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THE PROGRESSED LUNATION CYCLE 

 

Dane Rudhyar - Photo1

Dane Rudhyar

 

Soli-Lunar Progressions

A birth-chart is a snapshot, freezing for one instant the continuous flow of universal time. The lunation birthday immobilizes for analysis one phase of the lunation cycle; and to understand one characteristic significance of the birthday one has, at first, to understand the meaning of the cycle as a whole; then, of each of its phases. The birth-chart of a person reveals one phase only, and the life and temperament of the person are shown to demonstrate (with modifications produced by numerous other astrological factors) the typical characteristics of that phase. Theoretically speaking, the person must display these characteristics somewhere, somehow, just as, if a person had been born in a Hindu barber caste centuries ago, he would have been practically compelled to be a barber.

Such a compulsion exists because the birth-chart is only a snapshot of the flow of universal time, which is measured by the periods of celestial bodies far beyond the reach of human will. We say, however, that beside this inexorable beat of the universal clock there is what we called subjective duration, that is, an individualized expression of universal time which, by virtue of its individualized character, is the foundation for the progressive revelation of the individual's creative freedom. From the point of view of subjective duration, a birth-chart is not only a frozen instant of incomprehensibly vast cycles, it is the dynamic beginning of an individual era. It expresses the creative "Let there be Light!" of the divine Spark latent in every human being.

As birth is considered the seed-beginning (or the germinal act) of an individual cycle, one must expect this individual seed to unfold its latent energies in a rhythmical manner after the birth-moment and throughout the life of the individual person. This individual cycle, however, must be of a nature different from that of the universal cycle of "objective time"; it must develop according to the characteristics of "subjective duration" thus, with at least the potentiality of creative freedom.

In astrological practice, the unfoldment of the individual cycle beginning with the first moment of independent existence (the first breath) is studied under the general headings of "progressions" and "directions." It is not possible to discuss here the techniques involved in such a study. I have to take for granted that the reader is somewhat acquainted with at least the simplest of these methods from which is derived what is usually called "secondary progressions." The only point I can stress is that these progressions refer to subjective duration and not to objective time. They represent the structural line of development of an individual's freedom his life-long opportunities for creative freedom. They tell us not what will happen, but how man can become creative and free as an individual, by becoming more actively and concretely what his birth-chart shows him potentially to be.

This subjective duration with which astrological progressions deal is not the time measured by our clock. It is not the physically and objectively perceived time scanned by the actual periods of celestial bodies. It is a symbolical kind of time, because it is time unfolding internally in terms of the subjective realizations and evaluations of the individual person. And these facts explain how the technique of progressions operates.

According to astrological symbolism the earth is the field of individual experience in which man is potentially supreme; the sky is the field of universal activities, within the scope of which man is only an infinitesimally small unit. Objective time refers to the sky; subjective duration to the earth. In the technique of progressions, sky-cycles are reduced to the typical earth-cycle constituted by one complete rotation of our globe around its axis that is, a day. The universal is reduced to the particular. And in the most familiar type of progressions, the sky-cycle determined by the complete revolution of the sky among the stars the year is reduced to the day-cycle.

Thus one postulates that one day after birth equals a year of actual objective living; and the technical procedure for the study of the progressions is simple. One looks at the ephemeris for the year and day of birth, and notes the positions of the planets (including the sun and moon) for each successive day after birth. The positions for the thirtieth day, for instance, are said to symbolize the conditions to be met by the individual in his thirtieth year.

I used the term "conditions," not "events." Progressions do not refer to objective events; they deal only with subjective conditions. The latter, it is true, always tend to become objectified as concrete events; but the actual occurrences are the end-results of a vast number of causal sequences and, astrologically speaking, are shaped not only by progressions but as much by "transits" (which deal with the actual motions of the planets, and thus basically with the compulsions of objective  time) not to mention many other factors which, all together, add up to a rather bewilderingly complex situation.

Events cannot be foretold accurately, but the conditions needed by an individual if he is to grow to his full stature as an individual can be pre-diagnosed. The astrologer can discover from the progressions the main turning points in the life of a person his opportunities to operate truly as an individual, and not merely as a "mass-man" swayed solely by generic-biological needs and collective-social pressures. And a study of the "progressed lunation cycle" should be a most valuable help in this timing of the basic crises of growth of the individual as an individual.

The method used in such a study can be best explained by taking a particular case; and we will consider that of Franz Liszt, whose life and general feeling-reactions are well known and, besides, display a rather clear pattern.* Liszt was born, as we already saw, on October 22, 1811, with the moon waxing at Sagittarius 20 and the sun at Libra 28. If we want to find out the positions of Liszt's "progressed" sun and moon when he was one year old, we look in the ephemeris for the positions of the sun and the moon for October 23rd at the same time of the day (about 1:16 a.m. local time). The sun has advanced 1 degree, the moon a little over 13 degrees, if we follow the columns of the ephemeris down the page we find that on October 25th, the moon formed a square with the sun. We shall call this square a "progressed first quarter phase," and notice that it occurred when Liszt was close to his third birthday.  

