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Archive for April, 2018

Aries, the Ram

Aries, the Ram

Arise, o shining light!

             Aries is a fire sign. It carries the impulse of fresh, new, fiery beginnings.

            Its color is red, a passionate, vivid color that embodies the fire-force of new beginnings. We embody Aries forces when we create out of our own center, when we speak our own Word of truth, when we create radiant thoughts through our spiritual activity.

            In the human being, Aries forces have created our head. The sounds belonging to Aries are W and V. It is deeply significant that Rudolf Steiner describes how these sounds were the last sounds that he was able to “discover” in the lexicon of Eurythmy. These are the sounds of the Beginning, and the forces of darkness veiled them from him.

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This is the eurythmy gesture for the sign Aries. Scroll down to find the link to the video showing the gesture and the sound.

Aries as a Spiritual Force

            As the first sign of the zodiacal circle, Aries represents the opening of the book of creation, the first Word of the Creator. As the Word flowed forth from the mind of God, the speaking itself became a God, and through the living Word, the world began. The name of this living Word is known to esoteric Christians as Christ.

            Let’s dive deeper: imagine how, before the beginning (an impossible thought!), there was no time, no space. The ineffable Creator was a self-contained world: all was “enclosed” in a Mind, un-perceivable because un-manifest.

            Imagine: for reasons that only philosophers and poets can guess at, the Creator chose to “turn Himself inside out.” That is to say: S/He allowed what was in Mind turn into manifestation. I can imagine the still fire that lived inside of Mind, beginning to turn into visible flame: I can imagine some spiritual door “opening” and the fire beginning to pour outward. Everything that flowed was of the nature of the Creator, its pure manifestation. This was the Word itself, speaking the world into existence, and through its activity, time and space and all Being came into existence.

            And that which was created was now flowing out of the Creator. Outside and inside were created, and what was “outside” became the listener, the beholder of the world. Thus began the first conversation, the dialog between the Creator and the Created. The act of Creating weaves between the two.

            The energy of the Creating Word flows through all Creation. I can imagine it as a flood of water pouring forth abundantly, shaping the world even as it came into being, creating the outlines of things, becoming surface and sheathes, flowing above and below and around.

            Time and space were created, as this wave flowed forth from its source as Aries manifestion. The further it flowed, the more complex it became, and the more spirit potency it relinquished. As it grew and ripened, the world became solid and formed—which is the gesture of Scorpio, the sign of death and rebirth, whom we shall meet in the fall. We must call this shaped world the “frozen word.” The entire natural world is the manifestation of the Creator’s thoughts and dreams and will. It is the Creator turned “inside out.”

            We walk through the world created from Aries energy. We are born of it, we live in it, and we are learning to speak back to it.

            The symbol of Aries is the lamb with its head turned backwards, looking behind. It represents that the lamb is remembering its past, where it comes from, its Creator, even as it prances into the future

 

Aries and its imprint on our body  

            There are 12 signs in the zodiac as we know it, and each sign represents one chapter of the song of Creation, beginning with Aries, the Word, and ending with Pisces, the sign of the human being and all that we may become. Taken as a whole, the zodiac provides a complete picture of Creation, and yet each sign manifests one particular aspect of the 12-faceted jewel. Thus, we have twelve months of the year, twice-twelve hours in the day, twelve cranial nerves, twelve senses (counting the somatic and the spiritual senses), twelve colors (including the five subtle “spiritual colors), twelve philosophical points of view, etc. In like manner, each sign of the zodiac is “lord” over one (or two) sounds of language, and also “lord” over “one-twelfth” of the human gestalt, one part of the body.

            The forces of Aries have created the human head. The brain that is housed in the head facilitates reflected, sense-bound thinking. We stretch into the world through our sense organs, and from it received impressions. The head is nourished by the forces from the digested food that stream upwards: these are transformed into the capacity to illuminate our senses impressions and turn them into consciousness. The more refined our sense impressions, our mental images, and our memories become, the more luminous our consciousness becomes.

            Have you ever become conscious of what happens when you understand a thought? How we say in English that a “light bulb lit up” in our heads? When we truly practice becoming aware of what happens as we think, we notice that the head becomes the place where reflected thinking is resurrected into light-processes, radiant thinking. Aries, the lamb of the creating Word, is redeemed in radiant consciousness processes.

 

The sounds of Aries: W and V

            In Eurythmy, we can enter deeply into an experiential understanding of the different sounds of the zodiac. For each sign of the zodiac, we create a particular gesture with our bodies to allow that sign to come to expression. Out of this gesture there then unfolds the movement that expresses the sound that is born out of that sign.

            In Aries, the gesture identifies the head as the place from which the word will grow. The gesture is created thus:

            Stand quietly. Allow your thoughts to become quiet. Imagine your Mind bearing all the fullness of the world that is to become. Your head is a sphere that is quiet yet over-full with the potentiality of all that could come into being. Stretch slightly into your head, but don’t look up: feel the roundness of the back of your head. Now, lift your right hand and hold it directly in front of your sternum, with the palm facing to the left. The fingers point upwards, even as the chin sinks subtly towards them.

