Book Club Post

The Cosmic Doctrine: Influences Acting on Human Evolution

This week we continue a monthly discussion of The Cosmic Doctrine by Dion Fortune, which I consider the most important work of 20th century occult philosophy. Climb in and fasten your seat belts; it’s turning out to be as wild a ride as I expected. If you’re just joining us now, please go back and read the previous commentaries, which are listed here; the material covered in these earlier posts is essential to making sense of what follows.

As noted in earlier posts, there are two widely available editions of The Cosmic Doctrine, the revised edition first published in 1956 and the Millennium Edition first published in 1995, which reprints the original privately printed edition of 1949. You can use either one for the discussions that follow. The text varies somewhat between the two editions, but the concepts and images are the same, and I’ll be referring to both.

Assigned Reading:

Revised Edition:  Chapter 18, “Influences Acting on Human Evolution,” pp. 84-88.

Millennium Edition: Chapter 19, “Tabulated Summary of Influences,” pp. 114-115, and Chapter 20, “Cosmic Influences,” pp. 116-120.


With this month’s selection we begin a third part of our text.  The first part dealt with the evolution of the Cosmos and the second dealt with the evolution of a Solar Logos and a solar system.  Having drawn the outlines of the panorama of space and time within which we human beings have our very modest place, Fortune now proceeds to talk about human evolution—not as a process of the distant past, but as something going on right now in each of our lives.

It’s very common in the Western world for people who are first trying to make sense of the concept of spiritual evolution to insist on thinking of it as something that individual souls do all by themselves. Our culture teaches us to imagine ourselves as uniquely active beings doing things to a passive cosmos. That way of thinking about human nature and destiny did not evolve by accident, and it has its role to play in the unfolding of human potential now and in the future, but it is a half-truth at best.  There are certainly ways in which human individuals act on the cosmos, but the cosmos also acts on human individuals, and if we ignore these latter influences we are stumbling blindly onward in the dark.

As Fortune’s convenient tabulation shows, there are three broad classes of influences that shape our consciousness and our evolution.  The first of those classes comprises influences that come from or through the Solar Logos, the god of this solar system, who “hath set his tabernacle in the Sun.” As we saw in previous chapters, the Logos is influenced by the great cycles of the Cosmos: the rotation of the Ring-Cosmos in relation to the Ring-Chaos, which sets in motion immense tides of creation and destruction, and the twelve Rays, through which the Logos passes as he circles the Central Stillness in his orbit on the seventh Cosmic plane.  The Logos is also influenced by the gravitational attraction of other Great Entities on the other Cosmic planes.

All these influences pass through the Logoidal consciousness to affect the solar system and every being in it. The primary effect is on the activities of planetary spirits and group souls, but those affect individuals at second hand, sometimes in very powerful ways. As an example from the history of ideas, consider the concept of living an ethical life in the Age of Aries, when compassion was not even considered a virtue and the goal of ethics was living a life of principled action independent of others, and compare it to the concept of living an ethical life in the Age of Pisces, when compassion was the central virtue and the goal of ethics was living a life of loving self-sacrifice in service to others!

The Solar Logos, meanwhile, is not a static being mired in perfection. Though it is vastly greater, more powerful, and more intelligent than any of the beings in its solar system, it too is growing, changing, and learning as its solar system grows, changes, and learns. Each swarm of Divine Sparks that ventures down the planes and then returns to the Logos brings back a rich harvest of experience that the Logos contemplates and incorporates into its own consciousness.  The effects of this process also radiate outward to affect the planetary spirits of each planet and the group consciousness of the beings inhabiting each planet, and from there shapes the lives of human (and other) individuals.  Such changes move very slowly in terms of an individual human life, but sometimes it’s possible to glimpse them by comparing past eras to the present.

Alongside the influences that flow outward from the Solar Logos, there are also influences shaping human life that derive from less exalted categories of being.  We are currently incarnate on the physical plane, rather than one of the subtler planes through which we descended in past ages and through which we will ascend in ages to come, and that imposes certain very definite forms and limits on what we can accomplish as individuals and as a species.

There are also the Star Logoi (also called Ray Exemplars), the group consciousness of swarms of Divine Sparks that have completed their own journey down and then up the planes, and now serve the Solar Logos.  The Star Logoi are the entities behind the signs of the zodiac as we experience them; each Star Logos picks up from the Solar Logos the particular influence of one of the twelve vast Rays of the Cosmos, and radiates that into the solar system, influencing all things by the same process of resonance we discussed in earlier chapters.  Their influences on human evolution are among the factors that astrologers track.

The planetary spirits are also among the sources of influence studied by astrologers.  As explained in previous chapters, the planetary spirits are “creations of the created,” brought into being by the activities of the swarms of Divine Sparks as they travel up and down the planes.  As each swarm completes its evolution on a planet, it resonates with the rhythms of the Solar Logos, and as a result the planetary spirits are attuned with the Logos.  To make use of a word that C.S. Lewis borrowed from the medieval Neoplatonist Bernard Sylvester, the planetary spirits are the Oyarses of the planets, the regents of the Logos in the turning worlds. The planetary spirit of the Earth, the earth goddess of so many ancient religions, is the being of this kind who influences human evolution most at this point in our species’ history, but the spirits of the other planets are also active in our lives by way of other factors tracked by astrology.

The presence of other beings, more or less advanced than humanity, as an influence on human evolution is a complex matter, and will be dealt with at length in later chapters.  So, too, are the laws of nature sketched out briefly in the tabulation, and they also will receive extensive discussion later on. Those readers who know their way around Rupert Sheldrake’s writings, especially A New Science of Life, will find Fortune’s take on natural law instantly familiar: the laws of nature, in her vision, are simply “tracks in space,” patterns repeated so often that they keep repeating themselves whenever opportunity permits. That emphatically does not make them powerless! The laws Fortune presents here are, among other things, basic principles of magic, and careful attention to them will teach much.

The tabulation laid out at the beginning of this chapter (or, in the Millennium Edition, in the first of these two chapters) summarizes most of what will be discussed in the third part of The Cosmic Doctrine, and readers who familiarize themselves with the concepts listed here will be better able to navigate the complexities ahead.  That becomes true as soon as we move from the tabulation to Fortune’s analysis of the influences on human evolution that come from the Cosmos itself, which follows immediately afterwards.

Here Fortune plunges immediately into a branch of occult lore that was the subject of extensive and passionate discussion in her time, and for decades before and after.  It was widely held in her time that the Piscean age, the period of 2160 years ruled by the zodiacal sign Pisces, had ended sometime in the last years of the nineteenth century or the first years of the twentieth, with very late 1887 or the beginning of 1888 as one common accepted date for the transition. (For what it’s worth, my take is that the occultists of that period were right; compare the ruling ideas of the twenty-one centuries before 1888 with those of the period since that time, and correlate them to the differences between Pisces and its ruler Neptune on the one hand, and Aquarius and its ruler Uranus on the other, and it’s not hard to watch the turning of the ages.)

With the transition to the new Aquarian age, changes as drastic as those that followed the shift from Aries to Pisces are under way, and Fortune’s great metaphor provides, among many other things, a way to make sense of the process. Fortune refers to this branch of the study as sidereal astrology, and distinguishes it from planetary astrology.  In some ways “sidereal astrology” turned out to be an unfortunate choice, because some astrologers have used the same label for a different kind of planetary astrology, in which the boundaries of the signs of the zodiac are determined by the constellations rather than the solstices and equinoxes.

This is not what Fortune was talking about. Her “sidereal astrology” is the astrology of vast cycles of time marked out by the movements of the stars, and her “planetary astrology” is the standard system of Western astrology—tropical astrology, to give it its technical name—which sees the zodiacal signs as 30° wedges of the ecliptic, with the celestial point where the spring equinox takes place defined as 0° Aries. As the precession of the equinoxes moves different stars through these wedges, the influences of the zodiacal signs change subtly:  that’s Fortune’s sidereal astrology as seen by a skywatcher on the physical plane.  On the inner planes, the whole solar system moves through one after another of the twelve Cosmic rays and is influenced by the immense cycle of the rotation of the Ring-Cosmos within the Ring-Chaos.

As so often, when she talks about important occult teachings, a certain evasiveness creeps into Fortune’s writing. She explains that each phase of the rotation of the Ring-Cosmos is equal to four Ray phases. Thus the Ring phase remains positive through four astrological ages, and then switches to negative for four more—but which four?  Only at the end of the chapter does she give the hint that’s needed to bring clarity to the picture. The nineteenth century, she says, was a positive period; the first quarter of the twentieth—the only part of the twentieth that had passed by when she wrote the Cos. Doc.—was a negative period.  Between these two, according to the occult teachings of her time, was the transition from the Piscean to the Aquarian age.  So we know that from her perspective, the Geminian, Taurian, Arian, and Piscean ages took place under a positive Ring cycle, and the Aquarian, Capricornian, Sagittarian, and Scorpian ages to come will take place under a negative Ring cycle.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that the four ages just past were “positive” in the simplistic sense or that the four ages to come will be “negative” in that sense.  It means that the four ages just past were typified by a movement toward the center, which then reversed, and the four ages ahead will be typified by a movement toward the periphery, which will then reverse.  Each age under a positive Ring phase thus sees a gradual coalescence toward some standard, which then comes unraveled as the age ends.  In the context of politics, think of the way the city-state became the fixed form of social organization in the Arian age, not only in the Mediterranean and the Middle East but in large parts of Africa, India, and the Americas as well, and how scriptural religions of salvation provided a similar fixed form in the Piscean age.

In the Aquarian age and the three ages that will follow it, an opposite procedure will be the rule. Instead of moving toward a common fixed form, the human societies of these ages will differentiate themselves more and more from each other, moving in their own unique directions over the course of each age, and then gradually blend and establish syntheses as the age draws to an end.  One consequence is that the disintegrating and diversifying forces that came into play as the Piscean age entered its twilight period will continue to work for many centuries yet, and attempts to impose some kind of uniform vision on humanity will simply generate resistance and accelerate the movement toward differentiation.

Across these broad (and broadly predictable) movements of time, as noted already, come a less regular set of influences that pass through the Logoidal consciousness into the solar system. These are the influences of other Great Entities on other planes of being. The human mind isn’t capable of grasping the calculations necessary to figure out when one of these comes into play, but we’re fortunate in that there’s a marker on the physical plane that can be used to track them: the appearance of comets.  That makes sense even from a purely physical perspective; astronomers have suggested that what detaches comets from the Van Oort Cloud and sends them plunging into the inner solar system are the movements and gravitational forces of celestial bodies outside the solar system entirely. The occultist would simply add that these celestial bodies need not be composed of matter as we know it—that is, of the substance of the material plane of our solar system.

Fortune is quite correct that the astrology of comets still needs a great deal of development. As H.S. Green notes in Mundane or National Astrology:  “There are many known comets that are permanent members of the solar system. These have not yet been examined astrologically or their influence determined.”  A great deal of very useful work could be done here, and Fortune’s suggestion of using the spectrographic profile of comets as a way to tease out their influences is well worth following up.  One point worth keeping in mind in this research, though, is that in traditional astrology comets are always malefic influences—and the Cos. Doc. explains why.

Comets in the Cos. Doc. are the  strange attractors of the solar system, reflecting the influence of Great Entities other than the Solar Logos. In a sense, they are similar to the Star Logoi, which mediate the influences of the twelve Cosmic rays into the solar system. Two great differences divide the comets from the Star Logoi, however. First, the Star Logoi are group souls in harmony with the consciousness of the Solar Logos, and the influences they mediate have been assimilated to the solar system. Think of them as being like the electrical transformers that step down high voltage current and make it safe for household use.  The forces radiated by the comets, by contrast, have not been stepped down in this way, and are as dangerous to us as electricity straight from high voltage transmission lines would be.

The second difference is that while the Star Logoi are group souls that have evolved into their current state and continue to evolve, the group souls of comets are incapable of evolution.  They simply reflect the influence that created them in a repetitive, mindless way. This gives certain comets their second function in the solar system, that of scavengers.

Previous discussions of the influence of other Great Entities on the solar system have noted that these are the sources of positive evil—not the negative evil of the Ring-Chaos, the Cosmic thrust-block that enables creation to come into being, but the active evil of individual beings. The value of positive evil is that the entities who contend with it in themselves and in the world undergo a more intensive epigenesis:  in human terms, they become wiser, stronger, and more richly individualized from the experience. Those entities who refuse to contend with the disruptive influence and assimilate themselves to it instead, not just once but in life after life, finally resonate with that influence so completely that they cease to incarnate on the same planet as the other souls of their swarm, and incarnate instead on a comet that embodies that influence.

The comet then proceeds on its way with its cargo of lost souls, sweeping out into unknown interstellar distances.  In Fortune’s metaphor, it does not stop there, but proceeds all the way to the Ring-Pass-Not at the boundary of the Cosmos itself. What happens there?  Nobody knows.  Fortune refers to it as the Unknown Death. When the comet returns to the solar system, perhaps after countless ages, the entities it carried with it are gone without a trace, and they and their karma never trouble the solar system again.

(There’s a curious parallel between this teaching and old Yuletide traditions surrounding St. Nicholas and his sinister partner, called Krampus in some parts of central Europe.  St. Nicholas, as we all know, brings gifts for good children; Krampus carries birch switches to remind the others of their misdeeds, and a wicker basket on his back to take away those spoiled little horrors who fail completely to learn from such reminders.  These latter are of course never seen again.  Folklore is a funny thing; quite often it contains remarkably deep occult teachings in quaint symbolic form, and this is a good example.)

All these Cosmic influences, the great tides of the Rings and Rays as well as the less predictable irruptions of cometary influence, have major roles to play in human evolution. On the broadest scale, a swarm leaves the upper spiritual plane to begin its evolutionary pilgrimage when the Ring phase of the Cosmos turns positive, and it finishes its outward journey on the physical plane as the Ring phases are changing, though how many phases will have gone by between those events is a complex matter.  The same principle applies on a smaller scale; whenever an influence from the higher planes finishes its descent into matter and begins to rise back up the planes, this has to be done when the tides of the Cosmos are turning, and any working meant to influence humanity as a whole or any of its large collective groupings thus needs to pay close attention to the set of the Cosmic tides.

In this discussion we also encounter for the first time the concept of the Left-Hand Path. That term was borrowed a long time ago from the Tantric occultism of India, and has been used in quite a range of senses in Western occult writings. Fortune uses it in an extremely specialized sense here and elsewhere.  To her, as we will see, the Left-Hand Path is the path of retreat along the lines of our species’ previous evolution, while the Right-Hand Path is the path of advance along the lines of our species’ future evolution. The Left-Hand Path is thus not the same as the path that leads to the Unknown Death; the former responds to influences that are native to this solar system, while the latter reacts to influences from outside the solar system.  The nature of the Left-Hand Path, and the reasons why the choice of a Path matters so greatly, will be covered in quite some detail in the chapters to come.

Notes for Study:

As already noted, The Cosmic Doctrine is heavy going, especially for those who don’t have any previous exposure to occult philosophy. It’s useful to read through the assigned chapter once or twice, trying to get an overview, but after that take it a bit at a time. The best option for most people seems to be to set aside five or ten minutes a day during the month you spend on this chapter. During that daily session, take one short paragraph or half of a long one, read it closely, and think about what you’ve read, while picturing in your mind’s eye the image you’ve been given for that passage of text.

