Culture, Crisis & Creativity

by Dane Rudhyar

8. The Interaction of
Civilization & Culture

The process of civilization, as defined in this book, and the development of culture-wholes coexist and interpenetrate; but we cannot truly understand either unless we realize that they constitute two fundamentally different processes belonging to two different levels of activity and operating according to different rhythms. Yet they both serve the same end purpose: the complete and perfect actualization of the complex and multilevel potentialities inherent in the archetype, Anthropos (Man). Philosophers of the Hermetic and Theosophical Schools tell us that Anthropos, as an archetype embodied in a living human organism, is the microcosm of the universe, the macrocosm; Hindu seers long ago experienced in an ecstatic state the identity of atman (the vibrating transcendental center within the individual human being) and brahman (the metacosmic "Reality" ground of all existence); and the Bible tells us that Man was conceived by the Creative God in His image and likeness.

If this is so, when we contemplate the majestic and essentially nature-transcending process of civilization, and watch it operating through the development of culture-wholes, we are perceiving the workings, at the level of the evolution of Earth-conditioned mankind, of two movements that could also be detected within the total cosmic process. In this book, however, our attention should be primarily focused upon what happens at the level of a humanity having reached a state of development at which mind occupies a most important role. And by "mind" I mean both an organized form (or structured field) of consciousness, and the kind of activity that at first builds and forms, then seeks to experience and objectively formulate their meaning, and lastly becomes involved in their deteriorization and disintegration when these forms become too rigid and fail to meet new human needs.

When we so define the term mind it seems necessary to postulate the existence of a type of activity which both transcends and acts through the mind. A power beyond, above, or within the human mind sets this mind in operation, and toward the close of a cycle of existence, affects in a cathartic or catabolic manner the forms which mind has engendered. Mind stands, as it were, between the realm of material-biological energies compulsively operating in Earth's biosphere, and that of a transcendent supermental or transmental power which, for lack of a better word, we have to call "spirit." Spirit acts in and through minds which operate as formulating and transmitting agents. The basic purpose of such a transmental activity is to bring the materials of Earth to a subtler and radiant state of being—thus, from our present-day point of view, to dematerialize and spiritualize matter.

If we do not accept the existence of spirit as a transphysical, transcultural, and metabiological power, the only other possible way of interpreting with some degree of consistency the obvious facts of collective and personal human existence is to adopt a materialistic approach, whether as developed by Marx or by other materialists; but such an interpretation excludes many of the most significant human experiences. It leads to a most depressing world-view, essentially devoid of meaning and purpose. On the other hand, if the existence of spirit as a creative and transformative power is accepted, and its action in and through mind is clearly understood and adequately formulated, the material facts find their place within an all-inclusive picture of cosmic activity which takes nothing from them, but instead endows them with a transphysical and metabiological significance stimulating human beings to more conscious, sustained, and eventually more radiant endeavors.

The civilization process pertains to the activity of spirit, as spirit acts through the mind. Spirit is a vibratory power; it is tone. Mind deals with the forms that are inherent, but only potential or latent, within the tone. Spirit, acting through the formative agency of minds unreservedly open to its creative impulse, manifests as the Creative Word, logos spermatikos. "In the beginning" Spirit-in-act is the Avatar, the divine Person who impregnates the collective mind of humanity—Earth's noosphere—with a magic power that starts the wheel of a new cycle of culture operating. As this initiatory impulse is an activity of spirit, whose essence is unitarian, it is logical to speak of one Avatar; yet, this creative activity has to sound forth through each level of organization of the planetary and the collective mind, and to take form on each of the several planes of life-manifestation in the biosphere, thus one may speak of a number of avataric personages and avataric events. One of these undoubtedly refers to the atomic explosions demonstrating the most material (chemical or atomic) aspect of the process of dematerialization. Not to include this atomic aspect of the avataric process—would reveal a narrowly religious understanding of the avataric process. This process represents the "descent" into the minds of human beings of a new creative-transforming impulse releasing its magic power in a variety of ways, each of which is required to meet definite collective human needs. Men and women involved in the development of such processes are the "civilizers" whose works sooner or later alter the fabric of human society and the quality of interpersonal relationships. The fact that in most cases today the civilizers are not consciously aware of what operates through their minds and of the end-results of their innovating or cathartic activity does not alter the essential process. Yet, because this activity of the civilizers operates through mind, it also has to work through the forms which, at the time, the culture makes available.

In a general sense, culture is the carrier-wave necessary for the transmission of the creative Spirit-emanated impulse. The mind-forms built by the culture become the vehicles for the transmission of the power that will eventually destroy them. But these mind-forms also unavoidably color, if not the impulse itself, at least the formulation of the message inherent in it. Because of this, an avataric and culture-transforming process must have preliminary phases. What Toynbee calls a "creative minority" of individuals has to be prepared step by step to assume its role as a civilizing agent. The steps are emotional as well as mental. They include a deep-seated dissatisfaction with the forms and institutions which the culture has built—a dissatisfaction often born of personal tragedy or of the experience of social injustice and individual mistreatment—and the development of minds able relentlessly to question the intellectual and/or moral validity of the essential premises (paradigms) constituting the framework of the collective mentality of a society having already passed its maturity.

Unfortunately the minds of such a creative minority always tend to react against the cultural patterns which have conditioned their development. Men and women seized by what has been poetically called a divine discontent come to hate the past from which they are struggling to emerge; and hate binds as much as does devotional love. These discontented and revolutionary individuals may be truly open to receive a new inspiration, a new creative impulse from the spirit; yet they receive it with minds colored by a negative attitude toward the past, and such a coloring tends to affect and (subtly or crudely) permeate the formulations they give to the spirit-emanated impulse. An essentially true and divine creative impulse can easily be perverted by a mind moved by an intense revulsion and passionate rebelliousness. Humanity most often proceeds by violent oscillations from one extreme to its opposite. Gautama the Buddha extolled "the Middle Way." Yet that way can also neutralize the inner dynamism of the spirit; the seemingly wise man may withdraw into the benign but static indifference of an equipoised mind refusing to be drawn into any conflict.

Conflict is inevitable because the process of civilization is one of transcendence, and transcendence implies crisis, just as the act of walking implies a fall from a position of equilibrium and a recovery. Dissatisfaction, fall, recovery are inherent in the process of civilization; and Humanity archetypally is the Civilizer. Humanity's supreme majesty is that a man or women can always become greater ("majesty" comes from major, meaning "greater"). Not only can any individual person opt for the condition of seed and refuse to die the autumnal death of leaves; he-she can also willingly and readily accept the trauma of mutation, and the loneliness of the creative mutant bringing to the biosphere and to human society a new message of the logos and a new quality of livingness and relationship. Fulfillment is not enough. Nirvana is but a great dream. We return, even from the where that is nowhere, and from which life insists there can be no return.

