Virgo Goddesses

Goddess Sign — the Sheaf of Wheat

  “All things bear fruit according to their nature.” Goddesses for Every Day

The Goddess Sign for Virgo is the Sheaf of Wheat, which appears in depictions of the constellation of Virgo as the bright star Spica that is held like a staff in the hand of the goddess.  The mutable earth sign Virgo relates to the stage of spiritual unfolding which focuses on specialization of forms.  Virgo represents the stage in the cycle when the soul’s experience is focused on assimilation of knowledge.  In this phase matter is organized, purified and refined into specific and recognizable objects.  Here we might say the Grand Plan of the Cosmos is carried out in detail. Metaphysically Virgo is the matrix and represents the womb of the inner spiritual self, containing the seed and eventual fruits of the Spirit.  Seeds germinate in darkness, breaking their way out of their shell casings, and sending roots into the Earth.  Like the abdomen and intestines, which Virgo has dominion over, this phase distills the qualitative pearls from life.   

In every case I have been able to find except Egypt, the Earth is always seen as feminine.  She is a great mother goddess who gives birth to and sustains her children from the substance of her body.  This expresses through the fertility cycles of the seasons.  Virgo goddesses include goddess of agriculture and grain, as well as the harvest, and the annual descent into the underworld while the Earth grows barren for a time.  Icons of these goddesses include generous platters of fruits, overflowing cornucopias and waving fields of grain.  

Virgo is the only female among the zodiacal constellations, and other than the twins, Castor and Pollux (Gemini), she is the only human figure.  Author Richard Hinkley-Allen says, “Those who claim very high antiquity for the zodiacal signs (15,000 years ago), assert that the idea of these titles originated when the Sun was in Virgo at the spring equinox, the time of the Egyptian harvest.”  Australian astrologer Bernadette Brady has remarked that, “Whatever image is chosen across time and cultures, what is contained in Virgo is the archetype of the harvest-bringing goddess, pure and good, independent of the masculine.  She gives the four seasons and is the source of the fertile Earth.”  The more ancient concept of “virgin” described a woman who was independent and free to love whom she chose. 

Demeter was the Great Mother earth goddess of the people who preceded the Greeks.  Her sacred rites, known the Eleusinian Mysteries, were celebrated for nearly two thousand years, as long as Christianity has existed, in what is now mainland Greece.  People came from all over the known world to participate in these secret ceremonies.  We don’t know many details of these activities, as the penalty for revealing their contents was death.   Some aspects are known or suspected however, as the high point of the ritual was said to be a “sheaf of wheat reaped in silence.”  The Eleusinian Mysteries are similar in significance to the annual celebration of the mysteries of Isis and Osiris in Egypt.  I believe the deeper meaning is learning move in resonance with shifting seasons of light and dark in order to harvest blessings in their time.  

Based on and excerpted from Goddesses for Every Day © 2010 by Julie Loar.  Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA. www.newworldlibrary.com     

frog blog: a jumpin’ good time in frog town usa

“Sometimes I wonder if the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.”  Mark Twain

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The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County is an 1865 short story by American author and humorist Mark Twain. The story was actually his first great success as a writer and brought him national attention. Something captured America’s attention and remains a compelling influence. Since 1928 an annual event inspired by Twain’s story has been held at the County Fair in Angels Camp in Northern California’s Calaveras County. Similar events are held in Indiana, Ohio, Washington, Maine, Missouri, Louisiana, New York, and also in Manitoba, Canada.

This May I witnessed the qualifying pre-trials from the bleachers as hopeful entrants coached their frogs into top performance. The contest is simple–which frog jumps the farthest in the one-minute time allowed per contestant. The record holder in Calaveras County is Rosie the Ribiter, who jumped 21 feet and 5 3/4 inches in 1986. Frog jockeys can win a $750 prize, or win the grand prize of $5,000 if a competing frog were to break Rosie’s record. It’s not clear what the frogs get out of the experience.

With 4,000 contestants in 2007, the Calaveras County contest imposed strict rules that regulate the frogs’s welfare, including limiting the daily number of a frog’s jumps, and mandating the playing of calming music in the frog’s enclosures. One assumes this is an attempt to reduce pre-game jitters. Because California’s red-legged frog is an endangered species, it’s barred from the competition. It is also forbidden for any competing frog to be weighted down by any means, as the frog in the Twain story was. Hopefully, the frogs don’t suffer too much as I worry about such things. After all, they’ve been captured and removed from their natural habitat and forced to enter into an all too human realm.

