Rudhyar - Photo2

Dane Rudhyar


To every man the spirit brings a gift according to his most characteristic need, for the spirit is that which fills all empty vases with the radiance of fulfillment. Each vase - each type of human being - calls from its very depths for that one priceless substance which will be as living waters for its thirst. Yet, many men estimate falsely their innermost need. They live at the surface of themselves, not in their depths. Their consciousness is molded by the ornamentalities of the culture and the tradition which gave them words and symbols as tools for expression; they dare not immerse their agitated ripples of selfhood in the stillness of the essential container which gives form to their fundamental nature.

This occurs particularly in the case of the Virgo type of human beings, because in this type the very substance of conscious selfhood is in a "critical state" - such a state as exists between ice and liquid water when solidity is hesitantly slipping into the unknown of liquidity, the static into the dynamic, the rigid into the multiform. Virgo marks the stage of metamorphosis in which the conscious ego feels the impact of the world of total relatedness and of participation in a greater whole of which it is to be only one among many parts. It feels this impact, and it recoils in fear or confusion, in anguish or in pain. 

Its depths shaken by mysterious upheavals, it seeks to explain, to formulate, to criticize, to escape, to invent many and wondrous substitutes, to become the devotee of exotic gods. It tries every possible way of keeping on the go, of thinking, of evaluating - while the one thing necessary is simply to be still and silently to bear the pressure of evolution, the inevitability of the metamorphosis.

By maintaining a strained and over-eager type of mental activity the ego gives himself the illusion that his power is still supreme. He reassures himself as to his stability, if he criticizes this or that condition, is it not a proof that he is superior to these conditions? If he invents new techniques, and journeys on distant and difficult pilgrimages, is this not a testimony of his ability to meet new conditions and retain his control over circumstances?

Such a behavior indicates that the ego has, indeed, learnt and is willing to learn new ways of adjustment to experience. Yet all these attempts are still ego-controlled. They still refer to the upper layers of being, to the neck of the vase and not to its containing depth. They do not question the essential factor: the quality of the ego himself, the value and meaning of his authority or privileges. They are like the reforms granted by an autocratic king, believing himself ruler by "divine right", to his awakened and rebellious people. They seek to trans-form without trans-substantiating. They offer palliatives rather than a cure. They meet the tidal mutations of destiny with new devices, new techniques, new forms of worship or rules of conduct. By doing so, they are instruments of resistance against the fatality of metamorphosis. Through these efforts the ego seeks feverishly, withal unconsciously, to block the impending evolutionary change, to delay the inevitable. He frustrates life or God by inventing biological procedures or new gods.

Does this mean, then, that the ego is to abdicate and renounce its rule; that he should let the amorphous powers of the unconscious erupt to the surface of being and sweep away all the structures of his reign? In some cases, such revolutionary upheavals may be unavoidable. They should not, however, be considered the ideal solution; for they tend to create a vacuum into which reactionary forces may rush, violently defeating the purposes of life. What is needed during the crises which Virgo symbolizes is "transfiguration" even more than "transformation". The substance of consciousness and selfhood is to be renewed; and with this renewal, undertoning it, goes necessarily a restatement of purpose. 

The structures of the ego may be retained, but the purpose of these structures and of the ego itself must be renewed; the dark and heavy contents of the consciousness must become effulgent and light. Social mechanisms - from colleges to factories - may likewise with-stand the crisis that comes to a civilization at a certain stage of its development; but the purpose they serve and the use to which they are put in the total economy of society should be changed utterly. At such times, the elite may not experience the "purge" of revolutions; yet its achievements should be given new meaning and purpose. Ownership for the sake of the owner should change into management for the sake of the community - just as the self-seeking and jealous attitude of the ego has eventually to be superseded by the compassionate and all-inclusive understanding of the Self.

The change, however, does not depend upon the invention of new devices and new forms of worship. It comes only as the substance of consciousness itself is changed. It comes through generalized and persisting new experiences, through the open-hearted acceptation of new relationships, through confrontation with new facts of life from which new symbols and new myths can be created by men of vision and understanding. It is true that new techniques and new machines serve to produce new experiences, to alter conditions of living, to force upon the inert minds commerce and communion with different minds. But the modern instruments of "progress" are only means to an end; and these means can easily be used by the ego or the selfish rulers of society to make their control more vicious and implacable - thus defeating for a time the very purpose which brought them into being.

Whether we speak of Fascism or of the passionate rebellion of the ego against his transfiguration into the compassionate and inclusive Self, we refer to the same negative attitude toward a crisis which constitutes the main turning point in the evolution of humanity or of an individual person. In this century we are witnessing the Civil War of Man - and likewise no individual can reach true maturity until he or she experiences within his or her total being such a "civil war". History and psychology reveal the same facts; and just as the old Hindu sages used the events of the "Great War" (Mahabharata) of several millenia ago to symbolize the spiritual crisis faced by the individual who dares to focus the evolution of the human race within his own personality, so, the day will come when inspired thinkers will present to their generations the various colossal struggles of our days as potent symbols of the individual crisis which makes mere men aspirants to divinity.

The Hindu Great War and its climax, the battle of Kurukshetra, saw the destruction for centuries of the warrior caste in India, and as a result the beginning of a great Age of Philosophy, which reached its culmination centuries later with the coming of the Buddha. Our global Great Wars will, we trust, lead likewise to an era of peace in which mankind will, at long last, meet creatively and joyfully the challenge of global maturity.

