3. Spiritual Effects of the Zodiacal Constellations. - Part 2
PISCES, THE FISHES
This sign is also dual. In Aries we have the duality which is attached to the bringing together of spirit and matter in the great creative activity of manifestation at the beginning of the evolutionary cycle, whilst in Pisces we have the fusion or blending of soul and form as far as man is concerned, producing the manifestation of the Incarnated Christ, the perfected individual soul, the completed manifestation of the microcosm. Thus the greater and the lesser polar opposites—the human being and God, the microcosm and the Macrocosm—are brought to their destined expression and manifestation. Until man is nearing the goal, these words mean but little though a study of the sign Pisces in the two ways intended may reveal much that is significant and suggestive. The goal of Deity, the emergence of God's plan and the nature of His eternal purpose is for us only a subject of interested speculation. There is a possibility that this plan and purpose may be vastly different to our surmise which is based upon our formulation of a Deity who is the product of our mental processes and of devoted idealism (two of the three aspects of the personality nature), and the attempt to interpret His infinite purposes in terms of our own finiteness. Let us always remember this. The mechanism for divine perception has not yet been developed in the human family on any large scale and is only achieving some measure of usefulness in the initiate of the third degree.
This duality of Pisces must be studied in relation to its three keynotes which are
1. Bondage or captivity.
2. Renunciation or detachment.
3. Sacrifice and death.
In the first cycle of experience upon the wheel, the soul itself is in captivity to substance; it has come down into the prison house of matter and linked itself to form. Hence the symbol of Pisces, of the two fishes linked together by a band. One fish stands for the soul and the other for the personality or form nature, and between them is to be found the "thread or sutratma," the silver cord which keeps them bound to each other throughout the cycle of manifested life. Later on, upon the reversed wheel, the personality is brought into captivity by the soul, but for long aeons the situation is reversed and the soul is the prisoner of the personality. This dual bondage is brought to an end by what is called the final death, when the complete release of the life aspect from the life of form takes place. It should be borne in mind also that the soul itself is of the nature of form from the standpoint of the Monad, though it is a form far subtler than any that we know in the three worlds of human evolution. There is also a dual renunciation referred to in these key words, for first of all the soul renounces the life and light of the Monad, its source (symbolized by the words "the Father's home"), and descends into the ocean of matter; then, reversing itself, the soul renounces the life of form, the personality centre. The soul detaches itself (in consciousness) from the Monad, the One, and functions from its own centre, making its own new and material attachments. Then, upon the reversal of the wheel, it proceeds to detach itself from the personality and re-attach itself in consciousness to the One Who sent it forth. Such is the climaxing story of Pisces. The Lords of Will and Sacrifice come down into manifestation, sacrificing their high position and opportunities upon the higher planes of manifestation in order to redeem matter and raise the lives by which it is informed (the lower Creative Hierarchies) to the  status of Themselves in so far as They constitute the fourth Creative Hierarchy. This is the subjective purpose, underlying the sacrifice of these divine Lives Who are ourselves essentially, Who are qualified by knowledge, love and will, and animated by ceaseless persevering devotion. They seek to bring about the death of the form in its occult significance and the consequent release of the indwelling lives into a higher state of consciousness. Of this process, all the world Saviours—past, present and to come—are the manifested symbols and the eternal guarantees. It is in such recognitions as these that the mainspring to the life of service must be sought. People born in this sign are frequently to be found serving the race and ministering to its needs upon some level of consciousness. Thus they are prepared for the final sacrifice in Pisces which "absorbs them back into their originating Motive," as the Old Commentary expresses it. It is for this reason that the life of service and the directed intention to serve constitute a scientific mode of achieving release. In Aquarius, the sign of world service, the lesson is finally learned which produces the world Saviour in Pisces. Hence my constant emphasis upon service.
When the individual man enters upon his cycle of incarnations, and emerges in the sign Cancer, which is found in the Cardinal Cross, he metaphorically mounts the Mutable Cross and his long term of imprisonment in form begins and the lessons of servitude must be learned. He goes on learning until he has transformed servitude into service. He alternates between the pairs of opposites, both from the astral, emotional angle and from the point of view of the four arms of the Mutable Cross. The fluid, sensitive temperament in Pisces—mediumistic and psychically polarised—must be stabilised in Virgo, in which sign mental  introspection and critical analysis become possible and serve to arrest the fluidity of Pisces. These two signs balance each other. We might study the dual process taking place upon the wheel through the medium of the Mutable Cross of which Pisces forms a part in the following manner:
1. Pisces—Here the beginner upon the way of life starts with a material receptivity which will enable him to respond to all contacts in the cycle of manifestation. He is, at this stage, negative, fluid and endowed with an instinctual consciousness which contains within itself the potentiality of the intuition. But the seed of the intuition is dormant. The mind which is the instrument of reception from the intuition is, at this stage, unawakened.
