Thursday, November 8, 2012

Vishakha and the November Eclipse Cycle

Full Solar Eclipse, Tuesday November 13, 2012, 2:10 pm pst
Partial Lunar Eclipse, Wednesday, November 28, 2012 6:46 am pst
This fall astrologers have been hard at work deciphering the meaning and potential outcome of some very intense astrological alignments: debilitated Sun combust exalted Saturn, Mercury-Rahu conjunction, Mercury square Neptune, Full Moon in Aries, Jupiter-Ketu-Moon conjunction, stationing Mercury retrograde on the day of the US Elections, all of which are followed by the final eclipse cycle on the Scorpio-Taurus axis. Everything from Market Crash, to an attack on Iran, to voter fraud were considered through the lenses of both tropical and sidereal systems.   While many predicted an October Surprise that could upset the election process in the US, few expected that this chaotic event would present as Superstorm Sandy. Hurricane Sandy first made news on October 26, 2012 when Mercury joined Rahu in Scorpio. Mercury is a neutral planet, but can swing either way depending on its immediate company. In this case, the malefic Rahu may have amplified the winds, fear and drama associated with the monster storm, even inspiring the media, ruled by Mercury, to nickname it "Frankenstorm."  As we approach the final eclipse period occurring along the Scorpio-Taurus axis we may see more stormy weather before things calm down at the still point of the winter solstice.

Because of their ability to swallow the Sun and the Moon during eclipse periods, Rahu and Ketu are associated and death and rebirth -- the prime indicators of karma. The glyphs for the nodes, which resemble horseshoe-shaped magnets, hint at their ability to attract fortune and/or misfortune, as well as their electromagnetic forces and polarizing tendencies.  Although there is much debate over the rulership, debilitation, and exaltation signs of the nodes, I agree with Prash Trivedi's assessment that Gemini is the exaltation sign of Rahu, and Sagittarius is its sign of debilitation.  As Rahu is a severed head, it is all about sensation and thought actions governed by the brain. Trivedi assigns Scorpio as the mulatrikona sign for Rahu as it resonates with Rahu's mysterious, intense, secretive, desirous, and poisonous nature. With a Scorpio mulatrikona, Rahu is poised to get what it wants through any means, be it aggressive, coercive, secretive or mystical. For the past seventeen months Rahu has been transiting backwards through the intense waters of Scorpio absorbing the shakti energy of each of its three powerful nakshatras (Jyeshtha, Anurada, and Vishakha) consuming the luminaries, and downloading the stars' messages to the Sun and Earth through its shadow and influence over the poles.

Mercator's celestial globe
For example, Rahu's entrance into Jyeshtha gave the power to rise, conquer and gain courage in battle (arohana shakti) heralding the highly politicized assassination of Osama Bin Lauden.  Six months later during the fall 2011 eclipse cycle, violence escalated in the Middle East and another powerful October Superstorm hit the Northeast knocking out power to 1.5 million people. Rahu's entrance into Anuradha gave the power to worship (radhana shakti) and the Queen of England took full advantage of this adoration during her Diamond Jubilee which occurred during the last eclipse cycle last summer.  On October 21 (mean)/September 28(true), 2012, Rahu slipped back back into the highly unpredictable fields of the sixteenth nakshatra, Vishakha whose power to achieve many and various fruits in life (vyapani shakti) will influence the consciousness of the masses during the U.S. Presidential elections, the winter  holidays, and the final count down of the Mayan Calendar.  As we shall see, this asterism, known as the 'star of purpose,' is the one to watch in November.

Vishakha is Sanskrit for "branched" or "forked," perhaps because it straddles two signs -- Scorpio and Libra. It is depicted as a large tree with forked and spreading branches that provide protection and produces fruit as it ripens with age. This cosmic tree also represents the process of reaching and attaining one's goals. The Tree of Life is a motif found in many cultures around the world representing a mystical concept of the interconnectedness of all life.  In many illustrations, a giant tree connects the Earth to the Heavens through its branches, and to the Underworld through its roots -- the axis mundi where communication from lower realms may ascend to higher ones, and blessings from higher realms may descend to lower ones.

The deity associated with Vishakha is Indragni.  While most astrologers divide the name and assign two deities, Indra and Agni, to the "forked" nakshatra, Vic Dicara cites two examples of Indragni being the name of a single being in both the Mahabharata and Rig VedaIndragni is the god of ritual fire used to obtain blessings and boons.

However, in my view it is also insightful to look at the two separate deities to understand why they may be inseparable.  Although revered as a demi-god and dragon slayer, Indra is a complex archetype whose obsessions were not always wholesome. Vishakha is associated with his more indulgent pursuits. Agni is the god of fire who gives passion and determination to this goal-oriented nakshatra.  They represent the two conflicting impulses of Vishakha: material versus spiritual. As Komilla Sutton writes:  

Agni, the sacred fire represents penance and Indra sensuous enjoyments, so these two can cause much conflict in the mind of Vishakha. Thus Rahu's transit of Vishakha presents a dissatisfaction with both the material and spiritual sides of life. The soul is still committed to materialistic enjoyment yet stands at the door of spiritual development. 

Vishakha literally presents the "fork in the road" threshold.  Furthermore, both of  its deities are associated with natural forces.  Indra is the thunder to Agni's brilliant forks of lightening.  Together they bring the storms that clear the air and release nourishing rain which feeds all of life.  Like the 16th Trump card of the Tarot, The Tower, the 16th nakshatra may direct an unexpected bolt out of the blue signaling the release of stagnation, or an old way of life suddenly coming to an end.

