By Glenn Blakesley, Co-founder, and Western Co-ordinator of the Canadian Independent Astrologers Order, Vancouver, British Columbia
We all get what we deserve. Sometimes we take more than we need, and often we feel that we don’t get enough of what we want, but we all get what we deserve. Saturn makes sure of that.
Life is an intriguing proposition. The occultist cultivates immortal insights into it from every passing detail, as simple or complex as it may seem. These insights serve to stimulate and buttress his awareness of inner and outer worlds. Life is a parade of such details, and each one carries an underlying meaning. Nothing happens by accident; there is a divine purpose in the falling of an autumn leaf.
We find ourselves within a certain stage setting, so
to speak. How did we get there? What are the circumstances? Do we create them or do they shape us? Does the answer involve a little of both? What is fate? And what of free will? How do they condition us and each other? What are karma and dharma? What about destiny? Perhaps a little poem will clarify these questions:
Fate is life on earth
Karma is free will of the past
Destiny is the end of a cycle
The future is now ….
Karma is action. Every action, whether of body, mind or soul, is karmic. Human action creates circumstances. Human loving, for example, conditions experiences of the heart; the workings ,of the mind condition our worldly experience.
Dharma, on the other hand, is proper karma. It is the dharma of fire to burn. It is the dharma of man to become like God, and to shine with the light of wisdom. Dharma is divine duty.
Karma is work – suffering undertaken in order that we may see the light. Karma is inescapable, whereas dharma is the choice of the will. Karma is involution; dharma is evolution.
We fight against fate, but we cooperate with destiny. Fate is karmic. Destiny deals with dharma. Work, without attachment to results, is, essentially, karma yoga.
Yoga is union; karma yoga is service that creates union with God.
“The future is now.” What we are now and do now conditions what we shall be in the future. The past is gone, irretrievably, yet it serves as a screen and a background upon which we may project significance. Past actions, though karmically irrevocable, are valuable for us in that they measure our progress and our dharma.
The present is that ever-changing fulcrum between the past and the future, and it is in this balance that we exist. It is in the present that we create – in accordance with our dharma. It is in this magical present that we can look back to glean the meaning of our past, and simultaneously look forward to our future which is being created and conditioned right now.
Life then simultaneously becomes both whole and part. It is like a roll of movie film that we can unroll and see either as a whole or as a collection of individual frames. This quality provides a perspective with which we may look at the soul’s pilgrimage towards its destiny.
Predestination is like a blueprint. An architectural design never becomes a building unless the construction crew engagages in work with the materials necessary to put up the structure. So it is with human beings, who involve themselves with karma yoga.
An acorn grows into an oak tree. It is a living blueprint of an oak tree, but will only become one if the conditions for its growth are right. So it is with human beings. A baby is a seed which has united with an ovum. It becomes a child with the potential for growth into a mature adult. Potentiality is predestination. Seeds are an interesting phenomenon. They contain the promise of future life. They can preserve themselves throughout the winter – the dark night of the soul. They “pre-serve” destiny.
Probability is the essence of possibility; possibility is the essence of experience. Experience is the essence of existence. There is no substitute for experience. We are what we are because of what we’ve done and who we’ve been. We all get what we deserve. Karma is the knot that unites these ideas.
A birthchart is a blueprint of the soul. It is a symbolical representation of our karma as well as our dharma; our past as well as our future. It is the pattern of our potentialities. It reveals both our fate and our destiny.
Every day is a lifetime, and what we did yesterday conditions what we do today. Life is a continuum. It is a series of days and therefore lifetimes.
Let’s consider reincarnation. From the Greeks, we get the word “metempsychosis”, the transmigration of souls. Reincarnation implies re-embodiment – the soul inhabiting a new body – a process of death and rebirth. We see it mirrored in nature everywhere. A good example is the simple changing of the seasons, which is the effect of earth’s spiral motion through space, including its axial rotation and tilt. This seasonal alternation of death and rebirth is the most obvious change we experience.
Spring is rebirth out of the dark deathlike depths of winter. Summer is growth; the realm of leaf and fruit. Autumn is decay, the realm of seed; Winter is crystallization and cold death. In winter, the life force has been submerged below the earth.
But life is a continuum. A tree is still a tree in the following spring. It remains dormant all winter only to be reborn in the spring, when conditions permit. So it is with human beings. If every day is a lifetime, then an analogy which compares sunrise to youth, high noon to maturity, sunset to old age, and mid-night to death is clear enough. Every night man leaves his physical body to rest; he travels in the astral realm and in dreams. In the morning he reawakens. So it is if we extend this concept by thinking of the time-space between death and rebirth as an astral journey of the immortal soul or psyche on the planes of destiny. Death conditions rebirth and rebirth then conditions death. Living becomes dying. Dying is just as artful a process as living, and life is a continuum.
