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The Giving of Gifts
We use the word anniversary to designate a timing for the expressions of our appreciation of life. To those we love, admire, and respect we do not give gifts simply because these persons have succeeded in living a certain number of years—because it is natural for everyone to remain on this plane as long as he can. We give gifts at our festival occasions to express our appreciation that those we love (whose vibratory qualities represent our ideals) have remained here with us. We love, admire, and respect certain people because their vibratory quality is such that it stimulates something of our finer, regenerate consciousness; contact with these persons "ignites" our perception of the Light that abides in each of us and of which we are the manifested expressions on this plane.
All ceremonies pertaining to the spacing of human experience originate in the primeval impulse to recognize the principles of life in their rhythmic expression during our years here. Since mankind tends to objectify consciousness, festivals and symbolic ceremonies are used to interpret man's awareness of life-processes. It will be observed that all peoples have their own particular ways of presenting their interpretations of life; some are joyous and rhapsodic in quality, others are dignified and solemn. Ceremonies and festivals are dramatizations of mankind's emotional reactions to the phenomena of life and his giving is an expression of his appreciation and/or sympathies.
At the festival of Easter mankind, according to place and time, celebrates his joy-in-living—the primordial response to awareness of his on-going as a physical manifestation; his gratitude for the Earth as a physical expression of beauty in its flowering, fragrance, and promise of fruition. This is the occasion when mankind celebrates the Ascendant of the horoscope—the renewing of the I am consciousness, the upward glance, the forward impulse. The reference to the Ascendant of the horoscope pertains to the dynamic, energizing quality of the sign Aries, the Ascendant-sign of the abstract horoscope of the entity, humanity. The Easter-festival, regardless of its varied forms and rituals, is mankind's "song of confidence in Life," the indestructible faith in universal good that makes possible his equally indestructible determination to progress. Easter is the timing in each year- period to re-charge our own—and others'—consciousness with renewed vitality, renewed courage, renewed awareness of the Divine Potential, and renewed joyousness in the releasements and expressions of that potential. The story of the Resurrection is the drama of liberation; our gift-giving at this season is our appreciation of the liberating agency of Spirit as it manifests through those we love, and the liberation which their love and encouragement has meant in our lives. Easter is the "decrystallizing" function of Spirit, and in the horoscope it is symbolized by the vibration and action of the planet Uranus and the function of the sextile aspect between two planets to decrystallize a congestion made by either or both of them to other planets. The transmutation of quality of one—or both—squared or opposed planets permits a redistribution of the planetary energies for more constructive expression. This is the "Resurrection" in the life of each human who progresses spiritually. Our "Easter gift," as Astro-philosophers, is our contribution of insight to unraveling the congestions of our fellows and assisting them to redirect themselves onto higher levels of consciousness and expression.
The birthday celebration of an individual is an appreciation—by his loved ones and friends—of the way he expresses the ruler of his Ascendant. This planet, whatever and wherever in the chart, is the symbol of self-awareness and personality-potential. Our giving of gifts at such a time is our expression of appreciation for the Light which that person represents in our lives—as a "spark of the Divine Light." We must be grateful for the efforts made by those close to us to improve their vibratory qualities and expressions; their improvements assist us to make ours since their best ignites our best. We objectify our appreciation by a material return— something that will lift further the consciousness of the appreciated person.
It is not known by the writer whether occasions comparable to "Mother's Day" and "Father's Day" have been celebrated by other races or if they are, uniquely, American festivals. However, in composite, they are the "festival of the fourth and tenth houses"—the vertical diameter of the horoscope, the dynamic Essence of the universe. In appreciation of the people it commemorates, we signify our reverential awareness of Love- radiation, Sacrifice, Nurture, and Protectiveness which are the inherent regenerate "bases" of the parental principles. We lovingly give a gift to Mother and Dad on "their day" to express our appreciation to them as individuals who, in Love-service, provided us with incarnation, protected and guided us in our years of growing. But we appreciate something of which Mother and Dad are individual human expressions: the nutritive and protective forces of Life itself. Mothers and Dads who are truly loved and respected by their children are so because they, in themselves, symbolize the overshadowing protection of Divine Forces; their service of sacrificial Love is a human counterpart of all out-giving for the perpetuation and on-going of human life.
