Spiritual Astrology: The Truth About Truth
Sermon for The First Decanate of Pisces
Constellation: Cepheus Keyword: Verity February 20th to March 1st
Spiritual Text: "As it is Above so it is Below, and that which is Below is Like unto that which is Above."
by Christopher Gibson
Buddha said: "There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting."
If one were to look up the definition of truth they would encounter something like: "a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle or the like. The conformity with fact or reality; verity. The true or actual state of a matter."
Truth is highly debated in those human practices used for discovering truth: philosophy, religion, and law. These are key disciplines where we invest rigorous effort to separate relative or personal truth, from indelible or universal truth.
In ancient Greece truth was known as Aletheia which can be interpreted as un-concealment, or the revealing or bringing of what was previously hidden into the open. In modern language we might think of this type of truth as disclosure, transparency or the facts.
However, if we break the word Aletheia down into its separate components, it provides us with an even more interesting concept of truth.
In Indo-European languages, such as Sanskrit or Greek, the prefix known as the "privative a" implies negation or "not." In words that begin with a consonant the letter "a" is used, such as apathetic (a person without pathos is unemotional), and an individual we describe as atypical is someone who is not conforming, doesn’t fit "the type." With words that begin with a vowel we us "an" such as anarchy, to be without a leader or government. Or anesthesia, to be without sensitivity or feeling.
The Greek word Aletheia refers back to Lethe, the mythic river of forgetfulness, one of the five rivers that flowed through the underworld of Hades. A-letheia literally means to "un-forget." In other words, "to remember." Perhaps the Greeks were implying that somewhere in our consciousness, in the core of our being, we "remember" the truth?
In a natural chart, Pisces rules the 12th House, a location where things are often considered to be subconscious, hidden, or obscured. The 12th House is the position where the Sun can be found for the first two hours after sunrise. This is usually an area of our life where we have a "blind spot" and can neither self-reflect nor see clearly. This interpretation hails back to the ancient Egyptian stargazers, who, in the wee hours of the morning prior to sunrise, would scan the eastern horizon and map the heliacal rising of the stars and planets. Any early-riser who looks east in the morning quickly discovers that both the constellations and faint planets such as Mercury, quickly disappear as the bright rays of the Sun begin to climb the horizon. Try driving east or southeast at this time of day and you will soon discover that you have an enormous blind spot.
Writing almost 2,000 years ago, Claudius Ptolemy described the 12th house as that part of the sky, just above the horizon, where stars were obscured by the "thick, misty exhalations from the moistures of earth."
So what does our blind spot have to do with discovering the truth about truth? Perhaps our blind spots are our forgetfulness, and when we strip them away we can remember the truth.
The Romans called Truth "Veritas" and anthropomorphized her as a young woman, either nude or dressed in white, and holding a hand mirror. Similarly in the Major Arcanum of the Tarot, Truth is pictured as The Star; a naked woman whose mirror is the pond on which she reflects. Both the goddess Veritas and Major Arcanum XVII, The Star, are symbols of the naked truth, unconcealed and visible to all - the truth remembered. Yet in the Major Arcanum of the Tarot, both Truth, pictured by Arcanum XVII – The Star, and untruth, symbolized by Arcanum XVIII – The Moon, are found side-by-side. The naked truth of the Star can be contrasted and compared with the misty obscurity of untruth of The Moon.
Verity, is the English cognate for the Latin, Veritas. And in Spiritual Astrology, Zain assigns "Verity" as the keyword for the Pisces decanate of Pisces, where the Sun normally transits from February 20 – March 1. This year, the Sun entered the sign of Pisces and the decanate of truth last Thursday, February 18, at 10:34 p.m. local time.
Ancient astrologers divided each of the twelve signs of the zodiac into three, ten-degree sections called decanates. Each of these thirty-six Decans had a corresponding minor constellation that could be discovered when stargazing or studying a celestial map by following lines of zodiacal longitude in ten-degree increments, either north or south of the celestial equator. The constellation corresponding to the first ten-degrees of Pisces is illustrated by Cepheus (Kepheús), the mythical King of Ethiopia, husband of Cassiopeia, and father of Andromeda. Cepheus is one of the circumpolar constellations; located between Ursa Minor and Cassiopeia, he circles the North Pole with his foot on Polaris, the pole star.
In the language of astral symbolism, the Pole Star, which appears immovable in the heavens, represents immovable truth. With Cepheus’ foot positioned on the Pole Star, it shows that his understandings are resting on the foundations of truth. In one hand he grasps a scepter, which, much like the magicians wand, becomes an extension of his will.
In Spiritual Astrology, C. C. Zain states: "Verity, which is the Keyword of the constellation, is an accurate comprehension of the facts and their relations to each other. Such recognition of Truth permits actions that make a successful adaptation of the life form to the conditions by which it finds itself surrounded. The keys which unlock the door of Truth also, therefore, unlock the doors of heaven and hell; for action based on falsehood and deception, such as one side of Pisces governs, leads to discord and destruction; while action based upon Verity, which the other side of Pisces governs, leads to harmony and eternal life."
