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The Direction of the Zodiac
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Kevin



Joined: 19 Aug 2004
Posts: 251

Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2004 11:13 pm    Post subject: The Direction of the Zodiac Reply with quote

All,

I am curious if any have information related to the esoteric meanings attributed to directions taken in the zodiac. I am particularly referring to the directional interpretations given by Robert Zoller in his The Arabic Parts in Astrology (page 64-5), used to enlighten the placements of planetary exaltations. My main question concerns the sense that moving against the "order of the signs", is the direction of spiritual Evolution, and that moving with the "order of the signs", is the direction of the involution of Spirit into Matter, moving from the refined to the gross. What are the possible sources and correspondences for this thought?


much in appreciation, Kevin
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Astraea



Joined: 04 Oct 2004
Posts: 351
Location: Colorado, USA

Posted: Wed Oct 13, 2004 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kevin, my acquaintance with this concept comes from Alice A. Bailey's Esoteric Astrology and the work of the British metaphysician, Douglas Baker (a theosophist and proponent of the Bailey material); as to sources prior to Bailey (who ostensibly received it from the Tibetan master Djwhal Khul), I don't know.

The idea is that involution follows the order of the signs as a "line of least resistance" in spirit's precipitation into matter. Evolution is akin to "swimming upstream" (against the order of the signs, metaphorically), often requiring great effort against long odds, motivated by aspiration to return to spirit (to abstract spirit from matter).
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Kevin



Joined: 19 Aug 2004
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Posted: Wed Oct 13, 2004 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Astraea,

I am glad that you bring up Bailey. Since I have posted this question I have questioned Mr. Zoller himself, and he was quite vague as to the roots of this principle (perhaps deservedly so, considering that the book was written over twenty years ago). He suggested that it stemmed from a lecture given by his teacher N.Y. astrologer Zoran Mason, given in 73-74. He also mentioned Bailey and various reverse horoscopes he had seen in medieval churches.

The problem is that when I investigated Bailey, she seemed to indicate the opposite principles. While Spirit's Involution into Matter, follows the signs, the "ordinary way" of humanity actually works against that direction. It is the "adept" rather that follows the direction of the signs themselves, against the common reversal of the zodiac by humanity. So for humans, the "evolutionary" direction is the direction of the Involution of Spirit into matter. There are repeated quotes from her Esoteric Astrology where she is clear about this, including an extensive exegesis of the Labors of Heracles, where Heracles personifies the adept by following the signs. I give you one quote in particular by her which sets the principle clear:

Quote:
I would here remind you of something which may at first serve to add to the possible confusion already existing in your minds but which lies behind all that I have given you. We have talked of the two ways of proceeding around the zodiac: - the ordinary way from Aries to Taurus, via Pisces, and the esoteric way from Aries to Pisces, via Taurus. These refer to human evolution, which is the only one which we are considering in this treatise. But in the major involutionary cycle which concerns the mass movement of spirit-matter, and not the individualized progress of man, the movement is from Aries to Pisces, via Taurus. The secret of the original sin of man is hidden in this truth, for a wrong orientation took place at one stage in human history and the human family went - as a whole - against the normal zodiacal current, so to speak, and it is only upon the path of discipleship that right orientation is achieved and humanity swings into the correct rhythm of progress.



When I put this forth to Mr. Zoller, he suggested that Bailey was a revisionist of some sort, and had reversed the truth, but when asked what truth he was referring to, he did not answer. My question is, as I am not overly familiar with Theosophy and Alice Bailey, could it be that Robert Zoller, or his teacher simply got the directions wrong, as per whatever tradition they thought they were following?



with thanks, Kevin
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Astraea



Joined: 04 Oct 2004
Posts: 351
Location: Colorado, USA

Posted: Wed Oct 13, 2004 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bailey did use blinds in her discussions (for example) of the three-tiered rulership system of esoteric astrology, colors associated with the chakras, and more. I honestly do not know if that is the case here, but I rather doubt it.

Baker (in Esoteric Astrology, Part I) offers diagrams which show the motion exactly as you have described it: the "average man" following the signs of the zodiac in a clockwise motion, and the "disciple" reversing the process. I suspect that these directions are key to Zollar's ideas as expressed in his book, rather than the signs -- clockwise motion referring to involution, and anticlockwise to evolution as a correlate to "swimming upstream." But that is just speculation on my part.

Thank you for quoting Bailey directly (which led me to check the Baker book) -- you're right, she does say the exact opposite of what I thought she said. Laughing
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Kevin



Joined: 19 Aug 2004
Posts: 251

Posted: Wed Oct 13, 2004 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Astreae,

So Baker and Bailey are in direct contradiction, just to be clear? As I said I am not familliar with Theosophy. Who is Baker in the heirarchy of Theosophical writers, i.e., how authoritative is he/she, and would not such a direct contradiction be rather problematic?


