Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Theosophy Basics: Body, Soul, Spirit

Theosophy is known for its emphasis on seven principles; however, this concept can be simplified into a threefold division, often described as body, soul, and spirit. The interesting passage below gives a very theosophical description of this, with the holistic microcosm-macrocosm correspondence and, distinctive to Theosophy, a more modern-sounding scientific concept of spiritual evolution which correlates the Pythagorean Monad with an evolving soul, considered in atomic terms, with a traditional spiritual teleology. Note it is perhaps better not to consider the Paracelsian Three Spirits as identical with the Proclean Intelligible Triad, although of course they are related, the latter Triad corresponding to the later notion of the Triple Logos :

"Three spirits live and actuate man," teaches Paracelsus; "three worlds pour their beams upon him; but all three only as the image and echo of one and the same all-constructing and uniting principle of production.
The first is the spirit of the elements (terrestrial body and vital force in its brute condition);
the second, the spirit of the stars (sidereal or astral body — the soul);
the third is the Divine spirit (Augoeides)."

Our human body, being possessed of "primeval earth-stuff," as Paracelsus calls it, we may readily accept the tendency of modern scientific research "to regard the processes of both animal and vegetable life as simply physical and chemical."
This theory only the more corroborates the assertions of old philosophers and the Mosaic Bible, that from the dust of the ground our bodies were made, and to dust they will return. But we must remember that
" 'Dust thou art, to dust returnest,'
Was not spoken of the soul."

Man is a little world — a microcosm inside the great universe. Like a foetus, he is suspended, by all his three spirits, in the matrix of the macrocosmos;
and while his terrestrial body is in constant sympathy with its parent earth,
his astral soul lives in unison with the sidereal anima mundi. He is in it, as it is in him, for the world-pervading element fills all space, and is space itself, only shoreless and infinite.
As to his third spirit, the divine, what is it but an infinitesimal ray, one of the countless radiations proceeding directly from the Highest Cause — the Spiritual Light of the World?

This is the trinity of organic and inorganic nature — the spiritual and the physical, which are three in one, and of which Proclus says that
"The first monad is the Eternal God;
 the second, eternity;
the third, the paradigm, or pattern of the universe";
 the three constituting the Intelligible Triad.

Everything in this visible universe is the outflow of this Triad, and a microcosmic triad itself.
And thus they move in majestic procession in the fields of eternity, around the spiritual sun, as in the heliocentric system the celestial bodies move round the visible suns. The Pythagorean Monad, which lives "in solitude and darkness," may remain on this earth forever invisible, impalpable, and undemonstrated by experimental science. Still the whole universe will be gravitating around it, as it did from the "beginning of time," and with every second, man and atom approach nearer to that solemn moment in the eternity, when the Invisible Presence will become clear to their spiritual sight.

When every particle of matter, even the most sublimated, has been cast off from the last shape that forms the ultimate link of that chain of double evolution which, throughout millions of ages and successive transformations, has pushed the entity onward; and when it shall find itself reclothed in that primordial essence, identical with that of its Creator, then this once impalpable organic atom will have run its race, and the sons of God will once more "shout for joy" at the return of the pilgrim.
(Isis Unveiled, Vol. I, pp. 212-13)

Monday, 19 September 2016

Astrology : Autumn Equinox – September 22, 2016

The Light that Shines in the Darkness

Capping off the eclipse season six days after the Lunar Eclipse, we arrive at the third cardinal station of the year, the Autumn Equinox, marking the halway point of the astrological year, the begining of the descent into darkness prior to the return of the light at the Vernal Equinox. H. P. Blavatsky, following Skinner and Seyfarth, writes :

“According to solar months (of thirty days, one of the calendars in use among the Hebrews) all remarkable events of the Old Testament happened on the days of the equinoxes and the solstices; for instance, the foundations and the dedications of the temples and altars” (and consecration of the tabernacle). “On the same cardinal days, the most remarkable events of the New Testament happened; for instance, the annunciation, the birth, the resurrection of Christ, and the birth of John the Baptist. And thus we learn that all remarkable epochs of the New Testament were typically sanctified a long time before by the Old Testament, beginning at the day succeeding the end of the Creation, which was the day of the vernal equinox. During the crucifixion, on the 14th day of Nisan, Dionysius Areopagita saw, in Ethiopia, an eclipse of the sun, and he said, Now, the Lord (Jehovah) is suffering something. Then Christ arose from the dead on the 22d March, 17 Nisan, Sunday, the day of the vernal equinox [Seyf., quoting Philo, de Septen]––that is, on Easter, or on the day when the sun gives new life to the earth.'' (Collected Writings, XIV, p. 136) (French Masonic Scholar  Ragon mentions that the traditional Vernal Solar Eclipse Easter symbolism corresponds to the Autumn Lunar Eclipse, La messe, P. 382).

