by Gary Kidgell – Scotland
The teachings of Ancient Wisdom are comprised of a vast body of timeless spiritual truths which underlie the tenets of the major religions of our world together with the various esoteric practises that have been devised by humanity throughout the ages. At the core of the wisdom teachings is the descent of spirit into matter and its subsequent return to source.
Image from ‘The Inner Journey: Pathways to the Higher Self’ by Gary Kidgell, Llandysul, Claregate 2015
A recent expression of the Ancient Wisdom occurred in the latter part of the 19th, and into the 20th Century. This occurred through the work of H. P. Blavatsky and various offshoots of the Theosophical Society, of which she was a co-founder. These works inform us that, in essence, we are indivisible sparks of a divine flame referred to as monads and that we are engaged upon a lengthy evolutionary journey for the purpose of developing and expressing hitherto latent spiritual qualities. Due to the purity of its vibration the monad is unable to descend downwards into the planes of consciousness below its own level of being. It therefore adopts structures or mechanisms for the purpose of facilitating its long evolutionary sojourn.
The Soul or higher Self serves as the instrument of the monad. It exists for the purpose of obtaining a complete form of consciousness whereby it can respond to the vibrations of life which surround it on each and every level of existence. This process involves many lives in human form upon the Wheel of Rebirth.
The Soul is commonly symbolised as a lotus-like structure that is in the process of unfolding petals ofKnowledge, Love and Sacrifice. The classical teachings state that symbolically it requires 777 lives for the Soul to learn every lesson that life in human form has to offer. These teachings state that the first 700 of these lives relate primarily to the opening of the knowledge petals, the next 70 lives to the opening of the love petals and the last 7 lives relate to the opening of the sacrifice petals whereby one performs acts of great sacrifice towards the betterment of humanity and the planet where personal needs are cast aside as one dedicates one’s life’s endeavours towards these ends. The number of lives required for the Soul to fully develop and express its qualities can be reduced when we tread the path of return. By doing this we may compact the learning experiences and spiritual growth of many lives into a short few.
The human personality functions as the instrument of the Soul. The Latin word ‘persona’ describes the mask worn by the Roman actor indicating the role which they were currently engaged in. This is a most apt description for the personality as a temporary vehicle for the Soul.
Throughout its many incarnations the Soul is seeking to fashion the personality into an effective spiritual instrument whereby it may successfully express ITS intent. Essentially, Soul and personality must be unified into a single coherent structure capable of fulfilling the specific purpose which the Soul has chosen for the incarnation in question. Carl Jung described this in his concept of individuationwhereby one seeks to attain Wholeness or Integration so that one may unify the conscious and unconscious content of the psyche – the latter including what Jung labelled as ‘the Self’ which relates to the Theosophical higher Self as the instrument of the monad.
Jung considered the Self to be expressed in mandala images. The Sanskrit word mandala means ‘circle’, a symbol of wholeness, unity and infinity. The astrological natal chart is our own personal mandala — a map of the psyche which offers us a route towards the attainment of Wholeness. It provides us with an existential key towards us attuning to the requirements of the living, dynamic universe of which we are an integral part. It is a symbolic representation of our own particular route towards what Jung described as ‘Individuation’. The natal chart is comprised of a set of celestial instructions which can assist us towards realising our innate spiritual potential.
The modern concept of Esoteric or Soul-centred Astrology was first presented to the public by Alice Bailey in her book Esoteric Astrology. This rather abstruse work introduced the concept of ‘esoteric rulers’, planetary rulers of the signs of the zodiac that differed from their orthodox counterparts and which were applicable for those who embark upon the path of spiritual transformation. My late mentor, Dr Douglas Baker developed this form of astrology to the extent that it is again capable of uniting the individual with the Soul or higher Self thereby assisting towards the expression of its purpose. This is achieved by means of an astrological ‘language of symbols’ which offers a key which unlocks the door to the unconscious, the realm of archetypes and causation.
The purpose of the Soul or Higher Self is the very reason for one’s existence. We all possess a general Soul’s Purpose that can be expressed in terms of service to our fellow beings within both the human and nature’s other kingdoms-mineral, plant and animal. However when one is called to their spiritual destiny, the expression of one’s specific Soul’s Purpose becomes the paramount issue in one’s life. One then begins to access vast reservoirs of spiritual energy located within the psyche that provides meaning and direction, essentially one becomes ‘Soul-infused’. It is worth noting indeed that many people unconsciously express their Soul’s Purpose whilst there are many who become depressed and diseased because they are not fulfilling the requirement of the higher Self.
