The classic image of Libra, blindfolded, a woman holding a balance scale at its fulcrum. The scale idealizes a measure of fairness when two pans suspended from a common beam attain equilibrium. The hermetic interpretation of the beam is suggested by its fulcrum—a still point representing Love as the organizing principle of universe.
If fairness may be considered a process, and on occasion a momentary outcome of direct lived experience, fairness may also be seen as a form of spiritual alchemy in service of Love. Momentary equilibrium, thus, represents a sought after “spiritual alchemical gold of the heart”; the “dross”--the disequilibrium we encounter along the way in relationships, resources, safety and the spiritual energy sufficient to sustain one’s belief at a deep level, in a sacred narrative of life–as something holy, beyond ordinary, even beyond beautiful.The blindfold is a reminder—the domain of sacred fairness is a non-waking state of being.
Why the blindfold? Is the blindfold a symbol for objectivity or indifference? Is indifference the ideal arbiter of fairness? Speaking existentially, Universe is arguably pretty indifferent to the human moment. So is Nature. In the Western Mystery Tradition —we are reminded Universe is something “Nature hath not made”.
Most of human history is a record of repeated attempts to discern fairness in all the indifference that abounds (seeking the bliss in the pain is how early 20th century mystic Sri Aurobindo would put words to the phenomenon).
Reason speaks with authority and is the engine of legal convention. Revelation is an authority quite apart from the authority of legal reasoning. Revelation serves concepts of fairness and authority through idiosyncratic cultural adaptations–and there are many. Sacred literature is exemplified by revealed authority. Where is Solomon to sort it out? Enter: Libra.
From a Western Mystery perspective, reason is a capacity of Mind attributable to waking awareness—think Sun. Revealed knowledge, by contrast, is attributable to non-waking awareness—think Moon. Is Libra capable of traveling cofidently in both idioms? She is.
Secularists are Sun seeking–a bright light of a nearby day star hiding as much as it reveals. The Moon, as reflected Sunlight–a lesser light, keeps the company of shepherds and the stars. Favoring one over the other is as silly as choosing exhalation v inhalation while breathing, or yin over yang while living. Identity is plural.
We really have no clue what it means to suggest identity might be singular. The gold is in the gestalt. Remember: even though sacred images favor the circle—the circle is a special case ellipse—and the identity of an ellipse is only and always defined by foci–two not one. It takes two foci to make one circle.
Equilibrium points the way. A few days each year—the Equinoxes (Spring and Autumn) are defined by equal measures of day and night. Waking and non-waking awareness achieve a certain equipoise, albeit momentary.
Meanwhile, seeking fairness remains an old pursuit. And we are really good at determining what is not fair. A blindfold is probably appropriate. In modern parlance, a blindfold may symbolize a desire to minimize confirmation bias.
“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18
When it comes to matters of the heart we seem to believe “love is blind”—thank you Libra. Will we some day determine Love is blind and unfair? With eyes closed, maybe not. With eyes open-likely.
Saturn is exalted in Libra. Imagine: Cold Saturn Airy Libra. It is difficult to envision a combination more penetrating--penetrating to the bone of one’s being [note–Saturn rules the bones interior to the human form]. By contrast, matters of the heart are pulsing, warm and full of feeling, think Venus–the native ruler of Libra [note: Venus rules the hair and skin–two hallmarks of outer beauty].
Each category of fairness, the Saturn variety or the Venus variety, invokes a blindfolded Libra as an agent of equilibrium. Saturn is remote and cold–its only source of warmth–the fires lit by the wisdom it keeps. Venus, by contrast is all earthly action and delight. Venus is native to Libra; exalted Libra engages Saturn.
Anatomy. Entanglements of the heart and genitalia–are a formula for action, energy and novelty, think: Leo and Scorpio. Enter: Mars (Scorpio) and the Sun (Leo) to join Venus. [Suggestion: Leo invites us to pay attention to the 5th house–even as Libra is closely identified with the 7th.]
Digression: the fifth house is the domain of creativity, romance and children. Most Westerners today, do not wish to associate significant personal relationships with authority, hierarchy or obedience–the language of marriage. What is sought today is the love affair–connections ruled by the 5th house, by Leo—and the heart. In the West when people ask about their partner—while tradition suggests the 7th house is the locus of the question–migration to the 5th house may be the more serviceable call. Today, the heart and the genitalia are the “organs” of relationship in the West! Astrologers risk missing the point if they over-rely upon 7th house traditions. Back to our discussion.
If the questions calling upon Libra are soul deep you are in Saturn’s domain—where the lonely pain of lessons “hard to see” and “recurring” loom; think: the trials of Job. A big consolation awaits! You will also keep the company the Moon—the lower alchemical octave of Saturn. What does this mean to also include the Moon? It means your biggest lesson challenges will be accompanied by memories, your dreams and your mother’s influence. You will arrive already expected!
Saturn holds sway when recurring Life lessons are involved– (viz., I am attracted to partners who are not good for me). We associate Venus with romantic love between two people.
