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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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Planetary and Social Cycles - 5

It should be clear that when we speak of the nineteenth or twentieth century, we have reference to periods the beginning of which depends on the kind of calendar being used. These are solar and lunar calendars, and each calendar is made to begin on a certain date in the more or less distant past. That memorable date usually refers to some event of a religious nature or, in some cultures, to a specific cosmic event. However, the date is always selected after the event occurs. By selecting it, a particular religion and culture, as it were, returns to its actual or symbolical source, that is, to the original creative Impulse from which it claims to descend. The figure characterizing a particular century indicates therefore how distant from this point of origin a society and its culture find themselves — and perhaps how spiritually remote from the creative moment they are.

We are dealing here, in a sense at least, with the occult power of numbers. What is important is the number the century carries — whether it is the sixteenth or the nineteenth after the point of origin. The meaning of these numbers has also much to do with the expectable length of the total cycle, or life span, of the society. One hundred years for a cosmic entity lasting a million of years is a very short period; but for a civilization whose life span may be only two or three millennia, the century period may have a meaning similar to that which the year cycle has for the living organisms of the Earth's biosphere. The biospheric cycle of the year is a basic period for all that refers to the vegetable kingdom, and particularly for all that concerns the cultivation of living organisms. Similarly the century cycle appears to have much importance in the development of human cultures at the level of social institutions, styles of life and artistic creation, and collective psychological trends. What we call "culture" is the product of the "cultivation" of human traits and special values; both processes, biological and (collectively) psychological, aim at improving the type of organism they deal with — whether it be the production of beautiful roses and large chrysanthemums through breeding and the use of special chemicals, or the formation of a social aristocracy with refined manners, esthetic tastes, keener minds and, at the religious level, more spiritual aspirations and controlled instinctual urges.(6)

It is in this sense that we should think of the value of a century-long period of sociocultural development, and of the possibility of significantly subdividing it so that every decade of the century may be given some sort of general archetypal meaning — just as any year of the seven year cycle in an individual life acquires some basic significance from the mere fact of its being a first, fourth, or seventh year.

If we look back at the development of European culture we may readily see that each century can be broadly characterized by a few typical movements and features of the collective Euro-mind. The fifteenth century witnessed the growth of Humanism and the beginning of great voyages which established the global reality of mankind. The sixteenth century produced the the Reformation, the seventeenth century, Classicism and the rationalistic and mathematical foundations of modern science. The eighteenth century was the Age of Enlightenment, of Free Masonry and the Revolutionary Spirit; and the nineteenth century gave birth to Romanticism, Humanitarianism, and the Industrial Revolution. Our twentieth century is the epoch of the World Wars, of the Electronic Revolution and atomic power — an epoch now coming to a still uncertain seed culmination as the last quarter of the century begins.

Each century the basic attitude of our Western society has changed quite radically, and new concepts and social-cultural institutions have developed. The line of demarcation between successive centuries is certainly not clear-cut; yet if one tries to see through and beyond, and at the core of, the complexity of outer happenings and changes of fashion, one should be able to discover a seed reality (or archetype) underlying and undertoning the most characteristic developments in each century.

One really can speak here of a "seed" if one compares the development of a century culture to that of the yearly vegetation. A spiritual and (at least in our Euro-American civilization) occult power is released that is to the culture what the seed is to the annual plant. It is a power, a keynote. A particular quality of "being-in-the-world," a typical approach to interpersonal and social relationships and to religion and morality, emerges out of that key-vibration, as grains of sand spread uniformly on a thin metal plate form into geometrical patterns when the plate is made to vibrate under the impact of a tone. A culture is the product of the collective mind of a racial or national organism; and this mind is set in vibration by a few creative individuals. These in turn often are the conscious, half-conscious, or unconscious "agents" of higher Forces and Intelligences which are set in operation by the need of the time; that is to say, by the fact that a time has come in mankind's evolution for certain qualities, faculties, and powers to come to the fore. Such creative individuals are "seed men," releasing "seed ideas" to fecundate the minds of their or succeeding generations — and we shall speak further of them. These seed ideas, at the proper time, germinate and manifest as cultural forms and institutions.

If we understand such a process in its essential structural time sequence, we can then relate it to the statement made by H. P. Blavatsky that, at least since the fourteenth century, the Occult Brotherhoods — or some of them — have made a definite effort during the last quarter of each century to fecundate the collective consciousness of Western mankind with specific types of transforming spiritual energy and with related seed ideas. If HPB is correct and the last quarter of each century has been the time of sowing spiritual seeds at the level of man's culture, then it follows that the last quarter corresponds to the Fall in the year cycle. We can therefore divide the century cycle in four "seasons," each lasting twenty-five years; and the century can be said to begin at the moment when the new vibration, which its main number indicates, takes hold of the collective mentality of our Western men and women. The century's "winter" lasts from January 1, 1900 to January 1, 1925; then its "spring" extends from 1925 to 1950, its summer from 1950 to 1975, and its fall from 1975 to January 1, 2000. It was in 1900, and not as some would say 1901, that the twentieth century began because what counts is the focusing of the collective mind upon the number 19. Besides, there never was a Year 1, as the Christian Era was established long after that year would have occurred.

The correspondence between the seasons of the year and the four quarters of the century is logical so far as our Western world is concerned, for we begin the year after the winter solstice; thus we should also start our centuries with their winter period. It is also just before Christmas that a line drawn from the Earth to the Sun would point to the center of the galaxy — the astrological symbol of the divine Creative Power.(7)

6 Aristocracy however, means "the rule of the best" and the term best may refer to diverse qualities, those that are most needed in any particular phase of the development of a society. Thus, there may be an aristocracy of physical strength and daring, one of knowledge and skill, one of spiritual dedication, etc.  Return

7.The following should be of interest in this connection: "Babylon, in 2,250 B.C., celebrated New Year at the Vernal Equinox, with an 11-day festival, Zagmuk, in honor of their patron deity, Marduk. The Egyptians, Phoenicians and Persians celebrated it at the time of the Autumnal Equinox. Until the fifth century B.C., the Greeks celebrated it at the Winter Solstice, as did the Romans with a festival dedicated to Saturn the Saturnalia. To counteract this revelry the early Christians celebrated it in commemoration of the birth of Jesus with prayer and acts of charity. When the year was made to begin on January 1st, Christmas was shifted to December 25th, the octave of New Year's Day, the while Pagan Rome made sacrifices to Janus, after whom January was named. Janus, guardian deity of gates, was represented with two faces, watching both entering and departing wayfarers: the going out of the old year and the coming in of the new." Encyclopedia of Astrology, by Nicholas Devove, now in a paperback edition, (P. 44).  Return

By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1975 by Dane Rudhyar
All Rights Reserved.

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