SCENE TWENTY-THREE: FEDERATION
(Pisces 1° to Pisces 15°)
FIRST LEVEL: ACTIONAL
PHASE 331 (PISCES 1°): IN A CROWDED MARKETPLACE FARMERS AND MIDDLEMEN DISPLAY A GREAT VARIETY OF PRODUCTS.
KEYNOTE: The process of commingling and interchange which at all levels demonstrates the health of a community.
In any twelve-fold division of a complete cycle (for instance the 12 zodiacal signs and the 12 Houses of a birth chart) the twelfth section often has been given a negative significance. It can refer to oppressive conditions as it represents a "closing of accounts,"
a final evaluation of the harvest of the cycle. A very bad harvest may lead to bankruptcy; a premature revolt may bring the rebel to jail; the dissolute may end in a hospital. In this section of the cycle a man reaps what he has sown. But it may also be honors, social prestige, the interests of well-managed wealth. In this twenty-fourth scene what is stressed is the coming together, in a final experience of community, of all factors previously experienced; this means constructive interaction and an interchange of the products of social activity. In a practical sense, the symbol, whenever it is found, emphasizes that the time has come to take full advantage of the social opportunities to bargain and to trade.
This is the first stage of the process related to the sixty-seventh five-fold sequence of symbols. It refers to all that can be gained from social interplay and especially, in the broadest sense of the word, from COMMERCE.
PHASE 332 (PISCES 2°): A SQUIRREL HIDING FROM HUNTERS.
KEYNOTE: The individual's need both to ensure his future subsistence and to protect himself from aggressive social elements.
The squirrel not only has to hide and store food for the winter, but to be on the lockout for the dangers involved in gathering this food supply. Social processes always cast strong shadows, The individual is never certain of being safe among his fellowmen, once the process of individualization — with its negative aspects, competition, social aggressivity and greed — forces the breakdown of the organic tribal state of mankind during the
This second stage symbol contrasts with the first. It warns of the dangers of life in society during an era of exacerbated individualism, when violence is a possibility never to be dismissed. The need for SELF-PROTECTION and caution is ever present.
PHASE 333 (PISCES 3°): PETRIFIED TREE TRUNKS LIE BROKEN ON DESERT SAND.
KEYNOTE: The power to preserve records of their achievements which is inherent in fully matured cultures.
When a vast group of men succeed in building a culture with strong institutions which express themselves in significant symbols and works of art or literature, such an effort of many generations is rarely lost altogether. In one form or another, records of this culture endure or are mysteriously preserved, simply because they reveal the place and function of this particular culture in the long process of unfoldment of the potentialities inherent in archetypal MAN. It is such a concept that has been mythified and popularized in the religious idea of the resurrection of the dead on the Last Day. The symbol of petrified wood in the Arizona desert, however, tells us that the actual preservation of the records is never perfect or total. Only fragments remain, significant enough to reveal the essential archetypal form.
This third symbol of the sixty-seventh five-fold sequence brings the promise of social immortality — i.e. the preservation of the enduring (because archetypally meaningful) factors in whatever man attempts within his culture. A symbol of INDESTRUCTABILITY.
PHASE 334 (PISCES 4°): HEAVY CAR TRAFFIC ON A NARROW ISTHMUS LINKING TWO SEASHORE RESORTS.
KEYNOTE: The mobility and intensity of interchange which make possible and characterize complex social processes.
Here we see the Concept of commerce and social interaction in a new form. What is stressed is the need to establish unceasing dynamic relationships between all aspects and functions of the social life. The more complex the relationships, the more dynamic and restless the society. In this symbol the "isthmus" refers to a geographic situation found near San Diego, California, where these Sabian symbols were produced — also in Florida and elsewhere. A narrow strip of land separates the sea from a lagoon and on this strip, houses are built and roads are constantly filled with moving cars. The proximity of the sea stresses the collective nature of social experiences and of what may appear to be "individual" achievements.
This fourth stage symbol-evokes many aspects of what at several levels can be called TRAFFIC. The technique for achieving social results is always based on an interchange of ideas and interplay of activities. Often, however, confusion ensues and traffic jams are ever-present possibilities.
PHASE 335 (PISCES 5°): A CHURCH BAZAAR.
KEYNOTE: The value of giving a spiritual or transcendent sanction to even the most commonplace interchanges between social persons and individual minds.
This is the last of five symbols emphasizing the interaction between people constituting a social group, small or large. It brings in the element of religious sanctions. The purpose of any organized religion is primarily to meet the need of giving a more permanent significance to interpersonal relationships within the framework of a particular way of life and culture. It helps to keep the society "whole" by making it "holy"— at least in principle and ideal. It justifies human behavior by blessing it with a divine Revelation of what is good and valuable. It idealizes biological and social needs by ritualizing them.
This ends the sixty-seventh five-fold sequence on a note of RITUALlZED BENEFICENCE. It stresses the possibility of the "Presence of God" in even the most material human activities.