Haindl Tarot
Hanson-Roberts Tarot

In the Tarot, The Tower symbolizes an arrogant technology that constantly desires more and bigger monuments to represent its conquest of nature.  It is a modern image of the Tower of Babel, an archetypal edifice of false belief.  The falling figures are those beliefs themselves, the false thoughts projected by the personal ego for its own use. The lightening represents the power of light to bring insight and expose the erroneous beliefs for what they truly are.  Like The Tower, an eclipse in Vishakha may provide a wake-up call urging us to contact our inner Mars and direct its considerable power in another direction. The late degrees of Vishakha enhance Rahu's already obsessive nature making it become more fixated on its goals under the fixed water sign of Scorpio.  Yet the 16th nakshatra also has a branch extending into Libra, ruled by Venus, which promises to soften any aggressive tendencies absorbed by Rahu in Scorpio, while still remaining focused on acquiring what it desires.  Unfortunately Rahu's transit through Vishakha may make it more difficult to release outworn or false beliefs because Rahu's nature is to obscure. For example, disgruntled voters may not gratiously concede to political winners because they may be stuck in their misguided beliefs.  Luckily an exalted Saturn in Libra will be awaiting the north node in late December, providing strong boundaries and ensuring high principles will be maintained for the common good of society.

In addition to the world tree, there are two other symbols for Vishakha: the triumphal archway or gate adorned with leaves, often associated with marriage ceremonies, and a potter's wheel, associated with creation and the cycles of time needed to build and perfect it.  According to Prash Trivedi, the gateway marks the first rite of passage on the way to reaching a goal:

Most of Vishakha lies in the sign governing marriage, Libra.  In ancient times this gateway was symbolic of triumph.  It symbolized the ending or attainment of a goal and the beginning of a new one.  It was a reminder of the fact that challenges don't end once you pass through the gateway, after achieving your goal.  The challenges begin when one enters the gateway, just like the marriage ceremony is the precursor of the challenges to come in married life.

To me a gate is structure that can be swung open or drawn shut. It is a portal that may act as an entrance or an exit. I have noticed that many of the unexplained cosmic phenomenon that have intrigued mystically minded folks, such as the Norway Spiral, have occurred under the influence of Vishakha.  Therefore, I also associate Vishakha's triumphal arch with inter-dimensional portals, stargates, and wormholes.  Many ancient traditions predict a shift in world ages and evolution of consciousness, which the modern Ascension movement describes as the creation of a new Earth in the 5th dimension.  As mankind undergoes a process of evolving into a non-corporal entity, it will shift or jump to a higher plane of existence. For example, Dolores Cannon describes a new Earth that is splitting off, or branching into this higher dimension evoking the forked descriptions of Vishakha.  Others believe that we have already passed through this threshold and are now taking on the challenges of this new world.

Norway Spiral 12/9/09
The potter's wheel as metaphor for the creation of the spinning cosmos is the most intriguing of Vishakha's symbols as it also hints at the evolution of manifestation.  The spiral is one of the oldest symbols recorded in the ancient Neolithic world and has been used across time and cultures to depict the universal pattern of growth and evolution seen in nature.  From the swirling arms of galaxies, to the whirling winds of hurricanes, and the twisting double helix of DNA, the mathematical hand of God, the potter, may be expressed in Phi and the Fibonacci sequence of the spiral. 

Like the spiral, the potter's wheel is associated with creation cycles.  According to Bepin Behari, the turmoil created by the conflict between the material and spiritual impulses of Vishakha is represented by the potter's wheel:
In a potter's wheel the central axis around which the wheel rotates is almost stationary.  There is no apparent movement at that point.  The greater the proximity to the center, the less movement. Tamas is what the center of the wheel represents.  Remain wherever you are, whatever else happens, exert no will of your own.  This is where the clay to be shaped is put.  Harmony prevails by conforming to the will of God or by surrendering to the impulse generated by nature.  The clay does not resist. The shape visualized in the potter's mind is gradually imprinted on the clay by the wheel, which works according to the potter's fingers.
I like the idea that the closer we get to the center, the more still the tumultuous forces become -- like the eye of a hurricane.  Only by surrendering do we become a complete work of art, a reflection of the mind of God.

When the great cosmic potter spins its cosmic wheel, our planet, solar system, and galaxy spin with it, evolving a new perspective as each spiral returns to observe the previous passage.

It is an interesting coincidence that as we complete the final cycle of the Mayan calendar, the last eclipse cycle will occur with the Sun, Moon, and Rahu aligned with the stars of Vishakha.  Might creative forces be ready to spin a new light vessel for the soul of man  as proposed by modern shamans? Is December 21, 2012 truly the birthday of homo luminous as many researchers, such as Alberto Villoldo, believe?  In his book The Four Insights, Villoldo writes:

According to the prophecies of the Maya, the Hopi and the Inka, we're at a turning point in human history, a period of great turmoil and upheaval in which a new species of human will give birth to itself. We're going to take a quantum leap into what we are becoming, moving from Homo sapiens to Homo luminous – that is, beings with the ability to perceive the vibration and light that make up the physical world at a much higher level.

It seems to me that the upcoming eclipse cycle with Rahu in Vishakha might indeed trigger an opportunity to not only cross the threshold to a new dimension or way of being, but also to surrender to the forces of nature allowing the hand of God to direct and reshape the container in which our spirits dwell.  Another meaning of Vishakha is derived from the word which means "readiness." Are you ready to pass through the gateway and welcome the challenges of a commitment to a new Earth?

In oneself lies the whole world and if you know how to look and learn, the door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give you either the key or the door to open, except yourself.  ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti