Vocationem Spiritual Calling
Neptune in the IIIrd...Crowley used the word divagation (to wander, to drift about) as descriptor for Neptune in the IIIrd House, and while I wasn't much taken with the more extreme elements of his discussion, that word and the thrust of the piece struck home. My "wandering" is often evident to me in conscious terms, and is frequently a matter of irritation or self-criticism, but there remains awareness of an immanence, a hidden presence, an inner companion and teacher in Jungian terms, the Self directing the "walkabout" to specific information, needful concepts and percepts. Perhaps this is again about the Self and gestalt of principals comprising personal identity, but the experience appears to be much more than my periodic melancholic-cathartic breakdown, a molting of identity. It's of a different order and scope. The point here is that consideration of Neptune and house placement led to additional insights bearing on analysis of the problem. In what way? Well, no system of house division works perfectly for me but, as discussed in a previous post, Equal is best, followed by Koch certainly not Placidus, which quite untenably populates the Xth, XIth, Ist, IInd, IIIrd and IVth. In Vedic astrology the nodes are in the IIIrd and IXth, as they are in Equal and Koch, a better read than the Placidean IVth and Xth. My ♆ is clearly in the IIIrd, conjunct the IC and Cauda psychic boundaries are weak and communication is problematic, requiring special attention. While Cauda (→ Ketu) and the IC ☐ ♅ in the XIIth, the latter is biseptile ♆Rx, indicating a spiritual obligation, in this case going matters of communication with hidden realms, inwardly accessed.
Uranus square the Nodes A "skipped step"?I have read, reread and continue to reference Jeff Green's insightful Pluto work, finding it full of provocative ideas and interpretations, but I retain reservations with respect to its singularity of focus and the entire construct of "evolutionary astrology". Now I came across a 2005 article written by Green's creative partner, Steven Forrest: Astrology and Reincarnation, reprinted from The Mountain Astrologer. Unlike Forrest, I have not "always accepted reincarnation and tried to include it in my astrological work"; while I find reincarnational stories and beliefs of interest in psychospiritual terms, they do not rise to the level of evidence regarding the supposed phenomenon; rather, I think of them as significators of the transpersonal and collectively shared reality. Forrest's perspective interests me in psychoanalytic terms, not so much for its probative value. Reference is made to (Jeffrey Wolf) Green's concept of "skipped steps", indicated by the planet(s) squaring the nodes, said to show "something the person left unresolved in the karmic past" (South Node) and what needs to be done to resolve the problem (North Node).
The signs, houses, and rulerships of the Nodes are of particular importance here, as are the high and low expressions, the shadow elements. And as point five clearly illustrates, identification of the "karmic story" is based on inference of the storyline inherent in the iconic connections. That's the point at which the exercise loses meaning for me, because inference of the "karmic story" does not mean validation or verification of the reincarnational schema. Identification of the storyline is subject to cognitive bias, even predicated of it, one's intuitive prowess notwithstanding. Such a story may resonate to some extent in current experience, but its underlying premise may prove problematic. It is an untestable and unprovable ideational framework that the soul evolves across lifetimes, has an "evolutionary intention" and generates or participates in a "soul-contract" with karmic consequence. Yes, the Nodes are often conceived in terms of past and potential future, what you have done in previous life and what you are here to do in this one, but like the MC/IC and Asc/Dsc, the Lunar Nodes form an axis, a dynamic relation, and one experiences both poles in personality, in this life. My use of astrology in the a priori framing of change and direction is arguably problematic as well, inasmuch as unconscious pressors are certainly operative in such an exercise, and analyses are clearly subject to cognitive bias in the effort to achieve an objective, resolution of psychoemotional dissonance and disharmony, as in breaking free from restriction, based on research and reason affirmed by what I "hear" and "see" internally. For me, the entire exercise is in many respects mediumistic, a function of the ego-Self relation, including the experience of multiplicity. There is always a sense of being led, being taught, in addition to "being" or "performing as", in cooperation with other principals in gestalt. That's my story, and, working on it in said context, attempting to understand and resolve and the problem of vocational direction at this stage, the colorful crystals I gleaned from Forrest and Green centered around the significance of:
- [S]uch a planet represents a "skipped step." It haunts us, and the only way for us to advance is to return to the question and get it right this time. It's like driving in a strange city: miss a critical exit on the highway and the only thing you can do is turn around and go back. Maybe someone "solves" the problems in one relationship by escaping into another one — and we all know that isn't likely to work. Very probably, whatever you are not facing in the first relationship will emerge as a problem in the new relationship too. We use the term "skipped steps," but the irony is that no one can really skip any steps at all. We can only defer them. The energy of a planet square the nodal axis is hanging in the balance between the past and the future. Easily, it can fall backwards and recreate the old south node dilemma, but ideally, it needs to move to higher level and "serve the north node." It is critical to remember that resolving the issues connected with a planet square the nodal axis is the price of admission for going forward. Until those issues are addressed, we are blocked — stuck, whether or not we know it, in the past.
