THE CREATIVE RELEASE OF SPIRIT
To and fro, the heart of reality beats. To and fro, the Day-force and the Night-force weave their patterns of organic relationship in rhythmic interplay. But Man is neither systole nor diastole, neither the work of the day nor the dream-activity of the night. Man is the field in which the battle of the two streams of energies proceeds unceasingly in alternation of defeat and victory — or else, man is the integrated and creative whole within which the two polarities of human experience, balancing one another in dynamic harmony, contribute constantly to the activity of the creative wholeness of that whole which uses them.
In the first of these two conditions, man operates as a nature-conditioned being, and his life and experience constantly oscillate between consciousness and unconsciousness, individual and collective, life and death, rebirth and once more death. In the second state, man is a Spirit-conditioned being, an utterance of destiny, yet deeply rooted in silence. He is poised in a harmony of opposites which both transcends these opposites and includes all their manifestations.
The term "nature-conditioned" being may refer to a personality operating at the level of instincts and in a state of preponderant unconscious activity; or it may describe a person with great intellectual powers priding himself in that his behavior is ruled by rational and ethical standards deliberately accepted and applied. In both cases, nevertheless, the human being will have to be considered as a "nature-conditioned" being, because he is in fact conditioned by the alternation of negative and positive, of plus and minus — his moods and feelings, his thoughts and his interests waxing and waning, pulled hither and thither by the rhythmic interplay of the two great forces of nature.
If the man lives according to his instincts, then his rhythm of change will closely follow the rhythm of life-phenomena on this earth; he will act as a seasonal creature. If he functions predominantly as a civilized and intellectually conscious person, the basic rhythms of earth-nature will be over-laden with counter-rhythms produced by social rules of behavior, by the demands of city-life, and by his own conscious and unconscious reactions to the impulsions which sway his physical and psychological organism. However, to oppose the rhythm of nature is still to live under its sway, for one is as much bound by that against which one rebels as by that to which one is subservient.
Even the attempt willfully to control the great cosmic forces of life and to set deliberate patterns for their manifestations within the human personality is still a mark of subordination to the powers which the will tries to canalize and to tame. The energies which may be controlled in one direction and at one time will always tend to rebound with increased strength in some other direction, at some other time. And he who becomes by sheer conscious determination a poem of pure light, releases the very forces which, in the opposite direction, will congregate around a manifestation of equally "pure" darkness. Dualism will thus be intensified; it will not be solved. Intensification may be a necessary phase in the global attainment of spiritual living; for it is said that the "lukewarm" represent the lowest state of being — yet the quality of Spirit-conditioned being is not really reached by stressing to the limit one pole of life. It is not produced by the triumph of the characteristics of one of the two forces after bestowing upon these characteristics the qualification of "good."
The first requirement which is to be met by a person reaching toward a condition of Spirit-conditioned activity is that he should consciously and understandingly include and accept all the manifestations of the Day-force and the Night-force, of the individual and the collective polarities of life. As he does so consistently, a time necessarily comes when the two forces, periodically waxing and waning, reach a point of balance within his cycle of being. At that moment, the person who, until then, had been polarized at any time by the force then dominant, finds himself equally swayed by the two forces. Their pulls neutralize each other. The man, as a whole, becomes still. In that incredibly brief moment of stillness and "silence," the whole can express its wholeness without being controlled by the nature of one of the forces playing through it. In that moment, the wholeness of all that occurs during the entire cycle is revealed in a synthesis of being which transcends the qualities produced by the ever-changing and ever-challenged preponderance of either the Day or Night forces. Nature is transcended; Spirit is revealed.
Spirit is wholeness of cyclic activity; and that wholeness is dispassionate and even in its quality of being, because it includes the complementary energies in a balanced state. Such a "balanced state" occurs in the yearly cycle of the Day-force and the Night-force at the equinoxes. Thus these two points in the yearly cycle are the archetypal symbols of those moments in any life-cycle at which Spirit can be revealed.
In any life-cycle, however small or however vast, these two equinoctial points are the "gates of Initiation" which mark the entrance into the realm of Spirit-conditioned being. That realm can be entered from the side of the particularizing Day-force or from that of the universalizing Night-force. But at the Spring-equinox the experience of Spirit cannot be normally held in consciousness, because the personality-structure which alone could hold it is not yet formed. At the Fall equinox it is the individual personality which takes the initiatory step, in conscious self-surrender to the Night-force; and in compensation for that surrender it can retain a structural memory of the event. It can gain personal immortality in Spirit, and henceforth operate as a Spirit-conditioned being.
