Category Archives: sun

The Significance of the “Ides of March”

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Possibly the last surviving statue of Caesar that was created during his lifetime.

We all know that the Ides of March was the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar, but it seems to have been conveniently forgotten that this is an astrological statement.  We also know that in Shakespeare’s famous “Julius Caesar” play, there is the warning to Caesar from the Astrologer/Reader figure to “Beware the Ides of March”.  The “ides” meant the middle of the month, and so this date was taken to mean March 15th or around that time since this was determined by the Moon.  This prediction did come true and Caesar was betrayed by his friends and ministers and was assassinated on this day.  So why did this particular time frame get singled out?  Is there any Astro-logic behind it?

Its actually a very simple logic behind this statement.  First off, we do not even have to know Caesar’s birth data to know that a great leader of a great nation such as Rome will obviously be ruled by the Sun.  This is the most likely case.  So let’s imagine Caesar to have been a Leo lagna (rising sign), and with also the Sun as his atmakaraka, which would likely be the case for someone who ruled the greatest nation at the time.  (Of course he may not have had this, but likely had something similar or would not have had the merit to have the life he had.)

If he was indeed a Leo, then during the time of the Ides of March, the Sun would be passing through Pisces, which is the eighth house for a Leo ascendant.  The eighth house is the house of death, sudden breaks and changes to one’s life, battles, betrayals, and drama to put it bluntly.  Right away we see that this is not the luckiest time for a King.  Also when the Sun is in pisces, it is weaker by nature because Pisces is a sign of rest and relaxation, but not a sign of great physical strength or power.  He also was 55 when he was killed, which is the natural dasa period of the Sun, so the transits of the Sun would have more bearing on him at this time in his life than other times as well.  But these three factors happen often for Sun ruled people, and not so often do they die or get betrayed, so there must be something more to it, but this is a good start.

Now we may recall that the Sun has two enemies, Saturn and Venus.  Saturn could have been anywhere at that time, so we will leave Saturn out of the equation.  But we do know that Venus would have had to have been either in Aquarius, Pisces, or Aries, as Venus cannot be any further from the Sun astronomically.  So focusing on Venus, if Venus was in Pisces, then that would mean that the Sun was being badly “starved” (thrishita, in sanskrit) if it was conjunct its enemy Venus.  This is a big problem for the Sun and prevents it from being able to do its job properly (Caesar, in this example).  This is even more of a threat because Venus is exalted in Pisces, and so at its strongest possible state!  So this Venus is strongly able to starve and afflict the Sun, and the Sun doesn’t have the power to overcome it on his own when in Pisces.  Now consider the fact that Venus happens to rule Ministers, and advisors to the King!  How did Caesar get betrayed?  His advisors, his ministers, his “Venus” in the symbolic sense, conspired against him and had him assassinated!  This fits perfectly with the most likely transits to be occurring on the Ides of March.  Get an exalted Venus starving the Sun in the eighth house of betrayal and death, this spells bad news for the Sun, which in this case was Julius Caesar.

This may have also had a relation to the Drekkana chart, the third divisional chart in Jyotish.  It is called the “Decanates” in Western Astrology, so we know that the Western tradition did have vargas at some point, and likely lost them over time. Perhaps this reader who warned Caesar also used the Decanates or Drekkana chart.  If so, they would have likely noticed that the Sun will move from the Cancer drekkana to the Scorpio drekkana around the time of the Ides of March.  The Sun would definitely be in the drekkana of Scorpio by the time the Ides of March came, as the Sun would have to be in the last 10 degrees of Pisces at this time.  It is a very basic fundamental of Astrology that Scorpio, the eighth sign, has the same qualities as the eighth house we have been discussing, and so Scorpio deals with all of the above themes of death, betrayal, sudden breaks and changes as well.  So the Sun’s placement in the Drekkana chart on the Ides of March is also showing the same theme of some type of fall from a height or drama occurring for Caesar at this time.

Oh and what does the Drekkana chart specifically deal with?  It is the specific chart we look at to see how one interacts with their siblings, their peers, their ministers, their associates, and the people that they work with who have similar goals.  In the context of Caesar, the Drekkana would show the karma’s relating to his Ministers and Advisors, and others who are working towards the similar goal of governing Rome.  So this chart is very relevant to the death of Caesar, as it is showing Scorpio/betrayal/death themes very clearly, and it was his associates that betrayed him and murdered him.  As many as 60 conspirators were said to have been involved with his death, so he had quite a lot of Drekkana associates to contend with!

This example is made with just the understanding of where two factors were placed in Caesar’s horoscope, the Sun and Venus.  Imagine how much more we could see if we had his whole chart?  We normally need to see things indicated from a number of different angles, all pointing to the same event, for that event to be able to be predicted confidently.  Likely there were even more themes indicating a similar fate for Caesar, but this is what we know was most likely occurring for the Sun and Venus.  Mars and Saturn were likely also involved in my opinion.  It definitely was not just a simple Sun transit that could have caused this.  It is my hope that the reader takes away from this example a more nuanced understanding of the sophistication of astrological predictions along with a newfound appreciation for this idiom.

 

 

Synchronicity of the Number Seven

7Why do things so often get grouped up into seven in this world?  Have you ever noticed that?  Not to say that the number actually occurs more than other numbers, but in the sense of the way we tend to see, group, and categorize things.  When we think about our common use and grouping of things, seven seems to have a significance, dare I say, even something sacred about it.  It happens with really big things too, like the seven continents of the world, the seven seas, seven openings or cavities in the human face, seven colors in the rainbow or visible spectrum of light that we can see, and almost all mammals have seven cervical vertebrae.  These are things we cannot seem to change very much, but what is equally interesting is that there are also many things that we as human beings have intentionally perceived or classified as being seven in type or quality, when we could probably have divided them into other numbers if we wanted to.

