Lights for Signs

Ain Soph – The Unknown God

Chapter 10

Fred Mayers

Genesis I, V. 14 to 19 (continued).

We have considered the “lights in the firmament” as the sources of human intelligence and of human mental and spiritual development. There is now another aspect in which we have to consider them; that is their purpose as “symbolic signs”- “othoth.” In this connection the Genesis narrative does quite certainly refer to the physical “sun, moon and stars.” In what sense are we to understand their purpose as “signs.” the word “aothoth”- “signs,” is in a sense a double word “aoth-oth.” It means “symbolic signs.” The basis of the word is the “present participle,” “aotha,” which means “to be coming” or “to come,” so that “aothoth” definitely means “symbolic signs of the future.” This is frankly admitted by most scholars. Even Fr. Delitzsch says the word might apply to “weather to come” or to “historical occurrences.” He mentions its use in Jer. X, 2; where he says it “clearly refers to ‘astrological prognosis,’ “ so, if the sun, moon and stars are definitely stated by the author of Genesis to have been created to be “symbolic signs of the future” in that sense, it opens up a very wide subject. Let us go a little farther: the word “seasons,” “moadim,” denotes “limits of time,” or “divisions of time”; “seasons”; “periods”; “intervals,” etc.; but the root of the word means “to predetermine” anything, either in time or space- “iad” = “to appoint,” “determine.”

So the real meaning of “moadim” is: “determined or appointed times” or “periods” of anything. The meaning of the word “day”, “iom,” has been explained fully already and need not be repeated here. The word “year,” “shanah,” denotes not only a “year” but any ‘‘regular recurrent period,’’ and also any ‘‘change’’ or vicissitude.” Then we have the word translated by “to rule,” “memesheleth.” The basic word is “meshol,” it means sometimes “to preside” “to be a judge,” “to rule,” but much more often it means “to be a model,” a “representative,” a “symbol” of anything; “to speak in allegories or parables,” to present a “similitude, or emblem, or figure of anything.” To go still a little farther into detail, the actual root of the word “meshol.” is “sho,” which denotes ideas of “parity,” “similitude,” “representation,” etc.

All this makes it quite clear that “memesheleth” actually means “symbolic representations of things to be.” One more word in the passage needs explanation; it is the word “stars”- “cocabbim.” The present writer happened to notice some years ago that the Arabic equivalent of this word, “kawkab,” was applied only to the “planets,” and a different word altogether was used for the fixed stars. He thought it probable that the word really denoted “planets” in Hebrew also, although in common use it was applied indiscriminately to all stars. This idea was confirmed later, as the basis of the word “cocabbim” is “cabab,” which means “to be rolled” or “to move around,”-which is exactly what the planets, viewed from the earth, appear to do in relation to the fixed stars. Then the root of the first syllable of “cocabbim” is “koch,” which denotes “forces” or “virtues.” The only inference possible, therefore, is that the word “cocabbim” not only originally denoted the planets, but “planets” conceived of in exactly the same way as they were in the ancient science of Astrology, that is, as spiritual influences and representatives of the unfolding divine purposes throughout the ages.

This statement will, no doubt, come as a surprise-perhaps even as a “shock” to many good Christians who have come to consider that ancient, and once universal science, as an old exploded superstition, to be classed with “witchcraft,” “sorcery,” “necromancy,” and all other such “cursed arts.” As for our 20th century scientists, they could not risk their professional reputations by even investigating the subject-still less testing it-so they laugh it out of court. There are exceptions, of course. The writer once had an interesting conversation on this subject with the late M. Camille Flammarion and found that that great astronomer was also a deep student of astrology and a firm believer in it (not, needless to say, the “Astrology” with which certain newspapers amuse their readers). Fortunately we are concerned with the subject here, only so far as it is needed to explain the Book of Genesis, although it enters, to a degree that very few people realise, into the whole Bible – both Old and New Testaments.

Whatever our opinions may be, it can be said that all the great religious systems have had an astrological basis, and were inseparably bound up with the science. Every one of them, in chronological order, corresponds with the characteristics of the Zodiacal signs followed in their reverse order (i.e., they follow the recession of the equinoctial point). If the traditional authorship of Genesis is correct, we know that Moses was learned in all the learning of the Egyptians,” we know also that his father-in-law was a priest of the Chaldean religion. That being so, he would have been as familiar with the old science as a pious Churchman with the “Book of Common Prayer,” and it is perfectly natural that it should have a place in his book. It is necessary, therefore, that we should have some knowledge of the general principles of the science, and especially of the attributes of the Zodiacal signs. The more deeply those signs and their traditional significances are studied, the more impossible it appears to consider them as a human invention. In the first place they are more ancient than the earliest records of human history; they can be traced in the earliest dawn of civilisation.

The most ancient legends of all peoples are based on astrology. Everywhere throughout the world the “Signs,” their symbols, and significance are found practically identical. There are some slight modifications of the symbols to adapt them to local conditions; for instance, the “Bull” becomes an “Elephant” in India; the “Crab” is sometimes a “Tortoise,” in Egypt it was sometimes replaced by the scarabeus, but it remained a “Crab” in the planispheres of the great temples of Denderah and Esme; the meanings of the signs were unchanged. The only change of any importance that ever appears to have been made was the substitution of the “Scorpion” for the “Eagle,” and that corresponded with one of the most important facts in the whole story of humanity, which can be more appropriately referred to later in this chapter.