The first condition necessary to become prepared for such an equinoctial confrontation is an understanding of the cyclic nature of all experience. No experience can have spiritual meaning unless it is referred to the wholeness of the cycle in which it occurs. The "reference" may be instinctive or intuitional, below or above the level of the normal consciousness; but because all experience begins in the realm of change and thus of time, the spiritualization of experience implies that the entire cycle to which the experience naturally belongs has to be seen and felt in that particular experience. The wholeness of the cycle must be realized by the experiencer within the "equinoctial" experience which can be made into a focal point for the expression of the wholeness of the entire cycle.
Because at the "equinoctial" points of any cycle the two forces, the interplay of which is the substance of the cycle, are balanced and neutralized, in that equinoctial moment the wholeness of the whole cycle can become active. This activity is essentially different from the activity which is conditioned by a preponderance of either the Day-force or the Night-force, of individual or collective. It is Spirit-conditioned activity: creative activity. The creative power of Spirit potentially radiates from the core of the equilibratedness of the two forces. It is a power which makes all things new. It is sheer originality. It is the incalculable element which upsets predictions based on sequences of cause and effect. It produces an activity which is not conditioned by causation or by time-relationship — even though it is released at a certain moment of the cycle. It is activity which creates time and starts a new causal sequence, It is activity which is free.
What is implied in the foregoing is nothing less than a technique for becoming acquainted with the timing of the manifestations of this creative Spirit; also for preparing oneself consciously to meet these moments of equilibrium during which the possibility of Spirit-conditioned activity is present. A possibility — not a certainty. Moments of unstable and dynamic equilibrium come according to the law of cyclic and polar change, but these moments do not last; and unless man faces them with awakened consciousness there can be for him no experience of Spirit-conditioned activity. The "gates" open, but he who has fallen asleep while passing in front of the gates does not experience the vision which the gates reveal; for experience presupposes consciousness of a sort in a more or less individualized experiencer.
Spirit can and does act whether there is consciousness or not. But where there is as yet no formed structures of personality to experience it consciously the activity of Spirit operates in the darkness of the realm of Roots, where sunlight does not reach. It operates through the instincts, through channels of direct, but unconscious, expression — and this is symbolically the Spring equinox, Aries. Where, on the other hand, a conscious and formed personality has been built (through the symbolical six-month process at work from Aries to the end of Virgo), the creative activity of Spirit operates in terms of conscious realizations within the expectant total organism of man. It releases, then, Meaning. It operates, symbolically speaking, as the Seed at the Fall equinox, Libra.
The higher function of astrology, known to mystics of all ages and all races, is to reveal to the evolving personality the Seed-moments of his cyclic experience: those equinoctial moments during which Spirit can act within the human soul in terms of new cosmic Impulses or of creative Meaning. Such moments are revealed in a number of ways. In a universally human sense, they are the seasonal turning points of the year when the Sun actually and concretely crosses the thresholds of Aries and Libra. At such times the whole of nature — terrestrial and human — receives a Visitation of the creative Spirit. They constitute days of maximum potentiality — for birth or rebirth, for emotional outgoings or sacramental self-offerings to the community, for building or transfiguring the forms of our human experience. And such spiritual openings were celebrated by rituals in ancient civilizations which were close to the pulse of seasonal life.
There are, however, other kinds of astrological cycles which can reveal to us the existence of similar moments of release of Spirit; cycles produced by the periodical motions of two celestial bodies in reference to the experiencer on this Earth. Of these cycles, the lunation cycle is the foremost. It is the cycle which refers to the regular sequence of New Moons and Full Moons. In this cycle, two factors — Sun and Moon — are also seen in their ever-changing periodical interplay, and four basic moments stand out as climactic points of the cycle. These manifest as the four phases of the Moon.
In the case of such cycles, what is measured is the degree of relatedness of the two moving bodies. This relatedness, in reference to the observer on Earth, has a maximum value at the New Moon and the Full Moon; a minimum value at the First and Last Quarters. Briefly said, New Moon (the point of conjunction) corresponds to the Spring equinox; Full Moon (the point of opposition), to the fall equinox — this, because the equinoxes are also the moments of the year cycle when the Day-force and the Night-force are most closely associated in man's experience. The New Moon is thus a point at which creative Spirit is released as instinct or form-building energy. At the Full Moon, man can reach a maximum of awareness of the meaning of life-experiences. It is thus the time consecrated to the meditating Buddha.
Whenever the motions of two planets are considered in relation to an observer on the Earth a cycle similar to the lunation cycle can be defined. The four climactic or "crucial" moments of the cycle are the times of conjunction, of opposition and of square aspects. Here again conjunction is the Root-point at which the new cyclic impulse is released; and opposition, the Seed-point at which the meaning of the cyclic relationship can be reached by the consciousness actively prepared to receive the illumination of the Spirit.
