A Journal of Inner Work and Therapeutic Arts
Immanence and Identity in Plural Personality

Studies Index...

Vocationem — Spiritual Calling
Following conjunction of transiting Jupiter with XIIth House Uranus and engagement of the nodal squares,
a major trine formation triggers expanded awareness and resolution...

11-21 July 2013
Format changes and revision of a few aspect symbols, 9 May 2016.


On 8 July 2013, transiting Jupiter formed exact conjunction with natal Uranus.

This Jupiter transit occurs every 12 years or so (the sidereal orbit period is 11.862615 Earth years; 4,332.82 Earth days) and the conjunction generally marks an expansive period, a time of surprises and unanticipated opportunities, revelations, a "sudden windfall".

The influence is mediated, of course, by conditions affecting Uranus in the natus; in the case of hard aspects, for example, one might experience the rush of expansive energy as through
a bottleneck, increasing pressure and stress on the entire system.

In my natus, Uranus is square the Nodes, the MC/IC and extended conjuncts. The TJupiter-Uranus conjunction was experienced as a stasis under pressure, being pushed, blocked and constricted at the same time, as if "trapped" in the birth canal ( cf. Stanislav Grof's schema of birth experience, traumata and psychospiritual issues, BPMs II and III ).

At outset, this period was marked by an unusual allergic reaction affecting my eyes. A helpful pharmacist recommended oral diphenhydramine hydrochloride, a commonly used antihistamine, and Opticron® eyedrops; both were employed for several days, with minor benefit and no obvious adverse effects. Concurrent with the eye problem was an experience of blockage in mundane matters, from the simple to the complex, a seemingly universal "denial of service" or "loss of connection" with the outer world — confounding circumstances completely beyond my capacity to contain or control. During that time, in periods of varying intensity, I experienced derealization and acute anxiety, dissociation and erosion of cognitive frameworks, structures and routines. There were visions, apperceptions of overwhelming chaos, of forces vast and unknown, focused on their own ends, oblivious to my presence, utterly beyond my capacity to comprehend. Huddled in my skin and bones, struggling to see, to apprehend what was clearly too big for the smallness of me, I waited to be crushed.

Dreams were not terrifying, but they were very intense, in some cases hypnopompic:  In a dreamscape clouds like furrowed field, yellow and shade, otherwise featureless, in bright but diffuse western light of late afternoon, I stand many furrows from a darkly hooded but comforting female figure associated with dying and death, listening as she speaks an ancient spell... [Nephthys]

Perspective often shifts from micro to macro in my visions and dreams. In the cosmic chaos, for instance, I was on, and then could "see" myself on, a stationary ledge at the edge, "stationary" indicating stability in this case, that I am being shown, or am capable of detachment from, the more personal reality. But separation is not always possible. At other times, in a different perceptual matrix, I was keenly aware of presences, different beings, all around me, forces moving within me — these were felt, seen only as dark shapes, never clearly (an otherworldly interconnectivity, perhaps, or as I imagine it was for Chiron in the Underworld, seeing shapes moving in the darkness, realizing they were dissociated aspects of himself he needed to embrace). Consciously, there was nothing I could grasp, no point of fixity, only movement and change — I knew that a transformation was under way but as to its nature, I could not say. If not sundered entirely, boundaries were certainly far more porous than before.

I found myself bereft of direction, blocked at every turn, confused, unable to focus on my research for more than brief periods, struggling to sit through the process, jumping from one subject to the next that caught my interest, searching, skimming, sifting disparate writings, destressing, stretching, centering with qigong, working to stay in the moment, ride the wave. Bits and pieces, smidiríní, fragments, cognitive structures breaking down, morsels of insight, new concepts, colorful crystals carefully captured with no conscious understanding of significance, only their importance. In fleeting moments of self-awareness I felt an order, a sense of meaning, an underlying continuity. The initial crisis compelled, and the ongoing condition, far less acute but no less unpredictable than it was, continues to demand complete attention.

In conversation, attempting to describe the experience to an intimate, there occurred a spontaneous (? I speak, and in so doing learn, hear the answer I need) framing of structure — I told of a forthcoming confluence of transits, archetypal influences in dynamic convocation I had never charted before. The more I thought about and explored the nature of this pattern, the more astonished I became. The resulting chart is presented above.

On 18 July 2013 the transiting tJupiter trine tSaturn trine tNeptune grand trine formation became exact, engaged the natal grand trine of nUranus trine nPallas Athena Rx trine nJupiter by full conjunction, and ignited additional natal dynamics elucidating the Uranus squares, emphasizing the archetypal influence of Prometheus and the importance of PTAH. At this writing, 21 July, as I conclude the entry, the work continues.

What follows is something of a summary of thoughts and findings, based on assessment of the chart and related material. This too is part of the work-through...

