Book Club Post

The Cosmic Doctrine: The Evolution of a Solar System

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 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 7, “The Evolution of a Solar System,” pp. 35-38.

Millennium Edition: Chapter 6, “Cosmic Influences upon a Solar System,” pp. 49-54.

Commentary:

At this point we’ve completed the first six chapters (or five, if you’re using the Millennium Edition) and the first six months of work with The Cosmic Doctrine. Those readers who are still following along have put in six months of heavy philosophical lifting, learning to make sense of the magical vision of the Cosmos as expressed to the nearest approximate metaphor.  The basic structures and concepts of Fortune’s symbolic philosophy have all been set out in emblematic form, and what follows will draw on symbols and metaphors a little easier to relate to the world as we experience it.

It’s important to keep the Cosmic background in mind as we go on, though, and there are two reasons for that. First of all, a solar system in its structure and evolution reflects the Cosmos that gave birth to it. Each of the stages of the process of Cosmic evolution we’ve discussed over the last six months has its equivalent in the stages of evolution that a solar system follows in turn. The stages are equivalent rather than identical, since each solar system starts out in a complex, intricately structured Cosmos rather than in a vast emptiness representing the Unmanifest. Still, as we proceed, it will be simple enough to point out how the evolutionary phases of the Cosmos are mirrored in the evolution of the solar system.

The second reason is that solar systems aren’t isolated from the Cosmos. Beings within a solar system are influenced by factors internal to that system, but influences from without still have a secondary role. It’s a subtle role—it works primarily by way of the influence of Cosmic processes on the Solar Logos, the Great Organism at the center of a solar system, and secondarily by way of the Star Logoi, who come into being within the solar system and will be discussed later—but it has its effect. The great phases of expansion and contraction driven by the movement of the Ring-Cosmos relative to the Ring-Chaos, the influence of the twelve great Rays as they stream out from the Central Sun to act on each of the seven Cosmic Planes, and the influence of Great Organisms and their solar systems on one another, are thus all significant in the life of a solar system. It’s by being aware of these factors that we can understand some of the oddities in our own collective evolution.

Since it’s crucial to recall the Cosmic context as we proceed, this chapter is a recapitulation of the material covered in the previous chapters, with a few additional notes of interest. It sums up the genesis of the Cosmos from the first flowing movement in empty space to the establishment of solar systems on the seven Cosmic Planes. From here on in we’re going to be talking about the evolution of one particular solar system—the one you and I happen to inhabit, one of countless solar systems to be found on the seventh Cosmic Plane.

One of the things stressed in this recapitulation is the role of numbers in this philosophy. Motion in space—the basis for the whole system—is represented by the number one. The great cosmic forces—the Rings, the Rays, and the Circles or planes—are represented by the numbers three, twelve, and seven respectively. These four numbers are the Primaries. Each of the Circles collects atoms whose orbits have a particular geometry, and thus a particular number—the three-sided atomic orbits settle out on the first plane, the four-sided on the second plane, and so on out to the seventh plane, where the atoms have nine-sided orbits. The numbers three through nine inclusive are therefore the Secondaries. Finally, the number ten is the Prime Tertiary, the number that guides and shapes evolution once the Primaries and Secondaries are in place.

Those readers who know their way around traditional occult philosophy will recognize these numbers at once. The numbers of the great cosmic forces, three and twelve and seven, added together make 22, the number of the paths of the Cabalistic Tree of Life; ten, of course, is the number of spheres in the Tree of Life. It’s more common in occult philosophies to make ten the primary number and twenty-two dependent on it, but Fortune’s making a specific point here. Her Cosmos of metaphors is made entirely of motion in space, and so she makes the paths, the currents of moving force on the Tree, primary; the spheres, which in one sense are stages of spiritual unfoldment, are dependent on the soul’s movement along the paths.

The secondaries also have their importance in occult philosophy, but they do so individually rather than collectively. If you add them together you get 42; this will doubtless delight Douglas Adam fans, but the number 42 has only a modest role in occult symbolism. The numbers three through nine are the numbers of the great planetary forces, from Saturn (which has a threefold symbolism and a magic square of three times three cells) to the Moon (which has a ninefold symbolism and a magic square of nine times nine cells). One, finally, is the number of divinity and, in a solar system, represents the influence of the god of that solar system, the Great Organism who, as the solar system is born, becomes its Solar Logos.

Notice that two numbers have obviously been left out of these categories: the numbers two and eleven. There is of course nothing in the least accidental about this exclusion. Two is the number of negative evil, the force of inertia or resistance against which every other force in the Cosmos and the solar system alike must test its strength. As a number, it represents nothing internal to the Cosmos or the solar system—it represents, rather, the background against which the Cosmos and the solar system unfold their possibilities.

Eleven, by contrast, is in occult tradition the number of positive evil. We haven’t talked much about that so far, and quite a few more chapters will have to be studied and understood before Fortune’s way of talking about positive evil will make sense. For now, think of it as the refusal of evolution, where negative evil is the resistance to evolution. While positive evil certainly exists in our solar system, it’s not a necessary part of things. It comes into being as a result of unforced choices on the part of individual beings, and thus it’s conceivable that there might be some solar system somewhere in the Cosmos where none of the individual beings happened to make those choices, where negative evil was a reality but positive evil remained a theoretical possibility and nothing more.

These numbers, therefore, provide the framework for the new solar system. The Great Organism at its core started off with a tenfold structure, and then developed reactions corresponding to each of the other numbers in the course of its journeys up and down the twelve Rays of the Cosmos as a traveling atom. It then continues to respond to each of the forces represented by these numbers as it settles into place on its plane with its cloud of static atoms around it. This is the basis for what Fortune calls sidereal astrology.

In some ways, that’s an unfortunate label, since it has also been taken up by a school of astrology that uses the constellations rather than the equinoctial and solstitial points to set out the wheel of the zodiac. Still, there’s a connection. The tropical zodiac—that’s the technical term for the zodiac used in classic Western astrology, in which the sign Aries starts at the point where the Sun is at the moment of the spring equinox—is based on factors entirely internal to our solar system. The sidereal zodiac tries to take into account forces from outside the solar system, and what Fortune calls sidereal astrology is all about those outside forces. The influence of those forces shifts over vast intervals of time, and can be tracked by a number of means, starting with the precession of the equinoxes.

History offers interesting reflections of what Fortune is saying here. It’s an interesting detail of the history of astrology, for example, that in the early days of Western astrology, when it was practiced by astronomer-priests standing on mud-brick ziggurats along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, Venus was a planet of war as well as love. Recently deciphered Mayan inscriptions show similarly that the movements of Venus were used in Mesoamerican astrology to choose good times to declare war and to predict victory in battle.

