SCENE TWELVE: EDUCATION
(Virgo 16° to Virgo 30°)
FIRST LEVEL: ACTIONAL
PHASE 166 (VIRGO 16°): IN THE ZOO, CHILDREN ARE BROUGHT FACE TO FACE WITH AN ORANG-UTANG.
KEYNOTE: A direct confrontation with the "wild" power of primordial nature within oneself.
During this twelfth subcycle closing the first half of the cycle we
deal with phases of unfoldment which can be very broadly classified under the term "e-ducation," i.e. a leading out into the world of transcendent activity. Every hidden motive and depth energy has to be "led out" and objectively faced. According to the occult tradition, at least some of the ape species are actually throwbacks resulting from the perversion of the Man archetype when it belatedly came in touch with the elemental energies of an adolescent Earth. Likewise many of the so-called "primitive" tribes in places like Australia and New Guinea should be considered degenerate remnants of races which once had reached a much higher level of culture. In other words, the symbol refers to the confrontation of future-oriented modern children with the results of what one might refer to as an "original sin" — that is, with the degeneration of enormous vitalistic power once available to the human being. That power is now directed toward the mind, and has been immensely magnified by modern, technology. Yet there are residual remains of this vitalistic power in modern man's nature, and we may well repeat at a higher level the "sin of the mindless." The candidate for Initiation must face this possibility; the whole of mankind, in a sense, is a candidate for a planetary Initiation.
This is the first stage of the thirty-fourth sequence of symbols. Its symbol speaks of KARMIC CONFRONTATION.
PHASE 167 (VIRGO 17°): A VOLCANIC ERUPTION.
KEYNOTE: The explosive energy of long-repressed contents of the subconscious.
We are dealing here with the dramatic release of energies which have been kept in check by the outer shell of the ego controlled consciousness. It may be a spectacular catharsis, but it often takes paths of destruction. Yet unless some form of purification by fire is experienced, the inner pressure of the karmic past or of more recent frustrations would shake up perhaps even more destructively the very foundations of the personality.
At this second stage, the objective confrontation with an image of the karmic past is replaced by a subjective irruption of repressed memories and primitive cravings. Everything must be released from the psyche seeking to attain the transfigured state. The soul must become empty, the mind translucent. The Keyword is EXPLOSION.
PHASE 168 (VIRGO 18°): A OUIJA BOARD.
KEYNOTE: The ability to contact deeper recesses of the unconscious psyche and sensitiveness to psychic intimations and omens.
The ouija board is to be considered here a modern device similar to many ancient instruments used for divination and prophecy. Certain states of threshold consciousness are stimulated by such a use, and what the experience produces may vary greatly in quality and in origin. The release of unconscious material has lost the explosive force pictorialized in the preceding symbol, yet at this stage there is still no conscious and willful control over what reaches the ego-consciousness.
This is the third stage of the thirty-fourth sequence of symbolic phases in the life process. It is at best a stage of transition which stresses a passive openness to the unknown. The glamour of it may subtly pervert the mind of the aspirant; but in some cases, this can be the first manifestation of INNER GUIDANCE. The difficulty is to correctly evaluate what or who does the guiding.
PHASE 169 (VIRGO 19°): A SWIMMING RACE.
KEYNOTE: The stimulation that comes from a group effort
toward a spiritual goal.
When man has become an expert swimmer he has symbolically
learned how to operate in a new element. This element, water,
represents the ever-flowing stream of psychic energy, and, in a sense at least, the "astral" world. In a still deeper sense man is now able, mystically speaking, to cross the river and reach "the other shore" — or to swim back toward the source. Whether or not the symbol should suggest the competitive spirit at work is questionable. At the biological level a host of spermatozoa are swimming toward the ovum, and each presses on toward the goal, the act of impregnation. A seeker after spiritual rebirth actually does not strive alone. It is Man who, acting through the most advanced individuals of the race, is taking a step toward "rebirth," or toward a new mutation. The personal ego-centered ambition to succeed and to be "first" is indeed a sign of expectable spiritual failure.
At this fourth stage we are confronted with a problem of interpretation. Is not ambition a subtle form of deviation under the pressure of ancient karma, and the competitive spirit so valued by our civilization a sign of failure to understand the deeper reality of existence? What is needed is EMULATION, not competition.
PHASE 170 (VIRGO 20°): A CARAVAN OF CARS HEADED TO THE WEST COAST.
KEYNOTE: The need of cooperative effort in reaching any "New World" of experience.
It is difficult to know, from the original formulation of the clairvoyant's vision, the type of caravan of cars that was visualized; what seems to be clearly implied is a process in which a group of persons are journeying together — thus linking their consciousnesses and energies (the "car" symbol) — in order to safely reach the goal of destiny. Here there is no longer any sense of competition, but an ordered and structured endeavor.
At this last stage of the five-fold sequence the past is entirely left behind; men cooperate in the great "adventure in consciousness" in a TOTALIZATION OF PURPOSE AND EFFORT.
