The mystery of the solar cycle is closely aligned with that of the lunar cycle and astrology. Perhaps it is best understood by reflecting upon the lunar cycle and it’s action of alternately expanding and compressing the earth’s astral layers.
There are eight important points in the lunar cycle. These are the new moon, 1st quarter, full moon, 3rd quarter, and the midpoints between these four when the astral layers merge together.
In like manner there are eight important points in the solar cycle. These are Spring equinox, Summer solstice, Autumn equinox, Winter solstice and the four midpoints, Beltane, lugnasadh, Samhain, and Candlemas.
In terms of the science of astrology we would call these positions respectively conjunction, upper square, opposition, lower square and the 45 degree aspects. It is interesting that the 45 degree aspect is considered the most powerful in terms of energy flow. This is because it reflects the time when the astral layers merge together.
Consideration of the gravitational effect of other planets upon the earth’s astral layers could indicate a minor influence at these particular points. The main forces would be those of the sun and the moon. These are the influences that O. A. K. considers the most important since a Magister Templi should have risen above other planetary or astrological influences.
Comparison of these eight points shows that each part of the solar cycle corresponds to a particular astral activity much as the lunar cycle does but on a larger scale.
As a cycle it may be arbitrary where to say the cycle begins and ends since it just repeats over and over again. Still it serves a purpose to have a definite starting point and ending point for discussion purposes. Because nature is eternally in balance it seems natural to pick one of the equinoxes for the starting point because the hours of daylight and darkness are equal then. The next consideration is that astral development usually precedes physical development so our choice as a starting point becomes the Autumn equinox.
The new solar cycle begins immediately after the physical harvest as the hours of daylight begin to lessen. This means that the critical and key events of the entire year until the next autumn equinox have at this time been firmly embedded within the fixed etheric levels of the Magical planes and those events will happen to us. From this point in time we are working to create the events of the after the one just about to begin, which is just less than two years away. All references to the coming year mean the year starting immediately after the next Autumn equinox.
One final note on the alchemical stages described below. It is quite possible that a person will find themselves going through one stage in terms of one part of their life and a different stage dealing with another aspect of their life. Thus in personal relationships they may be going through the lesser stages but in work they may be going through the after stages. Life is cyclical with no point where it is all finished except perhaps at death.
FESTIVAL OF PEACE
Samhain is the mid point between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice and corresponds to the ACE cards in the Tarot deck. It is also related to the Festival of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady which is the final resolution of the Magical planes immediately before the winter solstice.
This period is the end of the fruiting cycle in nature and the end of autumn. It also marks the beginning of winter in terms of snow and freezing weather.
The astral activity is still on the Magical planes as the astral layers merge together. This is a symbolic joining of male and female energies as the old fruit of the past year is given to the earth in total sacrifice. It is the planting of a seed for the coming year. Your actions now determine the direction that the new year will take for you. The key physical events of your life for the current year have already been established and will happen. This final resolution period determines how well you will deal with these upcoming events. Whether they will be seen as opportunities or as difficult burdens that are almost impossible to bear. This determines what your attitude will be like when these things happen in your life this year as physical events.
This time period naturally marks the end of the crucifixion or enthronement period and the beginning of a new birth or resurrection.
In some occult traditions this marks the beginning of the initiation cycle of Earth as the probationer is granted entrance and awaits the first initiation. The Earth cycle is also the last cycle of the initiate so this time also marks the natural last initiation of the advanced initiate into the final mysteries of the Earth. The probationer will experience a new birth and the advanced initiate will experience a resurrection and lifting up as the Magical levels resolve themselves during this period concerning the projected events of the coming year.
FESTIVAL OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF OUR LADY
This is the time of year when those energies within the Magical planes have resolved themselves into the physical events, attitudes, and experiences for the year that we are currently experiencing leading up to the next Autumn equinox. Those events have been placed within the fixed etheric portions of the Magical planes for the year just beginning. All other energies that could not find resolution into physical events will at this time flood upward into the Spiritual planes as seed activities or events for the coming year almost two years away. They will mix with other potential events that they have affinity with as fringe activities.