Transformation is the keyword—the spiral, not the circle. But while in its own metabiological and super-existential realm civilization is a spiral process that smoothly and majestically moves through the birth-death-rebirth cycle of culture-wholes, both the individual person and the societies he builds have to experience transcendence as a "walk"—fall and recovery, death and rebirth. Man must walk on "the Path." He neither glides nor flies. He is neither earthbound nor able to soar on a current of air (pneuma, spirit). In order to know what it means to stand (his erect spine prolonging one of the multitudes of the radii of our globe and aiming at some as yet unknown zenith star) he must experience falling. We do not grow like a tree, rooted solidly in the soil, a slow and sure unfoldment of seed potentiality. We walk from stance to stance by a process of radical transformation, from uprooting to self-sowing, from "dark night of the soul" to illumination.

Here it seems imperative to stress the two levels of meanings at which the word transformation may be understood. The process of biological growth is, in a sense, a process of transformation; yet in this context transformation refers only to the continuous unfoldment of what was latent in the initial stage. There is no essential discontinuity in strictly biological growth; one form is modified into another, and the modifying process in a natural state operates smoothly; it brings disturbances, but no crisis. The word crisis comes from a Greek root which means "to decide." The plant does not have to decide to bloom. The human body, biologically speaking, does not have to decide on puberty. But the human mind can decide to give either a positive or a negative —expansive or limiting—meaning to the experiences of the total organism which supports it. This is the crucial issue implied in archetype Anhropos: the power to choose consciously. We can choose the greater or fall into the lesser, either by refusing to choose or by deciding for the false security of the status quo—the established, the formal.

In a truly human sense, transformation means a radical change; and the change is radical only when freedom from the compulsive attachment to a particular set of root-ideas is obtained. Once uprooted, and the roots exposed to light and air, the plant normally dies. A plant cannot uproot itself; but we can. We can give up our reliance on the paradigms of our culture; we can deliberately change the locale of his growth. We can change our parental and culture-conditioned personal name. We may learn to act according to our "celestial Name"—the formula of one's dharma.(1) This is what transformation really means for a human being having inwardly accepted the burden of radical individualization: the challenge to stand, erect and tall, at the place and in the manner of his or her choosing. Thus the question with which this book began: where do you stand? And this means also how do you stand? What is the quality and significance which this stance radiates upon the human and natural environment.

Crises in our Western World

As usually understood, the term Western civilization refers to the development of a particular type of collective attitude of life in which two distinct trends have become combined. One of them originated in Greece, with the cultures of Crete and Asia Minor as a background; the other in Palestine, with the Egyptian and Babylonian cultures as parental influences. To say this may be considered by historians a questionable simplification, but they presumably would admit that the Greek and Hebraic currents of thought and feeling constitute the two basic influences which worked not only upon the relatively raw material of Germanic tribes, but also upon the remains of the Greco-Roman world and those of a Celtic culture of which unfortunately we know very little. Both Oswald Spengler in The Decline of the West and Arthur Toynbee in his monumental Study of History isolate two basically different culture-wholes: the present one that they both call "Western" and Spengler also characterizes as "Faustian," and the preceding one which Toynbee names "Hellenic" and Spengler "Classical." Spengler stresses the radical difference between these two culture-wholes; Toynbee sees them related somewhat as child to parent.(2)

From the point of view I am presenting here, the historical situation assumes a different aspect because what we really have to deal with is a process obeying planetary patterns which determine the rhythm of changes affecting the evolution of mankind as a whole, but which take different sociocultural forms in different geographical regions. In some of these forms the ancient rhythms of human activity and consciousness were retained, though modified in various ways concerning which we lack adequate information. Other better-known cultures reveal to us radically new mutations, especially at the mind-level, because in these regions racial groups were able to respond to the pressure of the culture-transcending process of civilization and thus to develop new concepts and a new sense of sociocultural and (to some extent) political relationship.

We are dealing with two processes: one vast planetary process of civilization, and the organic development of several culture-wholes occurring within more or less clearly defined geographical boundaries and organizing the collective life of more or less differentiatable racial stocks. Each of these processes obeys its own rhythm. Because the development of culture-wholes is fundamentally bound to and deeply conditioned (if not determined) by the telluric and climatic state of the biosphere at certain times, it obeys a kind of cycle essentially derived from one of the three basic motions of the Earth-globe: the precession of the equinoxes, the day cycle of axial rotation, and the annual revolution of the Earth around the Sun. On the other hand, the cycle of civilization, because it transcends the level of biology and physical determinants, can be significantly measured in terms of archetypal concepts essentially referring to number and ratios, yet also reflected in the cycle of relationship between the revolutions of the larger planets of the solar system. The cycle determined by the successive conjunctions of Neptune and Pluto occurring close to every 500 years is the most characteristic of these cycles.

These two types of cycles have been discussed at length in my book Astrological Timing: The Transition to the New Age (Servire; 1969; now free online), and here I shall but briefly outline their respective characteristics and the manner in which their correlation can be seen reflected in the sequence of most meaningful historical events and sociocultural changes. I shall begin with the cycle of civilization because it represents the manner in which the greater Whole, the solar system (the "heliocosm")—or rather that aspect of the heliocosm manifesting as a transformative function—acts upon the lesser whole, the Earth. The heliocosm is a field of energies whose radiating center is the Sun. The orbits of the planets constitute elliptic subfields. While a circle has one center, an ellipse had two foci. All planetary orbits have a common focus, the Sun; but each orbit (or subfield) has an individual focus symbolizing the characteristic function fulfilled by the planet within the total field of the heliocosm. In this heliocosm the most distant planets, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto symbolize the above-mentioned transformative function. They operate as links between the solar system proper (whose physically concrete boundaries are symbolized by the ringed planet, Saturn) and our Galaxy, the Milky Way.

The entire heliocosm operates within an immensely vast organization of stars, a cosmic field whose spirallic structure extends over many light-years (each light-year representing a distance of 5,878,487,289,132 miles). Our Sun is only one of the trillions of stars constituting the whole Galaxy; thus, as a star, it is a mere atom within the vast cosmic cell represented by our Galaxy. Yet, to us and to all that exists within the relatively small "heliocosmic" field which it animates with its immense starry energy, the Sun is the unique source of life and vibrant light. The Sun dominates its heliocosm as an all-powerful king—a king by divine right—dominates his empire or nation; but beyond the orbit of Saturn the Sun's energy (the so-called "solar wind") no longer effectively operates. The space defined by the orbital motions of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto (and probably of at least one other planet) constitutes an intermediary area between the strictly Sun-controlled space and interstellar space (i.e. galactic space).(3)

Trans-Saturnian space thus can be compared to the aura surrounding a human organism. In a sense, this aura, extending beyond the physically concrete skin, bones, and flesh of that organism, does belong to the human person; yet in another sense it is part of biospheric space. We might see it as the "no-man's land" surrounding the fortified citadel of the physical body and, at the psychological level, the castle of the personal ego claiming "I"-power. But if the fortification of the city and the castle are razed, or made translucent and with large open doors, this no-man's land becomes a zone of exchange in which the city-people meet and trade with the inhabitants of a far larger country; and through this intermingling and commerce the once narrow-minded citydweller—and the ego-king whose castle is becoming a House of Parliament—are experiencing a radical transformation.