- Not all nodal squares represent our own errors — that's just a useful possibility to try on when you are framing the story. Some squares simply represent our frailty in the face of the enormity of life. Squares tend to "blind side" us — thus, they often link to circumstances "which we never saw coming." That's especially true with the edgier planets — Mars, Uranus, or Pluto — squaring the node. These all tend to leave the mark of trauma on the person.
- The North Node "answers the south node's questions" and "resolves the south node's dilemmas" and "represents the person’s evolutionary intention and soul-contract" [emphasis added].
- The planet that rules the sign of the Moon's north node helps us get to where we need to go. It supports the realization of the evolutionary intention.
- Pulling the Karmic Story Together
Every astrological symbol represents a very broad field of archetypal possibilities. The sixth house, for example, represents health and responsibilities — and mentors, daily routines, and humility. And that's just the psychological material! The sixth house also refers to pets, aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews, the tools in your toolbox, your sister's home, your children's finances... the list is overwhelming. And it should be, since we are dividing the universe into twelve (obviously huge) boxes! Visualize this archetypal field as a gigantic frying pan full of icons representing each of its elements. Mars in Virgo in the ninth? That’s three pans. Mars, Virgo, and the ninth house. Mars: put icons in there for warriors, pioneers, adventurers, athletes, people under stress, angry people, scared people... Virgo: in that frying pan, you need icons for motivations and attitudes involving meticulousness, responsibility, self-doubt, criticism, primness, nagging, martyrdom, craftsmanship, duty, skill... The ninth house: conjure up icons for voyages, universities, religion, beliefs, the law, exploration, walking one’s talk, jumping to conclusions... Do the same with all the other archetypal fields pertinent to the nodal analysis — that is, with the ruler of the south node and with any planets in aspect to the node. Now see where the pans overlap. See where they have common ground. See what icons they either hold in common, or which daisy-chain together into a natural storyline, like a gun might suggest a murder, or a ship a voyage, or loneliness a foolish relationship choice. You've found it. That's the chart within the chart. That's your karmic story.
In fact, as shown in a study of the heliocentric chart, Uranus aspects every planet
and several additional objects in the natus.
