Essentialism, Rationalism, and Post Modernism: A Parable

The concept behind these blogs may be a bit difficult to understand, especially because people have been educated, and I would say indoctrinated, in the modern scientific worldview.  I have thought of a parable that may help explain the various worldviews in a simpler way, and how essentialism differs from these views.

I will start this parable with a reference to a mini-series that was made in 1971, titled Elizabeth R, which is based on the life of Queen Elizabeth I of England.  In this parable, England sinks under the ocean, but the mini-series, Elizabeth R is preserved and retains popularity.

In this parable, Queen Elizabeth represents Perfect Form, or Pure Essence.  The mini-series represents the reflection of Perfect Form in Substance.  The mechanical details about how the mini-series was made represent Substance.

Elizabeth RA hundred years pass after the destruction of England, but people are still watching Elizabeth R.  Elizabeth R becomes so popular, most people now believe that this is the best possible rendition of the life of Queen Elizabeth.  At about this time, someone comes along.  We will call him Mr. Aristotle.  Mr. Aristotle taught that we can learn all there is to know about Queen Elizabeth from the mini-series.  If there is information that exists about Queen Elizabeth that contradicts the mini-series, that information is wrong.

Over time, Mr. Aristotle’s teaching becomes the general consensus, and the mini-series, Elizabeth R becomes the first and foremost authority on the life of Queen Elizabeth.  Any other work about her life must be able to be derived from and defend itself using the mini-series.

After another thousand years or so, Mr. Ockham comes around and teaches that there was no Queen Elizabeth, but the mini-series is important to study for itself.  This idea does not really become part of the general consensus at the time.  Most people believe that Queen Elizabeth did exist, but that we can learn about her from the mini-series.

Even though Mr. Ockham’s ideas did not catch on as such, they started to become infused with Mr. Aristotle’s ideas for another 500 years for Mr. Literal to pick up.  Mr. Literal held the belief that the mini-series was not a story based on Queen Elizabeth’s life made 500 years after her life, but was an actual documentary filmed in real time.  Mr. Literal’s views became the general consensus, and no respected scholar could say otherwise.

Another couple of hundred years later, Mr. Rationalist came along.  Mr. Rationalist “discovered” what seemed to be new information in the form of artifacts which showed how the mini-series was made.  Mr. Enlightenment was able to prove that the woman in the mini-series was not Queen Elizabeth, but was Miss Glenda Jackson.  After that, more and more information was discovered about the making of the mini-series, in intricate detail.  Now, the entire belief in the existence of Queen Elizabeth was called into question.

Not being able to contemplate that Queen Elizabeth might not have existed, many still held on to the beliefs of Mr. Literal.  Literalists and Rationalists began a long and hard battle.  Literalists called Rationalists heretics; Rationalists called Literalists hidebound, naive, and stubborn.  How could one cling to the idea that Queen Elizabeth existed in the face of all of this evidence about the making of the mini-series?

The idea of the non-existence of Queen Elizabeth was truly a hard pill to swallow, but what could one do in the face of all of this evidence of the making of the mini-series.  Most people held on to the belief that Queen Elizabeth existed, but the belief became a bit amorphous.  Many different clubs sprung up around Queen Elizabeth, with different ideas of who she was and how she lived.  Some still clung hard to Mr. Literalist’s teachings, but most just compartmentalized their thinking.

Elizabeth the Golden AgeAfter another few hundred years, along comes Mr. Post-Modern.  Mr. Post-Modern sees the bickering between the Rationalists and the Literalists, and the various clubs that fought among themselves and starts to believe that maybe the most important thing is not the mini-series, but the story told by the mini-series.  Mr. Post-Modern is skeptical about the existence of Queen Elizabeth, but thinks it is a very good story.

Mr. Post-Modern’s followers, Post-Modernists, do a lot of strange things with the story.  Some say that Queen Elizabeth is figure that was derived from the collective unconsciousness of people.  Some say that the mini-series was a metaphor for depictions of social inequalities.  Some create new purely fictional stories about Queen Elizabeth.

In the meantime, other movies are discovered about Queen Elizabeth, as well as material that was written during the time of Queen Elizabeth.  Rationalists take this as further evidence that Queen Elizabeth could not have existed.  These materials pre-date the mini-series.  Queen Elizabeth was obviously just a “myth.”  This mini-series must have been based on these “myths.”  Look how much we know about how this mini-series.

During this time, there is another voice, and that is the voice of Miss Essentialist.  Miss Essentialist says, Queen Elizabeth was a real person that existed centuries before the mini-series.  We can know about her from the material that was written during the time of her life, including things she wrote herself.

Everyone is all in arms.  Literalists call this heresy.  The mini-series is a documentary of Queen Elizabeth’s life, anyone who says otherwise is wrong.  There is not much to say to respond to this, accept to perhaps acknowledge that at least they believe in the existence of a real Queen Elizabeth.

Rationalists say, how can you prove that there was a Queen Elizabeth.  Miss Essentialist responds with evidence of written material from her life, and with the statement that for thousands of years, Queen Elizabeth’s existence was common knowledge.  Yes, but all of those materials are myths written by people who lived long before anything was known about how movies were made.  How can you prove that Queen Elizabeth existed?  We know who wrote the script, the actresses who played the roles, and have uncovered the set that the mini-series was made on.  How can you prove that Queen Elizabeth existed, and you can not use any other information other than physical evidence about how the movie was made.  Miss Essentialist throws up her hands, baffled at how to respond, given the parameters set by the Rationalists.

