Stellar radiations influence us in subtle and profound ways.Learn how we can take advantage of those forces in order to improve life for all of us. Genuine Astrology is a science of practical action or Gnosis (conscious knowledge), whose goal is a better world for us all. This free online course, originally given as live, unscripted lectures by two instructors, will introduce you to the true purpose of astrology.”… modern astrology, which is sustained on a false foundation, is a true failure. Now it is our responsibility to restore the authentic ancient astrology…”The planets move, evolve and progress within the consciousness. The sidereal temples are within the consciousness. The human being is a zodiac and the zodiacal belt is within the consciousness.” – Samael Aun Weor, Practical Astrology
A Gnostic Approach
To begin, it is always helpful to understand the context of our studies. As you know, we will be discussing the science of Gnosis, and as many of you know, this term gnosis is Greek and refers to knowledge. It is the root of many words that we use in common, everyday language, such as “diagnosis.”
The term gnosis does not refer to a simple intellectual form of knowledge or any kind of cultural or traditionally inherited knowledge, but instead it refers to a perceptible, experiential form of knowledge, something that is individual, something that is unique. Real Gnosis is not theoretical: it is one’s own experience, it is one’s own reality, it is the truth.We all have Gnosis to some level, to some degree, because we have some degree of consciousness, and in truth, Gnosis is the science of consciousness. To understand what Gnosis is, we must recognize what the consciousness is, and to work with the science of Gnosis is to work with one’s own consciousness.
From another point of view, we can say there are two doctrines that exist in the world: the doctrine of the eye and the doctrine of the heart.
The doctrine of the eye, related to the physical eye, is that collection of theories, collection of ideas, it is all the beliefs and traditions, all of the varying interpretations of spiritual knowledge. And as you know as an investigator of spirituality, the theories are as varied as the human beings themselves, and one theory will contradict another, and it is difficult to find any real truth.
But, in the doctrine of the heart we find the experiential knowledge, the doctrine of Gnosis, the doctrine that one grasps through one’s own effort. This type of doctrine, the doctrine of the heart, is not a cultural, it is not found in a book, it is not found in any school, nor in any religion. The doctrine of the heart exists within yourself, within your own heart. Residing in the depths of your own heart is a spiritual flame, a spark, which in Western traditions is called the Atom Nous. It is called an “atom” because of its relative size, not because it is a physical atom. The Atom Nous is a sort of architect, a kind of intelligence that resides in the heart of every humanoid, and it is from this atom within the heart that the Doctrine of the Heart can be discovered and learned.
When we approach the study of Gnosis, we have to bear in mind that if we limit ourselves to merely a theoretical analysis we will never grasp it, we will never find it. We will find only complication and contradiction, because theories always contradict other theories, and in this physical formation that people call “Gnosis” there are contradictions, but those contradictions are a matter of appearances: they are a matter that has to be comprehended in the consciousness. And the reason behind that is that the Heart Doctrine – or true Gnosis – is individualized as the Christ becomes individualized, as the Krestos, that Divine Intelligence, becomes individualized, and in that individualization the knowledge applies to the level of that aspirant, of that initiate. What is appropriate and good for an aspirant or an initiate at a certain level has to be abandoned by one at a higher level. Therefore, the one who limits his study to the intellect will perceive two contradictory instructions that apply to two different levels of development, and they will enter into conflict. The synthesis or the answer to that is to discover Gnosis inside of oneself, for oneself.
Gnosis demands exactly what the Buddha taught:
As the wise test gold by burning, cutting and rubbing it, So, bhikshus, should you accept my words — after testing them, and not merely out of respect.
You have to live these teachings, you have to apply them in your moment to moment existence, otherwise they have no purpose.We can say that Gnosis, this doctrine of the heart, is directed towards the expansion of our self-knowledge. To “know oneself” is to gather Gnosis of the truth of life and death of reality. This is not something to be taken lightly; the fact is that death awaits everyone of us. None of us know when the moment of our death will arrive; it could be today, it could be in the next matter of hours, and that comprehension, that recognition, is important because it provides a foundation for us to manage our attention, to manage our will, to not be distracted. Some traditions in the West have this phrase “Memento Morte,” “remember death.” The purpose behind that is to always be mindful of the present moment, and when we are mindful and present and observant of ourselves, we are standing in the door of Gnosis.
