Serial Lesson 73
From Course VII, Spiritual Astrology, Chapter 3
Original Copyright 1935, Elbert Benjamine (a.k.a. C. C. Zain)
Copyright 2011, The Church of Light
Subheadings: Use of the Golden Calf The Good Luck of the Rabbit?s Foot Knights of King Arthur The Mantle of Elijah
Illustrations: Taurus - I HAVE Taurus/Taurus: Lepus - Determination Taurus/Virgo: Orion - Struggle Taurus/Capricorn: Auriga - Mastership
Knights of King Arthur
THE Use of the Golden Calf
What was the amazement of the first explorers of the mighty Amazon to learn from the Indians that the group of stars comprising Taurus, and picturing the money sign of the zodiac, was known to them as the Jaw of the Ox. Yet when we reflect that the Vedas of India and the Avesta of Persia both make mention of the massive Bull, and the Apis was an object of special veneration in Egypt, it is not so surprising that ideas which doubtless had their origin in Ancient Atlantis and Mu should also have been retained in part by aboriginal South Americans.
The interpreter of Pharaoh?s dream reveals himself familiar with astrological practice. Personal possessions are governed by the second house of the birth chart, over which Taurus has natural rule. When the Egyptian king began to speak of kine coming up out of the river, even as the Bull of heaven appears to be emerging from the river Eridanus, it could refer to but one thing: to wealth. When he told of ears of corn, that also was speaking of a universal symbol long established among the stars. Virgo, the harvest constellation, holds such in her hand.
Joseph revealed his acumen not in his knowledge that the kine meant wealth and the corn meant food, but by his recognition that the seven fat cattle which were devoured by the seven lean cattle, and the seven full ears which were consumed by the seven lean ears, related to future years; and by his ability to so thoroughly convince the monarch of the truth thus revealed that for the seven years of abundance he was willing to set aside one-fifth of all the crops as a reserve against the years of approaching famine.
Picturing the middle decanate of this sign of material possessions there is another hero. The Akkadians called him Sargon, and the Greeks called him Orion, but we are more familiar with him through the Hebrew account. One foot he rests upon the river; for like the far earlier Semitic Sargon, Moses put in his first appearance among the Bull-rushes.
Yet as here we are interested in the mighty Bull pitching down upon him from the sky, rather than with exploits of valor, he enters our story only to the extent made necessary to reveal the teachings the ancients sought to picture by the Taurus constellation. It all is embraced within the drama of the golden calf.
It will be remembered, or the thirty-second chapter of Exodus can be consulted if the memory has grown dim, that Moses went up Sinai to receive instructions, and came down the mountain with two tablets of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
Taurus, the fixed earthy sign of the zodiac, more nearly than any other relates to stone; but this alone does not explain why there had to be two tablets, instead of one. That such was the case is clearly indicated; for after the first set was broken, the laws of God were again written on two tablets, and so survived.
Spirit, being without beginning and without end, has ever been symbolized by a circle, while the earth, as a plane receiving the vertical rays of the Sun, has universally been represented by a square or a cross. As later is to be related, Easter is a festival commemorating the union of Solar and Lunar forces which causes seeds within the earth to germinate; and a feature of Easter custom still retained is the eating of hot cross buns, circular in outline with a cross traced upon their tops.
Removing one of the four arms gives us the Tau cross of the Egyptians and some others, from which was derived the Greek letter Tau, the English T, and the common gavel of ancient Masonry. It expresses creative energy moving in the direction indicated by the longer member of the three-armed cross. As this may point either toward heaven or toward earth, by this means was indicated whether the energies of life were being used for gross and physical gratification, or were directed into channels of aspiration by which the spiritual heights might be scaled.
Even as the reversed T was used in various lands to indicate by its upturned point the striving upward of spirit, and by its more commonly down turned point material ambition; so were there also two tablets of stone, one setting forth the laws of physical survival and the other revealing those laws which relate to spiritual realization.
