Monday, 20 January 2020

Theosophical Basics: The Astral Light and the Astral Body


The Following, from Chapter 6 of Isis Unveiled I,  is one of Blavatsky's first discussions of the mysteries of the astral plane and serves as a good introduction to the topic. Chapters 5-8 Of Isis I are a rich source of information on this vast and complex subject.
The Astral Light is a storehouse record of all thoughts and deeds on earth
"The oracles assert that the impression of thoughts, characters, men, and other divine visions, appear in the aether. . . . In this the things without figure are figured," says an ancient fragment of the Chaldean Oracles of Zoroaster (Simpl. in Phys.," 143; "The Chaldean Oracles," Cory).
Thus, ancient as well as modern wisdom, vaticination and science, agree in corroborating the claims of the kabalists. It is on the indestructible tablets of the astral light that is stamped the impression of every thought we think, and every act we perform; and that future events — effects of long-forgotten causes — are already delineated as a vivid picture for the eye of the seer and prophet to follow. Memory — the despair of the materialist, the enigma of the psychologist, the sphinx of science — is to the student of old philosophies merely a name to express that power which man unconsciously exerts, and shares with many of the inferior animals — to look with inner sight into the astral light, and there behold the images of past sensations and incidents. Instead of searching the cerebral ganglia for "micrographs of the living and the dead, of scenes that we have visited, of incidents in which we have borne a part,"(Draper: "Conflict between Religion and Science.")  they went to the vast repository where the records of every man's life as well as every pulsation of the visible cosmos are stored up for all Eternity!
Retrospective memory of all our life in near-death experiences
That flash of memory which is traditionally supposed to show a drowning man every long-forgotten scene of his mortal life — as the landscape is revealed to the traveller by intermittent flashes of lightning — is simply the sudden glimpse which the struggling soul gets into the silent galleries where his history is depicted in imperishable colors.
Experiences of déjà vu in situations and places
The well-known fact — one corroborated by the personal experience of nine persons out of ten — that we often recognize as familiar to us, scenes, and landscapes, and conversations, which we see or hear for the first time, and sometimes in countries never visited before, is a result of the same causes. Believers in reincarnation adduce this as an additional proof of our antecedent existence in other bodies. This recognition of men, countries, and things that we have never seen, is attributed by them to flashes of soul-memory of anterior experiences. But the men of old, in common with mediaeval philosophers, firmly held to a contrary opinion.
The astral body is set free during sleep
They affirmed that though this psychological phenomenon was one of the greatest arguments in favor of immortality and the soul's preexistence, yet the latter being endowed with an individual memory apart from that of our physical brain, it is no proof of reincarnation. As Eliphas Levi beautifully expresses it, "nature shuts the door after everything that passes, and pushes life onward" in more perfected forms. The chrysalis becomes a butterfly; the latter can never become again a grub. In the stillness of the night-hours, when our bodily senses are fast locked in the fetters of sleep, and our elementary body rests, the astral form becomes free. It then oozes out of its earthly prison, and as Paracelsus has it — "confabulates with the outward world," and travels round the visible as well as the invisible worlds. "In sleep," he says, "the astral body (soul) is in freer motion; then it soars to its parents, and holds converse with the stars." 
Effects of our astral sleep life
Dreams, forebodings, prescience, prognostications and presentiments are impressions left by our astral spirit on our brain, which receives them more or less distinctly, according to the proportion of blood with which it is supplied during the hours of sleep. The more the body is exhausted, the freer is the spiritual man, and the more vivid the impressions of our soul's memory. In heavy and robust sleep, dream- less and uninterrupted, upon awakening to outward consciousness, men may sometimes remember nothing. But the impressions of scenes and landscapes which the astral body saw in its peregrinations are still there, though lying latent under the pressure of matter. They may be awakened at any moment, and then, during such flashes of man's inner memory, there is an instantaneous interchange of energies between the visible and the invisible universes. 
Body-Mind connection during sleep