Let me give some examples:

  • There are seven notes on the musical diatonic scale, but other ways of dividing the notes up have also been created.  But this is a very popular one, probably the most popular.
  • We have this idea in folklore of many different cultures (including American/European and Indian)  of seven years of bad luck coming to someone for various reasons.
  • There are said to be seven deadly sins.
  • There are seven wonders of the ancient world.
  • There are said to be seven heavens in Islam and many, many other philosophies as well as occult systems of knowledge.
  • Seven horizontal rows are in the periodic table.
  • According to the Baltimore classification, there are seven types of viruses.
  • Seven is the neutral ph value between acidity and alkalinity.
  • The Bible is overflowing with a sacramental implication of the number seven, the most commonly known being the beginning part wherein the Earth was created in seven days (it also clearly mentions the creation of the “heavenly bodies” for “Signs and seasons”, aka Astrology, by the way).
  • There are seven temples in the Book of Revelations (Which Edgar Cayce also revealed to each relate to a certain chakra and the sins most associated with that chakra/state of consciousness.)
  • Seven is the sum of any two opposite sides of dice.
  • In India there is the Sapta Rishis, or the Seven Sages.
  • There are also the Seven Sages of Greece.
  • There are seven main chakras in Yogic philosophy, also seven according to psychic Edgar Cayce.
  • Seven main endocrine glands (gonads, leydig, adrenal, thymus, thyroid, pineal/hypothalamus, and pituitary.)
  • We have seven days of the week, which is so ancient that we actually do not know where this originated. The Norse had a seven day week which is where our English names of Friday (Freya/Venus day) and Thursday (Thors/Jupiters day), and Wednesday (Odin/Mercury day).  The ancient Indians also had a seven day week, which makes one wonder if any other cultures of antiquity also had this tradition.

There are probably many more classifications of seven in number that I am not recalling, but I feel this has made a strong enough case as these are big parts of our human life.  Also you will notice that fiction writers love to use the number seven in their fiction works, simply google the number seven and you will see one after another fantasy book that has something to do with “Seven gemstones of power” or what have you.  A modern example of this can be seen in the hugely popular Game of Thrones HBO series, which is based on fiction books.  It takes place in a medieval Europe (Kali Yuga-style) fantasy realm and their is of course an emphasis put on the “Seven Kingdoms of Westeros”, which is where the majority of the story takes place.  There are also many different faiths throughout the kingdoms but the most popular faith is the “Faith of the Seven”, interestingly enough.  Obviously this is influenced from the actual medieval European times when the seven planets were worshipped as deities.  It is also made very clear that “The Seven” is one deity, that manifests itself into seven aspects.  This is identical with European and Indian style Astrology.  { NOTE: Many people still think that Hinduism is polytheistic (believing in many Gods) but if they actually researched it they would learn quickly that it is monotheistic.  Hindus acknowledge only one God, but with many different names, aspects, and forms. This is like how there is just one Sun that lights the world, but it can be seen to appear differently depending on where one is on the world, at sunrise, sunset, or midday.  We don’t say that there is a different Sun at sunset, even though it may look different than the mid day Sun, with its bright red and orange shades.  In the same way, Brahma is the same as Vishnu, and Vishnu is the same as Shiva. }   Also even the seven different deities are pretty much the same in this fictional series as they actually are in Astrology, which may have been intentional or not on the part of the writer, but because these archetypes are so prominent in our consciousness, I would not be surprised if the Author of these stories just thought them up himself.  (Read the descriptions of “The Seven” here and see for yourself)

Why is this the case? Why does the number seven keep coming up?  Could it be that there is something within the human psychology and the way that we are designed that makes us see things in terms of seven?  Well, the reason I am bringing all this up is because it is very peculiar in the light of the Jyotish philosophy of India.  In Jyotish/Vedic Astrology philosophy, all things that exist on Earth are “produced” by the seven planets that we can see with the naked eye, and can, in a sense, see us.  And so there are seven basic states of consciousness, that when mixed, produce all the varied forms and types of consciousness on Earth.  Each of the visible planets relate to one of these states of consciousness, and each state is an aspect of the divine.  Each planet is a “karaka”, which literally means a “producer” of various things in your life.  Based on one’s past life karma, one will incarnate with these various producers in the proper harmony to produce or not produce the life that this soul needs to have for its own development and growth beyond just this one life.

So now we can see that this number seven coming up so much is really a reflection of the seven planets and how they mix and create life on Earth as it appears to be.  It validates Astrology, that we have seven of most things, either uncontrollably, or by our own arbitrary intellectual divisions.

To see how this works, let us take the human body as an example:

