Who am I? This is an age old question that has dominated philosophy and spiritual thought for millenia. In the Enlightenment, René Descartes made the well-known statement, “Cogito ergo sum,” or “I think, therefore, I am.” This idea has dominated Western thought since that time, and it is the Rationalist approach to this question.
Traditional thought has a much different answer to this question, and this answer can be seen in the symbols of the glyphs for the Janyati and their planets. Each of the Janyati/planetary glyphs are made up of three symbols, the circle, the crescent, and the cross. In a recent article, I included a very humble drawing that I made showing the Traditional Model of the Cosmos, and I used the glyphs in that drawing. If you look at the glyphs, you will see that each of these glyphs is made up of one, two, or three of these symbols in various combinations.
The cross is the symbol of the material world. It is also the symbol of humans as Axial Beings with the capacity for Free Will. I have spoken at length about the symbol of the cross in previous articles. An introductory article regarding the symbol of the cross can be found here. As you can see, the symbol of the cross is found in all of the non-luminary planetary glyphs.
The luminaries, the Sun (Sai Raya) and the Moon (Sai Candre), are the only glyphs that contain only one symbol. The cross is not contained in either of these glyphs. This is because the principles that they represent are beyond and independent of the material world. These are the pure solar and lunar principles, and these principles are the answer to the question, “Who am I?”
At the very deepest level, we are One with the Divine and with all of existence. This is stated in many places in feminine Scripture:
“For the Spirit is One, and I am the Spirit, and you are the Spirit also, in the innermost temple of your heart.” – The Temple of the Heart
“Raise not thy voice above a gentle tone except it be in song, nor seek to place thyself above another, for the spirit in each is a ray of the Spirit My Mother, and as thou render service unto them, so servest thou also Her.” – The Heart of Water
“If thou wouldst find union with our Mother, know that thou has never left Her.” – Cry Marya
This Mystery is not only found in the Deanic/Filianic tradition, but is found deep in the teachings of all legitimate traditions. This is the Mystery of the Atman and the Spirit. The circle is the symbol of this Mystery. The glyph for the Sun is a point* surrounded by a large circle, which is the Mystery of the Spirit that is both deep within us and far outside of us. The Mystery is explained (as well as it can be explained in words), in the Temple of the Heart:
Know your own heart and make examination thereof; for if you know not your own heart, there can be no true knowledge of anything. But within the innermost temple of your heart shall you find the seas and the heavens and all the illimitable cosmos; For the space within this temple is as vast as the manifest universe.
The ignorant eye shall not see this temple from without, For it is smaller than the seed of an apple, and the seventh part of a seventh part divided again until what part remains can be seen nor touched nor tasted.
The ignorant eye shall not see this temple from within, for it is vast as the manifest universe.
Beyond life, beyond death is the temple, for it is a temple of the Spirit.
Within this Mystery is a paradox. We are One with the Divine, yet we are also separate from the Divine. The Deanic/Filianic Mythos, as well as the Mythos of many religions, teach of our turning from the Divine, or our choosing separation from the Divine. In the Temple of the Heart, it says, “About this temple and encompassing it round grows a garden rank with thorns, which are the thorns of khear.” In the Deanic/Filianic tradition khear is that which keeps us separate from the Divine. Khear is similar to sin in the Christian tradition, but it has slightly different connotations. In the Creation Mythos of the Deanic/Filianic tradition, after Axial Beings choose separation, the Light of the Mother became too bright to look upon, and needed to be mediated by the softer reflected Lunar Light of the Daughter.
The symbol of the crescent is the symbol of the softer Lunar Light. This symbol is also the symbol for our individual souls, seen in the crescent within a crescent in the symbol for the Moon. Our souls are the lesser reflection of the Solar Spirit within, and they are the part of us that is both eternal, but also experiences death and rebirth. The Mystery of our soul is complex, and I have been told that one Eastern meditation exercise is to contemplate one’s own soul and the boundaries of one’s soul. Any astrologer who has studied Nativity charts knows how complicated and intricate each individual is, filled with contradictions and twists and turns. Even Modern psychology, as limited as it is, recognizes concepts such as our Inner Child. Many of us function with multiple personae, such as our work persona, our parent persona (for those with children), and our persona with friends. Do these personae represent who we are, are they functional, are they something in between? The answers to these questions are not always all that clear, are they?
As stated before, the non-luminary planetary glyphs are symbolic of the way that each of these Janyatic/planetary principles mediate the Light of the Solar Spirit and the Lunar Crescent in the material world.