Between the "micrographs" of the cerebral ganglia and the photo-scenographic galleries of the astral light, a current is established. And a man who knows that he has never visited in body, nor seen the landscape and person that he recognizes may well assert that still has he seen and knows them, for the acquaintance was formed while travelling in "spirit." To this the physiologists can have but one objection. They will answer that in natural sleep — perfect and deep, "half of our nature which is volitional is in the condition of inertia"; hence unable to travel; the more so as the existence of any such individual astral body or soul is considered by them little else than a poetical myth. 
Blumenbach assures us that in the state of sleep, all intercourse between mind and body is suspended; an assertion which is denied by Dr. Richardson, F. R. S., who honestly reminds the German scientist that "the precise limits and connections of mind and body being unknown" it is more than should be said. This confession, added to those of the French physiologist, Fournie, and the still more recent one of Dr. Allchin, an eminent London physician, who frankly avowed, in an address to students, that "of all scientific pursuits which practically concern the community, there is none perhaps which rests upon so uncertain and insecure a basis as medicine," gives us a certain right to offset the hypotheses of ancient scientists against those of the modern ones.
No man, however gross and material he may be, can avoid leading a double existence; one in the visible universe, the other in the invisible. The life-principle which animates his physical frame is chiefly in the astral body; and while the more animal portions of him rest, the more spiritual ones know neither limits nor obstacles. We are perfectly aware that many learned, as well as the unlearned, will object to such a novel theory of the distribution of the life-principle. They would prefer remaining in blissful ignorance and go on confessing that no one knows or can pretend to tell whence and whither this mysterious agent appears and disappears, than to give one moment's attention to what they consider old and exploded theories. Some might object on the ground taken by theology, that dumb brutes have no immortal souls, and hence, can have no astral spirits; for theologians as well as laymen labor under the erroneous impression that soul and spirit are one and the same thing.
Paralyzing the body frees the soul
But if we study Plato and other philosophers of old, we may readily perceive that while the "irrational soul," by which Plato meant our astral body, or the more ethereal representation of ourselves, can have at best only a more or less prolonged continuity of existence beyond the grave; the divine spirit — wrongly termed soul, by the Church — is immortal by its very essence. (Any Hebrew scholar will readily appreciate the distinction who comprehends the difference between the two words Hebrew textruah and Hebrew textnephesh.) If the life-principle is something apart from the astral spirit and in no way connected with it, why is it that the intensity of the clairvoyant powers depends so much on the bodily prostration of the subject? The deeper the trance, the less signs of life the body shows, the clearer become the spiritual perceptions, and the more powerful are the soul's visions. The soul, disburdened of the bodily senses, shows activity of power in a far greater degree of intensity than it can in a strong, healthy body. Brierre de Boismont gives repeated instances of this fact. The organs of sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing are proved to become far acuter in a mesmerized subject deprived of the possibility of exercising them bodily, than while he uses them in his normal state.
The attractive power of our thoughts
Such facts alone, once proved, ought to stand as invincible demonstrations of the continuity of individual life, at least for a certain period after the body has been left by us, either by reason of its being worn out or by accident. But though during its brief sojourn on earth our soul may be assimilated to a light hidden under a bushel, it still shines more or less bright and attracts to itself the influences of kindred spirits; and when a thought of good or evil import is begotten in our brain, it draws to it impulses of like nature as irresistibly as the magnet attracts iron filings. This attraction is also proportionate to the intensity with which the thought-impulse makes itself felt in the ether; and so it will be understood how one man may impress himself upon his own epoch so forcibly, that the influence may be carried — through the ever-interchanging currents of energy between the two worlds, the visible and the invisible — from one succeeding age to another, until it affects a large portion of mankind (Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled I, 178-181).