  1. The Sun produces the bones and the immune system, which are one system in the context of astrological truth, but not current medical books. This is because the immune system relies on the mineral supply stored within the bones to regulate the health of the body. So in a birth chart, a weak Sun in the rasi chart and the D30 (trimsamsa) chart can indicate that one does not have a lot of strength in the bones and may have low mineral density, or low mineral absorption, and should eat a mineral rich diet to balance this.  A strong Sun person can eat a lot poorer quality food before there bones start to suffer, because they will tend to have better mineral reserves overall.  Strong Sun/Leo people tend to eat a lot of meat and even though meat always leaves a toxic residue on the body, these people can handle that more efficiently than others, and they also have a stronger Agni to burn off these toxins as well.
  2. The Moon produces the blood of the body, the ocean within the body.  A weak or afflicted Moon means that one will need to be more mindful of foods that dirty the blood, because this will happen more easily for them if they eat poor foods.  They may also have emotional issues as well as a result of having not the best blood quality. They may need to avoid table salt in favor of good quality sea salt, and add an extra amount of the healthy salty tastes like lettuce. A strong moon person will crave healthier foods for their blood naturally, and will have better blood flow and health overall as a result of having a strong “producer” of blood, a strong moon influence.
  3. Mars produces the nervous system, and the nerve tissue within the body. A weak or afflicted Mars indicates that one has nerve problems.  They may get nervous too easily, not what you want in a profession like surgery or war.  A strong Mars person can hold the knife steady, and that is why a surgeon usually has a strong Mars “producer” in his chart, producing the healthy nerves needed to do such a job. This is also why someone who isn’t willing to stand up and fight is said to “not have the nerve”.
  4. Mercury produces the cognitive/sense/integumentary system which is to say bluntly that Mercury produces our senses and cognitive ability.  A bad mercury means one does not perceive and cognize things accurately.  Now we can understand why Mercury is always involved in combinations for mental insanity in the old Indian Texts.  A good mercury will be the opposite, and will contribute to rational thinking.
  5. Jupiter produces the endocrine system, an incredibly important system for how one feels and for unfolding the spiritual capacities within us.  An afflicted Jupiter means that one does not produce an ideal endocrine system health, and as a result may have hormonal imbalances or other chemical imbalances that interfere with their happiness and emotional health.  A strong Jupiter indicates that one has produced a healthy endocrine system and feels good in their own body.  It is also noteworthy to mention that in deep meditative states, the endocrine system secretes powerful hormones and antioxidants, that make you very happy, and Jupiter is also the karaka or “producer” of one’s happiness and contentment.
  6. Venus produces the digestive system, and so a weak Venus means one does not absorb nutrients and digest well. This means the body loses its vitality more quickly because it requires more of its own vital energy (Virya, which Venus rules) to digest the food and assimilate it than it should.  A strong Venus does the opposite, it helps one absorb and digest well, and leads to a healthy and well built body.  This is also why Venus rules rejuvenation, as the health of the digestive system has a big say on whether one will rejuvenate easily or not.
  7. Saturn produces the muscular system of the body. The part of the body that does all the labor, basically.  Saturn also produces one’s laborers, servants, and lower level employees, which play the same role but in the context of a business.  A weak Saturn shows weak muscles, and so one tends to feel lazier.  A strong Saturn shows strong muscles and good lymph and so one will tend to not feel so lazy.  A strong Saturn is also associated with accomplishing many deeds in life, and here we can see how that relates on a physical level, to the dignity and strength of the “producer” of the muscles, Saturn.  Someone who feels lazy all the time is of course not going to accomplish as much as the opposite type of person.

 

In this way, the seven grahas mix and produce all things for us, and in accord with our karmas that we are meant to experience in this life.  This same idea is the logic behind how we see the good or bad karmas connected to each area of life for a person, and is a fundamental concept for practicing Astrology, both western and eastern.  Now we can reflect and see, that it is no surprise that in this world of seven colors, seven seas, and seven continents, that we also have seven visible lights in the sky, guiding us along the path of our Soul in this incarnation.

 

Christmas from the Astrology Viewpoint

seasonalvariations-editedThere is an astrological meaning behind the Christmas holiday that even many Astrologers are not aware of.  It is actually a very important day and time of year for a wide array of civilizations and cultures on this planet, and the reason for this is completely astrological in nature.  In this post the focus will be mainly on comparing the Christian holiday with the Vedic/Yogic perspective, but it should be noted that this time is incredibly important for almost every culture on this planet and has been for thousands of years.

From the standpoint of Yogic and Vedic philosophy, Christmas day just so happens to be the first day in six months that can at least generally be considered each year to be an auspicious day.  This is because it is the first day in six months that the Sun begins to noticeably move north, and the present day lasts longer than the day before.  This is not popularly recognized, so don’t be surprised if you are a Hindu/Sanatan Dharma adherent reading this and you do not understand what I am talking about or how Christmas is relating to the Vedic traditions.  Please bear with me, as there is a lot to explain to make this point clear.  And remember, the aim of this post is only to add more spiritual significance to this day as a Christian holiday and also as a special day for all people on Earth, because of the astronomical activity that occurs on this day.  There is no intention to take anything away from the Christian religion or any religion. I have the utmost respect for all religions and enlightenment traditions.

The Sun Moves North on the Winter Solstice

First we need to know why the Solstice matters in the first place.  The reason the solstice and equinox times matter is because these are the places where the Sun noticeably changes its course, and where there is a change in the light of the world.  This in turn creates the seasons, the natural cycles, the sense of time, and the balance and harmony that makes life on Earth so beautiful.  At the Winter Solstice (Dec 21-25th) the Sun reaches its lowest point on the ecliptic (The path that it appears to make around the Earth each day), and stays at that lowest point for three more days.  Then on the next day it finally begins to noticeably rise at a more northern place.  This day (Dec 25th) is the first day since late June that the daylight, the light of this world, lingers longer than the day before.  That is a very big deal, though it may not seem like it in this modern age, with the common person being so divorced from nature. But take away the smart phones and electricity and this knowledge becomes the difference between surviving winter or a painful death. Now we can see why this date has been so important to cultures and civilizations since time immemorial.  This may be even more appropriate in very northern parts of the world such as Siberia and Russia, where Christmas may have originated. Here the Sun can hardly even be seen at this three day period where it is at its lowest point.  Then on the 25th, it rises and continues to do so for six months until the Summer Solstice point, on June 22nd.  At the midway point, we find the Spring Equinox, the place where there begins to be more daylight than night and thus, the beginning of Aries, as all of nature cyclically charges forth into being at that time. The Summer Solstice point is where the Sun appears to stall for a moment, and then begins backing down or moving south for six months, thus this space has the qualities of the sign of Cancer, the crab.  Crabs appear to go forward and then stall, and start moving sideways back in the opposite direction, which is exactly what the Sun can be observed to do here.  Cancer is also the most Yin sign, the sign of the divine feminine, and in many ways it is like the Sun is relaxing and being more Yin at this point, after six months of charging north. (Read more about that here).  Then at the Fall equinox in late September marks the point where there begins to be more night than day, and thus the Sun “falls” in the sign of Libra.  At this point the Sun is starting to move south quickly and the days are noticeably shorter.  Then we get back to the Winter Solstice point and the cycle repeats.  Notice that these four points mark the “cardinal” (or moveable) signs in both Western and Vedic Astrology.  This is the rough logic behind that, but if you want to read more details on how this relates to the nature of the cardinal signs, read this older blog post.

