Two Men Playing Chess, by Olha Pryymak
Sagittarius Solar Festival
and the late 2011 Eclipses
Malvin Artley, our regular esoteric commentator examines the subtle meaning of the Full Moon in Gemini for 2011, a rare total Lunar Eclipse. This is Sagittarius's Full Moon, as the Moon is full in the sign opposing the Sun. The full moon of Sagittarius (the full moon at Gemini 18º09') takes place on the 10th of December at 14:33 UT (09:33 AM EST in the US; 01:33 AM AEDT on Dec. 11th in Australia). Apologies, dear readers, this article is a little late appearing, thanks to the unfortunate effects of the eclipses on your beloved editor...
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
I hope it was a good one for you. In this time of year in the US our thoughts are given over (hopefully) to gratitude for all that we have, and especially for the loved ones in our lives—and we do have a lot for which we can feel grateful. It has been a while since my last letter—June, I believe—so for those who have kindly enquired, no you have not missed any letters. In the past months I have had to take some personal time and I have also had a couple of injuries to contend with which have kept me from writing (nothing life-threatening or ultimately serious). I had a couple of bad transit days. What can I say? I will spare you from the details, but suffice it to say that episodes such as these are great for giving one new perspectives on life. So, having had a little break, I can get back into things with a renewed vigor, along with a few changed perspectives.
Looking at the news during these past months, I would venture to say that much of the world's humanity is going through similar changes in perspective. The performance of many of the world's current governments have been 'disappointing', shall we say, the economy is unstable, people have no real sense of security and are fast losing faith in the old systems, and rightly so. These are all things that have been said before and have been touched on in past letters.
The difference now, though, is that people are actively demonstrating in parts of the world where such shows of discontent have been largely unheard of. The 'Occupy Wall Street' movement has taken on a world-wide impetus. I mean, we even have an 'Occupy Adelaide' here now. Many readers may think that such movements are a little silly, but the fact that they are happening at all is pointing to something deeper within the human psyche. People want security and a just allocation of resources. They want safety for their children, secure jobs and so forth. There is nothing new there, either, but the phase of activism has now begun in earnest—witness the Middle East and Europe—and if we think it is just going to blow over, think again. Movements such as these can get much more strident and widespread, especially if the authorities get heavy-handed and/or resources become scarce, and indications astrologically are that these movements will continue and grow in strength.
Changing of the Rays
I have been looking quite a bit at the financial situation these days, and I have certain insights to share here. I started to write a letter for the Libra solar festival in the first part October, but to no avail due to everything that was going on in my life at the time. However, in looking at Libra, there is a factor in the world situation that forms an over-arching emphasis and background energy, and that is often overlooked in astrology and bears some examination. In fact, it has to do with the sign Aquarius, oddly enough.
Due to the precession of the equinoxes we have more or less entered the Age of Aquarius, though we are still in transition, being borne witness by the strong devotional and reactionary strains being played out by factions the world over (the Age of Pisces was ruled by the 6th Ray, hence the strong fanaticism still in evidence in the world). This is gradually being replaced as we move more firmly into Aquarius by the incoming 7th Ray force of order and ritual, Aquarius being jointly ruled by Saturn and Uranus as the orthodox rulers of the sign and in the higher sense by Jupiter, as the esoteric ruler of the sign. Hence, in the 'new Age' there will be a more settled, rhythmic and ordered approach to living rather than the more devotionally religious expression (along with the more material) that we have seen for the past 2,000 years.
The Precession of the Equinoxes
Due to the precession of the equinoxes we have entered into the influence of the Libran decanate of Aquarius. The Libra decanate is the third one of Aquarius. For the non-astrologer, each astrological sign is subdivided into three 10° segments, called decanates, the first 10° segment being the same as the whole sign. However, with the precessional movement of the zodiac, since it proceeds in retrograde movement through the signs (from Pisces to Aries), we enter the last decanate of every sign first, and with Aquarius that decanate is ruled by Libra. The middle decanate is ruled by Gemini/Mercury. Thus, with the Libra decanate of Aquarius, we have two primary planetary influences—Venus and Saturn. Saturn rules the entire sign of Aquarius by the 'old' rulership, and Venus rules the Libra decanate of the sign.
