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Serial Lesson 83

From Course VII, Spiritual Astrology, Chapter 13

Original Copyright 1935, Elbert Benjamine (a.k.a. C. C. Zain)
Copyright 2011, The Church of Light

To purchase the print book Spiritual Astrology click here

Subheadings:   THE Eternal Tie That Binds    The Two Keys of St. Peter    Prometheus Defies Convention    The Cloak of Death or the Tree of Life

Illustrations:  Pisces - I BELIEVE    Pisces/Pisces: Cepheus - Verity    Pisces/Cancer: Andromeda - Self Sacrifice    Pisces/Scorpio: Cassiopeia - Vicissitudes

Chapter 13

The Tree of Life

THE Eternal Tie That Binds

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Virgo represents the Garden of Eden. The exercise of the critical faculty, which is within its special province, is the way to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Yet information alone, no matter how comprehensive, is not sufficient to attain everlasting life, as the Bible clearly implies in Genesis 3:22:

"And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever."

The Bible then abruptly changes the subject. Having indicated that there is a Tree of Life, partaking of which man might live forever, it leaves man to his own ingenuity to find where it is located. Yet to anyone conversant with the ancient stellar doctrine that eternal progression depends upon both Love and Wisdom, and with the first principles of astrology which reveals that Polar Opposites, such as Love and Wisdom surely are, always occupy opposite stations in the zodiac, there could be no mystery where the Tree of Life must be located in the sky. It must lie across the zodiac from the Tree of Good and Evil.

Virgo holds a branch from the Tree of Good and Evil in one hand, and Hercules, picturing the middle decanate of the sign, holds another branch from that tree, on which the fruit yet hangs. The polar opposite of Virgo is Pisces. Pisces, because more appropriately it pictures the process by which eternal life is gained, and because a tree would not be a suitable emblem in the water where the Fishes swim, does not show a tree; but two of its decanates do. The Pisces decanate of the sign presents a scepter made from the branch of a tree, held in a ruler’s hand. That is, he is king over life and death. And the last decanate of the sign is pictured by a queen, who holds a branch of a palm tree in her hand, very much as does Virgo.

Furthermore, Pisces is the sign where the physical cycle of life ends. If there is to be still further life, such as indicated by the new cycle commenced in Aries, those processes which lead to revitalization should be commenced before the time of transition thus indicated. These are the processes so clearly indicated by the ribbon which binds the two Fishes of Pisces into an indissoluble union.

Specialization of parts—mechanics, statesmen, agriculturists, writers, artists, etc.—is familiar to us in that complex organization which we call our social system. And we also are familiar with the fact that two elements united often produce a chemical compound with possibilities tremendously more significant than the same two chemical elements possess when not so united.

We may be sure, therefore, that the ancient masters who traced the constellations in the sky did not unite the two Fishes of Pisces into a single system without having information of profound import to convey. They are not united rigidly, as are the cells of the physical body, but by a long ribbon which permits each Fish to move about without undue restriction from the other. Each thus seems to be permitted the exercise of its own initiative; but belongs to a system from which it cannot separate.

Before attempting further to trace the significance of this universal symbol, let us see what the Greeks had to say about the constellation Pisces. It is related to a watery sign, and thus to the emotions. It is the exaltation of Venus, the goddess of love: that is, love finds its highest expression through Pisces. And it is ruled by Neptune, the upper-octave expression of Venus. Such expression, if it be true to the upper-octave significance, relates to interior states which physical manifestations of love are unable to penetrate. They have their significance chiefly where the astral body is concerned.

The Greek legend is that Venus and her son Cupid one day were strolling along the bank of the river Euphrates, when quite unexpectedly Typhon put in an appearance. To escape this selfish monster, typical of Saturn, Cupid and Venus leaped into the water and transformed themselves into the two Fishes. To commemorate this event the Pisces Fishes were placed in the sky.

