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PISCES   2015-17

Labor of Hercules
Capture of the Red Cattle of Geryon
Go to dark (island) Erytheia where Great Illusion is enthroned, King Geryon monster of 3 heads,   3 bodies, 6 hands who unlawfully holds Herd of Red Cattle;   [ saving all] return them to Sacred City;   invokes Helios fire in the Sun and Golden Chalice appears;   kills 2-headed dog Orthrus, spares shepherd Eurytion, kills Geryon arriving in dust with Flaming Arrow;   drives cattle from island in Chalice (or over Alps to Italy), pins Eryx, kills Alcyoneus w. his own rock;   arrives, offers Red Cattle to Athena.
Motto:   I leave my Father's home and turning back, I save.
(Pisces takes from all the signs)

Pisces I
Pisces and Presence

[ This article (and the recent one on esoteric Libra) is the beginning of a series attempting to bring clarity to the comparison of Alice Bailey's Tibetan master – clearly a dzogchen and tantra master – and the formal schools of Yogacara, Tantra, and Dzogchen.   I intend to bring out many illustrative passages from Bailey to illustrate these distinctions and similarities in points of view. ]

“[Pluto] is a healer, a giver of health, spiritual and physical and of enlightenment.” (SD II.30 Note)

“The nature of the mind is empty, because the true nature of the mind is light.” ― Shantideva

Looking back at those Pisces friends I know (Ascendant or Sun), the common denominator seems to me to be “expansive”― in impact, in nature, curiosity, lovingness (often veiled), enthusiastic engagement, and a general magnetic healing impression.   This must be due to the nature of Jupiter, which is the second and less-recognized ‘Ring-Pass-Not’ of the zodiac ― that of the limits to the extent of one’s magnetic field;   a vivifying and protective function Jupiter provides in the physical solar system.   Jupiter is the ability to positively and enthusiastically engage within a sphere of influence of one’s magnetic power of inclusion.   Jupiter creates a sphere of creative interaction by its ability to include fellow humans, constructive ideas and impulses, as well as often jarring environmental factors ― all in order to create living creative groups working towards improvement or joy of living.   I leave to the side, discussion of those materialistic ‘worldlings’ who are also impacted and driven by this great planet.

When astrologers think of Pisces, the topic of the mysteries of Death and Redemption often come up.   So do the topics of access to the Unconscious and Collective Unconscious.   The personal Unconscious is ruled more by Scorpio and Pisces in tandem, while Cancer could be said to be more instinctively and genetically Oblivious (rather than Unconscious).

‘Issie’ (Isabel Hickey of Boston) used to use words like “cribbed, cabined, and confined” to describe the psychic state of Pisces.   A very ill friend who would not take responsibility for his health used the word “apathetic” to describe his perception of the experience of his planets in that sign.   Another mantra of Isabel’s was “Serve or Suffer” in relation to the 12th sign and house, since it rules confining public and social institutions (prisons, hospitals, mental asylums), unlike the networking and schmoozing corporations and institutions of mundane Aquarius.   Isabel meant the word Service as a focus for compassion based on the interdependence of all life.   This directed attitude and action brings healing and diminution of suffering, as well as recognizing and impulsing interaction with new coworkers and colleagues, taking one’s mind off oneself and the dismal state of a violent world.

Pisces, Presence and Alignment

While the nondual state of intrinsic awareness melting into primordially pure intrinsic awareness is not exclusive to the sign Pisces, one may find that Pisces, Pluto, and Neptune are often involved in the moments when these yogic meditative states impact the form.   This would implicate via Neptune the lunar nodes, the moon itself, and all those zodiacal signs ruled by the Moon on all three levels.

Past, Present and Future are all Unknown and have no inherent or independent existence― they are only illuminated by intrinsic awareness and Fohat ― appearances as the inseparability of ‘emptiness’ and living electricity animating forms.
    Esoterically, Fohat drills holes through space;   it constitutes cosmic electricity, the empty and transcendent principle of potentiality.
    Parashakti spins around the empty potentiality of Fohat with its spectrum of shaktis and constitutes the energies of all manifestation.