How this relates to Christianity

So what better of a time of year to celebrate the birth of the “Son of God” then the exact astronomical time when the physical “Sun of God” has just been noticeably reborn?  It’s even more interesting when we consider that in the Northern regions of the Earth the Sun can literally not be seen for three days, because it is so far south, hence a perfect symbol for death and resurrection. The northern areas of Russia and Siberia seem to have the oldest connections to the reindeer and other symbols associated with Christmas.  It is well known and well documented that the Christian tradition wisely co-opted these symbols to strengthen their own relevance at the time.  And it certainly seems to fit nicely….But we really don’t know when Christ was born, so he may have been born at that time or not; we really just don’t know.  But it certainly does make sense to celebrate the birth of Jesus at this time though, due to the astrological synchronization explained above.

How this relates to Hinduism

In the Hindu/Yogic perspective, the time of the winter solstice, and the Sun’s change of direction to move north is incredibly important.  This same time is called the Makara Sankranti, which can be translated to “The ingress into Capricorn”.  Sankranti is Sanskrit for ingress, basically.  Makara is sanskrit for crocodile, which is what Capricorn is the symbol of in Vedic Astrology, and most likely in the original western astrology as well, but that will have to be explained in another post.  So this is an important time and it traditionally is celebrated as such by flying kites and other activities as it is said to be an auspicious date.  It is currently celebrated about three weeks late by most in India due to calculation errors that put the Capricorn ingress around January 14th.  The Solar ingress celebrations are meant to be calculated with the seasonal Tropical zodiac and this is something that Sri Yukteswar was very adamant about.  To explain this fully would also take another post, but understand that this same celebration is actually supposed to coincide with Christmas, for the exact same reasons as Christmas does; because the Sun moves north.

This Northern change of the Solar energy is also called the Uttarayana, in Vedic philosophy.  Uttara means “North” in Sanskrit, and Ayana means “movement”, or “time pass” in Sanskrit.  The Uttarayana has been mentioned in ancient Vedic texts as being extremely important from the spiritual perspective, and this basis is astrological.  Any auspicious deed or project we want to accomplish, we want to start it when the Sun is moving north.  This way we start the project in rhythm with nature and all of the elements, as all of nature is growing with each new day as the Sun is moving north.  In the same way, whatever projects we start at this time will “coincide” and therefore be more likely to grow stronger each day along with the Sun, the Soul of the Universe.  We want to do things in harmony with the Universal Soul whenever possible.

So Christmas day marks the first generally great day to do auspicious deeds in six months!  This is not to say that for six months of the year one should avoid doing good deeds, not at all.  In the six months that the Sun moves south one can find many other shorter windows of time when the muhurta/electional astrology factors are all lining up in a fortunate way for the goal in mind…. But if the goal in mind is very important and it can wait, it should wait for this time, the Uttarayana.  And then if possible, one should have an astrologer find the exact day and hour and minute that one should implement this action, if it is a truly important undertaking and one wants to make the best of it.  This way whatever negative karma one has from birth that may prevent the full realization of the goal can be minimized and negated by choosing the most auspicious date to begin that would neutralize those negative factors.  This is much of the basis behind Electional Astrology, or Muhurta as it is called in India.

Now it makes sense why we all give gifts on this day

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Snow Queen by Charles Robinson

Now we can see why it is so astronomically perfect to give gifts to each other on December 25th.  It is the first auspicious day in six months, and what better way to make use of that than by giving gifts to all of your loved ones!  Its also very interesting because this date was mentioned in the ancient Indian text, the Mahabarata, and one character refuses to die until the Sun starts moving north, because he knows how much more auspicious it is to die when the Sun starts moving north, then when it is moving south.  There are spiritual reasons for this significance as well, and one will notice that generally more saintly and spiritually evolved beings tend to leave their bodies as the Sun moves north.  Likewise more people tend to commit suicide as the Sun moves south and particularly around November and December, when the Sun is very low and weak in strength.  The Sun is our self-esteem, and a weak Sun leads to depression more easily.  It is likely that people who have difficult depression placements in their charts get more heavily impacted by this weak Sun transit than the average person, but most people will agree that November and December can be times when depression seems to set in more easily.

There is a lot more to this cycle and how it affects us psychologically, but this will have to wait for another post, as this one is long enough for now.  In the next post we will go into how this relates to Yogic philosophy and the esoteric meaning of the Sun.

Aries and the Active Expression of Virtue.

“The active expression of virtue gives rise to the keenest intelligence.” – Sri Yukteswar  (1855-1936)

 

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Swami Sri Yukteswar, a self realized yogi and astrologer.

The above quote by the yogi Swami Sri Yukteswar is ripe with spiritual and astrological truth.  When we act virtuously, we start to see things more clearly and intelligently.  Likewise, when we really know something our actions tend to demonstrate that knowledge in a natural fashion.  This can be attractive and appealing to see someone like this.  It is possibly for this reason that saints and mystics often seem so attractive or magnetizing to spiritual seekers, because they have gone through a great range of experience and their actions naturally demonstrate such experience in a spontaneous way.  Also in the opposite sense, when we think we know something but really do not, our actions can be a clear give away of our lack of knowledge.  There is a clear relationship that can be seen here when we look at the zodiac, between our “active expression of virtue” and the development of intelligence within us.

