A Peacock on a Terrace, by Johann Rudolph-Koller
The Scorpio Solar Festival
Peacocks, Hobgoblins and our Hearts' Desire
Malvin Artley, our regular esoteric commentator, presents the Scorpio Solar Festival, 2010, at the Full Moon of the year in Taurus. This is Scorpio's Full Moon, as the Moon is full in the sign opposing the Sun. The Full Moon of Scorpio (the Full Moon at Taurus 29º 18') takes place on the 21st of November 2010 at around 17:28 UT (GMT).
Halloween was always a big deal to us when I was a kid. It always came around when the air was turning crisp and the leaves turned the same under our feet, the colors of autumn filling landscape like an artist's palette. As kids we always loved Halloween. It was fun to dress up in the costumes, and the weeks leading up to the day were always full of anticipation. On the big night we would all come out together as a group, and then go around house-to-house, knocking on the door and yelling, “Trick-or-treat!” to the feigned surprise of our neighbors. I grew up in a neighborhood where all the kids were about the same age, and there were a lot of us, so all the parents in the neighborhood had to make sure that they had a good supply of candy. We also always made certain we had a bag big enough to hold all that booty after serious night of foraging. After we would arrive home our parents would ask this how we did, and we would dump all the candy out the floor in front of us, much to their horror, and they could see the bill for the dentist in their minds' eyes as if it was a premonition. We were never too keen on the neighbors who would give us healthy treats, preferring instead all the candy in vogue at the time. On the odd occasion we would get a real treat like a mini Moon Pie or a big Tootsie Roll, but on the whole would just get handfuls of smaller candies, with the odd candied apple thrown in for good measure. We didn't like candied apples so much because they made the bag heavy.
Come the next morning, after we awoke from our sugar coma, we had to deal with the aftermath of all that sugar. All of our previous night's celebration would turn into sore stomachs the next day. Halloween night was always more of a terror for the parents than it was for the neighbors, largely because we would be bouncing off the walls from all that sugar on the night after we got home. Still, those were days when all the neighbors knew each other and looked after each other's kids, when you could leave the house and not lock the door, and when you could turn your kids loose in the neighborhood and tell them to be home for supper and not worry about them the rest of the day. The world has changed a bit since then. The last time I was in the States was over the Halloween period, and I was struck at how much things really had changed. There were no little ghosts and hobgoblins who knocked at my parents' door. There was no candy set out for trick-or-treaters. The only trick-or-treat that I saw was in the shopping malls, where the kids—a few kids, indeed—would dress up in their costumes and go around to the various stores, where the shopkeepers would dole out the candy. It was a sad reflection glory days when I would return home from Halloween night with enough of a sugar fix to kill an elephant.
Yes, the world has changed a lot since I was a kid. It is much more fearful place these days. We have to lock the doors now whether we are home or not, and you cannot send your kid outside unattended. We wouldn't dare send them house to house collecting candy for fear of what might get dropped in the bag. We seem to live in very testing times, dark times in some ways. Why are we so fearful these days? Why is there no sense of community anymore? Why can we not trust our kids with most of our neighbors? Why does living in this world of samsara seem to carry such a heavy price tag? Well, as it turns out, much of the fear and loathing in the world seemed to come about when Pluto entered the sign of Scorpio back in the early 80s, although the slide downhill was taking place even before that. A lot of it would seem to have to do with the drug culture, which really ramped up from the late 60s onwards, when Pluto was teaching us all kinds of lessons about purity, about puritanical attitudes, and about all things Virgoan as Pluto transited through the sign of Virgo. Now, with Pluto transiting through Capricorn we are all having a look at how our lives are structured, about the structure of our society, about the use of our resources, about money and what it means to be successful—all things Capricornian. In short, Pluto gets us to take a look at ourselves, and it usually does so through evincing some sort of conflict, largely as a result of our own projections onto people or situations. Pluto is the natural ruler of Scorpio, and since we are in and completing that interval during this full moon it is fitting that we have a look at that sign.
