Astrology and Cycles for Masochistic Readers

Greetings and good wishes to all.

[In another thread Joe wrote: “This, in my view, demonstrates quite clearly that the use of astrology in relation to the various cycles was a valid concept. {. . .} Now, if there is any validity at all to any of this, then one can assume that even smaller cycles in our evolution can be discerned.”]

Among all esoteric teachings, I think the one with the most interesting possible tie-in with astrology might be the Doctrine of the Seven-Year Cycles. Unfortunately, among all esoteric teachings it may also be the one with the best prospects for staying esoteric, no matter how generally it gets promulgated.

The reason for this is that it first may require an exact and probably experiential understanding of how the term egos are used within the context of the Doctrine. Getting a grasp on such usage is not so easy, however—unless, of course, you are naturally very “intro-perceptive,” or probably a safer bet, that you have logged a respectable amount of time as a meditator, experiencing something like this, time and time again:

You are sitting in meditation. Your particular technique is to steadily focus your attention at the ajna or “brow chakra” area of the forehead. Soon, however, you start to notice an itch near your right shoulder blade. For a few seconds, you let your attention linger on the sensation of the itch; then you quickly return your attention to the brow area. According to the Doctrine of the Seven-Year Cycles, you have just indulged a physical “ego-formation.” During the brief time when you lost some of your “Once-Removed Vantage” which allowed your attention to wander, you actually became—psychologically and egoically speaking—that itch.

Following that, perhaps you manage to keep an unbroken focus at the ajna for a long time. You are, of course, tempted by other attention-grabbers, usually in this order: 1) your breathing, 2) other sensations you see, hear, taste, feel, or smell, 3) like/dislike-related “inner pictures,” and 4) inner pictures accompanied by silent, associated verbalizations.

You remain steady and strong—so much so that you say to yourself, “So far so good.”

That is a big mistake, however. Just by internally verbalizing that sentiment, an ongoing, matter-of-fact, picture-free, dispassionate monologue now starts up—perhaps about how using a Transcendental Meditation mantra might help your success next time or something. The subject of your new desire/emotion-free internal talking/thinking stream does not matter. What matters is that your attention has strayed away from your brow area again. According to the Doctrine of the Seven-Year Cycles, you have just indulged 5) a Fifth-Level mental ego-formation. For a brief time you actually psychologically became a desire-free idea or mental operation.

Of course, there is a significant difference in the Level of consciousness involved in the two “ego-delusions” just mentioned. Strictly speaking, there are probably very few human beings, unless drugs or alcohol are involved, who will completely lose all sense of Self or “Once-Removed Vantage” at a lower Level of consciousness like the physical. Fourth- or Fifth-Degree psychological Self-awareness can easily prevent that. Indeed, what might make physical pain even more excruciating for human beings than animals is that when an animal is in pain, it may completely become the pain; however, when a human being is in pain, he or she may not only have the pain, but because his or her Self-awareness usually does not totally disappear, he or she may also have to psychologically “stick around” to agonizingly Witness himself or herself in the pain as well.

Since the ego-formation in the second example occurs at a much higher Level of consciousness, it is much easier for all or almost all Self-awareness to temporarily vanish. Indeed, to maintain a Once-Removed Vantage while utilizing desire-free, Fifth-Level mentality, it would be necessary for the person be at least in the first stages of Sixth-Degree Self-awareness. Consequently, along with things like doing math problems etc., one of the hardest times to stay Self-aware is when you are simply thinking, writing, or talking about something that is objectively known. It does not matter whether you are reporting some deep, life-long scholarship or merely telling some Boy Scouts how to go about building a birdhouse in the right way.

(Incidentally, “I” was actually not around very often during the writing of these foregoing paragraphs. . . .)

Practical application: Anytime you sense that someone is being an idea rather than just merely having one, it may be time to use extra caution and diplomacy. You may then be dealing with an individual who is taking your responses personally. Egoically speaking, if you devalue his or her idea, you devalue him or her. The result can sometimes be that the person “downshifts” into emotion-tainted Fourth-Level consciousness where ego-image preservation using verbal “defend and attack” quickly replaces the “pure, dispassionate reason” of the Fifth Level. (Sometimes the descent may even be to Third-Level, desire-feeling consciousness where temporary “operating egos” are formed out of pure emotion—e.g., psychologically, ”I really am my present hatred for you.”)

Want to be a clairvoyant? Start out by becoming familiar with the characteristics of your own egoic indulgences and then watch for, or better yet, intuit their presence in others. In meditation this familiarization normally comes from repeated experience with straying attention; in particular, noticing what types of sensations, imagery, or thoughts cause the straying. Thus it is that meditators can gradually become acquainted with some of the Levels of differentiated consciousness and how the term egos (also ego-formations, “semi-Selves [Eldon Tucker loves this term],” “tainted ‘I’s,” etc.) can be used in the context of the Doctrine of the Seven-Year Cycles.

