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Chapter 7
Why Eve Was Tempted
The Tree Which Grew In
the Garden of Eden
--If we turn back the pages of the Bible to the time when man first appeared on earth
we find him inhabiting a garden.
One whole 30 degree section of the zodiac, where the Sun may be found from August
23 to September 23
, was set aside by those who anciently studied the stars as
representing just such a garden, and as having an influence over the fruit of the trees
and the grain of the fields. It is the harvest sign, Virgo.
Were this not recognized to be the case, both in olden and in modern times, certain
passages of Genesis would be astounding; such as where it relates that Adam and Eve
heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.
Yet viewing this occurrence in the light of ancient stellar wisdom there is nothing
obscure about it. It quite definitely locates the garden among the constellations, for,
in the sense that there is yet more light than darkness, more heat than cold, all the time
the Sun is in the garden sign, Virgo, it indicates that the Sun has not yet gone into the
winter signs. Yet when the Sun moves out of this garden sign into Libra it will be in
the cold half of the year, when the nights are longer than the days. As Virgo adjoins,
but is not one of, the winter signs, when the Sun is in the harvest sign quite
appropriately may be termed the cool of the day.
Virgo is an earthy sign; and out of the ground of this garden the Lord God made to
grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food, and also the tree of life
as well as the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Yet because of certain actions on
his part, man was not permitted to partake of the tree of life; and consequently to find
it we must move across the zodiac to one of the decanates of the opposite sign. But
man did partake of the tree of good and evil, through the advice of Eve; and thus the
woman in the sky still holds the palm branch in her hand.
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The sign Virgo, however, has rule not merely over gardens where dates grow on palm
trees, but over labor and harvests of all kinds. Therefore, when Adam, and the woman
who was called Eve because she was the mother of all living, were thrust from the
parental environment to shift for themselves, it was said that in order to live they must
till the fields and raise crops, not all of which would be wheat, as thorns and thistles
also are mentioned. Furthermore, to keep warm they had to make clothing.
All of these things required just such labor as the zodiacal sign rules; and people still
sweat to get the bread they eat; such bread as is signified by the ears of wheat held in
celestial Virgo's hand.
It seems, from what is said in this third chapter of Genesis, that before man partook of
the fruit which Eve offered him he was unable to distinguish good from evil. This
same fruit is characteristic of this section of the sky, for Virgo, more than any other
sign, confers the ability to discriminate. In fact, the Key-phrase for the sign is, I
Analyze
.
People born when the Sun is in Virgo are inveterate askers of questions, always
wanting to know how things work. It was quite in character, therefore, that Eve
should discuss the merits of the tree with the serpent, or with anyone else who would
talk with her about it. She wanted to know all there was to know about the tree and
about everything else. And after talking it over with the serpent she decided, after all,
that the tree of knowledge was good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and to be desired as
making one wise.
The implication is plain that she decided knowledge is worth all it costs. She paid the
price, but she acquired that which Virgo most desires; for after they had eaten, the
Lord God said, "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil."
There are many things that man inherits, many things that come as gifts without cost,
but knowledge is not one of them. No one can be given knowledge; it must be
acquired. And the only method of acquiring it is through a process similar to that
which Adam and Eve and their offspring followed after eating of the so-called
forbidden fruit. That is, through a wide variety of contrasting experiences.
There is but one basis for consciousness, and that is the perception of relations.
Whenever the mind, or soul, is unaware of relations it is in a state of coma.
In order for the soul to be aware of those relations which make it conscious, it must
contact relative conditions. Such relative conditions are present only in association
with substance. And to the extent the experiences have wide diversity in kind, and
great range in intensity do they afford the materials out of which knowledge may be
acquired.
We can know nothing whatever of coldness apart from our experiences with things
which vary in degree of heat which they possess. We can know nothing of sweetness
apart from our experiences with things which are less sweet and more sweet. If we
have had some experience with that which is bitter and that which is sour, it gives us a
better knowledge of the significance of sweetness when we contact it.
