Eclipses. Retrogrades. Full Moons. New Moons. People react to these cyclical events, occurring with predictable reliability, with groans or glee, depending on their attitudes to change. And change, invariably, begets growth. And growth is almost always painful, at least in part, for it inches us that much closer to death—another reliably inevitable development.
So every astronomical event is a harbinger of eventual death. But not just yet. In the meantime we have stuff to do, and each astral phenomenon deepens our ability to do it. We create strategies and work-arounds to lessen pain or difficulty; we find deeper meaning in joy when we have suffered for it. When life’s events shake us up, and we survive, it is a triumph: another day on which we’ve cheated death.
Another candle we can blow out, on that cyclical event.
In the light of eternity—of life and death—even the dreaded Mercury Retrograde has its gifts of epiphany and humour. Thinking backwards helps us get it right, so that we can go back and fix the things we rushed over in the first place. And each 3-week hiatus makes us understand and appreciate how well things work in DIRECT motion—and we get this opportunity 4 times a year.
Eclipses come in pairs (with the occasional threesome) twice annually. Lunations and full moons, every 4 weeks. Solar Returns—birthdays—once a year.
And in every event, a milestone. We made it this far….
I wrote the other day about spring cleaning, and about the importance of reviewing our inner assignments; and about the usefulness of using Sabian imagery to do that work. What I did NOT do in that post was explain (for those who are not familiar with them) what Sabian Symbols are, and how they came to be.
Sabian Symbols are a collection of received images, one for each degree of the Zodiac. They begin with 1• Aries (0.01 degrees = 1 degree) and run through 30• Pisces—360 in all, as in any circle. They were channeled by Elsie Wheeler, a gifted Californian medium, at the request of the visionary astrologer Marc Edmund Jones. On some unnamed day in 1925, Mr. Jones bundled Ms. Wheeler and her wheelchair—she was badly crippled by arthritis--into his Model A Ford and whisked her off to Balboa Park. Over a 3-day period, during which he showed her blank flash-cards and she described the images that came to her, they managed to generate the basis for Sabian astrology. Marc Edmund Jones wrote a book--The Sabian Symbols in Astrology—and thus was created an invaluable tool for modern astrologers.
Jones’s friend and astrological colleague, Dane Rudhyar, asked permission to expand upon the Symbols, which he laid out with Jungian overtones (he was himself a Jungian therapist of some note) in An Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformations and Its 360 Symbolic Phases. This is the earliest--and to my mind, the best--of the many tomes seeking to build on Jones and Wheeler’s research.
Fast-forward to now: why use them? Because they work. Take any astrological chart and analyse it according to the nature of the planets and the Sabian degrees at which they fall, and you will have a remarkably complex and accurate understanding of the meaning of that chart—the thrust of its potential, as well as its pitfalls. And when it’s your own? Knowledge is power.
In addition to washing windows to let in the spring sunshine, and raking lawns to wake the frozen ground, I was thinking about annual astrological tasks the other day. What do I mean by that? Well, each planet embodies a sphere in our lives. The Sun’s our basic personality; the Moon reflects our inner nature; Mercury’s how we think and communicate, and so forth. This is the stuff of conventional astrology. But why do we need to know the degree at which each one occurs? Why is Sabian imagery so important?
Because it answers questions about what is asked of us in this life.
Sabian Symbols set out precisely the themes animating the areas in our lives described by the planets. It’s not enough just to recognize ourselves in these images. We need to ponder WHY this particular collection of themes showed up in the heavens when we were born, and what—taken together—we are asked to DO with them; and how we—as individuals—can make them truly our own. And spring is a PERFECT time to do that.
Ariel Harper Nave
“I believe that there is NOTHING sent us that we cannot handle if we know ourselves well enough and that’s why I do what I do.”