Such cycles of planetary relationship are particularly significant when the two planets thus associated are "polar opposites." Pairs of planetary opposites are: Mars (positive) and Venus (negative) — Jupiter and Mercury — Saturn and the Moon — and, in a sense at least, Uranus and the Sun. Thus, whenever Mars and Venus are in opposition in the sky, men should seek to fathom the meaning of their emotional, personal nature. When the Moon opposes Saturn, every month, the moment is propitious for an effort in consciousness aiming at liberation from the Karma (causal sequence) of past events. At the times of conjunction the entire organism should be aligned to receive the new impulse to activity. Thus a conjunction of Jupiter and Mercury is of great moment in establishing a new foundation for mental activity.
These cycles have effect in the lives of all men. Beside them, personal cycles may be analyzed which deal with the "progressed positions" of the planets in an individual chart. The same meaning applies to such cycles, but in a strictly personal manner. For instance, the oppositions of the progressed Moon to progressed (or radical) Saturn are very significant indications of times in the life of an individual when he can step out of the "circle of necessity." In a less definite manner the cycles of any two planets can also be considered; for wherever there is periodical oscillation and rhythm, wherever the pulse of life is felt, within the compass of such cyclic alternation of positive and negative emphases there are moments in which an unstable equilibrium between positive and negative is reached. These are the moments of release for That which transcends the everlasting interplay of opposites, the realm of time and change.
Such a transcendence, however, is not absolute. We do not postulate here a realm of timeless Spirit absolutely distinct from that of cyclic change. Spirit is transcendent only in the sense that the quality of wholeness is transcendent to the nature of the parts of the whole. Wherever there is cyclic change, only parts change. The wholeness of the whole is constant — in what we might call another dimension of being. It is only in the realm of parts that the cyclic interplay of "individual" and "collective" occurs.
Change occurs within the whole. There are times when the force of individualization or personification pulls each part away from the others and tends to give it the character of a whole — a character which, obviously, it never attains absolutely. Then there are times when the force of collectivization or group-integration pulls all the parts together, emphasizing in each the sense of their commonness of being, and the will to sacrifice their existence for the sake of the whole. But there are also two moments in every cycle — however small the cycle may be — when the two pulls become equal.
In most cases, nothing happens as this equalization occurs, because the equilibrium reached lasts only a split-second and the momentum of the two forces carries them past the point of balance. Yet in a few instances a structure of consciousness has been built beforehand, which catches the flash that is released at the exact point of equilibrium. In that flash, the wholeness of the whole acts upon the part which had in readiness the structure of consciousness necessary to serve as a base for that action of the wholeness of the whole. This action is Spirit in operation. It is the creative factor.
Individual and collective are in constant cyclic interplay in the realm of parts; and that interplay produces a kind of activity in which there is the inevitability and the compulsive fate which are born of the causal sequence of action and reaction. But in the activity in which the wholeness of the whole operates as creative Spirit, there is unpredictability and originality, and from it flows a sense of freedom.
This creative activity of Spirit operates in every man who has built the instrumentality through which it can function. It operates in and through a particular person; yet it does not belong to that person. Its source is the wholeness of that whole in which human organisms "live and have their being"; and the whole is, primarily, Humanity. Every man moves within the sphere of Humanity; partly as an exemplar of generically and collectively human traits, partly as one struggling toward a state of individualized personality. The complementary tides of individualism and collectivism ever sway the myriads of men who, in their Root-origin as in their Seed-togetherness, constitute the "greater whole," Humanity. And the wholeness of that whole is "Man."
Wherever the pulse of life is felt, there must be disequilibrium, conflict, strain and the experience of suffering. But there are those who have become, through their own efforts as "builders of personality" and through their understanding of cyclic rhythm, vehicles for the creative action of "Man." Because they have succeeded in taking advantage of moments of cyclic equilibrium, because they have been awake and ready when equinoctial gates opened, they have become identified with "Man."
As there are cycles which take millions of years for their completion, so there are cycles which last only seconds of time and much less than a second. To him who can feel the rhythm of those infinitesimally small cycles, there are always and forever equinoxes. In and through him Spirit is released as an electrical alternative current which is Root and which is Seed — which builds universes of form and releases conscious meanings, whence again shall be born new forms. He is Root and he is Seed, and so swiftly both, that time no longer exists. He has become at once both equinoxes. He has become at once the entire Zodiac. He is free. The wholeness of the Whole creates eternally through him in an everlasting act of Incarnation.
The Pulse of Life