Queen Elizabeth IPost-Modernists say, sure who knows, Queen Elizabeth, or someone like her may have existed.  Look at all of these different movies that have been made.  We are still making movies about her.  Miss Essentialist says look at this material written while Queen Elizabeth was alive.  You are going to get better information from this material that what is being produced today.  The Post-Modernist gets offended that the Essential treats modern material as less reliable than contemporaneous Elizabethan material or even the mini-series itself.  The Post-Modernist explains how much better at movie making people are these days, so why do you continue to venerate all of these old materials.  The Essentialist says that there was an actual Queen Elizabeth, so if one wants to understand her and her life, it makes sense to read the materials closer in time to her life, don’t you think?  The Post-Modernist scoffs at the Essentialists seemingly naive belief that Queen Elizabeth existed, extolling the virtues of “thinking for yourself,” and not naively believing in the mini-series.

Miss Essentialist disengages from all of these conversations, quietly goes back to her Essentialist cottage in the blogosphere, continues to study about the life of Queen Elizabeth, and engage in conversation with those with whom she can communicate.

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Astrology and the Gunas of Time

Currently, there are quite a number of different schools of thought within astrology.  Currently, one of the more heated divisions is between Classical/Traditional Astrology and Modern Astrology.  To those who do not understand astrology, these divisions can seem confusing.  To be honest, these divisions can be confusing even to those who do understand and practice astrology.  There are several concrete matters that arise with respect to the difference between these schools, such as whether and how the Outer Planets are used or not used; however, It can be a bit difficult to sort through the debates and discussions regarding these divisions.

Astrology in the SynagogueI think that an understanding of the gunas of time can be instructive in shedding light on these matters.  I have discussed the gunas is quite a bit of detail in a previous article, The Gunas and Societal Choices.  As a review, Sattwic (Traditional) Societies are upwardly oriented societies, Rajastic (Normal) Societies are outwardly or materially oriented societies, and Tamasic (Inverted) Societies are neither upwardly or outwardly oriented, so they move downward.  Western society began a movement into a Tamasic society in the mid-1960’s.

Interestingly enough, I think that it is likely that the Western practice of astrology began a movement into Tamas at around the Enlightenment, coinciding with the “discovery” of the Outer Planets.  I also do not think it is a coincidence that Western society fell into Tamas a few centuries later.  One could argue that it is not possible that changes in the craft of astrology could have such a profound effect upon society.   That argument would hold if we were taking about just the craft of astrology; however, until the Enlightenment, the fields of cosmology, astronomy, and astrology were not divorced from each other as they are today.  The “discovery” of the Outer Planets destroyed what remained of the knowledge of cosmology, severing the knowledge which is the basis for all traditional science.  As astronomy and astrology are the sciences that are most directly connected to cosmology, it makes sense that they would be the first plunged into Tamas.

Our understanding of the cosmos very much informs everything in our lives.  A very good explanation of this process is found in Chapter One of the Feminine Universe.  I believe that the only reason that society as a whole did not fall into Tamas earlier when astrology did is that is people are quite resistant from being severed from their roots.

So, in a very real sense, what we know of as Modern Astrology is probably a bit of a misnomer.  It is probably more accurate to think of Modern Astrology as post-Modern Astrology.   What we know of as Traditional or Classical Astrology is closer to Modern Astrology, if we were to use this terminology.

To explain this, we need to go back the concept of the gunas with the symbolism of the cross.  A Sattwic or a Traditional society is one that is upwardly focused.  There is no separation between the Divine and the Mundane.  In the history of astrology, it is noted that personal horoscopes were not cast until around the Chaldean period in the West.  Conventional wisdom is that this was because there was not enough understanding of astrology to cast individual horoscopes, but I find that unlikely.  I think it far more likely that there was no reason for people to have their personal horoscopes drawn in a Sattwic or Traditional Society.  Their lives were ordered in an integrated society which was reflective of the Order of the Cosmos.  Rulers derived their authority from the Divine, which was seen as the only true source of authority.  This required rulers to be obedient to the Divine.  One of the sources of information regarding the instruction of the Divine was through the movement of the heavenly bodies.

As there are really few, if any, true Traditional or Sattwic Societies left in the world today, with the possible exception of aboriginal tribes, we really can not be sure of how astrology was practiced.  It is likely, though, that astrology was used by the Temples and rulers to determine festivals and omens and to align the societies they were responsible for with the Divine Order of the Cosmos.  We really do not have access to astrology as it was practiced in a these societies.

Ancient Practice of AstrologyIt is for this reason that I started to use the term Classical Astrology rather than Traditional Astrology to refer to the type of astrology I practice.  This is the astrology of a Rajastic or Normal Society.  The purpose of this type of astrology to assist people in their outward or material existence.  The outward or Rajastic uses of astrology are myriad, examples of which are deciding whether when to buy or sell a house, assisting physicians in healing, and determining the best time to plant crops.  Even if the higher meaning and purposes were largely forgotten or unconscious, the practice was still rooted in the older Tradition.  It is likely that this was the state of astrology until around the 1700’s in the West.