But as Moses tarried on the mountain his people became impatient and induced Aaron to make a molten calf. It was of gold because the Sun rules that metal; and because this orb of day had but reached the commencement of the sign it could not be considered a full-grown bull, therefore it was called a calf. It was molten because this section of the constellation is backed against the fire of Aries.
To make this interpretation of the olden story still more certain, Taurus in practical astrology rules not merely material possessions, but also the neck and ears of human anatomy. Repeatedly, in the narrative, those who divested themselves of their earrings, from which to make the golden calf, are called a stiff-necked people. And as the vocal organs also come under the rule of the same zodiacal sign, it was their singing which he heard, as he approached the camp on his return, that first apprised Moses that mischief was afoot.
The constellated hero in the sky is pictured with upraised club in the very act of demolishing this symbol of the greed for gold. On the bank of the river is he in the act of demolishing it. Yet only the story reveals the ultimate fate of the calf so attacked; for strange to say, it was not thrown away, nor again turned into a bauble of adornment.
Instead it was burnt with the fire of spirit, ground to powder in the mortar of compassion, and strewn on the life-giving water from the nearby river of affection. It was neither ignored, nor despised, nor coveted; but was made of spiritual use; for after thus converting this symbol of material possessions into that which no longer could be worshipped, it was given to the children of Israel in their drink.
But before this came to pass, because they had been divested of their earrings, they were seen to be naked. These earrings, as I have endeavored to show, were universal symbols for all the tinsel and display, all the money and its power of purchase, which many men set their hearts exclusively upon. Divest them of this and they have nothing left. Their treasures are purely physical, and they have nothing suitable to clothe their souls in higher realms.
Nothing could be plainer, I think, to one conversant with universal symbolism, that the significance of utilizing, in an affectional way—all the more easily understood because Venus, planet of affection, is the ruler of Taurus—the material things represented by the golden calf. If anyone ever had great provocation completely to destroy, it seems to have been Moses. Nor was it due to a relenting heart that he made use of the material idol when spiritualized, as his orders to the Levites clearly indicate. It was because wealth, station, power, and other physical possessions, all can be converted, as he converted the golden calf, into a means of creating spiritual values.
Some there are, I know, who believe the vow of poverty opens wide the Elysian gates. Others there are who teach withdrawal from the contacts of the world of men, deeming that in solitude the spirit more quickly develops wings. But the story of the golden calf refutes all this.
People come into this world endowed with natural talents of various kinds and diverse degree. Richness of life to human beings comes not from absence of contacts, but through the development of proper appreciations. These imply some freedom from the dulling grind of economic necessity, some surcease from grueling toil. And they depend upon human associations, upon opportunity to learn, and upon material objects through which the senses gain an insight into what is fine and good.
Material things are detrimental when they are worshipped, like the golden calf, for what they bring in selfish gratification. They prevent spiritual growth when they become so insistent in their care that the burden is too heavy. But nothing opens the avenues to spiritual attainment so effectually as being of assistance to others. And often the assistance needed is of a physical nature.
To worship the golden calf of wealth is utmost folly; yet to ignore the power of money when rightly used to advance the welfare of the human race is almost an equal fatuity. Libraries have been built and stocked with books where men may read and free their minds; literature has been published and widely spread by which the spiritual truths have been made accessible; laboratories have been set up for research and clinics established for treatment, that have practically eradicated certain previously prevalent forms of disease; but not without the aid of money.
While we occupy a physical world, the body has physical needs, possesses physical functions which if not exercised cause trouble, and must make contacts with physical conditions if we are to gain those experiences which alone fit us properly for a still higher type of life when we have passed on to the next inner plane. A physical body which is neglected detracts from the ability of the individual to do constructive work; hampers his efforts to contribute values to society.
According to the natural abilities, which the birth chart so surely reveals, is there open to the individual the opportunity to advance himself in the direction of becoming more valuable to others. Whether it is the use of gold, the power to heal the body, ability to teach, inventive genius which contributes a device that, relieving toil, gives time and strength for soul development, or other power to do, it may be turned to spiritual advantage.