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Photo credit  Frank Schulenburg  CC BY-SA 4.0   2016

The frog jumping competition is a generous slice of American Pie. There is a whimsical quality of tradition, innocence, and plain good fun at a time when simple joys like County Fairs seem to be a thing of the past. Some frogs take the leap right away as if everything depends on the result. Others are frozen in place and never budge from the starting circle no matter the “encouragement” from their jockeys. This year’s winner jumped more than nineteen feet, certainly impressive, but not far enough to break Rosie’s record. Was it frog ambition or just sheer terror that fueled Rosie’s tremendous jump back in 1986? All the jumpers since have to go over that bar and perhaps Rosie was a unique frog at a singular moment. Maybe her frog jockey Joe Giudici had so much faith in her that his energy boosted her rockets.

I reflected on what it is that propels us to our greatest accomplishments and how can we learn to harness that propulsion at will?  Do we make quantum leaps in our own lives through grit and will, or is there something else that moves us to peak moments of achievement? We can’t always choose the arenas of tests and trials that present themselves, but we always have the choice of how we show up to meet the contests.  As we meet the challenges in our lives I believe it makes a difference if we call forth our best effort rather than refusing to try because we’re afraid we’ll miss the mark. Until we try we can’t know how we might be changed by taking the leap. And maybe we also have unseen cheerleaders whose faith in us lifts us to greater heights and longer distances once we jump. We can stay safe in the pond, or maybe become a champion–the attempt is up to us.

Adventure

Posted on February 19, 2019 by julieloar

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Me with two cobra friends at Kom Ombo, Egypt in 2012

“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing,”  Helen Keller

This October I will embark upon my thirteenth trip to Egypt with a dozen other intrepid travelers. It’s remarkable really as I never expected to go even once. But I have always been deeply called to do so. My parents told me I was fascinated with Egypt from the age of three. They would find me asleep on open pages of my uncle’s National Geographic magazines, dreaming of pyramids, temples, and fabulous jewelry no doubt.

My affinity with ancient Egypt has been an enduring feature of my life, and given my interests and proclivities, I feel certain that the waters of the great Nile have flowed through my veins for millennia. We are so accustomed to short life spans, and a disbelief in superluminal travel, that we can scarcely imagine how vast and limitless the Cosmos is. I have come to understand that my soul has worked for lifetimes to heal and integrate experiences from ancient Egypt, especially at Abydos during the time of Ramses II and his beloved wife Nefertari 3,300 years ago. I have come to understand that I was born into this lifetime with unfinished business that is long overdue to complete. And so I return, and each time I dig deeper. 

Helen Keller and Amelia Earhart have always been major she-roes. Another is Beryl Markham, who was a pilot and horse trainer in South Africa during the “Out of Africa” times. Author Ernest Hemingway praised her work and said it made him ashamed to call himself a writer. I think of those women, and other profoundly courageous souls I have known, in moments of fear and doubt.

Moving out of our steady states of comfort and the illusion of safety causes us to grow, to widen our horizons, and to experience more of the world. Unless we are narrow and spiteful by nature, we are better for it. We all face choices in life about how we respond, and some of them are profoundly difficult. Some of us wait for the verdict of a test that could yield a terminal diagnosis, or learn to walk again after a debilitating injury. Others pick through the rubble of what was once a treasured home after the ravages of a storm or fire. How do we move on? How do we face loss and uncertainty?

Death is certain, only the timing is unknown.  It seems richer to embrace the unknown and cultivate a sense of adventure, grabbing onto life for all its worth, the joy and the sorrow, and the surprises that come when least expected.

Let me know if you feel called to Return to the Nile with me this fall.

Gates of Starlight

Milky Way Galaxy

“May we come and go in and out of heaven through gates of starlight. As the houses of earth fill with dancing and song, so filled are the houses of heaven. I come, in truth. I sail a long river and row back again. It is a joy to breathe under the stars. I am the sojourner destined to walk a million years until I arrive at myself.”        

                                                           Normandi Ellis, Awakening Osiris

Existence is vast, seemingly boundless and immeasurable. The latest figures from NASA estimate that there are one hundred billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy pictured above. There are also estimated to be a jaw-dropping two trillion galaxies in our universe alone. It’s impossible to comprehend this immensity of scale, and yet it’s believed by scientists that we are also part of a multiverse. Perhaps an unknown number of universes co-exist in a Cosmos of parallel dimensions that spread light through infinite space and time. What is the significance of one brief human life in all this immensity? 

The ancient Egyptians were master sky watchers. Monumental temples aligned with the rising of bright stars and calendars and ceremonies were planned based on the sky. Egyptian funerary texts called the Book of Gates proclaimed that when Ra, the sun god arrived at the twelfth and last hour of the night, before dawn, the miracle of rebirth occurred through the gate “with the mysterious entrance.”