To fully see this relationship, lets clear up a few things about intelligence in the context of an astrological chart.  When I am speaking about intelligence, I mean specifically the ability to arrive at the correct conclusion, to arrive at truth.  And in life we see that different methods can be used to arrive at the same correct conclusion.  Some people use logic to figure something out, others use feeling and emotions to figure the same thing out and get the same conclusion.  In the same way, each planet has a unique type of intelligence that it expresses.  For example, Mars would be the intelligence of logic.  Venus is the intelligence of poetry, the ability to grasp the meaning behind the words, the real heart of the message.  This post will not go into each planets intelligence, which would require an entire post in itself.

With this having been said, all the grahas give intelligence but the main one that Astrologers tend to emphasize is Mercury, as he rules the “buddhi”, the Intellect.  But when we read the Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra, the Sage Parashara gives the descriptions of the different planets.  In this, he does not describe Mercury as being intelligent necessarily.   He does start off, however, by saying that the Sun is intelligent.  This is very interesting.  He gives many complements to Mercury as well as the other grahas but does not assign intelligence to Mercury, and instead gives it to the Sun.  So the implication is that the Sun is the real planet that thinks through situations and arrives at truth.  (In case you were wondering, he describes the Moon as “All knowing”, which is similar to how many western astrologers attribute the Moon to a pyschic, right brain type of ability to arrive at truth)

I have noticed in studying charts that when Mercury is joined the Sun, which is happening 1/3 of the time anyway, then Mercury gives intelligence yes.  This is also called a Budha Aditya Yoga, which is said to give intelligence amongst other things.  When not connected to the Sun however, I do not necessarily see Mercury giving intelligence in the sense of arriving at truth.  (I can hear the astrologers gasping while reading this…bear with me)  Now if strong, this person’s Mercury will still be able to cognize quite well, and of course still be able to memorize and organize data very well.  This person may speak very fast and sharply and come off as very smart and intelligent.  They may have lots of information to articulate and be multi-talented and skillful.  But that is where we get mistaken.  Those qualities are not intelligence.  One can organize information extremely well, regardless of whether it is true or untrue information.  One can be very multi talented and know a lot of things but still miss the truth of life, and the truth of any given situation.  These days we sometimes seem to mistake having information about something with having intelligence, or knowledge of that thing.  These are different words and have different meanings.  Nowadays people consider having googled something to equate to having “knowledge” of that thing.  They are mistaken.  When you read old books the word “knowledge” did not mean “information” and was never used in that context.  It meant experience and the direct knowing of something that one gets from experiencing it for themselves.  For example, you know that you are you, and you don’t have to look that up or ask anyone else to convince you of being yourself, because you know this from experience.  This would be “knowledge”, as opposed to “information”.

So while Mercury gives the intellect, that intellect can see things a million different ways and until one is Self-Realized there is no promise that Mercury will give the intelligence to see the real truth in life.  That is the “keenest intelligence” that Sri Yukteswar is referring to, and that, as Parashara states, emanates from the Sun.

How we see this in the Zodiac  

We can see how and why the Sun would give this intelligence by examining the mechanics of the zodiac itself.  Aries is the sign of virtue, action, inspiration and nobility.  Thus, Aries is the sign of the “active expression of virtue” that Sri Yukteswar mentions. The Sun gets exalted here, meaning it is the strongest it can possibly be.  So the highest or “keenest intelligence” (The strongest the Sun can be) is brought about by developing the qualities of Aries, the “active expression of virtue”.  Pretty cool huh?

Also from the sign of Aries, the Sun rules the 5th house from there, Leo.  The 5th house is said to be the house of the mind, and the intelligence we use to manage our lives.  So when we act virtuously in order to manage our lives more effectively, that is like the Aries, putting the 5th lord, the Sun, in the first house, of one’s action and expression, and in this case the sign of the same things, Aries.  And what does that do?  That makes the Sun exalted, as strong as it can be.  And when the Solar force is strongest the innate intelligence we have is strongest, and we can be “King” of our life.  This is the logic and mechanics behind this great quote from Sri Yukteswar.  He was also an advanced Jyotishi, so perhaps he was aware of this connection in the zodiac as well as in his real life experience.

This is the Astrological reason why, at least on planet Earth, we can have all kinds of ideas or information, and we may think it to be true or not true…But until we apply it in our lives and act from it, and see the result, we do not really know if that information or idea is true or not. Remember that real intelligence is brought about by virtuous actions.  The results of this truth are very evident in the spiritual growth world nowadays.  Many people  can absorb spiritual ideas quickly, and can read spiritual texts and understand them very well, but don’t apply the truths in day to day life nearly enough, and then wonder why they haven’t experienced authentic spiritual growth.  The people who shine with spiritual happiness are the people who have applied spiritual truths in their lives, and in their day to day actions, and have expressed these virtues in real time, not just on the internet or in their minds.  We have to apply what we learn or we get a sort of “mental indigestion”. This happens when we just go about reading one after another metaphysical, or spiritual self help book, but never implement it into daily life.  For this we need the strength of the Sun and Mars, the two warrior caste/fire element planets to give us the courage to act virtuously.  This is also where a jyotish reading can help someone, because if we see that they are a spiritual seeker, but the Sun and Mars are afflicted, they probably have difficulties with actively expressing virtues. In this case we can advise certain mantras, gemstones, meditations, behavior adjustments, and other remedial measures to combat this negative karma and make the best of the situation at hand.  In this way we can see why Jyotish was such a beloved tool of Yogis seeking Self-Realization, as it reveals the obstacles that are in the way of experiencing the goal of our incarnation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Taurus all about?

At the time of this writing, it is May 4th, 2015, and the Sun is making its regular pass through the second sign of the zodiac, Taurus.  With this in mind, I would like to share some general information about the zodiac with particular emphasis on the meaning and symbolism of this second sign and how it relates to human life on earth.

