Table of Contents  First 15 16 17 Last

Meanderings East and West

Exploring the Connection between Astrology and Yoga

The Aquarian Age... Cool !

Engineer with Gloves and MaskIn colloquial English, the word "cool" is now used to describe anything that is clever and imaginative. Cool has become synonymous with "wonderful". To say that something is cool doesn't suggest that it is lovely, beautiful or inspiring but rather that it stimulates the mind. It's an Air thing, not a Water thing. It's not about feeling, it's about thinking.

Aquarius is the cool constellation: it's 180 degrees opposite from Leo, the constellation ruled by the Sun, which is hot hot hot. Ruled by Uranus in modern astrology and by Saturn in classical astrology, Aquarius became very cool indeed once Uranus was discovered in 1781, during an era of revolution and invention. Uranus is a force that has been turning the established order of things on its head ever since.

As we move towards the Age of Aquarius, we're making the transition from a Water sign (emotional sensitivity and faith) to an Air sign (scientific inquiry and logic). Aquarius, Uranus (and Saturn) relate to cool technology like long-distance communications, many of which have the unintended consequence of promoting greater distance and less actual contact between individuals. It's not only cool; it can be down-right cold.

Of course there's nothing wrong with the Air element. We all need Air - in correct proportion - just as we need the other elements. Problems arise when Air is excess or deficient. From the perspective of people accustomed to the currently ending age of Pisces, we are moving into an era of "excess air". From the perspective of the age to come, we're getting liberated from an watery era of sappy sentimentality: things are finally getting back to... normal. Which vantage point is right?

Mixed Blessings

Honey BearsHave you noticed? As precession moves the Vernal Equinox backwards towards the constellation Aquarius, things have been changing. More people live in cities than ever before, many in high-rise buildings made of glass and metal, electrified and interconnected wirelessly. We live together in vast numbers, in a kind of urban anonymity.

We can download music and video instantly, but let's ask the question: has Music improved? Has the theater? (What's theater?) We can retrieve any book, but has Literature improved ? We can keep in touch with our friends via instant messaging - but there's a good chance we'll never see many of them again in person. That's the trade-off, as they say.

With the advancement of medical science, many horrible diseases have been cured: infant mortality has been reduced dramatically and overall life expectancy has increased. As a result, overpopulation has become the core problem underlying other troublesome issues like pollution, global warming, etc.

Precision manufacturing has put machines of heretofore unimaginable sophistication into the hands of the average person, but hand-crafted articles and natural materials have become scarce and prohibitively expensive. Family-run stores and shops have been replaced by big-box "chains" - which are themselves being replaced by virtual stores which exist only online. With rapid communication, news and changes in fashion travel fast: but diversity of thought and variety of culture have begun to evaporate.

In the transition from one age to another, there are some gains and some losses: it's a zero-sum game.

An Egyptian Symbol

Water BearerThe constellation Aquarius represents a man dispensing the grace of heaven, pouring it out of a pot. Heavenly Grace precipitates downwards in the human realm as higher ideals, new thoughts and fresh points of view.

The symbol may have originated in Egypt during Age of Taurus (4400-2200 BC), marking the periodic flooding of River Nile, but even then, it indicated more than a mere change of seasons. For the Egyptians, the flooding of the Nile meant that Life was born anew.

Aquarius, Uranus (and Saturn) are associated with satori (Japanese: "insight"), bodhi (Sanskrit: "awakening"), inventions and revolutions. The revolutions can be political, social, scientific and spiritual.

Aquarius is more impersonal than personal. It promotes Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, as well as "experimental" and "open" relationships. Aquarians often appreciate a healthy sense of distance in their partnerships: they need their "space". On a higher level, Aquarius is transpersonal: not the mere avoidance of individuality but its transcendence altogether.

You're Not It

Tat Tvam AsiAt an important stage along the mystical path, comes a radical change in perspective: You're not it: It is you. In Sanskrit, this concept is expressed in the utterance Tat Tvam Asi, literally That You Are. It's an equation: That = You.

Reality has expressed itself as you. From the perspective of the awakened, you are not a fragment of matter that has accidentally evolved to the point of self-awareness. Rather, the All has divided itself into apparently separate parts - one of which is you.