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Our knowledge can be widened through reading books, or by hearing of the
experiences of others. But this is only possible to the extent we have had experiences
of our own, in contact with substance, with which to compare the experiences and
information related to us.
The soul before its incarnation on the physical plane is depicted as Adam, without
knowledge or responsibility, and, therefore, in a state bordering on unconsciousness.
If it was to acquire that wisdom expressed in the Bible, "And the Lord God said,
Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil," it had to have a broad
basis of experience upon which to build. The entrance into physical conditions gave
it the opportunity for such acquisition.
We have here, consequently, the answer to the so frequently asked question why man
must undergo incarnation in physical form, must work and struggle, must have pain
and hardship, and go through other experiences. Without such experiences he could
not acquire the knowledge and power which enables him to participate in divine
attributes. Such participation is clearly set forth in the Bible when it states that man
was made in the image of God.
Everyone, of course, is quite familiar with the story of the immaculate conception,
and how the Virgin Mother, warned of the enmity of Herod, fled for a time into the
land of Egypt. And a somewhat similar mother was honored in various ancient lands
long before the Christian era, and was pictured in the sky. In Egypt, for instance,
where she was called Isis, there were yearly pageants in her honor, with processions
of virgins who carried sistrums in their hands.
In America during ceremonies of similar purport certain of the Indians on the
sidelines, all during the dance, shake white gourds filled with seeds. These rattles,
identical in shape and significance with the sistrum, are used to signify the mother
principle, which was held in highest esteem as indicated by Virgo being pictured
with the wings of an angel.
Furthermore, the Hopi Indian girl of marriageable age wears her hair carefully
dressed on either side of her head in a form to represent a squash blossom. Such a
flower symbolizes both that she is a virgin and that she has potentialities for
motherhood. She is not permitted to wear this distinctive headdress after she marries.
This use of a flower to symbolize the potentialities of motherhood, curiously enough,
is still retained, along with a wide variety of other symbolisms of the primitive people
of America, in our playing cards. On the Queen of Spades, which is the card
corresponding to the zodiacal sign Virgo, in addition to the blossom held in one hand,
which is common to the other queens, she bears in her other a lighted torch, to
indicate that she has conceived by the solar power, or if you prefer, by the Holy
Ghost.
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Egypt was ever considered by Bible characters as the land of darkness. And as the
seed of squash and bean and corn which the Indian placed in the ground had to remain
in hiding for a period before the earth could bring forth, and as the Virgin persecuted
by Herod sojourned for a time in the dark land of Egypt, so also the Sun, immediately
after its station in the sky pictured by the Virgin, must pass across to the dark half of
the year for a time, where the nights are longer than the days.
Virgo is an earthy sign, and to those who understand the stellar doctrine, the Sun's
entrance into this sign symbolizes the descent of the soul into matter. Such traditions
are among the oldest in Egypt and Chaldea. Quetzalcoatl of the Aztecs was also thus
virgin born, as was Montezuma-of the Pueblo Mojave and Apache Indians. Thus was
it taught that Mother Earth is the place of the soul's gestation; and that after the
preparatory development which is supplied by the earth--after it has partaken of the
fruit of the tree of good and evil which alone enables it to acquire knowledge-- it will
be born into a more glorious life.
Furthermore, because this is the harvest sign, in addition to revealing the necessity of
the trials and tribulations of earth to teach us wisdom, and that after such necessary
preparation there will be a passing from the physical to be born into a new and better
life on a higher plane, it teaches that as we sow so shall we reap.
At all times we are sowing in the soil of our own consciousness. We are building
thoughts into ourselves of various kinds. These thought-cells, in turn, when
sufficient energy has been supplied them to give them strength, work to attract events
of a similar quality into the life. The text therefore becomes: If a Man Sows
Discordant Thoughts He Will Reap Painful Experiences, But if He Sows
Thoughts of Harmony He Will Garner Success and Happiness
.