The past is a construction from memory and attachment to name and form (namarupa).   The future is a fabrication of the mind from hopes, fears, and the five instincts;   particularly that of inquiry.   The so-called present is based primarily on our ‘time’-conditioned visual (or perceptual) capacity and the mind’s distorted mentations, which neuropsychology has shown are diverse, fragmentary and vast.
When scientifically observing self and environment, subjective or objective space, there is only a flow of impressions based on ‘substance’ composed of atoms, which can be ‘seen’ to subdivide into subatomic particles and waves (Shaivite ‘spanda’).   These subatomic particles and waves are altered by an Observer.

This observation and realization is a door to experiencing the nondual state, described as spontaneous ‘self’ (auto-) generated Presence and Emptiness of appearances, bliss, and intrinsic awareness (being), implicating the distortional possibilities of self-conception or reification.   Once the nondual state is directly experienced in one of its modes, it cannot be directly grasped, and so questions automatically arise in the mind which help refine one's understanding of the meaning of the ‘nondual’ state ― the particular focus of Dzogchen and Mahamudra schools to be found in Buddhism.   Such direct observation of the mind occupied in questioning this non-graspable nondual state is said to be undifferentiable from that state itself.   It is said the nondual state can be approached by taking the mind as the path’ (semde ‒ distinguishing the mind as experienced from the nature of mind itself);   by space (longde ‒ yogic direct or innate experience);   or by direct pointing out by a master of meditation (man-ngagde ‒   directly in person or by telepathic contact [(blessing lights and merging) due to strong karmic links with the teacher].

When we look at the universe of stars and galaxies, all we see in terms of light-years is the past.   Indeed, what we see of the Sun is the past of minutes and seconds ago viewed from the ‘face of the Earth’.   What we see of the future can only be projected, postulated, or fabricated from what we think we know of the past.   If we want to see a particular star, for instance, we are faced with the Unknown Present ― unknown actuality for that star, and for our (in-)ability to perceive or apprehend its ‘reality’ or actuality.   Try extending the ‘time-cone’ graphic below into the ‘future.’


This Time/Space graphic can be equally applied to human social life ― we never know where the hundreds of our loved ones are, how they fare or are progressing in time-space except by mental fabrications from our last contact, memories, and mental residues or impressions (including psychic, intuitive or telepathic), or momentary attention-span virtual contact.   We don’t even know where our family members and immediate friends are except through the latest versions of the OCD video-game craze of the 70s ― the android and I-phone virtual life (and its ephemeral and precarious social reality [‘hacked transmissions’ or unanticipated physical and psychological side-effects due to microwave radiation, intense artificial light, and the atomization of the human-animal attention span]).   For all we know our latest human contact just walked into a truck or made a momentous change in life focus which we may not hear of for years.   Just consider the rise and variety of attention-distracting cellphone deaths.   Our social lives are deeply connected to the constructed past and future, all of our hopes and fears.   All of this in the context of our termite-like infestation of the Earth, chewing up vast resources to create infrastructures which continuously rot and crumble into compost.   Visualizations such as these allow 'esoteric access' for those who meditate/contemplate.

Now apply this to the human biome.   Similarly and more immediately, our bodies are composed primarily of space, and then by water (chemical fluids) which are heated up by the electricity of the pranas and the etheric structural constitution (Moon/Vulcan) which both conditions and is conditioned by the endocrine system ruled by Saturn, and then vivifies or pollutes our blood chemistry ruled by Neptune.   The entire human constitution is overseen by Venus, governing that aspect of consciousness or the ‘anima mundi’ underlying ‘substance’ ‒ which rules, affects, and is affected by the dual nervous system.   The dual sign of “Gemini governs … the oxygenation of the blood,… Gemini also governs the nervous system and the fluid reactions of the entire nervous organism.” (EA 366)  The human biome sustains many more millions of microbes than cells in the human body.   We are again faced with a flood of living factors in a state of perpetual Flow.   As regards the ‘future’ of nonduality ―
“Pluto, as it affects Gemini, brings about the death or the finish of the separative, instinctual nature, for this is the factor which lies behind all dualism;   it is inherent in what The Secret Doctrine calls the principle of ahankara or the awareness of the separative, isolated ego;   it is inimical for aeons to the aspiration of the imprisoned soul, focussed within or identified with some aspect of the personality, and, in a later stage, with the personality itself.” (EA 365-66)
I would add “identified with the soul” and the causal body still attached to an objectified 'interdependent causation' — from the point of view of the Monad, or nondual awareness.