As you proceed through the chapter and its images, you’re likely to find yourself facing questions that the text doesn’t answer. Some of those are questions Fortune wants you to ask yourself, either because they’ll be answered later in the book or because they will encourage you to think in ways that will help you learn what the text has to say. It can be helpful to keep a notebook in which to write down such questions, as well as whatever thoughts and insights might come to you as you study the text.

Questions and comments can also be posted here for discussion. (I’d like to ask that only questions and comments relevant to The Cosmic Doctrine be posted here, to help keep things on topic.) We’ll go on to the next piece of the text on February 12th, 2020.  Until then, have at it!


  1. I’m still quite a ways back, but find these explanations sometimes help with earlier material, but one thing which grabbed my attention was the discussion of comets. Given objects need not be visible to the naked eye to be astrologically important (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto all come to mind here), and what seems to matter is the moment of discovery, what do you make of the discovery of not just one, but two interstellar comets in the past couple years?

    I’d imagine interstellar comets, coming from beyond our solar system, would be remarkably alien in nature, but beyond that, I have no clue what else.

  2. The first thought that strikes me here: why are the influences of the other Great Entities (signified through comets) necessarily evil? Are the Great Entities actually in conflict? Is it simply that they’re so different from each other that beings attuned to the “resonance” of their Solar Logos will be “de-tuned” by the different resonances of another Great Entity? (I.e. is it simple incompatibility or actual malevolence?)

  3. The discussion of cosmic tides and the characteristics of the coming ages are quite interesting. If Dion Fortune is right, that would mean, among other things, that attempts to impose a single religion for everyone in a state, for example by Islamic fundamentalists, will ultimately fail.

  4. John–

    Is there any connection, then, between the positive evil, unassimilated disruptive forces you discuss in the context of comets on the one hand and the qliphoth on the other? And do the latter tie into Fortune’s concept of the LHP or is that one of the “other senses” of the term in Western tradition to which you refer?

  5. There is so much here, I feel more than previous chapters this covered months of meditation themes.

    The one I’m glommed onto is because today my divination told me that I currently don’t understand as much about Justice as I think I do (intergenerational trauma, personal trauma, bad luck and knowing the difference between them all being a big theme grappled with in daily life right now), but soon I will (ominous music maybe).

    I was thinking about Geburah, and the Path of Redemption, and wondering if the fact that we have such trouble accepting that there are both things we find cruel but we must accept: existence of bacterial infections, brain aneurysms, AND evil we can change: murder, clearcutting – we either collapse into passivity with it all God’s will, or think we’re god and try to fix it all – that’s the Fall. We know good and evil exists but we lack the ability to tell which is our business to deal with or not.

    This seemed similar to the “uniquely active beings doing things to a completely passive cosmos” somehow. … We forgot we’re a part of God, not the full meal deal?

    And if that is the Fall – which is a necessary part of evolution… We had to forget so we could learn again? so that we could, over the eons covered in the CosDoc, learn the rules of solar system creation to be logos ourselves?

  6. Hmm, here we are about to enter into an age of differentiation while at the moment, perhaps due to left over Piscean ideals, we are urged toward homogenization. I am pleased, because I like diversity. And homogenization isn’t diversity.

    I can think of another reason comets have been considered malefic. Earth’s history is one of catastrophism, with a few big catastrophes having occurred within the memory of mankind. Those catastrophes were cosmic in nature, that is, caused by perturbations within our solar system. There can also have been causes that were further out and which then caused troubles within it. Homer speaks of a battle or war between Mars and Venus, with Mars referred to as a destroyer of humanity or a destroyer of cities. Comets were often part of the picture.

    As to the role of evil and evil beings, I had come to the same conclusion, that they are the obstacles in this obstacle course.

    “The comet then proceeds on its way with its cargo of lost souls, sweeping out into unknown interstellar distances. ”

    So, hell is cold.

    “What happens there? Nobody knows. Fortune refers to it as the Unknown Death. ”

    This reminds me of scripture which says that at the end the demons are destroyed and then the lake of fire is itself destroyed.
    Although my personal belief is that everyone will be redeemed.

    I have also read that, at least in English, the word forever is mistranslated. It speaks rather of eons. For example, Jesus said that those who sin against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven in this age or the age to come.

  7. I’ve recently had to deal with an unpleasant person who frequents the meetings of a group I organize. Though this person is at least 60, she has the manners of a surly eleven year old. I hosted a free raffle for some cheap but fun junk one year: she cheated and put her name on almost all of the tickets. This is just the beginning of her bad behavior: I could go on, but let’s just keep it short and surmise is greedy and entitled, and of course she’s married to someone who makes well over 150K a year. She indulges her worst instincts at every opportunity.

    I used to get far more upset about people like her. I am happy to report that where in the past I would have found dealing with her unbearable, I can now calmly digest her antics as great examples of how not to be. She provides substantial fodder for discursive meditation. Mindless and repetitive describes her to a tee. She is the bad kid who may be abducted by the great Krampus some day!

  8. “The comet then proceeds on its way with its cargo of lost souls, sweeping out into unknown interstellar distances.”

    Wow, that’s sobering.

    Also, while I appreciate your reference to Krampus, I have to confess that my first thought was of “Earth’s number one export” from the final volume of WoH.

    “We’ll go on to the next piece of the text on February 12th, 2020.”

    Does this mean you’re taking a break from blogging in January again? If so, may it be restful and productive in whatever combination you prefer!

  9. I think DF has described here “the outer darkness” mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew. One reason to read occult philosophy without an accompanying occult practice, it seems to me, is to know what to avoid and exactly why to avoid it. To be told not to do this or that without some really convincing and plausible (for adults) reason is not nearly so effective. Gurdjieff used the term “hasnamuss” for whatever that’s worth.

  10. Hi Kimberly,

    I think I worked with her sister. Gah. May she get stuck in an elevator with people who are all “singing” the elevator carol. 😄

  11. Will, yes, that would suggest that a couple of Great Entities on other planes are moving past, and it might explain some of the world-class weirdness we’ve been seeing of late. As for Rod Dreher, yep — I’ve got a response on my Dreamwidth account, to which Dreher has responded in turn.

    RPC, it’s simple incompatibility. The influences of the other Great Entities aren’t malevolent, they’re just alien — just as hard gamma radiation isn’t malevolent, even though it can kill you or give you cancer.

    Booklover, now that we’ve moved into a negative Ring phase, yes. For the next 8508 years, any attempt to impose uniformity on a society or the world will simply generate more powerful energies of dispersal and produce even more differentiation than before.

    David BTL, I suspect Fortune would equate the comets to the Qlippoth, but I’m not certain of that. Might be worth chasing the topic down in her writings. As for the Left Hand Path, we’ll get to that — it’s complex.

    SaraDee, excellent. Yes, there’s plenty to meditate on here.

    Onething, the role of comets as a source of catastrophes may well be something that plays into Fortune’s metaphor. As for “forever,” you’re quite correct. The last bit of Matthew 28:20, for example, too often translated “until the end of the world,” is in the Greek original tis synteleias tou aionos, “until the completion of the age.”

    Kimberly, that’s one of the great advantages of meditation…

    Barefootwisdom, excellentI I was wondering if anyone would catch that little reference. As for January, yes — I’ll be making the announcement on the 25th, but yeah, I need a month off.

    Phutatorius, true enough.

    Nettlez, you know, I hadn’t thought of that, but you’re quite correct, of course.

  12. A sincere thank you for sharing this sacred vision, ArchDruid Emeritus. Once again, you’ve blown my mind into nano-particles of cosmic dust! I’ve been re-reading your posts on the Cosmic Doctrine, as well as Fortune’s book. The metaphor is beginning to make more & more sense. Perhaps I’m grooving with the tracks in space! 🙂

  13. Nettlez beat me to it – reading the part about the comets made me wonder if the Lords of Karma had delivered an eviction notice to the folks of the Heaven’s Gate cult. More likely, they were very sad and confused people, and hopefully their next spiral through life will be better, but it does make me scratch my head.

    So if the next four Ages will tend towards differentiation, is there a possible implication that polytheistic religions will flourish again?

    Regarding the Great Entities and positive evil, Fortune’s picture fits with my own thinking concerning evil. The other Great Entities aren’t evil; it’s just that evil requires a door to be opened to it.

    For example, in your Haliverse books (bit of a spoiler here), the ancient conflict between Cthulhu and the King in Yellow opened the door to ruinous forces from outside the local universe. Neither Cthulhu or the King are evil, and their conflict has to be incomprehensible to us, but there were forces ready to take advantage of the flaw.

    I suspect natural disasters and various psychological traumas play a similar role in human existence.

  14. Broken record time, and I should have said this the first time I commented. Thanks for your elucidations on this book. I would be especially lost in this chapter. I’m studying astrology, which means that every day after the SOP, I plod through meditations on all that jazz that’s basic to astrologers but is currently Greek to me. This chapter will obviously be one to fold into my astrological meditations, both now and later, so again, I appreciate your patient explanations with the whole of my heart.

    The annoying woman who attends some of my events seems to be ridden with parasites of the non-corporeal variety like in your book, Monsters. She reminds me of the Peanuts character Pigpen — she carries with her a miasma of nastiness and desperation that repels most people (Ms. Cutekitten, is the one you know happily married or mated? Also, she would probably like that carol. She’s not right in the head). Luckily for her, her husband doesn’t seem to see or mind. For her spoiled behavior, I’ll refer to her from now on as Veruca. Veruca appears to be piloted by forces beyond her control. She is a hoarder who openly takes what doesn’t belong to her and then when caught, makes the excuse that she didn’t understand the “rules”. She compulsively chases anything labeled as free and then makes a pest of herself in trying to squeeze the last drops out of the party doing the giving. My question is this: let’s say Veruca learns zilcho zero in this lifetime and goes on to become worse and worse for many lifetimes. Will she be reincarnated as a series of animals until she’s demoted to tapeworm/mesothelioma cell? Or is it possible to go straight to incarnating on a comet after a single human lifetime if you’re destructive enough?

  15. Never mind, you’re back on. A good thing. I feel quite cheated if I don’t get my Archdruid fix.

  16. Hi John,
    Do you plan on making a book companion to the Cosmic Doctrine out of this series and comments feedback?

  17. “It means that the four ages just past were typified by a movement toward the center, which then reversed, and the four ages ahead will be typified by a movement toward the periphery,”

    Area-To-Point Flows


    Point-To-Area Flows

    Thinking along these categories and looking at any system can provide all sorts of insights.

    If you’re looking at a system and you’re only seeing one type of flow, you’re not seeing the whole picture.

    These types of flows are an important part of understanding thermodynamics. Especially in the context of what’s been called, “The Constructal Theory.”

  18. Dear JMG,

    This post really brought a lot of things together for me. First of all, regarding comets, it’s interesting to note that, at least according to wikipedia, the 30 year period prior to and after 1888 had many more great comets than the time immediately prior. This would mean that in the Saturn cycle prior to the shift of the ages and the Saturn cycle prior to the ages a lot of entities got taken away. This intuitively makes sense, I would imagine between great ages there would be cosmic housecleaning, and the Planet that I would associate with that is, of course, Saturn. Of course, further research would need to bear that out. It is interesting to note that, according to an astrodienist essay, the Chinese give comets the compelling name of “broom star” implying, perhaps, that they serve a cleaning function! (

    Second, the shift of the ages; that really feels correct to me. Here I think of the differences between the US Civil War and WWII. President Lincoln imposed his vision of a unified country and it worked, very well. His entire magical strategy involved radical unity of the states. And it is compelling that Unity ultimately prevailed.

    Hitler played a very Uranian game of getting the European nations to give him almost everything he wanted before he went to war. He got them to act with Unity and he acted with division. Here I think of his strategy regarding Czechoslovakia. His brilliant diplomacy has a very different flavor than Mr. Lincoln’s. Hitler played the Aquarian energies brilliants against opponents that were still going along with the Piscean motions. This in part explains his stunning early victories, he apprehended a strategy that moved better with the spirit of the times. That is to say that the strategy of unity no longer worked.

    Indeed the cold war was Aquarian in extreme, the huge amounts of proxy wars, the reliance on the compellingly named Uranium, the lack of unity of front. The old pitched battles of the Piscean age may be a thing of the past. We may be looking at entirely different strategies, those of blitzkrieg, proxy warfare, roadside bombs, and guerrilla tactics. WWI showed that the old notions of unified warfare no longer make sense, especially if efforts to enforce unity only feed the energies of dispersal!

    I can only imagine that the movement of these energies will become more and more pronounced. Perhaps too this is the great enchanting charm of Magical Realist literature. The characters of Márquez’s novels are all at cross purposes, they are all in cultures moving towards dispersal, in unpredictable times, and are unpredictable themselves. His great visio, is that he coalesces this dispersal into a great dance. The music plays chaotically, the rhythm shifts, and the disparate elements collect into a participating in the dance. Everyone has their own dance moves and the heartbeat of actuality draws them into a joyous participation. He too has an interesting emphasis on the depth of the disparate inner world of individuals be they chessmasters, stuffy civically-minded doctors, over the top romantics, or alchemists fleeing the Inquisition! His characters are relentlessly alone with their inner worlds, fantastically alone, deeply alone with unbridgeable differences, and yet all together on the street, in a century’s worth of solitude, dancing together.

    While living in New Orleans I saw this ethos very clearly with the brass bands. Band after band would walk down the streets, each band playing a different song. People would sit by the sides drinking malt liquor, eating po’ boys, or running along the band dancing, catching the spirit of the music. The energy was dispersed, but held together by a tremendous joyousness in participation, but the participation involved everyone doing their own thing in their own way timed in their own manner.

    For this reason, I think the so-called Global South may very likely be ascendent in this shift of the ages, since from what I’ve seen, they have the cultural flexibility to move more effectively with the new Aquarian energies. Perhaps some of the madness so apparent in the Global North is a cleaving to the old Piscean forms of unity which belong to an age now past.

  19. John–

    Re the positive and negative cycles of centralization and de-centralization

    Assuming the traditional chronology, wouldn’t Atlantis (or whatever the story of Atlantis was based on) be situated during the previous cycle of de-centralization, in that case? This would seem at odds with the image painted of Atlantis, though perhaps what we have is a fragment of memory of one slice of that older world, as seen through the lens of the current (well, recently concluded) “centralization” cycle.

  20. Hi Kimberly,

    Mine had been married and divorced 5 times. She used to complain that none of her 3 daughters would have anything to do with her. Can’t imagine why. (She was the most hateful person I ever met.)

  21. True to my cultural influences, I suppose, I tend to think of myself as an individual, but this chapter and presumably the rest of the book show how forces external to me have a powerful influence on what I consider to be my ‘self.’ Concepts I consider as my own ideas or values are really coming from outside sources. In a way I and other humans are merely being swept along by the influences described in this chapter. So who am ‘I’ really, when so much of what I might consider to be ‘my’ thought and will is really shaped by forces larger than and beyond me? It would be more correct in a sense to think of myself as a part of a larger group consciousness made up of all entities in the Cosmos. One goal of occultism is to be most fully oneself (the Ipsissimus – the highest grade of evolution), but what does that even really mean? How could anyone be fully themselves when we are all subject to so many cosmic influences?

