Lunar Sabian Symbol: a priest performing a marriage ceremony
Capricorn Solar Festival 2012
Does it mark the End Times...?
Malvin Artley, our regular esoteric commentator examines the subtle meaning of the Full Moon in Cancer for 2012. This is Capricorn's Full Moon, as the Moon is full in the sign opposing the Sun. The full moon of Capricorn (the full moon at Cancer 18º26') takes place on the 9th of January at 07:31 UT (02:31 AM EST in the US; 05:31 PM AEDT in Australia).
Happy New Year Everyone!
Welcome to the much-discussed year of the supposed end times, the year where we all say goodbye to this world and go on to greater service in the Great Beyond, the year when our consciousness suddenly elevates and we become ascended masters and lose the need for this bothersome mortal coil, the commencement of the apocalypse of the Book of Revelation for the non-believers and sinners of this world. And, if you believe all that, then I have a bit of bad news—we are all stuck here on this world for some years longer—many centuries, in fact—for 2012 will be a year like so many others, but then again a time unprecedented in human history. Each year the pace of our rising awareness and of technology increases at an amazing rate, with consequences good and bad and that will that reach far into the future.
The struggle with our sense of what we value will definitely increase this year as financial sectors in various parts of the world continue to wobble, the gap between rich and poor continuing to widen as the middle class shrinks. It is harder and harder for most of us to make a crust, as we say, yet we have tools at our disposal that were unthinkable twenty years ago—social networking and media skills, computational and technological applications for everything under the sun, and technology that is revealing unseen worlds and the larger universe to us in astonishing ways. In a way, we are indeed in a period of revelation, but hardly in an apocalyptic sense. What does this Capricorn interval say to us, then?
The Light Supernal
Capricorn is associated with 'the light supernal', the blinding Light that restores our long-lost sight, the sign of attainment and of siddhis (supernormal powers). It is the sign where we see the results of our ambitions, material or spiritual. It is also the interval of the year where the teachers and watchers of the world enter the phase of their deepest meditation, look out upon the light emanated by humanity and seek out the ones among us who have practiced well and made real increases in their own measure of light. When those people are noticed, then the call goes out and the recognition is pronounced: “Here is one who can be made of use in the salvation of this world.” It happens thus every year and has done so over the millennia. Is 2012 to be any different from other years in this regard? Does it mark the end times? What is to be revealed to us this year above and beyond other years? If these are the 'end times', what does Revelation, since most of us live in Christian regions, speak to us?
It could be said that the Book of Revelation is actually a sort of 'user's manual' or roadmap of discipleship and that the signs therein are really guideposts for attainments along the way for the disciple. One could write a book on the subject and we do not have the space here to touch on it, but a few points about Revelation will be noted here, given that there are more than a few people in the world who believe this period in our history to be the end days and that a few believe this to be the year it will happen. If one looks upon Revelation symbolically and esoterically then there is much of merit in its study. The largest part of it is a description of the internal battles of discipleship with the infernal realms of one's own nature, 'the devil we know'.
The Battle of Armageddon
In this sense the battle of Armageddon is equivalent to the Kurukshetra of the Mahabharata in the vein of it representing the final battle between the disciple and his/her lower nature, specifically the desire nature, the final victory being the 're-establishment of the kingdom of God on Earth', or the final liberation ultimately of the disciple from the bonds of cyclic existence. As such, then, the victor stands atop the mount of wisdom, bathed in and emanating the resplendent light of the monad, or buddha-nature, all-powerful and omniscient, exhibiting the fullness of the attainments (siddhis). Revelation is not in reality bound simply to the Christian religion, though it is couched in Christian terminology. The Gnostic Kabbalists see Revelation as a profound book of Kabbalistic symbolism, a view held also by Blavatsky, Steiner and others. And, the result of all this struggle and the ultimate victory? Well, Capricorn has a lot to say about all that.
What are these times really showing us about ourselves? One of my teachers once said to me that the struggle and pain of cyclic existence is what brings most people to the dharma, the path to enlightenment. How often have we heard of people 'getting religion' when they go through a hard time, or the condemned criminal who turns to God in his final days? What are we setting ourselves up for in this period of history? If we look at this idea of ascension in consciousness not in terms of a year or specific point in time, but in terms of a gradual evolution over a period of lifetimes, then the whole idea of 2012 as the start of a 'new earth', 'end times' and 'ascension' takes on its true meaning, in my way of thinking. Perhaps the first decades of the 21st Century do indeed mark the beginnings of the end times—the point that brings many people back to a sense of what is real and genuine about life, that takes us away from meaningless activities (like spending the bulk of one's leisure time in front of a computer screen, i-phone or a television)—those 'end times' actually meaning the gradual ending of the roots of our suffering.
