PHASE 151 (VIRGO 1°): IN A PORTRAIT, THE SIGNIFICANT FEATURES OF A MAN’S HEAD ARE ARTISTICALLY EMPHASIZED.
KEYNOTE: The capacity to picture to oneself clearly the salient features and the overall meaning of any life situation.
During the two preceding Scenes the “feel” of energy at work has been the dominant feature of a consciousness still strongly ego-centered yet at times eagerly and devotionally reaching up to a realization of divine or cosmic order. Now we have come in the seasonal cycle of the year to the sign Virgo. It is in a sense the symbol of harvesting, but it is also that of the Path of discipleship, and of all strongly determined processes of training, or retraining. Flooded with and having enjoyed and released energy, the personalized consciousness now has to learn the lesson of significant form. It must be able to see life situations as wholes of experience, and to discover their meaning by distinguishing their most characteristic features.
This is the first stage of the thirty-first five-fold sequence of symbols and its Keyword is DISCRIMINATION. Implied in discrimination is both analysis and intuition. The mind separates and identifies — and unfortunately often exaggerates — what makes a person or a situation different from another; but the intuitive responses of the whole person to what confronts him or her is also essential, for what matters is not only my or your “difference,” but the place and function this difference occupies in the organic pattern of the evolution of “humanity as a whole,” i.e. of Man.
PHASE 152 (VIRGO 2°): A LARGE WHITE CROSS DOMINATES THE LANDSCAPE.
KEYNOTE: The wisdom and compassion which only the experience of suffering and isolation can bring.
The individual must have gone beyond the state of ego-subjectivity in order truly and objectively to “see” and to discriminate. He must have learned detachment; and it is a lesson that no one can learn without the “crucifixion” of the ego-centered emotional life. In the occult tradition, the eye that “sees” must be washed by the blood of the heart. The experience of the Cross dominates the mystic Path that leads to Initiation, i.e. to the entrance into a greater realm of activity and participation with an exalted Company of perfected beings.
While the discovery of significant features in any situation implied the use of the mind, both analytical and intuitive, now a contrasting stage is reached at which the mind itself has to be left behind and perhaps even seemingly destroyed in order that compassion and understanding may rise from the depth of the innermost being: a LIBERATING ORDEAL.
PHASE 153 (VIRGO 3°): TWO GUARDIAN ANGELS.
KEYNOTE: Invisible help and protection in times of crisis.
Though the consciousness may not yet be able to realize this as a fact, man is as surrounded by spirit as fish by water. Angels, devas and the like are entitized forms of spirit. In a sense at least, they collectively constitute a realm of existence complementary to mankind. They are specialized fields of energy which are apparently conscious, but not “free” in a human sense — that is, free to be what they are not. We are told, by seers and even by merely clairvoyant persons, that they constitute hierarchies of energy-distributing forms which sustain all life processes — particularly in the vegetable and telluric realms — as well as protective agencies attached to human beings. Modern psychologists may think of them as symbols of as yet latent powers in man’s unconscious. By being aware of their presence and sustaining power a man may avoid the desperate feeling of aloneness and alienation which usually pervades the “night of the soul” and the symbolic forty days in the wilderness.
This third stage symbol comes to those who may greatly, need its reassurance. It is an answer to the symbol of the Crucifixion. The personal ego-centered feelings may be quartered and destroyed; in their place man may develop a sense of deep companionship with consciousnesses which, though utterly different from his, complement his assuaged mind. He may then realize STRENGTH WITHIN.
PHASE 154 (VIRGO 4°): BLACK AND WHITE CHILDREN PLAY TOGETHER HAPPILY.
KEYNOTE: The overcoming of socio-cultural prejudices.
Freedom from all the forms, biases and idiosyncrasies of the particular culture and class in which one has been born and educated is a sine qua non of the consciousness truly “on the Path.” The ideal of universal brotherhood underlies all great spiritual teachings, for they all are like branches of the One Tree, Man, in his divine state. This does not mean there are no racial differences, but rather that these differences have a functional value in terms of the whole organism of Man — and of the planet Earth.
At this fourth stage the basic technique which applies to all truly spiritual progress is clearly stated. Every human being should be seen, approached and warmly met as a “child of God,” or in less religious terms as an exemplar of Man. Such a status gives to every social and interpersonal group the character of a BROTHERHOOD.