Prometheus...PROMETHEUS: Greek « προμηθεια » (prometheia) meaning "foresight, forethought".4 I do not identify per se, with the Titan Prometheus. Creator of humankind, he endured long and agonizing torture in behalf of that creation. My focus is far more narrow, going to the most basic in personal identity, the psychospiritual reality of self in relation to Self, apprehending the nature of "I" in context of multiplicity, many as One as many. The Promethean story is "too big" for me. I admire him, but I cannot relate the story to my own experience. Perhaps, with Uranus in the XIIth, I am simply unable to see... Using whole signs house division, however, tropical or sidereal, we note that Uranus tenants the Ist; while I continue to work on the significance of that placement, identification with Prometheus is another matter. Lack of identification notwithstanding, one may be strongly affected by the Promethean archetype. Richard Tarnas presents compelling insights along this line in his brief essay, Prometheus the Awakener, on the archetypal meaning of the planet Uranus. "A planetary archetype," writes Tarnas, "can express itself externally or internally, physically or psychologically." Archetypes cut across all experiential boundaries; they know no arbitrary limits such as those defined by the Cartesian-Newtonian universe. If one is unconscious of an archetypal complex, it can emerge unannounced from within, as in disturbing psychological symptoms that upset the ego's sense of control and equilibrium. But equally likely is the tendency to project the complex's energies outward and thus attract events or persons that fulfill the archetype's character: in the case of a denial of Prometheus, for example, accidents of various kinds, rebellious children who do not turn out the way one wants, spouses seeking greater independence, divorces, firings, upsets of all sorts. In general, one feels constantly prey to unpredictable events which serve to make life unstable, chaotic, and continually challenging in uncomfortable ways." (pp.108-9, emphasis added) It may also manifest in physical symptoms and conditions the mythical torture and pain endured by Prometheus vividly presenting in physical form. Tarnas provides several examples, including Michelangelo, Thomas More, Plotinus, Marx, Dostoevsky, Kafka, Joyce, William James, Einstein, and more, beginning with brief description of Freud's battle with cancer of the mouth, "a torment of truly Promethean intensity and duration [...] borne with stoical courage". Sharon Romm MD (1983) presents the details, reporting that: The last 16 years of the life of Sigmund Freud were spent in a brave battle against a massive intraoral cancer to which he finally succumbed at the age of 83. He was subjected to 30 operative procedures and endured daily manipulations of a cumbersome prosthesis worn to replace his resected jaw and palate. [...]
Romm S. The oral cancer of Sigmund Freud. Clin Plast Surg. 1983 Oct;10(4):709-14. In his section on The Jupiter-Uranus Cycle, Tarnas tells us that "[w]hen Jupiter and a second planet enter into alignment, Jupiter's archetypal influence seems to be one of magnifying and supporting the second planetary archetype expanding it, granting it success, bringing it to fruition", and in the case of Jupiter-Uranus on a mass scale, "alignments often coincide with simultaneous individual breakthroughs in such fields as philosophy, science, literature, and the arts" (p.83). Breakthrough on a personal level may be approaching but, as I've said, pressure is increased with the TJupiter-Uranus conjunction, as if the channeling vessel were being refined, and pressure appears to be increasing steadily, on a socio-cultural scale, with the transiting T-square (discussed in a previous post). The latter is strongly mediated in my case by TSaturn and Persephone conjunct Pallas Rx in Scorpio, the latter being part of the natal grand trine . But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's return to Prometheus and the role of Uranus. While Tarnas assigns the Prometheus archetype to Uranus, there is also an asteroid named after the Titan. That asteroid, located at 28ºin my natus, is conjunct Chaos, Part of Vocation, Deneb Kaitos, Part of Magistery and Profession, MC Caput, etc. The whole complement is ☐ ♅. But now the squares prove diagnostic. Uranus seems to admit, but then blocks, impedes, disrupts or abruptly dissolves cathexes. The effect is not like the push-pull experienced in terms of the Jupiter-Saturn opposition, which is mediated by. That emphasizes the integrative work of Uranus, suggesting an orientation toward psychophilosophical expansion through problem analysis (♃ ruled by ♅ in the VIIIth) and pragmatic consolidation/stabilization (♄ ruled by ☉ in the IInd) in matters of personal identity and self in relation to Self (♅ in the XIIth, ruled by ☿). The "blocking" action effectively disengages the Wheel, creating a timeless state, a space out of time for specific purpose delineated in the XIIth. Although Tarnas makes a very good case for the association of the Prometheus archetype with Uranus, and notwithstanding the prominence of Uranus in my chart, the asteroid named Prometheus is also a significant presence, compelling consideration in consequence of its resonance and multiple aspects. How can this archetypal split be addressed? The midpoint between the asteroid Prometheus and ♅ is 15º25 , proximal at 13º50, and Almach at 13º32; it's not exact, but the 1º35 orb is acceptable given that the midpoint is almost exactly ☐ ♇ engaging, via , a characteristic self-refinement dynamic at the heart of the chart mentioned earlier. By extension, the stellium is also engaged. The work-through might go like this:
Here's another route:
Ras Algethi is the Hercules α,
Amun, Re, PtahOur exploration and analysis has led us to PTAH, god of creation, craftsmen, carpenters, shipbuilders, metalwork, sculpture, architecture. Equivalent to the Greek Hephaistos and the Roman Vulcan. But it is AMUN, RE, and PTAH who concern us now. AMUN the "hidden", principle of unity; RE the "face", principle of filiation; and PTAH the "body", principle of manifestation. PTAH is the physical manifestation of order. He has the power to think out creation and materialize it. All gods and goddesses are these three, we read, not a trinity, but combined principles... What have we not been focusing upon? [...]