I don’t know of any astrologer at present who would try to read placements of Venus with that in mind, since that’s not the way the energies of Venus influence people’s lives today. The most likely explanation for the difference is that the energies have changed over the last several thousand years—that the Cosmic influences flowing in from the fifth Cosmic plane, and brought into focus in our solar system by way of the planet Venus, have shifted over time, downplaying the violent aspect of Venerean passions and amplifying the gentler aspects.

Keep in mind, though, that these changes are in some sense cumulative. In the chapters we’ve already studied, a central theme is that the changes set in motion by one phase of Cosmic evolution become the foundation on which the next phase of Cosmic evolution builds.  This same principle remains in effect as we move into the evolution of the solar system, and also as we go from there to the evolution of individual beings within the solar system. Our text summarizes this in a crisp phrase: “you start where God leaves off.”  You come into the world, in other words, with the entire past of the Cosmos implicit in you, and then you add to it by your own actions. Those actions are directed by something that usually gets called “free will,” though Fortune notes that this is an unhelpful label for it; her own label—epigenesis—will take quite a bit of explanation as we go further.

There is more going on here than unforced choices in an otherwise deterministic Cosmos, though. Fortune asks us to imagine our solar system in its formative stages, as the Great Organism who will become its Solar Logos sweeps outward from the center all the way to the seventh Cosmic Plane, gathering up as many of the static atoms of each plane as it can draw with it by a metaphoric equivalent of gravitational attraction.  Once it reaches the seventh Circle it settles into its orbit, and the static atoms it brought with it sort themselves out into great belts of Cosmic atoms of different kinds, each belt consisting of atoms of one kind, orbiting the Solar Logos at a distance set by its (metaphoric) density. As the Logos and its attendant atomic belts sweep around the vast arc of the seventh Circle, they pass through each of the Rays in turn. All this is perfectly orderly.

At the same time, something much less orderly is also going on. All the other Circles are also full of solar systems of their own, which differ from ours in that they lack static atoms from the seventh Circle, the Circle that corresponds to the plane of physical matter. Those other solar systems move at different speeds, and as they swing close to our solar system, their influence affects the atoms in our solar system that come from the plane where the passing solar system exists. If a solar system on the sixth Circle swings past, all the atoms in our solar system with eight-sided orbits will be affected; think of it as gravity, first pulling the eight-sided atoms back along the track of our solar system’s orbit, then pulling them in toward the Central Sun, and then pulling them forward as the sixth-plane solar system speeds past ours.

The same is true, in turn, of atoms in our solar system with three-sided orbits whenever a solar system of the first Cosmic Plane swings past. As the solar system proceeds with its evolution, in other words, it’s constantly being pulled and pushed and buffeted in complicated ways by the influence of other solar systems on the Circles further in. As we’ll see, this makes things challenging for the Solar Logos, and also for the individual beings who arise within the solar system and pass through their evolution there.

One measure of that complexity can be judged from one of Fortune’s passing remarks in the revised edition. Since it’s not in the Millennium Edition, I’ll quote it in full:

“You can see that there are times when the Lower Astral would receive a stimulus and times when the Upper Spiritual would likewise, although this is not so strong as the corresponding Cosmic plane is not so near. This is one of the things that check evolution and often set up trouble in a system.”

This may take some unpacking. Here, as she usually does, Fortune is using a taxonomy of the planes of being which identifies seven planes: upper spiritual, lower spiritual, upper mental, lower mental, upper astral, lower astral, and physical/etheric. These exist on our plane, the seventh Cosmic Plane, but all of them but the last also reflect the influence of one of the other Cosmic Planes—thus the upper spiritual plane reflects the influence of the first Cosmic Plane, the lower spiritual plane that of the second, and so on. Since each of us exists on every plane from the physical to the upper spiritual, we are subject to influences from outside our solar system whenever a solar system on one of the higher Cosmic Planes. When human beings act collectively in very strange ways, this can be one of the causes.

We’ll be exploring those complexities further as this series of posts proceeds. For the time being, it’s most important to get a clear sense of the way that the opening phases of solar evolution unfold. The last two paragraphs of our chapter sketch out the emerging solar system in a clear visual image, which is meant to remind you of the corresponding stages in the emergence of the Cosmos. Take the time to build up that image in your imagination; from it, a great deal will unfold as we proceed.

Notes for Study:

As already noted—and as most of you will already have found out!—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 January 9. Until then, have at it!

60 Comments

  1. JMG, on Sunday our local fishwrap reprinted an article from the Columbus, Ohio, Dispatch on that city’s Druid group. The article was friendly to the Druids. If you’d like to read it and can’t find it on the Internet, e-mail me your address and I’ll send you the article.

  2. John–

    As usual, this will require considerable reflection and re(re)reading of the text, but two things that leapt out at me:

    First, the inversion of primacy which Fortune introduces with respect to the paths and sephiroth (or at least, implies via the numbers she’s working with) instantly made me think of the inversion which George Adams discusses in <Physical and Ethereal Spaces with respect to the New Geometry: that is, in the etheric space, it is not a line that is made up points along it, or a plane made up of lines within it, but rather it is the line that is constructed by the intersection of planes and the point that is composed of the intersecting lines.

    It also brings to mind the notion of dual spaces and dual problems in certain branches of mathematics, but that is just my translator at work again 🙂

    Secondly, the point regarding the number two as signifying negative evil (“resistance”), of course, immediately brought to mind the Contending Forces of Thaumiel. I thought it interesting that the first of the Qliphoth would be thus associated with negative, rather than positive, evil. Is that consistent with broader occult understanding or just happenstance of the numbers involved?

  3. Just a quick aside, something that clicked after reading the first few paragraphs. We’re often encouraged to have as many experiences in life as possible, many say so that we have an open mind. It seems actually more useful because we have then had more possible metaphors to correlate with, which has given us more options to see possible consequences. For me, that realization alone is much more meaningful than simply having a more open mind. And it makes a lot more sense as I realize most of my thoughts follow the paths created by prior experiences.

  4. Yesterday (Tues., Dec. 11) NASA posted a photo on The Astronomy Picture of the Day website that beautifully depicts what happens when two Great Organisms (galaxies at NASA) interact with each other, and how the matter of each is strongly affected. It seems an interesting synchronicity that the photo was shown one day before our discussion from the Cosmic Doctrine of this same topic on how our Solar System (a Great Organism) interacts with other Solar Systems as she rotates around the seventh Plane. The image gives a nice visual on how This is one of the things that check evolution and often set up trouble in a system. The photo may be found here.

  5. Pogonip, thanks for the heads up. I assume this is the article?

    David, it’s quite consistent with the broader tradition. Negative evil is basic; positive evil is derived from it.

    Prizm, an excellent point!

    Dan, thanks for this. A galaxy is a collection of Great Organisms, but the image is still a gorgeous one.

