Pisces Solar Festival
Subtle Meanings of the Full Moon in Virgo 2009
Malvin Artley concludes his discussion of the Pisces Solar Festival with a look at the meanings of the degrees and the important aspects.
The full moon takes place on 11 Mar 2009 at 1:39 PM AEDT (02:39 UT). There are several features of the astrological figure that stand out and which support the Piscean themes we have been examining. To begin with, the Sun/Moon axis is entirely enmeshed with the Saturn/Uranus opposition, being within a degree of the midpoint of that opposition. (We will get to the meanings of these configurations in due course.) In addition, there is a regular and enmeshed pattern of septile triangles, adding greatly to the psychic sensitivity and spiritual awareness brought forward at this solar festival.
Psychic sensitivity is said to be the main 'problem' with the sign Pisces as it manifests through people. Lastly, there is a small stellium in Aquarius involving Chiron, Neptune and Mars in order of planetary longitude. Mars, if we remember from the last letter, has just activated the eclipse of 10 Feb 2009, so this little stellium has more than the usual emphasis, supporting as it does, the eclipse point and adding to its significance. As always, however, let us have a look at the Sabian symbol for the degree of the Sun, which always gives clues to what is being expressed as a 'special interest' with any astrological figure (The Sun is said to represent the 'problem at hand' astrologically and spiritually considered) The symbol for that degree reads:
“Under the watchful and kind eye of a Chinese servant, a girl caresses a little white lamb.”
– 21 Pisces
The 10th of this month marks the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising in Lhasa, Tibet. That event is what basically sealed the fate of Tibet for the present cycle, primarily because it forced the exodus of HH the 14th Dalai Lama and many of the best and brightest from that country. Without their central government and a host of their spiritual teachers in their native land, the Tibetan culture and peoples began their subjugation and systematic destruction at the hands of the CCP. Regardless of how Chinese readers might view this event, the largest part of the world sees 'the Tibetan issue' pretty much as I have just described. However, in the sacrifice of the Tibetan homeland the world has benefited tremendously by virtue of the fact that Tibetan Buddhism has been spread far and wide as a result of their exile. There is virtually no developed country in the world now where Tibetans have not settled and 'set up shop' in a manner of speaking. The West especially has been more than happy to take in the Tibetans and to request the services of the Tibetan teachers. Australia, for instance, has been graced by some of the very finest Tibetan masters, teachers and scholars. Many of these teachers have already said they will be reborn in the West, some in Australia. The same is true in the US and Europe. India has been very gracious and has indeed 'hidden the Light' of the Tibetans and allowed them to pursue their culture and government while in exile, essentially undisturbed. What does the preceding have to do with the symbol for the degree of the Sun, however?
The little white lamb in the symbol has many possible interpretations. It could be seen as 'the Lamb of God' – in other words, the 'world saviour' born amongst humanity. It can be seen as harmlessness, purity (because white as a color represents the absence of any alteration symbolically), the common person (in reference to a member of a religious 'flock'): on the whole, gentleness, commonality and purity. The girl caressing the lamb is a symbol of innocence as well, the innocence of one who has yet to be tainted by the vagaries of adult life and the cares of the world. The 'girl' can also represent the spiritual neophyte or even a yogini, a female Tantric practitioner, often of very high standing. In spiritual terms, and especially in Buddhist terms, the feminine represents the wisdom aspect of the spiritual path. Therefore, one of the more spiritual representations of this symbol so far is 'the wisdom that comes from embracing kindness, compassion and the pure in life'. Keep in mind, too, that the lamb is seen also as a sacrificial animal, for lambs are still used in sacrificial rites in certain parts of the world. The blood spilled of the lamb nourishes the spiritual life of the recipient, in a manner of speaking. The lamb and the girl represent the supreme sacrifice – the renunciation of all in the sacrifice to others or to the greater good.
What of the 'watchful and kind eye of the Chinese servant' with regard to this symbol? In the symbol, the Chinese is the subordinate of the girl, in other words, the servant of wisdom and innocence, if that is how one interprets the girl in the symbol.