*Below is an excerpt from a comment from Cure Tadashiku regarding the point in the center of the Solar Glyph:
The center of the Solar glyph is…….the Point without extension:
2. Yet from the still point all movement comes; and Earth is the shadow of Heaven. 3. Space doth extend without limit, nor is there any boundary to the worlds, but the Point is without extension; yet from the Point alone all space proceedeth. 4. All manifest things are bound to the three times; of that which is, which was, which is to come; but the Moment is without time. It neither is nor was, nor ever will be.
The Solar glyph is precisely the extension of manifestation with the non-extended, unmanifest Point at its Center.
Thank you for the information, Cure Tadashiku.
14 thoughts on “Who Am I? Spirit and Soul”
There’s a well known essay “Who am I?” (Nan Yar in Tamil) written by Sri Ramana Maharshi, the most well-known teacher of Advaita Vedanta of the last century. Sri Ramana taught the method of self-enquiry (atma vichara) that concentrates on distinguishing Self or Spirit from non-Self by silently asking this very question.
A translation of this essay with commentary by a leading Sri Ramana scholar is available at http://davidgodman.org/rteach/whoami1.shtml.
The Filianic Scriptures are also notable in presenting the non-dual teaching at the core of the perennial philosophy.
Thank you so much for the information and the article, Mr. Philemon.
I apologize for not mentioning this earlier, but there is a small point that should be noted. The center of the Solar glyph is not a very small circle, but the Point without extension:
Since the circle is actually the extension of the Point (and yet the Point also remains unextended) there is a sense in which the Point could be called a very small circle but that is not really what it is. At most it could be called an infinitesimal circle in that it contains the circle in potentia but does not actualize it. The Solar glyph is precisely the extension of manifestation with the non-extended, unmanifest Point at its Center.
Thank you for the clarification, Tadashiku-san. That was helpful and interesting!
I will correct the article accordingly. I greatly appreciate your knowledge and wisdom.
I would love to hear you write more about the active and passive principles and their significance on our lives.
Thank you for your comment. I may write a more specific article about that in the future. On the other hand, I am one of the writers for another blog, Temple of the Home, which can be found here: http://templeofhestia.wordpress.com/.
Temple of the Home is a more worldly blog, in which we discuss rather practical ways of reclaiming and honoring the feminine principle. That blog is for a bit of a different audience. On that blog, metaphysical principles are discussed in a more cursory fashion, and links are provided to this and other blogs for those more interested in the metaphysics involved.
I was thinking more in line with how they are related to the masculine vs feminine distinction in astrology.
As you probably know, not only are there masculine and feminine signs, there are also masculine and feminine degrees within a sign. For a long time I have been scratching my head whenever I read about these distinctions (in Valens and Maternus, the two works that I am analysing right now), and your idea that they refer to the active vs passive principles shed some light in how they may be used in delineations.
It brings to mind the hot humour vs the cold humour, which was part of a central theory in ancient Greek medicine. Astrologically, Ptolemy considered warmth to be conducive to life and coldness as inimical to life.
It also reminded me of geomancy, another divination system where, traditionally, one draws sixteen lines of dots and then derive four geomantic figures called Mothers, from which the readings will be based. The geomantic figures are four-line pictograms, each line representing one of the four elements. Each element can be active or passive, and this influences the overall interpretation of any particular symbol.
I’ll stay tuned to your entries here!
Oh gosh! I am still working through a lot of these things. I have not used masculine and feminine degrees in practice, although I have heard about them.
The reason that I am working through the feminine/masculine concept in practice, is that I think that the system that we have been taught, the Classical system from the Mediterranean and Middle East, has likely reversed the concept of masculine and feminine. In older traditions, such as the Japanese tradition, and the Celtic tradition, the Solar was feminine and the Lunar was masculine. To further complicate matters, I am working towards centering my practice in the Filianic tradition in which *all* aspects of the Divine are feminine, the Solar, Lunar, and all of the planetary principles. So, maybe once I work this out enough to speak with some measure of confidence, I will write about it .
Actually, in practice, I am finding the day/night and warm/cold distinctions more useful. The correlation between this and active/passive is a bit difficult too, though.
For example, the Moon is classified as cold. She is also a nighttime planet. Indeed, she is the Ruler of the Night. Likewise, the Sun is warm, daytime, and the Ruler of the Day. We are taught that cold slows down activity, so would seem to be passive, and heat speeds up activity, so would seem to be active. Yet, metaphysically the Sun is the unmoving center and the Moon is active, and indeed the Moon governs all activity! Astrologically, the Moon governs all activity as well, as she is the trigger for all of the other planets.