How can we account for these signs and their traditional meanings. There is no conceivable way in which men in the earliest stages of civilisation could have obtained them from observation and experience. Uninterrupted observations over a complete Precessional Cycle, even if possible, would have been insufficient. And what could lead any primitive race of men even to imagine the possibility of any connection between the stars and their lives and destinies? Given the Zodiacal conception, its significance, and the key to “planetary” workings, by some form of “Revelation,” they would of course be able to observe its influences at work in human-and cosmic-affairs, but no human beings could ever have “invented” it. The only explanation of its origin which appears to be possible is that it was “revealed” to men in just exactly the same way as “prophecies” and all other spiritual mysteries, through the clairvoyant perceptive faculty of the sub-conscious mind at the period of its most complete activity. See Intuition – Using It

Before it is possible to show the correspondence of the Zodiacal Signs with human and world events it is necessary to give a brief description of them-as they have come down to us from immemorial times. Then we must show that God’s plan for “realising” His creative idea of “Man” is symbolised and summarised in the Signs. We can then see how what we know of man in past ages, and of the religious systems of those ages agrees with the Signs; and judge from that how they also prefigure the future.

Briefly then, a description of the signs in their order: They are arranged around the circle in three series of four, which correspond with what used to be called the “four elements” of the Universe : “Fire ; Air ; Water ; Earth.” “Fire” represents Spirit; power; force; will; energy; activity; impulse; causation, etc. “Air” represents intellect; thought; imagination ; reason, etc., i.e., the “human” qualities. “Water” represents the emotional qualities; feeling; sensation; moods; dispositions, etc. “Earth represents the practical ; the maternal; the “realised” outcome and expression of all life and activity; concrete results ; actual attainments.

There are three phases, or forms of expression of each “element.” These are called “cardinal”; “fixed”; and “mutable.” The “cardinal” activities-like the “cardinal points” of the compass-are the starting points, so to speak, of the activity or of the direction of the forces of each of the “elemental” groups. The “Fixed” signs represent qualities that have become fixed; habitual; permanent; definite. The “mutable” signs are those in which qualities or characteristics become less “hard and fast,” when they become “adaptable,” able to compromise or harmonise with others; they show more mutual accommodation, more of the “give and take,” or “hearing both sides” qualities; they are less “positive” and more “sweetly reasonable,” etc. 

The signs are as follows :-

(1) Aries, the Ram (or Lamb). This is the “Cardinal” “Fire” sign. It denotes the “outgoing” of new life, power, energy, impulse, activity. It is initiative, pioneering, etc. The sign is represented pictorially on the Celestial Globe, or in any traditional picture of the Zodiac as a young “Ram,” lying down with one foot bent under it, and its head turned backward, looking “as if it had been slain” as a sacrificial victim.

(2) Taurus, the Bull, is the “Fixed” “Earth” sign. It denotes bodily, mental or spiritual strength; also inherited qualities or possessions; practical, useful powers or gifts. Its essential characteristic is that of “Service.” Its pictograph shows the front view of a Bull. It is a steady-going, reliable, practical, rather conservative sign; slow to anger, but likely, if angered, to be a formidable adversary. (Rather “John Bull” ish, in a word.)

(3) Gemini, the Twins, is the “Mutable” “Air” sign. It is represented on the globe or in old planispheres as Twin human figures. Being an “Air” sign, it is active in the mental sphere. It denotes the twin minds of man, one or other always active in some way. It does not at all represent “fixed” ideas-but the opposite, a tendency to pass quickly from one thought to another. It likes movement, travel, intercourse, society; it is often restless, fanciful, changeable, rambling, but also often brilliant, witty, full of ideas-though seldom profound. Its symbol is a pair of pillars or obelisks. Its essence is mutuality, “relationship!”

(4) Cancer, the Crab, is the “Cardinal Water” sign. It is essentially connected with the emotional nature. The feelings are the sources of its activity; they are strong and deep; it is a feminine, “motherly” kind of sign; fruitful; very sensitive; kindly; considerate; fond of “possession,” not only of home children, friends, but in any kind of way. It loves to accumulate, to “collect.” It is unselfish-but clings tenaciously to what it loves. Its symbol is generally the Crab, but sometime it is figured as a Tortoise, and in Egypt sometimes as a Beetle holding some object in its claws. It is the sign of the Moon, which greatly affects emotions.

(5) Leo, the Lion, is the “Fixed” “Fire” sign. It is, so to speak, the heart of the Zodiac. In it all the activities of Aries have, been concentrated and given purpose; permanence, passion; and a certain nobility. It is the “Royal Sign” denoting .”Love,” the Ruler of Life. It is proudly “faithful” and scorns what is “weak,” “small-minded,” or mean. It is the sign of the “Sun”-the physical and also the Divine Sun. Its symbol is the majestic “Lion passant” of Heraldry. It was also the symbol depicted on the banners of the “Sons of Judah.”