Mean Nodes conjunct IC and MC
— More on House placement

Conjunction of the IC Cauda in the IIIrd, plus Vindemiatrix and ♆Rx by extension, goes to the matter of problematic communication and special efforts at the resolution thereof.

Although Lynn Hayes clearly associates the IC with the IVth House (psychological foundations, parents, ancestors) and I'm applying it to the IIIrd, I nonetheless appreciate the following description, and the last line in particular (emphasis added):

[...] There is a certain amount of karma and destiny inherent in the cardinal points or "angles" (ascendant/descendant, Midheaven/Nadir) and transits to angles are usually life-changing events. The nadir is where we turn inward for self-examination, where we settle with ourselves and become aware of what lies within us. Our hidden fears, desires, dreams, parts of ourselves that have become lost ― all lie at the IC waiting to be discovered. Until we are able to embrace and reclaim these parts of ourselves we cannot manifest our highest aspirations as shown by the Midheaven. Therefore, the IC is really the foundation of the personality and of the chart and the key to unlocking our personal evolution.

"[A]ll experiences which the individual encounters in his search for stability and a secure basis or center of operation can be, astrologically speaking, referred to the fourth house", writes Dane Rudhyar in Problems We All Face, as symbolized by the Twelve Houses (1952-53), and "the natal nadir point indicates the path to the center of one's being". Placing the IC in the IIIrd shifts the emphasis from psychological foundations, "depth psychology".

[...] The Third House refers to our capacity to associate personal and immediate experiences into sequences (causes and effects) and groups. Here one comes to know where one is, and how much of an understanding of one's own self one can reach. Here we are in search of connecting links, in search of meanings, in search of demonstrations and proofs.

This search is the very foundation of all thinking. It is said: As a man thinks, so does he become. Thus, in this house, we see the individual in the process of becoming what he is [...]

I am reminded of a favorite fragment from Heraclitus:

êthos anthrôpôi daimôn
→ "The character of man is his guardian spirit." (B119)

Much of my problem with House division is that I have to choose; the boundaries of the schemata are clear, but I'm too fuzzy. First- or second-house Pluto, second- or -third-house Mars and Saturn, third- or fourth-house Neptune, tenth- or eleventh-house stellium ... so confused.  But surely, the point here is that I'm attempting to become myself, specifically in terms of my relation to Self and all principals in gestalt. That's a deep psychological undertaking, but it's a third house issue, not a fourth. And having resolved that question, I can feel the other descriptors fall into place.  Much as I have appreciated the flexibility of the saying, "I pity the man who can spell a word but one way", there appears to be no evidence Thomas Jefferson ever wrote or said it, or any variation thereof. While I like the idea of adaptability, my investment in the saying fostered formulaic acceptance of failure to commit and compromised communication, which is best kept simple. Seems to me the time has come to lay things out...

Just as the IC Cauda, Vindemiatrix and ♆Rx tenant the IIIrd, the MC Caput, Venus, Vesta, Chaos and Prometheus and more tenant the IXth, a more comfortable fit than the Xth. Again from Rudhyar (emphasis added):

The ninth house, on the other handthe polar opposite of the third ― deals with those facts and lessons of experience which derive from our effort to understand and to come to terms with the ceaselessly expanding vistas of human association and human commerce. There we learn to assimilate the treasure of human knowledge which is passed from generation to generation and to which every generation adds the harvest of its many experiences. There we seek to relate ourselves, as a thinking (thus a social-cultural) person, to thought itself. We study the process of thinking, the generalizations and abstractions of the human mind, the laws conceived by that mind as tools for understanding and for ever more successful group activity.

Thus, the ninth house is said to refer to philosophy, to the abstract mind, to law. It is also related to long journeys, foreign affairs, diplomacy; finally, it is the field of religion and mystical or prophetic experiences. These varied meanings are all expressions of the basic and ultimate purpose of the house, which is assimilation of all that is unfamiliar or distant and the inclusion of all that is at first alien, disturbing and seemingly unusable. To include always more, to assimilate that which constantly challenges you with its differences, if not its antagonism: these are the requisites for true conscious expansion. They alone can make man greater and true to his destiny.

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).

  1. [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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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].
  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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 Uranus square (MC/IC conjunct Nodes) and the problem of vocational direction at this stage, the colorful crystals I gleaned from Forrest and Green centered around the significance of:

I don't buy the "skipped step" presumption, as "reasonable" as it might seem from an evolutionary perspective. Associating Nodes ☐ ♅ with traumata has some appeal with respect to life history, including the experience of violence and isolation as a child, solitary confinement (US: "unresponsive to military discipline" — 1968-9) in my late teens, a reclusive lifestyle and limited social involvement.

