Taurus and Being Human in Form
What do you desire? What do you value? You may have noticed others, including astrologers, asking you these questions recently as we have been experiencing an incredibly intense time period of Taurus energy these past couple of weeks, but especially now. Unrelated to astrology, in the community college class I teach recently students have been creating projects and writing exploring what they want to attract into their life, what their current purpose in life is, what they desire to have in their life, and what they value. There have been as many different responses as there are different people, differences in human personalities and backgrounds, with some wanting to possess material items and others more immaterial qualities. There has been a wide range of material desires, from wanting a more simple type of a pet or a house, to more outlandish possessions such as a private jet, exotic animals, and millions of dollars; there has also been a wide range of immaterial desires, from wanting to have happiness and provide service to the local community, to wanting to provide service to the global community and to explore a higher level of consciousness. What all of their responses have had in common, however, is desire, human desire, and the fact that human beings have desires, and that we also tend to develop a sense of values that are important to us, and that some of us live from. This brings up the question, what is desire? Where do our desires and values come from? Why do we desire and value what we do?
I was recently listening to a taped lecture by astrologer Alan Oken and gained a new sense of understanding for the sign of Taurus by hearing him break down the etymology of Incarnation. Incarnation means “embodied in flesh” or “in the flesh,” “in the meat (carne),” and so connects with Taurus as being the second sign of the zodiac since in Taurus we incarnate into form the new impulse of celestial life connected with the first sign of the zodiac, Aries. We can further link this concept of being in the flesh to our thoughts and emotions, and indeed the sign of Taurus is connected to not only our physical form and sensuality, but also the crystallized form of our thoughts and feelings that make up the value system we live from. The image of the Buddha above may not be the first one that comes to mind when you think of Taurus, the sign of the bull, until you begin to consider how his teachings connect with the conflicts we encounter in our physical incarnation in a body, and the suffering we cause ourselves through the crystallized patterns of thoughts and emotions we view our world from.
In contrast to thinking of the Buddha when we think of Taurus, as a result of Venus traditionally ruling Taurus in astrology many tend to visualize the sign as a sensual Goddess enjoying her physical incarnation and all the pleasures that can come through it. And of course, since Taurus is the sign of the bull, we also associate Taurus energy as being embodied by a bull who can be fully engrossed in the presence of the moment in its natural setting, again soaking in the physical delights of its physical form:
Taurus is all about being in our body and feeling the sensations of our world upon our flesh. The connection to Venus can be felt in the sensuality of our flesh merging with the flesh of our lover, the scent of our lover’s sweat, the taste of their skin. The crystallization of thought and desire in Taurus can be seen in how we become possessive of this feeling, possessive of our lover, how some can become obsessed more with the intensity of past romantic experience more so than manifesting love into their current life. This is the shadow side of Taurus, and we can have karmic consequences for our possessiveness. For example, the image above is one of the most significant catalytic events in myth: Zeus desiring to possess the beautiful Europa, so transforming himself into a bull to lure her away, and carry her off to the land that became Europe. The desire of Taurus to possess and hold onto objects or values is where we can apply the expression of “being stubborn like a bull,” and the angry emotions that can erupt out of the normally calm Taurus when a desired object or value is lost is when Taurus can be described as “being like a bull in a china shop.” The strong sensual desire of Taurus can be applied to anything in our life, such as the taste of food or the more nurturing touch of a friend or family member. It can vary from culture to culture, especially where material items are concerned: to some possessing a high octane mechanical vehicle with plush interior made up of the skin of a cow could be important, whereas to someone else owning the cow itself could be important. With Taurus it can come down to possessing what we desire, and this is where we can come down into our suffering. This is because if anything is true in life it is change. And since everything is constantly changing, if we are consumed with possessing something we can suffer when it goes away.
