Part 3: Libra and Isis Unveiled
Libra, the sign of marriage and partnership, suggested vastly more to ancient initiates than could be expressed in so simple a hieroglyph as a feminine, or curved, line adjacent to a straight, or masculine, line. This concise and commonly used symbol merely indicates the union of positive and negative forces, the interaction of which is responsible for every conceivable kind of activity. It is equally applicable, therefore, to chemical changes, which take place in the marriage of atoms, and to centripetal and centrifugal forces which keep the planets each revolving in its appointed orbit about the sun, as it is to the most intricate of human relationships.
The Scales, by which the sign is pictured among the stars is more replete with meaning; but it gives scant information about the astrological principles which guide those who enter marriage. It presents to view two dissimilar entities united by a common purpose; two spirits, as it were, represented by the circular pans, each dangling free to move in its independent orbit, yet both united by the beam to which both are attached. It thus indicates plainly the thought that one essential of success in marriage is a strong mutual interest in something.
But the masters of old believed marriage to be the foundation upon which society must rest, and that the edifice of society as a whole, of necessity, would be weak unless this foundation were properly constructed. Consequently, their researches embraced all its fundamental principles; and wishing to give posterity the benefit of these findings they incorporated them in symbolical pictograph on the tarot card designed to explain the marriage sign.
In this pictograph, here illustrated as Arcanum 3, we see a woman seated with the head and region above the waist surrounded by a radiant Sun. Thus is the masculine potency clearly indicated. At her feet is the Moon to represent the feminine potency. And the cube on which she sits relates to the cross of matter where rays of sun and moon meet, and thus signifies the union of male and female forces.
But before considering what is taught in this pictograph in reference to the astrological principles that should guide human marriage, let us discuss briefly that even more familiar union, or balance between contending forces, represented by night and day. We awaken and we sleep at their behest. Light becomes a symbol of life and activity, and darkness of sleep or death. And sleep, as we now know from laboratory experiments in our universities, is the reversal of the electrical expenditure of the brain during its waking state. The electric batteries which are formed by organic cells, like the batteries of an automobile, recharge themselves when inactive. Sleep gives the brain opportunity to recharge itself.
Looking at nature in a larger way, those days in which the hours of darkness exceed the hours of light may well, therefore, be placed in one pan of the annual scales, and those in which the hours of light preponderate may fill the other. Thus are day and night weighed in Libra’s Scales; and the Autumnal Equinox marks the point where summer and winter signs are married, one half of the zodiac balanced against the other.
At this time the sun moves out of the harvest sign, pictographically described by Arcanum 2, where the grain was cut, into the place where its value shall be ascertained. The produce of the fruitful period of the year is weighed, and the wholesome kernels are separated from the chaff. Such estimating of its worth, either of crops from the field or of those from the span of life, most fittingly takes place when the vital forces, symbolized by the sun around the upper regions of the woman in Arcanum 3, have succumbed to those of cold and darkness.
The Jewish people, retaining the old time significance of this period—though their calendar in modern times has been permitted somewhat to go astray—still honor the passing of the sun each year into this sign of the Scales. This custom dates back to Leviticus 23:24, where it is commanded, ‘Speak unto the Children of Israel, saying, in the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, and holy convocation.’ The year, of course, began with the Vernal Equinox, and Rosh-ha-Shanah is thus held the first of Tishri, or Libra. As the day is yet observed, to still further explain its import, it may be well to quote in reference to it a paragraph from the Jewish Encyclopedia:
“Rosh-ha-Shanah is the most important judgment day, in which all the inhabitants of the world pass for judgment before the Creator as sheep pass for examination before the shepherd. Three books of accounts are opened on Rosh-ha-Shanah wherein the fate of the wicked, the righteous, and those of intermediate class are recorded. The names of the righteous are immediately inscribed, and are sealed ‘to live.’ The middle class are allowed a respite of ten days until Yom Kippur to repent and become righteous; the wicked are ‘blotted out of the book of the living.’”
The matter of judgment, based upon the ability to weigh evidence and from a comparison of diverse factors to pass sound judgment, such as the Scales implies, is portrayed in Arcanum 3 by the eyes on the seat where the woman rests; indicating that through union, as more fully explained in the story of Adam and Eve, the eyes of the soul have been opened to a knowledge of good and evil.
But however important these wider aspects of Libra may be, they rank far less than those involved in the close association of people in partnership, and especially of that most intimate partnership called marriage. And here it is that the ancient masters have portrayed principles of the most practical and vital kind which we moderns have just commenced to understand.
Looking at Arcanum 3, that which seems most conspicuous in reference to the woman: in addition to the twelve stars, the eagle and the scepter, are the Sun, Moon, and cube of matter which clearly represents the Ascendant. These imply that marriage when properly consummated, is not of one plane alone, but is a spiritual union, a mental union, and a union of the flesh.