Because those born from April 21 to May 21 are found to be so interested in personal possessions the Key phrase given to Taurus is, I Have. Because the physical is so necessary in developing the spiritual, the ancient text becomes: Physical Life and Its Opportunities Should Not be Slighted; Neither Should Spiritual Aspirations Be Ignored. Learn, therefore, to "Render Unto Caesar the Things Which be Caesar?s and Unto God the Things Which be God?s."
The Good Luck of the Rabbit?s Foot
Seeking to discern what the ancients had in mind when they traced the picture of a rabbit in the sky to represent the earthy decanate of the sign of material possessions brings instantly to thought the three outstanding attributes of the hare: fleetness, timidity, and rapidity of reproduction.
Fleetness, as indicated by wings on the feet of Mercury and Perseus, has to do with thought; and as the Moon exerts its strongest power in the Taurus decanate of Taurus, we perceive the aptness of an association between this section of the zodiac, occupied by the Sun from April 21 to April 30, and the lunar orb, which in a birth chart rules Mentality.
Easter is a modern adaptation of the old name of the Moon, which by the Chaldeans was called Ishtar became Astarte to the classical nations, Eoster to the Saxons, and finally was designated by the term now used for her chief annual festival. In this festival her greatest power, as signified by her exaltation in the beginning of Taurus, is celebrated as chief aid to the function of the Sun. Easter is the Sunday after the Full Moon after the Sun has passed into the summer half of the zodiac.
At this Full Moon, because the Sun is in Aries, where its creative energies are strongest, the Moon must be in Libra, the sign ruling both marriage and eggs. Eggs, consequently, form a persistent factor in that spring festival dedicated to the redemption of the world by united man and woman, even as it is deemed to be rescued from winter through the offices of the united Sun and Moon.
These eggs commonly are colored in various hues to signify diversity in the expected harvest, and they are hidden about, and must be hunted for, even as other seeds are placed in the Sun-warmed dark ground of the beginning of Taurus, where they germinate, and only later thrust green shoots through the surface into the kindly light of day.
Bunnies also are part of the ceremony; for although they do not lay eggs, as children are sometimes led to believe at Easter, they are unusually prolific, and stand symbol of the power of the earth to bring forth.
This decanate where Easter has her strongest power also is associated with the greatest tragedy mankind has ever known. Hallowe?en commemorates the destruction of the world, the fire, the flood, and the sinking of Atlantis. The Sun at that time is in the death decanate of the death-sign Scorpio, directly across the zodiac from this rabbit decanate of Taurus. Thus when Ophiuchus, the man in death struggle with a serpent, who pictures the first decanate of Scorpio, sets in the west, vanquished by the great destruction, Lepus, the hare, rises in the east, and is shown fleeing from the scene of catastrophe as fast as fleet legs will carry him.
Tradition holds that the time when such cataclysms occur may be timed by the position of the Pleiades, a group of stars behind the shoulder of the Bull, in relation to the precessional cycle. As the Bull faces eastward toward the earth as it rises, and as the whole rear half of it has been destroyed in the cataclysm, the Pleiades come up first, as Lepus pictures that section of the Sign Taurus first to rise. Noah quickly left behind his sinful companions when he entered the ark. Lot left Sodom in great haste: and legend says that the wise ones of Atlantis, warned by the position of the Pleiades, went from their doomed land at top speed.
In one of the oldest written accounts in existence, the Gilgamesh Epic of still more ancient Sumeria, the cuneiform tablets of which have been recovered from Assurbanipal?s famous library at Ninevah, it is related that after the hero conquers the mighty Bull which has caused seven years of sterility on the earth that Ishtar places a curse upon him. But Gilgamesh evades the curse, tears the entrails from the Bull, dedicates its crescent horns to the Sun, and washes his hands in the Euphrates, which was the river Eridanus of the Sumerians.
As the earthy decanate of Taurus may well be taken to represent the more physical section of the sign, so the rear of the Bull, which in rising comes first, is similar in its symbolic implications. It was the materialism and wickedness of the world that made necessary the flood from which Noah fled. It was the turning from God to abominations of the flesh that led to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. And the use of mental powers and psychic forces to enslave the populace is said to have preceded the sinking of Atlantis.