Ariadne Gives Theseus a
Clew of Thread
-- When viewing Bootes, the Husbandman in the sky, picturing the harvest-decanate
of the harvest sign, through which the Sun passes each year from August 23 to
September 2
, one can not but wonder once again how much must be attributed to
coincidence, and how much of ancient lore was actual knowledge. The chief star in
the constellation is mentioned in Job 38:32, "Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his
season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?", as if, like turning the zodiac to
bring any desired season, the control of Arcturus were an impossible task.
We are hardly warranted, 1 suppose, in believing that the ancients knew anything of
the terrific speed with which a few of the stars travel. Yet Arcturus is classified as one
of those "runaway stars" which have a speed so great, according to Simon Newcomb,
the great astronomer, as to be beyond control of the other bodies in the firmament.
Job might well ask about this swiftest of all the brighter stars, traveling 89 miles a
second, or of the son, one of the stars of the Great Bear, which is smaller but moves at
even greater speed, by what agency could they be guided.
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Although Arcturus was chosen for another and quite as romantic reason to open the
Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago in 1933, because this exposition was held
in honor of, and to display, labor-saving devices and scientific progress garnered
during the previous hundred years, no better star could have been selected to
symbolize the exposition than this chief star in the constellation picturing the mental
and harvest decanate of the mental and harvest sign Virgo.
Its speed is typical of the new forms of locomotion displayed in the exhibits. And in
addition to the sickle which the Husbandman carries to indicate the reaping of the
harvest, the spear which he holds in the other hand indicates that the devices thus
acquired have slain, let us hope forever, the sweatshop Minotaur nourished by child
labor.
The harvesting of the energy of Arcturus, rather than that of some rival in brilliancy,
late in May, 1933, to close the switches that turned on the lights which formally
opened the exposition, was prompted ostensibly by the circumstance that the light,
which fell upon the photoelectric cells at the eye-end of the telescopes at four
different observatories, left the Husbandman star at about the time the previous
Chicago World's Fair was held in 1893.
From this miracle of modern science we can with advantage turn to the first miracle
recorded by Saint John, the significance of which also, we may be sure, is revealed by
its correspondence in the sky. Virgo, the sign of the mother, is adjacent to Libra, the
sign of marriage. And it will be remembered that the mother of Jesus attended a
marriage. Servants also are ruled by Virgo and His mother instructed the servants to
do whatever He should ask of them.
In its annual circuit of the heavens, as indicated by Bootes, the keeper of the vineyard,
it is when the Sun enters Virgo that the harvest ripens and the water drawn from the
earth into the grapes swelling on the vine is converted into juice which is suitable for
wine. The decanate thus pictured by the Vineyardist is the earthy-decanate of an
earthy sign, and thus closely allied to stone. As Virgo also is the sixth sign of the
zodiac, the six water-pots of stone which Jesus commanded the servants to fill with
water, and which He converted into wine of excellent flavor, indicate that this event,
and those transformations within the character of man which correspond to it, are
pictured by the constellation Bootes.
Thus the turning of water into wine by the Sun each fall, and the miracle performed
by Jesus, both convey a spiritual teaching. Even steep hillsides and rocky soil may be
utilized in raising grapes. So also, even when circumstances offer scant footing, and
hard, rough obstacles are on every hand, it is possible to cultivate the finest traits of
character.
Jesus did not ask the servants to go to the village and get some special materials out of
which to make the wine. He used that which already was at hand. Nor is it necessary
for those who develop the powers of their souls to seek special settings or unusual
circumstances. All the materials necessary for the finest flavor of soul growth are
everywhere present; and can be changed into spiritual qualities of the finest vintage.
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In fact, even as the wine which Jesus formed out of what happened to be handy was of
finer flavor than that which had been made under special conditions, so the spiritual
qualities which can be derived from the proper attitude toward everyday experiences
are of superior merit to those acquired through going into retirement or amid other
surroundings which many consider most favorable to their development.