 

 

*This illustration was used first in a series of articles on the lunation cycle printed in American Astrology in 1941.  

Proceeding further we find that in the late afternoon of October 31st there was a full moon, with the sun in Scorpio 8 and the moon in Taurus 8. The timing of this "progressed full moon" corresponds to the summer 1821 in Liszt's actual life, when he was near the end of his tenth year. This was only a few months after he gave his first piano performance before the Prince Ezterhazy. On November 7, 1811 in the ephemeris the "progressed lunation cycle" had reached it's last quarter phase, and Liszt was 17 a period of emotional breakdown after his first love.

The new moon came on Scorpio 23, November 16th; and Liszt was according to the progression-schedule 25 years old. This was the actual year 1836-37, which marked the definite beginning of his triumphal career, not only as a pianist, but also as a composer. He had lost his father, broken his ties with Hungary and become identified with the passionate romanticism of the Parisian intelligenzia. Three years before, (thus three days before new moon (the "progressed balsamic moon") he had met the Countess d'Agoult, by whom he had three children, one of them Cosima, becoming Richard Wagner's wife. His mind was aflame with St. Simon's humanitarianism, with Lamennais' new Catholicism. His youth ended, as it were, with the close of the "progressed lunation cycle" within the waxing period of which he had been born. A new life was becoming intoned for him by the power of the sun within his innermost being.

The progressed lunation cycle is the cycle extending from one conjunction of the progressed moon and the progressed sun to the next. As the actual lunation cycle lasts 29½ days, the progressed lunation cycle in the life of an individual lasts approximately 29½ years. This period is the fundamental period of development of all the personal factors which are rooted in the energies of "life"; that is, which can be related to the workings of the soli-lunar relationship. And the main turning points of that period can be interpreted as follows:

 

Progressed New Moon

This marks a time of reorientation and of readjustment to life and to the world it marks at least the possibility of it. The solar potential releases a new "tone" but no one can tell with certainty whether this release is powerful enough to stir the lunar forces into building adequate structures for its full manifestation or whether the lunar will of the ego will stubbornly resist the change. In other words, the progressed new moon is a moment of subjective impregnation of the individual psyche by a solar vibration and purpose, which may lead either to a real birthing of personality at or around full moon, or to some kind of abortion or still-birth. The individual having rounded up a cycle of personal development is actually in need of change. But the change itself will only be recognized and stabilized as the progressed moon increases in light. All new moons are dark moons from the point of view of the earth-born person.

This period may not bring out as yet any definite break with the past; more likely it is a time when the old familiar patterns of feeling and behavior having proven more or less empty and devoid of vitality or real purpose, there is an intense (but perhaps subconscious) yearning for new life. It may be a confused yearning at best a gradual awakening to new goals. It rarely produces very clear or conscious beginnings; yet it may witness inspired statements filled with an extreme of potentiality, great promises yet to be fully worked out. The nature of these beginnings can usually be determined quite accurately if one considers the sign and the degree of the zodiac (also the natal house) in which the progressed new moon falls.

In Liszt's case his first progressed new moon occurred on Scorpio 23, a degree symbolized in the Sabian system by: "A white rabbit experiencing a metamorphosis into a dancing elf." This is a sign of the transmutation of biological into psycho-spiritual energies, the emergence of great creative capacities. And this meaning is made more focal by the occurrence of this progressed new moon at the very beginning of the house of personal integration and self-establishment (4th house). The next and only other progressed new moon during Liszt's life occurred as he was nearing his 55th birthday (summer 1866) just after his mother's death. He had taken the minor order of the Catholic Church a year before, after his attempted marriage to the Princess Wittgenstein had finally been blocked (fall 1861). His period of greatest artistic power and personal glory as orchestra leader and music director in Weimar had closed in entering into the more interior or "spiritual" period of his life a spirituality unfortunately conditioned more by the European culture of the past than by the future. Yet Liszt was then beginning to play a new role as the "teacher," rather than as the virtuoso and leader; and his influence spread steadily in a new way until death took him at the age of 75, during the waning period of the progressed lunation. The subsequent progressed new moon occurred early in 1896 perhaps marking another new beginning in psychic realms(?).

 

Progressed Full Moon

This marks a time of fulfillment, but also a climax which may mean the beginning of some kind of end. It is above all a crisis of clarification of life-purpose, of personal desires and aims. It may witness a sudden conversion or illumination; but more often it is simply a high-tide period during which life seems to oscillate to and fro, between past and future. Some type of energy or behavior seems to have run its course, and this may give the person a sense of weariness or satiety. It should above all force him to face all the basic issues of his life and to start seeking for a clear meaning. Success of a sort may be reached at the progressed full moon, but it may also appear as a culmination beyond which no further growth is possible; and the question arises insistently: "Then, what?" In any case some kind of concrete limits have been reached. There must be a translation of the center of selfhood and consciousness to a new level whether it be in height or depth or else the gradual ebbing away of all vitality, spiritual as well as physical, is bound to begin.