(6) Virgo, the Virgin, is the “Mutable” “Earth” sign. In it the “earthy” qualities are being raised to a higher plane; spiritualised. It is represented in the Zodiac by a female figure holding some ears of corn in her hand. Sometimes she is beside a fall of Water. In many ancient planispheres she is shown with a child in her arms, exactly like the “Madonna and Child” of the Catholic Church. In the planisphere of the Temple of Denderah both forms are shown – one below the other. There are two clear meanings to the sign. In the first, Virgo is “Earth” producing by human labour the “corn” which is the necessary physical food of man. In the second she appears as the Mother of the Divine “Child” who was to be the “Bread of Life” to humanity: “The Divine,” born in earth conditions. In its outward activity “Virgo” is quiet, patient, practical, capably executive, refined, feminine (but not effeminate), pure minded. It is the least passional in an animal sense of all the signs. Its hieroglyph represents the “Serpent” symbol with the head struck off. Mental qualities are strong in the sign.

(7) Libra, the Scales, is the “Cardinal” “Air” sign. It denotes the kind of mental activity that ‘‘judges; weighs-up’’; “balances”; “harmonises”; “adjusts”; “pacifies,” etc. Its judgements are not the quick, intuitional decisions of “Aries; they are arrived at usually after certain vacillation, consideration and balancing up of ‘‘pros and cons’’; but when arrived at they are just and fair. Libra is not prone to “take sides” in a partisan manner, but aims at drawing a true line of justice between opposing opinions. It is the “reasoning” sign. Its essence is harmony or “repose” – using that word in the sense it is used when we speak of a satisfactory musical composition or any work of Art: “an attained satisfaction”- “peace.” It is figured in the Zodiac as a pair of Scales.

(8) Scorpio, the Scorpion, is the “Fixed” “Water” sign. Its hieroglyph is, like Virgo, the “Serpent” sign, but in this case the “sting” is very much in evidence. It represents emotions, feelings, etc. of a fixed, permanent nature. “Cancer” represented free and abundant emotional activity. In “Scorpio,” likes and dislikes are fixed and powerful for either good or evil. The sign may produce great saints or great sinners, but never weak characters. It gives a very strong Will. It “dominates” others so naturally and spontaneously that it is often scarcely conscious of the power it exercises. When not working consciously for good, it can be very cruel and malicious. If it “stings” it stings to kill. So it becomes in its lower working the symbol of “Death,” but, in its higher working, of “Resurrection” to a higher life. In its highest meaning it has been figured as an “Eagle” or Phoenix rising heavenwards, with its gaze fixed on the Divine Sun. In its lower meaning it is the “Sting of Death.” In the “Children of Israel” it is Dan (the Judge). Dan is “an adder in the path, he biteth the horse’s heel,” etc. (Sagittarius the centaur archer follows Scorpio.) It is a combination of power and passion for good or for evil.

(9) Sagittarius, the Archer, is the “Mutable” “Fire” sign-the last of the “fire” signs. In it the free, unrestrained activities of Aries which became “fixed” qualities in Leo, now become balanced and harmonised, and work toward high aims. It is represented in the Zodiac as a Centaur-like being, half man, half animal, turning to shoot an arrow at the “Scorpion.” It represents high ideals and philosophy; prophetic insight, and the power that overcomes sin and death. The animal nature is ruled and directed by the human spiritual nature.

(10) Capricorn, the Goat, is the “Cardinal” “Earth” sign. It is the sign of hard, long struggle, and finally, high attainment. It is symbolised by a compound creature, half goat, half fish-the front portion has the head and front legs of a goat, the hind portion a fish’s body and tail. The “Goat,” with only his front legs, is patiently and perseveringly struggling to climb a mountain, but is handicapped and hindered all the time by having to drag with him his Piscean after-part. It represents ambition; definite aims and purposes; patience and perseverance in overcoming difficulties; and final success-the attainment of its Zodiacal goal.

(11) Aquarius, the Water Pourer, is the “Fixed” “Air” sign. In this sign the mental qualities are being consolidated into “Intellect.” Ideas take definite permanent shape. The mind is “made up.” It is no longer searching uncertainly for some undefined truth. It has acquired something, and now “pours out” the wealth of its knowledge for the benefit of mankind. In world affairs it denotes an age of illumination, mental progress, scientific advance. In physical matters it denotes the “Conquest of the Air.” The ideograph of the sign is a man pouring water out of an urn. In some ancient Zodiac pictures, he is pouring the water into a fish’s mouth.

(12) Pisces, the Fishes, is the “Mutable” “Water” sign-and the last sign of the Zodiac. Its symbol represents two fishes tied together by the tails and trying to swim in opposite directions. It is the most mysterious of all the signs. It is generally considered an “unfortunate” sign; it is the sign of frustration, failure, even despair. Yet at the same time it is a sign which has, within it, the most glorious spiritual possibilities. It depends entirely on whether it is working on a high or a low plane of life. It may be the sign of “self-undoing”-of “self-destruction”; or it may be the sign of “self-surrender,” of attaining “self-awareness”; of voluntarily sacrificing one’s “self” to the salvation of one’s immortal spirit. The sign is, significantly enough, what is called a “double-bodied” sign like Gemini and Sagittarius. Gemini has its two “pillars” representing the double “mind” of man. Sagittarius is half man, half horse, representing the junction of animal and human passions. Pisces, being an Emotional sign represents conflicting emotions or desires. “The things I would not, those I do: and the things I would, those I do not.” “Who shall deliver me . . . . It is a sign that brings no satisfaction to anyone until- by Divine grace and strength-they can rise above their lower “self.” Then it tends strongly towards the spiritual. The inward purpose and aim of the sign is Love Universal. That can never be attained so long as our loving is on the plane of self-seeking. It can only be attained in self-giving.

