SCENE TWO: POTENCY
(Aries 16° to Aries 30°)
FIRST LEVEL: ACTIONAL
PHASE 16 (ARIES 16°): NATURE SPIRITS ARE SEEN AT WORK IN THE LIGHT OF SUNSET.
KEYNOTE: Attunement to the potency of invisible forces, of nature.
In the light of personal fulfillment (symbol of sunset and wisdom) man may be able to establish a life-giving contact with natural forces. These are active any time growth processes take place, but man's individualized mind is usually too focused on working for consciously set goals to be able to realize concretely the presence of invisible (or "occult") forces in operation. These forces constitute a specific realm of any planetary life. They are inherent in all "biospheres," on whatever planet. They are non-individualized and un-free energies forming in the substratum of all life processes - thus of the process of integration at the level of the planet-as-a-whole, i.e. the planet as an organism with its automatic systems of growth, maintenance and organic multiplication. In this planetary organism those nature forces act as guiding and balancing-harmonizing factors - somewhat as the endocrine system does in a human body, and behind this system the more occult web of chakra energies related to prana - the solar energy. It is when this energy becomes less
dominant - thus symbolically at sunset - or when the body energy is weakened by illness, fasting or sensory deprivation, that it becomes easier to perceive these "nature spirits" and to give them forms that symbolize the character of their activities. These forms differ with the cultural imagery of each human collectivity, retaining nevertheless some basically similar characteristics.
When this Sabian symbol reaches into the consciousness of a man seeking meaning, it should be seen as an invitation to open his mind to the possibility of approaching life in a holistic and nonrational, intuitive manner.
This is the first stage of the fourth five-fold sequence of cyclic phases. It implies a call to REPOTENTIALIZATION. What this means also is the process of "becoming like a little child."
PHASE 17 (ARIES 17°): TWO DIGNIFIED SPINSTERS SITTING IN SILENCE.
KEYNOTE: The ability to transform a natural lack of potency into poise and inner serenity.
Here we have a symbol which contrasts with the preceding one. In our culture, the "spinster" represents the woman who has been unable to meet or accept the vitalizing power of love and organic fulfillment through biological polarization. Yet the symbol depicts two spinsters, emphasizing that refusing the natural expression of bipolar love has produced a special kind of dualism of experience. The two women are silent because this dualism has a narcissistic character. Life has turned inward seeing itself in a self-created mirroring. We have here the result of a negative inward approach to potency. The ascetic or saint also turns inward, but he accepts a higher non-biological type of polarization: man and God. Just as the activity of nature has a compulsive character, so the resistance of the spinster to biological fulfillment is also compulsive.
This is the second stage of the fourth five-fold sequence. Like all second stages it reveals a contrasting potentiality of experience which can also be seen to complement or polarize the symbol of the first stage. It refers to the value of a dignified INWARD WITHDRAWAL.
PHASE 18 (ARIES 18°): AN EMPTY HAMMOCK STRETCHED BETWEEN TWO TREES.
KEYNOTE: A constructive alternation of activity and rest.
The symbol refers to the ability to balance outer vitalistic activity and withdrawal from such activity and relaxation. The owner of the hammock is active, but in his consciousness he can hold the image of rest in the midst of reenergizing nature. The concept of following the rat race of business therefore has no hold. Potency may be preserved and extremes avoided. Time is found for recuperation.
This is a third stage symbol which suggests a middle path between total involvement in instinctual or social drives, and withdrawal in impotent silence and narcissism - thus LIVING RHYTHMICALLY.
PHASE 19 (ARIES 19°): THE "MAGIC CARPET" OF ORIENTAL IMAGERY.
KEYNOTE: The use of creative imagination.
A way of life refusing a hectic involvement in social competition and waste-producing overproduction allows for the development of unattached and transcendent understanding. The static floor (carpet) on which man's feet (symbols of understanding) rest can become transformed into the means for great flights of imagination and super-physical perception. The period of rest from outwardly directed activity bound to collective normality presents the creative mind with the possibility of surveying in dreams the totality of the present-day social situation, thus "to see whole."
The fourth stage of the fourth five-fold sequence of symbols invokes the possibility of developing a new technique of perception, A STRIFE-TRANSCENDING AND UNATTACHED OUTLOOK UPON EVERYDAY REALITY.
PHASE 20 (ARIES 20°): A YOUNG GIRL FEEDING BIRDS IN WINTER.
KEYNOTE: Overcoming crises through compassion.
Nature's seasonal rhythms imply an oscillation between living and dying. Through creative imagination man can "fly over" the cycle, and discover means not only to escape from the fatality of seasonal decay or deprivation, but to assist other living entities to survive through crises. Migrating birds fly south (cf. symbol of Aries 12°), but by establishing a partnership with other creatures unable to escape wintry deprivation or death, man can maintain the life of the spirit (symbolized by birds) steady through all crises if, like a "young girl," he is widely open to the promptings of love and sympathy.