Venus and Cupid represent love. The Fishes into which they were transformed are denizens of the water, and thus signify emotions. While love has a binding power, the ribbon by which the two Fishes are united, to be true to the rulership of Neptune, must represent an actual invisible energy which unites them, but which does not greatly hamper the movements of either.

Love manifests on various planes or levels. But on the human plane, when there is natural harmony between the inner natures—that is, vibratory affinity between the finer bodies—and love has developed between the two persons of opposite sex, they easily and rather constantly tune in on each other’s vibratory rates. Depending largely upon the activity of their inner forces and the state of their spiritual development, a circuit, or endless belt of energy forms between them. That is, there is a continuous current of astral energy circulating between them, much as there is a circulation of blood through the physical body of the individual.

This circuit is indeed a current of life, possessing amazing potentialities. These potentialities are commensurate to the height of the basic vibratory rates of the two between whom the circuit flows, and to the amount of energy generated by their love, each for the other. Not uncommonly those in love experience the blend of forces which if unbroken develops into this current. Some also are aware that such a current is in existence. But, as it belongs chiefly to the inner plane of life, mental discords tend to break it, and physical sensations tend to dissolve it.

It must be cultivated if it is to persist; and that cultivation must be along the line of developing and maintaining intense and tender love, each for the other. Grosser feelings and passion will effectually destroy this fine belt, or ribbon. It is sensitive to all lower expressions, and thrives on feelings which relate more to spiritual states than to those physical.

Selfishness, portrayed by the giant Typhon, is so restrictive in its influence that when it is present even in minor degree, and even when not related to the object of affection, it tends to destroy this endless belt of love. To maintain it those whose love has reached a plane where it can form such a ribbon of spiritual potentiality must expand their affections to embrace all creatures. The desire to destroy another, to deprive another of that which is justly his, or to in any way cause suffering to any living thing, tends to disrupt this fine ribbon by which the loving souls are joined.

The knot where the ribbons uniting the two Fishes are tied represents the Ego which is common to both souls, and which is the eternal spark of Deity by, which they are energized. Thus the two souls and their Ego form a distinct system, which when so organized becomes a true spiritual cell in the cosmic body. Such a soul-mate system, or spiritual cell, has a distinctive form on the inner planes; and when made permanent is commonly referred to as an angel. It then no longer belongs to four-dimensional existence, but by virtue of its new capabilities is typical of the truly spiritual, or five-dimensional plane.

The two souls comprising the angel do not lose their identity; no more so than Venus and Mars lose their identity because they both belong to the solar system. Liberty of action on the part of each soul is still retained; but before they are thus permanently united in a single five-dimensional form—as the two Fishes with their ribbon have a single form and yet each Fish has wide liberty of action—they must have come into a realization of their Cosmic work.

As an angel they perform the function in the cosmic scheme for which they have been specially educated by their experiences; and in this work they have complementary abilities. That is, each supplies certain talents, those of both together enabling them to do their Cosmic Work.

We may be sure, therefore, that those capable of uniting through the endless belt of finer energies that ultimately will provide the form of such an angel, will not have diverse or conflicting interests. Such divergent interests, through centering the mind strongly on different things, tends to disrupt or dissipate the endless belt of energy flowing between two people. Where the interests are, or an objective of attainment, in that direction the finer energies tend to flow. That is, the energies flow wherever the attention is directed. But when the interests of both are centered on the same things there is no dividing of the energy stream, and the forces of both flow along a single channel. This strengthens the bond between them.

The conditions which are most favorable, when the natural requirements are present, for strengthening the endless belt of finer energies between those who are deeply in love, are the desire to be as helpful and beneficial to all creatures as possible, having a common work by which this is chiefly accomplished, and the cultivation of tenderness and sympathy one for the other.

Neptune, the upper-octave planet ruling Pisces, is idealistic in his expression. Therefore, those who cultivate this highest expression of love on earth find it advantageous to idealize all they do. Whatever they do which they feel to be worthy, in the doing they keep the image of their loved one before them and feel that they are doing that thing, not because of duty, but for the sake of the other one. All that is accomplished is thus done for love. And the love motive becomes so powerful, under such cultivation, that hardships are not recognized as such, all life is filled with joy, and great accomplishment results.