Monday, 13 January 2020

A Poem on Self-realisation from the Dnyaneshwari, chapter 16


Sant Dnyaneshwar also referred to as Jnaneshwar, Jnanadeva, Dnyandev or Mauli (1275–1296)[2][3] was a 13th-century Indian Marathi saint, poet, philosopher and yogi of the Nath Vaishnava tradition. In his short life of 21 years, he authored Dnyaneshwari (a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita) and Amrutanubhav. These are the oldest surviving literary works in the Marathi language, under the patronage of the Yadava dynasty of Devagiri, and these are considered to be milestones in Marathi literature.

Blavatsky calls the Dnyaneswari ‘’that king of mystical works’’. A wonderfully profound, poetic and lyrical commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, in the western world, the work probably does not have the exalted stature that is has in India or that of the Bhagavad Gita in the west, although it has been translated into English several times. I think it would be seriously neglectful if a post on the Dnyaneswari was not part of the Theosophical Project, and so we give you the wonderful poem on Self-realisation that prefaces chapter 16, translated by M.R. Yardi.

1-Hail to the Guru, that resplendent sun which has risen, dispelling the illusion of the universe and causing the lotus of non-duality to unfold its petals!
2- He swallows up the night of ignorance, removes the illusion of knowledge and ignorance, and brings in the day of enlightenment for the wise.
3- At the dawning of the day, the eyes of Self-knowledge are opened, and birds in the form of individual souls leave their nests of identification with the body.
4-As he rises, the bee of Consciousness, held in the lotus of the subtle body, gains its freedom.
5- On the opposite banks of the river of duality, which springs from conflicting teachings of the scriptures, intellect and understanding cry out like a pair of geese in the distress of their separation.
6- The light of the world, set in the firmament of Consciousness, brings to them the consolation of union.
7- At the rising of the sun, the dark night of thieves passes away, and travelling yogis set out on the path of spiritual experience.
8- Touched by its rays of discrimination, the sparks of the sun-crystal of intellect burst into flames and consume the forests of worldly existence.
9- His scorching rays settle in the desert of the Self, and the mirage of psychic powers arises.
10- When the sun reaches its zenith of Self-knowledge and shines in the noontide of union with God, it hides itself in the shadow of delusion concerning the nature of the individual soul.
11- When the night of illusion has faded away, who will remember the sleep of wrong understanding, with its dreamlike delusions of the universe?
12- In the city of unity-awareness, the marker is surfeited with bliss, and then dealings in worldly pleasure fall away.
13- His glory gives perpetual light to the experience of the highest bliss of a liberated being.
14- When this great sovereign of the sky rises forever, the cycle of rising and setting disappears along with the four quarters of the earth.
15- Both appearance and disappearance vanish, and God, who was concealed beneath outer forms, is revealed. What more is there to say? This dawn is beyond description.
16- Who can see that sun of knowledge which is beyond day and night, which is self-illumined and sheds abundant light?
17- To Nivritti, that sun of Consciousness, I bow again and again. There are no words which can express his praises.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

Top 15 posts of 2019


Here are the top 15 most viewed posts of the past year. The readers have spoken.  I think 2019 was a good year, with a good balance of original material and classic texts. We strive to present topics from a diversity of spiritual traditions and so it is nice to see that reflected in the list. We follow the basic three objects of the Theosophical Society in determining the post topics and it’s nice to see a good mix all three being represented. We kind of slacked off on contemporary topics this year, even though they have been well-received. Also, the book review feature has been neglected. Hopefully, we’ll be able to present the diversity of features that we’d like, although we are still occupied with a lot of time-consuming theosophical studies elsewhere. Perhaps in the latter half of the year things will expand. It’s been five years of steady blogging on a weekly basis, and I must say that such is the richness of the Theosophical legacy there has never been a problem in finding a post topic. We hope then, to keep going strong  in 2020. Thanks for your interest.

1 The Esoteric Meaning of the Crucifixion

https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2019/03/the-esoteric-meaning-of-crucifixion.html

The Esoteric Meaning of the Crucifixion 2

https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2019/04/the-esoteric-meaning-of-crucifixion-2.html

2 The Maitri Upanishad on Taming the Mind

https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2019/06/the-maitri-upanishad-on-taming-mind.html

3 Theosophy Basics: The Siddhis

https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2019/05/theosophy-basics-siddhis.html

4 The Six Buddhist Perfections (Paramitas) in Christianity

https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2019/02/the-six-buddhist-perfections-paramitas.html

5 Theosophy Basics: Universal Brotherhood / Sisterhood 1/2

https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2019/08/theosophy-basics-universal-brotherhood.html

Theosophy Basics: Universal Brotherhood / Sisterhood 2/2

https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2019/08/heosophy-basics-universal-brotherhood.html

6 On Studying the Secret Doctrine

https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2019/07/on-studying-secret-doctrine.html

7 Theosophical Basics: Sacred Sound and Mantra

https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2019/06/theosophical-basics-sacred-sound-and.html

8 Charles Taylor - The Challenge of Regressive Democracy

https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2019/01/charles-taylor-challenge-of-regressive.html

9 Reincarnation and Christianity

https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2019/04/reincarnation-and-christianity.html

10 Muslim, Jewish, Sikh Dialogue on Fanaticism

Through the Gates of Gold, Part 5: The Secret of Strength 3b

https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2019/03/through-gates-of-gold-part-5-secret-of.html

11 The Three Stages of Christian Mysticism

https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2019/08/the-three-stages-of-christian-mysticism.html

12 Al-Ghazāli - On the Duties of Brotherhood/Sisterhood

13 Jacob Boehme on Spiritual Regeneration

https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2019/04/jacob-boheme-on-spiritual-regeneration.html

14 Anna Kingsford on the Divine Feminine

https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2019/03/anna-kingsford-on-divine-feminine.html

15 T. Subba Row on the Chakras, Kundalini and Hatha Yoga

https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2019/07/t-subba-row-on-chakras-kundalini-and.html

