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THE FIFTH STEP - The Use of the "Lights"

To speak of the zodiac as "the formative realm of life" in which the Sun operates as the fountainhead of all life-processes" does not sufficiently reveal the essential character of solar activity. What the Sun releases is not "life", but "light" — better still, it is the capacity to produce definite effects in whatever substance is touched by the sun-rays. These effects can be classified into various categories. As we experience them on the surface of the earth they are of three fundamental types.
      First, we can speak of sunlight and of its power to illumine us and to reveal the presence, shape and color of physical substances, bodies and objects. This is the most direct (or directly apprehended) effect of solar activity upon human beings — and as well upon other organisms. Then, there is solar heat which, as it warms all living creatures, makes their existence possible. Heat, however, is not a direct product of solar activity. There is practically no heat in interstellar space, and the generation of heat depends greatly upon the condition of the tenuous substances which surround the earth-surface.
      The surrounding regions of our solid globe — the realm of air, of clouds and of ionized layers above the stratosphere — were named by the ancient astrologers-astronomers — the "sublunar realm". In that realm the Moon ruled supreme and, by the control of heat (and even of the intensity of light) through moisture and clouds, the Moon was understood to exercise dominion over the generation and the tidal flow of life. This dominion was particularly effective at the dawn of life on the earth, when the earth's surface was wrapped in a thick, unbroken envelope of fog and clouds. Light, then, had to seep through this lunar envelope and, thus, could be experienced only in an indirect manner, through the intermediary of the lunar realm and its forces.
      When at long last — early during the fabled "Atlantean" period the fog-envelope broke and the sun-disc could be seen directly as a well-defined fountainhead of light, and the Moon also appeared in the clear night-sky, presenting the puzzling spectacle of her periodical phases to primitive man, then, the dualism of the solar and the lunar "Lights" became the very foundation of nascent astrology, and as well of all mythologies and cosmologies. Two basic types of cosmic activities came to be recognized: solar activity became the mark of creative "spirit", while lunar activity became linked with the generation and dissolution of "life" in earthly bodies.
      Solar spirit is the polar opposite of substance-energy, and the signs of the zodiac refer to the twelve basic types into which this universal and protean energy-substance is polarized by solar activity. The Moon in astrology does not deal directly with substance itself — with electrons, atoms and molecules — but instead with the generation of living organisms, of species, genera and races. "Life" is the power which forms characteristic organic structures giving them the ability to adapt themselves to their respective environments. Some philosophers today call this power "creative evolution". Men of old thought of it as the great lunar god, the Demiurge (Jehovah among the Gnostics), the builder of the material universe of living bodies.
      A clear understanding of the fundamental values demonstrated by these two orders of activity, solar and lunar, is essential to the astrologer. This understanding should include a thorough grasp of the historical process which led humanity to establish, as a result of its collective experience, the basis for this celestial symbolism. It should include also a psychological study of the power wielded by these two great "primordial Images" — the Sun and Moon as sources of "light" and "life" — within the collective Unconscious of all men. Only on such a basis can astrology perform its work of personal integration, by enabling the mature individual to assimilate and make his own the truly cosmic energies latent in man's common humanity — in human nature.

The Sun as "Potential" of Life and Selfhood
The rays of the Sun can be as much a cause of death as of life. They constitute a possibility of life; but, unless they are intimately associated with some other factors, life cannot manifest. Sunlight likewise is a potentiality of vision and consciousness; but, unless special organic structures are built to receive the light-rays, there can be no seeing. Solar activity spreads out in space, indifferently and universally. It stirs everything it touches — provided there is some agency able to absorb, assimilate and differentiate it for use. One can thus compare the Sun to the fuel on which an engine runs; if a person is born with the Sun in Taurus, it means that the "engine" of this man's body and psyche (his total personality) operates essentially by consuming a Taurus type of bio-psychological energy (or "fuel").
      The best kind of fuel will often not improve the performance of a poorly built, defective or worn out engine; in fact it usually will tend to accelerate the break-down process, or cause the engine to explode. Hundred per cent octane gas is only a potentiality of speed. It becomes the source of actual speed only if a resistant motor with a high capacity for releasing power is built.
      Likewise the place of the Sun in an astrological chart is no guarantee of actual life; it defines merely a certain type of potentiality of life-characteristics. And at the psychological-mental, or "spiritual" level, the Sun refers also merely to the capacity of developing a particular type of selfhood in reference to a particular kind of purpose. The potency of that purpose, as it pours the personality towards its realization, is what we call "will". The Sun represents the self, the purpose and the will of a person — but only in their latent or undifferentiated state, as spiritual "potential" and virgin substance-energy. Actual performance will come as this substance-energy is captured and transformed into a simple oscillatory activity with waxing and waning phases, or into some still more complex type of group-operation. The first alternative refers to the Moon; the second, to the combined cycles of all planets of the solar system.

