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The Perils and Promise of Choice

by Malvin Artley

Libra Full Moon 2004

Spring is in full bloom here in the Land of Red Earth. The weather is starting to turn resplendent, the sap has risen in the plants and in things otherwise and a young man’s fancies turn to thoughts of…well….things other than work. I was busy this morning in a small backyard shop repairing a milling machine for a man of Sri Lankan birth. The blossoms in his orange tree had pervaded the yard with their intoxicating and sweet perfume. The chooks were softly chatting to eachother as they scratched for their meal in the pen. The young lad in the shop was engrossed wholly in his task at hand, and I could smell the scent of curry as it wafted in from the man’s kitchen. It is amazing what one can find in people’s back yards. Driving down the road past the rows of non-descript houses, one would never guess that there would be fully equipped engineering shops behind them steadily churning out parts for all and sundry types machinery that make our lives so much easier. I enjoy these little jobs, as much for the people I meet as for the break in the routine of the large manufactories. But still, here I was, and spring was doing its work on me as I worked on the man’s mill. I thought to myself, "What am I doing here on such a glorious day when I could be out in a tinnie* with a mate or sitting on a hill looking out over creation, with nature speaking its magic to me?" Ah well, the man needs his machine, and duty calls. Still, all day I pondered on the choices I had made in life that had brought me to that moment in time and I wondered, too, where the results of choices future would take me in even a few year’s time.

The time of the equinoxes are times of equipoise and interlude, where new projects are implemented and questions about direction in life are pondered. In this Libran period the whole idea of choice becomes very strongly activated, for it is our choices that determine our course in life and that course is what leads us to our encounters with others, thus inaugurating and sustaining all of our relationships. The period of the Libran full moon this year will be a particularly loaded one in terms of the issue of choice for reasons that we shall see, and it will set the tone for the first of the Grand Quintiles as outlined in my last letter to you. Libra is a uniquely human festival, too, because the human kingdom is the only one in Nature that has to deal in any large manner with the factor of choice. None of the lower kingdoms have the lower (reasoning) mind so developed or even existent and, for the kingdoms above ours, the lower mind is simply not a factor in evolution at all since it has been transcended by them and is only used as a repository of information. But, for humanity, we have to live with the legacy of our choices and, by choosing, we initially develop our minds and eventually learn to supersede them through the awakening of the intuition. One could say that it is our ability to choose that is both our greatest gift and our profoundest curse. The mind can be both the gateway to and the slayer of the Real (the spiritual realms) and, though we may not realize it, it is through the mind that we become the agents for the working out of God’s love on our little globe. The mind eventually brings us to the feet of true love.

I will need to flesh out a little more information on the Grand Quintiles in this letter, but we need to look at some of the workings of Libra before we get to that. Most people who know a little about astrology know that Venus rules Libra (Perhaps a better way of saying "rules" is "transmits the energy of". Such a phrase would be more technically correct, anyway.) and that Venus is all about partnerships and balance. That is the more mundane side of Libra, though. As has been pointed out in other letters, there are at least 3 rulers for any sign. The other two rulers of Libra are Uranus (esoterically) and Saturn (Hierarchically). It is through an understanding of the interaction of these three planets that we come to understand the truth of Libra and what it represents and where the actual original impulses for what we understand of mundane Libra have arisen. In the final analysis, Libra is about how we come to arrive at poised, conscious choice (which has nothing whatsoever to do with reason). As such, it is about how we manifest the love of God in every given moment as sensed by the great organ of pure "reason"—the heart--and about how we thus relate ourselves as outposts to the Will of God to eachother and the rest of the world. This may seem a bit abstruse now. Hopefully the meaning will become clear as the discussion proceeds.

It has been said that the most spectacular thing about Libra is its lack of any spectacular point of emphasis. This is due to the fact that Libra is supposed to represent a point of balance prior to further action. It is a distinct meditative point within the zodiac. All students of occult meditation know the value of the interlude points in the meditative cycle, as these are when the insights from the higher Self can be most readily accessed. In previous letters Venus has been said to unite the three types of mind, and it is in these meditative interludes when the three minds are most in alignment. There is an at-one-ment between the Soul and persona in those instants and the Light of the higher worlds is allowed to penetrate through into the lower. The Light of Libra is called "The Light that moves to rest.", and it may well be that people who are born with Sun or ascendant in Libra at some point in their evolution learn the techniques of fusion of the three minds through occult meditative techniques. But, this would only come in the later stages of the spiritual Path, wherein the stage of individualized training between the student and Teacher is instituted. Let’s face it, watching someone meditate is not what most people would call "spectacular emphasis", although to one who is able to see the movements of energy in the one meditating, the Light show might be fantastic indeed!