Every time there is a change in the major forces that shape our lives we find a polarization among people and thus more or less a clear demarcation of whatever type of energy they are aligned with or are working out. There is major 6th Ray force still in the US and the Middle East, though we are seeing an increase of the 7th Ray in both places. Countries such as Australia and parts of Europe are more secular in their approach to matters. Parts of Asia and Africa are still strongly religious due to Islamic influence, while we see a curious mix of energies in South America, where problems tend to be more economic in nature than religious.
Moving Forward as a Soul
In considering the decanates and the changes brought with the changing of signs by precession, we have a pronounced scenario playing out before our eyes in the decades we are living through right now and those to come, best described by the following quote:
…the astrologer needs to study the individual from the angle of his/her place upon the wheel of the zodiac and to consider which way he/she is going. Are they progressing around the wheel as a personality or… moving forward as a soul? The conflict to which all disciples are subjected can be traced to the fact that the form life… is influenced in one way by the wheel, and the consciousness aspect in another way, or in the reverse direction. The disciple [a person consciously spiritually focused] enters the sign under the influence of that decanate which is for them the first [Aquarius in this case] but which is the third [Libra] for the ordinary person.
In other words, for the person who is materially focused and has no interest in spiritual advancement or care for the larger human condition, they respond exactly to the retrogressive progress of the precession of the equinoxes. Their life, their personal advancement and the lives of those closest to them is their primary concern. Anything that rocks the boat of their little secure world is seen as 'bad' and threatening and they will do what they can to retain the status quo. These people are firmly in the 'grip' of the Libra decanate of Aquarius right now, along with the remnants of the sign Pisces, with all the Venusian connotations of material comfort, the desire for the latest and greatest, for finery, their lives being taken up with the day-to-day of human relationships—especially romantic relationships—in all their detail. This is the person governed largely by their instincts and subconscious tendencies.
A Conscious Step
For those people who have made a conscious step onto 'the path of return' the scene changes, and often dramatically at times. Such a person is no longer solely governed by their desires. In fact, desire is increasingly seen by them as a hindrance to spiritual progress, either consciously registered or otherwise. Many of these are the people who often end up in the counsellor's or astrologer's office seeking the deeper meanings to life, rather than when their next relationship will come or what the best numbers are for the coming lotto draw. These are the people who actively desire and work for the common good and the betterment of all people, especially in terms of consciousness.
In the current world scenario such people are under the impress of Saturn and Uranus through Aquarius, with choices to be made about long-term social gains and the urge to better conditions for the greatest number. They are far-sighted, very much aware—sometimes painfully so—of their own inner nature, and very much concerned with the welfare of others. Such a person knows that if the common welfare can be established and bettered, then their own lives will be enriched as well, though their own lives are not the primary motivating factor for them. Both factoring planets—Venus and Saturn—are present and potent in the person on the path, for we are all still human beings, but ultimately the Saturnian aspect of choice takes over and the choice is invariably made for the betterment of all under Uranian influence. This is not an easy path, but we see large numbers of people taking up the call now, witnessed by the growing unrest and demonstrations in the world over conditions as they have been, the army of volunteers everywhere and the average person of good-will doing their best for their community.
The Influence of Libra
Libra rules over the law, sex and money, and we are particularly seeing the ongoing and growing crisis with regard to finances and the role of governments in the same. We are seeing as well sexual mores changing all the time, witnessed by the past few decades, the role of the internet, the media, the efforts at legalising and normalising gay relations (it was not that long ago that being gay was considered a mortal sin throughout most of Western society, or it was deeply closeted), legislation regarding child labor and efforts to stamp out sexual crimes against children, the decline of marriage in the West and the declining birth rate in much of the developed world.
I speak not just of the past few years, but of the last century as well, for that is when the Aquarian influence began to make itself especially felt. Up until the last century labor laws were draconian and basically non-existent, people worked like slaves for little pay, children were a regular feature of factory production, and women and children were treated little better than livestock. Sadly, that is still the case in some parts of the world, but it is happily rapidly changing in comparison to the past few hundred years. The transformation of society in the last 100 years is nothing short of miraculous, though there is still a ways to go. Yes, we have much for which to be grateful.