Thus, in a transpersonal astrology, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto symbolize a triple power whose function it is to stir in human individuals the will to metamorphosis and to provide opportunities (which, most of the time, means crises) to become more than they are as biospheric human beings fundamentally controlled by biopsychic emotions and instinctual compulsions. The way to transformation is what occultists call "the Path," traditionally symbolized by the process of metamorphosis from worm to butterfly. At a planetary all-human level, this is the process of civilization; and it seems to operate essentially under the vibration 5, and in cycles of 500 years or multiples of it, for instance 10,000 years. In my early book, The Astrology of Personality (Epilogue: p. 490 in the Doubleday paperback edition) written in 1934-35, I mentioned such a 10,0000-year cycle and its apparent connection with the periodical stimulation of the higher mental faculties of planetary mankind. Such a stimulation in the sixth century B.C. led to at least tentative sociocultural changes in the fabric of human societies and in the quality of interpersonal relationships. It was a hesitant, only partial change at the level of everyday human existence and sociopolitical organization; yet it produced a probably irreversible transformation in the collective mentality of at least the "creative minority" (Toynbee's phrase) of mankind.

The 500-year cycle is approximated by the average 493-year cycle of the conjunctions of Neptune and Pluto; and the last of these conjunctions occurred in 1891-92 at around Gemini 8 degrees. Other cycles can be outlined by the successive conjunctions of Uranus and Pluto, and Uranus and Neptune; but the most basic seems to be that in which the motion of Neptune and Pluto are related. It is quite a striking type of relationship, and I have discussed it in the already mentioned volume Astrological Timing and my new book, The Sun is also a Star: the Galactic Dimension of Astrology. Here I shall only speak, and this very briefly, of the archetypal 500-year cycle. Archetypal cycles are represented by simple figures referring to the level of pure Number and essential geometric ratios, be they of lines, surfaces, or volumes. But in the concrete existential world of existence, cycles are always more complex; and the relations between planetary cycles of motion never produce whole numbers, and usually are expressed as "irrational" numbers—another instance being the geometrical number Pi, the relation of circumference to diameter.

This fact undoubtedly refers to the infinitely complex character of existential relationships, whether at the biological or the cosmic level. For the same reason, the laws of physics are now found to be only statistically accurate. Statistics refer only to large collectivities or groups. But individual cases, and the relationship between two related fields of activity (cells, persons, or galaxies) can not be entirely expressed in rational, exact, or fateful terms; and in this resides the freedom of the individual. Another way of stating such a fact is to say that a factor of indeterminacy is present in most existential situations. An unexpectable release of new possibility can occur within what would seem to be the rigidly definable process of actualization of a particular set of inherent natal potentialities. Some "greater whole," theoretically at any time, might affect the well-established and expectable order of events. Yet the simple and rational archetypal structure is not to be ignored or dismissed. Somehow, at some time, the irrational left-oriented happening will be neutralized by an equally irrational right-oriented happening, and the majestic Harmony of cosmic being remains forever undistrubed in its archetypal equilibrium and meta-cosmic peace.

Coming down to the existential level of historical development, we may not find exact correlations between the starting points and culminations of 500-year cycles and crucial historical turning points, yet this 500-year pattern should help us to understand the essential meaning of important milestones in the process of civilization, as this process has affected and is affecting the development of the cultures with which we are most concerned as inhabitants of the Western world. We shall simply mention here the dates 600 B.C.—100 B.C.—400 A.D.—900 A.D. —1400 A.D.—1900 A.D., and in the future 2400 A.D.; and I shall discuss these after briefly studying the other type of cycles: cycles affecting the development of culture-wholes. These cycles essentially refer to the orientation of the Earth's polar axis toward various galactic stars, and only secondarily to the movement generally known as the precession of the equinoxes.

Changes in the orientation of the Earth's polar axis (the axis around which our globe rotates during one whole day) are the result of a gyrating motion of the planet, a motion resembling that of a top in fast movement. This is the already mentioned third motion of the Earth, a slow motion taking somewhat less than 26,000 years to complete itself. During that period the poles point successively to a number of stars, called therefore in astronomy circumpolar stars. Today the polar axis is pointing to the star Polaris; and sometime next century, it will point to it as closely as it can possibly do. Some five thousand years later our pole star will be Alpha Cetei; and around 13,000 A.D. it will be Vega's turn to indicate North, unless the Earth's axis shifts considerably and the entire pattern changes in ways we cannot predict; a possibility recently popularized by several clairvoyants.

This slow change of direction of the Earth's axis seems nevertheless to be a structural feature of our globe and presumably results (at least from the materialistic point of view) from the irregular shape of the planet and the combined gravitational pull of the Sun and the Moon. What makes this cyclic change in the axial orientation of our globe so significant is the apparent importance of the polar axis in terms of geomagnetism. In The Astrology of Personality (p. 178) I spoke of the polar axis as the "I Am" axis of the Earth-organism—an axis which at the planetary level may have a meaning somewhat similar to that of the spinal column in a human body. At any rate, the North Pole is said to be the gate through which cosmic-galactic magnetic forces (and probably other forces of some unknown nature) pour into the interior of our globe. In other words what I have called the Great Polar Cycle should refer to basic changes in the direct relationship of the Earth to the Galaxy.

The Earth is part of the solar system (or heliocosm); but it also moves within the wider space of the Galaxy—a highly complex motion resulting from the combination of several movements. The Great Polar Cycle, as it were, sounds a very deep planetary tone which must affect the internal evolution of mankind in the biosphere because mankind-as-a-whole fulfills a central function in the Earth's organism, just as the cerebrospinal nervous system does in a human body. It is Humanity's function to bring to an objectively conscious state all the activities taking place in the biosphere and, it would now seem, even beyond it. Humanity, in that sense, is the planetary Mind of the Earth; and the various culture-wholes developing in the biosphere represent even finer instrumentalities for the revelation of meaning through perceptual and conceptual activities. In due time, this planetary mind is able to detach itself from biospheric compulsions. It discovers its most essential nature and experiences a process of metabiological and transphysical metamorphosis—a process which is civilization in its true character.

As the polar axis describes a circle in the nearly 26,000-year-long period, this motion reacts on the equatorial plane of the Earth which is perpendicular to it. As this equatorial plane is inclined by about twenty-three degrees to the plane in which the Earth revolves around the Sun (the ecliptic), the two planes intersect. The line of their intersection is the line of the equinoxes (from Aries 1 degree to Libra 1 degree in terms of zodiacal position). As the polar axis changes its orientation with reference to circumpolar stars, so the intersection between the equatorial plane and the plane of the ecliptic also alters its position in relation to the stars forming the traditional constellations of the zodiac. If, century after century, we refer the successive positions of the equinoxes to the constellations, we see the equinoxes moving backward in the zodiac. Practically speaking, this means that, if at the spring equinox (March 21) we prolong a line passing through the Sun and the center of the Earth until it reaches a star, that star which in 1800 A.D. was part of the constellation Pisces, will be in 2 100 A.D. part of the constellation Aquarius.