All magic, now more commonly called mental demonstration, new thought, or metaphysical practice, is made possible through the activity of the mind. And this peculiar power resides in greatest measure in those born with the first decanate of Taurus dominant.
Such magic, such healing energy, and such force of mind, can be used in either of two directions. The voodoos of our South follow the example of Ishtar, and place a curse upon their enemies. But others more enlightened follow the example of Gilgamesh, and dedicate this crescent power, the horns of the Bull, to spiritual purposes, represented by the Sun.
That the self seeking, materialistic, or destructive use of this lunar power must never be countenanced was portrayed by the ancients when they failed to picture other than the front portion of the Bull in the sky. Nor will the Jews, preserving the symbolic custom to this day, eat of a beef other than the portion pictured. To those of that orthodox faith the portion omitted from the stellar picture is unclean and may not be served as food; as they say, it is not Kosher.
As the Sun, in practical astrology rules the Individuality, and has its exaltation in the Eridanus decanate, and the Moon rules the Mentality, having its exaltation in the Lepus decanate, when the epic hero of Sumeria dedicated the crescent horns of the Bull to the Sun and washed his hands in the river, in pantomime he was consecrating his Mental powers to their highest, most spiritual, use. And these horns of the Bull, through various avenues have descended to us as a means by which the adverse effect of mental forces can be avoided.
How blind are those who can see no farther than the material plane; who prostitute their souls for the attainment of carnal desire, and whose minds turn only to wickedness and destruction? When Sodom and Gomorrah fell in flames the Bible relates: "And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great; so that they wearied themselves to find the door."
This blindness of devoting the energies solely to the gross, with no thought for the finer experiences of life; and that even more terrible practice of using the psychic powers for the injury of others, is pictured by the star which blots out the eye of the rabbit in the sky. Blindness is also traditionally associated with the Pleiades, the cyclic pointers of cataclysmic destruction.
Ptolemy, compiler of ancient astronomical knowledge, says that when the Moon is with the Pleiades and afflicted by Mars in a chart of birth that the person will go blind. As a matter of astrological research, when the Moon is greatly afflicted by Mars, trouble with the eyes may be expected whether the Pleiades are involved or not. But in this manner has the tradition of loss of sight through evil mental practices come down to us.
And thus it is today, in all regions where prevails the belief in "evil eye," which is supposed to be a curse placed upon one person by another?s malignant look, that the attempt is made to ward it off by forming the sign of the Bull?s horns. This is done by closing the hand in such a manner that the first and little finger stand out to form a crescent, and then gouging in the direction of the person casting the spell as if to gouge out his eyes.
The rabbit in the sky is pictured fleeing in great haste from all such influences; and as he is moving directly away from the section of the zodiac where the cataclysmic struggle takes place, turning his back on the scene of various iniquities, the legend persists to this day that, like those who fled from Atlantis before it sank, and like Lot who made his escape from Sodom, the rabbit gained safety. It thus acquires an implication of good fortune.
The foot of any creature is the universal symbol of understanding of some kind; and the foot of the rabbit implies an understanding of those things for which the rabbit stands, that is, of mental practices devoted to injury, and how to escape their influence. The negro who carries a rabbit?s foot to prevent a "jinx" being placed upon him, and as a talisman of good luck in general, is merely perpetuating, by means of a symbolic ritual, an ancient truth of vast import.
It requires great determination not to look at, or think about, the thing which if permitted to do so would cause fear: and thus those born with the first decanate of Taurus dominant have, as the Keyword Determination clearly indicates. The earthy decanate of the earth?s own sign, in particular, needs to exercise the Determination which it so abundantly possesses to face away from the gross and sensual, and to escape the paralyzing effect of fear.
The hare, although fleet of foot, is a timorous creature that burrows in warrens beneath the ground, like those who, submerged in materialism, live in constant dread of death. Lot escaped from the hail of fire and brimstone, but his wife, unable to resist visualizing the thing which she feared, looked back, and became rooted to the spot. The salt, which ultimately she became, shows the crystallizing power of selfish inclinations.
