Ecstatic Astrologers and the Celestial Language

The concepts of a personal God, and of an impersonal super-cosmic or intra-cosmic Absolute, represent two ways of solving the problem of the meaning of existence. The former makes astrology quite superfluous, for the solution of all existential problems is “union with God” — or at least the ability to hold a “dialogue” with God, the absolute and never-failing Guide and Comforter. If, however, the universe is understood to exist through the cyclic interplay of cosmic Principles and of an “infinite Ocean of energy” astrology can be considered as a “celestial Language”.

Dane Rudhyar, “The Spiritual Value of Astrology

I have to admit that, in all my forty-seven years — despite growing up in the Presbyterian Church the son of a preacher — I’ve not been able to wrap my head around the notion of a personal God.

Now, a personal representative of God — that has made more sense to me.

As has the idea of “union” with That… although it’s hard to say that my experience of That is what they (the various scripture writers down through the ages) were referring to when they uttered a name for God.

From my perspective, a universally-acceptable definition of God remains out of reach — as does the absolute certainty that there exists such a Being as God, regardless of the definition.

I mean, does the samadhi of deep meditation equal God?

If I pray intensely and am overwhelmed “by the Spirit,” does this experience prove the existence of God… or does it prove the existence of ecstatic phenomena, without reference to an Ultimate Being?

Perhaps this is the reason why the Buddha left open the question of God, preferring instead to lay out a Path that would eliminate the need for conjecture.

Leaving aside the absolutist assertions of various revealed scriptures that have come down to us, let us suspend our arguments for and against the notion of God, and agree to entertain the idea that individual human beings — beings with a separate consciousness and identity from the Infinite — are incapable of truly “knowing” the Infinite… but that, within our limited range of possible understanding, there may be inspiring clues as to how our world may look from the perspective of God.

There is something of this in what Rudhyar was getting at in his quote.

He was not exactly denying that God could exist in a personal form, or that we humans may “lose ourselves” in this God through a type of spiritual union. In pointing toward a “Celestial Language,” however, he invited us to avail ourselves of an expression of Intelligence that may be decoded through a study of the relationship between our geocentric perspective and the heavens above.

If, indeed, humans were “created in the image” of the Elohim, it stands to reason that there is some correlation between the skies above (representing the outside-looking-in point-of-view of a God with omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence) and the Earth below, along with its human inhabitants.

Most practicing astrologers would say that there is more than “some correlation,” but that a solid astrological understanding equals a profound opportunity to observe human life through the very eyes of the Celestial God.

* * *

For the record, I have a belief in a Unified Intelligence that “communicates” through many Mysteries… most of which remain encumbered in a morass of disinformation, power games, ignorance and confusion.

I believe that astrology is a valid “decoding machine” for the Mysteries, although a given interpretation is susceptible to fallible human bias.  If such bias is an unavoidable consequence of human life, then the question arises:  what sort of astrologer offers a bias most aligned with the Source of Celestial Language?

If a given astrologer comes predominantly from an intellectual/technical life-experience, with no direct (i.e., “ecstatic”) absorption in the all-pervading Divine, then this person’s consultation will offer all sorts of bells and whistles dug from a well-read bag o’ astrological tricks. I believe there is value in receiving a reading from such a technician, in that the client benefits from the combined portfolio of every astrologer to whom our technician has ever been exposed.  There is good and interesting information here… minus a “living bridge” that vivifies the consultation through the astrologer’s experience of spiritual union.

In modern times — thank goodness — many astrologers maintain daily spiritual practices, some of which are bound to produce ecstatic fruit.

Maurice Fernandez, for instance, is a certified kundalini yoga teacher (in the Yogi Bhajan lineage). I have personally attended some of his kundalini yoga sessions, and am willing to testify to the effectiveness of this practice in giving rise to charismatic phenomena. The “third-eye focus” that is so strongly emphasized during a kundalini yoga session brings an assortment of ecstacies, especially with all the intense “fire breathing” and other techniques that pepper a given yoga set.

A reading from Maurice is naturally informed by his spiritual practice, thus offering a living quality to the Mysteries that speak through the Celestial Language of astrology.