Here are the psychological Levels of consciousness: Animating, Physical, Desire-Feeling, Desire-Mental, Mental, Spirit-Mental, Spiritual.

Here are the Seven-Year Cycles: Animating, Physical, Desire-Feeling, Desire-Mental, Mental, Spirit-Mental, Spiritual.

Here is the “Hermetic analog” (H.P. Blavatsky’s special version): Breath, Stone, Plant, Animal, Man, Angel, God.

Here is the masochistic overview: Undifferentiated Consciousness (“Undifferentiated ‘I’,” Purusa, Atman, Self, etc.) on the “one side”; and Substance (“Differentiating ‘You,’” Prakriti,Circular-Interpenetrating-Continuum-of-‘Matter,’” etc.) on the other. (In Sankhya philosophy, the reason often given for why contamination between the Two Ultimate Primordials is possible in the first place is that the latter’s highest component—i.e., Buddhi or Spirit—“shares the same degree of ultra subtle, rarefied nature” as the former, and thereby the Two can interpenetrate. Similarly, Spirit and “animating force” (prana, “Fohat,” [?] energy, etc.) can interpenetrate; similarly, perhaps in the Einsteinian sense, energy can interpenetrate/become physical mass; physical mass can evolve, perhaps in the Darwinian sense, and eventually produce h*** sapiens with a whole new array of emotional and mental features—and all the while what started out as Undifferentiated Consciousness gets dragged along, becoming “differentiated” or “contaminated” by the transmogrifications of Substance It has been brought into association with.)

And . . . that is how animating, physical, desire-feeling, desire-mental, mental, Spirit-mental experiences and their psychological, ego-deluding traps become possible!

So much for the easy part. . . .

The harder part about understanding the Doctrine of the Seven-Year-Cycles might be grasping the idea that all psychological self-identity traps are not possible at the beginning of a person’s life. Rather, a person must gradually “Psycho-mature” toward the unfoldment of these potential egoic or identity screw-ups. For example, a very little child can have a super-strong emotion but not normally be that super-strong emotion in the same, far more dangerous, egoic, self-identifying way that an older teenager can. For another example, an 18-year-old may have many desire-free, Fifth-Level ideas; however, he or she is unlikely to see himself or herself really as those ideas until about age 24 1/2 (the “initial experimenting” mid-point of the Fourth-Level, Desire-Mental Cycle which immediately precedes the actual desire-free Mental Cycle—age 28-35).

It is important not to confuse this septenary Doctrine with the scientific cognitive maturation of Piaget or the scientific “moral” maturation of Kohlberg. Rather, it concerns something with much more of a “Theosophical flavor”: specifically, how it might be possible that a Theosophically (intuitively) apprehended Self could “mature” the potential to become embrangled by every type of tainted semi-Self or ego-formation—to the point where the
person may be well advised to try to cultivate some Adept skill in order to extricate himself or herself from such a psychological mess.

Here are the crucial ages (but do not forget that it is at the mid-points of the preceding Cycle that characteristics of the next Cycle begin to experimentally show up): 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, and (theoretically) 49.

So . . . how might this relate to Joe Fulton’s aforementioned astute observation about astrology and smaller evolutionary cycles?

My knowledge of astrology is modest. However, my old friend Robert Thibodeau, the remarkable astrologer and owner of the famous Mayflower Bookstore in Ferndale, Michigan, came up to me after a Theosophical-talk-for-masochists I gave many years ago and alerted me to a possible tie-in between the Doctrine of the Seven-Year Cycles and what is called a “progressed chart”:

The moon in everyone’s natal chart has a fixed place. Approximately every 28 days (27.3) the real orbiting moon circles the earth and returns there. Using a “year-for-a-day” calculation, astrologers find it very significant that the theoretical “progressed moon” reaches the same position when the individual is age 28. Also significant is that it forms a “square” (90 degrees) with the natal moon at age 7, “opposition” (180 degrees) around age 14, another square around age 21, conjunction at age 28, square around age 35, opposition around age 42, square around age 49. (The midpoints between the ages are also significant and have their own names: “semi-square” [45 degrees] and “sesquiquadrate” [135 degrees].)

In the same thread Joe Fulton also wrote this: [“It would be interesting to see what could be done by applying investment analysis tools to astrology.”]

Now, here I can speak with a little more authority. There was a period of time when I actually attempted the reverse: I tried to make astrology an investment analysis tool for my commodities trading. What I did was to look up the exact time when the first silver contract was traded on COMEX and have an astrological chart cast from that. Then I just did some “a-day-for-a-day” lunar progression trading.

The result? One day a “get-out-while-you-are-still-slightly-in-the-black-you-dumb-ass” ego-formation came along and guided me to safety. . . .

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