The Moon as "Builder"
of the Structures of Life and Consciousness

What we usually call life is the capacity in an organism to maintain and reproduce its structural characteristics and its functional rhythms. This capacity operates generically, rather than individually, and mainly as an unconscious factor. It operates, in all advanced stages of evolution, through the kind of polar dualism which can be called "sex", using the term in its broadest sense. This polar dualism is expressed very significantly in astrology by the symbolism of the two Lights — the Sun and the Moon. The former is the animating, fecundating principle; the latter represents the receptive and generative pole, which is characterized by its changeable, oscillating character.
      The main function of the Moon is to deal with the element of solar heat and to use it in conjunction with the element of moisture. Organic life depends upon the polar interplay of these two elements. The "moisture" of the so-called "sub-lunar regions" around the solid globe of the earth captures the solar power as heat, and, as the tidal rhythm of the Moon operates, this solar power is distributed through the ready substance of the earth; and the need of the earth for life-kingdoms is fulfilled in the generation of cells and bodies.
      This may seem a very unscientific way of dealing with the subject of life on the earth, but it is the traditional way of astrological symbolism, and a very significant one. It applies to the psychological-mental level in man as well as to the purely biological-physical realm. The Moon, at the psychological-mental level, represents the "moisture" in man's inner nature; that is, the generative factor of feeling. And it is out of the structures built by the feelings that the consciousness of individual selfhood emerge . . . for better or for worse!
      This last statement may seem puzzling to people who have been trained in the belief that consciousness and selfhood were of a mental nature. Such a belief, however, has no foundation in the realm of duality which is, strictly speaking, the realm of life. In that realm everything depends upon the polar dualism of solar and lunar activity. In it, "mind" operates as the power of adaptation to experience; and it is actually an extension and abstract development of the capacity for feeling — which is the capacity to generate structures ot consciousness. The ego is the most basic of these structures — thus, the astrological connection between the Moon and the ego, between the "lunar" nature and man's "personal" behavior. Psychological complexes, seen from this point of view, are likewise lunar structures of consciousness; they are closely related to frustrations and repressions in the flow of the organic rhythm of the instincts, and particularly of those related directly or indirectly to the sexual functions.
      The feelings are psychological expressions of biological instincts, which in truth are waves and eddies in the tidal flow of the lunar forces acting upon the "moisture" in man's body and psyche. This tidal flow is represented in astrology by the lunation cycle and the phases of the Moon. These phases are not to be understood as changes in the Moon herself as a celestial globe, but as changes in the relationship of the Moon to the Sun.
      What the lunation cycle measures are the polar ebbs and flows of solar heat within the lunar "moisture", the expansion and contraction of the generative forces. And these forces generate (or build) psychological structures as well as biological ones. They give birth to the personal ego (a structure of consciousness born of individualized feelings) as well as to the delicate balance of the endocrine glands in the body — a balance which is based on definite (though changing) patterns in the "lunar body" of the individual (the astral body mentioned in modem occultism).
      The feelings are the reactions of the organism-as-a-whole to human experience — inner as well as outer experience. And this organism-as-a-whole functions at first, and basically, through all the fluids of the body — blood and lymph, and all the secretions of the glands. It has been said that man's body is for the most part sea water. All living creatures were born of the sea; and the sea is the vast reservoir of primordial, undifferentiated substances from which all relatively separate organisms and organic structures have emerged. It is thus the symbol of the collective Unconscious, the reservoir in which all common factors and common reactions of men have their origin, and also to which they return as submerged memories and instinct-patterns. Likewise man's inner nature is for the most part feelings; and these feelings constitute the "liquid" element (moisture or water) which is sea, lake, river, well, to the individual consciousness and the ego. The rise of cultures and civilizations and all primary modes of human exchange, commerce and travel, are dependent upon the presence and utilization of water by mankind; and similarly an individual's psychological reactions, mental images and thought structures are born out of feelings. They are transmitted in their vital state through consciously formulated feelings (symbols and words able to arouse other men's organic responses and emotions).
      The Sun provides the original vibratory impulse, the fecundating rhythm or "tone". The solar power goes forth in answer to the need of the earth and all material substances which, as disintegrated remains of the past, yearn to be able once more to experience organic wholeness and spirit. But these inchoate materials are not able to receive directly the power of the Sun, or the vision and the creative idea that emanate from the spiritual source. It is thus the Moon's task to receive this fecundant power from the Sun at the new moon, and, through the waxing period of the lunation, to build instrumentalities and organs which will be able to receive and to retain the solar impulse, idea or purpose. This reception occurs, symbolically, at the full moon, when the disc of the Moon reflects in full the disc of the Sun. Thereafter, as the light of the Moon wanes, this light is symbolically absorbed by the earth creatures; the realization of the solar idea and purpose becomes part and parcel of the men and minds who receive it at the full moon. They assimilate it as concepts and thoughts; they extract from it meaning; and this meaning becomes formulated through words and symbols, which serve to build the conscious fabric of human civilization — or, in the life of the mature and spiritually evolved individual, the warp and woof of his immortal "spiritual body" victorious over physical disintegration and death.