When astrology fell into a Tamasic state, it became cut off from both the older Traditional roots AND from the principles of tried and true practice as materially helpful craft.  In some ways, it looked like a Traditional practice, with Psychological and “Spiritual” Astrology.  This is often the case in a movement into Tamas.  In the Feminine Universe, Miss Trent referred to this phenomenon as the Tamasic Dialectic.  Tamasic forms often resemble Sattwic forms, but in an inverted or “diabolical” manner.  There is movement away from the material horizontal axis of the cross; however, that movement is below the horizontal level rather than above it.  The fascination with the Outer Planets is one example of this.

It is for this reason, that I see the present movement towards the study of Classical Astrology a very positive development in astrology.  In the Feminine Universe, Miss Trent explained that it was not possible to return to a Traditional, Sattwic society directly from an Inverted, Tamasic one.  For this reason, the antidote to the Tamasic poisons is a return to healthy material existence in a process termed re-racination, or returning to our roots.  As some of my readers may know, I am one of the writers for another blog, The Temple of the Home, which is devoted to discussion regarding our personal efforts towards re-racination.

In a sense, this blog is devoted to the process of the re-recination of our understanding of the cosmos.  This movement has already begun with the recovery and translation of older texts.  Of course, we are unable to truly practice the craft as it was practiced, but these texts are artifacts that assist us in returning to a Rajastic practice from a Tamasic one.  When reading and analyzing these texts and methodologies, I think it is also helpful to have an understanding of the Traditional and Essentialist principles from which these texts and methodologies are derived.  It is a process of returning to our roots.

See also:

Traditional Astrology or Traditional Cosmology

Who Am I? Spirit and Soul

Who am I?  This is an age old question that has dominated philosophy and spiritual thought for millenia.  In the Enlightenment, René Descartes made the well-known statement, “Cogito ergo sum,” or “I think, therefore, I am.”  This idea has dominated Western thought since that time, and it is the Rationalist approach to this question.

Traditional thought has a much different answer to this question, and this answer can be seen in the symbols of the glyphs for the Janyati and their planets.  Each of the Janyati/planetary glyphs are made up of three symbols, the circle, the crescent, and the cross.  In my last article, I included a very humble drawing that I made showing the Traditional Model of the Cosmos, and I used the glyphs in that drawing.  If you look at the glyphs, you will see that each of these glyphs is made up of one, two, or three of these symbols in various combinations.

The cross is the symbol of the material world.  It is also the symbol of humans as Axial Beings with the capacity for Free Will.  I have spoken at length about the symbol of the cross in previous articles.  My introductory article regarding the symbol of the cross is here.  As you can see, the symbol of the cross is found in all of the non-luminary planetary glyphs.

The luminaries, the Sun (Sai Raya) and the Moon (Sai Candre), are the only glyphs that contain only one symbol.  The cross is  not contained in either of these glyphs.  This is because the principles that they represent are beyond and independent of the material world.  These are the pure solar and lunar principles, and these principles are the answer to the question, “Who am I?”

Sai RayaAt the very deepest level, we are One with the Divine and with all of existence.  This is stated in many places in feminine Scripture:

“For the Spirit is One, and I am the Spirit, and you are the Spirit also, in the innermost temple of your heart.” – The Temple of the Heart

“Raise not thy voice above a gentle tone except it be in song, nor seek to place thyself above another, for the spirit in each is a ray of the Spirit My Mother, and as thou render service unto them, so servest thou also Her.” – The Heart of Water

“If thou wouldst find union with our Mother, know that thou has never left Her.” – Cry Marya

This Mystery is not only found in the Deanic/Filianic tradition, but is found deep in the teachings of all legitimate traditions.  This is the Mystery of the Atman and the Spirit.  The circle is the symbol of this Mystery.  The glyph for the Sun is a point* surrounded by a large circle, which is the Mystery of the Spirit that is both deep within us and far outside of us.  The Mystery is explained (as well as it can be explained in words), in the Temple of the Heart:

Know your own heart and make examination thereof; for if you know not your own heart, there can be no true knowledge of anything.  But within the innermost temple of your heart shall you find the seas and the heavens and all the illimitable cosmos; For the space within this temple is as vast as the manifest universe.

The ignorant eye shall not see this temple from without, For it is smaller than the seed of an apple, and the seventh part of a seventh part divided again until what part remains can be seen nor touched nor tasted.

The ignorant eye shall not see this temple from within, for it is vast as the manifest universe.

Beyond life, beyond death is the temple, for it is a temple of the Spirit.

SAMSUNG

Within this Mystery is a paradox.  We are One with the Divine, yet we are also separate from the Divine.  The Deanic/Filianic Mythos, as well as the Mythos of many religions, teach of our turning from the Divine, or our choosing separation from the Divine.  In the Temple of the Heart, it says, “About this temple and encompassing it round grows a garden rank with thorns, which are the thorns of khear.”  In the Deanic/Filianic tradition khear is that which keeps us separate from the Divine.  Khear is similar to sin in the Christian tradition, but it has slightly different connotations.  In the Creation Mythos of the Deanic/Filianic tradition, after Axial Beings choose separation, the Light of the Mother became too bright to look upon, and needed to be mediated by the softer reflected Lunar Light of the Daughter.