The term ‘nondual’ in Buddhism does not refer to removal of dualities or dichotomies, or applying psychological antidotes (as in tantra) so much as it refers to awareness of the essential sameness of all things.   If we are to give credence to esoteric tenets, we live, move and have our being within much larger Lives, such as the planetary and solar Logoi, and in our case the 18 subplanes of the Desire Realm ‒ from the mental unit down.   (The Form world can be associated with the causal body on its three subplanes, enclosing the Jewel of the Formless realms, beginning with life on the buddhic plane.)

To “live in the moment” is a common expression, and is a good recommendation for those on the mystical path ruled by the formlessness and fluid energy of Neptune ― but there is no indivisible “moment.”   This would be looking at the world from an atomistic viewpoint (which could be said to constitute a bias of the occult path).   Occult and mystical paths merge at the first solar initiation (3rd).   There is no Present, only what can be directly pointed out as Presence.   There is a felt (neurologically constructed) perception of what we call Time, but we have no inkling what sustains the ‘flow of time’ or the expansion of the universe, for that matter.   We might better express this as Flow.   Because our Life aspect (superceding any form of Will) exists within larger Lives, the ceaseless flow of distinctly planetary and solar ‘karmic imprints’ or traces of these greater Lives will continue along with 'individualized' karma throughout the kalpas.   Hence the necessity of maintaining contemplation of the emptiness of appearances in the nondual state.   Vast empty sky-like space illuminated by Light.   Words fail.

Western philosophy (Heidegger) examines this dilemma in terms of Being, and distinguishes between “being as such” and “being in relation”.   We can only begin to apprehend or understand Being through the latter, “being in relation.”   However, we ultimately come back to a consideration of the Life aspect and spontaneous self-arising Presence.   Be-ness?


When facing Presence, Flow, Being, intrinsic awareness, or emptiness of any permanent existence in the context of Ray 'energy', it should be clear that Alignment or Centredness is immediately at issue.   We have now moved from earlier considerations and distinctions among Force and Energy to Rays – which require Alignment.   We are now at the other 'hub of the great Wheel' opposite Libra, at Aries-Pisces, governing death and rebirth as the beneficent mode of healing we all face.   While acknowledging that alignment is essential to all 12 zodiacal signs, it is uniquely Pisces that governs the isolation experienced during birth, death, and rebirth – and again in the chaos of planetary and collective karmas that impinge and are felt most intensely by Pisces.   The only 'escape' or Exit is Up and Out, through alignment and identification with that which is 'higher' — here again, we are focusing on the Ray energy of the Cardinal Cross, rather than on energy or force per se experienced on Mutable and Fixed Crosses.   In the case of Pisces, this is the work of Pluto.

When reading or speaking with Krishnamurti, one gets the impression that he approaches Observation (Trained Observers seed group) through ‘neti neti’ (not this, not that) adapted from the seven schools of Indian philosophy ― an apparently ‘negative’ approach to arriving at truth, reality, or actuality.   This approach allows the superfluous to subside in discussion and to give room to clarity and illumination.   However, he does make the ‘positive’ comment that if we observe with no sequelae (assumptions, judgments, preconceptions, expectations, etc., etc.), it may be possible that "a Light is thrown" upon the topic under intensely focused examination.   His experiences of ‘kundalini awakening’ (tsalung thigle ‘root-winds and drops/bindus’ in Tibetan) expressed by him as the “Process” is an inevitable part of nondual contemplation along the yogic or space-series teaching line (longde).   It is exceptional in terms of removing doubts and wavering (of the flame), however it is dangerous to use artificial or forced stimulation rather than allowing its innate nature to spontaneously arise on its own terms.   Krishnamurti experienced this root energy of Matter both as pain and debilitation as well as inspiring and invigorating Vision, but because it involves the entire organism it can arouse alarm which can coagulate into fear, resistance, and thus beneficently shut it off for an indeterminate period.   It is most advisable to maintain stillness, silence, and calm breathing until it has taken its natural course.   Best to allow it to arise as it is ― innate, and through persistent nondual contemplation.