The above notes give very sketchily and imperfectly the general characteristics of the Zodiacal “signs.” It is now necessary to give a few similar notes about the “planets.” These include for Astrological purposes the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune. The Two last named were known to the ancients, but had no part in their astrologic systems because up to a comparatively recent period they were inactive on the plane of human life.

The Sun is the centre arid source from which all the planets receive their powers. It expresses itself through the characteristics of whatever “Sign” it may be “passing through,” seen from the earth. Its own direct influence acts in and on the human spirit.

The Moon receives, gathers up and, in a sense, synthesises, the general combined influences of the other planets. It acts most directly on the emotional plane.

Mercury represents Universal “Mind.” It is chiefly active in “mental” matters. It has been called “The Messenger of the Gods.” It has no special mind characteristics of its own but it takes on the particular characteristics of any “Sign” it may be passing through-as far as they affect mental matters-and transmits them to the earth plane. Its most physical activities affect the nervous system and through that, the disposition. So we speak of a mercurial” temperament, “up and down” and changeable as the mercury in a barometer.

So very much is to be learned from the little hieroglyphs of Astrology, which are a kind of “alphabet” of the science, that at the risk of extending these notes more than intended, the writer feels that it would be useful to give some explanation of them. The Mercury symbol shows a semicircle over a circle, and the + under it. The + is the earth sign; its horizontal line denotes the present plane of human activity, the normal everyday level of life. The upward line represents the course of human evolution, beginning far down in chaos and darkness and passing upwards towards the light of the Spirit. The 0 is the sign of “Spirit.” In man it is the human spiritual individuality. The) or semicircle is the moon or soul sign, a cup or chalice, open to the heavens to receive the influences that pour into it from above-just as the physical moon receives the ligreflect. ht of the sun and reflects it to the earth. The moon has no light of itself -neither has the soul. Both receive and The Mercury sign is also given in the form of the “caduceus.” This shows the “rod” or “sceptre,” symbolising authority, rule, influence, around which are entwined two “serpents”-symbols of “wisdom” or “intelligence.” These two serpents represent the “conscious” and “subconscious” minds. The “orbit” of Mercury is near the sun. The “Sun” symbol represents any “centre” or focus of spiritual activity.

Venus is the representative of Love, Beauty, Harmony, in any sphere – either of spirit, thought, life, or physical being. Its hieroglyph represents the spiritual qualities dominating the material.

Mars represents outgoing energy, unrestricted activity either for good or evil. It is the sign of conflicting, warlike forces. In its hieroglyph the lower, earthly characteristics are shown above the spirit sign.

Jupiter is the representative of increase, expansion, growth, preservation. Acting in the mind it denotes “Wisdom”; in the “disposition” it shows as generosity, goodwill, etc. Its hieroglyph represents the soul forces (moon) rising above the material plane-but remaining in touch with it.

Saturn represents restraint, contraction, any defining, centralising, materialising influences. It is the most materialistic of the planets. Acting in the mind it produces narrow-mindedness-but at the same time very clear cut, definite ideas. Acting on the general disposition, it “hardens” and leads to self-centredness, selfishness, etc., but also to “cautiousness,” carefulness and other useful qualities. It is also-in a narrow-sighted way strictly just. The hieroglyph represents the material sign dominating the soul sign.

Uranus is, so to speak, Mercury on a “higher octave.” Its symbol represents spiritual force rising through the “Gemini” symbol of the twin minds. “Mind” in itself tends to grow only into “Intellectualism.” Uranus raises the level and extends the field of “thought” action. It gives, at its best, great “Genius” -and at its worst, “eccentricity.” It has much affinity with the Zodiacal sign “Aquarius,” and its action shows strongly in many of the most modern developments of Science and Art.

Neptune appears to influence most the “mystic side of mail; in deep, vague, feelings and ideas; extensions of consciousness, etc. Its hieroglyph, the “Trident,” represents the human spirit, mind, and emotions “fishing in the great waters.” It is at present little understood, and what its ultimate purpose in regard to human life and evolution may be, remains to be seen. One might mention as a very typical Neptunian personality-Madame Blavatsky. It certainly has much to do with the “mediumistic” faculty-a faculty which, in its present state of development, is more often dangerous than valuable. One can see the “Neptune” influence in the poetry of Coleridge in the “Ancient Mariner,” “Christabel,” “Kubla Khan,” etc.

The planets, in their continual movements through the ‘‘signs’’ exercise their own special qualities through the characteristics of the Sign they are in at any time. They are also continually changing their relative (angular) positions one to another. It is found that when they form “aspects” based on the sextile division of the circle (30º, 60º, 120º) they work harmoniously together; but that when at distances based on the + (45º – 90º) they are at “cross-purposes.” When they are together, in “conjunction,” agreement or disagreement depends on their special natures. When in opposition (180º), as the name indicates, they are antagonistic in their action. But what is of supreme importance to Astrology is that all their movements are measurable and can be calculated in advance, or for any period past or future, and therefore there is a permanent mathematical basis to all planetary workings. While the “Signs” give the permanent characteristics under which humanity and all its activities can be classed, the planets in their motions become the indicators of the “times and seasons” in which any particular influences are at work.