The Horizon and the "Lights"
The need of the earth and of all its inhabitants is the fundamental factor which brings sense and purposefulness to the cyclic interplay of the solar and lunar forces. The Moon is the servant of the earth in that she provides earth creatures with the organic structures (biological and psychological) which they need in order to assimilate the light of the Sun. And the Sun himself, as seen in relation to the zodiac (that is, to the orbital revolutions of the earth) has meaning in terms of the power he releases for the sake of the earth.
      The earth is thus the basis for the soli-lunar activity; and in the birth-charts of individuals, this basis appears as the horizon-line, linking the Ascendant (East) and the Descendant (West). The positions of the Sun and the Moon in relation to the horizon are thus of primary importance, especially in all matters which deal with life and with man's fundamental capacity to experience and to feel as an organic entity. This capacity in turn manifests as the ability shown by an individual human being to radiate what is called today "personality" and to enjoy happiness.
      Four essential combinations of horizon, Sun and Moon are possible.

1. Sun above and Moon below the horizon: The horizon is the axis of consciousness" which separates the subjective realm of individual being (the solid earth) from the objective world of social and collective existence (the sky above). Therefore in this first soli-lunar combination the life of the human being is lived primarily through inner and individualized structures (the Moon) which reveal a collective, racial or social purpose (the Sun). Throughout his life and especially in time of crisis the person tends to give an individual form to a racial-social purpose or a collective ideal. Examples: Napoleon I, Nietzsche, Walt Whitman, Einstein, Henry Ford.

2. Sun below and Moon above the horizon: Life, in this instance is lived primarily in order to give a collective, social expression to an individualistic purpose or will. In this as in the first case, a definite dualism of consciousness is shown. It may make for a balanced life in which the inner and the outer realms of being cooperate rhythmically; but it may also indicate a basic psychological conflict between "solar" and "lunar" forces, between spiritual purpose and personal desire. Examples: F. D. Roosevelt, Count Hermann Keyserling, Wendell Wilkie, George Bernard Shaw, Luther Burbank.

3. Sun and Moon above the horizon: The main focus of the life is in the outer world. Both the essential purpose and the characteristic bio-psychological traits of the individual are polarized by racial, cultural, social ideals or collectively spiritual values. Examples: Washington, Gandhi, Mussolini, Karl Marx, Czar Nicholas II, Richard Wagner.

4. Sun and Moon below the horizon: Life is lived, in this case, from the inner, subjective center in order primarily to fulfill the will and purpose of the self, and by means of predominantly individualistic structures of behavior, thought and feelings. This may lead to introversion and self-centeredness, or creative originality. Examples: Cromwell, Robespierre, Chopin, Liszt, Pope Pius XII, Lenin, Stalin.

Another way of reaching an interpretation of the positions of the Sun and the Moon with reference to the horizon is the study of the "Part of Fortune" as an index to the individual's capacity for happiness and ease in relationship, and as a result, for social success. The Part of Fortune's position in the houses of the chart depends upon the phase of the Moon, thus, upon the angular relationship between the Sun and the Moon. It is below the horizon during the waxing period of the lunation; and above the horizon as the moon decreases in light.*

*For a detailed study of the cyclic relationship of the Moon to the Sun, and of the Part of Fortune, read my book, The Lunation Cycle.

By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1969 by Dane Rudhyar
and Copyright © 2001 by Leyla Rudhyar Hill
All Rights Reserved.

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