The joy coincident with the establishment of the endless belt of love is only a small feature of its advantage; for its power to accomplish, working from the four-dimensional plane when loving and constructive thoughts are carried by it, is truly amazing. Herein lies a force which makes Faith, even of the size of a mustard seed, able to move mountains. The Sun is in the decanate pictured by the Fishes from February 20 to March 21. Its Key phrase is, I Believe, and the text is: Love is the Tree of Life, and its Fruit is Universal Brotherhood.

The Two Keys of St. Peter

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Cepheus signifies a rock, and the constellation in the sky designated by this name pictures the King of Ethiopia on his throne, with one foot upon the immovable Pole Star, representing Truth. Both Sagittarius and Pisces are dual signs, and both through Jupiter, which is the ruler of one and the co ruler of the other, have some significance in matters of religion. Joseph, whose, "Bow abode in strength," represents Sagittarius, the duality of which is symbolized by his coat of many colors. It is this coat which Cepheus, or Pharoah, whom Joseph served so well in the land of Egypt, still holds in one of his hands.

Pisces, the decanates of which are pictured by the king, queen and princess of Ethiopia, is the sign of imprisonment, deceit and secret enemies. It belongs to the dark half of the year. Joseph, representing the sign of dreams and prophecy, Sagittarius, told his dreams to his brethren, and these, in true 12th house fashion—for it is through its natural rule of the 12th house of a birth chart that Pisces signifies these things—conspired secretly to destroy him. They took from him his coat of many colors, with which to deceive his father, and threw him into a pit, representing the sign Capricorn, lowest position of the Sun, into which this luminary moves immediately after it leaves Sagittarius.

Sagittarius is the sign of long journeys, hence Joseph when removed from the pit was taken to a far land. Pisces, through the 12th house, rules imprisonment and involuntary servitude; and not only was Joseph sold into slavery, but due to the perfidy and deception of Potiphar’s wife, while in Egypt he was thrown into prison. And even, while still in Egypt, desiring to bestow a favor upon his brethren, he did it through deception. He concealed the money they paid him in the sacks of grain sold to them, and in addition concealed his cup in the sack of Benjamin, that he might have an excuse for detaining him.

The Pharaohs of Egypt were not only the rulers of this land of darkness, but they also were the religious potentates, some of whom had undergone initiation. It was the common thing for them to consult with their high priests, even as Pharaoh called upon Joseph to give him council, in all important matters based upon conditions which would arise in the future. The priests who thus advised the ruler were versed in both astrology and in such divination as gained Joseph renown.

Peter, of New Testament mention, is a name which, like Cepheus, means rock. And it was upon a rock that Peter was commanded to found his church. In the sky this is, of course, the rock of ages, otherwise known as the Pole Star, which changeth not; the symbol of eternal Truth. Cepheus thus not only represents Pharaoh, but in a later story pictures Peter, whose foot, or understanding—and Pisces rules the feet—must rest on Truth; and who holds the keys to hell and heaven.

These keys, by which Understanding of the Truth may be gained, are not pictured in Peter’s hand, but adorn the crown placed on his head. They are shown as seven little spheres, representing the septenary of planets. They are placed on his head because the head is the region representing intellect; and it is the comprehension of the significance of these seven types of energy that opens the gate to an Understanding of Truth, which in turn permits entrance to the higher realms of being.

Peter, as shown in the sky, in addition to Joseph’s coat of many colors which he grasps in one hand, also has an implement of power in the other. Understanding alone does not open the heavenly gates. That understanding must be applied in action. Therefore, he holds aloft a scepter, of a form symbolizing the virility and energy of the Sun, a symbol of the same import as the Common Gavel of Ancient Masonry.

