04 Sep Lost in Shelley’s Incantations ~ September 5th-11th, 2016
This week, for the first time in 12 years, Jupiter will enter the beauteous and harmonious sign of Libra where it will reside for the next year, expanding the potential for reciprocity and equanimity in your life.
In addition, the Saturn/Neptune square will reach its final apex, bringing this protracted confrontation with ideological control and spiritual materialism to its climactic conclusion. Considering that this is also the week that flows between September’s solar and lunar eclipses, this will be a period deserving of a magnificent hymn.
This week, let yourself be inspired by Romantic revolutionary, Percy Shelley, whose epic communion with the Spirit of Beauty offers us liberation from spiritual exile and beckons us to worship the creative principle, the innate rhythms of sublime imagination.
His work, Hymn to Intellectual Beauty, was written exactly 200 years ago (in 1816) after a summer in Switzerland.
In seven stanzas, let this week be lost in Shelley’s incantations of which he claimed were “composed under the influence of feelings which agitated me even to tears.”
Hymn to Intellectual Beauty
By Percy Shelley
The awful shadow of some unseen Power
Floats though unseen among us; visiting
This various world with as inconstant wing
As summer winds that creep from flower to flower;
Like moonbeams that behind some piny mountain shower,
It visits with inconstant glance
Each human heart and countenance;
Like hues and harmonies of evening,
Like clouds in starlight widely spread,
Like memory of music fled,
Like aught that for its grace may be
Dear, and yet dearer for its mystery.
Monday/Tuesday: Dearer for its Mystery
The week begins in a state of rapture! After the solar eclipse last week, there is a feeling of renewed illumination that will call you to feel that expansion of soul: a merging with the sky and dissolution into the ground. On Monday and Tuesday, you will stand upon the precipice of a mystical experience, feeling real heartfelt prayers pouring forth in every quiet moment.
The waxing Moon will be in Scorpio, offering up vivid visions from the collective unconscious, complete with resplendent desires to experience intimate union with the divine.
In this nearly ecstatic state, through revelations as ephemeral as dreams, you will understand the vast relationship between you and all that you can perceive in the universe. As you try to articulate this knowledge, you will share Percy Shelley’s frustrations with transcendent moments of beauty. They shine so brightly and then they disappear.
Spirit of BEAUTY, that dost consecrate
With thine own hues all thou dost shine upon
Of human thought or form, where art thou gone?
Why dost thou pass away and leave our state,
This dim vast vale of tears, vacant and desolate?
Ask why the sunlight not for ever
Weaves rainbows o’er yon mountain-river,
Why aught should fail and fade that once is shown,
Why fear and dream and death and birth
Cast on the daylight of this earth
Such gloom, why man has such a scope
For love and hate, despondency and hope?
Wednesday/Thursday: Where Art Thou Gone?
In the middle of the week, the Moon will travel through Sagittarius opening your heart to your most repressed passions for higher knowledge and spiritual discovery. The Spirit of Beauty and its undeniable divinity is yours to discover once you feel strong enough to let your imagination roam wild and free.
No voice from some sublimer world hath ever
To sage or poet these responses given:
Therefore the names of Demon, Ghost, and Heaven,
Remain the records of their vain endeavour:
Frail spells whose utter’d charm might not avail to sever,
From all we hear and all we see,
Doubt, chance and mutability.
Thy light alone like mist o’er mountains driven,
Or music by the night-wind sent
Through strings of some still instrument,
Or moonlight on a midnight stream,
Gives grace and truth to life’s unquiet dream.
This passage contains the level of scathing critique that the last moments of Jupiter’s travels through Virgo demands. What Shelley calls, “frail spells” and “uttered charms” are the powerful ideologies that imprison human minds and exile them from their natural relationship to the Spirit of Beauty.
The poet’s mystical union with this Spirit of “moonlight on a midnight stream” has completely broken the spell of destructive thought viruses, which include the religious, political, scientific and philosophical dogmas which seek to drain humanity of its creative powers of imagination.
Love, Hope, and Self-esteem, like clouds depart
And come, for some uncertain moments lent.
Man were immortal and omnipotent,
Didst thou, unknown and awful as thou art,
Keep with thy glorious train firm state within his heart.
Thou messenger of sympathies,
That wax and wane in lovers’ eyes;
Thou, that to human thought art nourishment,
Like darkness to a dying flame!
Depart not as thy shadow came,
Depart not—lest the grave should be,
Like life and fear, a dark reality.
As the Moon conjuncts Saturn and Mars in Sagittarius, you will be given renewed strength to defy any oppression you were born into. You will feel into the knowledge of your mortality once again, facing its reality without fear and denial but instead viewing your death as the reason to live every day with immense purpose.
