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Servants and Messengers of Universal Harmony

Gong-music, music of bells, music of the orient mysterious in its fullness as well as in its transcendence, music of ancient troubadours whose viola d'amore vibrated to the quivering of sympathetic strings, music of some modern orchestrations which blend in mysterious resonances intricacies of overtones — in all such music we hear, if we listen deeply enough to the message of that which lies beyond the obvious, the throb of countless tonal multitudes. What we hear thus is not to be found on the printed page. It is not to be given names familiar to old conservatories bred in the intellectual desiccation of the classical seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It escapes scales and tonalities, rigid patterns and conventional relations which link stately, cut-and-dried notes. It is a mystery of imperceptibles of tone, a breeze of sound that caresses the ears as floating perfume the nostrils.

We may speak of "resonance", of "overtones", of "sympathetic vibrations". Names matter little. What is heard is that which moves and has its being between the classified notes; that which links tone to tone in a quivering continuity of vibration; that which escapes analysis, yet which is the very soul of synthesis. It is the vibrant aura of music, where music is really alive in substance and in tone — and not merely a matter of intellectual craftsmanship or abstract patterning. Such a living music is not all contained in a few obvious notes or scales. These constitute only the structure, the skeleton. Likewise the solar system, and beyond it the ever-widening spaces of galaxies, are not a mere sum of planets or suns with easily recognizable masses. Space is not an emptiness in which these suns and planets alone move with rigid tempo. Space is a fullness of being. Its denizens are multitudes. Between the known and set entities sharply etched upon the background of our consciousness are vagrant hosts, unrecognizable and elusive. These hosts are the throbbing substance of Universal Harmony. They link the proud suns and weave garlands across planetary fields, in order to blend, to unify, to sustain, to remember.

Today we know that a number of small planets or asteroids revolve around the Sun, within that wide band which fills in the space between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. We know that they occupy roughly the place which, according to the Bode law, a planet should fill. We know some of their mythological names: Ceres, Pallas, Juno, Vesta, Eros. We know that the dimensions of the vast majority of these asteroids are very small, the largest one, Ceres, being not even 500 miles in diameter, while the last to be duly catalogued is only half a mile in diameter, and thousands of others may be still smaller. We have heard it said that perhaps as many as 50,000 such small celestial objects are found spread all along the zodiacal belt. Yet do we fully realize what their presence signifies?

We come closer to such a realization if we consider that these asteroids are not the only objects, besides the well known planets, to overrun the fields of space which are polarized to the central power of the Sun. There are also countless comets moving through such fields; comets whose orbits lie in all directions, whose paths, regular or irregular, may lead them even farther than the boundaries of Sun-centered space. Then there is cosmic dust, blown perhaps by winds unrecognizable by mortal minds. And who knows how many particles of substance, some of which might be discoverable only by eyes tuned to rays of light beyond our normal spectrum, may move around and between the more distant planets of the solar system, to be condensed perhaps, some day, into rings similar to the rings of Saturn?

We do not know; yet we may grasp something of the significance, in terms of life-symbolism, of such multitudes of celestial objects circulating through the interstices of the planetary structure of our solar system. And our previous musical analogy may be the key to such an understanding. We need this understanding in music, in art, in psychology and in this system of celestial symbolism which we name astrology. We need to recognize that analytical and analyzable structural elements are not all there is. We need to realize that the intellect and its categories, the conscious and its clear-cut projections, do not tell the whole story. We have to account for the intellectually un-accountable; for prae-sentience, presentiments, forebodings, as well as for memory. Precise events are not the only one reality. The conscious present is not all there is. Somehow, somewhere, there are reflectors which mirror the past back to us (memory), but also which mirror the future ahead of us (presentiments). There are mysterious presences in between all set things — not only presences that may belong to other realms, but even such as are unnoticed because of their apparent inconsequence, yet whose reflective and condensing power forces upon us the unexpected, be it out of the forgotten past or of the future as yet unlived.

These little factors of life! How profoundly they affect our destinies, although we seem unable ever to trace their comings or goings! Small may be the seed which some day will grow into the giant redwood tree. But smaller still these bacteria, enzymes, hormones, viruses upon which our most dynamic urges depend, or whose orbits mark paths upon which death silently rides. All these imponderable, all-powerful factors — may we not see them translated to the skies in the form of asteroids, comets and meteors?

