2013: Discernment. Ceres, Hygeia. Glass Darkly. Damascus.
“I am the Mother and the Child. I, God, I matter am.”
(Full Moon 19 Sept. 2013. 12.12 pm. London, UK.)
Virgo: Discernment and Discrimination
World Events: Seeing through a Glass Darkly
Asteroids Ceres and Hygeia: Virgoan Archetypes
Humanity on the Road to Damascus
Virgo is traditionally associated with diet, hygiene and purification. In the Johfra painting above, the virgin holds a sheaf of wheat, indicative of nurturing through food but also generally, as a loving nurturer and healer – Virgo, the Mother of the World.
Hence the annual cycle of Virgo is an excellent period to initiate health regimes, fasts, exercise disciplines etc. Virgo facilitates attending to the micro-matters of health and everyday life.
Virgo is a triple sign, representing the three goddesses, Eve, Isis and Mary – concerned with the integration of the three bodies of the personality – mental, astral and physical. (See here for more detail.)
At the mental level of integration, the principle of discernment comes into play. To discern means to, ‘distinguish or separate by sifting’. When wheat is processed, it is sifted or ‘winnowed’ – the grain is separated from the husk; the wheat from the chaff, the useful from the useless, nutrition from waste.
Virgo rules the lower intestines that perform the same function – extracting the nutrition and sending waste on its way. Yet the ‘waste’ also fertilises the new seed, perpetuating a continuous cycle.
As a correspondence to the physical, Virgo mentally separates and discriminates. The word discrimination has a similar derivation and meaning to discern. Critical thinking and criticism are bi-products of the evolution of discernment; it is connected to Virgo’s ruler Mercury – in its lower expression as the concrete mind.
Hence, Virgo as the anal, self-obsessed, worrying, fusspot or nit-picker! Virgo types can get constipated easily because the lower intestines are affected by energy pouring through the solar plexus centre. The other Mercury-ruled sign Gemini suffers from a similar ‘disease’, a preoccupation with the trivial and ephemeral – such a common expression in the world today.
Virgo concerns ‘seed ideas’, their germination, propagation and fertilisation; these ideas emanate from the higher mental plane, the ‘location’ of the soul. Virgo embraces the germination process of a seed, through to its eventual harvest, symbolised by the month of September in the northern hemisphere.
It is worthy to note that Virgo contains a paradox. On the one hand it has potent mental qualities, yet on the other it is the strongest expression of the Love-Wisdom ray – in this cycle. The rulership and exaltation of Mercury in Virgo tells alot of the story, as does the ‘fall’ of Venus in Virgo – they both sum up the synthesis of these two streams of force, mind and heart:
“Mercury is exalted in this sign because the mother [Virgo] is necessarily ruled by her son [Mercury] … she is the protector and is responsible for his development and slowly acquired experience. Mercury, being the Messenger of the Gods and the Agent of Their applied control, is therefore the agent of … active intelligence … and of … love-wisdom
… He is regarded as embodying … the mental principle, the expression of the concrete and the abstract mind of God … Mercury rules the bridge or the antahkarana. In Virgo, Mercury reaches his full power, for Virgo is intelligence and the hidden Christ is wisdom or pure reason.
… Venus, pure love-wisdom, falls into generation in this sign and occultly “descends to earth” and stands … for the gift of mind and of divinity, embodied in the Son of Mind and thus for the descent of the Christ principle into generation or into matter. Virgo and Venus are together two aspects of intelligence.
The symbolism of the descent of Spirit into the womb of the virgin mother is preserved for us in the astrological fact that Venus falls in this sign; esoterically, she disappears from view and vanishes into the darkness.”
“Out of the rocky cave, the Christ emerged … Form had no further hold upon him for He had overcome it in the depths. Into the cave of Initiation, the light of resurrection streams when the stone at the entrance is rolled away. From life in the form to the death of the form —deep in the rocky place, down in the crypts of the Temple—the human being goes. But into that same place, the new life streams, bringing fresh life and liberation; old things pass away and the darkness becomes light.”
World Events: Seeing through a Glass Darkly
In this age of multi-media propaganda and world confusion, it is getting increasingly difficult to tell the real from the unreal, to sort the wheat from the chaff, truth from fiction, fear-paranoia from love-truth. The world population is constantly bombarded with many viewpoints and images, seeking to synthesise it all through the filters of personal experience.
Humanity is undergoing a major initiatory testing at the conclusion of the Piscean Age, the polar opposite to Virgo. Pisces holds the vision, psychic sensitivity and intuition, yet also illusion as it expresses upon the astral plane; particularly now that Pisces’ ruler Neptune has entered its sign for the first time in 160 years. The visionary, no-boundaries qualities of Neptune is accelerating sensitivity but also creating chaos in the world astral body.
This is part of natural evolution as humanity invoke higher forces, in its cry for greater light, it deals with those consequences by balancing, equilibrating and integrating these more refined frequencies into the status quo; hence the phrase, ‘harmony through conflict’.