The above notes may perhaps suffice to give us enough understanding of astrology to enable us, in glancing over the past history of mankind and the various civilisations and religions that have marked the course of human development -to see for ourselves the main lines of “correspondence” of it all with the Zodiacal signs. We shall at least get an idea of what lies behind the Genesis statement: “They shall be for (symbolic) signs,”-for the future as for the past.

The “Old Testament” is the record of the Hebrew civilisation and religion. The Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt coincided the ending “Taurean” age, and passing of the point of the Zodiac which marks the “Spring equinox” (the commencement of the astronomic and astrologic year) from the sign Taurus to Aries. The era from the Exodus to the birth of Jesus Christ is the Aries or “Ram” age. One of the first things that Moses did after leading the Israelites out of Egypt was to change the official commencement of the year- (see Ex. XII, v. 2 and elsewhere)-to make it coincide with the entrance of the Sun into Aries. Aries (as already said) is a Cardinal sign, one of the signs that mark the appearance of some great new world movement. He then went on to introduce a complete new system of laws, a new form of Religion; and a new ceremonial presentation of Religion. While the Israelites had been in Egypt the Taurean age was still existing, and the “Bull” was the universal “God symbol” throughout most of the known world.

Moses introduced the “Ram” or “Lamb” (described as a male of the first year”) as the principal sacrificial emblem. The appearance” of great new movement does not necessarily mean its first beginnings; these may often be found far back in some other sign. In this case the “ram” as a religious symbol had been pre-figured in the story of Abraham’s offering on “Mount Moriah.” Abraham had “offered” Isaac as a sacrifice” and Isaac had freely accepted the role of victim, so as far as they were concerned the sacrifice was “spiritually” complete; but, as regards the fulfilment of the symbolic ceremony, Isaac was saved by Divine intervention, substituting a ram. This was obviously the basis of the Mosaic system of “sacrifices.” The “ram” had become a symbol of “human salvation,” and was also supremely appropriate for the “Aries” epoch of religion. Moses also appointed the bull or calf, and the dove as sacrificial victims. In Egypt the “Bull” was regarded as the outward visible representation of God; he was never a sacrificial victim, but sacrifices-usually of fruits or food-were paid -to him. Moses also changed the manner of the sacrifice. “Aries” was a “Fire” sign; so he introduced “burnt offerings.” Then again, “Aries” denoted “outgoing of new life, energy, movement. Moses again and again emphasised that to the Israelites: “See that ye remember that in the month Abib (Aries) ye came forth from the “land of bondage.” The “bull” in the Zodiac was symbolic of “servitude’ ‘-it bears the “yoke” in the service of man. The curious story of the Israelites, during the temporary absence of Moses, clamouring for “gods”-visible outward images-to “go before them,” and of Aaron producing for them the “golden calf,” was as if he had said to them: “Very well; if you must have your old gods, take this symbol of servitude instead of new, free life.” Again, the daily moving Tabernacle, instead of a temple, was clearly correspondent with the restless activity of Aries. One might go on for page after page pointing out the exact correspondences between the whole Mosaic system and what had been prefigured for thousands of years in the Zodiacal Sign, and in its “appointed time” become realised. As we follow the history of the Israelites farther and come to the times of their prophets, we find one after another looking towards the future and foretelling the age that should follow; speaking of Him “who shall come”; of an age when the symbolic “Ram” should be displaced by the One it prefigured: the “Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.” Daniel foretells-in strictly astrologic language-the very year in which the “hope and expectation” of the ages should appear. At length the Christ appears; the Arian age passes away and the Pisces epoch begins. Chaldean sages, reading in the same mystic Zodiacal signs of the times were expecting Him, and took their journey to Bethlehem to find Him. (See also “Book of Manilius.”) “Pisces” was a “Water” sign. Let us see how the Christian age corresponds with it. The first public act of Jesus was to go to John the Baptist to be “baptised” by him in the waters of Jordan. His first “miracle’ ‘-symbolic of His whole mission-was to turn “water” into wine. Water was the natural quencher of human thirst. Wine was something more; it had a spirituous quality; it had a reviving, elevating property ; it “maketh glad the heart (the very spirit) of man.” Throughout all the ages wine has been a symbol of spirit or of a spiritualising power. Its primal use was spiritual-but like so many ancient spiritual -symbols, the symbol became the “god” and in the perversion of its use the “spirit-filled” man became but a drunkard. (Refer to the account of “Pentecost.”) But the “wine” into which Jesus converted the water was not to be perverted in that way: “These men are not drunken as ye suppose. “. . . . this is that which was spoken of. I will pour out my Spirit,” etc. Then we read how Jesus chose His first disciples from fishermen. “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” How He talked to the woman of Samaria: “If thou hadst known who it is that saith unto thee ‘Give me to drink,’ thou wouldst have asked of Him, and He would have given thee ‘living water.” Again: “The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well (spring) of water, springing up into everlasting life.” “Water” and the “Spirit” runs through all His teaching like the “motif” of a musical symphony. “Water” was of all symbols the least liable to degradation, to idolatrous use, in any case, and it is always kept associated with Spirit: “Water” to symbolise cleansing from sin, and spirit to symbolise Life. It is very noticeable how much of the Gospels are taken up with “Water” and “fish” episodes: the “walking on the sea”; the miraculous “draughts of fishes”; the “feed g” of the multitude on “two small fishes,” etc. (The very hieroglyph of Pisces.) What