Much depends obviously upon the age at which the progressed full moon occurs. When it comes in early youth (as in Liszt's case during his tenth year) what is being "fulfilled" is not the individual selfhood, but instead the collective nature of family or race. Inherited characteristics reach a climax. In Liszt's case his career began at the court of the Prince where his father worked, some months before his first progressed full moon. An ancient traditional, cultural setup was being fulfilled in the production of a new genius. The race was being illumined in the birth of a new formulation of its creative meaning. Only this "formulation" was a living individual person, Franz Liszt. Much of Liszt's inner struggles consisted in overcoming as well as fulfilling this traditional European setup.

It is obvious that such a condition occurs basically whenever a person is born during the waxing half of the lunation, for then he must experience a progressed full moon before he is 15 years old. Such a birth, I said, stresses the capacity to build organic structures; but this building process must depend upon the use of racial, traditional materials. The individual is a builder; but whether he builds his own body or cultural forms, he is building with generic or collective materials. On the other hand, a person born when the moon is waning has a much better chance to use original materials, that is, of an individual illumination the first progressed full moon of his life having occurred at an age when at least the first outlines of individual selfhood can be precipitated into actual conscious and personalized manifestation.

This fact gives an added meaning to the distinction between a lunation birthday during the waxing moon, and one during the waning moon; and referring again to previous cases, it gives a new reason for the difference between a Stalin and a Lenin. The former can be seen building with national, traditional materials; the latter was the apostle of a new ideological vision. To put the matter more clearly: if a person is born with the new moon preceding his birth, he starts life on the basis of a collective or generic type of energy which comes to fulfillment before or during his adolescence; and this fulfillment is something he often must struggle against in his efforts at individualized creative self-expression, if, on the other hand, the new moon occurs as a "progressed new moon" soon after his birth, his entire life may be fecundated at once by this release of tone and purpose, and at his first progressed full moon he may be old enough to receive a somewhat conscious and clearly individualized "illumination" from which he can build as an individual relatively untrammeled by his racial-collective inheritance.

 

Progressed First and Last Quarters

Such phases of the progressed lunation cycle usually correspond to periods of great emotional or mental tension. At first quarter the confrontations, as a rule, affect the basic instinctual impulses and emotions of the person. Psychological blockages or complexes (and the attending feeling of frustration or fear) may be the outcome of the individual's failure to meet "squarely" new conditions. At last quarter, the crisis is more likely to be a repolarization of the person's thinking; a sharp realization that an earlier period of life is completely disintegrating and that individual growth depends entirely and irrevocably upon making definite and clear a new type of consciousness.

In Liszt's life the second "progressed first quarter" came as he broke away from the Countess d'Agoult and wrote his famous Liebestraum. The Countess had been partly a spiritual "mother" to him, and Liszt was facing a crucial struggle for mature self-expression. Then also he began to conduct the Weimar orchestra. He had faced a "progressed last quarter" at 17, when he broke down in health under the strain of building up his youthful inner life. Thirty years later this phase of the progressed cycle came again. His beloved son had died. His friendship with Wagner was broken. He resigned from Weimar. The yearning for a more "spiritual" consciousness was becoming insistent.

These four critical phases of the progressed lunation cycle are as a rule the most important ones; but all that was said of the lunation cycle and its phases applies as well to this "progressed" cycle. The latter gives us the opportunity to study the pattern of unfoldment of the whole lunation period, moment after moment in one life; and this study rarely fails to reveal a great amount of significant psychological data. In some cases, the points of crisis (the most characteristic phases) are not as sharply marked by outer events or changes of inner attitude as in other cases. Much depends upon the position of the moon at birth and her relation to the other planets; for, while the lunation cycle is a soli-lunar period, it is true nevertheless that, once the solar impregnation at the new moon has been affected, it is the lunar factor which controls the development of the results of this soli-lunar conjunction. It is the moon which builds the agencies and organs necessary for the operation of these results. The degree of the zodiac on which the natal moon is placed and the symbol of this degree should be noted carefully also the sun's degree.

Take again the case of Franz Liszt. The natal moon's degree-symbol (Sagittarius 20) reads: "Men cutting the ice of a frozen pond, for summer use. Depth of operation necessary to prepare for next phase of life. Positive meaning: thoroughness of action. Negative meaning: a realization of shallowness in living." The sun's degree-symbol reads: "A man is alone in surrounding gloom. Were his eyes open to things of the spirit he would see helping angels arriving. Spiritual sustainment given to him who opens himself to his full destiny. Positive: slow realization of betterment. Negative: unsolicited advantages in objective life."