When, indeed, has Mankind not celebrated, in ceremony, the union of two who love each other? The festival of marriage is the dramatization of the horizontal diameter of the horoscope, the cusps of the first and seventh houses. The ecstasy and inspiring beauty of love-union is the agency by which mankind is most intensely alerted to the existence of his ideal self—ignited in his consciousness by the virtues and graces of the person who represents his or her complement. The human heart responds with utter joy to the "beauty that is Love" and those persons who have lived this beauty in the marital relationship stand as symbols, in human form, of the eternalness of beauty itself. We respond with a sense of deep rapture to the exalted vibration of a wedding ceremony—and the radiant happiness of the new wife and husband bring forth our most sincere wishes that their experience together will be happy and successful in every way. Because of the quality of spirit that they display, we appreciate couples who make a true success of marriage because they have lived the truth of loving and we are grateful to them for what they represent. The Astro-philosopher "celebrates the horizontal diameter" whenever he learns something from the best of other people and incorporates those qualities into his own living. The other person represents the seventh house—the complement; he is the Ascendant—the I am; the fusion of the best of the complement into the I am consciousness is what the marriage ceremony really symbolizes—the rounding out of personal consciousness into a more complete and perfect whole. As wives and husbands, Astro-philosophers re- live the love that united them whenever they seek to emulate the virtues and regenerate qualities of their partners: and they use the symbolic patterning of their horoscopes to clarify the inner meanings of their union and to gain perspectives on how each can help, teach, and guide the other.
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Though it is not credited with the scope of meaning implied by Easter or Christmas, the festival of St. Valentine's Day is a charming occasion which celebrates the fifth house of the horoscope and the sign Leo. This is the "song of the young in heart," the "star-shine of love," the warm and gracious impulse of the human heart to appreciate the beauties and virtues of the opposite sex, the recognition of the dawning of emotional fulfillment. Gifts of flowers and sweets are offered as expressions of the "feelings of sweetness" in our hearts to those who represent our ideal of loveliness and charm. The radiant quality implied by the sign Leo is that from which our Love consciousness warms and blesses the lives of those who are dear to us—we express to these persons our appreciation for the ideal which they represent to us. The young woman or young man who is beloved is a human symbol of Life's beauty in the eyes of the one who loves and the message that is presented by the sign Leo is that of: "live by loving;" "keep your heart renewed and refreshed by warm impulses of affection; "keep your perception of beauty alive by loving the finest in the other person." The daily gift of our heart's finest impulses toward beautiful living in relationship, the enchantment of harmonious togetherness and the inspiration of ever-renewed awareness of the Light which is inherent in the consciousness of the loved one is the true celebration of St. Valentine's Day—the annual gift of flowers (or whatnot) is simply the outer expression of that which the human heart should express continually toward the loved one; it is our appreciation of that which the person represents to us as an ideal of our hearts.
The composite festival, in the sign Scorpio, of Halloween—October 31—and All Saints' Day—November 1—has a much more solemn implication; it is the "Esotericist's Festival."