Our-Lady-of-GraceThe symbol of the crescent is the symbol of the softer Lunar Light.  This symbol is also the symbol for our individual souls, seen in the crescent within a crescent in the symbol for the Moon.  Our souls are the lesser reflection of the Solar Spirit within, and they are the part of us that is both eternal, but also experiences death and rebirth.  The Mystery of our soul is complex, and I have been told that one Eastern meditation exercise is to contemplate one’s own soul and the boundaries of one’s soul.  Any astrologer who has studied Nativity charts knows how complicated and intricate each individual is, filled with contradictions and twists and turns.  Even Modern psychology, as limited as it is, recognizes concepts such as our Inner Child.  Many of us function with multiple personae, such as our work persona, our parent persona (for those with children), and our persona with friends.  Do these personae represent who we are, are they functional, are they something in between?  The answers to these questions are not always all that clear, are they?

As stated before, the non-luminary planetary glyphs are symbolic of the way that each of these Janyatic/planetary principles mediate the Light of the Solar Spirit and the Lunar Crescent in the material world.

See also:

Mummies and Luminaries

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*Below is an excerpt from a comment from Cure Tadashiku regarding the point in the center of the Solar Glyph:

The center of the Solar glyph is…….the Point without extension:

2. Yet from the still point all movement comes; and Earth is the shadow of Heaven. 3. Space doth extend without limit, nor is there any boundary to the worlds, but the Point is without extension; yet from the Point alone all space proceedeth. 4. All manifest things are bound to the three times; of that which is, which was, which is to come; but the Moment is without time. It neither is nor was, nor ever will be.

……..

The Solar glyph is precisely the extension of manifestation with the non-extended, unmanifest Point at its Center.

Thank you for the information, Cure Tadashiku.

 

The Planets, the Cosmological Spheres, the Janyati, and the Almuten Figuris

One of the things that took me some time to understand when incorporating Classical Astrology into the Filianic Tradition was the relationship and the differences between the planets, the cosmological spheres, and the Janyati.  Western Medieval and Renaissance Astrology has been studied under the backdrop of the Abrahamic religions, Christianity, Islam, and Judiasm, for almost two thousand years.  With the fierce monotheistic nature of these religions, I think that the role of the Janyati became minimized.  By the Hellenistic period, the planets became associated with Greco-Roman gods and goddesses.  All legitimate Traditions throughout history have recognized that there really is only One Divine Source.  On the other hand, that Divine Source may be seen through Her different Aspects, or the Janyati.  At certain points in history, Tradition deteriorated to the point where the Janyati were seen as separate goddesses and gods, but their true nature is that they are Aspects of the Divine Source.

There are other Janyati besides the planetary Janyati.  Some examples are Sai Werde, Sai Annya, and Sai Maia.  For purposes of this article, however, it is the planetary Janyati that are most relevant.

The planetary Janyati are Angels and Aspects of Dea.  They are unchanging and perfect.  According to the Sacred Mythos in feminine Scripture, they came about after Primordial Maid turned from the Mother and could no longer look upon Her brightness.  The Golden Light separated into seven colors, which represent the Janyati.  For a fuller description of the planetary Janyati, please see this article.

When we start entering the realm of Cosmology, we are entering into the realm of manifestation.  There is a mistaken Western notion that manifestation is limited to the sublunary sphere, the world that we can experience with our senses.  The sublunary sphere includes the earth, everything in the sky, and everything in what modern scientists would call the universe.  All of the planetary bodies and the fixed stars are part of the sublunary sphere of existence.

My very humble attempt at an illustration of the Traditional Model of the Cosmos

My very humble attempt at an illustration of the Traditional Model of the Cosmos

Between the sublunary sphere and the Highest Heaven are the Cosmological Spheres, as I discussed previously in this article.  The sphere of the Fixed Stars is already part of manifestation and has already moved from the Center.  That is why we can talk about evil fixed stars, like Algol.  The actual fixed stars are in the sublunary sphere of flux and change but they are also representations the higher spheres.  As above, so below.

While the Janyati are pure and perfect aspects of Dea, they cast light throughout the lower spheres of manifestation.  The light they cast becomes less and less perfect the further it moves from the Center.  Each person and each moment of time is a microcosm of the entire cosmos, which also includes each of the Janyatic principles.  This is written in the fabric of the sublunary sphere in the movements of the heavenly bodies.  This is also why we can talk about positive and negative expressions of the Janyatic and planetary principles.  The Janyati are perfect.  The expression of their light in individuals is not.

Here is an example that might help with understanding.  The Archetype of the Flower belongs to Sai Sushuri (Venus).  A flower is a flower because it is a reflection of the Divine Archetype of a Flower.  This is a perfect correlation.  When we start talking about individual physical flowers and types of flowers, the correlation becomes much less perfect.  Even though the Divine Archetype of Flower belongs to Sai Sushuri, different physical flowers might be associated with other Janyati for various reasons, such as their color, their physical properties, mythology surrounding the flower, and so on.  Sometimes, the associations are obvious, sometimes the reasons for the association have been obscured in a broken and fallen tradition.

Sri LakshmiThere is a concept contained in Classical Astrology that works well to illustrate and explain how this works.   This concept is the Almuten Figuris, or the Lady of the Soul.  A Filianist may also think of the Almuten Figuris as her Guardian Janya.  The calculation that I use for this is the one recorded by Ibn Ezra.  This point can be calculated by hand or through software.  There are, of course, other calculations used by other fine Classical Astrologers; however, I have found the Ibn Ezra calculation to be the most useful and accurate in my own practice.