I believe, also, that my own experience as an ecstatic contemplative brings a profound connection with astrological information in a way that no book or lecturer could ever provide.

I say this not to toot my own horn, but to strongly hint that the counseling device of astrology — which purports to give insight (at the very least) into universal laws that are God-like in perspective — is nothing but rote recital when devoid of a unitive spiritual practice.

You want your astrologer, in other words, to be able to combine solid astrological understanding with a rigorous practice that brings spiritual authority to the expressions of Celestial Language.

You want to get yourself an astrologer who not only understands the Celestial Language, but who speaks it through the filter of daily “union with God” — beyond the need for conjecture.

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Sling-Shot Into the Multiverse


From the most recent Winter Solstice (December 21, 2009) until upcoming March 9, we all will have been experiencing Mars retrograde in Leo.

A retrograde movement is an optical illusion that makes a planet appear to journey backward in its orbit, and it has the effect of internalizing much of the planet’s influence. Rather than manifesting directly into our immediate environment, there is a sense of requisite preparation that may entail all sorts of cleansing and letting go.

You are not alone if, throughout this period, you’ve felt charged-up and ready to go… even while being held back, like a stallion chomping at the bit. It would also not be surprising if you’ve been asked to separate from important relationships, jobs and other once-solid commitments.

This has been a time of incredible inner churning — fiery intensity, dominated by a sense that the world is moving at break-neck speed and we are somehow falling behind — shouldn’t we be doing something to address the situation?

Frustration results, as our conditioning prompts self-judgment around an inability to take a step forward. We feel as though we are moving sideways, at best, even when it looks like we’re taking care of business “out there.”

The skillful way to be with this transit — no matter how it impacts an individual natal chart — is to relax, allowing the fire of Mars and Leo to cleanse away hindrances to what will unfold when the retrograde movement ends on March 9.

* * *

When we look ahead to early March, we notice a stellium (or grouping) of planets in Pisces: Uranus, Sun, Mercury and Jupiter.

Pisces, the Mystic, transcends conventional boundaries of consciousness. With these planets moving through Pisces at precisely the time that Mars goes direct at 0″17′ Leo, we will not only begin to move out of our insulated comfort zones, but we will be blasted beyond the margins of our conditioned reality. With so much emphasis on Pisces, we will collectively sense our individual participation in a much, much larger cycle of transformation — and we will secretly desire that our lives will shift into alignment with our “true mission.”

I really do see the period between March 9 and June 7 (when Mars moves from Leo into Virgo, with Chiron having dipped into Pisces to join Uranus and Jupiter) as a challenge that demands deep and unconditional surrender within each and every one of us. We will be asked to trust in ways that we’ve successfully avoided in the past, no matter how deep our fear of being “burned” again. We will also be asked to assume a larger perspective within ourselves, connecting with something higher and more powerful.

We will, in fact, be prompted to allow this larger part of us to run the show.

The hours, days and weeks from March 9 to June 7 signify a collective acceleration of consciousness, which will find grounding once Mars has finally entered the earth sign of Virgo. During this acceleration, potential changes that have been incubating since the Solstice will blossom into manifestation — likely more than one, flying toward us like blowing embers — such that we may not be able to collate and organize things in real time, requiring that we (again) trust that everything is falling into place according to some higher design… knowing that a time for assessment will arrive with Summer.

So, good friends, just know that this strange inner chaos that seeps outward from time to time — the jerking forward and back, feet stepping on themselves — is actually part of a necessary adjustment that has been moving through us all. Our wish for resolution will not only be met, but will be met in ways that we’ve not even dreamed of.

Ours is to remain patient during these final days of inner preparation, and to buckle-in for a three-month trans-dimensional journey into uncharted space… knowing that there’ll be time enough to make sense of it all in due time.

Those who consciously embrace the shift will be the first to realize that the awaiting reality is perfect and fine in every way….

New Blog Launch

big-buddha

No, I’m not abandoning this one.

I am, however, starting a new blog designed to establish a narrative specifically around the attainment of meditative absorption (jhana/samadhi).

If you are a dedicated contemplative with a rigorous and skillful meditation practice… or if this is something that interests you in some way… please join me at:

Samma-Samadhi

…Which means “Right Absorption,” given as the culminating entry in Gautama Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path.