These two symbols, on the surface, seem not to fit well the life of a man who made cultural history and knew the most spectacular successes ever given to a musician both in an artistic and a personal-social sense. Yet, underneath these triumphs, Liszt's soul was a typical example of the spiritual insecurity and the yearning for a seemingly unobtainable future state of personal integration and happiness which characterized the great Romanticists. Romanticism is only a prelude an "adolescent" state, still in bondage to the "mother Image" and the anima, concerning which modern psychologists have written so much. Thus the symbols of the moon's and the sun's degree help us to understand the deepest nature of the operations of "life" within Liszt's total being.

The symbols of the progressed new moons add a great deal to our understanding, because they characterize the nature of the two basic periods of Liszt's personal development. The first progressed new moon occurred on Scorpio 23 on a degree of transmutation of energy revealing startling creative capacities (age: 25). The second progressed new moon occurred on Sagittarius 23, the symbol for which is: "In New York, Ellis Island welcomes the immigrants. New openings that come to all who are willing to risk self for the sake of greater selfhood. Reorientation, or presumption." The fact that Liszt's natal Saturn was also on this same degree is most significant. Liszt was then 55 years old. He had sought the at least relative discipline of the Church's minor orders. He was an abbot. He had spent lavishly often not wisely the bio-psychological power born of his first progressed new moon. Now he was seeking self-restraint, preparing himself for the "next phase of life," cutting the symbolic ice (cf. the natal moon's symbol) to insure this Saturnian supply for the future of his soul.

As the degree of Liszt's Ascendant is not certain we cannot lay too much emphasis on the Part of Fortune's degree, but there is no doubt it was located between Mercury on Libra 11 and the sun. Indeed it is practically certain that Leo was rising (and the star, Regulus); thus, the Part of Fortune could not have been later in the zodiac than Libra 23. And here I should mention a very interesting possibility, ordinarily not considered by astrologers: the study of the "progressed Part of Fortune."

Using the natal horizon as a fixed frame of reference*, this progressed Part of Fortune can be calculated every year exactly as the natal Part is calculated, using the zodiacal positions of the progressed sun and moon instead of those of the natal sun and moon. The motion of the progressed Part through the houses and the signs, and the Part's successive conjunctions and oppositions to the natal planets (even with the progressed positions of these planets) provide the data for the study.

As illustrations we can give the fact that Liszt's progressed Part of Fortune came to an opposition to his natal Uranus (and to the Mid-Heaven) at the time of his father's death and of his serious emotional crisis (late summer 1827). When he left the Countess d'Agoult to begin his most triumphant tour through Europe, his progressed Part was conjunct his natal sun vindicating a spiritual release and exaltation. When he met in 1847 the Princess of Wittgenstein who became his life-companion through the years of his Weimar period, Liszt's progressed Part of Fortune was in his fifth house, in opposition to Jupiter (i.e., the progressed "Point of Illumination" conjunct Jupiter) and coming to a conjunction with Mars, showing a deep emotional and creative stirring up.

*Some students may wish to use here the type of "progressed Ascendant" featured by Alan Leo instead of the natal Ascendant; however the "progression" of the Ascendant belongs to another type of motion to "primary directions"; and it seems much wiser not to mix one's frames of reference.

 

Progressed New Moon Charts

If the progressed lunation cycle is to be treated as a life-unit as a whole within the total evolution of the individual person it follows naturally that one can significantly cast charts for each of the progressed new moons of a person's span of life. Likewise, astrologers cast charts for the solar ingress in Aries (vernal equinox) which traditionally is regarded as the beginning of nature's year and, especially in mundane astrology, for every new moon of the year. Astrology is indeed the art of interpreting the possibilities inherent, at a certain point in space, in any significant life-cycle beginning at a particular time; this time-space potential is charted for the exact "birth" (or rebirth) of the organized system of activities being considered. Thus "solar return" and "lunar return" charts are made for the time, each year and each month, when the sun and the moon respectively return to the exact zodiacal place they occupied at the time of a person's birth; and we may extend the concept of "person," as is done in law, so that it includes collective persons (nations, business enterprises of a quite permanent nature, etc.) as well as individual human beings.

One could therefore cast charts for "progressed soli-lunar returns"; that is, for the one, two or three times within a person's life-span, when the aspect formed by the progressed moon and the progressed sun reaches the same value and character (waxing or waning) as the one between the natal sun and moon. I believe, however, that to such a technique, valid though it may be, one should by far prefer one in which charts are cast for each of the new moons following the person's birth.  

A lunation cycle is a planetary factor which affects what now is called the earth's "biosphere," i.e., the realm within which all the activities on earth that we associate with "life" are found. A new human being is born within the space-field of this biosphere at least until we can think of birth in space-satellites! and he is born at a certain time. This particular birth-time relates him in a particular way to the lunation cycle which began some time before he was born (unless birth occurred precisely at the moment of a conjunction of the moon and the sun).  From this already begun lunation cycle the newborn draws his vital energies; the rhythm of the soli-lunar relationship, as it operates within his organism, is characterized by the phase of the lunation cycle at which birth occurred.

As a new lunation cycle begins after the human being is born, he begins to be affected by new conditions in the biosphere. This occurs, of course, every time a new moon takes place in the sky; and, so considered, this simple fact belongs to the astrological realm of transits, which are expressions of what I have called objective time.