Monday, 23 December 2019

Introduction to the Metaphysics of the Secret Doctrine 3/3


3-Divine Thought
Another term for Cosmic Ideation is Divine Thought, which becomes the third major principle. Divine Thought is far higher than human thinking and is considered in terms of a transcendent, absolute wisdom, more akin to the human faculty of intuition:
Cosmic Ideation, MAHAT or Intelligence, the Universal World-Soul; the Cosmic Noumenon of Matter, the basis of the intelligent operations in and of Nature, also called MAHA-BUDDHI. (SD I, 16). (SD I, 1-2 Fn).
Mahat (Sk.). Lit., “The great one”. The first principle of Universal Intelligence and Consciousness. In the Purânic philosophy the first product of root-nature or Pradhâna (the same as Mulaprakriti); the producer of Manas the thinking principle, and of Ahankâra, egotism or the feeling of “I am I” (in the lower Manas) (Theosophical Glossary).
Cosmic Ideation, Universal Mind and the Indian term Mahat are prevalent equivalent terms, although not given elaborate explanations. Three general definitions are given:
A-The Unknown Deity (akin to the Hidden Deity or Unrevealed Deity)
a-Divine Thought in an abstract sense is difficult to define. It can be spiritually sensed in the manifested world, and described as the source and determining factor over substance, hence considered as a Deity at the most abstract and transcendent, the Unknown Deity (SD I, 327).
b-Therefore when all forms of substance have been dissolved, mind is said to no longer have any existence. Not that it is completely annihilated, but rather in the sense that it would be difficult to predicate anything of it (SDI, 329).
B- Unconscious Purposiveness
a- It can be called the unconsciousness source of all consciousness, hence the term unconsciousness purposiveness can be used to describe it’s role as an active guiding force in nature.  (SDI, 327-28).
b-  Individual human consciousness as sentient cognitive rationality is a good example of Cosmic Ideation at a microcosmic level. (SDI, 329).
C- Source of the Kosmos
a-We can say positively that the whole cosmos has effectively sprung from the Divine Thought, which is co-eternal with the One Reality:
“The one prevailing, most distinct idea — found in all ancient teaching, with reference to Cosmic Evolution and the first “creation” of our Globe with all its products, organic and inorganic (strange word for an Occultist to use) — is that the whole Kosmos has sprung from the divine thought. This thought impregnates matter, which is co-eternal with the one reality; and all that lives and breathes evolves from the emanations of the one Immutable — Parabrahm = Mulaprakriti, the eternal one-root. The former of these is, so to say, the aspect of the central point turned inward into regions quite inaccessible to human intellect, and is absolute abstraction; whereas, in its aspect as Mulaprakriti — the eternal root of all, — it gives one some hazy comprehension at least of the Mystery of Being” (SDI, 340).
b-From the ideal  perspective, it is timeless and immutable. In terms of its body, all of cosmic manifestation, it is ever-evolving (SDI, 2-3).
4- Cosmic Energy, Fohat
A-The notion of Akasa incubated by the Divine Spirit which gives rise to Matter & Life, Force & Action through the agency of Fohat indicates how Primordial Substance can be understood in terms of electricity, magnetism, heat, light,  and chemical action (SDI, 333).
B-From a more energetic aspect, Primordial Substance can be equated with the Soul of the World and its lower aspect of Ether is now considered, equated with the idea of the living Fire, a kind of cosmic principle of Fire as source of electro-magnetic energy (SDI, 338) (SDI, 338).
C- The Ideas of Divine Thought get impressed on Cosmic Substance as laws of nature with the agency of Fohat. Fohat, the dynamic energy of cosmic ideation,  is an animating principle, a link between Spirit and Matter. The Secret Doctrine gives various elaborations on the nature of Fohat:
“This something, at present unknown to Western speculation, is called by the occultists Fohat. It is the “bridge” by which the “Ideas” existing in the “Divine Thought” are impressed on Cosmic substance as the “laws of Nature.” Fohat is thus the dynamic energy of Cosmic Ideation; or, regarded from the other side, it is the intelligent medium, the guiding power of all manifestation, the “Thought Divine” transmitted and made manifest through the Dhyan Chohans, the Architects of the visible World. Thus from Spirit, or Cosmic Ideation, comes our consciousness; from Cosmic Substance the several vehicles in which that consciousness is individualised and attains to self — or reflective — consciousness; while Fohat, in its various manifestations, is the mysterious link between Mind and Matter, the animating principle electrifying every atom into life” (SDI, 16).
5-Creative Brahma
A-Having presented the first four basic principles, the process of the creation of the universe can be dealt with. The interaction of the two principles of cosmic substance and cosmic ideation impels the dynamic activity of  the creation of the universe in a sevenfold structure. A light, a primordial  energy is reflected into the substance of Chaos and the potentialities of the universe, the latent forces re-awaken to begin a new process of creation.  (SDI, 337)
B-The formation of the elements then begin. These elements are the Builders that fashion the cosmic systems following the plan traced out for them in Divine Thought (SDI, 339).
C-Through the Creative Brahma, via the Mundane Egg spring the Seven Prakritis (Natures), forming the seven levels of reality (SDI, 335).
D-The passage below gives a succinct and eloquent summary of what has been discussed, the first, second, third, and fourth principles coalesce into a sevenfold evolutionary process:
“Manvantaric impulse commences with the re-awakening of Cosmic Ideation (the “Universal Mind”) concurrently with, and parallel to the primary emergence of Cosmic Substance — the latter being the manvantaric vehicle of the former — from its undifferentiated pralayic state. Then, absolute wisdom mirrors itself in its Ideation; which, by a transcendental process, superior to and incomprehensible by human Consciousness, results in Cosmic Energy (Fohat). Thrilling through the bosom of inert Substance, Fohat impels it to activity, and guides its primary differentiations on all the Seven planes of Cosmic Consciousness.
There are thus Seven Protyles (as they are now called), while Aryan antiquity called them the Seven Prakriti, or Natures, serving, severally, as the relatively homogeneous basis, which in the course of the increasing heterogeneity (in the evolution of the Universe) differentiate into the marvellous complexity presented by phenomena on the planes of perception. The term “relatively” is used designedly, because the very existence of such a process, resulting in the primary segregations of undifferentiated Cosmic Substance into its septenary bases of evolution, compels us to regard the protyle of each plane as only a mediate phase assumed by Substance in its passage from abstract, into full objectivity” (SDI, 328).
6- Atoms, Centers of Force, Monads
A- Atoms
a-Theosophical cosmology embraces atomic theory, accepting an esoteric interpretation of the theories of Leucippus, Democritus, Epicurus and Lucretius positing a principle of affinity to the lateral motion of atoms and adds a notion of latent force giving impulse to the atoms (SDI, 2) (SDI,  343).
B-Centers of Force
b-The creation of the universe is holistic; the microcosmic process of atoms is similar to the macrocosmic creation of planets, produced by a centre of cosmic energy (SDI, 11fn).
C- Monads
c-The term Monad is used to designate the sixth and seventh human principles. There is a microcosmic correlation of the Monad with the Universal Spirit, which entails an evolutionary process of emanation and ultimate absorption integrated in the process of cosmic evolution (SDI, 18fn).
 Part 1