All the gods are three:
Amun, Re and Ptah, without their seconds.
His identity is hidden as Amun,
He is Re as face, His body is Ptah.
Their towns are on earth, fixed for the span of eternity:
Thebes, Heliopolis and Memphis are established perennially. [...]
Source: Amun, the Great God : Hidden, One and Millions.
Wim van den Dungen. Sofiatopia.org, Antwerp. [11.05.02; 04.12.10(v4)] Accessed: 20.07.13. Passim. Emphasis added.
Nothing certain is known about Amun, although He is given names as "Atum", "Tatenen" and "Re". People also say that He is a "Ba" or "soul", but in fact the papyrus rolls do not unfold His image. He can not be perceived, and so He cannot be known. His identity being unknown, nobody has any power over Him. Not the gods, not the world, not the people. This strong affirmation of un-saying, ineffable transcendence is striking. The "neteru" conceal Amun. People may think that Amun is this-or-that "neter", but in truth, only Amun knows Amun. He is Alone, One and Single and hence His essence (or face) is only for Him to know [and] behold. This radical articulation of transcendence is however no monotheistic declaration of unity (like "there is no god, but the Aten"). Quite on the contrary: Amun who is the God of gods does not deny the "gods [and] goddesses" their existence, but their manifestation can only be perfected (made greater) in and through Amun. He does not move against the "neteru", but subjugates all of them to His Will. The extent of His Divinity determines the grand power of these "neteru". Without Amun, they are not. Hence, the "neteru" are no longer "gods" but Divine Names
or Divine Attributes at work insofar Amun deals with creation (either in
pre-creation, in the creative act of creation and in creation itself). Following the 8-point summary of motifs and characteristics he references from Jan Assmann (1995:133), van den Dungen identifies five themes of particular importance in Post-Amarna (after Akhenaten) Amun-Ra theology:
[T]he emphasis one the oneness of Amun-Re[:]
"Oneness" is the overarching concept here. Despite multiplicity and variety (which are not denied), the divine is One.
Hence, oneness characterized all possible transformations of Amun-Re :
- before creation:
Amun (here "Re" should not be added, because there was no Sun god in existence yet) is a primordial god, "existing" before existence (like Atum in Nun);
- during creation as sole creator:
Amun-Re is the creator, transforming the primeval word into the cosmos (as Atum hatched out the primordia[l] egg by himself);
- after creation as pantheon:
Amun-Re is "hidden" behind all other deities who are his images, forms, manifestations, transformations and names.
- an absolute unity, or ultimate, primordial cause, which remains identical with itself and unopposed to anything (but out of which "sui generis" creation unfolds) and
- a (self-created) creator, the first cause or first number, is explicit in the difference between pre-creation (with its Ogdoadic inertness rooted in Nun) and the "first time" of Atum-Re, who creates himself out of himself and all the rest of existence out of his own body. Atum splits as soon as he emerges, and so his creativity is always tangential (mythical, fugal), for it was the Ennead [sprung] out of him which ruled the affairs of the world. Hence, the first cause is Re, the final manifestation of Atum, self-creating himself in eternity-in-everlastingness.
- before creation:
The "canonical" form of this concept is : "the one god who made himself into millions".
The most obvious interpretation of this formula was given by Hornung, who understands it in a temporal sense. So "oneness" is the condition
of Amun before creation and "millions" is the polytheistic divine world of reality after creation. Amun-Re is therefore one and all.
