Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Through the Gates of Gold - Chapter 3 – The Initial Effort - Part 1


The first part deals with the transcendent, universal nature of the spiritual dimension, and the
paradoxical way in which one can encounter it, often when one least expects it:
But that there is no one pathway to it is immediately perceived from the fact that this soul must from its very nature be universal. The Gates of Gold do not admit to any special place; what they do is to open for egress from a special place. Man passes through them when he casts off his limitation. He may burst the shell that holds him in darkness, tear the veil that hides him from the eternal, at any point where it is easiest for him to do so; and most often this point will be where he least expects to find it.
It is observed how religion, philosophy and ascetic practices can lead to narrow-minded, dogmatic attitudes that can ultimately limit one’s progress:
Men go in search of escape with the help of their minds, and lay down arbitrary and limited laws as to how to attain the, to them, unattainable.”


It is hard to express what the nature of the spiritual world is without materializing it in some way; the following, I think succeeds in avoiding this pitfall:
“Spirit is not a gas created by matter, and we cannot create our future by forcibly using one material agent and leaving out the rest. Spirit is the great life on which matter rests, as does the rocky world on the free and fluid ether; whenever we can break our limitations we find ourselves on that marvelous shore where Wordsworth once saw the gleam of the gold. When we enter there all the present must disappear alike, — virtue and vice, thought and sense.”
The importance of having an inner fire that overcomes obstacles is stressed:
“The man who lifts the latch of the Golden Gate must do so with his own strong hand, must be absolutely positive. This we can see by analogy. In everything else in life, in every new step or development, it is necessary for a man to exercise his most dominant will in order to obtain it fully. Indeed in many cases, though he has every advantage and though he use his will to some extent, he will fail utterly of obtaining what he desires from lack of the final and unconquerable resolution. No education in the world will make a man an intellectual glory to his age, even if his powers are great; for unless he positively desires to seize the flower of perfection, he will be but a dry scholar, a dealer in words, a proficient in mechanical thought, and a mere wheel of memory. And the man who has this positive quality in him will rise in spite of adverse circumstances, will recognize and seize upon the tide of thought which is his natural food, and will stand as a giant at last in the place he willed to reach. We see this practically every day in all walks of life.”
The difficulty of developing a free, open, flexible mind while remaining focused and decisive is explained:
“Undoubtedly it is the hardest task we have yet seen set us in life, that which we are now talking of, — to free a man of all prejudice, of all crystallized thought or feeling, of all limitations, yet develop within him the positive will. It seems too much of a miracle; for in ordinary life positive will is always associated with crystallized ideas. But many things which have appeared to be too much of a miracle for accomplishment have yet been done, even in the narrow experience of life given to our present humanity. All the past shows us that difficulty is no excuse for dejection, much less for despair; else the world would have been without the many wonders of civilization.”
The analogy of the creative act to described the spiritual path is often used:
“Every inventor fastens his interest firmly on the unseen; and it entirely depends on the firmness of that attachment whether he is successful or whether he fails. The poet who looks on to his moment of creation as that for which he lives, sees that which is invisible and hears that which is soundless.”

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Mose Cordovero's Ethics of the 10 Sefirot (Tomer Devorah)


From The Palm-Tree of Deborah
For Keter, see:
Tomer Devorah, part I
Chapter III: Attaining the Qualities of Chokmah
How should a man train himself to possess the quality of Wisdom? Behold, Supernal Wisdom, though it is hidden and exceedingly exalted, is spread over all creatures. Concerning this it is said: 'How manifold[1] are Thy works, O Lord! In wisdom Thou has made them all.' So, too, it is proper for man that his wisdom be ready to benefit all. He should be an effective teacher of men, to each according to his powers, influencing each as much as he possibly can without in any way preventing him. Behold, Wisdom has two faces. The higher face turns toward the Crown, it does not gaze downwards but recieves from above. The second face, the lower one, turns downwards to control the Sephiroth, emanating of its wisdom to them. So, too, man should have two faces: the one, his solitude with his Creator in order to add to his wisdom which the Holy One, Blessed is He, has poured upon him.

Chapter IV: Attaining the Qualities of Binah

How shall a man train himself to acquire the quality of Understanding? It is to be acquired by returning in perfect repentance[1], than which nothing is more important, for it rectifies every flaw. Just as it is the function of Understanding to sweeten all judgments and to neutralize their bitterness so man should repent and rectify every flaw. He who thinks of repentance all his days causes the Supernal Understanding to illumine all his days so that all his days are in repentance, that is to be included in Understanding which is Repentance, and the days of his life will be crowned according to the secret of the Supernal Repentance. 