While the constellation Bootes thus explains the significance of the miracle of
changing water into wine in six pots of stone. this miracle does not reveal the
significance of the spear which the Vineyardist holds in one of his hands. Its meaning
can better be comprehended through a story from the Greeks, a story in which also a
woman, typical of celestial Virgo, takes a prominent part.
It seems that in the time of Minos, second king of Crete, there was a monster, half
Bull and half Man, called the Minotaur, which was confined in a celebrated
labyrinth. The Bull part, of course, refers to the rule of Taurus over money, and the
Man part to the science and knowledge of Aquarius. In modern words, it was the
monster of commercial exploitation.
To keep this monster pacified it was necessary each year to import some of the fairest
youths and maidens from Athens for the Minotaur to devour. Among one such
consignment of Athenian youths sent to the island was Theseus, who already had
been successful in catching and killing, in his home land, a wild bull, called the Bull
of Marathon. He had made up his mind to get rid of this Cretan monster also; and it
was for this purpose that as Bootes he carries the spear which is pictured in the sky.
But just as at the present day the whole problem of money is involved in a maze of
conflicting doctrines and opinions, from which the most skilled economists seem
unable to free the world, so a problem of equal importance to vanquishing the greedy
Minotaur was that of being able to find the way out of the labyrinth once the monster
had been slain. It was a difficulty which gravely puzzled Theseus.
It so happened, however, that Minos, king of Crete, had a daughter, Ariadne, who fell
in love with Theseus as soon as he landed on Cretan soil. Pictured as Virgo in the sky,
she had the Virgo trait of keen analysis. And it was she who devised the means by
which, should her sweetheart triumph in his conflict underground, he should not
wander about in the maze of bewildering caverns until he starved, but would be able
to find his way back into the light of day.
She furnished him with a clew of thread--an incident which to this day makes the
term clue significant of a hint which followed leads to the solution of a mystery or an
intricate problem--one end of which she fastened at the opening of the cave. As he
descended the long and tortuous passage he unwound the thread. As was to be
expected, after a time he encountered the vicious Minotaur, which rushed suddenly
upon him. But he was armed with the spear, which still he carries in the sky, and after
a terrific battle the monster was slain.
Then came the task of finding his way back to where his beloved Ariadne anxiously
awaited him. Carefully, as he walked and as he climbed over jagged rocks and
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worked around corners where the network of passages interlaced, he reeled in the
line, ever following it through the darkness, never losing the sense of its touch.
Great was the joy of Ariadne when at last he appeared again above the ground, and
great was the joy of the Athenians, who no longer would be compelled to sacrifice the
fairest youths of their land to the demands of this hideous creature.
But is not every individual faced with very much the same type of conflict which
confronted Theseus? Very few, indeed, are free from the attack of economic
necessity. Nor can one remain passive and expect to escape unscathed. Financial
demands are not to be ignored; they must be met, and it is better to meet them
courageously, as Theseus did, with the spear of critical analysis, which is a weapon
specially designed for those born when the Sun is in this Bootes section of the sky.
Are we not all confined, as Theseus was, within a labyrinth of conflicting doctrines?
Most of these are blind passages, leading nowhere through the dark. Theories
abound, crisscrossing each other in a network so intricate that unless one has some
clue to guide one to the light, about all that can be done is just to wander about. amid
darkness and confusion.
The Key-word for the decanate is Achievement; and the achievements of Theseus
were great; but they were made possible only by that clew of thread which is the chief
Virgo attribute, that is, by the power of discrimination. It is only through exercising
the powers of discrimination to the utmost, only by following the thread thus
discerned through careful analysis, that gradually one can extricate himself from the
darkness and the confusion of false paths, to emerge into the full light of Truth.
It is this faculty which may be used to guide one through the intricate passages of life,
which also can be used to determine the possibilities of the experiences encountered
along the way.
Whatever the events that may be attracted into the life, it is possible to convert them
into real values for the soul. The meeting of obstacles may be used to develop
initiative and resourcefulness. The losses which occur may be used to build up
fortitude. Difficulties when overcome teach how responsibilities can be carried. And
thus each experience holds a lesson which can be used in later achievement.