When we positively desire a thing we flash the image of that which is sought upon the mental screen, and the thought cells belonging to that department of life work with such energy as they possess to make that condition a reality. But when in fear the image is the opposite of that which we seek, these four-dimensional sparks of consciousness work just as hard to carry out the orders they thus receive, disastrous though the result may be. Even as the rabbit is blind, so fear blinds the eyes to the proper mental picture, accepted as a command by the unconscious mind, to get wished-for results. Hence follows the text: One of Man?s Greatest Enemies is Fear.
Knights of King Arthur
Jason conquered the brazen-footed Bull in one of his adventures while searching for the Golden Fleece, and Sargon of Akkad, fourteen hundred years before the time of Moses, came up out of the Bull-rushes to deliver his people from their tribulations. But nearer to our own time, and perhaps, therefore, dearer to our hearts, is King Arthur and the famed Knights of his round table.
As is common to traditions when the historical background is dim or lacking, there are variants of the original, but the most authentic version of the story finds twelve knights, bold and strong, seated at a circular and revolving table; ready, like a panel of modern jurymen—twelve men good and true, each to view the matter from the angle of one sign of the zodiac—to pass judgment, and, unlike these later representatives, to fare forth in valiant exploits in the enforcement of their decisions.
The most conspicuous constellation on any yuletide night, while the Candlemas Bull, Taurus, goes sailing overhead, as legend says it must, is Orion, who follows with upraised club. In every land is he recognized as a warrior, and the three stars in his belt are known in every land. In the region where the Tigris and Euphrates flow they are called the Wise Men of the East; but Celtic Druids held them to be three ladies who were present at King Arthur?s birth.
Not only is Orion a warrior, but whether as Sargon, Moses, Jason, or the western legendary king, the fight he wages is not merely against oppression from without, but also against the materialistic tendencies and selfish ambitions of his own men. In every legend relating to him, he fights with environmental forces that endanger his plans; and in every struggle some loss is sustained.
Moses, you will remember, when he had vanquished and utilized to more spiritual purposes the golden calf, called upon those who would support him, even as the constellation thus pictures it, every man to put his sword by his side. And legend relates that the round table episode was precipitated by the personal ambitions of Arthur?s men.
Each one desired the place of honor at the yuletide feast; each man believed himself entitled to sit near the head of the table. Nor, although so many hundred years have passed on what should have been progressive feet, do we witness much diminution in the ardor for similar social prestige. But on this notable occasion the snubbing of one?s neighbor was insufficient to express the fires of jealousy that raged within, and a brawl ensued which resulted in many slain; as a thousand years before a like-slaying had occurred over the incident of the golden calf.
And thus, as Moses in the Bible times had been confronted by a serious problem, so was Arthur put to it to prevent a recurrence of such an incident among his men. Nor did he shirk the responsibility thus at hand. After all, ancient or modern, there is always a best way to meet every situation, always an opportunity to make the obstacle less retarding to progress than otherwise it would have been.
The Bull is pictured full tilt, as if enraged and pitching down upon the hero from the sky; who looks up to meet the impact of its charge undaunted, and with club well poised to deliver its most effective blow. As belonging to the earthy-earthy sign, the Bull itself most appropriately typifies the crowding strength of the material environment with which we all must struggle and win if we are not to die.
But in its headlong plunge from the regions of above it also conveys the significance of those forces, invisible but potent, which assail man from the sky; the energies from planets and zodiacal signs, which, though more subtle in their attack, have even more power to shape and mold the destiny of man.
Environmental forces, those from the stars and those from the earth, are ever present, and their impacts call for well-considered resistance. We cannot escape them, as the timid hare seems to seek to do as it scampers from beneath Orion?s feet. When problems are present, which every day they are, be they large or be they small, their issues must be met. And for each such problem there is always a best of all possible ways in which to meet it.