Hopefully you can sense by now how in addition to the Goddess Venus, the Buddha clearly connects with the sign of Taurus as well, and not only because he is believed to have been born, reached enlightenment, and have died during the time of Taurus. When we consider the historical life of the man who became the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, we can imagine that he grew up in a constant state of hedonistic delight, having his every desire attended to, as the popular version of his story indicates his father the King attempted to shield him from the suffering of the external world. The fact the Buddha grew up in such a materialistic state mirrors the lower nature of Taurus, the side of Taurus that has a desire for material possessions that can never be satiated; the more it possesses, the more it continues to desire more materialism. In contrast, the higher nature of Taurus mirrors the spiritual development of the Buddha away from attachment to matter and desire, into freedom from materialism, gaining the freedom to connect with Spirit. In Soul-Centered Astrology, Alan Oken illuminated this connection between Taurus and the Buddha:
The Buddha taught that the path of detachment from desire is the vehicle for the entrance of Light; that is, the Creative Will . . . He did this through those methods which imparted the means to awaken the Third Eye- the “Eye of the Bull.” This awakening brings into one’s daily life a consciousness in which the expression of the Soul is centered in the intuitive or “Buddhic” plane. Such an awakening brings forth the potential for the fullest expression of our humanness. In this respect, the dual horns of the Bull become the single horn of the one pointed spiritualized being, as symbolized by the Unicorn . . . As we open our hearts and Higher Minds, we externalize those aspects of ourself which correspond to the Christ and the Buddha. This opening is at the core of all of our efforts at self-realization; this is the realization of the Self. The work to free ourselves from possessiveness and materiality so that through these lessons true Wisdom may emerge is very definitely at the center of the Taurean phase of the turning of the wheel.
— Alan Oken, Soul-Centered Astrology, pp. 167-168
It is traditionally said that at the age of 29 Siddhartha finally journeyed beyond the confines of his controlled life, and was able to witness the old, the sick, the dying, and the dead, causing an expansion of consciousness from within. In astrology, the age of 29 is significant for being the time of the first Saturn return, a transit that embodies the karmic meaning of this turning point in the Buddha’s life. He left his princely palace life in order to follow his own Path of Spirit, a journey which took him into many turns leading within himself. In contrast to the hedonism of his youth, he went to the extremity of abandoning all sensory delight into a lifestyle of ascetism, learning in the process that a Middle Way was the True Path. Out of this insight came his Four Noble Truths: the truth of dukkha (translated as suffering, stress, anxiety, or dissatisfaction), the truth of the origin of suffering, the truth of the cessation of suffering, and the path leading to the cessation of suffering. The Buddha next elaborated upon an Eightfold Path that leads to enlightenment: Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration. These can perhaps become more manageable to think of grouped into three categories: “Right View (encompassing Understanding and Thought), Right Relationship (consisting of Speech, Action, and Livelihood), and Right Meditation (Effort, Mindfulness, and Concentration)².”
The astrology of the moment suggests we can be gaining a lot of information into the root causes of our current wounds this lifetime, no matter your beliefs concerning past lives, with the potential to notice how our perception of reality and our attachment to forms could be causing our suffering. It brings up the question of whether or not learning more about how we have been wounded can even be useful. Is it useful to go into our wounds? Mark Epstein, who studied and practiced Buddhism before becoming a psychotherapist, explored these questions deeply in his book Going on Being: Buddhism and the Way of Change, recounting this story of the Buddha:
Talking one day in the forest environment that he favored, he suddenly held up a handful of simsapa leaves and asked the attentive bhikkhus (or monks) to tell him which was greater, the leaves in his hand or the leaves in the surrounding grove . . .
“Very few in your hand, Lord. Many more in the grove,” they replied with unsparing simplicity and none of my taste for duplicity.
It was the same with his psychological and spiritual knowledge, responded the Buddha. Like the many leaves of the simsapa grove, his knowledge far exceeded the handful of his teachings. Out of the vastness of all possible understanding, he taught only that which in his view led to freedom. When asked why he would not reveal other facts about reality, he gave the following reply:
“Because, friends, there is no profit in them; because they are not helpful to holiness; because they do not lead from disgust to cessation and peace; because they do not lead from knowledge to wisdom and nirvana. That is why I have not revealed them.”
The Buddha’s teachings were always direct and to the point. In coming up against the world of psychotherapy, I have tried to use his words from the simsapa grove as a guide. “How much of this analytic wisdom is actually helpful?” I have wondered. “Does it lead to wisdom, cessation, and peace?” In the Buddhist view, knowledge is never envisioned as an end in itself but only as a beginning, useful as a means of getting oriented.