a complete change all this is from the Aries symbology! There are no sacrificial victims-no “burnt-offerings.” We have no mention of the change of the New Year date-but we have a -change in the whole reckoning of time-BC to AD It is -interesting also to compare the list of the “twelve disciples” so far as our knowledge of them goes, with the twelve Zodiacal signs: “First Simon, who is called Peter.” Is not Peter, out and out, the very incarnation of the “Aries” qualities, the impetuous, fiery, “act-before-you-think” type; taking part in everything; and always first to act on any occasion ; yet with an “uncanny faculty for jumping in a flash to the apprehension of some truth the others had not grasped? Next, “and Andrew, his brother”; is not this strong, quiet, useful, practical disciple typically “Taurean”? Then “James and John”-are they not typically a “Gemini” pair? James, with his blunt, clear reason,” his sound common-sense, always showing the “day-consciousness mind”; and John, continually “dwelling in the Spirit,” always spiritually receptive and perceptive, like the working of the “subconscious mind.” Do they not recall the “two pillars” of Gemini? Follow the list through and it will be found that one and all correspond unmistakably with the twelve types of humanity figured in the Zodiac. Or again, consider the “Pisces” era in quite another way-as it relates to the course of world history. What is more noticeable than the fact that it has been a great “Water” age, during which man has conquered the oceans? From pole to pole, and the whole world round, not a sea is now uncharted and untravelled. It may be useful at this point to mention another Astrologic principle not yet referred to :-In describing the twelve signs we have pointed out, first, the “Elemental” division into three “Fire,” three “Air,” three “Water” and three “Earth” signs; then we referred to the three modes of activity: “Cardinal,” “Fixed,” and “Mutable,” and showed that the three signs belonging to each “element” were classed – one to each mode of activity. That is, one “Cardinal” Fire sign, one “Fixed” Fire, and one “Mutable” Fire sign, and so on with each “element.” Now this principle also works in a more detailed manner in every individual sign. Every “sign” has three phases of activity, i.e., m the first 100 of the sign; in the second 100 of the sign; in the third 100 of the sign. First, there is the free, straightforward “Cardinal” activity of the characteristics of the sign; then there is a phase in which the characteristics become “Fixed.” There is then no further development or progress, merely the conservation of what the first phase has produced; and thirdly there is a phase in which the special characteristics of the sign begin to weaken and to become modified by outside influences, till gradually, the distinctive character of the sign fades out or is merged into a new one. Space would not permit us to trace this principle in its working in all the “sign,” periods, but we may show how it has worked in the “Pisces age. In the first phase “Christianity” comes into existence as a new World movement of supreme significance and importance, a new expression of religion, a new spiritual Life. It is filled with an irresistible energy. It makes swift progress and the older religions dissolve away before it. They leave something of themselves behind, but as world forces they cease to have any importance. This “Cardinal” activity of the new religion goes ahead until, outwardly at least, it conquered the Roman world and civilisation, and became the “official” universal religion of the Western world, and Roman ecclesiasticism claimed not only spiritual but also temporal authority over the world. (As Dante expressed it: “mixing two governments that ill assort.”) Then commenced the “Fixed” phase; the “living” teachings of Christ were hardened into doctrinal dogmas; the spontaneous expressions of Christian life hardened into “fixed” ceremonies; the simple spiritual meeting together of Christians to eat a little bread and drink a little wine in remembrance” and “thankfulness” was developed into the elaborate sacerdotal service of the “Mass,” just as it has remained to this day. Rome even boasted of being the ‘‘eternal,’’ the ‘‘unchangeable,’’ the only authority,” the master of the souls of men. There was no further “progress” to be made; the “Church” was concerned only with the “conservation” of its acquired power and privileges. Ceremonial supplanted “life”; and naturally and inevitably, a period of spiritual stagnation was the result-as it always has been with every religion that settles down into its “fixed” phase. But the Sun still moves and the Zodiac still stands behind everything. Even Rome could not prevent the dawning of the “Mutable” phase; the old order had to change, giving place to a new one. God fulfils Himself in many ways; some new force awakens in the world. In the case we are considering the awakening force was that of human “self-consciousness,” of individual thought. There is one sphere of life in -which the most abject slave is always free; that is in his own thought-life. That is beyond the reach of any compulsion. A man can be compelled by physical force and threats to “repeat” any creed-but no power on earth can compel him to “believe” it, if he does not. Galileo could be compelled to sign a recantation of his “heresy” in stating that the world was “round,” but, as he added afterwards, “It is round all the same.” All attempts to rob man of that freedom are utterly futile; in the long run it is always “thought”-in its essential freedom-that comes out victor. Screwing down a safety-valve does not in the least reduce the expansive power of steam, it only increases it, and the greater the compression the sooner the explosion. -It was the working of that principle that brought about the Reformation of the XV and XVI centuries, and shifted the “centre” of the world’s religious life from Rome to the North and West. In what remains of the old Church there is very much indeed that is very wonderfully true and beautiful; but when, as an Institution, it seeks to hold back the circling heavens, it loses what it can never regain, and Spirit takes its own free course. What has been said above does not at all apply solely to the Roman Catholic Church it is invariably, in various degrees, the story of all religious movements and systems.