The soul is like a divine spark of life. It has a beginning, it has an end; yet if it is beginningless, it is also endless. In either case, the soul has a purpose. It seeks the conditions that will nurture its growth towards the fulfillment of that purpose. By comparison, the acorn has every intention so to speak, of growing into an oak tree, but the conditions must be right for this to happen. The mature oak tree produces more acorns, and the cycle is repeated. Many seeds fall to the ground, but not all of them take root. So it is with souls. Too many are called, and too few are chosen.
So the soul, this divine spark of everlasting life, seeks the proper conditions for its growth. It does this rather unconsciously through the selection of its heredity and environment, until, at a certain point, in a certain incarnation, it gets a flash; it wakes up to its purpose. It has a revelation of light, and it consciously takes hold of its own destiny. Karma becomes dharma. Fate becomes destiny.
The physical body is like a suit of clothes for the soul. The past development of the soul, in its growth towards the light of fulfillment, conditions the quality of each suit of clothes. The physical body is a vehicle, and the soul is at its wheel – the wheel of fortune.
Another analogy: we all had to pass tests at school before we could go on to another grade. The soul too, is an educable entity. It must pass through a series of tests so that it can perfect itself enough to advance to the next higher level, driven on by the divine desire to become fulfilled and enlightened. Each lifetime is such a test and so is each day of a lifetime.
We can see clues all around as to the condition of our soul and its progress. Our circumstances in life provide the simplest clue. We are exactly where we need to be to pass a certain test on a certain level of spiritual development. In each incarnation, the soul gets exactly what it deserves, and precisely what it “pre-serves”.
Every man and woman is potentially a star – a self luminous etheric body of light which contains, at its centre, a soul which has achieved enlightenment.
Another very good clue to the nature of the soul is the astrological birthchart. We are born into form limitation, as it were. Symbolically we stop time, and we occupy space. Birth is a dynamic focussing in time and space.
The birthchart reveals the state of the solar system in reference to this time-space focussing. It shows the position of the planets in the signs and houses of the horoscope. The moment of birth provides an astrological representation of holistic reality as it was, is, and shall be. The birthchart shows the astrological conditions of the soul at re-entry. Thus we can get a glimpse of the soul’s mission; its whence and wherefore; its fate and its karma; its destiny and its dharma. Here is its blueprint of potentiality.
First there is the sun, which shows the essential raison d’etre of the life of the soul – the enlightened potential of life that allows every man and woman to become a star, godlike, radiating forth in shining splendour upon all directions of the celestial sphere, self-luminous and self-perpetuating. The sun directs the course of the soul through life. It represents the free will that is man’s divine birthright; it is Heaven’s blessing; the will to live, love, and light.
The sun is the main guide for the soul, perhaps through several incarnations. It is the “heart” of the soul. It indicates the unifying theme that sounds the melodic mantra of the soul’s mission. Its position in the birthchart shows the present stage of the soul’s development.
Then there is the moon – Luna; Diana. Mother of the Earth. Matrix. It is the symbollic protector; the nourisher of the soul. The moon provides the content of the soul. The quality of that content, the liquid of life, is shown symbollically by the condition of the moon in the birthchart. It shows the emotional nature; the reactions to life; the response to experience; the reflection of existence. The moon is the mother who gives birth to the physical body which the soul has chosen for its suit of clothes. It is the womb over which the waiting soul hovers prior to rebirth into form. The moon reflects the history of the soul’s journey. The sun reveals the magical present, while the moon represents the resevoir of the past.
A birthchart will give wonderful clues to the conditions of the soul. The sun charts its present purpose; the moon shows its past; and Saturn, its karma. The Ascendant reveals its future, or its dharma.
Saturn is the lord of form and limitation; the reaper, grim and exacting; the tester – a convenient symbol of fate. The master of perfection at the drawing board of life, Saturn holds the key to the dharmic door. It is the status of the soul in a particular incarnation. Saturn bestows upon the soul exactly what it needs; no more, no less. It gives us what we deserve.
Saturn represents the soul condensed and bound in matter. It is the envelope, the skeleton of the soul’s body. Saturn is exalted in Libra, the scales of karmic justice, and rules Capricorn, the perfect state. No soul on any evolutionary journey has passed on to the transcendental realms without passing through the gates or rather the rings of Saturn, the occult “ring-pass-knot.” Saturn is the cosmic customs man. Ruling the natural tenth house, Saturn symbolizes the highest state which the soul has attained in previous existences. Whereas the moon charts the relationships with other souls, Saturn shows the position each soul uniquely held.