To the casual observer, most Librans seem to go about their lives fairly non-plussed about anything. Some have called them "the picture of grace and good taste", though for people familiar with Librans, they often know better. The best result for the Libran type is said to be "a life where not a strident note is heard" and where the middle path is trodden. But, this belies a more interesting facet of evolution under Libra. As stated, Venus is the orthodox ruler of the sign. This is the ruler of the outer circumstances in the Libran type—the ruler of the outer expression and planes. This yields up the classic Libran type: affectionate, beautiful, companionable, diplomatic, fond of relationships—especially romantic ones, a love of fashion and fine arts, a disdain for clashes and arguments, a high aesthetic sense, and a desire for symmetry in all things. But, Libra—like all the signs—has its darker side, for it also rules litigation and warfare—what we get when all the preceding things don’t work according to plan, as anyone who has gone through an acrimonious divorce can tell you. It is this darker side that leads to "a reversal of the wheel" for the Libran type in most cases, for the spur that leads one to a spiritual life usually comes about as a result of some type of struggle and, for the Libran, relationships are the primary battleground. Once one steps consciously upon the spiritual Path everything changes, and there is no going back. All the old rules—and rulerships—are out the window and a new rhythm comes into play in the person’s life.

Almost every sign in the zodiac has this sort of dichotomy of rulership with respect to the inner and outer life under each sign. We could thus say that there are two types of every sign—one exemplified by the orthodox ruler and the other by the esoteric ruler. I identify these duplicities by their rulers. There are Mars Aries types and there are Mercury Aries types, for instance. The Mars Aries type is the traditional selfish, headstrong and pioneering type, whereas the Mercury type is focused in the mind, is highly intellectual and is more group-focused rather than self-focused. So, for Libra, we have Venus Librans and Uranian Librans. The difference between the two will be readily apparent for those who know their planets, but the affect upon the person can be quite dramatic as well. In the traditional Venus Libran all the above correspondences apply, but the Uranian Libran is a different kettle of fish altogether, so-to-speak.

Libra operating through Uranus gives anything but rest and an easy life. The Libran type born under the influence of Uranus is hardly settled inside, is constantly tested as to orientation in life, is forever having to change their attitudes to things, constantly has choice forced upon them—and often in an extreme manner, and must always adjust themselves to universals rather than personal comforts. Crises are part and parcel of such a Libran’s life and the test is to find the point of stillness and equipoise in the midst of the storms. Uranian Libran children are usually extreme in some way until they find their calling, are prone to accidents, are full of the most amazing surprises, have an interest in all sorts of mental—especially scientific—pursuits and can be anything but orthodox in the way they do things. There is always the spark of the unusual in such a child’s eye and they are often quite inventive. They can also be decidedly willful when their mind is made up—but in the nicest sort of way. They are great at passive resistance, unless Uranus squares or opposes the Sun or ascendant. Electricity can hold a great fascination for them, too, as well as all things aeronautic. Yet, the Venus ruler still exerts itself in the outer expression, especially in childhood and early adulthood. What we have in the combination of the two rulers is the truest expression of how Libra has sometimes been described: "The iron fist in the velvet glove." I will let my birth family decide for themselves which type I am.

Uranus does several things to the psyche of any Libran type. Some of these things were stated in the previous paragraph, but reiteration will help to cement the concepts firmly in mind. Uranus is the planet that gives the urge to better conditions. Thus, it is called "the planet of the new". It always imposes a new order and rhythm in whatever area of life it is found to be operating. To have one’s entire inner psyche dominated by Uranus can be distinctly unsettling, to say the least. Gone are the days when all goes according to plan, when constancy can be counted upon and when comfort is the guiding force in the life when Uranus rules. Instead, new rhythms and order require new choices to be made. But often, such choices cannot be made solely with the voice of reason. Such choices often have to be made "on the hop", without any time for reflection at the time of occurrence. Reflection and the settling in of the new order can only come later after the dust has settled. Such types of decision-making demand something extra of the Uranus Libran—the quality of conscious choice, which happens in an instant and without any reason, play on words intended.

