Monday, April 25, 2016

Sacred Geometry Part II

Aspects: The Will to Power

Uranus (Fool) Square Pluto (Judgment)

     Let your imagination run away on this blog. Have an “imaginary moment” – a “what if” time. It seems we are overlooking the obvious when talking about both Tarot and Astrology in relation to Sacred Geometry.  What connection do they have and how does this relate to our lives? We’ll discuss an example of the correlation of all three in the context of current events and circumstances.
     To get started, in Astrology with relation to Tarot, let’s take a look at the transiting square that has been going on since 2007 - on through 2020, between Uranus (The Fool) in Aries and Pluto (Judgment) in Capricorn. We will not be looking at this square from a mechanistic point of view as the cause of certain events, but rather as an archetypal pattern of human behavior during these events.

Foolish Plutocrats
     Richard Tarnas in his book Cosmos and Psyche, 2007, discusses “the will to power” during a Pluto-Uranus square. (This same square between planets was present from 1928 to 1937.)

“The eruption of a collective will to power during Uranus-Pluto eras can also become concentrated and embodied in a single powerful figure, a world historic military conqueror or tyrant driven as if by a force of nature…Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and Mao [were all prominent leaders] during the square of the 1930’s.”  
Dorflinger: Judgment
German-Swiss Border
So when we really look at this aspect we see The Fool in conflict with good Judgment.

Tarot and planetary interpretation
     The Fool is perceived as a vagabond, beggar, an adventurer who sets off for anywhere, “riding the rails,” lacking judgment. This is one who exemplifies guilelessness, lack of tact and naiveté. The Fool lives only in the now. There is no introspection, no looking ahead. We can see fools all over engulfed in silliness, folly, and even stupid behavior (especially in TV ads). On the other hand, a court-type fool can be the wise coyote poking fun at the “king’s” foibles.
     Uranus - signifies rebellion, unpredictability, defiance, the break up of old structures and the establishment. It’s full of  surprises, and unexpected change. In Aries, it could well mean doing battle and more war. (Haven’t we had enough already?) It means a willingness to sacrifice for a cause, martyrdom. The main theme is change and more change whatever form it may take.!
     Judgment - Here we are examining everything and everyone in depth, even criticizing and judging others. (What happened to “throw the first stone”?) In criminal justice, the judge determines who is guilty or not, and assigns punishment. It also means self-evaluation in examining your own life critically and trying to resurrect yourself and take responsibility for your actions through self-knowledge and introspection.  Of course good judgment is the hoped for aim.
     Pluto – We can see underworld characters out in the open. For some it’s a trip to the underworld. For others it’s a release from the underworld. It means the breakdown and destruction of outmoded ways of doing things; uncovering hidden truths and lies; deep secrets are revealed; there could be mass violence, power struggles and predictions of world war; more earthquakes and exploding volcanoes. In Capricorn, this affects governments in crisis and all structures and institutions of power. (Sound familiar?)
 The aspects of the planets and Tarot
     Why are the planets named after old gods and goddesses in mythology of long ago? For some, we are examining qualities and attributes of human behavior signified by the archetypal myths of the ancient gods and applying their meaning to our own lives.
    Astronomy/Astrology and the earliest calculations of an ephemerides originated in Babylon at least from the 6th to the 8th century B.C.E. The Greeks then piled on their own names based on their gods and mythology and imbued them with many layers of meaning. (See Ptolemy)  One of the main components of Astrology in connection with Sacred Geometry is the symbolic action of the aspects between planets and their positions as they move around the Zodiac. These aspects are angles known as square, trine, sextile, semi-sextile, quintile, quincunx, opposition and conjunction, as measured within a Zodiac circle of 360°.

Square 90° - interpreted as conflict, difference of opinion, argument, scuffle, strength to endure

Trine 120° - synthesis, coming together, resolution, problem solving, agreement

Sextile 60° -  making adjustments, coordination, harmony, common ground 

Quintile 72° - attraction, repulsion, caution, a new direction

Opposition 180°- opposing forces, duality, pulling apart, obstructions, non-agreement

Conjunction 0-10° - moving in tandem, mutual agreement, close association

The Fool Niki St Phalle Tarot Garden
     What are the planets and their association with the Major Arcana of Tarot?  Mary Greer, in her workbook, Tarot for yourself, Birth chart Mandala, gives a list of correspondences between the planets, the Zodiac, and Major Arcana as follows:

Mercury  - Magician
Venus – The Empress                    
Mars – The Tower
Jupiter – Wheel of Fortune
Saturn – The Universe
Uranus – The Fool
Neptune – The Hanged man
Pluto – Judgment
Sun – Sun
Moon – High priestess

If at one time the Major Arcana represented actual set figures in society, in the 20th Century, they have come to represent the inner processes of the self, though the Tarot has been cheapened as a fortune telling device – a quick fix to supposed knowledge of impending events or the scary thrill of mysterious messages—it has at the same time grown in stature as a coded body of wisdom…The images present stages of psychic transformation.”