Gnosis as a Science and as an Art exists neither in the past, nor in the future. The only way to enter into and access Gnosis, or experiential knowledge, is in the present moment, and to do that, to acquire that, requires discipline, it requires effort, but most of all it requires consciousness, to be conscious, to be attentive, to be aware.This refers to one of the foundational teachings in this doctrine of the heart, which says that there are two lines that exist in life. There is the horizontal line that moves from birth through all the experiences we can have in life, to death. That line moves steadily in accordance with our Karma, in accordance with our karmic values, positive and negative, which are within us. Most of humanity remains on this line in ignorance, in confusion, in darkness, and this is because there are in truth four levels, roughly speaking, to the capacities of human consciousness.
If you can imagine a building that has four floors, most human beings (what we call “human beings”) live the entirety of their time within a physical body on the bottom two floors and have no idea about the other two.The first level, the bottommost level, is what we commonly call “sleep,” but in this case we would say this really refers to the sleep of the physical body. And this state is when we need to rest and we lie down; the physical body goes to sleep and the consciousness leaves the physical body and we begin to dream. In our own experience as an individual person, as one humanoid entity, what is our own experience of dreaming? This is a key factor of great importance in your life because it indicates your own conscious capacities. Most people do not remember their dreams or if they do, the dreams are very vague or sporadic and the ones they remember obscure, incoherent, and this is because the consciousness is weak, conditioned, trapped.
The second state of consciousness is what we call the “vigil state” and it is when our physical body is active, moving around, doing things, but, according to the heart doctrine, according to Gnosis, this is really just another level of sleep. And all of the great masters and prophets, teachers have said so. Jesus repeatedly emphasized that we are asleep, so did Buddha, so did Moses, so did Quetzlcoatl. All these great teachers point out to us that our consciousness is asleep. We think we are awake and this is the problem. We believe that we are awake because we perceive and act and we think that is equivalent to being awake, but it is not.
The Four States of Consciousness
Degree of Awakened Consciousness = AWAKE. The consciousness is completely awake. This is the level of Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, etc.
- Gnostic = Fourth State
- Greek = Nous
- Description: Objective, awakened consciousness; Objective Clairvoyance. Intuition. Samadhi. There is no dreaming in this state.
Degree of Awakened Consciousness = SEMI-CONSCIOUS. The consciousness is awake to some degree.
- Gnostic = Third State
- Greek = Dianoia
- Description: Self-remembering; continual directed attention, constant penetrating Self-observation; inner separation from thoughts, feelings and sensations. Accompanied by conceptual analysis, revision of beliefs, etc.
Degree of Awakened Consciousness = ASLEEP/DREAMING. The consciousness is asleep and dreaming.
- Gnostic = Second State
- Greek = Pistis
- Description: The so-called “Vigil State.” Marked by beliefs, concepts, ideologies, opinions, prejudices, theories, fanaticism, etc. Common humanity never rises above this state.The consciousness is deeply asleep and dreaming.
Degree of Awakened Consciousness = ASLEEP.
- Gnostic = First State
- Greek = Eikasia
- Description: Physical sleep; Marked by brutality, animal passion, cruelty, instinctive desire.
An awakened consciousness is something distinct, something different. The consciousness itself is the ability to perceive. It is perception, but it is not perception limited by the five senses. The consciousness can perceive more than merely the physical dimension, which is what we correspond to this second level of consciousness.
Many people have experiences of becoming very conscious and very awake in a dream, when the physical body is asleep. This is so commonplace that it cannot be ignored, and it in fact indicates precisely that the consciousness is not dependent upon the physical body. It is a separate entity, it is an entity which inhabits the physical body when it is necessary to do so, and when the physical body is discarded either at night when we sleep or at death (the great sleep), the consciousness moves to some other vehicle in order to operate. There are many vehicles that the consciousness can utilize, and it can even act without vehicles of any kind if it is trained.
When we are dreaming, the consciousness is inhabiting what we call the “Astral Body,” but in fact it is a protoplastmatic lunar body whose very particles belong to nature and whose core is karma. It is, in fact, the ego. That is why our dreams commonly, typically, are mere manifestations of desire, whether craving or aversion, whether desires of craving things or desires to avoid things. Most dreams manifest from this fundamental pendulum of craving and aversion.