SECOND LEVEL: EMOTIONAL/CULTURAL
PHASE 171 (VIRGO 21°): A GIRL'S BASKETBALL TEAM.
KEYNOTE: Physical training as a means to inculcate the
feeling of participation in a collective culture.
Basketball presents an interesting symbol. The ball must be
thrown into a narrow opening high above the head of the player. The ego-consciousness (the ball) must be driven upward to a focal point or circle that is ready to receive it. In a sense, this parallels what the boy on the merry-go-round (Virgo 6°) can do if he succeeds in penetrating the ring with his stick, but there are notable differences. Here the players operate as a team; in the original formulation of the symbol there was no reference to two teams and thus to the competitive character of the game. What should be stressed here is the formation of a group acting as an organic whole and training itself to operate in a social context.
This is the first stage of a second-level sequence of five symbols, as was the symbol of the merry-go-round. A definite type of educational activity is implied with cultural, and as well emotional, overtones. It implies the training for GROUP INTEGRATION of "girls," i.e. of a type of consciousness more specifically receptive to collective forces.
PHASE 172 (VIRGO 22°): A ROYAL COAT OF ARMS ENRICHED
WITH PRECIOUS STONES.
KEYNOTE: The certification of aristocratic status, at whatever level "nobility" expresses itself in cultural eminence.
Once more a reference to ancestral achievements occurs
among these symbols for the sign Virgo. It is seen here in its most exalted character, for "royalty" is spoken of. Traditionally the king is the spiritual symbol of unity of an integrated nation; as a coat of arms is visualized, we are dealing with a status that is not merely personally acquired but has its roots in a notable past. Every great Adept has come out of a line of human beings who have made their marks upon human evolution. Spiritual attainment is the result of a series of long, repeated efforts; it is the end of a "royal road," (raja yoga) in the broadest sense of the term, raja, meaning king.
This second stage symbol contrasts with that of the first in that it refers to heredity rather than to the training of youthful raw material. Gautama the Buddha was known occultly as "He who comes after his
predecessors." The coat of arms represents the collective status, the
Spiritual Office. Whoever wears it assumes the responsibility of an
Office. As the French say, "Noblesse oblige." NOBILITY confers upon
a man exacting responsibility. The question implied in the symbol is,
Are you willing, able and ready to assume a "royal" office, at whatever level it may be?
PHASE 173 (VIRGO 23°): A LION TAMER DISPLAYS HIS SKILL
KEYNOTE: The need to tame one's vital energies in order to fulfill one's destiny.
We see here the development of the concept of training. The true aristocrat is the individual who is in complete control of his vital and emotional energies; at the spiritual level this includes the overcoming of pride — pride in one's strength and mastery, and the pride attached to an exalted status or social Office.
This is the third stage of the thirty-fifth sequence of five symbols. The meaning of this phase of development is traditional and evident. The whole process of social-ethical and occult-spiritual conditioning of the individual aims at the control of man's "animal nature." The energies of this nature can be put to many uses. Implied in any successful process of taming and training is RESOLUTENESS and PATIENCE.
PHASE 174 (VIRGO 24°): MARY AND HER LITTLE LAMB.
KEYNOTE: The need to keep a vibrant and pure simplicity at the core of one's being as one meets the many tests of existence.
Coming after the preceding symbols this one tells us that, though great, spectacular and resolute efforts are needed in order to achieve one's higher goals of destiny, still the essential quality as one journeys on "the Path" is a pure, spontaneous, fresh and nonviolent approach to all encounters. This of course is Jesus' entreaty to his disciples — that they should be like "little children." Without such a deep, heartfelt simplicity the seeker after spiritual experiences or Initiation is bound to find himself glamorized by his own successes, and to see his ego feeding on the drama of struggle and victory.
This is the fourth stage of the thirty-fifth five-fold sequence and it
presents us with a subtle hint of technique. Beyond individual prowess and social eminence, the individual whose innocence is fixed upon spiritual realization should genuinely radiate INNOCENCE.
PHASE 175 (VIRGO 25°): A FLAG AT HALF-MAST IN FRONT
OF A PUBLIC BUILDING.
KEYNOTE: The social acknowledgment of a job well done and a destiny fulfilled.
As an individual who has accepted any significantly met public
responsibilities reaches the end of his service to his community or to mankind as a whole, he gains social immortality, at least to some extent. In death he becomes identified with the archetype that ensouled his public office. He becomes a "culture hero," enshrined in the official memory of his race. He has found his place in history. The symbol implies the ability to carry any task to its ultimate fulfillment, provided this task is carried out with reference to the need of a collectivity, small or large as it may be.
In this final phase of the thirty-fifth five-fold sequence of symbols we are presented with an image of the end results of the individual's service to mankind. His personal failings may be forgotten but his achievements remain. They are given PUBLIC RECOGNITION.
