Aquarius Solar Festival
An Inspired Spontaneity at the Full Moon in Leo 2010
Malvin Artley, our regular esoteric commentator investigates the subtle meaning of the Full Moon in Leo for 2010. This is Aquarius's Full Moon, as the Moon is full in the sign opposing the Sun. The Full Moon of Aquarius (the Full Moon at Leo 10º15') took place on the 30th January at 06:19 UT (GMT), which is 1:19 AM EST in the US. The peak of the Full Moon in Sydney was at 5:19 PM, January 30.
Silence is a thing to be much sought after these days and a rare commodity, it would seem. The world is full of noise from transport and media, we have mobile/cell phones growing on the sides of our heads and there is no respite from those things unless we remove ourselves from the modern world in some way periodically. Parents know this. Every time I would ask my father what he wanted for his birthday or for Christmas, for instance, the answer was always the same—peace and quiet—and it is the same to this day. I used to get away by myself a lot when I was in the flush of youth and spent a lot of time in the woods surrounding our neighborhood. I had favorite spots where I would go while away the hours, far away from the noise and carry-on of the family home. There was one particular tree I used to climb and sit in for hours, cradled by the huge branches and shielded from prying eyes by its verdure. It was a grand old oak tree, probably at least a couple hundred years old. It felt like an old friend and when things got to be a bit much at home or school I would go pay a visit and spend time there, usually until I got called for dinner.
My old friend was the largest tree in those woods. I climbed around on all its branches and explored it to the limits of what I thought would support me. I fell out of it a couple of times, too, which was more surprising and embarrassing than painful. Make all the jokes about falling out of trees if you like, but kids these days seem to have lost any spirit of adventure that way. It is way cooler to have the latest video or computer games than it is to go off into the forest, or so they would have you think. I know better, though. Kids in Australia have it tougher in that regard, just the same. Trees aren't so easy in Australia. The lowest branches of gum trees are high off the ground and they break easily, so nobody really bothers. It is a pity, really, added to by the fact that most forested areas tend to be rather scrubby in Oz. Still, there is a quiet in the forest you just do not get anywhere else, and it is balm to the soul.
The forests are full of elementals—nature spirits, 'little people'—and they thrive in the quiet, untouched areas of the world and anywhere where verdure thrives. One can feel them, maybe even see them, if sensitive enough, and they add to the magic of natural areas. They also give something to us when we stay and sit in silence amongst them. They approach us then. One would not usually associate the sign Aquarius with wooded areas and nature spirits. It is seen as more a technological sign, and it can be. However, Aquarius rules over a class of lives known as the elementals, or the 'blinded lives', and this aspect of the sign has a particular resonance with the energies to be imparted through this full moon period. So, just what are these 'elementals'?
An elemental in the context we are considering here can be loosely defined as 'the spirits of the elements', or those beings who 'ensoul' (animate is a better term) the forms and elements we know or can perceive in any realm of nature. An elemental is an unconscious life (in that it has no intrinsic self-consciousness) which exists only in the realm of the element with which it is associated. An elemental of the earth, for instance, is known as a gnome, and is found only in physical matter. Thus, each element has its associated elemental: Fire (salamanders), Earth (gnomes), Water (undines) and Air (sylphs). As such, they respond to thought currents and take their forms accordingly. Where there is heat, for instance, salamanders will be found, especially in flames. All bodies or forms of liquid will have their associated undines, and so forth. These thus form the building blocks, psychically considered, of everything with see around us. The elementals thus form the mother psychic substance which substands and gives form to all currents of thought. They have no force of their own and are entirely automatic in their response to any sort of psychic current (thought current). Their 'job' in the natural order of things, if we could so describe it, is to enable the interaction of consciousness with matter, thus allowing the processes of manifestation throughout the universe. It is an abstruse subject, but one rich in its insights for those who know its particulars, for the person who can direct the elementals has control over the forces of nature—siddhis, in other words.
Elementals manifest in countless ways and have wide gradations of evolutionary status. The tiniest of the elementals tend to the forms of atomic matter in the universe. The most developed of them are 'the little people'. Some readers may dismiss all this as fallacious, but I know people who can see these lives. Elementals will one day, far in a distant eon, become human. That is their evolutionary goal, just as ours is to step off the wheel of rebirth and fully realize our intrinsic nature, which is buddhahood, the level of chohan in Theosophical terms. For most people that goal lies in a far-distant cycle, too. For now, though, the elementals are the intelligence aspect of all forms in nature. Each developed form, such as a lake, a tree, an animal or a stone, will have its attendant elemental. Elementals form the instinctual consciousness in the subhuman kingdoms of nature. They blindly go about their tasks, which are largely to vitalize all forms, and they are for the most part unaware of the presence of humans, unless a human directs their thoughts to them, at which point they will either respond or be repelled. It is the elemental in a gem, for instance, which enables it to be energized as a talisman. Given a task, an elemental will perform it, without thought or bias, so they can be directed to either good or ill.