The Almuten Figuris or Guardian Janya is the Janya that is a person’s strongest connection with her True Self and with Dea.  Please forgive me for discussing my own chart, but I think that one’s Guardian Janya is rather personal.  To me, it seems impolite to share such personal information about anyone other than oneself in public.  It does help to have a specific illustration, though; so for this purpose, I will use my own chart.

My Guardian Janya is Sai Sushuri (Venus).  This means that in following the path to my True Self, I need to connect with Sai Sushuri.  The Way of Love is my path to the Divine.  If I get lost, I need to look to Divine Mercy and to Divine Love and let them run through me.

On the other hand, my Guardian Janya being Sai Sushuri does not mean that I will seem Sushuric or even have many Sushuric traits.  Mars (Sai Vikhë) is actually stronger in my chart.  I also have Jupiter (Sai Thamë) and the Moon (Sai Candre) very close to my Ascendant.  If one were to be looking for a planet or a Janya that described my personality or how I would seem to act, those three planets would give a much better description of this.  Sometimes one’s Guardian Janya will seem to govern personal traits of the native; sometimes she will not.

The position and condition of the Guardian Janya in the Nativity Chart will show the extent to which a Native will manifest the traits of her Guardian Janya and will give clues and guidance as to how easy or hard it is for her Guardian Janya to guide her.  In my case, Venus has many dignities; however, she is Combust, or within 8 degrees of the Sun.  This represents the SAMSUNGmain barrier to Sai Sushuri’s ability to guide me.  The Sun in a Nativity in her low form represents the ego.  The Sun in my chart also rules my 10th House, the house of career and public recognition.  So, in my case, Sai Sushuri is inhibited by my tendency to hide, and by my ego and career.  Interestingly in my chart, Venus is separating from Combustion, so it is predictable that I would find it easier to come under Sai Sushuri’s guidance later in life.  Those of you who are following my current spiritual journey on Temple of the Home will likely see how this is manifesting as I have gotten older.

Filianists who know their Guardian Janya can also use symbolism related to their Guardian Janya on their home shrines to help them connect with SAMSUNGtheir Guardian Janya.  On my own shrine, I have a pink doily with a pentacle that I made myself and a sand dollar given to me by a friend that shows Sai Sushuri’s signature in manifestation.

The Gunas and Societal Choices

In the past articles, I have discussed the natural Unfolding of the Ages, and how we as Axial Beings moved through the Age of Gold to the current Age of Iron, and the impact of the Patriarchal Revolution.  I explained that the movement from the Age of Gold through the Age of Iron is a natural one, as natural as the changing of the seasons.  It is also likely that the Patriarchal Revolution was somewhat inevitable as humanity progressed through the Age of Iron, although, it is just as likely that humanity embraced patriarchy, with its overbalanced Martial/Vikhelic influence, beyond that which was inevitable.  That is a matter of speculation rather than doctrine, I think.

Now that we have been exposed to these ideas, however, I think it is time to discuss the gunas, which I believe do, to a large extent, represent choices of various societies.  One way to understand the gunas is to refer back to the discussion of the symbolism of the Cross, and how that relates to Free Will.  If you recall, humans have the choice day by day, minute by minute to make choices in an Upward, Outward (material), or Downward direction.  Just as individuals have that choice, so do societies.

Egyptian ladiesA society moving in an Upward direction is a Sattwic, or Traditional, society.  In a Traditional society, every aspect of life has a spiritual dimension.  For example, pottery making is as spiritual as the performance of sacred rituals.  In a Traditional society, there is no separation between the spiritual and the secular.  Everyone knows her place and her role in life in such a society, and these societies are generally Unanimous societies.  Everyone understands and agrees on what is right and what is wrong, and it is understood that if a decision is right, everyone will know that and agree.  If there is not agreement, then there is something amiss.  This would be analogous to a modern scientist getting an anomalous result in an experiment.  In the Age of Iron and after the Patriarchal Revolution, even Traditional societies did not fully function in the way that they may have in the past.  This is shown by the often cruel and warlike nature of even Traditional societies, such as Medieval Europe.   The presence of these cruelties is part of the Age of Iron and an overbalanced Martial/Vikhelic influence.  It is by no means intrinsic to Traditional societies, and it is likely that earlier Traditional societies were far gentler and largely harmonious.

Victorian dressA society moving in an Outward direction is a Rajastic, or Normal, society.  When a society moves in a Rajastic direction, its focus is on the material, outward side of life.  The Classical Hellenistic period and the Renaissance period in Europe were Rajastic societies.  It is in these societies that glorious works of art are created.  A person from a Traditional society would likely be disturbed by the focus on the material that exists in a Normal society.  Indeed, Plato criticized the Hellenistic art of his time as “making copies of copies.”  This was because our human and natural form is an imperfect reflection of the Divine Perfect Form, so art imitating the natural form was a poor substitute for art which attempted to imitate the Perfect Form, or the Archetypes.  Even so, in a Normal society, the connection to the Divine is not lost.  While true knowledge of the higher and spiritual is often lost in the main in a Rajastic society, there is still an unconscious connection with the Divine in the material forms.

An example of this can be seen in the ritual of eating at the table, as discussed here.  In addition to eating at a table, often plates are traditionally circles.*  Circles are symbolic of the Solar Spirit, or the Divine Creative Force which is both outside of us and deep within us.  While most of us do not ritually offer our food first to the Divine, as was done in Traditional societies, eating at the table, putting our food on a circular plate before eating it, and saying a form of thanks or grace, vestigially and unconsciously still invokes a ritual offering.