Keep in mind with what is being said here that we are not making political or social judgments of world events. The fact that the anniversary of the Tibetan uprising corresponds with this festival has a certain fated feel to it, but the symbol is connected with one of the great spiritual festivals of the year and since Pisces is the festival in question we need to read the symbol with respect to salvation. The Tibetan situation is indicative of several Piscean themes: the 'ultimate sacrifice' (death and renunciation), giving freely and completely of one's Light to the world, subsuming one's own desires into the greater good, the compassion extending equally to all, the great bondage between the Chinese and Tibetan cultures (yes, bondage between them. Theirs is a karmic bond so great and distant in the past that we can have but little understanding of its ultimate purpose or of its final conclusion).
With regard to the preceding sentence, there are three main themes that always express in some manner through Pisces: bondage or captivity (the inextricable bond between the higher and lower aspects of one's nature), renunciation or detachment (the renunciation of material or worldly goals and the offering up of all in service to the whole), and sacrifice and death (the death of desire, the ending of karma and the ultimate liberation of the individual from samsara – worldly existence).
China and Tibet
Every country has a 'catch phrase' that describes its ultimate expression for the Soul of its people in the world and the phrase for China is “I indicate the way”. It is of interest to note that no such phrase has been given for Tibet. The relationship between China and Tibet is one of the best examples of Piscean expression that I have seen in the world. The two are bound together. The Piscean symbol of the fishes bound together is that of the higher and lower natures being bound together throughout the long series of lives, all the way to the point of ultimate liberation from cyclic existence. I will leave it to the reader to work out which is the higher self and persona in the Sino/Tibetan scenario. Suffice it to say, though, that whether we like it or not, both cultures are now one geographically and in a worldly sense. All people born in the region of Tibet carry Chinese passports when they travel abroad, for instance, even if in their hearts they are always and ever Tibetan. However, what will the Chinese occupation of the Tibetan region ultimately mean in centuries to come, especially with regard to China's 'catch phrase'?
China is coming into a period of instability and readjustment as I see it. The kinds of trials I see coming for that ancient land and peoples are the sort that bring an emergence of the true Soul of a people, and we are seeing this throughout the world. What would the higher spiritual expression of the Chinese people be in a land where the government in recent times has done all it possibly can to crush that sort of expression? To whom or to what will the people of China turn in their time of greatest need? Who or what in the China of today will ultimately “Indicate the Way”? As for what I think about it myself, I will not say, but I have a good idea of what. Buddhism and China go back a long way. There is so much that could be said here, but we will have to leave it at that for now. I will say this, though: Who does China serve? How will China ultimately serve in the world? Can we not look into the future and see the 'watchful and kind eye of the Chinese servant'? Every country must serve in some way, as must all individuals.
Energy of the Feminine
Continuing with our consideration of the full moon figure, the symbol for the degree of the Moon reads as follows:
“A girl's basketball team.” – 21 Virgo
The energy of the feminine is a consistent theme throughout this solar festival. The girl's basketball team carries the connotations of participation in some collective effort, teamwork toward some specific goal and integration of sometimes diverse peoples or individuals into a group endeavor. Suffice it to say, we are all in this world situation together. It is our karma to be here now, as well as it is our higher purpose to see this through and make the spiritual more accessible in the three worlds – body, emotions and mind.
I have seen a lot of emails floating around saying something to the effect that we chose to be in this world now and that we have chosen to make this world a better place, but while that may be true from the vantage point of one's higher nature, I do not know of many people who would have chosen for their personal lives to be enmeshed in the current world situation. From the standpoint of Pisces every incarnation is a sacrifice in some way, the higher self of every person seeking in some way to 'do its bit' in the resurrection of the lower nature into the higher Life. It is said that we reincarnate in groups. As such, if we have any sort of closer rapport with someone then it is very likely we have known them before and will, likely or not, know them again – maybe not from life to life, but certainly from time to time when theirs and our input is needed.