    We are not just a mindless, self-less part of a group consciousness, though. Fortune has talked about epigenesis, which seems to be a key component of this whole Cosmic situation. We each have a will which gives us the ability to choose, within certain limits, what things we will allow ourselves to be influenced by and what actions we will take as a result. We may not be able to do anything about the cosmic tides, but within our own little lives most of us have the ability to make at least some choices.

    But then there would also seem to be harmful or evil influences that affect us subconsciously. We have less choice about them because we are not fully conscious of their presence and resulting impact on our lives. Things just seem to ‘happen’ to us in a way which is beyond our control and not of our choosing. In terms of my own life, for example, the chief harmful influence I have started to be more aware of and struggle with would probably be self-pity. (That may not sound too bad – it’s not murder or blackmailing people or anything, but in essence it’s the flip-side or opposite of pride. Self-pity goes against God’s vision for the solar system, as far as I can tell from my limited exposure to God’s vision, that is! I get the distinct impression that God doesn’t sit around feeling sorry for himself). When I look back over my life, I can see how in some particular situations, unconscious self-pity took away my ability to choose to act differently.

    The end point of this would seem to be the comets. You said the comets ‘reflect the influence that created them in a repetitive, mindless way.’ That reminds me of the description of demons you have mentioned in the past. It also made me think of people I know that have become so set in their self-destructive ways that they can’t change any more. They have lost what ability they may have had to struggle against destructive influences and make choices about their own actions.

    So part of the process of becoming myself, and one object of occult practices, would be to bring harmful subconscious influences into my conscious mind. This would make me more aware of their influence on me and less likely for me be so mindless and controlled by them. I would find I gain a foothold and can struggle against them. These days, in my own life it feels like I am becoming more conscious of my tendency towards self-pity and how it tries to influence me. I feel like I have a choice – if I want to feel miserable and make decisions based on that feeling, or choose to be different.

  22. Idea recently, as it appears Voyageur II, and even Voyageur I, have reached the end of the universe, or at least the solar system. That is, there appears to be a wall of electricity, plasma? like the wall of an egg surrounding our solar system. It’s made of voltage, thus the “hiss” but the voltage, and thus resistance seems to rise near-infinitely, and cannot be penetrated. So first, a wall where no wall should be? That means the system and the universe isn’t made of rocks, but is made of energy. So second, that means our physics are definitively broken, as shown by total lack of progress in unified theory, etc, for 50+ years.

    But to this discussion, we’ve solved Fermi’s paradox: we can’t hear alien life out there because we’re completely cut off in a protected bubble. Only few things can pass through, light, Birkeland currents…and apparently comets, but only comets that have voltage that is far, far too high to be at all safe flying near us. And so this is the way things like souls, dead but disembodied, hovering, are attracted to them, and they travel off to outer darkness. For note, there is a Biblical Judgement, but there is a second, different “Final” Judgement. Perhaps the first keeps you here for reincarnation, as said by Christ “Who do they say I am?” “They say you are Elijah”, and the second, Final judgement is the pass/fail grade, and we don’t know where those energies go. To a solar system more suitable and fitting for them? A remedial school? My thought is that, determined, driven to be like that hot, tense, alien, non-human energy, “God” as it were, eventually consents and sends them to live with the fellows they have chosen. However, human sparks are not suited to ultra high-energy fires and cannot be changed to be otherwise. So they may burn, but is that not what they chose each day over eons and most desired? Who am I to prevent them? Were ten-thousand lives not enough? If after ten-thousand lives pass, they still wish this thing, is it mean and judgemental to provide it, or is it mean to trample their free will and imprison them forever where they don’t wish to be ‘for their own good’? You can see the kind of problems God would have deciding such things, perhaps it broadens our childish thoughts of a mean, vindictive, abstract God who created men only to make them fail, then punish them for it. I for one am glad not to have such decisions for others placed on me, as I can’t even make my own.

    Thoughts of a sealed playpen, and how that would be, the engineering and technology and morality that would follow from it.

  23. With the focus on decentralization, does that put the focus on the value of respect more because in my mind if the energy is flowing towards individual development then any successful society would require to have respect at its core allowing individual freedom to prevent decay.

  24. @JMG, thank you. If I may… Though I’m not sure if fully related to this chapter…

    So then I thought about Justice (today I got many of the same cards, only upright, so…getting closer!), and your note in PoW about ethical action being the source of power, not, as erroneously assumed by many, unethical action. I grappled with this one – I want this to be true. But gulags!

    But then, the (original) gulags are closed, because when everyone is the enemy of the state, pretty soon you’ve got no state.

    Unethical action gets sucked out to or past the ring chaos, gathering other unethical action like a snowball (comet), self limiting faster with the greater the misalignment with the cosmos (though “fast” is relative – 25 years in a gulag for the wrong religion can’t feel fast for the victim who survived it). Nothing of duration can be built on violence and fear (that old chestnut about nothing to fear but Fear itself).

    Ethical action follows the rules of the cosmos, but it requires faith – you didn’t highlight it in PoW, but the fact that Lamed is the *Faithful* Intelligence leaped out at me. And by it, the spiritual virtues increase – the bum you show compassion to might rob you, but might not. And the more you show trust/faith, the more you multiply the odds of more people showing trust next time. Every society has had mutual trust as foundation of the whole social order (except those in collapse). In the end, a world where every bum robs you falls apart, and he can’t exist either. The roots of Faith are in Binah, that is the rule of our cosmos, anyway.

    The problem below the veil is that an individual life can’t be used to suss that out, usually. There are so many exceptions in that wedge outside the shadow. The bum really might rob *you *. That’s the self (selfhood) sacrifice that the path of mem and the sacrificed god of Tiphareth indicate. You need to give up the expectation of reward in one lifetime for ethical action – paradoxically, you may even be more likely to be punished for it! Then you have a balanced sense of the importance of your self – very expendable – except *if* you acted as a good clear, Window, you might actually have tremendous outsize power over the course of events you’ll never see (unless by that incarnation you are capable of remembering… ). You are just a window though.

    Since individuals exist below Tiphareth, *any* action meant to influence how others outside the self can act opens the door to Chaos… Some opening of that door is required though – I have to limit things my children can do to keep them safe *for now*. Again, the Fall is required! It’s not whether you open the door, it’s how much, for how long, when… and only after you’re sure you couldn’t just open a Window instead (when god closes a door he opens a window, ha!).

  25. To be a bit clearer on what I mean by respect I mean an overall respect for all things like personal liberty, the understanding that if something is not directly harmful it should be free to express itself, all living things have value and all things have the right to boundaries. Not respect to just an authority although perhaps respect to the knowing that other people carry different knowledge and you have to respect to hear that. Sort of an overall respect for things outside of yourself as having value and gifts even if you don’t personally understand it you don’t have the right to interfere with it. Or is there other values that would allow unity with diversity.

  26. Hi JMG
    Many thanks for the article

    I confess I don’t usually read your articles about CosDoc, it seems too strange for me and I think I have not antennas for these concepts, but in this case something in the title attract my attention and reading it I discover that it was for good reasons.

    Your say:
    “As an example from the history of ideas, consider the concept of living an ethical life in the Age of Aries, when compassion was not even considered a virtue and the goal of ethics was living a life of principled action independent of others, and compare it to the concept of living an ethical life in the Age of Pisces, when compassion was the central virtue and the goal of ethics was living a life of loving self-sacrifice in service to others!”

    I have to admit that this explanation has a lot of sense from the historical perspective, because it is difficult to explain how in different and far away regions as Roman Empire or India, we can see the shift of the religious focus from some kind of “self awareness”, or “gnostic way of salvation” or similar self-centered strategies, to the focus on “others”, as, for example in the early Christianity or the emergence of the Mahayana Buddhism exactly at the same century; and the high speed of acceptance among the masses.

    Some explanation affirm that the acceptance of Christianity or Mahayana Buddhism by “weak” people with “herd moral” (Nietzsche), was a consequence of the huge growth of the institution of slavery after the roman conquests, but the institution of slavery was very old were Jesus was born, for example in Greece or India, in the previous period that David Graeber calls “The Military – Coinage- Slavery Complex” that started in the beginning of the Axial Age (K. Jaspers) or Arian Age, with at leats a millennium of close proximity, pervasive and permanent Ultra-Violence (not the “organized” and more “abstract” violence of the Piscean Age)

    In the Arian Age people, like Plato, could end up being sold in an slave market or be killed as a matter of bad luck, in any moment in their lives, it does not matter who was he, and everyone assumes this was “normal”, nobody makes any scandal about that, of course not Plato nor Aristotle; that was the life then…

    On the other hand, in the New World, the existing civilizations, at the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, seems to have been still in the Arian Age (for example with their human sacrifices), do you think may be there was a “delay” of Ages between the two Continents?

    I have another question for you:
    Apart of the next ages of “disintegration”, do you expect any big changes in the morals/ethics/religions in the Age of Aquarius similar to what you described in the pass from the Arian to the Piscean Ages? Any big changes compare to the last Piscean Age?


  27. My context this week: Just watched the Netflix series “Mindhunter”, based on true story about FBI agents in the Behavioral Science Unit interviewing serial killers to try to understand what makes them do what they do. So I am very much thinking about “evil” and what it is. I also listened to the podcast about Heaven’s Gate a few months ago, so that’s in there somewhere. On your dreamwidth page, the conversation about Ahrimanic and Luciferic evil really had me thinking, especially about the craving to gratify the ego (I may have accidentally anonymously extended a different anonymous person’s line of questioning… apologies) so for my meditation today, after reading this chapter of Cos Doc and your commentary, I focused on that bit about evil.

    I came upon a triad of evil, or, three interconnected elements that keep a soul from evolving along productive and beneficial lines. The triad is “pride, delusion and craving.” This relates to the Buddhist idea of dependent origination, for them the fundamental delusion of being a separate, discrete entity is what causes craving and “birth” which leads to suffering. These elements (and this is just a rough picture, for the Buddhists there are often 12 links) are interdependent, like the legs of a stool, they reinforce each other.

    I think of the serial killers who, like Ed Kemper, seem to be both Ahrimanic and Luciferic, and their pride in being a special person, smarter than everyone else, reinforced their craving to kill and dismember people and vice versa. There is the craving to feel superior, to reassert that self as powerful. For somebody like Kemper, who was very intelligent, and should have known better, these two elements overpowered that knowledge, that clarity, and his fate was sealed. There were other, disorganized serial killers who just followed the compulsion that grew from past fantasies and actions, and these might be more the regular Ahrimanic type, but what drove that compulsion? The same craving to be powerful and superior? I think that David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” is illuminating here… parasitic entities that feed on the death energy find a doorway in and influence things in their favor may have a hand in the whole thing.

    I then think to the poor lost souls of Heaven’s Gate. To me they are definitely more Luciferic. They were convinced that they were special, the two original leaders had them convinced (and believed themselves) that they were biblical figures (out of Revelations) and their desire for this self image allowed them to be fooled, deluded to such an extent that they willingly killed themselves for this illusory self image. So very sad.

    I contrast this triad with a triad of “clarity, compassion, and power” – these also reinforce each other. When it comes down to it, there is very little free will, there are a whole assortment of forces that go into decisions and behavior, creating tracks in space, karma. That triad of “free will, destiny, and fate” is important here. So when one spends time cultivating clarity, that clarity helps them become more powerful, more able to act in a way in line with their highest goals, and that clarity helps them act compassionately, because they see how all beings are interconnected, part of a larger system. This is the right hand path spiral that leads back up the planes, confronting evil and using it as a thrust block towards evolution. And the left hand path goes right back into pride, delusion and craving… which could lead to rock bottom and back up, or to a comet and unknown death, seems to me very dangerous and full of suffering. Of course, as always, all of this is just a way of seeing it, a metaphor.

  28. I know this doesn’t relate to the main substance of the post, but your mention of the changing role of compassion reminded me of my own recent ruminations on compassion. It it seems to me that compassion’s role in this age is that of a pseudo-virtue. Actually I think “near-virtue” would be a better word.

    It’s a weakness in that it opens you to manipulation and exploitation, but it’s near enough to the real virtues – liberality and hospitality on the small scale, magnificence (or noblesse oblige) on the large – that it’s preferable to most of the obvious alternatives.

    Mind you, I do think self-sacrifice can be virtuous – I’m not an Objectivist – but should mainly be directed toward those who could be counted on to do the same, such as family and close friends.

    More generally, it seems to me that the highest ethical ideal of our age is in some sense to figure out the sort of life you want to lead and then go and live it, with no one such life being the best for everyone.

  29. Shivadas, you’re most welcome.

    Cliff, I expect polytheism to recover promptly. Monotheism was pretty clearly a Piscean thing — Neptune is among other things the planet of unity — and as the last echoes of the Piscean age trickle away, people will return to something closer to normal religion. As for evil, yes, exactly.

    Kimberly, the traditional lore doesn’t really explain what determines the exact sort of messy afterlife thoroughly nasty people get. She probably won’t cycle back through a whole series of animal lives — if I understand correctly, if that’s what’s waiting for her, she’ll drop back to whatever level of complexity matches her current state of consciousness, whatever that happens to be, and then she can work her way back up from there — but if she’s gotten to her current Verrucahood through many lives of deliberate nastiness, there may be a comet in her future.

    Your Kittenship, I think the gateway cringed when you brandished a rolled-up newspaper, and decided to behave!

    Eduard, yes, and in fact I’ve already lined up a publisher for it.

    Versling, yes, exactly! Thanks for this.

    Violet, a very solid meditation on the turning ages. For what it’s worth, I think you’re quite correct — the much-discussed “revolution in military affairs” is a reflection of that shift of Ring phase — and yes, the Piscean energies will remain strong in those civilizations that emerged during that astrological age.

    David BTL, that’s correct — if the current negative Ring phase began in 1888, the previous positive phase began in 6752 BCE, and the negative phase before that in 15,392 BCE. Atlantis traditionally sank around 9600 BCE. That actually makes a lot of sense — in a negative phase, a nation like Atlantis wouldn’t try to spread its particular form of civilization to neighboring countries, it would simply elaborate its own unique vision of things, differentiating itself as far as possible from its neighbors, while the neighboring peoples continued to live in their own ways. Thus a fairly advanced society could flourish in a small geographical area and not leave remnants of advanced technology all over the place.

    Stefania, excellent! A very solid meditation on the themes of this chapter.

    Jasper, well, according to Jet Propulsion Laboratories, that’s not the case. Both Voyagers are still moving, having passed through the heliopause — the outer boundary of the sun’s plasma atmosphere — and entered interstellar space. So I think you may have gotten some inaccurate information. There is no wall, just a boundary between the heliosphere and the interstellar medium, and both the Voyager space probes passed through that boundary wihtout difficulty and are zooming toward the stars at 38,000 and 34,000 miles an hour respectively. Voyager I is already more than 20 light-hours from Earth, which is a respectable distance considering that Earth is just over 8 light-minutes from the Sun!

    Rose, yes, and in fact I suspect respect for individual freedom (and eccentricity!) to be a central ethical theme of the Aquarian age, since that age is ruled by Uranus, the planet of individuality.