Dark and Brooding..?
Scorpios tend to get a bad rap from people who know a little bit about astrology. They are seen as dark and brooding, as moody and somewhat unapproachable, as someone who constantly does battle with life—not generally the sort of person seen to have a sunny disposition. Contrary to that view, most of the Scorpios I have known have been quite delightful and a lot of fun. Yet, if one looks at the esoteric side of Scorpio, one finds that Scorpio represents the very essence of what it is to be human. As humans, we have a sense that we are somehow born of the divine, yet we are bound by our passions and struggle within and without with regard to them. We have high intelligence (at least we like to think so) yet wisdom seems to escape our notice and we constantly bring ourselves undone by our short-sightedness. We are our greatest hope and our biggest enemy, all rolled into one. We have grand ideals and have achieved great things, yet the tests that befall us often seem to indicate to us that we still have a long way to go. It is as if we are great beings that have somehow been cursed to live in this illusory place where we have to struggle with every little bit of light on things that we can garner, yet in the darkest of times the wisdom that can flow from us comes from a source that is a surprise to all concerned and does indeed show that we are saviors, each in our own way, and are indeed of that dimly-sensed divine origin.
Scorpio is one of the signs that brings testing with it. We spoke of renunciation in the last letter (Libra) and how every Libra life or interval brings with it a choice about whether to live more spiritually or not. With Scorpio we are tested as to those decisions. More to the point, we are tested as to those factors that keep us bound to the seemingly endless cycle of lives, and those factors are largely the animal passions and desire in general. When it comes to spirituality, desire is the big bug-bear—the demon that taunts us, the hobgoblin that disturbs our otherwise peaceful inner core. Although it is said that every life is the result of the working out of some desire, it is that very desire that keeps us bound here. If there is one sign that exemplifies dealing with desire definitively, it is Scorpio. Hence, it is one of the signs most intimately involved with the whole realm of discipleship and with overcoming to bonds of cyclic existence.
Three Great Obstacles
There are said to be three great obstacles to liberation and full enlightenment—anger, desire and ignorance. Of the three, however, desire is the one that heads the list of obstacles to be overcome. Why would that be, and what is the nature of the desire about which we speak? Let us have a look at the two other factors (anger and ignorance) for just a minute and see why they are not so fundamental as obstacles as is desire. Anger, to begin with, is an effect more than a cause. Why does anger arise in us? It usually arises because we do not get something that we want, unless something is perpetrated upon us that brings harm to us. As people, we are not usually angry without reason. It is not a state of mind that is usual or normal. Desire, however, is inherent in the human continuum, and our desires are manifold and unceasing. And, it is just such desires that bend us from the spiritual path and distract us from our true work and heritage, that of being the divine beings we are meant to express in life. As for ignorance, if we are blinded as to our truth, then we are ignorant. Hence, ignorance is an effect from having to incarnate, yet it is itself inherent in being bound in a body as well. Having to incarnate blinds us in some measure to our higher Self. If incarnation is the result of some desire, then we can perhaps begin to see how pervasive and insidious this thing we so benignly call desire is and how troublesome it can be to our sense of peace and spiritual progress.
When most people think of Scorpio the word 'sexuality' usually springs to mind. It is that type of desire that people most frequently associate with Scorpio. Scorpio does rule the gonads and the reproductive urges, but more than that it governs over the transmutation of said urges. The desire we speak of when we talk about Scorpio is not simply sexual desire. What is actually being referred to here is desire of any sort. The reason Scorpio is connected with the reproductive organs is not so much about desire as it is with the fact that we have to incarnate in order to achieve liberation. There are certain stages along the spiritual path for humanity wherein advancements cannot be had unless one is actually possessed of a human body—what Buddhists would call a 'precious human rebirth'.