2. Sagittarius—Here the ordinary man begins to demonstrate a tendency to become more focussed and the fluidity and negativity of Pisces become concentrated upon the attainment of that which is desired. The man demonstrates one-pointed selfish instincts and though he may be, for instance, friendly and kind, it is through a desire for popularity. This is a good expression of the individual Sagittarian subject and shows also the tendency of the soul to turn all evil eventually into good. The lessons of life are being learned and experiment is going on.
3. Virgo—In Virgo, the man who was fluid in Pisces and emotionally selfish and full of desire in Sagittarius, begins to focus still more intently and to reason and think. The latent soul is becoming interiorly active; a germination process is proceeding; the hidden man is making his presence felt. The intellect is awakening  and instinct—after passing through the emotional stage—is being transmuted into intellect.
4. Gemini—In the undeveloped man or the average man, the experiences undergone on three arms of the Mutable Cross have brought him to the stage where the "dream of life" can be changed into the recognition of the reality, and the Great Illusion can be seen as undesirable and untrue. The sense of duality is, at this stage, instinctual but becoming increasingly real and steadily more complex. The man begins to dream of stability, of ordered changes and of union with that which he senses to be the most real part of himself. The mystical vision emerges into his consciousness and he becomes aware of the higher self through the first faint flickerings of the intuition.
The experience upon the Mutable Cross lasts a long time, and carries the man always back again and again into the sphere of influence of Aries which, through the ruling activity of the first ray, both strengthens the will of the man (no matter what his ray) and ends cycle after cycle with the "word of destruction." Again and again, he enters into the sign Pisces and finds his way around the great wheel until the experience of change and of mutability and the establishing of the transmutation process carry his consciousness from the instinctual and intellectual stages to the faint beginnings of the intuitive processes in Gemini. Then comes a great process of polarisation and a moment of transference, after which the influence of the Fixed Cross causes reversal and the lessons gained upon the Mutable Cross have to be worked out and the effects demonstrated upon the Fixed Cross. It must not be thought that, in the early  stages of unfoldment, experience is gained only through the Mutable Cross. The man lives in and experiences in all the signs, but the influences pouring through the Mutable Cross have a more potent effect upon him than those pouring in the early stages through the Fixed Cross. It is only when the soul is becoming more alive within the form and the man is aware of his duality that the energies of the Fixed Cross supersede in effectiveness those of the Mutable Cross, just as after the third initiation the energies of the Cardinal Cross begin to control the man and are of more insistent incentive than those of the other two crosses.
When the soul is, therefore, becoming more active, the effect of the Fixed Cross will be seen working out in the four signs along with the effects of forces of the Mutable Cross for "that which is dominated and relinquished is held firmly and transformed."
Gemini—The man upon the reversing wheel in Gemini becomes increasingly aware of the intuition and increasingly under the influence of "the Brothers who live in the Light," as the Twins are sometimes called. The light of the personality dims and the light of the soul waxes. The fluidity of Pisces and the undeveloped Gemini gives place to the responsiveness of the personality to soul impression and consequent stabilising of the life on the physical plane.
Virgo—The mind, under the influence of Virgo, which has been analytical and critical, changes to that quality of mind which is best described by the words, illumination and revelation. The Christ to whom the Virgin must eventually give birth is recognised as present in the womb, though not yet born. Life is recognised. The process of the revelation of the Christ consciousness is  carried intelligently forward and the selfish aspirations and experiments of the undeveloped man give place to the selflessness of the illumined and intuitive disciple.
Sagittarius—This is now the sign of the one-pointed disciple. The life of fluid response to matter becomes that of the focussed response to spirit and preparation for initiation in Capricorn. The arrow of the mind is projected unerringly towards the goal.
Pisces—Here, at the final stage, Pisces stands for the death of the personality and the release of the soul from captivity and its return into the task of the world Saviour. The great achievement is finished and the final death is undergone. "There is no more sea" says the ancient book, which means inevitably the "death of the fishes" and the release of the imprisoned life into new forms or new cycles of the divine Adventure.