Another metaphysical discrepancy with practice is Venus (the planetary representative of Sai Sushuri in the Filianic tradition). In the Classical tradition, she is a nighttime planet. That would seem to make her cold, although I guess there is discord in the Classical tradition regarding this. Metaphysically though, she represents the Warmth of the Sun, as Mercury (the planetary representative of Sai Mati in the Filianic tradition) represents the Light of the Sun.
Of course, I have accepted that the practical application of the planetary principles in applied astrology can and often does vary from the pure metaphysical principles. The analogy is the Moon’s reflection on the water, which does not look exactly like the Moon.
Also in practice, all of these planetary principles vary according to accidental placements. For example, the Sun is hot during the Spring and Summer seasons, and cold during the Autumn and Winter seasons. Likewise, the Moon is hot during her waxing phase and cold during her waning phase, and Venus is hot when oriental and cold when occidental.
Whew! See what I mean about being rather confusing! Of course, this just gives us all more to learn, and this is why I like the tradition that one always remains a student of astrology!
I believe that you learned about the Moon signifying activity from the Mediaeval traditions. In actuality, according to Valens at least, it is the Sun that symbolises activity (Schmidt’s translations of “action” and “motion” allows us to infer that the principle of activity is symbolised by the Sun). The Moon, although it is the fastest moving star from a geocentric perspective, signifies the human condition of change and impermanence, not activity.
Perhaps reading my thread “The Anthology (Valens) – My Ongoing Interpretation” in the Skyscript forum will shed some light on what I mean.
I think of it this way; the Sun emanates heat, and heat is one of the main forms of energy (we know this from studying physics). The Sun itself does not move, but it gives us the energy to aspire, to produce things (heat is radiated; no visible movement is required to transmit the energy). The Moon is thought of by Valens as possessing a counterfeit light, because whatever light and heat it has, it receives them from the Sun.
So perhaps the Sun authorises (think about it, the Sun signifies authority!) the Moon to govern material activity in the sublunary realm. In other words, the Moon is a messenger from the ultimate “God”, but is not God. Although the Moon signifies material activity (ever wondered why the Moon signifies the body?), we are only able to carry out those activities because of the heat we receive from the Sun.
Also note that the Moon is not actually the counterpart of the Sun in terms of the signification of activity. The Moon does not signify passivity or inactivity, although it is somewhat cool (not cold, but tending towards cold, though you’ll have to check as I based my understanding on an outdated translation on Ptolemy by Ashmand). In this respect, the Sun’s opposite is Saturn! He is the bringer of limitations, which also includes inactivity (see my thread). This is VERY consistent with his nature: excessively cold.
Venus is actually (surprise, surprise) warm and moist, according to Ptolemy (again, I used Ashmand’s 1800+ translation, but I’ve checked this, and it seems to be consistent with Greenbaum’s table).
Interesting that you mentioned Mercury as the Light of the Sun. Mercury is another intriguing case. It is another messenger of the Sun. In Valens, both the Sun and Mercury represent intellect, but the Sun represents the more immaterial intellect, more specifically, The Form of The Good. Mercury, on the other hand, seems to represent the more practical and earthy intellect, although it is supposed to convey the Good to people.
In Schmidt’s translation, the Sun is “the light of the mind”, and here we can extrapolate this and say that Mercury is a messenger to convey that light. But due to our human nature, we can only see things that are familiar in form to us. The Jungian archtypes, the stars, both are conveyed via material, anthropomorphic forms.
Hence, Mercury does convey the Good to us, but through more practical and material forms that we are more acquainted with.
So we have Moon, the Messenger of the Body, and Mercury, the Messenger of the Mind. Very neat, huh? And notice how they are both fast moving stars, both representing changes and impermanence. Why? Well, according to Plato’s cosmogony, the stars that are farther away from the Earth are more perfect and unchanging, while the stars closer to the Earth are more imperfect and subjected to change. One way of seeing this is that the Moon and Mercury, in order to be effective messengers, present themselves in forms that reflect the conditions of the Earth (more “down-to-earth”). This is the same reason why Mercury communicates to us in a more material manner.
The nature of the stars do not change, it is the manifestation of their effects on individuals and their terrains that change. So although the Sun becomes cold in Winter, it’s not that the Sun itself becomes cold, it is the earth that becomes cold.
Oops, I had not initially intended to make a long post. Sorry if I rambled on for too long!
Thank you for your very thoughtful, thorough, and informative comment. I just read the thread you referred to, and you have done a very thorough job in summarizing Valens. Your notes are quite interesting and helpful.
Your description of activity emanating from the Sun fits with the Solar symbol as Tadashiku-san noted, the circle of manifestation coming from the unmanifest and unmoving point.