Bearing upon these lessons the text associated with the constellation is: From Every
Event of Life the Soul May Extract Value, Even as the Verdant Vine
Transforms Indifferent Waters into Rich and Sparkling Wine
.
The Twelve Labors of
Hercules
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--One of the common tenets of astrology, ancient and modern, is that the influence
of Saturn tends to attract work and heavy responsibilities. When, therefore, those of
the olden time wished to comment in terms of universal symbolism upon the
importance of labor, it is quite consistent that for the purpose they selected the
Saturn-decanate of the sign of labor. The Sun moves through this middle-decanate of
Virgo from September 3 to September 13.
Following the method of universal symbolism still further, which demands that the
big influences in life shall be portrayed by equally large pictures, they traced, to
represent that labor is essential to all worthwhile accomplishment, a man of heroic
proportions in the sky. Hercules, mightiest of all the laboring men, has a constellation
of vast extent.
Like Samson, who toiled grinding the grain held in the hand of Virgo while he was in
the prison house, Hercules was successful in a number of valorous exploits, and was
led to ultimate disaster through an unfortunate love affair. Like Samson also, whose
final triumph was aided by two pillars, against which he pushed, placing one hand on
each; the two pillars of Hercules perform a function in the Greek version of the
ancient story. But the chief claim to renown was the performance by Hercules of his
twelve great, and self-imposed, labors.
No sign of the zodiac is bad, and no sign of the zodiac is good. No one sign can be
singled out as better or worse than the rest. Each has its own special possibilities for
good and its own special possibilities for evil. Every sign has its best qualities and its
worst qualities, which are different than the best qualities and the worst qualities of
other signs.
Thus is the work required of those born under the influence of each sign different
than that required of those born under the other signs; but in all cases it consists of
diverting the energies which might manifest through the less desirable qualities of
the sign into channels which enable them to express through the better qualities of the
sign.
The best quality and the worst quality of any sign express the same general type of
energy; but express it through different avenues. It is almost, or quite, impossible to
convert the type of energy or the character qualifications denoted by one sign into
those of another sign. But it is not a difficult matter to divert the undesirable
expression of the energy or character into the desirable expression of the energy or
character of the same sign. This is the work which Hercules undertook, and
accomplished.
As there are twelve different signs, representing the deep-seated characteristics of
the twelve different types of people, and as Hercules undertook to demonstrate how
the worst quality could be diverted into the best quality for each of these types, he
thus had twelve different labors to perform before he had finished.
While these twelve great labors, which illustrate to the individual how to convert the
weaknesses peculiar to his character into expressions of strength, are the most
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noteworthy tasks accomplished by Hercules, he had a wide variety of experiences m
connection with other endeavors.
It is through experience that man learns how to do things. And as the experiences of
Hercules in performing his numerous tasks were so extensive, the Key-word given to
this section of the sky is Experience. Those born while the Sun is in this decanate
usually have a wide range of happenings in their lives.
If a day were to be set aside from all the year to honor the sacredness of work, to be
correct in its astrological correspondence, it would have to be one of those during
which the Sun is in the Hercules section of the zodiac. If, instead, festivities were
instituted to eulogize political personages, we should expect them to be observed on
Sunday. If they were to encourage art, we should expect Friday to be selected.
Thursday would be more fitting to celebrate the attainment of wealth.
But the Moon rules the common people; those who sweat and toil and hope for jobs;
and thus Labor Day falls on Monday, the day of the Moon, while the Sun is in that
section of the sky pictured by the greatest toiler of which we have tradition.
Although Samson slew a thousand men with the jawbone of an ass, perhaps the most
remarkable of his works was his use of foxes to destroy the crops of those who had
treated him unjustly. Foxes, of course, in ancient times as well as in those more
modern, are universal symbols of shrewdness and cunning.