Thus does this ruler of life and death, of the external world and the astral kingdoms which belong to the 12th house, indicate that he both knows the Truth, and that he applies that knowledge in appropriate action. The scepter of power indicates creative energy under control, and directed as the ruler wills. The control of energy such as the scepter represents indicates that scepter to be one symbol of the Tree of Life.

Joseph and Pharaoh are not only linked, as types of Sagittarius and Pisces influences, in the Old Testament; but in addition to the Keys which Peter holds, the New Testament in Revelation mentions a Book of Seven Seals. Sagittarius, as natural ruler of the 9th house, the house of publishing, relates to books; and the seven seals are the impress which the seven planets make upon the Book of Nature. Yet this book, which rightfully belongs to Sagittarius and not to Pisces, when mentioned in Revelation is associated with the constellation Cepheus: "And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals."

Cepheus or Peter pictures the Pisces decanate of the sign, which has rule over the astral plane and its denizens. Sagittarius is the sign of religion, seeing clearly and expressing benevolently. Pisces has a religious significance also; but it tends to rely on blind belief; for it is the sign of secret things and of self undoing. It is because the denizens of the astral plane through the Pisces tendencies have been able to impress their ideas upon the human race, causing it to place Faith in those things which are to the advantage of these selfish astral entities, that the race during the Piscean Age was so bound and fettered by its religious misconceptions.

To state the matter in another way, the unseen enemies of mankind belong to the 12th house, ruled over by Pisces. Elementals and earth-bound discarnate human beings are close to the vibratory level of the earth, and are best able to contact it through the conditions represented by Pisces. Through the deception they are able to practice they can in some measure control the trend of human events, and themselves gain a satisfaction for their own desires. Obsession relates to this section of the zodiac, as do mystical manias and religious fanaticism; these being extreme expressions of the influence of such astral entities upon human life.

Pisces, however, is a dual sign; and in the higher expression of its attributes it founds its beliefs upon the very Rock of Truth. The astral plane holds entities which practice deception upon the people of the earth whenever they find those who are negative enough to be impressed. But it also, on its higher levels, provides a dwelling place for noble souls who have made extensive research on various planes of being. These, when opportunity offers, transmit facts they have learned to their neophytes upon the earth.

The knowledge and beliefs of those on earth are determined to a much greater extent than most realize by the influence of the invisible world. Not only do invisible entities impress their thoughts and desires upon those who unwittingly tune in upon their vibratory rates; but planetary energies stimulate thought cells within the four-dimensional body of man, and these attract events and prompt to action. We cannot say, as some Orientals do, that the physical world is maya, or illusion; for its energies also cause changes in the astral world; but we must acknowledge that most physical events and conditions trace their immediate cause to happenings on the astral plane.

We cannot know the whole Truth if we ignore the physical world; but as the astral persists after the dissolution of the physical; as its sensations, experiences and scope are so much more vast than those of the physical; and as the immediate stimuli of physical movement are chiefly astral in origin; we can perceive the reason that prompted the ancients to place the constellation picturing Verity in that section of the zodiac which more than any other relates to the astral plane. The Sun is in this Pisces decanate of Pisces from February 20 to March 1 each year.

Not only is the character of each life form on the earth, that determines its destiny, embraced by the organization of its astral form; but the character so organized is that which persists beyond the dissolution of the physical. Man lives in his astral body, in fact, is chiefly an astral organization, while still in the flesh. And the same organization continues to live on the four-dimensional plane beyond the tomb. Real life and real death, therefore, such as Peter holds dominion over, relate to the four-dimensional plane which is more closely associated with Pisces than with any other sign.

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.

Because all things in nature in their essential vibratory rates correspond to astrological influences, these astrological correspondences, such as are symbolized by the seven little globes in Peter’s crown, are the Positive Key to that knowledge, which is essential to progress and to everlasting life. As a feminine complement to this positive key, to assist in unlocking the mysteries of the universe there is also a Receptive Key. This is embraced by the Tarot.