However, progressions refer to "subjective duration." They deal with the rhythm of unfoldment of the organism and the individual person as a (relatively) unique entity. Each individual starts its own schedule of duration with its first breath (which establishes the organic rhythms of blood-circulation in an independent way, and of breathing). When, a few days perhaps after birth, a new moon occurs in the sky, this new moon acquires a definitely subjective meaning; it is the first progressed new moon of that individual existence.

If we cast a chart for the exact time of this first experienced new moon   and cast it for the place at which it was actually experienced by the baby we have before us the chart for the individual's "first progressed new moon." And the position of the Lights and the planets in relation to the angles and house-cusps of the chart with the exact value of interplanetary relationships, gives us very significant information concerning the basic characteristics of the process of personality-unfoldment in the individual's existence during at least most of the 30-year period following this first progressed new moon.

Let us take another example that of President F. D. Roosevelt born January 30th, 1882, the most likely exact time being 8:45 P.M. in Hyde Park, N.Y. In this case, two progressed new moons are found marking significant periods in his lifespan (1882 and 1945), and they are interpretations of the facts that a new moon occurred actually on February 17th, 1882 at 9:40 P.M., and another on March 19th, at 7:17 A.M. The April 1882 new moon took place too late, by the usual method of time-equivalence used in progressions, to qualify as a "progressed new moon"; F. D. R.'s "clock" of subjective duration had already run its course, as he did not live past the age of 63-64.

 

 

The first actual new moon to follow F. D. R.'s birth becomes, in the technique of progressions, a progressed new moon referring to mid-January 1900; that is, just about the time of his eighteenth birthday. His father died eleven months later. He probably had just entered college, as he graduated from Harvard in 1904; then, was admitted to the bar in 1907. He assumed his first public office (in the New York State Senate) in 1910.

This first progressed new moon, coming near his father's death and in his first year of college, marked quite evidently a "critical point" in the unfoldment of Roosevelt's personality. The question is: Can we discover from a chart erected for the exact time of this February 17, 1882 new moon in Hyde Park, something referring to the basic character of the period of personality-growth in the life of the young F. D. R. extending from 1900 to the summer of 1929?  

If we are looking for a series of concrete events we will be disappointed, at least in most cases. What we can expect to find is a clue to a deeper and more objective understanding of the most important factors in young Roosevelt's nature which conditioned the development of his character and made possible the actualization of the "potential of destiny" inherent in the time and place (and social environment) of his birth.

This progressed new moon chart, of course, is not too different from the natal one; yet some points of emphasis are different. The first progressed new moon chart stresses an exact trine of Venus, the sun and moon (at the entrance of the fifth house) with Mars in the ninth house (the law, travels, expansion, ambition, etc.). All planets are contained within the trine except Uranus, singleton in the eleventh house. As in the natal chart, Uranus is in trine to the slow-moving Taurus planets: Saturn, Neptune, Jupiter and Pluto. But now Pluto is in square with the new moon and Venus.

The most characteristic feature of the change from the natal to the progressed chart is the position of Mars, and the fact  that Uranus has moved to the eleventh house and the Saturn-Neptune conjunction to the seventh house. These may be referred to F. D. R.'s new partners and friends (his wife included) who played an important part in the development of his intellectual life, and later on in his social-economic policies.

The period affected by this first progressed new moon chart extends theoretically to the summer 1929. It thus includes the crucial attack of polio (August 10, 1921) which challenged F. D. R.'s intense faith in his destiny and released great powers of endurance. The progressed full moon had been experienced during World War I, which provided the conditioning for his first executive post in Washington (Assistant Secretary of the Navy) and for an ever-increasing interest in international affairs (official trips to Europe in 1918-1919). The severe illness somehow steeled F. D. R.'s personal will; by 1929 he had triumphed over it to the extent that he was elected Governor of New York State in 1928.

A third chapter of F. D. R.'s personality unfoldment had begun, perhaps the "seed" of it having been formed in his and his associates minds around the time of the progressed balsamic moon (1926-27). Three chapters: up to 18; then to 47; and until death.

In the second progressed new moon chart (based on the actual new moon of March 19, 1882) the planets are placed in a new way, stressing the first and sixth houses. The very last degree of Aries, or possibly the first of Taurus, is rising; and the four massive planets in Taurus are in the first house. These planets are in connection with Uranus in trine to them from the sixth house (work labor, the services, etc.) the symbol of the New Deal. The only square is one between Mars and Venus, rulers of the first and seventh houses the houses of self and of relationship and all associative processes. A significant quintile of Mercury  (in the eleventh house) to Neptune could be referred to his "Brain Trust" composed of rather young, idealistic intellectuals whom he befriended.

 

 

We should note that while in the natal and the first progressed new moon charts the sun is in Aquarius, now the lunation occurs at the end of Pisces, in the twelfth house. In a sense the White House is a prison; it is, at any rate, an "institution"! It represents the culmination of efforts and a heavy "karma" or burden to bear, a place for potential "sacrifice."