 In The Traveler’s Key to Ancient Egypt, author John Anthony West describes Egyptian funerary texts as “manuals of spiritual instruction” and says the Duat is the “field” in which the transformation of the soul occurs. The theme of transformation and reclamation also runs through other ancient mystery traditions. Many ancient gods were seen as solar and stellar fire, and many rites represented the redemption and regeneration of this spiritual energy. The ineffable mysteries they sought to unveil, and the hidden knowledge the rites contained, held and transmitted this wisdom. Manly P. Hall, in Secret Teachings of the Ages says, “Mysteries were the channels through which this one philosophical light was disseminated.”

The Eleusinian Mysteries of ancient Greece took place from 1,600 BCE to about 400 CE, although most scholars believe their origin is much earlier in the Mycenean period. They were contemporary with, and bear strong resemblance to, the Egyptian mysteries of Isis and Osiris. In the Greek mysteries the goddess Demeter, carrying two torches named “intuition” and “reason,” searched the world for her daughter Persephone, who symbolically represented the lost soul. She had to be rescued from the underworld, where she had been abducted by the god Hades.

Sometimes the light seems to go out in our lives and we can be deeply challenged by a darkness of spirit. Although we know the Sun still shines behind the clouds, and the stars still burn even though hidden in cities by artificial light, at these times we need courage and the love of friends. Poet Khalil Gibran said, “One may not reach the dawn except by the path of the night.” This is true, but there have always been those who hold lanterns to guide our way through the darkness to the mysterious entrance of initiation. We can take heart that this universal path of spiritual teaching has permeated spiritual traditions throughout time. Often called the Underground Stream, the spiritual wisdom of ages is always present, even though hiding in the shadows at times. Our job is to remember that the light is always there and to prepare ourselves to receive the gift of ancient wisdom, which sheds light on the Path.

 Julie Loar’s blog won a gold medal last year.

http://www.JulieLoar.com


Ancient Sky Watchers and Mythic Themes

(Huge thanks to Ted for this amazing review of Volume One in the Sky Lore Anthology series. It’s a thrill to hold two decades of work in my hands. If you’re tempted, there’s purchasing info for both volumes at the end of his review. Thanks in advance!)

If you were ever a reader of Atlantis Rising magazine over the course of its impressive twenty-year flight, you will likely have seen, and been drawn to read, some of Julie Loar’s regularly-featured and highly-polished astrology articles upon first publication.  The recent good news is that they have just become even more accessible together in this self-published retrospective anthology collection—without having to wait to catch the next one on the fly—in the wake of her extensive interest in and wide-ranging knowledge of this fascinating and always controversial subject, whether ancient mythic, modern discursive, or cutting-edge technical (!). 

The subject of astrology stimulates a lot of creative writing in our time as it has for many centuries, having been the commonality and primary core subject, as C.G. Jung noted, of many if not most traditional wisdom traditions leading up to and including his own most impressive additions to modern psychology, as the mix and clash among religious, scientific and pop variants still contend for mind and shelf space.  Of course there is a lot of student-level enthusiasm as well as some amount of backsliding in all this robust output of writing—not to mention the entertainment genre—so something has to be good to maintain its position on the front lines of conversation at the astrology brew pub.  Julie’s selection of forty articles in five major categories of her highly varied and successful previous outings, virtually as they first appeared, are still highly topical, in this first, Ancient Sky Watchers volume, and they do indeed rise to a high level of interest and accessible value, being well worth the read—one at a time before and after tea or in binge mode—especially if you are looking for a fresh,  comprehensive and well-researched take on this perennial subject, either as student, professional consultant, critic, or occasional curious onlooker.

It is a real treat to find an author in this fascinating subject area so simultaneously knowledgeable, sophisticated and articulate about the prehistoric mythic traditions of Egypt and Sumer vis-a-vis those of  ancient Greece and Rome, the approaches and strategies of an experienced modern astrological consultant, and the more recent discoveries in space science from ground-based telescopes and satellite instrumentation—all referencing the impact or influence on our lives of many kinds of very real celestial objects now known and understood in greater detail than ever before.  It’s not easy to provide an entry into the basics of celestial mechanics, whether for students of qualitative astrological interpretation or quantitative scientific rigor, but Julie goes to some length to make this subject approachable with her writing and teaching skills for either group.  Being able to visualize (and understand!) the varied daily motions of Earth, Moon, and Planets, not to mention the longer-term cycles of eclipses, comets and the grand Precession of the Equinoxes, is the point of entry into the cosmic sky-watcher game (beyond just looking, which is cool enough), and if you have not bothered to look up at the sky—urban dwellers in night-lighted areas are most disadvantaged—then this is a place to begin to get your bearings.