This applies to all of them; and that they should be met with courage and full confidence, as Orion meets the rushing Bull. No situation of life should cause the soul to quail. Whatever physical disaster may come, whatever distasteful thing may be uncovered in the recesses of the unconscious mind, it is always better to face it squarely, to recognize it for what it is, and then to formulate plans by which the situation may best be met.
Those who form the patients of psychiatrists more frequently than not have refused to face something in themselves, or have refused to face some situation of their lives. Freudian literature is filled with cases of illness due to unwillingness to recognize certain facts of people about themselves. And even more serious is the effect of refusal to meet some crisis in the life; for when a condition is present which cannot be faced, the mind turns back upon itself, invents unconscious lies to explain behavior, and if the case is extreme enough in its unwillingness, there develops dementia praecox, one of the most prevalent forms of insanity.
We must face the problems of life firmly. And among those problems is that of meeting the impacts from the stars.
The only possible way that the planets in their courses can exert an influence on the life of man is through imparting energy to him. Whether spiritual, mental or physical, whenever work is done, whenever action results, there is always a proportional expenditure of energy. Without consuming energy nothing is accomplished.
Within the body of man at his birth are lines of tenuous substance that act as aerials do on a radio receiving set. And after birth, in response to the progress of the planets, other lines temporarily form that have a similar function. It is these stellar aerials, mapped by aspects, which pick up the energy of the planets, load it with harmony or discordant static, and convey it to the thought cells of which the finer body is composed. They transmit to man, at times which can previously be ascertained, those forces from above symbolized by the downward pitching Bull.
Man is influenced by heat and cold and wind and rain and sun and innumerable other conditions that comprise his ever-changing environment. But his reaction to the impact of these physical conditions is largely within his own control. He cannot change the weather, but he can prepare to meet it, or if favorable, to take advantage of what it has to offer. Neither can he change the motion of the planets in the sky, but he can change his own character, and in so doing receive energies more to his liking.
The permanent lines which extend across his finer body, and act as aerials to gather the programs from the planets, are expressions of his character, expressions of the harmonies and discords that have been organized within himself. And if he changes these, so also will he change the aerials within his finer form, or even construct others not present at birth, which tune in spontaneously to the energy broadcasts of his seeking.
The temporary lines which form in response to the progress of the planets pick up energy corresponding to the rates to which they are attuned. But the harmony or discord of the energy thus acquired may be vastly modified, so that it has a beneficial influence when it reaches the thought cells.
Not only so, but the dial of man?s own consciousness can be turned, if he used the resolution of Orion or King Arthur, to make an even more potent radio-receiving set of his whole nervous system. He can tune in on the planetary rate desired so completely and persistently that other programs coming from above reach him very little.
Here we see the wisdom of King Arthur. To prevent a recurrence of the discord occasioned by each knight desiring the preferential place, he called to him the most cunning artificers of the land and instructed them to make a round table that would revolve, at which all the knights could sit, and each could thus consider himself at its head.
In the region where fabled Arthur is said to have reigned are still found today cromlechs, concentric circles of stone erected in prehistoric days to portray the orbits of the planets. And in that land, as also among the Maya of Yucatan, the people array themselves in shirts of white on the first day of May, to dance in circles about the symbol of the Sun, the upright Maypole.
The weaving in and out of the dancers, as they hold ribbon strands reaching to the central post, cause these to form, one with another, sextiles and trines, squares and oppositions, and the other aspects by which astrologers ancient and modern plot the harmony or discord reaching the earth from various parts of heaven.
On that day the Sun has just entered the Struggle decanate of Taurus, so called because the life of those born from May 1 to May 11 is so seldom free from obstacles that must be overcome. It is the decanate pictured by Orion.
We cannot doubt, therefore, that the problem of settling the conflict between his knights, with which King Arthur was confronted, was the same problem which confronts each individual at this day; the problem of avoiding the strife of influences coming from the planets as they sit in their seats among the twelve signs, and of winning their harmonious allegiance.