Pisces is all about the individual being subsumed within the universal and making his or her contribution to that. This is the subjective reason behind the fact that Pisceans can have such trouble with boundaries or lose themselves in relationships or situations. To realize that significant people in our lives have been with us before and will be with us again brings forth some very interesting questions: What are we all doing here together? What are we working out collectively? What are we here to give as a group? Are we or are we not a 'team' in some bizarre fashion?
We can be a bit philosophical here and say that sometimes in what people like to call the 'game of life' (it is not a term I like very much myself) we reach (score) our goals. Sometimes we drop the ball. Sometimes our 'team-mates' give us the 'high five' on a particularly good effort. Sometimes we want to crawl under a rock and hide after something we have really botched. In the end we still come back together, all end up at the same goal pretty much at the same time, relatively speaking, and are all basically stuck with each other – in other words, we have all thrown our hats in together for better or worse and have certain things to see through. We have all been worst enemies and best of friends. Why not make our time together meaningful, useful and, even occasionally, fun – especially considering we have to come back together again at some point and face each other once again.
I have said it many times before, but it cannot be said enough: We need each other, now more than ever. The fact that the feminine is so emphasized in this year's Pisces festival points to that fact that we need to look at the wisdom behind all of our relationships and what we bring to them. We all have a lot to give and to learn. The feminine is about interconnectedness, communication and intuitive rapport, to name but a few qualities.
Most of all, though, we should think of the kindness and unconditional love that a mother archetypally gives to her child. She bore it, gave it life and sustenance, cared for it (often at great cost to herself) and wanted nothing but its happiness. Hers is an act of supreme sacrifice for that child and her life is enmeshed with it until the child is grown enough to be on its own. My own mother once told me, “We (talking about herself and my father) raised you kids so you could go off and live lives of your own.” There is nothing quite like a mother's wisdom. That all mothers are not perfect is true, but we understand the archetype all-too-well and most mothers do their best to live up to it in their own way.
Every Piscean has deeply embedded within their psyche an understanding of the following lines from a famous Buddhist practice:
“Since cherishing myself is the doorway to all torment,
While cherishing my mothers is the foundation of all that is good,
I seek your blessings to make my core practice
The Yoga of exchanging self for others.”
In other words, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” to quote the Christian version of the above. This sort of thinking was one of the greatest teachings of the Piscean Age, which is now rapidly passing into the Age of Aquarius. [No, I do not think the Age of Aquarius began on Valentine's Day this year. There is no definitive demarcation between the Ages. It is a gradual process taking hundreds of years.] It is the very ethic to which the Christ and all Bodhisattvas adhere and it is the only true, safe path to liberation and eventual full enlightenment for the humanity of this world. Pisces thus has a profound and direct part to play in the spiritual evolution of this planet and all within it. This has been a longer discourse than usual, but the times warrant it.
To flesh out the remainder of the dynamics of the full moon figure, we mentioned the Saturn/Uranus opposition in relation to the full moon axis. This will bring out difficult concerns in relationships, probable separations, but more than all else, the removal of hindrances to the Piscean dynamic. It is a case of 'out with the old, in with the new'. Since the Sun is conjoined with Uranus, the main theme here is the instituting of the new – making certain the 'urge to better conditions' is seen through. The fact that Saturn joins the Moon in this figure points precisely to our attachments. There are indicated the things which we do not want to release. There will be many sudden developments this year with respect to our sensed need for service. There will be things that need to be renounced and other things that come forward as opportunities.
The preceding ties in very well with the theme from the lunar New Year indicating 'sudden and complete changes of direction'. Pisces always has implicit with it the theme of renunciation, but also of salvation. What is being salvaged? Well, ourselves, essentially, and those whom our lives touch. This theme of 'salvation' is essentially the restitution of the divine in the three worlds – the lifting up, as it were, of consciousness toward the higher nature. It is a curious seeming contradiction of Pisces: In renunciation of worldly life we eventually find ultimate bliss.