Chapter V: Attaining the Qualities of Chesed

How shall a man train himself to acquire the quality of Lovingkindness? The main way in which man can enter into the secret of Lovingkindness is to love God with perfect love so as not to forsake His service for any reason whatsoever for nothing has any value at all for him compared with the Blessed One's love. Therefore, he should primarily attend to the requirements of God's service and the rest of his time may be for other needs. This love should be firmly fixed in his heart whether he recieves good at the hands of the Holy One, Blessed is He, or whether he recieves sufferings and rebukes. These latter, too, he should look upon as tokens of God's love. As it is written: 'Faithful are the wounds of a friend[1] .'

Chapter VI: Attaining the Qualities of Gevurah

How should man train himself to acquire the quality of Power? Know that all actions which excite the evil inclination actually stir up the strong Powers. Therefore, man should not excite the evil inclination, so as not to awaken the Powers. The reason is that man is created with two inclinations, good and bad: the one belongs to Lovingkindness, the other to Power. However in the Zohar to the first section of Genesis[1] it is stated that the good inclination was created from the sake of man himself, the evil inclination for the sake of his wife. See how sweet are his words. Behold Beauty, the merciful quality[2], turns to the Right and all its conduct is with the Right, the good inclination. But the Female[3] is of the Left and Her conduct is with Power. It is, therefore, proper not to bestir the evil inclination for man's own sake because this bestirs the Power in Supernal Man and so destroys the world. Hence, every excitement of man towards Power and the evil inclination makes a flaw in Supernal Man. From which one can observe how ugly is anger and such-like, for it causes the strong Powers to prevail. In truth the evil inclination should be bound and tied down so that it is not incited to any bodily act whatsoever, not for the desire of cohabitation, not the desire of money, nor towards anger, nor towards honor in any way.

Chapter VII: Attaining the Qualities of Tiferet

How should a man train himself to acquire the quality of Beauty? There is no doubt that the quality of Beauty is to be found in the study of the Torah[1]. However, great care must be taken that man does not exalt himself in pride because of the words of the Torah, in order that he does not cause great evil. For just as he elevates himself in pride he causes the quality of Beauty, which is the Torah, to elevate itself and remove itself upwards, God forend. But he who abases himself over words of Torah causes Beauty to descend and lower itself to pour out its influence upon those beneath. Now behold, there are four Sephiroth[2], embracing three qualities, below Beauty. First, he who proudly exalts himself over his pupils causes Beauty to raise itself and be exalted over Endurance and Majesty, for they are those learned of the Lord[3], the pupils of Beauty. But he who lowers himself to teach in love causes Beauty to lower itself to the Pupils and give of its influence to them. Therefore, a man should be pleasantly disposed towards his pupils, to teach them as much as they can absorb and, in his merit, Beauty will pour its flow into the Pupils according their capacities, in fit measure. 

Chapter VIII: Attaining the Qualities of Netzach, Hod, and Yesod

How should a man train himself to acquire the qualities of Endurance, Majesty, and Foundation? With regard to the Tikkunim of Endurance and Majesty some of the qualities apply to both of them together, others to each one distinctively. Behold, first of all it is necessary to help students of the Torah and to support them either with money or deeds, so as to provide them with the things they require for their work, to prepare their food, and to fulfill all their desires, so that they do not cease in the study of the Torah. He should take care not to disparage their learning so that they do not weaken in their study of the Torah, but should honor them and praise their good deeds in order to encourage them in their work. And he should provide them with books with which to work and with a house of study. All such aid and support to those who study the Torah depends on these qualites; each person should do all he can, whether little or much. In short, whatever he does to honor the Torah and to strengthen it with speech, which his bodily actions and with his wealth, and to arouse people's hearts to the torah that they engage in its study, all this is firmly held and rooted in these two Sephiroth for they are known as 'them that lay hold upon her' and 'that holdeth her fast'[1]. 

However, how should man train himself to acquire the quality of Foundation? A man must be on his guard against the kind of speech which brings to thoughts of sin, so that he should not be visited by a seminal emission. Needless to say, he should not speak obscenities but he should take care not to utter even clean words if they give rise to sexual thoughts. And this is contained in a careful examination of the verse: 'Suffer not[6] thy mouth to bring thy flesh unto guilt,' this is, take care not to suffer the mouth to give speech which can bring sin to the holy flesh, the sign of the covenant[7], with seminal emission.