The golden key is the understanding of planetary law; for the character of each thing contacted is completely mapped by its astrological vibrations. The silver key is a duplicate of the one of gold, except that its action is feminine and passive, bearing the same relations to the latter that woman bears to man. In fact, the Tarot is to Astrology what the Moon is to the Sun. Astrology and the Tarot are known to initiates as the Two Keys. They are the Keys to Verity, the real keys for which Peter is renowned.

The text therefore is the Hermetic Axiom: "As it is Above so it is Below, and that which is Below is Like unto that which is Above."

Prometheus Defies Convention

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Paracelsus, according to all accounts, was the greatest physician of his day, performing cures where all the other doctors failed. Jesus offered harm to none except the cheating moneychanger in the temple, healed the sick, and taught love and kindness. If one were less versed in the power of convention to bind all to old methods, and to persecute any who dare depart from what has been customary, it might be supposed that these great benefactors had been praised by their contemporaries. How Jesus fared need not be told; and Paracelsus was driven from place to place, his life constantly in danger from the members of his own profession, and was finally killed by ruffians believed to be in the pay of those whose outmoded methods of healing were less successful than his own.

On frequent occasions when machines have been introduced into some industry, those engaged in it have staged riots and broken the labor-saving devices. They believed that the machines would displace them; which was true if they were unwilling to learn how to handle the machines. A more successful method of healing also would take the livelihood from many members of the medical profession, as with less illness their services would no longer be needed; yet if they were progressive their energies could to advantage be turned into other equally valuable channels of human service.

It is almost impossible to advance any new method by which the human race can be benefited without this new method displacing the service, or at least affecting it, of some whose livelihoods depend upon it. And it is equally impossible to advance any new idea of importance by which the race can be benefited without it affecting the prestige of a large group of people who pose as authorities, or who hold some position of power which would be endangered if the new idea were to be generally accepted.

Progress is thus always gained only through conflict. In fact, progress consists of overcoming obstacles. And where human customs and human ideas are concerned the obstacles which cause the most acute conflict are prejudice and self interest.

A thousand patents have been registered from successful models, and yet the labor-saving devices they represent, and the improvements in many lines which they could bring, lie dormant. These patents have been purchased by those who have money already invested in less useful things which would be displaced if better ones were placed upon the market. And to an even greater extent are ideals of high value to the human race suppressed by those with whose profits or prestige their adoption would interfere.

We need not think that the ridicule heaped upon Louis Pasteur when he advanced proof of the activities of bacteria in certain diseases, or the persecution of Galileo when he revealed the discoveries of his telescope, are new expressions of the antagonism of conservatives for those progressive. Even in a flock of birds, if one bird begins to act in an unprecedented manner the other birds become annoyed, and if the one departing from convention does not desist, the others birds set upon it, and either kill it or drive it from their midst.

Whether in that ancient time when the constellations first were given outline in the sky, or at the present day, if one were intrepid enough to break sharply with conventions, the least that could be expected was imprisonment. Throughout the ages those who have bestowed the greatest blessings on mankind have found themselves chained to the stone walls of dungeons. To depart too markedly from current practice or current belief, no matter how absurd it was, has always meant courting punishment.

Because such Self Sacrifice has commonly been prompted by that sense of Universal Brotherhood which the higher side of Pisces promotes, and because Pisces, through its 12th house affinity relates to imprisonment and crime, the ancients placed Andromeda, the Chained Lady, in such a position as to picture the middle decanate of Pisces, where the Sun may be found each year from March 1 to March 11.

The Keyword of the decanate, Self Sacrifice, is set forth in the universal symbolism not only of the story of Andromeda, but in that of Prometheus also. In the case of Andromeda the coast of her native land was being ravaged by the Sea monster, Cetus. This was through no fault of the fair princess; but had been brought on by the arrogance of Cassiopeia, her mother.