Conscious choice is Soul choice. It is beyond thinking. It can only be had when the connection with the higher Self is secure and functioning with clarity and regularity, or it comes in moments of the most intense focus, and nothing better focuses a person than a good crisis, as has been stated in previous letters. Uranus brings on such crises to force open the channel and connection with the higher Self. Once the channel is functioning then the crises get less frequent since that intensity is no longer needed. Perhaps another way of stating the fact is "Nothing brings us closer to God than catastrophe." But, it is the nature of the divine to operate in a steady, rhythmic manner. We simply see that as catastrophe because we are not in timing with it. Always in the life of the person on the Path, the personal must give way more and more to the universal and to greater planetary need. In the early stages the Libran type needs to be shocked out of their comfort zone at times and learns to see the world outside of them as a result. The spiritual life is one of constant change and movement forward, a life given over to sacrifice and for service to a greater need and it demands an ability to be able to sense the essence of a situation and to act therefrom, aside from any personal opinions or sentiments. This is not the sort of life orthodox astrology normally associates with Venus or Libra, although Venus is associated with universal love.

Venus and Uranus in concert form a rather unique pairing of energies. It is a very hard-line type of force, and the effect upon a person’s life, even in orthodox astrological terms, lends itself to emotional austerity, to independence of spirit, to strong adherence to the ideals of love and toward a universality of interest and dispassion. A life full of incessant change eventually leads either to an ability to live by one’s wits (the root of the word "witch") or to a life of hermitage, withdrawn from the helter-skelter of life among humanity. The latter path is not the most desirable for the demands of the world today, unless one spends the entire time on the inner planes and works only from there. For the Libran, though, life amongst people is the norm and the changes wrought by the interactions within relationships—especially close partnerships—offer fertile ground for the one who has to learn the attitude of the detached observer and the "worker from the point of stillness".

We have looked at the relationship between Venus, Uranus and Saturn before in their linking on the mental plane. In Libra we have all three of those planets as rulers, so we again see the great importance of the Libran experience and interlude in the life of humanity. Libra is an air sign, which places it firmly in the mental astrological quadruplicity. All of the signs confer some aspect of mind, but in Libra we see it demonstrated in fullness and to its sharpest measure. Libra is the stepping stone to the intuition (buddhic-plane consciousness) and it shows us the way there. It is the sign that most effectively shows us how meditation works in life, or how it is supposed to work. It is the sign wherein we begin to see the constructive response to and use of crises in human life. That it lacks any spectacular emphasis is true, but that statement is only true in the outer world. On the inner planes, the experience of Libra is one of great importance because it shows the measure of one’s thinking and the weighting of one’s outlook, either toward the material or the spiritual. Hence, we have the symbolism of the scales for Libra. The person’s life is hung in the balance in the Libra experience. The life of the human spirit is always measured by the connection of the three minds, of the quality of the causal energy field (body) and by one’s ability to use those in service. Venus, Saturn and Uranus are instrumental in all of those areas.

Libra as expressed through Uranus also produces some of the most powerful manifestors in the zodiac. These are not my words. This has been given as occult fact. Uranus gives the impulse toward creation of the new. Venus gives the conduit through which the energies of Uranus can flow. Saturn provides those conditions whereby the new Uranian energies can be expressed. It works from the other direction, too. Saturn defines the karmic necessities that confirm the need for a new rhythm and structure in life to be introduced. Venus provides the connections with people and with the higher Self in order to bring that about and then Uranus steps in and provides that energetic impulse which is needed. It supplies the electricity that gets the whole motor to run, in a manner of speaking. It takes a powerfully focused, clear and rightly directed mind to work magic in the world, and that is essentially what creative work is. All work that leads to the manifestation of new forms on earth is essentially magical work, used in the esoteric sense of the term, rather than the popular sense. We could go on and on with this, but hopefully the point is somewhat clearer in people’s minds.