The crown of twelve stars worn by the woman picturing the Venus sign indicates that the positions of the planets in the twelve zodiacal signs are factors of significance in the development and maintenance of love and matrimonial harmony. These stars adjacent to the brain proclaim that people to be companionable must have at least some interests in common. Only through kindred interests can mental harmony be sustained.
If all the husband cares for is business and golf, and all the wife cares for is bridge and social life, they are sure to bore each other, and probably will seek companionship with those of similar tastes. Yet often it is equally disastrous for husband and wife to have abilities so closely identical that they become rivals. Not always, but all too frequently, when this is the case, each is jealous of the praise bestowed upon the other.
Commonly it is better that each have qualities which the other has not, but which the other admires. Their tastes, however, should be sufficiently alike so that they have interests in common. The best possible mental combination is when the husband and wife are vitally and enthusiastically absorbed in some interest to which each contributes an element of success which the other cannot.
To determine the things an individual will be interested in, and thus if two people will be mentally compatible, can be ascertained from the temperament, disposition and mental ability, as mapped by the planets in the chart of birth. Of chief importance in this determination are the Dominant Planet, represented in Arcanum 3 by the scepter of power which the woman holds; the Sun-sign, represented pictographically by the radiant sun; the Moon sign, indicated by the Moon beneath the lady’s feet; the sign and planet in the Ascendant, portrayed as the cube of matter; the sign occupied by Mercury signified by the twelve stars in the region of mental expression; and the aspects made by Moon and Mercury. To indicate that the degrees occupied by the planets, and therefore their aspects as well as sign positions should be taken into consideration, the rays from the sun which surrounds the twelve zodiacal stars number thirty, the number of degrees of one zodiacal sign.
Aspirations, symbolized by the soaring eagle which the woman of Arcanum 3 holds before her, and on which her attention seems centered, are the chief factors involved in spiritual harmony. People tend to be uncomfortable when closely associated with those whose characters are in marked contrast to their own. Similarity or diversity of character can be determined from a comparison of birth charts.
Because the dominant planet maps the dynamic stellar structure through which the most energy flows, it must be considered as of first importance in determining character. But as mapping the most deep-seated and permanent of all the thought-elements within the astral body, the Sun-sign is next in importance in such determination. Third in importance, as indicating the type of impressions most readily received, and therefore as determining mental capacity, must be considered the sign occupied by the Moon. And finally, as least important of all as regards the real character, but of so much importance in mere personality, are to be considered the rising sign and rising planet.
The spiritual level, including the religious conceptions, the ideals, and the many individual trends and traits, all are embraced in the character so determined. One who lives on a low spiritual level, likes riotous living, is keenly dishonest, and cares nothing for others or for the future life, is quickly irked by the companionship of a clean-living, honest and pious companion. A materialist husband is a source of incessant worry to a spiritual wife. One who cares only for the fleshpots is hardly a suitable mate for a fine-grained aesthete.
A divergent philosophy of life, because philosophy determines action, is a common source of discord between wedded people. If one is progressive, is interested in astrology and the occult, and the other is conservative enough to believe that such things are the work of the devil, it does not conduce to happiness. Many instances come to light also, inwhich one member of a married pair has concluded that all expression of sex is sin, while the other believes such doctrines are contrary both to sound psychology and to physical health. Both then consider the other selfish in demanding a type of life of which the other does not approve. Had they the same ideals, as indicated by the eagle, the symbol of transmutation and sublimation, such misery would be spared.
This eagle of Arcanum 3 is right in the rays of the radiant sun. And the Sun-sign, as mapping the most deep-seated and permanent of the thought-elements embraced within the astral body, is a very significant factor in determining spiritual harmony. Fire and water, of course, are wide apart in their spiritual relations as revealed by the motive of their conduct. And even the degree of the zodiac occupied by the Sun, as here indicated by the eagle touching one of the thirty rays, seems quite important in this respect.
Marriage, however dependent upon mental harmony and spiritual harmony for its more complete expression, has as its foundation a physical relation. The woman of Arcanum 3 is seated upon, and supported by, the cube of physical substance. And no matter how harmonious the partners are on the mental plane and the spiritual plane, their close association will be detrimental to health and disposition unless it is thus based upon physical harmony.
Within the last year or two it has been definitely demonstrated that the nerve currents which with their radiations formed the etheric body, are electric currents generated by the physical cells. Each cell is a miniature electric battery, the cells of the nervous system generating more than other cells, and those of the gray matter of the frontal lobes of the brain being most powerful of all in this respect, they are enabled through higher electrical potential to direct the electric flow and thus control behavior. These electric currents which flow over the nervous system, and their radiations, are given special qualities and trends by the thoughts and by planetary vibrations. These special qualities of the nerve currents give rise to the various kinds and degrees of feeling.