I have necessarily left a lot out here about elementals and their myriad lives and functions. It is a fascinating study, but there are certain points that we need to get to here for a consideration of this solar festival. There are three main key phrases we need to keep in mind as we go along in our discussion: 'mother substance', group effort, and compassionate resolve. In terms of group effort, Aquarius has a peculiar orientation with regard to the kingdoms of nature. The main function of elementals as we have seen is to vitalize all forms. A developed form is an aggregate of forces, a body if you will. An elemental, responding to an archetypal thought or design (a genetic code, if you will) will organize and draw together all the forces and lesser lives needed in order to sustain and grow the form. If the elemental quits the form, it disintegrates. Thus, we have a key to our own health in this, for instance. Each our five bodies or aggregates, from physical through nirvanic, has its own developed and ruling elemental. It is the juxtaposition of this elemental with our own consciousness which keeps us incarnated. It is our harmony or dissonance with our karma and intended development which will determine whether we are healthy or ill.
Atlantis, by Josephine Wall
Agents of Our Karma
To be perfectly blunt about it, the elementals seek to sustain form—to keep us trapped in incarnation and cyclic existence. They do their job very well, but they also provide us with the vehicles necessary for us to have our lives and do our spiritual work in this world. To be perfectly clear about the matter (pun unintended), our elementals are the agents of our karma, responding to the impress of our past actions, limiting our consciousness and thus providing the opportunity for us to evolve.
In Buddhist terms, the elementals are very much our kind and precious mothers, sustaining us, providing just what is needed for us and giving us a means of life in the three worlds of human existence (body, feelings and mind). Even though we rail against the restriction we feel from them (which, again, is their job) we also have a responsibility and bear a gift for them—we enable them to evolve. We, as we become realized, teach the elementals, and in finally subduing their influence over us, teach them to become self-conscious. That, again, is far in the future.
So, the one question before us is, how do we train our own elemental aggregates? The answer is through ritual and focused meditative effort. In short, we need to find silent time, practice and apply ourselves. More than that, we subdue the instinctual side of ourselves through selfless service—service to a higher cause. If you want to gauge how caught up in the lives of your own elementals you are, spend time alone with yourself and try to be disciplined in something. They will rebel, seeking to keep the status quo in place. We are not our form, not our aggregates, yet we do have a profound effect upon them and we do perform supreme service both to ourselves, them and others by disciplining ourselves and 'subduing' (training) the elementals. It is the only way we can release ourselves and them, ultimately.
The further along we go in our own spiritual development, the more and more we begin to realize that we have a responsibility to give something back to those beings who 'have been our mothers again and again in kindness'. It is not enough for us to simply achieve liberation and step off the wheel of rebirth. To do so with that as the only goal in mind is spiritual selfishness in the extreme. Eventually we come to see that in many areas we, too, were once ignorant (blind) and behaved in an automatic and senseless manner and, if we follow the path correctly, we are eventually moved with great compassion to free the very lives which held us in thrall, but which nonetheless allowed us to have the experiences needed for us to have our realizations. And, it is not simply our own elementals that we are moved to enlighten. We are moved to be of aid to every being who struggles as we have done. All in our local universe are eventually called in some way to serve, to unite with those of like mind and to pour forth the wisdom thus gained for the benefit of 'all who are thirsty, yet drown in the sea of ignorance and despair'.
The Path to Full Enlightenment
Hence, with Aquarius, we have the symbol of the person with the water urn on their shoulder. The urn contains our accumulated wisdom, won a great cost and suffering on our part, yet freely given to all who thirst after that wisdom as we have done. And the urn is always full to overflowing. None who truly seeks is refused the water of life, and the urn remains full 'until the last being is liberated'. Aquarius is the illuminating light which dispels all ignorance and eases suffering. Thus, Aquarius is also seen as the World Server—the great bodhisattva path. It is the path to full enlightenment.
In part two of this article, Malvin Artley continues his exploration of the esoteric meanings of the Full Moon in Leo, examining the Sabian Symbols and aspects associated with this powerful Full Moon.
Read part two of The Aquarius Solar Festival