My ♅ tenants the XIIth, "the matrix of divine unity, holding the Oneness from which we all emerge and to which we all return", as Dana Gerhardt puts it.2  Here, the unconscious forces spiritual rebirth through contact with universal forces, mysterious attractions, occult investigations, psychic and mystical experiences.3

My Part of Fortune is also in the XIIth. I read this placement as a work-through focus, particularly since the MC/IC and Nodes are Square Uranus in Cancer, engaging Osiris et al. by extension, initiate exploration of unconscious material, personal and collective, under ☿, ruler of the XIIth (Gemini cusp), able to travel freely to and from the Underworld.

Uranus septile Mercury Rx biquintile Neptune Rx biseptile Uranus, plus Part of Fortune  in the XIIth, are interpreted to mean focus is not outer- but inner-worldly, going to the ego-Self relation and transpersonality — this is the measure of health, "wealth", and well-being.

In Ch.7 of The Astrology of Transformation, Dane Rudhyar (1980; 1978) writes that:

[...] each of the trans-Saturnian planets acting as an agent (or "ambassador") of the galactic greater Whole [...] is particularly meant to disturb and transform one of the other planets. Uranus seeks to break through the fortified walls Saturn has built to give maximum security to the reign of the kingly "I", and to bring a new perspective and a breath of "fresh air". Neptune is especially adept at dissolving Jupiterian pride and pomposity. And Pluto can act most effectively as a purifier of Martian emotional drives. As a cathartic agent, Pluto seeks to remove from the personality (which has become individualized through often devious means generating heavy karmic "toxins"), whatever does not strictly belong to the archetypal character of the emergent individuality ― and Pluto's action can be drastic and relentless. But Pluto in its cosmic aspect can also reveal to the purified, but probably rudely shaken individual the true archetypal form of his or her individual selfhood and/or destiny.

At the transpersonal level, Uranus, the iconoclast, deals with the image of the "enthroned I" and its "courtiers" bowing to its every desire. It tries to show the mind how actually ineffective, ridiculous, or empty of meaning this image really is. During the seven years of its passage through a zodiacal sign, Uranus tends to either discredit, deeply disturb, or challenge the traditional character or meaning of the mode of activity represented by that sign ― at times in a direct manner, at others by forcing repeated experiences of this mode of activity and its by-products upon the consciousness, until the "king-l" is satiated or disgusted. [...]

In fact, as shown in a study of the heliocentric chart, Uranus aspects every planet
and several additional objects in the natus.


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 Transiting T-square: Jupiter square Uranus square Pluto, 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 28°in 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 byJupiter trine Uranus quintile Saturn. 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 15°25 Taurus, proximal Lilith at 13°50, and Almach at 13°32; it's not exact, but the 1°35 orb is acceptable given that the midpoint is almost exactly ☐ ♇ engaging, via Lilith, 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,

Another indication of the importance of Uranus, here based on the simple requirements of Nine Star Ki astrology — birthdate and sex. This also goes to the matter of vocation, supporting, nourishing, giving energy...

Nine Star Ki:
(5)(8)(2) = EARTH: Associated Planet: Uranus

Five Transformations and Planetary Associations in Nine Star Ki Astrology

Briefly, in Nine Star Ki astrology I am:

all EarthEarth
(Year) 5 - Yellow Soil[Principal]
(Month) 8 - White SoilDevelopmental8 - ken
(Ming Gua) 2 - Black SoilEnergic2 - kun
All three associated with

Amun, Re, Ptah

Our 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., Antwerp. [11.05.02; 04.12.10(v4)] Accessed: 20.07.13. Passim. Emphasis added.

The following rather lengthy excerpt presents a host of important concepts not only with respect to AMUN, but the critical shift in theology that occurred during and post-Amarna, following the death of Akhenaten. This period has been of deep and abiding interest to me since I first heard the name Amun-Re and "saw" the Pharaoh, unbidden, almost 40 years ago in ritual trance.

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:

  1. [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.

    The distinction between:

    • 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.

    Hence, the oneness of Amun-Re covers pre-creation, the creator and creation. It is an all-encompassing oneness, also to be found in the Memphite theology of the period.

  2. [T]he one-and-millions-formula[:]

    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!

  3. [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. [...]

  4. [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. [...]

  5. [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:

    • pre-creational transcendence:
      Amun is primordial and so he spatiotemporally transcends the order or creation (this is the traditional line of thought, starting with Atum);

    • sacred transcendence:
      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).

The AMUN—RE—PTAH Triune: Important Concepts.

Summary Notes

Consideration of neteru as theophanies of AMUN, which I find very interesting in comparison with the multiplicity of principals I experience inn gestalt under Self, and the development of the triune concept of AMUN—RE—PTAH, the 3-in-1 formula of representing the principles of unity, filiation and manifestation, served clear purpose in their historical context, both sociopolitical and psychospiritual. I am not interested recreating or otherwise replicating ancient Egyptian religion; I do not practice Kemetism, Neterism, or Netjerism.  Instead,
I aim to discover, distill and apply ideas germane to my current development — ideas with which, internally, unconsciously, there is connection and familiarity, and immanent hidden agency bringing them now to the fore. So let's see where this goes...

RE, AMUN-RE and AMUN — but not PTAH.

For most of my life, PTAH has not been a point of focus. The principle of manifestation was of less significance those of filiation (whence have I come ? of whom am I ?) and unity (many as One, a unified gestalt ?). Efforts to achieve success, to manifest creation in the material world have been directly related to inner growth, involving sporadic attempts at social interaction undertaken in the process of self-transformation, with little or no consideration of pragmatic achievement — all of which is consistent with ♇ in the Ist.

Transit patterns and chart dynamics under discussion in this post have drawn attention to
♅ ☐ MC/IC and the Nodes; archetypal Prometheus; the creative, balancing framework of AMUN, Ras Algethi, MC/IC and Nodes in tredecile-quintile "mystic" rectangle; and PTAH as Xth-House apex of a kite formation focused at ⚴Rx in the IVth, psychological foundations.

PTAH is a creator-god, who makes all beings on his potter's wheel, just as Prometheus creates humankind.

PTAH is "sculptor of the earth", and we have seen that in Nine Star Ki, the element earth is associated with ♅, again suggesting the Prometheus connection.

PTAH creates by means of his heart and tongue, fashioning the world by his words, his power manifest in every heartbeat and every sound.

Heart and Tongue.

[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:

AMUNThebesthe hidden identityprinciple of unity
REHeliopolisthe outer "face"principle of filiation
PTAHMemphisthe outer "body"principle of manifestation

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 :

  • hidden essence:
    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.
  • luminous presence:
    the doubles and souls of the "neteru" exist on Earth. As in Atenism, their presence is extended everywhere, from "stone to man", and global.
  • physical solidity:
    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).

The true identity of the "gods" is "hidden as Amun", implying that the Name "Amun" is the best verbal approximation possible of the Nameless, ineffable Supreme God. It invokes His Secrecy! Hence, the "essence" of each and every "neteru" is the same, namely "hidden" as "Amun", the highest Name of the One God Alone, the Single without a second, before, during and apparently in creation too.

The presence of the "gods" is luminous as Re. They are all beings of light, or excellent manifestations of the creative principle. They are the multiple rays emanating from the One, Limitless Source.

The body of the "gods" is their extension in space (the towns where they act) and time (when they act). It is also a principle of outer organisation (government) which keeps the Two Lands solidly together (Dynastic rule). What is "heard" in Iunu is "repeated" in Men-nefer, "put in a report" by Thoth and "directed" to Thebes, where it is "answered" by the oracle of Amun, who has the last say on everything.

Moreover, this trinity is linked with the major cult-areas in the "body" of Egypt, the city of Amun (Ta-Apet, Thebes), the city of Re (Iunu, Heliopolis) and the royal Dynastic city (Men-nefer, Memphis). These also represent two traditional theologies (verbal, in the case of Ptah of Memphis and self-creational, in the case of Re of Heliopolis) and the synthesis proposed by [...] Theban authors. They were confident to have realized a superior scheme, although it is not likely to have had popular following. These hymns reflect the canonical discourse of a small elite, and focus on the theological superstructure of the "initiate" mystery-cult of Amun after Amarna.

The "hearing" of Heliopolis, is more than just processing air. The high priest of Re is a visionary and interacts "face to face" with the creative principle. This "hearing" hence points to inspiration, insight, revelation and the direct experience of Re, all rooted in the presence of Pharaoh. Heliopolitan theology is fundamentally celestial, Solar and Pharaonic. The "repetition" done in Memphis, is more than verbosity. The contents of the "hearing" is made conceptual (Sia), is given an authoritative form (Hu) and is simultaneously spoken aloud by means of the tongue, giving what was "heard" its first "sheet" or "layer" of solidity, for the "magical" word is spoken by Ptah, the principle of continuous craftsmanship and enduring defiance of the inertia of matter (associated with the act of eternalizing hieroglyphs). The recording of Thoth is a short reminder of Hermopolitan theology (with Thoth at the head of the pre-creational Ogdoad) and is suggestive of the tremendous importance of writing. This truthful report is "answered" in Thebes by the oracle of Amun, who has the last word in all things. As "King of the Throne of the Two Lands", Amun was Pharaoh and hence nothing He said could be countered, His decrees were final.

The Great God Alone is Nameless. His Name "Amun" is His Secrecy, His Ineffable Essence. Re is His outer manifestation as Light, Life and Love. Ptah is His solidity in the elements of the Earth as the Unique Master of His Temple. His Great Work is constantly being accomplished.