————– 4,320,000 years.
which make one divine age or Maha-yug; seventy-one Maha-yugs make 306,720,000 years, to which is added a sandhi (or the time when day and night border on each other, morning and evening twilight), equal to a Satya-yug, 1,728,000, make a manwantara of 308,448,000 years;* fourteen manwantaras make 4,318,272,000 years; to which must be added a sandhi to begin the kalpa, 1,728,000 years, making the kalpa or grand period of 4,320,000,000 of years. As we are now only in the Kali-yug of the twenty-eighth age of the seventh manwantara of 308,448,000 years, we have yet sufficient time before us to wait before we reach even half of the time allotted to the world. (32)

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Theosophy Basics: The Doctrine of Cycles, part 1

The Doctrine of Cycles is an important aspect of the Theosophical world view and was introduced as early as chapter one, volume one of Isis Unveiled. Blavatsky’s theory of cyclical history is one of the more sophisticated ones to emerge in modern times and is beginning to  elicit more serious attention; for a more academic exposition on essentialists concepts of history, the classic work in the field remains Mircea Eliade, The Myth of the Eternal Return – Cosmos and History, 1954
What follows is a brief outline of Isis Unveiled, V. I, Chap. 1:

There is a dual, interactive process of spiritual and material evolution that functions according to cycles.
The revolution of the physical world, according to the ancient doctrine, is attended by a like revolution in the world of intellect — the spiritual evolution of the world proceeding in cycles, like the physical one. (34)

Civilizations rise and fall according to these cycles, with each new phase gradually bringing a new element of progress.
Thus we see in history a regular alternation of ebb and flow in the tide of human progress. The great kingdoms and empires of the world, after reaching the culmination of their greatness, descend again, in accordance with the same law by which they ascended; till, having reached the lowest point, humanity reasserts itself and mounts up once more, the height of its attainment being, by this law of ascending progression by cycles, somewhat higher than the point from which it had before descended. (34)

The ancient concept of the four ages indicates that civilizations go through a dual phase of unconscious inspired productivity followed by a phase of critical analysis.
The division of the history of mankind into Golden, Silver, Copper and Iron Ages, is not a fiction. We see the same thing in the literature of peoples. An age of great inspiration and unconscious productiveness is invariably followed by an age of criticism and consciousness. The one affords material for the analyzing and critical intellect of the other. (34)

Historical evolution is based on archetypal principles which are continually reflected in historical events.
Thus, all those great characters who tower like giants in the history of mankind, like Buddha-Siddartha, and Jesus, in the realm of spiritual, and Alexander the Macedonian and Napoleon the Great, in the realm of physical conquests, were but reflexed images of human types which had existed ten thousand years before, in the preceding decimillennium, reproduced by the mysterious powers controlling the destinies of our world.
There is no prominent character in all the annals of sacred or profane history whose prototype we cannot find in the half-fictitious and half-real traditions of bygone religions and mythologies. As the star, glimmering at an immeasurable distance above our heads, in the boundless immensity of the sky, reflects itself in the smooth waters of a lake, so does the imagery of men of the antediluvian ages reflect itself in the periods we can embrace in an historical retrospect.
“As above, so it is below. That which has been, will return again. As in heaven, so on earth.” (34)

There are many different smaller cycles contained in larger ones, as the diurnal cycle is a miniature reflection of the annual cycle.
As our planet revolves once every year around the sun and at the same time turns once in every twenty-four hours upon its own axis, thus traversing minor circles within a larger one, so is the work of the smaller cyclic periods accomplished and recommenced, within the Great Saros. (34)

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Ravi Shankar – World Peace - 3rd Global Conference on World's Religions after September 11

