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Heart and Hearth

By Malvin Artley
July 2006

Greetings My Friends!

Firewood never lasts for very long in the Adelaide winter. As I sat down to write this letter the rain fell softly outside and I felt the cold air from under the door make its way around my ankles. Time to throw another mallee stump in the stove, I thought to myself. Great fire wood, those mallee stumps. They burn for a long time and make for a very warm hearth through the night if you load the stove up before going to bed. Time for another cup of tea as well. It was going to be a long night. I really do need a bottomless tea pot on these "letter days". In thinking of what I was going to write about this time, I had been musing over recent events. People appear to be preoccupied these days, as if there is some strange inner drama that engages them and takes all of their attention. There have been so many changes for folks recently. Entire eras in people's lives seem to be closing and new ones beginning. The impacts of the Goodwill Festival would appear to be having the effects that were predicted in the relationship arena in my previous letter to you. I know a fellow who just retired after 20 years in his business, for instance. Now all of his ex-customers are left wondering where they are going to get someone good enough to service their own businesses. We don't really think of the long-term or far-reaching effects of our decisions upon people, especially if we work in some kind of service capacity. Still, we all have to rattle on through our days and bend and adapt to circumstance. "There are no constants in life except death, change and taxes, son", my Dad was always fond of saying. That's the thing about the present times-the only thing we seem to be able to be certain of is that things will change, and sometimes radically-our situations changing often as quickly as the weather, and seemingly just as capriciously.

As we enter into the cycle of the more purely human solar festivals throughout the remainder of the spiritual year, we come into the influence of the sign that often has the greatest disdain for change-the sign of Cancer. Cancerians are renowned for their resistance to anything new, and especially anything that upsets their established routine or sense of foundation. Being the sign most associated with the mass consciousness, it is an influence that always tends to support the status quo in any given circumstance. As such, then, when it appears as the Sun-sign or ascendant it is the sign that can be slowest to change, the most instinctual in its consciousness, extremely sensitive to all emotional nuance and most ready to defend what is perceived to be the best tradition of things, situations or people. All persons under strong Cancerian influence are long of memory, short of sight when it comes to anything new, patient to a fault when it comes to a loved one or circumstance and displaying the most amazing ability to fathom the depths of the psychology of a crowd. People with strong Cancer in their chart are great crowd-pleasers because they have the capacity to make all with whom they come into contact feel right at home and like they belong to something greater. Curiously, they also have a love of gadgetry from what I have observed, but any new device is always seen for its value in relation to the home, the 'family' or the established order-not for its inherent technology.

Cancer transmits 'The Light within the Form: the diffused light of substance itself'-the light that awaits 'the Light'-the Light of the Soul. As such, Cancer represents 'the prison of the Soul' and it is of interest to note that one of the terms that is commonly used to describe childbirth is confinement - esoterically, that moment when the Soul is finally and totally enclosed or bound to its sheaths (bodies). In the orthodox interpretation the term refers to the fact that the new mother and child are sequestered away from the world and they are allowed to properly bond without intrusion from others. It is said that in this sign lies hidden the entire problem of rebirth. This is so because the human soul (the causal body) is given birth in the sign Cancer and it thus links the higher worlds with the lower, albeit tentatively at first. As such, Cancer thus has a lot of vagueness associated with it because it represents the embryonic quality of the 'newborn' soul. In other words, the Soul-qualities brought forward through ages of experience have yet to be built into the human soul. That is the gift that the true Soul has yet to instill into its newly-formed human charge. Always with Cancer there is an implied stewardship and shepherding that takes place as the Soul seeks to guide the development of the human soul on its long journey to perfection. As a result, Cancerian types often make very fine educators because they have that innate understanding of what it means to demonstrate patient guidance of those less experienced than they. There is also always the idea of 'fanning the nascent flame' of spiritual life with Cancerian types, whether recognized consciously or not. As my Cancerian school-teacher brother is fond of saying, "Molding the minds of tomorrow." We seldom realize how often we are living examples of some archetype or another. i