Halloween, in later days, has become a festival of "fancy-dress and monkey-shines"—a far cry from the deeply spiritual significance which it had originally. Its perpetuation through history has been an expression of mankind's awareness of life on the inner planes and its astrological pattern, through the sign Scorpio, is the eighth house—the regeneration of evil into Good—the arch-symbol of the Powers of the White Esotericist. Halloween is, according to old traditions, the one night of the year when those dead are granted respite from the bondage of their graves and freedom to roam the habitations of the living. The picturing of witches, devils, skeletons, and all such weird creatures are dramatizations, by man's imagination, of his awareness of the earth-bound and condemned; they symbolize his fear of the unknown—unknown because not understood. The sequence of Halloween with All Saints' Day completes the meaning of this festival: the conquest of the forces of darkness (fear and ignorance) by the Forces of Light (Virtue and Truth). In this connection, and at this point, a word of deepest appreciation to:
Mr. Walt Disney, whose work in motion-pictures has proved him to be one of the greatest agencies for inspiring the heart of humanity in the world today. In the last two parts of his monumental work "Fantasia"—"Night On Bald Mountain" and "Ave Maria"—Mr. Disney and his colleagues have presented this "Scorpionic Festival" in magnificently dramatic form. We see the shades of Egos who, while on earth, became congested in negative qualities of pride lust, greed, cruelty, wrath, and envy. In "Fantasia" the characters which serve to represent these qualities live in a world where all is dark, smoky, fetid, painful, and anguished. These levels of consciousness, in any human being, are truly the hell-realms, and in such, we are lost in the power of the Prince of Darkness, hopeless and lacking self- direction. The luminous music of "Ave Maria" introduces the advent of dawn which is the Light of Truth, Purity, and Virtue, dispelling the perverse and dark conditions and powers of the "Black Angel." The esotericist, or Astro- philosopher, who meets his personal experiences with courage and fortitude, fulfills them to the best of his ability and through regeneration of his negative impulses purifies his intuitions and illuminates his Inner Knowledge, conditions himself to be a "Light-thrower" into the darkened areas of another's consciousness. We may give parties and enjoy games and fun on Halloween and go to church in tribute of reverence to our saints the nest morning, but we celebrate, as philosophers, this occasion in our daily living when we regenerate and qualify ourselves to be givers of Light to humanity. Every Astro-philosopher has a particular planetary condition as the ruling agency of his eighth house—and this planet gives him the key as to the principal requirements of his regenerative experiences. Each effort in this direction contributes more light into the collective vibratory body of humanity—it is the great spiritual gift by which the part contributes to the well-being of the whole.
The great festival of Christmas is the most "Composite" of all of our present day celebrations. It is the dramatization of mankind's most profound spiritual realizations, hopes, ideals, and aspirations—the focal-point for expressing love for his fellow-man.
It is remarkable that the story of the first Christmas involves in its presentation life on this plane from the "lowly beasties" to the angelic hosts—the complete range of life-expressions from the most humble to the most exalted. Kings and wise men, humble shepherds, the angelic voices, the transfigured human parents—all grouped around the representation of Divine Spirit embodied in the purity of the new-born child. This festival is the dramatization of the eleventh and twelfth houses of the Abstract Horoscope as the impulse behind the manifestation of the cardinal cross; the symbol made by the vertical and horizontal diameters of the wheel is the Mighty Symbol of Incarnation.
The eleventh house is spiritualized universal Love- consciousness—the polarization—or higher octave—of the fifth house. Its abstract rulership by Uranus is Love for all, Love that recognizes no limitations or hindrances, Love that decrystallizes and transforms all limited conditions. The twelfth house is the voice of redemption—the impulse (and necessity) to reincarnate for further fulfillment through evolutionary processes and experiences. That which is manifested by the powers of these two houses is the expression, in material dimension, of the bi-polar vehicle through which the latent Godhood is revealed. "...and He took upon Himself the likeness of a man" is the statement of Spirit manifested, and it pertains to the appearance of every Life-expression on this plane.
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In the consciousness of humanity, the symbol of a child has always represented the innocence of a new start; in the adoration of the Child who was to be Christed, we see the dramatization of mankind's up-looking to the vision of its own forgotten purity. Our hearts are deeply touched by the vibratory power of this festival because, all over the world, the joyousness and well-being of children and, in general, all people who are dependent, are focal-points of our emotional attention. We seek to manifest the power of benevolence to make better the conditions of others.
Since incarnations are taking place every day all over the world we realize that spirit, manifesting, is an endless process and the Principle of Light, incarnate, is implied by every birth on this plane. Our giving of gifts at this season is our dramatization of homage to the Divine which is manifesting through myriads of forms through the entire cycle of evolution and our expressions of friendliness and good-will toward our brothers and sisters constitute our recognition of them as expressions of divine light, and divine love.
The reality of Christmas can only be perpetuated if we function in this consciousness daily—never to lose sight of the essential light in all other human beings. The continued expression of such consciousness makes more and more evident the underlying meaning of the statement that: "He came that the Kingdom of Peace and Righteousness would be established on Earth." As with the Teacher, so with us; we are all agencies of this illumining and transfiguring power; our reverence for the Child, His human parents and the Angelic Hosts is our reverence for the love and the light which enfolds us all.
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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