This Mutable Cross, of which Pisces is one of the arms, is predominantly the Cross of "repeated incarnations," of varied experiments under the various signs and orthodox rulers, and of those many experiences which lead to successive and continuous expansions of consciousness. It is therefore the cross of the Son of God, the incarnating Christ, though it is, in relation to this Cross, the Cross of the planetary Christ, just as the Fixed Cross is that of the individual Christ in each human being, and the Cardinal Cross is that of the cosmic Christ. It might here be noted that the Cross with which we are here concerned is that of the mass, and that the consciousness which it exemplifies is that of the instinctual consciousness and its merging into the intellectual consciousness; it is the Cross of the anima mundi and of the human soul before the consciousness of duality is clear in the mind of the man and before transfer is made on to the  Fixed Cross. It is consequently more closely allied to the Cardinal Cross of the Heavens, for the mass consciousness, which is the significant consciousness of the Mutable Cross, becomes the group consciousness or the synthetic consciousness of divinity, after passing through the interim period or the "vital interlude" of the intense self-consciousness of the man upon the Fixed Cross. This human interlude is in the nature of a cross section in the development of consciousness, but the main emphasis is the unfoldment of the mass consciousness of all the kingdoms in nature into the group consciousness of the three highest kingdoms through the mediatorship of the human kingdom which, through its peculiar and specific type of awareness, can relate the higher and the lower expressions of divinity. It is here and in this connection that the sign Pisces is of much importance, as it is the sign of mediatorship. Mediumship in its true meaning is expressive of the mass consciousness—impressibility, negativity and receptivity. These points will become clearer as we study the signs and their many inter-relations. The thought I wish to convey to you here is that at this stage the influence of Pisces on the involutionary arc, and as the Sun retrogrades through the signs, is felt largely in the anima mundi and in the hidden, incarnated and imprisoned Christ; the germ of the Christ life is psychically impressed, becoming constantly more sensitive to these psychical impressions, swept by desire which ever changes, constantly aware of all impinging contacts, but unable as yet to interpret them correctly, for the mind has not been awakened adequately in Virgo. This hidden Christ is unable to free itself from "contact with the Water." That point is eventually reached and is being reached with great rapidity in the present human stage where another and major change is deemed desirable and this is the result of the many lesser  changes. Change is ever needed but the method changes itself from the constant variability and mutability of the Mutable Cross to certain changes of a major kind which are brought about by a more permanent and directed life tendency.
The man at this stage has within him the potencies and the characteristics of the indwelling Christ, but they are not manifesting and are only latent possibilities for he is as yet entirely controlled by his form nature (the prison) and his environment. The hidden powers of the soul are negative and the powers of the form nature are positive and beginning to find increasingly potent expression. The natural spiritual tendencies of man are inhibited (for Pisces is often a sign of inhibition and hindrances) and the natural animal and personality powers—particularly the emotional—are the obvious and visible qualities of the man. A good deal of symbolism connected with the latent Christ and the outer expressive personality can be seen if a study is made of the Biblical story of Jonah and the whale. I have not time to enlarge upon it here, but it is a parable concerned with the Piscean stage of consciousness and the awakening of the Christ consciousness with the consequent dispute which that entails. Jonah stands for the hidden imprisoned Christ, alive to the perils of the situation, and the whale of large size stands for the bondage of incarnation and for the personality.
It is in this dual sign that the imprisoned soul and the personality enter upon that process which will transmute
1. The lower nature into the higher manifestation.
2. The lower psychical powers into the higher spiritual faculties, i.e.
a. Negativity into positive soul control.
b. Mediumship into mediatorship.
c. Clairvoyance into spiritual perception.
d. Clairaudience into mental telepathy and finally inspiration.
e. Instinct into intellect.
f. Selfishness into divine selflessness.
g. Acquisitiveness into renunciation.
h. Self-preservation into selfless world service.
i. Self-pity into compassion, sympathy and divine understanding.
3. Spiritual and mental inhibition into soul expression and mental sensitivity.
4. Devotion to the needs of the self into developed devotion and response to the needs of humanity.
5. Attachment to environment and to personality conditions (identification with form) into detachment from form and ability to identify with the soul.
The ordinary low-grade medium is the outstanding example of the worst aspects of Pisces—negativity, impressionability, animal and emotional sensitivity with complete undevelopment of the mental principle. It would be of interest to find out two things scientifically:
1. Whether the majority of the lowest kind of medium (trance mediums in particular) have Pisces dominant in some powerful manner in their charts.
2. Whether those mediums who are becoming more positive and more self-controlled and who are beginning to get a glimpse of the higher correspondences in their work—mediatorship and interpretive activity—have not got Virgo appearing somewhere with real potency  and activity. This might indicate the awakening of the mind, in the first instance, and eventually that there was a shift in the influence controlling them, from the orthodox planetary rulership to that of the more esoteric planets. It might be added that spiritualism and the work of the spiritualistic movement are under the influence of Pisces with Cancer rising, or in some stages with the reverse—Cancer with Pisces rising.
As regards the rays which express themselves through the planetary rulers and which absorb or collaborate with the influences of the sign Pisces and thus influence our planet and humanity, we find a most interesting situation. Two major rays express themselves through the rulers of Pisces, orthodox and esoteric: The first Ray of Will or Power, focussed through Pluto, and the second Ray of Love-Wisdom. It is the interplay of these dual potencies which:
1. Produces the duality of this sign.
2. Brings about the major problem of Pisces—psychic sensitivity.
3. Causes the lure of the Path, in the first instance the path of evolution and later the lure of the probationary path with the consequence that transference to the Fixed Cross (which is all that we can intelligently comprehend) begins really in Pisces; though impulsed (if I may use such a word) in Aries it begins and ends in Pisces.