And he solved it as it must be solved today, by devising a method by which the dial of consciousness can be so revolved that any planet in its seat can be considered at the head, can be given temporary prominence, and thus enlisted fully in support of the most cherished endeavor. Thus is derived the text: The Task of the Soul on Every Plane of Manifestation is to Struggle With and Overcome the Limitations of Its Environment.
The Mantle of Elijah
Not always are we so fortunate as to have preserved to us, in the stories handed down from remote antiquity which serve as commentaries on the pictographic teachings of the constellations, both the danger to be avoided and the end to be sought. But these are amply set forth in the dramas associated with Auriga, the heavenly charioteer.
Orion, picturing the previous decanate, is shown using the solar fire of the Sun, even as the Maypole about which the dancers revolve reveals its source, as a shield of courage in his battle with the onslaughts of his environment. The lion?s skin upon his arm gives him a resistance hard to crumble.
It is quite to be expected, therefore, that the last decanate of Taurus, through which the Sun sheds his influence from May 11 to May 21, should offer further comment on the Bull and on the use of the celestial fire.
It was the duty of Phoebus, according to the Greek account, each day to drive the chariot of the Sun across the heavens. Phoebus had a son, named Phaethon arrogant with the inexperience of youth, who begged his father constantly to be allowed to drive the prancing steeds. For a long time the father was adamant in his refusal; but at last in a moment of paternal weakness he gave permission to the boy, for one day, to do his work.
But the horses were too hard to hold; they were beyond the strength of the untrained youth, took the bit in their teeth and veered from the accustomed course. To make matters worse, having left the beaten road, they neared the den of the vicious Scorpion, pictured across the zodiac. With upraised tail he struck, burying his sting in a horse?s flank. Then they completely ran away.
It had been a sorry day, indeed, on earth, if Jove, from high on his Olympian throne, had not glanced that way. The frightened horses went tearing toward the earth, the heat drying up the lakes and scorching the plains. Something had to be done if the world was not to be consumed in flames. Jove hurled a thunderbolt from where he sat, and as a bird is shot when on the wing, Phaethon was dropped into the adjacent Po, the stream now called Eridanus.
Dangerous, indeed, it is to develop forces which get beyond control. Many methods there are by which energies can be set in motion. Oriental breathing systems which have this for object gain such results. The etheric energies of the body may be increased until they surge in frenzy against the bit. But unless controlling skill is developed at an equal pace there is no proper guiding them.
Thus also is the kundalini power of Oriental fame a source of potential energy; but those who thus incautiously approach the Scorpion?s lair more frequently than not receive the venom of its sting.
The bit and reins which Auriga holds in his strong right hand speak in no uncertain terms of careful guidance. Mastership, which is the Keyword of the section of the sky thus pictured, is the very opposite of irresponsible mediumship.
When forces from the invisible realm, whatever may be their pretensions, invade the physical organism of man and take charge of his mental processes, to the extent this is true, is he in danger of the fate of Phaethon.
To invite the control of any intelligence other than one?s own, from this plane or from any other, is to play the part of the self-assured son who begged to drive the chariot of his father. When such steeds gather headway, and realize the hand that holds the reins is too weak for their restraint, no one can tell where they will go, or what the result will be.
One rule always holds, whether it be applied to driving a car on a crowded street, to developing the vital etheric flow of life, or to the use of the psychic senses; energy and speed must never exceed the power that guides and directs them. If, therefore, new sources of energy are tapped, a habit system of more effective control must be inaugurated at an equal pace.
In the time of Elijah a Phaethon-like drought had taken hold on the land. As Ishtar in the long ago had cursed the Sumerian Gilgamesh, so Jezebel had likewise sworn to take the life of the Bible prophet.
The third decanate of the second sign is pictured by the charioteer. It is the decanate of Mastership; and mastership implies control of the solar fire and a willingness to sacrifice material things, as symbolized by the Bull, for the benefit of others.
The test as to his possession of these qualities came to Elijah during the great drought as related in the eighteenth chapter of First Kings. As at all times, not excepting the present day, there were then many men who claimed to knowledge and power which they did not have. False prophets, they were, like the swarm of charlatans who now prey upon the credulity of the public.