Cassiopeia had incurred the wrath of Neptune, who was quite justified in resenting her claim to be more beautiful than the Nereides, nymphs of the sea; and Neptune, ruler of Pisces, had sent the Sea monster to bring destruction to her land. Jupiter, planet of religion, was appealed to in an effort to save the country; and he decreed that only through offering her daughter as a sacrifice to the Sea monster could Cassiopeia atone for her sin. Andromeda, therefore, not because she had transgressed, but to save her fellow countrymen from death, was chained to a wave-washed rock in the sea for Cetus to devour.

We who are interested in presenting The Religion of the Stars to the world, bringing, as it were, the fire from heaven that all may benefit thereby, find the story of Prometheus even more significant. Prometheus, in the first place, was out of favor with the gods because he ridiculed some of their exaggerated pretensions. He was very much in the position of some of us who have actually traveled on the astral plane and had opportunity to observe the conditions there. He did not believe in the current ideas; no more than we believe the materialists who say that when the body disintegrates the soul exists no longer; nor the orthodox who say that a soul who transgresses must suffer eternal torment in hell and that heaven is devoid of useful occupation.

Those now who make actual demonstrations that the soul survives the dissolution of the physical body, and those who make actual demonstrations that the planets affect the life and destiny of man, are somewhat in peril of imprisonment. The materialist says the soul of man does not exist after the physical is gone, and cannot come back. The orthodox says that it does exist somewhere. But if you stage a demonstration to prove that the so-called dead still persist and have recognizable personalities, you open yourself to persecution. A city ordinance—depending on the city—may demand that if you do, or if you help some unfortunate person through giving astrological advice, you must go to jail.

Prometheus, however, was not to be deterred through fear of gods or men from actions which he felt convinced would benefit the human race. Like the valiant souls of all ages who are responsible for the world’s progress, he was willing to sacrifice his own interests if thereby mankind might be benefited. So, with the assistance of Minerva, he climbed the heavens and stole fire from the chariot of the Sun, and brought it down to earth, that man might have its use.

This so provoked Jupiter that he ordered Prometheus chained to a rock, even as Andromeda may now be seen chained, where a vulture was to feed on his liver. His liver thus consumed by day, grew again during the night, never entirely exhausted.

As the liver plays so significant a role in this story, it should be explained that the ancients as well as we moderns place this organ of the body under the rule of Jupiter, the planet which rules the 9th house in a natural birth chart, and thus also religion and public expression. The liver of Prometheus, on which not the fearless eagle fed, but the carrion eating vultures who live from the profits of religious corruption, represents that priceless heritage which alone permits a healthy race; the freedom to publicly express philosophical and religious convictions.

Both in ancient and in modern times the favorite method by which enemies of the public, such enemies as the 12th house rules, gain their ends and keep mankind in slavery to their own selfish advantage, has been to persecute the apostles of Truth, and to suppress the dissemination of correct information. It has been proclaimed that truth crushed to earth shall rise again. So also the liver of Prometheus, preyed upon by the human vultures who place a censorship on the dissemination of knowledge, and who purposely distort all information given to the public, grew again.

Those who attempt to enlighten the world always find it a painful process. Throughout the ages it has been the custom to imprison those who revealed the corruption of those in high places. The inquisition flourished to prevent facts being broadcast that would show the falsity of certain religious doctrines. Periodicals thrive chiefly upon their advertising, and an article or story which reveals some unpleasant truth about a product advertised in them cannot get beyond the editorial desk. Radio stations commonly will not permit facts to be broadcast which tend to offend certain interests of power.

Yet Andromeda was not devoured by the Whale monster. Instead she was rescued by Perseus, her Prince Charming, and had a happiness she could not have hoped for had she not endured Self Sacrifice. And while Prometheus suffered for a time for gaining fire by which those of earth might live in greater comfort, he too eventually was released. Kind Chiron, representing the Higher Mind of Sagittarius, ruler of the 9th and of public expression, volunteered to take his place. And still later Hercules killed the vulture and he too was freed.