4. Precipitates the process of transmutation and eventual escape through death.
5. Unfolds the significance, activity and beauty of death and of the work of the destroyer.
From this it will be apparent how important and powerful is this sign. Through its orthodox ruler, Jupiter, that force is brought to bear which "brings all together" and— in this case—relates the two fishes and binds them together in a functioning relationship. It is the activity consequently of the second ray force which relates soul and form and brings the two together, and this magnetic potency is peculiarly descriptive of the activity of Pisces. From another angle and in a dual sign, this can also be seen working out in Gemini. In Pisces, there is demonstrated the captivity angle of relationship and the two fishes are unable to escape from each other; in Gemini there is also a definite relationship between the two brothers but there is no connecting band, and in that relationship is latent free choice and free determination. In connection with a lesser duality found in every human being, that of head and heart, of mind and love, and of will and wisdom, the work of Jupiter is to develop these two qualities and bring them into synthetic interplay. Eventually there has to be the complete fusion of love and mind before a world saviour can manifest and function efficiently, and this is pre-eminently the final result of the forces of the Mutable Cross, as they work out the qualities released by the planets active in Pisces, Sagittarius, Virgo and Gemini. These planets are:
Orthodox—Jupiter and Mercury.
Esoteric—Pluto. The Earth. The Moon (hiding Vulcan) and Venus.
As you know, Pluto stands for death or the region of death; the Earth stands for the sphere of experience; the Moon or Vulcan stands for the glorification, through purification and detachment, of matter, and Venus stands for the emergence of the love principle through the directing power of the  mind. Students will find it interesting to work out the implications for themselves. Orthodox astrology assigns only two planets to these four signs, which in itself indicates a definite interplay. Jupiter and its influences indicate that the way of incarnation is the "beneficent" method of evolutionary unfoldment and that the way of love-wisdom (2nd ray) is the way for humanity to go. Mercury indicates that the line of least resistance for humanity is harmony through conflict, for Mercury expresses the fourth ray energy which is buddhic, intuitional and expressive of the Christ, as Mercury and the Sun are one. But the esoteric planets are more explicit in their inferences and man appears, when ready for their influence, to be responsive in a fourfold way which he is not in the earlier stages. They embody the recognitions and the reactions which condition man's consciousness when he is preparing to transfer off the Mutable Cross and mount the Fixed Cross. He comes, therefore,
1. Through Venus—under the power of mind, transmuted into wisdom through the instrumentality of love.
2. Through the Moon—under the bondage of form in order through form experience to achieve release and the "uplift of matter" in Vulcan.
3. Through the Earth—under the influence of planetary experience (which is different to individual experience) in order to transmute his personal consciousness into group awareness.
4. Through Pluto—under the destroying power of death—death of desire, death of the personality and of all which holds him between the pairs of opposites, in order to achieve the final liberation. Pluto or death never destroys the consciousness aspect.
Six planets, therefore, govern the Mutable Cross as far as humanity is concerned and this in itself is significant, for six is the number of the great work of the period of manifestation, is the number of "the Beast," which is the lower nature as far as man is concerned, and is all that which seeks to destroy the higher life, but also that which can be controlled and directed finally by the soul. The significance of numbers enters into this science of esoteric astrology, and numerology, as it is, per se, a branch of esoteric astrology. Love—Mind—Experience—Form—Human Understanding—Death: these are the keynotes of the fourth Creative Hierarchy, the human kingdom and they are embodied in the planetary influences which pour through these planets from their allied signs. Through the activity of these forces which work at this stage through the Mutable Cross, man is brought to a great Crisis of Polarisation and to a point of basic change for which all the earlier and many changes have prepared him.
It is these words also which, from a different angle, govern the processes undergone upon the Path of Discipleship and of Probation. The task of the disciple is to understand their significance in a practical and effective manner and to deal with the energies which these planets release, subordinating them to the energies released by the Fixed Cross upon which he stands, and thus increase their potency through occult combination. It is by achieving intelligent and active response to the energies released and earlier mastered through the experience of the Mutable Cross, and by relating them to the potencies let loose upon him whilst crucified upon the Fixed Cross, that he learns to prepare himself for the twelve great tests in all the twelve signs for which the experience of the two Crosses prepares him.
Pisces governs the feet and hence the whole thought of  progress, of attaining the goal, and the treading of the Path of Return has been the underlying spiritual revelation of the great cycle through which we are passing; also, in the Piscean Age, the lesser cycle out of which we are at this time moving, it has been the origin of all the teaching given by the world religions anent the various stages of the Path of Return. Some astrologers hold also that Pisces governs the generative processes. They are essentially correct because once a man is nearing or upon the Path he should become increasingly creative in the higher sense and the physical generative processes should give place esoterically to regeneration and to creation upon the mental plane instead of only upon the physical plane. This higher creative functioning becomes possible under the influence of aspiration and intuition. This begins to take place when the four esoteric rulers supplement the activity of the two orthodox rulers. It is interesting to note that the astrologer, Alan Leo, suggests Neptune as an alternative to Jupiter. He sensed and touched upon a mystery of initiation though he did not realise the magnitude of his discovery. Neptune focusses the influence of Pisces as it concerns humanity as a whole and not just the individual man, but this only takes place towards the final stages of the Path of Discipleship. Today humanity is moving rapidly towards the position of the World Disciple, and intuiting this, he suggests Neptune as an alternative to Jupiter.