In a sense it is a continuation of the merging of the levels beginning with the Festival of Peace but it continues that movement as an astral flow out of the Magical planes and into the Spiritual planes. It is marked by the new moon preceding the winter solstice.
This corresponds to the TWO cards in the Tarot.
FESTIVAL OF REBIRTH
Christmas is the winter solstice and marks the middle of winter weather and officially the beginning of winter proper as the hours of daylight begin to increase. This is the shortest day of the year. It is the middle of the germination cycle in nature and the middle of the Earth initiation.
This corresponds with the THREE cards of the Tarot and the concept of the Trinity.
The new moon preceding this period marked the resolution of astral events within the Magical planes and all unresolvable energies at that time flowed upward into the Spiritual planes to the corresponding level to be recycled. All astral activity now deals with our future long range plans for our entire lifetime and beyond.
These energies that have flowed upward from the Magical planes are seeds that we have planted for future growth and harvest after they have been recycled.
At the time of the winter solstice there is a great in pouring of spiritual love and light into the earth’s Spiritual planes. It is said that at this time God/dess sends love and light into the world for all those that will receive it. This influx of spiritual light will work its way downward through all the astral levels during the coming year.
Our astral creations in the Spiritual planes act as containers that collect and hold this energy. We are at this time each given love and light energy according to our individual capacity to hold it. This represents our major chance during the year to fill ourselves to overflowing with this energy. Our astral creations as seeds are vitalized with this spiritual energy and we experience the birth of the Christ Spirit within our soul.
There is forced growth and expansion on the individual Spiritual planes as this energy enters into us and forces the resolution of other energies one level at a time from the top downward. The levels do not merge but remain separate. Astral events are forced to merge with each other or be destroyed through this forced growth. Society is forced to accept our long range plans for our life or to destroy it. If our astral creations survive they will become critical and key points during our life time and must be allowed to happen as physical events.
It is from these astral events that we gain a full realization and experiential knowledge of what our life’s work will be. It is at this time that we can achieve this full illumination of what our true destiny will be. This is a continuation of the rebirth or resurrection process that was begun during THE FESTIVAL OF PEACE. It is the middle of the Earth initiation where the probationer prepares for the coming initiation and the advanced initiate experiences the birth of the Christ Spirit within his or her soul.
There are three stages of alchemical work that correspond to this time of year.
This is the stage of calcination where our hopes, dreams, and inspirations are consumed in fire and burned to ashes. Our astral creations have no connection to reality and can’t possibly ever become physical so they are destroyed at this time. The Christmas season is a very bitter one for a lot of people that are experiencing life at this stage.
During this stage we experience the coagulation and crystallization of our hopes, dreams, and inspirations. In a burst of insight and realization we understand what it is that we must do in our lives to continue our spiritual development. Death leads to life and a star is born. This is the classic Christmas story about how the Christmas Spirit can perform miracles in our lives by changing the way that we look at things. Our physical circumstances may remain the same but now we have understanding and our life becomes more meaningful.
After the Great Work is accomplished this time of year brings exaltation, elation, joy, knowledge, and a lifting up as we experience the resurrection within our lives. We become living proof that the spiritual path is a valid one that will bring tangible rewards in our lives. We are lifted out of our problems through the action of the Christmas miracle in our lives. We experience the miraculous and our physical lives are totally turned around as are our physical circumstances.
THE FESTIVAL OF DEDICATION
Candlemas or Imbolc marks the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. In nature it marks the end of wintry weather and the beginning of the leafing season. The Earth cycle of initiation is finished and the Water cycle of initiation is about to begin. This time of the year corresponds to the FOUR cards of the Tarot.
During this time the Spirit planes merge together moving from the top downward and resolving each level at a time. For those prepared for it this action comes as a spiritual “baptism” of the Christ Spirit and an intense realization of this Christ Spirit in our lives. It has been determined in the Spiritual planes through the resolution of forces which individuals are key persons in humanities future evolution and this Christ Spirit descends upon them and empowers their personal efforts for the coming year. It also empowers at this time the critical events of the coming year.