The connection with the higher Upward direction is quite powerful, and it remains solid as long as it is not severed.   We are spiritual, rather than material, beings, so as long as nothing severs our connection with the Upward path, even if we do not understand it, the Upward will still provide a connection and will still come through in an Outward or Rajastic society.

Once the connection with the Upward and the Divine is lost, Rajastic societies are in danger being pulled down into a Tamasic, or Inverted, society.  Until around the 1960’s, Western Europe and the United States were Normal societies.  They were certainly materialistic, and much understanding of the spiritual meanings behind various traditions were long lost.  However, the vestiges of tradition remained.  In the mid-1960’s, Western society began to cut itself off from all tradition.  Once the connection to the Upward Path was lost, it was only a matter of time before the Downward, Darker, and destructive forces began to take over.

In my WordPress inbox, I saw a picture that was part of a WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 Words.  This picture is a perfect illustration of our current Inverted society.  I previously discussed the poisons of our Modern Inverted Society, as explained in The Feminine Universe, in a previous article, The Outer Planets; A Theory.  In that article, I gave a brief explanation of these three poisons, atomization, deracination, and deformation.    This picture is a perfect illustration of all three of these poisons.

alone-on-the-playground

The girl is alone, which is the definition of atomization, or being cut off from other people and the community.  The girl’s clothing is deracinated.  It is sloppy, with little attention to any tradition or concept of beauty.  Compare her clothing to the simple beauty of the Sattwic Egyptian society in the first picture and the elaborate dresses of the Rajastic Victorian Era in the second picture.  See also the strange, frightening green creature on the merry-go-round the girl is sitting on.  This is an example of deformation.  The creature is not a natural form, like the other animals.  The creature is also not representative of a Traditional archetype created in a ritual, spiritual manner.  Instead, it is an inversion of True Form.

Our current society is not the first Tamasic, or Inverted, Society, and it is likely not the last.  For example, the Roman Empire seems to have undergone a Tamasic period, when its focus was on bread and circuses, with bloody gladiatorial fights to entertain the masses.  I do believe that individual societies have choices with respect to the gunas.  Certainly, in our current world, not every society has entered into the Tamasic period to the same extent or at the same rate.  The dominance of the West has spread the Tamasic poisons to the East.  It remains to be seen how deep this will spread.

Japan, for example, is an interesting case, in that it has been heavily influenced by the West, but it is also spreading its own influence to the West, particularly in the form of children’s media.  Almost all of the nice and sweet video games are made in Japan.  Japan is also producing some very healthy and metaphysically sound children’s shows in the form of Anime, as is discussed in this article.  Actually, you can see this influence in the clothing worn by the girl in the above picture.  On her blue jeans, there is an image of Hello Kitty, which is a sweet and wholesome Japanese image that has spread to the West like wildfire and is quite popular with little girls.  Of course, the image is on sloppy and deracinated clothing, but from a feminine essentialist perspective, one can not help but hope that it is a step in the right direction.

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*In the East, there are circumstances where a rectangular plate is also used.  Examples of that are sushi plates and bento boxes.  Given that the East has in general retained tradition where it has been lost in the West, I think we can trust that there is a ritual significance to the rectangular form of sushi plates and bento boxes.

The Unfolding of the Ages

The study of astrology is primarily a study of cycles of time from the Great Year, marked by the Precession of the Equinoxes, over a period of approximately 25,600 years to the daily cycle of 24 hours, and many cycles in between.  There is another cycle that we are much less aware of in the West, but which is still taught in Eastern traditions.

DawnThis is the cycle of the unfolding of the Ages.  This cycle is not necessarily marked by physical astrological signposts, but it is the cycle of our experience as Axial Beings.

Inherent in Filianist thealogy is the understanding that we are not our bodies.  We are not completely our souls either, but it is helpful to use the term soul as the individual Axial Being that undergoes the process of rebirth.  This concept is not as simple as it may seem, but the complexity of this gets into matters well beyond the scope of this article, and truly, it is a bit beyond what we can understand fully from a non-Enlightened state of being.

I have just introduced a term, Axial Being, and I believe that this term needs definition.  An Axial Being is one that has Free Will.  We must understand that Axial Beings are not necessarily the highest or most intelligent beings in manifestation.  Animals are non-Axial Beings, but so are angels.  Axial Beings are the souls that have the power to choose between good and evil and that can be something different than they were born to be.  A cat will always fundamentally be a cat and will act as it natural and normal for a cat.  There are a few very rare exceptions to this, but in general, this is true.  By the same token, an angel will always be an angel and will act the nature of an angel.  Axial Beings are the only beings that are capable of acting against their nature.

A fundamental belief of Deanism/Filianism is that we have been around since before the dawn of time.  The Filianic Creed begins: “I believe that I was created from before the dawn of time by the one eternal Dea.”  This does not mean we believe that we have inhabited physical bodies the entire time.  Indeed, the Filianic Creation Mythos speaks to an unmeasured period, after Creation and before time, where we lived in relative Union with Dea.  It is implicitly understood that at this time, we did not inhabit physical bodies, as we understand the concept today.

It is for this reason that the Creation/Evolution debate that so divides Modern Western culture is ridiculously literalistic from the perspective of Essentialist and Filianist teachings.  Where our actual bodies come from is really immaterial.  It may be interesting to ponder and study, but this study says nothing about us as Axial Beings.  At some point, Axial Beings began to inhabit the physical, human form.  How and when this happened is beyond the scope of what we can learn through physical science.