Esoterically, the reason that Venus is exalted in Pisces is connected with the relation of Pisces to the sign Gemini, of which Venus is the esoteric ruler, and also in relation to the fact that Venus is the Earth's alter ego and is closely related to the human kingdom. This subject is too vast and complicated to be elaborated here, but the point should be remembered. The Fishes in Pisces are bound together, as  we have seen, and this is a symbol of the captivity of the soul in form, prior to the experience upon the Fixed Cross. The Twins in Gemini are symbols of the same basic duality, but the experience of the many changing incarnations has done its work, and the Band (uniting the two fishes) is in process of dissolution, for part of the work of Pluto is to "cut the thread which binds the two opposing lives together." It is the task of Venus to "reunite the severed lives but with no binding thread." Therefore, Venus is exalted in Pisces and at the end of the greater cycle, the Sons of God who are the Sons of Mind are raised up into glory through experience and crucifixion because they have learned to love and truly reason. The influence of Pisces, Gemini and Virgo is eventually fused and blended (symbolically the Cross must always become the line and then the point). Sagittarius, which is governed esoterically by Mother Earth, produces those conditions whereby the Path itself achieves glorification. Consequently, you have at the end of the age (I refer here to a greater round of the zodiac and to no shorter cycle), the glorification of Venus, of Virgo, the Virgin, and of Mother Earth—two planets and one constellation—and all these are potencies which produce definite changes in the solar system. They represent the three divine potencies of matter and of substance, plus the force of Sagittarius driving them on to a still greater consummation. There is a wide and interesting field of research to be found in the relation of
1. The planet Venus—ruler of the constellation Gemini.
2. The Earth on which we live, called often "Mother Earth."
3. The Fish-goddesses of the sign Pisces.
4. Virgo, the Virgin.
Gemini and Sagittarius are connected through their ruling planets (because the Earth is more closely related to Venus than to any other planet) and thus again you have the six potencies which produce release from the bondage of form, entered into in Cancer as far as the mass of humanity is concerned (by this I mean the birth of the human kingdom) and in Pisces as far as the individual is considered.
In pointing out the significance of the above facts, I am not considering the orthodox astrological reasons for the exaltation and the fall of certain planets in certain signs, I am concerned with the effect of the waxing and the waning influence upon the subject, man. Bear this in mind and—at the same time—remember that we are occupied with the Great Illusion which it is the major task of man in this particular world cycle to master and dissipate, and so to inaugurate the reign of the Real. It is the revelation of the Real which is the task all initiates undertake after the final experience of the twelve final tests in the twelve signs. Therefore, when we find that the power of Mercury is lessened in Pisces and that it finally "falls" in that sign, what is the esoteric and spiritual meaning? Simply, that after the stage of initiation in Capricorn, as the result of the reversal of the wheel and the consequent experiences, and after the triumph of Scorpio, the power of the mind lessens steadily till finally (like other aspects of form life in the three worlds) it comes to an end and its meaning and illuminating aspects between soul and physical brain are no longer required. The man, coming definitely into full soul consciousness, requires now no mediator but deals directly himself with his emanating source. Mercury is then met with again under another name, this time as the Sun, mediating between the higher aspects—soul and spirit—for  Mercury and the Sun are One. Through Mercury, the mind is illumined and relation is established between personality and the soul. As Mercury, the Sun—the mediator—shifts to a still higher plane and is no longer mediator between two different stages in consciousness but between life and consciousness itself; this is a very different matter and effects the higher understanding. This will necessarily be incomprehensible to you at present for it is not a mediatorship between differences but a fusion of what is already related. Are you any the wiser for that statement?
The same symbolic mode of interpretation must govern also our understanding of the three decanates. Both Leo and Sepharial give a list of the decanates and between them there is much resemblance but there is, however, an important difference. Leo approaches the closer to the esoteric interpretation of astrology whilst Sepharial is purely exoteric. According to Sepharial, the three decanates are governed by Saturn—Jupiter—Mars, presenting opportunity to work off karma and to be successful in so doing and indicating the method employed, that of conflict and of war. Leo gives us Jupiter, the Moon and Mars. He indicates, therefore, the success which is incident to proved discipleship and consequent readiness for initiation, the seeing of the vision with which Jupiter rewards the disciple, and the experience which Vulcan confers. Vulcan has been hitherto hidden, but its influence has steadily superseded all lunar control, for the personality or form side of life is lost to sight in the radiance of the Sun, the soul. The light of Vulcan and the light of the Sun are one light and these three—Mercury, Vulcan and the Sun—stand for a synthesis and a radiance which eventually dims the light of Mercury and it "falls" into the background and Vulcan too becomes invisible and only the Sun remains. We have consequently a  vision of the Sun, the experience of the personality and effort, which is the mode of attainment governed by Mars.