PHASE 155 (VIRGO 5°): A MAN BECOMING AWARE OF NATURE SPIRITS AND NORMALLY UNSEEN SPIRITUAL AGENCIES.
KEYNOTE: The opening of new levels of consciousness.
In the first of this sequence of five symbols we saw the individual seeking to bring out of everyday contacts a consciousness of significant form and meaning. Now, as the sequence ends, a further stage of realization is shown in its initial and relatively primitive character. The consciousness is gradually reaching beyond physical characteristics and becoming aware of energy processes, i.e. of the dynamism of forces which externalize themselves as life forms.
This is the last stage of the thirty-first five-fold sequence of phases of the cyclic process of consciousness. The mind in its objectivizing and analytical character always tends to give “name and form” (nama and rupa in Sanskrit) to that which it contacts as energy process. It “images forth” energy or feeling, relating it to more or less familiar sense experience. We call this IMAGINATION.
PHASE 156 (VIRGO 6°): A MERRY-GO-ROUND.
KEYNOTE: The first experience of the dynamic intensity of life processes and of the possibility of using them to reach a characteristic ego-satisfaction.
Several features connected with the old-fashioned type of merry-go-round should be understood in their deepest symbolism. Two stages of experience are distinguishable: that in which a very young child is seated with his mother or nurse in an open carriage — the only experience is that of circular, perhaps at first dizzying, movement — and the stage of riding a horse (or some other animal) which often goes up and down as well as around. As the horse always represents the vital energy (later understood as libido or “psychic energy”), the merry-go-round at this stage symbolizes or prefigures the awareness of the cyclicity and the ups and downs of the emotional life. In the fully developed merry-go-round the child on his horse is given some kind of handle to try and catch a ring hanging within his reach at a fixed point just outside the merry-go-round. If he succeeds in this rather difficult operation the child wins a prize or gets a free ride. The symbolism is sexual in its implications, but more generally it implies that any cyclic release of life energy provides us with the opportunity of demonstrating some type of skill and mastery.
This is the first stage of the thirty-second sequence of five symbols. In its broadest sense we see here a characterization of what the developing consciousness (and at a certain level, the “disciple on the Path”) experiences: AN OBJECTIVE APPROACH TO THE LIFE FORCE.
PHASE 157 (VIRGO 7°): A HAREM.
KEYNOTE: A fateful (even if sought after) subservience to the vagaries or desires of the emotional nature.
In a sense this symbol is related to the preceding one, while revealing a deeply contrasting phase of the emotional and cultural life. The experience symbolized here is a passive one, while that for Virgo 6° was intensely dynamic. Yet there may be for the woman in the harem some sort of cyclic pattern and a prize to reach — the sultan’s favor. In both cases the motive power is exterior to the experiencer, who is caught in a pattern of forces over which he or she has no control; yet the child may purposefully use his small allowance to get a ride, and the woman may use her charm to attract the attention of her master. The individual in both cases finds himself one with a number of other individuals all seeking or being subjected to the same type of experience or fate.
This second stage symbol contrasts with, but also supplements, that of the first stage. It supplements it in the sense that one may become addicted to the excitement of the merry-go-round of vital emotions and may become a slave to the hope of recapturing the exultation of the initial experiences; yet one may learn how to put to use even the EMPTINESS OF WAITING.
PHASE 158 (VIRGO 8°): A FIVE-YEAR-OLD CHILD TAKES A FIRST DANCING LESSON.
KEYNOTE: Learning to use one’s capacity for emotional self-expression according to cultural standards.
The process of emotional experiencing under controlled situations is shown now to demand self-induced, active movement; yet the movements are still conditioned, if not totally determined, by cultural and thus collective patterns. The individual can express his own individual character only according to traditional modes. He is still entirely responsible to his teacher or guru. Yet new perspectives are now open to him.
At this third stage of the five-fold thirty-second sequence of symbols we witness at work the transitional phase which may lead to mastery. The child-consciousness is still dominated by some form of authority; but if the child is “five years old,” the implication is that he is entering ‘ the level of conscious manhood, represented by the number 5, the five-pointed star which outlines at least the POTENTIALITY OF INITIATION.
PHASE 159 (VIRGO 9°): AN EXPRESSIONIST PAINTER AT WORK.
