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Getting on With our Spiritual Lives

By Malvin Artley
May 2006

Greetings, my Friends!

In the heart of every person lies a space where the highest aims of life are known, where one's destiny is made clear, where one's most beloved Ones are kept in close rapport and where the wisdom of the ageless experience of Spirit is remembered and contacted. Those most beloved Ones are not simply the great Spirits and Masters Who guide the human race, either. They are the members of the spiritual group to which one belongs and with whom one's spiritual destiny in life is shared. I have been given pause to contemplate many aspects of the heart recently, and to where my own true destiny proceeds. Recent months have seen a great 'clearing of the karmic decks' for so many people, including myself, and now those same people stand poised for the start of many things anew. My recent trip to the US gave me a gift in that regard (many gifts, actually), and I realized while I was there that I had indeed left my past behind. There was no nostalgia, no desire for the things of the past-except for a plate of fried chicken and veggies at Stavro's Grill in Burlington. Of course I will always treasure the time spent with family and friends and the entire shared heritage there. Nothing would ever take that away. As for the land and the place, though, the connection has served its time and I feel moved on from a large part of a life that was. For me, these days, 'connection' is about the heart and the members of my Soul and Spiritual group with whom I commune regularly there.

There is always a platitude that people like to banter about when a major historical milestone is reached in one's life: "With every ending there is also a beginning." With the Wesak Festival we celebrate such an ending and also beginnings, though on a scale far grander than the human lives we lead. The Wesak Festival is the Festival of the Buddha-a celebration of the liberation of the Buddha Himself and the promise of liberation from suffering and the need for earthly form that His example holds for all of us. In a real sense, the Wesak Festival is a celebration of the fact that the Buddha is gone from this world, that He has left the realms of samsara. However, it is also a blessing in that He returns each year at this festival to show us the way across the great river of suffering (samsara) through helping us to realize our dharma, which is always the way to liberation, and which is always realized through our travels with our group members in the Path of Life. Always with the Wesak Festival, there is a fresh impulse to get on with our spiritual lives, to leave behind the things of the past that no longer suit our path in life and to commune more fully with the hearts of all who walk with us on that path. Thus, this could be said to be the greatest of the spiritual festivals in the year, for it puts us most in tune with the very purpose of our being, more so than any of the other solar festivals.

The time has come for many of us to step up to the spiritual mark and present the highest gifts of our natures to the world at large. The major gift to and from any Taurean type is one of what is truly valued in one's life. Taurus is the sign most associated with personal values, with what one really owns and with the proper use of one's resources. It is one of the signs most associated with custodianship. It is also the sign where self-esteem is most prominently learned and challenged. Every Taurean type goes through an identity crisis at some point in their lives, whether recognized consciously or not. Being of the nature of a catalyst, Taurus provokes and invokes those lessons that stir the very Soul of the native and the people around them into action and growth, no matter at what level Taurus is active in the individual. * It is a sign of great trial and testing, as exemplified by the life of Guatama, the Buddha, Himself. It is also one of the most illuminating of the signs, giving profound insight in the advanced Taurean type, and very often a powerfully active third eye. It is a sign that gives penetration into the subtle realms. It bestows 'The Penetrating Light of the Path', and for the Taurean type who has moved into a measure of grace and is no longer bound by the past and the pull of a large measure of their karma, there is always an unerring sense of where they need to move and what they need to be doing. Such a Taurean type (no matter at what level) is a person to be highly valued and sought out within one's circle of sangha.**

This idea of what is most valued in life and what our highest gifts are to the world is a theme that is to be very much highlighted in this Wesak period. The degree of the Wesak solar position is the 23rd degree of Taurus by the Sabian symbols, the symbol for which reads thus:
"A jewelry shop filled with valuable gems."

This symbol implies two aspects-that of the development of the gem itself and that of the artistry of the craftsman who produces the finished, scintillating jewel from the raw product. Both of these ideas are integral to one's understanding of Taurus and how it works in the lives of people, and we need to flesh out our understanding of those to get a fuller idea of what this Wesak period actually means to us. On the surface, the figure for this full moon does not appear to be that potent. However, we need to remember that we are talking about the Wesak Festival. There is much more than meets the eye with this chart and period, as we shall see. In addition and integral to that, there is a Uranus station that is about to occur, and that will bring major change and/or upheaval for many people who have planets or angles at the 14-15th degree of a sign. Uranus has just moved within orb of the stationing degree of 14 Pisces 44, so the next four months are going to be ones of major change and rearranging-and also times of magic for some. We will look at what the Uranus station means for people later on in this letter.