SECOND LEVEL: EMOTIONAL/CULTURAL
PHASE 336 (PISCES 6°): A PARADE OF ARMY OFFICERS IN FULL DRESS.
KEYNOTE: The dedication of human beings to the service of their community, and the assurance that it will be emotionally sustained by the people at large.
Here we see at work the emotion-rousing appeal of social activities which demand the surrendering by the individual of his personal way of life, his opinions and his comfort. The socializing process is pictured in all its intensity but what is implied even more is the support that the socialized person can expect from the collectivity if he is ready to act and to sacrifice himself for the nation or the group.
This is the first symbol of the sixty-eighth series. It allegorizes the power generated by a totally accepted and enforced collective discipline, and the exaltation and mass response which he who has achieved this self-surrender to a social tradition can expect in return.
The Keyword is GROUP-RESPONSIBILITY.
PHASE 337 (PISCES 7°): ILLUMINED BY A SHAFT OF LIGHT, A LARGE CROSS LIES ON ROCKS SURROUNDED BY SEA MIST.
KEYNOTE: The spiritual blessing which strengthens individuals who, happen what may, stand uncompromisingly for their own truth.
Men who do not depend upon collective values, traditions or support but seek at any cost to be true to their individual self and destiny almost inevitably face some kind of crucifixion. They are sustained only by the power within them, to which a light above answers. The symbol tells us: "Be true to thine own self, and in the midst of the outer confusion displayed by those surrounding you, you will realize what you really are as an Individual — a son of God."
This second stage symbol presents us with a realization in polar opposition to that evoked by the preceding scene. It implies the supreme worth of a life guided by an inner voice and manifesting a high degree of SELF-ASSERTION.
PHASE 338 (PISCES 8°): A GIRL BLOWING A BUGLE.
KEYNOTE: A call to participation in the service of the race, as an evolutionary crisis approaches.
This symbolic picture presents another aspect of the emotional
relationship between the individual and the collectivity of human beings. It can also be related to the old feminist movement or the present women's liberation. In traditional symbolism the woman refers more specifically to the biological and psychic aspect of human life; she is seen primarily as the mother, and/or the intuitive or "psychic" type of person. A new race of human beings may well be slowly unfolding some of its potential of consciousness and fulfillment. The individual who envisions this evolutionary development "sounds the call." He or she is both seer-herald and mutant. In that sense such a human being is both an individual true to his original nature and a dedicated person — dedicated to the future he or she holds in latency as does a seed in mutation.
At this third stage of the sixty-eighth five-fold sequence the two preceding phases blend in a new form of consecration of the individual to the Whole. Tomorrow acts through today; it SUMMONS men to rebirth.
PHASE 339 (PISCES 9°): A JOCKEY SPURS HIS HORSE, INTENT ON OUT-DISTANCING HIS RIVALS.
KEYNOTE: Intense mobilization of energy and skill in the drive for success in any social performance affected by the competitive spirit.
Since the end of the archaic ages and the stressing of individualism, especially in our American society which worships the material images of "success," the desire to win any kind of "race" engenders an often-feverish release of energy controlled by technical skill and long practice. Wherever this symbol is found, it indicates the need to spur one's total being toward speedy attainment of whatever goal it may be.
This is the fourth symbol in the sixty-eighth series; its technical significance is quite evident. Every superfluous "weight," every unnecessary consideration is to be dismissed in the one-pointed attempt to reach one's social goal. SELF-QUICKENING may be the
PHASE 340 (PISCES 10°): AN AVIATOR PURSUES HIS JOURNEY, FLYING THROUGH GROUND-OBSCURING CLOUDS.
KEYNOTE: Man's ability to develop powers and skills which by transcending natural limitations allow him to operate in mental-spiritual realms.
This symbol in a sense synthesizes the implications of the four preceding ones: the dedication to the community of men (present and future), self-assertion and the ambition to reach a social goal. Man is seen mastering difficulties implied in a type of operation transcending his organic limitations and the narrow boundaries of a localized "living space." He does so as an individual in command of powerful energies, but also as heir to the industry of countless innovators and managers.
This is the last symbol of the sixty-eighth five-fold sequence of evolving stages of consciousness and human activity. It evokes the achievement of MASTERY.
THIRD LEVEL: INDIVIDUAL/MENTAL
PHASE 341 (PISCES 11°): MEN TRAVELING A NARROW PATH, SEEKING ILLUMINATION.
KEYNOTE: The capacity inherent in every individual to seek at whatever cost entrance to a transcendent realm of reality.
This refers to the ancient and eternal symbol of the Path of Discipleship. The greatness of man is that he can always be greater; and the belief — deeply rooted in men's inner nature — that if he fulfills the necessary conditions he can find "Elder Brothers" who have already attained a higher level of consciousness and will transfer their attainment and light to him. The Path is always open to the pure in heart, the mentally aware, the conqueror of emotions and the spiritually self-mobilized.
