“Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony.” – Heraclitus
On September 27th-28th, 2015 (depending on where you live in the world) there will be a total lunar eclipse in the fire sign of Aries! The visual phenomenon of an eclipse occurs when the Earth hangs in the middle of the radiance and reflection between the Sun and the Moon, casting its own shadow. This specific lunar eclipse will be upon a Super Moon, meaning that this Moon will be closer to the Earth than any other we have seen this year! Make an effort to see it because you will definitely feel it! This event will furiously burn away something which has been impeding you and will usher in a new era of self-awareness. Aries is a fire sign that represents the ignition of consciousness experienced at birth so this is a “rebirth” eclipse in a BIG way!
This event completes this month’s cycle begun on September 13th when a partial solar eclipse occurred in Virgo. It also is the culmination of a much larger cycle, for this Sunday night’s eclipse will be the last in a “tetrad” — referring to four total lunar eclipses that have been occurring in six-month intervals for the last 18 months. Think back over the last year and a half and reflect upon what has been in dynamic flux. Now, consider what can be released from your life with great gusto and intention!
From an astrological point of view, something significant that you have been working on, healing, or bringing into manifestation is about to transform! There will be an end that ushers in new conditions in ‘concord’ with your current evolutionary needs. Look at where 4 degrees Aries is on your natal chart to determine what areas of your life are most likely to be opening up to experiencing a great departure that will lead you to a new era in your life.
In the case of this “Harvest Moon-Blood Moon-Super Moon-Culmination of the Tetrad-TotalEclipse”, suffice it to say that it will be a miraculous moment to sacrifice something to the transmutational energies. This will be a spectacular demonstration of your ability to release an unnecessary condition in your life, making the soil fertile once more for the growth of emotional fulfillment, opportunity, romance, friendship, creativity, finances etc… etc…
This great flourishing will be in an area where you most desire it if you gently allow your own will to mingle with the transformational cycles of nature!
Sunday’s total lunar eclipse in Aries beautifully exemplifies ancient wisdom of the transformational cycles, for a lunar eclipse represents the power of catalyzing change through opposing energies. “Opposition brings concord…” Moreover, this eclipse will be in Aries, the first sign in the Zodiac, characterized by the element of cardinal fire associated with the light of consciousness received upon birth and which rejuvenates all life every spring. In the Zodiac, everything begins in fire!
Heraclitus of Ephesus was the most influential of the Pre-Socratic philosophers and he based his wisdom upon understanding the nature of transformation and dynamic flux. Heraclitus defined the underlying governance of nature as an “ever-living fire”, whose incessant transformations are the essence of the cycle of life and death.
In his view, fire constitutes and symbolizes the omnipresent processes of nature and the light of intelligence (the “logos”). Therefore, as the source of all life and all thought, fire is what lends us the illumination of self-discovery and transformation!
So, in the heat of this total eclipse feel yourself burning bright! Ignite that inner spark and courageously blaze a new trail for yourself! You will be on fire!
This is the week of Mercury’s retrograde into Libra (September 17th) and of Saturn’s entrance into Sagittarius (September 18th) where it will stay until the end of 2017.
The eclipse on Saturday night revealed something about yourself. The moment your ego (sun) was swallowed whole by primal feeling (moon) you were torn from your mundane confinement and routine. The eclipse obliterated your “self consciousness” in favor of epiphany. In the momentum of its climax, you were thrust into an inner realm where conceptual categories, metaphors, and metonymies were perceived as swirling luminescent images that lit up the space between your familiar web of knowledge. This vision was at once hellish and glorious.
“And this is still life! . . . I think I’m in hell, therefore I am. No end to these hallucinations. It’s exactly what I’ve always known: no more faith in history, principles forgotten. ”
– Arthur Rimbaud (Hellish Night- A Season in Hell)
Monday and Tuesday (September 14th-15) are represented by the 9 of Swords.
Your mind has opened to so many new channels of information, it is bound to be difficult to reconcile the new streams of consciousness with old ideas and the stagnate routines that are disintegrating. Let your thoughts scatter like autumn leaves, for that dried desiccated matter will nourish the soil that you need for the new paradigm you are designing. It may feel strange to make any big decisions, but equally strange to continue doing the same things you have always done. Live in this limbo, acknowledging that you are going from nowhere to nowhere until the delicious moment that you can perceive the NowHere.