The symbol for the solar degree will call up immediate associations for all people familiar with Buddhist literature. In Tibetan Buddhism, the celestial Buddha (the liberated Buddha) is called 'Dorjesempa'-Diamond Soul. All gemstones are formed by the tremendous internal pressure and heat within the bowels of the earth. The esoteric ruler of Taurus is the etheric planet Vulcan, the God of the Forge. This planet governs the shaping and pounding of the persona into usable material through the ages and through the hardships of life. Vulcan drives a person forward and shapes the personal life to the needs of the Soul-the two lives of which are constantly at odds until a late stage upon the spiritual path. Yet, through all the trials of life, the Soul as the God of the Forge shapes our lives, sometimes through grace and often through adversity. Eventually we become as the raw gem formed through the crucible of experience, and then we are ready to be fashioned into the glorious jewel that is the perfect receiver and transmitter of the spiritual Light in the world. It is the Spirit, our highest essence or monad, that is the ultimate Lapidarist over this raw living stone the soul has produced through the ages. Thus, in the finished gem that is the human soul-body, the fire of Spirit can blaze forth into the world and the perfection that is Spirit itself can be beheld by all. The action of crucible and lapidarist are both to be found in the story of Taurus. As any Taurean type can tell you, life is hardly happiness and sunshine all the time. You cannot help but break a few dishes as you move through the china shop of life-whether your own or those of others.

Every Taurean thus has a choice in life-to either exemplify all that is finest and most precious in one's heart of hearts, or to stay stuck in the material world and slog one's way through the treacle of life's experience. And, more often than not, the Taurean type has to do both at the same time. For the Taurean, the choice presented is between the material world and the life of spirit, and the test is always how to reconcile the two. Taurus is about value-adding to what one is given. It is about the product of one's work as a Soul in this world. It is about finding the very finest in all that life has to offer. And, after all that, it is about shining a Light on the Path for those who follow in the footsteps of this one who has very often had to learn through the school of hard knocks, which is another name for our little world-paraphrased, of course.

Taurus brings a wealth of experience and a fullness of heart when that heart is opened. This represents the higher aspect of Venus, the orthodox ruler of Taurus. That heart is opened for the Taurean type when stubbornness is transmuted to spiritual determination, when blind rushing into experience in the pursuit of desire is transmuted into the clear Light of sensed spiritual direction and when desire for material goods is transmuted into a realization and real spiritual hunger for all that is best and true in human experience. All of the preceding qualities are what we are reminded of each year at the Wesak period, and that is why it is so often seen as a difficult time of year for most people. The persona wants to be comfortable and ensconced in the material world. The Soul drives us forward to spiritual excellence-to shape the material body/world into a temple worthy of the Dorjesempa. The spiritual path is not one of personal comfort, but it can be one of great joy in shared experience. Sharing is the very thing that every Taurean type must ultimately learn. Only then is the heart of the Bull finally and fully opened. All this being said, let us see what this Wesak period has on offer-and it is a very rich field of experience, indeed.

There is a background energy that we need to discuss that will be a key feature of this Wesak period, that will underscore everything that has been discussed about Taurus thus far and especially about the symbol for the solar degree in the Wesak figure. As I mentioned before, Uranus has just moved within orb of its stationing degree, and it will remain there for about the next four months. During that period, it will station (appear to stand still in the heavens) from the 17th to the 20th of June. After that, it will slowly begin to retrograde (move backwards) until it leaves the orb of its station on the 11th of August. It does all of this in the sign of Pisces-the sign of the World Savior. As such, it represents a great transmuting and saving force in the lives of humanity. Much that it will bring will seem miraculous until it makes its station. There will be flashes of sudden insight, unexpected windfalls of opportunity, both material and spiritual, and a fuller recognition of the Soul's gifts in the lives of every person, especially if it contacts planets or angles in a person's chart. After that, one can expect sudden reversals of fortune (seemingly) as the Soul seeks to impose a new rhythm on the lives of people during the retrograde period, which lasts until the 21st of November, where it again stations at nearly 11 degrees of Pisces. It finally moves off its current stationing degree at the first of March next year.