KEYNOTE: The urge to express one’s individualized sense of value regardless of tradition.
At this stage the individual is seen reacting against cultural standards and stereotyped ways of interpreting his perceptions. This is a statement of uncompromising self-reliance, which may even imply a kind of defiance and a challenge to society. The mind is seeking to discover the character of the basic and true foundation of individual selfhood, the AUM tone (or logos) of individual being. In the process, however, what is expressed is usually the reflection of a deep catharsis with emotionally charged and often tragic overtones.
This fourth stage symbol brings to us the hint of a technique of transformation of the personality. What predominates is a sense of inner conflict and an over-selfconscious attempt at “being oneself.” But there is a great difference between being an origin of development pregnant with futurity, and deliberately sought for ORIGINALITY.
PHASE 160 (VIRGO 10°): TWO HEADS LOOKING OUT AND BEYOND THE SHADOWS.
KEYNOTE: The growth of true understanding, born out of the transcendence of duality even while immersed in the world of duality.
The mind operates inevitably in this world of conflicts, oppositions and duality. Yet when the opposites realize that they are complementary aspects of the one Reality which sustains and encompasses all dualistic modes of existence, they are able then to look away from internal conflicts and beyond the shadows these conflicts generate. They may come to realize the One Consciousness-Force, not in Itself (for this is, if not an impossible, at least an inexpressible experience), but as the Creative Unity, the New God, Ishvara, source of a new cycle of manifestation.
This is the last stage of the thirty-second sequence; it leads us to the new sequence, which deals with the characteristic features of the steadily progressing consciousness in the most critical part along its arduous Path toward transformation. In a deep philosophical sense we witness here the mind attempting to jump beyond the very shadow it inevitably casts upon all experiences; i.e. the SELF-TRANSCENDING ACTIVITY OF THE MIND.
PHASE 161 (VIRGO 11°): IN HER BABY A MOTHER SEES HER DEEP LONGING FOR A SON ANSWERED.
KEYNOTE: The Spirit’s answer to the vital needs of whatever became individualized out of its infinite ocean of potentialities.
All cycles of manifestation end in an essential duality of “success” and “failure,” as every release of new potentiality at the start of a cycle is inevitably polarized in two opposite directions, becoming sharply differentiated at the mystical “separation of the sheep and the goat.” But out of duality a new unity eventually is produced: the child, the new God of a new universe. Subconsciously or consciously, during pregnancy, the mother dreams of the son-to-be and the imprint of the dream in time is revealed in the boy’s structural being. The true disciple must become the Mother of the living God and should eventually fulfill the great need of humanity and of all his people. MAN is constantly renewed through the great dreams and sacramental pregnancies of all disciples of the One Master.
This is the first stage of the thirty-third five-fold sequence of phases of the cycle. At this stage the power to bring one’s dreams and ideals to a clear and sharp focus of mental activity or imagination needs to be developed. It is the power of creative visualization (Kriyashakti) for which a significant word was coined during World War II: IMAGINEERING — a combination of “imagination” and “engineering.” Alas, the word was there, but our statesmen failed to incarnate it in deeds.
PHASE 162 (VIRGO 12°): AFTER THE WEDDING, THE GROOM SNATCHES THE VEIL AWAY FROM HIS BRIDE.
KEYNOTE: The penetrating and unveiling power of the trained mind.
In contrast to the preceding symbol we have now a scene stressing a physical action with psychological and/or spiritual overtones. In ancient cosmologies the male god often appears in three roles as son, husband and father of the woman element of nature. Nature is fulfilled by the human mind and will that overcome her; she resists only better to be subdued by the power that transcends her, and by transcending her gives her a spiritual meaning. The element of “training” in the symbolic scene comes from the fact that there has been a marriage ritual; thus the sociocultural factor is in the background. The teacher-guru is here the priest who has performed the ritual.
At this second stage the rules are reversed, the masculine element assuming the dynamic positive part in the great play of polarity. The masculine act balances the feminine dream visualization. The Keyword is UNVEILING. There can also be an unveiling of mysteries, long protected by secrecy.
PHASE 163 (VIRGO 13°): A POWERFUL STATESMAN OVER-COMES A STATE OF POLITICAL HYSTERIA.
KEYNOTE: The focusing of the collective need for order and structural interdependence into a personage who incarnates the answer to this need.