–Mark Epstein, p. 119-121
Mark Epstein explored important questions in this book, bringing up the fact he had many friends and associates who gained insights through therapy and yet remained as unhappy, dissatisfied, and egocentric after being in therapy as they were before. He felt a place where Buddhism, meditation, and psychotherapy can all be helpful is the concept of “going on being,” which he first read about through British child analyst D.W. Winnicott. The idea of going on being is having “an uninterrupted flow of authentic self,” similar to the pure action displayed most often in our culture by young children. According to this idea of going on being, it “does not need to connote any fixed entity of self; but it does imply a stream of unimpeded awareness, ever evolving, yet with continuity, uniqueness, and integrity. It carries with it the sense of the unending meeting places of interpersonal experience, convergences that are not blocked by a reactive or contracted ego” (p. 30-31). Epstein connects this non-attachment to a “fixed entity of self” to the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha, since the Buddha taught that the first type of clinging is for “pleasant sensory experiences,” and is “equivalent in many ways to the Freudian sexual drive and involves the seeking after sensory gratification” (p. 10). Later in the book, Epstein shows how this dukkha of the Four Noble Truths relates to our suffering, and to me this connects with the strong energy of Taurus we are currently experiencing:
We want what we can’t have and don’t want what we do have; we want more of what we like and less of what we don’t like. We are always a little bit hungry, or a little bit defensive, anticipating the slipping away of that which we have worked so hard to achieve. Behind every suffering, Buddhist teachers say, is the desire for things to be different. This attempt to control or manage what cannot be changed interferes with our going on being. We worry about the past and anticipate the future or worry about the future and anticipate the past. Our self-centeredness causes us to create an uneasy relationship with the world in which we try to fend off any threats to our hard-fought security. This sets up an indefensible position; we become like a fortress: a self within a mind within a body that is threatened from all sides. (p.55-56)
Epstein also connects this issue to being a therapist, and how his “desire for control, in the form of being a helper, is as much of an obstacle to healing another person as it is to healing oneself” (p. 56). These aspects of dukkha related to self-identity are the other two types of “clinging” taught by the Buddha: clinging for “being” and for “nonbeing.” This is an important aspect I don’t have the space or time in this blog to properly explore, but it is sometimes the idea of being “empty” or lacking ego that draws some to Buddhism in order to get away from their egocentric perspective; however, to the Buddha, in either case it is the “mind’s need for certainty” that shortchanges reality (p.22). The Buddha taught the middle path because the self concept of being a “somebody” or a “nobody” are both mistakes, having a “self-centered attitude is as much of a problem as the self-abnegating one” (p.22). It is “our sense of self-certainty” in either case that is the issue, because since life is always changing, if we are clinging to any sense of self too strongly we are not being fully in the moment, fully going on being (p.22). Epstein also brings up insights taught by his friend and teacher Ram Dass in his book, including that it is also a mistake to try to get rid of unwanted parts of ourselves in an attempt to gain greater freedom. Instead if we can develop a practice of mindfulness and awareness, the “more we bring our attachments into awareness, the freer we become, not because we eliminate the attachments, but because we learn to identify more with awareness than with desire. Using our capacity for consciousness, we can change perspective on ourselves, giving a sense of space where once there was only habit. Discipline means restraining the habitual movement of the mind, so that instead of blind impulse there can be clear comprehension” (p. 71). Since we are in a time of such tremendous Taurus energy, and Taurus has a strong tendency to want to hold onto past habits of comfort in order to gain a sense of self-security, it will be especially important now to practice greater awareness and mindfulness of our attachments.
So in this time of great Taurus energy, we can perhaps use our powerful sensory abilities to become more aware of our desires. This is somewhat similar to the “diamond approach” of A.H. Almaas that involves sensing one’s body in an ongoing basis, with focus on a point in the belly, helping one to become more grounded in physical body and physical reality, and eventually bringing with it the potential to become more in touch with a spiritual essence. To me, this is also somewhat similar to “gut wisdom” and the danger that if we are not practicing awareness, we can end up reacting to events from our guts that are more rooted in our past wounding than from a place of heart-centered awareness of the moment. The potential of using Taurus sensory awareness to develop greater connection with Spirit and presence in the Now of the constant flux of life, also reminds me of the wisdom contained in Taoism. In particular the following quote from the Tao Te Ching translation by Stephen Mitchell (45), brings up for me the perspective we can gain from losing attachment to form so that we can truly use the form of our life in greater alignment with what is actually happening around us:
True perfection seems imperfect,
yet it is perfectly itself.