So, we can see that Uranus is going to be throwing us a few curves well into the next year, especially for those people who have planets around the 14th degree of the mutable signs. For those who have Uranus contacts with natal planets during the retrograde period, the reversals of fortune described will not be evidenced if these natal planets are retrograde themselves. Actually, for those people, some very unusual and strangely wonderful things can happen as the energies of Uranus can thus be utilized to offset the normally inward-turned effects of those planets. For those whose contacts are to the luminaries and angles, however, one can indeed expect what might be perceived as reversals of fortune. It is all really a matter of perspective, as everything in the life of the Soul is beyond temporal measure and human reasoning. At the end of it all, a new rhythm will be imposed upon the lives of many as a result of the action of this Uranus station and the Wesak period. How will all this work out? Let us do a brief delineation of the effect of Uranus on the planets and the angles of a chart. So, Uranus in aspect-especially conjunct, square or opposing the following, yields:

  • The Horizon (Ascendant or Descendant)-changes in self-perception/partnerships, sudden unions and sudden breakups. Great self-knowledge results from that, however.
  • The Meridian (Midheaven or Nadir)-sudden changes in fortune and home. Relocation, crashes of businesses, new relations forming with respect to home and business. More than the Horizon, aspects here will give foundational change in a person's life. It will be markedly changed in a big way. It can also take one to their true spiritual group.
  • The Sun-self-empowerment, independence, and being moved beyond what have been restricting circumstances. Major challenges to ego structures and the rhythm of life and nervous difficulties as a result. This is definitely a time to take things low and slow.
  • The Moon-emotional shakeups and setbacks. The moon represents the past in esoteric astrology and Uranus represents all that is new. These contacts will break one free of the past, but that can be a painful thing for many. Sentiment is a thing difficult to release at times.
  • Mercury-the best of the lot, because Mercury and Uranus are so compatible in many ways. Be careful of arguments and sudden outbursts with this influence. It can bring new ways of relating and absolutely brilliant insights into things, however.
  • Venus-changes of heart, simply said. This can bring affairs and endings, new loves and the re-thinking of existing loves. It will also change many relations with groups. A new paradigm in relating and affairs of the heart with this aspect.
  • Mars-new starts, sudden impulsiveness, the danger of accidents, both physical and emotional. Watch speed, take care around machinery and electricity and count to 100 before doing anything out of the ordinary. This is another aspect where rashness is to be avoided at all costs.
  • Jupiter-sudden losses due to unsound business judgment. Organizational skills can be enhanced, but they have to be tempered with sound common-sense. Visionary and broad insight, although a little 'off with the fairies' with the harder aspects.
  • Saturn-watch the temper with this aspect. There are foundational changes to the ego structure here, but it can also bring pioneering, eccentric and erratic behavior. The wise counsel of friends is needed with this aspect because the tendency can be for one to 'jump ship' under this influence. Obligations must be shouldered.
  • Uranus-what more can we say? Expect the unexpected with this aspect. Watch for nerves and accidents with this aspect, too. Life can change suddenly and in a big way with this influence.
  • Neptune-highly pioneering and individualistic thought. A tendency to go against the grain and expected norms of behavior. Remember the '60's?-well, this pretty well describes the mindset.
  • Pluto-important changes in the established order. The rebel (with or without cause), power plays and games and a perverse pride in one's uniqueness. The individualist.
  • Chiron-this is a tough one. It brings endings to intimate relations, sudden reversals in the realm of the heart and profound soul-searching as a result. At the end of it, though, it gives a toughness of spirit, a great capacity for healing and a change in life direction that will be more in line with what the Soul intended in life. In short, the lessons of sacrifice well-learned and the gifts of the Soul finally seen, if handled correctly.

This gives us a snap-shot of what lies in store for the Uranus station and retrograde period.

Finally, we move on to the consideration of the full moon figure for the Wesak period. The symbol for the degree of the Sun has already been considered. The Wesak Moon occurs at 4:51 PM AEST (6:51 AM GMT) on the 13th of May 2006. We find the following aspects in evidence in the figure.

The Sun/Moon axis forms a t-square with Neptune at the apex. It is a separating t-square, but still operative, nonetheless, especially since there is a Moon/Mercury opposition also with Neptune at the apex of that t-square. Mercury conjoins the Sun. The Mercury square is applying to Neptune. The basic interpretation of this-especially with Uranus in Neptune's home sign of Pisces-is that there will be an initial confusion regarding what is sensed around this period and a tendency to lose one's direction in the face of things. This will eventually bring great clarity as the issues are worked through. Mercury/Neptune square warns against miscommunications and self-deceit. Be prepared to expect the unexpected and many twists of fate in the weeks that follow. Many people have already noticed the dynamic beginning to set in. The forces of change are setting things in motion and many a situation will see a resolution in the coming weeks.

There is a separating water Grand Trine involving Mars, retrograde Jupiter and Uranus. This gives gifts in the realm of sensitivity, the ability to reflect upon experience, organizational ability and a pioneering spirit/mind. The trine is separating, however, and it has lost much of the steam it had around the new moon of Taurus. People born a week ago would have had a beautiful kite with the Sun involved with the Grand Trine, indicating self-empowerment and many new opportunities for growth and expansion. Jupiter retrograde indicates that the expansion takes place in the inner realms, though, and not so much in the world. For the Wesak period, however, this is a brilliant configuration, for that is exactly where we are supposed to be focused in the Wesak time.

