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EAST & WEST: WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?

AN ASTROLOGICAL EXAMPLE By Michael Erlewine The Four Elements I have long been fascinated by Asian philosophy and psychology and how it differs from that used here in the West. It can be difficult to explain the difference between these two systems, but I have one clear astrological example that you might appreciate. I have been studying astrology for some fifty years, so long I forget when I actually started and what constitutes studying anyway? I have also been studying Chinese astrology for a long time. I find Chinese astrology very profound and not something one can learn in a month, day, year, or even years. I have never written much about the subject because I am still just a student, but I do want to share a little bit of Chinese astrology with you so that you have a taste and see if you like it too. To do this, I will compare just one facet of astrology as we view it through Western methods, and as the Chinese see it. You will get the idea, I am sure. I am going to use the Four Elements. The Four Elements in western astrology (Fire, Earth, Air, and Water) and the Five Elements in Chinese astrology (Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood), while calculated quite differently in each system, are similar enough in use for this comparison.

There are twelve zodiac signs, three fire signs, three earth signs, three air signs, and three water signs. So the Sun, Moon, and planets at your birth were each in a zodiac sign, and each zodiac sighs is one of the four elements. In modern astrology here in the west, we tend to add up the elements for the Sun, Moon, and planets to get what is called the Elemental Balance. The elemental balance at my birth looks like this: Earth Signs: 4 planets Fire Signs: 3 planets Water Signs: 2 planets Air Signs: 1 planet As you can see, I have a preponderance of Earth and only one planet in Air. The way I have taught this for years is as follows: The elements we have the most are What we have to do, while the element we have the least of or lack (Air in my case) are what we lack or What we want. Then I tell my students that we do what we have to do and we become what we want, using the word become in the sense that a dress becomes a woman, to turn toward or accent. So, if we have zero planets for a certain element, we endlessly turn toward or try to fulfill that emptiness, etc. In other words, we do what we have to do, and we become what we want. In Western astrology, we draw attention to what we most want or lack. This is roughly how I teach it. However, the Chinese have a different approach, one that I believe will show you

how different their philosophy is from ours, and a profound view it is. In Chinese astrology, the element you have the least amount of, the one you want or lack, is called your Lucky Element, which is the polar opposite of what we call the missing element here in the West. The Chinese say it is your lucky element because when it occurs and you find some of it in the world, you then come into balance. What you want or lack is what will make you whole. In my case, I want Air, so when I get any Air in life, I become more whole and balanced. You get the idea. Note the difference between the two systems. As you can see the Chinese have an interesting positive twist on what we tend to make a liability. It is this kind of (I call it profound) view that makes Chinese astrology so fascinating for me. Perhaps you can see why it interests me. Any thoughts?

Aversion is just another form of attachment.

Klesha, disturbing emotions, affliction, Poisons Attachment, Desire, Passion Aggression, Anger, Ignorance, Delusion Jealousy, Envy Pride Creative Force: 3rd Saturn Cycle I have written here many times about my first spiritual teacher, Andrew Gunn McIver, who was a traveling initiator for a Rosicrucian order. I knew him as a retired person living in Ann Arbor that I connected with in the mid-1960s. One of the concepts he empowered me with is that of the 30-year Saturn Cycle (29.4 years), similar to that presented in the quintessential book by astrologer Grant Lewi Astrology for the Millions, perhaps the only book I would take to a deserted island, although by now I know it by heart and have added my own two cents. Andrews take was different, yet supplemental to that given by Lewi. My teacher Andrew would explain to me that during the first thirty years of life, each of us is busy in time (within Saturns first orbit) building our body or vehicle, which he likened to a space capsule that would be launched, ready or not, at the age of thirty years. If we build that vehicle strong, it would last well into the future. If we did not, it would essentially not hold together and sustain us.

Andrew saw life beyond thirty years as if we were at that time launched into space, free-floating and endlessly separating from Earth as we know it, launched BEYOND time, beyond the grasp of Saturn and the physical. After that first Saturn return at 30 years, each of us is like in a space capsule, perhaps tethered to Earth, but beyond reach or touch. After thirty years of age we can no longer build our vehicle, any more than when the body reaches its physical prime, we can further enhance it. Instead, we sustain for a while and then fail in one way or another. He would also say things like, When does ice melt? and point out that between 32 and 33 degrees is when ice melts. Or when did Christ die on the cross? Again, at 33 years of age, or he would mention the 33rd degree of Freemasonry, and so on. His point was that it was somewhere around the Saturn cycle at 30 years or soon thereafter, that we leave the body, not at the live-long end of life. The real death is in the middle of life, not at the end. Think on that sometime. He went on to say that the second Saturn cycle, from 30 to 60 years, we spend repairing the damage we made being launched or born, and here is the interesting point for this particular blog. Andrew also said that in the 3rd Saturn cycle, from 60 to 90 years that, should we live so long and be aware, that we could actively partake in the creative process of life. It is this third Saturn cycle that I want to draw your attention to, which of course, is the cycle of Saturn I am in now. I pretty much understood Andrews description of the first two Saturn cycles, but of course that 3rd cycle I had very little clue or idea of. Well, that is changing now that I am in that cycle and I want to comment on