“I turned silences and nights into words. What was unutterable, I wrote down. I made the whirling world stand still.”
-Arthur Rimbaud (The Drunken Boat- A Season in Hell)
Wednesday and Thursday (September 16th-17th) are represented by the Death card.
The first signs of radical external transformation begin. Expect your wild thoughts to become evident in an unexpected occurrence. This seemingly random event is no doubt your first sign of Mercury’s retrograde. Learn from its humor, its aggravation, its depth of character for this will be the theme that you will work on for the next three weeks. The Death card asks us to learn the art of dying before dying, meaning allowing relationships and situations to disintegrate with full faith that “everything changes, nothing perishes”.
“True I have wept too much! Dawns are heartbreaking; Cruel all moons and bitter the suns.”
– Arthur Rimbaud (The Drunken Boat -A Season in Hell)
Friday, Saturday, & Sunday (September 18th-20th) are represented by the High Priestess. The High Priestess offers her guidance in the transition between Saturn in Scorpio and its new position in Sagittarius. She, connected to the light of all knowledge in the universe, is guiding us into equilibrium as we encounter Saturn’s gravity in the fiery philosophical sign of Sagittarius. You will be stirred by questions of consciousness, confronted by regimens of self-improvement, inspired by stories of heaven, ascension, and salvation.
“Theology’s a serious thing, hell is certainly way down—and heaven’s above.—Ecstasy, nightmare, sleep in a nest of flames. I’m going to unveil all the mysteries: religious mysteries or natural, death, birth, future, past, cosmogony, nothingness. I’m a master of hallucinations.”
– Arthur Rimbaud (Hellish Night- A Season in Hell)
In this eruption of energy, the High Priestess offers something to consider. She says, “Wisdom is a gift given to the wise.” So, use this weekend to meditate on this statement. Consider its limitations and its strengths. Wisdom is not an entitlement nor an object that can be bought or stolen. Wisdom is not even a gift that can be given to one who is unable to receive it. But only wisdom can tell you when you are actually, Now Here.
Mercury will be retrograde from September 17th, 2015 to October 9th, 2015 in the sign of Libra. During these weeks, you will experience a powerful shift in your consciousness pertaining to harmony, balance, and diplomatic relations (Libra). These themes will have more context depending on what house Libra is in on your natal chart. Even without these details, suffice it to say that this time will pull you into a dimension where you will be required to bring your consciousness up to a new level, lest you find yourself bound up in entanglements.
Have NO fear! Rise to the occasion, remain receptive and prioritize peace of mind. For any survival tips you may feel you need, read up on Wu Wei.
The Mercury retrograde is the most commonly recognized astrological concept outside of sun signs. However, recognition does not indicate a depth of understanding, for most popular astrology resorts to advising people to stop all activity and assume that all technology, transportation, and communication are perilous games to be avoided. Let’s move away from that, shall we? Archetypally speaking, Mercury is a psychopomp, meaning he enables communication between the overworld and underworld (conscious/subconscious) while dancing in between the sharp edges of logic and the frayed ends of ancient wisdom. It is this dance that allows him so much freedom from morality, for he delights in deception and thievery, laughing joyously at other’s expense, while somehow being of irreplaceable and undying service to all. Mercury’s game seems complex, but his intention is simple. He wants you to know more than language and commerce.
He wants you to remember your origins in the Protogenoi, and so he whispers in your ear to evoke the haunting vision of the Chaos that preceded all form. He does so out of genuine love, for “…one must still have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star…” (more on how harmony can be found in the surrender to chaos)
“I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. I say unto you: you still have chaos in yourselves.” – Freidrich Nietzsche (Thus spoke Zarathustra)
As Mercury retrogrades, which happens three or four times a year, it is not a sabotage of all you are trying to accomplish. Rather, this is Mercury’s time to modulate the key of his hypnogogic song so that you will become more receptive to your primal creative power and your own poetic genius which channels the essence of dancing stars! In Libra, Mercury’s retrograde will allow you to carefully sort through your thoughts, for they are the shadows of deeper feelings. In other words, this retrograde encourages subconscious material to rise to the surface of your conscious mind, which smooths your path and softens your resistance to change. Meditate on metamorphosis, finding that you are both the light and darkness; the emptiness and the form.