Here we are faced with a concrete example of the distinctions among Force, Energy, and Ray.   Force is to be used on ‘things’ not persons.   Energy is our natural currency.   Transmission, reception, and the equanimity of Ray energy demands Alignment.

The mind is constructed of memory, an imposition of name and form to the flow of perceived and experienced life.   All our experiences are constructed, including our experience of our friends and associates, who in our minds are experienced like ghosts built on the mental threads of inner hopes, spoken promises, outward words, and appearances.   It seems superfluous here to mention standard psychological projection, displacement and transference.   Our loves and associates are the shadows of indivisible individual identities like archetypes projected onto the brain by the essential nature of the Mind which is by nature empty pure light that is self-illuminating.   Walking together on the Path of Being and Love, we are subsumed more or less ‘consciously’ into the egoic groups which constitute the ‘Personality’-conditioned physical body of the planetary Logos of the Earth (our mental plane), associated with Sanat Kumara the Eternal Youth, Samantabhadra, and Lord Agni of the cosmic mental plane, heading to the center of Shambhala.

Here we are getting into territory where intrinsic awareness (‘rigpa’ in the dzogchen teachings of all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism) is recognized as a state and stage beyond consciousness ― indeed beyond the 5 senses, the mind, consciousness, distorted mentation (the Dweller), and the principle of ‘continuity of consciousness’ (alaya or store-consciousness) through a string of lives.   Rigpa presence or intrinsic awareness is beyond all these.   This ‘intrinsic awareness’ can be associated with the Ray which is coming into manifestation above the 1st Ray, to which DK ascribes the word “liberation”. (RI 390-1)

When we focus in dzogchen ‘meditation/contemplation’ on intrinsic awareness as distinct from mental consciousness, pure consciousness, and finally the store-consciousness (alaya, alayavijńana) of the reincarnating karmic mental continuum (manomayavijńana), there is a chance that we actually break through to Rigpa (essential or intrinsic awareness).   This is what DK (Djwal-kul = jvala-kula) referred to as the state beyond consciousness, which he described as “instantaneous” and “immediate”.
…consciousness eventually drops below the level of perception.   It becomes as automatic and unregistered in its expression as animal instinct is to the human being.   It functions, but the man is not consciously aware of it.   It is a protective mechanism.   The will aspect of the Monad supersedes but does not negate love (which has become, in its turn, instinctual);   a one-pointed, rapier-like assumption of identification takes the place of the inclusiveness hitherto felt and practised. (RI 282)
We should remember that people misconstrued DK as “the abbot of a certain monastery” because he ceremonially presided over that group from time to time.   It seems clear that he was a non-sectarian dzogchen master in retreat or in private residence who was held in great esteem.   The terminology of the Yogacara School of the Maitreyasangha brothers, Asanga and Vasubandhu, is very basic to an intelligent understanding of nonduality, and is the terminology (slightly modified) upon which the mind series (semsde) approach to dzogchen is based.   Its terminology has different referents in dzogchen.

        Dzogchen Yogacara (via the Hossō School)
5.     5 sense consciousnesses 5 sense consciousnesses
6.     Mind consciousness Mind consciousness (mano-vijńana)
        ordinary waking consciousness
7.     Distorted Mentation Manas
        Distorted emotions & thoughts based on     liminal/subconscious instinct-attached
            on a self ‘empty’ of permanent existence     self-referential ego formation and reification
        (DK ‒ Dweller on the threshold of initiation)
        (author ‒ Scorpio / Sagittarius / Capricorn)
8.     Alaya consciousness Alaya consciousness (alaya-vijńana)
        neutral Alaya consciousness     Store- or womb-consciousness containing the innate karmic seeds/ traces/ residues
    inherent to the process of reincarnation due to deep and habitual conditioning in the Unconscious
        (DK ‒ continuity of consciousness)
        (author ‒ Capricorn / Aquarius / Pisces and the
            Pisces/Aries 'Hub of the Wheel' opposite that of Libra)
9.     Rigpa / dharmadhātu
        (DK ‒ monadic state of inherent instantaneous awareness beyond consciousness)    

