12 Nov The Pit and the Pendulum ~ November 14th-20th, 2016
“Everything flows out and in;
everything has its tides;
all things rise and fall;
the pendulum-swing manifests
the measure of the swing to the right,
is the measure of the swing to the left;
-The Fifth Hermetic Principle from The Kybalion (1908)
The Fifth Hermetic Principle–the Principle of Rhythm– describes the truth that everything that is evolving rises and falls, is born and then dies. The Law of Compensation determines that within the Principle of Rhythm, “the measure of the swing to the right is the measure of the swing to the left.”
Newton’s third law of motion also describes this phenomena, stating that “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Thus, during a time of political strife when the pendulum is swinging so widely, it is essential to remember that the more thrust you add to the motion of the pendulum, the more push back (compensation) you will experience.
The Principle of Rhythm requires us to understand that it is natural when the tide turns and it is to be expected. Stand not amazed at this natural ebb and flow, but instead seek inner calm and resoluteness in the face of the universe’s rhythmic vacillations.
A keen understanding of this Principle is required to maintain sanity during tumultuous times. Any sense of fatalism you may have is flawed if it only acknowledges one side of the pendulum’s swing.
If you feel unfortunate now, that will certainly change.
If you feel fortunate now, that too will certainly change.
It is still Scorpio season, and thus the deepest and darkest emotions are still churning up many monsters from the deep. Thus, the strife in the external world is massively reflecting the tempestuous inner world of many.
The pendulum is swinging with such massive force that many U.S. cities have been erupting in violent protests and most “polite” conversation is armed with self-righteous platitudes that are bitterly driving reason into the ground.
This week, allow your natural sense of dignity to bring you back to a calm center rather than allowing the climate of unrest to keep you mired in fear and loathing.
This week begins with a Full Moon in Taurus and ends with Neptune’s station direct in Pisces. The Full Moon represents a perfect moment to re-attune to common sense and the wisdom of the body. Hysteria and exhausted adrenals do not feel good in the body and thus you would do much better to honor Taurus’ nature by remaining still, in as neutral a position as possible.
If you wish to remain vital, no matter how antagonized, outraged or worried you might feel, it is essential to re-stabilize and find solidity beneath your feet. Full Moons are a period for the climax and culmination of energies, so as the light begins to wane, you will be supported in softening whatever mental torments you may be suffering from.
“By long suffering, my nerves had been unstrung, until I trembled at the sound of my own voice, and had become in every respect a fitting subject for the species of torture which awaited me.”
– Edgar Allan Poe, The Pit and the Pendulum
The maestro of Scorpio season, Edgar Allan Poe, wrote many famous horror stories. But one of the most beloved of them all is, The Pit and the Pendulum. Through a cloistering first person narrative, The Pit and the Pendulum, details the agonies of a prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition and is thus an ingenious study of human fear.
The prisoner is nameless and faceless to the reader, but his experience of unrelenting mental torture story is profoundly resonate with the primal elements of the human psyche.
“I WAS sick — sick unto death with that long agony; and when they at length unbound me, and I was permitted to sit, I felt that my senses were leaving me. The sentence — the dread sentence of death…”
The prisoner, enclosed in a vaulted cell is poised on the edge of a deep and dark pit, which he could easily fall into. His story is told in breathless passages between waking and sleep, as he is frequently losing consciousness and re-emerging only to find himself further entrenched in misery.
“The figures of fiends in aspects of menace, with skeleton forms, and other more fearful images”.
Poe, so gifted at creating Gothic ambiance, turns this prison vault into perfect analogue of hell.
“Arousing from the most profound of slumbers, we break the gossamer web of some dream. Yet in a second afterward, (so frail may that web have been) we remember not that we have dreamed.”
When the prisoner awakens to find himself bound to a “species of low framework of wood”, he is forced to confront the vision of a huge razor-sharp iron pendulum swinging above his body. It is only a matter of minutes before he observes that with every swing of the pendulum, the blade is descending nearer and nearer.
Imagine yourself as the prisoner, helpless to do anything but observe the rhythmic momentum of the pendulum. See how each swing builds more energy for both sides. Observe how every swing brings it closer and closer upon your own head.
Monday/Tuesday: A Discordant Hum of Human Voices
The beginning of the week is an important time to inch towards a center of neutrality where your energies will be allowed to restore and rejuvenate. The Full Moon in Taurus will offer you a moment to realign and calm yourself.