Next we may consider the ascendant. This indicates the awakening consciousness at birth on earth; the immediate focussing in time and space of the soul’s reincarnation. It is the reincarnating point in the horoscope. It symbolizes the physical equipment to be used for the expression of the soul during an entire lifespan. It is the simplest indication of the dharma of a particular incarnation.
The ascendant conditions temporal and spatial relationships throughout the life, because it represents the soul’s anchorage in circumstances, i.e., the earth itself. It is the lens through which the planetary pattern in the vault of the heavens is focussed. We literally earn our ascendants. The dharma done in previous lives is the reckoning factor in the bestowal of the gift of life at the ascendant.
Let us review. A birthchart will give wonderful clues to the conditions of the soul. The Sun charts its present purpose; the moon shows its past; and Saturn its karma. The ascendant reveals its future, or its dharma. All four of these factors, plus the birthchart as a whole – that is, the whole universe converging at a certain time and space – indicate both the path taken and the road ahead for the soul on its journey to fulfillment.
Now we can consider the interrelationships of these karmic soul factors in the horoscope. Primarily, we shall look at the relationship between sun, moon, Saturn, and ascendant. Then we shall consider two other planetary departments of soul, Mars-Venus and Mercury, and Jupiter-Saturn, before going on to a discussion of the transcendental soul factors involving Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Thirdly, we shall don our astrological spectacles and have a look at the signs, houses, aspects, and nodes from the soul’s point of view.
Sun square the ascendant. The aspects (angles between planets) serve us well in these considerations. For example, a square (90 degrees) between the sun, moon and/or Saturn with the ascendant will indicate the constructive-destructive stress potential in the soul’s development. Let’s look at it. A square between the sun and the ascendant is a powerful stimulus for the will of a native to act and to react in uncongenial circumstances. The purpose of the soul is at odds with its environment; constant adjustment must be made to change either one or both.
Sun square Saturn.. The square of the sun to Saturn, considering whether it is a waxing, fourth house square, or a waning, tenth house square, is the most powerful indication that the will or conscious aim of the native is in direct developmental tension with the karma or fate of the life; this conflict creates a supersensitive person in a situation where the soul has reached a critical stage in its development. Here free will is at cross purposes with the accrued karma of past lives, and the native may have to accept many limitations and hardships that serve to strengthen his inner purpose and throw off the limiting bonds of selfishness and separateness. This is fate versus free will par excellence. True evolution on the solar path demands the cultivation of hope, discipline, moral courage, and responsibility.
Sun square moon.. A solar square with the moon, depending on whether it is in the first or last quarter, is another indication that the life is at a critical stage of developmental tension. Here the will and the feelings are in conflict. In the past, circumstances have been one way, but in the present they are another; the soul chooses to live a life of problematic, emotional tension in the building up (waxing) or breaking down (waning) of fundamental structures of consciousness. All these aspects represent great astrological opportunity to shake away the shackles of past karmic reactions, and to construct a new set of circumstances wherein the soul may build itself into the very fiber of a new type of consciousness.
This also applies to soli-lunar oppositions (180 degrees), or full moon births. In this aspect the past stands revealed; the history of the soul is mirrored full-face by its present purposes, and creates a duality that attempts to split the soul in two, or is transcended by an illumination of the soul by the spirit. This configuration can represent enlightenment and the treading of the conscious way, or negative, self-defeating vacillation and schizophrenic uncertainty. The Buddha was born and died on the full moon of May.
Moon square ascendant. Lunar squares to the ascendant mean that, in terms of constructive potential, the past resevoir of experience contrasts with the new set of circumstances and physical form (ascendant) in which the soul finds itself. The opposition (birth at moonset) gives an awareness of this contrast through relationship with others. Emotional adaptation to the environment, however unfamiliar, becomes necessary to soul growth.
ASPECTS TO SATURN:
Moon conjunct Saturn. Lunar aspects to Saturn are especially significant. The conjunction (0 degrees) for example, is the aspect which is the foundation of all spiritual life. The moon and Saturn are obvious polar opposites in time cycles, natures and rulerships. Thus their coming together indicates a fresh beginning; in a sense, a whole new dharmic set for the soul’s work, especially if the Moon is leaving the conjunction. The completion of a cycle of karmic activity is indicated if the moon is applying to the conjunction. This aspect is, potentially, one of initiation into the great white lodge – the hierarchial brotherhood that gains its dharma from its spiritual office, the star Sirius, brightest in the heavens.
This conjunction indicates the alignment and emphasis of the native’s past with his present limitations, and acts a guide throughout his life. His instinctive response to it is constantly being structured into a familiar form. He becomes emotionally sensitive, and his feelings become solidly entrenched in the crucible of experience and wisdom.