To sum this up, then, with the higher expression of Libra we see the activities of its three rulers linked. In the Venus phase, Libra is marked by the saying "Let choice be made". The reasoning mind is the developing or ruling factor in the person’s life. The satisfaction of one’s sense of reason and propriety is an end in and of itself. The status quo is pretty well adhered to and choice is made based upon what one knows already. We see in this phase the satisfaction of desires in their myriad forms. In the Uranus phase, though, choice is made because of external factors forced upon the native, usually by one’s own higher Self, at which point such choice is made according to greater need instead of personal want. Eventually, the Libran type comes to know the ultimate in choosing—that there actually is no choice, only knowing. When this dynamic is realized then all the person has to do is to stand steady as a conduit of Light and Love, and they stand poised on "the way which leads between the two great lines of force" (materiality and the divine). With the highest type of Libran we enter into the final phase of development, the Saturn phase. In that stage all lower mind and even higher mind has been superceded by the Light of buddhi and all things are then known directly and without thought. "Choice" is then made according to the necessities of planetary karma and the services that can be rendered, and all is done according to Law (Saturn).

The Venus Libran can be maddening in the extreme when they have to choose because they often take a long time and they choose according to their own loves and vanities. Choice is very personal to the Venus Libran and a lot of time and energy gets wasted in comparing themselves to others and in seeking to better appearances. The Uranus Libran can be maddening in the extreme as well, but for other reasons. Their choices are often made in an instant and without consulting anyone. They often act contrary to what people would normally expect them to choose and the choices made sometimes fly in the face of the ones who asked them to choose. Uranus has that effect upon people as well. There is often a twist with the Uranian Libran’s choices, but once the mind is made up, there is no changing it. With the Venus Libran, though, the mind can change like a weather vane according to style, fashion, weather, the color of the sunset or for thousands of other reasons, none of which have to do with anything of real substance. So, hopefully we understand a little more of what Libra is all about and we can move on to the consideration of this full moon.

This Libra full moon occurs on the 28th of September 2004 at 11:10 PM AEST (1:10 PM GMT). It is a most unusual chart, mostly because it is dominated by 10th harmonic aspects—quintiles and biquintiles. The basis of the Grand Quintile pattern is already in place and forms a bowl outlined by Saturn, the Sun, Pluto and Uranus, in that order. The full biquintile patterning is not in place yet, though, since the Sun is not biquintile to Uranus. That only occurs on the day of the Grand Quintile, the day after the full moon. The 10th harmonic pattern in place at the full moon is of great interest to us, however, given what we have been examining regarding choice. This figure shows us that, if we can attain the necessary point of focus in our lives or during the full moon then some most unusual energies can be accessed and much that is unique within us presents the opportunity to be opened. The symbol for the degree of the Sun is most amazing in this regard, and it reads thus:

"A man watches his ideals form before his inner vision" 6 Libra

There is a promise and a challenge here for all who would embark upon a journey for the discovery of hidden gifts with this full moon. The promise is that there will be things presented for our consideration of which we have never thought before. The mundane activities in our lives stand to be transformed into something of rare value. There are jewels of creativity and wisdom in this full moon figure. Our imaginations must be awakened and given full flight if we are to realize those gifts, though. The concrete and the known must give way to the meaningful, the symbolic and the unusual. The Soul is definitely waiting to speak to us this time around. The challenge is to 1) hold the point of focus for long enough and 2) to follow through with what we are given. Too many projects and grand visions fail because of our lack of focus and our lack of persistence. It is the same in meditation. All that is needed in mediation is right orientation, clear enough focus and persistence. Then magic is wrought in one’s life and in the lives of others. The symbol for the degree of the moon is quite surprising regarding these quintiles as well, though it is not involved by aspect. It reads thus:

"A square, with one of its sides brightly illumined." 6 Aries

One thing that becomes clear in any study of quintiles is that people who possess them in their charts have an ability to "think outside of the square", that is, they have abilities with lateral thinking, depending upon the planets involved. With this lunar degree we see the necessity to take aspects of our past patterns and to look at them differently, perhaps looking at sides of them that we normally would not. This symbol can also mean that we may need to pick out one aspect of ourselves or society that we have examined in the past and bring more Light to bear on it—the Light that moves to rest. Dane Rudhyar called this symbol "a one-sided urge for inner stability." Librans can often be painfully aware of this as their own inner dynamic and sometimes exemplify it to the extreme. Therefore, we have in the combination of the two symbols the crux of the energies expressing through the full moon: giving form to our ideals and thinking laterally or one-pointedly in order to do that.