When the cunning of one nation is pitted against the cunning of another, or
shrewdness against shrewdness, as often we have witnessed the efforts of people,
each to gain an unfair advantage over the other, there is sure to be ultimate disaster.
The inevitableness of the destruction of the fruits of human labor which follows such
antagonisms, either among people or among the thought-groups within the finer
body of man, is well illustrated in the story of Samson's foxes.
It seems that the Philistines were harvesting their grain; some of it still standing and
some of it cut and placed in shocks. To avenge himself upon them Samson caught
300 foxes, paired them off, with the tails of each two united by a firebrand one end of
which was tied to each of the tails.
The worst quality of the sign Virgo, of which Samson represents the middle
decanate, is criticism. And the mental qualifications for keen criticism, as well as
those for unfair bargaining, are well represented by a fox. Criticism, however, may
be either constructive or destructive. It may point out a more advantageous way of
doing something, a better line of conduct to be followed, in which case if the criticism
is sound it may be helpful and constructive.
On the other hand, more frequently than not, pointing out weaknesses without
indicating how they may be strengthened, and fault-finding in general. This type of
criticism often is engaged in by political opponents, by factions within an
organization, and by people in their domestic associations.
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When people are subject to such destructive criticism they are likely to reply in kind,
and the heat of the controversy may be like a burning brand between them; the final
consequences, so far as destructive to the fruit of labor, being quite similar to that so
vividly described in the Bible as the result when Samson lighted the firebrands
between the tails of the foxes and turned them loose.
The foxes ran frantically through the standing grain setting it afire. They tried to find
shelter in the shocks of grain that had been cut and awaited to be taken to the
threshing floor. And when the fields were thus ablaze they fled to the vineyards and
olive groves hoping to find refuge from their torture. Instead, these also were ignited,
so that the crops of the year, of all kinds, went up in flames. Nothing was left to the
Philistines to show for their toil.
Such is the observed result of destructive criticism. It kindles the fires of hatred and
destroys whatever labor already has accomplished. It is a consuming influence
which leaves nothing in its wake but bitter ashes. And it is just as destructive when
directed against self as when applied to the endeavors of others.
The constant calling attention to the faults and imperfections of any
person, including oneself, brings the image of the undesirable action
or quality before the unconscious mind. When we think about a thing
we are supplying it with thought-energy. Therefore, the more we
think about an undesirable thing the stronger it becomes within our
unconscious mind. Traits of character feed upon the attention given
them.
This does not signify, of course, that we should ignore our
weaknesses nor neglect to strengthen them. But finding fault,
especially when such criticism arouses an emotional reaction,
merely impresses the defect more strongly, through the power of
suggestion, upon the unconscious mind, and makes it more difficult
to overcome. Children who are continually criticized by their parents
are receiving strong suggestions which increase the difficulty of
adhering to a better line of conduct. And, likewise, the more we find
fault with ourselves, the more we feel dissatisfied with ourselves the
more powerful becomes the thing within ourselves which causes the
dissatisfaction. If it gains enough strength through such internal dissension a
consuming fire is lighted within which, like Samson's foxes, destroys the fruit of
effort.
Constructive criticism, on the other hand, while recognizing a weakness as such, or
that a type of conduct is unworthy, does not dwell upon this aspect of the matter.
Instead, it concentrates its attention and energy upon the correct line of conduct or the
proper way to strengthen the observed weakness. The thought-energy thus flows into
and feeds the action which is desired instead of its opposite. In this manner not only is
the mental image of the thing desired strengthened, but the image of the undesired
thing is weakened through lack of thought nourishment.
Figure 7-1
Third Decanate of Virgo
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In self-culture it is quite as important to feel satisfaction when the best is done as to
recognize when one is living below one's possibilities. If more is expected than lies
within the powers to accomplish, there will be certain failure and accompanying
dissatisfaction. This feeling, in turn, directs energy into channels which are
destructive, and lessens the ability in the future.