And even as at the present time, when one appeared who was truly a Master of his subject, the envy and malice of those who found an easy living in their pretensions, was directed against him, and against his teachings. So, therefore, did the four hundred and fifty spurious prophets array themselves against Elijah, and worked to turn the tide of public sentiment against his doctrines.
But Elijah called for a test of their teachings; he called upon them to make a sacrifice of their material wealth, to draw the fire from heaven and consume the Bull upon the altar of the common good. But although they shouted until hoarse, leaped upon the altar in dramatic gestures, and prophesied through all the day until evening, nothing of consequence happened.
Then Elijah built an altar of twelve stones, after the manner of the ancient cromlechs, one stone for each tribe and zodiacal sign. Round about it, as the magical decanate of Taurus is associated with planting in the ground, he made a trench as great as would contain two measures of seeds. Such seeds, even as material things germinate spiritual powers when used with intelligent compassion, require moisture if they are to grow: therefore, were twelve barrels of water, one for each type of crop to come, poured over the altar, filling the trench.
When all was in readiness he called down the celestial fire which consumed the sacrifice, the wood the stones, the dust, and even licked up the water in the trench, as emotional energy is always consumed in any physical demonstration of mental power. Thus did Elijah show his skill; but it was the final result that demonstrated him a Master. The drought was broken, and shortly there was the sound of abundant rain.
True Mastership is never shown merely through the exercise of ability, however unusual it may be. Auriga in the heavens holds the bridle reins in his strong right hand, to indicate ability to control and guide the forces of nature. But this alone does not constitute Mastership. With his other hand he holds and protects a mother goat and her young. He possesses ability to harness the fire divine, but he sacrifices this power by which selfish possessions might be gained, in aiding those in dire distress. Even thus did Elijah use his skill for the benefit of a stricken land.
Whenever, as frequently, is brought to my attention the marvelous feats which are reported from far-off places—the walking on red-hot coals, long interment beneath the ground, knives and nails piercing the flesh without the flow of blood, and other wondrous things galore by way of contrast I always think of Elijah. Especially, as is usually the case, when excuses are made for these wonder mongers in their customary failure to help the condition of the miserable population around them.
I often wonder what Elijah would have said had someone remonstrated with him over the self-perpetuating handful of meal and cruse of oil, telling him that thus to interfere with the karma of the widow was to commit a sin.
It was during the time of drought, and before the episode of the trial of strength with the charlatans, who after the manner of certain wonder workers of the East today, cried loudly and cut themselves with knives to induce the emotional frenzy necessary to their work. Elijah gave assurance to the starving woman that she should not want for food until the drought was ended.
Had the wonder workers of his time been told of this help to the widow, or the bringing back to life of her son, no doubt they would have said that such procedure was contrary to divine law. For ever thus do those whose claims to spiritual power are unjustified, make excuses for their lack of alleviating action. Yet the Key phrase for the Capricorn sign is, I Use; for the goat there pictured, or on Auriga?s arm, is noteworthy for utilizing everything at hand for food.
Unusual power is no token of spiritual attainment. Those who have such power and use it only for self aggrandizement have failed to make the sacrifice demanded of the one who followed in the steps of the great prophet.
Elisha was ploughing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, he being with the twelfth, or Taurus, when Elijah cast him his mantle. Whereupon he slew the oxen, boiled their flesh, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Also for their benefit he devoted his other possessions. Thus did he demonstrate, before he was permitted to minister unto his teacher, that he understood the necessity of using whatever powers he should acquire for the benefit of the needy.
Phaethon, in the story from the Greeks, failing to control the power he sought to master, was hurled stricken into the river. But Elijah, striking with his mantle, walked to the other side dry shod. And when Elijah went heavenward in a chariot of fire, the power he once had used went to his disciple, whose immediate healing of waters to help a city in distress indicated his worthiness to wear the mantle. Thus the text is apparent: The Function of a Master is to Control the Forces of Nature and Use Them for the Protection of the Weak and the Benefit of All.