            The sounds for Aries are the W and the V. Curiously, Rudolf Steiner tells that these were the most difficult sounds to “discover” and teach in Eurythmy, for they were, he said, the primal sounds and therefore deeply hidden from him by the forces of darkness.

            To create the W, bend forwards at the waist, and lower your arms, holding them parallel to each other. You may imagine yourself to be underwater, and swimming upwards. Lift your arms, feeling the “resistance” of the water against them. An even loftier picture would be to imagine yourself as the Creator, standing within your sphere, as yet unmanifest. As you lift your arms, your lift a great curtain, open a door, and what you hold within you can flow forth. This is the power of W, the first creating.

            To create the V, imagine the force of the world flowing through the world, omnipresent, bathing and blessing and covering everything with its word-nature, with its wise, sculpting, molding power. Now, standing upright, hold your hands behind your head, fingers pointing upwards. As the movement of the V begins, raise them, curving them around the fullness of the back of your head, over the top of your head, then over your forehead. Now let the V continue on into the space in front of you. Imagine it flowing forth –even as Aslan’s songs did— over hills and down into valleys, up and down and up and down. Even when you can no longer extend your physical arms, your etheric arms will continue to rise and fall as long as you imagine your song, your Word speaking into the space in front of you.

            Thus we can imagine the power that was in your head, flowing into the world.

            Thus we can imagine the world that was in the Mind of the Creator, flowing forth and creating All that would become.

Click on the link to see the video clip: Aries and the sounds W and V

The Deep mythology of Aries:

            Spring time is the season of beginnings, and the day of the spring equinox is the first day of spring. In our present time, the Sun stands in the sign of Pisces on March 21. As a result of the so-called progression of the equinox, however, it has not always been in Pisces on that day. Over the course of more than 25,000, the spring equinox moves through the entire circle of the zodiac. Thus it is that one zodiacal sign rules the circle for about 2160 years, and marks what Rudolf Steiner called the sequence of cultural epochs. Researchers of mythologies and sacred traditions in cultures can often see that the zodiac sign that rules an age plays a very significant role in the stories of that age

            Aries, the sign of the Ram was the sign that ruled what is known as the Greco-Roman age, for in that age (727 BC-1413AD), the sun was in the sign of Aries on the day of the spring equinox (March 21). We can look for the dominant Aries forces in the myth of the Golden Fleece.

The “Age of Aries” (the period when the vernal equinox occurred in Aries) corresponds to the so-called Greco-Roman period. It can begin that their story begins with the tale of the Golden Fleece.

            “Phrixes and Helle were a pair of brothers who were children of a cloud goddess. They fled from their step-mother on a winged ram who carried them thorugh the air and whose coat as of pure coat. Helle fell into the sea (the sensory world) at a point between Asia and Europe, symbolically marking the bridge between two important cultural epochs. Phrixes was saved, and the ram carried him to the Colchians, by the Black Sea. There he sacrificed the golden ram, and hung his golden hide—the Golden Fleece—on an oak tree in a grove dedicated to Ares, whence it shone far and wide. This fleece==sacrificed starlight—shines in nature, guarded by a dragon representing the sunken zodiac, now coild into a serpent form. This image portrays something of endless significance: the clairvoyances of bygone ages that has been sacrificed has been processed into clear thinking provided all trials originating in zodiacal forces are successfully met, the dragon overcome, our lower nature put to sleep.” (Human and Cosmic Evolution, Erasmy page 389)

            When word of the fleece became known, heroes set forth to find it. A marvelous boat, the Argo, was built of the finest wood, and all the heroes of that age set forth in it to find the fleece: Orpheus, Hercules, Theseus , Peleus, and many others. Their journeys have become the stories of myth and adventures.

            What is the fleece? What is the Argo?

            The fleece represents the entire circle of the zodiac, the forces that the noble, radiant lamb wore as his fur as he flew across of the sky. The fact that that ram was sacrificed and his fleece was saved signifies that now the cosmic energies have are fully to be found on the earth. The fleece was hung on a tree in Asia Minor, the land of deep wisdom cultivated long ago, before the Greco-Roman age. The Argonauts were the heroes at the dawning of the new age: they sought their initiation through daring trees traveling to the ancient sources of wisdom, in the distant Orient. Returning, they could carry the fruits of the past into the west and plant the seed there for the new age that was to dawn.

Sidereal dates: April 14-May 15       Tropical dates: March 20-April 21

Color: Red    Element: Fire    Sound: W,V    Element of sound: watery

Physical body: Head

Virtue: Devotion    Spiritual Capacity: The Event

Hierarchy: The Logos      Cultural Epoch: Greco-Roman

 

Gods of the Word and the Zodiac: Prologue

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            Eurythmy was given to humanity for our age, as an art form and a sacred movement that accesses the true archetypal forces of health and healing. It opens the door for a deeper understanding of the forces that have made the Earth and the Human Being. My purpose in creating this website was to make it possible for as many people as possible to access these forces, especially in this world when so much has turned away from true understanding of the spiritual world.

