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The Astrologer Discusses Teaching
Jupiter, as the abstract ruler of the ninth house, is the astrological symbol of the teacher. Since a consideration of abstract subjects is assisted by meditation on a drawn symbol, or "outpicturing," it is suggested that four astrological designs be utilized in the pursuance of this material.
The first will be a wheel with the houses numbered; the symbol of Sagittarius on the ninth cusp, the symbol of Jupiter in the ninth house. In the consideration of this design we find our point of concentration to be in the upper hemisphere of the horoscope; or, shall we say, in the soul consciousness part of the life pattern. It is the transcendent expression of its lower polarity, the third house. We could talk about the ninth house and remain "up in the air" forever if we do not "root ourselves" in consideration of the third house which is ruled abstractly by Mercury through the sign Gemini.
To our original design we now add the sign Gemini on the third cusp and in the third house we put the symbol for Mercury. We have now established a "polarity design" by which a point in the lower half of the wheel is directed into the upper half. This design signifies a "path of evolution" by which an aspect of the "separative consciousness" evolves into an aspect of the "impersonal" or "soul" consciousness.
The first house is "I am"—the recognition of individual consciousness, of Being. The second house is "I have"—an emotional identification with Life by the consciousness of "attachment through possession." The third house is the "awareness of Life" through an exercise of the unemotional faculty of intellect. As abstract rulers of the first and second houses Mars and Venus are "emotional expressions;" Mercury, as abstract ruler of the third, is, even in primitive levels, the first awareness of unemotional impersonal consciousness.
Mercury, then, is our capacity for "unemotional identification." By its exercise we give names to things, either concrete or abstract. We also give identification to things in terms of measurement, quality, and function. Mercury is not a means by which we identify ourselves with Life; it is the means by which we relate the objectifications of Life to ourselves for our utilizations and communications.
Seen from this standpoint, Mercury (as ruler of the third house of the first or "ingathering" quadrant of the wheel) is the symbol of all learning. It is the faculty by which facts are transmitted from one person's mentality to another's mentality. It is, correspondingly, the faculty by which facts are comprehended by the mentality receiving the instruction or information. Mercury is language, expressed concretely by the spoken word, gesture, or picture; abstractly, by the written word. It is the symbol of universal relationship of people to each other in terms of mental rapport. It is the symbol of all students, and, as such, esoterically symbolizes the essence of all fraternal relationships. (We are all, regardless of outer relationships, parallel with each other—fraternally—because we are all learners from life experience.)
Further consideration of this design will show that all teaching has its roots in learning, and that development of skill as a teacher is dependent on the faculty of learning being kept alive. The polarity currents (in consciousness) between the lower and upper hemispheres must be kept stimulated if the upper half capacities are to flower. We are never separate from any part of our horoscope; even though we may spend twenty hours out of each day in the profession of teaching, the currents of "intake" must not become depleted or neglected. Learning is an ignition of awareness of facts and identifications; it may be likened to an inhalation of breath. Anyone truly and strongly motivated to teach will keep this "third house faculty" alive. In other words, he will neglect no opportunity to learn further. To stop the "intaking" is to insure an eventual stoppage, of crystallization, of the ability to teach. (Herein lies a lesson in sincerity and humility: teachers take heed.)
If Mercury is the symbol of "mental intaking" then Jupiter—vital, radiant, and dynamic—is the abstraction of "exhalation:" transmission of knowledge or ignition of intellectual awareness amplified and enriched by the maturity of spiritual understanding. Knowledge of facts plus awareness of Principles. In this connection we must add another factor to our design: the sign Virgo on the cusp of the sixth house, creating a T-cross, two arms of which are in the lower hemisphere, ruled by Mercury.
Here the abstract symbol of "fellow students" is expressed in an extended form to represent the "fraternity of workers." Work, spiritually considered, is more than physical labor—it is the service that each person may render as a contribution to the betterment of Life for all.
Virgo, as an earth sign, has a distinctly practical connotation: "I work to make money to sustain my physical life and that of those I love." As long as the attitude toward the service of teaching is "I learn something so that I can teach something so that I can make some money," the square aspect of Gemini-Virgo threatens the unfoldment of the teacher's capacities by keeping him identified in consciousness in frictional awareness of "practical considerations." The redemption of this square pattern is found in the fact that the sixth house is the last house of the lower hemisphere and is the "modulation" into the upper hemisphere of emotional regeneration and spiritual awareness. It succeeds the fifth house, which is that of Love-power; when the consciousness of "money-making-labor" is charged with the creativity of Love and expressed as Service for the betterment of Life it becomes an expression of redemption. Through the experiences of Love-service we gain understanding of our subject that makes mere book learning seem, in comparison, a lifeless shell. This understanding is the thing that a true teacher radiates to his students.
We now complete this design by adding the symbol for Pisces on the cusp of the twelfth house and place the symbol of Neptune therein: the cross of mutable signs. Through the first arm, Gemini, Mercury symbolizes the "learner;" its "exhalation" is Jupiter as abstraction of the ninth house. Mercury, through Virgo, is the "learner" from Service-experience; its "exhalation" is Neptune as the abstraction of the twelfth. Of this, more anon.
To consider the subject more concretely, let us regard some of the problems that are, sooner or later, faced by those who experience the urge to teach.
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Since, in the first place, teaching is a dynamic expression of wisdom, the motive must be one of illumination. Anyone who responds to the urge to illuminate must accept a challenge from those patterns of consciousness that represent darkness: mental crystallization, rigid formalism of opinion and attitude, prejudice, the kind of ignorance that forms a basis of indifference toward the impersonal or spiritual needs of students. This experience pattern serves as a challenge to the integrity and courage of the teacher.