Monday, 16 December 2019

Astrology: Winter Solstice, December 21, 2019


Winding Down
The previous quarter saw some pretty intense periods, notably with difficult Mars aspects with Saturn, Pluto and Uranus, which saw for example, intense political protests in countries like Chile, Bolivia, Irak, Lebanon, Iran, Spain, and Hong Kong. Prior to the Winter Solstice of December 21, we will have seen Jupiter move from Sagittarius to Capricorn on December 2. Jupiter is in its fall in Capricorn, therefore the Jupiter optimism and enthusiasm is dampened or it may amplify conservative Capricorn tendencies of respect, status and achievement. December 15 saw an exact Jupiter-Neptune trine, which brings good luck, open-mindedness, group awareness and new ideas. On December 26, there is a Solar Eclipse, conjunct Jupiter, which brings pleasant surprises and stimulating encounters. On January 12 2020, the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn (beginning a new 35-year cycle) goes exact and a lunar eclipse occurs close to that on January 10, 2020, which is more difficult, with a stellium of the Sun, Mercury, Saturn and Pluto opposite to the Moon.
Freaky Deaky - Moon-Uranus-Venus T-Square
This high energy configuration is marked by unstable, capricious emotions, excentric fixations, with a general independent, distant, insecure feeling. There could also be a tendency for unusual and inappropriate passionate relationships.
Triangle of Potential - Jupiter/Sun, Uranus, Moon
However, this configuration also has a triangle of potential, which counteracts the difficult aspects in an ideal fashion, bringing confidence, stability, diplomacy, generosity, sociability, creativity, tenacity and spirituality. According to Valkyrie Astrology a ‘’Triangle of Potential is another fairly common pattern that comprises a trine, sextile and opposition, in other words two soft aspects and one hard aspect.  In this case, the planet at the apex of the trine and sextile is the key to solving the opposition.  The person will experience struggles, but by utilizing the energy of the trine and sextile will be able to make them work, so to speak.  In many respects the hard aspects are what motivate us''. 
Dreams come True - Mars-Pluto/Saturn-Neptune, minor Grand Trine
This configuration has a good balance of practicality and idealism. On the one hand there is a favorable propensity for efficient, dynamic action with a good business sense and strong planning. There is also a strong intuitive sensitivity and a compassionate, altruist sense of idealism and deep investigation.  A minor Grand Trine requires work and effort to see the best results.
Neptune in/out of tune
Finally we have two aspects with Neptune that tend to balance each other out. Moon trine Neptune brings intuitive, spiritual, creative vibrations, that favor psychic experience, whereas a Mercury square Neptune brings wild imagination, absent-mindedness, escapism and lack of responsibility.
Summary
There are a lot interesting positive aspects in this chart, with the Jupiter entry into Capricorn, its exact trine with Neptune and the eclipse on December 26 all making for a positive outlook. On the solstice, even the difficult aspects are so geared with the positive ones as to provide the perfect counter-balance making for an interesting, dynamic chart where excentric, anti-social tendencies are confronted with a wave of warm altruistic idealism.
We are approaching 2020, which the final year of the decade, the 2nd of the new millenium, and the end of the first 20-year Jupiter-Saturn cycle which reboots at the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in December 2020.One could say that the waxing phase of this cycle (the first ten years) is largely Jupiterian, marked by optimism, exuberance and enthusiasm. The waning phase is largely Saturnian, marked by realism, pessimism, and criticism, serving as an adjustment to the previous decade's excesses, overindulgences, and blind optimism. This cycle's 2010-2019 Saturnian phase has been marked by the Uranus-Pluto square in the signs of Aries and Capricorn (2010-2017) bringing radical rebellion against the modern westernized technocratic capitalist system rooted in the technological utopism of the 1950 and 60s.This deconstructive phase can do much to reform outdated modes of living that are no longer healthy. 

This is the final year of this phase before a new 20-year Jupiter-Saturn cycle begins in a remarkably dramatic style with several interesting conjunctions and eclipses that mark the year in a timely fashion, centered around Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter, all in Capricorn. After the Jupiter-Pluto conjuction on April 4 (, the 1st of 3, beginning a new 13-year cycle), we have a powerful Summer Solstice marked by an eclipse (1st of 3) and a loose Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto conjunction. The year ends with another eclipse close to the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction on December 21, after an intense series of squares with Mars and Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto. As these three new long-term cycles begin and a fresh Jupiterian phase of optimism begins, the year 2020 can be considered a phase where the old cycle winds down, hence a time of stark Saturnian realism and implacable justice, marked by three outer planets in stoic, strict, sober Capricorn. 

In a way the previous phase of Jupiter in Sagittarius, its ruling sign, balanced well with Saturn in Capricorn, its ruling sign. There may have been a good dynamic play of complementary opposites. On the other hand, perhaps the extra-strong Jupiter-Saturn tandem created too much unproductive volatile opposition, so in this new phase, it will perhaps be easier to get things done as we enter a phase where conformity, discipline, and regulation of bureaucratic system becomes more imposing. According to Gray Crawford: ‘’The influence of Pluto upon Jupiter and Saturn will dredge up issues with societal structures in need of innovative reform, particularly involving global economics and systematic oppression.’’ 2019 is still very much concerned with a certain rebellious deconstructive phase, but the gains of this period need to be re-focused in a rebuilding phase with the optimism, enthusiasm, characteristic of a new era. However, the strong Capricornian influence could entail a rigid sense of conformity, discipline and strictness, which will cause tension with the close interaction with the Jupiterian idealism and the Plutonina power drive.

In the following years, the outer planets will be changing signs in a close four-year period, 2023-2026, and so by 2026, there will be very different outlook, bringing the waxing phase of the Jupiter-Sagittarius cycle into full swing. Moreover, the next Jupiter-Saturn cycle marks a definitive shift from earth sings to air signs, which will last until 2159. The previous cycles were in earth signs since 1802. Once can interpret this as the age of oil and carbon fuels, whereas the next cycle in air signs can mark a new era of alternate energies, along with satellite and computer technologies that have developed over the last 40 years.
References:
Gray Crawford. 2020 Astrology Predictions: The Beginning of a New Astrological Era
https://www.skyscript.co.uk/moonaspects.html