For this to happen, humanity must face squarely the vast evolutionary issues of this day and of days yet to come. And first of all, our generations must give up their belief in the illusion that our recent wars have been merely wars between nations - for this illusion is the great psychological escape of our age, the tragic historical fallacy which could sap the very strength necessary for mankind to arise into a new stage of world-wide evolution. It is an illusion based on the heresy of national sovereignty and on the refusal to understand the necessity there is to transfigure the very substance of social relationships everywhere. Nationalism parallels egoism. Both can only remain as integral parts of the civilization of tomorrow if they are thoroughly transubstantiated and utterly renewed in purpose and in

This is our crisis. This is our Virgo challenge. This is our need. And to this need the spirit answers with a word of profound, but little understood, meaning: tolerance.

If anyone today speaks of tolerance, his hearers are likely to think of a kind of attitude of mind or feeling which is in contrast to the practice of sharp criticism and fanaticism. To be tolerant of the opinions, feeling and habits of others is indeed to allow every man the right to live and to think as he sees fit. But real tolerance goes far deeper than such an attitude of "live and let live" which often is not without a strong taint of smugness and self-centered indifference to anything but one's own truth.

Tolerance is not the absence of intolerance. It does not mean simply to give up finding fault with what everyone else thinks, feels or does. It means etymologically "to bear". To bear what?  - the burden of the necessity for change and for growth. To be tolerant is to bear the responsibility of an incessant quest for broader knowledge, less constricted feelings, and a more adjustable behavior. It means the ability to stand up in readiness and with open heart when God knocks at the door and summons the individual - and the nation - to their greater destinies. It is the ability to grow by becoming ever more inclusive.

Tolerance is not a negative virtue. It is a positive and conscious attitude which refers to oneself and one's beliefs far more than to some other person or opinion. With Virgo, the zodiacal hemicycle which began in Aries comes to an end. The gift of the spirit to the Aries type of activity is that of "adaptability". But at the Aries stage of human response to life adaptability operates essentially at the instinctive, or at least actional, level. It should become, at the Virgo stage, a clear realization that no truth is complete or even real which does not include its opposite - and all that occurs in between!

This realization alone can be the foundation for true tolerance. Tolerance is the willingness to accept the crucifixions which are the unavoidable results of the acceptation of all opposites, the necessary prelude to inclusiveness and integration. It is the dynamic essence of man's conscious growth - the path to divinity.

Tolerance, compassion and charity are the three great virtues whose gifts bless the path of the Virgo type of person - and, to a greater or lesser extent, of every human being. Tolerance is more of the mind, compassion more of the heart, charity more of the realm of action; yet all three are manifestations of the same deep root - the willingness to grow by experiencing and assimilating always more numerous and varied aspects of truth, of love and of sacrificial action.

To the intolerant, there can be no expansion of intelligence and understanding. To the man lacking in compassion, spiritual death must forever beckon - death from a constricted heart. He who cannot face the future in a sacrificial relinquishment of his bondage to the past, can never reach the full stature of his inmost divinity.

These three great virtues bless the Virgo path, because on this path there is especially need of them. On this path of crisis and personal re-orientation, it is so easy to concentrate on the tribulations at hand, that the obstacles to growth are magnified at the expense of the clear realization of the purpose which the crisis should reveal to the man who accepts it without resentment, rebellion or anguish. The Virgo type's preoccupation with details "of work, with technique, with health and hygiene, with analytical vivisections of himself and others, is actually a focalization on negative values of crisis. All these traditional characteristics of the Virgo type should be shown clearly  for what they are: palliatives and substitutes for the one great effort really needed. 

Nietzsche once described cryptically the paradoxical nature of this effort when he spoke of the need to "jump beyond one's shadows." One might also speak of it symbolically as a peculiar process of drinking from a glass of water in which the glass itself is swallowed with the water.

What these two symbols mean essentially is that the great crisis of personal growth coming under the symbolism of Virgo implies not only a change in the contents of the body or ego, but an entirely new approach to the container itself. To purify the body or the ego is not enough. To absorb the shadow they cast, to "jump beyond" and thus resolve or dissipate it: such is the great problem to the solution of which the crisis of personal metamorphosis should be dedicated. Likewise, the spiritualized consciousness of the fully mature individual must not only illumine and assimilate the energies (the "water") of the ego. It must also assimilate the ego itself (the "glass" containing the water).

This mysterious and puzzling operation underlies all lesser efforts characterizing the Virgo phase of human evolution. It is the "great work" of the true Alchemists. Men who at long last have reached this step in their evolution often recoil, be it in fear or lack of understanding.' They seek teachers and "Masters" to solve for them this haunting mystery. They scrutinize every detail of their past, analyze their feelings and strive after "delayed reactions" in the vain hope that somehow, in some manner, they will find, or be given, a magic key. They seek everywhere. They look in all directions - except one: the direction of their shadow. The path to divinity is through one's shadow. The way to assimilate all truth is to assimilate the ego that seeks to know all truth.

Words cannot say more. The crisis must be won by being lived. The rose ever blooms at the center of the cross. God is found where the divine in man has "assumed" that man - and the shadow of that man.


An Astrological Triptych