    Sara, you may indeed. Another solid meditation!

    JMA, funny. You know, if something shifts suddenly in our world’s collective consciousness as comet 21/Borisov swings past the Sun and zooms back out into interstellar space, I won’t be a bit surprised.

    Rose, again, yes, very much so.

    DFC, the Piscean influence in native Mesoamerica took the form of the attempted religious revolution led by the Toltec prince Quetzalcoatl (who, like some other religious reformers, was turned into a god after his death). He failed to overturn the existing religious system, however, and so a modified Arian system remained in place until the Piscean influence arrived with the Spaniards. There’s always a transitional period between ages, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter, depending on local conditions and astrological influences.

    Isaac, excellent. Quite a string of very solid meditations on the themes of this month’s post…

    James, the Piscean age is over and the Aquarian age is taking shape around us. That means that some Piscean themes in ethics and elsewhere are becoming increasingly incoherent or bizarre as they come unraveled.

  30. JMA, thank you very much for the link to the story about the comet 2I/Borisov, which unlike every previously studied comet but one, originated from outside our solar system (hence the designation 2I, for Second Interstellar). I picked up several interesting details from the linked story and an earlier one on the same site.

    The discoverer, Gennady Borisov, is not only an amateur, he built his own 0.65 metre telescope. Amateur astronomy lives!

    Whoever wrote the excellently reported story finessed Mr. Borisov’s nationality. “Crimean amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov discovered the comet on Aug. 30, 2019, and reported the position measurements to the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.” International cooperation between astronomers also lives.

    2I/Borisov made its closest approach to both the Earth and the Sun, 2 astronomical units respectively (an AU being I believe the average distance of the Earth to the Sun) on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7 of this year. I felt very strange all day that day, and wondered whether someone I knew was dying. Perhaps this was the reason. In astronomical terms, 2 AU is pretty darn close.

    “2I/Borisov will make its closest approach to the Sun (reach its perihelion) on 7 December 2019, when it will be 2 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun and also 2 AU from Earth.”

    Here’s the link you posted again:

  31. I hope you’ll forgive this long post. I have both Uranus and Neptune conjunct my ascendant, so I’ve spent a fair bit of time grappling with the issue of how these planets manifest, their drawbacks, and their strengths. Uranus is liberty, eccentricity, uniqueness; Neptune, meanwhile is the collective: it’s unity, wholeness, and the group. These can be taken in a few different directions, but for now, I’d like to focus on ethics.

    Both Neptunian and Uranian ethics are based upon a single core virtue, although in both cases things are a little complicated by the nature of these planets. The core ethical principle for Neptune is compassion, although it’s often a litte distorted due to other issues; Uranus, meanwhile, has the core virtue of indepndence, although both of these need to be understood differently from how most people look at them.

    Before going much further, I want to stress an important point: both Uranus and Neptune have a great deal of strengths. The drawback to both of them is actually the same: they are fairly powerful forces, which I don’t think most human beings are able to use well. It takes a great deal of self-knowledge and awareness to keep the collective in mind while also keeping true to the individual self; it also takes a great deal of wisdom to be able to follow Uranus without losign sight of the bigger picture. Both are, if used well, great sources of power; the issue is that most human beings aren’t able to control them, and so end up veering off in directions which no one would want to go down.

    Starting with Neptunian compassion, it’s a little hard to justify certain actions, such as the crusade, as acts of compassion, but remember that Neptunian influences tend to be confusing; self-delusion is an unfortunate hallmark of Neptune. Thus, although by any sane standard the Crusades were not acts of compassion, for the people at the time, with the somewhat crazy notions of their time, these actions were justified by compassion: converting people to the One Faith, for example, was a very compassionate act from their world view. Murdering those who would not follow it, likewise, was the height of compassion: the dead, after all, could not lead the living astray, and so murder to save souls is an incredibly compassionate act.

    So while at its purest, most noble, you have people who are willing to lay down their lives for others, Neptune also brings out the people willing to kill for the sake of others, based upon what looks like a delusion. The crucial thing to note though is that from within the worldview which the Age of Pisces had, these things are acts of compassion. It takes a great deal of compassion for others souls to be willing to sacrifice your own family, and stories of such acts are common among the stories of saints and the equivalents, ranging from turning them to the inquisition through to merely walking away from them to follow the True Path.

    The other odd thing about all of this is that Neptunian compassion tends to lose sight of the self: this may help explain the popularity of extreme asceticism, taking from the self and giving it over to the group, an act of compassion so great that it is literally based on sacrificing the self.

    Uranus meanwhile exalts independence. I suspect we will see a revival of a somewhat modified stoicism, or similar such movements: the utter indifference to the world, the serene confidence and the capacity to do what is thought to be right no matter what the world has to say about it, is arguably the the height of Uranian morality. However, the worldview which underlies it, as well as the idea of what constitutes the right course of action, will no doubt differ from person to person; in fact, a stoicism based upon finding the right path, and then following it with the utter confidence and self-control of the classical stoics, is very likely to be a major ethical movement.

    Meanwhile, the moral code of the Age of Aquarius will almost certianly exalt freedom, the capacity to ruin one’s life being a near non-negotiable. The bitter irony of this is that a huge part of this principle includes the right to refuse to learn from the past (the utter inability to learn from the past today being part of this showing up already). Thus, one of the things which follows from independence is the capacity to act independently of what the world says, and part of this will include very self-destructive paths, followed right up until death.

    Meanwhile, a part of this independence will be freedom and tolerance, but at the same time it’s hard to overstate the self-centred nature of Uranian morality compared to what we typically think of as morality: in order for me to truly be independent, then I must be able to violate your freedom. This conflict at the heart of Uranian morality doesn’t seem to have a clear resolution to me.

    Thus, the core of the ethical aspects of the Age of Aquarius, as I see it, are learning to manage the tension between the freedom necessary for independence, and the tendency that said independence has to infringe upon others freedom.

  32. One thing occurred to me as I was contemplating this post. The Ring cycle that recently ended is defined as “positive”, while the Ring cycle that is began in the late 19th century is considered “negative”. That would imply the Ring cycle that follows the Scorpian age (Libran, Virgan, Leonine, Cancerian) will be positive, while the next Geminian-Taurian-Arian-Piscean cycle will be negative rather than positive, as if the precessional cycle is actually an alternating, two-stroke cycle.

    PS – Ring cycle has a rather Wagnerian ring to it!

  33. 25 Dec and 1 Jan both fall on Wednesday. Do you and Sara come from families of Christians, and will thus be busy on the 25th, or will that be last-Wednesday-of-the-month as usual?

    I cant think of a religion that pays overmuch attention to 1 Jan, though there probably is one I don’t know about. Will you be posting as usual on 1 Jan?

    At any rate, a happy [insert your winter holiday HERE!] to everyone! 🌲☃️❄️

    It’s a shame we don’t all live in the same neighborhood. With the variety of religions we practice, we would probably end up w/a festive gathering at least once a month.

  34. Hmm. It just clicked that if asceticism is Neptunian, then perhaps that would explain the terror of pleasure and the puritanism which defined the Age of Pisces. I think I have a theme for many meditations here.

  35. JMG and all,

    The first thing that I got after reading the chapter and comments is that the comets as harbringers of irregularities and chaotic energies modifying our cosmos might give as a clue to another spiritual phenomena. The great many comets at the beginning of XX century also coincidence with rise of UFO phenomena in culture and around; so the quizzical and often sinister nature of “contact events” might be influenced by shards of “sidereal idiots” as Fortune calls them. Now it’s not full explanation, like our host and (probably first) Charles Fort noted UFO is label that hid great many and varied phenomena. But the “alienness” and frankly nonsensical character of some those can be attributed to the fact that they don’t originate with native Solar Logos.

    Second, “Star Logoi are group souls in harmony with the consciousness of the Solar Logos, and the influences they mediate have been assimilated to the solar system. Think of them as being like the electrical transformers that step down high voltage current and make it safe for household use” that’s great parallel with Sefirot, who channel and lessen (plus the Veil of Yesod, which partially shields Malkut from the influence of the higher sefirot) cosmic forces too great for our small part of greater cosmos – making the infinite divine energy more finite at each level.

    Also, that bring to mind idea of working directly with Star Logoi of zodiac sign like kabbalists work with Sefirot – a sort of kabbalistic astrology. I am not familiar with writing of Fortune enough to say if she developed such system, but it would be fascinating to see.

    Third, the distinction between failure leading to being becoming devils and demons and failure leading to Unknown Death is unclear to me. What is failure of devil (are are there “more powerful” demons draw from among Lords of Minds?.

    Does the fact that Lords of Form and Flame are not individualized means that they can’t “fall”, so there are no “true” fallen angel in Fortune’s cosmology?


  36. I really like this definition of evil because it sucks all the fun and mystery right out of it.

  37. Hi John Michael,

    Do you reckon the current obsessiveness with the culture of individualism actually only serves to hinder the process of evolution as the word is understood in this context?

    Out of sheer curiosity, what do you make of the role of positive evil and the personage of the trickster? I feel that there is something in there, and the Merlin’s of the world may have had to tackle their inner demon’s first and foremost before they grew in stature. Dunno.

    The workings of the comets does sound a little bit to me like taking out the trash.



  38. The whole subject of sidereal astrology and the changeover of the different phases of it are a really fascinating subject with many follow-up ideas emerging for me. For example, it provides a big picture for some of the things to which we are accustomed (for example, the ideas of left-wing politics and ideologies, the Christian morality and so on) and the increasing amount of failure for implementing such ideas. It leads to the idea, that not only are some of the Piscean / Neptunian ideas, like for example, utopian ideas of international solidarity, or the hopes and utopias of the adherents of languages like Volapük and Esperanto, getting out of fashion, these kinds of ideas one the one hand and the beginning Aquarian age stand in increasing contrast and incompatibility to each other.

    Furthermore, it leads to the idea that the rise and fall of civilizations in then next ca. 8000 years will happen in a different way than in the past 5000 years. The mention of Atlantis as a possible adavanced civilization, which was nevertheless small in scale and left almost no traces, is relevant here.

    Another thought: The way Christianity came to dominate the religious scene in the wake of the end of the Roman Empire wiht papacy as a hierarchical top-down structure inherited from the centralized structure of the Roman Empire is a typical Piscean thing; the beginning of the Aquarian age might mean that this story won’t repeat; instead of it, the Second Religiosity of the western world would consist in the emergence of several religions and local variation without centralization. Relevant here is that even in historical times, monotheist religions were unusual, even if one counts non-Abrahamic monotheist religions.

    The whole cycle takes ca. 50000 years, as elaborated by Jacurutu. I had the same musings as him about positive and negative phases. This is one of the things which makes sure that the same age won’t ever repeat in exactly the same fashion.

  39. “I cant think of a religion that pays overmuch attention to 1 Jan”

    There is the civic religion of the Soviet Union and its successor states, I suppose? New Year takes the place of Christmas here.

    I have had little to add to the discussions lately, but I just figured I’d let you know that I find those posts and the comments endlessly fascinating and read them often. Even when I don’t entirely agree with something, it’s a rich source of both food for thought regarding the current human prediament and of inspiration for fiction and roleplaying. Keep it up, everyone!

  40. John, once more, off topic, but applying the scientific process to your writing is a hobby.

    Chris Hedges has a piece entitled “The Great American Shakedown” posted on Truthdig, among other places. He has taken your work from ADR 2015 and updated it.

    Meanwhile, Boris Johnson appears “victorious”, Betsy Devos won’t return “for profit” tuition because she fears fraud, and wants “means testing”, while simultaneously the Federal Reserve prepares to inject $500B to the banks and bust their previous record balance sheet.

    Am SO looking forward to your end-of-the-year thoughts!

  41. I note your (and Fortune’s) date of 1888 comes (In America, and I think, Britain and a fair chunk of Europe) right at the end of the Third Great Awakening – terminology strictly American, I think. For what that’s worth. [Russia, the Orthodox nations in general, and the old Ottoman Empire Territories seem to be half a secular cycle off from that of the West, again for what that’s worth. The Ottomans fell apart `1919, and the USSR, ~1989, frex.]

  42. For a glimpse – in Post-Toastie s/f – of what the Age of Aquarius might look like, check out Stirling’s Dies the Fire Series, in which everyone from Wiccans to Kibbutzim to cowboys to Dunedain Rangers worshiping Tolkien’s valar to First Nations tribes to a culture based on the Norman 14ths Century – and one based on Boy Scouts! – have developed, each going their own way. And polytheism is the norm, with the saints and Mary filling that role for the Medieval Catholic one. Best place to start: Book 4, The Sunset Lands. (The very last 4 books start to jump the shark, if you ask me, especially the last one. Faint reek of a publisher telling the author “C’mon, wind it up – NOW!”)

    If this is too far OT, don’t post this.

  43. Finally – I note the childrens’ record “Free to Be You and Me” was a big hit back in its day. Very Aquarian? And your Aquarian society sounds very cat-like, as opposed to the dog-like Age of Pisces.

  44. I’m delighted when I see it’s time for another C.D. post. This one was no different.

    Especially about the section on the role of comets in C.D. and astrology. It also gives me a clue as to what was really happening in the origin myth of the appearance of the Hindu goddess Durga. I am now mighty suspicious it’s a record of just such a astrological/astronomical event that happened ages ago but is still remembered in myth.

    For those who aren’t familiar with Hinduism’s pantheon Durga is a grand Warrior-Protectress goddess. Meaning she’s at a level above even most of the other Hindu pantheon.

    The origin story for Durga says once, millennia ago a strange alien demonic threat (Mahi-asura) from another dimension of the universe entered ours. In the myth as I first heard it this alien presence is depicted as a demon riding a water buffalo. All the gods and goddesses went to war to stop it. But none could defeat it and this demon’s threat was so malevolent it was going to completely annihilate this dimension if left unchecked. It was leaving total destruction in its wake everywhere it went. Not even the triumvirate of Brahma/Vishnu/Shiva could defeat this alien demon so great was it’s power.

    So the Hindu trinity and all the Hindu pantheon of gods and goddesses got together and pooled their power. From that pooled power sprang the warrior goddess Durga with 10 arms and hands each holding a weapon of terrible power. She told them though she shared in each god or goddesses ‘specialty’ of power she was more than just the sum of each. She was a unique goddess in her own right. She then rode forth on the back of a lion (some depictions have a tiger instead) to do battle with the hitherto undefeatable cosmic alien-demon and won.

    As one website mentions: Embodying their collective energy (shakti), Durga is both derivative from the male divinities (the Hindu Trinity) and the true source of their inner power. She is also greater than any of them.

    Or as I understand it: She’s greater than them because she IS them united as one, single Will-to-act. And in Hinduism Power is the realm of the divine feminine because power is the ability to act. The divine masculine *never* acts according to Hinduism. The divine masculine – to use Meher Baba’s terminology – is the Beyond and the Beyond-the-Beyond.

    I mention this because the form of this myth as I first read it mentions quite a bit about how Mahiasura was an *alien* demonic threat unlike any encountered before not just to the physical plane but to the higher spiritual planes too. Much was made of why none of the pantheon – not even the supreme trinity in Hinduism could defeat it. In other words the version I read said it took the solar logos, the logoi *and* the higher-plane swarms (to use Cos. Doc. lingo) all united to finally defeat the destructive threat this alien manifestation presented so great was it’s power.