The reception of astrological force is ever dependent upon the quality of one’s ‘vehicles of reception’ – i.e. the three bodies that constitute the personality. The younger ones upon the path will distort Neptunian forces more easily (addiction, blind devotion etc.), whilst others may obtain a relatively correct ‘read’ or impression.
There are many levels or sub-planes of human consciousness that describe the quality of reception of zodiacal, ray and planetary forces. There is certainly no ‘one size fits all’ interpretation, hence a personality-oriented astrological reading will work for some, but not for others who may have achieved a greater degree of soul unfoldment.
Current world crises are the outer reflection of the inner shift occurring for these various stages of consciousness. The old clashes with the new, conservative versus progressive, Pisces to Aquarius, sixth ray to seventh ray. Humanity is awakening en masse, whilst smaller groups are entering the ‘path of probation’, still less are becoming ‘accepted disciples’ in the inner plane ashrams – and a few are most likely becoming true initiates.
As our planet hurtles toward the light, there are involutionary forces attempting to retard its progress – essentially humanity’s unredeemed past – the World Dweller. Humanity simply provides the vehicle for those material forces to manipulate and control.
To move beyond the dweller one must purge anything that will provide a ‘foothold’ for these forces. The paradox is that the dweller provides a fertile field for not moving forward, hence the invocation of the soul to move into battle with the dweller.
Within the annual sequence of signs: Leo, Virgo, Libra esoterically considered, Leo is the phase of mental concentration, Virgo is discernment that arises from concentration, and Libra is the decision that is made – as a result of the judicial mind being activated after the first two stages.
In The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, that great manual for self-liberation, certain stages of unfoldment are discussed. It is almost as if the author had Virgo in mind,
“The discipline of the lower threefold self so that impurity in any of the three bodies is eradicated … produces two corresponding results …
1. Discrimination becomes possible. The practice of the means, leads the aspirant to a scientific understanding of the distinction existing between the self and the not-self, between spirit and matter. This knowledge is no longer theoretical … but is a fact in the experience of the disciple and one upon which he bases all his subsequent activities.
Note that the word ‘sheaths’ is almost the same in sound and meaning to ‘sheafs’ (sheaves) – of wheat. The sheaths of the personality hide the seed of the soul. The husk of the outer hides the essence of the inner – the source of true nurturement. This idea is at the heart of Virgo, the veiling and protection of the soul within the womb, both earthly and universal, so that the evolution and gestation of consciousness can take place.
As souls we are all equally conscious and enlightened – on that plane. But bringing that awareness through into physical incarnation is a different matter altogether, and sees many grades of accomplishment in this area. Humanity does not arrive at full blown consciousness and enlightenment, otherwise there would be no point to the redemption of planet Earth as a ‘non-sacred planet’ – to take its place alongside the ‘sacred’ planets in the solar system that have already achieved that status.
The sacrificial journey of human souls has been to incarnate into deepest matter, to infuse the planet with soul force over many incarnations, drawing all that experience back up to the spiritual source – ‘extracting the sattvas’ (the Virgo harvest) – over aeons of time.
Today, the world finds itself at a critical juncture in that evolution of consciousness, prior to a stage that if reached, will usher in a new cycle of freedom from the incubus of material orientation. This window of opportunity will be open over the next five hundred years, during the first decanate of Aquarius. Hence the pressure is really upon us all to ‘measure up’.
At our current nexus point, Humanity faces the Dweller that it has created for our entire culminating Fifth Rootrace and, the past two thousand year cycle of Pisces, a practically unprecedented situation. Currently the Dweller of Humanity is focused in some of the main Western nations, where it faces off against the Angel of the Presence – or the soul of humanity.
Hence the argument, whatever is perceived in outer world events, of throwing one’s weight subjectively behind the Angel of humanity, embracing the whole, empowering and strengthening the will and resolve of world leaders to make the right choices.
This is one antidote for the current criticism and blame (rightly or wrongly), that is apportioned to world leaders. The global situation is enormously complex, with all sorts of agendas running; we only see the tip of the iceberg. No one really knows what is ultimately going on. By one’s acknowledgement of not being fully informed, lies the opportunity to embrace the whole – acknowledging the truths but not polarising with one faction or another.
“If the subjective relations between the nations are emphasised and the outer frictions and the objective disagreements are ignored, a great fusion of human interests can take place; this will be binding and lasting; if the cleavage between separateness and right relations is clearly to be seen, humanity will know of themselves what action they should take.
In the war raging today between conflicting ideas, it is essential that this cleavage be made abundantly clear. Only the voice of a trained public opinion and the intelligent demand of the masses for right human relations can save the world from chaos.”