At this fifth stage of the symbolic sequence we witness human activity motivated by sympathy overcoming the seasonal phase of impotency. Life potency in nature spirits reaches a higher level in the human being. The theme is THE TRANSMUTATION OF LIFE INTO LOVE.
SECOND LEVEL: EMOTIONAL/CULTURAL
PHASE 21 (ARIES 21°): A PUGILIST ENTERS THE RING.
KEYNOTE: The release and glorification of social aggressiveness.
Here we find potency glorified as muscular strength and will-to-power. Because it is potency operating at a harshly competitive level, it can and often does imply the possibility of defeat or disfiguration. In one sense the symbol translates into social terms the primordial struggle for survival of the fittest, adding to it an eagerness for social fame and social power (i.e. money). In another sense, the ring with two fighters in it can be referred to the Tai Chi symbol and the interplay between Yang and Yin. Each of the two types of energy wins in turn. Victory is always temporary in a dualistic world.
This is the first stage of the fifth five-fold sequence of cyclic phases. Potency and the two-fold possibilities inherent in any release of power are seen operating at the socio-cultural and emotional level. The symbol reveals man's deeply rooted feeling of admiration and envy for whoever can generate OVERWHELMING POWER.
PHASE 22 (ARIES 22°): THE GATE TO THE GARDEN OF ALL FULFILLED DESIRES.
KEYNOTE: Abundance made possible by human togetherness and cooperation.
In contrast to the crude and cruel road to fame and power symbolized by the prizefighter, we now see a symbol of apparently wide-open and effortless fulfillment. Alone, a human being can barely survive in nature's great life drama; in organized groups men can in due time fulfill their desires. The abundant life is in theory open to all. At least this is the ideal, the great dream. This symbol can also be given an erotic meaning, referring to womanhood.
At the second stage of this series of symbols, the goal of happiness dominates the consciousness of cultural man, the more validly so the more modest his desires. Religious philosophies, like American New Thought, glorify this social feeling of abundance, glamorizing it into an avid COSMIC OPTIMISM and a cult of success.
PHASE 23 (ARIES 23°): A PREGNANT WOMAN IN LIGHT SUMMER DRESS.
Masculine aggressiveness and the woman's desire for fulfillment (Phases 21 and 22) are integrated and realized in the expected child. This three-fold sequence can be seen operating at several levels, and the third term, the child, can take various emotional and cultural forms. The basic meaning remains the same. Summer is the period of fruition. Man - at the receptive "woman" level - reaps the fruits of his dynamic activity.
This is the third stage of the fifth five-fold sequence of cyclic phases. It combines the two preceding ones and suggests INNER FULFILLMENT.
PHASE 24 (ARIES 24°): BLOWN INWARD BY THE WIND, THE CURTAINS OF AN OPEN WINDOW TAKE THE SHAPE OF A CORNUCOPIA.
KEYNOTE: Openness to the influx of spiritual energies.
The principle of abundance is brought to a further stage in this rather cryptic symbol. Physical fruition is shown operating at a more subtle and spiritual level. The wind (pneuma, spirit) blows through the open mind-window and brings into the house of personality a promise of more-than-material potency. Wind blows from a region of high pressure to one of low pressure. As the window curtains are blown inward, the individual consciousness represented by the house is receiving a more concentrated influx of spiritual energies, enabling this consciousness to extend the scope of its awareness and creative expression.
This message applying to this fourth stage of the five-fold sequence is that inner growth demands not just an open mind but one able to provide a container for a spiritual harvest. The cornucopian shape of the window's curtains suggests that the subtler translucent aspect of the mind (the curtains) has acquired a plastic quality enabling it to be MOLDED BY TRANSPERSONAL FORCES.
PHASE 25 (ARIES 25°): THE POSSIBILITY FOR MAN TO GAIN EXPERIENCE AT TWO LEVELS OF BEING.
KEYNOTE: The revelation of new potentialities.
In some unspecified way the symbol is a guarantee that man can operate successfully at two levels of consciousness, if he has previously met the condition mentioned in the preceding symbol. "Be open. Be able and willing to shape your translucent mind in the form revealing spiritual fulfillment. And you will be able to experience life and power on inner as well as outer planes." The implied message is one of faith. Man can only truly experience what he deeply believes he can experience.
This is the last stage of this fifth five-fold sequence of cyclic phases. It announces the possibility of a new step in evolution, but it is still only a possibility, a promise. The individual is truly ON PROBATION.