Sun conjunct Saturn. The same is true, to an extent, of the sun-Saturn conjunction, which symbolizes the imposition of a new discipline on the will. This aspect often coincides with the death or loss of the physical father, and thus is associated with the necessity of being responsible for the self from an early age. It usually produces a deep, sensitive and austere nature, depending, of course, on the sign and house placement.
Moon square Saturn. A further horoscopic indication of the moon-Saturn configuration is the state of the relationship between the native’s physical parents. Again we consider the phasa1 relationship. When the moon is waxing toward the first quarter, there is an instinctive struggle for sustainment in the depths of self. This square signals an inherent conflict in the building of the emotional vehicle, often because the parents are symbolically at odds by element. If the moon is coming to an opposition with Saturn, there will be either a balancing comp1imentariness or an opposition of interests in the parents, rendering, in either case, a more objective emotional control and awareness.
Moon trine Saturn. A trine (120 degrees) between the moon and Saturn indicates a parental heritage of great capacity for emotional growth. Nevertheless, any combination between these two polar planets implies necessary changes or severe relationships with the parents or between them, such as separation from or loss of one or both.
Furthermore, one may consider Saturn’s aspects to the ascendant in order to discover the harmony or conflict between the native’s self-discipline and se1fawareness. This is important to any aspirant on the path of discipleship; it shows how he makes his stamp on the world around him. These aspects can indicate problems of the ego in adjusting to its circumstances, or, conversely, may point out the possible solutions to these problems. The sun is the ego, and Saturn is the builder of the ego complex; the focal point in the consciousness. The moon is the id, in Freudian terms, and the midheaven is the superego. The ascendant with its rising degree, indicates the awakening consciousness and the characteristic approach to life upon the physical plane.
“Bad Karma” Aspects:
The so-called harmonious aspects, like the trine and sextile (60 degrees), indicate what the neophyte would call good karma, while the harsher aspects, like the square and opposition, chart “bad karma”, and the resulting critical alignment and opportunity for correction. As a matter of fact, the general trend of the soul’s growth can easily be determined by the balance of aspects according to their total tabulation. Generally speaking, a preponderance of the traditionally benefic aspects will show a life when the soul is “riding its trines” coasting along with a relative degree of ease, momentum and assistance, as a result of dharma done in past lives. The reverse preponderance indicates that a soul is due for critical actions and reactions or fundamental change; the soul is presented with, or, rather, has chosen, a life of relative “dis-ease”, and thus the opportunity to heal or re-create itself. A life with this preponderance is often harder; it may be marked with failure, perhaps disaster, and/or great and wonderful accomplishments as a result.
The phasal relationship in any cycle of activity 0f any combination of planets are a key to the evolution, or rather, the.stage 0f evolution, that the soul may have reached.
In either case, we get exactly what we deserve. And everything that happens to the soul on its goal-path needs to happen to keep its destiny clear.
The phasal relationships in the cycle of activity of any combination of planets are a key to the evolution, or, rather, the stage of evolution, that the soul may have reached. Conjunctions are always starting points; sextiles indicate positive and practical facility; squares are cornerstones, critical building blocks; trines indicate ease and momentum earned through past efforts; quincunxes (150 degrees) indicate the need for work or adjustment due to some previous imperfection; and the opposition represents the fulfillment or fruition of what began at the conjunction. On the waning side, the same applies in reverse order, though the aspects have more meaning in terms of consciousness than physical activity. The last quarter of any cycle, for example, refers to the breaking down of the cycle as it had gone before, and thus to the preparatory phase before a new cycle begins. This implies preparation for rebirth.
Mercury, Link Between the Planes:
Another spiritual factor in the birthchart is Mercury, the messenger of the gods. Its relationship to the sun, whether rising before or after it, whether retrograde or direct, and so on, is an indication of the condition of the mind, which is the first differentiation from the solar will, and therefore the intelligent expression of the soul’s purpose. Analysis here can be carried to any desired degree of detail. Basically, however, Mercury rules the intuitional or Buddhic plane, which is the link between the three lower and the three higher planes; its place in the horoscope assumes considerable importance in the communication between the higher and lower selves (souls).
Then we take stock of the Mars-Venus coupling. Here we have reference to the emotional and sexual state of the soul. This aspect is of utmost importance in each soul’s personal search for its “mate”. Mars is the initiative – the desire and the libidinal drive in any outreaching of the self – whereas Venus is the love, the set of values, and the beauty and enjoyment of appreciation that constitute the reward for the strivings of the soul.
There are many departments in the house of the soul, just as God’s house has many mansions. Development of one at the expense or sacrifice of another, results in the intriguing array of harmonies and discords within the planetary complex surrounding the earth at the time of inhabitation of a body by a soul.