Assmann [see below] adds that the late Amun-Re theology aims at a concept of the god as expressed in the formula "unus qui est omnia" ("the one who is all"). In his interpretation, Amun-Re is also a "hidden power"
or "hidden soul" in creation who is the source of the million-fold plurality in which he unfolds into the boundless. Not the world is "boundless", but Amun-Re himself, and this by virtue of the fact that Amun-Re
transformed himself into the millions and the millions did not exhaust him nor did he cease to be One.
"He is the many in that mysterious way, hidden and present at the same time, which this theology is trying to grasp by means of the ba-concept. A common text even goes so far as to describe god as the ba of gods and
humans, i.e. 'the millions'. [...] By linking the ba concept and the theology of the hidden, it becomes clear in what respect this formula goes beyond the traditional creation theology of the opposition between unity
and plurality. [...] In the context of this hymn, the concept of 'all that is' ntj nb / wnnt nbt is then explained as the totality of living creation, from gods and humans to worms, fleas and mice."
Amun-Re, by creating the world, transforms himself into a totality of gods and goddesses (divine powers), which operate creation and maintain the world. The complete pantheon is thus comprised in the One!
[T]he omnipotence of Amun-Re's will[:]
The "humanist" Middle Kingdom [discovered] the value of personhood, selfhood, individuality and personality. Its literature also questioned the afterlife (skepticism) and described the wors[t] traits of humankind (pessimism) [...] [T]his elaborated religious humanism (cf. Discourse of a Man with his Ba) introduced besides the institutional rule of Pharaoh, who still embodied the unity of the Two Lands "personal conscience" and the "inner values" of what was thought, said and willed (i.e. the "heart" - "ib"). This lightness of the heart (cf. the Judgment Scene) was a subjective affair, for having been near to Pharaoh while serving him and being approved by him, no longer guaranteed a happy afterlife (as had been the case in the Old Kingdom). However, both in the Old Kingdom and Middle Kingdom, the permanence of existence had been the underlining principle: a long life (here and now), filled with happiness, prosperity & health ("ankh, uda, seneb"), a good burial and in the afterlife, being justified, venerable. Shu (life) and Tefnut (Maat) evidence the close connection between order and life, continuous life. This was achieved by the constant restoration and rejuvenation of creation and the daily victory of good over evil. This repeated triumph (the battles are won but the war is never won) is what made "permanent existence" possible. The success of this operation have been differently appreciated. In the Old Kingdom, Pharaoh was the sole guarantee. In the Middle Kingdom, the lightness of each person's heart was the "via Regia" to the god's blessing ("hesu" - "Hzw" : "one to whom grace and favour have been given"). But in both cases, there was the concept of an unchangeable order which had to be followed (public and/or personal). Personal conscience was weighed in the afterlife, magic opened the doors and gave the deceased a safe passage. Amarna provoked a crisis precisely because personal conscience was considered of no importance. The netherworld and magic were eliminated. The identity of the supreme netherworld deity (the "hidden" in essence), Amun, was eradicated. Akhenaten moved back to the archaism of the deified Pharaohs of the late Old Kingdom. Re had incarnated again in Egypt and had removed the pantheon "de manu militari". He had subjected his people to his views and tolerated no opposition. This anachronism could not shoot root. Meanwhile, those who adhered to the netherworld and its magic (surely not a few), went underground and the pantheon left the "public" domain (cf. the deities "leaving Egypt"). For the first time in Egyptian religious history, the netherworld had become intimate, secret and exclusively of the "private" domain. The importance attributed in Amarna theology to Akhenaten (its inventor), was also the reason for its eventual downfall. With no other mediators present, nobody understood the essence of the Aten. Who would present the offerings? Akhenaten's death coincided with the end of Amarna religion. But during this incredible experience (although forgotten as such in less than a century thereafter), the netherworld had been a private affair. Shortly after his death (or even before ?), Akhenaten's display of "free will" (i.e. the Aten moving against the divine order deemed unchangeable) was projected upon Amun-Re. Following Akhenaten was swiftly replaced by following Amun-Re. Only Amun-Re disposed of free will. Nothing happened without him willing it. [...]