Saturn is again applying to the opposition with Chiron, which will be exact again in late June. Tensions are starting to build again in the realm of personal relations and world affairs. Look more and more for upsets in the world and between people. The old 'heartbreak opposition' is waxing once again, but it holds us to being dutiful in our shared experience and eventually teaches us a lot about what it really means to feel tenderness for a person and compassion for another's suffering. Pluto is at the midpoint of a Chiron/Jupiter square, in semisquare to both planets. This will bring deep personal transformation for people and will teach us al lot about what happens when we give too much of ourselves and when we wear our hearts on our sleeves.

All other aspects are separating and have thus lost a lot of their punch except for the Mercury sextile to Mars. That sextile will aid greatly in business ventures and with negotiations for contracts of all types, both mundane and personal. It also helps a lot with transport and with the media, all of which will be needed with this Wesak period. Venus is sextile Chiron, which helps slightly with relationships of an intimate nature, but the Saturn opposition to Chiron takes a lot of that effect away.

The lunar degree and its symbol indicate what we are having to integrate into our psyches in this period. The symbol for that degree reads:
"A rabbit metamorphoses into a nature spirit." 23 Scorpio

This symbol speaks to the need for directing the baser drives within our nature toward higher purpose. The generative and sexual impulses within us carry a tremendous creative potency and, when rightly used, can carry us to heights of spiritual ecstasy and to a real refinement of our lower nature. Thus, the call to excellence made through the solar degree is mirrored in this one and we can see this Wesak period as one of a process of self-transmutation through the agency of life experience and its effect upon the basic drives in out nature. Experience is going to push us all around a bit, and in many cases we will never see it coming.

The basic interpretation of the Wesak period, then, is that coming events will lead people to stop and take a good look at their lives. It will also lead people to look for what is really of value in their lives. Impasses in business will not be solved for yet a little while. Initially, it will be a quite confusing period for people who are more sensitive. Outer events will seem askew and awry, and people will seem 'funny' somehow, with missed communications, false starts, seeming deceptions and a host of things that seem either just a little odd or totally outside of the norm. Neptune-since it squares the Sun/Moon axis in the full moon figure-always leads to great vision and clarity, but its methods and motives are hidden away in the depths of the human psyche and in the realm of the Soul itself. Imponderable at first, we are driven to understanding with Neptune (and thus through this full moon) because we are awakened to our hearts and by a real drive to understand things that seem totally outside the square at first. Thus ends our consideration of the dynamics of this Wesak period.

Years ago when I left the shores of the land of my birth to move to Australia, I knew little of what awaited me in this new country. Since arriving here, though, I have come to realize a deep and abiding connection with my wider spiritual group, both here and abroad. In the year of my leaving I physically left my past behind and started a new life. This year there was a psychic 'leaving' of the past for me and I now stand poised at the beginning of another future-one which will take me to the realization of another home-one in which my spiritual family dwells. There is great joy in that for me, and the events of recent weeks have given me pause to sit and contemplate how that will all work out. I feel very excited at the prospects, however, and I look forward to the magical unfolding of the 'new' path, even though it was ordained for me prior to my birth in this world. The Wesak interval is always a time of deep pondering, but also of looking forward and making bold plans for the future. The seeds are planted now, and they sprout forth and grow throughout the year and the decades to follow. May we all find the deeper connection with our fellow travelers in the weeks to come and commune together in that place in the heart where all is remembered and where all secrets must fade away. None may see those secrets except those who share the same secrets, because those people have all walked the same path with us throughout the centuries and know us most intimately in our heart of hearts. May we all find refuge in the sangha community!

The most joyous blessings to you all in this most sacred period of the human heart,
11 May 2006

*For those interested, my research over the past two decades has revealed where the Sun-signs of the astral and mental bodies are most likely found. For Taurus in the astral nature, the most likely physical birth dates that yield Taurus in the astral nature are 4th of Sep-4th Oct. Thus, late Virgoans and early Librans natally are most like to have Taurus in the astral nature. The mind is harder to determine, but as a general rule, Aquarian natives generally have Taurus in the mind, but that could also be early Pisceans or late Capricorns. It is a little difficult to explain, but it is fun to consider and experiment with.

**Sangha; Def: In a stricter sense, sangha can mean the assembly of all beings possessing some degree of enlightenment. It is generally considered to mean one's spiritual associates and fellows along the Path.