Dane Rudhyar - Photo1

Dane Rudhyar


A study of the lunation cycle and the Part of Fortune would not be complete without a mention of what has been known traditionally as the "Part of Spirit." We have seen that the position of the Part of Fortune could be calculated by adding the longitude of the moon to that of the Ascendant, and by subtracting from the sum the longitude of the sun. But we could also add the longitude of the sun to that of the Ascendant, and subtract from the sum the longitude of the moon. By so doing we would find the position of the Part of Spirit.

When the moon and the sun are in conjunction (new moon) both the Part of Fortune and the Part of Spirit are conjunct the Ascendant; but, as the lunation cycle unfolds and the moon races ahead of the sun, while the Part of Fortune moves gradually from the first to the second, third and fourth houses of birth-charts erected for a crescent, then a first quarter moon, the Part of Spirit, moves through the twelfth, eleventh, tenth and ninth houses of the same charts. This is so because, in the calculation of the Part of Spirit the longitude of the moon (the subtracted factor) increases faster than that of the sun (the added factor). Thus while the Part of Fortune progresses in the houses during the lunation cycle, the Part of Spirit retrogresses in the houses. The zodiacal longitudes of the two Parts, however, increase during any day, because the Ascendant itself moves 360 degrees each day. The diagram below should clarify this point and picture the relationship of the Part of Fortune to the Part of Spirit.



The Part of Fortune is as far below the horizon (waxing moon phase) as the Part of Spirit is above the horizon.

It follows from this that the Part of Fortune and the Part of Spirit are actually complementary expressions of the constantly changing angular relationship between the moon and the sun; the former moves by direct motion, the latter by retrograde motion through the lunation cycles. Either one defines the state of the soli-lunar relationship, with reference to the Ascendant i.e., to the earth's surface. The two Parts have the same position at the new moon (i.e., at the Ascendant) and also at the full moon (at the Descendant).

Centuries ago, the name "Part of Spirit" was given to the retrograding Part because, to the archaic (or even "classical") mind, the process of spiritual growth in man appeared to unfold against the natural tendencies of our physical-biological nature; or, we might say, in counterpoint to it. Thus any retrograde motion was somehow connected with a "spiritual" process; and the Part of Fortune was made to symbolize material well-being and social success, while the Part of Spirit represented spiritual well-being and transcendental or inward success. It is doubtful, however, that this definition of "spirituality" has retained its essential meaning for individual persons of our epoch. Another concept of spirituality has developed, and astrology cannot afford to be blind to it, even if so-called "esotericists" still cling to the old image of the "spiritual life."

In order to get a clearer picture of the meaning of the two complementary Parts we should first consider the significance of what are called "separating" and "forming" aspects, particularly in the case of a conjunction. At new moon the sun and the moon are conjunct; then, as hours and days go by, it is said that the moon is separating from the sun, because it moves faster than the sun. But would it not be as logical to say that the moon is actually racing toward her future conjunction a month later with the sun? Therefore from the point of view of a moon that would be looking forward to the next union with the sun, this moon's distance from the great moment of the future new moon would actually appear to be decreasing all through the lunation cycle!

A simple common-place illustration will no doubt clarify this point: a G.I. and a girl marry and for a few brief hours experience the togetherness of love (conjunction); then the G.I. is called away to his social activities as a soldier but is scheduled to return home in a month. How will the experience of love impress the consciousness and feelings of the boy and girl a few days later? According to their individual temperaments one of them may insistently reawaken in imagination the memory of the moments of love; while the other may count the days which still separate them from a new experience, and may seek to project ahead the outlines of this new experience, building it up in expectation and in dream as a greater, more perfect experience or (in case of previous maladjustment) as a thing that already arouses fear and anguish.

These are two different psychological attitudes, both perfectly legitimate, and both likely to exist as components of the total attitude of either the boy or the girl, because memory and expectation are ever implied in the inner life of a healthy and psychologically normal individual who is neither too old nor too young. These two psychological factors, memory and expectation, constitute the two poles of man's awareness of time; or, as the great French philosopher Bergson would have said, of man's sense of duration. What Bergson would probably not have admitted is that all duration is cyclic. It is a flow from the source of the little stream in the mountains to the ocean, in which the river seems to be lost. But it is also the other part of the process; the water of the sea drawn skyward by the sun's rays, eventually to fall as rain or snow on mountains, whence will be born a new spring, a new experience.

Looking at the matter from a somewhat different point of view we might say that the Part of Fortune is more essentially related to the moon; it stands in relation to the moon as the Ascendant is in relation to the sun. The moon represents the feminine factor in the cyclically evolving soli-lunar relationship; thus it refers basically to the development of biological forms. This development starts from the seed and ends in the seed; but there may be, at the level of man, ideological forms (i.e., systems of ideas, cultural products, art-works and institutions) as well as biological forms (living bodies). It is the function of the moon to mother forth and to care for all kinds of organized forms of activity; and "she" does so by "distributing" the energy released at the time of the sun-moon conjunction which begins a cycle of growth. The moon races forward seemingly away from the sun; yet she carries the power with which the sun had fecundated her, and she releases it in order to bring their progeny to a state of maturity within the earthly home. Thus the Part of Fortune, after the new moon, is found moving through the houses below the horizon in the realm of the earth.

