. . . no real understanding of the zodiac is possible without a perception of its unity. The zodiac is a symbol, in its complete form, of the human consciousness. But as this is equal to the All, made in God’s image so to speak, we also find in the zodiac the answer to many enigmas about our universe. These, as well as the mysteries of human consciousness, can only be unraveled on the basis of a unity of vision, of a sense of wholeness, of integrality. – Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, The Magical Carousel, Commentaries, p. 84
Thousands of books and websites have been written in our modern era discussing the art of astrology, offering readers insight into how to interpret the signs of the zodiac and how to interpret the various details of an astrological chart, whether it be a natal chart, a composite chart, a progressed chart, etc. What is absent, however, in all this information is the knowledge and the vision of the zodiac as a map of our individual and collective evolutionary journey – the journey by which the soul is born in time and space and embarks on a continuous and cohesive mission and destiny towards becoming fully realized in material creation.
The current practice of astrology, despite the fact that it can give seekers a sense of a greater order, purpose and connection with the macrocosm, is not a system of Gnosis. It is a fragmented system of partial knowledge interpreted through the limitations of the mind. The result is that it can take one only so far in the quest for Self and World Knowledge.
In order to begin to fathom the universal knowledge contained in the zodiac, it is necessary to see the zodiac as an evolutionary journey of the whole and all its parts – a journey that began with the spark of the Soul manifesting as inconscient Matter, then as Life, then as Life with Mental capacities, and then completes its journey with the full realization of Self, the full realization of Unity-Consciousness, and the full realization of Love. If the current extent of our limited and divisive mental capacities were the full fruit and epitome of the evolutionary journey, what a disappointing harvest that would be for all these billions and billions of years of progress.
In the late 1960’s Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet (hereafter referred to as Thea) saw the zodiac in terms of the individual and collective evolutionary journey, with the goal and promise of fully realizing divinity within material creation. This seeing came before she knew anything of the yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother of Pondicherry.
Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950) announced in the course of his revolutionary yoga, that there was to be another stage of evolution established on Earth, inclusive of yet superior to the previous stages accomplished. He acknowledged Matter, Life and Mind as preliminary stages towards a more complete fruition of consciousness which he called the Supermind or the Supramental Truth-Consciousness that would harmonize and fulfill the previous stages of evolution, establishing a golden age on Earth.
Soon after Thea saw and documented the true function, promise and use of the zodiac in her first book, The Magical Carousel, she became conscious of her role as a necessary third element of the Supramental Descent. Her role was to pick up where Sri Aurobindo and the Mother left off; and a portion of her allotted task was to establish the Supramental Vision of Time, to illuminate the method by which the Supramental consciousness would establish itself and be applicable to Earthly life. This she has done.
This accomplishment has been honored and celebrated and revered by many seekers who intuit and recognize the magnitude of Gnosis that has been offered. There has also been a predictable uproar amongst those who feel that the modern western and Vedic understanding of astrology is quite sufficient without Thea’s two cents added, and amongst those who feel that after Sri Aurobindo and the Mother (1878-1973) passed, the Supramental Descent was well enough on its way and didn’t need any further element or additional knowledge, and that even if it did need something more, it would not have anything to do with cosmology or astrology.
The Vedic Seers wrote sacred hymns (perhaps over 5,000 years ago) revering the circle of 360 and its twelve spokes. They asked, Who can comprehend its mysteries? Certain Vedic texts tell of the epic, eternal and heroic journey or sacrifice in which the recovery of the lost Sun is accomplished in the ninth and tenth months of the twelve month (twelve-rayed) year. Sri Aurobindo noted in The Secrets of the Veda that the recovery of the Lost Sun was equivalent to the recovery of the Supramental Truth-Consciousness, and that the significance of the ninth and tenth months of the sacrifice (of the year) remained to be seen.
‘This victory is won in twelve periods of the upward journey, represented by the revolution of the twelve months of the sacrificial year, the periods corresponding to the successive dawns of a wider and wider truth, until the tenth month secures the victory . . . What may be the precise significance of the nine rays and the ten is a more difficult position which we are not yet in a position to solve.’ – Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda
What remained to be seen was subsequently seen by Thea, who recognized that the ninth and tenth months of the Vedic sacrifice where identical to the ninth and tenth signs of the zodiacal year, Sagittarius and Capricorn, in which the higher knowledge of reality or Gnosis is introduced (Sagittarius), liberating the Light from the den of Scorpio (the 8th sign of the zodiac), and proceeding on towards the full realization of a divinized material creation (Capricorn).