Dangerous presences these are for those minds who cling too closely to the structural patterns of the "Harmony of the Spheres"! But the moving, unfathomable tides of Bergson's elan vital, of this vital surge of a life that refuses to be trammeled by intellect-born clocks and yardsticks, and Jung's mysterious Unconscious whose irrationality compensates for our "cramps of the conscious" show us that our destinies are not only ruled by rationally moving planets, but are also the products of incalculable factors which escape analysis. This conclusion is also suggested by the puzzling fact found in all astronomical calculations that all cycles are measured by irrational numbers and never by exact integers.

There is order in the universe; but that order is not the whole of the living. There are Archetypes and rational Forms, whence all things that have names originate. They are the masculine seeds of the visible universe. But the nameless also is; and there are women! Wherefore the wise intuition of astronomers led them to give to the asteroids the names of goddesses, and to one of them of changing luminosity the name of the most irrational of all gods — Eros, god of love. Truly, love is a ceaseless alternation of shadow and brilliancy! And the mysterious wanderers, the comets, have long hair of light; their faces always turn to the Sun. And their paths are elongated ellipses, far from the "perfect form" of the circumference; ellipses whose two foci are far apart, because in the irrational realms, the polarities of being are necessarily also remote from each other.

Sometimes these comets travel in series along the same path — like mysterious, haunting thoughts that rise from the Unconscious. Sometimes they seem to experience strange transformations as they near the Sun, whose vivid light perhaps overcomes their phantasmal nature. At other times they must have broken into swarms of meteors, whose cyclic appearances may have more significance than most astrologers would admit. Witness perhaps the Leonids, or November meteors, whose orbit seems to link directly those of Uranus and the Earth; and the Perseids, whose presence is a regular feature of August skies.

These spectacular visitations do not find room in the rational systems of astrology; but if astrology is a symbolic system of interpretation of celestial events, how could we ignore them? We can not give them assuredly a structural and rational significance, because of their vagaries and their anomalistic behavior by reference to the paragon of all geocentric celestial motion, the Sun. But the domain of the irrational is open to them; and we can no longer ignore it, after having escaped from classical mechanism or formalism and from Victorian moral hypocrisy.

The Heavens contain more than the rational and the archetypally ordered. They reveal and symbolize the whole of the living. Comets and meteors are visible and spectacular, and they have been related to ominous messages of destiny. But they should not be considered evil. The irrational is not the evil. It may disturb our intellectual and traditional self-complacency; but we should welcome its visitations, for it brings, at least to the strong, a breath of the beyond. And we need the beyond, that we may learn to laugh at our littleness and our pompously ordered interpretations.

Pluto was believed at first by some people to be more like a comet than like a planet, because of the eccentricity of its orbit. Pluto contains indeed something of the irrational. All seeds do — because they are too much alive. Their cycles move too widely from an extreme of self-sufficiency and self-containment (when they bear within their rigid envelopes the future of the Species they serve) to an extreme of self-sacrifice and self-immolation (when they give their all so that the plant may be). That is irrational. It presupposes two very different types of polar attraction; two foci far apart, and thus an elongated orbit.

With the majority of the Asteroids, however, we are not dealing as much with the irrational as with those subtle and almost imperceptible factors of being which sustain the continuity of all living processes — and particularly of consciousness. They constitute essentially a chain of reflectors all along the path of the Sun and of the planets. They sustain the effects of those mighty Entities, after they have passed on; they foretell their coming. They link all forces released within the zodiacal belt — as experienced from the Earth. They may be "fixative" also of celestial influences that come from the vast womb of the Galaxy.

These processes will be better understood by considering again the illustration of "sympathetic strings". These strings are found in most Oriental stringed instruments roughly resembling a violin or a cello. They are found in the viola d'amore of the Renaissance. While the modern violin has only outside strings on which the violinist actually plays, these other instruments have, besides the outer strings, a great number of finer invisible strings stretched inside the instrument's body and vibrating in sympathy to the outer ones when the latter are played upon by bow or plucked by the hand. Thus tone is produced, as it were, at two levels, or is of two kinds: active, positive tones, and passive ones throbbing softly in constant blending, emphasizing the active tones, but also surrounding them by an aura or halo of sound.

These sympathetic resonances bring to musical tone a continuity through which all separate notes are blended and partake of each other. A note struck continues to vibrate after a new one is played, because the hidden strings sympathetic to the former keep vibrating until their period is completed; and perhaps it is not completed before this same note, or one very closely related harmonically, will start them vibrating again. So that vibrations will go on and on, unceasing, subtle and eerie. The modern grand piano with its highly tense strings and resonant sounding board produces somewhat the same effect, if the pianist keeps his foot steadily on the pedal; yet the principle is a little different.