As this happens the Part of Spirit, on the contrary, is moving by retrograde motion above the horizon. It is more basically related to the sun and to the function of fatherhood. While the mother cares for the progeny in the home (below-the-horizon symbolism) the father is busy providing social power (money, prestige, etc.). This means that he has to deal with his community, with collective and social energies, with the values which past generations have built through centuries of culture.

Now in ancient time spiritual values were understood to reside in the  "great Tradition," in a primordial Revelation bestowed upon infant humanity by divine Ancestors. It was the community and its religious soul which were the depository of "spirit"; the "return to source" was the spiritual path. Today many people hold still to the same essential belief; nevertheless a different picture of the spiritual life is emerging, perhaps because we are living near the close of a vast historical cycle, and a global "new moon" fecundation is ahead of us. We are now coming to think of the great spiritual experience of mankind in the future rather than in the past. We are looking, hesitantly though it be, to the Seed which is forming within Global Man (the whole of humanity in a condition of synthesis and illumined Mind). This Seed is ahead of us, and here is the main point! we are all involved in the building of it, however infinitesimal our participation in the process might be. Indeed the new ideal of the spiritual person pictures an individual who is totally committed to such a participation, as a co-creator with many of his companions. He is "mothering" that forming Seed of Man. He is a Promethean, looking to the future; not an Epimethean, seeking to recover the ancient experience of humanity in ages long past and nearly forgotten.

It should be clear, however, that both approaches to the spirit are true and valid; they complement each other, as the Part of Spirit complements the Part of Fortune and at the new moon and the full moon of a cycle these two Parts indeed are one and the same. The seed-in-the-end which begins to form at the symbolical full moon repeats in a new and multiplied manner the seed-in-the-beginning. But this seed-in-the-end can be transformed by a new mutation, by a downpour of the "Solar" power of a God-man; and it is to such a possibility that the minds of inspired men living near the end of a cycle look, if they have become free from the pull of the past and from binding allegiances to what was once spiritual truth but now may well be but a deviated expression, or the perverted shadow of an original divine Revelation.

The Part of Spirit represents the hold that the past tradition, and indeed the whole of society which this tradition has molded have upon an individual personality. It represents our involvement in, our dependence upon, our deep reverence for the values that our ancestors have built for better or for worse! The Part of Fortune on the other hand, symbolizes a person's individual effort at realizing concretely the innate potential of his being a constant effort which may lead, if all goes well, to real achievement, or at least to that happiness which arises out of the feeling that one has expressed outwardly what was only latent at birth.

It is interesting to note that it is at the first and last quarter phases of the soli-lunar relationship that the two Parts are in opposition to each other. These are the critical phases of the lunation cycle; and there is crisis because then the pulls of the past and the future tend to tear the personality. At the first quarter phase the will to self-expression through the building of organized forms (i.e., through "creative" activity) has normally the upper hand unless the new moon fecundation has turned abortive. At the last quarter phase the individual person (or the collective organism) tends to look back to what seems to him valuable precedents and universal principles, for he is now feeling himself as one of a series of previous manifestations of a vast super-personal drive, as one "who follows in the footsteps of his predecessors." He relies upon history; and because he is nearing the seed-end of a cycle, he is increasingly concerned with the meaning and character of the condition of the seed. The Part of Spirit becomes therefore a particularly important symbol of his inner state of consciousness.

The retrograde motion of the Part of Spirit (in terms of the houses) links this Part with the "converse progressions," in which the index of human development goes backward from birth toward the fatherhood of God; but this also means that they represent an attempt to identify the present with the "past karma" which has conditioned the very beginning of the cycle to which this present moment belongs. "Converse progressions" as we shall see, are indications of the "fate" which exerts its pressures upon the life of the individual; they refer to fateful events, to structural factors bringers of personal happiness as well as of pain and frustration which are inherent in the very constitution of body and psyche. They are inherent also in the society and the family setup in which one is born.

The only way to transcend the past however, is to fulfill it; then through that fulfillment to emerge into the "free" and spontaneous realm of individual destiny. This is the way of totality; the way which, because it accepts the past in order to transfigure it, is also totally open to the future. The present moment is a measure of the tension between the fateful pull of the past and the creative attraction to the future. To resolve this tension through the constant interplay of human relationships experienced without fear of repeating the past and as well without expectation of any particular result, achievement or happiness: this is to live a truly spiritual life.


The Lunation Cycle