Like Julie, I have been a lifelong sky-watcher as both astrologer and amateur astronomer (and unlike her, a design engineer of space-satellite instruments), and I have to admit that I have learned an enormous amount from the original publication on her articles over the years before meeting her in person a decade or so ago.  As an astrologer, I was most lacking in knowledge of the mythic and historical origins of ancient astrology, and in that, she is probably as good as anyone now in print, to help us understand the viewpoint and philosophy of the ancient interpreters of this universal cosmic art-science or pre-scientific art that has been continuously available to all people of all cultures virtually for all time—in fact it is probably the most universally shared common human experience ever on our little ”blue dot” (to echo Carl Sagan) of a water planet in the outer reaches of the Orion Arm of the ever-so-glorious Milky Way Galaxy.  Julie ranges through many familiar subjects on the astrology agenda, often with a tip of the hat to Joseph Campbell and a few other luminaries, to making strikingly original observations about ‘sky paintings’ on the cave planetarium walls near Lascaux in France (‘animals of the hunt’ as a very early “Zodiac” with the Pleiades depicted) to the Dendara Zodiac in Egypt (symbol for Zodiac sign Cancer correctly interpreted and understood, possibly for the first time).  

If we ever wondered what was going on with the mytho-poetic stories of the legendary gods and goddesses in the ancient Mediterranean world, many of whom are now up in the constellational sky, go no further than any number of sophisticated recapitulations and explanations along the way of the Titans and Olympians who, then as now, populate our astrology archetypes.  Julie presents the pantheon with sympathy and insight—and scholarship.  One can spend a great deal of time spinning through various re-tellings of these yarns without much accumulated insight, as I did, before focusing on Julie’s understanding, among other things, of the category of the feeling for “the Sacred” in the ancient world.  In a sense these poetic stories were the religions as well as the ‘movies’ of those times and, though varied and ever-changing, they had a similar cultural place understood by the natives, just as their story-board correspondences are understood by us today.  The truth is that the people of these earlier times, though certainly less educated and knowledgeable scientifically, were mostly just as smart and passionate within their range as modern people, however much our somewhat condescending idea of “progress” may be in need of remedy.  Of course times were very different then—the very thing astrology helps up to understand in the most meaningful way!  If you have not yet been initiated into the grand scheme of the Platonic Year, this is the place to perk up to a more than merely fascinating historical hypothesis.

In the middle span of her territory Julie, as a very well experienced consulting astrologer, fills in all the blanks that many readers will be looking for in the always telling areas of personal interest with “cook-book lists” of astrology planets, signs and aspects, the working tools of the trade in astrology chart art, which will tell you, from time to time, about wherever you might begin to fit into various developmental sequences, as a Sun in Aries, Moon in Pisces, cuspal ascendant and the standard stops in between.  Her approach in such thematic articles adds immeasurably to the flat newspaper entertainment style (which, sadly, is all many people will ever know about astrology), and brings it all back home with insights only an experienced and conceptually sophisticated analyst can succeed with in a brief offering.  It’s not a substitute for an in-depth ‘reading’, but her itinerary is always thought-provoking and often spot-on. She’s been a guide on many Egyptian tours, too, and has specialist knowledge in this area of ancient sky watcher lore for mainline Graeco-Roman astrologers who came in at the intermission of the astrology movie.

Perhaps the most intriguing and possibly surprising aspect (there’s a timeless astrology term) of Julie’s presentation is her enthusiasm and detailed knowledge of state-of-the-art scientific discoveries in more modern astronomy and astrophysics (more interpretative scholarship).  The impact they will have on the meaning and development of astrology for astrologers (note: we are not astrologists but hope you get the gist of astrology ) in the future will doubtless be great—even revolutionary—as it attempts to assimilate the existence of various big moons, little asteroids, dwarf planets, the rocky Kuiper Belt, the icy Oort Cloud and the mysterious—and quite likely astounding—discovery of either a huge new planet termed, “Planet Nine” (was that where John Lennon was from?), orbiting in the far reaches of the outer solar system, or as Nemesis, a small companion proto-star in an extreme orbit nearby our solar system.  This is the modest tip of the iceberg of Julie’s more ambitious project of revisioning astrology, now going forward as we may look back at her musings over the course of the astersand disasters of our still new Century 21.  Julie Loar is a star in her own right who knows about the real stars way out there—the real subject of astrology that, sadly, has been lost behind much of the yet most valuable modern planetary astrology (a very complex subject in its own right  in any event) … and much, much more.

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This is how Volume One of Julie Loar’s “Sky Lore Anthology,” Ancient Sky Watchers, ends—in an exciting rush into anticipation of future science breakthroughs … and of course, the meaning of them to be discerned by and for those of us who know … it ain’t all random grains of sand on the beach, folks.  If you are one of us, you will not be disappointed, and if you are a sceptic, you will learn a lot that will make you very thoughtful.  This is a major publication event in the astro-theme world … with Volume Two (As Above, So Below) also available now … and also to be acknowledged in review ASAP.