Consciousness is not an epiphenomenon of matter. Matter is an attribute of consciousness.

Just as the ocean expresses itself as waves - which are never really separate from the ocean - Totality expresses itself as "individuals" which are never truly apart from the All. Our destiny is return to the All, just as the destiny of every wave is return to the ocean. Strictly speaking, the waves never leave the ocean and individuals never leave Totality... where could they go ?

Kumbha Mela - the Water Pot Festival

Kumbha MelaKumbha means water-pot. Today, a bicyclist or hiker carries a water bottle along for the journey. In traditional India, sages and mendicants carried a kumbha to the river when bathing and to bring water back to their hermitage for drinking. The water pot is therefore an ancient emblem of yogis and mystics.

Lord ShivaLord Shiva (pictured right), the patron deity of Yogis, is often pictured with a water pot at his side and the Kumbha Mela ("water pot festival") which occurs at the junction of 3 rivers in India, is the largest spiritual gathering on Earth. At the 2007 Kumbha Mela, it is estimated that over 70 million people attended. Since remote antiquity, people have gathered to bathe in the river and experience the darshan (glimpse IE presence) of Yogis who emerge from solitude to share their meditative attunement.

According to the legend in the Puranas, the gods and demons churned the celestial ocean in order to obtain the nectar of immortality. The ambrosia was placed in a a pot (kumbha) and the demons ran off with it. During their struggles to get it back, drops of nectar fell to Earth in four places: Allahbad, Haridwar, Nashik and Ujjain. It is at these four locations that the Kumbha Mela is held every 3 years: each place hosts the celebration once in 12 years. The Maha (great) Kumbha Mela is held in Allahbad.

Because Kumbha is also the name of the constellation Aquarius, the festival may have originally coincided with the passage of Jupiter through Aquarius, which occurs every 12 years. Jupiter's 1-year transit of Aquarius is an astrological period during which Jupiter (Guru in Sanskrit) can most freely dispense its grace, in the form of exalted spiritual teachings and satsanga ("fellowship in the truth"). Whatever the origin, the symbolism is clear: enlightenment. Enlightened people coming together and people coming together to seek The Light.

Electricity and Magnetism

Light BulbAquarius relates to scientific inventions in general and to electricity and electronics in particular. On the physical plane, it's anything which moves at extreme speed. In politics, it's revolution and freedom from the old, freedom from tyranny. It represents freedom from tradition, for better or worse. On the mental level, it's genius and originality. On the spiritual level, it's "awakening" or "insight"; seeing into the nature of things, beyond superficial appearances. Often such insights come in a flash.

Some Aquarians like to say unexpected things, or speak at unexpected times. Whatever is traditional (Capricorn), Aquarians prefer to revise or revisit: the stranger, the better. How shocking !!!

Uranus/Pluto: Disruptions to the Power Supply

Uranus in Scorpio. Pluto in Aquarius. Uranus conjunct Pluto. These symbolic forces share a common theme: renewal. We can extrapolate the symbols too: Uranus in the Eighth House, Pluto in the Eleventh House. Or Pluto conjunct Uranus. (The last time we had that, was the turbulent 1960's, a time which saw social upheavals in the US and Europe, as well as the Cultural Revolution in China). It took place in the sidereal constellation Virgo and during that time we witnessed the birth of data processing (computer technology) and the widespread introduction of "health food", "natural lifestyle" and "fitness" into the modern vocabulary. During that time Yoga other Eastern teachings took root in the West, bringing revolutionary changes to the established order.

On November 9 1965, there was a serious disruption to the power grid in the northeastern regions of America and Canada. A maintenance worker made a mistake while configuring a relay and as a result, Ontario, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, New York and New Jersey were plunged into darkness for 12 hours. The power outage - which affected 25 million people - nicely symbolizes the disruptive element of Uranus when combined with Pluto. No doubt, those in charge of the power supply, ordered some re-wiring as a result.