Friday/Saturday/Sunday: The Spirit of Beauty
On Friday, September 9th, Jupiter will leave Virgo and enter into its year long journey through the sign of Libra, where beauty and grace are not just treasures but are undisputable possessions.
Thus, there will be some kind of conflict that was relevant throughout the last year that you can finally put down. Many struggles will begin to lay themselves to rest, like fallen leaves disintegrating back into the soil. At last, your spirit will take in an expansive inward breath and softly sigh in relief.
This weekend will be the first glimpse of the refreshing gales of Jupiter in Libra’s intellectual beauty! Like a fortunate wind, this new Jupiter cycle will move you to enjoy new vistas, new friendships, and make remarkable new use of your flow of ideas!
The shift of Jupiter’s season will no doubt bring on a quality of reminiscence worth getting lost in. Remember what it was like to be a child so filled with honest questions about life that every day was miraculous.
While yet a boy I sought for ghosts, and sped
Through many a listening chamber, cave and ruin,
And starlight wood, with fearful steps pursuing
Hopes of high talk with the departed dead.
I call’d on poisonous names with which our youth is fed;
I was not heard; I saw them not;
When musing deeply on the lot
Of life, at that sweet time when winds are wooing
All vital things that wake to bring
News of birds and blossoming,
Sudden, thy shadow fell on me;
I shriek’d, and clasp’d my hands in ecstasy!
On Saturday, September 10th, the Saturn-Neptune square will be perfecting for the final time. Since November of 2015, you have been challenged to release yourself from dangerous ideologies (poisonous names with which our youth is fed) and rediscover the potency of your imagination.
The Saturn/Neptune square has been an elongated study of the human struggle between containment (Saturn) and effusion (Neptune). Saturn has maintained its stance that material life presupposes separation and exile from the divine whilst Neptune has sung the truth of spirit and matter’s unity and eternity. Do note that a square like this will not happen again until 2033, so no matter how you feel about it now, this experience was a rare gift.
Whatever has happened, you must know by now that your dreams contain as much wisdom as your waking life. What you do with that knowledge is the key to your own freedom.
As a final answer to the many provocations of the Saturn/Neptune square, all you can really offer the universe is a sincere dedication to cultivate the visionary powers of creative imagination, acknowledging that act to be nothing less the Spirit of Beauty flowing through you.
I vow’d that I would dedicate my powers
To thee and thine: have I not kept the vow?
With beating heart and streaming eyes, even now
I call the phantoms of a thousand hours
Each from his voiceless grave: they have in vision’d bowers
Of studious zeal or love’s delight
Outwatch’d with me the envious night:
They know that never joy illum’d my brow
Unlink’d with hope that thou wouldst free
This world from its dark slavery,
That thou, O awful LOVELINESS,
Wouldst give whate’er these words cannot express.
It is a birthright, not a novelty, to experience this union and this ecstasy. Just as Percy Shelley once did, in this state you can envision this world through the eyes of Beauty, finally free from its “dark slavery”!
Shelley dedicated this hymn to what he calls Intellectual Beauty because he perceived there to be a whole universe of beauty within human thoughtforms and imagination.
Rather than worshipping the beauty of nature as something outside of himself, separated from and exiled from himself, he instead reveals this divinity to be within himself and all other human beings. “It visits with inconstant glance, Each human heart and countenance”
On Sunday, September 11th, the heaviness of memories from days long passed will be compounded by a square between Venus in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn. An eruption of repressed insecurities is very possible under an aspect like this.
Fortunately, Venus in her rulership will enable you to artfully engage with pain. When confronted by darkness, Venus in Libra responds with just the right amount of light, allowing you to experience the calm and repose only afforded to Beauty’s truest devotees.
At the end of this impactful week, there is much comfort to be found in turning your gaze from the heavens to the earth, keepings its diurnal rhythms in time with the nearing end of another season.
During these transitions between seasons, these mutable moments, you may enter into a new level of awareness which was only hinted at in your former life. The conclusion of Shelley’s Hymn reveals how this primal awareness of intimate union with the Spirit of Beauty is a wisdom that we continue to ripen into as the sun sets and the seasons change.
The day becomes more solemn and serene
When noon is past; there is a harmony
In autumn, and a lustre in its sky,
Which through the summer is not heard or seen,
As if it could not be, as if it had not been!
Thus let thy power, which like the truth
Of nature on my passive youth
Descended, to my onward life supply
Its calm, to one who worships thee,
And every form containing thee,
Whom, SPIRIT fair, thy spells did bind
To fear himself, and love all human kind.
A delightfully imperfect prophet though he may be, by the end of Percy Shelley’s Hymn to Intellectual Beauty, you should feel moved! Now that you are free from the “frail spells” of the past, you may fearlessly follow whatever leads you towards knowing more about what is most loving and creative about yourself.
Take Heart! You are out of exile!