    So then Cos. Doc. mentions the bit about comets. And JMG mentioning how in traditional astrology comets are malefic. Well the parallels to the origin story of Durga immediately sprang to mind.

    This on top of the amazing parallels to things I’ve learned in Pureland Buddhism always delights me. JMG’s Cos. Doc. essays have to be some of my most favorite of his long writing and blogging career.

  45. P.S. I just googled Durga origin story and apparently there are some versions that say it wasn’t just one single alien mega-demon that invaded. Mahiasura led an entire army of alien demons just like him.

    So naturally I’m now thinking this myth records Milky Way galaxy endured some highly damaging astronomical event many millennia ago that likely did leave a lot of damage in its wake.

  46. This is something from quite a ways back, but if you don’t mind, I’d like to share something: I’ve just thought of a practical example of tracks in space in action: cleaning. There are, in general, two types of cleaning, and both of them have the results that they do due to tracks in space. The first, productive kind, is to gradually clean. Whatever level of cleanliness you start with, if each day things are a little bit cleaner, then that’s good enough under this model. This process slowly establishes the tracks which are helpful, in this case those which lead towards cleaner spaces.

    The second one is very unhelpful, because it does nothing to establish the tracks you want. The state “clean”, like the state “mess” is not a permanent state, but can be nudged in one direction or the other. If cleaning serves as the tracks in space to get a clean state, then there are similar tracks which pull towards a messy state. If, instead of aiming to make things better slowly your idea of cleaning is to put everything away in one feverish go, then when you finish you have a clean space, but none of the tracks in space to keep it there, and all the tracks which lead to a messy home still in place. Thus, over the span of the next few days or weeks, all that progress gets destroyed as things settle back into the old tracks….

  47. JMG
    Again we are meditating or reflecting on images / metaphors? I take it this ‘interior’, if shared, process is a kind of magic; a positioning of ‘our’ intentions within a wide framework of the intentions of others in a ‘spiritual’ macrocosm. We can use for metaphors the hysteresis seen for example in the evolution of solar systems (observable objects). The metaphors range from the ‘deterministic’ interactions among the planets, to perhaps ‘learned’ choices in human history, the latter itself a kind of hysteresis that has followed from the initiation of ‘intention’. (‘Intention’ seems to have emerged at the very least in living Nature.)
    Sorry about the ponderous above, but I felt the need to embrace a framework for the metaphors. My thought turns to ‘intention’ and the different kinds of magic. (Much further down the line is ‘sanity’ and ‘reason’ and ‘losing one’s reason’. You made a striking remark once about the problem of maintaining sanity in any advanced future AI neural network.) I have been re-familiarising myself with concepts of the ‘magic of light’ and ‘cacomagic’ in your chapter, Magic, Metapolitics and Reality in ‘A Magical Education’. What ‘we’ have at the moment is ‘cacomagic’, i.e. ‘archemastry’ morphed into science, industrialization etc. ‘We want what we want …’ (Surely so … that is our not-so ok world).
    I guess our interior adjustments (or reflections) on metaphor allow our intentions to better learn from the wide world, and with luck, despite the apparent ‘determinism’ of interactions, get out from the current ‘science bind’ of ‘objectivity’. There seem to be a wide range of magics available in our existence – your duality of ‘cacomagic’ and ‘light magic’ comes to mind, but I guess there are others. Indeed I wonder if there are hints of a much wider world beyond reach of our metaphors. This seems a curious proposition, assuming that nothing started because of a pre-formed ‘intention’, but as in Alasdair MacIntyre’s ‘After Virtue, a kind of teleology hovers beyond the relentless impersonal frame that our magic attempts to come to terms with?
    Oh dear, too long … I go on too long … rueful smile
    v. best for the turn of the year
    Phil H

  48. Thanks once again to JMG and the commenters who have given me lots to think about. These discussions help as much as the essays on each chapter. I often write down comments from this and other JMG blogs down by hand in my journal so I can reference them later. Treasured words.

    Fortune mentions a couple of “Factors of the Manifested Universe” in the Revised Edition. Is she going to talk about the Law of impactation, or the transmission of action from one plane to another, in a future chapter, or is that a concept we are supposed to deduce from what we have already learned? Also, what’s the Law of the Seven Deaths?

    “The Logoidal influence predominating at the time that a new phase is being developed determines the type of life or vehicle evolved.” It’s like she’s saying, “You (and all that surrounds you) are a product of your time, era, place, and circumstances, like it or not, because them’s just the breaks, kid.” We can either make the best of the hand we are dealt or go the spoiled-baby route of the old biddy who attends my events. The rest is and was decided by forces much larger than us.

    The forces of evil and the concentrated version that skulks around as comets reminds me of the tales of Baba Yaga, who presents our hero or heroine with seemingly insurmountable challenges — what doesn’t kill them makes them stronger. Baba Yaga can be tricked as a result of her own laziness, and she often tries to trick people into doing her bidding. Sometimes people trick other people into visiting her chicken-leg cannibal shack. She’s an obvious personification of Death, the great scavenger and recycler.

  49. This is a fascinating post. I confess that I stopped following the book itself a while ago– life got in the way– and will be returning to it later. Instead I’m just following your posts, so I may be missing important details. 

    However, it seems, based on what you’ve said here, that we should be able to make predictions about life in the following age, and ages to come, based upon the following considerations:

    1. Positivity-Negativity
    2. The Ruling Astrological Sign
    3. Eros-Thanatos

    Taking them in reverse order, by Eros-Thanatos I mean something that you referenced a while ago on the Well of Galabes– the way that sex and death alternate, in succeeding eras, as sources of spiritual power and defilement. 

    In the Age of Aries, death was the source of defilement. Dead things were never brought into temples, but sex was held in a much higher regard than it was later (including in late Classical paganism– on this view, Plotinus is as Piscean as Saint Paul.)

    Things reversed during the Age of Pisces. Now, religious structures were regularly consecrated by way of dead bodies. The best known examples are the relics of saints found in the altars of traditional Catholic and Orthodox churches. Sex, meanwhile, became a source of defilement– even the cause of “original sin” in Augistine’s view!

    Going back an age further, the era that preceded the Age of Aries was also marked by a reverence for death. Here the quintessential example is ancient Egypt, with its mummies. 
    In the Aquarian Age, then, most religions will hold sex in high regard, while contact with the dead will be a source of defilement. 

    That leads to the next consideration, the astrological sign. The signs of the Zodiac, as everyone here probably knows, are all assigned to one of the classical elements. Aquarius is assigned to Air, Pisces to Water, Aries to Fire, Taurus to Earth.
    The elements, meanwhile, are combinations of two other principles: hot/cold and dry/moist.

    Air is Hot and Moist.
    Water is Cold and Moist.
    Fire is Hot and Dry.
    Earth is Cold and Dry.

    Viewed this way, the alternation between eras of Eros and Thanatos turns out to be an alternation between heat (sexuality) and cold (death.) These two alternate age by age. But the principle of moisture alternates not every other age, but every two ages! The question, then, is, how can this principle be described?

    I’m not sure. The only way to figure it out would be to compare as many ages as possible, and see what they have in common and what differentiates them. We only have detailed information about the Piscean, Arian and Taurean ages, and some hints of what the Aquarian Age looks like.

    But it seems– based on instinct and half-remembered facts, it’s worth mentioning, and not specialized research– to me that at least one thing stands out. Piscean and Taurean religions were both concerned with death. However, Piscean religions were also concerned with unification. Water is undifferentiated; it binds things together; the basic principle of water is moisture. As far as I know, Taurean religion did not have the same concern– Egyptian religious practices spread by imitation, rather than world conversion, and Egypt’s Protestant Era under Pharaoh Akthenaten lasted just one generation. Earth, and so, I suppose, dryness, is the principle of particularity. 

    If that’s the case, eras would be marked by the polarities of Eros/Thanatos and Universalism/Particularity.

    The Aquarian Age, then, would be marked by a Universalism of Eros.

    That doesn’t seem right, though. What am I missing? 

    Perhaps the following:

    First, Aquarius and its ruler, Uranus, are very specially concerned with the breaking down of fixed structures. The Universalism, then, of Aquarius is one of universal particularity and differentiation.

    Second, there is the third and final consideration– Positivity and Negativity. Negativity is a movement in the direction of dis-unity. This further suggests that the coming age will be one of particularity (Uranus, Aquarius, Negative Pole) universalized (Age of Moisture). What, exactly, would this mean? 6,000-8,000 years ago was the last time we had an Air Age. In this case, it would have been an age of Erotic universality (Positive Pole) universalized (Age of Moisture). Hmm, hmm, and hmm. Finally, in addition to the poles, there is the 7-or-9 fold structure added by the planets, further complicating matters.

    What do you think? Am I missing something (or perhaps, many somethings?)

  50. If the chapter we are covering this month is any indicator, I think I’ll really like part 3 of CosDoc.

    I am familiar with the procession of the equinoxes through Vedic astrology (iirc, David Frawley mentions that the Rig Veda mentions the spring equinox occurring when the sun is passing through a mansion of the Moon [nakshatra in Sanskrit] that belongs to Leo – which was quite a while ago!), but I have not really paid much attention to the qualities of these ages (due to my own ignorant suspicion that a lot of it might be quasi-fiction by the hippies and/or New Age fans). So, I really sat up when qualities of the Age of Pisces and Age of Aquarius were described in the commentary. Looks like the values of compassion and self-sacrifice – which I hold in high esteem – belong to a bygone age… oh, well.

    Looking to the social and political spheres, I would assume that the Aquarius/negative phase combination will make the global empires of our recent history a thing of the past. Of course, the now dead British Empire got started while we were still very much in the Piscean Age and (I would argue) the US Empire started in earnest shortly before the Piscean Age kicked the bucket. That means that any new “wannabe empire” will be bucking the forces of decentralization and (I hope) ultimately fail before it becomes big enough to subjugate too many other nations.

    Looks like the dynamic between the cycle of twelve ages and the tides of creation and destruction are worthy of some meditations. Thanks, JMG!

  51. So this is where all the hard work is at☺️. I may be able to catch up before the club is done however this is difficult reading. Albeit understanding the concepts seems so far much more useful then slugging through the sociological jargon of the French theorists we were paying to digest in university. I recently obtained an old copy of The Mystical Qabalah from a private library so I look forward to joining in step when if this eventually is covered here! Thanks for your devotion to teaching !!

  52. Hi JMG

    Many thanks for your answer to my comment, but as a contra-argument in the New World slavery was pervasive during all the period after the western conquest, and for example all attempts to use black slaves or in general slave manpower on a gran scale in Europe failed, due to the opposition of the whole European society in all the countries in those times, some people say that this succes of slavery in the New3 World was because in the New World the “Military-Precious metal-Slavery Complex” started again as in the Greek and Roman periods, and a good part of the tribes and societies in the New World and Africa were living in the “Neolithic” cultural phase, so they have not cultural tools to resist slavery, or due to the small remaining native population, but may be there were something subtle causes around it, as you said, What do you think?

    On the other hand congratulations on your success in predicting the big victory of BoJo in the UK elections!, it was not what most people thought it would happens. It seems also much more likely your prediction that Scotland will gain independence from UK in the not too distant future and also the Ireland re-unification


  53. I wonder sometimes if elite projects like the European Union and globalization, not to mention the rise of totalitarian ideologies starting in the 19th century (such as Marxism, National Socialism, Islamic fundamentalism and Political Correctness) were in fact the last gasps of the Piscean Age.

    These days the political trend seems to be more towards nationalism and populism, with figures like Trump, BoJo, Putin and Modi being early adopters. If the analysis of the CosDoc in this months post pans out, we can expect even further decentralization as the Aquarian Age takes hold, especially as the Faustian Culture goes through its decline and fall phase and the Magian religions lose their hold on the masses and/or are forced to adapt to the new circumstances that are arising.

  54. There’s a theory that’s been around for more than a decade now, in which about 13,000 years ago the earth passed through a stream of debris from a comet that had broken up. Large pieces of this debris impacted the North American ice sheet, and moved on through Europe and parts of what is now the Middle East. The climate was at that time gradually warming at the end of the ice age; these impacts reversed that trend and the world was markedly colder. A thousand years later, the earth passed through this debris field again, with more major impacts. It’s theorized that these landed in the oceans for the most part, blasting a lot of water vapor into the atmosphere, and very quickly warming the planet to near its present level.

    This debris field is said to be the source of the Tauried meteor showers we see twice a year.

    The first encounter with the debris field destroyed an ancient civilization (yes, the one you’re thinking of,) there was a huge rise in sea level, and the survivors moved around the earth, trying to restore that civilization, with limited success. The legends of Viracocha, Oannes, Osiris, Isis, and other “teachers of civilization” might belong to the faintly remembered catastrophes of the cometary impacts.

    JMG, have you heard of this? What’s your take on it?

  55. Will, that seems plausible to me. It’s indicative that the discovery of Uranus happened as democracy in the modern sense was being invented! Just as the great and insoluble challenge of the Piscean age was to find the limits to compassion, the great and insoluble challenge of the Aquarian age may well be to find the limits to freedom. (They’re insoluble within the age; after the age is over, the accumulated experience makes the answer obvious.)

    Jacurutu, that’s quite correct. Every 25,920 years the Solar Logos begins its passage through any given Ray, but the Ring phase alternates in these passages, so the whole cycle is 51,840 years — a time scale you could indeed call Wagnerian! 😉

    Your Kittenship, Sara was raised Catholic but left that faith long before we met; I was raised in a secular family — in the strictest of senses, I’m a heathen, having never been baptized. December 25 matters to us about as much as Hanukkah or Holi matter to you. Thus I’ll be posting something on the 25th. I’m going to be taking January off from blogging, though — partly I need a break, partly I want a chunk of less interrupted time to put into an important writing project.

    Our celebration is on the 21st — as Druids, we celebrate the solstice. One of the advantages of being a Druid is that you get your holiday presents five days early. 😉 You’re right, though, that it would be great if we all lived within range of each other — the parties would be great fun.

    Changeling, you’re certainly right about the comets — the opening phases of the 20th century certainly brought some strange influences to bear — and yes, it’s possible to work with the Star Logoi as you would with the Spheres of the Tree; that’s a basic element of astrological magic, though it hasn’t been developed as thoroughly as it might be. As for the distinction between the Left-Hand Path and the way that leads to the Unknown Death, we’ll be discussing that in much more detail in a later chapter.

    Aloysius, true enough — and evil isn’t fun or mysterious, it’s dreary and repetitive. One of the massive failures of the Piscean age is the amount of effort that got put into making evil look interesting.

    Chris, the fascinating thing about the current cult of individualism is that everyone’s expected to be individualistic in exactly the same way as everyone else! The term “pseudomorphism” comes forcefully to mind. As for the Trickster, I think there’s something else going on there, but I’ll want to think about it.

    Booklover, yes, exactly.

    Daniil, thank you for this.

    Chicken Rancher, it’s turning out to be a wild ride!