The end result of the foregoing Yoga Sutra brings,
“… the power to discriminate between the real and the unreal and to discern the things of the spirit. They cause also certain changes of conditions within the head, reorganize the vital airs and act directly upon the pineal gland and the pituitary body. When these four:
1. Practice. 2. Purification. 3. Discrimination. 4. Discernment
– are part of the life of the physical plane wo/man, then the [soul] … attends to … the liberating process and the final two stages are brought about from above downwards.”
Hence, during this annual Virgo cycle, there is the opportunity to attend to these planetary health issues, to address that which is diseased in the world body and how it can be healed. The outer issues of planetary degradation – unclean water, starvation, poverty, polluted oceans, corporate greed, money and media domination – are all symptomatic of inner causes created by all members of humanity – all-of-us – over thousands of incarnations; we are not separate from it and cannot place ourselves outside that paradigm.
An acknowledgement of this stark fact allows one to strengthen the Angel of the Presence; it creates a sense of non-separativeness toward the wrong-doers, the nay-sayers, the ignorantly motivated; it recognises one’s own contribution to the human lineage. Our task is to catalyse the rest of the ‘cells’ to awaken to greater and greater degrees of light and understanding; hence the initiation process referred to earlier.
Obviously the remedy lies in creating greater alignment with universal law, its cultivation and application in everyday life, working in a Virgo way – quietly, subjectively behind the scenes; or on the outer plane, but making a stand before the material forces that seek to enslave and control.
The asteroid belt lies approximately between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. There are thousands of these chunks of rock and it is amazing how powerful their name symbolism or mythology invoke any horoscope.
The ‘asteroid goddesses’ – Vesta, Pallas, Hygeia and Ceres (a.k.a. Demeter), are particularly important because they contain half the mass of the entire asteroid belt – they have more ‘magnetic clout’, so to speak. Ceres is about twice the size of her sisters, technically she is a dwarf planet. When considering asteroids esoterically, they have a surprisingly potent influence on the levels of the etheric-physical:
“Figures also must be computed when the effect upon the planets of what are called “asteroids” is known. This is much greater than exoteric science has so far admitted, but the significance of this must eventually be interpreted in terms of energy and on etheric levels.”
This is not just theoretical; if for instance, the transits of Hygeia (hygiene, health) are plotted in the personal horoscope with regard to health matters, one will find extraordinary accuracy and guidance. (I can almost hear the stampede to your local astrologer!)
Ceres (cereals, grain, wheat) is closely associated with Virgo on the physical level, but esoterically she is the Goddess of the Mysteries. Ceres-Demeter gave humanity the Eleusinian Rites where the initiatory enactment of loss and return is played out.
The candidate for initiation was blind-folded in an underground cave (Virgo the womb), to ‘run the gauntlet’ of the tests of initiation, called the ‘Greater Mysteries’ in Ancient Greece. Initiation is about bringing forth the soul, ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’ – the seed within the husk. Hence Mary’s association with Virgo, gestation and the birth of soul consciousness:
“Into the cave of Initiation, the light of resurrection streams when the stone at the entrance is rolled away. From life in the form to the death of the form—deep in the rocky place, down in the crypts of the Temple—the human being goes. But into that same place, the new life streams, bringing fresh life and liberation; old things pass away and the darkness becomes light.”
Again, we witness the cycle from seed to harvest. Initiation is the soul’s harvest, gleaned from gradual self-mastery over many lifetimes. Initiation is closely connected to karma (you reap what you sow) – and the Lord of Karma – Saturn, rules the middle decanate of Virgo.
Saturn hears the ripening of a life and comes to harvest with his scythe at the end of a cycle; he is the Lord of Death who reaps souls, that they may drink life anew. He is a ‘grim’ reaper to those who may not understand death; ‘solemn’ might be a better expression.
Humanity on the Road to Damascus
With current world events focused in Syria, close to the twelfth anniversary of 9/11, it is timely to recall the lifetime of Paul of Tarsus, a previous incarnation of the Master Hilarion.
Paul’s conversion from the persecuting Saul, to Paul the promoter of the Christ doctrine, occurred on the road to Damascus. He was blinded for three days when ‘the third veil was rent’, as he underwent initiation and received inner instruction from the One he accepted as the Messiah.
Paul had the Sun in Scorpio and Saturn’s current transit through this sign reflects the intensity of our global predicament. The analogy to be made today concerns the blinding of humanity as a whole, prior to rending the lesser veils and receiving greater illumination. We are in that period now, an imminent conversion in consciousness – on the road to Damascus.
Other Virgo newsletters
 Esoteric Astrology, Alice A. Bailey. pp.281-2.
 Esoteric Astrology, Alice A. Bailey. p.384.
 I Corinthians, 13:12.
 The Light of the Soul, Alice A. Bailey. p.178-9.
 The Rays and the Initiations, Alice A. Bailey. p.641.
 The Light of the Soul, Alice A. Bailey. p.178-9.
 A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, Alice A. Bailey. p.794.
 See more here about Virgo and the Mysteries.
 Esoteric Astrology, Alice A. Bailey. p.385.