“All streams run to the sea but the sea is never full.” Ecclesiastes 1:7
Welcome to the Astrologers’ Folio, installment No. 32, “Review: en route to Love and Wonderment”.
Imagine: we have reached a landing along a spiral stair where we might rest before continuing. Today we pause to review four (4) key concepts which derive from earlier AF posts Nos. 1-5. It is a short but important review. We will add to it in future posts.
The AF is all about fostering interest and competency in the Western hermetic arts and occult history. The AF is pre-occupied with the scaffolding and preparation allowing one to attempt the great work of restoring the architecture of the Self, as a an object of Love and Wonderment.
The AF is not a school where careful study delivers one to mastery of Astrology, Tarot or Alchemy as a practice There are many good schools for developing the craft of hermetic arts and practice. From time to time we make mention of them under entry No. 900 Western Mystery Tradition Terms and References. (To locate simply enter “900” in the search field). The AF does not endorse any institution or teacher, nor is the AF compensated for links to external resources included in a given post.
Children are famous for the following travel mantra: “are we almost there, yet?” At a minimum, the question suggests we are en route. Considerations of first cause, ultimate meaning, relevancy and purpose make it apparent, adults, in their own way, ask the same question: “Are we almost there, yet?”
Some travel plans are improved by consulting a guide or a guidebook. In 1972 a small publication, “Lonely Planet”, is founded by Tony and Maureen Wheeler. Millions of readers hence and almost 50 years later, the “Lonely Planet” is part of the travel guide canon in the West. A great deal of Lonely Planet content is contributed by travelers who volunteer their insights based upon first hand encounters.
The pantheon of Western Mystery Tradition literature also relies upon prescient first hand insights of fellow travelers.
Along the way, we learn life’s journey is comprised of many excursions, each with a beginning, middle and end–like literature–like adventure itself. From a great 19th century American travel narrative by Herman Melville, we are reminded:
“Think not, is my eleventh commandment; and sleep when you can, is my twelfth.”
“It is not down on any map; true places never are.”
Odysseus traveled via Homeric Galley (far left); Ahab on the keel and sails of the Pequod (right).
Homeric Galley ships were generally 100 feet long. The center deck halyards supported at the most, two sails. Rower’s benches occupied mid-ship. The galley was designed to be beached for easy off-loading and launching. Homer’s epic was part of the Greek literary canon by 6th century BCE.
Melville’s description of the Pequod follows: “She was a ship of the old school, rather small if anything; with an old fashioned claw-footed look about her. Long seasoned and weather-stained in the typhoons and calms of all four oceans, her old hull’s complexion was darkened like a French grenadier’s, who has alike fought in Egypt and Siberia. Her venerable bows looked bearded. Her masts… stood stiffly up like the spines of the three old kings of Cologne. Her ancient decks were worn and wrinkled, like the pilgrim-worshipped flag-stone in Canterbury Cathedral where Beckett bled. But to all these her old antiquities, were added new and marvellous features, pertaining to the wild business that for more than half a century she had followed…” Moby Dick, chapter 16. Reminder: the Pequod sets sail on its multi-year voyage from Nantucket Island on Christmas Day. Moby Dick was published in 1851, October.
The following review draws from previously posted Astrologers’ Folio entries, Nos. 1-5. They contain (4) ideas which shape the AF perspective on occult history and how the Western Mystery Tradition may be considered at this point in the human narrative. Links to previous posts 1-5 are highlighted for reference. Each link opens in a new tab.
- 1. Western Mystery Tradition
- 2. Waking v Non-waking Awareness (consciousness)
- 3. Counter-intuitive and Astrology
- 4. Sun v Moon
- “The Western Mystery Tradition, a teacher-to-student conveyed legacy of the hermetic arts, is itself a repository of many homelands (cultures) presented as uniquely expressed symbolic (wordless) languages. You are no doubt familiar with several: Alchemy, Astrology, Qabalah, Tarot and Gematria to name a few; and several extent cultures upon which they draw deeply for content and form: Babylonia, Chaldea, Egypt, Rome, Judea, Greece, Sumaria, Persia, Arabia, Canada, Latin America, Europe and the United States.
- The intelligibility of the hermetic arts is best revealed by association through practice and repetition (not memorization per se).
- The hermetic arts are likely to be more easily mastered if the goal is fluency not prognostication.
- Waking and Non-waking Awareness; “Shut your eyes and see.” James Joyce.
- We meditate, typically, with eyes closed. We pray, typically, with eyes closed. Does this matter? Maybe the good skeptic in us neither meditates nor prays. With eyes closed [however]..all of us sleep.