  6. Scott Banbury (offlist), I write about what I want to write about, for those who want to read it. If you don’t like reading it, you can go somewhere else — and since you couldn’t make your point in a civil fashion, you’ve been banned. Now go away.

  7. I have to keep telling myself, “Its only a metaphor… Its only a metaphor,” because I keep running into examples that are very much like Fortune’s CosDoc–

    For example, in a Chemistry Journal Paper from 2013 (Boeyens JCA, Levendis DC. All is Number. Struct Bond 2013; 148: 162-178), the authors comment on the mysterious ‘Ho Tu Numbers,’ and how their patterns (which look a lot like Fortune’s metaphorical atoms) not only are a good description of the structures and linkages of DNA base pairs, but also form the basis from which the I Ching was developed. All this appeared in China 4000 years ago.

    You can read the two pages and further comments on my blog, on the 12 Dec 2018 posting, here;
    http://jackmanassas.blogspot.com/

    One of their sources, Katya Walter, describes a double-bubble universe model that really does read a lot like the Cos Doc, here; https://www.katyawalter.com/

    JMG, have you run across the Ho Tu numbers, and if so, any comment on their relationship with the Cos Doc metaphor?

  8. John –

    If I’m understanding you and Fortune correctly, the numbers 3 and 7 are both Primaries and Secondaries. Is there any deeper significance to that?

  9. All of this reminds me of Iamblichus’ Theology of Arithmetic very much. Mouravieff’s Gnosis has some similar teachings on the Three Rays and the Seven Notes and the Twelve Worlds, etc. etc. Fascinating stuff, particularly once the realization is made that physical life doesn’t make sense on its own terms (in one sense): everything dies. This leads to the suspicion that whatever ordered whole is at work, works “secretly”, but yet “in the open” too, that is, each plane is inviolate in integrity, even lowest ones, but analogically “reflects” or mirrors or hints at the one above it. One of the most hopeful comments I ever read (in shedding my reductionistic tendencies) was in Scott Buchanan’s Doctrine of Signatures – he said that modern science builds its world by looking for analogies A:B::C:D, and then once they are found, shoves all the discoveries on the same side of the colon, and goes looking for more, without ever bothering studying the structure of the analogy itself, and assuming that everything on that side of the balance (the grab bag of “discoveries”) is dead matter in empty space. I find myself constantly “thinking in terms” of reductionistic science – it is definitely “in the air”, and a real effort has to be made to become free from it. Thanks for the post.

  10. James, thanks for the tour through this fascinating book, although it is a pretty heavy read.
    The galaxy or the Earth described as a living thing always fascinated me.
    Something resonated, when I first read this notion in Isaak Asimov’s foundation saga (book #4) describing the galaxy as alive.
    The most profound experience I had on a flight back from Australia reading Lovelock’s book Gaia.
    Having seen the world largest living being the Great Barrier Reef first hand while diving I was aware that living beings can be much greater than I thought.
    I read the book “Gaia” on the plane and then looked outside the window just watching the sun set and again something resonated.
    It just felt true that the Earth itself is a living being.
    Thus I am open to further dive into this train of thought.
    Thanks again for the guided tour.

  11. John–

    Just so that I’m seeing that last set of metaphors correctly: the system settling in the seventh plane exists in the sub-planes simultaneously, these being themselves metaphors for the linkages back to the interior planes, and these linkages are manifested in the influences on the corresponding atoms of appropriate angularity. Is the Logos at the center of that system on the seventh plane under any direct influence or are the influences on the solar system under development restricted to the pushing and pulling on its orbiting atoms?

    (And I’m admittedly curious about the off-list response. I can’t imagine anyone caring that a group of folks in a remote corner of the internet are discussing an obscure work that most people have never heard of–certainly not enough to evoke the kind of incivility and language that gets one banned from here.)

  12. JMG
    This last week the ‘Coriolis effect’ made its way into my thinking. This is called “the fictional force” because the effects described, for example weather systems spinning east across the North Atlantic, can be calculated as if they are directed by a force. Sure there are ‘forces’ at the back of this, but what we see, if I understand correctly, is displacement due to movements in space. Thus ‘Coriolis’ seems to me a good metaphor, perhaps apposite to this DF discussion. I guess all our metaphors can be described as ‘fiction’, but with results that are real enough?
    I find myself spinning off into thoughts of the reality of ‘will’ (Schopenhauer, and much past discussion hereabouts). How come we get an ‘informed will’, especially an ‘informed will’ which in human form relies heavily on our language facility and the real powers coming from metaphor? Somewhere there we might find ‘astrology’ and ‘fictional forces’ apparent in those calculations and workings – together with real results? But all that is for me another story and I am not expecting any great resolution just now. Smile.
    best
    Phil H
    PS If I may; leftover from last week I found too late this quote from Yeats definition of poetry, “ the traditional expression of certain heroic and religious themes, passed on from age to age, modified by individual genius, but never abandoned.” Hmm…

  13. We experience many cycles in our lives, from the Cosmic Doctrine the main ones seem to be the cycles of 12, 7, and 4. There are two possible ways to experience the cycle of 12, by traveling the circuit of the 12 Rays and by rotating once around the Central Stillness in a specific Plane. Since our solar system is rotating around the seventh Plane, it seems the 12 months of the year represents a cycle of this rotation. It is tempting to place a longer cycle of 12, such as the precession of the equinoxes into the longer cycle of 12, traveling the circuit of the 12 Rays. There is also an approximate cycle of 12 full moons in a year that may be in some way related to one of these cycles of 12.
    We have a number of cycles of 7 in our lives, both weekly and 7-year cycles. Both of these cycles of 7 repeat in a well defined order of influences: Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn. The only way I can think of experiencing the cycle of 7 in this fashion from the cosmology of the Cosmic Doctrine is by traveling the cycle of 12 Rays and passing through each of the 7 Planes in an orderly fashion. If this is true, it would mean that humanity is still evolving as traveling atoms. Maybe the next goal of our evolution is to reach a state of equilibrium on whatever Plane our individual prime atom’s geometry places it.

  14. I have the Millennial edition and it doesn’t seem to have that helpful chart you have included with your commentary. Is that chart included with the revised edition?

  15. I suppose I’m falling into the trap of being very literal here, but how do solar systems in the inner circles swing close by the seventh circle, given that there can be up to five circles in between?

    Is it the case that solar systems in the sixth circle will be problematic more often than those in the first circle, due to their proximity?

  16. The part about all things following the laws of their own nature reminds me of one law for the ox and the lion being oppression. As I understand it, there are cosmic laws that all things follow, but where that leaves off, things follow laws of their own nature? It strikes me that the reason classical Newtonian physics works so well until you get into the situations that Einstein was discussing, or you start dealing with black holes, or other specialized physics were even relativity doesn’t work perfectly, is because Newton’s laws both contain the universal but also the laws of the seventh plane of the seventh circle, whereas something like light would have a different nature than dense matter and therefore behave a little differently in certain circumstances. Is that why a unified field theory of everything is a ring out of reach from the materialist merrygoround? We’re trying to force the other six very different circles into the Procrustean bed built for the seventh child?