Because astrology each year gives a great deal of importance to the state of the universe at the time of what it takes to be the beginning of nature's year (the vernal equinox), the position of the Sun at that equinox with reference to the constellations acquires a profound significance. It was especially significant in cultures that found their spiritual expression in vitalistic cosmologies, cults, and rites of fertility and the worship of the male and female polarities, because, in such cultures, the constellation represented areas of a space vibrant with cosmic life, and the abodes of creative hierarchies of gods. In those early days the year began with the Sun releasing throughout its domain the power of the Taurus Hierarchy and around 2300 B.C. of the Aries Hierarchy; then a time came when the Pisces Hierarchy began to put its creative stamp upon the spring season of the year and therefore upon whatever then emerged into a renewed life, at least in the geographical regions that had given birth to these cultures.

Thus the concept of great Precessional Ages took form; and it is still with us today when, following a renewal of interest in astrology, a planet-wide expectation of the coming of the Aquarian Age is mounting in intensity, not unlike the expectation of the end of the world throughout Europe before the Year 1000. Undoubtedly something is to be expected; but it may well be that it will take unexpected forms, or that only one-hundredth or one-thousandth part of the population of the Earth will be aware of its happening, and even a smaller number of human beings will respond positively to whatever is released into concrete manifestation.

Even though the idea of linking the large visible stars into celestial pictures referring to sacred animals, totems, or (in the Greek period) human heroes, seems to have been held by practically all cultures of which we have remains, the celestial images and the constellations' names have greatly differed. The length of the precessional cycle and its nature may not have been known much before the sixth century B.C., at a time when, according to calculations I made some forty years ago and which have proven increasingly valid in terms of historical references, the very last phase of a complete cycle of 25,000 to 26,000 years was about to end. I place that end at about 100 B.C. The entire cycle then ending presumably saw the rise of controlled agriculture and cattle-raising, at least insofar as our present humanity is concerned; and there may have been earlier and very different types of humanity, often referred to as Atlantean and/or Lemurian. The keynote of such a long 26,000-year period can therefore be given as Cultivation. The keynote of the new cycle of approximately the same length—unless deep structural changes occur in the solar system—would be Universalization.

In the cultural forms which the aggressive Faustian spirit of our Western culture has sought to impose upon the rest of the world, either by conquering armies or by business penetration, Christendom represents the first phase of this long process of universalization. Because of its nature, this process has become at the biospheric sociocultural and political level a focused expression of the transformation and metamorphic power of civilization. It was initiated by, or rather focused through a few great personages who lived, thought, and taught around 600 B.C.—particularly Gautama the Buddha in India, Lao-tze in China, Pythagoras in the Hellenic East-Mediterranean world, Zoroaster in Persia, and others in other countries. The release of the energy of that process was made possible because the 26,000-year-long Precessional Cycle was then ending, thus coming to seed; or rather the time had come for the fall of the seed into the new soil which had been slowly and only partially cultivated and made ready to receive that seed represented by the great Civilizers of the sixth century B.C.

We might also say that at that time the "personality" of the Earth-being, having reached a stage of crisis in organic-planetary growth, had become at least partially open to the reception and the subsequent slow assimilation of a new cosmic-galactic message or creative impulse. Since that great moment of cosmic-galactic impregnation twenty-five centuries have elapsed, or five 500-year cycles. This pentarhythmic (five beats) process has manifested at the historical level as a sequence of highly meaningful events. Studying them even most briefly with reference to the beginning and the mid-points of these five subperiods should give a somewhat new dimension to the well-known historical developments in geographical regions with which we are familiar.

Subperiod No. 1

(600 B.C. to 100 B.C.) The lives of Gautama the Buddha in India, Pythagoras and Solon in Greece, Zoroaster in Persia occurred as this first phase of the 2,500-year process began. This was also the time of the rise of the Persian empire which, at least for our subsequent Western culture, established and demonstrated the operation of the principle of divine kingship and of a centralized top-bureaucracy of governor-administrators (satraps) responsible for large regions. This principle was reembodied in the Rome of the Caesars, and also much later in the short-lived French empire of Napoleon I; it is now in evidence in American big business with its powerful executives operating at a multinational level through a hierarchical chain of command.

Just before 600 B.C. (586 B.C.) the Babylonian captivity deeply influenced the development of the Hebraic tradition which Europe inherited. The Kabalistic doctrines were most likely derived from the old Chaldean wisdom-knowledge, and these deeply affected the underground occult counterculture of Europe. A couple of centuries later, the Buddhist King, Asoka, sent to Palestine Buddhist missionaries who formed groups on the shore of the Dead Sea, presumably influencing some Hebrew communities. In one of them (the Ebionites—"The Poor"), according to H. P. Blavatsky in Isis Unveiled, Jesus was born. Other occultists, mainly Rudolf Steiner, have stressed an even more definite occult connection between Gautama and Jesus.

Subperiod No. 2

The beginning of the first century B.C. witnessed the long and exhausting struggle between Rome and Carthage. Those Punic wars, together with the start of the westward migration of German tribes, conditioned the development of the pattern which the formation and decay of the Roman empire was to follow. The wars with Carthage led to internal revolutions, to Caesar and, through the Egyptian adventure, to the introduction of Oriental pomp and Near Eastern cults. The old idea of "universal empire" was reformulated in terms of Roman law, but with a new concept of tremendous importance inherited from the Athenian classical culture: the concept of the rational individual man. In Rome, it became the ideal of the "Roman citizen"—an ideal which recently has become reformulated in terms of "world-citizenship."

The Caesar-Image and the citizen-Image constitute the sociopolitical foundation upon which the spiritual concept of the Christian person could develop. Two levels of human power and consciousness are here implied, and the first has been, and needed to be, the support of the latter. Caesar and Christ are the two essential archetypal Images of our dualistic Western culture. At the root of such a culture one finds the attempt to bring into a dynamic, but also insecure and restless, state of harmonious cooperation not so much the sacred and the profane (as I have already defined these terms) as the religious and the political—or, in other words, the spiritual and the material, the quest for God and the passion for gold. Both have been basic factors in the as-yet uncompleted first stage of the process of universalization. This process demands the growth of a supertribal, then supernational consciousness and of a global culture sustained by some complex and inclusive type of political structure. The as yet unanswered crucial question is what this political structure so urgently needed will turn out to. Clearly, the answer depends upon the dominant state of consciousness reached by at least a creative minority of far-seeing, yet practical and realistic, individuals toward the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the next.

Subperiod No. 3

Around 400 A.D. Rome collapsed and, as the middle point of the 500-year cycle that followed was reached, Christendom faced an ebullient and aggressive Islam. The Christian world was emerging from its formative period of childhood under the leadership of Pope Gregory and St. Benedict (founder of the Benedictine Order) whose monasteries seeded the sociocultural chaos with some of the intellectual harvest of the by then disintegrated empire. The fast conquering Arabs who had swept over North Africa and Spain finally were stopped in central France. The migrating groups were settling down.