On the other hand, it is quite as easy for some individuals to feel that they are living
up to their possibilities when they are living far below them. Their appraisal of their
abilities is too low, and they have a feeling of satisfaction from accomplishment
which is much less than it should be. Yet even this does not signify that they should
be critical of themselves in the destructive sense; but merely that they should
recognize that they should strive for a more lofty goal.
Because we learn to do through effort directed at accomplishment the text is:
Perform Conscientiously Whatever Work Comes to Thy Hand, and Because of
Thy Experience, Greater Things to Perform Will Be Given Thee
.
How Job Triumphed Over
His Afflictions
-- Because illness and affliction so frequently burden the life of man we have a right
to expect that those who formulated the spiritual doctrines of the past, which were
intended to explain the significance of events and how to take advantage of them,
should have commented on these tribulations in their symbolic writing in the sky.
It is true that the constellation Virgo, and the story of the punishment of Eve for
partaking of the tree of experience which conferred knowledge set forth in sufficient
detail the advantages of material incarnation with its variegated contacts, including
labor and displeasures. But it would seem that trials and pain were sufficiently
important in the lives of most that they should receive more explicit mention; and this
they do, for the last decanate of the harvest sign gives them vivid portrayal.
Let us in imagination place ourselves in the position of those who drew the pictured
figures in the heavens, and consider that it was their intention to symbolize in most
fitting fashion the tribulations which beset most lives. First of all, the most
appropriate section of the zodiac must be chosen, and in making this selection the
tenets of practical astrology would be consulted.
Virgo in a natural birth-chart rules the house that governs not only work, but also
illness and servitude, the most common afflictions of human life. When the Sun is in
this sign it is moving toward the Autumnal Equinox where days and nights are equal,
and after crossing which the forces of death prevail and the nights become longer
than the days. The forces of Light are still triumphant while the Sun remains in any
part of Virgo, but the closer the Sun draws to the next sign, Libra, the weaker
becomes the power of Day, and the more is Night able to inflict its encroaching
power of evil upon the solar waning strength.
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The last decanate of Virgo, where the Sun may be found from September 13 to
September 23
, therefore, is the most appropriate place in all the zodiac to represent
the afflictions to which man is heir, and his persecution at the hand of fate. The writer
of Revelation seems to have recognized this when he speaks of the pain
accompanying birth, commencing the 12th chapter thus: "And there appeared a great
wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and
upon her head a crown of twelve stars."
Having selected the place of tribulation in the zodiac, if it were desired to indicate
that the proper attitude toward such afflictions would adequately be rewarded, the
next step in starry portrayal would be the selection of some object significant of high
honors attained. A crown is such an object, used throughout the ages as a reward for
victory or as a mark of distinction. Thus was it used to denote the triumph over the
afflictions symbolically associated with this last decanate of the summer signs.
Bearing in mind that the Sun takes just ten days to pass through this decanate of
tribulations pictured by a crown, not of twelve stars, as poetically expressed by St.
John the Divine, but of twelve iron spikes, it would be difficult to explain the
significance of this section of the zodiac, or the ancient teachings regarding it, more
concisely than he did in Revelation 2:10.
"Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer; behold the devil shall cast some of
you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou
faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
It is unnecessary here more than merely to point out that the Sun each year dies on the
Autumnal Cross of Libra, even as the Son of Man gave up His life on Calvary; or that
preceding this far-reaching tragedy the gentle Nazarene was vilely persecuted and
made to wear a crown of thorns, of similar purport to Corona Borealis placed by the
ancients in the sky to mark the tribulations of the Sun before it temporarily succumbs
each year to the forces of darkness.
The fruits of life, whether they be tares or wholesome grain, are harvested from
experience. What that harvest shall be is not determined by the nature of the
experiences, but by the mental and emotional reaction toward them; for both the
physical conditions attracted in the future, and the spiritual values garnered, are
dependent upon the seeds of thought thus sown and tended in the finer form and
heading into character. In the final winnowing all except the golden grain of
character is blown away as tares and chaff.