The husband role of fecundator of nature here takes on a collective social significance. We are at the stage where a powerful realization of the very purpose of the cycle of existence faces the chaotic remains of a dis-structured past. The character of the leader is always delineated by the need, subconscious though it may be, of the unformed agglomeration of entities he is called upon by destiny to lead. In time the leader will be worshiped as the “divine Father” of the society he structured.
At this third stage of the thirty-third sequence we see a new type of characterization of the many-faceted polarization of positive and negative. We have before us a personage endowed with CHARISMA, this elusive and mysterious power that comes from a man’s or woman’s openness to the power of planetary evolution.
PHASE 164 (VIRGO 14°): AN ARISTOCRATIC FAMILY TREE.
KEYNOTE: A deep reliance upon the ancestral roots of individual character.
Stressed here is the fact that the power available to any man in time of crisis and decision has very deep roots in the past, whether the past of physical ancestry or the past outlined by a series of previous embodiments conditioned by some dominant purpose and by the many-phased development of a particular type of complex character. True spontaneity and creativity are always based on a structured sequence of antecedents if they are at all genuinely spiritual, i.e. if they are able to meet a collective need. Only the actions that are necessary — even if only in the long run — for meeting such a need can actually be called “spiritual.”
This fourth stage symbol, strange as it may seem to many people — especially young people of our day — suggests a technique which, at critical times, must be used. It characterizes the means for true “success.” One returns to the roots in order to produce the flowering of personality, if this flower is to bring forth a living seed. ROOT POWER is essential to seed-achievement.
PHASE 165 (VIRGO 15°): A FINE LACE HANDKERCHIEF, HEIRLOOM FROM VALOROUS ANCESTORS.
KEYNOTE: The quintessence of deeds well done.
Root strength produces beautiful flowers. The neophyte who acts with determination, courage and discrimination while following “in the footsteps” of his predecessors receives a symbolic prize from the Brotherhood ready to welcome him when he has fully proven himself on the battlefield where he meets his past, which tries to block his way. The mystic Beloved hands him what she has woven for him out of spiritual threads.
This is the last stage of the thirty-third sequence which also ends the eleventh scene, “Characterization.” This scene began with the revelation in a portrait of salient features in a man’s face. It ends with symbols which bring out the ultimate validity of the many efforts of generations of men toward the building of a beautiful and significant CULTURE. The Man of Culture is, in the deepest and best sense of the term, the Aristocrat. He is the flowering of a line of ancestors who have accepted responsibility for a group or community. Likewise, the true “disciple” is the blossom that crowns a long series of incarnations.
PHASE 166 (VIRGO 16°): IN THE ZOO, CHILDREN ARE BROUGHT FACE TO FACE WITH AN ORANG-UTANG.
KEYNOTE: A direct confrontation with the “wild” power of primordial nature within oneself.
During this twelfth subcycle closing the first half of the cycle we deal with phases of unfoldment which can be very broadly classified under the term “e-ducation,” i.e. a leading out into the world of transcendent activity. Every hidden motive and depth energy has to be “led out” and objectively faced. According to the occult tradition, at least some of the ape species are actually throwbacks resulting from the perversion of the Man archetype when it belatedly came in touch with the elemental energies of an adolescent Earth. Likewise many of the so-called “primitive” tribes in places like Australia and New Guinea should be considered degenerate remnants of races which once had reached a much higher level of culture. In other words, the symbol refers to the confrontation of future-oriented modern children with the results of what one might refer to as an “original sin” — that is, with the degeneration of enormous vitalistic power once available to the human being. That power is now directed toward the mind, and has been immensely magnified by modern, technology. Yet there are residual remains of this vitalistic power in modern man’s nature, and we may well repeat at a higher level the “sin of the mindless.” The candidate for Initiation must face this possibility; the whole of mankind, in a sense, is a candidate for a planetary Initiation.
This is the first stage of the thirty-fourth sequence of symbols. Its symbol speaks of KARMIC CONFRONTATION.
PHASE 167 (VIRGO 17°): A VOLCANIC ERUPTION.
KEYNOTE: The explosive energy of long-repressed contents of the subconscious.