In Roman Catholic iconography the keys are carried by Saint Peter, whose feast, known as Cathedra Petri, or Saint Peter’s throne, is celebrated tomorrow, February 22. Although Saint Peter’s original name was Sh’mon, or Simon, the Gospel of Mathew describes how he got the name Petros, Latin for "Rock."
"And I tell you that you are Peter (Petros), and on this rock (petra) I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
Over time, Saint Peter became syncretized with the pre-Christian king Cepheus and, as it just so happens, his feast day falls when the Sun transits through the first decanate of Pisces. Saint Peter’s gold and silver keys now form the ecclesiastical heraldry of the Vatican State, are found among Masonic symbolism, and are also an important symbol for Stellarians. In fact, the 2nd of the 210 Serial Lessons that C. C. Zain wrote is titled "The Two Keys" and describes that the door to the sanctuary of the Temple of Knowledge can only be unlocked by the use of two keys. He claims that the two keys represent the Written Law (astrology) and the Oral Law (the Tarot). A knowledge of both of these traditions are necessary to unlock the doors of Solomon’s Temple – the Temple of Wisdom.
The Abrahamic Religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) rely upon revealed truth - divinely inspired scripture. The interpretation of those truths is generally discussed (and argued upon) by Rabbis, scholars, ministers, Imams and Ayatollahs. There are different camps that interpret scripture literally and figuratively. Those beliefs in any faith that are contrary to the beliefs of the orthodoxy are known as Heresies. It has always been the opinion among the orthodox religious that heretics and apostates be eradicated. In Old Testament times the punishment was being stoned to death and in the culture of the New Testament being burnt alive seemed like a better technique for purifying one’s soul.
It is too conflicting for us humans to have more than one truth represented at the same time, and rather than go through the painful process of thinking about it, we defer to the opinion of an authority to tell us how to think.
I remember when I was in college and first encountered the Contradictions of Absolutism and Relativism. I was studying both anthropology and philosophy. My anthropology professor taught relativism, the doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute, but are relative to the persons or groups holding them. My philosophy professor (a former nun) believed in Absolutism, the doctrine that reality is unitary and unchanging, and not relative to individual or social differences. I always felt that getting these two women into a discussion might read like one of Plato’s Dialogues where Protagoras and Socrates meet at a party.
Protagoras: Truth is relative. It is only a matter of opinion.
Socrates: You mean that truth is mere subjective opinion?
Protagoras: Exactly. What is true for you is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Truth is subjective.
Socrates: Do you really mean that? That my opinion is true by virtue of its being my opinion?
Protagoras: Indeed I do.
Socrates: My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you, Mr. Protagoras, are absolutely in error. Since this is my opinion, then you must grant that it is true according to your philosophy.
Protagoras: You are quite correct, Socrates.
We’ve all heard the proverb that "seeing is believing," which implies that you really need to see something before you can accept that it exists or occurs. Which, in stream of consciousness fashion, leads me to ponder the similarities and differences of the two religious signs of the zodiac, Pisces, which we consider today, and Sagittarius.
In classical astrology both Sagittarius and Pisces are ruled by Jupiter, the planet of religion, faith, truth and morality. The Keywords for Sagittarius are "I See" and Pisces "I Believe." These are two very different ways of trying to approach absolute truth.
The need to see can reduce Sagittarians to appearing like skeptics or "Doubting Thomas’s" who refuse to believe without direct personal experience.
In abstract matters of God, the divine, truth, intuition and inspiration it is sometimes hard to offer visible truth and one has to trust or believe what the religious authorities says is true – in other words, believing without seeing is "blind belief."
Much like the extremes of relativism and absolutism, seeing and believing are polarized. Perhaps in both areas the answer lies somewhere between the advocated extremes. Using both our faculties of reasoning and intuition, each one of us must devise a means by which we can discern the Divine Plan, and consciously cooperate in its fulfillment. As Stellarians, how do we go about discerning the truth?
Today in our opening ritual we described our purpose for gathering together as; "to study Nature's laws," and "to unfold the divine attributes of the soul". The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus states: "That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing." If seeing is believing, what do we have to go on? We have the natural world and natural science. If that which is Below corresponds to that which is Above then observing the laws of nature at work in God’s great creation might give us some idea as to how the Creator thinks and works. We use our understanding of the Gold and Silver Keys, Astrology and Tarot to aid us in this process.
For the next month, while the Sun Transits through Pisces, continue to think about Truth. Observe the natural world around you with the intention of further understanding God’s Great Plan. Use the Two Keys, your tools of Tarot and Astrology to aid you in discovering the truth. Be less concerned with having all the answers than you are with thinking about truth.
(This sermon was delivered on February 21, 2016 and can be viewed at churchoflight.tv)
Copyright 2016 The Church of Light