The Zodiac and the practice of Astrology are tools, keys to a deeper understanding of the world. They’ve influenced our myths and religions and, in turn, all of the stories we tell about ourselves and our time here on earth. The constellations originally helped to understand the passage of time, explaining the different cycles and the inherent nature of existence. The qualities of the environment throughout the year had a direct impact on the qualities applied to constellations and signs.
A person’s astrological birth chart could be looked at as the environmental template through which their soul was pressed to become a manifest life. Picture the light of a singular consciousness (the all of all) descending through the higher dimensions, refracting into separate frequencies, like light through a prism. Some of these frequencies overlap and combine, while others separate from each other (depending on the angle of refraction), creating a diverse range of experiences and personalities.
When this conscious light refracts through the fourth and third dimensions, the physical body manifests, grows, and is eventually born into life. In this way, the 12 signs of the zodiac could be interpreted as 12 frequencies of life, each one with inherent qualities formed from the combinations of different modes and elements. And each person is a different balance of those different energy frequencies, modes, and elements.
So why are there twelve? How does each sign get its qualities and characteristics? What is the driving force behind this system?
One approach to a deeper understanding of the Zodiac system is to look at it as a system of sacred numbers.
To understand this interpretation, start with the number One representing cosmic unity: the singular consciousness, the all of all, every possible thought, feeling, urge, experience, all of it, united, far outside of constraint or limitation or definition. You could look at this as God, heaven, the 12th dimension, quantum consciousness, alchemical Gold, spiritual enlightenment, etc. Any of the old, new, or evolving conceptions of "the One" work here.
When One separates into Two, the concept of Duality arises. Imagine Yin and Yang, divine feminine and divine masculine, darkness and light, chaos and order, “good” and “evil”, the divine soul and the impure, physical body: each of these classic pairs of themes and concepts comes from the principle of Duality or polarity, the separation of One into Two opposites. All other concepts are diffusions or refractions of these two archetypal themes.
When Two becomes Three, we reach the three Modalities, signifying movement, connection, expression, and communication between the Two. The three Modalities are Cardinal (active, initiative, beginning), Fixed (stable, sustaining, rooted), and Mutable (shifting, changing, transforming). These three qualities signify the different forms of expression of each of the Elements of the Dualities.
Four, following Three, represents the Elements of all life, formed from the Dualities (the duality of duality is quadruplicity). The two Yang Elements are Fire (action) and Air (thought). The two Yin Elements are Water (emotion) and Earth (practicality). These are represented by the four seasons Spring (Air), Summer (Fire), Fall (Earth), and Winter (Water).
When Three and Four combine, we get twelve unique combinations of Modalities and Elements, varied expressions of each Element which we know as the Twelve signs of the Zodiac. Each of the four seasons has three months, or three unique expressions of the season, just as each of the four Elements has three Modalities or unique expressions of the Elemental energies.
Alchemists believed that the way to reach spiritual enlightenment was to seek balance of the Elements in one’s own life. While most people thought they were turning lead to gold, really they were just a bunch of nerds trying to find spiritual connections in the world, working to purify their own souls. And at the end of the day, who among us is not just a spiritual nerd, trying to figure it out?
By understanding your birth chart, the template through which you were pressed to become a human life, you gain an understanding of which Elements you have in abundance and which ones you may need a little help with. By understanding the presence or absence of the different expressions of each Element in yourself, you can be better prepared to face each day.
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