Manifold Illusion ~ May 8th-14th, 2017


by William Butler Yeats (1935)

Civilisation is hooped together, brought

Under a rue, under the semblance of peace

By manifold illusion; but man’s life is thought,

And he, despite his terror, cannot cease

Ravening through century after century,

Ravening, raging, and uprooting that he may come

Into the desolation of reality:

Egypt and Greece, good-bye, and good-bye, Rome!

Hermits upon Mount Meru or Everest,

Caverned in night under the drifted snow,

Or where that snow and winter’s dreadful blast

Beat down upon their naked bodies, know

That day brings round the night, that before dawn

His glory and his monuments are gone.

This week, the planetary energies will be stirring up some tremendous internal shifts in your focus. You will feel blessed and cursed by a wider vision of history that re-contextualizes your view of the present.  

Despite the Sun in Taurus’ influence towards slowness and predictability, this week contains an element of surprise as Mercury will be making another conjunction to Uranus. Simultaneously, the Nodes of the Moon will transitioning from the Virgo/Pisces axis onto the Leo/Aquarius axis. The nodes will remain drawn between this axis until the end of 2018. Therefore, all the upcoming eclipses will now be dilating upon the themes inherent to Leo/Aquarius, including self and other; the society and the spectacle.

Finally, the real climax of the week will be felt on Wednesday at the Full Moon in Scorpio: a lunar event that is always intensely probing and esoteric in nature. Whenever the Moon is Full in the sign of Scorpio, a throbbing pang of hunger is aroused and a primal hunting instinct becomes inflamed. You may find yourself endowed with predatory senses that entice you to find new pathways towards liberation.

Scorpio is the sign of alchemical transformation, the darkness that comes before the dawn. But Scorpio’s nocturnal enchantments are often so disorienting that after a fervent night of searching, one remains imprisoned, often even more deeply than before.

And he, despite his terror, cannot cease

Ravening through century after century,

Ravening, raging, and uprooting that he may come

Into the desolation of reality:

Therefore, at this Full Moon in Scorpio, rather than scratching at the prison walls in a futile fit of hysteria, take the time to understand the Scorpionic instincts and visions. Scorpio often plunges you into the realms of the occult: into the undulation of primal consciousness that describes eternity through the cycle of decay and renewal.

 In these dark waters, the Moon offers very little of its nurturing light.And yet, a Full Moon in Scorpio does much to increase your sense of independence as an explorer of the vast depths of the unconscious mind.  Know that the fear that arises is meant to be transmuted into courage. The hatred that is summoned is meant to be sacrificed for love. And the feeling of desolation that you may feel is meant to drive you to seek deeper truth than what the material world can offer.

For anyone who wishes to develop the courage to explore deeper truths it is important to have many teachers and role models to act as guides. One such teacher is the exalted Irish poet, William Butler Yeats.

William Butler Yeats was a lyric poet, a playwright, a mystic, a mythologist, and a magician. He was also a political activist, using his literary voice to redefine and revivify the spirit of the Irish people who had long been oppressed by the British. As a pioneer in the exploration of the occult, Yeats was a student of esoteric philosophies from all over the world, especially those from India.

Yeats was heavily influenced by his predecessor, Percey Shelley, who once said in his poem, Prometheus Unbound:

“And the Celt knew the Indians!”

Because Yeats sought to renounce Christianity as a state religion and reinvigorate the paganism of the Celtic people of Ireland he, like Shelley before him, found much kinship with Indian philosophies and mythologies. 

Yeats’s sonnet, Meru, named after a sacred Indian mountain, describes the poet’s spiritual journey that reaches catharsis by witnessing the utter and complete destruction of Western history’s glory and monuments. In the shadows of true Scorpionic wisdom, the death of the world’s illusion marks the beginning of liberation.

Human history, in the manifold illusion, unfolds as a cycle of reactionary behavior experienced as:

“Ravening, raging, and uprooting that he may come

Into the desolation of reality”

These protracted cycles of violence that rage on century after century, eventually lead one to yearn for liberation. In Hinduism, this liberation requires the sacrifice of one’s attachments to earthly desire. In Yeat’s poem, the tone of Meru shifts only when Yeats says goodbye to Western civilization, releasing his attachment to the grandiose narrative that so many have lived and died for.

“Egypt and Greece good-bye, and good-bye Rome!”

Yeats concludes the poem with an image of what lies beyond the divine drama of history, where wise hermits find their liberation from history’s triumphs and failures, from heroism and tragedy. From the peaks of Mount Meru, the world is seen as an illusory place of transience and transcendence.