By virtue of certain vectors within the natal chart, we are offered an indication into both the purpose of the Soul and various factors which may help or hinder one towards expressing this. We are thereby assisted in our spiritual endeavours by gaining insight into various aspects of the psyche, being aware of the particular talents and virtues one possesses and of how these may be used towards spiritual ends. We are also aware of aspects of one’s being which must be transmuted from the personal and self-centred into the spiritual.
The primary vector in the natal chart that indicates the purpose of the Soul is the Rising Sign orAscendant. The Rising Sign is where the Soul imprints the personality at birth with a blueprint for its expression. The Rising Sign in the natal chart indicates one’s deepest potential and the prime source of one’s creative energy and wisdom. In Esoteric Astrology the Rising Sign is considered to be of greater importance than the Sun sign due to the former relating to the intent of the Soul and the latter relating to the personality.
Through the Rising Sign, and related factors in the chart, the purpose of the Soul can be identified and the subject of the chart directed to suitable areas of life where this can be most suitably expressed. No matter to what extent we become enmeshed and ensnared by materialism and the long passage of time, the Soul is forever present, located deep within. Soul-Centred astrology provides a means of unlocking knowledge related to the Soul and its purpose through an esoteric understanding of the natal chart.
The Soul’s Purpose Aspect in the chart is derived from the following:
A. The Rising Sign itself
B. The ruling planet of the Rising Sign
C. The ruling planet of the sign on the cusp of the house where B is located
This information offers one a key towards unlocking the purpose of the incarnation in question both in terms of fashioning the personality into a more effective spiritual instrument and in expressing the energies and qualities of the Soul in effective ways.
We shall now consider an example:
Soul’s Purpose Aspect: Gemini Ascendant trine Venus in Libra in the 5th house square the Moon in Cancer in the 2nd house.
In Classical Myth Gemini is related to the twins Castor and Pollux who symbolise the Soul and personality respectively. The spiritual purpose of Gemini is to unify these opposite polarities of one’s being so that the intentions of the Soul may be successfully implemented. The placement of Venus (the esoteric planetary ruler of Gemini) in conjunction to Pluto in Libra in the 5th house suggests an exploration of unconscious or hidden elements of one’s psyche as a means of relating to the Soul. The conjunction of Venus to Pluto emphasises the ability towards metaphorically ‘shining a light’ within the realms of the unconscious. This aspect, considered in conjunction with the four interceptions in Scorpio in the 6th house and the Earth’s interception in Taurus in the 12th house, offers great potential towards psychological and spiritual transformation both in one’s own life and in assisting others towards the same ends.
Gemini Rising provides one with adaptability and mental alertness. Those who are born with this rising sign are required to develop mental agility which can assist one in functioning successfully in both the inner and the outer worlds. There is a famous spiritual saying ‘not that we should live in this world less, but in both worlds more’. This is especially apparent here due to the location of Venus in conjunction to Pluto and by means of the Earth’s interception in Taurus in the 12 house. These placements suggest the need towards the study of metaphysical and esoteric pursuits, including an exploration of the unconscious.
Gemini Rising emphasises the capacity to learn and to teach. The teaching professions or any area of life where one can offer guidance and direction to others is favourable. The ‘learning process’ relates both to events in the outer world and to happenings within one’s own psyche. The aforementioned conjunction between Venus and Pluto in Libra in the 5th house suggests the need to learn certain lessons in life as a means of promoting psychological wholeness. The location of these planets in Libra suggests talents towards teaching others in areas of depth psychology and esoteric teachings and particularly on a one-to-one basis. Counselling is therefore favoured and the location of Libra on the cusp of the 6th house suggests counselling and relating to others on a one-to-one basis as a form of spiritual service.
The relationship between Soul and personality is greatly emphasised with Venus located in the 5th house of the personality in Libra which rules both relationships and the ‘antakarana’ or ‘rainbow bridge’ which links the personality to the Soul. The keeping of a spiritual diary is particularly favoured as a means of communication here. The spiritual diary should contain a record of one’s dreams, meditations, the efforts which one makes to serve others in life and one’s deepest feelings towards assisting the Soul in expressing its purpose.
The placement of Venus in Libra in the 5th house indicates that the expression of the various talents which one possesses is integral to the Soul’s intent and that one possesses the potential to radiate these outwards as a means of offering illumination and sustenance to others. The location of Venus suggests the capacity towards obtaining self-awareness as a means of functioning effectively as an instrument of the Soul. The more integrated that the personality becomes, the more one may be infused by the energies of the Soul and therefore the greater one’s capacity towards expressing one’s gifts.