Jill Johnston, frontispiece of the book Niki Saint Phalle and the Tarot Garden (Bentelli, Zurich,  2010).

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Sacred Geometry and Tarot

Part I
What is meant by Sacred Geometry?
Adherents of Sacred Geometry say it was a practice considered by the ancients to be an exploration of the secret and mysterious processes of nature. Early civilizations set aside sacred places in natural rock temples, springs and caves, and constructed stone circles to remember and venerate those spaces. Sacred areas were used to come in contact with energies of a higher power or spirits of nature. Many early man-made structures were laid out according to sacred geometric designs and proportions including the Great Pyramid in Egypt and the Parthenon in Athens.

“In sacred places, the spiritual and the physical are experienced together. Sacred places are openings between the heavens and the earth or between the surface of the earth and the underworld…” Rupert Sheldrake, The Rebirth of Nature (Park Street Press, 1994, p. 23)

Avebury England
To early peoples, geometry was a form of symbolism that gave them a sense of spiritual value and association with those sacred spaces. There was a certain divinity and magicalness of meaning about using a secret form of geometry to describe and enact the principles of growth and beauty. Some sacred areas were laid out according to a geometrical plan. Early philosophers such as Pythagoras thought they could experience the metaphysical meaning of geometry while actually drawing interlocking circles with a compass. Several plane figures can be drawn this way: circle, square, triangle, pentagon, hexagon, heptagon and octagon. It sounds simple enough, but we know today that even the great medieval cathedrals were built using these geometrical methods.

“Geometry deals with pure form and philosophical [metaphysical] geometry re-enacts the unfolding of each form out of a preceding one.” Robert Lawlor, Sacred Geometry, (Thames and Hudson, 1982, p. 10)

Drawing a pentagon
Circle: (Dot in center) A beginning, Oneness (1)
Vesica Piscis: reflection of the One (2)
Triangle: Multiplication (3)
Square: Order, stability (4)
Pentagon: Processes of life (5)
Hexagon: Perfection, balance, harmony (6)
Heptagon: Eternality (7)
Octagon: Expansion and contraction (8)
Nonagon: Completion (9)
Decagon: Wholeness (10)

Growth of forms in nature: logarithmical spiral and PHI ratio
We see the creative properties of patterning and exponential spiral growth approximated in marine life such as the chambered nautilus; in sea shells, in the horns of certain sheep, pine cones, and on the head of a sunflower, for example. This logarithmical spiral expresses PHI or the ratio of 1:1.618033988… (on and on) as a numeral of infinity. When a nautilus is cut in half, we see how each chamber has become larger and larger as the creature has outgrown the previous part. When measured and compared, the growth of one chamber to the next is often approximately 1.618 times larger than the former chamber.

Fibonacci series of numbers:
Let’s go straight to the Fibonacci series of numbers, which can reveal the PHI ratio. (Leonardo of Pisa discovered this in 1202). It goes like this: 1+2=3, 2+3=5, 3+5=8, 5+8=13, 8+13=21, 13+21=34, 21+34=55, 34+55=89.  For example: divide 89 by 55 and see what you get! 1.6181818181811818… etc.  This ratio can be seen in botanical growth patterns such as five-petaled flowers, the bean and tobacco plants, and the spira mirabilis in the head of a large sunflower, some with 55 lines of force crossing 89 alternating lines. 

How does Sacred Geometry relate to the Tarot?
The Hierophant
In earlier decks, such as the Rider-Waite and B.O.T.A. decks, we see The Emperor sitting on a cube (hexahedron with 6 faces). This is interpreted as a showing a sense of stability, equality and reliability. The High Priestess sits on a cube. She is grounded “fair and square.” A star hexagon of integrated triangles is seen in the lamp carried by The Hermit in some decks: meaning a blending of qualities of heaven and earth; equilibrium of active and passive action. The Vesica Piscis is seen in the mandorla of The World card in several decks. In The Hierophant card of Tarot of Cosmic Consciousness, a chambered nautilus is drawn over a background of “whirling squares.” A Golden Mean rectangle is drawn first and divided into squares. Then an arc is drawn in each square diagonally from one corner to the opposite corner. When they circulate around a central area, a logarithmic spiral is produced. The ratio of one square to another is 1:1.618 as they become larger.