            As part of this service, I want to bring you thoughts that will help you understand the spiritual world better. In that spirit, throughout the twelve months I will bring to you essays about the human being and the stars, and specifically the 12 signs of the zodiac.

            This work has an especially deep connection to the core of Eurythmy, for in Eurythmy, we can enter deeply into an experiential understanding of the different sounds of the zodiac. For each sign of the zodiac, we create a particular gesture with our bodies to allow that sign to come to expression. Out of this gesture there then unfolds the movement that expresses the sound that is born out of that sign.     

            In the twelve essays I will write, I intend to give a picture about the spiritual beings who are the guardians of the zodiacal circle and the planets. I will write about how the world of Nature and the sacred human being were created from these beings. I will describe, month by month, the nature of the zodiacal sign ruling that month, and I will go into depth to explain the relationship of these signs to the consonants of language, for when we speak any sound we draw upon the forces of the zodiac. Eurythmy is the powerful doorway that allows us to understand these cosmic-earthly forces.

            And as I write, I will unapologetically write about the spiritual nature of the world and the human being. I will write of our etheric, astral bodies and our divine self-consciousness, for these present our direct connection to the higher worlds. Before I write my first article, however, I would like to prepare the ground.

            Allow me, then, to begin with some seed thoughts.

            In our present time, the vast majority of human beings are enchanted by the power of the sense world. Our thoughts, our plans, our desires, our work are all driven by our unconscious assumption that the world operates like a huge, super-intelligent machine. From this perspective, we are merely insignificant beings struggling to survive on a small grain of sand in the universe.

            We can, however, choose to look at things from a very different perspective. Then, our view of creation looks very different. In the process, I am by no means advocating that we deny science, but rather that we seek for understanding on multiple levels and not on the one-dimensional mechanistic level.

            Before our dimension ever existed, the universe was already unfolding itself in other realms. As humans, we were once embedded in the hearts and minds of far greater beings, analogous to the way that we now are hosts to countless other life-forms that live within us.

            Through long cycles of evolution, time and space came into being. The universe evolved from its condition of pure Being, and as Mind developed, so also did matter. It became ever cooler, ever denser, and at last solidified into a material world, operating according to mechanical laws.

            At long last, in this present earth-time, humans have been “born” out of the womb of the spirits that birthed us. We have become individual beings, each of us experiencing our separateness and isolated existence. This feeling of separation is both reality and illusion, for we are evolving through our separateness towards far greater experiences of oneness.

            In this existence, it will be our journey to resurrect the light of creation by becoming conscious. We, the youngest children of Creation, are the true stewards of this world we inhabit. And our challenge will be to do grow to our blessed future through loving this world of appearances, learning from it how it came into being, and treating it with devotion and care so that all of Creation takes a step forwards through our participation.

            Our ability to take part in this resurrection can begin with realizing that the entire world of the senses is in fact a “frozen word.” This characterization stems from ancient mythologies and philosophies that spoke of the Creator Being as one who spoke, pouring out His/Her/Its inmost thoughts and dreams and will, and thereby creating time and space and everything that has ever become, everything that will ever be.

            In this sense, we human beings could be described as being the final recipient of this Word, living in a world in which the speaking Creator is no longer experienced. It seems to the naïve modern mind that we can explain everything that we perceive through our normal senses through purely material thinking. We are dazzled, we are blinded, we are chained in this world.

            There are, however, other ways to look, to think, to understand. And when we do that, we can perceive another dimension of reality “just on the other side of the physical world”. And yes, we have the capacity to experience this other dimension through becoming more sensitive for the dynamic behind the physical sense impressions.

            It is this that has led modern science to begin talking about field theory, about systems, about interrelatedness. There we begin to perceive the realm of the etheric, the super-sensible life-body of the earth and of the human being. This is where we meet the ever-changing, sculpturally active forces of the word, even as we know them in eurythmy as the movements of the sounds of language.

            As we begin to peel back the veil of appearances, we come to even higher realms, to the astral sphere, where we perceive the origin of the cosmic-creative thoughts that hold the archetypes, the why, what and how of all the shapes that have come into being. Finally, we enter the realm of pure being, in which he archetypes are recognized as the loftiness of spiritual beings. In eurythmy we know these archetypes as the actual beings of the different sounds, and the movements we make enable us to embody their higher will.

            The number of stars appears to be infinite. The sun and the planets move, however, through a proscribed path in the starry sky. The stars that describe their circuit is known as the zodiac, and this zodiac is the external body of the archetypal forces that tell the entire story of our earth-life.

            In the months to come, I will write twelve essays, one dedicated to each of the twelve signs, beginning with Aries, the Ram, the first-born of the signs.

 

These ideas are drawn from a lifetime of living with the study of Anthroposophy and Eurythmy, and draw extensively from the work of Rudolf Steiner.