An Officer Instructing HIs Men Before A Simulated Assault Under A Barrage of Live Shells brings us half way to the end mark of the final sign of this Zodiac year at 15° Pisces. Our dear Sabian Symbol scholar Dane Rudhyar suggests that this oracle portrays the need for rehearsing before any complex and inherently dangerous social ritual in which power is used or evoked. I’m a big believer in rehearsal myself, but it doesn’t always utterly prepare you, although it never hurts. Here we are mainly preparing for a confrontation with a superpersonal group of/or occult power, as pointed to in previous symbols. Conflict is always to be expected, whether in a social context or along hte occult journey. And so one must prepare for it, staging drills or simulations.

Dane Rudhyar says that the struggle we encounter might be against “the ghosts of the unfulfilled past” or “unlived life”—most of you know what I’m talking about. Weirdly, I hapeen to know a lot of people who are completely fulfilled in that they are living the lives they’ve pretty much wanted but that has its own struggles because that doesn’t necessarily head pain or depression off at the pass either. The struggle against an unfulfilled past could mean not having the career you wanted or the family life you wanted or the love life you wanted or the life of health you wanted. Or the struggle could be in confronting some pent up or ignored karma, which might be the umbrella term for all of the above. Dane Rudhyar makes this interesting point with which I’m not sure where he’s going except to link it to the title of this oracle. He says: “Pisces refers to a period in the year during which many generals and admirals have been born. The rules of the game, at least in tradition forms of warfare can be known. ONe may have to rhears the dangerous play, just as our astronauts endlessly reheared every stepi in the moon landings.” Seriously I don’t know what he’s talking about but I do think it interesting that generals and admirals are born in Pisces….I would have said they were born in March (named for Mars the god of war) but in the sign of Aries, late March, not Pisces.

Anyway, that was a tangent. I am looking at the fact that Sagittarius rules this image in a twelve-fold sequence and the only link I can really make here is that signs rule over big-brotherhoods (in contrast to it’s opposite sign of Gemini’s rule over small brotherhoods and boon companions). Sagittarius rules the Patriarchy, big old boys, and larger networks of male dominated mileux like the weird secret elite male-only hunting socieites like St. Hubertus wherein Scalia kicked the bucket. Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, named for the chief god (Greek: Zeus) who gave birth to his “twice born” son Dionysus who was rescued from his mother’s womb, after Juno/Hera showed her full radiance and set Semele, his mother, on fire—Sagittarius is the mutable fire sign and it points to Jupiter’s unpredictable lightning just as it does to the power goddess Juno’s blinding and burning radiance—Jupiter, sewing the fetus into his thigh (the body part ruled by Sagittarius) in which to completely gestate the young god. So the father gives birth to the son, taking on the goddess’s natural estate; and Dionysus emerges, literally, as a male nature god, further coopting the realm of the mother/nature. The world of admirals and generals and their soldier sons thus falls under the heading of this male-only environment and experience.

In the simulation suggested by this image, soldiers will practice being sacrificed like pawns. The mental state in which one must put themselves in order to give their lives for the totality of the male whole or big-brotherhood is one of total dedication and devotion to the whole, wherein one’s individual part or ego must be laid down. Metaphorically, we see the individual sacrificing his ego to the larger organic body of the Brotherhood. This signals ultimate integration. There may be personal valor in the sacrifice but the value is certainly on the group.

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