THIRD LEVEL: INDIVIDUAL/MENTAL
PHASE 26 (ARIES 26°): A MAN POSSESSED OF MORE GIFTS THAN HE CAN HOLD.
KEYNOTE: Obsession by potentiality.
The mind which finds itself confronted with a totally unfamiliar and as yet unexperienced type of potency finds it difficult at first to adjust to its new world of perception and possibilities of action. He may rush ahead excitedly and lose his bearings. He should try to reach a state of calm watchfulness, and to learn that at this level too there are limits and restrictions, i.e. laws expressing this new type of "order."
This is the first stage of the sixth five-fold sequence of cyclic phases. This entire sequence of symbols shows us that man at this evolutionary station has to move carefully in his new realm, for his consciousness is not yet fully able to operate in it, except with closely defined limits. It is a symbol of WARNING — a warning against undertaking more than it is as yet safe and sound to attempt.
PHASE 27 (ARIES 27°): THROUGH IMAGINATION A LOST OPPORTUNITY IS REGAINED.
KEYNOTE: Revision of attitude and inner revaluation.
The second stage of a five-fold sequence of phases always reveals a contrast to the first, but not necessarily an opposition. This symbol makes it clear that the mind that has become over-stimulated and obsessed by all it appears to be able to accomplish in some new realm of experience may easily fail. The disciple fails in his test, or at least it seems to him that he has failed. Actually the "failure" may have been meant by his guru to be a challenge to the emergence of a new capacity; generally speaking, this capacity is what one calls "creative imagination." The mind must first "imagine" that which he will then be able sooner or later to actually experience. At this stage it may be difficult to distinguish success from failure.
Nothing may fail like success, people say. What counts is the development of UNDAUNTED FAITH in the pursuit of one's ideals.
PHASE 28 (ARIES 28°): A LARGE AUDIENCE CONFRONTS THE PERFORMER WHO DISAPPOINTED ITS EXPECTATIONS.
KEYNOTE: The necessity for mature preparation and self-criticism.
We see here the tangible results of the situation evoked by the two preceding symbols. Great hopes, excited expectations cannot be sustained. The last symbol reveals the performer's state of consciousness; in this one he is actually made fully aware of having promised - to the many elements of his own personality as well as perhaps to other human beings - more than he was able to deliver. The issue is how to handle this situation. In one form or another, it is an often recurring situation in the life of an individual person. The manner in which it is met determines the individual's future possibilities of development and achievement.
This is the third stage of this five-fold sequence. What is implied here is the need to be more than "obsessed by potentiality" and subjectively involved in the use of the new powers. The objective results have to be considered, i.e. what this use will do. The individual is not alone concerned, for in a sense mankind as a whole will be affected. What is required, therefore, is an objective inclusiveness of the whole environment; thus a sense of RESPONSIBILITY for what one's actions will produce in people who have been made to expect significant results.
PHASE 29 (ARIES 29°): THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES.
KEYNOTE: Attunement to cosmic order.
At the fourth stage of a five-fold sequence a technique is often presented. It is based on the experiences implied in the preceding symbols. In this case, what the individual who has entered into a new realm of possibilities of action should learn is the harmonic principles operating in this realm. The music of the spheres is the celestial embodiment of principles of polyphonic interplay. The individual advancing "on the Path" should seek to understand and realize his place in the vast scheme of mankind's evolution, in the immense Chord of the harmony of the universe.
The message to the seeker for meaning which is implied in this symbol is TO LISTEN TO THE INNER VOICE; to listen without personalizing this Voice in a glamour-producing manner. It is the Voice of the Whole, of which one begins to realize that one is a tiny little part - yet a significant part, for every note of the universal Chord has its place and its ineradicable meaning.
PHASE 30 (ARIES 30°): A DUCK POND AND ITS BROOD.
KEYNOTE: The realization of natural boundaries.
After the preceding symbol this may seem anticlimactic. What is shown here is that every form of activity has its limits, and that even the consciousness that has been able to get a glimpse of universal order has to bring down to its own "karmic" field of operation the message of harmony it has heard inwardly. Peace and inner contentment with one's essential destiny (dharma) is required to meet the everyday world. The mystic may experience flights of imagination and transcendent vision, but he must return to the concrete earth and to his task in his social environment. Extensive as the latter may seem it is still very small compared to the galactic field; it is indeed a duck pond compared to the ocean. But it is there that the substance for concrete action has to be found, and every effective activity has to be focused; thus the boundaries imposed by the very nature of this activity have to be consciously accepted.
This is the last stage in the last five-fold sequence related to the second scene, characterized by "Potency." It leads to the third scene, whose Keyword is "Substantiation." Potency has to become substantiated - it has to mate with substance - in order to be effective power. Power must accept the principle of FOCALIZATION.
An Astrological Mandala