The consciousness can be trained to be awake while the physical body sleeps. Some people call this “lucid dreaming” or “out of body experiences.” In the East, they call it Dream Yoga, which is one of the four yogas that Naropa taught. This science of Dream Yoga is an integral part of the Heart Doctrine of Gnosis because it is concerned directly with awakening the consciousness in the first level, when the physical body is sleeping.
But we also have to awaken the consciousness in the second level when the physical body is active. We commonly call this mindfulness, watchfulness, attentiveness, and we have practices of meditation whether walking or sitting, practices of concentration, Japa, many different types of techniques, the use of mantra or prayer, all of which exist in order to assist us as we train our attention. The training has as its purpose the development of the consciousness, the ability of the individual to maintain continuous consciousness. The difficulty is we feel we are already conscious. Why would someone try to get something they already think they have? This is the problem.
In truth, in the same way that the stars are not visible during the day, dreams are still there, we just don’t see them. But when we learn how to observe, to start the process, to learn the science of Self-observation, to be present from moment to moment, to remain watchful of everything that passes within our own psyche, we can begin to see the shocking truth of the dreaming mind; that this mind that we have continues dreaming all day long. Obviously, we have daydreaming, which everyone is familiar with, but dreaming is something that is happening all the time, below our awareness. We say in Gnosis that our consciousness extends only to a small part of who we really are and the purpose that we have is to expand that, to extend that, to become more conscious of ourselves, to know more about why we suffer.
Why do we suffer? Why are there so many problems? Why do we make ourselves suffer so much? Why do we make others suffer so much? Because of ignorance, because of craving, because of aversion. These three aspects, these three causes are symbolized in the very center of the Bhavachakra, the Wheel of Samsara. You see there a pig, a rooster, and a snake. These three symbolize three destructive factors that keep us trapped in this wheel of suffering: ignorance, craving, and aversion. Gnosis is the method, the science, to train the consciousness to perceive the causes of suffering which are within and in that way to begin to conquer them.
Consciousness in itself is light. Wherever you find light, you find consciousness. To the great astonishment of modern scientists, they are proving this. If you have done any investigation into quantum mechanics, modern physics, you’ll know what I am referring to. Scientists are amazed to discover that consciousness is far more than what they thought it was.
In Universal Gnosticism, it has long been taught (just as the Buddha taught) that every atom in nature has consciousness. Every atom is a combination of three parts: energy, matter, and consciousness. This is why scientists have been unable to create atoms, because they cannot manipulate the conscious aspect. They can manipulate matter, but that is all. The management of the consciousness belongs to the one who has consciousness developed, in other words, what our forefathers called the “Gods.”
The Gods were human beings, human beings who developed themselves and became perfect, like Jesus, like Buddha. We call them “Gods” because they have powers that the terrestrial human cannot even conceive, but which lay dormant, nestled within our very atoms, within our very structure. All our spiritual traditions exist in order to indicate and point the way for each person to develop that on their own, inside. In other words we seek light, to become a transmitter of light, to emit light, but light is consciousness, perception, reality.
This is not a theory, this is not an idea: this is palpable, this is something you have to taste, you have to experience. You have to create the causes which produce the effects. Believing in it will not help you, rejecting it will not help you. One has to experiment, to work.
To awaken the consciousness is to accumulate light, to begin to see new things. The doorway to that is the third state of consciousness. The third state is what we call Self-remembering; but the Self is the Real Self, the Being, the One who Is, our own Spirit, our own Sather, our own God, our own Divine Mother: the divinity that rests within us and that has given us existence, but whom we have forgotten.
The third state of consciousness is a state of active, expansive perception, from moment to moment. If your consciousness is passive, you are asleep. To be active means to be under the active guidance of attentive will, that is: you are consciously choosing what you perceive and how you perceive it. This does not require thought, it does not require belief, it has nothing to do with theory: it is an activity, an action, which has to be provoked, produced by will from moment to moment. And this is why spiritual aspirants learn concentration practices, how to follow a mantra, how to visualize, how to imagine. These are training exercises. They are preliminary exercises, which develop the capacity to remain in the third state of consciousness.