    Patricia M, the thing to keep in mind is that one age doesn’t change to another suddenly, like the flipping of a switch. There’s a transition period of several centuries, and things move at different paces in different regions. That’s one of the reasons why there was so much uncertainty as to the date. And yes, the Aquarian age is rather feline. No doubt Phauz is involved. 😉

    Happypandatao, fascinating. In astronomical terms, I wonder if a very large comet came through the solar system, broke up (thus the variation between one and many Mahiasuras), and caused a lot of impact events on the various worlds.

    Will, excellent. Yes, that works very well indeed.

    Phil H, of course! All this is metaphor, because metaphor is all we as human beings are able to think with. Beyond the metaphors is a vaster world, which we inhabit but can never grasp with our minds at our current state of evolution.

    Kimberly, each of those laws has a chapter of its own, and we’ll be getting to those as this book club proceeds. You can always skim ahead, you know. 😉

    Steve T, I think that’s a very good summary of the complexities involved!!

    Ron, in the Aquarian age the virtues you as an individual choose to uphold are your own business — and if compassion and self-sacrifice define your personal path, by all means.

    Ian, welcome to the discussion! Yes, this is where some of the hard work is happening — though a lot more is happening, as always, when each student of this work sits down and gets to work meditating on it…

    DFC, it’s a complex issue and requires more study than I’ve had time to give it yet. As for the British election, it really was pretty easy — you don’t need to be a weatherman, as the song says, to know which way the wind is blowing. Nor is it any surprise that leftists in Britain are out there right now protesting against democracy.

    Jacurutu, exactly. Grandiosity is a common habit of social phenomena that are at or near their last gasp.

    Bird, that theory’s been in circulation in one form or another since Ignatius Donnelly published Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel in 1883. I’ve never been quite sure whether to take it as plausible history or as our modern naturalistic form of mythology.

  56. Hi JMG, do you also get presents for the summer solstice?

    You picked a good month to not post interesting topics, as I have mostly took December off and so plan to spend January strictly in Reality, so
    with you gone, I won’t be tempted to check in to see what’s up in the Druidery! * (Newcomers to our happy little group: JMG has assured me the place I’m writing a novel about is Reality and 21st-century America is Fantasyland, on grounds that nobody’d believe 21st-century America if you presented it as fiction. 😄). So with luck, the poop—er, the pup🐶—will be housebroken by 1 February and Fastleft can resume trying to housebreak the sulky sword.

    Which reminds me. Have you considered getting Helen some peacocks? She can move in next door to her tormentors & they’ll surrender in a week. Those things (the peacocks, not the tormentors) shriek loudly every 4 minutes, day and night, 24/7 (I assume they work in shifts).

    Sonkitten’s not big on broadcast TV. I’m hoping he’ll allow me to turn on the national news to see what natural disasters occur in January, and which public figures die, but if not, I guess I’ll find out in February! I no longer know who a lot of public figures are, anyway. The other day I was standing in line at the grocery store, idly scanning the magazine rack. One was Us or People, I forget which, but I realized I did not know anything about any of the celebrities on the cover.

    Hi DFC, our leftists are also protesting democracy, which they do every time it goes against them, but they’re carrying it farther than I’ve ever seen before. Their efforts are somewhat belated as honest elections died with computerized voting. I remember distinctly when the owner of whatever the hot new voting system at the time was, said that he would “deliver Ohio for President Bush [Jr]” [against John Kerry], which he did. When the hot new voting system wasn’t immediately thrown out after his remark, I knew any hope of honest elections was gone.

    *As in “monastery,” but occupied by Druids, not monks.

  57. Happypandatao’s comment brougt up for me the idea what would happen if not an interstellar comet, but instead of it a rogue planet were to barrel through the solar system. That would be improbable, due to the large distances in the universe, but it wouldn’t be impossible. Maybe that is what happened. What do you think, JMG?

  58. “…in a negative phase, a nation like Atlantis wouldn’t try to spread its particular form of civilization to neighboring countries, it would simply elaborate its own unique vision of things, differentiating itself as far as possible from its neighbors, while the neighboring peoples continued to live in their own ways.”

    Sounds like Japan during the Tokugawa shogunate, which we all know was a prosperous era that birthed much of Japan’s greatest art and poetry.

    (lusciously reads ahead in the CosDoc with somewhat-assuaged fear of head exploding)

  59. Archdruid,

    This occurred to me at the end of the last chapter. The logos internalizing the evolution of the patterns that have occurred upon the planes explains the vital importance of memory in the occult arts.

    Each thing we apply to memory, like the vedas, was a pattern set into motion by the logos that has completed its evolution upon our plane. By memorizing it, or the tao te ching, or any other document, we internalize the lessons of past evolution. Those lessons become a part of us, and we reflexively manifest them without thought.

    Wonder what happens if I commit the Cosmic Doctrine to memory?



  60. I suspect that a huge part of why our society is in such trouble is that a lot of people are obsessed with outcomes, or states, and not the paths which lead there. It’s a lot of extra work to build the tracks, but then once those are there, things will naturally head in that direction.

    Applying this to the porn debate, for those who think it’s problematic, the obvious solution is to ban porn. This isn’t the right approach through, since those tracks in space which lead to porn are still there, and even if the ban reduces porn use a great deal, it won’t address the underlying paths. The result is that society will naturally gravitate towards a similar state. The much harder approach is to change the underlying society, one person at a time, gradually eliminating the paths which lead to porn. Thus, if porn is truly as dangerous as some seem to think, in an ideal society no one would use it, but it would be an option.

  61. Speaking of comets, I’m fascinated by the spiritual significance of ‘Oumuamua. It’s a comet unlike any we’ve ever discovered – I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one.

  62. I just had a deeply uncomfortable thought: Uranus rules mental illness. Do you think this means that collective insanity of the sort exemplified in the present day by the myth of progress are the new normal?

  63. I know about the “Axial Age” hypothesis, but always found that e.g. Buddha, Lao Tsu, Socrates differed quite a lot in what they each taught.

    One thing I did find interesting is that some later on movements across far flung places seemed much more “in sync” though.

    In Europe in the the 14th century, you had Thomas Aquinas’ moderate realism combating William of Ockham’s nominalism and ultimately gaining dominance — in Tibet around the same time, Tsongkhapa’s likewise moderate realist school ultimately gained dominance over the older nominalist interpretations of Madhyamaka, although they were never stamped out completely.

    Later on, you had the spread of the nation-state across the world starting from the French revolution in really quite a short period of time — I highly doubt translations of Locke, Rousseau et al alone were responsible for all of this.

    In light of this article, I wonder if this was the Age of Pisces in full manifestation in its movement towards the centre, whereas the “Axial Age”, coming at the end of the Age of Aries, represented movement towards the periphery, with a wide diversity of philosophies, movements, and new ways of living arising out of a more homogeneous substrate.

  64. Regarding Fortune’s cycle of ages: in other words, “Dissent now and avoid the rush.”…

  65. JMG
    Danill wrote regarding religious attention given to January 1st (your comment) and quoted the Soviet Union’s ‘secular religion’. I would add Scotland. Back in the early 1970s it was still common to go to work on Christmas Day in Scotland, even if it was also still more common than not to go to Church on the Sabbath. Scotland on January 1st was something else! For incomer English it was an astonishment. No obvious connection as I remember with the Soviets / Russian culture, except there was strong recognition over there of Rab Burns and the later poet Hugh MacDiarmid/Chris Grieve. Since 70s Scotland has Americanized in the modern way as has England – perhaps a superficial homogenization.
    I am not sure which Age of the World we are in. It has shifted dramatically in my adult life, not waited a decent century or two! Smile.
    Phil H

  66. Your Kittenship, no, presents are for the winter solstice. Each station of the year — each solstice and equinox — has its own kind of celebration. As for peacocks, hmm. I’ll ask Helen whether those appeal to her.

    Booklover, rogue planets — that’s the term for a planet not orbiting any star — are a known thing at this point, and some have been spotted, so it’s by no means impossible. What that would mean from an occult perspective is an interesting question!

    Kimberly, that’s a good point.

    Varun, yes, and notice that we memorize something by establishing the mental equivalent of tracks in space. As for memorizing the Cos. Doc, that strikes me as a good idea — though somebody should probably put it into verse, as that makes memorization much easier.

    Will, one of the reasons I think there’s a lot of promise in the nofap and pornfree scenes is that they’re going about it the right way, changing their own lives to start with and thus laying down tracks in space that others can follow. Leading by example is the most effective form of leadership!

    David, I’m going to have to research the whole subject of comets, not least because they’re a significant resource in political astrology (which is now providing a significant chunk of my income). Do you happen to know when we got the necessary knowledge to identify comets from outside our solar system? (And no, this question wasn’t too repetitive…)

  67. Last night I had a vision of the turning of the ages in which I saw with clarity that the limits to Compassion are Freedom. Probably the major problem of the Piscean age were people acting “compassionately” and savagely abrogating the freedoms of their fellows. And so the shore that Compassion breaks upon is Freedom, the greatest compassion in a certain sense, must allow for others to be free.

    But then what are the limits of Freedom? Clearly, then, the limits to Freedom are Limits themselves. And so we see that the considerations of Capricorn are the shore that the waves of Aquarius must break on. Of course, Limits themselves are Limited, as the old festival of Saturnalia makes such expression of. Limits are limited by something of a higher order, something religious, profound, philosophical, long-ranging. The waves of Capricorn break on Sagittarius.

    Of course Religion and Philosophy are limited themselves, and here we see that that they are limited by what we might as well call the Will. These religious truths come from a fount of Will and Representation and so the waves of Sagittarius break on Scorpio.

    But Will finds itself limited by Beauty, for not everything willed is either beautiful, balanced or just and so the waves of Scorpio break on Libra. Beauty, though, finds itself limited by Skill for who can create Beauty but the most skillful? And so the waves of Libra break on Virgo.

    Skill though is something that can only exist if it is Nurtured, otherwise there can be no acquisition of it. And so the waves of Virgo break on Cancer.

    Nurturance demands Wisdom to apprehend right application, otherwise there is not wise appropriation of resources, and so the waves of Cancer break on Gemini.

    But what does Wisdom mean if any army can march through your kingdom and burn all the libraries? What does Wisdom mean if there is no Stability? Not very much, and so Stability limits Wisdom and the waves of Gemini break on Taurus.

    Stability though can choke and tax and suffocate and imprison just as much as anything else. When Stability chokes out Initiative then Stability becomes its own graveyard, and so the waves of Taurus break on Aries.

    And personal initiative, the head as it were, ultimately exists only in and through the collective, the feet as it were. The whole limits the part, and the expression of this truth, Compassion, proves the limit to Initiative and so the waves of Aries break on Pisces.

    Of course this is only a very rough and abstract sort of glimpse, and the details will have to be worked out in living experience and may prove this analysis to be quite mistaken. Still I share this brief glimpse since the _feeling sense_ of the cyclical nature of time is such an exhilarating experience and the meditation is so relevant to this week’s post.

  68. This week’s essay and the discussion of the shifting of various Ages also brought to mind a few spiritual-oriented Youtube vids I’ve listened to.

    I’m currently trying to plow through some of these channels to find the original videos (more than one as I recall) to provide the link so people can hear for themselves. I now think these videos are discussing certain aspects of the coming Age we are entering.
    One that I particularly remember was from Yogiraj Satgurunath. He said that yogis (him included) everywhere are aware that a new Age has dawned. Apparently it was already underway by the time Sri Aurobindo was alive and teaching his disciples (15 August 1872 – 5 December 1950).

    Satgurunath mentions Aurobindo giving a lecture about the new Age that was being born. In it Aurobindo said yogis in samadhi were aware that *all* the huge world-spanning religions were going to disappear. Someone asked him if that meant, “Islam is going to disappear too?!” “Yes.”, Aurobindo replied. “When man sets foot on the moon Islam will reach it’s greatest heights ever and then gradually fade away.”

    Satgurunath says someone recently asked the Dalai Llama if he could ever see Buddhism coming to an end in the coming millennia. The Dalai Llama got a “far away” look in his eyes and replied, “Yes. It could.”

    Satgurunath says anyone who’s spiritual chops are good enough becomes aware of this happening on the subtle planes and its having its usual effects on the material one – that all the various religions with millions of adherents around the globe is coming to an end. But he says not even the yogis know what is going to replace these religions because the things that might let them be aware of what’s replacing them all has not yet begun.

  69. Will, I don’t think it’s the new normal, but it’s going to be a perennial challenge, just as violent intolerance was the perennial challenge of the Piscean age.

    Alvin, what makes the Axial Age distinctive isn’t the content of the philosophies, it’s the invention of philosophy in the first place — and that did happen very much in lockstep across the Old World. Your other examples are very good, though.

    Berserker, good!

    Phil H, hmm! Thanks for this.

    Violet, and another fine meditation. Thank you.

    Happypandatao, interesting. If you can find some sources for this I’d welcome hearing about that.

  70. @Violet… I got very caught up in your images of waves breaking on shores (excellent to describe a fuzzy transition), when to my surprise the reference to Leo which I was waiting for did not occur as the waves of Virgo broke upon the shore of Cancer.

    *Shyly asks* might you have given thought to Leo’s core value and it’s limit?

  71. So it seems that this Borisov interstellar comet could be a cosmic freighter, swinging near Earth to pick up a cargo of failed and defunct souls for shipment to the ultimate scrap-heap.

    Antoinetta III

  72. Beautiful, Violet! But where’s Leo in all this? Nurture itself breaks on the shore of Ego? Which in turn calls for Wisdom?

  73. JMG & David
    I am intrigued. That was no ordinary comet. This gives details of arrival and departure. Oumuamua here
    Phil H
    PS I would not describe Hogmany or the morning after as exactly a ‘religious’ festival but it used to be a lot bigger than Christmas and had its own rituals. They tend to blame the Vikings but how that crowd actually timed their New Year I have no idea.

  74. To comment further on the shifting ages and what is possibly happening on the higher planes I wonder if “science” as a religion with its ‘believers’ is included in the disappearance of all the major religions? Science as a “religion” and its “believers” (*cough* Angry Atheists *cough, cough*) I wouldn’t mind disappearing but science as a verb – a process one engages in in order to discover more about the world – I would not like seeing that disappear.

  75. Dear Scotlyn and Patricia,

    Thank you for the kind words and the question about Leo! I had a sense I was forgetting one of them. Okay, so one way I would rework it is that:

    Skill is something that can only exist in and through perceiving, self-aware subjects. The amount of Skill that can exist is limited, therefore, by the Self-Awareness that permits it to exist within a sentient being. And so the waves of Virgo break on Leo.

    Self-Awareness can only exist though through Intuitive Apprehension. There is no roadmap to the soul, only a feeling sense of the inner world that provides identity. This feeling sense is felt rather than known, and it is a tentative quality. This Intuitive Apprehension of the Self ultimately limits Self-Awareness. And so the waves of Leo break on Cancer.

    Intuitive Apprehension proves extremely unreliable in practice. It may form the ultimate the substrate to the sense of “I”, but it is limited by its service to Wisdom. The difference between the Intuitive Apprehension of a lunatic screaming obscenities and a wise sage is the degree to which the Intuitive Apprehension is bounded by Wisdom. Wisdom then limits Intuitive Apprehension. And so the waves of Cancer break on Gemini.