We can see the struggles wrought by our entry into the Libran decanate of Aquarius, given the previous paragraph. Living standards in the West have been completely transformed, especially since WWII. We have gotten very used to a high standard of living and we naturally do not want to give it up. At the same time those people who are more aware of the spiritual drives within them can see that ultimately 'having things' is not in itself a satisfactory means of living. It is nowhere near ideal. Wealth has to mean something, and has to be accompanied by conscience, elsewise it is an empty life to have beautiful things around, but with no love or compassion for others in one's life at the same time. Those who have must give and must see that those less fortunate are cared for in some fashion. Is that not the Aquarian ideal? In the Libra decanate of Aquarius, which will go on for at least a few hundred more years, the struggle—and it is largely an internal struggle right now—is between what is best for society (Saturn/Uranus) and self-satisfaction, which usually means amassing the latest and greatest things and in having a great sex life, to put it bluntly. There is no general rule that says one cannot have both, though more religious types would likely disagree, but there is a problem with trying to have both, and that lies in the desire nature.
Original Sin, by Michaelangelo
We are coming out of an age (Piscean) where sex was considered to be original sin, or 'filthy behavior' and all material things were meant to be given over to service of God, meaning that the religious elite lived very well on the backs of the peasants, thank you very much. The mass of people were meant to be 'good Christians/Buddhists/Muslims'—what have you—maintain one's religious practices and give heartily to 'keep the faith', hoping for a better life in the after-world. Desire for one's self-interest was crushed if it did not fall into line or prove beneficial to the powers that be of the time. Only with the rise of the middle class and the emergence of the secular society, under the impress of Aquarius, did that change.
Every sign has its high spiritual and baser instinctual sides. With the Piscean Age devotion to faith, leaders, gurus, ideals and clan were the norm. The more spiritually advanced of the day were largely educated via the monastic systems until the Renaissance and religious practices imbued community life. Such will not be the case in the Aquarian Age, at least not in its present structure. Spirituality will be more self-initiated and self-sustained. Sexuality is now seen by the mass of people as a normal part of life, though old attitudes of guilt run deep from the past age. In short, we live in a messy period wherein we are throwing off the old and embracing things anew. Spiritual attainment and practice will never die out and only get stronger as humanity evolves, though the structure of religion will change over time.
The long and the short of this discussion is that we have reached a point in society and human evolution wherein we have been given free range in the satisfaction of the desire nature compared to what used to be. At no time in recent history have we had such freedoms. Those who have not had free reign are fast reaching the point where they can begin to have all the 'things' they want, or at least need. Seeing the opulence of the West, many people in less developed parts of the world naturally desire a similar standard of living in their own societies. Such desire brought about the massive changes in the West we have seen since the Industrial Revolution, but people in the West are increasingly unhappy. It is quickly beginning to dawn on people that having things comes at a price, and the price can be a heavy one spiritually. Chasing after things and comfort takes a lot of time—time that could be better spent on truly meaningful matters. It is only when one loses the attachment to things and people that real progress toward a meaningful life can be had, and that is the thing that Libra always brings, and it is always in the nature of a choice. From a larger perspective I believe that our struggles in the world today are about trying to find a middle ground wherein we can have what Buddhists would call the 8 freedoms and the 10 endowments—the leisure and the comfort just enough to allow society en masse to pursue its spiritual goals, whatever they may be.
There will be self-serving people well into the Age of Aquarius, but the tide is turning quickly if we look at things from an historical perspective. And, with all the hype around 2012, I see that year as a marker that we are turning a corner, however slow it may seem. I will address that more in the Rain Dragon letter in the first of the year. Suffice it to say that there will be unrest and instability in the years to come as we struggle to free ourselves from the grip of gross materialism, obscene capitalism of the sort that engendered the financial collapses we have seen in the past few years, and ineffectual governments. Politicians need to find their political will and stop thinking in the short term.
There are some hard and socially unpalatable choices to be made, witness what we are seeing in Greece and other parts of Europe. Look, if we live in a household that is financially strapped, the one thing one never does is to try to live on credit or expect someone to bail us out. What will happen socially over time is that at some point money will be replaced as a medium of exchange between people. That will not happen overnight. We have many decades left in this Libran interval and emphasis, but I see it happening within that time-frame (next few hundred years, if not before). In the meantime there is a lot of adjusting to do and the polarizations we see today, religious, social and financial, need to give way to a more balanced view of life and society in general. The us/them mentality must cease if we are to make any real or lasting progress toward better conditions—and that won't happen overnight.
In part two of this article, Malvin Artley continues his exploration of the esoteric meanings of the Solar Festival at the Full Moon in Gemini for 2011, with special attention to the eclipses and the new emergence of spirit.
Read part two of The 2011 Sagittarius Solar Festival