Pisces as a “Water” sign was also bound up with the emotions, and so we find that the Christian Church up to the Reformation-and even up to the XIXth century was essentially a matter of the emotions-the greater the emotion it aroused, the greater its power. With the Reformation, and the growth of individual thought, the Intellectual element commenced to enter religion, and that element has been and is still growing and developing as we enter on the “Aquarian” era, of which we must now say a little. “Aquarius,” as we have said, is an “Air” sign. It has to do with Mind and Intellect and the “outpouring” of knowledge and new phases of truth. It is not directly a religious sign. It brings no new great religious movement or cult, but it will do a great deal towards a new understanding of all past religions; it will unravel much that has been obscure, misunderstood, and mysterious in them. It will rediscover much old, forgotten truth, and the sources of old failures. It will deal with Religion, less as a matter of creed and dogma than as a universal unfolding and development of moral and spiritual qualities in mankind. In that way it will bring the world nearer to the essence of all religion. It may bring regrets to those whose souls are bound up with what they have loved in the past – old memories that are so unspeakably dear, and ever call to us from the deepest deeps of life. It is always so hard to fling away “Excalibur,” but the hand that brought “Excalibur” out of the deep for the use of man takes it back again only to re-temper and repolish it for other hands to wield-the hands of the new “Rex futuris.” Meanwhile, “Aquarius” has much to do with scientific developments. Since this chapter was written the newspapers have been much occupied with the new “atomic” bomb. It is certainly a striking “coincidence” that the basis of this new explosive should be a newly discovered element named “uranium”, after the planet Uranus. Uranus is the “ruling planet” of Aquarius. In this direction the Aquarius symbol is specially significant. The sign is very young yet, but already in the XXth century, we have been inundated with “wave” and “vibration’ theories-and their applications to many practical uses. The world little dreamed fifty years ago that invisible “waves” and “vibrations” could be transmitted and even directed through space for thousands of miles, picked up again at will, and transformed into sounds and pictures or printed messages; that rays of invisible light could be sent through solid, opaque objects to print photographic images for the use of the anatomist or surgeon. Then again, we have seen how the Piscean conquest of the “Water” element -is already-although the XXth century is not yet 50 years old-being swiftly followed by a similar conquest of the “Air.” Both for good and for evil, Tennyson’s vision in “Locksley Hall” has been more than realised already. What is more wonderful still: the conquest of already known fields of research and activity is already revealing the existence of hitherto unknown realms-the stratosphere, for instance-of which the possibilities are yet unguessable. All this corresponds exactly with the sign “Aquarius” as pictured in the Zodiac untold ages ago. -But having brought our brief sketch of mundial and Zodiacal correspondences from the time of Moses to the present day, preceding that of Moses. The era that ended when the work of Moses began was, as we already know, the “Bull” era. Throughout that age religious systems, and civilisations based on the “Bull” sign were widespread throughout Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Countless evidences of them still remain in Egypt, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, Western and Northern Europe. We know that the “Druids” of Britain and the Atlantic coasts of Europe were very generally called “Culdees.” That may be an indication that Chaldea was the main “source” of their cult, and there are other evidences leading to the same conclusion. In harmony with the “Fixed” nature of Taurus, we find that it was not a period marked by any great initiatory movements in thought or life; it was rather a period of conservation and consolidation-one might say: materialisation of the acquirements of the preceding age. We find a very distinct tendency to express older ideas in materialised symbolism, and it is not surprising, therefore, that “idolatry” (i.e., the worship of the symbol rather than the worship of what the symbol signified) reached a very gross stage during that period. We also find that in the Taurean era-in Egypt at least-slave labour was universal and apparently was borne with quiet, patient obedience-very decidedly “bovine” qualities. (The Hebrew name for Egypt, “Mizraim,” means, literally, “oppressions,” “bondage,,’ “servitude.”) Moral delinquency may not have been so specially marked then as it was later in some countries, but it was a period of very little idealism-merely heavy soul-less dullness. The Sun or God symbol in Egypt was “Apis,” and in Assyria, the ‘Winged Bull.” All these things are. obviously, closely connected with the sign “Taurus.”

Going back a stage farther, we come to the ‘‘Gemini era. This being an “Air”-and mental sign, we find it to be a period of much greater mental and intellectual activity than the Taurus age. It was probably, in Chaldea and Egypt, the highest point that their civilisations reached. In this age, “twin obelisks” representative of Gemini first appear at the entrance of the Egyptian temples, and their most wonderful monuments and achievements were produced. There is also evidence that it was a period in which many great migratory movements were taking place throughout the world – specially in the earliest portion of the period. In the Gemini era also the “history” of Egypt may be said to begin. No historical monuments or records of earlier eras are known.

Going back still a stage farther, therefore, we are in a “pre-historic” age. All the knowledge we have of it is what we can deduce from indirect evidences. We know that we must have arrived at the mysterious “Cancer” age.