Kevin

p.s. I appreciate your help as you cannot imagine how many people I have asked. Theosophists don't seem to be astrologers, and astrologers not Theosophists. I have encountered a few astrologers in print accidently reversing the clockwise and counterclockwise directions in their books when discussing other techniques, (and only one, Dane Rudhyar, admit it). For some reason it seems to be a hard thing to keep straight.
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Kevin



Joined: 19 Aug 2004
Posts: 251

Posted: Wed Oct 13, 2004 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Astreae,

Actually now that I read your post more clearly, it actually contradicts itself. The "clockwise" motion of the "average" man that you attribute to Baker, is against the order of the signs, and in agreement with Bailey, so how can this be the origin of Zoller's idea, which is in contradiction to both?


Kevin
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Astraea



Joined: 04 Oct 2004
Posts: 351
Location: Colorado, USA

Posted: Wed Oct 13, 2004 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, Baker is in agreement with Bailey -- what I tried to convey in my post is that Zoller might have "mixed his metaphors," so to speak, and that the motion (clockwise and anticlockwise) is actually what is central to his statements about involution/evolution, not the signs. Since Zoller does not precisely remember the source for his statements, this is just one possibility. I was endeavoring to reconcile what Zoller said in his book with Bailey's position -- perhaps there is no connection at all, a case of apples and oranges.

Douglas Baker is widely respected as a medical doctor, esoteric astrologer and teacher of metaphysics (especially theosophy). He runs a school in England. He is a prolific author and an articulate speaker/teacher on theosophical subjects. Dr. Baker's website is http://www.douglasbaker.com.

(Edited to add that after reading Zoller's statement on page 65 of the book, it seems possible to me that he might have switched the the words "involution" and "evolution" in the paragraph in question, as he seems to be referring to the system described by Bailey and Baker.

That said, Zoller does not specifically align his use of the term "esoteric astrology" with the Bailey material, nor does he cite her work in his metaphysical bibliography. Various authors have classified their own systems as "esoteric," without there being any direct correlation between those systems and Bailey's. Not that there needs to be -- the point being, there is a great deal of confusion concerning the classification, itself. For example, prior to Alice A. Bailey's writings, Alan Leo published a book called "Esoteric Astrology" which bears scant resemblance to Bailey's -- yet both books deal with the spiritual aspects of astrology in specifically theosophical contexts.)


Last edited by Astraea on Thu Oct 14, 2004 12:10 am; edited 1 time in total
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Kevin



Joined: 19 Aug 2004
Posts: 251

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Astreae,

Thank you for your clarification and support on this. To be fair, in case I have mischaracterized or misinterpreted Zoller, or others could add to the understanding I post the full quotes from two passages in his book:


Quote:

On page 64

“Now, the movement from refinement and life (Sun) to grossness and death (Saturn), is the ordinary movement of Creation, the movement “in the order of the signs”, the movement of habit. Opposing this, so as to balance it, and to provide a way back to Unity in accordance with the nature of the Ternary, is the Sun-Moon sequence, which moves from refinement and life (Sun) to its reflection (Moon).

On page 65

“In esoteric astrology we deal with two movements along the ecliptic: 1) counterclockwise in the order of the signs and 2) clockwise, against the order of the signs. (See Figure 22.) By the first is indicated the soul’s involution into matter and by the second the escape of the soul from bondage. Spiritual work, insofar as it brings about escape from the compulsion of Fate, is “unnatural”, requiring effort against appetite, instinct and habit.”



Again thank you so much for your kindness, Kevin
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Astraea



Joined: 04 Oct 2004
Posts: 351
Location: Colorado, USA

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kevin, I was editing as you were posting. Very Happy The edit has direct reference to Zoller's statements, which you were kind enough to present in full. Synchronicity!
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Kevin



Joined: 19 Aug 2004
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Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Astreae,

What you suggest I did believe for a time, but in my discussions with him, he specifically seemed still to hold to this interpretation and gave me the impression that this is a common place understanding. In fact, an astrologer friend of mine when I questioned her made the same mistake you made, and remembered the Bailey principle incorrectly. Here is an exerpt from his comments to me, which I do not think he would hold as personal:

Quote:
"He [Mason] distinguished two directions in it:
Involution (in the order of the signs-itoots) and Evolution against the
order of the signs -atoots)... While the zodiac beginning in Aries and proceeding itoots are common and
everywhere "reversed zodiacs" (atoots), I have found "reversed zodiacs" in
religious/ esoteric contexts, eg gnostic carvings, Mithraic monuments,
medieval christian churches. In the 19th/20th centuries, they show us/ are
referred to in "esoteric" literature eg Theosophic-related (eg Alice
Bailey).

More than this I cannot say., except that it is almost commonplace among
astrological theorists that the temporal movenent is itoots & the
"spiritual" movement is atoots."


Whereas these terms "itoots" and "atoots" seem to be his invented terms for the two directions of the zodiac, it was his thought that this interpretation is "commonplace" that got me searching. It seems that it is relatively commonplace, but in reverse of how he describes it.