So, in its fullness, Cancer represents both the infant human soul and the accumulated wisdom of ages of development, the legacy or Soul-heritage. Cancerians are always keenly interested in heritage and history. The human causal body (the human soul or Soul-in-incarnation) steadily grows in Light as it gains in experience and the dim light of substance itself eventually becomes the flaming and glorious Light of Wisdom. What is given birth in Cancer and imprisons the Soul as the human life evolves is eventually burned up by the intensity of its own Light and is finally released in the sign of Capricorn. The two signs are both great gateways for the human family. In Cancer we have the door into human existence and the imprisonment or confinement of the Soul. In Capricorn we have the doorway into full spiritual Life and the liberation of the Soul from the confinement of human existence and its bondage to the wheel of human karma. Thus, in the solar festival of Cancer we have both poles represented in Cancer and Capricorn and the entire history of humanity recapitulated for us each year-birth, experience and liberation. Thus, through the experience and stewardship of Cancer, the causal body is fully seen as the 'Home of the Soul' (Houses of the Holy, for Led Zeplin fans) and the meaning of the phrase "I build a lighted house and therein dwell" is known in its truest sense, which is the esoteric statement for that sign. With that, let us examine the meanings for the full moon figure this year.

The full moon for this solar festival occurs at 1:02 PM AEST on the 11th of July 2006 (3:02 PM GMT on the 10th). As always, the symbol for the degree of the Sun sets the tone for the particular meaning of the festival this year, and it reads thus:

"A priest performing a marriage ceremony" 19 Cancer

In its highest meaning, this symbol represents what has just been discussed regarding this sign. It is the marriage between the Soul on its own plane and the human persona, leading to its resultant progeny-the human causal body. From a mundane perspective, however, it refers to a need to return to tradition and ritual in relationships of all sorts. Moreover, it refers to a keeping of sanctity within relations and of honoring what has been brought together in a more ritualized setting. Further still, there is an implied need here to invoke the blessings of higher Powers upon our relationships and to enable them toward a higher purpose, perhaps a greater stewardship over forces or charges. All marriages performed over the next 12 months should also take on a special meaning, for there will be a greater need for stewardship than usual this year as outlined by the symbol for the degree of the moon, which reads thus:

"A five-year-old child carrying a bag of groceries." 19 Capricorn

In this symbol we see what is being reflected back to us in human terms and that of which we must be aware in our interpersonal dealings this year. Cancer is the great nurturer of the Zodiac. In this symbol we see the out-picturing of this nurturing instinct and the onus to rise to the occasion when circumstances call for action. In his commentaries on the Sabian symbols, Dane Rudhyar speaks of this one as pertaining to accelerated development in the execution of our duty of care to others (We are our brother's keepers.) I see this symbol as also referring to a need to return to innocence in our response to other people's needs. A child will often share with no thought of itself, at least initially, and it has no real sense of how much it should give or in what manner. It simply responds to the need at hand and in the moment. However, we are all being called upon to step up our development in response to the accelerated energies that are affecting us more and more as time goes by. A child carrying a bag of groceries implies the fact that there is family conditioning taking place. If we look at it, are we not all being trained and conditioned by our higher Selves more fully to each carry our own 'bag of groceries' for others?

The basic energy of the figure, as outlined by the aspects to the luminaries, is one of happier note than the last full moon. In this figure we find the Sun trine to Uranus, which has started its long retrograde phase until November. The implication with that is to dare to be original in our thinking, to be open to many new ways of caring and nurturing both ourselves and others and of a wide world view and humanitarian feeling. Sun trine Uranus is an aspect known for original thinking and for organizational ability of a high order. It points to a natural affinity for technology, too, and we should avail ourselves of all sorts of technology and new modalities of thought in our dealings with people this year. The Sun is quincunx to Neptune, too, indicating a need to be very clear and focused in our thinking. Boundaries can get blurred under this influence and there is a need to be careful that we do not delude ourselves or others or give in to pie-in-the-sky notions about people or circumstances. However, projects begun at this time stand a good chance of success and of being long-term successes if proper attention is paid to the details and one's feet are kept on the ground. In other words, good, sound horse sense is what is primarily needed in dealing with the masses this year.