    And then the rest of the sequence could continue as I wrote it in the initial comment. That said a lot of it could be reworked — I could switch out Will from Scorpio, change it to Power, change Self-Awareness to Will and change Intuitive Apprehension to Representation!

    Point being, this sequence is simply where intuition led me, and it led me so far as I forgot Leo which is the most alien zodiacal sign to my own personality. I imagine that many, many variant set of limits regarding the zodiacal signs ruling future turnings of the ages could be produced that would prove to have insights worthy of consideration.

  76. @happypandatao thanks for bringing up that Durga myth, I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, so I’m glad to see it tied in to the discussion.

    In the version I encountered, it was Kali they created, but I’m very unclear on the narrative importance of the difference between the aspects of the gods vs different gods(Kali as the pure warrior/death aspect of Durga vs separate goddess with all her own varied aspects). At the end of the battle with the demons, the gods realised they could not stop her, as she began slaughtering them and other good beings as well. Shiva turned himself into a baby and lay down on the battlefield, and upon hearing the tiny cry, Kali stopped her destruction to nurse the babe. Is that how it goes, or was this a bad Anglo mashup?

    If that is how it goes, I had always thought it was a myth of creation out of darkness and chaos, and how that darkness was yet still in a role as mother to the creation (Somehow this was comforting when I felt unsuitable as a nurturing, soft enough mother. Girl with fangs and a belt of heads can do it, suddenly I’m not so unnatural, lol).

    But if the comet/rogue planet linkage framework is used I suppose it would then also be a description of the particular way a solar system needs to reorganize itself and then incorporate the disruption of alien evil, rather than its own. I need to think on it to figure out what that is, if so…

  77. I’m a Leo, and I completely missed the lion’s omission in Violet’s beautiful waves upon shores meditation until others pointed it out!

    Please permit me to add my two cents:

    Skill though is something that is only born by a great Passion to obtain mastery, and without the fire to drive the Will through relentless tedium and sweat (also known as practice), there is no perseverance. And so the waves of Virgo break on Leo.

    Passion is the byproduct of Care and an enriched, nurturing environment that allows us to have time and energy to care in the first place. As Iolo Morgannwg’s prayer goes, we ask the gods for strength born of protection. Without Nurture of the nurturing great mother, nothing. And so the waves of Leo break on Cancer.

  78. About rogue planets, I know that they exist. Estimates are that they are as frequent as ordinary planets, because during the beginnings of a solar system, it can get crowded, planets influence each other ant planets can get ejected. But the universe is a big place and so it probably not very often that an extrasolar planet passes through the solar system.

    About the Aquarian Age, several things came to mind: Interestingly, Druidry with its diversity of opinions and with its lack of dogmas, thus quite individualistic, seems to be a quintessentially Aquarian religion. Even the problems of Druidry are Aquarian in their character: Except maybe Isaac Bonewits, there were / are no Druid fundamentalists, but some of the more bizarre teachings of some French Druids come to mind here, as an example of craziness as the dark side of Aquarian individualism.

    The Abrahamic religions, in contrast, although they can change, have principles that are irrevocably Piscean: Christianity, Islam and presumably Jewry all have certain moral technings about right behavior and moral virtuousness which are meant to be universally adopted. It seems to me that these traits are hardwired into these religions, and their lack would undermine the whole fundament of these religions, making them something else or lead to their fading away, as a previous commenter wrote.

    About Violets comment on the cycle of the Zodiac in connection to sidereal astrology, I got the idea that sidereal astrology enables one to make vague predictions about epochs far into the future. I calculated that 8000 years from now, the world will be in a Scorpionic age, negative polarity, and with sex tabooed instead of death. Scorpio is governed by Mars, so it might be a conflict-rich and energetic epoch with tendencies to divergence. 80000 years from now the world will be in a Capricornian age with positive polarity and with death revered, sex tabooed. Capricornus is governed by Saturn, so it will be a rather strict, serious and traditional epoch, governed by the subject of limits.

    In the essay “The Next Ten Billion Years”, J. M. Greer could theoretically have made vague predictions about the character of the times 10000 years and 100000 years into the future. The caveat is, that the astrological character of the planets and zodiacal signs themselves might be subject to slow change.

  79. Deborah & Lady
    Interesting place: I only worked there 27 years, but you couldn’t help noticing. And church attendance was still so much higher than in England. I couldn’t really keep up either way even when I tried. Not always sure about Edinburgh, but generally it felt like home. I was back recently at a friend’s anniversary; mixed Scots & English on the top of Ben Mor, Crianlarich. It’s tundra up there: needed a dram.
    Phil H

  80. @SaraDee

    Thanks for the reference. I learned the Kali myth you mention as a separate myth. The Durga origin story as I know it according to scholars did not show up until around the 4th Century – if I recall correctly – will have to check that in a bit. But Durga as a name in reference to the shakti power of manifestation in some form or another seems to have been around since the Rig Veda – the oldest of the Hindu scriptures – approximately 15K to 11K years old – the oldest still used scriptures in the world by far. The Abrahamaic religions are toddlers in comparison.

    But it may be that in many parts of India the two stories have long since merged what with people’s memories often being somewhat flaky and changeable and partly because that’s what makes the most sense to people these days.

    I have a hunch both are valid if only because of the actual role of “Kali”. Kali is the feminine form of the sanskrit word Kala which means “time”. So in Tibetan Buddhism you have the tantric rite called the Kala-Chakra “wheel of time” (aka wheel of cause and effect) the Dalai Llama occasionally gives en masse to interested Buddhist laity. In Hinduism you have the uber-deity Kala Bhairav who is the Lord of Time over everything in space-time. He is the “most destructive aspect of Shi-va” (that which is not) as Sadhguru says who destroys a person’s time.

    That is Kala Bhairav initiates and finalizes the death process – your time in this mind/body is over and brings you to a ‘that-which-is-not’ stateless state for want of a better way to put it. Kala Bhairav is – as Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev says – “time beyond time”. But time that is of destroying ‘this thing or that thing’ as I understand Hinduism – is the realm of Kali, not Kala – because action is the realm of the divine feminine in Hinduism. If it acts, it’s divine feminine. Which is why Shi-va is able to calm ‘Kali’ because eventually all movement returns to rest. So if a giant uber-comet or even rogue planet came barreling through the solar system many centuries ago well Kali is just as valid a way to say the problem ended as Durga.

    Pro tip I learned recently: one way people can tell when they are about to die is if they’ve learned to detect the Chi/Prana in their actual breath (not the sensations around breathing which is what the majority of people detect when watching their breath but rather the *actual* breath itself). If a person senses that the “chi-load” in the breath is not being fully taken by the body on the in-breath – that is, there is still un-used chi/prana on the out-breath that person knows death is very close. The greater the un-used payload of chi, the closer the day of death comes.

  81. @@SaraDee

    Gah! forgot to actually answer your question. What is the difference between Kali and Durga. Durga’s name gives a clue to her power.

    As Wikipedia says:

    “The word Durga (दुर्गा) literally means “impassable”,[23] [4] “invincible, unassailable”.[25] It is related to the word Durg (दुर्ग) which means “fortress, something difficult to defeat or pass”. According to Monier Monier-Williams, Durga is derived from the roots dur (difficult) and gam (pass, go through).[26] According to Alain Daniélou, Durga means “beyond defeat”.[27]”

    And if I understand both Sadhguru and Master Nan Huai-Chin this is in reference to manifestation. Once a particular moment has finally manifested it is concretized and thus that exact moment can no longer be changed. Master Nan Huai-Chin says “when manifestation finally comes ‘it comes with great strength’ hence the name of the Buddhist deity Mahastamaprapta – he is the Bodhisattva of Great Strength of Manifested Will (that’s what his name translates as).

    You can only ‘concretize’ changing the successive moments to something you like better if you don’t like what is manifesting that moment.

  82. @Violet – thanks. (You can probably tell from my avatar that Leo is prominent in my chart. Thus the interest.)

    On the whole, though, it is the waves breaking on the shore metaphor that helps visualise transitions that don’t happen all at once. And, of course each of us should do our own meditations. 😉

    Thanks for this.

  83. @!Booklover re “with death revered, sex tabooed. Capricornus is governed by Saturn, so it will be a rather strict, serious and traditional epoch, governed by the subject of limits.”

    Ave Victoria Regina!

  84. JMG,

    Hope you’re enjoying your Sunday, thanks for the response.

    “Do you happen to know when we got the necessary knowledge to identify comets from outside our solar system?”

    As far as I know ‘Oumuamua was the first one identified, with 2I/Borisov only the second.

    It looks like Borisov is basically the same as the comets we’re used to. ‘Oumuamua was deeply weird – I’ve never seen anything else in astronomy with that geometry.

  85. Hi John Michael,

    > everyone’s expected to be individualistic in exactly the same way as everyone else

    It needn’t be that way, which is a bit sad really. I believe that you mentioned the correct definition of the word ‘programming’ a few years back. It was quite a shock really to learn that, but on reflection I reckon that you’re correct. Interestingly, I tend to believe that rather than programming being a consistent lesson, it is made up of lots of smaller interests vieing for peoples capacities. And therein, I reckon lies the inherent weakness of such an approach. The ultimate failure will be because the approach was too successful – and that is always a risk. Dunno, what do you reckon?

    > the trickster

    Well, such folks have been backwards, forwards, upside, downside, inside, and outside. 🙂 I tend to believe that their role is to introduce or reintroduce ideas so as to bring the state of affairs to a new equilibrium. But I’m not really sure and am just going with a hunch. Failure is a possible new equilibrium too.



  86. Antoinetta, that’s certainly what Fortune seems to be suggesting.

    Phil H, that was the first event in my adult life that made me seriously wonder if an extraterrestrial spacecraft might actually have paid a visit; the odd acceleration and deceleration were — well, odd.

    Your Kittenship, thanks for the article. No question, the notion that Christmas is a warmed-over Pagan holiday has been overblown. As for the peacocks, maybe so, but then they’d be speaking in shoggoth!

    Happypandatao, science as process is too useful to go away for long — like logic and mathematics, it’ll be picked up and repurposed. I suspect, though, that grand unified theories are not long for the world, and rigid universalizing ideologies generally will be one of those odd things you read about in history books. Thanks for the link, also — that mirrors what I’ve been seeing.

    Booklover, it certainly wouldn’t displease me if Druidry were to become a widespread religious orientation in the millennia ahead.

    David, thanks for this. Hmm — research needed.

    Chris, that’s a good point. The one theme that all media programming has in common is the insistence that you should pay attention to media programming!

  87. The syndetic vernal point (SVP) according to The American Ephemeris for the 21st Century is currently at 4 Pisces 59’16” and moving backwards at the rate of one degree every 71 1/2 years. The various ayanamsas in Vedic astrology (Jyotish) differ from this, but by less than 2.5 degrees, based on the source I’m looking at. From this I conclude that if we have entered the age of Aquarius, its effects are being felt in advance of the actual precession. (The ancient Greeks considered that a house cusp effectively began 5 degrees before where it was in fact calculated, which may or may not be a similar idea.) If not that, then we have not yet actually entered it, but may already be feeling some of its effects.

  88. FWIW, since discussion seems to have gone in a “meditations on Uranus and Neptune” direction, a few of my old ones on the subject might be in order:

    – Positive feedback is Uranian. Possibly shared with some of the other planets – I could see the right-hand pillar of the Tree of Life (Pillar of Force IIRC?) representing positive feedback, manifesting differently depending on their relative position in the Tree. If so, the key difference is that Chokhmah is above Binah, the apex of negative feedback (the thrust block in the CosDoc ring metaphor, I think), and thus isn’t mediated by negative feedback in the same way – instead, the regulator of Uranian positive feedback is Neptunian/Ketheric diffusion and dissolution past the Ring-Pass-Not. (Interestingly, this line of meditation would suggest that the mechanism of peak oil – degradation and eventual lack of fuel – might be Neptunian instead of Saturnine?) Hence explosions being Uranian; once they start, they keep going until they run out of reactant; possibly also mental illnesses. (The A-bomb is an unusually clear example here: its core principle is runaway positive feedback of dividing the indivisible, and lo and behold the two elements used in it are Plutonium and Uranium…) And then there’s that one niggling association from modern mundane astrology, the one that prompted this particular line of thought in the first place, because of how poorly it fits the freedom symbolism: Uranus being associated with the national bureaucracy. To grab the old quip, “the bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy”…
    – Differentiation is Uranian. This is where the planet of freedom comes from, I think – the recognition that every individual part is both different and part of the whole, with its own needs and its own ability to contribute. I’d speculatively call it differentiation, however, for the analogy to cell differentiation.
    (- Side note: That same line of meditation suggests that American unions may be a dead letter, at least in their New Deal form; those efforts took off around 1900 and waxed in the 1930s, and that timing is awfully suggestive of Plutonic influence. It makes sense from a conceptual level, too – maybe not from the perspective of the individual, but from the perspective of the corporation, unions are division of the indivisible.)
    – Invoking is Uranian. This is somewhat more speculative, and is partly contrast to Neptune (see below), partially Uranus’s odd rotation, and partly the planet’s association with magic.

    – Integration is Neptunian. (Not entirely sure “integration” is the best word for what I’m looking at here, especially in the US: the connotation here is “the process by which a number of discrete entities on a lower plane come together to form a single entity on a higher plane while still remaining discrete entities on the lower plane”, ala endosymbosis, multicellularity, and egregore creation [and I suspect town/city formation, and in turn state formation out of towns and cities, and possibly one more example below the physical corresponding to the quantum/classical transition].)
    – Banishing is Neptunian – it corresponds to allowing things to move out away from you and dissolve past the Ring-Pass-Not. (Amusingly, this conclusion was inspired by a link in, of all things, an old Slate Star Codex links post; apparently the psychonaut scene consistently report that when they see the Great Mandala when tripping said Mandala rotates counterclockwise. Which offers a possible explanation for why banishing rituals have counterclockwise rotation, and vice-versa. Also, why yes, the Sun does in fact rotate counterclockwise…) It’s not a coincidence that the waning of Piscean influence corresponds to the point at which “just dump your trash into the water/dump your soot into the sky” stopped being a viable waste management strategy! (Interestingly, I think this might make the bodily process of excretion Neptunian? Actually, come to think of it excretion might not be a bad metaphor for the function of comets in the CosDoc schema…)

    (Also, on the subject of Mesoamerican civilization and the Age of Pisces – it’s worth remembering that AFAICT the characteristic social form of that culture is the crowd of fans at the ball court, with everyone subsumed into the mass of “supporters of TEAMNAME”. That has a whiff of Neptune to me, though I think it’s salted with another influence I can’t place – and now that I type this it occurs to me that gladiator games didn’t really kick off in Rome until after the Age of Pisces started…)

  89. Slightly off topic ,but since others brought it up. Ernest Woods in The Seven Rays gives this progression:
    1. Brahmanical
    2. Buddhism
    3. Chaldean
    4. Egyptian
    5. Zoroastrianism
    6. Christianity and Kabbalah
    7. Elemental worship

    for the ages of man’s development, spiritually. Before anyone gets too excited, it’s worth noting that one age can’t succeed another one unless it incorporates the gravitational mass of what is good in the previous system.