The few active strings played upon deliberately by the musician represent the planets whose vibrations constitute the rational and structural "Harmony of the Spheres". The many sympathetic strings, resonating softly yet unceasingly, symbolize the asteroids. We do not see these asteroids; save perhaps Ceres, on exceedingly clear desert nights. But neither do we see Neptune and Pluto, who are symbols of such powerful significance. Their size is small, but size is no indicator of planetary importance in astrology. The most recently found asteroid is the celestial body closest to the Earth outside of the Moon. Who knows that its high pitched vibration is not of the greatest significance as the overtone of some more ponderous planetary lord?

The asteroids bring us to the threshold of consciousness, to a vibrant penumbra of being which has little room for classification. They prolong the conscious moment into a memory of that which has been and is not yet quite gone. They make us dimly aware of the coming of future events, just as, denizens of the plains, facing the high mountains, we can feel the approach of the rising Sun when we see the towering peaks aflame with a reddish glow.

These asteroids practically fill the entire zodiacal belt, spread at varying intervals through it. They constitute indeed — if seen in their entirety — a ring around the smaller planets of the solar system, a ring dividing the solar system into two strikingly different zones: the zone of those planets which might be called the satellites of the Sun, and that of the larger planets which perhaps are truly suns in the making. Thus the ring of asteroids may be said to be to the Sun almost what the well-known ring of Saturn is to that planet.

However, from the point of view of our earth, the significance of these asteroids lies in the fact that they are links, messengers between the Sun and the planets which move through the zodiacal belt. They are the hosts of servants who press around the great planetary personages in the pageant of the year. They are the many resonators whose hum fills the high regions with overtones of the planetary gongs. This hum never dies. There is never any stretch in the path of the Sun which is without one of these servants of the universal Harmony. There is no emptiness, no break in the cyclic vibration of solar life.

We call them "servants of the universal Harmony" because they reflect, each and all; because they are too imprecise to be given specific and rigid characters. Their significance is in their ubiquity, in their being here, there, everywhere. They vibrate to so many things that they belong to the All. They are glittering threads of gold woven everywhere through the tapestry of solar, lunar and planetary being. They reflect light and make the many objects blend in an undulating tide of light. Some of them, whose orbits cross the set planetary circuits, may partake of the nature of comets. But in general their nature is presumably very different. For comets, and all celestial visitors which glow through our skies, should not symbolize the servants of our conscious faculties, but instead the fiery sparks welling from the depths of unconscious being and setting the consciousness aflame, for brief moments, with inspiration.

These represent truly the irrational; and if their purpose is to be set down, it must be indeed that of being messengers of the supra-rational — messengers of the stars. Many of these comets come presumably from outer reaches of space beyond the orbit of Pluto. At any rate, they serve to integrate the realms of the distant "planets of the Unconscious" — Uranus, Neptune, Pluto — and those bounded by Saturn's orbit. They bring the cosmic and the universal into the particular. They force paths of fire across Saturn's realm, paths which give entrance to those regenerative factors which help to make man more than mere man — paths through which great stars may send their power and their love.

In the individual, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto may operate directly as the process of regeneration of the earth-born entity, because man contains in his nature the totality of cosmic factors — in potentiality, if not in actuality — and therefore regeneration is merely the summoning of as yet unrevealed factors into the light of clear consciousness. But where collective and planetary values are considered, there the need will be seen for concrete and objective messengers and pathmakers, if the universal realm of the stars is to be linked with that of the Earth. These are the comets. They are the vital symbols of that constant interchange which goes on between all realms of being, that interchange which is1 the highest essence of life itself.

Life is the very power and the very act of universal relationship. Life laughs at all water-tight and mind-tight compartments. It ever has ways of piercing through all walls. Uranus is the symbol of this process of "piercing through", when expressed in terms of, or related to a special faculty of the human soul. But comets are the concrete symbols of such a drama of universal relationship, potent agents who carry out the integrative and harmonizing purpose of the cosmic Whole: the Galaxy. They are sparks of the electric fire that is God's Will.

Little wonder, therefore, that men of old bowed in awe before their unheralded appearances. They were signs of divine judgment. And this judgment is awesome to forms that have crystallized and refused to open to the power of Uranus. It means fire and destruction. And yet Fire in its sublimest meaning is the very essence of the Deity. All the living is born of Fire and progresses onward through the ministration of Fire. The entire universe is a constant paean to Fire; and Fire only reveals its true intensity to those who can experience beyond, yet within, mental structures the swarming multitudes of lives that, circulating between all set and rigid things, weave tapestries of flame on the transcendent fields of galactic space.

This edition copyright © 2008 Michael R. Meyer
All Rights Reserved.

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