The Mars-Venus aspects indicate, in the same way as the other planetary aspects, the state of progress enjoyed or retardation suffered by a soul seeking fulfillment by the use of its energies, skills, and values. Difficult aspects indicate -the misuse, abuse or disuse of these emotional-sexual energies, which result in confusion and instability in the present life, until they are refocussed and regenerated into constructive channels – the harmonious aspects.
A word about harmonious aspects, though: freedom is limitation. The soul that abuses its freedom will suffer from its limitations. The soul that uses its limitations will rejoice in its freedoms. There is always the danger that a soul will find itself in what is, apparently, a relatively comfortable situation, and thereupon become lazy and neglectful of its constant need for growth and positive expression of its inherited or earned traits. Spiritual growth does not take place according to a geometric progression or a constant graduated scale. There are many departments in the house of the soul, just as God’s house has many mansions. Development of one at the expense or sacrifice of another, results in the intriguing array of harmonies and discords within the planetary complex surrounding the earth at the time of inhabitation of a body by a soul.
The soul seeks to become perfect; complete; enlightened. Its journey is obviously a long and arduous one. There is much work to be done – making up for sins of omission and commission; making the best use of one’s available resources; making up for wasted time and neglected development. Entire incarnations are spent in the acquisition of a single quality, the development of a single skill or the correction of a single fault. Meanwhile, new karma is being created, and new dharma is being made manifest. Sometimes the road is rocky and steep; sometimes it is straight and smooth; but one never knows what lies around the corner-that is, what skill-testing challenges he may encounter or what opportunities to further his development he may find. However, the birthchart provides some very good clues.
Now we turn to consideration of the Jupiter-Saturn aspects. If these planets are in conjunction, square or opposition, the native is said to be living a life of tight karma, or a narrowed destiny. With the conjunction he is free to choose his path, but pays for his freedom with a lack of discrimination. The square, probably the most difficult angle of all, warns that he must keep his motivations pure and in constant check, as well as develop a better sense of timing, lest he tear himself apart in soul-searching agony or waste his God-given potentials. The opposition demands an extraordinary awareness of the motives in the soul’s life, and usually gives a double life. The first half of such a life is marked by superficial role playing; the second half, by refinement and a sense of reward (or, in the case of the square and the opposition, a disintegration of the very core of the soul).
In addition to these clues will be the presence of septile aspects in the horoscope, angles of 51º26′, with an orb of no more than one and one half degrees on either side. The septile in the words of Marc Edmund Jones, reveals “bondage to and mastery of eternal cycles … the soul as a reincarnating phenomenon… measuring to the unexpected or unexplainable elements in the destiny” as well as to the inevitable dictates of fate. This very important minor aspect shows that a native lives a life of self-accepted compulsions that narrow the path of dharma so that some phase of the destiny may in time be resolved.
Quintiles, angles of 72 degrees, with an orb of three degrees, refer to acquired talents and artistic abilities of exceptional merit. They always appear in the charts of those souls who have earned special skills and capacities for expressing the inner self as nature herself might have intended it. They reveal man as a five-pointed star, and endow him with extraordinary aptitude for magical dexterity and originality.
Both of these aspect refinements point toward a special position of the soul in the spiral of evolution – one where it can create its own destiny through adversity or enhancement, whatever the case may be.
The horizon of the birthchart is the literal ground of awareness on the material plane. It shows the soul’s polarity of consciousness for any particular incarnation. The vertical axis is the spiritual one; The nadir represents spirit-force, and the midheaven (perhaps the most important cusp in the chart from the soul’s point of view) reveals the spiritual and soulful aspiration of the life and the spirit-relationship with the higher self. The fourth cusp represents the soul’s heritage; its spiritual ancestry – whereas the tenth refers to the potential spiritual honor which the soul seeks in its relationship with life at large.
In interpretting the houses on a spiritual level, one sees the fifth as life expression and the eleventh as life consummation; the eighth as spiritual expression and the second as spiritual consummation; the ninth as the inward impulse of the soul and the third as its outward impulse; and the twelfth as the inward obligation or compulsion, with the sixth as the outward obligation.
The psychic trigon of house (the water signs), that is, the fourth, eighth, and twelfth, refers to the karmic propensities in the life, in its present, future, and past aspects respectively. The twelfth itself represents the immediate past incarnation; the ninth, the second-to-last past life; the sixth, the third-to-last past life; and the third house, to complete the cadent group, represents the life of four incarnations ago.
The trigon of houses emanating from the ascendant shows the immediate life force at the rising point; the potential spiritual development and expression at the fifth; and the sustaining or past resevoir of consciousness at the ninth, the house of understanding or conscience.