Monday, 9 December 2019

Introduction to the Metaphysics of the Secret Doctrine 2/3

2-Mulaprakriti
The second major principle to consider, as the first differentiation of Parabrahm, is Mulaprakriti, a Sanskrit terms which means Root-Nature, defined as Unmanifested Primordial Matter, corresponding to the notion of primal matter in ancient philosophy.
Mûlaprakriti (Sk.). The Parabrahmic root, the abstract deific feminine principle—undifferentiated substance. Akâsa. Literally, “the root of Nature” (Prakriti) or Matter (Theosophical Glossary).
“In contradistinction to the manifested universe of matter, the term Mulaprakriti (from Mula, “the root,” and prakriti, “nature”), or the unmanifested primordial matter — called by Western alchemists Adam’s Earth — is applied by the Vedantins to Parabrahmam. Matter is dual in religious metaphysics, and septenary in esoteric teachings, like everything else in the universe. As Mulaprakriti, it is undifferentiated and eternal; as Vyakta, it becomes differentiated and conditioned, according to Svetasvatara Upanishad, I. 8, and Devi Bhagavata Purana” (SDI, 10)
A-Primordial Substance
a- A traditional query into the nature of matter, that can be considered a substantialist or hylozoic view of matter, is posited:
In short, it is the “upadhi,” or vehicle, of every possible phenomenon, whether physical, mental, or psychic (SD I, 330).
b-As such, matter can be viewed as pure objectivity, underlying all phenomena, the basis a dynamic septenary process with a  cyclical view of evolution, using the Indian notions of Manvantara and Pralaya, making it is possible to conceive of matter in a primary state of dissolution (SD I, 327-28).
c-The distinction between substance and matter is made. Substance being an essence of matter as manifested phenomena with primordial substance and divine thought as a highly spiritual nature, not separate to substance. To our perceptions, matter is purely subjective (SD I, 329).
B-Terminology
This highly abstract spiritual aspect of matter has many terms according to its diverse states of differentiation on the septenary planes. The basic explanations gives at least six terms, with many nuances and subtleties hinted at:
1-Chaos
a-The term Chaos, derived from various creation myths, especially the biblical concept of the spirit of God that hovers over the faces of the waters, is seen as Primordial Substance when it is in an early manifestation phase (SD I, 330).
b-The compound term ‘’Primordial Chaos’’ is also used, being a somewhat more active potential than Chaos simple (SD I, 332).
c-In Ancient Cosmogonies, Chaos is akin to a deep ocean, primordial waters and becomes the Soul of the World (SD I, 343-44)
2- Space (was used to define Spirit-Matter and can be applied Primordial Substance as well).
a-Space is defined as Primordial Substance or Chaos in its pre-cosmic state, and is considered as the ever unseen and unknowable deity (SD I, 336).
b- It can be considered the container and body of the Universe, with its seven levels of being (the Seven-Skinned Eternal Father-Mother) (SD I, 342).
3- Aditi
The Sanskrit term Aditi, especially when referring to cosmic substance in terms of a goddess, the celestial virgin and mother, can also be used (SD I, 333).
Âditi (Sk.). The Vedic name for the Mûlaprakriti of the Vedantists; the abstract aspect of Parabrahman, though both unmanifested and unknowable. In the Vedas Âditi is the “Mother-Goddess”, her terrestrial symbol being infinite and shoreless space (Theosophical Glossary).
4- Akasa
a-A prominent term for primordial substance is Akasha, the vehicle of divine thought with Ether or Astral Light being an expression of Akasha on lower planes of manifestation (SD I, 326).
Akâsa (Sk.). The subtle, supersensuous spiritual essence which pervades all space; the primordial substance erroneously identified with Ether. But it is to Ether what Spirit is to Matter, or Âtmâ to Kâma-rûpa.  It is, in fact, the Universal Space in which lies inherent the eternal Ideation of the Universe in its ever-changing aspects on the planes of matter and objectivity, and from which radiates the First Logos, or expressed thought (Theosophical Glossary).[1]
b-Adi-Sakti in her Akashic form of Universal Soul is considered a radiation of Mulaprakriti. Hence Akasha is considered as the first differenciation of Primordial Substance (SD I, 9-10).
c- In various traditions, the Universal Soul is symbolized by a feminine deity, a Mother-Godess or Heavenly Virgin figure, Sophia, Sephira, Saraswati/Vach, the Holy Ghost, etc. (SD I, 353)
5- Ether
a-Ether is the grossest form of Akasha, Akasha being considered the fifth cosmic principle.
Whatever the views of physical Science upon the subject, Occult Science has been teaching for ages that A’kasa — of which Ether is the grossest form — the fifth universal Cosmic Principle (to which corresponds and from which proceeds human Manas) is, cosmically, a radiant, cool, diathermanous plastic matter, creative in its physical nature, correlative in its grossest aspects and portions, immutable in its higher principles. In the former condition it is called the Sub-Root; and in conjunction with radiant heat, it recalls “dead worlds to life.” In its higher aspect it is the Soul of the World; in its lower — the destroyer (SD I, 13)
b-Furthermore, Ether is defined as one of seven states of Akasha, and can itself be divided into seven states (SDI, 331).
c- Ether is the fifth element of ancient Greek philosophy, the synthesis of the first four, to be distinguished from Aether and modern Ether (SD I, 342-43)
6- Aether
Another important term, Aether, also derived from ancient Graeco-Roman tradition, not to be confused with modern designations, is also synomous with Primordial Substance