Please, enjoy the Mercury Retrograde for what it is: a passionate dance with the primal forces of creation!
In the Romantic era, William Blake created an entirely original mythopoeic cosmology, which was the inspiration for both his poetry and his visual artworks. His poetry blended with his sumptuous watercolors and engravings to create an artistic effect that was cinematic before cinema was even conceivable. Blake’s vision of the world was fiercely independent of any dogmatism from the rational or spiritual conditions of the Enlightenment era and his astounding collection of illuminated poetry gives the modern reader a visceral experience of the ‘‘Poetic Genius’’, which Blake believed was the essence of creation itself.
What makes William Blake such an important archetype for the Romantic era itself was his zealous pursuit of freedom, his passion for revolution against tyranny and how he prioritized creativity above all other pursuits in life. Regarding his motivation to live as an embodiment of creative imagination Blake said, ‘‘I must create a system or be enslaved by another man’s. I will not reason and compare. My business is to create!” (These were direct references to the Enlightenment era methods of Sir Isaac Newton and the philosophies of John Locke)
William Blake was not a gentleman artist, but was in fact a tradesman in his craft who worked as an engraver. He was commissioned to bring many textbooks and classic works of literature to life with small, yet meticulous illustrations. Therefore, Blake depicted as many familiar scenes and characters as he depicted radical new ones. For example, Blake was commissioned to illustrate John Milton’s, Paradise Lost, and so we can examine Blake’s version of Adam, Eve, and Satan in the Garden of Eden, which is unlike any other depiction in the whole of Christian art.
His religious art contains esoteric symbols that allude to Blake’s mystical revelations. A prominent example is found in Blake’s use of spiral imagery. Blake’s depictions of these scenes remain unique.
(To the left) Blake paints Adam and Eve under the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, with Adam’s back turned as Eve is enveloped in the serpent’s body, which spirals around her nudity and delicately feeds her the forbidden fruit in an open mouth kiss of original sin. The effect is extremely sexual, yet Eve is not the typical Western nude made object of desire. Rather, this image feels biological.
Again we see a spiral used by Blake to depict the stairway to heaven, that Jacob dreams of in the Book of Genesis. This story has been widely explored in Christian art as well, yet the staircase has always been a straight ladder stretching up to heaven. Blake, in his striking originality, shows us a spiral stair winding up to heaven in a diffusion of starlight and celestial splendor. Blake, as the Poetic Genius was expressing more in his imagery than a simple retelling of Bible stories.
Blake’s Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden tells a story far removed from the traditional one. In Blake’s cosmology, God was an androgynous primeval entity named Albion, which became sexual when it split into four disparate parts or “zoas”. These four zoas catalyzed a life form between them, which was a man named Adam, who had a spectre or shadow named Satan and was joined by an emanation of his consciousness named Eve. (William Blake and the Myths of Britain, 1999)
According to Blake, life began as source energy (Albion) which emanated a holy trinity of life: Adam emanates a female aspect, Eve, and then sends his specter, Satan, to seduce her into a permanent division from Albion.
Blake’s version of the Garden of Eden story sounds like a poetic depiction of the process of cell division, now known to molecular biology. The story is about sex, but there is none of the Christian shame in Blake’s version, for all are the progeny of Albion. Blake’s version can be read as a deeply shamanic vision that depicts the elegant process of DNA twisting genes together through the union of chromosomes to create physical form imbued with life force. In this cosmological view, all mankind is woven together with a unifying consciousness that was purposely individuated from Albion in order to experience the subjective Self. Original sin is absent from Blake’s view, for differentiation from the original essence appears to be the cosmic order of things which is to be accepted and experienced, not resisted.
Blake’s visual depiction of spirals (snakes, stairs, flames) must have been inspired by his visionary experiences of transcendent truth, which binds imagination to expression in the physical world. The spiral is at the very core of being, just as DNA is the language that we are translated into the physical world through. William Blake was a revolutionary explorer of inner space and sacred experience came naturally to him. His observations compelled him to share his wisdom within beautiful poetry that embodied the profound insights he had into the cosmos. “To see a World in a Grain of Sand/ And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,/ Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand / And Eternity in an hour.”