- Two states of awareness, waking and non-waking states, are requisite to form one incarnate human being. Taken together, these inner and outer states inform both a cosmic and a cultural identity for each individual. Our cultural (outer) identity is shaped by the locus of a waking state; the non-waking state serves as a venue of interactions, perhaps from the womb onward, that comprise the mysterious (inner) realm of the “deep Self” or psyche.
- “In my father’s house there are many mansions…”
- The Sun and Moon, respectively, symbolize waking and non-waking awareness.To consider the Sun primary and the Moon a lesser luminary, would be to affirm waking awareness a state of being superior to non-waking awareness—despite the following question: if we could only contemplate the Sun would it be possible to infer the Moon? Answer: No.
- It is possible to infer the Sun when acknowledging the Moon.
- In this sense, the identity of the Moon is plural–it also holds the Sun.
- It is the Sun, surprisingly, whose identity is intrinsic to the Moon and not visa versa. If we could only know the Moon (wordless non-waking awareness), we would know the Sun.
- Does our non-waking state, similarly, hold the waking? We think so. The realm of of the non-waking state, the Moon, “is about re-connecting one’s spiritual identity through remembrance, not activity in the world.”
- Counter-intuitive and Astrology. As we engage figurative language (the language of allegory, symbol, revelation and metaphor) we transition from “outer” to “inner”, to a subjective place where we trade “seeing” for “insight”.
- Do we study Astrology to perfect Western modes of thinking? Since the context of our living is Universe, not West; and, because West is only part of Universe and not its proxy–answer: no.
- The Sun and Moon are nearby celestial bodies—they are not planets. Each is considered a luminary—one radiates and the other reflects light. One represents waking awareness as the Sun; the Moon, the dimension we indwell in a non-waking state.
- The Sun and Moon, symbolically speaking, are not separable. Remove one—and the existence of the other is forever changed or lost altogether. While they are not separable, they are not proxies one for the other; they comprise a system.
- A common object, as bowl, allows us to observe a system at work: it is not possible to consider what we mean by bowl without reference to both its concave and convex form; the integrity of the bowl, its unity as form, is plural.
- Similarly, the luminaries comprise a symbolic integrity of Mind the identity of which is plural. Does this mean the non-waking state represented by the Moon “includes” the waking state represented by the Sun? Answer: Yes. If there were no Moon would the Sun burn more brightly seeking its reflection?
- According to the Genesis story (Genesis 1:16 KJV), neither the Sun nor Moon was created before the fourth day.
We care that the Moon “holds” the Sun—it reinforces the relative importance of non-waking awareness symbolized by the Moon—as Mother, Womb, Tides, Memory and Intuition. The Sun, on the other hand, is glorious and rules the day. It is often referred to as “Our Day Star”. The Sun symbolizes waking awareness—as action, and reaction to incarnated circumstance. The Sun radiates. The Moon, like gravity, is integral.
Whenever possible we steer away from complex (and unsettled) terms as “consciousness”.
We care that the Western Mystery Tradition never eschews the genius and legacy of the East even as it tries to consider occult history and hermetic practice from a Western cultural context. The AF considers the best way to learn a different language or idiom is to master one’s cultural home as the point of embarkation (to continue the sailing metaphor from Homer and Melville).
Why is the counter-intuitive important to Astrology and the hermetic arts in general? Answer: because the counter-intuitive, properly considered, allows the limits of language to become apparent as a channel for seeking truth. The counter-intuitive allows for non-waking insights to have a seat at the table of waking awareness. Think: paradox—whereby a seemingly contradictory statement, thoughtfully explained, proves to be well founded. To wit, our dear co-traveler Franz Kafka once opined: “The Messiah will come when he is no longer necessary. He will come only on the day after his arrival.”
We hope this review has been stimulating. If you are familiar with previous AF posts, you appreciate the four concepts selected for the Review while non-exhaustive, they from the core of the AF perspective on occult history and the Western Mystery Tradition. If you are new to the Astrologers’ Folio, the Review may help to de-mystify the anthology of earlier posts. Bless you for seeking to nurture the wellspring of Love and Wonderment indwelling each human heart.
One last word to signal how we might consider Love and Wonderment. Occult history and hermetic practice teaches Neptune is the higher octave of Venus. Our intuition tells us Love and Venus correspond. Is it possible to confuse Love with Delight? Of course.
Love is likely the higher octave of Wonderment. “Are we almost there, yet?” Let it be so.
We bid you peace through practice,
Should you have time to consider a musical reflection to accompany this post, the link will connect you with a rendition of Saint-Saëns ”The Swan” performed by Yo Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott, August 2015. Link to YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qrKjywjo7Q
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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 redirected.
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