Thea has understood that the signs of the last quadrant of the zodiac (Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces) are expressive of the stages of evolutionary journey in which the mental limitations, veils and ignorances of modern mankind are trumped by the establishment of higher faculties of being in the material creation (Capricorn – Sat), higher consciousness and force of action (Aquarius – Chit), and a higher Love (Pisces – Ananda). In this understanding, the last quadrant of the zodiac describes the goal toward which our souls and spirits, our bodies, our vital energies, our hearts and our minds strive through all circumstances, however consciously or unconsciously – the goal of enjoying a Gnostic life on Earth. In The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo gives a remarkable description of such a life (such a destiny):
This would be the Gnostic life on earth, a manifestation or play of truth-conscious being, being grown aware of itself in all things, no longer lost to consciousness of itself, no longer plunged into a self-oblivion or a half-oblivion of its real existence brought about by absorption in form and action, but using form and action with a delivered spiritual power for its free and perfect self-expression, no longer seeking for its own lost or forgotten or veiled and hidden significance or significances, no longer bound, but delivered from inconscience and ignorance, aware of its own truths and powers, determining freely in a movement always concurrent and in tune in every detail with its supreme and universal Reality its manifestation, the play of its substance, the play of its consciousness, the play of its force of existence, the play of its delight of existence. – Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, ‘The Gnostic Being’, p. 1047
Some will herein be able to recognize immediately and be impressed and intrigued that the goals described and worked towards in the revolutionary Integral and Supramental Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, are also described in the ancient zodiac. Others may not see the correspondences or may not be impressed at all. For those who are intrigued, The Gnostic Circle: A Synthesis in the Harmonies of the Cosmos (1975), quoted below, will give you ample food to chew on. This book begins with a chapter entitled ‘Essential Purpose of the Study of Cosmic Harmonies’, which immediately attempts to raise the bar for the study of astrology far beyond its current heights. The bar is raised in both books, The Gnostic Circle and The Magical Carousel, so much so that it becomes clear to the reader that gaining a proper understanding of the zodiac is an essential (and unavoidable) step in our individual and collective progress towards manifesting a higher consciousness and a greater existence.
It can be understood that the more we progress toward a Truth-Consciousness, toward an existence which feeds on Truth, on Life, and not on Ignorance and Death, the greater will our possibilities be to understand the universal harmonies and then to directly translate them into the forms of material creation, thereby substituting ignorance with truth. Astrology and cosmic harmonies are born of Truth, and all that which does not correspond to this Truth is a part of the inferior existing planes which interfere with the manifestation of Truth.
As yet a wide gap exists between the essence of cosmic harmonies, the Ideal, and the planes of Earth life where the essence is to take root and flower. But it is known that we are in the Aquarian Age; we are passing through the portion of the Great Circle [the 25,920 year Precession of the Equinoxes] which corresponds precisely to the sign that rules astrology and the Ideal. Therefore, during our present Age we shall be engaged in lessening the gap between these two poles, in erasing the Ignorance and effacing the power of the interfering forces of falsehood. – Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, The Gnostic Circle, pp. 7-8
The first fruits of Thea’s unified vision of the zodiac are found in The Magical Carousel written in March of 1970. In this book, reader is taken on a journey through the zodiac through the eyes of two children (Val and Pom-Pom) and thereby invited to witness anew the zodiac as a process by which the ‘mysteries of the evolution of the soul’ are revealed. In becoming aware of the eternal processes described in this visionary book, the doors to great mysteries of our present and past (and future) are rendered no longer occult … i.e. no longer hidden. And once these doors are open, the growing awareness of the rhythm, rhyme, harmonies and geometries of our own soul as it labors towards full expression and fruition is an awareness that indeed, step by step, replaces falsehood with truth.
A Summary of the 12 Signs of the Zodiac
Thea has agreed to allow me to web-publish her summaries of the twelve signs of the zodiac (as found at the end of The Magical Carousel) so that more students of astrology, cosmology, evolution, consciousness … more yogis . . . might find their way, amidst all that is published in the genres of astrology and evolutionary spirituality, to a more illumined view of the zodiac as a sacred evolutionary journey in time and space. Below are links to the summaries from The Magical Carousel in four sections.
The first section begins with an explanation of the zodiac and covers the first quarter of the zodiac – Aries, Taurus and Gemini. The second section covers the second quarter of the zodiac – Cancer, Leo and Virgo. The third section covers the third quarter of the zodiac – Libra, Scorpio and Sagittarius; and the fourth section will cover fourth quadrant of the zodiac – Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces.
Important Notes to the Reader: Even though the summaries are broken up into four section for easier viewing, they are meant to be read and understood in order, as a whole, as a continuity. The four sections/quadrants each correspond to a stage of evolution [see image below]. The first quadrant corresponds to Physical development, the second quadrant to Vital development, the third quadrant to Mental development, and the fourth level to Spiritual development. None of these stages (or signs within the stages) are independent of or isolated from the rest. They are a whole, just as the twelve months and the four season make up a whole year; and just as dawn, noon, dusk and midnight make up a whole day.
The following image of the circle may assist the reader in visualizing the flow through the four quadrants of the zodiac. For a more elaborate vision of the zodiac, see the Gnostic Circle (wherein the Zodiac and Enneagram are seen as cohesive whole).
Also, some of the summaries include the names of The Magical Carousel characters that will not be familiar to you with without having read the actual story. They will still offer an intelligible unified perception of the zodiac and a deeper essence of the meaning of the twelve signs. Obviously maximum benefit will come via reading the full adventures of Val and Pom-Pom and the more in-depth commentaries written by Thea nine years after she completed the original tale. But these links are meant simply to give readers a taste of Theas’s teachings on the true essence the Zodiac, an offering so that more seekers might develop a taste for a higher quality of knowledge. The links will also serve as an excellent quick-reference for those who have taken up the Journey and proceed to observe with greater and greater awareness the movements, patterns, rhythms and harmonies that develop through out the cycle of the year/s.