Stars, Constellations and Signs of the Zodiac - 7
It is evident that the attitude which I have presented
in the foregoing is diametrically opposite to the one prevalent in astrology. The astrologer speaks of the retrograde motion of the equinoxes during the precessional cycle — or even worse, of the successive entrance of the Sun in Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, etc., as if the Sun were "entering" anything at all! This is — I repeat — because for traditional and even contemporary astrology, the zodiac of constellations
is the fixed frame of reference. I am saying instead that it is the stars that move in relation to the tropical zodiac of signs; and they move in the normal way, constantly increasing in longitude.
Thus if we can at all say that we have passed through most of the Piscean Age, it is because the stars gathered under the mythological figure of the two Fishes have been coming to the spring equinox, radiating their light upon our vernal beginnings — i. e. "influencing" (symbolically speaking) the way man in our Northern hemisphere has met the challenge
of being an originator, a pioneer, an "Aries type" (Aries being the name of the first zodiacal sign of spring). As we reach the so-called Aquarian Age, it will be the stars grouped by tradition under the constellation Aquarius which will be conjunct with the Sun at and after the vernal equinox.
The whole picture is actually exceedingly, simple. All you have to do in order to realize its significance is to forget astrological textbooks and students of past cultures, and open your eyes to the rhythmic phenomena which tell us of our relationship, as beings constituting living cells in the
vast body of the earth, to the regularly moving dots, and discs of light in the sky. We can supplement these observations today with the knowledge given by our sense-extensions telescopes of various kinds, spectroscopes, radars, etc. but we do not need to pay much attention to old traditions and the mythical imagery devised by obsolete cultures of the past. We should create new images, for we are indeed at the threshold of a new era.
If we are to go to the past for some clues which may help us to free ourselves from recent traditions, let us go to a very ancient past. If we did, we would see that most likely the first way in which men sought to measure the rhythm of the seasons was by studying the cyclic displacement of the location of sunsets at the western horizon. Only at the equinoxes does the Sun set exactly in the west, and rise in the east. At the winter solstice the Sun sets some 23 degrees farther to the south; at the summer solstice, to the north. This solar motion is measured in astronomy in terms of degrees of declination
. It is related to the phenomena of the seasons because it refers to changes in the angle at which the Sun-rays strike the earth-surface throughout the year. It produces the increase and decrease of days and nights. And in my book The Pulse of Life
I discussed this yearly cycle as a constantly changing relationship between two forces, the Day-force and the Night-force, which correspond to the well-known Chinese dualism of Yang and Yin
This approach to the cycle of the year is, I believe, more basic than that which uses the apparent passage of the Sun through zodiacal signs or constellations. It is at least more primordial. It provides us inescapably and graphically with four basic points in the year's cycle: the solstices and the equinoxes. It is the foundation of the very old esoteric concept of dividing the year into two halves: one during which "the Sun moves northward" — related to the spiritual development of the individual
, according to the occult tradition — and the other during which the Sun moves southward, which refers to the growth of collective
It seems evident that the great stones of Stonehenge in England, and similar ones in Central America, served largely as markers determining the phases of this yearly movement (in declination) of the Sun. But they also presumably were able to pin-point the position of some brilliant stars at certain times, not only of the solar year, but also of the Great Sidereal Year of 26,000 years. At least it is quite certain that the Egyptian Great Pyramid had certain of its narrow passage-ways oriented so that the rays of a particular star would strike the central chamber of the Pyramid. Esoteric tradition — it is now widely known — considers that the Great Pyramid was not, originally at least, a tomb built for some ambitious pharaoh, but the place of spiritual-occult Initiation. It claims also that it was erected a whole cycle of precession earlier
than modern Egyptologists are willing to admit. The book of Davison, The Great Pyramid
, is very well known and has been much quoted, attacked and defended. An archaeologist, Dr. Getzinger, whom I personally knew many years ago, showed me enlarged photographs of the side of the Great Pyramid which he claimed definitely revealed the incrustation of sea-shells at a certain level quite above the present level of the base of the structure. He believed that the Pyramid had been built indeed over 30,000 years ago by men of a very advanced civilization — "advanced" perhaps not in terms of our materialistic technology which can only think of releasing power by destroying
matter (whether it be coal, oil or uranium atoms), but through the use of a very different kind of power centered in man himself. At any rate, it is interesting perhaps to note that Davison's date for the beginning of the new Aquarian Age was 1844 AD, which differs by some five centuries from the date presented by Cyril Fagan who also studied Egyptian records, and from the dates accepted by one or the other of the schools of Hindu astrology.
And so I end this chapter on a note of uncertainty. This uncertainty is quite characteristic of the astrological situation as a whole; and it assuredly does not justify the claim made by so many astrologers today that astrology is a "science", in the precise modern sense of the term. It is based on scientifically obtained astronomical facts, we might well say; but astrology gives to these facts a human meaning and value
. Astronomy does not — except by its implied belittling of man as a small creature on a small planet in a not important solar system of our Milky Way, which is but one of countless galaxies separated from each other by incredibly vast distances. The answer by an astronomer to such implications was that nevertheless man is the astronomer who has been able to measure these enormous distances and cycles.
It is man's response
to the events, the pressures, the infinitely complex facts he has uncovered which counts. It is not the greatness or vastness of what man faces, relative to his size and life-span, which matters; it is man's attitude toward these near-infinities. It is what his consciousness, facing them, makes out of them — what he allows them to make of himself. And it is at that level that astrology can significantly operate; not at the level of the prediction of events which in themselves
have no meaning, except the meaning which we give them. Events do not happen to us; we happen to events.
By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1969 by Dane Rudhyar
and Copyright © 2001 by Leyla Rudhyar Hill
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