The sacrifice is suggested by the opposition, distant though it be, between the sixth-house Uranus and the lunation degree. The first progressed new moon chart could be said to show a struggle of the self seeking expression (fifth house) against "death" (eighth house); the second progressed new moon chart shows the basic struggle against illness and overwork; also the struggle between new Uranian ideals and techniques and the karma of our Western civilization.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President in early November 1932 and took power effectively on March 4, 1933. His progressed moon made a 45-degree angle with his progressed sun. At the first quarter phase of this progressed lunation cycle the international situation was seriously deteriorating (Mussolini's conquest of Ethiopia; Japan's thrust into China). Roosevelt's progressed full moon occurred, in that cycle, during the summer 1944. The process of life-disintegration could be stopped no longer from bringing about death seven months later.

The planets in the first house of the second progressed new moon chart can be seen as a strong and stubborn emphasis of self-will and productive power. The Uranus singleton in the sixth house stresses the challenge created by personal ill-health as well as by military difficulties and the relationship to Army leaders; and the Jupiter-Pluto conjunction throws a shadow upon the personal diplomacy which our President felt he had to conduct in order to win the war.

Let me add in concluding this section that, while the study of progressed new moon charts can open remarkably valuable vistas on the unfoldment of personality, one should not demand too much from such charts not more than from ordinary "solar return" charts, for instance. These techniques can be handled most effectively by some astrologers; in other instances they may confuse rather than help.

 

The New Moon before Birth

As already stated, except in the rare case of a person's birth occurring exactly at the moment of the conjunction of the moon and the sun birth takes place after a lunation cycle has already begun. The character of this particular cycle within the span of which one is born is a very important factor in ascertaining the fundamental nature of the stream of vital forces energizing our entire organism (biological and psychological). As any astrological cycle is stamped with the root characteristic of its starting point, the new moon which preceded our birth becomes inevitably the key to the basic character of our inherent vitality.

The first thing to consider in studying this new moon before birth is whether it occurred in the same zodiacal sign as that in which the sun is located at birth, if both the new moon before birth and the natal sun are in the same sign, the quality of this sign pervades freely the whole nature of the person; but if the natal sun and the new moon before birth are in two different signs, a basic dualism should be more or less strongly in evidence in the personality.

Any astrological factor which occurred before birth tends to represent something" deeply rooted in the past. We may think of "the past" as the ancestral, racial and cultural past of an individual, his antecedents and all that he found confronting him at birth; or else we may think of the past as the karma of a reincarnating soul or spiritual entity. In either case, what is of the past always tends to have a somewhat compulsive character. It operates in the unconscious; it surges, often unexpectedly and startlingly, out of our psychic depths.

Moreover, we should realize that two successive zodiacal signs are of opposite polarities. Aries is a masculine sign; Taurus is a feminine sign, etc. The first is typified by the element fire; the second, by the element earth. Therefore when the new moon before birth is in Aries and the natal sun in Taurus, we are faced by a personality whose ancestral, unconscious vital urges belong to a cycle stamped with Aries characteristics; yet, in actual everyday living, the Taurus force is most active and most influential in all conscious life processes. The unconscious "fieriness" of Aries may manifest as a compulsion for emotional release in a typical Aries manner; but it will usually be held in check by the Taurus-dominated conscious purpose or will of the individual. Yet, occasionally, the Aries force may flare up suddenly and startlingly from the psychic depths, perhaps causing much havoc or, at least, deep-rooted emotional conflicts. The nature of the person may thus include masculine as well as feminine traits; at any rate, it will tend to be complex and at times unpredictable.

The way in which psychological and, indeed, biological forces surging from the unconscious depths tend to operate can be made clearer if we observe in which natal house the new moon before birth falls. It may be the house in which the natal sun is located, and again it may be the preceding house, if both the signs and the houses of that new moon and of the natal sun differ, the psychosomatic dualism is strengthened; the personality tends to operate within two definite fields of influence or activity.

Consider, for instance, the birth-chart of the great psychiatrist, Carl Jung, born July 26, 1875 with the sun in the fourth degree of Leo and the moon in mid-Taurus. He was born, thus, with the moon waning and past the last quarter phase of the lunation cycle which had begun at the new moon of July 3rd on the eleventh degree of Cancer. Jung's natal sun is located in his natal seventh house, but the eleventh degree of Cancer falls in his natal sixth house; so that the natal sun and the new moon before birth occupy different signs and different houses.

