ACT II: STABILIZATION
SCENE SEVEN: DECISION
(Cancer 1° to Cancer 15°)
FIRST LEVEL: ACTIONAL
PHASE 91 (CANCER 1°): ON A SHIP THE SAILORS LOWER AN OLD FLAG AND RAISE A NEW ONE.
KEYNOTE: A radical change of allegiance exteriorized in a symbolical act: a point of no return.
We have now reached a square (go-degree angle) to the beginning of the cyclic process. This is a moment of crisis, a sharp turning point. In the zodiacal cycle, at the summer solstice the northward motion of the sun (in "decimation") stops; the sun rises and sets as far north of exact east and west as it can during the year-cycle. Its motion is now reversed. Slowly the sunset points move southward on the western horizon, and the length of the day decreases. In the lunation cycle (from New Moon to New Moon) this is the First Quarter phase. On the "ship" which symbolizes the ego-consciousness floating, as it were, on the sea of the vast Unconscious, the individualized will makes a basic decision. The dominant Yang force allows the Yin force to begin its six-month long rise to power. The "collective" will gradually overcomes the "individual," and at the end the state will overpower the person. Now, however, the individual person enjoys his most glorious hour; he exults in his ability to make a "free decision"- i.e. to act as an individual who selects his life goal and his allegiance.
This is the first stage in the nineteenth five-fold series of degree symbols. In a decisive act heavy with consequences, the symbolic college youth might realize that he should bring to an end his quest for the ideal companion and enter into matrimony. He assents to the possibility of progeny, of home responsibility. His consciousness accepts a process of fundamental REORIENTATION, implying the stabilization of his energies.
PHASE 92 (CANCER 2°): A MAN ON A MAGIC CARPET HOVERS OVER A LARGE AREA OF LAND.
KEYNOTE: The ability to expand one's consciousness by stabilizing one's point of view at a higher level.
This is the paradox which confuses so many minds. As long as the intellect restlessly searches for new horizons it is confused by its searching. Accepting a stable focus, the mind can raise its point of observation and see reality in a truer perspective. The individual becomes the whole focused at this particular point for a particular task and function. He can at least reflect the consciousness of the greater Whole, Humanity.
This second stage symbol establishes a contrast between a stabilizing new allegiance which limits the will, and the capacity to envision life from a wider perspective, thanks to which many lives are seen to converge upon the raised consciousness. At this stage one realizes that by giving up an indefinite search for two-dimensional extension, one gains ELEVATION in the third dimension of consciousness.
PHASE 93 (CANCER 3°): A MAN BUNDLED IN FUR LEADS A SHAGGY DEER.
KEYNOTE: The need to overcome stagnation and "cold" during trial of endurance.
This rather enigmatic symbol has suggested an exploration in arctic regions; but it seems more relevant to see in it simply the difficult phase imposed by the new allegiance upon the reoriented consciousness. In India the deer was the symbol of Brahma, the Creative God. The antlers represent the extension of the mind-power located in the head. The new path may lead to cold regions requiring insulation from harsh circumstances. There may even be a desire to escape from new responsibilities. The will leads the mind on toward the spiritual North of the soul.
This is the third stage in the nineteenth five-fold sequence. A period of trials is implied. The focalized mind may seek to escape its limits by venturing forth toward an idealized goal — the North Star, perhaps. This represents A TESTING OF THE WILL.
PHASE 94 (CANCER 4°): A CAT ARGUING WITH A MOUSE.
KEYNOTE: An attempt at self-justification.
We are still involved in the results of an act which brought about a radical reorientation of one's life. The drives of the bio-psychic organism are still not easily conquered. A multitude of lesser decisions inevitably follows the big and grand gestures of repudiation and realignment. The desires of the body still drown the voice of the "new man." One argues with oneself, hoping to convince oneself that the old impulses are still legitimate.
At this fourth stage of the five-fold sequence hesitancy and conflicting motives are still inevitable. The mind is very clever at not facing the consequences which follow from desires or even from restlessness. Attempts at RATIONALIZATION are experienced and should be understood.
