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As Above, So Below

“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth—not going all the way, and not starting.” —Buddha

The Perennial Tradition, or Ancient Wisdom, teaches that when Atlantis sunk beneath the ocean waves twelve thousand years ago great beings who had walked and taught openly in that epoch withdrew. Not until the great year of precession had turned, and completion of a long cycle had passed, would conditions permit them to appear openly again.

Survivors of the deluge spread out and colonized what became the seven ancient centers of civilization: Egypt, India, Crete, Peru, Mexico (Maya), China, and Chaldea.

Chaldea is the name for Southern Babylon after its occupation by the Chaldeans in the tenth century B.C. The Chaldeans were accomplished astronomers and astrologers and ancient writers often used their name as a synonym for magician. What is sometimes called the “religion of the stars” is part of a body of stellar knowledge which has survived the Atlantean cataclysm and endured through millennia.

Microcosm and Macrocosm

Astrology is a discipline of correspondences based on thousands of years of sky watching and has an underlying premise that we can learn something about the microcosm, us, by understanding the nature of the cycles and patterns of the macrocosm, or what happens in the sky. Stated another way, “As above, so below.”

There are two cycles, one a smaller version of the larger, which define important sign posts on Earth. Each day as the Sun seems to go around the Earth the twelve signs of the zodiac pass over the horizon in a microcosm of the apparent annual journey of the Sun. From microcosm to macrocosm the year is likewise seen symbolically like a “day” and divided into periods of light and dark. Spring is morning, summer is midday, autumn is afternoon and winter is night.

Progressions are an astrological technique which are seen to be an indirect and subjective influence and refer to an innate pattern of development which links the individual horoscope with the universal plan of creation. Again, as above, so below. The technique of progression allows astrologers to get a sense of “archetypal weather patterns” created by ongoing motions of the planets after birth. Progressions can provide insight into unfolding issues of inner growth and can be helpful with timing matters.

The nature and quality of these energies are seen to shape a person’s life experience, and the energies in question are understood to be electromagnetic. Electromagnetic energy moves at the speed of light and since humans have an electromagnetic component, these influences don’t operate in space-time as we understand it. In the context of Einstein’s famous theory the relationship between velocity and time is described as “relative.” As velocity increases time slows down, and at the speed of light time ceases to exist. Space becomes here and time becomes now. The technique of progression bends time and folds space in a manner that defies logic but has been used for millennia and stood the test of time—pardon the pun!

Since the day is imagined as a microcosm of the year, the most common method for calculating progressions is referred to as a “day for a year.” In this system the planet’s motions in one day of the calendar are viewed symbolically as a microcosm for one year of life. Patterns of life experiences and soul growth are seen to be revealed in the ephemeris (chart of planetary motion) in the first ninety days of life relative to the birth chart.

So the evolutionary pattern which will be experienced at thirty years of age is revealed in the ephemeris thirty days after birth. The symbolic reasoning which supports this is we grow in the womb for nine months (270 days), and it takes three more months (90 days), to complete the circle of 360 degrees. So the planetary positions in the ninety days after birth are thought of as a microcosm, revealing the ninety-year potential span of a human life.

As the Progressed Sun “moves” one degree of arc for each year of life connections are made to natal planets. These solar aspects are seen to be of primary importance, bringing a new upwelling of desires, feelings, urges and calling latent traits into expression. While the Sun in this system moves one degree a year, the Moon moves one degree for each month of life, forming aspects continually and moving around the horoscope wheel in thirty years. The motions of the other planets may create an aspect, or mathematical division of the circle, and bring an inner issue to the surface of conscious awareness.

In this day-for-a-year system the Sun progresses the ninety symbolic days and reaches the place in the horoscope believed to signify the end of life (the cusp of the fourth house). In actuality, the Sun will move through different houses in individual charts based on the time of birth. Life begins symbolically at dawn, the cusp of the first house, and as the Sun progresses through the first thirty years of life, the focus is on a search for identity. In the next thirty years, roughly age thirty to sixty, the attention turns to building assets and worth, matters governed by the second house. The last thirty years, or whatever remains, can then be devoted to gaining an understanding of the meaning of life.