Click the first link below to buy Volume One on Amazon in print or ebook. It’s also available from Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, or Kobo.

https://smile.amazon.com/Ancient-Sky-Watchers-Mythic-Themes/dp/1792335148/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=ancient+sky+watchers&qid=1596734532&sr=8-1<><><><>

Volume Two, As Above, So Below: Sun, Moon and Stars is also available. This is the Amazon link.

Shambhala prophecy — return of the spiritual warriors

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Kalki, the last incarnation of Vishnu —  Image credit — Jose-Patricio Aguirre (Chile)

The Shambhala Prophecy

as told by Joanna Macy

“I often tell this story in workshops, for it describes the work we aim to do, and the training we engage in. It is about the coming of the Kingdom of Shambhala, and it is about you, and me.”      Joanna Macy

(Joanna Rogers Macy, is an environmental activist, author, scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology. She is the author of eight books). I share this piece of her writing with the greatest of respect. It a Buddhist prophecy that calls us to “war.”

“Coming to us across twelve centuries, the Shambhala prophecy comes from ancient Tibetan Buddhism. The prophecy foretells of a time when all life on Earth is in danger. Great barbarian powers have arisen. Although these powers spend much of their wealth in preparations to annihilate each other, they have much in common: weapons of unfathomable destructive power, and technologies that lay waste our world. In this era, when the future of sentient life hangs by the frailest of threads, the kingdom of Shambhala emerges.

You cannot go there, for it is not a place; it is not a geopolitical entity. It exists in the hearts and minds of the Shambhala warriors. That is the term the prophecy used – “warriors.” You cannot recognize the Shambhala warrior when you see him or her, for they wear no uniforms or insignia, and they carry no specific banners. They have no barricades on which to climb or threaten the enemy, or behind which they can hide to rest or regroup. They do not even have any home turf. Always they must move on the terrain of the barbarians themselves.

Now the time comes when great courage – moral and physical courage – is required of the Shambhala warriors, for they must go into the very heart of the barbarian power, into the pits and pockets and citadels where the weapons are kept, to dismantle them. To dismantle weapons, in every sense of the word, they must go into the corridors of power where decisions are made.

The Shambhala warriors have the courage to do this because they know that these weapons are “manomaya.” They are mind made. Made by the human mind, they can be unmade by the human mind. The Shambhala warriors know that the dangers threatening life on Earth are not visited on us by any extraterrestrial power, satanic deities, or pre-ordained evil fate. They arise from our own decisions, our own lifestyles, and our own relationships.

So in this time, the Shambhala warriors go into training in the use of two weapons. The weapons are compassion and insight. Both are necessary, the prophecy foretells. The Shambhalla warriors must have compassion because it gives the juice, the power, the passion to move. It means not to be afraid of the pain of the world. Then you can open to it, step forward, act.

But that weapon by itself is not enough. It can burn you out, so you need the other – you need insight into the radical interdependence of all phenomena. With that wisdom you know that it is not a battle between “good guys” and “bad guys,” because the line between good and evil runs through the landscape of every human heart. With insight into our profound inter-relatedness, you know that actions undertaken with pure intent have repercussions throughout the web of life, beyond what you can measure or discern. By itself, that insight may appear too cool, conceptual, to sustain you and keep you moving, so you need the heat of compassion.

Together these two can sustain us as agents of wholesome change. They are gifts for us to claim now in the healing of our world. Many in the Tibetan lineage believe that this is the time of this ancient prophecy. If so, perhaps we are among the Shambhala warriors.”

These are powerful words and a call to action, reaching across time. We must find the strength and courage to arise and be the best we can be at this time of challenge. I stand with you, brave warriors of the heart. May we have courage. 

quintangled has arrived

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After more than five years of deep and amazing work with my two partners, Sue Lion and Karen Stuth, Quintangled has finally arrived. It’s an indescribable thrill to see a long-held vision come to life and hold the result of intense creativity in your hands. Like life, and our game, it’s been quite a journey. Words can’t really express the gratitude expressed here to those of you who supported this effort during our crowd funding campaign–without you this dream would not have become a reality. You should have your games by now, and we’re eager to get your feedback. (If you pre-ordered a game and haven’t received it, let me know). It would be awesome if you would consider writing a review on Amazon as that makes a big difference in their selling algorithms.

