Of Angels and Angles


“There are angels in your angles

There’s a low moon caught in your tangles

There’s a ticking at the sill

There’s a purr of a pigeon to break the still of day”

 Of Angels and Angles, The Decemberists , from the LP Picaresque,  Copyright © 2008 Colin Meloy

Listen to it here.


Of Angels and Angles:  The Cardinal Modality, Part One

One of the things I focus on most, when I teach any of my classes, from the Basics to advanced progressions, is the importance of the angles.  Angles are not just arbitrary lines by which we section the sky.  The angles themselves are highly sensitive, like antennae.  Think of them as magnetic gateways of experience which divide the eternal circle.  They are the bones, the spine, of the chart, the cross of matter, determined by time and space, by which a lifetime distinguishes itself from the ever-expanding potential of eternity.
A tall order.  And that’s only the beginning. 

Last week’s post on Mars and Saturn and the relationship planets which create the cardinal cross (Mars/Venus, Moon/Saturn) got me to thinking about the cardinal story.  On the surface, given the planets involved, one might think that cardinality, and the instinct that is inherent in it, is all about relationship.  After all, you’re pitting young lovers Mars against Venus right off the bat (Aries /Libra) and then switching over to the more mature Moon against Saturn, who are busy making careers and homes.  But relationship isn’t the purpose of the cardinal mode, it’s merely the processing of it.  What the cardinal mode is about, is initiation.  And the story of the cardinal mode is about the initiation of consciousness.   It’s about our awakening to ourselves.

Now, I know we’ve been told this since we first began to study astrology—but what does it really mean?

The dictionary definition of initiate is, “to begin, set going, or originate…”

And so we begin, first off, with Aries.  We assume an Aries is going to get things going.  They’re good at starting things, at being inspired (fire) to begin (cardinal).  The first cardinal sign is kind of like Neo in The Matrix.  He’s The One—literally.  Aries is associated with One.  Now, one of the great mysteries is, why begin?  Why initiate?  Why, in your great united  singleness, do you decide to start something, when presumably you’re content within yourself?  Ah, but are you?  Life is restless, ever percolating, ever bubbling over with the impulse to change, to grow.  What draws The One out of its singleness?  Easy.  The Two.  The One is seeking Other, and this is why relationship is sacred, and the symbol for the foundation of all existence.  This is the root of the initiating impulse of the cardinal mode.  I must move outward, towards what I (perceive I) am not.  It’s the beginning of beginnings, the primary initiation. Very Aries, isn’t it?

Material reality is also represented by the duality of the 2.  There is Self driven to Other, the “I” to the “Not I.”  Although we know that we are all united in our make-up, all sprung from the same sea of electrical impulses and molecules, we experience the world as our interaction with what we are not.  And this is the simple initiation of forward movement through time and space, which we call Life.

The Two is represented by Libra.  I know, I’m confusing you here.  Two is all about Taurus, right? It’s about having, it’s about material possessions, etc.  Ever wonder why Venus rules both Taurus and Libra?   This is why.   Libra is the seventh sign, but the impulse behind it is the two of duality and partnership.  Two is about relationship, about the opposition, about the exchange of energy between opposites that creates the world we have and own, as represented by Taurus  Ultimately, Venus is a connecting energy, and this is why Venus is the esoteric ruler of Gemini. 

All well and good.  We begin the movement outward, round the circle, and come to our first turning point, the first square of the cross of matter.  And here we find our second cardinal point, the I.C.—and Cancer.

I think an entire book can be written about the I.C. and its mysteries.  What does this murky, hidden, emotionally driven house (Cancer) have to do with initiation?  Cancer is notorious for going backwards. Have you ever watched a birth and been awed by the sheer force of life filtering through a body?  The I.C. is about the power of birth itself—the impulse to manifest (at the correct time) after the seed of life is quickened.  Women who have given birth know that once that life decides to manifest, there is nothing to do but hang on tightly.  The I.C. is literally about this power, the power of manifestation into the world.  Aries represents the impulse to consciousness, but the I.C. and Cancer is all about the initiation of individual consciousness into the world.  The first three houses represent a pre-conscious state, but the fourth house is where we become aware.  There is power in that awareness, the power to claim one’s individuality and go forth in life in full knowledge of it.  In understanding who we are, we can tap into the power of our inherited past to fully ground ourselves in experience and strengthen ourselves for the journey to come.  The fourth house is about sustenance of all kinds, which we get from the never-ending flow from the tap root of the chart.  It’s as if the I.C. is that force of the root that makes its way into the soil.

You can see clearly why motherhood and Cancer is associated with this cardinal point.  It is about manifestation of awareness into physical reality.  We can also see why the I.C. is considered vulnerable, and is the place in the chart where we  hide.  Where the 10th house is all about what we wish to display to the world, the I.C. and the fourth house is what we prefer to keep hidden.  Even if you have no planets in the 4th house, the I.C. can represent those things about your make-up that other people find hard to find or to know.  It’s almost as if we feel that the fourth house is where we hide our Kryptonite—and if anyone had access to it, we would be destroyed.  Alas, we often avoid our own power,, rather than face what we can be.  Alas, if we turn our heads away from our conscious awareness in the fourth house, what tools do we have when we must build a life for ourselves in the 10th?  Where are our materials, where are our resources? 

Often, we have a crisis in the 10th when we find ourselves empty handed…

This is a sampling of some of the material we will cover in more depth in the Basics Redux class.  Part Two next week.

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