I have rather recently been studying metaphysics and thealogy from a Deanic/Filianic perspective, after a lifelong study of astrology. In the Filianic tradition the planets are physical representations and signs for the Janyati (Great Angels or Aspects of the Divine). By the time of the Hellenist astrologers in the West, knowledge of the Janyati had already been reduced and diluted to separate gods and goddesses. Plato was a traditionalist in his day and age, trying to re-teach wisdom that had been lost or diluted from the Primordial Tradition.
The dilution can be seen in the delineation of Mercury. Mercury is the representative of Sai Mati, Divine Intellect. In the Buddhist tradition, Mercury in considered the “Little Sun.” Venus (Sai Sushuri in the Filianic tradition) similarly had her associations diluted to romantic and erotic love. Her fully association is Divine Love, from which all other love is derived.
In applied astrology, neither Mercury or Venus are very far from the Sun, and on a spiritual level, they represent two distinct paths…the Way of Light (or learning and knowledge) and the Way of Love (mercy and compassion for others). These paths are not separate as they may seem to be. In feminine Scripture it says, “Perfect love is perfect knowledge, and perfect knowledge is perfect love.” This is why Mercury is the Light of the Sun, and Venus is the Warmth of the Sun.
For a further discussion of the relationship of the Sun (and the Moon) to intelligence and reason, you can read a previous article I wrote: http://appleseedtreeoflife.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/mummies-and-luminaries/
Oh yes, you may also want to read the previous article I wrote about the Traditional Model of the Cosmos: http://appleseedtreeoflife.wordpress.com/2012/12/30/the-traditional-model-of-the-cosmos/
I would write more, but my mother and my grandmother are here are wanting to move on to lunch! So..I better go!
Anyways, thank you very much for your comment. It was quite informative and useful!
My knowledge of astrology is superficial, at best. However, I have long found astrology to constitute a subtle and profound symbolic system. The application of this system to specific questions is revealing without being in any way deterministic.
In considering the duality of active and passive, which is properly the duality of manifestation as such, I think firstly of the Far Eastern duality of Yin and yang. Yin, in particular, represents duality, symbolized by the divided line. Yin, the passive, receptive principle, is usually seen as feminine, and yang the active principle as masculine, but I think only from a limited perspective. Rene Guenon addresses the question of perspective in the Symbolism of the Cross:
“every true analogy must be applied inversely”,
“just as the image of an object in a mirror is inverted in relation to the object, so that which is the first or greatest in the principial order is, in appearance at least, the last or smallest in the order of manifestation.” (Chapter Two – the Universal Man)
“it is clear that a complementarism such as the active and passive can be regarded at different levels, so that one and the same term can play an active or a passive role, according to what it is placed in correlation with; but in every case it can always be said that in such a relationship the active term is, in its own order, the analogy of Purusha and the passive one that of Prakriti.” (Chapter Six – the Union of Complements)
This recalls the recent discussion about the metaphysical sophistication of some Anime. The Yin/Yang duality represented in Futari wa Pretty Cure is a illustrative of the complexity of the multiple perspectives (Earth and Heaven). Honoka – Cure White clearly represents the vertical axis (Purusha) and Nagisa – Cure Black, the horizontal axis (Prakriti). The character Honoka is lunar and dark (passive) and Honoka is solar and bright (active), yet the principial forms are reversed:white (active) and black (passive). Honoka is sattwic and Nagisa rajasic. The duality of manifestation is also presented by these characters in wholly feminine terms.
That is interesting how Cure Black and Cure White are reversed in Futari wa Pretty Cure, isn’t it? I wondered about that. Maybe that will make more sense later in the series…although, I am nearing the end. It is also interesting how they can not do any attacks separately, which fits with the concept that yin/yang are completely interdependent.
It is indeed most interesting. Of course, I confused the issue by mixing up the roles in the comment above. Honoka is Cure White, and Nagisa is Cure Black. Some of the other symbolism is telling as well. Nagisa lives with her young family in an apartment (modernity). Honoka lives only with her grandmother in a classical japanese house (tradition). Honoka is intellectual and organized (the queen of knowledge) while Nagisa is physical but disorganized (the sports champion). Nagisa’s companion mepple, the chosen protector, comes to her across space. Honoka’s companion mipple, the princess of hope, comes to her across time.
I think the symbolism of vertical and horizontal applies quite consistently, while dark/light, in particular, changes as the roles change, at least in this presentation.
I am getting near the end of Futari wa Pretty Cure, and forget everything I said about it not being as metaphysically accurate or profound as the later series. In addition to the yin/yang symbolism, it seems to really describe the situation with the Outer Planets, with the Three Seeds of Darkness.
I guess I should not say more to avoid spoilers, but I am quite impressed!