  17. E. Goldstein, fascinating! Yes, I’m familiar (slightly) with the Ho T’u magic square, but hadn’t thought of correlating it with the Cos.Doc. — and it astonishes me that an article on Taoist numerology got past the peer reviewers. (Not that there’s anything wrong with Taoist numerology — au contraire, it makes a lot more sense than some current sciences, and isn’t in the middle of a replicability crisis — but scientists used to be rigidly opposed to anything like that.)

    Sass, yes, there is. It’s a source of much complexity in making sense of occult symbolism — when you get a three or a seven, are you dealing with the secondary planetary energy, or are you dealing with an emblem of the whole system? That said, why Saturn and Venus should be more symbols of the whole than any other planetary energy makes a good theme for meditation.

    Bruno, good! No, Ahrimanic and Luciferic evil are the two opposing forms of positive evil.

    Argus, it should! The entire Western tradition of occult numerology has its roots in the Pythagorean traditions Iamblichus gathered so systematically, and if you know your number lore you’ll find its traces all through Western spirituality.

    B3rnhard, that sounds like quite an experience. Remember that in the magical view of things, all things are alive; life isn’t an odd chemical phenomenon present in a few material objects, it’s a force that flows and surges through all things and is simply more manifest in some than in others. In a very real sense, we all live one life.

    David, yes, that’s basically it. The Logos is influenced by the great phases of the Rings and by the Rays through which it passes on its orbit, but not by other solar systems. As for the troll, I get that particular sort from time to time — he seemed to think that all he had to do was yell at me, and I’d stop writing about occultism and go back to writing about the subjects I covered in the Archdruid Report. I’d have put the comment through and made fun of him if he’d left out the profanity.

    Phil H, hmm! I like that metaphor — and also the Yeats quote, of course.

    Dan, good. We’ll get into the place of individual beings such as you and me in later chapters, and at that point the source of the sevenfold rhythm should be clearer.

    Kay, nope — I made the chart myself, precisely because neither edition includes anything of the kind. The Cos.Doc. really benefits from explanatory graphics!

    Phil, that’s one of the places where the metaphor has to be stretched a bit. Yes, sixth-circle systems have more of an effect on our system than first-circle systems, and indeed our text says so — you’ll just have to imagine that first-circle systems can still have some effect despite the distance.

    Kyle, yes, exactly!

  18. JMG, thanks for your reply. Your commentary is very valuable. I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have picked that up from Fortune’s text no matter how long I meditated on it.

  19. “in the early days of Western astrology, when it was practiced by astronomer-priests standing on mud-brick ziggurats along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, Venus was a planet of war as well as love.”

    Gerda Lerner’s The Evolution of Patriarchy chronicles the diminishing status of women in early Mesopotamian state societies and correlates it with the typically-later diminishing status of goddesses, followed of course by their obliteration. Ishtar was originally a warrior goddess, sometimes portrayed with armor and weapons. As Babylonian and related cultures became more patriarchal, Ishtar became “domesticated” and was no longer portrayed so. Therefore, her planet would no longer have been seen as representing war.

  20. I look forward to these posts each month. Like you said, reading and meditating on the text can be heavy lifting, and often I find it tedious. But you warned us about that ahead of time, so I’ve continued slogging.

    When a new chapter comes into view, and with it a sense that we are GOING somewhere on this strange journey of the imagination, then I get excited again and want to keep building the image in my mind, walking around inside it, wondering about it, keeping it there at the edges of my awareness when I’m going about my day.

    No grand leaps of consciousness yet for me as a result of meditating discursively on The Cosmic Doctrine, but I take it that’s not really the point of this component of occult study.

  21. Regarding the influence of the other Great Organisms and atoms in other planes on our solar system in the seventh plane, she notes that they travel at different speeds on the different planes. Using the metaphorical shape of the concentric rings, I assume things in the first plane are orbiting both extremely fast and extremely close together (in a smaller space) relative to the much vaster seventh plane. Given their smaller number of angles, they are also very small.

    I picture that the influence in terms of frequency, strength and distinctness of source of each plane’s habitants on the solar system in the seventh sphere thus ranges from relatively Nearly Constant But Weak and Unidentifiable/omnidirectional from the first plane; to Infrequent, Strong, and Identifiable/unidirectional from the sixth.

  22. First, a question. What is your sense/belief of our sun as a being?

    Second, I’ve lately become interested, besides electric universe, in Saturn Sun theory, which is the idea, (much like Velikovsky’s stuff) that earth was captured by our current sun but used to live beneath Saturn as a brown dwarf, and that when this transfer happened, Venus and Mars became destabilized. This would explain why Venus was once considered a goddess of war – because in the extreme electromagnetic upheavals which occurred, Venus appeared to attack Mars. Mars lost, because it is smaller. Apparently the Odyssey is full of the Venus and Mars war.

    Third, I think human beings are acting collectively in very strange ways of late.

  23. I’ve been following these posts from the start and am finding the journey fascinating. I also begin to see what DF means by the CD training the mind rather than informing it.

    For instance, I don’t know if you’ve been following what’s been going on with the “yellow vests” in France. Basically, their president, Macron, has been working hard to give tax breaks to the rich, while making the middle classes pay for the costs of fighting climate change through increased taxes. Go figure! Anyways, finally the people have had enough and are demonstrating against Macron, wearing their yellow safety vests everyone is obligated to have in their cars. Here is a very good essay on the situation: https://roarmag.org/essays/gilets-jaunes-blown-old-political-categories/

    The point is that when I was reading that articlle, the patterns described in the CD kept jumping out at me. Macron seems to be making all the classic mistakes by trying to smash the movement, which just seems to make it stronger. The yellow vests are not structured by any organization, but the pushback from the government seems to be crystallizing groups among them with specific interests and goals. All this seems to fit perfectly with the CD.

    Then I stumbled across a very different article that is about systems theory. Now, I don’t have any training in that field, so I found it quite tough going until it all started to sound so familiar because of the CD. Here’s the last sentence of the abstract, “…while closed systems collapse into disorder, systems open to a structured environment spontaneously generate order.” That really seemed to resonate with the ideas expressed in the book. Here’s the link to the full article:
    http://necsi.edu/research/multiscale/disorderedsystems

    Looking forward to the next chapters!

  24. This must also be why the Tarot has 22 cards.
    And speaking of positive evil, I wonder if the Nefarious Ones used September 11th purposely.