The spiral is a common symbol found in art from the majority of cultures around the world and it is the primary shape found in environmental structures of the universe. Blake, like other mystics, intuited that the spiral was an essential aspect of consciousness and physical form.
By the 20th century, science found through its instruments of study that both galaxies and DNA are expressed in a spiral formation, and particles follow fractal waves of motion rather than straight lines. The spiral rules the micro and macrocosmic, the internal and the external worlds. The 20th century anthropologist, Jeremy Narby studied the phenomena of the spiral in Western and indigenous consciousness claiming, “Both shamans and molecular biologists agree that there is a hidden unity under the surface of life’s diversity; both associate this unity with the double helix shape (or two entwined serpents, a twisted ladder, a spiral staircase, two vines wrapped around each other); both consider that one must deal with this level of reality in order to heal.” (The Cosmic Serpent, 1998)
In addition, the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung said that spirals represent “cosmic force” and that the upward spiraling of Kundalini serpent imagery symbolized “the urge of realization (which) naturally pushes man on to be himself”. (The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga, 1932) Jungian analysis would interpret the intuition of Blake as a communion with the collective unconscious. Interestingly enough, William Blake’s concept of the Poetic Genius is not too dissimilar from Jung’s collective unconscious and so it is fitting that Blake was so in tune with deep cosmic imagery and that he infused the Bible with this consciousness. One of William Blake’s most famous revelations about the cosmos is summarized in this quote from his poem, TheMarriage of Heaven and Hell,“…If the Doors of Perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
“Principle 1st – That the Poetic Genius is the true Man, and that the body or outward form of Man is derived from the Poetic Genius. Likewise that the forms of all things are derived from their Genius, which by the Ancients was call’d an Angel & Spirit & Demon.” (William Blake: The Complete Illuminated Books, 2001)
This quote is an excerpt from a William Blake tract entitled, All Religions are One, which was written in 1788. (read full text here) This work of many principles and assertions is prefaced with the phrase “The Voice of one crying in the Wilderness”, which is a quote from the Bible repeated by both the prophet Isaiah and John the Baptist as they each proclaimed the salvation of the world through the coming messiah. Blake is equating himself with these men, by asserting that his words are prophecy, which contain a message of salvation. In Blake’s time, this salvation would have been from the strict Enlightenment era empiricism and from the dogmatic religious tyranny that restricted the experience of what he terms, “the Poetic Genius”.
Blake’s concept of the sacred sought to find a unifying principle of religious experience, which he distilled down to an energy called, “Poetic Genius”. This reference to the “Poetic Genius” appears in many of his works as the ultimate source of prophesy, art and of the imagination, which provides mankind the impetus to express their spiritual experiences. In Blake’s perception, because this energy defines the truth of man, then this realization of the source of spiritual experience was one that was liberating and unifying for mankind. In this poem, Blake is postulating that this source of creative energy is the also the source of the physical form, which is the primary essence of life, rather than the empirical or religious experience. He also asserts that the entities called angels, spirits and demons throughout history are also emanations from this energy and need not be discounted as illegitimate experiences, despite the lack of empirical observation that could be applied to defining them.
William Blake was a mystic in his own time and his legacy, in the realm of spirituality, is one of radical and romantic ideals which transform traditional beliefs associated with science and religion into a more holistic and interconnected consciousness. William Blake devoted his life to finding and expressing the essence of religion, unbound from the societal structures which would impede free thought or vibrant experience. Throughout this search, he certainly displayed the behavior of one who believed in spiritual beings.
Blake’s conclusions about religion are similar to what anthropologist, E.B. Tylor found in the 20th century. Tylor defined the essence of religion, not as Poetic Genius, but as animism, which he argued was the foundation of all religious practice and complex belief systems. The difference is that E.B. Tylor approached this revelation about the source of religion with disdain for religious experience, considering it to be a primitive aspect of mankind.
On the other hand, William Blake exuberantly experienced his time and place in this world through a perspective that included a connection to the realm of the spirit and yet bore none of the restrictions of superstition or dogmatism. His philosophy was one that provided much of the energy for the Romantic era, which was a time of liberation and rebellion against tyranny in all its forms.