Chapter IX: Attaining the Qualities of Malkuth

How should a man train himself to acquire the quality of Sovereignty? First and foremost he should not be proud in his heart[1] because of all that is his, but he should behave constantly like a beggar, standing before his Creator as a poor man begging and offering supplication. Even if he is wealthy he can train himself to behave in this way by considering that none of his possesions are attached to him and that he is forsaken requiring the mercies of Heaven at all times, for all he has is the bread he eats, and he should humble his heart and afflict himself. Especially at the time of prayer[2], for this is a wonderful aid. Of the opposite it is said: "Then thy heart[3] be lifted up, and thou forget..' For the forgetting belonging to the Outside Ones[4] is found there. David behaved in this way to great extent when he said: "For I am solitary[5] and afflicted." For all the people of his household have themselves to consider. What are they all to him? What can even his wife and children do for him when he is judged before the Creator or when his soul departs? Can they accompany him beyond the grave? Of what use are they to him from the entrance of the grave and onwards? He should therefore humble himself and perfect himself according to the secret of this quality. A second method is explained in the Zohar[6] and it is very important. He should exile himself from place to place for the sake of Heaven and in this way he will become a chariot to the Exiled Shekinah. He should imagine: 'Behold I have gone into exile but, behold, my utensils go with me. What shall be with the honor of the Most High seeing that the Shekinah is in exile without Her utensils which are lacking as a result of the Exile?' Because of this he should be satisfied with as little as possible, as it is written 'Prepare thee stuff for exile'[7] and he should humble his heart in exile and bind himself to the Torah and then the Shekinah will be with him.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

William Q Judge on Karma and Life Circumstances

After his seminal article ''Karma'' in 1886, his article, ''Environment'' from The Path, February, 1887, follows suit with his typical practical approach, in a monistic Advaita Vedanta spirit. It is a 'right here, right now' philosophy - whatever circumstance and situation you are in is just right for your spiritual development - any daily experience can potentially serve as a step for spiritual progress if taken with the right attitude. The first part of the article perceptively deals with the problems of theosophy in the modern world.

What then of environment and what of its power over us?
Is environment Karma or is it Reincarnation? The LAW is Karma, reincarnation is only an incident. It is one of the means which The Law uses to bring us at last to the true light. The wheel of rebirths is turned over and over again by us in obedience to this law, so that we may at last come to place our entire reliance upon Karma. Nor is our environment Karma itself, for Karma is the subtle power which works in that environment.

There is nothing but the SELF--using the word as Max Müller does to designate the Supreme Soul and its environment...So that there is only this Self and the various sheaths by which it is clothed, beginning with the most intangible and coming down to the body, while outside of that and common to all is what is commonly known as environment, whereas the word should be held to include all that is not The Self.

How unphilosophical therefore it is to quarrel with our surroundings, and to desire to escape them? We only escape one kind to immediately fall into another. And even did we come into the society of the wisest devotees we would still carry the environment of the Self in our own bodies, which will always be our enemy so long as we do not know what it is in all its smallest details. Coming down then to the particular person, it is plain that that part of the environment which consists in the circumstances of life and personal surroundings is only an incident, and that the real environment to be understood and cared about is that in which Karma itself inheres in us.

Thus we see that it is a mistake to say as we often hear it said--"If he only had a fair chance; if his surroundings were more favorable he would do better," since he really could not be in any other circumstances at that time, for if he were it would not be he but some one else. It must be necessary for him to pass through those identical trials and disadvantages to perfect the Self; and it is only because we see but an infinitesimal part of the long series that any apparent confusion or difficulty arises. So our strife will be, not to escape from anything, but to realize that these Kosams, or sheaths, are an integral portion of ourselves, which we must fully understand before we can change the abhorred surroundings. This is done by acknowledging the unity of spirit, by knowing that everything, good and bad alike, is the Supreme. We then come into harmony with the Supreme Soul, with the whole universe, and no environment is detrimental.

The very first step is to rise from considering the mere outside delusive environment, knowing it to be the result of past lives, the fruition of Karma done, and say with Uddalaka in speaking to his son:
"All this Universe has the Deity for its life. That Deity is the Truth. He is the Universal soul. He Thou art, O Svetaketu!"*


Friday, 26 January 2018

The top 12 posts of 2017

The most viewed that is. The astrology articles have not been included. Had they been included, they would have placed 1 to 4. The readers have spoken.