This symbol opens the sixty-ninth five-fold sequence and a new level of consciousness. Man is always in the making and remaking. He can always go further, reach beyond. But he has to take the first step. Someone can show him the Path, but he alone can do the walking. Thus the Zen injunction: WALK ON.
PHASE 342 (PISCES 12°): IN THE SANCTUARY OF AN OCCULT BROTHERHOOD, NEWLY INITIATED MEMBERS ARE BEING EXAMINED AND THEIR CHARACTER TESTED.
KEYNOTE: The ever-repeated challenge presented to the individual by the group in which he has claimed acceptance — the challenge to prove himself and his ability to assume responsibility effectively.
At any level of activity, sooner or later life itself demands of the individual that he or she stand up clearly and unequivocally to the ideal he himself has declared publicly his own. At the occult level the testing seems to be controlled and irrevocable. The "initiate" has become a constituent part of an integrated field of mental-spiritual activity. He is therefore controlled by the structural order of the group. He is no longer seeking; having found his place, he must prove himself able to fulfill the function associated with it. He is no longer "free" as an individual, for he has become a part of an integral Whole operating under structural principles of immense antiquity.
This second symbolic stage of unfoldment stands in contrast to the first in that the individual is now bound by collective laws and traditions. At a mundane political or business level he is the junior executive incorporated in a hierarchical institution. He has at all times to prove his worth. QUALIFICATION is an apt Keyword.
PHASE 343 (PISCES 13°): AN ANCIENT SWORD, USED IN MANY BATTLES, IS DISPLAYED IN A MUSEUM.
KEYNOTE: Through the effectual use of his will a consecrated man can become a symbol of courage for all those who follow in his footsteps.
Will power is the ultimate spiritual weapon, and its undeviating use is the certification of individual worth. Wherever found, this symbol emphasizes the imperative need to make use of the will in meeting the basic challenges of the inner life as well as outer adversaries.
With this third symbol of the sixty-ninth sequence we see singled out and strongly emphasized the one power in man which is an assurance of victory in the contests generated by social (or occult) processes in which he has become an active part. The individual must use that WILL POWER, yet it is not really his own once he operates at a spiritual level. It is God's will operating through his mind which focuses its thrusts. It is, occultly speaking, the power of the Brotherhood — the energy of the Whole operating through the one-pointed individual who has made this Whole aware of the need for its use in a particular situation.
PHASE 344 (PISCES 14°): A LADY WRAPPED IN A LARGE STOLE OF FOX FUR.
KEYNOTE: The use of intelligence and mental subtlety as a protection against storms and trials.
Coming just after the preceding symbols and as the fourth stage of a five-fold sequence, which is usually related to some kind of technique, this symbol may at first seem irrelevant. The key to its interpretation, missed by the commentators, is fox fur. In symbolism and mythology the fox is always a clever and subtle animal. It represents the intellect at its early stage of "cunning"; in a broader sense, it also refers to "intelligence," considered as the ability to adapt to any and all life situations. Spiritual will and the ability to stand in facing tests are necessary in any crucial or challenging situation that an individual meets within a power-oriented group. But the sword-like will often has to be shielded, and intelligence or acumen can be the most precious help in danger. It is a personal (i.e. "animal" or instinctual) shield, perhaps even a camouflage. It hides the central will, but it keeps the individual from unnecessary hardships.
What we see symbolized here is a self-protective way of meeting the inclemencies of weather, actual or psychic, which abound as one leads a life consecrated to a vaster Whole; for this very consecration arouses strong enmities. Unnecessary risks are forbidden to the initiate, for the security of the Brotherhood might be endangered. The need for PROTECTIVE SHIELDING is imperative, and glamour can be an effective shield.
PHASE 345 (PISCES 15°): AN OFFICER INSTRUCTING HIS MEN BEFORE A SIMULATED ASSAULT UNDER A BARRAGE OF LIVE SHELLS.
KEYNOTE: The need for thorough rehearsing before any complex and inherently dangerous social ritual in which power is used or evoked.
In this fifth symbol of a series dealing with the confrontation with superpersonal group or occult power we see a picture which once again synthesizes what the four preceding symbols have implied, rather than stated. In social life, as well as occultism, conflict is always to be expected; one must prepare for it. At the close of the great cycle — in the zodiac, the sign Pisces — a deep-seated struggle is inevitable at least to some extent. It can be a struggle against the ghosts of the unfulfilled past, the "unlived life," or a confrontation with accumulated and often-eluded karma. Indeed, Pisces refers to a period in the year during which many generals and admirals have been born. The rules of the game, at least in traditional forms of warfare, can be known. One may have to rehearse the dangerous play, just as our astronauts endlessly rehearsed every step in the moon-landings. Individual rashness cannot be tolerated. Even a deliberate sacrifice must play a well-conceived part — like the sacrifice of an important piece in a game of chess.
This is the last symbol in Scene Twenty-three. The entire scene dealt in various ways with the process of integration of the individual into a social Whole, a community, an occult Brotherhood. A concluding Keyword could be VALORIZATION. The concept of group-value dominates the entire scene.
An Astrological Mandala