We are dealing here with the dramatic release of energies which have been kept in check by the outer shell of the ego controlled consciousness. It may be a spectacular catharsis, but it often takes paths of destruction. Yet unless some form of purification by fire is experienced, the inner pressure of the karmic past or of more recent frustrations would shake up perhaps even more destructively the very foundations of the personality.
At this second stage, the objective confrontation with an image of the karmic past is replaced by a subjective irruption of repressed memories and primitive cravings. Everything must be released from the psyche seeking to attain the transfigured state. The soul must become empty, the mind translucent. The Keyword is EXPLOSION.
PHASE 168 (VIRGO 18°): A OUIJA BOARD.
KEYNOTE: The ability to contact deeper recesses of the unconscious psyche and sensitiveness to psychic intimations and omens.
The ouija board is to be considered here a modern device similar to many ancient instruments used for divination and prophecy. Certain states of threshold consciousness are stimulated by such a use, and what the experience produces may vary greatly in quality and in origin. The release of unconscious material has lost the explosive force pictorialized in the preceding symbol, yet at this stage there is still no conscious and willful control over what reaches the ego-consciousness.
This is the third stage of the thirty-fourth sequence of symbolic phases in the life process. It is at best a stage of transition which stresses a passive openness to the unknown. The glamour of it may subtly pervert the mind of the aspirant; but in some cases, this can be the first manifestation of INNER GUIDANCE. The difficulty is to correctly evaluate what or who does the guiding.
PHASE 169 (VIRGO 19°): A SWIMMING RACE.
KEYNOTE: The stimulation that comes from a group effort toward a spiritual goal.
When man has become an expert swimmer he has symbolically learned how to operate in a new element. This element, water, represents the ever-flowing stream of psychic energy, and, in a sense at least, the “astral” world. In a still deeper sense man is now able, mystically speaking, to cross the river and reach “the other shore” — or to swim back toward the source. Whether or not the symbol should suggest the competitive spirit at work is questionable. At the biological level a host of spermatozoa are swimming toward the ovum, and each presses on toward the goal, the act of impregnation. A seeker after spiritual rebirth actually does not strive alone. It is Man who, acting through the most advanced individuals of the race, is taking a step toward “rebirth,” or toward a new mutation. The personal ego-centered ambition to succeed and to be “first” is indeed a sign of expectable spiritual failure.
At this fourth stage we are confronted with a problem of interpretation. Is not ambition a subtle form of deviation under the pressure of ancient karma, and the competitive spirit so valued by our civilization a sign of failure to understand the deeper reality of existence? What is needed is EMULATION, not competition.
PHASE 170 (VIRGO 20°): A CARAVAN OF CARS HEADED TO THE WEST COAST.
KEYNOTE: The need of cooperative effort in reaching any “New World” of experience.
It is difficult to know, from the original formulation of the clairvoyant’s vision, the type of caravan of cars that was visualized; what seems to be clearly implied is a process in which a group of persons are journeying together — thus linking their consciousnesses and energies (the “car” symbol) — in order to safely reach the goal of destiny. Here there is no longer any sense of competition, but an ordered and structured endeavor.
At this last stage of the five-fold sequence the past is entirely left behind; men cooperate in the great “adventure in consciousness” in a TOTALIZATION OF PURPOSE AND EFFORT.
PHASE 171 (VIRGO 21°): A GIRL’S BASKETBALL TEAM.
KEYNOTE: Physical training as a means to inculcate the feeling of participation in a collective culture.
Basketball presents an interesting symbol. The ball must be thrown into a narrow opening high above the head of the player. The ego-consciousness (the ball) must be driven upward to a focal point or circle that is ready to receive it. In a sense, this parallels what the boy on the merry-go-round (Virgo 6°) can do if he succeeds in penetrating the ring with his stick, but there are notable differences. Here the players operate as a team; in the original formulation of the symbol there was no reference to two teams and thus to the competitive character of the game. What should be stressed here is the formation of a group acting as an organic whole and training itself to operate in a social context.
This is the first stage of a second-level sequence of five symbols, as was the symbol of the merry-go-round. A definite type of educational activity is implied with cultural, and as well emotional, overtones. It implies the training for GROUP INTEGRATION of “girls,” i.e. of a type of consciousness more specifically receptive to collective forces.
PHASE 172 (VIRGO 22°): A ROYAL COAT OF ARMS ENRICHED WITH PRECIOUS STONES.