From tradition, we do have some teaching to inform us on this subject.  This teaching is that of the unfolding of the Cycles of Time.  There have likely been many full Cycles of Time since the beginning of time, but one Cycle of Time is the most that we are really capable of understanding from a state of non-Enlightenment.  The Cycle of Time is analogous to the yearly seasons we experience and is a cycle of consolidation into matter.

The first Age in the Cycle is the Age of Gold, or the Satya Yuga.  In this age, our souls barely inhabit physical form, if they do at all.  In the Age of Gold, we are mostly, if not completely, spirit.  With each subsequent Age, the Age of Silver, the Treta Yuga, the Age of Bronze, the Dvapara Yuga, and the Age of Iron, the Kali Yuga, we become increasingly consolidated into matter.  It is only in the Age of Iron that our souls are fully consolidated into matter, and the consolidation becomes heavier and stronger as the Age of Iron progresses.

Adam and EveThese Ages are not uniform in their length in terms of time.  Each of the Ages is far shorter than the subsequent Age.  The Age of Iron that we are currently in began around 5,000 or 6,000 years ago.  Interestingly enough, the Judeo-Christian written tradition gives the time of Creation and of Adam and Eve as around the beginning of the current Age of Iron.  While it is an overly simplistic interpretation to say that Creation began at this time, in a sense, there is some truth to it.  We really can not truly understand the lives of our ancentresses prior to the beginning of the Age of Iron with information we can obtain from our senses, either directly or through reason.  The reason for this is that we do not know the extent to which Axial Beings actually inhabited the physical human form in even the Age of Bronze, let alone in the Age of Silver or the Age of Gold.

Tradition tells us that we are currently in the final stages of the Age of Iron, and we will be next headed into a new Age of Gold.  For good reason, no legitimate tradition will tell us the exact time when this will happen, but will only give us clues and a general description of how long each Age lasts.

This understanding plays a huge role in our analysis of disciplines such as traditional medicine and classical astrology.  The Age of Iron is the age that we are the most consolidated into matter, and the consolidation increases as the Age progresses.  This is the reason that what we think of as magic “worked” early in the Age of Iron, and does not really “work” very well today.  As the Age of Iron progresses, we need more and more technology to accomplish what was accomplished through non-physical means at the beginning of the Age.  This is why it is not correct to say that our forebears were superstitious when they used non-physical means for healing, such as appeals to aspects of Dea known as “gods and goddesses.”  At the beginning of the Age of Iron, that likely still “worked.”  These things do not “work” in the same way in the very late Age of Iron that we are currently in, but instead, we need more and more physical methods of healing, such as surgery and medicine.

In my series, Astrology as a Traditional Science, I discussed that the seeds of the modern rationalist movement in the West started at around the time that Aristotle diverged from his teacher, Plato, on the subject of Perfect Form.  On one level, this divergence was somewhat false teaching, but on another level, there is some truth to what Aristotle and his contemporaries taught.  On a practical level, in applied sciences such as medicine and astrology, we must engage in observation in addition to study of traditional, metaphysical principles.  As our souls became more and more consolidated into matter, they became further away from their Perfect Form, and as that happened, pure metaphysical principles did not “work” in on a physical level in the same way as they did in earlier Ages, or even as they did at the beginning of the Iron Age.

So, for practical purposes, it might be useful to rely upon the information we derive from our senses in the late Iron Age, but we must still remember that Perfect Form exists, and we must also remember that in this late Age of Iron, we are as far away from Perfect Form as we can get in this current Cycle of Time.

While I have discussed the Cycle of Time as a movement of decline and a movement away from our Perfect Form, please understand that this Cycle is as natural as the cycle of the seasons of the year.  The Age of Iron will always follow the Age of Bronze, just as Winter will always follow Fall.  This decline will happen no matter what we as Axial Beings do or do not do.

There is another set of Ages that I believe that Axial Beings and societies do have a choice concerning, and that is the gunas, but that is a subject for another article.

See also:

Kali Yuga: the Patriarchal Dark Age

Cyclical Time or Spiral Time

Astrology as a Traditional Science, Part IV: Research and Observation

In the past three articles, we have explored the origins and roots of rationalism, the essential and metaphysical principles upon which astrology is based, and how astrological problems would be addressed under Essentialist (the traditional approach defended by Plato that was common to all civilizations and was first breached in Periclean Athens), Aristotelian, and nominalist philosophies.  I also suggested that the Essentialist philosophy is soundest of these three philosophies.  I also suggested that we approach astrology as a traditional science, rather than as a modern science.  What does this mean?

A simple explanation of the difference between traditional science and modern science is that a traditional science accepts what has been handed down from tradition as true when that tradition is long standing and relatively uniform.  Traditional science treats metaphysical principles as trustworthy and constant and treats information that we perceive with our senses as unreliable and fleeting.  Modern science takes the opposite approach.  In modern science, nothing is considered true or proven unless it can be observed with our senses (either directly or with technological enhancement) or can be derived from our sense data using rational analysis.  Traditional science still uses sense data and rational analysis; however, information obtained from these sources is given a secondary status to information that has been passed down from solid tradition (you may recall that tradition is that which has been passed down to us from the beginning of time, see What is Tradition?)