And, if you weren’t able to acquire a game before, they are now available on Amazon. Click on the link to go to Amazon    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=quintangled

Quintangled: A Game of Strategy, Chance, & Destiny

Answer the herald’s call, step on a path to adventure, and enter a magical realm. A role of the eight-sided die will determine your archetypal destiny as a Knight, Lover, Jester, Healer, Dreamer, Sage, Monarch, or Priestess. Meet the Wizard, and receive Magical Aid as you cross the threshold to embark upon your journey. Along the way you’ll meet guides, guardians, and mentors as well as face perils and threats that will challenge your resolve. Magical creatures and Oracles of Wisdom will offer unexpected aid. Crossroads, choices, and tests will help you gain courage and wisdom to awaken your heroic self. On the return journey you’ll have the chance to express your heroic qualities and make a difference in your world.

Heed the call  *  Take the vow  *  Begin the quest.

Enjoy the journey!!!  Endless love and boundless gratitude.

a gold medal and a writer’s voice

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In June of 2018 my blog was awarded a gold medal.

When I began my blog it was meant to be a gift to me–something I did for myself as a purely creative outlet. There would be no deadlines, no publishers, no pressure, no one criticizing my ideas (certainly with only the best of intentions I’m sure). My blog would be just my words that emerged from the crucible of my life, reflecting on events and observations that stood out in sharp relief. Of course I hoped those words might reach out across the interconnected web we share and maybe, just maybe, someone would be touched, amused, or inspired.

Writers learn about, and quest for, that illusive thing called “voice. ” A writer’s voice lives at the heart and soul of the work, embodying a unique and precious quality. I’m no different–I long to find my voice. I’m still on that journey, but it’s always deeply satisfying to receive recognition even when we are still a work-in-progress.

The life of a writer is often solitary, even insular. We spend a great deal of time in the company of our own thoughts and internal processes. Unless we are fortunate enough to have some notoriety, we usually don’t know what impact our work has, and I think we desperately want to know if it does.

Receiving an award is an external vindication that something we’ve accomplished is seen to have merit. And I have to admit, I love having a gold medal on my blog. But what means the most to me are the comments I have received from readers–you who are reading these words right now. Most of you I don’t know, but some of you have taken a moment from your busy lives to make a comment and connect in the mysterious manner of our digital world.

My life has been blessed by the words of other authors, some long gone. I have wished many times that I could send them a comment and let them know what their words have meant. Although the blog is still my gift to myself, it’s your comments that keep me going.  So in a real sense this award is shared with all of you, and I send my deep gratitude.

Thank you.

Julie Loar

metamorphosis


A butterfly emerging from a chrysalis

“We must let go of the life we have planned to be able to accept the one that is waiting for us.”

Joseph Campbell

Metamorphosis is a total change of form, or morphology. We are familiar with the caterpillar that spins a cocoon and is completely transformed inside the chrysalis, changing from a crawling creature into a majestic being with glorious wings. In biology the chrysalis is the hardened outer shell that protects the vulnerable caterpillar as it goes through the stages of transformation. Symbolically, the chrysalis has been used to represent a sheltered state or stage of being in which something or someone is utterly transformed.

For those who are committed to spiritual growth, it seems that life is a constant chrysalis. The Buddha taught that life in form is temporary, and if we cling to the form, we suffer. We are constantly challenged to leave the past behind and embark upon an unknown journey.  We are often tested by what life presents, and I believe the measure of our “suffering” is equal to the amount of our resistance and expectation. We have to be willing to surrender in order to be transformed–willingness changes everything.

We live in a time of profound change, even turmoil, and if we are to survive we must also be transformed by the change occurring around us. Joseph Campbell also said, “You enter the forest at the darkest point where there is no path. Where there is a way, it is someone else’s path. If you follow someone else’s way you won’t realize your potential.” I find those words equally thrilling and terrifying. Entering that dark forest takes courage, but our willingness to take the unknown step leads to metamorphosis.

A Chinese proverb states that a  teacher opens a door,  but we must enter by ourselves. Looking back at times of profound change in our lives we can see how our choices made all the difference and where courage changed our lives. As we face the dark forest, or ponder an unknown path, we have a choice. We can cling to the familiar but illusory safety of the ground, or embrace the dissolution of our earthbound consciousness, pass through the open door of transformation, and soar on wings of spirit.

Planetary Harmonics:  The Music Of The Spheres

  “Venus draws a pentagram around the Earth every eight years. The Moon squares the circle. Everything in the heavens moves around everything else, dancing to the Music of the Spheres.”

John Martineau, A Little Book Of Coincidence

Musica Universalis, or the “Music of the Spheres,” is an ancient philosophical concept that sees the proportions of the movements of celestial bodies–Sun, Moon and planets–as a form of musica, the Medieval Latin name for music. This music is not audible but is understood as a mathematical concept. The Greek philosopher Pythagoras is usually credited with this idea, which stemmed from his mystical and mathematical philosophy and its associated system of numerology. The discovery of the geometric relationship between mathematics and music within the Classical Period is also attributed to him. Pythagoreans believed this relationship gave music powers of healing as it could “harmonize” the out-of-balance body.