The Moon makes a quincunx aspect with Venus, which means that we need to value ourselves in all interactions with people and not give ourselves away too much. What is needed instead of simple giving is an empowerment of those we help to enable them to get what they need on their own. This is where Cancerian types will come into their own because they will have a natural inclination to educate people they take into their charge. There will be a tendency for people to idealize others in affairs of the heart because Venus is trine to Neptune, hence there will be a danger that caution will be thrown to the wind regarding self-valuing. There is also a very great danger of deception regarding romantic matters. Potential suitors should be soundly put to the test before any commitments are made, and especially where monetary matters are involved. Finances should be closely watched during the next month and all projects started at this time should have stringent financial scrutiny set in place before anything is launched. There are likely to be some difficult lessons to be learned from romances begun under the impulse of this full moon. Indeed, all romantic interests should be given a more common-sense approach for the next month or so. A little romance is fine and well, but realism and prudence should always be the foundation for it right now. Any hard lessons learned now will be lessons well-learned, though, and disillusionment now will lead to common sense in future relations.

The aspects that will cause all the trouble in the romantic arena are the Mars opposition to Neptune and the Venus opposition to Pluto. In addition, Pluto squares the nodal axis, adding a very fated feel to all relations at the moment. Family relations can be particularly fraught under the influence of this full moon. The best application of the dynamics of this figure is in the public arena and in dealing with masses of people. This particular figure favors the universal over the individual and the group need over the personal. From the news in Australia we can already see a process of disillusionment beginning to take place, especially with regard to public servants (politicians, actually). Pluto/Venus together is a great leveler when it comes to the heart and it brings some very poignant lessons with it. Coupled with Mars/Neptune, the stage is set for disillusionment in the public sector in a big way this year. Mercury is retrograde until the end of the month, too, so all communications and media need to be screened very carefully to avoid missed steps along the way.

Mars trines Pluto in this figure, indicating that very great force can be brought to bear if a situation warrants it. Given what has just been outlined, though, the general trend is to hold one's energies at bay until time has proven a circumstance worthy of such a profound expenditure of energy as that marked by this aspect. This can be a strongly sexual influence, and when that is coupled with the sextile between Venus and Mars there is a compelling impulse given toward sexual expression and sexual healing. Sex can be a double-edged sword. When used as a healing agent between a couple its effects can be magical. When engaged in for its own sake and in concert with a glamoured outlook it can prove to be quite spell-binding in a destructive way. Interestingly, this could be a year in which many children of an unusual or powerful nature are conceived. Finally, we find Jupiter square to Saturn, cooling the ambitions and introducing a particular note of unsoundness in the business world. There will be a tendency for people to want to escape from the 'normal reality' of the world as it is and to lose ones self in distractions of all sorts. Used constructively, a change can be as good as a holiday, but care should be taken not to get lost in fantasy or substances. Again, the best use of this figure and the energies indicated is in work for and with the masses or the general public and to return to the core sanctity of all relationships.

The hearth of the home always reflects the hearts of those who reside therein, particularly those of the parents. In the protective space of the home, life is given its best chance to be nurtured and to grow. You can always tell a good home-it warms and welcomes you, enfolds you in its grace, offers solace from hard times, gives one a chance to recuperate and guides us on our way. The wisdom of the heart always warms those who approach in need, and the mark of one living the life of the Soul is that every space occupied by such a person becomes a home to those who shelter there. People are drawn magnetically to a house lighted in the midst of darkness. The mark of success for any home and any life is the measure of its warmth and its light, for the two must go hand-in-hand. Love warms and nurtures us. Truth lights the way for us. When the two are found together, there you will find a true Soul. Well, my tea pot is empty and the last stump is glowing away in the stove, so it is time for me to sign off. In the weeks to come may your own hearts and hearths stay warm in these strange but compelling times of opportunity and may you find and share your Light with those around you. The Way is always easier if it is shared with true and loved companions. Then again, are we not all each other's keepers and companions? We may not always be the picture of family unity on our little world, but it sure makes a lot more sense to us if we can find like-minded souls. Reach out to those with whom you can share your vision and path. A shared 'hearth' is balm to a troubled world.

Blessings to you all.