Fake News: In recent months a comet named “Neowise” has been visible in the night sky. Some speculate the purpose of the Neowise comet and its near-Earth trajectory is to place a giant semicolon overhead for all to see!
Imagine you are by yourself. You have been wandering for days. You are a little tired; a little bewildered. The refrain racing through your thoughts is taking a toll: pandemic, furlough, social distancing, economic stimulus, social justice, defunding, re-open, self-quarantine, non-essential, disparity, travel bans, BLM, to mask or not to mask. With each passing week the C-19 virus becomes more personal–you know someone who has been exposed, tested positive, has become symptomatic, or worse. A joylessness is in the air.
You catch yourself looking for a sign—even a silly one. Enter: a symbolic “semicolon” indicating it is time to pause before we keep going! All the better should a giant semicolon make you smile.
Throughout the AF we have tried to make the following point: direct personal experience is apprehended, simply speaking, in states of awareness we describe as waking or non-waking.
Wisdom seeking is served by reflection, mindfulness, practice and concentration. Astrologically speaking, we assign the Moon to this category of human endeavoring.
Welcome to mid-summer 2020 and the Astrologers’ Folio. In recent posts we have been discussing the Major Arcana of the Tarot as recorded almost 100 years ago in the writings of Paul Foster Case.
P. F. Case authored a meditation to accompany his Tarot studies titled, “The Pattern on The Trestleboard”.
The “Trestleboard” is a Masonic term. P. F. Case was a 33d degree Mason. In Masonic tradition, the Trestleboard symbolizes the construction plans for a spiritual Temple whose “building” materials consist of natural and moral laws.
“This is truth about the Self” is the sub-title of the Trestleboard meditation.
P. F. Case encourages all students, as prologue to the daily study of Tarot, to read the Trestleboard meditation. Interestingly, he was quick to caution–“do not memorize” the “Pattern on the Trestleboard”—merely read it. This may suggest he wanted the agency of non-waking (Moon) awareness, not the waking state of Mercury, as the preferred channel for assimilating tenets on the Trestleboard. The entire meditation is comprised of (11) statements (0 through 10).
Given the stressful state of affairs represented by the C-19 pandemic, it occurred to AF staff a pause at this time might be welcome–a pause allowing one to step back from all the noise competing for one’s attention. Do we have too much to think about? Could the frustrations we feel be a matter of psychic bandwidth reaching a limit?
Thoughts can comfort us and they can drive us “crazy”. How to quiet the noise? Enter: a symbolic “semicolon” in the sky. May the pause represent relief.
In the remainder of this post we will select statements from The Pattern on the Trestleboard meditation.
Statement 0. “All the power that ever was or will be is here now.”
The Mind is the closest we come in a waking state to a direct experience of Spirit that animates universe. The physical brain, the entire physical body for that matter, exists to host the Mind in this endeavor.
“The brain is but one organ of the mind”. This is how author Northrup Frye, in his ambitious book “Fearful Symmetry” describes how to appreciate the 18th century artist and mystic William Blake. Today, as confidence in the mystical way of life is in doubt, we conflate the anatomy of the brain with the concept of Mind—as if the Mind’s ideation is physical and would tip a scale at about three pounds (the approximate weight of the adult human brain).
Statement 1. “I am a center of expression for the Primal Will-to-Good which eternally creates and sustains the universe.”
The cultivation of identity is a wisdom pursuit. It is shaped by one’s moral development expressed in answer to the following question : What should I do?
Statement 2. “Through me its unfailing Wisdom takes form in thought and word.”
As we age, competing influences (family, employer, community) can challenge one’s sense of Self. Life situations can make it hard to “know one’s thoughts” or “just how to convey one’s thoughts properly with words”.
“Unfailing wisdom” may allude one’s grasp one moment and surrender to it a moment later. The cultivation of moral discernment, borne of trial and error especially, wins out–revealing, to self and others, a depth of personality that heartens the company one keeps.
Statement 3. “Filled with Understanding of its perfect law, I am guided, moment by moment, along the path of liberation.”
If we quiet our mind, and pause a racing heart, it becomes possible to sense a new dawn ahead, even as the pandemic “stuff” crowds out peace of mind. Our thoughts represent a path to moral discernment leading to wisdom.
Statement 4. “From the exhaustless riches of its Limitless Substance, I draw all things needful, both spiritual and material.”