Meditation is the most potent tool for the development of the third state of consciousness – but by meditation I am not referring to preliminary concentration practices. I am referring to Pratyahara, to Dhyana, to Dharana, to Samadhi: to the levels of perception which exist beyond mere concentration. Concentration is the beginning; meditation is the door itself.
In that state of observation, one comes to recognize that the consciousness exists separate from the intellect, separate from feelings, separate from sensations. These three realms are what we call the Three Brains, which exist within every intellectual humanoid.
The Three Brains
The Three Brains are:
- The intellect, related to thoughts and ideas and theories
- The emotional center, the emotional brain related to feelings whether good or bad, liking and disliking
- The motor instinctual sexual brain, related to sensation, to instinct and to the functionalism of the sexual energy
These three brains are all transmitters and processors of energy, each one having its distinct purpose and function. The consciousness is separate from those three, but in us it is weak and the consciousness is tossed about in this mess of craving and aversion as our dreams, as our desires, process through our Three Brains all night long and all day long, with the end result that the energy, the light, is processed through our three brains in a harmful way. In other words, we are victims of our own mind.
We have pride within, we have anger, we have lust, we have fear, we have envy, gluttony, laziness, many defects, many problems, many mistakes, so many in fact that in the gospels they are called “the legion.” In the Egyptian mysteries, they are called the Red Demons. They are a multitude. They do not exist outside of us: they are inside, and they trap the consciousness.
By learning how to access and sustain the third state of consciousness, this profound, active, attentive state, we can begin to perceive those dreams, those desires, as they arise. We begin to perceive: “Oh here comes this resentment against my friend, which wants me to be critical and sarcastic and get revenge for something they said to me.” If we are consciously attentive, we can say no to our mind. “I am tired of suffering and I am tired of making people I love suffer.” So we can directly deal with that desire and conquer it. If not, we will continue to act mechanically, manipulated by all these hidden, sub-conscious, unconscious, and infra-consciousness desires. We are like puppets, like marionettes, manipulated by our own mind, by our own karma. This is the sad state of humanity.
Fortunately, there is a cure; there is an answer. The answer cannot be bought, there is no magic bullet, and there are no promises. The answer requires more energy and effort than you can possibly imagine. It requires your very life: the price is your life. The answer is to awaken.
You may recall that after the Buddha Shakyamuni had attained his comprehension, his enlightenment, he was approached by a Brahman, who, seeing that the Buddha was unusual, asked him, “Are you a man?”
The Buddha answered, “No.”
“Are you a God?”
The Buddha said, “No.”
The Brahman asks, “Then what are you?”
And the Buddha replies, “I am awake.”
Any Buddha, Angel, or Master was once like us.
Humanity is a womb within the body of the Divine Mother Nature. This womb is receiving influences, forces, energies, in order to gestate something, to generate the birth of something. There are two potential outcomes: Angels or demons. If you survey our current state of humanity, what would you say is the most common outcome?
We are not saying that demons are what we classically imagine, like people in red suits with pitchforks. The true definition of a demon is an entity which is divorced from God, which is completely separated, in other words: which has no conscience. Such a creature is able to commit extreme acts of harm and not regret it. They hurt others and feel good about that: this is a demon in Gnostic terms, and the world is filled with them.
An angel is pure of desire. An angel is not afraid. An angel is not lustful or proud. An angel does not have anger, or gluttony, or jealousy, or envy.
To become a demon is easy, very easy. A demon can pray and be religious, a demon can walk the streets like any person, can buy and sell and have children. A demon can also awaken consciousness, a demon can meditate, a demon knows many sciences that are esoteric. A demon knows many things that the common man does not. The difference is that the demon remains enslaved to desire.
Therefore, how do you see humanity going? I am not asking what you want to believe, I am asking you to see humanity as it is.
So this womb within the Divine Mother Nature is encircled by many forces acting upon it. The one we have gathered to discuss is the Zodiac. Twelve rays, twelve stellar influences, which descend and provide light, in other words consciousness, elements, influences.
Where does that light come from? Where does our own consciousness come from?
In the Kabbalah, we understand that at the root, at the base of all things, is emptiness, the nothing, the Ain. This nothingness is beyond concept.
From that nothingness, from within it, emerges a light, which is called the Ain Soph. Ain Soph means “limitless light.” The Ain Soph is the Being of our Being, our own inner star, a drop of that vast nothingness.