PHASE 95 (CANCER 5°): AT A RAILROAD CROSSING, AN AUTOMOBILE IS WRECKED BY A TRAIN.
KEYNOTE: The tragic results which are likely to occur when the individual's will pits itself carelessly against the power of the collective will of society.
The automobile symbolizes the individualized consciousness eager to pursue its own course of action regardless of how it may conflict with the collective consciousness of the community (the train). The symbol implies that at this early stage of the new process which began with this seventh scene, all such individual and relatively anarchistic or law-defying attempts are bound to fail. The driver may live, but his car will be wrecked.
Lest we consider this phase totally negative, we should realize that most of the time man learns his lessons through relatively destructive experiences - the via negativa of the mystic, or even the strange occult concept expounded in some sects of "salvation through sin." One may speak here more generally of KARMIC READJUSTMENT. This will become evident as the next five-fold sequence is considered.
SECOND LEVEL: EMOTIONAL/CULTURAL
PHASE 96 (CANCER 6°): GAME BIRDS FEATHERING THEIR NESTS.
KEYNOTE: An instinctual dedication of self to new forms of life.
The original symbol (which was subsequently altered) spoke here of "game birds"; thus we deal with spiritual forces (birds) placed within a social context. As in the symbol for Cancer 1° we see here the beginning of a process; action is definitely oriented toward the future. A new wave of life is starting and a concrete - and no longer symbolical - preparation is made for it. At a social level - we can speak of the pioneering efforts dedicated to the building of a new culture, new institutions.
This is the first stage of the twentieth five-fold sequence. It reveals a preparation for rebirth, and a significant note is sounded by the mention of game birds. What is being built is instinctively - but not yet consciously - offered to a higher level of consciousness. The
young-to-be are potential sacrifices to feed human beings. Just as tribal men sacrificed virgins to satisfy the gods. Already the meaning of the second half of the cycle (the first degree of Libra, for instance) is implied, just as the entire social process is implied in the formalism of the marriage ceremony. An appropriate key would be SYMBIOSIS, i.e. a deep unconscious cooperation between different levels of existence, the "animal" level producing lives for the sake of the "human."
PHASE 97 (CANCER 7°): TWO NATURE SPIRITS DANCING UNDER THE MOONLIGHT.
KEYNOTE: The play of invisible forces in all manifestations of life.
To the clairvoyant who visualized these symbolic scenes, the nature spirits (or fairies) most likely were thought of as more or less imaginary or ideal creations. At least they were linked with hidden and mysterious processes in nature, and the "moonlight" emphasizes this otherworldly or elusive character. Thus a contrast is implied between this character and the concrete and material process of building a nest for a physical progeny. The basic concept is that behind all vital processes one can perceive occult forces at work. They operate within a realm often called "astral" or "etheric"; and the moon has a deep influence upon that realm, releasing special solar rays of occult potency.
This is the second stage of the twentieth sequence. It contrasts the invisible with the visible, the inner with the outer, the dream and the ideal with everyday reality. In a sense this refers to man's CREATIVE IMAGINATION.
PHASE 98 (CANCER 8°): A GROUP OF RABBITS DRESSED IN HUMAN CLOTHES WALK AS IF ON PARADE.
KEYNOTE: The tendency in all forms of life to imitate higher forms as a stimulus to growth.
This rather strange symbol points to what is essential in all first attempts at developing consciousness and furthering and furthering one’s growth through association with those who have already reached a superior evolutionary or mental level. Every seeker looks for an “Exemplar.” The religious mystic speaks of “the Imitation of Christ.” In Japan the music student sits in front of his teacher playing an instrument, and carefully imitates his every gesture.
At this third stage of the five-fold sequence we see at work the basic features at the start of all LEARNING PROCESSES. At the next stage we will watch a more advanced, more typically human quest for knowledge.
PHASE 99 (CANCER 9°): A SMALL, NAKED GIRL BENDS OVER A POND TRYING TO CATCH A FISH.