There is a legend that Pythagoras could hear the Music of the Spheres, enabling him to discover that consonant musical intervals can be expressed in simple ratios of small integers. In an effort to win their confidence, Pythagoras told Egyptian priests that the god Thoth gave him the ability to hear this “music.” He believed that only Egyptians of the right bloodline, passing successful initiations, could enter the temples and learn the mysteries set in place by divine beings at the beginning of time. Plato and others transferred Pythagoras’ concepts into structural models of the universe assigning the Platonic solids to the planets and alchemical elements: Earth-tetrahedron, Water-cube, Air-Octahedron, Fire-dodecahedron, and Quintessence-icosahedron. The spheres were thought to relate to whole-number ratios of pure musical intervals, creating harmonies.

Johannes Kepler used this concept in his Harmonice Mundi, the Harmony of the Worlds, in 1619. Kepler was convinced “that geometrical things have provided the Creator with the model for decorating the whole world.” He attempted to explain the proportions of the natural world, particularly astronomical and astrological aspects, in terms of music. The central set of “harmonies” was the musica universalis. Kepler noticed that the ratios between planets’ extreme angular velocities were all harmonic intervals, and he attempted to precisely calculate these “world harmonies.” He said, “The heavenly motions…are nothing but a continuous song for several voices, perceived not by the ear but by the intellect, a figured music, which sets landmarks in the immeasurable flow of time.”

Pythagoras identified that the pitch of a musical note is in proportion to the length of the string that produces it, and that intervals between harmonious sound frequencies form numerical ratios. Later, Plato said astronomy and music were twin studies of sensual recognition—astronomy for the eyes and music for the ears—both requiring knowledge of numerical proportions. In antiquity the seven notes of the octave, in which the eighth note is a doubling of the vibration of the first, were assigned to the seven visible and moving heavenly bodies:  Moon, A, Mercury, G, Venus, F, Sun E, Mars, D, Jupiter “Middle C”, and Saturn B. There are five black notes on the piano keyboard between middle C and the C above it. If we add those pitches, the sharps and flats, to the seven white notes already mentioned, we have twelve pitches (the Chromatic scale) that are the same as the number of signs in the zodiac, showing the relationship between the two systems.

One axiom upon which the Hermetic principles of astrology are based comes from The Kybalion.  This is the Law of Vibration, which says,  “Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.” Hermetic teachings state that not only is all matter vibrating, but our emotions are also a manifestation of vibration. Therefore, emotions and desires are accompanied by vibratory rates, which may be lowered or raised at will by adepts.

Modern science suggests that ordinary people can accomplish the same thing. According to research by University of Missouri scientists published in The Journal of Positive Psychology, people can successfully improve their moods and boost their overall happiness in just two weeks, simply by listening with intention to specific mood-boosting music. Researchers at McGill University in Montreal say the response to music comes from the chemical dopamine. When we listen to a rhythm, our heartbeat actually synchs with it. A slow heartbeat with a strong diastolic pressure tells our brain that something sad or depressing is occurring. Fast beating is related to excitement, and a dreamy rhythm with occasional upbeats can signify love or joy. Hitler used martial music to stir aggression. Churches use hymns to inspire and comfort, while rock music energizes and activates people in various ways. It’s likely that types of music correspond to planets and signs; marches to Mars and Aries, waltzes to Venus and Libra, for example.

Tones are equally as important as rhythm. A major key sends a cheerful communication to the brain, while minor keys mirror sadness. Research shows that this has a powerful effect on the brain, directing our psyches to resonate with the type of music and to actually feel what’s being communicated, thereby altering our emotional state.

When a note is played on any instrument, the number of vibrations per second determines the pitch. If the octave to any note is played or sung, it has twice the number of vibrations per second. Therefore, the ratio between notes is 2 to 1 (or 2:1). In an intriguing parallel a formula stated in the Tao-te ching says, “One has produced two, two has produced three, and three has produced all the numbers by its cyclic repetitions.”

As for the planets, Mercury is gravitationally locked and rotates in a way that is unique in the Solar System. Astronomers once thought Mercury always kept the same side towards the Sun, like the Moon, meaning one rotation on its axis was the same as its orbital period, but this is not true. As seen relative to the fixed stars, Mercury rotates on its axis exactly three times for every two revolutions around the Sun. As seen from the Sun, in a frame of reference that rotates with the orbital motion, Mercury appears to rotate only once every two Mercurian years–a 2:1 ratio.

There is also an inherent geometry between Mercury and Venus, the first and second planets from the Sun. If the three points of Mercury’s “sunrise” noted above are plotted on a circle they form an equilateral triangle. If circles are drawn around the center points that are large enough to touch each other’s circumferences, the orbit of Venus exactly encloses the three circles.

