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.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Theosophy Basics: The Macrocosm and Microcosm Correspondence

The classic work on the subject (albeit in a skeptical mode) is George P. Conger's Theories of Macrocosms and Microcosms in the History of Philosophy (1922) where he shows how this concept is common to many esoteric traditions such as Neoplatonism, the Kabbalah, Sufism, and philosophers and occultists such as Nicholas of Cusa, Giordano Bruno, Paracelsus, and Jacob Boehme.
According to Antoine Faivre two main types of correspondences exist:
a) those in nature (between microcosmic and macrocosmic entities such as the planets and parts of the body or those that exist in astrology) and
b) those that exist between revealed texts (and history) and Nature such as the correspondence between the Bible and Nature as represented in the Kabbalah. (Antoine Faivre, Access to Western Esotericism, 10-15 (Albany: SUNY, 1994)
G.R.S. Mead outlines the concept in the Neoplatonic schools:

The whole of Orphic psychology was based on the axiom that man has in him potentially the sum and substance of the universe. Everything was ensouled, there was no spot in the universe without life of some kind (πἃν εἳναι σὣμα ἔμψυχον — Philoponus, De An., i). And again, 'the race of men and gods is one' (Pindar, who was a Pythagorean, quoted by Clemens, Strom., V.709). Thus the universe was an 'animal' or thing 'ensouled'. The sun is its heart, the moon its liver, and so on (Plutarch, De Fac. Lun., xv).
Thus man was called the microcosm or little world, to distinguish him from the universe or great world. Hence we find man referred to as the 'little animal' (
ζὣον μικρόν – Galen, De Usu Part., iii. 10); the 'little world' (ἄνθρωποϛ βραχὺϛ κόσμοϛ ) – Philo, De Vit. Mos., iii.673, D), or 'little heaven' (Philo, De Mund. Optif, p. 18, E); the 'little diacosm' ( μικρὸν διάκοσμον– Porphyry, Stob., Serm., xxi.185); the 'lesser world' (minorem mundum – Solin., c. v.); and so on. And as man was the Little Universe, so the universe was the Great Man (Philo, Quis Rer. Div. Haer., p. 502, C).
Thus we find Proclus (Tim., i.348) telling us that we must view man as the little universe, 'for he has both a mind and a reason (logos), a divine body and a perishable body, like the universe; in fact his whole constitution bears an analogy with the universe. (Orpheus, 175) 
This concept can be found in Eastern traditions as well, for example in India and China:
The universe consists of a Mahābrahmānda, or grand Cosmos, and of numerous Brhatbrahmānda, or macrocosms evolved from it. As is said by the Nirvāna- Tantra, all which is in the first is in the second. In the latter are heavenly bodies and beings, which are microcosms reflecting on a minor scale the greater worlds which evolve them. “As above, so below.” The mystical maxim of the West is stated in the Viśvasāra-Tantra as follows: “What is here is elsewhere; what is not here is nowhere” (yadhihāsti tadanyatra yannehāsti na tatkvacit). …
The witness within is the purusa without, for the personal soul of the microcosm corresponds to the cosmic soul (hiranyagarbha) in the macrocosm. (Arthur Avalon, Mahanirvana Tantra, Introduction, 22, 1913)
In the interpretation of the following translation, it is of value to say a few more words about the foundations of the Weltanschauung on which the method depends. This philosophy is, to a certain extent, the common property of all Chinese trends of thought. It is built on the premise that cosmos and man in the last analysis obey common laws; that man is a cosmos in miniature and is not divided from the great cosmos by any fixed limits. The same laws rule for the one as for the other, and from the one a way leads into the other. The psyche and the cosmos are related to each other like the inner and outer worlds. Therefore man participates by nature in all cosmic events, and is inwardly as well as outwardly interwoven with them. Tao, then, the meaning of the world, the way, dominates man just as it does invisible and visible nature (Heaven and Earth). (Richard Wilhelm, Discussion, 2, 11 The Secret of the Golden Flower, 1931)