When the critical faculties of Hercules, picturing one decanate of Virgo, more widely are brought to bear upon the suppression and distortion of information, we may be sure that the vultures who misinform the public will no longer be tolerated. Furthermore, even while Andromeda and Prometheus were persecuted for their services to the public good they were being amply rewarded, as all who endure misfortune for the benefit of the human race are always rewarded, through building into themselves those qualities which ultimately would permit them far greater freedom in celestial realms than those could have who permitted injustice to thrive unmolested.

Thus does the text become: He Who Sacrifices His Own Desires for the Welfare of Others Draws Down the Divine Fire from Heaven and With It Kindles the Highest Potencies of His Own Soul.

The Cloak of Death or the Tree of Life

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The last decanate of the zodiac, where the Sun may be found each year from March 11 to March 21, represents the end of the cycle of physical life. Among the constellations this point from which the transition is made to a new cycle is pictured by Cassiopeia, the Lady in the Chair, who with one hand removes the cloak which represents the physical body, and with the other holds aloft a branch from the Tree of Life.

Of all regions of the zodiac, the Scorpio decanate of Pisces thus pictured has closest affinity with both the higher and the lower astral spheres in relation to the condition of existence immediately following physical death. It is here, as the soul leaves the physical body, symbolized by the removal of the cloak, that it experiences in full measure the effect of the astral circuit so well represented by the ribbon binding together the two Fishes of Pisces. This circuit, depending upon its quality and attachments, may become a shackle, such as that by which Andromeda is chained, or it may in truth become the Tree of Life, such as Cassiopeia holds.

The alternative revealed by this decanate, the Keyword of which is Vicissitudes, is well set forth in the stories relative to this woman. As one queen, her inordinate pride, selfish ambition and attachment to worldly honors caused her daughter, Andromeda, to be chained to the rock for Cetus to destroy. But in another story, she is the queen who furnished her two children, Helle and Phryxus, with the Ram of the Golden Fleece, which was to carry them from danger into safety.

The Bible also portrays this celestial constellation in alternate roles; in the Old Testament as Potiphar’s wife, whose Scorpio desires, and secret enmity when her advances were repulsed, caused Joseph to be placed in prison; and in the New Testament by Mary Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, and whom Jesus loved. John 11:5: "Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus."

When the Sun moves across the celestial equator at the time of the vernal equinox, at that moment it leaves the garment of winter darkness—that is, the longer nights than days—in the hands of Cassiopeia, marking the decanate from which it thus takes exit. This garment of winter symbolizes the physical body of man which is left behind when he passes to the next life. And this episode is still further explained by the cloak which Joseph left in the hands of Potiphar’s wife when he fled her importunities.

As related in Genesis 38, Joseph had been given complete charge over Potiphar’s affairs. He was in a position of trust and responsibility, and as nearly always happens to those who gain positions of power and influence, he was approached by one who used great pressure to influence him to betray that trust. Joseph might have lived now and had the same experience, so typical is it of present-day methods of disposing of one whose integrity becomes annoying to the corrupt who are in power; Genesis 12:

"And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth, that she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice: And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out."

When Joseph was placed in jail, due to the false charges of this woman of 12th house affinity it also suggests the circuit of energy pictured by Pisces by which those in love are bound into a single soul-mate system; and that if such a circuit is to result in greater freedom and power, rather than in greater bondage, it must have a vibratory rate which is uplifting and spiritual in quality, such as tender love and unselfish affection tend to generate. That is, if it is to provide the energy of the Tree of Life, rather than bind to lower astral regions, the circuit must raise the lovers to new heights of feeling, and stimulate new endeavors for the welfare of the race.

The circuit also can be formed between two people on a level that opens them to the influence of the lower astral plane. This results in the generation of great force; but the force so generated is confined in its effects to the things of a phenomenal nature, being unable to affect the finer substance of the higher astral spheres. That is, the ribbon of Pisces, unless generated by a fine and exalted type of love, tends toward imprisonment rather than to greater freedom. As is always true, that which can be used for good can also be used for evil. And this circuit, when built on a lower, coarser level, while giving great magical ability, tends in the direction of Death rather than in the direction of Life.