The time the Sun passes through the zodiacal sign of Taurus is between April 20th and May 20th, and it is this same time every year, as the course of the Sun is completely fixed and has not altered in any observable way in the past.  The Sun’s apparent movement through the sky is what creates the seasons and the environments on life as we know them to be.  Each sign’s duration is exactly 30 degrees, or days long, and the Sun moves through each of these regularly and consistently.  In this way, the zodiac is created and begins on March 20th (same time as the moment spring begins, its the same thing) with Aries the ram, and then on April 20th moves to Taurus, followed by Gemini beginning on May 20th, and so on.  In this way the course of the Sun throughout the year is permanently fixed and consistent, and this is why the Sun rules Kings, constancy, commitment, as well as being steadfast in one’s purpose (Dharma in sanskrit).

The first sign Aries is ruled by Mars, because it is the moment that the days begin to get longer, and there is more daylight on Earth than darkness.  Thus it makes sense to have this sign ruled by the warrior of the zodiac, Mars, as he is the one who cuts away the darkness and brings in the light of inspiration and courage to welcome spring.  Spring is not usually in full swing by this time however, but everything in nature is bursting forth from the ground and eager to receive more light.  It is not until around the time of April 20th- May 20th that most of the landmass on Earth has warmed up sufficiently to have flowers blooming, and for the average human to be able to enjoy spending time in nature.  This is essentially what the sign (or rasi, in sanskrit) of Taurus is all about, being able to enjoy life as well as being productive and providing something to life in return.  Taurus is ruled by Venus, the planet that is about enjoying life on earth, the planet that also gives us divine love, artistic inspiration and appreciation (but not skill, that is Mercury’s job), poetry, beauty, flowers, the ability to make decisions that lead to the highest fulfillment… These are all things that relate to and are ruled by Venus in all branches of Astrology.  Now we can see why this time would be ruled by Venus, because its the first time in about half a year that most people on the Earth can even enjoy spending any time in nature without having to deal with the harshness of the elements, be it snow, wind or just extreme cold.  At this time the elements are more harmonious in general for most of the people on Earth, and Venus rules harmony in Astrology.

Each sign of the zodiac also relates to a part of the body as well.  Aries represents the forehead and top of the head, where the higher brain and crown chakra reside.  Aries is the sign of ideas, inspirations, and intuition.  In occult philosophy and yogic philosophy, the higher brain centers along with the crown chakra are where our higher intuitions come from, and the more developed this region is through meditation, the more effortlessly those inspirations come through. Along with this, the Sun which rules the Soul and the higher self (Atma in Sanskrit) is exalted in this sign.  No wonder the “King” of the zodiac (Sun) is exalted, or most strong, in the sign that relates to the “crown” chakra.

Taurus rules the section of the body from the eyes down to the rest of the face.  This fits with Venus as this is the part of our body that we enjoy life from, and Venus again is the planet that is about enjoying life.  This is the part of the body that we eat from, speak from, and kiss from.  Its a part of the body that matters to us whether it is beautiful or not.  No one looks at the knees and makes a judgement about beauty, because Venus does not rule the knees. The knees are ruled by Saturn, and its not important for him to be beautiful in order to fulfill his cosmic role.  The sign of Taurus also represents the food we eat, and our wealth capacity, both things that help us enjoy life.  We may also note that for most parts of the world, this is the first time that there is any available food that is fresh and enjoyable to eat, which was probably much more appreciated back in the days when most people’s winter reserves were running quite low by April.  Again we can see the grace of Venus being felt quite naturally in our consciousness at this time.

Hopefully one can now have a better feel for what this time of Taurus is all about.  It is a time to be enjoying life on earth, as well as finding ways to provide for ourselves and loved ones in a healthy and holistic way.

The Solstices and Equinoxes Part 1

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen we look across the globe at many different cultural traditions, there seems to be an emphasis on the importance of the astronomical periods known as the Solstice and Equinox times.  Many of the most ancient landmarks that have ever been discovered, such as Stonehenge, Newgrange, the temple at Karnak, Macchu Picchu, and Chichen Itza have all  been oriented to these four points, the winter and summer solstice, and the spring and fall equinox.

Why is that the case? Well, we may not know all the reasons why.  Historians point out that these times needed to be known in order to know when the seasons were coming, to know when to plant seeds, and to know when to harvest them.  So there is likely a practical reasoning behind it, but there also seems to be a profound spiritual logic behind the awareness of these four times.  In this post I will try to clarify the importance and meaning of the astrological and astronomical significance of the solstices and equinoxes, which have been called the “Celestial Cross”.

Clipboard01First lets clarify what these terms “Solstice” and “Equinox” actually mean.  The Solstice is an astronomical event that occurs twice each year as the Sun reaches its highest or lowest point in its apparent year long course across the equator and back down. And the equinoxes are the two middle or “equal” points that the Sun hits as it goes up and down across the ecliptic as we see it from the Earth.  The Equinoxes are the exact days when the day and night are of equal length.

(Note: Astrology is an Earth based science, and as such, it is not important whether the Earth actually is moving around the Sun, or the Sun around the Earth.  The symbolic importance is what appears to be happening from the perspective of being on Earth.  So we say that the Sun moves north and south, even though it is commonly understood that the Earth is what is moving around the Sun.  From the perspective of the relativity of motion, it really cannot be proven that the Earth is moving around the Sun, as the entire Universe could equally be said to revolve around the Earth, as the famous physicist Ernst Mach has contended.)

THE VERNAL EQUINOX

The vernal equinox is usually around March 20th of each year and marks the beginning of “Spring” as we commonly call it.  This is astrologically the beginning of the sign of Aries, “the ram”, and the beginning of the Sun’s course through the Zodiac again.  As this is the point where there begins to be more daylight than night, and all of nature begins to awaken and “spring” up from dormancy, we can see why this is symbolized by a ram.  Rams are powerful and fearless creatures that climb mountains and smash into their enemies head first.  They push the boundaries of what can be possible.  We can see how this fits as a perfect symbol for the time of year when nature itself seems to awaken and burst forth into activity.  Aries individuals are very comfortable with this sort of activity and are courageous, adventurous, pioneering, and love initiating new projects.