  25. @JMG re: Ho Tu Numbers
    I don’t think we can call it a _complete_ win for Scientific recognition of Taoist Numerology–
    The authors of that article were primarily interested in giving more evidence for their 4-dimensional model of Chemistry. For completeness, they pointed out that the Ho Tu numbers not only give an accurate representation of DNA within their 4-D chemistry model, but may have additional insights to offer genetics that no one currently understands.

    I originally wanted to post a link to the Ho Tu diagram in the article, and I can usually get a good image from the image listings in http://www.researchgate.net — But in this case, their image listing did not include the Ho Tu diagram. I had to pull the paper copy of the Journal and manually scan it myself to put it into my blog.

    Sometimes you have to go beyond the internet to get the whole picture. 😉

  26. I got to thinking in a pretty general way about how the idea of the different Numbers conveys the concept that the Cosmos has various forces or Laws at work– things are not just all happening at random. It’s a fairly orderly and organized place. That leads to the thought that it didn’t just somehow come into being of its own accord, but is the product of an intelligent mind of some sort. It came from one and became many. It reminded me of Dion Fortune’s name (or pseudonym, at least) which I believe was intended to mean “God, not luck.”

    Considering the statement that ‘The Cosmos is the framework upon which all is built up:” this makes me think of the causes that lie behind the events we experience. I have a feeling many people think that, to a large extent, they themselves are the causes of the things that take place in their lives. But it’s not really that way. Although we have a degree of free will, we’re far down on the totem pole of causation. Most of the causes happen on planes beyond the material one we normally experience. Many of the events we experience happen because of this organized framework or Cosmic Laws – the way the Cosmos was created and operates. So there are many outside influences which direct and limit our actions, which is I suppose why the various methods of divination, including astrology, work.

    The traveling atom which becomes the sun of our solar system, having passed through the process of evolution, has experienced all the cosmic influences. Contemplating the final image of it settling down into a spinning disc, in the same way that the original Cosmos came into being, implies that it itself then will cause a new system to come into being, in the fractal way you described a while back. So it then becomes possible for it to be a cause of events.

  27. Kay, thank you! I’m glad to hear it.

    Dewey, which one of those was the cause, and which the effect? If you take spirituality seriously, it seems to me, it doesn’t really work to make changes in the status of the gods depend on human economic and political shifts…

    Dylan, great leaps of consciousness are overrated. It’s the step by step expansion of your ability to think clearly and understand the symbolic language of occultism that really does the heavy lifting.

    SaraDee, that’s certainly a workable interpretation.

    Onething, 1) I consider the Solar Logos to be a real being, the reality behind the sun gods of traditional polytheist faith. 2) Hmm — interesting. 3) Yes, that was what I was hinting at!

    Reloaded15, excellent! Yes on both counts.

    Onething, yes, and quite possibly.

    E. Goldstein, still, it got in at all!

    Stefania, a good crisp meditation. Thank you.

  28. Re the Sun as a Being

    The notion of Beings of that size (and far larger) interacting across the vastnesses of the cosmos does rather make our squabbles seem incredibly petty, rather like paramecia fighting for prominence in a droplet of pond water.

    Re trolls and troll-bridges

    I had wondered if it was something along those lines. “Fascists are burning the world while you’re playing at — —— magic!”

  29. JMG what can you tell us about the Solar Angel? I don’t know which angelic entities Fortune’s mystery school worked with, but the teachings on the Manasaputra seem to suggest that this is a “special” patron deity for our race. Any insights? Do we work with angels?

  30. Re evolution

    In our discussions of this work, we’ve talked about evolution–in particular, evolution in the sense of action, reaction, and tendency towards greater and greater complexity. And we’ve framed “evil” (both negative and positive) as an opposition to that evolution. Elsewhere, however, we’ve discussed evolution as being something directionless, as only a response to changing conditions, rather than an inevitable progress towards some distant goal.

    If evolution is directionless in that sense, even on the cosmic level, then that brings up a host of questions. (And if it isn’t, why the difference between cosmic evolution and the other kind?)

    Is “evil” as opposition to evolution actually evil in the sense we think of the word? Is all change or increased complexity necessarily “good”? If complexity has limits (and the point of the dance is truly itself), then does there not have to be a devolutionary stage to the cosmic cycle in which the complexity is reduced and the systems ultimately resolve back into the Unmanifest? (As an inexact analogy, I think of the wheel of samsara in which even the gods are trapped, falling in their due time.)

    If the cosmic dance doesn’t have a devolutionary stage but consists of continuous evolution and increasing complexity, or in the alternative, growth to a point and then perpetual stasis thereafter, how does it differ from the narratives of Progress or the Eternal Now of the Faustian and Magian cultures?

  31. David, good! That’s one of the reflections this sort of thing is meant to encourage. Human beings are way too fond of overinflating their importance in the overall scheme of things — and after all, we basically are paramecia squabbling in the thin damp film covering the surface of a rock in space.

    As for the trolls, basically, yes. I get that kind of thing from time to time, roll my eyes, and keep on writing about what I want to write about.

    Y. Chireau, Fortune’s school did quite a bit of work with a wide range of angels — most Western mystery schools do. In her teachings, the Solar Logos — who could as well be called the Solar Angel, if you prefer that term — is the patron deity of every living being in the solar system, our species very much included. I’m not familiar with the Manasaputra — can you point me to a good translation or source?

    David, excellent. There is indeed a devolutionary stage. Remember that the overall rhythm of the Cosmos is set by the rotation of the Ring-Cosmos relative to the Ring-Chaos, and so you get alternating phases: a phase in which old forms are broken up so that new forms can be established, followed and preceded by a phase in which existing forms settle into place and establish themselves. So a form evolves during one period when the Ring-Cosmos is moving toward the Ring-Chaos, settles into stability when the Ring-Cosmos moves away from the Ring-Chaos, and then at some subsequent turn toward the Ring-Chaos, devolves and gives way to some other form.

    So it’s not just a matter of ever-increasing complexity. There’s a balance between growth and dissolution at every level of the Cosmos.

  32. @JMG: “Dewey, which one of those was the cause, and which the effect? If you take spirituality seriously, it seems to me, it doesn’t really work to make changes in the status of the gods depend on human economic and political shifts…”

    Since the increased subordination of women preceded the portrayal of goddesses as subordinate, it doesn’t really work to make the latter the cause of the former. (I suppose you would actually have to say that the increasing power of male deities somehow caused male humans to become more patriarchal, which doesn’t say much for human capacities or worth – but still there’s a cause and effect problem.)

    Besides, views of divinities can change far faster than entities with which the names are associated could plausibly be changing – e.g., when you look at all the different portrayals of “Jesus” just in Western Christianity, it is evident that men are making God in their own image, and no change in the “status of Jesus” should be assumed. If I assume that when Ishtar stopped being portrayed in armor, it was because the entity known by that name had become weak and passive, then should I also assume that when she stopped being portrayed at all, it was because she had ceased to exist?