KEYNOTE: The first naïve quest for knowledge and for an ever-elusive understanding of life.
The “small, naked girl” symbolizes the innocent and spontaneous mind, as yet unclothed in cultural patterns and unrestrained by don’t trying to satisfy its curiosity about what seems mysterious and fleeting. In a sense the pond is the infant’s mind with a very limited scope of consciousness, yet eagerly reaching out to catch the swift and elusive first realizations of the meaning of life.
At this fourth stage we are confronted with the nascent curiosity about knowledge, a curiosity which makes the little mind reach out in spontaneity, rather than merely imitate the elders. Whenever a person is confronted with this symbol he or she should realize that there is much value indeed in simply reaching out with a pure and unconditioned mind to the most elementary experiences which natural life offers to us. The key here is PURITY IN UNDERSTANDING.
PHASE 100 (CANCER 10°): A LARGE DIAMOND IN THE FIRST STAGES OF THE CUTTING PROCESS.
KEYNOTE: The arduous training for perfection in order to fully manifest an ideal.
We are still dealing with the evolution of consciousness and of personality at a preliminary stage. The potentiality of a completely formed mind through which the light of understanding will shine brightly is already in evidence, but much work is still to be done. We may meditate upon the transformation of the “pond of water” (in the preceding symbol) into a diamond not yet cut. The conscious mind must acquire solidity so it can be worked on by higher agencies – ideally by the teachers of the community. It no doubt must be a painful operation for the rough stone, but the goal is worth the suffering, the heat, the grinding noise…provided of course the diamond cutter is an expert craftsman – a rare case among teachers!
At this last stage of the five-fold sequence we once more deal with an operation which when completed will acquire a social value. When fully grown, the game bird” (first stage) may satisfy a hungry stomach; once cut to perfection, the “diamond” may fill a woman with pride. As Keyword we suggest CRAFTSMANSHIP, here meaning especially the training for perfection.
THIRD LEVEL: INDIVIDUAL/MENTAL
PHASE 101 (CANCER 11°): A CLOWN CARICATURING WELL-KNOW PERSONALITIES.
KEYNOTE: The value of humor in developing objectivity and independence of mind.
Humor and irony is a powerful tool in assessing the value of socio-cultural realities, and thereby in freeing oneself from glamour and prejudice. Laughter deconditions and often paves the way to a realization that we need not be unduly impressed by what our tradition has more or less forced upon our consciousness. The clown, of course, is the more popular manifestation of this urge to laugh, which seems to be such a basic characteristic of human nature. Caricature and satire are more intellectual forms of the same need for intellectual freedom.
In this twenty-first five fold sequence we witness the development of true individuality in man. And the first step is a cathartic one – the ability to laugh, which includes the ability to laugh at ones own petty habits and mannerisms – indeed, at one’s pomposity. It is a DECONDITIONING step.
PHASE 102 (CANCER 12°): A CHINESE WOMAN NURSING A BABY WHOSE AURA REVEALS HIM TO BE THE REINCARNATION OF A GREAT TEACHER.
KEYNOTE: The revelation of latent worth in an experience once it is seen in its deeper meaning.
In contrast to the “clown” symbol, which shows us man’s capacity to criticize and laugh at his superficial mannerisms and automatic habits or gestures, we now have a symbol which demands that we look beyond common appearances and try to discover the “occult” (i.e. hidden) character of every person and every experience. This symbol has been unduly glamorized: there is no particular reference here to an avatar or messiah, except in the sense that every man is potentially the avatar or manifestation of a Soul that has a definite and relatively unique function in the vast field of activity we call the Earth. To discover this occult potential of being, one requires a deeper or higher “vision,” a holistic perception — which is usually, but not always justifiably, called clairvoyance. The caricaturist also has to develop a special kind of “seeing” to enable him to extract the salient features of an outer personality or of a face. He picks out the most characteristic parts of a whole; the true clairvoyant perceives the essential meaning (or “message” and function) of the whole.
