The success of human evolution lies in our ability to overcome the limitations of the form. It was the potential that consciousness gave that enabled man to evolve from animal man into the human and it is the continued growth of this consciousness that enables him to overcome the obstacles that he must confront and resolve as his world becomes increasingly complex, greater in capacity and challenging. Some of that world is of man's own creation but much of it is a result of his increasing ability to see and to understand the physical aspects of the planet and the universe as it has been throughout man's time on Earth. He has made tremendous strides in understanding his own world, its systems and natural laws, from the understanding of the tiniest particle of matter to some of the largest forms.
Yet what we are as a thinking mechanism does not seem to have changed greatly since early times. We know, for instance, that should an aboriginal man choose and have the opportunity to move from his remote forest into a modern city and have the equal opportunities for educational development he could in just a short time take on all the complexities of the modern world and work alongside someone raised totally in that world as their equal. We now see that aboriginal man's mental capacity has advanced just as well as anyone, which is far beyond animal man and has all the intellectual potential of any modern man.
As we have been able to become something potentially far in advance of animal man so we shall also be able to become something more than human. That driving impulse that we call instinct belongs to that same driving force that has allowed us to develop the intellect and this is the unstoppable force of consciousness. Whatever we have become, we still contain all that we have ever been and this means that there are many things of animal man that we must never do if we are to advance as humans, likewise there will be things that fall into the wider framework of the human that we must cease to do in order to live as a more spiritual being. Carl Jung writes about this remnant of primitive animal man that remains in man as 'the trickster' or the 'shadow'. He observes that, "As soon as people get together in masses and submerge the individual, the shadow is mobilized and, as history shows, may even be personified and incarnated" 1 We see this activity in the mob today in the football hooligans, the rioters and the massacres perpetrated by a units of modern armies. We must acknowledge the shadow, be constantly aware of this potential. There is a door behind which evil dwells, in each one of us and we must close it forever. So with each expansion of consciousness we must become increasing responsible for our actions and this we must do if we intend to continue to expand the horizon of our consciousness. Yet this consciousness must become all-inclusive if we are to further advance towards a universal capacity for understanding.
Many of us believe that the next stage of the development of consciousness for man is the spiritual intuition, this is not the astral awareness of the trance medium, yet just as instinct is a manifestation of consciousness like intellect, so the lower astral awareness is related to the spiritual intuition, yet this is a more highly developed sense of awareness that will allow clear personality understanding of new worlds of being beyond the physical.
The cosmic, universal or spiritual forces that allow humans to develop conscious awareness flow strongly through the constellation of Cancer. It is said to have stimulated the impulse into the human kingdom through the development of instinct into the mass consciousness from which human society was able to form. Since then it has been responsible for the stimulation of all intelligent activity in mankind, through the stages of self-consciousness and towards the increasingly complex social consciousness that will one day perfect into a group consciousness that will require the intelligent involvement of each one of us for its complete development. This is in marked contrast to that mass consciousness in which the majority of men are all to some extent unconsciously carried along.
There must be a fulfilment of those tests that consciousness sets at each stage (marked as a constellation) as we circuit around the wheel of life in the clockwise or anti-clockwise direction before it is possible to move on across the threshold into the next stage of conscious awareness. Just as in Capricorn we were able to begin to experience what it is like to be human, so in Cancer, its polar opposite upon the wheel of life, we will be able to begin to experience the spiritual kingdom as the soul. These are the two principal gates of the zodiac; the former is the gate of man and the latter is called the gate of the gods.
The test of Cancer was the fourth labour that Hercules faced upon his reversed circuit of the wheel of life, those gates between the signs were for him no longer the gates of man but have become the gates of the gods, for he must now truly become a Lord of Knowledge and Wisdom. Here he must capture the hind or doe (the symbol of the impulse or force of consciousness at all its stages of unfoldment) and learn the lesson that there are no clear distinctions between the aspects of man's nature but that they are all stages of the unfoldment of one reality. Hercules needed to know what the hind looked like to be able to capture it and so he talked to those who he thought would know. Each had there own idea of what the hind was and they told him the truth but their truth was only a partial truth and Hercules could not grasp a complete picture of the hind. Artemis, the moon, who ruled over the form, thought that the hind was the instinct. Diana, the huntress, thought that the hind was the intellect for she saw man was the great seeker or hunter after truth. Armed with these two descriptions Hercules is said to have searched for a very great time, in fact for a whole life cycle. Finally he was able to capture the hind and carry it to the temple where he met Apollo, the sun god, who saw the hind as the spiritual intuition and so was able to claim it. The problem that we all must learn is to use these three aspects of consciousness correctly, in both their proper place and in the proper way. Many of us are at the stage where we are exploring the world of ideas and are searching for the complete truth about those things that interest us but of which we have an incomplete knowledge or understanding. This is how it should be. Yet many are at that stage where they recognise that they need to know about the spiritual realities and neither instinct nor intellect can reveal these to them. For at this stage it is necessary to transmute the intellect into the intuition in order to gain access to those worlds of which we have been unconscious during our time in the physical world. Then it will be truly possible to make our material world into a place where the things of the spirit can thoroughly be understood and can flourish.
The tasks of Cancer contains many imponderables for we ordinary men because it concerns much of the secret of the underlying world of causes that lie above the threshold of our current consciousness, we will not fully understand its functions until we can use the spiritual intuition with considerable fluency. Then as we become the initiate disciple we will be able to grasp the creative processes that pulsate through the manifested universe. This is primarily the expression of life and of spirit rather than of body and soul and with this new facility we may gain some considerable understanding of the underlying causes of creation.
Such mysteries as these are also associated with the remaining arms of the Cardinal Cross; these are Aries, Libra and Capricorn. All four have major divine energies pouring through them into the physical world producing a vortex of force which, it is said, creates a pool of pure, fiery light that eventually we will all need to pass through and be cleansed from every aspect of the material form by the purification of desire.
Although substance came into initial activity in Aries through the impact of divine desire and was impelled by the breath of Life or Spirit it needed the blending together of the activity of consciousness in Taurus and the manifested duality in Gemini for life to come into outer manifestation as it did in Cancer through the first major fusion of life and consciousness. Then this door into physical expression opened wide to the demand and the impulse of divine spirit, exposing the form to the attention of the soul and to its purpose which is the revelation and expression of the life aspect of deity in and through all forms in the manifested world. In this man leads the way, it is his example, his care and encouragement that will one day help to nurture the soul into activity in all forms. This is such a fantastic idea, yet the soul sleeps in all forms and it's awakening is inevitable if the process begun in man is continued. This outcome is unimaginable to we humans but it would seem to be the natural progression for the work of soul and necessary if our planet is one day to become one of the sacred planets as commentators predict.
1 'Four Archetypes', p147 (paragraph 480 in Jung's Collective Works).