That drop extends itself and projects a light, a ray, which in Hebrew is called the Ain Soph Aur. Gurdjeff called it the ray of Okidanokh, the Aztecs call it Queztcoatl, in Sanskrit it is called Avalokitveshara, in Tibetan they call it Chenrezig, in English we call it Christ.
This light, the cosmic Christ, the light of the world, is the root of existence, the root of light, the root of life, the root of all things. It is not a person: it is an energy, a force, an intelligence.
That ray, the light itself, has three aspects. In the Pistis Sophia, these are called the three Amens. In Greek, they are the Three Logos (Logos means “word”). We are studying Astrology, Astro-Logos, or in other words, the Word in relation to the stars, in relation to the heavens. The Three Logos, the Trimurti: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, a trinity, a tri-unity, a three in one, which in Hebrew are Kether, Chokmah, and Binah. These three as one are the Cosmic Christ itself, they are God, the Father. These three are what give rise to the Kabbalistic world of Aziluth, which is the world of Archetypes. These Three are the root of all manifestation; they are the first manifestation.
When we look at these three individually, we see Kether, which means “the crown” in Hebrew. Kether is a state of pure becoming. Think about that. As this energy unfolds and emanates out of the nothingness, the first manifestation is a state of pure becoming. From this you may begin to grasp why the third state of consciousness is the doorway, because that third state of active, attentive awareness is a state of pure becoming when we perfect it. It is that means through which we can receive the influences and guidance of God. This is the doorway to the vertical line, the line of Being.
Being as a verb is active, it is present. “To be or not to be” is a very esoteric statement. Shakespeare was of course an initiate who knew Gnosis. “To be or not to be;” to be asleep or to be awake. When one learns how to be, to be present, to be attentive, to abandon the stale process of thinking, to abandon the identification with subjective emotion, to abandon the enslavement of sensations, one can Be. Therein lies peace, knowledge, understanding.
Through the doorway of the third state, when we become actively attentive and aware, our own inner God then has a direct connection to assist us. That connection is multi-faceted, but it has as its primary venue what Descartes called “the seat of the soul,” the pineal gland, which is in the center of the brain. The pineal gland is in charge of our endocrine system. It is that mysterious and beautiful leader that manages our metabolism, which manages melatonin, manages our process of sleep; this is key. The pineal gland manages the sleep of our physical body, it produces drowsiness – not only that, the pineal gland is made of the same tissue as your eyes. The pineal gland is the Third Eye: the pineal gland is the root of clairvoyance. It is the gland that is activated in meditation. When you close your eyes and see darkness now, then when the pineal gland becomes active and enflamed with the fire of the Holy Spirit with the fire of Christ, you close your eyes and you see light, you see the superior aspects of all things.
The pineal gland is governed by Aries, is influenced by Aries. The symbol of Aries is the Ram. A Ram is a male sheep who has not been castrated, meaning that a Ram has all of his masculine forces intact. He is virile, he is dominant, he is strong. And of course the Ram figures significantly in most of our world religions. Why? Why is Christ called the lamb of God? Why is the blood of the lamb so significant in Christian Mythology? Because Aries is a sign of fire. It is a sign of strong, positive forces.
When we are in the womb of nature, when our spark of essence enters into manifestation, into a body, we receive this influence of Aries amongst the other eleven. Our own Being, our own inner God, the deepest levels, the Ain Soph, projects from itself another level, which we call the Spirit. This is the second triangle on the Tree of Life, Chesed, Geburah, Tiphareth. This is what we call the Monad, which means Unity. The Monad is our own spirit which has three aspects.
The Monad also emits from itself another triangle, which is our soul, the human soul, which is made up of Netzach, Hod and Yesod; this lower triangle on the Tree of Life. Emerging from that triangle is our own physical body, which is symbolized here by Malkuth, the lowest sphere on the Tree of Life.
The spark of consciousness that we have is like a baby. It has evolved, it has grown through countless manifestations in lower forms of matter. Evolving up through the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms and through each level gathering influences, understanding and guidance and becoming gradually more sophisticated. Evolving from a simple mineral to a plant to more sophisticated forms of plants, to animals, to more sophisticated forms of animals until finally having become sophisticated enough, it enters into the humanoid kingdom, and receives a humanoid body, which is the most beautiful creation of nature; this physical organism which is so incredibly sophisticated that we have a scant notion of what lies within it.
