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Dane Rudhyar's Occult Preparations for a New Age. Image Copyright 2004 by Michael R. Meyer.

by Dane Rudhyar, 1975

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A Planetary Approach to Occultism amd Its Source

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To Michael R. Meyer
and Nancy Kleban
In warm appreciation
and friendship.

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This title was first published by Quest Books, 1975.

Cover for the online edition copyright © 2004
by Michael R. Meyer.

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Human Cycles of Unfoldment - 2

Three Score and Ten Years
When one speaks of the "natural" life-span of man, one refers to the conditions prevailing at the particular stage of evolution in which our present mankind is unfolding its powers. In a sense the three score and ten year period (seventy years) often mentioned as the length of an archetypal human life, is a "myth"; that is to say, it expresses the symbolic, yet essential, relationship between human beings and the nature of the Earth's biosphere in which these beings live and from which they draw their sustenance and their strictly "natural" powers. But the nature of the biosphere undergoes gradual changes, and sometimes these are quite radical. It is also possible that, as H. P. Blavatsky stated in letters to A.P. Sinnett, the length of the year has been decreasing considerably since very ancient times, because our planet has been coming gradually closer to the sun. In terms of existential values — i.e. of sequences of concrete events — the year cycle should be considered a relative measure of time; yet the archetypal pattern — the seventy-year measure — could still be thought of as a permanent factor characterizing mankind at the generic biological level of activity. It can also be related to the ten lunar months of the gestation period — a lunar factor as it occurs within the mother's womb which, in this connection, reflects the broader solar pattern of ten. This pattern constitutes a formula of human development at the level of the "living soul" — that is, in terms of organic living in a natural state of existence in the biosphere. Organic living includes also the psychic overtones of the functional activities of man's organs, glands and nerves — and of currents of energies undertoning these activities.

This pattern, just as that of the simpler seven-year cycle which is its basic unit, must be wisely applied if it has to serve any purpose at all. As it is both a general and generic frame of reference, it does not deal with "particulars," but only with "universals." It can be used to relate events to one another as they follow one another; but not to predict any one particular actual event. It is a tool for understanding and for the discovery of meaning — and thus for the understanding of what either has already happened, is happening, or is just about to occur as the result of preceding causes which one can perceive and analyze. It could be used as we use a clock when we have to get ready to leave our office in time to get a good place in a restaurant at lunch time; but looking at the clock will not tell us what will happen on the way to the restaurant and who will sit at the table next to ours.

While the seven-year pattern is applicable to various stages of the development of man's life, the seventy-year cycle refers specifically to the factor of age. Because of social prejudices, which differ in various cultures and even at various times in the cyclic development of one culture, "age" is often a not clearly understood factor. At the level of human nature — thus as a factor in the life of every individual person, however "individualized" and unique he or she may be or consider himself or herself to be — age refers to what is now often called the "biological clock" whose rhythms control the interrelationship between all the constituent organs and cells of the organism. The way the clock works is moreover deeply affected by what occurs in the organism's environment; and today more than ever one must consider the sociocultural and political as well as the biospheric environment.

Nevertheless if one thinks of age only in terms of biological and environmental factors one misses the whole point which a study of the seventy-year cycle and even more of the eighty-four-year cycle — presently to be discussed — should reveal. What one does is to regard man as merely an animal organism. Yet the character of man's existence far transcends strictly animal biological values. Man's life on this Earth, even at the level of what I once called "man's common humanity"(1) is a process whose purpose it is to extract meaning from all conceivable types of activities. It can be regarded as a "seasonal" process, the entire lifespan being then divided into a number of "seasons of growth" and each of these having an archetypal character of its own.

It is to this archetypal character of the several seasons of growth that, at least in the occult sense, age refers. We are therefore not dealing here with the more or less appealing and socially or personally highly valued character of a certain age period. We are dealing with the specific character of ten basic age-periods whose archetypal functions are to contribute in specific ways to a total and final "harvest of meanings" to be gathered and assimilated by the Soul. Each age-period should provide its own characteristic contribution to this harvest, just as each human "culture-whole" contributes its own harvest of values and meanings expressed through symbols, creative works and institutions — to the planetary consciousness and the one Mind of Man. Every human being, just because he is human, passes through ten stages of potential development — then different personal "cultures," each of which vibrates to a basic keynote of human possibility of growth. Each should be evaluated in the light of its potential contribution to the whole life process, without any abnormally glorified or scorned value being given to it because of sociocultural preconception or bias.

If we consider the life of an individual person we undoubtedly will observe an individualized series of events and developments which may considerably differ from the merely human archetype or generic norm. Growth may be accelerated or retarded in many ways and for many karmic reasons (both personal and social-collective karma), some of them producing dramatic or even spectacular results of a positive or negative character. But cyclic patterns do not directly refer to these results, except in the sense that they can help us to understand their meaning in terms of the karma and dharma (the "truth-of-being" or individual selfhood) of the individual Soul to which, generally speaking, the human organism has been karmically drawn through some kind of magnetic resonance. A deviation from the norm has a positive significance if it strengthens, steadies, or increases the individual's ability to actualize his birth-potential; it is negative if it hinders, weakens or disorients and perhaps perverts the process of actualization.

This process of actualization of the birth-potential is not accomplished by denying, ignoring, or trying to escape from the karma of both the individual past and the past of the racial-cultural community in which one is born and educated, but by using this karmic conditioning in an individualized and significant manner. Karma and dharma — the past and the future-in-the-making — are actually the two sides of the same coin. Dharma can be fulfilled only through the experience of karma. Spiritual living implies going through the karmic remains of the past and, very often, becoming what one is meant to be in spite of what one has been. Man can neutralize karma only by creating a new chain of causes, but such a creation has optimum results when performed in the clarity of a consciousness about to evaluate the archetypal meaning of the time and the season of the performance; and this with reference to the entire life-cycle.

Spiritual creation is always a response to a need. Such a response can be unconscious and spontaneous; but what we call spontaneity is very often only the expression of a superficial mood or emotion, conditioned either by the pressures of our society and its patterns of thinking, feeling, and behavior so long impressed upon our consciousness and our nervous system, or by the memories of our previous responses to life-challenges. This kind of spontaneity may also be purely instinctual and strictly determined by biopsychic factors referring to the common aspects of human nature. These are not to be denied without clearly individualized and conscious reasons; but they should be used, as any of our personal and social possessions have to be used, as our knowledge has to be used. It is always the use we make of knowledge — especially of occult and cyclic knowledge which proves its validity to us as individuals.

1. cf The Faith that Give Meaning to Victory (N.Y., 1942).  Return

By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1975 by Dane Rudhyar
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