  33. Archdruid,

    I’ve been thinking about resistances and creation. I remember an old friend once told me their proudest moment from their childhood was during a moment in a play where their partner forgot his line, and my friend had to improvise on the spot. That bit of improvisation was so good that play’s director congratulated my friend and made them take a special bow at the end of the play. For all points of creativity and improvisation there exists structure. That is to say that a specific limitation which a person can use as thrust block to progress in a new direction. A general with a strategy can take advantage of the range of tactical possibilities within the scope of their own strategy and their enemies strategy. Similarly an actor on a stage can improvise only if they have a script with a direction, a path to follow through space.

    In politics negative evil occurs when an ideology acts as a thrust-block to another ideology, and allows something new (usually a law or policy) to be created. What policy or law can be passed, also exists within the limitations of the system. Want to avoid a particular evolutionary path? Positive evil, ignore the actors of that ideology.

    Regards,

    Varun

  34. “You will perceive that each new phase of evolution achieves the utmost complexity that its factors permit, and then settles down to a rhythmic repetition of the sequence it has reached.” This reminds me of several major types of modern technology, which have reached what can only be called peak evolution. For instance, nuclear power technology is merely a glorified steam engine. Computer technology, at least in my opinion, hasn’t done anything new since astronauts landed on the moon, it has just been more of the same thing, but with faster and smaller components.

    “You can see that there are times when the Lower Astral would receive a stimulus and times when the Upper Spiritual would like- wise, although this is not so strong as the corresponding Cosmic plane is not so near. This is one of the things that check evolution and often set up trouble in a system.” No wonder becoming a truly great musician takes FOREVER, because it feels as if the spiritual plane is born a master and three bazillion years must be spent drumming this into the hands, mouth, or whatever else is being used to make sound on the physical plane.

  35. On the Solar Angel/Manasaputra, one source is Blavatsky. I understand this entity to be distinguished from the Solar Logos who is glossed as the more evolved “Kumara” in the esoteric tradition I favor. The Solar Angel has the permanence and stability of the Platonic archetype. We sometimes think of the Solar Angel as the Watcher, “the medium of expression for the Monad or pure spirit, just as is the personality for the Ego on the lower level.” Would this complement or contradict the Cosmic Doctrine?

  36. John—

    Do the seven sub-planes on the inner six circles therefore manifest in some other fashion (that is, as influences on orbiting atoms of various angularities), as the systems existing within those circles necessarily lack the full complement of orbiting atoms from the circles “beyond” their realm?

  37. Ah! I was just going to ask about ever-increasing complexity, but your response to David (above) makes it a little clearer for me. At the end of last month’s chapter it sounded like everything was going to keep complexifying forever, building on the static forms of the previous phases of evolution. I take it we just haven’t got to the devolutionary phase yet. Am I right, or did I miss something?

    On another note, today in my meditation I found myself wondering about the Circles, which so far haven’t seemed to get as much attention as the Rays. As I played with the image I realized that if you hold the Ring-Chaos stationary in your mind’s eye and track the path of a Great Organism as it circles around the Central Stillness AND rises and falls with the Ring-Cosmos’ revolutions within the Ring-Chaos, you get a very pretty spherical spiral shape, sort of like the streaking on a marble.

    So the Rays, the Circles, and the Prime Atoms all have spirals incorporated into their structures. So cool!

  38. Dewey, I’m by no means sure that deities are actually immortal. It’s an interesting fact of religious history that a deity’s ability to perform miracles doesn’t keep well; you get the really big miracles early on in a religion’s history, and then things taper off into the sort of autumnal condition in which (for example) Christianity is today, when G.K. Chesterton can be proposed for canonization because some couples who were having difficulty conceiving prayed to him and a child followed not too long thereafter — a very, very minor miracle indeed. So it’s possible that religions die because deities die, or in some other way age out.

    Varun, a fine meditation. Thank you.

    Kimberly, excellent! Yes, exactly.

    Y. Chireau, it certainly seems complementary to me — no surprises there, as Fortune got much of her initial training via the Theosophical Society.

    David, good question. Our text doesn’t say, and the other presentations of the same general cosmology I know of have very little to say about what happens on the other six Cosmic Planes.

    Jeffrey, thank you, but my one experience publishing an article with The Pomegranate was dismal enough that I don’t plan on submitting anything to that journal ever again.

    Dylan, bingo. We’ve talked already about the great days and nights of the Cosmos, the periods of creation and destruction on the one hand and of settling into stasis on the other, but there’s a lot more to be covered as we proceed.

  39. For whatever it may be worth in this context, all the Deities of the Old Norse lore and legends are mortal; they will all die, or be killed, someday, to be replaced by new Deities not yet existing, and thus still unnamed and unknown. Since this was the first mythology I was ever exposed to as a child (as a part of my Danish heritage), in later life I always had a certain amount of trouble taking other religions and philosophies seriously once they started talking about immortal souls and immortal Deities, or even omnipotent and omnibenevolent Deities. I’m still inclined to think that the whole Divine lot of Them have finite lifespans, however lengthy they may be.

  40. JMG,

    Sorry, but I just have to go there…

    And the black brothers, needing that extra little something in their rituals and wondering where to go from there said… let’s take it up to 11.

    Dean Smith

  41. I never cease to be amazed at how inter connected these numbers, 1 – 12, are with the cosmos. They seem to provide the constant against which the motion and evolution of the cosmos progresses as DF describes it. Yin, yang, motion, constant all the way down the fractal layers. The limits that make so many possibilities.

  42. Does the “as above, so below” recapitulation of structure mean the same principles that apply to atoms apply to us as well? The tension between moving faster and more freely without influences/attachments and evolving or travelling further by accretion certainly seems relevant on an interpersonal level, especially at the moment.

    @JMG: “That said, why Saturn and Venus should be more symbols of the whole than any other planetary energy makes a good theme for meditation.”

    When I was meditating recently, albeit on Paths of Wisdom rather than CosDoc, it occurred to me that Venus/Aphrodite really expresses the balance or reconciliation between unity and differentiation: love is a unifying force, but it’s a force that needs a subject and object (which can be “the divine” or “humanity” or “creation”), and thus one that needs form and the separation it provides. Likewise beauty, as per the discussion on art in the last couple posts, and to bring Ishtar into it, even war in a lot of ways.