This is at times also known as the Purification of the Blessed Virgin and also marks the beginning of the Ascension for those that are ready and prepared for it.
The probationer is now ready to receive the first initiation which is that of Water. This is the beginning of the initiation of Water. It also marks the end of the advanced initiate’s Earth initiation.
It is the symbolic joining of male and female energies and in nature is a time of green sprouting and rapid growth.
THE FESTIVAL OF PROMISE
This time of the year is the Spring equinox and is also linked to the following full moon and Easter. It corresponds to the FIVE cards in the Tarot. It is the official beginning of Spring but also the middle of the leafing season and the middle of the Water initiation.
All of the levels of the Spirit planes experience forced growth and expansion to full size at this time. Our spiritual “baptism” or Ascension begun in the Festival of Dedication continues and that spiritual energy given us forces our long range goals into view. At this time we are given great visions of our future and hope that we may achieve our desires. Society is forced to accept our future plans and alter itself accordingly level by individual level.
Being granted a clear vision of our future inspires us to begin our spiritual quest in earnest. We start by learning to master our emotions and our love. There are three alchemical stages that correspond naturally to this time of the year.
This is the alchemical stage of Solution where the ashes are dissolved into a liquid form by the addition of this spiritual energy. The missing details and hidden aspects of our future life are filled in so that it becomes capable of becoming physical reality. Our wishes, dreams, and inspirations are brought into awareness and we struggle to discover some way of making them realistic. We do this with the help of the spiritual energy that we have received.
At this stage our wishes, dreams, and inspirations are seen as potential parts of humanities and our own future. We nourish and feed these astral creations with our love. They grow more and more glorious as they develop and move downward into the fixed etheric regions of the Spiritual planes. These begin to take the final forms that they will have in physical reality.
This is the stage of multiplication and propagation. In the Spiritual planes our life’s work is fully created and set out before us. Now the implications of that life’s work begin to show up as our future life acts as an anchor point and catalyst for key events in humanity’s future. Ripples of influence spread out in all directions in a willingly creative act that multiplies itself and it’s love. The act of giving love multiplies that love and increases its fire. Astral events have reached a point where the momentum has built up enough to be self- sustaining.
THE FESTIVAL OF UNIFICATION
Beltane marks the midpoint between the Spring equinox and the Summer solstice. It signals the end of the leafing season in nature and the beginning of the flowering season. It also marks the end of the Water initiation and the beginning of the Air initiation. This time of year corresponds to the SIX card of the Tarot.
The astral levels are merging during this time on the Spiritual planes. Our “baptism” or Ascension is at an end and our future is secured. As the levels merge there is an outpouring of love upon the entire world. They merge from the top downward and the resolution of these energies acts as a spiritual blessing on those whose life is affected in their downward movement. These Key events cast ripples of cause and effect onto the entire world. It marks the beginning of the Transfiguration or the Unification on our lives if we are prepared for it.
This is a symbolic joining of male and female energies in a spiritual marriage of unity, fertilization, and blessing. Nature rejoices in a flowering growth as life matures and comes of age. Everything holds a promise of the bright future that lies ahead.
The key events of our lives for the coming year are at this time embedded in the fixed etheric levels of the Spiritual planes and the energy within them reaches a climax during the following full moon known as the Christ Festival as that energy rushes downward into the corresponding astral events within the Magical planes. This energy is preparing those key events in advance and happens before astral activity in the Magical planes is fully operational. These key events get a head start to ensure that they will come into being as physical events.
FESTIVAL OF JOY
The Summer solstice marks the middle of the flowering season and the middle of the Air initiation. While the official beginning of summer it is also the longest day of the year and marks the shortening of daylight hours. This time corresponds to the EIGHT cards of the Tarot.
The Christ Festival of the full moon immediately preceding this corresponds to the SEVEN cards of the Tarot. At that time key events and individuals in the Magical planes received a down pouring of spiritual energy from the Spiritual planes to ensure that they would become physical reality.