Between people so closely associated as man and wife there is an exchange of these electric energies. The etheric body is a union of energies of opposite electric polarities; solar etheric energy and lunar etheric energy, as clearly portrayed in the Arcanum by the sun at the head and the moon at the feet. The nerve currents, or electrical impulses traveling over the nerves, have their vibratory rates determined, other than those given temporarily by the transient thoughts and feelings, by the thought-cells of the astral body as mapped by the planets.
The positive electric energy is ruled by the sun. Its quality, therefore, is largely determined by the Sun-sign; but to a degree also by any planet aspecting the Sun; for such a planet reaches the etheric body through the dynamic stellar structure mapped by the sun, into which its aerial leads.
The negative electric energy is ruled by the moon. Its quality is largely determined by the sign occupied by the moon in the birth chart; and to a much less degree by any planet aspecting the moon. Such an aspect implies an aerial leading into the dynamic stellar structure mapped by the moon, through which it gains direct access to the etheric body.
Any planet aspecting Mercury, at times, through the thoughts it stimulates, reaches and influences the quality of the etheric body. The conscious thoughts, ruled by Mercury, tune the etheric energies to their vibration. But this influence is pronounced only while the particular thoughts are prominent in the mind. It may, therefore, be considered not as the permanent rate to which the electric currents passing over the nerves vibrate, but merely those tuned in on temporarily. Aside from such temporary tuning in by means of the conscious thoughts, which may or may not be habitual, the quality of the etheric energies of the body may be determined chiefly by the signs occupied by the sun and moon; carrying in minor degree the vibratory rates of the planets from which these luminaries receive aspects.
In reaching the outside world and thus affecting another person with whom closely associated, however, the solar electric energies and the lunar electric energies, thus colored by planetary vibrations as indicated by their aspects, must pass over the ground-wire mapped by the degree on the Ascendant. Etheric energy which thus passes over the ground-wire to the world without is known as personal magnetism. This ground-wire itself has a vibratory quality which also is imparted to such electric energies as pass over it. Not only must the sign on the Ascendant be considered, but all the planets in the first house, because they are closely enough associated with the ground-wire to impart their vibratory rates to it.
The magnetism of an individual, therefore, is not a simple energy, but a compound of solar electricity and lunar electricity of the quality indicated by the signs occupied, and the aspects made, by sun and moon, to which still other vibratory rates are added by the sign on the Ascendant, planets in the first house, and planets strongly aspecting the degree on the Ascendant. And each of these factors is described in symbolical pictograph, in terms of specific principles rather than in terms of electric energies, on Arcanum 3.
To the extent etheric energies, or personal magnetisms, have a similar vibratory quality do they more readily fuse and blend. The magnetism of watery signs blends best with the magnetism of watery signs. It also blends in less degree with the magnetism of earthy signs; but will no more blend with the magnetism of fiery signs than oil will blend with water. Magnetism of the fiery signs blends most readily with that of the fiery signs. It blends somewhat with that of the airy signs; but refuses to unite with the magnetism of the earthy signs.
Yet if the sun in one chart is in a fiery sign and the moon or ascendant of another chart is in a fiery sign, the magnetisms, to the extent shown, are given a fiery vibration, and to that extent will fuse pleasantly. That is, for magnetic harmony, it is not absolutely essential that the Sun-signs shall be of the same triplicity, or even of complementary triplicity, although the energies blend more completely when they are. Etheric energy of the same, or of complementary quality, will blend whether given its quality by the sun, moon or ascendant.
The strong aspect of a planet to the sun, moon or ascendant tends to color the electric energies by the quality of the planet, and thus the personal magnetism radiated is quite complex; more so because in addition to other qualities it partakes of the sex of the individual. Personal magnetisms of similar vibratory rate fuse readily, and without jar or discomfort, and if at the same time they are of opposite sex, and to the extent they are strongly sexed, there is a pronounced attraction of the one for the other. But even when of the opposite sex, magnetisms which are of too dissimilar characteristics do not fuse or blend, and often are violently destructive, one to the other; the weakest suffering most. When the vibrations are thus so divergent, as indicated by signs which are contradictory opposites, such as Aries and Cancer, Capricorn and Gemini, or Taurus and Leo, they cannot be brought into synchronism, and they jar from their impact.
To show that the success of marriage must of necessity rest upon physical magnetism, the Libra woman was pictured seated on a cube representing the physical plane; but to indicate that the most important factor in this relation is that of harmonious magnetism the ancients not merely pictured a radiant sun, but they gave it a size larger than any other object in the picture, and made its radiations a conspicuous feature, as if they were likewise the aura radiatedby the seated lady.
When these vibratory rates are not too antagonistic and people marry, under kindness and sympathy the feelings so engendered are able to raise or lower or otherwise adjust to each other so that they enter into a satisfactory fusion. And under such conditions, so long as the kindness lasts and hardships do not too greatly, through thoughts about them, cause a reversion to the natural birth chart vibrations, the magnetic blend will persist. But when irritations arise and financial worries absorb much of the attention, this artificial adjustment is destroyed.
(This concludes part 4 of 23)
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