Ragon further explains, regarding the Autumn Equinox, ''on that day, the Sun advances into the Southern Hemisphere and consequently gets farther from us who inhabit the Northern Hemisphere; also, from our standpoint, the days become shorter, the earth no longer produces, and, each day, it loses more of its color.

All these events, as natural as they are necessary, have given rise to different allegories that are very ingenius and spicy. The oldest and most universal is the battle between the Sun and the Prince of Darkness, fixed at the autumn equinox  and in which the latter gains the victory.

It is at the same period that is related the death of Osiris, of Mithra, of Bacchus, of Adonis, of Attis and all of the allegorical represetatives of the Sun, that are made to descend and sojourn in Hell, until their ressurection, fixed at the Spring Equinox. (Ragon, La Messe, p. 382)

Spacey, Argumentative Grand Cross
In the week since the lunar eclipse, most of the cranky, hazy aspects have faded somewhat, the main difference is that the Moon (in Gemini) has moved into an opposition with Saturn (in Sagittarius) neatly forming a Mutable Grand Cross with  Mercury (in Virgo) and Neptune (in Pisces). The Moon can be considered the hot angle in this configuration, giving a very social, trippy, emotional mood challenged by critical, rigid, argumentative issues from the other angles, thereby giving dynamic possibilities for dealing with relationship and social issues. Of course this configuration onlys last for a few hours, but can be quite powerful. Moreover, Mercury stationed direct only one day prior, and so the possibilities for misunderstandings, mishaps and malfunctions are still quite strong.

Old Wounds
Things get complicated though; there are two additionnal oppositions that pump up the intensity even more. There is a Moon/Mars opposition that gives a combative edge to the talkative Moon in Gemini and one can also consider Mars to be at the apex of a T-Square with a Jupiter/Sun conjunction (in Libra/Virgo) and a retrograde Chiron (in Pisces). This can indicate dealing with old wounds and self-esteem issues that will come to the surface around this time, in a very ego-centered manner. (It might be good to have some self-confidence, forgiveness and optimism-boosting strategies on hand, be it a Frank Capra film, a book of Roman Stoic sayings, a Mozart symphony,...whatever works for you.)

Creative, Cooperative Mystic Rectangle
Every cloud has a silver lining, as the saying goes, and amidst all these oppositions, we are graced with a sociable Mystic Rectangle connecting the Venus angle of the Mystical Rectangle to the Grand Cross via the Moon/Mars opposition; the other opposition of the rectangle being Venus/ Uranus (in Aries). This can mean personal relationships can become emotionally conflicted, but with the friendly Moon, Venus, Mars and Uranus Trines and Sextiles forming a favorable safety valve for original, creative, cooperative solutions. (Hopefully, this will allow UN relief efforts to enter Syria and the Peace Efforts to advance:

In about a week after this, the positive Sun, Jupiter and Mercury in Libra vibrations should kick in and the ensuing two months look to be the smoothest period of the year; so the Mystic Rectangle could be seen as an optimistic note for a calmer period prior to a stormier Winter Solstice.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Astrology: Penumbral Lunar Eclipse, September 16, 2016

Tests, Trials, and Tribulations
With three T-Squares with Saturn, Mars, Pluto at the apexes all within 35% of each other, this looks to be a very intense eclipse, like Hercules having to face Cerberus, the three-headed dog before descending into Hades, a step necessary for his spiritual initiation.  The Solar Eclipse was fairly intense, but quite clear and straightforward, whereas this one is similar, but more volatile, fuzzy, and complex. Hot on the heals of Jupiter's boisterous entry into Libra (September 9) and an exact Saturn/Neptune square (September 10), one could consider this period to be the beginning of a shift in the mood of planetary configurations that have marked 2016 so far. The motion of Mars in retrograde has limited its passage to Scorpio and Sagittarius all year and so its move into Capricorn in a few weeks will be another welcome change, although Mars still has important conjunctions with Pluto and Neptune, so combative Mars will continue to be a significant force all of this year.