From Blake’s point of view, all of his life’s work was divinely inspired and this perception gave him the freedom of mind to express compassion and love for all of mankind as his equals in the realm of the Poetic Genius. As he says here in the same poem, “As all men are alike (tho’ infinitely various), So all Religions & as all similars have one source. The true Man is the source, he being the Poetic Genius.” (William Blake: The Complete Illuminated Books, 2001)
Since the invention of the printing press, mass media has changed human consciousness and in the Information Age this evolution continues at an exponential rate of acceleration. This transformation is not invisible. Many are so plugged into mass media consciousness that “addiction” develops, complete with neuroses and withdrawal symptoms.
How has human consciousness changed as a result of mass media? Well, we know that television opens the subconscious mind like a dilated pupil, inducing a trance which dissolves the subjective experience of “I” and replaces it with a blending of consciousness with all others who are “tuned” in. Likewise, the internet takes this dissolution of subjectivity and creates an accessible notion of unity in which all knowledge is simultaneously present.
The concept of the individual, developed during the Renaissance and so beloved by the West is fading away.
In this book, McLuhan looks at all media, from print to electric light to radio and television, as mediums of communication which forever changed the way humans relate to one another and their environment. In his Playboy interview from 1969, McLuhan said, “ …all media, from the phonetic alphabet to the computer, are extensions of man that cause deep and lasting changes in him and transform his environment.” McLuhan makes it clear that attempting to judge the messages of mass media (television, internet) based upon literary categories of narrative analysis “offers no dues to the magic of these media or to their subliminal charge.” (p.27)
In short, McLuhan understood that the narrative content of mass media matters very little. Qualitative judgements based on morality and narrative content comes from the literary mindset of individualism and nationalism born from the Gutenberg printing press in the 16th century. The individual experience of reading a book to one’s self-created a unique subjectivity which television and the internet are eroding. The zeitgeist of mass communications is more akin to archaic theories of panpsychism and universal mind. The impact of the medium is on our thought processes and the way it changes our perceptions.
Now here’s where we encounter the dark waters. Upon human consciousness, mass media transposes virtual reality over sensual reality and it is easy to become lost in a bardo filled with the apparitions of salesmen and the hungry ghosts who follow them.
It plays out as the grand tragedy of literary subjectivity searching for identity in a place where no individual mind exists. Confusion is the leading side effect. Those who direct the programming of these mediums of communication take advantage of the confusion and fill these subliminally charged communions with embedded ideologies.(aka culture) It is not a conspiracy theory to note that only corporate interests are heavily represented and that those interests are malicious in that they seek to divide people and inculcate them with fear. Advertising is always about selling desire and self-doubt: that is all.
Though culture itself is a mass hallucination perpetrated through the language of the establishment, that realization does not excuse one from partaking in evolving consciousness. The reproductive power of the hallucination of Western culture is rooted in mass media, for it is only through imposing mass control through homogenized ideology that millions of people can be lost in the same fantasy. But all is not lost because the human spirit always lies in wait just beneath any nefarious confinement, poised for escape into freedom, creativity, and love. If one becomes lost in utter nihilism, then suddenly one is well suited to the role of the psychopomp who guides people from the land of illusory cultural programming to the shore of self-realization.
It has been my experience that meditation, art, energy healing, entheogenic substances and/or devoted contemplation all have the power to allow the user to shed their cultural branding but retain collective consciousness. (There are many versions of these pathways. Find out what means something to you or create something new!) Deep exploration of inner space allows people to free themselves from the imprisonment of hierarchy, and feel their potential once again as they are reborn as a sovereign being: pain is released, beauty is beheld, and art pours out.
One of the first skins that must be shed is any moral agenda which prevents a person from exploring their own consciousness. i.e. nonsensical drug laws, religious prohibitions etc… To put it simply, I love what the great writer and poet Maya Angelou said before she died on May 28th, 2014. She posted a final statement on Twitter in her usual poignant manner, saying “Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.”In conclusion: On the quest to know ourselves, let’s listen in the quietude of inner space, use media to commune with the collective on our own terms, and evolve!