On July 30-31, 2012, India experienced the largest power outage in history, affecting 670 million people, roughly 10 percent of the world's population. At the time, Uranus and Pluto were in Square aspect, within less than one degree of orb. That kind of aspect may last for weeks, but at the time of the blackout, the Moon passed over Pluto, "triggering" the event in astrological terms. Faster moving bodies (Moon, Mercury, Mars) often function in this way: bringing to fruition a karmic pattern already in place.

The Father of Us All

Paul Cezanne ApplesThat's how Pablo Picasso and Henri Mattisse described French painter Paul Cezanne (1839-1906). They were (artistic) revolutionaries and Cezanne was their leader.

According to Wikipedia, Cezanne's "work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th century conception of artistic endeavor to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th century Impressionism and the early 20th century's new line of artistic enquiry, Cubism."

In Cezanne's horoscope, we find Moon conjunct Uranus in the 5th House in Aquarius. The Fifth House is the house of creativity and often figures prominently in the nativities of artists and artisans. Moon conjunct Uranus there, shows a highly imaginative approach, although in characteristic Aquarian style: cool. Even when their colors are "warm", Cezanne's paintings express an almost tangible sense of "coolness" and emotional distance. Remoteness is a primary component of modern art and design... Cool !

Paul Cezanne Horoscope

As with many painters - particularly the impressionists - we note a powerful influence of Venus and Neptune. In Cezanne's chart, chart lord Venus is conjunct Neptune and the Sun, in Capricorn. This shows great artistic talent on the one hand (Sun/Venus/Neptune) and technical control and emotional restraint (Capricorn) on the other.

My Fellow Americans Aquarians

Astrology texts usually list people whose Sun is in Aquarius - but there are many other indications of an Aquarian "signature" in the chart. Having one's Moon in Aquarius is more important than Sun in Aquarius, because the Moon is a more personal symbol. A chart with Aquarius Rising (Aquarius on the 1st house cusp) is even more important: while the Moon changes sign every 2.5 days or 60 hours, the the Ascendant changes sign every 2 hours.

Also important: having Uranus rising, or Uranus conjunct or opposed the Sun, or Uranus conjunct the Moon. Or both Sun and Moon in Aquarius, or Moon and Ascendant, or Sun and Ascendant: this makes you a Double Aquarius.

Aquarius rising:

Very Fast and Very Slow

Let's not forget about individuals born when Uranus was very slow (stationary) or very fast - or those born when it's moving fast, but backwards (retrograde): very retrograde. These special conditions give a planet "Motional Strength" or Cheshta Bala in Sanskrit.

Uranus Stationary:

Uranus Deeply Retrograde:

Uranus Moving Fast:

Renaissance Man - Quadruple Aquarius

Sri RamakrishnaShri Ramakrishna, the great 19th Century mystic, was a key figure in the Hindu Renaissance which eventually brought Yoga to the West. Understandably, he had a remarkable horoscope. His Sun is conjunct Uranus in Aquarius. His Moon is also in Aquarius. He's a "double Aquarius". His Ascendant is Aquarius. He's a "triple Aquarius". Because Uranus is in it's own sign, in its own house, he's a quadruple Aquarius.

Saturn, the other (traditional) ruler of Aquarius, is exalted in Libra in this chart. This means that the lord of the 1st House is very strong. Having 4 planets in the first house is already very striking, but this pushes the emphasis over the top.

Saturn forms a Grand Trine configuration with Jupiter in Gemini and his Aquarius planets. So Saturn is in its sign of exaltation and directly aspected by the primary benefic: Jupiter. Saturn is not only exalted, it's also stationary: this makes it even more powerful. We don't see this very often !

Sri Ramakrishna Horoscope

There's much more to observe in Ramakrishna's chart: too much to fit into this article. Consider the fact that the Nodes are exalted (North Node in Taurus/South Node in Scorpio) in the important 4/10 houses. Because the Nodes aren't really planets, we look to their "dispositors", namely Venus (which rules Taurus) and Mars (which rules Scorpio). In Ramakrishna's horoscope, both those planets are exalted: Venus in Pisces and Mars in Capricorn.

Ketu exalted in the 10th house, with dispositor Mars exalted in the 12 house: superb for spiritual attunement !

Table of Contents  First 15 16 17 Last