Cycles of Relationship - 1
In my book The Lunation Cycle I have discussed at length
the meaning of the distinction which should be established between "cycles of positions" and "cycles of relationship." The former deals with the successive positions of a moving object with reference to its starting point, and until the time of return to this starting point. Cycles of relationship, on the other hand, are cycles established by the successive conjunctions (and oppositions) of two moving celestial bodies.
A cycle of positions measures the course taken by any dynamic impulse from start to finish. It is as if a seed were watched becoming a full-grown plant, and the full-grown plant bringing forth again a seed while leaves and stem disintegrate — and all this cyclic development occurring in vacuum without any outside interference or anything contributing to it. Obviously such a picture of growth in vacuum is a pure abstraction. It does not correspond to actual reality, because no impulse is left to develop without its course being modified by other factors. Life is based on relatedness; and so is civilization and every type of human activity. Even God's activity, I believe, would be meaningless unless it be understood in relation
to the need of chaos — that is, as an answer to the need of the materials left to disintegrate in space, remains or waste-products of a completed cycle of cosmic manifestation. God is absolute all-encompassing Harmony. "Compassion," wrote H.P. Blavatsky, "is the Law of laws." It is absolute Harmony in operation.
"Cycles of relationship" are best exemplified in the lunation cycle, from New Moon to New Moon; and whatever can be said of such a cycle can be said also, in general outline, of all such cycles — for instance, of the often discussed 20-year cycle between successive conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn. However, cycles of relationship are particularly significant when the two moving celestial bodies are of the same type, but of opposite polarities. This is the case with the Sun and the Moon in geocentric astrology
, because the Sun and the Moon are considered merely as discs of light
of equal sizes, the former having a permanent shape, the other being subject to constant changes; the Sun symbolizing the masculine and the Moon the feminine poles of being, Spirit in contrast with Life, etc. Likewise Jupiter and Saturn are two planets referring fundamentally to the social and religious life of man, and they act as polar opposites: Jupiter as an expansive, Saturn as a contracting force.
Jupiter unites men by making them expand and flow into each other through all means for social interchange, commerce, and religious communion. Saturn seeks to establish every man in his proper place in society — that is, in his own frame of reference and individuality — and to define all structures and boundaries. Thus the cycle of conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn reveals the periodical way in which the balance between these two polarities of communal living operate. The conjunction indicates a new start in relationship (new social adjustments and periods of reorientation), the opposition, a climactic moment at which whatever was begun at conjunction time either reaches fulfillment, or breaks down after a failure.
At a time when human society was conditioned by geographical and tribal structures, when it operated in a steady state and in terms of well-defined, quasi-unchallengeable instincts or laws, the cycle of Jupiter and Saturn was a most effective way of measuring the rhythm of such a society. Their conjunctions occur on an average every 19,853 years (practically 20 years) and a number of characteristic phenomena are connected with their recurrence. A few successive conjunctions take place in zodiacal signs of the same element (fire, earth, air, water). As the element changes, a "Great Mutation" is said to occur. These changes are not always clearly marked, and thus differences of opinion among astrologers prevail as to which conjunction is the most characteristic. However the chart erected for the "Great Mutation" of January 25, 1842 has proven quite significant an indicator of world-events ever since, and it is supposed to be effective until Jupiter and Saturn conjunctions occur in air signs.
After 60 years, moreover, the two planets are found within a few degrees of their initial positions; and this 60-year cycle was basic in the old type of mundane astrology. A larger cycle of 794.372 years encompassing forty Jupiter-Saturn cycles has also been noted, in which the whole series of conjunctions in the various signs of the Zodiac is repeated, or nearly so — according to L. H. Weston. Other astrologers claim that the complete larger cycle is one of 960 years.
Today, however, as humanity has left behind the relatively stable state of tribal-geographical organization and is moving about in a state of reorientation toward a new condition of society based on universal all-inclusive values and global wholeness (instead of the old state of tribal-national exclusivism and so-called "sovereignty"), it seems quite evident that the Jupiter-Saturn cyclic pattern can no longer satisfactorily measure the historical periods. In a sense, it was always more or less subservient to a larger all-human and global rhythm, but this rhythm could only operate underneath the recorded events of history, unbeknown to the men who made history.
In the preceding chapter, I discussed the respective cycles of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto; but I considered only "cycles of positions" (sidereal periods), and not the cycles formed by the successive conjunctions of these planets the one to the other. The interesting thing, however, is that because the periods of the three universalistic planets are very close to being in the simple ratio of 1, 2, 3, their mutual "cycles of relationship" produce a basic figure almost identical to those which have been mentioned. The most basic period, however, is one which approximates 500 years; and it seems that just as the rhythm of the conjunctions and oppositions of Jupiter and Saturn scans the melodic flow of history in so far as the destinies of smaller tribal and national communities are concerned, the rhythm of the cycle of relationship between Neptune and Pluto establishes the pattern of development in man's unceasing effort at emerging from the lesser to the greater social units. This effort is indeed the very substance of civilization as a process of universalization of values.
By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1969 by Dane Rudhyar
and Copyright © 2001 by Leyla Rudhyar Hill
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