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From Christian to Pagan (Part III)
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The Moon and Metaphysics|
Posted: August 15th. 2004
Times Viewed: 3,478
Of all the heavenly bodies that are measured and interpreted astrologically, the two that have the greatest influence are the Sun and the Moon: the Sun, for its size and its dominion over the day; and the Moon, for its proximity and its dominion over the night, and both for the rapidity with which they traverse the skies. I would like to focus, for a while, on what the Moon has meant to me.
I understand the Moon to be the material symbolic center of a spiritual phenomenon that can be referred to as an outrush of energy. This energy originates in the will of the Goddess (Whom I have never been able to name), and is, I believe, the principal sustaining force on Earth, being Her expression of love for the Earthly creation. The flow of energy waxes and wanes, and this is symbolized in the phases of the Moon, and the repetition of the cycle of waxing-waning is symbolized in the cycles of life and reincarnation and in the seasons on Earth. In this understanding, I see the Goddess, particularly, or all Gods and Goddesses, as real personalities with real lives, or the next higher equivalents of these. I do not understand them to be manifestations of Nature. It is They Who are more real, and Nature that is their manifestation, their work.
Traditional wisdom holds that spellcasting and other spiritual endeavors should be done with an eye to the Moon's phase, that the New Moon is a time of rest, the Waxing Moon for "positive" activities, the Waning Moon for "negative" activities (which I understand as "take away the negativity" of an illness, for example), and so on. I have applied this principle in a personal practice of "energizing" my body-soul when the Moon and the flow of energy are increasing, and letting it go during the waning phase. It is something I do when, for whatever reason, I feel disconnected and need to be brought back to basics; the name I have put to this exercise is rededication. It is a process that requires the use of all aspects of the body-mind-soul to complete, and as I will explain, it is a process that takes a complete lunar month to realize.
I visualize the flow of energy as a swirling cloud that comes from the Moon, lightly, barely noticeable at first, but as the Moon increases, the energy increases in intensity and effect, rather like a slow-starting but significant snowstorm. It begins to flow just after the New Moon, and as the energy passes through all creation, a droplet condenses and takes hold in every cell of the body-soul. As the flow increases, the energy continues to condense more rapidly, displacing the worn-out life forces. During this time, the person can meditate, especially in a quiet place, at night, facing the Source, and imagine the flow and the energy entering the body and settling in. By the time of the Full Moon, the person should feel that there are two body-soul complexes: the old and the new. And on the night of the Full Moon, the person should feel the old one begin to crumble, to be blown away by the rush of the energy at its maximum, and as the Moon continues to wane, the old body-soul is eventually swept away. During this second phase, the person is also at a maximum potential for releasing the energy, which is why I suspect that the Full Moon is considered to be a very good time for magickal activities and gatherings. Further on into the waning period, the inflow of energy continues to decrease and the energy that had already been accumulated undergoes a process of maturation, an internal process that is consonant with that lunar phase. It is a time of introspection, of rekindling old ideals and recovering old memories, of receiving and accepting input from Nature, from Earth, of revitalizing old strengths.
To appreciate what is happening in a rededication exercise, it helps to have a model of the human psyche; a useful paradigm is one described by Rudolf Steiner, in which he identified three elements (he had some different perspectives, but the basic elements are valid). One is Intelligence, which is the material-objective perception of "earthly" reality and the forming of logical conclusions based on relations existing among the observed data. Another is Intuition, which is the ability to see, grasp, or somehow appreciate what is not, or cannot be, discerned solely through Intelligence. Intuition is a synthetic process, the unconscious weaving together of seemingly unrelated threads - some earthly, some spiritual - to produce a mental impression which can be as accurate or valid as direct observation. The third element is Imagination, whose realm of activity is outside the earthly and which is a force creative or pre- creative in nature. Each of these, it can be seen, operates or dominates in a specific realm of existence: Intelligence in the earthly, Imagination in the astral, and Intuition in the "in-between." In a rededication, each element is stimulated, and the whole is thus renewed. Intelligence is used to consciously direct the earthly aspect of the exercise and prepare oneself for meditation, Intuition grasps the spiritual and material dynamics, and Imagination affects the transformation. Additionally, it is an interplay between the Will of the Goddess and that of the person. Sometimes the nature and progress of the rededication is not fully grasped until it is consummated, and the person is left with a sense of wonder at what has occurred.
Another discipline that helps to understand this process is alchemy. It has been commonplace for historians and scientists to dismiss alchemy as the superstitious antecedent of chemistry, but this is kind of a negative way of saying that chemistry is a reduced, incomplete post-alchemy, stripped of the spiritual aspects, and which focuses on the little marbles of atoms and molecules, having lost the concept that the alchemical work works on the alchemist as well as on the substances. The alchemical goals have almost always been pursued via two aspects: the lab aspect (which in fact contributed much practical experience in handling and transforming substances to the later chemists), and the divine aspect, in which the alchemical work was (and still is) an allegory of the purification of the alchemist's soul. The processes of heating, distillation, cooling, condensation, and many others, have their analogues in what is happening to the soul. In this sense, I understand rededication to be an alchemical process in which the pre-element is diffused by the Goddess and captured, condensed and matured into a personal, living element by the alchemist.
To summarize, the Moon is associated with the Goddess, and symbolizes the creation and flow of Her creative energy, which we can capture through meditation, intuition, and imagination, and with which we can transform ourselves. This process needs to be experienced; too much analysis is like too much squeezing the tomatoes.
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