Jones has mentioned that taking the ninth cusp as the ascendant gives a symbolic astrological looking glass into the soul’s past, while the fifth cusp as ascendant gives a depiction of its future.
Now we can consider Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, which refer to collective spiritual factors. They indicate the karmic-dharmic set of the solar system, or heliocosm, for a whole generation of souls or a part thereof. (Incidentally, their interrelations are interesting to note in connection with the spiritual life of groups. The fact, for instance, that they are, at the time of this writing, occupying three autumnal signs is significant, in that this sector of the zodiac refers to the relational, in-drawing, spiritual factors that unite mankind. Libra, the dynamic balance in relationship, Scorpio, the consolidation and creativity of relationship, and Sagittarius, the expansion and spiritual distribution among relationships, are now the Zodiacal domains of Pluto, Uranus, and Neptune respectively.) These astrological factors (the outer planets) will influence all living generations in different ways, of course, and will prevail in the collective spiritual life of any children being born at a given time.
The youngest, or most recently born, is the oldest in spiritual terms, because as Jung pointed out, “Whatever is done or born at this moment of time has qualities unique to this moment.” Therefore, the eternal now is the quintessence of all that has ever been; thus, any souls coming into incarnation at this time contain the collective history of mankind. The youngest is the oldest.
Uranus, Neptune or Pluto closely aspected to any of the personal planets shows that the native’s personal life may have a direct bearing on the racial or collective community in which he lives. In other words, his soul’s development is directly linked to the transcendental factors that condition mankind as a whole. This represents extraordinary opportunity to transform, transcend, and transmute the nature of his personal soul and thereby regenerate, inspire, and obsess his generation as well.
There is an obvious evolutionary trend running through the signs of the zodiac, but this should not be interpretted too literally. Indeed, schools of esoteric astrology indicate that man may reverse his position on the wheel, and proceed clockwise, jn counter-point to normal motion, at that point in his life when he receives that “flash”, and undergoes initiation, or an expansion of consciousness as an aspirant, then a disciple, and then an initiate or adept. Initiation used to come normally through a meeting with a master on the physical plane. Only when the pupil was ready did the master appear, whereupon a work was undertaken as the aspirant developed the required powers, such as clairvoyance, clairaudience, ESP, telepathy, teleportation, and so on. These powers or siddhis, as the yogis call them, are natural prerequisites for the advanced stages of spiritual development.
The spring quarter (derived by grouping the signs in four sets of three), includes Aries, Taurus and Gemini – in evolutionary terms, the “youthful” trio of soul signs. No matter what stage of evolution the soul is at, planets in these three signs indicate some type of primordial beginnings or restirrings in some aspect of spiritual life. The next group of three signs, Cancer, Leo, and Virgo, makes up the maternal trinity, which concerns itself mainly with giving birth, nourishing, protecting and serving spiritual life. With Libra Scorpio, and Sagittarius, the reproductive trinity, the chief concerns are relating, regenerating, and expanding in cooperation with other souls. Planets in the last three signs, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces refer to universal facets of the soul, its perfection, reformation and renunciation.
Aries is the first cause; pure spirit; the resurrection. Taurus is the matrix; pure substance; matter undifferentiated; and Gemini is the interplay of spirit and matter; intelligence; communication.” Cancer, as the fourth gate through which cosmic energies pour, is the universal womb; the mother principle; the pure waters of life. Leo is spirit incarnate; manifest creation; individuality; and Virgo is matter differentiated; specialized service; the grand plan in detail.
Libra represents the ideal relationship, perfect harmony, dynamic equilibrium and divine justice. Scorpio refers to the occult forces in nature; death and regeneration; the intense concentration of emotional power; and Sagittarius is spirit in distribution; aspiration and illumination. Capricorn, the gates of winter, represents the perfect form, governing authority and manifest practicality. Aquarius is universal brotherhood, true knowledge, and group loyalty; and Pisces represents the universal solvent, divine compassion and final dissolution.
The zodiac as a whole is the universal aura surrounding the planet earth. Through its twelve fold series of gates flows the universal music of the spheres, the cosmic energies from planets, stars and galaxies of the great celestial vault. The zodiac is the twelve petalled soul of God.
Now we come back to the birthchart in search of further clues – clues to the whence and the wherefore, the what and the why, the how and the who, of the eternal soul.
Spiritual factors can be gleaned from a scrutiny of the heliocentric horoscope. In the helio-chart, the sun is at the centre and the earth takes its place opposite the natal sun in the regular geocentric chart. The moon loses its significance. Mercury, Venus, and Mars appear in quite different positions, while planets from Jupiter to Pluto occupy relatively similar positions to those they hold in the natal geo-chart. Helio-charts depict the solar system from the solar or spiritual point of view. They are symbolic pictures of the soul prior to incarnation on the earth (where the ascendant and the moon become paramount factors). From heliocentric charts we can see the spiritual ego of the incarnating entity; the “soul” of the solar system. Here is an astrological clue; an insight into the nature of the higher self – the true spiritual soul – and its cosmic mission. The differences between geo- and heliocentric charts reveal some startling facts concerning the selection by souls of bodies in which they take up their temporary residence.