    I don’t know if that puts it in a unique or rare position among the planetary influences (I could certainly see Chronos-time being a similar kind of force, for Saturn–it separates us all in some ways, both from each other and from who we were, but we’re all united by moving through it in the same direction and at the same rate–as well as the more birth-and-death aspects of Binah) or if that’s just my own biases regarding that particular planet/divinity. 🙂

  43. John—

    Re other Beings, great and small, and the Other, more generally

    The contemplation of the Cosmos as being alive and swarming with things which are alive was made dramatically manifest to me just a moment ago as I lifted the cover of one of my fermentation crocks in preparation for making a nice soup. Although I was fully expecting it, the thick, vibrantly-colored mat of living stuff floating on top directly confronted the underlying (Faustian, mechanistic) notions of our current societal narrative. I laughed at myself as I scooped it all out, observing the various layers of reaction within me. One thing I have gained from this community as a whole (and the Cos Doc discussions in particular) is an entirely new perspective on the Other and for living things: actual, concrete living things, as opposed to this abstraction called Life.

    I don’t know if sub-planar effects were at work or not, but it was a fascinating experience!

  44. JMG – Again I’d like to thank you for your commentary on the Cosmic Doctrine. I’ve been trying to read it, and “understand” it, but I confess that I don’t. However the other night I woke up at around 2am and for a moment I understood what was meant by “These images are not descriptive but symbolic, and are designed to train the mind, not to inform it.” It was a weird moment of clarity for me, and when I tried to understand what I felt clearly in that moment in my “normal” way of understanding, the understanding seemed to vanish. I don’t know if that makes sense to you or anyone else, but it’s a strange feeling I have been having about various things for the last year.

    Anyway, something inside me suddenly has this knowing that there’s something out there unknowable. It’s a really weird strange and scary feeling, while also being somewhat comforting. Like the feeling of simultaneously being scared of death, but not scared. Also like the feeling that I am going crazy, yet suddenly my life has completely turned around and is going perfectly.

    Other than all that, I don’t really understand a word of this book. I read it and it’s just stuff going in. I’m envious of those of you who seem to understand, and thankful for your analysis.

  45. JMG,

    It may be that the gods have finite lifespans, or that human societies outgrow them and move on, but I don’t think that explains the worldwide descent of women in society and the diminishing role of goddesses while the gods were not diminished. Perhaps they were later as well, but I think that was a difference in time and therefore not related.

  46. JMG: regarding your comments on the lifespan of deities. I take it that the efficacy of a deity as a focus for magical techniques doesn’t depend on whether that being is still “alive” in the sense you described to Dewey? After all, there are still mages making effective use of deities and god-names even farther from the peak of their reported miracle-working than the Christian god.

  47. I have been contemplating this response since last month’s chapter post, so I apologize if this seems like a step back. While I did indeed do a mental double take when Fortune mentioned the 10-sided atom (Great Organism) settling into the Seventh Plane, the more I have re-read the pertinent chapters, 5 through 7, and thought about it, I don’t see a contradiction at all.
    There seem to be settled atoms, those that flow around in the plane corresponding to their “weight,” and traveling atoms, those that have “formed alliances among themselves and become composite.” These atoms move along the Rays as their weight makes them susceptible to the centrifugal force of the Rings, Rays, and Planes. As they move out, they continue to gather more “weight” and become more complex. As I see it, it is when they become 10-sided that they encounter the Ring-Pass-Not and start the journey back to the Central Sun (or Stillness). A quote from the end of Chapter 5, “It is only when the extremely elaborate atoms of the Seventh Circle form alliances that they start back up the spiral to the Central Sun.” At that point there is nowhere else to go but back because they are stopped by the Ring-Pass-Not. All of these atoms starting back up the spiral would have to be 10-sided figures because the three through nine sided figures all have a place on a particular Plane and will remain there until they gather more complexity. And perhaps some of them are forever stationary and remain in the plane according to their structure. After all, there are some who will board a boat for an uncertain voyage to a new world, and some who will instead stay behind to tend the fields.
    The atoms with a nine sided core structure can only become more elaborate and be pulled out of their Plane by becoming a 10-sided figure. And it seems to me that even the smallest atom, the three-sided, as it moves outward on the planes gathering matter from each plane, becoming more complex, more weighty, would eventually become a 10-sided Great Organism once it has spent some time and gathered matter in the Seventh Plane.
    In my interpretation, all the Great Organisms are ten sided, no matter what their base structure is, which could be anything from a three- to nine-sided formation. And they settle into the Plane of their structure of origin after journeying through the Cosmos, returning to the Central Stillness, resting, and then being pulled out to the Plane of origin.
    I have the image of a fountain shaped in tiers like a traditional wedding cake, the contents overflowing into the next tier down, getting heavier and more complex, flowing back to the origin once there is nowhere else to go.
    I hope I’m not being too much of a Fundamentalist here, but I do think there is a certain logic (not to mention poetry) to the movements and the gatherings, the accretions and the sorting out of the atoms and the Great Organisms.
    Thanks!
    Yanocoches

  48. As far as I can tell, you haven’t touched on the idea found on page 47 of the revised edition – that the evolution of the Cosmos continues until the Great Organisms burst past the Ring-Pass-Not and out into the Unmanifest, there to start new Cosmoi.

    I like the idea (probably because of my Faustian upbringing), and I like the very close of the chapter, in which Fortune proposes that an adept, in tune with the evolution of the Cosmos, eventually becomes a system, a true microcosm, himself.

    But questions do rise up. Is Fortune talking about the original Cosmos bursting apart, or the many smaller Cosmoi generated by the Great Organisms? It seems like if a ‘bursting apart’ is an event at the lower levels of manifestation, it would be possible at the highest level.

    Also, could this be a definition of the Great Work of the magician, to turn oneself into a new Cosmos?

  49. “So it’s possible that religions die because deities die, or in some other way age out.”

    So also suggests the great prophet Terry Pratchett. 😉 I’m not ready to give up on Bastet just yet, though.

  50. Additional thought: while the spiritual/occult connection between Venus and war may have dwindled, we do see echoes of it in culture a fair amount. “All’s fair in love and war,” Pat Benetar songs, and so forth. So Ishtar hasn’t vanished completely. 🙂

    I also do think the notion of connecting war/conflict with a female deity, particularly at a phase in human history when notions of “civilized” fighting really hadn’t taken over, is apt. I’ve discussed with our host and Robert Mathiesen the fact that, at least among my social circle, the men are likely to forgive and be nice and give people the benefit of the doubt, whereas I and most of my female friends are on the crush-your-enemies*, wailing-and-gnashing-of-teeth end of things. (Robert once said that the goal of a fight between men was for both to be able to walk away with their pride intact. My response was a wide-eyed “Why would you want to do *that*?”–okay, tactical reasons, but if it’s possible to leave an enemy alive enough to know you’ve beaten them and yet powerless to *do* anything about it, that’s the ideal for me and most women I’ve hung around with.)