THE AUTUMNAL EQUINOX

The autumnal equinox is the exact opposite point of the solar path, and marks the first day of “Fall” or “Autumn”, and is astrologically the first day of the sign of Libra, “the scales”.  Libra is the sign of the balancing scales, and that should make sense to us as we now know that this is the middle point, or “balancing point” of the zodiac.  Naturally Libra is a sign that seeks balance, equality, and harmony, and we can see the logic behind that, in the Sun’s yearly course.  Also, Libra is the sign where the Sun is weakest, and the weakest sign for a planet is referred to as its “fall”.  Its as if the planet falls from its natural strength at that place.  Hence, we call this time of year, “The Fall”, as it is the time when the Sun “falls” astrologically, but also this means in actuality that the light on earth is diminishing more quickly each day as winter approaches.  So the fall equinox marks the equal point of the Sun’s descending path, after which there will be more darkness than light for 6 months.

THE WINTER SOLSTICE

This brings us to the Solstices.  After the autumn equinox, the next major change will be at the winter solstice, which occurs on December 20th or 21st.  This is the shortest day of the year, where the Sun is seen from Earth’s perspective as being the furthest away and dimmest that it will be.  If one is far North enough above the equator, then the sun can appear to disappear or not even rise on this day.  At the north pole, the sun does not rise at all.  For three days the sun’s path stays the same, and so in the northern regions of Earth, the Sun is apparently gone (or barely visible) for three days after the 21st. Then on the 25th of December, the Sun rises just a bit further North, and is just a bit more visible, and the day is just a bit longer.  This day marks the beginning of the Sun’s 6 month journey northward across the equator and the beginning of the longer days.  This winter solstice point is astrologically the first day of Capricorn, the goat-fish in western tradition, and the crocodile in the Indian tradition.  Both symbols represent the same energy of coming from darkness into more light.  The crocodile is often half submerged when seen, and lays low but can be quite powerful and fearsome when it moves up onto dry land.  This fits the nature of this time, when the Sun is most hidden, but is beginning to make its journey towards more light.  The goat or goat-fish in the western tradition, has the same symbolic meaning.  The fish-half can represent the submerged, hidden, or darker emotional aspect of ourselves or our karmas that can sometimes surface during the winter time.  The goat, being a natural mountain climber and survivor, symbolizes the inevitable rising up into life and light of the Sun on its 6 month journey that begins at this stage of Capricorn.  The goat will always make it to the top of the hill eventually, but may take its time. This is how capricorn natives behave, they are focused on long term goals, security, moving up in the world, and on metaphorically “getting through the winter”.

THE SUMMER SOLSTICE

After 6 months of the Sun moving north, it reaches its peak of northern movement on the summer solstice on June 21st.  This is the brightest day of the year, and the Sun is as far north as it will ever be.  For 3 days the Sun stays at about that same place, just like the opposite winter solstice. Then on June 25th, the Sun actually starts descending and moving south.  This is astrologically known as the sign of Cancer, the crab.  And as crabs are easily seen to side-step as they move, this is exactly how the Sun behaves here.  The sun was moving north, north, north, then it stops at cancer…. and then side steps for 3 days, and then retreats back south, like a crab running back to its hole in the sand.  Cancerian individuals are known to be a bit fickle, and often dont address issues head on like the ram, they tend to pause and side-step around the issue if possible.  They are able to yield to the moment, and enjoy receding from the world into their home or something they are comfortable with.  This makes sense as this is the point at which the Sun actually stalls and yields from moving any further north, and then changes direction, and begins to move south.  Cancer natives are very receptive and are similar in that they can stop and check in with their emotions and say, “is this the right course for me?  Perhaps I should change the course”.

Hopefully it is beginning to make sense that this course of the Sun, along with the Moon’s monthly course around the Earth, are the cycles that create our seasons and therefore our sense of time and rhythm as we live on Earth.  That is very important!  It makes sense that these cycles will also have a big influence on our psychological states, and this is obvious when we take even a basic look at the signs that are associated with the four major points of this solar cycle, as we did earlier.  These four major points that correlate to Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn are places where the Sun and the Earth are in an alignment, and so naturally we would assume that these signs would have importance.  And even those with a basic knowledge of astrology know that this is true, as these four signs are called the “cardinal” or “chara” (changeable) signs.  These cardinal signs are naturally the most active, and the most changeable.  This makes sense as these are the actual points where the sun “changes” its course.  The Sun represents the “Soul of All”, or Saarva Atman, as discussed in a previous post.  Logically it makes sense that if these signs are where the Soul of everything changes its course, the people born under that sign will also be more likely to change course throughout life, and be more comfortable with change.

We can also think about this and see that it is likely not some star constellation that looks like a ram that is making an aries person so impulsive, but the very framework of the Sun and Earth’s movement (these equinoxes and solstices) that is the factor.  This makes more sense when we contemplate it, as stars can burn out or appear in different areas over time, but the Sun and Earths relationship appears to be much more consistent over the long term, and hence a better framework for time.

We have been dealing with these cycles our whole lives, so we may not notice the effects from day to day, but these cycles can definitely be noticed and felt to varying degrees, depending on the consciousness of the person experiencing them.  This is a very important pattern and the ruins of ancient cultures across the globe are all aligned to this “celestial cross” as it has been called.  In the next post about the Solstices and Equinoxes I will elaborate more about the spiritual and yogic symbolism of this same cycle.