True fullness seems empty,
yet it is fully present.
True straightness seems crooked.
True wisdom seems foolish.
True art seems artless.
The Master allows things to happen.
She shapes events as they come.
She steps out of the way
and lets the Tao speak for itself.
Current Transits in Taurus & Scorpio
As I am writing this, the Sun and all of the personal planets are in Taurus: Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars, and Venus is literally in the final culminating minutes of her most recent pass through Taurus. This Taurus energy is even more intense today as later we will experience a Solar Eclipse in Taurus, with the Sun and Moon within a few degrees of the South Node of the Moon in Taurus. The fact that the South Node of the Moon is in Taurus means collectively, all souls on our planet are processing and synthesizing past issues connected with Taurus, including past life issues that could be buried in our unconscious. The image of the Bull above in the ancient caves of Lascaux, France represents just how long the archetypal image of the Bull has been significant to humans- we are talking over 17,000 years ago most likely! Once we step into belief in the possibility of us having a soul, a soul that has had previous incarnations on this planet, we step into the possibility that we could be impacted somewhere in our psyche by events from even as long ago as when this bull above was painted on the wall of a cave.
We can again bring the Buddha into our discussion of these times of Taurus because part of his spiritual awakening involved knowledge of his many previous incarnations, bringing the awareness that we all have a soul we have been re-incarnating in many different forms in many different lifetimes or incarnations. In astrology, two of the approaches I am most drawn to are deeply connected with the Soul: Evolutionary Astrology and Esoteric Astrology. It is fascinating that both of these astrological approaches have a channeled background: the Evolutionary Astrology paradigm as taught by Jeffrey Wolf Green originally came to Jeff in a dream, in Sanskrit from Sri Yuketswar, the guru of Yogananda; in comparison, the Esoteric Astrology material was channeled by Alice Bailey from the Tibetan Master D.K., and is currently being taught and made popular by Alan Oken and his work in astrology. In her book Esoteric Astrology, Alice Bailey described the connection between Taurus and incarnation:
As the individual descends into incarnation and when he takes an astral shell (emotional body), he definitely comes into a Taurian cycle, for it is desire which impels to rebirth and it takes the potency of Taurus to bring this about.
–Alice Bailey, Esoteric Astrology, p. 380
This link between desire and re-incarnation is part of the answer to my question at the beginning of this article concerning the origins of our desires, and why we have them. The Evolutionary Astrology paradigm taught by Jeffrey Wolf Green also places great importance on the connection between our desires, our Soul, and our past incarnations. Green teaches that the placement and aspects of Pluto describes the types of desires the soul has had in previous lives that have a direct connection to the current evolutionary intentions of the current lifetime- in Sanskrit this archetype is called Prarabdha Karma. As a result of Pluto correlating with our soul desires, Green teaches that it also correlates with our deepest sense of security, meaning that by connecting with the sources of our soul desires, we can maintain a sense of self-consistency and security- so we tend to have a hard time moving beyond our desires as they are connected with our soul, our previous incarnations, and our comfort zone.
With regards to the South Node of the Moon, Green describes it as correlating to the kind of ego identities that the soul has created in past lives in order to actualize the evolutionary desires of the soul. Since the current South Node of the Moon in Taurus will be conjunct the Solar Eclipse today, all of our soul desires on a collective and individual level could be triggered. Amazingly, the Sabian Symbol for the current South Node of the Moon in Taurus at 17 degrees is connected with the story of Gautama Siddhartha in his process of becoming the Buddha. In An Astrological Mandala, Dane Rudyar links the symbol for 17 Taurus to the Buddha in this way:
When Gautama, having sought in vain for the answers to his questions among the teachers of tradition, sat under the Bodhi Tree, he had to fight his own battle in his own way, even though it is an eternal fight. The spiritual light within the greater Soul must struggle against the ego-will that only knows how to use the powers of this material and intellectual world. There is no possibility of escape; it is the energy that arises out of the present moment- the inescapable NOW- that the daring individual has to use in the struggle.