Ravi Shankar is a humanitarian leader, a spiritual teacher, and an ambassador of peace. He is a spiritual leader and founder of the Art of Living Foundation created in 1981, which aims to relieve individual stress, societal problems, and violence. In 1997, he established a Geneva-based charity, the International Association for Human Values, an NGO that engages in relief work and rural development and aims to foster shared global values. His talk featured a video highlighting his work with Colombian guerillas, prison meditation programs, environmental cleaning and multi-cultural events. The following is a paraphrase of a talk given on September 15, 2016 at the 3rd Global Conference on World's Religions after September 11.
The problem with terrorists are their beliefs that:

  1. that they’re doing the work of god
  2. they’re doing something right – soldiers of god
  3. terrorism is caused by poverty

Countries spend billions in defences, but only 1% in peace education. We need to be calm, get rid of negative emotions. If you can’t be friendly to 500 people in your school, how can we live on a planet of billions? We need to encourage a multi-religious education, to teach a little about all the great religions of the world, so children can grow with an inclusive attitude. The heart and head go together.

There are three main prejudices:  race, gender, social status. Only by getting rid of them can we have a healthy society. We should be together is a spirit of interconnectivity to effect a change in the thought process, we can make a big difference. Five suggestions:

  1. keep balance in mind
  2. accepting people as they are
  3. not be individualistic, but compassionate
  4. not see intention behind others –
  5. love in the present moment
It is good to combine breathing and meditations. Religions want to do good. From time to time, it is good to have an intercultural festival. 3.7 million people participated in world cultural festival a celebration of diversity in 155 countries. Soul is like space, it is everywhere and nowhere – we need to look into god – hope can be kindled.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Through the Gates of Gold, Chapter 1, part 3

Part 3
By looking at history, one can consider the mutability of human existence, the ever-recurring rise and fall of civilisations and see that the problems of pain and decay are perennial. But one can consider what lies beyond these ever-changing appearances:
“Yet there is now and then one brave enough to gaze fixedly on this glittering, and to decipher something of the shape within it. Poets and philosophers, thinkers and teachers, — all those who are the “elder brothers of the race,” — have beheld this sight from time to time, and some among them have recognized in the bewildering glitter the outlines of the Gates of Gold.

Those Gates admit us to the sanctuary of man’s own nature, to the place whence his life-power comes, and where he is priest of the shrine of life. That it is possible to enter here, to pass through those Gates, some one or two have shown us.

Plato, Shakespeare, and a few other strong ones have gone through and spoken to us in veiled language on the near side of the Gates. When the strong man has crossed the threshold he speaks no more to those at the other side. And even the words he utters when he is outside are so full of mystery, so veiled and profound, that only those who follow in his steps can see the light within them.”

Some related passages from Light on the Path:

What then will be the value of the knowledge of its laws acquired by industry and observation? I pray that no reader or critic will imagine that by what I have said I intend to depreciate or disparage acquired knowledge, or the work of scientists. On the contrary, I hold that scientific men are the pioneers of modern thought. The days of literature and of art, when poets and sculptors saw the divine light, and put it into their own great language — these days lie buried in the long past with the ante-Phidian sculptors and the pre-Homeric poets. The mysteries no longer rule the world of thought and beauty; human life is the governing power, not that which lies beyond it. But the scientific workers are progressing, not so much by their own will as by sheer force of circumstances, towards the far line which divides things interpretable from things uninterpretable. Every fresh discovery drives them a step onward. Therefore do I very highly esteem the knowledge obtained by work and experiment. (Comment 2)

He stands always in advance of himself, if such a contradiction can be understood. It is the men who adhere to this position, who believe in their innate power of progress, and that of the whole race, who are the elder brothers, the pioneers. Each man has to accomplish the great leap for himself and without aid; yet it is something of a staff to lean on to know that others have gone on that road. It is possible that they have been lost in the abyss; no matter, they have had the courage to enter it. Why I say that it is possible they have been lost in the abyss is because of this fact, that one who has passed through is unrecognizable until the other and altogether new condition is attained by both. (Comment 2)