[T]he all-pervasive, hidden unity of Amun-Re in the world[:]
Although Amun-Re was direct and intimate, he was so in a hidden, concealed and mysterious way. His interventions are permanent, but unseen. In Egyptian we find words as secret, inaccessible, difficult ("StA"), secluded
("Dsr"), august, noble ("HAp"), hidden ("imn"). They refer to the concept of the holy, the sacred, the put aside.
Nobody knew the identity of Amun-Re. The crown was not even revealed to the best of the best of creation. No revelation was possible. Amun-Re was part of the world but remained an invisible, hidden part. [T]he world was also a part of Amun-Re, but it knew it not. The best of what was known regarding this god were his perfect transformations, i.e. the pantheon. Humans could take Amun-Re "in their hearts" and he could become their personal saviour. [...]
[T]he spatiotemporal [and] sacred transcendence of Amun-Re[:]
In mythical thought, pre-creation was segregated from creation. The only route from creation to pre-creation (which did not stop to "be chaos" after creation) was the netherworld, deep down in the darkness lurking beneath the Solar Bark, trying to destroy Re as does Apepi. For kings, the route was an ascension to the sky. In the traditional descriptions of divine transcendence, the primeval world was the mythical anchor : by making the god (Pharaoh or magician) stand before the spacetime of creation, creation itself is superseded and made dependent of the creative command which initiates a new creation. In Ramesside theology, the sacredness of Amun is no longer realized by this spatiotemporal segregation (his essence being pre-creational), this "temporal Beyond" (Assmann, 1995). Instead, Amun-Re as creator is "summum bonum" and "summum ens" (first cause), dwelling everywhere in his creation "behind" the screen of an infinite number of forms. Amun-Re is ontologically segregated from all other deities and none of them knows his name. Like the subtle "logos" of the Stoics much later, Amun-Re is present in the invisible domains of creation. So regarding the transcendence of Amun-Re, two aspects are distinguished:
Amun is primordial and so he spatiotemporally transcends the order or creation (this is the traditional line of thought, starting with Atum);
Amun-Re is the self-created "soul" ("Ba") of creation, the "summum ens", the supreme being. He is present in his creation as a sacred, hidden god, a supreme being, that transcends all other beings, because Amun is the all-pervasive, sacred unity in all beings that remains hidden for his transformations (late Amun-Re theology or Amenism).
- pre-creational transcendence:
Based on material drawn from the Leiden Papyrus I 350 - ca.1213 BCE.
[T]he "neteru" are the sparkling theophanies of Amun. They are no longer independent of Amun and called "the one" (as usual), but "three". Indeed, only Amun is One. This "3 = 1" formula is next coupled with the "divine" geography of Egypt, affirming that the "neteru" evidently deal with the realm of creation, in specific, the Two Lands: All "neteru" are "three", namely Amun, Re and Ptah, i.e. the hidden identity (Amun Himself, the principle of unity), their "face" or "presence" as Re (the principle of light & life, i.e. the "son" of the "father of the neteru") and their "body" or "solidity" as Ptah. [...] Amun theology differs from its Christian offshoot [inasmuch as] our authors do not say that Amun is three, but that all "neteru" are three. Each and every sparkling manifestation of the hidden God is triune : Amun, Re and Ptah, i.e. hidden essence, luminous presence and physical solidity :
the spirit of each "neter" withdraws to abide in the sky. Moreover, although celestial, they do not know their Creator, who hides from them. Their own essence thus remains concealed from them.
the doubles and souls of the "neteru" exist on Earth. As in Atenism, their presence is extended everywhere, from "stone to man", and global.
the bodies of the "neteru" are in gold, precious stones, stone, wood and clay. So they exist in the very elements constituting nature and become solid as a culture of sustainable harmonization, the interlocking of human culture with the cycles of nature. The "neteru" are the "names" of the laws [and] conditions of process and evolution, "schemata" of successful schemes of creating harmony in and with the environments (inertia being overwon through "heka"). Their "quantum" involving continuous emergence, dissolution (annihilation) and resurrection (rejuvenation). Each "neteru" in its own unique and special way. Solid structures (such as carved hieroglyphs) symbolized the power magic had over matter [and] inertia (cf. amulets & talismans).