Gemini and Venus rule teaching and the 5th house rules children. The teaching of children is therefore emphasised although this may be a metaphor for the instructing of those who are as children to one in terms of their understanding of psychological and spiritual matters. Psychology is favoured further by the placement of Jupiter in Aries in the 11th house suggesting mental expansion and growth through such practice.
Relevant Myth Hercules and the Nemean Lion: this symbolises the personality, and its various psychological drives, being subjugated so that it serves as an effective instrument of the Soul ( it is emphasised further by the placement offour planets in Scorpio including a conjunction between the Sun and Vulcan). Hercules overcame the Nemean Lion within a cave. This symbolises the unconscious or inner worlds. This is particularly applicable due to the conjunction between Venus and Pluto in the 5th house.
The placement of Venus also suggests both the importance of, and the ability towards, developing and expressing qualities associated with the heart chakra. These include unconditional and inclusive forms of love, compassion, empathy, peace, courage towards overcoming challenges in life. Challenges in one’s life are emphasised by the Sun and three other intercepted planets in Scorpio. Another quality associated with the heart chakra is that of discrimination. This relates to one’s ability to discern between matters of a genuine spiritual nature and those which are transient. The need towards developing discrimination is further emphasised by the location of the Moon (the esoteric planetary ruler of Virgo) in Cancer in the 2nd house in square aspect to Venus and Pluto.
The location of Venus places an emphasis upon relationships and the realisation of the true or inner partner – the Soul or Higher Self. The location of Sagittarius on the cusp of the 7th house, and its ruler the Earth intercepted in Taurus in the 12th house, suggest that relationships represent an area of life where there are certain ‘practical lessons to be learned’ whereby such experiences, whilst challenging, serve towards rendering one more psychologically complete. Positively, this placement does suggests and favour a partner in life who can offer guidance and direction and who can assist one in gaining extensions in consciousness.
The trine aspect between the Ascendant and Venus aspects favours creativity in general which is likely to be enhanced by spiritual practices which draw one closer into a relationship with the Soul. The trine between the Ascendant and Pluto favours the creative use of esoteric teachings and depth psychology as a means of connecting with the Soul and thereby expressing its intent.
The placement of the Moon in Cancer indicates that it is important that one performs an analysis of transient and illusory factors in life so that one may be free from these as a means of enhancing one’s ability to express the intent of the Soul. There is a challenge towards metaphorically shining a light upon such matters and thereby clearing the mists of maya or illusion. The Moon’s placement also suggests the need towards learning the correct use of your resources in life both material and psychological.
The location of the Moon suggests the possession of intuitive resources and abilities. Acts of spiritual service which can free others from their restrictions in life is favoured. The Soul’s purpose aspect and the four intercepted planets in Scorpio, including the Sun, in the 6th house favour the use of analysis and forms of psychology which possess an esoteric basis as a key towards unlocking one’s spiritual potential. The Moon’s placement in Cancer in the 2nd house also favours the display of caring and nurturing qualities in respect of those who are in a state of confusion or experiencing limitation in their lives.
The karma of recent lives is ruled by Scorpio, its esoteric ruler Mars and the 8th house. It is emphasised here and especially as the Sun forms an inconjunct aspect to Mars retrograde in Cancer in the 1st house. In particular, this is related to mother and family, health, work and to spiritual service. This placement emphasises the importance of discernment in terms of one’s attitudes in life as a means of ensuring that they are of assistance in terms of rendering the personality as an effective instrument of the Soul.
The Ascendant is in sextile aspect to Jupiter retrograde in Aries in the 11th house. The placement of Jupiter suggests mental expansion and growth through the study of psychology. Jupiter’s placement favours group work, however its retrograde position suggests that one is best suited towards performing tasks of an individual nature which contribute to the overall functioning of a group.
Jupiter is part of a t-square involving Venus and Pluto with each of these planets opposing Jupiter and in square aspect to the Moon which, in turn, forms a square aspect to Jupiter. This suggests challenges and fluctuations in life as one seeks to express one’s talents and gifts. This is likely concern feelings of emotional security. The empty leg of the t-square is in Capricorn in the 8th house. This implies the need to display courage and heroism allied to patience, endurance and self-discipline here whereby such challenging experiences serve towards promoting psycho-spiritual growth. Essentially, one is able to raise their consciousness through the challenges and obstacles which confront one.
The placement of Neptune in Sagittarius in opposition to the Ascendant challenges one towards finding the correct orientation in life. This symbolically suggests one aiming an arrow at a target which is unclear. This is further enhanced by the placement of the Earth intercepted in Taurus in the 12th house.
In the above example I have sought to demonstrate the basic application of what is referred to as the ‘Soul’s Purpose Aspect’ and various related factors relevant to the expression of the intent of the higher Self.