This statement, I feel, will appear involved; but in reality it is quite simple. Man, when he has reached his fruition, and civilization is at its height, stands between two fires. Could he but claim his great inheritance, the encumbrance of the mere animal life would fall away from him without difficulty. But he does not do this, and so the races of men flower and then droop and die and decay off the face of the earth, however splendid the bloom may have been. And it is left to the individual to make this great effort; to refuse to be terrified by his greater nature, to refuse to be drawn back by his lesser or more material self. Every individual who accomplishes this is a redeemer of the race. He may not blazon forth his deeds, he may dwell in secret and silence; but it is a fact that he forms a link between man and his divine part; between the known and the unknown; between the stir of the market place and the stillness of the snow-capped Himalayas.(Comment 2)

Friday, 5 May 2017

The Kabbalah and Reincarnation 5/5

William Q. Judge on Gilgul

The Zohar is a work of great weight and authority among the Jews. In II, 199 b, it says that "all souls are subject to revolutions". This is metempsychosis or a'leen b'gilgoola; but it declares that "men do not know the way they have been judged in all time". That is, in their "revolutions" they lose a complete memory of the acts that have led to judgment. This is precisely the Theosophical doctrine. The Kether Malkuth says, "If she, the soul, be pure, then she shall obtain favor . . . but if she hath been defiled, then she shall wander for a time in pain and despair . . . until the days of her purification". If the soul be pure and if she comes at once from God at birth, how could she be defiled? And where is she to wander if not on this or some other world until the days of her purification? The Rabbis always explained it as meaning she wandered down from Paradise through many revolutions or births until purity was regained.

Under the name of "Din Gilgol Neshomes" the doctrine of reincarnation is constantly spoken of in the Talmud. The term means "the judgment of the revolutions of the souls". And Rabbi Manassa, son of Israel, one of the most revered, says in his book Nishmath Hayem: "The belief or the doctrine of the transmigration of souls is a firm and infallible dogma accepted by the whole assemblage of our church with one accord, so that there is none to be found who would dare to deny it . . . Indeed, there is a great number of sages in Israel who hold firm to this doctrine so that they made it a dogma, a fundamental point of our religion. We are therefore in duty bound to obey and to accept this dogma with acclamation . . . as the truth of it has been incontestably demonstrated by the Zohar and all books of the Kabalists."

These demonstrations hold, as do the traditions of the old Jews, that the soul of Adam reincarnated in David, and that on account of the sin of David against Uriah it will have to come again in the expected Messiah. And out of the three letters ADM, being the name of the first man, the Talmudists always made the names Adam, David, and Messiah. Hence this in the Old Testament: "And they will serve Jhvh their God and David their king whom I shall reawaken for them." That is, David reincarnates again for the people. Taking the judgment of God on Adam "for dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return", the Hebrew interpreters said that since Adam had sinned it was necessary for him to reincarnate on earth in order to make good the evil committed in his first existence; so he comes as David, and later is to come as Messiah. The same doctrine was always applied by the Jews to Moses, Seth, and Abel, the latter spelt Habel. Habel was killed by Cain, and then to supply the loss the Lord gave Seth to Adam; he died, and later on Moses is his reincarnation as the guide of the people, and Seth was said by Adam to be the reincarnation of Habel. Cain died and reincarnated as Yethrokorah, who died, the soul waiting till the time when Habel came back as Moses and then incarnated as the Egyptian who was killed by Moses; so in this case Habel comes back as Moses, meets Cain in the person of the Egyptian, and kills the latter. Similarly it was held that Bileam, Laban, and Nabal were reincarnations of the one soul or individuality. And of Job it was said that he was the same person once known as Thara, the father of Abraham; by which they explained the verse of Job (ix, 21 ), "Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my own soul", to mean that he would not recognize himself as Thara.
(Reincarnation in Judaism and the Bible - The Path – February 1894)
see also:
“Qabbalah, the Theos-Sophia of the Jews:”Jewish Theosophists and their Perceptionsof Kabbalah