The Hydra, by Hawanja
Sex as exhibited through Scorpio takes on three distinct facets: the providing of a human rebirth through procreation, the desire for the sexual act which is, in the final analysis a hook which keeps us bound to samsara (the cycle of rebirths) via desire, and our 'ticket out' of samasara in the final stages of the path through specific practices of anuttara yoga tantra—this final aspect of sex being reserved only for the initiated and thus available only to those who can be trusted to engage in it properly. The vows undertaken in such a case are strict and unwavering and are the way of safety. It is a rare soul indeed who can truly take on such a practice. What most people understand as 'tantra' is actually nothing of the sort and what is touted as tantra in the media and on the web can actually be dangerous and a trap for the curious, unwary and uninformed. So, this latter facet of sex will not concern us here. The desire element of sex is what is usually addressed through Scorpio and one will occasionally find a celibate Scorpio (if you can believe it) when they are inwardly having to address their inner urges. The first facet of sex (procreation) is by far the most important for humanity with regard to Scorpio, though, as it is the means whereby we are born to this world and are thus able to engage in our spiritual practices on this plane—the 'precious human rebirth'.
What is it that makes such a rebirth so precious, and why is being human such a big deal and so necessary to spiritual evolution? The answer to that is hinted at in the Bible when it is stated that God gave humans dominion over all the subhuman kingdoms. Why? Well, it is not so much that it is our birth right to simply have all such resources at our disposal, even though karmically one could say that it is so. Rather, we are given dominion over the lower kingdoms in nature so that we can learn how to work with them in wisdom rather than use them at our whim, and through mastery of those aspects of nature within us, to then be trusted custodians of the same. I would venture to say that our custodianship over Nature is more of the nature of a training ground, rather than a 'gift from God'. It is not that we have to master Nature. We have to learn to master ourselves—our own inner nature—and to do that, we need a body composed of all six constituents—earth, water, air, fire, subtle matter (drops) and mind (winds).
It is an occult fact that our little globe is the one in this solar system whereupon physical suffering is registered and dealt with as a karmic necessity. Mars is the planet whereupon the corresponding thing is seen in relation to desire, and likewise Saturn with respect to the mind. We are born on this world because we have to learn to deal with material, emotional and mental karma (for karma = suffering in the final analysis), all at the same time, and grow in wisdom as a result. It is a fantastic opportunity in the final analysis, and seen from a higher perspective. And, the driving force for our having to be here and to reincarnate again and again?—desire. When we think of it, being sparks of the divine, being divine in our essence, we are 'the WORD made flesh', and if we can rise above our petty self-interest, then we can exemplify that divine aspect of ourselves to great effect. It is largely our desire for the world that keeps us from realizing our own divinity.
Scorpio has been called 'Chr_stos in humiliation' (Christ in humility), for the fact that having to be in a body is a humbling experience to a divine being. The divine powers are usurped until that being has gained full control of every aspect of its bodies while it has to work through those bodies. It is thus occulty 'humiliated' until it has gained dominion. On the downward arc, as it were (Scorpio working outwards into form), there is a profound sense of frustration and 'divine outrage' at having to be reborn again and again in a body of any description. In that phase the Scorpio type projects his/her anger outward to the world and can become a veritable monster towards those around them. This is the worst-case scenario.
The Nine Tests of Scorpio
There are said to be nine tests with Scorpio, though only a few would likely be addressed in a single life—sex, physical comfort and money (physical), fear, hatred and ambition (emotional), pride, separativeness and cruelty (mental). These tests are illustrated for us in the hydra of the Hercules myth. With the Scorpio on the downward arc, such a person will project those tests onto others, and they will thus be a horror to live around. When however, the Scorpio begins to sense that they are self-responsible (one of the key indicators that one is 'on the Path'), then all such tests are eventually turned inward and the wisdom that can be evinced from such a Scorpio type as they overcome the lower aspects of their nature is a joy and a balm to all who surround them.
In part two of this article, Malvin Artley continues his exploration of the esoteric implications of the Full Moon in Taurus, the Scorpio Solar Festival for 2010. He examines the aspects and the degrees with a view to their political, personal and spiritual significance.
Read part two of The 2010 Scorpio Solar Festival at the Full Moon in Taurus.