Kevin
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Astraea



Joined: 04 Oct 2004
Posts: 351
Location: Colorado, USA

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting! I think your last sentence is accurate. Thank you for presenting the subject for discussion -- I am glad to have had occasion to do a course correction in this area of the Bailey material.
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Kevin



Joined: 19 Aug 2004
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Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Astreae,

Well besides my interest in just getting something right, and a secondary point about the nature of how knowledge is passed down and disseminated by authority figures (sometimes very knowledgable people get things wrong), the principles behind this are fairly profound. What makes the "common" reverse direction of the zodiac, "involuting" from a human soul's stand point is that it follows the "illusion" of the rising and the setting of the Sun and Moon, produced by the earth spinning on its own axis. This rotation also is what produces the houses of the horoscope, and following Alan Leo's observation, it is the houses that reflect the most material aspect of planetary influence. The "signs" rather are of course produced by the rotation of the Earth about the Sun, and would be a more Spiritual course. I am in appreciation of you walking through this with me though,


so thank you, Kevin
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Astraea



Joined: 04 Oct 2004
Posts: 351
Location: Colorado, USA

Posted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Kevin. I've been ruminating about this issue since you raised it, and something has occurred to me.

Perhaps we can relate involution and evolution to the concepts of dexter and sinister aspects, both of which (according to Robert Hand) were in place in Greek astrology, and well established in medieval astrology. Zoller's teacher in New York would have been familiar with these ideas.

In classical astrology, one way to divide the zodiac is by halves, assigning one side to the Sun and the other to the Moon; at the opposition aspect, the halves overlap. Aspects on the Sun's side of the circle move forward in the order of the zodiac, from Leo to (and including) Aquarius; on the Moon's side, they move backward against the order of the signs, from Cancer to (and including) Capricorn. Sinister or leftward motion (itoots, related here to the Sun) has long been associated with involution, or involvement with matter; dexter or rightward movement (atoots, linked in this context with the Moon), with evolution.

In esoteric astrology as taught by Bailey, the Sun is representative of the personality as a whole, and the Moon with the most tenacious and illusory aspects of that entity. When spirit precipitates as matter, it does so through the process of involution, eventually creating for itself a vehicle: the personality, the Sun -- overseer of the sinister, itoots, path. When the point of greatest density is achieved spiritually and astrologically, the opportunity for reversal occurs: opposition, at which point the lunar urges paradoxically alchemize a turnabout, and evolution commences on the dexter, atoots path.

In this schema, the Moon would be considered the portal out of dense experience, for the only way out is through; we must recapitulate the stages of involution as we leave the world of appearances, finally exiting the stage via the Moon -- through which we first entered. So sinister aspects move us forward along the lines of involution, and dexter backward in a process of evolution, toward the gateway of initial materialization -- a complete cycle.

These are just some ideas, presented as food for thought.
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Kevin



Joined: 19 Aug 2004
Posts: 251

Posted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Astreae,

What a fascinating thought but before I consider more deeply, I need to get the principles straight. They seem to be incontradiction. You say,

Quote:
Aspects on the Sun's side of the circle move forward in the order of the zodiac, from Leo to (and including) Aquarius; on the Moon's side, they move backward against the order of the signs, from Cancer to (and including) Capricorn. Sinister or leftward motion (itoots, related here to the Sun) has long been associated with involution, or involvement with matter; dexter or rightward movement (atoots, linked in this context with the Moon), with evolution.


It seems that in this quote you are associating both "forwards" and "backwards" motion with the Sun. Can you clarify this portion for me.
And thank you for giving so much thought to this issue.


Sincerely, Kevin
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Astraea



Joined: 04 Oct 2004
Posts: 351
Location: Colorado, USA

Posted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kevin, I can see why it seems as if I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth, because in my mind I'm seeing a picture of what I'm describing that is not self-evident, and thank you for pointing this out.

Visualize a circle divided in half, with the Sun governing the left half and the Moon, the right. The Sun is situated at the top of the left-hand (sinister) half of the circle, in its own sign, Leo, and from that point it moves leftward and forward through the zodiac (from Leo, to Virgo, to Libra, and so on through Aquarius). The Moon sits at the top of the right-hand (dexter) half of the circle, in her own sign, Cancer, and from there moves toward the the right but backward through the signs (from Cancer, to Gemini, to Taurus, etc. through to Capricorn). For purpose of examining the issue of dexter and sinister, the Sun and Moon halves of the circle are considered separately; this has to do with the classical understanding of relationships between sign rulers and aspects, and perhaps (at a subtler level still) to involution and evolution.

Esotericism usually involves a high degree of abstraction, and resists literal interpretation. So, of course the Sun in our earthly experience does move through every one of the signs of the zodiac, just as the Moon does, in order of the signs; however, when discussing such abstract concepts as involution and evolution, the Sun and Moon are seen more in their archetypal roles as king and queen of the cosmos, each operating within his or her own realm of spiritual function. Not only that, but the filters through which we see them are rarefied and enable us to perceive at the level of essence, rather than appearance. At least, this is how it seems to me at present.
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