Intense Intellect

Mercury (in Virgo), with still a week to go in retrograde motion, forms a stellium with the Sun, Jupiter and the North Node and is in opposition to both and Neptune and the Moon (in Pisces) along with squares with Mars and Saturn (in Sagittarius) and a trine to Pluto (in Capricorn). This could make for a very dynamic, talkative, critical, outgoing motivation for rational precision that feels hampered by strong but vague feelings and intuitions. This give a lot of energy for ambitious problem-solving resolutions such as the current Syrian diplomatic strategy and can be successful if excessive zeal is kept in check. (

Sensitive Emotions

Although well-situated in warm, intuitive, sensitive Pisces, the Full Moon does not benefit from any easy aspects and so has to contend with the Jupiter, Sun, Mercury oppositions and Saturn, Mars squares alone, except for a conjunction with a retrograde Chiron, which only adds to the sensitivity factor. The ever-present Neptune in the same sign, with the longstanding trine to Pluto does give an underlying spiritual inspiration to the mix.

Assertive Leadership

Pluto's trines with the Sun and Mercury means that Pluto is giving support in dealing with the five planets in opposition along the Virgo-Pisces axis. This could give something like a strong desire to engage in altruistic service to worthy causes, but with disagreements and conflicts due to power struggles and rigid attitudes. The Pluto, Venus, Uranus T-Square could give some pretty freaky behaviour, or ideally, focused, creative, and cooperative problem-solving.

Although something of a portent of new planetary patterns, this eclipse deals with similar challenges seen during most of the year with the long-standing, recently dissolved Saturn/Neptune/Jupiter T-square and so is quite complementary to the earlier Spring eclipse at the equinox. There seems to be a strongly polarized opposition between an active, critical, rational force and a meditative, sensitive, intuitive force. Achieving a balanced measure between these two energies would be ideal, albeit challenging. And there are the other oppositions of optimism/pessimism, realism/idealism, control/freedom, conservatism/revolution, practical/mystical that involve all of the aspects with the outer planets making this eclipse a critical point in achieving a balance with these issues.

Although the easy aspects are a little sparse here, there is a tremendous amount of energy that can be put to good use. Probably a key strategy would be a balanced handling of the positive Mars and Pluto aspects, which could be a kind of Karma-Yoga approach (placing duty above personal benefit) to a strong, proactive sense of leadership. Therefore qualities of selflessness, inclusiveness, fairness, listening to others in a open, cooperative way could help balance the inherent gung ho tendencies at play here.

It is probably preferable not overextend oneself on this day and the good traditional Asian advice of fasting, chastity and copious bathing/showering at this time would be most beneficial. Peace.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Theosophics Basics: Karma, part 2 of 2

7- Karma operates on three planes (physical, psychical, and spiritual)
Karma is considered to operate on the five lower planes. In simpler terms, it can be considered from three levels: the physical, psychic and spiritual, that is pertaining to the act, the intention and the underlying harmony:
As a necessary consequence of the septenary division of man, it is evident that we are capable of generating force on different planes of existence. The consideration of the working of Karma on all these planes is too complicated to be treated of here, and we shall, for the sake of convenience, adopt the trinitarian division. In this view of the case the Karma of an individual is divisible into three classes, physical, psychical, and spiritual. 