1- The 12 Most Important Ethical-Moral Philosophy Writings of All-Time
 
2- Dimensions of Sacred Geography
 
3- The Golden Rule in 20 World Religions
 
4- Jean-Marie Ragon on Universal Masonry and Brother/Sisterhood
 
5- Franz Hartmann on Scepticism and Credulity
 
6- Through the Gates of Gold, Chapter 1, The Search for Pleasure, part 7
 
7- Tibetan Mindfulness of Death Meditation 2
 
8- The Great American Eclipse, Baseball's World Series, and the number 9
 
9- Divine Madness: Plato on Sex and Love, part 2
 
10- Blavatsky on Shamanism
 
11- Blavatsky's translation of Leo Tolstoy's The Imp and the Crust (1889)
 
12- The Kabbalah on Reincarnation 1/5

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Through the Gates of Gold - Chapter 2 – The Mystery of Threshold - Part 3


Part 3 presents some basic considerations that demonstrate that the Gates of Gold are a reality that exist within the plan of nature, and so ends chapter 2:
”When once one has considered the meaning of those Gates, it is evident that there is no other way out of this form of life except through them. They only can admit man to the place where he becomes the fruit of which manhood is the blossom.”
”Nature is the kindest of mothers to those who need her; she never wearies of her children or desires them to lessen in multitude. Her friendly arms open wide to the vast throng who desire birth and to dwell in forms; and while they continue to desire it, she continues to smile a welcome. Why, then, should she shut her doors on any? When one life in her heart has not worn out a hundredth part of the soul’s longing for sensation such as it finds there, what reason can there be for its departure to any other place? Surely the seeds of desire spring up where the sower has sown them”

”On the mental steps of a million men Buddha passed through the Gates of Gold; and because a great crowd pressed about the threshold he was able to leave behind him words which prove that those Gates will open.”

Relevant passages from Light on the Path:

This raising of himself into an individual power does in reality identify him with the nobler forces of life and make him one with them. For they stand beyond the powers of this earth and the laws of this universe. Here lies man's only hope of success in the great effort; to leap right away from his present standpoint to his next and at once become an intrinsic part of the divine power as he has been an intrinsic part of the intellectual power, of the great nature to which he belongs.(Comment 2)

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Moses Cordovero's Kabbalistic Eightfold Path (The Palm Tree of Deborah)

M
Tomer Devorah (The Palm Tree of Deborah) by Moses Cordovero
trans. Louis Jacobs, New York Sepher-Hermon Press, 1960
Moses ben Jacob Cordovero, aka the Ramak, one of the most profound and systematic exponents of the teachings of the Zohar and a leading figure in the circle of mystics for which sixteenthcentury Safed in Palestine was renowned. The Ramak was born in 1522 and died at the age of 48, in 1570. First published in Venice in 1588, the little book Tomer Devorah is an ethical commentary on the ten sefirots in a true theosophical spirit.

Chapter II: Attaining the Qualities of Keter
For man to resemble his Creator according to the secret of the Supernal Crown he must possess, too, many of the chief qualities of the divine providence.

I) The quality of humility includes all qualities, for it belongs to the Crown, which is the highest attribute. It does not raise nor exalt itself upwards; on the contrary, it descends to look downwards at all times. For this there are two reasons. The first is that it is ashamed to gaze at its Source[1], but the Cause of its emanation looks continually into it to give goodness to it while it looks down to those beneath. So, too, man should be ashamed to gaze proudly upwards, but he should ever look downwards in order to abase himself as much as possible. This quality depends chiefly on the head, for the proud man lifts his head upwards while the poor man lowers his head. Behold, there is none so patient and so humble as our God in His quality of Crown. For there is perfect mercy before which there can enter no flaw, sin, judgment nor any other quality to prevent it providing and flowing with goodness at all times. So, too, should man behave, that no cause whatsoever prevent him doing good to others and any sin or the misdeeds of unworthy persons be barred entrance in order to prevent him doing good to all who need it at all times and in every moment. As He provides from the horned buffalo[2] to the brood of vermin despising no creature (for if He were to despise His creatures because of their insignifigance they could not exist even for one moment), showing mercy to them all, so man should be good to all creatures, despising none, that even the most insignifigant assumes importance in his eyes and he be concerned with it. And he should do good to all in need of his goodness. This quality depends on the Crown according to the secret of the head as a whole[3].