“Cancer” was the great “Water” sign age of the past. Our only sources of knowledge of it are found in the “legends” to which it gave birth. These “legends” are found all the world over. They are more or less vague, and take on various imaginative forms, but in substance they differ very little. Their theme is always of a great world catastrophe; of the virtual blotting out of a great civilisation by a vast flood from which only remnants of the world’s more ancient inhabitants escaped. (The most exhaustive study of these legends and collateral evidence which the present writer knows of is the very interesting book by Dmitri Merejkowski, “The Secret of the West,” translated by John Cournos. It expounds no theory, and offers no judgement; it is content simply to gather information from every known source, and leaves readers to make their own deductions). Some of the legends describe the “flood” as being accompanied by a great submarine volcanic eruption, and say that the sea “boiled.” To that the present writer may add that, curiously enough, the Genesis “flood” story to some extent is confirmatory on that point, as the word which it uses for “flood” = “mabboul,” denotes a “swelling”; a “boiling-up”; “inflation”; “intumesence” of the “waters.” All this kind of evidence, as has already been said, is not “history” but it is very difficult to conceive how such a story could arise in pre-historic America from Peru to Canada, and also be found all over Europe, North Africa and Asia, including China, unless it had some substantial basis in fact. The legends of the “aborigines” of America, especially of Central and South America, all speak of their escape to westward from a land that formerly existed in some portion of the present Atlantic Ocean. There are also certain indications of escapes in the other direction, to the shores of Western Europe (it is quite possible that some of these “escapees” were the so-called “Iberians” who settled in Great Britain and Ireland long before the first Celtic immigrants came.) and Northwest Africa, and that some of those who escaped to Africa journeyed along the south coasts of the Mediterranean, some setting in Egypt, others, perhaps, going farther east. Something of the character of the pre-flood peoples may be judged from the character of the civilisations which those who escaped to the West established in Central and South America, and which remained there undisturbed until the Spanish discovery and invasion of the so-called “New World.” As regards Egypt, the fact that no records or inscriptions of any kind have been found there of earlier date than the Gemini age, strongly suggests that up to that time the people dwelling in Egypt were without a written language, and that the sudden appearance of such records at the beginning of the Gemini age must be attributed to the art of writing having been brought to them at that time by some much older and much more advanced people. This suggestion receives very strong support from one of the most astounding discoveries ever made by Archaeology. A French Archaeologist, Dr. A. le Plongeon excavating among the ruins of Yucatan, found a number of inscriptions on the walls of an ancient temple in Chichen Itzu. He had a good knowledge of the spoken Maya language, though none of the natives knew of it ever having been written. He noticed, however, that the hieroglyphic writing in the temple seemed to be remarkably similar to the earliest Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, and eventually deciphered all the inscriptions. The language proved to be very little different from the Maya language still spoken by the natives; and further, so closely resembled the ancient Egyptian language that about a third of –the words were identical. That discovery seems to the writer to go a long way towards solving the mystery of Egyptian origins. Also, the old civilisations found surviving in Central and South America, when those countries were re-discovered, -clearly carry us back to pre-flood times, i.e., beyond the “Cancer” era into the “Leo” age.

The old civilisation which the Spaniards found in Mexico when they went there has been profoundly studied by an Anglo-Spanish writer, Salvador da Madariaga who, in his historical books, and also in his historical-romance, “The Heart of Jade,” has given a wonderfully thought-provoking account of it. Particularly significant is the description of the great outstanding ceremony of their religion-the “Heart Sacrifice.” The essential point of the ceremony appears to be that “Quetzalcoatl” would accept only human hearts, and they must be “living.” Those demands were interpreted strictly literally. It was the duty of the priest, or priest officiating, by a single stroke of the sacrificial obsidian knife to tear open the breast of the victim, snatch the heart from it, and before it ceased its last beat, to fling it at the feet of the “god.” It does not require much spiritual perception to see at once that that ceremony could only be explained as a grossly materialised and degraded expression of a great spiritual truth. It is also evident that the truth was one strictly relevant to the sign “Leo”-the “Heart” sign of the Zodiac. We may also repeat what was said of Taurus that the “Fixed” signs, in early religious expression, very easily hardened and degenerated into gross “idolatry.”

The writer is perfectly well aware that, in this chapter, he is dealing with a subject that needs to be handled with care and judgement. It is like certain cinema films which are not licensed for universal exhibition. Therefore, while giving a brief outline of the basic principles of Astrology-sufficient to explain the Genesis narrative-he has avoided such details of its application as might lead anyone with a “little knowledge” to make a “dangerous” tool of it. The old mystery schools were marvellously wisely ordered, and their “laws” were based on very important principles. One of those “laws” was the so-called law of “secrecy. It is still often quite misunderstood. Its purpose was not at all to keep “knowledge” of the great mysteries of Nature, Science, and Life exclusively to certain narrow circles, communities, or “schools.” The law w as double: to reveal to no one anything which he was not prove d fit to receive and use aright; and also to withhold from no one any knowledge that he was qualified to receive. There was also another law: that for every step a would-be initiate took in the knowledge of the mysteries of nature and science, he should take four steps in the development of his moral and spiritual qualities and life. They realised that the more profound any branch of knowledge was-the more dangerous it became if a perverted use was made of it. The very greatest of God’s good and wise gifts to men become the greatest curses if turned to low or selfish ends. It is this fact that has throughout the ages compelled the adoption of certain safeguards against imparting some kinds of knowledge indiscriminately. Just as Science, which should be one of man’s greatest blessings, becomes one of his greatest terrors if turned to the invention of destructive weapons of war, so there are spiritual powers which may be made dangerous to human souls.

Only a deeply spiritual mind can truly understand and use Astrology aright. But used aright it is an inexhaustible source of knowledge-a “guide” to lead men into all Truth: to “the Love that moves the Sun and other stars.” (“L’amor che muove il sole ed altre stelle.” Dante- “Paradiso.”)

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