When the Moon and Saturn are present—we are dealing with powerful personal content even if a romance is the triggering event. If moments of Venusian equilibrium are separated by heaps of Saturn disequilibrium, loneliness may follow; trusting Love to be nearby (as close as the fulcrum) can become difficult.
Equilibrium—what might it imply? Order? Absence of change? Absence of novelty? Is death a good example of equilibrium? Maybe. “For dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Genesis 3:19) Maybe the moment of death provides for equilibrium–a state of being where personal history ceases; a body rests and re-simplifies itself (to dust from dust). But death is not a destination anymore than evidence of high tide on a beach is “where the ocean ends”. The ocean does not “end”—it moves–like the river, the quanta and light itself! The ocean is a good proxy for non-waking awareness (eyes closed). Because Neptune–spiritually speaking is the higher octave of Venus–the blindfold allows Libra to channel the ocean for non-waking insights.
Is moderation a state of equilibrium? Moderation is one way, perhaps a very important way, to appreciate the meaning inherent in all direct lived experience—but equilibrium is not a proxy for moderation. Moderation resides amidst the virtuous real estate also occupied by meaning and responsibility. Moderation so considered is sacred. Enter: the Buddhist middle way.
Equilibrium does imply transition–as a liminal boundary between dis-equal states. Liminal: one threshold holding plural integrities (mundane and the sacred, for example). Like liminality, equilibrium signals a transition parsing inbound from outbound–or, in Jungian parlance—ego and shadow; in Western Mystery terms—waking and non-waking awareness. Logos and Love.
In the Western Mystery Tradition we also learn the liminal moment represents a new way of seeing. Occultists have long reported remarkable insights, often arriving “with suddenness” (think: epiphany) entering one’s awareness by way of a “peripheral vision”—not by way of what is “in full view”. Equilibrium and the liminal represent a momentary poise between phenomenal worlds—-between high and low tides; waking and non-waking; paradox and intuition; what is mundane and what is holy: the infinite in the finite.
Revelation is not the confirmation of a theory (confirmation of a theory would be science). Confirmation of a theory is often greeted with “Eureka” or “Aha!” Revealed truth, on the other hand, is often experienced as “a dark night of the soul” or “a great terror with great fascination” (mysterium tremendum et fascinans). Revelation and crisis go together. Theory and proof go together. Theory can be empowered with a pragmatic hubris (think: Prometheus; Icarus). Crisis remains profoundly human (think: Oedipus). The challenge in a waking state: experiment with practices whereby love and service for the benefit of others–replaces pride as the vector of purposeful inevitability.
The Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) are monotheistic. Many of their asserted truths are revealed truths. The revelations of Muhammad, for example, are many–most notably, his Night Journey from Mecca to Jerusalem. Much of the Qur’an is a transcription of the revelations of the Prophet. Revealed truth is not beyond the scope or teachings codified by a Western Mystery Tradition; it is, however, beyond the “four corners” of today’s discussion about Equilibrium.
Imagine: a social crisis beckons—members of one’s community are starving. A. “Please, in the name of secular humanism, help feed the hungry!” B. “Do this unto the least of these and you do it unto me.” C. “Be not afraid to entertain strangers; you entertain angels unaware.”
Cosmic intelligence and human intellect are distinguishable.
In the modern era in the West so much of direct lived experience feels like a contest. Parents v children, self v partners, economic self-interest v macro forces, public debate. Do these contests well fought deliver us to a state of equilibrium? Is this the promise of wisdom studies?
Our friends from the East have long known resistance and pain always co-exist. In the West we celebrate the contest of the Olympics and its Greek heritage–and what it hides in plain view: the Greek word for contest is agon (yes, as in, agon-y).
A True Contest of Olympians…
In the shadows of a far corner, the undefeated favorite, Cosmic Intelligence weighing in at “20 drops of water in a billion cubic miles”. In the near corner, in white regalia and black hat, novice and underdog–weighing in at only 5 pounds dry weight (no water)–a mighty challenger Human Intellect!
“Error is the price we pay for progress”–to invoke Alfred North Whitehead, mid-century mathematician and philosopher.
“Practice makes improvement”–Mrs. Mansfield, Elementary Teacher, Sumter County, Georgia c 1990
Since 1848 we have French writer, editor and critic, Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr to thank for famously introducing the following epigram to the Western literary community: “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”. The translation is well known: ‘the more things change the more they continue to be the same’.
Is Karr describing a category of equilibrium? Does every contest begin by forgetting “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”?
““Change is the description of the adventures of eternal objects in the evolving universe …” –Whitehead
Thank you for your patient attention.
We bid you peace through process and practice,
Should you have time to consider a musical reflection to accompany this post, we refer you to: “Time Waits for No One” written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards; performed by The Rolling Stones. Licensed to UMG (on behalf of Polydor Records); Sony ATV Publishing, ASCAP, SOLAR Music Rights Management. Link to YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vC0Qt1lvLq8
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