THIRD LEVEL: INDIVIDUAL/MENTAL
PHASE 176 (VIRGO 26°): A BOY WITH A CENSER SERVES THE
PRIEST NEAR THE ALTAR.
KEYNOTE: The first stage of actual participation in the great ritual of planetary evolution.
Whether we think of the ancient mysteries, or of a Catholic
Mass, or of some still more transcendent ceremony in which great Beings charged with planetary responsibilities are involved, we are dealing with a type of archetypal activity. The ritual is archetypal in that it represents, in however small a field of activity, a portion of the evolving structure of the cosmos, as this structure is understood in its "sacred" sense. Every such activity is performed "in the presence of God." Menial as it may be, it nevertheless acquires a sacred meaning.
This is the first stage of the thirty-sixth five-fold sequence, which brings us to the close of the first half of the cycle. The individual is "e-ducated," i.e. led out into the world of transcendent activity, the world of archetypal performance. He must learn to serve, humbly and with intense attention, in what as yet is beyond his spiritual understanding. He learns to perform every action super-personally. He learns to PRACTICE IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD.
PHASE 177 (VIRGO 27°): A GROUP OF ARISTOCRATIC LADIES
MEET CEREMONIALLY AT A COURT'S FUNCTION.
KEYNOTE: The ability to carry on a revered tradition in order to perpetuate cultural standards of excellence.
At the highest peak of achievement of any fully developed
culture the King considers himself in some manner a representative of the Power that controls the order of the universe. From him descends a hierarchy of offices performed by an aristocracy. On the feminine side, to be an aristocrat is to be able to act efficiently in the many rituals of a culture — from official tea parties to presentations at the Court. Dignity, elegance and respect for formal rules are essential.
We may consider the formalism obsolete and meaningless, yet when it ceases to be observed the culture breaks down. Even now in this age of crisis and world transformation, there may be times when honoring formal procedures can be of great value for the disordered and rebellious mind.
This second stage symbol presents the contrast between the "profane" and the "sacred" ritual. But the two need not be antithetic. Our over-individualistic and confused new generations find it valuable to study Japanese tea ceremonies, flower arrangement, judo, etc. The undisciplined need to learn REFINEMENT.
PHASE 178 (VIRGO 28°): A BALDHEADED MAN WHO HAS
KEYNOTE: The sheer power of personality in times that call
Whether at the religious or at the socio-political and cultural
level there comes a time when obsolescent patterns of order and cultural refinement have to be radically and relentlessly challenged. Catabolic personages emerge to seize power and dictate decisions that alter the structures of society; or within an individual life, an intense urge for cathartic changes mobilizes the will, and traumatic decisions are made. At such times, the issue has to be met and, ruthless as the power may appear, it must be accepted.
At this third stage of the thirty-sixth sequence we face the un-postponable necessity for decision and transformation. Existence is motion. No static formation, however beautiful and inspiring, can remain long unchallenged. Everything bows to THE POWER OF THE WILL — divine, executively human, or Satanic.
PHASE 179 (VIRGO 29°): A SEEKER AFTER OCCULT KNOWLEDGE IS READING AN ANCIENT SCROLL WHICH ILLUMINES HIS MIND.
KEYNOTE: After a crisis one should seek to realign the renewed consciousness with the primordial Revelation of the Truth of Man.
Any revolutionary movement, once it has succeeded in over-
coming the inertia of the past and in toppling obsolete structures, needs to tap the most essential realities of what Man represents and signifies in the universal Order; or else it merely re-embodies in a superficially altered manner the very things it has destroyed. This is the crucial moment. In occultism the "Pattern of Man" is an archetypal Power that may be contacted. It must be sought with undeviating determination. After each revolutionary crisis this Pattern and this Power can be contacted — always the same, yet at each new cycle perceivable in a different light.
This fourth stage symbol presents us with the technique required to "reach the other shore." But each individual, and each group or racial unit, must come in its own way to the ROOT KNOWLEDGE which provides the only safe foundation for rebirth.
PHASE 180 (VIRGO 30°): TOTALLY INTENT UPON COMPLETING AN IMMEDIATE TASK, A MAN IS DEAF TO ANY ALLUREMENT.
KEYNOTE: The total concentration required for reaching any spiritual goal.
This is the final symbol of the first half of the cycle. In the year
cycle the fall equinox is now at hand; autumn begins. Through spring and summer many ways and byways have been experienced. The last message of this hemicycle of "Individualization" is that on all decisive occasions what must be done has to be done so intently that no outer voices can penetrate the mind, still less the soul. The neophyte stands at the gates of the sacred Pyramid. There is only one step he can take — ahead, or he is lost.
This is the culminating step, the decision that results from a myriad of small choices. Still a shadow of hesitation can remain. Attention may be distracted from the Now by a voice from the past, glamorizing some old memory. The outer doors of perception and thought must be closed, so the soul can complete its CONQUEST OF ILLUSION.
An Astrological Mandala