The contrast between the first and second symbols of this twenty-first five-fold sequence is indeed very significant. There may be no particular meaning in the fact that the nursing woman in this symbol is Chinese. Perhaps the psychic who visualized the scene may have mistaken a Tibetan for a Chinese woman, and unconsciously thought of the rather familiar process through which a new Dalai Lama, or other great Lamas, are searched for among newborn babies. The Keyword is REVELATION.
PHASE 103 (CANCER 13°): A HAND WITH A PROMINENT THUMB IS HELD OUT FOR STUDY.
KEYNOTE: The power of the will in shaping character.
Here again we see how a personal characteristic reveals what is behind it psychologically and spiritually. The thumb in palmistry signifies the will; a very rigid thumb shows an unbending will; a more flexible one, a more pliable individual. In the original formulation of the symbol the "hand" was said to be "slightly flexed" which may be taken to suggest a more flexible character. Nevertheless, the basic meaning is that individuality can only express itself through a strong character. Whenever this symbol confronts a person or a situation it is shown that a strong will is required to face the issue at stake.
This is the third stage in the twenty-first five-fold sequence, and the Keyword is CHARACTER.
PHASE 104 (CANCER 14°): A VERY OLD MAN FACING A VAST DARK SPACE TO THE NORTHEAST.
KEYNOTE: Fulfillment in transcending and changeless wisdom.
This symbol describes the Wise Old Man, an archetypal figure found in all systems of symbolism. In occult terminology the northeast is the direction from which spiritual-cosmic forces enter the Earth-sphere. This is probably because the polar axis of the Earth is inclined by some 23 degrees away from the exact perpendicular to the plane of its orbit. Thus the actual pole of our globe not only differs from the permanent pole of the Earth's orbit, but constantly changes its direction, successively pointing to several large "circumpolar" stars during the so-called processional cycle (or "tropical year," or Great Polar Cycle), which lasts somewhat less than 26,000 years. Because of this inclination of the polar axis, we have the phenomenon of seasonal change. Supposedly during the early Golden Age no such change occurred; a "perpetual spring" reigned. This is the (traditionally) spiritual state. The Wise Old Man faces the Changeless Reality, the true North —- which for us is located in a northeast direction. He faces the great Void, that apparent Darkness which is an intense Light invisible to our senses.
As this is a fourth stage symbol in the five-fold sequence, there is as usual a hint of technique. Implied is that by consistently and for a long time meditating on the changeless and spiritual reality at the very core of all experiences one can attain the supreme and age-old wisdom. We see in the symbol a way beyond appearances and toward PERMANENCE IN TRUTH.
PHASE 105 (CANCER 15°): IN A SUMPTUOUS DINING HALL GUESTS RELAX AFTER PARTAKING OF A HUGE BANQUET.
KEYNOTE: The need that exists at an early stage of human growth to materialize the concept of fulfillment.
This may be considered a curious symbolic scene following the preceding, for it pictures a scene of fulfillment - consciously or unconsciously - only in terms reminiscent of the Mohammedan picture of paradise, a place filled with all the good things earthly life provided, only more sparsely. It may also be that the symbol is a reference to the fact that what in European countries is seen rather broadly and spiritually as ‘plenitude of being’ is usually related in the United States to the idea of ‘plenty’. We are hypnotized today by the ideal of physical abundance. Perhaps physical abundance is less mind-haunting than deprivation, and there may at times be a need to ‘turn to superficial things for self-strengthening’. This is the via negativa (negative way) already mentioned. Through satiety a person learns to appreciate and desire asceticism; after months of boredom the modern teenager in an ultramodern ‘progressive’ school is often ready to accept disciplined work.
This is the last of the five symbols in the twenty-first sequence. It ends this part of the quest for individuality and the process of ‘decision’ - making on a note which indicates a phase of only temporary fulfillment. The darkness in the northeast may have been too much for the consciousness at this stage of the great cycle. The mind yearns to translate what it has seen in purely physical terms. This is perhaps the keynote of American life: the MATERIALIZATION OF THE SPIRITUAL.
An Astrological Mandala