Shamatha and Vipassana meditative approaches are used in both traditions, with different view and result.   I would say they refer to stages 6 and 7, while the Dzogchen methods of 'treg chod' and 'tho gal' apply to breaking through the neutral state of the 'alayavijńana' into the Clear Light of Rigpa, the Clear Light identical to that of the Bardo at the moment of death.   Clear Light yoga is one of the Six Yogas of Naropa, and has its bibliography.   Around this time, the distinction between the spectrum of samādhi states and Rigpa must be ascertained.   This is only the beginning of the Path of "Ordinary Mind" or Consciousness which must be practiced to stabilize Rigpa, or the awakening of its accompanying siddhis.   Initially this attitude/approach of 'ordinary mind' is easily confused with relaxing into blissful and oblivious karmic ordinariness...

Yogacara (consciousness-only) and the abhidharma works of Vasubandhu were basic to the Hossō school of the Nara Six Schools period in Japan (710-794 CE).   Most American academic ‘buddhologists’ would characterize DK’s work as Yogacara abhidharma, since he does not over-emphasize emptiness teachings.   Some career-invested rank-intellectual types are even disparaging of Yogacara as a form of Cittamatra (mind-only) which only serves to increase confusion for sincerely inquiring minds.   DK does present emptiness teachings indirectly in his 'Treatise on Esoteric Healing', half of which is devoted to the eliminative and reconstitutive processes of beneficent death as the basic form of healing – taking the inevitable process of reincarnation for granted.   However, the Dzogchen perspective (lta-wa, 'view') is increasingly accessible via massive translation projects in the past few decades, and it seems to make clear that DK was a Tibetan Rinpoche who was concerned (through HPB's theosophy and his work with A.A. Bailey) with providing advanced students in the field of esoteric studies around the world with study materials and more definitive western esoteric terminology until translations were possible one hundred years later.   This in no way diminishes the unique significance of DK’s unique syncretic and structured presentation.

Since highest tantric yoga (Gelugpa), ati yoga (Nyingma, Sakya), mahamudra (Kargyudpa), and dzogchen (Nyingma, Bon) are considered expressions of this base/path/realization expression of intrinsic awareness, dzogchen masters were always non-sectarian at core in that state, yet might decline labeling as such.   It is said that when practicing dzogchen contemplation (‘non-meditation’), one is ‘focused’ in rigpa (nondual intrinsic awareness).   When one strays, one is immediately in post-meditation.   Pretty direct advice.   It may seem passive or static at first as a central practice, but rigpa excludes nothing, simply allowing everything to arise and subside of its own accord.   “Everything is the display of the essential light/ radiance/ luminosity of the mind that experiences.” (Khenchen Thrangu)   Everything is an expression of primordial wisdom and skillful means.   (In the long run, it may appear to take ‘time’ to actualize this…)   The most difficult aspect of dzogchen for western students is realizing that it has a yogic, experiential, or 'space' aspect that involves the overwhelming power of the kundalini Shakti.   This is eventually assimilated and stabilized on its own terms.   But secondarily, so far as the ordinary mind is concerned, these states or siddhis cannot be grasped.

In the five schools of Tibetan Buddhism we have a range of Trinities expressing ultimate sameness (nonduality), emptiness of self and other, intrinsic awareness, natural luminosity of the mind, states of spontaneously self-generated bliss, and immediately spontaneous presence.   The very basic trinity is expressed as Ground, Path, and Fruition.   Another essential trinity is referred to as the three inseparabilities (zung ‘jug gsum, yuganaddha):
Inseparability of emptiness and appearances     Pitri-yoga Father tantras of   Mahayoga
Inseparability of emptiness and bliss Matri-yoga Mother tantras of   Anu Yoga
Inseparability of emptiness and awareness Advaitya-yoga     Nondual tantras of     Ati Yoga

(Namkhai Norbu, The Crystal and the Way of Light)

You can find on this website (sevensuns.org) a short bibliography of books dealing with the nondual state that come highly recommended, as well as many exceptional related books in the bibliography on Buddhism.

Inspiration:   Alice A. Bailey, Esoteric Astrology, and her 24 books on esoteric studies.
NY: Lucis Publishing Company – website (http://www.lucistrust.org/en/publications_store).

Peter Kubaska © 2017       AWE @ Sevensuns.org     2017 August 21 upload