The physical Karma would be the act itself; the psychical Karma, the intention or the mental counterpart of the act; the spiritual Karma has relation to the harmony underlying all Nature. From the law of spiritual dynamics, elsewhere stated, it is clear that this classification is in the order of ascending power. The Karmic value of an act is the resultant of these three sets of forces. (Chatterji/Holloway, Man, Fragments of a Forgotten History, 124)

8- There are three types of Karma
The Theosophical perspective follows Hindu philosophy in dividing Karma into three groups:

First — that which has not begun to produce any effect in our lives owing to the operation on us of some other karmic causes. This is under a law well known to physicists, that two opposing forces tend to neutrality, and that one force may be strong enough to temporarily prevent the operation of another one. This law works on the unseen mental and karmic planes or spheres of being just as it does on the material ones. (Ocean 93)
Second — that karma which we are now making or storing up by our thoughts and acts, and which will operate in the future when the appropriate body, mind, and environment are taken up by the incarnating Ego in some other life, or whenever obstructive karma is removed. (Judge, Ocean of Theosophy ,94)
Third — that karma which has begun to produce results. It is the operating now in this life on us of causes set up in previous lives in company with other Egos. And it is in operation because, being most adapted to the family stock, the individual body, astral body, and race tendencies of the present incarnation, it exhibits itself plainly, while other unexpended karma awaits its regular turn. (Ocean 94)

9- Karma is collective
Like reincarnation, although explained on an individual basis, the law of Karma is based on the idea of non-separateness, hence the idea of the interdependance of humanity. So Karma is considered to be distributive. There is national Karma and global Karma which is composed of the sum total of individual Karma. Each person has a degree of responsibility for the conditions of the environment one lives in and one’s individual Karma cannot account for all the conditions one is born in:

 It is held as a truth among Theosophists that the interdependence of Humanity is the cause of what is called Distributive Karma, and it is this law which affords the solution to the great question of collective suffering and its relief. It is an occult law, moreover, that no man can rise superior to his individual failings, without lifting, be it ever so little, the whole body of which he is an integral part. In the same way, no one can sin, nor suffer the effects of sin, alone. In reality, there is no such thing as "Separateness"; and the nearest approach to that selfish state, which the laws of life permit, is in the intent or motive. (Blavatsky, Key 202)

10- Karma operates through the cycles of nature and human evolution:
It is true, on the other hand, that the exoteric cycles of every nation have been correctly made to be derived from, and depend on, sidereal motions. The latter are inseparably blended with the destinies of nations and men. But in their purely physical sense, Europe knows of no other cycles than the astronomical, and makes its computations accordingly. Nor will it hear of any other than imaginary circles or circuits in the starry heavens that gird them —
“With centric and eccentric scribbled o’er
Cycle and epicycle, orb in orb . . .” (Secret Doctrine I, 645)

11-Awareness of Karma is essential for spiritual progress
Karma points to the path of ethics and responsibility and also a spiritual path. By listening to one’s inner voice, one can transform the outer person and avoid being lead astray by the inner astral being and thus elevate oneself to one’s ideal celestial prototype, the choice of one’s orientation is intimately connected with Karma:
 Those who believe in Karma have to believe in destiny, which, from birth to death, every man is weaving thread by thread around himself, as a spider does his cobweb; and this destiny is guided either by the heavenly voice of the invisible prototype outside of us, or by our more intimate astral, or inner man, who is but too often the evil genius of the embodied entity called man. Both these lead on the outward man, but one of them must prevail; and from the very beginning of the invisible affray the stern and implacable law of compensation steps in and takes its course, faithfully following the fluctuations. When the last strand is woven, and man is seemingly enwrapped in the net-work of his own doing, then he finds himself completely under the empire of this self-made destiny. It then either fixes him like the inert shell against the immovable rock, or carries him away like a feather in a whirlwind raised by his own actions, and this is — Karma. (Secret Doctrine I, 639)

12- Karma can be improved through human cooperation
This state will last till man’s spiritual intuitions are fully opened, which will not happen before we fairly cast off our thick coats of matter; until we begin acting from within, instead of ever following impulses from without; namely, those produced by our physical senses and gross selfish body. Until then the only palliative to the evils of life is union and harmony — a Brotherhood in actu, and altruism not simply in name. The suppression of one single bad cause will suppress not one, but a variety of bad effects. And if a Brotherhood or even a number of Brotherhoods may not be able to prevent nations from occasionally cutting each other’s throats — still unity in thought and action, and philosophical research into the mysteries of being, will always prevent some, while trying to comprehend that which has hitherto remained to them a riddle, from creating additional causes in a world already so full of woe and evil. Knowledge of Karma gives the conviction that if
“. . . . virtue in distress, and vice in triumph
Make atheists of mankind,”*
(Secret Doctrine I, 644)