KEYNOTE: The certification of aristocratic status, at whatever level “nobility” expresses itself in cultural eminence.
Once more a reference to ancestral achievements occurs among these symbols for the sign Virgo. It is seen here in its most exalted character, for “royalty” is spoken of. Traditionally the king is the spiritual symbol of unity of an integrated nation; as a coat of arms is visualized, we are dealing with a status that is not merely personally acquired but has its roots in a notable past. Every great Adept has come out of a line of human beings who have made their marks upon human evolution. Spiritual attainment is the result of a series of long, repeated efforts; it is the end of a “royal road,” (raja yoga) in the broadest sense of the term, raja, meaning king.
This second stage symbol contrasts with that of the first in that it refers to heredity rather than to the training of youthful raw material. Gautama the Buddha was known occultly as “He who comes after his predecessors.” The coat of arms represents the collective status, the Spiritual Office. Whoever wears it assumes the responsibility of an Office. As the French say, “Noblesse oblige.” NOBILITYconfers upon a man exacting responsibility. The question implied in the symbol is,Are you willing, able and ready to assume a “royal” office, at whatever level it may be?
PHASE 173 (VIRGO 23°): A LION TAMER DISPLAYS HIS SKILL AND CHARACTER.
KEYNOTE: The need to tame one’s vital energies in order to fulfill one’s destiny.
We see here the development of the concept of training. The true aristocrat is the individual who is in complete control of his vital and emotional energies; at the spiritual level this includes the overcoming of pride — pride in one’s strength and mastery, and the pride attached to an exalted status or social Office.
This is the third stage of the thirty-fifth sequence of five symbols. The meaning of this phase of development is traditional and evident. The whole process of social-ethical and occult-spiritual conditioning of the individual aims at the control of man’s “animal nature.” The energies of this nature can be put to many uses. Implied in any successful process of taming and training is RESOLUTENESS and PATIENCE.
PHASE 174 (VIRGO 24°): MARY AND HER LITTLE LAMB.
KEYNOTE: The need to keep a vibrant and pure simplicity at the core of one’s being as one meets the many tests of existence.
Coming after the preceding symbols this one tells us that, though great, spectacular and resolute efforts are needed in order to achieve one’s higher goals of destiny, still the essential quality as one journeys on “the Path” is a pure, spontaneous, fresh and nonviolent approach to all encounters. This of course is Jesus’ entreaty to his disciples — that they should be like “little children.” Without such a deep, heartfelt simplicity the seeker after spiritual experiences or Initiation is bound to find himself glamorized by his own successes, and to see his ego feeding on the drama of struggle and victory.
This is the fourth stage of the thirty-fifth five-fold sequence and it presents us with a subtle hint of technique. Beyond individual prowess and social eminence, the individual whose innocence is fixed upon spiritual realization should genuinely radiate INNOCENCE.
PHASE 175 (VIRGO 25°): A FLAG AT HALF-MAST IN FRONT OF A PUBLIC BUILDING.
KEYNOTE: The social acknowledgment of a job well done and a destiny fulfilled.
As an individual who has accepted any significantly met public responsibilities reaches the end of his service to his community or to mankind as a whole, he gains social immortality, at least to some extent. In death he becomes identified with the archetype that ensouled his public office. He becomes a “culture hero,” enshrined in the official memory of his race. He has found his place in history. The symbol implies the ability to carry any task to its ultimate fulfillment, provided this task is carried out with reference to the need of a collectivity, small or large as it may be.
In this final phase of the thirty-fifth five-fold sequence of symbols we are presented with an image of the end results of the individual’s service to mankind. His personal failings may be forgotten but his achievements remain. They are given PUBLIC RECOGNITION.
PHASE 176 (VIRGO 26°): A BOY WITH A CENSER SERVES THE PRIEST NEAR THE ALTAR.
KEYNOTE: The first stage of actual participation in the great ritual of planetary evolution.
Whether we think of the ancient mysteries, or of a Catholic Mass, or of some still more transcendent ceremony in which great Beings charged with planetary responsibilities are involved, we are dealing with a type of archetypal activity. The ritual is archetypal in that it represents, in however small a field of activity, a portion of the evolving structure of the cosmos, as this structure is understood in its “sacred” sense. Every such activity is performed “in the presence of God.” Menial as it may be, it nevertheless acquires a sacred meaning.