A beautifully thorough method for linking the soul to the astrological chart is given in A.G.S. Norris’ Transcendental Astrology, a wonderfully inspiring approach to astrological number significance. Adding the numbers represented by all the letters in the full name of a native yields the numerological vibration of the soul. The digit(s) relating to the birth date, month, and year, give a number and its corresponding planet, which symbolizes the basic lesson in life, called the major birth path of experiences. The condition of these planets in the nativity shows the main reason for rebirth. The vowels of the name yield the numerical vibration on the mental plane; the consonants give the astral number, and the two together yield the soul’s expression on the physical plane.
Any retrograde planets or intercepted signs represent spiritual factors in the birthchart. They always refer to some subjective inner, or unconscious elements which have their roots in the past.
Lunar and planetary nodes and the hemispheres they create are indicative of specific directives destiny. Nodes mark the intersection of planetary with the plane of the earth’s orbit. The north or ascending node marks the point of highest integration of that planets activity, while the south or descending node is the point of disintegration. The former is positive and future oriented; the latter is negative and oriented to the past. Thus, in terms of destiny directives for the soul, the north node is its spiritual calling; its high road; its key to progress. The south node of any planets orbital activity represents, for the soul, lessons already learned; material habits; the soul’s line of least resistance. Planets in conjunction or square with any line of nodes, more especially their own, indicate distinctly karmic (south) or dharmic (north) activity.
The lunar nodes in particular point to the past and the future, again “the whence and whereto” of the soul. By sign, they represent inherited (south) or needed (north) traits of character and functioning; by house, they show the individual circumstances or phases of selfhood that are habitual and unconsciously operating (south) or that are sought after consciously (north). They pass, in retrograde motion, through the zodiac in a cycle of 18.6 years. Thus the hemisphere from the tail of the dragon to the head, in the order of signs is the future or .dharmic side of the chart from the spiritual point of view; whereas the opposite hemisphere, from the head to the tail, counter-clockwise is the past or karmic half. Planets on the dharmic side refer to activities leading to future spiritual growth, while the zodiacal content on the karmic side is inherent at birth. This is also true of the planetary nodes, but in a less individual and more racial or collective sense. There are both heliocentric and .geocentric nodes.
Still another method of extracting spiritual features from the horoscope is the use of progressions. Whereas the regular directions show the soul’s potential for conscious development, that is, its dharma, the converse directions, in which each day before birth represents a year of life, refer to unconscious reactions to experience – a karmic shadow in the unfoldment of natal potential. Direct progressions are colored with destiny, while the converse progressions are tinged with fate.
Marcia Moore is doing pioneer work in the field of hypersentience and regression in relation to karmic indications present in birthcharts. She takes a native back through time, into and out of past lives, by means of her excellent techniques in regression, a type of relaxation-hypnosis which allows the person to remember detachedly and to relive physically any number of lives dating as far back as Atlantean days. Hers is a very practical approach to the astrology of the soul, and it is uncovering more and more very incredible evidence of reincarnation as she develops it. She possesses some viable keys to the door of immortality.
Any serious student of esoteric astrology will have undertaken a thorough study of the works of Alice A. Bailey, the brilliant medium for Djwal Khul, the Tibetan. These monumental treatises are, without a doubt, the fundamental occult works of the twentieth century. The book entitled, Esoteric Astrology, is formidable but recommended reading for any aspirant on the path to enlightenment through astrology.
Alan Leo, the cream of nineteenth century astrologers, has also written a book with the same title. I recommend his works, along with those of Jones, Rudhyar, R.C. Davison, R. Colin, N. Tyl, Norris, Moore, M.P. Hall, and I. Hickey, just to name a few of the finest astrological writers of the present day.
I might also mention here the existence of racial karma, which overshadows individual karma, as in the case of thousands of deaths in natural calamities such as earthquakes and floods or unnatural disasters such as war. I cite here the idea of a block of souls linked by a common fate. Collective karma is a powerful factor, especially in these latter days of the twentieth century, with threats of overpopulation, pollution, starvation, nuclear war, and in general economic and ecological crises. One explanation for contemporary collective karma might be the abuse of the sexual principle in mankind, by which too many souls have come into incarnation at once, without the preparation that they need for proper re-entry.