The Sun is trine to Neptune in this figure, which will add fabulously to the ability to sense the inner vision and to bring the intuition to bear on our quandaries. Sun trine Neptune is an aspect that confers intuition of a high order and is known for bringing about a nice blending of emotions and intellect. It also adds greatly to any artistic abilities and the ability to work with symbolism. The Sun is also joined by Mercury, Mars and Jupiter in a stellium at the start of Libra. This is a very powerful stellium and points to either a rapid expansion into the qualities just outlined or a rapid degeneration into the insanity and compulsions that quintiles can so often bring to the unstable people of our Earth. Let us keep in mind from previous statements that Libra also governs war as much as it does balance. The key point here is that we all have a choice and that, for many, choice will be forced upon them, either by their own higher Selves or via the higher Selves of others. In some ways this is a very extreme sort of configuration for those who are already unstable and many could be pushed over the edge by it. No matter what happens, this is no time for half-measures. The full strength of our focus needs to be brought to bear upon whatever we have been given care over at this period of time.

In the last letter I spoke of the Uranus/Pluto yod having Saturn at the apex and about its indications. That yod will be in effect until Dec 15th, after which the biquintile between Saturn and Uranus will persist until almost Christmas day. The yod has been in effect since the 18th of this month. The Sun is roughly at the midpoint of the Saturn/Pluto biquintile, and this emphasizes the need for recognition of self-responsibility when it comes to our choices. It also indicates that we would do well to bring our true individuality to bear on any situation and that our ego drives should run in concert with the sensed responsibilities and wisdom as well as with our sense of what needs to be cleared away as a result of our choices. Pluto/Saturn combinations bring with them "the compulsion to do the necessary" or the "leaving behind of the detritus of the ages". At any rate, the Sun contacting this leg of the 10th harmonic yod indicates that we have a pathway or conduit into both the ageless and the future and that our individuality stands to be transformed in surprising and peculiar ways under the influence of this period over the next months. There is another, more immanent factor that we need to examine in the realm of choices on the world stage today.

In the last letter we looked at the types of things that happened under the impress of the Uranus/Pluto quintiles. Keeping in mind that our present is the result of choices past, at least as far as we can see, then some really interesting things come up for consideration. There have been wars of independence or liberation under this quintile. One could say that there is one raging as we speak—in Iraq. But this is not from the perspective of the Western countries. To the Islamic mind, what is happening in Iraq is nothing short of a war for the liberation of the country and for Islam from the imperialism of the West. I am not taking sides on this question. I am exercising my Libran imperative of looking at both sides of a question and seeing the other fellow’s point of view. "Terrorists", "freedom-fighters", "insurgents" and "revolutionaries" are all relative terms, depending upon who on asks. The fact of the matter is that we all live under some kind of tyranny, whether political, religious, economic or otherwise, and the forces of liberation are strong on the planet as we speak. The choices we make now will carry over for at least the next 20 years until a new creative cycle of releasing comes around. The last time we had this quintile we had world war. That was the choice we, as humanity, made. The seeds of that are still with us, though. I am not forecasting another world war. I made certain forecasts about the war in Iraq in my war letters, almost all of which have come true, though.