Subperiod No. 4

By 900 A..D. the divisive patterns of European history had become more or less clearly established, with the Rhine as the basic line of cleavage. Charlemagne's empire (the root-foundation) had branched out; and with the development of the Romanesque style in architecture, the growth of new myths and heroic figures, and the spread of centers of learning and eventually universities, the great Medieval Catholic Order was taking form, after recovering from the anticipation of the "end of the world" in Year 1000. At about the mid-point of the period 900-1400 A.D. the Crusades began, and the fecundation of the European consciousness by the Near East (particularly by the Sufi movement and, through Spain, the Kabalists) took place. Alas, much of it was deliberately aborted by the combined power of the King of France and the Pope. The beautiful West-Mediterranean culture which united Provence, South-West France, and Catalonia, and gave birth to a new image of womanhood and "courtly love" was savagely destroyed, and in the North the Templars suffered the same fate.

Subperiod No. 5

With 1400 A.D. we come to the Humanistic Renascence, preceding the Classical Renaissance sparked by the exodus of Byzantine scholars when their city fell to the Turks (1453). The era of "great voyages" was beginning. European nations were formed, embodying a new spirit foreshadowed by Joan of Arc and stabilized by national languages. The Rosicrucian movement started under Christian Rosenkreutz, first as a very secret organization whose existence was only revealed nearly two centuries later. Alchemists were at work underground, while the Inquisition triumphed. At the mid-point of this 500-year cycle, the Classical period (referred to as the Baroque era, because of developments in architecture) reached its apex. After Copernicus, Galileo, and Giordano Bruno had transformed European man's vision of the universe, Francis Bacon promoted the new scientific spirit of enquiry and empiricism; Descartes and Newton presented a world picture based on rationalism, mechanism, and the intellectual study of "natural law." Soon a totally materialistic approach to reality came to dominate the restless and progress-haunted mind of men.

Subperiod No. 6

As the twentieth century began, Roentgen, Curie, Planck, Freud, and Einstein began a revolution in thought which Karl Marx and Darwin had pioneered in their respective fields. The Industrial Revolution turned electronic, and the entire pattern of a Europe-dominated world began to crumble under the onslaughts of two World Wars and the menace of a nuclear holocaust. In 1891 Pluto and Neptune were conjunct; and the first 5,000 years of the Hindu Kali Yuga ended in 1898.

We are therefore living at the beginning of the sixth 500-year period since the "Great Mutation" of 600 B.C.— and presumably of the second half of a 10,000 year cycle which started around 8,000 B.C. when perhaps the famed Poseidonis, the island constituting the last portion of a mid-Atlantic continent, was submerged. It makes little sense to try to imagine what the future will bring, but the symbolism of numbers should give us an important clue to the potentiality of developments just ahead, provided of course that our starting point of 600 B.C. accurately refers to the beginning of a new, and probably unparalleled, focalization of the power inherent in the planetary process of civilization.

If it is a number 1 phase, the period 600 to 100 B.C. should be interpreted as one in which a new creative impulse was released, but could only affect the mind and the ideals of a small creative minority and produce only ephemeral concrete manifestations at the social or mass level—except in terms of the disintegration of older cultures. With the number 2 phase we witnessed the substantiation and implantation of the basic spiritual and social drives from which a future new order would draw its raison d'être—its rationale for being—and the quality of its vitality; and we have the dualism of Caesar and Christianity. The number 3 phase completed the involutionary process of the original creative impulse, destroying what could not assimilate it and setting into operation the balance of polarized forces (Christianity vs. Islam, Germanic vs. Mediterranean Europe, West-of-the-Rhine vs. East-of-the Rhine, etc.) through which the karma of European and Near-Eastern mankind had to work.

The number 4 phase, beginning around 900 A.D., gave sociocultural form and mental formulation to the response of the gradually reorganized Western society as it began to actualize the new possibilities of human development evoked by Christianity and the Roman empire. This response was deeply influenced by the Crusades at the mid-point of that five centuries long period; yet, as it surged from the depth of the Western European "soul," it took the form of the Gothic cathedral and the sociocultural activities developing around its centralizing structure. As we shall presently see, Spengler gave to this soul the name of "Faustian."

The five centuries between 900 and 1400 A.D. represent the high point of the European culture, with all its limitations, its narrow dogmatism, and its spirit-questing dynamism. With the Italian Renaissance, the revival of Greek ideas and forms acted as a restatement of the archetypes which the process of civilization, when focused in Athens, had sown into the mentality of the intellectual elite of Western mankind. But such a restatement had now an entirely different cultural soil in which to take form. Spengler probably overemphasized the opposition between the "static" character of the Greek (Classical) culture-whole and the "dynamic" nature of the European Faustian soul; yet this opposition characterizes the difference between the involutionary and the evolutionary halves of a subcycle of civilization, and it is important to appreciate fully the meaning of such a difference. The civilizing impulse of the sixth century B.C. "descended" into the natural, cultural collective mind of Western man; it became involved in human nature, mixed in with the karma of that section of humanity—and, of course, also in another way and with different results, with the character and karma of the culture-wholes of India and China.

Such an involvement almost inevitably tends to pervert the purity and to a large extent the essential quality of the civilizing impulse; nevertheless any creative impulse operating at the level of the civilizing mind (symbolized by No. 5) needs a carrier-wave in order to operate in the biosphere. A culture-whole constitutes such a carrier-wave; but, alas, at this time of human growth, the carrier brings in an enormous amount of distorting and confusing "static."

The Promethean message of spiritual transformation is twisted, materialized, disfigured, and above all misunderstood by the large majority of individuals and groups clinging to the old concepts or attitudes and trying to make this message fit their preconceptions, emotional biases, and biopsychic appetites. This is unavoidable where the mass response of human beings is at work; yet the results can be tragic, as our Western society today characteristically reveals.

The masses never create, but they polarize the character of the creative impulse which will be the spirit's answer to their needs. These needs have first to be formulated in some manner. Religiously speaking, man must ask and pray before God can answer. There must be individuals who, becoming mouthpieces for the masses, give conscious and concrete form to the mostly unconscious needs of the people at large. These individuals, through their art, their words, and their actions, not only explicitly and vividly picture and reproduce what is actually happening in their culture-whole, but (at the highest level) they give form to the inchoate yearnings of the people. They are not only muckrakers, but revealers and formulators—"mediums" through which the collective unconscious finds words to make its demands known. They are important persons because the way in which a question is asked determines the nature of the answer. This is a principle which applies in every field, including that of scientific inquiry and laboratory experimentation.

There are also individuals who not merely set the form of the crucial questions but become agents for the formulation and enactment of the creative answers; but even they can only give answers which their own personal needs—as human beings born in and molded by a culture-whole—have brought to a conscious focus. Even though the lenses which their minds constitute may be translucent and well formed, the glass of the lens is inevitably made of the substances available to the collective mind of the culture-whole. Even the highest avatar, the God-man, is God speaking through a human throat, acting through human nerves, moving through human limbs; and nerves suffer illness. Avataric individuals also become ill; their illnesses may be the ransom paid to the race that bore them and to the men and women whose minds and souls they illumine—but only with the particular kind of colored light which these disciples can bear and become attuned to.