Ask a scientist–is the brain capable of “seeing”? Answer: no. The brain may react to stimulation but it cannot see. The Mind, in waking and non-waking brain states, by contrast, is all about visualization. The Mind sees because the Spirit sees! A brain, like the clay that animates it, and, in the end, the rest it will long endure as dust, while remarkable, is totally agnostic. Not so, the Mind.
The brain can be deconstructed into parts–lobes and regions, with different purposes. It is possible thereby to measure brain function. It is not possible, however, to predict the brain by examining its parts–let alone the brain’s role as host to the incarnated Mind.
The Mind can contemplate beauty, understand what it means to feel needed, and experience love. The Mind is not easily deconstructed. (Shall we confer with Dostoevsky on this point?)
We are not running out of bandwidth! At a deep level we sense the brain’s seemingly boundless capacity to host the Mind in service of our Spiritual development.
Statement 5. “I recognize the manifestation of the undeviating Justice in all the circumstances of my life.”
Eyes open or closed, it does not matter, Spiritual training is all about visualization guided by informed intent. Add: practice–and we begin to sense, “What should I do?” is a question capable of answering itself.
Statement 6. “In all things, great and small, I see the Beauty of divine expression.”
In the West, wisdom studies and spiritual practice are two dimension of self-development. Thoughts and their mastery define the opportunity.
Do thoughts hide as much as they reveal? Can we know if our thoughts, like a window, are transparent—does the light beyond shine through?
If our thoughts were transparent, would we need the anthropoligist, the psychologist, let alone the astrologer?
Consider the cathedral, the synagogue or the mosque—windows are a key element of sacred architecture in each instance. The “light beyond” is not only visible, it has long been a votive for divine Love. In an earlier AF post we observed, “Temples are built to homage Love as it is encountered beyond the tabernacle itself, like the stars in a planetarium.”
None of us enter a temple to remain for long. Our body is a temple and our stay is temporary. “What should I do?” The West has known for a long time, the answer in part is suggested by the Lord’s prayer: “Thy will be done”. Thy will be done–that’s “what I should do.”
Statement 7. “Living from that Will, supported by its unfailing Wisdom and Understanding, mine is the Victorious Life.”
Before the C-19 virus, with its capacity to deconstruct one’s health and entire economies, a lesser known, and secular pandemic has been afoot for some time throughout the West. The C-19 virus attacks the lungs. The secular deconstruction of institutions attacks the family, employment, church and government as centers of trust, thereby wounding how we experience community.
Is secular deconstruction a form of meta digestion? Isn’t that what our bodies do when we consume a complex protein or carbohydrate as food? We deconstruct it only to seek more! What if we over graze? The “Fresh food urban desert” is no metaphor. A world without trusted institutions is a metaphorical wasteland.
Is a secular agenda running out of fuel? Is this why the vulgarization of society continues to feed upon itself with no reprieve in view?
To what end? To render the Victorious Life moot? May the pause represented by the giant semicolon allow us to fight another day!
Statement 8. “I look forward with confidence to the perfect realization of the Eternal Splendor of the Limitless Light.”
How to assure the guidance we are seeking? Preparation. Visualization.
“I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4
Statement 9. “In thought and word and deed, I rest my life, from day to day, upon the sure Foundation of Eternal Being.”
Is Eternal Being, metaphysically speaking, a form of infrastructure of the Mind? Is Eternal Being inevitable like retirement? We could study ancient texts to cultivate a modern day perspective on the subject.
While discussing The Wheel of Fortune, Major Key 20, in the “Wisdom of the Tarot”, P. F. Case describes “perfect faith” as [paraphrase] “non-waking awareness under the governance of right reason.”
“Right reason” sounds like “discernment”. “Spiritual guidance and understanding” internalized as “perception in the absence of judgment” and actualized by faith—satisfies how discernment is understood in a Christian context.
Without faith, does right reason stand a chance?
Statement 10. (Last statement) “The Kingdom of Spirit is embodied in my flesh.”
These images are sufficient. May they bless you. We hope the pause has been as good as a rest. We bid you peace through practice.
Should you have time to consider a musical reflection to accompany this post, we refer you to: Camille Saint-Saeëns “The Swan” as performed by Yo-yo Ma and Kathryn Stott at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qrKjywjo7Q
A Reference of symbols, charts and definitions important to Western Mystery Tradition studies is listed as Post No. 900. Enter “900” in the Search box to be directed to this location.
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