We saw previously that there is a septile pattern. One of my friends and a very fine astrologer here calls septiles a 'doorway to the inner realms'. The septile is an aspect that can confer unusual understandings of issues at hand at its least or open a direct door to the inner worlds at it best. The planets involved in this configuration are Venus, Neptune and Pluto with Venus and Neptune forming a septile yod with Saturn at the apex. The yod calls for us to see things more realistically. We, as a society, have been sold a 'bill of goods' in recent decades by people in power and the blinders are now rapidly coming off. Noel Tyl has described the Venus/Neptune/Pluto combination as a possible 'love narcosis' and says that it indicates instability in relationships on the whole. In general, however, we can gain some useful insight into our relations with people under this full moon. Venus is applying to a sextile with Jupiter, even though retrograde, which bodes a bit better for financial matters, but the indication here is that financial confidence is a ways off as yet. People are still uncertain about life. Intimacy in relationships is strained as a result. In fact, relationships of all types have been under strain for some months now. People have felt tired, irritable and anxious, often without knowing why. The retrograde Venus is yet another indicator in this figure of 'issues of the feminine' and can point to difficulties in communication or dealing with women in general since Venus partially rules women and women's issues.
Finally, Neptune being bounded on either side by Mars and Chiron points to a sort of healing crisis. Mars brings conflict and energy and Chiron points to 'the issue at hand', whatever it is that needs to be healed. Thus, we have a crisis in healing, but with Neptunian undertones. It is this configuration to which I was alluding when I advised readers in the last letter of a certain age group to get health checks. In medical astrology Neptune can indicate problems with venous circulation, obscure problems, hidden ailments and septic conditions. In Aquarius, the venous circulation is further implicated along with the lower legs. With Leo, by reflex the heart, immune system and spine are all implicated. Of course, this would only affect you if you have planets within a couple of degrees of the 24th degree of Leo/Aquarius. Emotionally, this little stellium indicates hidden, unaddressed or deceptive issues coming back to haunt one. This can also bring a spiritual breakthrough, though, and we should be mindful that healing and spiritual insight is not always preceded by a painful episode.
Who Are Our True Friends?
We need to look around us: Who are our true friends? Who has shown us truth? Who has guided us along a true path, often in spite of what we desire? For most of us, our parents have done that. Our partners have done it sometimes. Really, though, who has shown us our spiritual truth – our path, our Dharma? Sometimes our family, partners and friends do indeed do that. Very often they can take us away from it. To whom have we been a 'spiritual friend', a kalyana mitra? We need those people now more than ever. We are rapidly headed toward a realization of what is truly important in life. Just look around. We also need to be that sort of friend to all around us. I am not saying “Save the world!”. It would be nice if we could and collectively we can make a huge impact. However, the road to liberation and full enlightenment as embodied by the spiritual friend is a graded and gradual process. Most importantly, however, it is a process of applying towards others what we have learned in our own service and experience. There is a passage in a book that describes the relationship with the spiritual friend quite beautifully. He says of the relationship:
“In such a friendship two people work to take down the barriers between them. They let go of thinking of their own needs, of fear of self-revelation and intimacy. They try to let go of everything and give themselves to the Dharma, to a mutual exploration of the Truth. They take delight in that Truth, knowing that they are together in this evanescent form so briefly that their meeting has never been and will never be again, and that in that moment they are both unknowable. When two separate individuals are united in the Dharma, there we find the play, the true dance, of the dakinis [the 'Sky-goers', the inhabitants of shunyata].”
There is, indeed, nothing more valuable than a true friend, the kalyana mitra. Such a person can manifest for us in many ways. The best place to start looking is right past the end of our noses. Who inspires us to our truth? It matters not who they are, and there are many, as I have said. When you find them or realize who they are, embrace the relationship in fullness, and as much as you can, enjoy the ride! You will certainly never forget it, nor will they, and life will have a depth of meaning which we never thought possible. Aren't the scariest rides in the park the best ones? Are we not on those rides with our friends? May all your relationships this year and always be meaningful.
Blessings to you all,
11 Mar 09
This is the end of the article
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