Now at the time of the Summer solstice all astral activity takes place on the Magical planes. There is forced expansion at all levels of the Magical planes to ensure that the harvest will be complete. In nature the flowers mature at their full size.
From a spiritual perspective this is the time when light pours into the minds of men and they are able to perceive clearly and understand truly. They are given illuminations and clear vision concerning the important affairs in their lives.
There are three alchemical stages that correspond to this time of year.
This is the stage of separation and distillation. The process of analysis and extraction divides the subtle from the gross and we can see for the first time the unrealistic aspects of our hopes, wishes, and dreams. We can see what we are doing wrong and also what we are doing right. We gain personal understandings of ourselves that helps us to be more effective.
Here is the stage of sublimation and vaporizing. Here we attempt to transform our lives into something higher and more refined. We receive illuminations and new insights that transfigure our understanding and we see things in a new way. We gain understanding of what we must do to achieve the things we want in life.
This is the alchemical stage of projection and the proving of the perfect. Here we have become a catalyst to others. By casting forth our light or wisdom into the world we transmute all that we touch into spiritual gold. By being ourselves we help others to progress on the spiritual path.
FESTIVAL OF TRANSFORMATION
Lugnasadh marks the mid point between the Summer solstice and the Autumn equinox. In nature it is the end of the flowering season and the beginning of the fruiting season. In like manner it marks the end of the Air initiation and the beginning of the Fire initiation. It corresponds with the NINE cards of the Tarot.
It is at this point that the levels of the Magical planes begin to merge together from the top downward. The resolution of each level will bring about the final physical harvest at it’s conclusion. We also receive the first fruits of our labors at this time. The final events of the coming year beginning with the nearby Autumn equinox are at this time being resolved through our actions. We are impelled at this time to do those things that are physically important to us in the astral creation of our future life beginning with the next Autumn equinox that is fast approaching. We are rushing to finalize the important and critical events before it is too late to change them.
This is the symbolic joining of male and female energies that leads to the crowning with the Christ Light of the Initiate and Priest-King. This brings also the astral creation on the Magical planes of the Priest-King’s entire future life time. The key events of the entire life have with this crowning entered into the Magical planes to gradually find their way into physical manifestation as well as the key events for the coming year. At this time the Priest-King’s life is surrendered in service to those that recognize him.
FESTIVAL OF CONSUMMATION
This relates to the TEN cards in the Tarot deck. This is the Solar Festival of Consummation and a full harvest of what has gone before. Here we achieve the natural results of our labor for the past year. The seeds we have planted have given the full physical results and we receive that which we have earned. This time brings us either crucifixion or enthronement. There are no more alterations of this years coming events. They are now permanently set within the fixed etheric levels of the Magical planes and programmed to become physical reality throughout the year. Instead the focus is now once more upon the year after this one, the one that is almost two years away.
This time period is linked to the first full moon after the equinox and involves a forced expansion on all levels of the Magical planes. At this time the Magical planes are swelling with energy as all true initiates use this energy as a light for others. This is where spiritual understanding is put into action to achieve physical results.
In occult traditions this is the time of year when the initiation into the mysteries of fire takes place. There are three stages of the alchemical process that naturally occur during this time of year.
This is the alchemical stage of conjunction and putrefaction. This is where high spiritual expectations merge forcefully with physical reality and die because they are not realistic. This energetic union between subtle and gross is called the Chymical Wedding. The resulting death of ideals as they rot into blackness create what is known as the FIRST MATTER.
This is the stage of fermentation and leavening. Here there is a general stirring up and excitation that enters into our lives. We attempt to put our thoughts into action to achieve physical results. We try to give service and help others to grow spiritually. This is also where we experience the creation of the”soul body” when we are ready for that experience.
This is when we naturally experience the physical harvest, the completion, glorification, and Sabbath of the Great Work. This reflects the causal link between the astral and physical reality made manifest for the first time in our lives as physical results.