The keywords of this sign are obvious in their implications. Where the personality is concerned and the wheel rotates in the normal manner for the ordinary average or undeveloped person, the Word is "And the Word said, Go forth into matter." The command of the soul to its instrument during the earlier stages of evolution goes forth and the response comes immediately from the one who "blinds the soul to truth, holding it in durance vile." These words you are amply able to interpret for yourselves and from your own standpoint which is the only standpoint of service to you, indicating to you what lies behind upon the path of evolution, the point upon the Path where you now stand and the immediate step, vision, experience and effort which lie ahead.
In closing what I have to say about the constellation Pisces, I would, at this point, make one practical suggestion which will save students much trouble in the long run. Gather together, as you read, the statements I make anent any particular sign, planet or major constellation. You will then have right under your eye the information needed on any specific point and can study successfully this complicated transitional astrology. And yet, is it any more complicated to the beginner than a textbook on physics or chemistry? I think not. What does complicate the problem is your feeling of doubt and questioning as to the truth and the verifiability of the statements made. Yet the beginner in chemistry has to accept the statements of the expert who has written his textbook, and does so accept them until the time comes when he can verify them himself through experiment. You might in this connection retort by saying that the conclusions presented to him have been tested again and  again for centuries in many cases and for decades in others, and that there is little real room for questioning. This is equally true of the science of astrology, for its foundations have been tested for millenia of years and have proven correct and its experts are wiser and more synthetic and selfless in their application of the science than are any other group of scientists. I refer here to the true esoteric astrologers who stand behind the astrological movement in the world today. I would ask you to remember this and to regard yourselves as beginners, leaving conclusions on one side until you have grasped more of the essentials and the theory. For this exoteric astrology may have prepared you, in some cases.
AQUARIUS, THE WATER CARRIER
This constellation is one of supreme importance to our solar system at this time, for it is the sign into which our Sun is rapidly moving and its influence is gaining in momentum and added potency with each vanishing decade. It is, therefore, largely responsible for the changes now being effected in our planetary life in all the kingdoms of nature, and, because it is an air sign, its influence is all pervasive and inter-penetrating. To many types of mind, this influence is intangible and must, therefore, be unable to produce the desired results; yet the fact is that these intangible pervasive results are of far greater potency and are far more extensive in their effects than the more concrete and spectacular happenings. It is not my intention here to deal with these subjective and potent effects. I have indicated much and have hinted at more in my other writings. I am only generalising in this delineation of the subjective significance of the twelve signs, and seeking to give a broad and not detailed picture  of what I might call the lines of the new astrology, its mode of approach to the more esoteric aspects involved in the soul horoscope. The new astrology will deal with significances and meanings, and not so much with the symbols and the outer happenings such as events and mundane activities.
The keynotes of this sign are three in number and very easy to understand, though when they make their note felt on the reversing wheel, most difficult to demonstrate. They are:
1. The service of the personality, the lower self, which eventually transmutes itself into the service of humanity.
2. Superficial and selfish activity which changes into a deep and active intention to be active on behalf of the Hierarchy.
3. Self-conscious living which changes finally into a sensitive humanitarian awareness.
The quality of these keynotes changes from a petty and superficial nature to one of deep purpose and profound conviction. The low grade and undeveloped Aquarian upon the Mutable Cross manifests through a superficial self-awareness. This matures in Leo and becomes a deep-seated self-consciousness and a profound interest in self and its need and wishes. As the interplay goes on between Leo and Aquarius (for they are polar opposites) there comes a deepening of all qualities and the superficialities disappear until—upon the reversed wheel—the intensive self-consciousness of Leo expands into the group awareness of Aquarius. The individual becomes the universal. Man, alone and separative, becomes mankind in his reactions and awareness and yet, at the same time, preserves his individuality; he is no longer just a human being, individually self-centred  and separative, but becomes humanity itself, losing his personal identity in the good of the whole yet retaining his spiritual Identity. From self-service, he proceeds to world service and yet is always the individualised Son of God until after the third initiation.
As one studies these twelve signs, it is interesting to trace the relation of consciousness to the preceding sign and to the succeeding sign. It is peculiarly so in connection with the sign Aquarius. The material, earthly quality of Capricorn becomes "dissolved into the air" in Aquarius. The individual "fish" of the other sign becomes eventually the soul, and soul quality emerges, and on the reversed wheel it demonstrates as the pervasiveness of wisdom (Pisces) and the universal love of the truly developed Aquarian. On the wheel as it "rolls onward into illusion," the wheel of the personality, the superficiality and the airy nature of the undeveloped Aquarian deepens gradually into the concrete and rocky material nature of the Capricornian. The average man in Aquarius puts all his wares into the window, and often in the room behind the window there is little to be found. Esoterically, the developed Aquarian puts all he has into his water pot, storing it there for service and giving it freely on demand to meet a need.