Everwinding Road

The zodiac is a spiraling cycle of expression, moving from starkly individual interests in the first sign Aries toward group expression and intensely collective experiences in the twelfth sign Pisces. Each sign alternates in polarity and this oscillation produces something like a wave pattern of energy. Positive signs tend toward extroversion, pushing energy outward into expression, while receptive signs are more introverted and tend to pull experiences toward them.

Each year as the Sun appears to journey around the Earth we experience this back and forth movement in the quality of the Sun’s apparent passage through the twelve zodiac signs. Likewise as the Progressed Sun changes signs in thirty-year intervals a “phase shift” of archetypal energy infuses the consciousness with an alternative view. Consecutive signs can lead the soul of an individual or nation along a spiral path of evolutionary expression. Each stage of this symbolic journey is transitory and as the energy shifts into a new phase the past experience must be integrated and then surrendered as the next mode of expression unfolds.

This year, in the horoscope of the United States, the Progressed Sun moved into the sign of Pisces after spending roughly thirty years in the sign of Aquarius. The U.S. Sun occupied 13 degrees of the sign Cancer on July 4, 1776, so in the 229 years of our country’s life the Sun has progressed through eight new signs in sequence. When the U.S. celebrates its 360th birthday the Progressed Sun will return to its starting point. What might this seemingly abstract mathematical formula of movement tell us about some aspects of our collective national consciousness?

In general terms the areas of the U.S. chart being impacted are mental patterns, beliefs and relationships. The Progressed Sun will make harmonious aspects to some natal planets, beginning two years from now and lasting until 2017, bring some much-needed harmony and optimism to how we relate to one another and the world.

Pilgrim’s Progress

As the progressed Sun of our country changes signs, ideally the compassion of Pisces will evolve naturally from the fraternal nature of Aquarius, bringing heightened awareness of the needs of the many. It might be said that Aquarius understands instinctively that brotherhood and philanthropy are ideals of humanity. Aquarian energy strives to conceive a vision of the ideal and to understand intellectually what must be done to set high-minded goals. So the past thirty years should have sensitized our national awareness of how we idealize brotherhood. An example of idealistic vision might be recognizing the importance of education and health care for all citizens as well as some form of financial security for the elderly. Implementing and maintaining ideals, and taking all views in account, is a more difficult matter.

The humanitarian response of Pisces springs more from a spontaneous desire to ease the suffering of others because of a keenly felt empathy for their anguish. Here, in the spirit of shared experience, the ideals and utopian visions of Aquarius are meant to give way to compassionate action to alleviate collective pain, making humanity more socially conscious in practice.

Pisces is the most collective of the signs and has always been associated with those in society who suffer or who have been disenfranchised in some way, including those who are imprisoned, repressed, rejected or mentally ill. Likewise Pisces is connected with those who “opt out” or who choose to live an alternate life style such as mystics, poets, artists and recluses. This group includes those who just don’t seem to fit in for whatever reason. Through their separation or isolation they can offer great art on the one hand or can be a drain on society’s resources on the other. Bringing these lost “outsiders” into the fold can be seen as part of the Piscean experience.


Another factor in the equation is how different generations will respond to this shift in energy. For example, values differ between so-called Baby Boomers and today’s teenagers who are sometime referred to as Generation Y. Sixty million strong their numbers rival the “boomers” and they already have substantial purchasing power. Marketers and advertisers have been among the first to study this group and they have been stumped as to what motivates this new breed. They are technologically sophisticated, growing up with computers and the internet. They are more racially diverse, 75% have working mothers, and a large percentage live in single-parent households. In short, Generation Y is more Aquarian. As the U.S. Sun progresses through Pisces this group will mature into our future leaders, wielding power from a potentially different set of values.

In the turning of another large cycle the astrological age of Pisces is ending, bringing what many believe to be the dissolution of hierarchy and movement toward a more egalitarian approach to decision making. Perhaps our nation can experience what is best about Piscean energy and incorporate that into our national persona.

If the transition of energy is accomplished constructively, and the Aquarian urge moves into the deep compassion of Pisces, the urge to reform will be realized in beneficial forms of expression for society. If not, the energy can express as eccentricity and rebelliousness, revolution merely for the sake of change. In thirty years when the Piscean energy of the nation’s Progressed Sun gives way to a new cycle in Aries, the challenge facing our collective consciousness will be to begin a period of renewed activity at a higher level of awareness rather than wanting to dissolve into a sea of escapism.


Classic Astrology

July/August 2005 – #52