H. P. Blavatsky describes this notion as follows:
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. (Isis Unveiled, Vol. I, pp. 212)
The Universe is worked and guided from within outwards. As above so it is below, as in heaven so on earth; and man — the microcosm and miniature copy of the macrocosm — is the living witness to this Universal Law, and to the mode of its action. We see that every external motion, act, gesture, whether voluntary or mechanical, organic or mental, is produced and preceded by internal feeling or emotion, will or volition, and thought or mind. As no outward motion or change, when normal, in man’s external body can take place unless provoked by an inward impulse, given through one of the three functions named, so with the external or manifested Universe. The whole Kosmos is guided, controlled, and animated by almost endless series of Hierarchies of sentient Beings, each having a mission to perform, and who — whether we give to them one name or another, and call them Dhyan-Chohans or Angels — are “messengers” in the sense only that they are the agents of Karmic and Cosmic Laws. (Secret Doctrine Vol. .I , 274)

Friday, 1 December 2017

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

Part 2 offers some advice using practical analogies of normal life and gives some insights on the use of the will:

”There is no doubt that a man must educate himself to perceive that which is beyond matter, just as he must educate himself to perceive that which is in matter. Every one knows that the early life of a child is one long process of adjustment, of learning to understand the use of the senses with regard to their special provinces, and of practice in the exercise of difficult, complex, yet imperfect organs entirely in reference to the perception of the world of matter. The child is in earnest and works on without hesitation if he means to live. Some infants born into the light of earth shrink from it, and refuse to attack the immense task which is before them, and which must be accomplished in order to make life in matter possible.”

”That the initial effort is a heavy one is evident, and it is clearly a question of strength, as well as of willing activity. But there is no way of acquiring this strength, or of using it when acquired, except by the exercise of the will. It is vain to expect to be born into great possessions.
In the kingdom of life there is no heredity except from the man’s own past. He has to accumulate that which is his. This is evident to any observer of life who uses his eyes without blinding them by prejudice; and even when prejudice is present, it is impossible for a man of sense not to perceive the fact.”
Relevant passages from Light on the Path:
Thus with the disciple, he must first become a disciple before he can even see the paths to choose between. This effort of creating himself as a disciple, the re-birth, he must do for himself without any teacher. (Comments, 2)
This is, of course, a faculty which indwells in that soul, which is inherent. The would-be disciple has to arouse himself to the consciousness of it by a fierce and resolute and indomitable effort of will.(Comments, 2)
There’s quite a good entry for Will in  HPB’s Theosophical Glossary:
Will. In metaphysics and occult philosophy, Will is that which governs the manifested universes in eternity. Will is the one and sole principle of abstract eternal MOTION, or its ensouling essence. “ The will”, says Van Helmont, “is the first of all powers. . . . The will is the property of all spiritual beings and displays itself in them the more actively the more they are freed from matter.” And Paracelsus teaches that “determined will is the beginning of all magical operations. It is because men do not perfectly imagine and believe the result, that the (occult) arts are so uncertain, while they might he perfectly certain.” Like all the rest, the Will is septenary in its degrees of manifestation. Emanating from the one, eternal, abstract and purely quiescent Will (Âtmâ in Layam), it becomes Buddhi in its Alaya state, descends lower as Mahat (Manas), and runs down the ladder of degrees until the divine Eros becomes, in its lower, animal manifestation, erotic desire. Will as an eternal principle is neither spirit nor substance but everlasting ideation. As well expressed by Schopenhauer in his Parerga, “ in sober reality there is neither matter nor spirit. The tendency to gravitation in a stone is as unexplainable as thought in the human brain. . . If matter can—no one knows why——fall to the ground, then it can also—no one knows why—-think. . . . As soon, even in mechanics, as we trespass beyond the purely mathematical, as soon as we reach the inscrutable adhesion, gravitation, and so on, we are faced by phenomena which are to our senses as mysterious as the WILL.”