Though you may not be willing to forsake all attachments to the world’s grand narrative just yet, it is important to know that the mystic’s path of destruction, detachment and liberation is what the sign of Scorpio encourages.

Thus, during this week of the Full Moon consider what mundane knowledge you might be willing to sacrifice for the gift of mystical insight. Consider what terrible habit you might destroy in the name of your own liberation. And consider what earthly glory you might give up in order to know eternity.

Monday/Tuesday: Under the Semblance of Peace

The beginning of the week is so busy that you may feel like these days contain an unusual amount of dramatic unfolding. On Monday, the Moon will be waxing through the sign of Libra, bringing harmony and peace to your inner world. Use this day to lay a foundation of emotional fortitude that can carry you through the more turbulent times ahead.

On Tuesday, the Sun in Taurus will trine Pluto in Capricorn, summoning a new depth of intensity in your self-expression and your interests in all things mysterious and unfathomable. Your ability to transform yourself will be greatly heightened by this aspect and by the upcoming Full Moon. Therefore, you would be wise to use this influence to dedicate yourself to a new path or a refine your focus upon an old path.

Meanwhile, Mercury in Aries, now speeding up in direct motion, will be making a conjunction with Uranus. This represents a moment of potential for genius in yourself or in others who can influence you to alter your perceptions. Hold yourself to the highest standard of creativity and inventiveness on this day.

Under an aspect like this, remain flexible. Adaptability and versatility are essential for maintaining intelligence. Therefore, allow surprises and eccentric ideas to flourish on this day. If your routine breaks down, do not waste this time trying to reassemble it. Go with the flow.

As the great exclamation mark upon this very intense day, the Nodes of the Moon will also be shifting into Leo/Aquarius, where they will be for the next 18 months. For the last year and a half, the Nodes have been strung across the axis of Virgo/Pisces teaching the collective to value common sense, humility and discrimination. The general theme of the journey has been one of finding a path of service. The North Node in Virgo envisioned the detailed steps that were necessary to fulfill the South Node in Pisces’ transcendent dream of compassion.

However, the North Node in Leo will summon an altogether different dream. Now the evolutionary pulse point will be oriented towards the illuminated heart of Leo where the Self is realized to be a reflection of the divine. Thus, over the next year and a half, your self-expression and your individual talents will become much more important tools. If Virgo helped you discover a path of service, now Leo will help you to add your unique signature to that service.

Wednesday/Thursday: Ravening, Raging, and Uprooting

On Wednesday, the Full Moon in Scorpio will bring a culmination of emotional and creative energies. The Full Moon is always a time to begin purgation and release, but this Scorpio Full Moon will amplify these qualities and enable you to let go of many toxic patterns in your psyche, including dependencies, traumas, and obsessions.

On Thursday, Mars in Gemini will square Neptune in Pisces, bringing a feeling of discouragement or confusion regarding your current intellectual or analytical endeavors.

Fortunately, whatever discouragement you may face will not fully prevent you from maintaining your concentration and intention. Mercury in Aries will trine Saturn in Sagittarius, a perfect aspect under which to devise a plan that will lead you towards success. Saturn lends gravitas and discipline to Mercury’s excitable and dynamic nature, creating a structure that can support any weight and conform to any pressures.

Friday/Saturday/Sunday: Man’s Life is Thought

The weekend begins with Mars in Gemini making a trine with Jupiter retrograde in Libra on Friday. This is an aspect that will manifest in the realm of conversation and ideas. Since Mars is just leaving the square with Neptune, this expansive influence from Jupiter may summon a lot of big ideas that will never manifest into reality. There may be a lot of promises made at this time that can not be kept. Jupiter aspects always bring good fortune of some kind, so any mistakes made during this transit will be easily smoothed over.

To maintain your integrity and to get the most out of the positive elements of this aspect, allow yourself to be energized in your desire to balance your relationships and the way you spend your time.

Over the weekend, the waning Moon will move through Sagittarius and Capricorn. On Saturday, the Moon will conjunct Saturn in Sagittarius, bringing a heaviness to your feelings. You may experience this as sadness or seriousness. Either way, the world will become somber for a time.

This tone will remain in effect to a lesser degree on Sunday when the Moon shifts into Capricorn. The week ends with the Moon in its other sign of debility, where the environment is disallowing of softness and nurturing. But the Moon in Capricorn is a good time to take great pride in one’s disciplined efforts to learn and accomplish great things in this life.

The somber tone of the Moon in Capricorn need not lead to a downturn of experience when you know to prioritize your work. Therefore, use the weekend to practice whatever it is that you want to master in this lifetime, starting from whatever level you may be at. On the path to mastery, humility is key.

before dawn

His glory and his monuments are gone.

all paintings by Sir John Lavery