 

Some Thoughts About The Moon

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“The Moon reflects the Sun’s light and it does not emit its own light.”  -Rig Veda 1:84:15

“The Sun is the upholder of all light. The Moon and all other planets do not possess light of their own. All of them shine with the light of the Sun.”  -Atharva Veda 14:1:1

 

The Moon is the brightest object in the night sky. With its fascinating luminescence and mysterious waxing and waning behavior, it is no surprise that it has been the subject of great interest for practically every culture on the planet.  It has probably been an object of contemplation ever since humanity expressed such an ability, and for good reason,  as there are so many interesting qualities to appreciate about this luminary body.

To fully understand the Moon, we must first look to the Sun, the other great luminary, and the source of the moons reflected light.  In Jyotish (vedic astrology), each planet represents an aspect of our own self.  The Sun is the symbol of the real Self (note the capital S, referring to our eternal Self or Soul, not the impermanent and always changing personality self).  As the body that the rest of the planets revolve around, it signifies the real and eternal “Soul of All”.  The Sanskrit word used to describe the sun in this context is “Sarva Atma”. “Sarva” means “all”, “of all”, “everything” and “all things”.  “Atma” means “soul” or “self”.  So the Sun is the life of everything.  All is one with the Sun at the deepest level of existence.  The Sun relates to that pure consciousness that manifests everything in existence.  Mathematically, the Sun is like the number 1.

The Moon is the other main source of light and luminescence in our world.  As the above quotes from the ancient Rig Veda and Atharva Veda explain, the moon has no light of its own, and is merely reflecting the Suns light.  In the Indian tradition of astrology, the moon is the planet (astronomically it is considered a satellite, but for astrological purposes it is considered a planet, as it behaves like other planets from our perspective on Earth) that represents the ego-mind and the incarnated human being.  It is the reflection of the Sun, the Supreme Self.  Human beings can certainly be reflections of the Supreme Self, but not all the time, just like the moon, who can sometimes be full and reflect the Suns light perfectly, and other times be so dark it cant even be seen.  The sanskrit word given for the Moon is “Manas”, which means “mind”, but not in the western sense of the mind as the intellectual processor, but as the thing that is experiencing life. The mind is what experiences life through the five senses.  Interestingly, because the English language has roots in the Vedic Sanskrit language, this Sanskrit word “Manas” is the root origin of all three of the English words “man”, “mind” and “moon”.

When we think about the Sun, how hot and bright it is, how intense and draining it can feel to be exposed to it for long stretches of time, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by it.  Just as Man cannot easily perceive the Sun for more than a moment without having severe eye damage, he likewise has difficulty perceiving God in daily life. It really is logical to correlate the Sun with the Supreme Self, or God, as it is the sustaining source of all that is living in our world. Its course is so regular and unchanging, and we live our lives by it….yet we cannot understand it or even look at it normally.  Life cannot exist on Earth without the support of such a powerful solar body.

In the same way, when considering the Moon, its constant waxing and waning, changing signs, moving to and fro, and occasionally being eclipsed… It is much more symbolic of a human beings awareness. We wax and wane, have good days and bad, seem to go through cycles we have little control of and in an overall sense are very changeable by nature.  Hopefully this symbolism is making itself clear now.  Our ego-mind is just like the changeable moon.  The ego-mind can be thought of as merely a composite of personality characteristics, that we do or do not like, that are taken from a VAST amount of experiences we have had.  So it is always changing as well, as we have new experiences and out grow old experiences that we previously identified with.  For example, someone may not like spicy food, but then one day they have a delicious spicy soup in just the right quantity, and fall in love with it, and how it makes them feel. Then their ego mind will say, “Now I LIKE spicy food”.  Their ego has changed and adapted just like the ever changing moon.

And that brings us to another interesting thing about the moon, or ego-mind; its adaptability.  Each planet is said to relate to the other planets as being a friend, neutral, or enemy to them in the Vedic system of astrology.  And these relationships are based on the natural energies, or “rays” of each planet.  Like how certain colors just go well naturally, and others “clash”.  And when it comes to the moon, it is the only planet that has no enemies, only friends or neutrals.  All the other planets have at least one, two, or three enemies.  What does this tell us about the ego-mind?  Contemplating this reveals many things, but particularly significant is that the moon, or ego-mind, will latch on to and feel comfortable with anything it can in order to survive as the individual ego.  Even if that thing is not good for it and harmful.  This is why the separate egoic sense of self is such a source of pain and suffering.  It will not refuse identifying with even the worst elements of life in order to keep growing and experiencing.  The Moon with Jupiter for example, is showing that a persons mind is comfortable identifying with Jupiterian things such as knowledge, wisdom, a sense of purpose in life, and optimism.  The Moon with Saturn, on the other hand, shows a person identified with suffering, pain, lack, hard work, and the difficult sides of life.  Oftentimes they will actually be somewhat comfortable with the painful sides of life. They will be used to struggling, and enduring. When things are going great in life, they may actually think, “something isnt right”, but it is because they just are not as used to life going so easily.  The Jupiterian-moon person may be the opposite, and when life is going right, they will stop and think “life IS going right”.  This shows us that some things are naturally more beneficial for us to identify with than others, but if we decide to, we can latch on to even the harshest aspects of life, in order to keep growing and experiencing life as it is happening…

The moon, or mind, can therefore work out well for a person, or not so well for a person, depending on what they are identifying with, as revealed by asessing the moon in a horoscope.  But either way, whether ones mind is more comfortable with wealth or poverty does not change the fact that they are identifying with a temporary and changeable sense of themselves, which waxes and wanes.  It is still not the real Self.  So from the Yogic viewpoint,  identifying with this passing sense of self that one is comfortable with can bring happiness or sadness, but will still invite suffering to the “moon-identified”, or ego-minded person, until they are able to become “Sun-identified”, or “Soul-minded”.  We know already that the Sun is the “Self of all”, hence the emphasis on “Self-realization” from the yogis and enlightened ones.