Do not be disrupted by outside authoritarians and their many anxieties.
Think of it is a meditative pause where the wisdom of the body can reignite your will to think for yourself and question all authority.
After all, if we acknowledge the Principle of Rhythm, we should not allow ourselves to be thrust into a deadly momentum by anyone else’s rhetoric. The sacrifices that we make for our own evolution and for the greater good of the world must be derived from only the most honest and authentic place within ourselves.
On Tuesday, Mercury in Sagittarius will sextile Mars in Aquarius, aligning the mind of a holy crusader with the will of “monkish ingenuity.” This energy may be misused to enact some self-righteous ultimatums. But if you care to use these energies to resolve inner conflict, you may find some challenging thought experiments to be quite enticing.
As an exercise of mental liberation, imagine for at least one day that every story that you read and hear through your favorite sources of media are total lies!
Imagine that your education has done nothing but predispose you to accept these lies. Imagine that you only have your instinct and intuition to ferret out some semblance of truth. Where does that leave you?
Wednesday/Thursday: My Nerves Had Been Unstrung
Whatever peace and calm that you cultivated at the beginning of the week will be of great help to you during the middle of the week as the waning Moon transits through the sign of Cancer, opposing Venus and then Pluto in Capricorn.
You will feel more inclined to give and receive love and comfort, but your emotions may feel quite susceptible to storms. Fortunately, because the Moon is waning, whatever discomfort arises can be quickly dissipated.
Friday/Saturday/Sunday: Break the Gossamer Web of Some Dream
On Friday, Mercury in Sagittarius will be squared Neptune in Pisces. Thus, the weekend will be filled with great potential for illusion and delusion. This will have a softening effect upon much of the harsher energies that you have been feeling, but there is an element of false tranquility present that you should remain mindful of. It may be comforting to believe something irrational now, but that does not mean that you should persist in that folly to your own detriment.
On Saturday, Neptune will station direct and Venus will make a sextile to it, adding a gossamer web of some dream to your day.
When Neptune stations direct, the subtle and shimmering veils of mysticism become more consciously experienced. This can offer a nice escape into imagination and an increased interest in deep spiritual practices, but it can also veer off into a larger propensity for entertaining delusions.
Fortunately, this is a perfect time to receive much clearer guidance from dreams, strange synchronicities, or through gentle words from wise and loving friends. Venus and Neptune are so lovely in aspect together that you should seek to complement this energy by seeking your most ideal company.
Recall the lessons of the Venus ruled Full Moon in Taurus at the beginning of the week and take responsibility for making your own life beautiful!
On Sunday, the weekend will close with a square between Jupiter in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn. The desire to be delivered from any entanglement or imprisonment will become greatly magnified.
Aspects to Pluto have a way of drawing out some of the more menacing qualities of the psyche, so be wary of fanatical impulses to liberate yourself through extreme ideologies or behaviors.
Avoid extreme fasting, heroic doses, and/or cult meetings with particular care at this time.
Now think back to the Pit and the Pendulum again. Tied down, the prisoner is watching the pendulum hover nearer and nearer to his throat. Rather than accepting death as his fate, he manages to gather his mental powers and lure the rats to chew through his ropes.
Due to this level headedness, the prisoner escapes from the blade just in time. Sighing in relief, freed from the deadly pendulum, the prisoner is then confronted by the walls, suddenly turning red-hot and starting to move inwards, forcing him nearer and nearer to the edge of the deadly pit.
But then, at the last minute, the walls stop pushing him and he describes:
“There was a discordant hum of human voices! There was a loud blast as of many trumpets! . . .The fiery walls rushed back! An outstretched arm caught my own as I fell, fainting, into the abyss. It was that of General Lasalle. The French army had entered Toledo. The Inquisition was in the hands of its enemies.”
The pendulum of fate swings the other way, liberating the prisoner from his captors through an abrupt and completely unforeseen turn of events!
The Pit and the Pendulum offers a memorable lesson about the Principle of Rhythm, which begs you to acknowledge the Law of Compensation. With this law in mind, even if you are bound to a terrifying vision of the future that you can’t seem to escape, never let fear be your master. According to the swing of the pendulum, the measure of fear that binds you is also the measure of courage that can liberate you.
There is no fate to mourn. Life is filled with surprises. The only thing that is constant is change.
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