Quite evidently we are dealing here with a complex nature, characterized further by a T-cross in fixed signs, with the chart's ruler, Saturn, retrograde in Aquarius, intercepted in the first house, squaring Pluto and opposing Uranus. It is a very dynamic chart; indeed, the whole trend of Jung's thought and practice of psychotherapy has been along the line of the integration of strong oppositions and basic conflicts. The natal sun in the natal seventh house stresses a release of vital energy in his contacts with human beings; and, as the sun squares a third house Neptune in Taurus, such contacts tend naturally to be with intellectually disturbed or psychically confused people. The fact that the new moon before birth falls in the sixth house suggests a concentration of energy in the field of work, self-discipline, health, technique, etc. The Cancer-Leo combination of the two foci of vital energy is interesting in as much as it stresses the summer solstice signs, one ruled by the sun, the other by the moon. And alchemy, which has occupied so much of Jung's attention, is based largely on the interplay of the sun and the moon forces the "King" and the "Queen" featured in all alchemical symbolism.

A detailed study of the new moon before birth requires that one should cast a chart for the time of that new moon placing the new moon degree on the Ascendant of the chart, and the planets in equal 30 houses. Such a chart does not refer to actual events as so far as the still embryonic organism is concerned, but it helps us to analyze the potential of vital energy released at that time of the new moon. This release of potential thereafter flows throughout the entire lunation cycle; and as the individual is born within this cycle, he is conditioned in the depth of his vital nature by the character of the new moon release.

In Jung's "new moon before birth chart" the sun in not involved in the great T-cross in fixed signs featured in his natal chart. There is only a rather distant square to Jupiter, and the main solar-lunar aspect is the forthcoming conjunction with a retrograde Mercury. The new moon before birth is indeed quite close to Jung's natal Mercury in the natal sixth house. Perhaps most revealing of all is the fact that in the new moon chart, Mars is retrograde. Mars turned direct indeed on the very day of Jung's birth, at Sagittarius 2122'. This degree is in close opposition to the position of Venus at the time of the new moon of July 3rd and this is very significant also in terms of alchemy and of Jung's approach to the emotional life.

In the case of the great Hindu political leader, yogi, philosopher and poet, Sri Aurobindo (August 15, 1872) whom his followers consider as a direct manifestation of God, we find his sun at Leo 2223', Jupiter at Leo 1339', and the Ascendant at Leo1220'. The new moon before birth took place on August 4th at Leo1215', thus at the natal Ascendant point and just past the actual conjunction with Jupiter of August 4th at Leo 117'. The tie-up between sun, new moon, Ascendant and Jupiter is most powerful; Jupiter in India symbolizes the great Guru (or Spiritual Leader). Indeed, Theosophists have spoken of a mysterious personage whose presence is particularly focused in the mountains of Southern India  not far from which Sri Aurobindo had his ashram for 40 years and to whom they gave the name of "Master Jupiter" an interesting correlation.

When the new moon before birth occurs very close to one of the planets in the natal chart, this planet can be considered to be a planet of destiny for the life energies released through the personality of the native. Take, for instance Alexander Graham Bell whose name is associated indelibly with the transmission of sound. He was born in Scotland, March 3, 1847 with the sun around 12 Pisces and apparently just at dawn. This was one day after full moon (moon at 2430' Virgo). The lunation cycle in which he was born had begun with the new moon of February 15th at Aquarius 2613'; and Neptune was about one degree ahead of this point conjunct Mercury-Neptune which deals so much with sound, music, vibrations in the "electrical" sign Aquarius. Thus the whole lunation was stamped by this Neptune-Mercury impress.

In the case of Alice Bailey (June 16, 1880), the Theosophist who founded the Arcane School and wrote many books on occultism under inspiration, the natal sun was at Gemini 2530' with natal Venus at 1752' of the same sign. The lunation cycle in which the birth occurred began on June 7th with the new moon at 1731' Gemini; thus the ancestral forces (or karmic soul-forces) were focused in Alice Bailey's life largely through Venus which enabled her to stress successfully group values and to hold together for many years a quite large group of seekers stressing an intellectual formulation of universal ideas.

Moving to an entirely different field, we can now consider Richard Nixon's chart. Capricorn 1923' is the natal sun's degree, and he is born characteristically with a waxing moon in Aquarius nearly 31 degrees ahead of the sun. His new moon before birth occurred therefore at Capricorn 1630'; so, the new moon and the natal sun are in the same sign and presumably the same fifth house. This also is true of President Eisenhower's chart. He was born with a waxing moon only some 12 degrees ahead of the sun. As the latter was located at Libra 2130', and most likely in the sixth house, it is a one-pointed, Libra, sixth house setup. The natures of these leaders are simple; the vital energies are focused in one direction.

The chart of the new moon before birth and the natal chart can be said to represent, respectively, that which in a person's life is compulsive, rooted in the past, thus fateful and that which constitutes the new potential of life, the creativity inherent (yet at first only latent) in the individual. Indeed every astrological factor which precedes birth must be essentially referred to the past; and this includes the prenatal chart erected for the presumed moment of conception.

Birth or rather the first breath is the beginning of (at least relatively) independent existence. Nothing "individual" can be referred to the process of gestation and the embryonic state. Individuality demands an independent rhythm of existence, and such a rhythm, at least symbolically, starts to operate with the "first cry" or breath expulsion; that is, with the first response of the organism as a whole to the universe in which the newborn is meant to operate in his or her individualized, unique way.