The symbol is A SYMBOLICAL BATTLE BETWEEN “SWORDS” and “TORCHES,” and according to Dane Rudhyar, “suggests that salvation is attained through the emergent individual’s readiness to face all issues as if there were only two opposed sides . . . a stage of POLARIZATION OF VALUES” (p. 81). Tied into this symbol is a “seeker” who has transformed into a “warrior,” “refusing to depend upon the past,” and “fighting anew the eternal Great War” (p. 81). Polarity is an important concept in Evolutionary Astrology as well, for example integrating the polarity point of Pluto (Cancer to Capricorn; Scorpio to Taurus) is connected to our evolutionary development similar to integrating the North Node of the Moon. Taurus being the sign of the South Node of the Moon at this time makes us even more magnetized than usual to past patterns because of the comfort Taurus finds in the stability, and so it will take the intense transformation energy of it’s archetypal polarity, Scorpio, to force us onto a path of greater evolutionary growth.
Since eclipses often correlate with sudden and unexpected events that can be uncomfortable, this Sabian Symbol of Gautama becoming the Buddha suggests we could experience spiritual growth through facing the events without attachment to our past, and through welcoming the struggle between the will of our soul and the will of our ego personality- achieving growth in consciousness through the conflict. Rudhyar’s description of the Buddha in this Sabian Symbol is also a timely image for the current South Node of the moon because it brings a sense of an active warrior energy to the traditional image of a calm, peaceful Buddha- this is because we will need to actively move beyond our ties to past patterns of desire into greater freedom and a new life of meaning amid the flux of changes that will most likely occur in this time period of eclipses. Today’s eclipse correlating with greater awareness of spiritual forces is further shown through the Sabian Symbol of the Solar Eclipse at 20 degrees Taurus: “Wisps of winglike clouds streaming across the sky,” described by Dane Rudhyar as a sign that an “individual who has taken a new step in his evolution should look for the ‘Signature’ of divine Powers confirming his progress . . . The ‘winglike clouds’ may also symbolize the presence of celestial beings (devas, angels) blessing and subtly revealing the direction to take, the direction of ‘the wind’ of destiny” (Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala, p. 83). If we make the difficult or uncomfortable choice to move out of our comfort zone into accordance with our evolutionary growth- again, this could feel like a polarity to the desires and values we feel secure with- we will hopefully receive guidance or signs of synchronicity showing we are on the correct path.
It will not be easy to be move beyond patterns of desire associated with the South Node of the Moon because of the large number of transits currently impacting it: on May 6, the Sun was conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Taurus, and on May 7 Mercury and Mars became conjunct in range of a conjunction with the South Node (the third conjunction of Mercury and Mars in 2013: they were conjunct twice in Pisces in February). So our soul purpose (Sun), perception and organization of reality (Mercury) and sense of Will (Mars) will all be connected with the South Node at the time of the eclipse. The recent Mercury and Mars cycle is connected with the intense Pisces energy we experienced in February (which then became the intense Aries energy of April, the intense Taurus energy of May- more so than normal just so you know!). On February 8, Mercury and Mars were conjunct in Pisces (also conjunct Neptune and Chiron in Pisces and square Jupiter in Gemini), and then once Mercury stationed retrograde, they were conjunct again on February 26, 2013 in square to Ceres in Gemini (I wrote about this here: https://esotericembers.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/an-angel-watches-over-an-argument-between-ceres-and-mercury/). Now, three months later, they are finally conjunct once again, conjunct the South Node of the Moon at the same time as a Solar Eclipse conjunct the South Node of the Moon! In the time of Pisces we were able to open to some sense somewhere of greater vision and possibility in our life- now is the time to manifest, and work with our mind to change the way we are thinking, to align our mind and our perceptions with not only our Will but the Divine Will of the Universe. The Buddha and Buddhism teaches that we are what we think, that we become what we think, and that it is possible to change who and what we become in form, through changing the form of our thoughts.
In addition, with Jupiter continuing to be in Gemini and Venus moving into the beginning of Gemini at the time of the eclipse, we could experience a flood of information concerning the desires we have that are linked with past incarnations, more information than could even seem useful because of the overwhelming feeling it brings. It again brings up the issue of whether or not all this information, this going into our past problems can help us- and again, the advice of the Buddha to train mind, discipline mind, in order to disentangle ourselves from our past thoughts and desires, in order to change through changing the way we think, does feel helpful to me. Indeed, if we look at the Sabian Symbol for the North Node of the Moon, 17 degrees Scorpio, at the time of today’s Solar Eclipse, we will see that we do indeed have this power of divine thought within us:
Scorpio 17: A Woman, fecundated by her own spirit, is “Great with child.”