Culture, I repeat, is the carrier-wave of the process of civilization. The space of a room or a temple may be filled with waves bearing an incomprehensibly vast number of messages emanating from myriads of worlds of consciousness, but unless one develops an adequate radio-receiver within his brain-mind he cannot hear them. We all live in the space of the Galaxy; but, until a few years ago, we did not realize this. We could only think of the solar system and its spaces, perhaps only of the biosphere teeming with lives, or even merely of our small country or village, center of our narrow world of activity and consciousness. We could only think of air-waves as carriers of messages; then we found that electronic or laser waves could carry information. Now we are seeking to discover how thought may be directly transmitted. Carrier-waves are always needed as transmitters and, through the transmission of information, as integrators or destroyers. Because a future global culture-whole needs new carriers of information, everywhere human beings (individually and in groups) eagerly, feverishly, and confusedly work to discover what could become the new means of planetary integration. This search is the basic drive of this new 500-year period which began around 1900. It will produce the fervently hoped for New Age—unless an abortion occurs.

This new 500-year period vibrates to number 6 because 6 is the symbol of harmonization, of the union of opposites and of the love that synchronizes polarities at all levels, and by synchronizing them makes possible the emergence of the 7—the divine Child. Without the operation of this vibratory 6 the pentarhythmic process of civilization could only bring about disasters and turn self-destructive through atomization and total self-involvement; and such a self-involvment, at the cosmic level, takes the form of a "black hole" and at a personal level leads to the "black magician" who, eventually after a nightmarish series of lives, becomes a totally autistic center of ego-consciousness absolutely indifferent to anything, because absolutely unrelated.

This is why, behind all spiritual creative impulses vibrating to the 5 of civilization, there must stand the boundless compassion of a being radiating the power of vibration 6—a Buddha, a Christ, a Bodhisattva, a St. Francis. Therefore today, as we face the potential tragedies of a misdirected because misunderstood process of civilization, our greatest need is to open our whole being to the inflow of that love-agape, which is compassion and understanding. Such a love understands because it is willing, ready, and able to "stand under" and to sustain the present global process of alchemical purification and transmutation. We should sense that process working through our deepest being and at the core of all our crises, our catharses, our deaths and rebirths. Only then can a beautiful New Age bless our children or great-great-grandchildren; and the imprints made by our lives upon the vibrant substance of the cosmos will glow with the divine light. In us the process of transfiguration through all-inclusive love will have reached its fulfillment.

The Antiphony of
the Gnostic and the Faustian Spirit

At the opening of the sixth chapter in the first volume of his epochal work The Decline of the West (p. 183), Spengler defines the essential character of what he sees as the three cultures with which our Western world has been mainly concerned, the Classical (meaning the Greco-Latin, or as Toynbee calls it, the Hellenic), the Western, and the Hebraic Cultures. He speaks of the Apollonian, the Faustian, and the Magian souls. The Apollonian ideal is "the sensuously-present individual body" as the ideal type, while the prime-symbol of the Faustian soul is pure and limitless space. To him "the nude (Greek) statue is Apollonian, the art of the fugue Faustian. Apollonian are: mechanical statics, the sensuous cult of the Olympian gods, the politically individual city-states of Greece, the doom of Oedipus, and the phallus symbol. Faustian are: Galilean dynamics, Catholic and Protestant Dogmatics, the great dynasties of the Baroque era with their cabinet diplomacy, the destiny of Lear, and the Madonna-ideal from Dante's Beatrice to the last line of Faust II. The painting that defines the individual body by contour is Apollonian; that which forms space by means of light and shade is Faustian. The Apollonian existence is that of the Greek who describes his ego as soma and who lacks all idea of an inner development and therefore all real history, inward and outward; the Faustian is an existence which is led with deep consciousness and introspection of the ego, and a resolute personal culture evidenced in memoirs, reflections, retrospects and prospects and conscience." He then speaks of the magian soul of the Arabian culture, appearing "in the time of Augustus (thus after 31 B.C.) with its algebra, astrology and alchemy; its mosaics and arabesques, its caliphates and mosques, and the sacraments and scriptures of the Persian, Jewish, Christian, post-Classical and Manichaean religions."

Reacting against the traditional way of referring to our Western culture as a prolongation of what had begun in "the Antiquity" and had been interrupted by the Dark Ages, Spengler was eager, indeed overeager, to establish the existence of a basically Germanic European culture as a completely independent historical whole. Thus he had to stress how different it was from the Mediterranean "Classical" culture. Indeed our Euro-American Society was and is different and in a very real sense the polar opposite of the Greco-Latin culture, but Spengler failed to see the meaning of such a polar opposition in terms of a larger historical whole. Arnold Toynbee recognized the parent-child relationship between these two cultures, but he may not have fully realized how (as I suggested in the preceding pages) they formed the two halves of a whole.

Moreover he probably did not perceive the real meaning of the fact that in both cultures there existed a deeply significant countercultural movement. Nietzsche was aware of this movement which he identified with the Dionysian aspect of Greek culture; but did not see it prolonged throughout the European era. Spengler attempted to fit what he understood of it into the development of the Roman empire and of Christendom by relating it to a rather mysterious entity he called the Arabian culture, even though he spoke of its existence and influence six centuries before Islam drove relatively small bands of Arabs into a frenzy of violent expansion.

Spengler and Toynbee—for understandable reasons due to their academic and empirical training as historians—failed to realize what many people today think of as the exoteric and esoteric aspects of all great religions and of the culture "ensouled" by these religions. Every Society, in Toynbee's sense of the word, has an official culture and at least a relatively submerged and unorthodox counterculture. In most cases this cultural dualism occurs because the culture-whole has been produced by the combination of two racial groups at different stages of mental development, the earlier inhabitants of a country having been conquered by a more dynamic group of tribes, usually from a Northern region, bringing with them a new type of religion; and this was the case of early Greece, in Vedic India, in Mexico. But this impregnation of an old dying culture-whole by new and perhaps relatively uncultured races always allows something else to happen: a "descent" of creative ideas which takes concrete form in terms available to and needed by the social groupings resulting from the often violent fecundation. Thus the process of civilization acts through and within the interaction of the two races.

When Toynbee asks, "Were the Mysteries of Classical Greece, like witchcraft in Modern Europe, a survival from the religion of a submerged society,"(4) he may be partially right in his assumptions, but he may be quite wrong in his implied interpretation of the spiritual movement which carried at its source the name of Orpheus. According to an occult tradition, Orpheus had come from India, after a stay in Syria, where a very ancient and once important city is named Urfa. The essential point here is that, at least since the sixth century B.C., the official aspect of any culture seems always to have been polarized by a countercultural movement. The latter may be accepted by the Establishment—as the Eleusinian Mysteries were in Greece—or it may have to go underground because of severe persecution, as was the case in medieval Europe. In either case, what most historians attention to is the official mentality that produced duly recorded public institutions and works of art and literature; they tend to play down the importance of the countercultural movements which keep existing in the background (or underground) of the official culture and may emerge only sporadically into the light of the public consciousness— just as, until Freud, psychologists dealt only with the conscious realm of the personality and ignored the unconscious or semiconscious and subliminal region of the psyche.