Freedom for the individual can only refer to his capacity for making an autonomous, undeterminable response to the pressures, challenges and opportunities of life. These pressures and challenges of life constitute the particular conditioning imposed upon him at birth by heredity and environment. The newborn cannot change this conditioning. He is the product thereof; he is born with a set of genes and within a definite race, family, culture and class. All these factors inevitably condition his personality; they constitute his "nature."

But they do not determine his response to them because, I believe, there is within and beyond his organism a factor of indeterminacy a spark of divinity. It is in this divine spark that his potential freedom resides. This freedom is only potential, for it may remain latent and inoperative, and it usually does so except at crucial times in the person's life. These crucial times, or crises, are moments of decision.

The decision may be made by what we call our free will the will not to conform to the past (i.e., to our inherited and environmental influences), and instead to transform this past (our "nature") by the introduction of a new vision, a new goal or realization. But in many cases, as the opportunity for such a decision comes, the ancient deep-rooted power of our "nature" (of all that is, in us, the past of the human race . . . and the karma of the individual soul) makes the transforming decision impossible, or half-hearted and confused.

Then we are "determined" by this past; then, we have lost our God-given power of individual freedom. We are once more caught back into the prenatal state of dependence upon the Mother and here by "Mother" I mean all that enwombs and binds us; our family, religion, tradition, class standards, conventional morality, etc. All of these inevitably condition our personality; yet they need not determine our responses to life's challenges and opportunities.

The distinction between the two words, condition and determine, is a capital one. When its meaning is really understood the bitter conflict between the two schools of thought teaching respectively that man has free will and that determination (or fate) rules over everything becomes rather senseless. No man is absolutely free, for the very concept of such an "absolute freedom" has really no meaning at all; but every man can, at crucial times of decision, transform to some extent his natural conditions by some creative response which was non- determined and essentially unpredictable until it was made.

The chart for the new moon before birth and all converse progressions and prenatal charts refer to the conditioning of our nature; thus, to the area of our personality where the past impels, and often, compels us to act according to old patterns or traditions. But the birth-chart, calculated for the exact moment of the first exhalation of breath, symbolizes the potentiality of our making free, transforming, creative decisions.

The lunation cycle within the confines of which we are born constitutes the "wave of life" which powers us into existence. But the man who comes to be truly an "individual" in conscious and transforming selfhood must emerge out of that wave, even while being supported by it. He rides that wave to a self-envisioned destination. This ride is his true destiny. The wave eventually must return to the sea-depths; but man may by then be walking on the shore, in the freedom of the land.

 


 

In closing this study of the progressed lunation cycle, we should mention the fact that this cycle of 29.5 years duration parallels the period of revolution of Saturn, which is also very close to 29.5 years. However, the latter belongs in natal astrology to the category of "transits."

If we consider the natal chart as a fixed pattern, we can plot on it the actual zodiacal motion of Saturn from birth on, day after day, year after year. Saturn will be found to return to its natal position in about 29.5 years. And this return marks the completion of an entire transit cycle of Saturn. This transit cycle is basically different from the progressed lunation cycle in two ways: first, it is a cycle of positions while the progressed lunation cycle is a cycle of relationship a distinction the meaning of which was thoroughly explained at the beginning of this book. Then Saturn, being a planet, belongs in the realm of multiple organic integration where man's individual Identity is established and not in the soli-lunar realm of life and duality.

Saturn and the moon are related in that both are connected with the building of forms and organic structures. But while the lunar cycle refers to the very flow of life-power within the dynamic realm of duality, Saturn is a cosmic agency which focuses upon the forming organism a "will to form" that is actually external to this organism. Therefore Saturn is said to represent the power of karma. Saturn restrains within definite limits the constant flow of lunar energy which, if left alone, would spread in all directions the impulsion received from the sun at the new moon. It sets boundaries to the proliferations of the sun-impregnated moon. But Saturn without the moon would be like logic without any series of thoughts to be logical about. Logic has been defined as "rigorous thinking"; in which case, Saturn provides the rigor and the moon, the thinking!

Saturn moreover, is said to symbolize the father, and the moon, the mother; but Saturn's fatherhood should be clearly differentiated from the sun's fatherhood. The sun is the fecundative power of "life," which operates in terms of a pure release of creative potential within the lunar womb. Biologically speaking, he is generic Man fecundating each and all women. But Saturn represents the particular man who is father of a particular child; a man with a particular heredity and a particular temperament to which the child will be subject throughout its period of formation and development. This particular man will use his fatherhood to establish for the child a set of compulsions, which will be a basic factor in determining the child's possibilities of attaining individual integration, at the biological and psycho-mental levels.

Saturn is a planet. The sun and moon are the two "Lights." The distinction is essential and should never be forgotten; for if it be forgotten the lunation cycle loses much of its essential meaning.        

 

The Lunation Cycle

 

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