How can this be?  Can we not trust what we can observe with our senses?  This proposition is a difficult one for Westerners, I think.  We are taught to question everything and that “seeing is believing.”  Under a traditionalist approach, however, we understand that the only part of the cosmos that we can perceive with our senses is the sublunary sphere; all of the higher planes are beyond our senses.  What we know of the higher planes is that which has been passed down to us from tradition.  There is a certain arrogance to modern scientific reliance on our own observation and rational analysis, assuming that we know better than our forebears did.  The modern attitude can be likened to that of a teenager ignoring the advice and wisdom of her parents.  Traditional science presumes that our forebears knew more and understood more than we did, so we trust tradition over our current sense data.

Does this mean that current research and our sense data are to be ignored by traditional science?  Not at all.  First of all, in the West, our tradition has been broken, particularly in the traditional science of astrology.  There are many fine astrologers and researchers who are busy at work translating and analyzing texts from the past 2,000 years, but this is a poor substitute for an unbroken line of tradition passed down from teacher to student over millennia.  Because of this, we do not have a uniform or consistent tradition to guide us.  There are some principles and techniques that are uniform, such as the traditional planetary rulerships of the signs.  There are other principles and techniques that are confusing at best and chaotic at worse, such as the various House systems.

In cases where tradition is unclear or confusing, we do need to use research and observation to sift through inconsistencies.  In a modern scientific approach, one would sift through these inconsistencies using a purely empirical approach.  We would conduct research to see what “worked.”  Research and observation to determine what techniques “work” is perfectly acceptable in a traditional science as well, particularly when the there is inconsistency and apparent disharmony in the tradition available to us.  On the other hand, in a traditional science, one would first analyze metaphysical foundations for the different techniques, if such information was available.  If it is clear that the metaphysical basis behind a technique is unsound, it should be discarded, whether or not it appears to “work.”

Furthermore, even if we had a solid, unbroken tradition, we would still need research and observation.  This is because of the doctrine of the unfolding of the ages.  For a detailed description of this doctrine, I will refer the reader to this article; however, the summary of this doctrine is that Axial Beings become more and more consolidated in matter as the greater cycle progresses.  At present, we are in the Age of Iron, and we are highly consolidated in matter.  While the metaphysical principles remain consistent and true, the application of these principles changes and becomes less pure.  A technique that may have worked in the past may not work in the same way as this material age continues to unfold.  A concrete example of this concept is the prediction of fertility using techniques that have been passed down from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.  In this day and age, we have reproductive technology to assist with such matters, so the techniques that “worked” in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance to predict whether an individual would have children may not work now, or more likely, may work, but in a different way.

This approach to research and observation is not the same as the modern approach.  When we undertake this research, we are not attempting to innovate, nor do we have any notion that we will “discover” something unknown to our forebears.  What we are doing is acknowledging the unfolding of the ages and that the sublunary plane is the world of flux and change.  The principles remain the same, but the application of these principles changes over time.  This is where the Essentialist understanding of metaphysics provides more flexibility than the Aristotelian understanding does.  The Essentialist understanding  of metaphysics is that the material reflects the metaphysical; it does not necessarily mimic the metaphysical.  Our theories and hypotheses must be derived from sound metaphysics and tradition; however, a reasonable amount of variance is allowed and even expected.  We can adapt our methods and techniques to be more accurate in a different age without challenging or upsetting the underlying principles.

It may seem like this discussion has led us back to the methods that many astrologers already use in their practice and in application.  In a sense, that is absolutely correct.  Adopting an Essentialist philosophy does not necessarily change what we do on a practical level.  What does change is how we think about what we do, and how we analyze and explain our craft.  One of the areas of discomfort and disharmony for and between  Traditional/Classical Astrologers concerns how strictly we adhere to the lessons of astrologers of the past, and whatever approach we take, it is a source of criticism from modern astrologers.  This makes for some rather uncomfortable conversations in our attempts to explain whether and how we can adhere to tradition in a world that is very different from the world in which our predecessors lived.  As I have also demonstrated, there are flaws in the Aristotelian approach, and these flaws require mental gymnastics to explain and reconcile when we are confronted by the findings of modern science.

While the modern criticisms of Aristotelian philosophy have merit, the modern answer to these criticisms does not.  The error in the Aristotelian approach is not a lack of understanding of modern scientific principles; the error is in the departure from tradition.  Essentialist philosophy provides us with flexibility and gives us the guidance we need to adapt and adjust our practice to a changing world.  This philosophy expects and can accommodate variations between our tradition and our sense data in a way that Aristotelian philosophy cannot. Essentialist philosophy also sets the  parameters for adjustments to our practice.  The first parameter is that our adaptions derive from our tradition and do not disrupt tradition.  The second parameter is that we only adapt when it is necessary to obtain accurate readings in a more material and consolidated time, and these adaptations are vigorously tested.  We adapt and adjust, we do not innovate.

I understand that this series of articles may be a bit challenging.  The ideas that have been presented have been the result of a long dialogue and struggle that I have had in adapting my practice to an Essentialist understanding of the cosmos.  This struggle was reminiscent of the struggle I had several years ago when I was converted to Classical Astrology from Modern Astrology.  Like that struggle, this one was difficult and painful, but the end result was well worth the struggle.  For me, it has given me a new and richer understanding of our craft, and on a practical level, I believe it has allowed me to give more accurate and helpful readings to others.