    My own suspicion is that this is a function of women’s historical place in society, and that, in general, honor and forgiveness and so forth are ideals that people in power can afford, and the rest of us not so much. (The Marquess of Queensbury was…well, a Marquess. And Jesus was the son of a deity, which probably helps considerably on the letting-things-slide front.) But for whatever reason, I think Kipling’s poem is largely right about the female of the species–and interestingly, a whole lot of pre-Christian mythology echoed that. Athena as relatively-non-vengeful**-goddess-of-war was kind of the exception among Ishtar and the Morrigan and, indeed, even some of her fellow Hellenic deities, like Nemesis and the Erinyes.

    * Given this, I might theorize that the women in the saying aren’t so much lamenting as vowing revenge.
    ** By which I mean “no more vengeful than most of her pantheon, and considerably less than some”.

  51. It’s late in the comments cycle, and comments are dramatically less than on other topics. I continue to read and reread the assigned chapters, and follow the comments with interest. For many years, my “esoteric” reading was focused on various “fourth way” authors. What DF has written seems to me pretty consistent with the writings of Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, R. Collin, and so forth. The word “esoteric” had great allure back in the day: it signified a sort of spiritual elitism, and naturally we tended to think of ourselves as special. Now I regard the word “esoteric” with a corresponding suspicion. Carry on, please, with the CosDoc project.

  52. To piggyback on Cliff’s question: assuming the great organisms do ultimately burst out of the original cosmos (as I think the text seems to imply), this would suggest that the newly formed cosmoi are no longer subject to the influences of the rhythms of the primal cosmos that spawned them. Thus they have achieved the feat of levitation Fortune spoke of earlier, having freed themselves from influences and therefore from gravity.

    Of course, presumably by then they have integrated the patterns of their “parent” cosmos so thoroughly into their own structure that they repeat those rhythms internally without needing to be prompted from without. You could look at that as one wat to describe the difference between childhood and adulthood! It also reminds me of the defining characteristic of existence in Gwynfedd – that one’s body now lies within its soul rather thsn surrounding and gestating it.

    On another note, I was struck recently by the way that the CosDoc sheds new light on a key phrase from the OTO’s Thelemic ritual liturgy: “O circle of stars, whereof our Father is but the younger brother”. If we assume the Father is the Solar Logos, the circle of stars would presumably be the larger cosmos frim which the former emerged (represented in the Thelemic system by Nuit, the goddess of primordial darkness whose womb spawns the points of light that become individual conscious entities).

  53. I’ve been thinking about the metaphor of a solar system and how it relates to life for the past few days. One idea that keeps nagging at me is how the planets are born into a path, following that path with only subtle changes. It certainly lends support to the idea that our lives have a pre-determined destiny from the outset. Considering the fact that we are born to parents whom we don’t choose in a society we don’t choose at a time we don’t choose, all of which impact our lives and development, it does seem we are rather fated to become a certain individual.

    As I was tossing these ideas around, I realized also how we are a reflection of the cosmos. The order and stability present there can be present within us. And when we make the movement to become more orderly (disciplined) with our life, the inner world can reflect back out to the outer. This made me realize the importance of meditation, and stillness. It was only because I took 5 minutes to go out and look at the grass.. err, patches of grass and snow, that this reflection was realized. And it makes a great deal of sense, especially when someone such as Gandhi said one of the simplest truths, that we should be the change we want to see.

    So those realizations, that despite my not being a planet, or moon, or sun, or something bigger yet realizing how those things and all things are reflected within me and how I reflect back out to them, it didn’t leave me feeling worthless and in despair but instead left me feeling a sense of importance and how I could make an impact, even as subtle as it may be.

  54. Hi John Michael,

    “If you take spirituality seriously, it seems to me, it doesn’t really work to make changes in the status of the gods depend on human economic and political shifts…

    I read an account that the Aboriginals believe that the old ones are still around, as would be expected. The inference was that the old ones were also impervious to man made problems in the biosphere, and in fact I’d have to suggest that they’d probably seen it all before, and may probably do so again.

    Cheers

    Chris

  55. Ahhh, the first seven chapters of the Cosmic Doctrine, a journey in discovery of the grand forces that make up the universe and all we know. Words that paint pictures, descriptions that provide thoughtful readers with visions of the enormous currents and forces that compose our world. Beginning with the largest of the large, so large we can barely comprehend the moving flow, in turn causing a birth of counter movements, settling into stability but never static, there is always more movement. The Rings, Rays, and Circles, and resulting vortices, smaller eddies, all produced from movements and counter movements, reactions. The Atoms, small yet gathering energy, accumulating weight, move and travel, find their place, as they make their way around the Cosmos, experiencing all possible influences. Leading finally to the birth of a Solar System organized around a Great Organism, a Sun, huge beyond comprehension, powerful beyond reason, giver of life as we know it.

    Dion Fortune gives us seven chapters of logos, reasoned words on a page, carefully building the concepts, the vision, reiterating and explaining in greater detail with each chapter, recapitulating and adding a little more with each telling. And suddenly logos becomes pathos, an awakening of emotional connection, as the vision of the Cosmos comes alive, and we realize that as above, so below. The vast has echoes in the infinitesimal, in our very essence. The heart opens to the poetry, magic, and wonder of the universe as the visions depicted take shape in the mind’s eye.

    And then, WHAM! We learn that sentience is not exclusively the property of a nervous system. And pathos suddenly evolves into Eros / Agape as we are informed that this vast dance of space, this formation of forces, this Cosmos of Rings is sentient, aware, has basic individuality, like us. We must therefore by necessity have affinities with these vast Cosmic beings and with all existences in the universe. The world around us is sentient; we are not alone, ever. And the heart breaks open completely and dissolves into the vision, the Sun, the Moon, the vast expanse of stars on a clear night, the movement, life, becoming one with the ALL.

  56. Dewey,
    Something interesting I’ve been noticing around our town lately is an increase – no, it’s more an infiltration – of women engaging in “man’s work.” There is a young female mechanic working at one of the tire shops, possibly straight out of high school. I ran into a woman who was obviously a self-employed contractor at Lowe’s yesterday, in grubby clothes, buying a load of materials. No male accomplice to be found.

    Bastet is undoubtedly polishing up her decolletage as we speak.

Courteous, concise comments relevant to the topic of the current post are welcome, whether or not they agree with the views expressed here, and I try to respond to each comment as time permits. Long screeds proclaiming the infallibility of some ideology or other, however, will be deleted; so will repeated attempts to hammer on a point already addressed; so will comments containing profanity, abusive language, flamebaiting and the like -- I filled up my supply of Troll Bingo cards years ago and have no interest in adding any more to my collection; and so will sales spam and offers of "guest posts" pitching products. I'm quite aware that the concept of polite discourse is hopelessly dowdy and out of date, but then some people would say the same thing about the traditions this blog is meant to discuss . Thank you for reading Ecosophia! -- JMG

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