Æther (Gr.). With the ancients the divine luminiferous substance which pervades the whole universe, the “garment” of the Supreme Deity, Zeus, or Jupiter. With the moderns, Ether, for the meaning of which in physics and chemistry see Webster’s Dictionary or any other. In esotericism  Æther is the third principle of the Kosmic Septenary; the Earth being the lowest, then the Astral light, Ether and Âkâsa (phonetically Âkâsha) the highest (Theosophical Glossary).
a-Aether is a substance that as mysterious properties related to the primordial state of creation (SD I, 333).
b-Ancient Aether was regarded as the medium plane between this life and the next (SD I, 343).
c-Aether and Chaos, in ancient philosophy, can be considered as Mind and Matter (SD I, 343).
There are roughly a dozen terms used in the Secret Doctrine to denote Primordial Substance, and it is important to understand that these are all essentially designating the same idea. However, the diversity of terms to serve to designate different aspects of Primordial Substance in the complex unfolding of cosmic evolution, which can be gleaned from the context of a given passage. Based on various passages, the following rough outline of the seven levels of primordial substance is proposed:
1-Earth; 2-Astral Light; 3-4-Aether; 5-Akasha/Ether; 6- Mulaprakriti 7-Parabrahm
D-Three, four and seven principles
Certain notions regarding the sevenfold principles at the cosmic level are explained in relation to primordial substance.
a- Chaos, Theos, Kosmos
1-Three of the terms presented can form a trinity of Chaos, Theos, and Kosmos . Theos (the Architects who pertain to both spirit and matter) fashion the primordial Chaos into the Kosmos.
In the cosmogonies of all the nations it is the "Architects" synthesized by Demiurgos (in the Bible the "Elohim"), who fashion Kosmos out of Chaos, and who are the collective Theos, "male-female," Spirit and matter" (SD I, 346).
2-- When in a pralaya state, this trinity becomes the unknowable Deity (i.e. unrevealed or hidden Deity. (SD I, 347).
3- This trinity can be synthesized as Space (SD I, 344).
b-There are seven  major elements in nature, related to the seven levels of Primordial Substance. These seven elements are manifested according to the evolution of the seven planetary rounds (SD I, 12-13).
c- All souls, Buddhis, the sixth, principle, are fundamentally identical with the Universal Over-Soul, an aspect of the Unknow Root. The soul must go through a pilgrimage through all planes to fully realize this (SD I, 18).
d- The oriental concept of Maya is adopted. All manifested life is considered illusory because finite and a differentiated aspects of the one reality, the seventh principle. (SD I, 11 fn) (SD I, 18)
E-Parabrahm and Mulaprakriti
These two principles form the basis of a duality that is present throughout all aspects of manifestation and are generally termed Pre-cosmic ideation, pre-cosmic root substance in its pre-manifestation phase and cosmic ideation and cosmic substance at the level of manifestation.
a-From the highest perspective, Parabrahm and Mulaprakriti are the aspects of the unconditioned, eternal One Principle.
“In its absoluteness, the One Principle under its two aspects (of Parabrahmam and Mulaprakriti) is sexless, unconditioned and eternal. Its periodical (manvantaric) emanation — or primal radiation — is also One, androgynous and phenomenally finite. When the radiation radiates in its turn, all its radiations are also androgynous, to become male and female principles in their lower aspects. After Pralaya, whether the great or the minor Pralaya (the latter leaving the worlds in statu quo*), the first that re-awakes to active life is the plastic A’kasa, Father-Mother, the Spirit and Soul of Ether, or the plane on the surface of the Circle. Space is called the “Mother” before its Cosmic activity, and Father-Mother at the first stage of re-awakening” (SD I, 18).
b- Just as pre-Cosmic Ideation is the root of all individual consciousness, so pre-Cosmic Substance is the substratum of matter in the various grades of its differentiation (SD I, 15).
“But just as the opposite poles of subject and object, spirit and matter, are but aspects of the One Unity in which they are synthesized, so, in the manifested Universe, there is “that” which links spirit to matter, subject to object” (SD I, 16).
c-On a more basic level the duality of spirit-matter and subject-object can be used. Note that Consciousness is a term often used to describe Spirit. Strictly speaking these terms are considered two aspects of Parabrahm only.
“Spirit (or Consciousness) and Matter are, however, to be regarded, not as independent realities, but as the two facets or aspects of the Absolute (Parabrahm), which constitute the basis of conditioned Being whether subjective or objective” (SD I, 16).
d-With the trinity of Space, Motion and the Great Breath, the Great Breath introduces us to the notion of Cosmic Ideation or Divine Thought (SD I, 15).
See Part 1

[1] The doctrine of the Logos is an important aspect of Theosophical metaphysics and will be reserved for a separate presentation. A brief outline can be glimpsed in the following outline: “ (1.) The ABSOLUTE; the Parabrahm of the Vedantins or the one Reality, SAT, which is, as Hegel says, both Absolute Being and Non-Being.
(2.) The first manifestation, the impersonal, and, in philosophy, unmanifested Logos, the precursor of the "manifested." This is the "First Cause," the "Unconscious" of European Pantheists.
(3.) Spirit-matter, LIFE; the "Spirit of the Universe," the Purusha and Prakriti, or the second Logos” (SD I, 16).