The sign Aquarius is also a dual sign and signifies two vibrations. It is here that its relation to Pisces emerges, for just as Pisces on the wheel of illusion, the Mutable Cross, stands for substance and bondage, in Aquarius, substance and the anima mundi or imprisoned soul begin to work in mutual tolerance, and in the higher Aquarian individual, soul and spirit are expressing themselves through substance. There is consequently an astrological relation between the band of stars in the constellation Pisces, which unites the two fishes, and the quality and nature of Aquarius  which relates and binds together into one working and synthetic whole. The Aquarian recognises the bond which holds all together subjectively and in truth, whilst in Pisces the energy of relationship constitutes an imprisoning band which confines and holds captive. Think this out. It is an error to consider the margin of contact between two signs in the passage of the Sun to be in the nature of hard and fast frontiers or set boundary lines. Such is not the case. There are no rigid lines of demarcation separating two entirely different areas of experience and consciousness upon the solar path. It only appears to be so and this itself is part of the Great Illusion.
The rulers of Aquarius are of a peculiar interest. They constitute an effective group of planets and bring in the influences of the seventh, second and fourth rays. These are pre-eminently the rays which determine the final stages of man's progress as well as the initial stages, being more potent at the beginning of the involutionary path and the end of the evolutionary path than they are in the middle period. They determine the final stages and happenings of the Path of Initiation. The seventh ray brings into expression upon the physical plane the major pairs of opposites—spirit and matter—and relates them to each other, producing eventually one functioning whole. The second ray gives soul expression and spiritual consciousness and also the power to pour out love and wisdom upon earth whilst the fourth ray indicates the field of service and the mode of attaining the goal. This mode or method is that of conflict and struggle in order to reach harmony and thus express all truly human characteristics, for the fourth ray and the fourth Creative Hierarchy constitute essentially one expression of truth.
Some astrologers assign Saturn as one of the rulers.  Alan Leo does so, but I would point out that in this case he is dealing entirely with the progress of the ordinary man upon the wheel of life, and the Saturn which he senses as ruling Aquarius is the Saturnian influence of Capricorn, in which sign Saturn governs in two fields. On the reversed wheel, the Saturnian influence exhausts itself in Capricorn and the man is then free from karma and needs no presentation of opportunity for he stands a free initiate, a true Master Mason and can then proceed with world service undeterred and held back by no thought of self or selfish desire. He comes then under the influence of Uranus, that mysterious and occult planet. His will is focussed and developed by the Uranian influences and he develops into a leader. He brings about desired changes and produces those new conditions which will help the soul of humanity to express itself more freely. Water being the symbol of substance and of material expression plus emotional motivation, Aquarius is consequently dual in its activity, and the third ray expresses itself powerfully through this sign, reaching our planet through Uranus and the Moon which hides or veils Uranus symbolically in this case. There is, therefore, to be found the double influence of Uranus, expressing the quality and bringing in the energies of the seventh ray, in one case, and the third ray in the other. The seventh ray is, in the last analysis, the focussed differentiated energy of Ray One as it expresses the will of the first aspect of divinity on earth through the power to relate and bring into objective manifestation—by an act of the will—both spirit and matter. This it brings about through the activity of Ray Three, expressing itself through humanity and its individual units, though combining with the energy of the three rays which are released through the ruling planets:
1. Uranus—Ray Seven—The will to be and to know simultaneously on all planes of manifestation.
2. Jupiter—Ray Two—The fusion of heart and mind, which is the subjective purpose of manifestation. This is brought about through the third and the seventh ray activity on the exoteric wheel.
3. The Moon—Ray Four—The will to be and to know plus the fusion of heart and mind is the result of the work carried forward in the fourth Creative Hierarchy under the influence of that energy which produces harmony through conflict.
I would here call your attention to the fact that in connection with the Moon, as it is related here to one of the Creative Hierarchies, you have in the Moon itself the exoteric influences of the ordinary mode of procedure upon the wheel of life, and in the planet which it veils and hides (in this case the planet Uranus) you have the esoteric energy which brings this Hierarchy to subjective realisation.
Uranus gives innate spontaneous activity and this produces evolutionary development—both natural and spiritual. It is the urge to better conditions.
Jupiter gives an inherent tendency to fusion which nothing can arrest. The achievement of ultimate synthesis is inevitable, and this Jupiter promotes.