It then performs the same function as the circuit in a seance room when those present take hold of hands and sing. It generates a circuit of astral energy of great force, and also liberates etheric energy in volume. But the astral energy flow thus established, is of a vibratory rate corresponding to the elementals and other entities of the astral spheres closest to earth. These denizens of the realm signified by the house of self undoing in a birth chart, find such a circuit of energy of their own plane a stream that enables them to move into the astral bodies and in contact with the etheric energies, of those through whom the current flows. They are carried by the current wherever it goes, and as it goes through the bodies of those comprising the circle, they are able to bring their influence to bear directly upon the etheric energies and nervous systems of those thus contacted.

With a contact so fully established, either through a séance circle or through a circuit established between two lovers whose desires are on the level of those of Potipher’s wife, these 12th house astral entities are able to use both the etheric energies generated and the astral energies present, to bring things to pass on the physical plane. The energy may be used for healing, for influencing other persons to do as those on the circuit desire, for demonstrations of phenomena, or for the purpose of selfish magic.

On such a circuit, however, because it has affinity through its vibratory rate with lower astral entities, whenever the attention of those generating the energy is relaxed, this enables the denizens of the lower astral to take control and use the circuit for their own purposes, of which those from whom the energy is drawn have no knowledge.

Gradually, as the circuit continues, and gains strength, those who furnish the energy tend to lose control of it or even of its manufacture. The etheric component is felt by them racing through their nervous system. And its too great withdrawal from the vital reservoir of the body leaves them depleted and with an aching spleen. They still may direct it occasionally to some purpose of their own; but for the most part, even while they sleep, it is used by low astral entities to further their own ends in influencing the trend of thought and events on earth.

These 12th house entities, enemies of the human race, use the force thus placed at their command to impress upon sensitives wherever they can be contacted, ideas which tend to prevent an understanding of true spirituality, and which tend relentlessly to draw these sensitives into their power. And in time those who furnish the current, through having it constantly directed by the astral denizens to that end, lose all power to direct its flow, and are chained by it, and must do henceforth the bidding of their astral jailers.

Yet the same principle, a circuit of energy such as the ribbon of Pisces represents, when used upon a higher, unselfish plane, exalted by ecstatic feelings of tender love, instead of imprisoning, becomes the Tree of Life. It is true that on this more spiritual level it brings those on the circuit into contact with the intelligences of this higher region. But these are too wise and too unselfish to desire to use the energies thus made available to control either those on the circuit or to demonstrate amazing phenomena on the physical plane.

Thus it is that the circuit lifts or lowers those on it to the level of the afterlife world corresponding to its vibratory rate. If that rate is low it brings intimate contact with low astral intelligences; but if that rate is high, it brings equally close contact with exalted intelligences of the higher astral planes. And these never take control. The information they impart is given merely as advice, with full liberty on the part of those receiving it to accept or reject.

Furthermore, when the energy of the circuit is that of an unselfish and spiritual love, in which all animal qualities and desires have been sublimated and true regeneration has taken place, it gives the ability not only here, but in the after life, to penetrate the higher spheres and to there enter upon the Cosmic Work.

It then becomes not such an influence as Mary Magdalene was under at first; for, according to St. Luke 8:22, she had at one time been possessed of seven devils; just such a condition as the lower circuit in connection with the 12th house influence tends to attract. But Mary Magdalene was loved by Jesus, who cast the devils out of her. After this she became one of those who ministered to him at the cross, and who on going to the tomb which he had left, was told by the angel there to herald the resurrection to all the world. Instead of the devils which once she had, having tuned in on a spiritual circuit in which unselfish love was dominant, she had partaken of the fruit of the Tree of Life.

Such a spiritual circuit, among other things, permits of passing to the next life in full consciousness. Thus the text with which the circle of constellations closes is: Man May Pass from This Life to the Next, Even Through Death, With No Greater Break in His Affairs than Would be Occasioned by Leaving His Acquaintances in One City and Taking up His Activities in Another City Amid a Different Group of Friends.

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