The correspondence between what occurs at the level of the collective person, which Toynbee calls a "Society" (and I speak here of this as a culture-whole), and that at which an individual person operates in terms of "day-consciousness" and "night-consciousness" (Yang and Yin in Chinese philosophy) is remarkably exact, if consideration is given to the principles at work rather than to literal happenings. This "night-consciousness" does not refer to what the officially organized religion of the culture-whole and its by-products—most forms of art—characteristically represent, but rather to the mostly submerged contents and the "occult" (i.e. hidden) activities of the people who are not entirely and professionally committed to the official stance of the cultural Establishment. The publicly organized, and therefore exoteric, religion, in all its often varied and even conflicting branches, may lead some of the more unusual persons practicing its deeper forms of discipline to experiences belonging to the night-consciousness of the collective soul of the culture-whole; and every great religion has its "mystics" and "saints" who constitute its transpersonal aura. But these relatively rare human beings usually are not heartily welcomed by the religious establishment; they are kept isolated and often publicly denounced or even killed, only to be beatified and sanctified after their death. They are too disturbing and irrational a challenge to the day-consciousness of the culture. Only in India was a totally "planned" and ritualized society able to set as its supreme achievement the sannyasi, the wandering holy man who had deliberately repudiated and transcended every form of planning, formal behavior, and rational conceptualization. The Jewish establishment, supported by the Roman governor, killed Jesus, just as, for similar reasons, the Pope and the King of France destroyed the Albigenses and the Templars. Jesus' message outwardly triumphed; but it did so only because it suffered the tragic, even if probably necessary, fate of becoming institutionalized and dogmatized almost beyond recognition.

It is this institutionalization and the attendant materialization (involving the worship of "images") that indirectly led to Mohammed's mission as a kind of early reform movement. Yet Islam, too, soon became institutionalized and made to feed an until then localized and restrained lust for power in the collective Arabian soul. However, a subsequent surge of night-consciousness ensued, producing the Sufi movement, whose roots are intertwined with those of Hebrew and Chaldean occultism, as well as with the underground aspect of the official religion of the old Persia, whose antecedents may reach far beyond the Zarathustra who flourished at the beginning of the great empire of Cyrus.

The countercultures of all these Near-Eastern regions may have been originally inspired—or rather "in-spirited"—by what, a century ago, H. P. Blavatsky and the great Brahmin, Subba Row, spoke of "the Chaldeo-Tibetan Occult Brotherhood." There seems to have been at times a strange connection between Tibet and the Near-East, presumably involving secret groups operating from the Hindu Kush mountains, which the famous Kyber Pass (the route of Mongol invasions from the North into India) separates into Himalayan-Tibetan and Afghanistan sections.(5)

While, to the east of the Pass, the Himalayas (with Mt. Everest, or rather in Sanskrit Himavat, as their sacred apex) became the Holy Mountains of the Hindu-Aryan traditions, far to the West, the massive Caucasus (with Mount Ararat) stood and still stands as the at least symbolic (and perhaps actually magnetic) source of all the sociocultural developments that occurred in the Near East, from the lands of the Medes and Persians to the Suez Canal and the Red Sea.

All these Near-Eastern developments left a spiritual or intellectual harvest that was gathered up and "spiritized" in Alexandria, as well as in some Syrian cities close to the source of the Manichaean movement and the Mithras cult which so powerfully challenged the spread of the orthodox Christianity of the Church Fathers.(6) The great library in Alexandria, symbolizing the spiritual aspect of Alexander's conquests, was destroyed several times; but the various Gnostic groups flourishing from at least 100 B.C. (for instance the Egyptian Therapeuts) to the third or fourth centuries A.D. never disappeared, although they were severely denounced and persecuted by Christianized leaders who, possibly for personal and psychological reasons, adopted the emotional and potentially more popular Pauline interpretation of Jesus' mission.

Gnosticism, in the broadest sense of the term, has represented the counterculture of the European culture-whole; and it recently spread to North America in a great variety of forms—to which we must add the considerable influence of what remained of the Medieval and Classical Japanese and now Tibetan cultures. Western man materially has conquered most of the globe. But the conqueror of land, resources, and politically advantageous regions always, to some extent, is in turn spiritually conquered by the cultures upon which he has stamped the destructive (but also in some respects regenerative) power of his ego. Underneath and at times within the official structures built by Faustian man, Gnostic ideals have exerted a constant subterranean and subconscious pressure; and periodically the pressure had burst forth into highly significant, even if seemingly defeated, surges of activity. We see in history the collectivized externalization of what often occurs in the psyche of individuals, and for this reason the kind of history Toynbee developed turns out to be a most revealing disclosure of psychological processes. The Yang and Yin trends are seen operating in the development of nations; and the supercultural process of civilization, seemingly guided by transpersonal Intelligences, makes use of the interactions of the two polar forces. The process operates, in a sense, through their interrelationship, at times stimulating the one, at other times, the other. Spengler's belief that a great culture is "the soul" of a people rooted in a particular land is correct, according to his concept of what "soul" represents—and today in America we speak of "soul music"! But, if culture is of the soul, the process of civilization refers to the operations of the spirit—we might say, in a Jungian sense, of "the Self acting through the mind for metamorphic purposes.

This "civilizing" activity has been particularly strong in our Western Society because the time had come for a "mutation" or change of consciousness level which, in turn, inevitably led to a collective state of generalized crisis. But at all times Gnostic forces have been active polarizing and illumining the rushing impulse of Faustian man; and it is very important for us, at this crucial juncture in the historical process, to understand the polar relationship and appreciate the antiphony of the Faustian and the Gnostic spirits, in a way freed from the cultural Germanic biases brought by Spengler to the terms Faustian and Magian.

The Faustian mind is hypnotized by material progress and physical conquest in a relentless and restless attempt to break through any space boundaries, but the Gnostic mind seeks to transcend the limitations imposed by time—that is, by the slow pattern of development of organic processes which at any time permits only the appearance of a particular form expressing a particular phase of cyclic growth. The Gnostic strives after what I have called eonic consciousness, the consciousness of the total process of actualization of the potential of Anthropos in one "instant," thus in a "perfect experience" (purna, the experience-whole, in the Hindu Tantra). On the other hand, Faustian man has "never enough time," because his thirst for space-conquest is unquenchable and there is always more and more to know, absorb, and to transform in his own ego-image; and conquest "takes time." The Gnostic is not concerned about multiplicity—of conquests, of sensations, of accumulated data and information he has so little time to digest—because he seems to reach a state of consciousness in which he can apprehend at once all there is within his sphere of existence; and he intuitively knows that the wholeness of a small whole reflects the wholeness of the largest whole, the universe. He wants to experience the ocean in a drop of water, and he is made to realize by his illumined Teachers that the only thing standing in the way of such an experience is his emotional and intellectual attachment to the boundaries of the drop, the skin of the cell, the sense-impressions, and the logical-rational concepts of the empirical and intellectual mind centralized by his ego.

Faustian man is the extrovert in the sense that he is bound to what is outside of him, because if there were no external entities to absorb, there could be no conquest. In the same sense the master depends on having slaves, for without them he could not be a master. Faustian man depends upon conquest, or an ever-expanding G.N.P (gross national product) and bank account, because he can feel himself vividly living only when he rushes through space. Likewise, at a subtler level, he feels himself "spiritual" only when he impetuously strives in devotion to a God, pictured above, always farther, always more divine. He lives in the living, a process which takes him ever farther from his center. The Gnostic lives in the being, through an increasing awareness of all the potentialities inherent within the circumference of his existential field defined by what he essentially is.

