Gurdjieff and Astrology
This article is the first part of a talk delivered in the All & Everything Conference in Bergen, Netherlands on the 11th of March 2005. The second part of the talk was held by Agnes Hidveghy.
When Joyce Collin-Smith, who has a long career in Astrology, heard that Agi and I are going to talk in this Conference about Gurdjieff & Astrology, she said in an e-mail: “I thought Sophia Wellbeloved had said almost all that can be said about G. and Astrology.” The fact is that although Sophia ‘said almost all’ she did not write anything of what we are going to say.
In the Gurdjieff literature, apart from a short introduction to Astrology by Joyce Collin-Smith (The Pathless Land), her brother in law Rodney Collin dealt in depth with Astrology and pointed out many interesting things in his “The Theory of Celestial Influence”. John Anthony West is a ‘gurdjieffian’ who wrote a book on astrology, called “The Case for Astrology”. We will not repeat Rodney Collin’s or John West’s finding either.
What then can you then expect from us, now that I have claimed that “the mentioned three others did not write about it”?
What I would like to present to you is an appetizer, zakushka, as it is called in Russian. According to Ouspensky (in The Fragments) Gurdjieff said:
“…humanity is moving in a circle. In one century it destroys everything it creates in another….”
There is a concept in Astrology that explains (in the way Astrology does) why this is so. Astrology is based on the observation of the sky. Some of the first ‘astrologers’ were the ancient Chaldeans and Babylonians, who found many interesting lights by looking at the sky at night.
They also made some interesting discoveries. They discovered the Eon or the Great Year. This 25.920 earth year cycle of our planet is also called the Platonic year. The great year is one of the longest cycles known to astronomers and astrologers. A Platonic Month lasts one twelfth of the year, which is 2.160 earth years.
We are currently in-between the Age of Aquarius and the preceding Age of Pisces. This is a result of the Precession of the Equinoxes, the slow apparent backward motion of equinox points along the ecliptic. For the last 2,000 years, the sun has been drifting across Pisces during the spring equinox and gradually appearing now in the constellation Aquarius.
Equinox points are the change of seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter. I am now only talking of the spring or vernal equinox. For astrology the precession of the equinoxes makes no difference: during the Spring Equinox the sun is always in the Zodiac in 0° Aries.
The movement of the Precession of the Equinoxes is opposite to that of the planets around the sun, resulting in a seeming rotation of the constellation, in which the spring equinox occurs every 2,160 years (1/12th of 25,920). In other words, the spring equinox takes place in a new sign approximately every 2,160 years (in the fixed stars).
From over 4000 BC to over 2000 BC was the Age of Taurus. During this time period there were the long, stable and Taurean dynasties of Egypt, bull gods such as Baal of Sumeria, Mithras in Persia, and idols such as the "golden calf" mentioned later in the Book of Moses (the calf was destroyed – wrong age?), Diana of Ephesus and the Minotaur.
To the age of Taurus belongs also the massive ‘instruments’ like the pyramids and also the ‘dead body cult of Egypt’ with mummies.
The Age of Taurus was followed by the Age of Aries. In these times we find the warlike Marduk of Babylon, Yahweh of the Old Testament and legends such as Jason and the Golden Fleece.
Let us go back to Mithraism: it appeared in around 100 BC and disappeared around 400 AD. Mithraism is related to the Ages of Taurus and Pisces. However, there are hardly any written documents telling about Mithraism, the knowledge we have is based largely on the statues that the ‘cult’ left behind.
The destruction of Mithraism was undertaken by those who called themselves Christians and they did a very good job of it!
Sun God Mithras slaying the Bull of Heaven (the Age of Taurus)
What was the real reason that this apparently very rich message of Mithraism could not live on?
It started in Rome towards the end of the Age of Aries, which was about to be replaced by the Age of Pisces, and it disappeared from the face of the earth a few hundred years into the Age of Pisces.
Did Mithraism get killed and destroyed because it was presented and practiced at the wrong time, at the wrong Age? The Age of Aries ended up with the sacrifice of the lamb and led to the Age of Pisces. How will the Age of Pisces, which lasted a few hundred years BC until our time, end? Looking at the world and the violence of the warlike terrorists and the guardians of peace one could suspect that this end will also be violent.
Looking at Christianity and to Islam: what have these two religions today, with their rituals, bloody past, misunderstood present, organized churches, exclusivity as a way to God and demands for ‘faith’ – the way they are presented in the world today - got to offer for the new Age, the Age of Aquarius? Only their essence can be used, the one that Gurdjieff transmitted.
Some people think that this new Age of Aquarius started already at the time of the French Revolution (1789-1799). The slogans Liberty, Equality and Fraternity belong to and partly describe the hypnotism, the sleep, of the new Age of Aquarius. Aquarius leads to globalisation and the braking down of all borders.
The Age of Aquarius has the following main characteristics: the understanding of waves and frequences, thinking, including what could be called ‘impartial mentation’. We can see the results today in all kinds of communication through the air: from aeroplanes, internet and satellites to mobile phones and SMS messages. We can not see many of these things, but every moment the air is full of them!
Apart from being an age of the protestant movements like the French revolution, the protestant church and communism, it has already given birth to the flower power and the hippies, promoted legalized marihuana and the experiments with LSD and the mushrooms.
Some of the newest phenomena of the Age of Aquarius are the recent results of the destruction of the nature of our planet by man: these results include what seems to be ending up with the destruction of the black race, at least the part that lives on the African continent.
Another Aquarian peculiarity is that when you meet someone these days, to make sure that you know his or her sex, the only way to know is to ask straight out, because many do not belong to the sex they were born into and what they look like!
The ultimate picture of the Age of Aquarius is the total destruction of the natural flora and fauna of the planet earth, which would result in the planet becoming inhabitable. It has been said that during the Age of Capricorn, the next Platonic month, beings can no longer live on the planet, but have to find their way to live inside it.
The strength of the new ideas belonging to the Age of Aquarius fascinated people earlier and still today they ring a bell in us. They give some idea of the power of the sleep we are fighting against. Some of the strongest medicines against this sleep in just over 200 years from the French Revolution until today are the ideas of Gurdjieff, which he first introduced in Russia, now soon 100 years ago.
The Fourth Way is not the collective Piscean way of Faith and Belief, it is the way of Knowledge, Understanding and Being. To find the knowledge in the Age of Pisces we will have to dig for it – it is only found in the esoteric part of its main religion, Christianity. As such, organized Christianity is what Karl Marx defined as ‘opium for the people’. What we need in our Age, what we can use, is Knowledge that appeals to our intellect and through which we can begin to work and arrive at an Understanding through the work on Being.
Gurdjieff’s talked and wrote directly to the people in the Age of Aquarius: he transmitted the essence of the old traditions.
A painting of Aquarius by Johfra
Web site with info: Johfra
© Reijo Oksanen 2005
The audio recording of the whole talk is available here.