II His thoughts should resemble the thoughts of the Crown. Just as wisdom never ceases from thinking good thoughts, not allowing evil to enter, for it is perfect mercy and there is no judgment and nothing at all harsh there, so, too, man's mind should be free from every ugly thing. And just as it accords with the secret of the Supernal Wisdom, the Pre-existent Torah[4], and no secret of Torah is lacking there, so man should not turn his mind to any thoughts apart from those of Torah and the contemplation of God's majesty and goodness and the way to do good and so forth. In short: nothing strange nor negative should be present in his thoughts. This was the elevated state pf R. Simeon and his group. Behold how R. Simeon rebuked R. Jose (as recorded in the Zohar[5], section Vayakhel) when the latter separated his thought in some small measure from the Torah.

III His forehead should have no hardness whatsoever but should resemble at all times the forehead of the Will and he should be pleased to accept everyone. Even when he meets with provokers he should appease them and quiet them with good will. For the forehead of the Will constantly accepts and appeases the divine powers and perfects them. So man, too, should appease those whose anger prevails and he should lead them on in good will, drawing on great wisdom to weaken their anger that it does not overstep its boundaries and cause harm, God forfend. He should behave as the Supernal Will, which proceeds from the wonderful wisdom in the forehead of the Ancient One[6] which accepts all creatures. He should derive, too, the power to be pleasant to all creatures. For if in some respect his character is harsh to men he will not succeed in the quality of acceptance. This is the reason for the teaching of the Mishnah[7] that he in whom the spirit of his fellows takes delight the spirit of the All-Present takes delight.

IV That his ears be ever open to hear good but an evil or ugly report be barred from entering them, according to the secret of Supernal Listening; for no cry of judgment nor the flaw of evil talk is allowed entry there. So he, too, should listen only to good and useful things; and other things which cause anger to prevail should recieve no hearing whatsoever. Just as the serpent, his words and his speech have no entry above so no ugly thing should be allowed to enter man's ear. This is the meaning of 'Thou shalt not bear[8] a false report'; how much more other ugly things. These should in no way enter his ear, which should listen only to good things.

V His eyes should not gaze at any ugly thing. They should, however, be ever open to notice and show mercy to sufferers as much as possible. He should in no way close his eyes when he sees the sufferings of the poor but give as much thought to their predicament as lies in his power and awaken the pity of Heaven and of humans upon them. He should be far removed from noticing evil, just as the Supernal Eye is ever open to look immediately at the good.

VI As for his nose[9], there should be no anger in him whatsoever. But there should be at all times vitality, good will and great patience even to the unworthy. He should desire at all times to fulfil everyone's desires, to grant every request, and to revive every sufferer. From his nose there should proceed forgiveness of sin and pardon of iniquity. He should not be angry with those who offend him but he should be constantly willing to be appeased and desire to do kindness so as to please all.

VII His face should shine constantly, so to welcome all men with good countenance. For with regard to the Supernal Crown it is said: 'In the light[10] of the king's countenance is life.' Neither redness[11] nor any judgment enters there. So, too, the light of his face find there only joy and good humour; and no cause should in any way disturb him in this.

VIII His mouth should produce nothing but good, his spoken word should be constantly Torah and the fulfillment of good will. He should never allow an ugly thing nor a curse nor anger nor frivolous talk escape from his mouth. His should resemble that Supernal Mouth which is never closed, never being silent from sounding the good at all times. He should, therefore, speak well of all and constantly make of his words goodness and blessing.