The Moon brings about the inclination to create these conditions which lead to the great and critical transformations of instinct into intellect. This the moon brings about, but Uranus causes the great transference in the human consciousness from intellectual perception to intuitive knowledge. Bear in mind that the esoteric forces combine with the forces of the exoteric or orthodox planets and that they do not negate their influence. They only supplement  and dominate them. The man is thereby enriched and his experience is extended and his consciousness expanded by the new energies, but all the time the effects and conditioning achieved and attained under the old influences are not altered. They have "determined" his nature and fixed his qualities and, therefore, remain persistent and energetic, but the new and deeper influences and potencies are those which in the future upon the Fixed Cross will condition and motivate gradually and steadily all his activities. In the future, instead of speaking of the orthodox planets when dealing with the planetary influences we will speak of the exoteric and the esoteric planets and so bring our vocabulary and definitive words more into line with the inner teaching. In astrology, we are dealing all the time with the energies which produce movement and subjective and outer activity; we are concerned with the impact of many forces upon the human, the planetary and the systemic expression of life and purpose, and with the resultant effects. When these effects and activities are purely objective (and under that word I place all events and happenings going on in the three worlds of human experience—the physical, astral and mental planes) you have personality demonstration. When they are consciously related to the world of causes and are the result of "right and conscious direction" of the emanating centre, the soul, then the personality forces become subject to the diffusion of the soul energies and the personality or form nature becomes magnetic in a different manner, and so attracts to itself energies of a higher and more dynamic plane to the ones with which the man has been concerned hitherto and which he has learned to control and use; in other cases, the soul energies intensify certain of the personality forces and the effect of the exoteric planets is supplemented by an increasingly steady inflow of the energies  of the esoteric planets, and these begin to have a dominantly esoteric effect. In Capricorn, for instance, the influence of Saturn is both exoteric and esoteric; in Taurus, Vulcan has both an esoteric and hierarchical effect, whilst in Leo the Sun rules all three—the exoteric, the esoteric and the hierarchical life. This we will study somewhat later in this section and when we come to the consideration of the constellation Leo. Planetary influences are unusually potent in Aquarius during this world cycle because it is, in a peculiar way, a culminating sign for the majority of people who proceed from Aries to Pisces upon the Fixed Cross. A rare few consummate the experience of life upon the three Crosses in the sign Pisces, and so become world saviours. They know then, and only then, the highest aspect of the first ray as it expresses itself through the activity of Death. The bulk, however, of the world initiates climax their experience in Aquarius and become liberated world servers. They turn their backs upon all further progress for themselves in this cycle and on all satisfaction of their own spiritual aspiration and become carriers of the water of life to humanity, joining thus the ranks of the Hierarchy. Those who achieve in Pisces and make the higher and further grade in their development pass into that centre to which we have given the name of Shamballa, but the bulk of the initiates and disciples remain attached to the second centre, that of the Hierarchy of Service.
Aquarius is pre-eminently a sign of constant movement, of changing activity and recurrent mutations, and the symbol for the sign is expressive of this state of activity. It is, therefore, a sign in which the significance of cycles is mastered and understood by the initiate. The results of the valley experience (to use the well-known language of the mystics of all ages) and of the mountain top with its vision  and light, are very vividly depicted by the sign. The Aquarian can experience the depths of depression and of self-depreciation or he can know and pass through the exaltation of the soul and the sense of spiritual power which soul control gives, and know them to be the interplay and the action and reaction which are necessary for growth and comprehension. The law of such action and reaction is the law with which he works.
In Leo, a man's centre and point of consciousness is himself; he turns upon himself and revolves entirely upon his own axis and in respect and relation to himself, and is all the time the self-centred individual, consecrating all thought, time and service to his own well being and personal interests. But in Aquarius, the polar opposite of Leo and its sign of consummation, he becomes outgoing; there is no centre or circle of circumscribed influence but only two outgoing lines of energy, pouring from him into the world of men. The self-conscious individual in Leo becomes the conscious server in Aquarius, and this is well expressed for us in the symbols of these two signs. The Aquarian is consecrated to group service and to the welfare of humanity. The average Aquarian upon the Mutable Cross will be, for instance, a faithful employee, the adherent and worker in some firm or business within whose limits all his interests are confined and to whose welfare all he has is consecrated. Upon the Fixed Cross this consecration to others becomes world service.
Aquarius, we are told, governs the blood system and its circulation. By means of the blood, the life force is distributed throughout the entire human body. It is, therefore, symbolic of the task of the liberated Aquarian who dispenses spiritual life throughout the fourth kingdom in nature. The Aquarian influences are felt also as life-giving  in other forms of planetary life and other kingdoms in nature but with these we will not deal as we are confining our attention to humanity.
Aquarius, as you know, is one of the arms of the Fixed Cross. This Cross is outstandingly the Cross of Discipleship and of the three major initiations in connection with which it might be pointed out that:
1. In Taurus—Desire is transmuted into aspiration, darkness gives place to light and illumination, the eye of the Bull is opened which is the spiritual third eye, or the "single eye" of the New Testament. "If thine eye be single," said the Christ, "thy whole body shall be full of light." This single eye takes the place of the two eyes of the personal self. The attention of the man becomes focussed upon spiritual attainment. He treads the Path of Discipleship.