The Path of Happiness
The funny thing about suffering (I can hear you laughing now) is that it eventually ushers us to the path of happiness. Do we suffer from financial woes, broken loves, lost dreams, bad health, irritating neighbors, a crashed app or computer, or the whole host of ills that make up the demons that daily torment us? Let's face it—the world can be a fairly irritating place a lot of the time. Or, do we face and cast those castigating demons onto the burning ground (the only true hell), take up our cross and ascend the path (another Capricornian rite of passage) that leads to lasting happiness—our own self-realization?
In the end, that missed email or TV show, the bad date, the neighbor's barking dog and our irritation over them only serve to increase our own sense of torment at the hands of others, when in reality it is our own lack of self-responsibility that causes us to endlessly torment ourselves over the affairs of this world. When ambition for the world becomes ambition to leave the cares for it behind (without neglecting our responsibilities, of course, for Capricorn is about responsible management of time and resources as well), then we know we are well on the way toward our lasting happiness. Nothing of this world is permanent—things, relationships, life itself. How can one ever find lasting happiness in something that does not last? That very question is at the root of all spiritual practise and striving.
The Sweet Taste
The Chinese associate Saturn, the ruler of Capricorn, with the sweet taste, yet in esoteric astrology Saturn is the planet where mental suffering is known, where the principle of limitation is brought to bear and where opportunity for growth is realized. How can these two disparate factors—sweetness and suffering—be of the same planet? Symbolically, the sweetness associated with Saturn is the sweet taste of victory, the mountaintop experience of Capricorn. It is spiritual attainment to which we refer here. Worldly ambition and the amassing of material things shows us the path of suffering and only momentary happiness. The choice of worldly pleasures has its own bitter reward, and as we know, 'you can't take it with you'. Through our attachments to pleasures and outcomes, eventually we wake up one day and think to ourselves, “Why do I keep setting myself up for continual heartbreak,” since we know that ultimately separation from what we have desired will eventually have to come? Choices have consequences. That is ever the hard lesson of Saturn. On the other hand, choices also hold opportunities, which are wafted to us on the breeze of the sweet sense of a worthy goal. That is the other aspect of Saturn, the mentor and teacher of self-discipline. Both are valid paths, and both ways ultimately lead us to meet with our teachers. Saturn, via Capricorn, is the great Teacher of the zodiac.
We spoke of Saturn in the last letter and the lessons and opportunities this world period will bring. Capricorn marks the path to excellence through self-discipline and right choices, and through sheer ambition and effort. Surely in the year just taking shape we can make some choices in the community of nations that can reshape our world in a more positive manner. The opportunity before us is great. The results of failure could be disastrous. I will not be going into what I see for the world in 2012 in this letter. That will come in the Rain Dragon letter, coming next weekend. However, in times of crisis such as we face on the world stage, the excellence within us that is the soul and spirit of humanity is called forth. The end result of the attainments in Capricorn is right human relations and a greater sense of inclusiveness, as indicated by Venus, the ultimate ruler of the sign. Let us hope this year and this interval in particular will see such possibilities manifest in the years to come. With that, let us have a look at the full moon figure for this year's Capricorn solar festival.
The Full Moon
The full moon takes place tomorrow, the 9th of January at 5:31 PM AEDT (07:31 UT). It is quite an interesting figure in certain respects. There is an 'easy opposition' with Mars in an applying trine with the Sun. There is a triangle composed of Jupiter, Mercury and Chiron/Neptune, which is 'released' by an opposition between Jupiter and Saturn and a square between Mercury and Uranus. Of particular interest, though, are two interlaced triangles of quintile-series aspects, one composed of the Moon, Uranus and Venus, and the other composed of the Sun, Uranus and Venus. Venus is thus a focal point of this very creative and potentially unstable configuration. Quintiles are known to be significators of crises, but also to indicate gifts that come from those as well, being a very creative sort of angular series. These quintile-based triangles will bring crises and creative solutions concerning relationships of all sorts, since Venus is the focal point. The fact that Venus is the higher ruler of Capricorn is of no small moment here, as relating is so sorely needed between nations and between governments and their people at the moment.