Behold, these are eight good qualities, all of them under the banner of humility, all of which are in the higher worlds in the Crown among the Supernal Limbs. Whenever man wishes to draw near to the higher worlds to resemble Him so as to open the heavenly sources of blessing to those beneath it is necessary for him to be well-versed in these two chapters. Of course, we know that it is impossible to conduct oneself in obedience to these qualities continually for there are other qualities in which a man has to be well-versed, namely the lower qualities of Power, as we shall explain. But there are days when the Powers do not function and when men have no need of them, for in these days Crown reigns, or it is a time when Crown is required. Then it is necessary to resort to all the qualities we have mentioned.
1. its Source 'En Soph.
2. the horned buffalo A reference to the Talmudic saying that God feeds the whole world from the horned buffalo to the brood of vermin, A.Z. 3b
3. the head as a whole i.e., as distinct from the organs of the head, the eye, ear and so forth, to be described later.
4. The Pre-existant Torah The Rabbinic teaching that the Torah preceded the creation of the world (Gen. R. VIII) is mystically interpreted as referring to the Sephirah of Wisdom, the secret source of the Torah, v. Zohar I, 15b, II, 200a
5. In the Zohar 'At this point R. Simeon noticed R. Jose meditating worldly matters. Said he: "Jose, arise and complete your image, inasmuch as you are short of one letter." R. Jose then rose up and joyously absorbed himself in the expositions of the Torah. R. Simeon then looked at him again, and said: "R. Jose, now you are whole before the Ancient of Days, and your image is complete,"' II, 217b
6. the Ancient One. The appellation of Crown
7. the teaching of the Mishnah. 'Aboth III, 11.
8. Thou shalt not bear Rabbinic interpretation of Ex. XXIII. 1, v. Pes. 118a.
9. nose 'Anger' in Hebrew is harah 'aph, lit. 'snorting with the nose,' hence the nose symbolises anger and its opposite good will.
10. In the light Prov. XVI. 15, cf. 'Aboth I, 15.
11. redness In Kabbalistic symbolism the color of judgment (Gevurah)

Friday, 15 December 2017

Astrology: Winter Solstice, December 21 2017


Fables of the Reconstruction
The previous quarter experienced its share of expected turmoil, there was for example the horrible Las Vegas shooting, many forest fires, the Korean Missile crisis, the American consulate in Jerusalem affair, and the revolts in Catalan and Zimbabwe. With this chart we can see that the difficult aspects related to the Jupiter-Uranus-Pluto T-Square that marked almost all of 2017 have faded and a new configuration is emerging, giving us a much lower level of friction overall than we have seen in several years (providing us a good two year breather before the Saturn-Pluto conjunction re-shuffles the deck in a big way). As Barry Perlman notes: “Once Jupiter moves into Scorpio on Oct 10, no other slower-moving planet will re-trigger the square between Uranus and Pluto as it continues to separate, allowing its life-altering impact to only further decline until it's just a speck in our rear-view mirrors. This ushers in an early shift in the outer-planet backdrop… one which becomes more pronounced once Saturn departs Sagittarius for Capricorn in late December, then heightens further as Uranus crosses from Aries to Taurus starting in mid-'18, two big astrological developments which swap out a fiery vibe for greater emphasis on the earth element.”

Jupiter in Scorpio Steals the Show
Jupiter moved from Libra to Scorpio on October 10, 2017 (until November 8, 2018) Jupiter and Scorpio are both ambitious and intense; this could give a deep, generous altruism with possible harsh reprisals and a certain freakiness, the most obvious manifestation being the recent and numerous revelations (Jupiter extraversion) of the plague that is sexual harassment (Scorpio perversion). Steven Forrest notes:“That transit boils down to the emergence into the collective consciousness of much that has been taboo or hidden.” Mars is also in Scorpio in a loose conjunction with Jupiter which adds a very dynamic, active, positive, emotional, but also a critical, conflictual, frustrated energy. Jupiter (and Mars) Trine Neptune, a water (emotion) aspect, brings good intuitive, optimistic, idealistic, humanitarian and spiritual energy (with a tendency for over-optimism and risky gambling). According to Perlman: “This Jupiter-Neptune trine is the single most notable outer-planet aspect being formed in this next year… and, considering it's an 'easy' harmonious angle between two boundary-diffusing bodies, this is quite a shift from where we've been…With Jupiter-trine-Neptune's help, we imagine a better world… and we paint it, draw it, write it, sing it, dance it, act it into being. We see the best in another person, despite their glaring flaws, and we lend them our support in rising to it. In doing so, we also risk our avoidant self-serving comfort by calling out the inconvenient and potentially distressing truths which stand in the way—of them becoming their best, and of us becoming ours.”
Jupiter (and Mars) sextile Pluto gives a very dynamic, ambitious, self-confident outlook (with aggressive, domineering tendencies). According to Astology King: Jupiter sextile Pluto is the major planetary aspect occurring in 2018...Transiting Jupiter sextile Pluto brings success through positive change. You do not have to force change or have to react to unexpected change. This is a natural development in your life associated with increased power and influence, spiritual and personal growth, wealth creation and professional advancement.
Since Pluto is the dispositer of Scorpio, the Plutonian energy remains quite prevalent. This aspect will go exact in January, April and September in 2018. The Moon in idealistic, unconventional Aquarius is square to Jupiter (and Mars) giving an insecure, irritable, suspicious, moody vibe.
Saturn Entering Capricorn Will Not Be Upstaged