In Atlantis Rising #69 I wrote about the amazing geometry of Venus’s orbit. From Earth’s point of view Venus traces a perfect five-pointed star over a period of eight years. Each time Earth and Venus “kiss,” at the time of Venus’s inferior conjunction, or when Venus is in alignment with the Sun and closest to Earth, one point of the star is formed. The conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn form an equilateral triangle every twenty years. The oppositions likewise form another equilateral triangle, so a six-pointed star is formed over a period of about 120 years. The orbits of all the planets have amazing geometric relationships in an exquisite synchrony of celestial mechanics.

Ernst Chladni was a German physicist and musician. Chladni’s technique, first published in 1787 in his book, Discoveries in the Theory of Sound, consisted of drawing a bow over a piece of metal whose surface was lightly covered with sand. The plate was bowed until it reached resonance, and the sand formed a pattern showing the nodal regions. The results became known as Chladni Figures.

Two centuries later, Hans Jenny, a Swiss doctor, artist, and researcher, published the bilingual book, The Structure and Dynamics of Waves and Vibrations. Jenny, like Chladni, showed what happens when materials like sand, spores, iron filings, water, and viscous substances are placed on vibrating metal plates and membranes. Shapes and patterns appear that vary from nearly perfectly ordered and stationary to those that are turbulent, organic, and in constant motion. Jenny called this new area of research Cymatics, from the Greek kyma, which means wave. The mystery of “solid matter” appears to be contained in sound and vibration.

A modern composer, Greg Fox, wrote Carmen of the Spheres, a composition that attempted to literally “hear” the planets as they orbit the Sun. His approach was to halve the planetary orbital period until he found the “pitch” of a planet orbiting the Sun. He created his music by raising that pitch 36 to 40 octaves.

Jim Bumgardner, a Los Angeles software engineer specializing in visualizations, created The Wheel Of Stars, a visualizer that utilizes data from the Hipparcos mission. Hipparcos was a satellite launched by the European Space Agency in 1989 that accurately measured over a hundred thousand stars. Bumgardner downloaded data that contains position, parallax, magnitude, and color information, among other things. The program puts the stars to an ethereal music of their own making, creating something magical.

A number of active spacecraft, including the “planet hunter” Kepler Space Telescope, use asteroseismology, which is the science that studies the internal structure of pulsating stars by interpreting their frequency spectra. Different oscillation modes penetrate to different depths inside the star. This technique turns tiny variations in stars’ light into sounds, measuring minuscule variations in a star’s brightness that occurs as sound waves bounce inside the star. Using resonances, a picture is created of what the inside of a star looks like. The Kepler studied thousands of stars in its field in this manner.

In A Little Book Of Coincidence John Martineau says, “The planets have long been suspected of hiding secret relationships. In antiquity students of such things pondered the Music of the Spheres, the heavenly bodies singing their subtle and perfect harmonies to the adept.” Martineau asks if it is all just a coincidence? If not, what are we to make of these exquisite harmonies and geometric proportions?

In 1968, Russian scientist A.M. Molchanov’s research for the Institute of Applied Mathematics in Moscow resulted in a paper where he argued that the entire Solar System is a tuned quantum resonant structure, with Jupiter, largest of the planets, as the orchestra conductor. He wrote, “oscillating systems that have attained evolutionary maturity are inevitably resonant, and their structure is given by sets of integers, just as in quantum systems.” He also remarked “Even if every one of the billions of stars in our galaxy had a planetary system, it would not be able by chance to produce even one resonant system such as our Solar System.”

Plato said, “God ever geometrizes,” and like mathematics, music was discovered, not invented. It does seem as though harmony and proportion are the foundation of Creation. Music can be simple or complex, ranging from a solo voice to a symphony orchestra. Melody involves the consecutive playing or singing of notes, while harmony involves the simultaneous playing of notes like in a chord or multi-part singing. Duration, which is the length of time a note is played or sung, creates rhythm, or “beats” per measure. Different instruments playing different rhythms can create a multi-faceted musical experience. This might be compared to the durations of the planets’ orbits as well as their differing axial rotation periods, which through their mathematical relationships does create a sort of symphony that the ancients perceived and we are beginning to measure.

If the planets geometric relationships and resonances create, or result in, vibrations or frequencies, an astrologer who is equipped with knowledge of planetary harmonics, could identify what was “out of tune,” or imbalanced, in a birth chart. The ancient art of musical healing might then be used to harmonize the vibrations. What might the implications be for harmonizing the energies of an individual or even the Earth itself?

www.JulieLoar.com

Author & Speaker: Ancient Wisdom for the Modern World