I see certain tyrannies from which we all cry out to be released. Some of those tyrants are the oil interests, the huge media monopolies who stifle free speech and who distort the truth and spread fear to suit the selfish interests of those in power, the pharmaceutical lobbies who seek to do away with all who would offer some sort of healing modality outside of prescription medications and who control the medical establishment, the fundamentalists of all faiths who seek to control the hearts of people everywhere through narrowness of view and suppression of enquiry, the leaders of the world who seek to keep the populace of their respective countries ignorant, dependent and acquiescent through unjust taxation, crippling of the educational systems, poor economic management and stilted social structures aimed at keeping them in power….and the list could go on and on. But, you perhaps get my point. At every Uranus/Pluto quintile a blow was struck at these oppressive tendencies in human nature and mankind has thus stood a little more liberated than before. Light shone through the darkness, and people chose to rise up instead of living in fear and ignorance. There are many areas in which we have to choose, and we had better choose rightly and consciously or we will be set to repeat the mistakes of the past. One such time of choosing is looming for the West—the election in the US. All we need ask ourselves if we are voters in that election is if we have more freedom than before the last election, if the world is a better place and if we live in less fear and our proper choice would seem to be readily apparent. I will write more on these matters in the next full moon letter.

Venus is trine to Pluto in this figure, which points to courageousness in matters of the heart, the ability to plumb the depths of love and thus to ascend its heights, an inclusiveness in the brotherhood of humanity that goes beyond all boundaries and the ability to sacrifice all in the name of love when the sensed need is great enough. It is, on the whole, a very supportive aspect in this figure, especially since Venus rules the outer expression of Libra. In fact, it is the only aspect that Venus makes this full moon, and it contributes to a rare clarity of mind during this period and a fine discrimination of heart that is removed from the constraints of the past. There is so much coming to light these days about events since the turn of the century. Though the mainstream media still has a stranglehold on the dissemination of the truth behind these events, there are alternative sources that are gathering strength, and I fully expect that—true to the Uranus/Pluto quintile—the media will once again be stimulated and will become more of a saving force than it has been to date. This fairly well sums up the energetic dynamics of this full moon, although so much more could be added.

As the spring blooms on and we find ourselves more and more in times of colossal change in the course of human events, let us give pause to consider our own circumstance and to the choices that have brought us all to this place in human history. What has been our little part in the scheme of things? What karma has brought us all here together on the world stage at this time? What abilities do we have that have also brought us here? How can we choose more wisely? I have said before that I feel quite optimistic about our outcome as humanity as the years unfold. I see more and more reason to be hopeful, though the monumental stupidity of certain factions still leaves me gob-smacked at times.

How will we know if we are making the right choices? Well, there is ever only one correct choice, and that is the most conscious choice that we can appraise at any given moment. How do we know conscious choice? We can begin by indicating what it is not. No choice made under fear, because of factional concerns, because of selfish interest or personal gain, under emotional duress, because it seems an analogical or logical necessity, because it seems the most reasonable thing to do or because we simply want things to change is a conscious choice. A conscious choice is always made by first weighing a question or a situation against one’s own heart or ethic (understood in the higher, energetic sense), by giving the higher Self time—if there is time—to filter through and respond and then by weighing the outcome against the greater need at that time. If we choose according to our Soul’s behest, as clearly as we can ascertain it, then that is the closest we can come to a conscious choice—and it will always be the correct choice at any given moment. No matter what we choose, though, there is always time to correct mistakes. We simply want to choose rightly so we do not make unnecessary karma for ourselves and others that we will have to clear later. We make conscious choice because it is the right thing to do, regardless of how the outcome affects us. Then, my friends, we live as Souls.

As I have gone through life I have learned that regret is a sentiment that leads only to bondage. I have no real regrets in life. I know now that I have chosen always according to the tools of my psyche that I have had at my disposal at the time. Regret is a bitter pill and guilt over wrong choices is a poison that festers in the system and blots out the Soul. But I know, too, that choice is a sacred pact I have with my higher self and that every choice I make has profound opportunity and consequent responsibility attached to it, even in the smallest things. Truly has it been said that there are no little things. As we move through this Libran period let us choose to be daring, to express more of our uniqueness than we have dared to in the past and to walk boldly, courageously and with assurance into the future, knowing that our choices have been made wisely and consciously. The world will breathe much easier if we do. And the next time a beautiful day, meeting or circumstance comes along, take time to stop and smell the orange blossoms, for the change from routine and the opportunities that brings are as nectar for the Soul. Maybe the next time a grand day comes along I will choose to have a little repast instead of work. May even your play-time bring out the Light of your Soul, for nothing so feeds the Soul as newness of experience and joyfulness in a well-loved repast.

Happy trails and glorious days to all of you!


* tinnie: a small aluminum fishing boat

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