  90. JMG, you may not want this cluttering up the thread, but I thought it would interest you…
    I always like full quotes…
    Page 94:
    “One has seen quite a large amount of elemental worship in India. The essential
    idea of the elemental is that prior to entry into the mineral kingdom the life has no
    such definite form or embodiment. That elemental essence has then the urge to enjoy
    the steadiness or stability of the mineral being. If we try to imagine the state of that
    life-urge we can realize with what avidity it flows into the forms made by human
    thought on the astral plane and how, when there is a form or image that becomes the
    focus of repeated and collective human thought in an image or Shrine the elemental
    life obtains a very strong entification or canalization there, from which its force can
    react on the human votaries. Great force may be canalized in this way, for good or ill,
    so that there is a “magic” instrument, or talisman, or Shrine, to make the elemental
    force or life available as a supplement to human power. It is mechanical in the sense
    that the force employed is not a volitionally variable one, but is an automatic flow in
    response to human desire, intention and thought. Conventional magics could thus be
    set up by those who had the key to the elemental forces. Various ways of using this
    principle were no doubt behind many of the old ceremonials, which thus operated
    intensified good intentions on telepathic lines. It was quite analogous to our use of a
    fall of water to produce electric power to be used in machines to supplement human
    muscular power. In old India the term “devas” was used to indicate all powers. I have mentioned
    that the sun symbolized the divine because it shone with its own light, and the moon
    symbolized the material because it shone only with reflected light. Liberated beings
    are thus devas. Man too is a deva in his inner essence beyond the bondage. The
    devas of Nature, the beings without permanent forms, such as what I must call the
    spirit of fire, as well as a great variety of relatively free beings—videha and prakritilaya—were and are held to be associable to man by these linkages. I have tried to represent this matter without terms of feeling, so as to show the nature of the operations. As to the priest of a Shrine, for example, it will thus be seen that the effectiveness of the “magic” would not depend upon his own moral
    condition at any time, although he must have the belief and the intent. This is, I
    understand, in accordance with the beliefs in the matter held in modern “high” or
    ceremonial places of worship. 95
    I have already mentioned in the Chapter on the seventh ray, how beauty supplements human power in a natural way, how sacramental it is in refreshing and recharging or revitalizing body, emotions and thought, and in the reverse way how all skills in action, which are a conscious or unconscious dedication of the will, lead to beauty in form, which in turn reacts upon us with the refreshing effect already
    mentioned. Perfect running by the horse produces the most beautiful limbs. Well
    applied action of the hands—not clumsy gripping of heavy tools—produces the most
    beautiful hands. Thus it is everywhere that perfect action, in adequate and proper
    balance, produces beauty of form and thus a “virtuous circle” is set up by the
    principle of dharma in material work.”

    Sounds like theurgy or ceremonial magic, to me?

  91. JMG, bilingual peacocks 🦚 are the hot new trend these days. Go for it!

    It’s snowing here, first one this winter ❄️ that looks as if we’ll have to do snow removal.

  92. Walking around today, I was pondering a common idea encountered in my occult readings, which is that the sufficiently advanced mage will begin to guide the evolution of large masses of people, usually organized in units of race or nationality, or perhaps all of humanity at once. (Quite a few early science fiction writers, particularly Olaf Stapledon, had the same preoccupation.)

    This struck me as a Piscean sentiment, which makes sense as the current version of Western occultism rose up in the final years of the Piscean age. Or perhaps a mingling of Aquarian and Piscean sentiments – the Piscean preoccupation with unified masses of people and their ultimate fate, and the Aquarian fascination with the radical individual.

    As a novice occultist in 21st Century America, this fascination with collective destiny seemed rather peculiar to me.

  93. Precision, the question of the exact location of the border between the zodiacal signs is a complex one, and not necessarily settled by the currently accepted boundaries between the constellations, because the constellations are not the zodiacal signs, just star groups once used to indicate them. I accept the claim that the Age of Aquarius began in 1888 because of evident shifts in history and culture — but of course that’s not something that can be proven, at least at this point in our species’ evolution.

    Username, thanks for this!

    Arkansas, thanks for reminding me of this. So Druidry, with its focus on the elements, really is well positioned! Thanks also for the quote. Clearly I need to reread Wood’s work.

    Your Kittenship, or is it a shoggoth broodling playing at being a peacock? Shoggoths are iridescent, after all…

    Cliff, true enough. I think it’s a bad case of messiah envy.

  94. Speaking with an Astrologer last weekend we got on the conversation of Pierre Grimes and his practise of Philosophical Midwifery. He hadn’t heard of Pierre so I filled him in on the few videos I watched in which he explained his practise. My friend dutifully said he would look into the Philosopher / Author however we then began to talk about how deeply boring Plato could be to study (blasphemous I know). My friend said “we have grown past this” at then end of the conversation. As a matter of opinion, he meant I guess our species has grown past Platonic thought as a potent force that informs and changes our world… no disrespect intended.
    However, taking a deeper look it strikes me that Plato lived at the end of the age of Aries on the cusp I presume of the Age of Pisces. Plato’s philosophy in short perhaps had more to do with the beginning of the Piscean Age as it did with the ending or unravelling of the Age of Aries. Are we perhaps only now moving away from the direct effect his thinking has had on Western Civilization? As we move farther into the Age of Aquarius does his idea of the Just State and so on start to take more the shape of an early version of the One Good exemplified in monotheistic religions that became widespread later on deeper into the Age of Pisces.. His Academy lasted 1000 years well into the Piscean Age regardless.
    Following this line of assumptions, I seem inclined to leap into a wild assumption that Dion Fortune could have been channeling an ancient Greek philosopher who had moved Beyond reincarnation into the role of a Great Master. She writes that the Master is “A world-famous Philosopher and Teacher” and doesn’t mention the word ‘prophet’. This is of course speculation and it could just as easily be Democritus or Hypatia or any number of historical figures but this text encourages the use of the imagination so I will go on assuming it is in fact Plato.
    I like the notion that when Side Reel Astrology takes us out of a particular Age that the mind of a great soul can continue to influence us from higher planes even as their old works made as an incarnate human fade. So, as a species we experience Plato as human incarnate crashing (using Violet’s word) against the age of Pisces, as perhaps an illuminated man… But then we experience him again, as a Great Master, channelling it’s mind through Dion Fortune. However, this time Plato is crashing into the Age of Aquarius as Master, while it’s old works as an ancient man are left behind by the Side Reel astrological movement… I guess this type of soul is very much one that is NOT exiting our solar system via broom stars…
    I am still woefully behind and have had to review the first six chapters again. I only recently understood how the rays work. However, the idea of the three rings as a structure to consider when making hard ethical decisions is already something I’m growing fond of. Cheers to keeping with it!

  95. JMG and Lady Cutekitten, I think the author of “How Pagan is Christmas Anyway?” has a legitimate gripe, but both sides of this argument are employing the same logical fallacy.

    John Adams famously said that the date of the signing of the Declaration of Independence “ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade with shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this continent to the other.” Adams was proposing a brand new national holiday that had never been celebrated before. Where did he get this list of activities? Probably from other communal holidays he was familiar with. I suspect that Adams was particularly thinking of Guy Fawkes Day/Bonfire Night, a British patriotic (and anti-Catholic) holiday, which was celebrated in parts of New England with bonfires and fireworks (illuminations). Does this mean that Independence Day is really the same holiday as Guy Fawkes Day? That’s ridiculous. Most people who attend fireworks shows on the Fourth of July have never heard of Guy Fawkes Day.

    Spencer McDaniel’s discussion of holidays tied to dates of solstices and equinoxes is oversimplified, maybe on account of lack of space. In order to understand why certain seasonal holidays are bang on the solstice or equinox, some three days later, and some as much as a month before or after, it helps to know how lunisolar calendars work, and how in the temperate zone, latitude and distance from the sea determine both how much length of day differs between summer and winter and whether the farmer and herder are more concerned about the sunshine or the rainfall.

    So the date of Jesus’ birth was set as December 25, without Biblical support, because Mary conceived him on March 25, exactly nine months earlier? Fine; how did they determine the date of conception? “March 25” was not a date known to Mary. But it has been roughly the date of the New Year in many traditional calendars around the Mediterranean and elsewhere in Europe.

  96. Patricia, a good comparison! But this would only be valid if the changeovers of positive and negative polarity and the changeover of death and sex taboos work as bescribed. The recorded history of cultures and civilizations is not long enough to be sure about this.

    JMG, the problem with ‘Oumuamua as interstellar spaceship is that industrial civilizations a short-lived, and even they would have quite a hard time of it to make a spaceship flying fast enugh to remain functional at the time it reaches another star. So it would more plausible to have something like the Voyager and Pioneer probes drifting by, long since defunct, because the plutonium batteries have gone empty. Then there is the difficult question how many civilizations are there at the moment who can make spaceships leave their solar systems. By the way, there is a paper in which scientists have calculated that a civilization on a habitable planet around a red dwarf star would be so deep in the gravitational well of their star that they wouldn’t be able to make a probe leave their solar system. Something similar would apply to a civilzation on a terrestrial planet with several Earth masses. So the leading theory about the form of ‘Oumuamua is tidal stretching of it as it passed near a massive body.

  97. Forgive me if this is a stupid comment.
    It is theorized that all the water the we have in this planet comes from impacts from comets. So it is possible that those comets have arrived here choke full of souls forced to start over. A kind of spiritual panspermia. Does that makes sense to you?

  98. Hi John Michael,

    I had to cogitate a bit over the word “pseudomorphism” before replying to your observation. Was it you who mentioned to me that the Devil used to be declared “the father of lies”? For some reason I feel that is somehow an appropriate observation here. Dunno.

    People tend to claim that there is some nefarious group pulling society in one direction, but the funny thing is that might actually be more possible to sustain in the long term than what is going on today. As far as I can understand things, there are a whole bunch of different groups banging on a few tools for their own advantage. I can’t suggest in all honesty that such a strategy is sustainable, but you know self interests get in the way of common sense.

    Thanks for taking the time to conduct the porn discussion recently. Overall I tend to feel that such unfettered access to such material is a bad thing as it messes up peoples energy and makes them passive and dependent and I don’t believe those are positive states of being. I don’t partake myself and recall times when access to such material was available but limited to heading down to the local adult book store. I tend to feel that all tools can be abused.

    As to this weeks essay, I tend to feel that the opening of new paths along which the divine sparks want to travel can be a powerful form of evolution. I have for a while wondered at the despair that is creeping into the populations psyche. It seems like a dead end to me, but I could well be wrong. Dunno.



  99. I don’t usually meditate on Bible verses, but I think this discussion of positive and negative influences and periods has shed a lot of light on one of the more familiar yet interpretively enigmatic ones: “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven… A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together…” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1;5 KJV)

    There are interesting analogies here to the “mixing versus sorting” dichotomy of work that you’ve discussed, with the former dominating current industrial processes while the latter is neglected and “uneconomical,” an imbalance that must reverse itself as scarcity industrialism and post-industrialism take hold. Also to the state of our biosphere: the components of biological evolution are variation which creates new diversity (casting away), and selection which usually promotes survival of homogeneous groups and mate selection of conforming individuals (gathering together). The current condition is “over-gathered” due to monoculture and habitat loss, and life will need to re-diversify, though that might be on a time scale longer than the cycles we’re discussing here.

    (It seems to take me the better part of a week to think through these weekly posts, so my comments tend to be late. The upside is how helpful others’ comments are in that thinking through.)

  100. (Off list, if you wish)
    I came across a group that did quite a bit of astrological research (you mentioned that lately, as not receiving funding). Church of Light, Los Angeles California, 1972 Cyclopedia (Astrological Research and Reference)
    You probably know about this already, but I came across them for a buck at the used bookstore, and from what I know, and can judge, they seem reputable.

  101. Ouamumua was truly bizarre and didn’t look or behave like comets we’ve seen before. According to astronomers, if it was a comet, it should have broken up while passing close to the Sun. While I doubt it was an alien spaceship, it’s behavior and appearance reminded me a lot of the alien spacecraft from Arthur C Clarke’s novel Rendezvous With Rama.

  102. Ian, Plato’s a profoundly transitional figure in many ways, and no, I don’t expect him to be carried out with the sidereal trash! As for going back to the early chapters, well, yes — it took me many readings to get as much as I’ve gotten out of the Cos. Doc., and I’m pretty sure there’s much more that I don’t understand yet.

    Deborah, thanks for this.

    Booklover, oh, granted, on reflection I was sure that it wasn’t — but those initial reports were pretty eerie.

    Whispers, it’s not a stupid comment at all. Fortune doesn’t address that possibility, but a case could be made!

    Chris, no argument there (repeat 3x). As for the sense of despair, to my mind that’s actually a good sign — it means that people are finally starting to grasp the fact that the myth of progress isn’t true. Out the other side of the despair lies acceptance…

    Walt, I think Fortune would have appreciated the quote in this context!

    Arkansas, I wasn’t aware that they’d done astrological research, but yes, they’re quite reputable — they’re descended from the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, an important magical order of the late 19th century.

    Your Kittenship, it’s probably quite widespread. The point of public school these days is to turn out mindless consumers with no critical thinking skills, and forcing kids to absorb as much advertising as possible is a central part of that.

    Jacurutu, that was my first thought as well!

  103. Chris @ Ferndale – the despair seeping into the collective psyche is indeed a dead end, but not really to be wondered at, considering the ongoing crapification of daily life in a civilization on a downhill slope. Especially since the very notion of going downhill has been unthinkable and contrary to everything they’ve ever believed about the way things are and should be and will always be, etc. I know what’s happening and accept it and still blow my stack at every passing manifestation of the decline & fall that affects me personally. If you*don’t* understand ,it must be 99 times worse.

  104. Walt F – Yes. indeed. The Byrds did the collective psyche of the older generations a great favor by setting Ecclesiastes to an ear-catching tune and turning it into a hit single – a classic Teaching Song.

  105. Lady Cutekitten – Oh, Great! (Sour face, downturned thumb.) I hope it fails on the grounds of “What about the kids who can’t afford a smartphone?” (An argument that will go over more easily than the ones we could raise.)

  106. Booklover and JMG: or course at interstellar distances, the concept of “at the moment” gets problematic. I’m sorry to be assisting in the drift away from CosDoc, here late in the cycle, but Kim Stanley Robinsons’ “Aurora” presents a similar situation of a ship traveling too fast for solar capture, with the inhabitants unconscious and in a state of hibernation for the long distances. It’s only fiction of course.

  107. Hi John Michael,

    🙂 Acceptance is a wonderful place – and I’ve had to get there myself on the smartphone issue myself over the past week. I have long resisted such technology but am now forced by goverment decree to suck it up, otherwise I won’t be able to participate in my profession. Ouch. Anyway, I’m pretty certain it was you who once remarked that any time something is labelled as being ‘smart’, it ain’t necessarily so.

    I intend to dive deeply into the technology over the next month and learn how to shut that baby down to the bare minimum. Anyway, I don’t tend to carry such devices around with me, they make my flesh crawl and I’m truly not sure why that is. And when I’m sitting out in the orchard with the chickens of an evening, I truly have no desire to be contactable in any way shape or form. Such abstractions are distractions, but then it may just be a personal quirk.



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