Mooji

My wife just turned me onto this gentleman, Mooji, who apparently was a devotee Papaji.

It seems like every other person in our hometown of Boulder was a devotee of Papaji.

Over the years I’ve probably attended 20 or 25 satsangs with devotees of Papaji, of whom Gangaji is the most famous example.

This is “neo-advaita” teaching, which purports to give the “ultimate view” that resides as the final stop along every spiritual journey.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t tell you how to get there, other than to repeatedly say what you shouldn’t do — i.e., “neti, neti.”

You’ve probably heard variations of it before:  “Consciousness is all there is.”

Gee, thanks.

What’s so enticing about neo-advaita teachings is that they are packaged as “not for just anybody.”  While the rest of us poor schmucks are out here beating our heads against the wall, enlightened neo-advaitins are “just being” in a state/non-state of absolute is-ness… or something… and it’s the simplest thing… so long as you are one of the chosen few whose capacity is deep and wide enough to “get it” in fairly short order.  Of course, there’s nothing you can do to “get it,” because it either happens or it doesn’t happen… but, then, there’s nothing actually happening, and for that matter there is no “one” for whom it happens, or doesn’t happen.

Suffice it to say, you just want to shoot yourself in the head after a few years of this stuff.

At a certain point in 1997 or so (can’t be sure, but give or take a year), I had for a close Internet friend a self-confessed Nisargadatta/U.G. Krishnamurti (both of whom I continue to respect and love, by the way) devotee named “El.”  As she was gruff and tactlessly honest in all her communication, she was universally disliked on the big neo-advaita discussion boards to which I belonged, but for some reason I was truly drawn to her.  Just when I was perfecting my neo-advaita pitch and putting it out there from an authoritative perspective (i.e., I was just sure that it had “happened” to me), El brutally knocked me off my high horse… and after three days of licking my wounds, it dawned on me what a beautiful favor she did me.  When I expressed my thanks, she said, “Okay, now you’ve got a chance to go all the way.”

I’m still working on it, but I can definitely say that I am thankful for having moved beyond neo-advaitaism.  It took three or four years after the above-mentioned event before I finally dropped it completely, at which point I stopped ignoring the “signs of absorption” that had been asserting themselves since the very early 90’s… and I found a meditation teacher who could not only explain what was happening to me, but who could help me devise a lifestyle that allows “jhana” to do its spiritually-transformative thing with me.

Still a work in process, but let me just say that, having been a “jhana yogi” for four years, I can watch Mooji’s satsang with a mixture of thanksgiving and tolerance.  My teacher would say that Mooji is “established in second jhana,” and that sounds about right to me.

More power to him.

He could very well, in fact, have it absolutely right.

Wise Words from a Modern Christian Mystic

Some quotes on Waking Up, from Anthony de Mello, SJ:

Spirituality means waking up. Most people, even though they don’t know it, are asleep. They’re born asleep, they live asleep, they marry in their sleep, they breed children in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up. They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human existence.

***

Most people tell you they want to get out of kindergarten, but don’t believe them. Don’t believe them! All they want you to do is to mend their broken toys. “Give me back my wife. Give me back my job. Give me back my money. Give me back my reputation, my success.” This is what they want; they want their toys replaced. That’s all. Even the best psychologist will tell you that, that people don’t really want to be cured. What they want is relief; a cure is painful.

***

Waking up is unpleasant, you know. You are nice and comfortable in bed. It’s irritating to be woken up. That’s the reason the wise guru will not attempt to wake people up. I hope I’m going to be wise here and make no attempt whatsoever to wake you up if you are asleep. It is really none of my business, even though I say to you at times, “Wake up!” My business is to do my thing, to dance my dance. If you profit from it, fine; if you don’t, too bad! As the Arabs say, “The nature of rain is the same, but it makes thorns grow in the marshes and flowers in the gardens.”


There’s a Methodist church here in Boulder that offers a Wednesday night meditation class, and they are reading de Mello. For a Catholic friar living in India, he sure liked to talk about Awareness and Sadhana… which is a good thing, of course.