The urge to fulfill an impersonal service is, sooner or later, to he tested by the person's own consciousness of economic factors. This testing is one of the most significant points in the evolution of anyone who is spiritually aspiring in any work-pattern. Considering again the design with the mutable signs we see that the opposition aspects are "rooted" by Mercury through Gemini and Virgo. Unregenerate Mercury, in its alliance with the first sector of the wheel, is "practicality," "expediency," "literalness," and "surface evaluation." These key words pertain to levels of consciousness which have not, as yet, touched the impersonal. Persons who are motivated into the teaching profession and who remain in this expression of Mercury are those whose basic attitude is one of self-interest. "Which job pays the most?" "Which job paves the way for the greatest academic prestige?," "earliest retirement," "biggest pension," "pleasantest surroundings," and so on. These considerations are held by everyone for a time in their evolutionary progress, but the point that is being made here is that eventually the attitude toward work must be regenerated into one of Love-service. Until that step is taken the function of teachership cannot be truly fulfilled. Astrologically, the above may be translated in this way: until self-interest is transcended, the cycle starting with Mercury-Gemini cannot find its spiritualized fulfillment in Neptune-Pisces, through Jupiter-Sagittarius.
Since Jupiter, as symbol of the teacher, is found in the upper hemisphere of the wheel, the testings of the truly motivated teacher are much more "inner" than they are "outer." His most significant problems are soul problems. Some of these testings arise from the necessity to regenerate what might be called qualities of negative Jupiter, such as:
Intellectual pride, by which the teacher fixates himself in egotistic levels due to the feeling of having superiority over those he teaches. This tendency can be remedied by a "switch in consciousness" by which the teacher intensifies his awareness that he is not nor never can be, a repository for all the knowledge of his particular subject, but is, in effect, an elder brother to those he teaches—and any one of them may be, innately, his superior in essential wisdom. He recognizes that he is a foreshadowing of the development of his pupils and that he serves as a "modulating point" by which they move from levels of innocence to levels of awareness of their own wisdom. He must never forget that he has, at some time or other, traversed the same path of learning, and, in terms of his own personal development, should still be a learner. In other words he should keep his attitude toward his teaching work fluid and dynamic—expanding, improving, and enlarging. Thus he utilizes regenerative key words of Jupiter to prevent the crystallizations caused by pride.
Self-aggrandizement through desire for recognition and praise is an expression of Jupiter as vanity and greed. In this level, the teacher seeks continually to shine over his colleagues to compensate for his envy of them. He desires the adulation of his students; he utilizes his work to gain the good opinion of people. An urge to improve his skill and enlarge his scope is motivated, basically, by his wish to be well thought of. This "inturning" viewpoint carries the seeds of its own disintegration since it automatically results in an experience which will serve to shatter the fixated, limiting motivation.
The purpose of teaching is not self-aggrandizement but the illumination of the consciousness of others. The teacher who has an attitude based on his integrity as a worker possesses what might be called a healthy humility—he respects the work he is doing; he cultivates his skill in order that the work be improved; he is thankful for all suggestions that are given him and he is willing to give them his consideration. His attitude toward his colleagues is one of appreciation for their value to the work, not one of competitiveness, since he recognizes that each teacher has his own unique contribution to make. He assists each one when he can and he is willing to learn from each of them when he can. In other words, he utilizes the Jupiterian key word of "improvement" and keeps his motivations spiritualized and regenerated.
The true teacher's attitude toward his pupils is never one of "having power over them." It is true that he does have, since they are susceptible to his words and influence, but his motivation is to "alert" them to an awareness of their own powers and abilities and the ways and means by which they may express their best potentials. Motivated by love his attitude toward his pupils is one of benevolence; their progress is his joy. He appreciates the significance of the emergence of his pupils from one level of understanding to a higher one. His desire is to assist growth— never to "keep in submission." His "output" as a teacher is backed up by loving appreciation of his pupils—as students and persons—who, in their turn, will be instrumental in the furthering of the work which is the object of their mutual devotion—the altar on which he and they have lighted their candles.
The symbol of the teacher's path in its most subtly spiritualized expressions is found in the fourth quadrant of the mutable cross: Jupiter in the ninth to Neptune in the twelfth. This is the experience- pattern of the Elder Brother—the illuminator of Souls, the radiation of Wisdom of Philosophies and Arts; universal in its scope of redemptive power. In this sector of development intellectual knowledge has been encompassed and transcended. The pupil is concerned with the Principles of Life and his aspirations—not his desires or ambitions—are fired by contact with the illumined Intelligence and spiritualized consciousness of the teacher.
One more design: Aries on the first cusp, Leo on the fifth, and Sagittarius on the ninth; Mars in the first house, Sun in the fifth, and Jupiter in the ninth. This is the trinity of the fire signs. Mars says: "I am" a manifested expression of the One." The Sun says: "I am the radiating power of Love." Jupiter says: "I am the radiation of wisdom."
This triangular design outpictures the dynamic consciousness; Jupiter as teacher, here symbolizes spiritual parenthood: the father who guides the development and illuminates the evolving awareness of his "children," his "little brothers and sisters." In human terms, Jupiter is here seen to symbolize the spiritual responsibilities of fatherhood—and the responsibility of all parents to provide spiritual as well as physical nurture to those who have incarnated through them.
On impersonal levels, it shows the inherent spiritual parenthood of all teachers to their pupils, who, on mental levels, are their children. Parents should be teachers; all true teachers bring to their pupils a radiation of Love-power that makes for completest fulfillment of their Teaching Service.
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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