Keynote: A total reliance upon the dictates of the God-within.
. . . here we see the result of a deep and complete concentration reaching to the innermost center of the personality where the Living God acts as a fecundating power. This reveals the potency of the inward way, the surrender of the ego to a transcendent Force which can create through the person vivid manifestations of the Will of God.
–Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala, p. 202
So even though the strong Taurus energy in this time period could potentially correspond with us falling into even more of a comfort zone than normal, we can use the deep rooted centering of Taurus to help us be present to the transformations occurring around us with our full being. But in order to do this in connection with our evolutionary intentions, we will need to do it while integrating the polarity of Taurus: Scorpio. Scorpio is the polarity to Taurus, and the location of our collective focus of evolutionary growth in the form of the North Node of the Moon, as well as the current location of Saturn, the great karmic master of our three dimensional reality here.
At the time of today’s eclipse, the North Node of the Moon and Saturn will be widely conjunct in Scorpio. Saturn in Scorpio to me is like the karmic taskmaster Mahakala, seen in the image above. Mahakala is always depicted with five skulls, the five skulls standing for the transmutation of desires into wisdom. Mahakala destroys ignorance, confusion, and doubt, he is the Lord of Time and the Lord of Death, and to me is like Saturn in Scorpio in that he may seem intense and even wrathful, but in his intensity he purifies and protects. At this time of Saturn in Scorpio standing in opposition to the extreme magnetic desire energy of Taurus, it is a time for us to face our desires and places we are acting out of confusion without fear. It is a time to go through death, because death is our friend in transformation- like Mahakala, we can make friends with our own personal “demons” and integrate ourselves into greater consciousness, as Mahakala turns demons into protection. It is like how Taurus rules our desires for form, and in Scorpio we transcend or transmute our desires beyond attachment to form. It is like the phoenix rising from the flames. We do not fear death, we step into it and experience our freedom. In another passage from Going Into Being, Mark Epstein explains his understanding of Nirvana and how it is not really about death, it is about the freedom we gain from releasing the fear of death:
Nirvana is the Buddha’s word for freedom, not for death. It is his answer to the problem of common unhappiness, to the anxiety that is encapsulated most clearly in the fear of death. Nirvana, as the late San Francisco Zen master Suzuki Roth put it, is the capacity to maintain one’s composure in the face of ceaseless change. The key, from the Buddha’s perspective, is to find nirvana through overcoming one’s own self-created obstacles to that composure. The path to nirvana means working with one’s own reactions to the change that surrounds us, to the change that we are.
–Mark Epstein, Going on Being: Buddhism and the Way of Change, p. 125
Joseph Campbell and others have elaborated upon the significance of ritualistic deaths in myths and in the reality of cultures around our planet, in that the important thing is that the participants believe they are going to die, and so experience a death of their infantile ego. Some of the most widely practiced ancient rituals were connected with myths of the underworld, resurrection, and transcendence of form, such as the myth of Demeter and Persephone, and the myth of Isis and Osiris. Going through a near death experience, or a ritualistic experience in which we believe we may die, helps us destroy our ego perspective that feels dependent upon society or the expectations of others to validate our authority, and helps us step into our own inner authority in an authentic manner without fear of judgment. I do not mean to suggest that we need to go through a death experience at this time in our lives, just that the symbol of death and transformation associated with the archetype of Scorpio is very important right now, being the polarity to so much Taurus energy.
In fact, this transformation we could experience at this time could be quite peaceful, calm, and meditative, if we are using some of the wisdom teachings of the Buddha. The Sabian Symbol for the current placement of Saturn in Scorpio is especially illuminating in this way:
Scorpio 8: A calm lake bathed in moonlight
Keynote: A quiet openness to higher inspiration
One could stress the romantic suggestions such an image evokes, but even at the level of a love relationship what is implied is a surrender of two personal egos to the inspiration of transcendent feelings which are essentially impersonal. Love expresses itself through the lovers, for real Love is a cosmic undifferentiated principle or power which simply focuses itself within the “souls” of human beings who reflect its light. The same is true of the mystic’s love for God. Man strives hard to achieve great things through daring adventures, but a moment comes when all that really matters is to present a calm mind upon which a supernal light may be reflected.
–Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala, p. 196
To quote one of my favorite wise womyn on planet earth, master herbalist Carol Trasatto, this “balm of calm” could be quite helpful in these intense days ahead. If we can reach within for this calm state of mind and being, we can be like the reflective surface of a tranquil lake receiving the glow of the full moon, like our calm mind receiving the Light of Spirit. A helpful meditation for these upcoming times can be found in this translation of the Tao Te Ching by Stephen Mitchell (63):
Act without doing;
work without effort.
Think of the small as large
and the few as many.
Confront the difficult
while it is still easy;
accomplish the great task
by a series of small acts.
The Master never reaches for the great;
thus she achieves greatness.
When she runs into a difficulty,
she stops and gives herself to it.
She doesn’t cling to her own comfort;
thus problems are no problem for her.
Harmony through Conflict
Times of eclipses are usually never easy, but when exactly is life easy for humans on our planet these days? If we look at the symbol above, a six pointed star or what is often commonly referred to as the “Star of David,” we can see a symbol to meditate upon for guidance. Similar to the symbol of the cross, the six pointed star meets in the middle, in the heart. The triangle pointing upward symbolizes the transmutation of our lower nature into our higher nature, and the triangle pointing downward symbolizes the integration of our higher nature into our lower nature: they meet in the middle, the heart. Just as the cross meets in the middle, the heart. The heart is the fourth chakra (the middle chakra, with three above and three below), just like humans are the fourth kingdom (three kingdoms below- mineral, plant, animal, and three kingdoms above- the soul, and the more “angelic” realms). Sound like the middle path? Using the number seven as a symbol for consciousness in these ways, we find that the number four is in the middle, and the number four stands for being heart-centered. This connects with the Fourth Ray of Esoteric Astrology: as Alan Oken teaches, what is the conflict? Meat! Being in the flesh, being incarnated in our physical form on this planet in the middle of extreme energies! And what is the harmony? Consciousness, and living a heart-centered life. Fittingly for this Taurus eclipse season, the two main signs of the 4th Ray are Taurus and Scorpio- Taurus, the sign of being in form, beauty and art, and “the creation of the various forms of life and the ultimate release of consciousness from them that constitutes the lessons of daily living” (Oken, p.120), and Scorpio, the archetype of transcending attachment to form, ruled by Pluto on our ego level because of bringing about the death process of our desire nature. Alan Oken has already written a brilliant summary of this dynamic, that could relate to intense events corresponding with these series of eclipses while the third Pluto-Uranus square is happening at the same time:
There is a common rhythm for those crises brought on through the urgency of Fourth Ray energy. It may be outlined as follows: A person finds herself in a relative state of harmony, but then a certain change enters her life, shifting the status quo. Such a change brings on the tensions of the struggle between the past and the unfolding future, between the urge for things to stay the same and the inevitability of transformation. A battle ensues between the two opposing forces, which leads to a passing and a death of the form of the situation. She is left with the struggle to reconstruct a new form out of the experiences of the battle that has just taken place. This new form consolidates and settles, and once again there is harmony– until the entrance of the next change! Is this not the rhythm and movement of Scorpio? The Fourth Ray, the human state, forces the resolution of conflict, the harmonizing of the pairs of opposites, and the eventual evolution from the focus of instinct and desire to the release into consciousness and pure, essential love.
–Alan Oken, Soul-Centered Astrology, p. 121
In these times of eclipses, with the third intense Pluto-Uranus square fast approaching on May 20, may we be heart-centered, heart-focused, and live from the heart. If we can combine this with the guidance the Buddha brings to us in this season of Taurus, to train our minds to disentangle from the desires preventing us from sensing our true being in the world without interruption, we will have a heightened ability to shift and flow with whatever intense events may be on the horizon of our lives.
1. A.H. Almaas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._H._Almaas
2. Epstein, Mark. (200. Going on Being: Buddhism and the Way of Change. Broadway Books.
3. Mitchell, Stephen (1988). Tao Te Ching. Harper Collins.
4. Oken, Alan.(1990). Soul-Centered Astrology: A Key to Your Expanding Self. Ibis.
5. Rudhyar, Dane. (1974). An Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformations and its 360 Symbolic Phases. Vintage.