The other major change in the picture is that of Saturn shifting from Sagittarius to Capricorn (just two days prior-lasting until March 21-22, 2020) making it the second planet, along with Neptune, to be in its ruling sign. “Saturn in Sagittarius from 2015 to 2017 urged us to take control of our excesses, to question our faith, and to better understand our belief systems”(Café Astrology). Saturn in Capricorn is all about realism, responsibility, hard work, and conventional, conservative values. “For the next three years, there will be a collective focus on the re-definition of morality, integrity, and personal honor” (Steven Forrest) Adding to the synchronicity is the conjunction with the Solsticial Sun (as well as with Venus in adventurous Sagittarius). This spells hard work, perseverance, determination, organizing with some gloom, although Venus adds a happy, warm, generous feel, brightening the stern, serious Saturn-Sun combination. The Sun, Venus and Saturn are also trine Uranus bringing logical, rapid decisions, creativity, caution, strong will and patient working towards change, waning by December 25, another indication of the comprehensive shift in energies occurring at this time.
Combining the two above transits, Forrest remarks: “as Saturn-in-Capricorn enters the picture, its interaction with Jupiter-in-Scorpio promises to be spectacular. Little can remain hidden under this combination of influences. Scorpio always reveals that which has been long-buried, while Capricorn tells us that the karma has now ripened and will manifest materially. The conjoined theme, in other words, will be “the karmic consequences of secrets revealed.” And with Saturn in the mix, the results are likely to be immediate, concrete, and obvious.”
Note that Mercury is retrograde but goes direct the following day, perhaps indicating that one would do well to avoid rushing into the new cycle by reflecting on the previous cycle and planning one’s future projects in an organized manner. Moreover, with Mercury in adventurous Sagittarious, squaring Neptune, one`s thinking could be rather fuzzy and confused. But Mercury going direct is another sign of how this Solstice will kick like a poney.
The Passion of Chiron Square Saturn, Sun and Venus
With Chiron situated in Pisces, close to the Spring equinoctial point, thus in strong aspect to the Sun at all the points on the annual cross, the Christ-like connotations of the Healer/Martyr Chiron seem even more pronounced at the Winter Solstice. The image of Christ on the cross exclaiming “My God, why have you forsaken me?” is an image that comes to mind. But now we also have Mars and Jupiter trine Chiron bringing optimal healing energy and confidence. The great kabbalist J. Ralston Skinner interpreted the previous quote as “My God, how you glorify me” the differences possibly indicating a transmutation process, comparable to the difference between being passively dominated by the Super Ego and conscious submission to the Higher Self (sse Blavatsly`s The Crucifixion of Man). Some themes of Chiron square Saturn are: “Avoiding responsibility, agonizing over old hurts, letting resentment brew, self-punishing behavior, over-sensitivity, escapism to avoid pain, martyrdom. “Some themes of Jupiter trine Chiron are: “Recognizing the need to heal, no-nonsense attitudes toward self-care, letting go of the past, taking appropriate responsibility, taking an objective view of one’s challenges, volunteering, mentoring”(Dena DeCastro). Sun square Chiron is more related to fragile ego and identity issues.
We must not forget the omnipresent Uranus-Pluto square (which will fade at the end of 2018). According to Bill Herbst: The Uranus–Pluto alignment is far and away the most important astrological factor for the entire decade of the 2010s— head and shoulders above all the other outer-planet-cycle activations.” He briefly describes it as:” the Uranian impulse toward sudden and revolutionary change is combined with the Plutonian tendency toward radical, ruthless, and extreme use of power.”
Basically the fiery chart of this past year has turned into a more watery, earthy one. This could be a good period to consolidate all the changes and upheavals of that previous phases of dissolution brought and begin to roll up one’s sleeves and work at building new structures and projects for the new directions that have hopefully emerged. Although the inner planets aspects have some cranky, confused energy, the outer planets, with the fading Saturn trine Uranus paving the way for the upbeat Jupiter trine Neptune and Jupiter sextile Pluto aspects set the tone for a more idealistic, ambitious, and positive energy for 2018, with Saturn bringing some serious, realistic, practical, productive energy.