Manly P. Hall wrote a booklet on suicide and infant mortality pointing out that these types of death may be compensating forces for premature or sudden deaths ones in which the soul has little or no opportunity for a clean and easy departure from the body that housed it. These souls “hover” in the astral planes, awaiting rebirth into form – into the body of a child, for instance, whose unique purpose is to provide a physical structure from which the soul can depart with ease and grace.
Be this as it may, social and collective issues, as far as karma. and the evolution of souls are concerned, can rarely be ascertained from the individual birthchart, except perhaps from a study of the collective factors in the chart like Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and their nodes; the transp1utonian planets; the asteroids, Li11ith; an so on.
All the major events in the life of the soul are foreshadowed in some way or another. Deja vu, a feeling of “being here before”, a psychic or unconscious familiarity with present circumstances or relationships, indicates to the astrologer that dramatic sense of continuity – in the immortal linkage of a succession of lives – in which the soul experiments now with this and now with that body and time-span, each combination a unique occasion and a spiritual opportunity for growth. Life is, after all, a spiral.
We may talk here of soul mates and spiritual friends. These are relationships earned through mutual dharma and parallels of destiny. Soul mates are usually men and women who complete and compliment each other; who provide the missing pieces and fill in the spaces in the dynamic yin/yang of life and love. The soul was once whole. Its inherent bisexuality resulted in a separation of the sexes, transmuting people into male and female “halves”. Ever since that change, men and women, men and men, women and women, on all levels of relationship, have been seeking in each other “the other half”. We all instinctively search for the perfect fit, be it on the physical, emotional, and/or mental and spiritual levels; for our soul mate. We seek to transcend separateness through the union of opposites; to pierce through the illusion of duality, and rediscover that original wholeness of spirituality that we need so desperately at times. This is tantric astrology, in essence.
Spiritual friends are those with whom we continue to work over a series of incarnations. The circumstances and the forms may change, but the purpose of these relationships remains the same, at least until the yoga is worked out. Spiritual friends usually relate through the various invisible fellowships or occult groups that work toward altruistic and humanitarian goals. Some of these groups function on the lower rungs of the ladder of evolution, but the true aspirants are the practical idealists who help to create social reform and who give significance to the purpose of groups in action. In any case, spiritual friends are those with whom we feel and share a sense of life consummation and work together, with a will towards positive human relations for these objectives.
May we delve more and more deeply into the solar and lunar mysteries. May we better understand the purpose of our lives on earth.
Karmic dharma consists of lessons repeated and experiences relived. Dharmic karma, on the other hand, is the Bodhisattvic ideal of spiritual work creating a brotherhood of enlightened individuals unified by a group purpose and direction; the group soul.
Rainbow of Enlightenment:
If the surface of water is tranquil, it will be a perfect mirror of things heavenward. Similarly, if the mind is calmed through the practices of yoga and meditation, it will reflect more clearly its true destiny. Thoughts and feelings are but waves and ripples on this surface – changes going on between the unconscious depths of the soul’s past (the water), and the conscious relationships in its present (the air).
And so the soul makes its sojourn through matter, seeking embodiment for its perfect self expression, until it reaches fulfillment, and will no longer have the need and desire for further experiences in the flesh. It seeks to be free liberated, and emancipated; to do its dharma on higher planes of existence; to serve humanity from the ever subtler, more universal planes that approach the world of God.
We can confront our karma face to face, and know from our experience how to master our destinies. The present days, as forewarned in the twenty-two chapters of Revelations in the Bible, are fraught with critical significance for the human race. We may be collectively entering the long and dark night of the soul, yet with the hope and promise of brighter days ahead – during the next century when Neptune enters Aquarius, the sign of its discovery, and after the purge of Pluto in Scorpio.
We repeat our lessons in different forms, under different yet similar guises in the maya of physical form, until we learn them correctly. In a sense we must play all the roles that life has to offer, acting out all the parts on the stage of life, until we know the play cold.
The physical body is our equipment; the set of tools with which we work. We must perfect and condition it to do its appointed tasks. It is a spiritual gift.
At times our powers lie more in creative reaction to the overwhelming flow of collective human energy on this planet. Creative reaction to karmic situations is our divine and dharmic duty.
The soul is the bridge between lives, over the river of immortality. Each life is an extension of the path leading closer to the rainbow of enlightenment.
Faith is the fountain of life from which we drink when spiritually thirsty.
Love is the fuel of purpose – fire
Brotherhood is the medium of dharma – air
Peace is the essence of fulfillment – water
And earth is the soil of service …
Ether is the prana of the soul, the aura of destiny.
And the playground of freewill is this planet called earth.
Let us al transcend dying and be free from rebirth.
(The above article was previously published in Gnostica and is reprinted here with permission.)