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However, with respect to Buddhist logic, anything which is impermanent and thus bound to cyclic existence has no true existence. In that, the Buddhists are correct. For them the matter is seen from the perspective of the fully enlightened being. Yet, from a human perspective, the soul does exist and is the vehicle that carries us ultimately to the doorway of full enlightenment. Buddhists say in truth there is no such thing as a person either, yet Buddhist teachers will say in the same breath that we are people. We are, but we are not. It is a matter of perception and interpretation that governs whether or not a thing is real, much like the wave/particle duality in physics with respect to material existence. Are we matter, or are we energy? One could say, in fact, we are both simultaneously. So, what is the secret of the soul?
The soul to us is the 'light supernal', the wisdom that transcends worldly existence, the wisdom of the path that leads one to the ultimate experience of clear light, yet cannot go there itself. Capricorn is the gateway to the soul, to the 'path of seeing', in my opinion. The soul contains the wisdom of all that can be known and taught of the higher way, the dharma. The stages of the full realization of soul-wisdom can be seen as the successive realizations of each of the four noble truths: the truth of suffering, the truth of the origin of suffering, the truth of the cessation of suffering, and the path that leads to the cessation of suffering. In short, the way of the soul is the way of truth. Much, if not all, of that path is related to the release from the sufferings of existence, both higher and lower. This is the Saturn rulership over Capricorn, as Saturn is the principle of limitation and mental suffering—wrong views, as Buddhists would call it. Yet, for many readers to think of the soul ultimately as a limitation (a subtle obscuration to omniscience) and something to ultimately be transcended itself is tantamount to blasphemy and at the least very distasteful. After all, the soul is seen in religions as the highest and best part of ourselves, that which is of God and returns us to the divine. Again, both views are true and valid depending upon one's perspective.
To clarify the matter and give the mystery of the soul its due place, the path of the soul is the path of the bodhisattva—the great beings whose only thought and purpose is to relieve the sufferings of each and every sentient being. A bodhisattva lives fully within the light supernal, yet cares not for it, instead being motivated solely by the desire to be of service to those who still suffer. Yet, in that service they attain the goal they wish for every suffering being—full enlightenment. Thus, we have the aphorism of Capricorn: “Lost am I in light supernal, yet on that light I turn my back.” Capricorn reveals to us the leviathan (the true animal associated with the sign) of our self-grasping—the three sufferings (suffering of suffering, suffering of change, and the all-pervasive suffering of conditioning)—and shows us the path away from it. Rather than seeing the soul as a subtle obscuration, then, perhaps a better way of viewing it is as a path (or if you like, a being) which leads one to enlightenment. With respect to one's spiritual path, the soul is 'the way, the truth and the light', the Christ/Bodhisattva within each of us, and that is no small thing and definitely not something simply to be dismissed as 'non-existent'.
The Way, the Truth and the Light
What of the experience of the Capricorn type, then—one who has either the Sun or Ascendent in Capricorn? Capricorn is said to rule the best and the worst of humanity. It is the cult of personality and the way away from it. It rules over both worldly and other-worldly attainments. In its lower phase its expression is “Let ambition rule” and it then becomes the inverse reflection of the higher aspect of the sign and worldly in the extreme. The end goal before any Capricorn native is some sort of sustained contact with the higher parts of themselves if they are clearly on the spiritual path. One could say the attainment of Capricorn is fixity upon higher goals. If one is a practiced meditator, then clearly the goal is the union of calm-abiding and insight. In general, one might say that the goal for Capricorn in general is to exhibit all that is the best within us and to sustain that on a daily basis, as much as one can. This can be particularly difficult for Capricorns, for the general trend is for them to make themselves comfortable in the world and then turn their attention elsewhere. In the end, the major realization to come for the average Capricornian is that no worldly attainment ever brings lasting happiness and often brings quite the opposite. This realization—that satisfaction breeds only discontent—is the catalyst that will lead them to the door of higher wisdom.
To close this discussion, one sometimes encounters great spiritual teachers who are Capricorn types and they are indeed exemplary of the highest aspects of the sign. The hardness of the Capricorn gives way to the sweetness of bliss and then the joy of Venus (as the highest ruler of the sign) shines through. The path of seeing is sometimes called the 'path of joy', after all, and such a teacher exudes the joy that comes from seeing his/her charges overcome their illusions and step firmly onto the path of return. They can be hard taskmasters, especially in their earlier years, being harder on themselves than on their students, but the rewards from being associated with such a person far outweigh any discomfort, for their motives are, in the end, only care for the student. The highest Capricorn is an incarnate bodhisattva, a mahatma, and to come under their care and tutelage is a blessing beyond measure. With that, how does this full moon look in terms of what has been considered in the preceding paragraphs?
In part two of this article, Malvin Artley continues his exploration of the esoteric implications of the Full Moon in Cancer, the Capricorn Solar Festival for 2011. He examines, the aspects and the degrees with a view to their political, personal and spiritual significance.
Read part two of The 2011 Capricorn Solar Festival at the Full Moon in Cancer.
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