That essence, the consciousness, revolves, it maintains itself. It is an energy, which as you know cannot be destroyed. That energy simply takes new bodies, one after another, for a specified period of time according to a cycle of evolution. Through those bodies successively that conscious spark is receiving influences from nature.
According to the esoteric doctrine of Buddhism, we have the teaching of the Buddha’s Necklace that we see symbolized in some wheels of Samsara by not the centermost wheel, but just outside of it. You see a cycle of human bodies evolving up and devolving down. The number 108 signifies the number of existences each essence is allotted in the humanoid kingdom. We have 108 opportunities to gather Gnosis, to gather knowledge, to perfect ourselves. Those 108 lives are equivalent to nine existences in each of the twelve signs. In other words, our consciousness passes through each sign of the zodiac in its progression, in its development. We have within ourselves those influences, the elements, the knowledge, the potentialities.
To look at this from another angle, we can see how the Tree of Life is related to the four worlds of Kabbalah, and as our essence descends through each of those successive worlds, or those successive trees, we are also receiving influences. Firstly from our own ray, the Ain Soph gives rise to that first becoming of Kether, Chokmah, Binah. That ray, that three-in-one, is modified by the law of seven, the seven spirits before the throne, the seven archangels. Those seven permeate our consciousness with influences, potentialities; these are the seven virtues of the soul; humility, chastity, love, temperance, happiness for others. These potentialities for virtues are placed there by the cosmic intelligences which manage those seven rays. They do this through Daath, the hidden sphere, through a creative process related to the throat.
If you analyze this tree and you place it over the human organism, from top to bottom, Daath, the hidden sphere, or in other words the Tree of Knowledge from the Bible, is exactly at the throat. So when God creates, He says, “Let there be light” – this is through the throat, through the Word, through the Logos, the sacred word.
When the forces of the seven rays are placed into that essence, it descends further and receives influences from the twelve, the macrocosmic zodiac or that stellar zodiac that we observe in the sky. Every one of those suns has within it an intelligence; everything in nature is intelligent. Every atom, likewise every planet has an anima-mundi, a spirit, a soul, an intelligence. In other words you could say the suns, the planets are the bodies of angels and archangels, cosmocreators. The conscious essence of those cosmic bodies learned how to create mineral bodies, plant bodies, animal bodies, then humanoid bodies, perfecting themselves in each level, until they began to make more sophisticated forms of life, like planets, like suns. This is why the Christ is called the Sun, the light of the world, the solar light, because the Sun itself is a vehicle itself of that Christic force.
So as the essence descends through these four worlds to finally enter into manifestation, it receives all of these potentialities, gifts, virtues from the Gods. This is why in the Pistis Sophia, the Christ speaking through Jesus says as much. He says:
For this cause have I chosen you verily from the beginning through the 1st mystery.
The 1st mystery is Kether, the 1st Arcanum.
“Rejoice then and exult, for when I set out for the world, I brought from the beginning with me twelve powers, as I have told you from the beginning, which I have taken from the twelve saviours of the Treasury of the Light, according to the command of the First Mystery.”
The twelve saviors are twelve Masters, Angels, Gods, Devas, Buddhas, who were human beings, who elevated themselves to the degree of sophistication and wisdom that they are in charge of a zodiacal sign. It is their duty to deliver the influence of that stellar force to all the creatures that exist in the inferior levels, and to guide them, to assist them. Those are the twelve saviors, who deliver onto the Christ the twelve powers. The twelve powers are those virtues.
Related to Aries, there are certain virtues, certain capacities, that we receive, and in particular it is the potential for Penance, or the gifts that Penance can deliver onto the soul. This is the capacity to withstand suffering, to transform it, and make it into something beautiful, the way the great saints and martyrs have always done. This capacity comes through Aries, the virile force of the lamb, the Christ, whose very essence is sacrifice; do you follow that? If the lamb, the Christ, if his existence is determined by love, by sacrifice, then through Aries he gives us the gift of Penance: the ability to suffer, but to suffer with virtue, to suffer with humility, to suffer with strength.
(Continued in part 2.)