The other thing in the figure that is of interest and which I have been taking a closer look at in recent times is a Great Cross which is formed by the full moon axis and two of the newly-named minor planets in our solar system, Haumea and Eris. There is a small informational article that is going up on my site regarding the minor planets within the next few days, as well as the compilation on Neptune that I mentioned some months ago. These minor planets can no longer be discounted by astrologers in any form of greater astrology, especially in psychological astrology, as they have, in a manner of speaking, named themselves, and are thus now part of our social consciousness. True, they are lesser influences than the major planets, but they are Pluto-like in their activity and work toward releasing us from aspects of our individual and collective subconscious patterning and releasing us to higher vision.
Eris is the size of Pluto (slightly larger) and is 'the bearer of strife' from the mythology, while Haumea is an egg-shaped planet with the unique function of the release of patterns of family karma (this is my take on it). In all, then, what we have in this figure is a real set-up in terms of energies—a break point. We will see continuing crises this year, but also the seeds sown for something that can turn out to be quite beautiful in the future. I see a sort of defining crisis coming in world affairs this year, most likely in the realm of finance, though that is not difficult to guess. However, what is hidden within is a calling forth from the world's and individual troubles something of real beauty from the souls of people and humanity at large—something of true creative import. 2012 will indeed mark a turning point, but it may take years to see how.
The Sabian symbols for the degrees of the luminaries are as follows:
A five-year-old child carrying a bag filled with groceries
A priest performing a marriage ceremony
We thus have two dynamics working out in this figure: one of accelerated growth and the taking on of responsibilities, of rising to the occasion (Sun) and of the ritualization of and commitment within relationships (Moon). Our teachers watch to see what we will do with this period in our history. Will we as a people and individually as well step up and take the reins we are handed? Will we commit wholeheartedly, as indicated by the marriage, to these added roles in our lives? Are we up for it? I think so, and I get the sense that things will not be so bad as some people make out this year. For instance, Europe cannot afford to let itself fail, though the privations it may and probably will have to endure will redefine its relationships. However, that will also call out more innovative solutions to problems in that region. Though things may seem dark at times and people hang on with bated breath, really, for those souls who are keen there is a rich ground for creating future wealth, for clearing away old scores and cobwebs and for creating something very fine for the future. So, if things seem a little daunting, take up the presented opportunities with relish and commit to a new course of action. If we are clear-headed and prudent we can transform this world, or at least our little corner of it.
The Pursuit and Attainment of Excellence
A colleague of mine and I were recently treated to an outing with an esteemed Tibetan geshe, who is now the resident teacher at the main Buddhist center here in Adelaide. He is a profound and very learned Buddhist scholar, but he is learning English and has taken on the task with great conviction, using every opportunity to further his study of the subject. Thus, our outing in a way was a way for him to practice his English, and us our Tibetan, though it was good just to have the outing. It was one of those memorable times for my colleague and myself and the geshe really seemed to enjoy himself. One of his new words that he kept repeating over and over as we went around was 'ex-cel-lent', with the accent on the last syllable. Here is a man who was once in charge of 1000 monks, now in Adelaide at the request of his teacher to carry on the work of the center, in a strange land with few students. It was a great honor for him to have accepted the posting in Adelaide. For them, however, the thought is not on the present or on themselves, but on the future and on the needs of the students, both here and at the monastery. There is a wide scope in his being here for so many, both here and at large, things which we cannot know, things which future generations will bear out.
Capricorn is about the pursuit and attainment of excellence, both worldly and spiritual, and both approaches are needed. The geshe here achieved highest honors in his studies and examinations at the monastery, then turned his back on his own progress (in a manner of speaking) and gave of his wisdom to his students. People at the center feel very honoured to have him as the resident teacher. That points to the other side of Capricorn—achieving the goal and then turning one's back on it in order to give of one's experience to others and for others to benefit thus in kind. One's own ambition then becomes ambition to see others achieve their own fulfilment, and there is no nobler cause than that. The cross one bears in one's efforts is the one hand being bound to learning from one's own teachers and thus one's own spiritual effort, and the other hand being bound to grasp the hands of those who follow, and to help them in the example and way of our own teachers. It is, in the end, the path of joy, not suffering, for the greatest joy of all true teachers is in seeing their charges succeed beyond their wildest hopes and expectations.
Every day, and in every moment, may our lives become more and more excellent!
Hope your holidays went well,
8 Jan 2012
This is the end of the article.