Squaring the Circle
4 of Wands 
In Tarot of Cosmic Consciousness, the 4 of Wands represents the “Squaring of the Circle. This is considered sacred because it contains both the earthly and the divine as cosmic symbols of heaven and earth. The perimeter of the square approximates the circumference of the circle. Robert Lawlor Sacred Geometry (Thames and Hudson, 1982, p. 74)   “…the circle represents pure, unmanifest spirit-space, while the square represents the manifest and comprehensible world.”
says in his book,

When contemplating Sacred Geometry polygons depicted in Tarot cards, especially in Tarot of Cosmic Consciousness and in the Sacred Geometry Oracle Deck by Francene Hart, this gives another dimension to the meaning of each card—expanding, enhancing and deepening our understanding of ourselves.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Knights and War

 Knights in Tarot
     To understand the symbolism of the Knight cards in Tarot, we need to take a quick look at who the knights were in history. Let’s start with the knights on horseback during the Middle Ages in Europe. Who were they? What did they do and why are they still included in most Tarot decks? During Medieval times, in the Feudal hierarchy, knights pledged fealty to a lord, a prince, or a king (1200–1700). There were Green, White, Red and Black knights, trained in chivalry and warfare. They defended their Lord’s kingdoms, lands, and villages, often engaging the enemy. They were skilled in horsemanship (jousting) and the use of weaponry of the time (swords, spears, lances, clubs, catapults and armor). Sometimes they were rewarded for their bravery and courage with parcels of land or useful goods, and/or money.
     We know about them mostly from stories of the Christian Crusades, which began around 1096. The Knights Hospitaller and Knights Templar and similar orders were sent by various Popes to liberate the Holy Land, and Jerusalem in particular, from the grip of Seljuk Turks who took over that land in 1055. Some knights were offered rewards in the form of “indulgences,” by having all their sins automatically forgiven because of their service to the church.
     In literature, we hear about King Arthur and the mythical “Knights of the Round Table,” with Galahad and Perceval seeking the Holy Grail, Christ’s cup. (And that’s a whole other story). Joseph Campbell delineates a reality check of Cervantes novel about the imagination of the errant knight, “Don Quixote,” as a satire on chivalry: “Reality carried Quixote, that is to say, who carried the adventure in his head. Adventures are impossible and yet Don Quixote brings them to pass.” (The Masks of God, Creative Mythology, p. 294). Because of an inflated ego and wild imagination, including encroaching madness, Quixote couldn’t see the unreality of his beliefs, especially about the windmills he was speeding his horse to take down. He thought they were giants that he must vanquish. As Sancho says, “What giants?” Campbell quotes Ortega, “…there are men who decide not to be satisfied with reality.” (p. 605)
Prince of Cups TOCC
     What is it that lures young men (occasionally, a woman) to go off to war? Some say it is the sense of adventure, risk-taking; the urge to become a hero; to defend a country or kingdom, or to conquer new lands. What are the stakes for going to war? Land grabs, defense of territory, settling angry disputes in an attempt to establish power and control over others property, to defend religious beliefs, and to set up new states or kingdoms. Maybe it was like that during the crusades.

     But what is it they don’t tell you about going off to war today?
There has been over 250 major wars since Biblical times, each one more perilous and deadly than the one before, and hundreds of lesser wars over the centuries. In the aftermath of WWI and WWII, the threat of war has become a horrific nightmare, and in some war rooms, leaders contemplate the possibility of the end of the world (via Atom Bomb/ Hydrogen Bomb). The Second World War reached an appalling new dimension. Over 60,000,000 people were killed, including civilians and soldiers, with over 6,000,000 Jews, and others, murdered outright in Germany’s gory gas chambers.
     What glory and honor was there in dropping one bomb on a city from one plane and obliterating everything and everyone in it in 1945 in a few seconds (killing over 200,000 people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan). Miles of land and air were poisoned with nuclear radiation. Warfare on this scale has changed our attitude about war. Some of us remember the Cuban Missile Crisis scare when people were building bomb shelters in their basements and stocking them with food supplies. More of us remember the huge “Peace Marches” and “Flower Power” during the Viet Nam War, demanding the end to drafting more men to fight. Today, more than ever, we need a reality check!
 What do knights signify when they come up in a reading?

The reason Knights, or Princes are included in the Tarot is obvious. War is not over. Knights symbolize the brave charge to action: the courage to take risks, to sacrifice one’s life for a “cause;” to fight for what you believe; to train in tactics of warfare and focus on defeating the enemy, real or imagined.

Here are some thoughts based on Gail Fairfield’s “Choice Centered Tarot,” (Red Wheel-Reiser)

Knight of Wands: maintaining your identity, knowing who you are and how to present yourself dynamically to the world

Knight of Cups: Paying attention to your feelings and intuition and acting on them, while expressing how you feel to other

Knight of Swords: taking action on well thought-out strategies and plans, while separating the real from the unreal; truth from the lies.

Knight of Coins/Pentacles: focusing on hard work; establishing security; concentrating on solving the everyday difficulties of living this life and taking the appropriate steps to achieve your goals.