This is the first stage of the thirty-sixth five-fold sequence, which brings us to the close of the first half of the cycle. The individual is “e-ducated,” i.e. led out into the world of transcendent activity, the world of archetypal performance. He must learn to serve, humbly and with intense attention, in what as yet is beyond his spiritual understanding. He learns to perform every action super-personally. He learns to PRACTICE IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD.
PHASE 177 (VIRGO 27°): A GROUP OF ARISTOCRATIC LADIES MEET CEREMONIALLY AT A COURT’S FUNCTION.
KEYNOTE: The ability to carry on a revered tradition in order to perpetuate cultural standards of excellence.
At the highest peak of achievement of any fully developed culture the King considers himself in some manner a representative of the Power that controls the order of the universe. From him descends a hierarchy of offices performed by an aristocracy. On the feminine side, to be an aristocrat is to be able to act efficiently in the many rituals of a culture — from official tea parties to presentations at the Court. Dignity, elegance and respect for formal rules are essential.
We may consider the formalism obsolete and meaningless, yet when it ceases to be observed the culture breaks down. Even now in this age of crisis and world transformation, there may be times when honoring formal procedures can be of great value for the disordered and rebellious mind.
This second stage symbol presents the contrast between the “profane” and the “sacred” ritual. But the two need not be antithetic. Our over-individualistic and confused new generations find it valuable to study Japanese tea ceremonies, flower arrangement, judo, etc. The undisciplined need to learn REFINEMENT.
PHASE 178 (VIRGO 28°): A BALDHEADED MAN WHO HAS SEIZED POWER.
KEYNOTE: The sheer power of personality in times that call for decision.
Whether at the religious or at the socio-political and cultural level there comes a time when obsolescent patterns of order and cultural refinement have to be radically and relentlessly challenged. Catabolic personages emerge to seize power and dictate decisions that alter the structures of society; or within an individual life, an intense urge for cathartic changes mobilizes the will, and traumatic decisions are made. At such times, the issue has to be met and, ruthless as the power may appear, it must be accepted.
At this third stage of the thirty-sixth sequence we face the un-postponable necessity for decision and transformation. Existence is motion. No static formation, however beautiful and inspiring, can remain long unchallenged. Everything bows to THE POWER OF THE WILL — divine, executively human, or Satanic.
PHASE 179 (VIRGO 29°): A SEEKER AFTER OCCULT KNOWLEDGE IS READING AN ANCIENT SCROLL WHICH ILLUMINES HIS MIND.
KEYNOTE: After a crisis one should seek to realign the renewed consciousness with the primordial Revelation of the Truth of Man.
Any revolutionary movement, once it has succeeded in over- coming the inertia of the past and in toppling obsolete structures, needs to tap the most essential realities of what Man represents and signifies in the universal Order; or else it merely re-embodies in a superficially altered manner the very things it has destroyed. This is the crucial moment. In occultism the “Pattern of Man” is an archetypal Power that may be contacted. It must be sought with undeviating determination. After each revolutionary crisis this Pattern and this Power can be contacted — always the same, yet at each new cycle perceivable in a different light.
This fourth stage symbol presents us with the technique required to “reach the other shore.” But each individual, and each group or racial unit, must come in its own way to the ROOT KNOWLEDGE which provides the only safe foundation for rebirth.
PHASE 180 (VIRGO 30°): TOTALLY INTENT UPON COMPLETING AN IMMEDIATE TASK, A MAN IS DEAF TO ANY ALLUREMENT.
KEYNOTE: The total concentration required for reaching any spiritual goal.
This is the final symbol of the first half of the cycle. In the year cycle the fall equinox is now at hand; autumn begins. Through spring and summer many ways and byways have been experienced. The last message of this hemicycle of “Individualization” is that on all decisive occasions what must be done has to be done so intently that no outer voices can penetrate the mind, still less the soul. The neophyte stands at the gates of the sacred Pyramid. There is only one step he can take — ahead, or he is lost.
This is the culminating step, the decision that results from a myriad of small choices. Still a shadow of hesitation can remain. Attention may be distracted from the Now by a voice from the past, glamorizing some old memory. The outer doors of perception and thought must be closed, so the soul can complete its CONQUEST OF ILLUSION.