It bears repeating that the Sabian Symbols were not divined in order—blank cards with the degree numbers on the back were held up to the clairvoyant Elsie Wheeler by astrologer Marc Edmund Jones and Wheeler spontaneously came up with these images. The fact they follow a twelve-fold sequence is surely more than coincidence. And, so far as I know, I’m the only student of these symbols to simply apply the twelve-fold sequence of the zodiac to them. Just as yesterday was a symbol of revelation (associated with the eleventh sign of Aquarius) today is one of escape, a hallmark of the twelfth sign of Pisces.
An Evening Party of Adults On A Lawn Illumined By Fancy Lanterns is on the surface an image of respite from the daily routine, an escape from work and obligation. Yesterday children may have inhabited the same lawn, on a tree swing, an image of being open and curious and, like a child, ripe for learning, especially, spiritual teachings. Pisces’ power of dissolution may have diluted the power of the spiritual teaching, reducing it to a cultivated lawn party, with Chinese lanterns and probably liquor—the kind of party someone like Blanche Dubois, a Pisces archetype, might enjoy—”oh, look, we created enchantment”—but it is, by nature, all fancy and fairy favors, illusion and delusion, or is it. On the flip-side we do have an “illumined” setting and, perhaps, we are here creating a little slice of heaven on earth, the veil between the spiritual and the so-called real having been thinned out. In any case, it is an image of decompression and the letting down of guards, a retreat from the workaday worlds.
It seems rather pointed that yesterday was about children and that today is focused on adults. But remember these images were conceived all out of order. The minds at play here aren’t those of innocents; on the contrary, one imagines a great deal of sophisticated interplay, gossip, uninhibited advances and small soap-operatic intrigue. All is wit and whimsy, the shadow side of transcendence and sacrifice, the highest vibration of Pisces escape being that which unhinges us from material trappings, Pisces’ mutable-water signifying energetic, spiritual existence. As we try to create heaven through material means, especially sophisticated ones we get lost. Liquor or drugs or absinthe, perhaps, even in this setting, might seem to take us to an exalted place and, yes, perhaps it does illustrate to our all-too-human minds that different, altered states of awareness are possible for us to achieve, but drugs, or “spirits” like absinthe, the green fairy, ultimately lead us astray, further and further from that childlike state of pure revelation and that tree.
That said, it might take getting lost, as did a whole portion of the generation, back in the 1920s when these images were originally derived, in order to be found. There might be someone at the party who, confronted by the artifice of it all as a mirror of the state of selfhood, who escapes from the escape, slips away and finds that tree with its vacant swing. Now, as a result of having tasted the sweet life leading to certain decay, s/he might find revelation once again; and one more resonant than the casual encounter of that of a child. The false escape might open unto a true one, that of personal revelation and the impetus toward true transcendence of life’s ephemeral parties toward an everlasting celebration of self and universe. Intimation of immortality not imitation thereof.
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