The Gnostic also realizes that the process of freeing his consciousness from its attachment to the circumference of his total being and its constant concern with the security of all that is involved in the protection and enjoyment of that circumference requires, in all but exceptional cases, some kind of stimulus. One kind of stimulus refers to the process of organic growth which periodically produces crises of readjustment radically upsetting the interior equilibrium of the forces operating within the circle of his being. Another and potentially more frequent, and at times more drastic, kind of stimulus is the deep experience of love. By bringing two circumferences into interacting contact, love can weaken the exclusive concern of each lover with his/her own circumferential being and produce an osmotic exchange between the two circles. If the love reaches a dramatic finale, the terminal phases of the interaction can lead to an interior state of emptiness followed by a basic readjustment, which forces upon the consciousness a deeper, or at least a fresh awareness of what has been lost and (hopefully) regained.

For Faustian man love is only an adventure, a special kind of conquest or self-aggrandizement through the assimilation of external impressions, feelings, and values. The tragedy of a frustrated or harshly terminated love is a blow to the Faustian person's ego—a defeat; for the Gnostic individual it is a challenge to a more total awareness of what he or she really is. The field of personality being ploughed more deeply, latent new seeds are vitalized and mobilized. The cycle of being becomes richer, because more dynamic, more creative. The Gnostic individual is an introvert, in the true sense of this often misused term; that is, he is instinctively aware that the ultimate goal of consciousness is to live in the plenitude of being that can come only from the internal development of all the contents of the circle of one's total person. These contents—we must never forget!—exist not merely at the physical biopsychic level; they have their overtones in a transphysical and metabiological realm of consciousness—a consciousness that transcends time by fulfulling the entire process of change we call "destiny." Yet fulfillment can never be total, Yang is always ready to challenge an overdominant Yin. In the Gnostic soul plenitude inevitably vanishes in a "timeless" moment of poignant emptiness within which the Faustian voice cries its everlasting "More!" And within the hollow darkness, which may turn into a chalice, is the revelation of a new hope, a new star, a more encompassing circle of being. This revelation takes form within the mind illumined by the process of civilization that always operates at the turn of the tide, because it essentially expresses the metacosmic relationship between the potential and the actual, non-manifestation and manifestation.

The real Civilizer is the individual of relationship. He relates the as-yet-unknown to the known, the greater to the lesser. The pressure of the process of civilization transforms circles into spirals; yet this pressure should not be materialized into the Faustian idea of "progress" dear to the eighteenth and nineteenth century mentality. True progress is qualitative, not quantitative. There undoubtedly is a quantitative change and expansion of a kind when a qualitative transformation occurs, but then transformation implies a transfer, or repolarization, of consciousness from one level to another. It is not the number of things apprehended in space that increases, but the dimensionality of space. The "thing-ness" of the things is changed. Atoms may become stars; stars may become Souls (or "Monads"). This is the Transfiguration: the body of Jesus, son of Man, becomes the creative radiance of Christ, son of God. But Christ was potential in Jesus, in every human individual whose consciousness has become free from the boundaries of culture and personality, from concern with his circumference and the mind of exclusion—the formal mind, the mind unillumined by faith in its essential divinity.

Yet there must be circumferences, persons and things organized into culture-wholes, ideas organized into systems, emotional aspirations transmuted into philosophies. Through all of these the Promethean fire of civilization moves, shaking loose the rutted beliefs, devastating the self-complacent egos, crucifying the easily satisfied loves perpetuated in spiritually meaningless procreation. Faust is the European reflection of Prometheus. But Prometheus was moved by compassion; European man is moved by greed ambition and fear—spiritual, social, and physical. Christ's compassion but faintly flickered in obscure places during the European cycle; Buddha's compassion was chased away from India. We should reembody them in our tomorrows, if indeed there is to be a New Age.

1. In several of my books I have referred to a person's birthchart as his or her "celestial Name." While the names given to a child by his parents are conditioned by culture, religion and family preferences or external occurrences, the birth-chart establishes the relationship of the newborn to the universe surrounding the birth-locality. It is the time-space formula defining the particular biopsychic rhythm and organic characteristics of the new member of the human species as a whole. With its first breath the newborn begins a mutual relationship with his environment, a relationship whose vehicle is the air he breathes, air being the unifying factor for all biospheric organisms. The birth-chart can thus be considered the "signature" of the newborn individual's existence; but at first it refers only to potentiality. The birth-potential is to be actualized throughout the person's life-span. Psychological or Humanistic Astrology seeks to interpret the cosmic birth-pattern and its year-by-year evolution in order to assist the would-be individual to concretely become what he or she potentially is; and this means to fulfill his dharma.   Return

2. The first volume of Oswald Spengler's epoch-making work, Der Untergang des Abendlandes, was published in Munchen, Germany in July, 1918. The author states that it was mostly written before 1914 and fully worked out by 1917. The second volume came out in 1922. An English translation of the first volume appeared in 1926 under the title, The Decline of the West (Form and Actuality); the translation of the second volume (Perspectives of World-History) was published in 1928. Both volumes were published by Alfred A. Knopf (Borzoi Books) and translated by Charles Francis Atkinson. A one-volume condensed edition was also published in 1932. Spengler was born May 29, 1880, and died May 8, 1936.

Arnold J. Toynbee's monumental A Study of History in six volumes was published, the first three volumes, in 1933, the others in 1939. The whole work contains over 3,000 pages. A very fine one-volume Abridgement by D. C. Somerwell was published in 1947 by the Oxford University Press.   Return

3. There seems also to be a vast area of intergalactic space surrounding our Milky Way galaxy and within which many "globular clusters" are located. That area could therefore be called the Milky Way's aura.   Return

4. The Abridgement of Toynbee's A Study of History, p. 25.   Return

5 . The interested student of esoteric traditions would find much interest in studying a now rare book, A Collection of Esoteric Writings by T. Subba Row (Bombay, 191o). An Appendix written by H. P. Blavatsky (p. 34 to 37) is particularly significant in relation to the original source of the "Wisdom Religion" undertoning most of the great occult traditions and the mysterious place she calls "Shambhala." The importance of the Hindu Kush has also been mentioned in a book by Rafael Lefort, The Teachers of Gurdjeff, Victor Gollancz, London, 1968, cf.p. 128 etc.).   Return

6. Mani was a Persian prophet who sought to reconcile Christianity with the old Zoroastrian religion. He was a remarkable person with deep spiritual insight, perhaps the first religious leader to speak of a succession of great spiritual Teachers, periodically appearing in answer to new human needs and revealing new basic concepts concerning the relationship between God and man and the way of spiritual attainment. Another contender for religious leadership in the East Mediterranean regions had been Mithraism, strongly entrenched in the Roman army. But Mithraism was presumably more a revival of old vitalistic attitudes, while Manichaeism seems to have been more future-oriented and more esoteric.   Return

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