Constellated Virgo teaches the advantage of physical life if man is to acquire that
variety of experience which enables him to gain wisdom. In addition to the character
weaknesses of each sign, which Hercules shows how to overcome, each zodiacal
sign also is associated with its own particular type of affliction.
The illness that one sign brings is not the same as that indicated by another. The loss
attracted by one sign when it is discordant, is not the same type of loss which another
sign brings when acting as an affliction. Thus are there twelve different sets of
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difficulties attracted from without which man should understand.
To represent these, the crown used to picture the reward of character triumphing over
tribulations was given twelve spikes of hard, unyielding iron; one spike for each type
of affliction. Such is the significance of Corona Borealis.
Because the call of duty so frequently when followed leads to the relinquishment of
fond desires, and because those born while the Sun is in this last decanate of Virgo so
frequently must hear this call, the Key-word appropriately is Renunciation.
One whole book within the Bible is devoted exclusively to a discussion of the
spiritual teachings which those still more ancient sought to picture as the Northern
Crown. In the Book of Job many wise sayings relative to life and its problems can be
found; and the story of the afflicted hero is replete with sage advice.
Job was an unusually devout man who had prospered exceedingly in all ways and
gave constant praise to God for his many blessings. But there came a day when the
sons of God came before the Lord, and as so frequently happens on earth when good
people gather together, Satan came among them "And the Lord said unto Satan,
Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and
fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it." Thus was such an answer given
as might be expected at this day.
In the course of the conversation which followed, the Lord pointed out to Satan what
a fine, upstanding man Job had proved to be. But Satan, like some people, who glory
in tearing apart the merits of all who receive commendation, was unwilling to admit
the worthiness of anyone. He contended that Job was a good man because the Lord
had taken care of him and given him everything he wanted; but that if these things
were taken from him his holiness would soon depart. So it was arranged that a test be
made, with Satan to have power over him in all ways except that he must not touch his
body.
Thereupon, in one catastrophe after another, Job lost his property and his children,
until he had nothing left. But with the wisdom of those conversant with Spiritual
Alchemy he maintained that these things were merely given to him to use so long as it
served the Lord's good purpose.
Satan was much chagrined at the outcome of the trial, and as might be expected of
Satan, he whined around that it had not been a fair trial, that in any proper test the
man's health also must be subject to affliction, for, after all, it was not much of a
blow, no matter what a man lost, so long as he kept hearty and well.
Thus was it arranged for a second trial in which Satan should do anything he desired
to Job so long only as he spared his life. Then it was that Job's friends turned against
him, that he broke out from head to foot with boils, and that one misery after another
came to afflict him, and in his wisdom he gave voice, among other things, to this oft'
quoted thought:
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"For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of
is come unto me."
In addition to the chemical reaction to the emotion of fear, which in Job's case seems
to have depleted his adrenaline supply to a point where he was unable to resist
infection, to fear a thing is to hold its image vividly in the mind and to feed that image
mental energy. It thus creates a thought-form which has a certain power, acting from
the four-dimensional plane, to attract into the life the thing thus thought about.
In his time of affliction Job's friends held forth the oriental doctrine that man's lot in
this world is determined by his morality, and that the Lord must be punishing him
thus for grievous sins. But Job held that even the afflictions he suffered were for some
good purpose.
If individuals are undergoing training to fit them each for a different function in the
cosmic organization, each will attract to himself just those experiences he needs to
develop the required abilities. Accomplishment of any kind implies the ability to
overcome difficulties. People who have never had hard problems to solve are unable
to solve hard problems when suddenly presented.
Afflictions, therefore, as Job discerned, are not bestowed by heaven to punish man
for sin, but to indicate that he has a lesson to learn. When he has learned this lesson he
will be able to triumph over the affliction, as Job did in the end; for Job was healed,
and the Lord gave him twice as much as he had before, and he lived a long and
prosperous life. The text thus indicated is: He Who Would Live the Life of the
Spirit, Here and Now Upon this Earth, Seen and Known of Men, Must Have
Fortitude in Times of Adversity
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