The Art of Memory ~ Solar Eclipse in Aquarius-February 15th, 2018

On February 15th, 2018 there will be a partial Solar Eclipse at 27° Aquarius. A typical New Moon represents the start of fresh cycle of emotional and creative energies.

But this Solar Eclipse is more akin to an awakening, a startling reminder that there are other levels of awareness that have faded into oblivion.

Aquarius is already an intellectually oriented sign, but this Eclipse is also conjunct Mercury, making this a powerful moment to become re-acquainted with the depth and potential of your mind. Intellectual and philosophical matters will rise to the surface for questioning and consideration.

Aquarius is a visionary sign, where the intellect is refined into an instrument of divine will. With the Sun and Moon conjunct Mercury, you will be challenged to purify your mind so that divine knowledge can be received.

Aquarius traverses the liminal realms. On the shorelines of consensus reality, Aquarius offers the potential for paradigm shifts and ingenious insights. But the price for this is a latent sense of isolation from the world.

Thus, this Solar Eclipse in Aquarius may be tinged with a cold shiver of loneliness as you are called away from jovial company into the labyrinthine wilderness of inner space.

It is in Aquarius’ wilderness where you can be freed from fatalism, for here it is written in the sky that all time is eternally present.

“…raise yourself above all time, become Eternity; then you will understand God…”

Aquarius’ perspective is qualified by the position of an outsider looking in. Considering the fact that the Sun and Mercury will also be making a sextile to Uranus in Aries, the Aquarian themes of rebellion and revolution will be especially potent.

Expect your lens of perception and your style of questioning to favor the vision of the outcast and outsider.

“I wander through every part of that ethereal country;

Then, far away, as they gape at the

marvel, I leave them behind me.”

With the conjunction from Mercury, the eclipse, and the sextile to Uranus this is a time to meditate upon the quality and creative potential of your mind.

“Believe that nothing is impossible for you, think yourself immortal and capable of understanding all, all arts, all sciences, the nature of every living being. Mount higher than the highest height; descend lower than the lowest depth.”

A common value upheld by the Information Age is the assumption that an unprecedented level of mental power can be cultivated through the regular consumption of a large volume of words, facts, and numbers.

For example, giving iPads to small children is considered normal now because of the widely held assumption that information technology nourishes the mind.

“The general opinion is not always the perfect truth…”

Knowledge does offer power, but it does so the way that food offers energy. Though it might seem that an abundance of knowledge is overwhelmingly positive, mere consumption without proper assimilation leads to nothing but disease.

As a result of these collective values, many modern subjects are grossly overwhelmed and overloaded by toxic levels of junk info. Expect to address this problem on a personal or collective level during the eclipse in Aquarius.

This Aquarian eclipse will guide you to seek purification for your mind, setting you upon a quest for timeless wisdom. Under such an influence, it is only fitting to examine the life and work of someone who could be qualified as an Aquarian icon, one who embodied the role of philosopher, mystic and iconoclast.

The man in question is Giordano Bruno, a wandering teacher who was burned at the stake during this same week on February 17th, 1600.

Even amongst the progressive thinkers of the Renaissance, Giordano Bruno was a radical. He was most famous for his assertion that all stars were suns and that there were infinite worlds teeming with life. Like Marsilio Ficino, he was a Hermeticist, meaning that he ascribed to a cosmology that found interrelation and correspondence between all life in the cosmos, between human and divine. (a very Aquarian understanding)

“Draw into yourself all sensations of everything created, fire and water, dry and moist, imagining that you are everywhere, on earth, in the sea, in the sky, that you are not yet born, in the maternal womb, adolescent, old, dead, beyond death.”

Like so many Hermeticists, Bruno was also an astrologer and magician. His arts of magic were diverse, but of all his occult arts, it was his practice of the Art of Memory that is most relevant to the current astrological weather.

The greatest wealth of information on this subject can be found in Dame Frances Yates’ The Art of Memory. This text presents the arcane memory techniques used by ancient and modern people, offering rich details regarding both methodology and historical context.

But for the sake of simplicity, I will try to summarize.

A large capacity for memory was natural to ancient people. Before written records that stored information externally, human beings could remember volumes and volumes of information.

The nature of memory is derived from a fluid correspondence between images and ideas. The free association of images is where poetry and song arise from. To think metaphorically is to think poetically and to think poetically is to create that which can be remembered.

For Renaissance thinkers like Giordano Bruno, the natural ability to remember vast stores of information quite naturally had been subsumed by literacy. However, there were techniques that allowed one to create “artificial memories” which employed structured methods of assigning individual ideas, facts, or names to evocative images. Thus, the art of memory follows a natural poetic logic.

These techniques were considered to be an occult art and perhaps this categorization is not too extreme since, like all magic, it is an art that depends upon the development of imagination.

It was Aristotle who said that, “The soul never thinks without an image.” Therefore, the soul thinks with imagination.

In the hands of Giordano Bruno, the art of memory was elaborated into a magical philosophy aimed at realizing one’s connection to the World Soul. In the Hermetic worldview, there were many levels of creation, often referred to as the Golden Chain of Being. Upon this golden chain, the Soul of the World was connected to one’s individual soul by many levels of correspondence. 

“If you embrace in your thought all things at once, times, places, substances, qualities, quantities, you may understand.”

In his mind, Bruno’s memory system was a way of allowing upward communication between the terrestrial and spiritual worlds, allowing one to ascend up the Golden Chain towards the “the soul of the world”.

On this topic he said,

“It is by one and the same ladder that nature descends to the production of things and the intellect ascends to the knowledge of them; and that the one and the other proceeds from unity and returns to unity…”

In its Renaissance form, the Art of Memory was a powerful mental framework for aligning with the universe and finding sympathy with the soul of the world.  

In his book, On Magic, he wrote:

“Every soul and spirit, has some degree of continuity with the universal spirit…the soul…is present in some way in the entire universe….”

At the conclusion of this Aquarius season, remember that your wisdom and intellect require the power of memory in order to grow.

You must be able to recollect what you have seen and heard in this life in order to learn. To Giordano Bruno, and other practitioners of the Art of Memory, imagination and memory were two sides of the same coin.The good news about this Solar Eclipse in Aquarius is that it can help you regain clarity of mind. You may become agitated by exhaustion and confusion, as you release the toxic overload of information. Turn off the television. Stop listening to that terrible music or news station. Let yourself go within and remember what your mind is actually for.

The wisdom of Aquarius teaches that to purify your mind is to strengthen your divinely gifted powers of creation.

At this eclipse, let the assault upon your mind slow down. In a quiet space of contemplation, let your soul bloom in the light of something worth remembering.

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