it as best I can. And an encounter with a very famous astrologer years ago now begins to make sense. I can remember the great astrologer Dane Rudhyar visiting the Heart Center in the early 1970s to give a talk. Of course we were honored to have him at our home, but a strange thing happened. Since I have many astrological ideas, I wanted to run some of them past Rudhyar, and one of them had to do with heliocentric astrology, my personal favorite technique. I dont remember his exact words, but when I asked Rudhyar about helio astrology, he seemed to dismiss it as of no importance or something like that. Of course, I was disappointed, but the story continues. Later in that same visit Rudhyar quite spontaneously began to speak on heliocentrics, this time praising and extoling it in a very forward-looking manner. He seemed to be speaking automatically, in an odd voice, almost as if he was reading from some inner script or source. Needless to say I was surprised at this reversal of opinion and also at the kind of robotlike tone in which he spoke. It gave me pause and I have never forgotten that event. Now that I am well into my 3rd Saturn cycle, I am myself experiencing something quite similar, the ability to pull from the ether ideas and insights almost at will, especially when asked a question. It is almost if as I grow older the top of my head becomes space itself and all that is in it, and here I am talking about the mind and mental space. The mind itself is a rich field of ideas, a wealth of information that just exists in there, ready to be read by anyone sensitive or open enough to do so. It would seem that age enables this to happen when coupled with developing basic awareness.

If there is a need, a question from a younger person, some reason to access these mind treasures, the information appears with even greater authority and strength. The Sun is powered by nuclear fusion which is emitted in the form of gamma rays that travel from the core until when they reaches the surface it is primarily in the form of visible light which radiates as sunlight. An image I will share with you is that of a shaft of energy shooting out from the Sun, fueled at the base of the shaft by magnetically charted plasma that forms a stalk of light that shines far out from the Suns center into the darkness shining. Now imagine innumerable shafts of light all over the surface of the sun shining in all directions (all ways) and we have the image of the Sun, that ball of fire radiating in the firmament. Inside the surface of the Sun is this very dense mass of molten plasma and far from that surface the stalk of light shining. Somewhere near the surface there is the conversion or transformation of the energy from This image of the active Sun is something we might study in physics class, but the inner and esoteric meaning is breathtaking in its profundity. This energy change is mirrored by the exchange between younger and older, student and teacher. Something is endlessly exchanged and everything also remains the same. Everything happens and nothing happens. This is the mystery.

The title of my first book published in 1975 was The Sun is Shining! And the image of the Sun shining has dominated my thoughts for many years. It is such an obvious symbol, but almost impossible to describe as regards its meaning. I mean the Sun shines! That ball of fire is what we call the Prime of Life, fueled from within by youth pushing to be born and from without by the shining light of older souls.

The Point of No Return Feb 14, 2006 2-4 PM, Grand Sextile Helio By Michael Erlewine A Poem for My Daughter Michael Anne The point of the point of no return is that: When you have reached the point of no return, From which there is no return, The point is to turn and return.

That is the turning point. Every life has a turning point, Whether its in the echo of age, Or in the very midst of lifes prime. As we reach our point of no return, We pause, Then we turn. And, in turning, we begin to reflect. In our reflection, And rising into view, Perhaps for the very first time, The Sun. Where before it was we who were seen, And others seeing, Now we are the mirror in which they see themselves, And we can see our self in them. What we once saw shining before us, as youths, That which we gladly embraced in our prime, And what we now see etched in the mirror of reflection,

Is our eternal Self, The Sun, Ever burning in the darkness of our life. Thats it. I understand this. What I find harder to understand, Yet still believe is: We didnt know it then; We dont know it now. We never knew it. In truth, It never was. IT NEVER WAS; It never will be. It is not now, And still, it is. It still is:

This most brilliant illusion, Shining in the mirror of the mind.

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