What is war? It is the result of planetary influence. Somewhere up there two or three planets have approached too near each other: tension results… here, on the Earth, people begin to slaughter one another… They fail to realise to what extent they are pawns in the game… it must be understood that neither… generals, nor ministers, nor parliaments, signify anything or can do anything.
– G. I. Gurdjieff
War may be understood in many ways. Materialists see it simply as an outgrowth of our animal instincts and the battle for survival while others may see a more conspiratorial hand at play. There is another view, one found at the heart of esotericism, especially that of the Fourth Way taught by the spiritual teacher G.I. Gurdjieff (1866?-1949). It is a view that argues war comes not from inside man or from governments, economics or politics, but from outside. It ultimately derives from various configurations and interactions of the planets, especially the Moon, and from the fact man exists in such an undeveloped state that he is totally unprotected from such influences. Unless we understand this and take full conscious control of our lives, we will be bounced back and forth by not only planetary forces but by the ebb and flow of everyday existence. Gurdjieff called this lack of control the influence of the Law of Accident.
The Ray of Creation
To fully appreciate this model we need to consider the esoteric cosmology of Gurdjieff. The Ray of Creation (see diagram) is similar to all traditionalist cosmologies that posit a “great chain” of being from the Absolute down to the physical. In the Fourth Way model this Ray includes increasing levels of laws and diminishing degrees of freedom. The Absolute has 1 law and represents the true freedom of the perfect Individual, while dead matter has 192 laws. The Earth has some 48 laws and the Moon 96, and there is a special relationship between the Earth and the Moon that we will examine in more detail later. The significance of this Ray is that it shows how the Earth with 48 laws is under the influence of both forces from above and below. And when planets align their influences increase, hence the power of the Law of Accident accelerates.
This may seem all rather cosmological but these forces have a direct relation to the nature of man and on human behaviour.
The Bodies of Man &the Ray of Creation
Each of the four human bodies relate to spheres in the Ray of Creation. The physical to “Earth,” the astral to “all planets,” the mental to “the Sun,” and the fourth body, which must be developed and exists only in potential, to “all Suns.” Each body is influenced by the related sphere and its equivalent laws. Since the astral body of the human organism is related to “all planets,” it is directly affected by alignments that help to mould and control the human unconscious. While we think we are aware and have a sense of independent will and autonomy, in the Fourth Way and other esoteric traditions it is argued this is an illusion. We are robots controlled by the influences of the planets on both an individual and collective level, unless we directly and wilfully take control.
One of the primary ways these forces influence mankind is through that strange organ known as the Kundabuffer. The Kundabuffer is described by Gurdjieff as the creator of illusion – it causes us to daydream and believe we are awake when we are actually asleep. It creates buffers or denial mechanisms that stop us seeing the world as it really is, and allows us to be controlled by the ebb and flow of the planets (and other forces). The term Kundabuffer is seen by many as an adaptation of the Vedic concept of Kundalini. Kundalini is a psycho-physical force located at the base of the spine; it controls the organism on psychological, etheric and perhaps even physical levels through the seven Chakras. Kundalini and the Chakras operate like cosmic antennae receiving influences from the planets and beyond. Initiates can use these forces to great benefit, but in the average person they are simply mechanisms of control.
The chakric system has both positive and negative potential. While most New Agers see the Chakras and Kundalini in a positive light, both Traditional Tantra and Gurdjieff are more critical. Kundalini is the power of Kali, the goddess of gnosis and also illusion. She spins the web of Maya (illusion) and deceives mankind, inviting them to awaken and see through her game. As Maya she is the goddess of destruction and is depicted in either a four-armed or ten-armed form. Her skin is dark blue and she has red eyes filled with lust and rage. She has fangs and her tongue lolls. She wears a skirt of human arms and a garland of heads. Woe to those who approach her without gnosis, but to those who see through her illusion she becomes either a mother or a lover. The two forms of Kundalini are important as they represent the human condition, enslaved to illusion and controlled by the planets, or awakened and in a state of self-awareness.
Food for the Moon: The Lunar Path
The Moon plays a significant role in this process. It is ruled by 96 laws and is at the lowest ebb of the Ray of Creation save dead matter itself. It is a dead parasite planet feeding on the energies of Earth, recycling them back into the world sphere. In the Tantras we learn the secret of the Moon – it is the gateway of the unawakened dead. In the Fourth Way, Buddhism and many other esoteric schools, mankind does not naturally have a spirit or self – a true individual identity must be forged through action. When an unawakened being dies the karmic factors that make up their experiences are cycled through the lunar sphere and reincarnated on Earth. In the Vedas this is known as the “Path of the Ancestors.” It offers no true immortality, simply a constant repetition of the same conditions time and time again until the cycle of the ages end at the conclusion of the Kali Yuga or Ragnarok. At that stage if a “package of karmic” factors has not been forged into a discrete self, it will be dissolved into the cosmic night and cease to exist. In philosophical terms Friedrich Nietzsche described this process as eternal re-occurrence that can only be broken through the evocation of the “will to power.”
What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more’ … Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ‘You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.’
– Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 341
Since mankind is “food for the Moon,” the role of the Moon and the planets is not passive, each emanates various forms of energy which can be helpful or inimical to man’s development. As we have no conscious control over them, they influence us is at their whim. In traditional magical practise each planet has a spirit and an intelligence. According to Francis Barrett in The Magus, the intelligence is an evolving force trying to awaken man while the spirit is an enslaving force trying to deceive. In many ways this model reflects the two modes of Kundalini (and Kali) on a much larger scale.
19 March & Lunar Influences
One of the most significant influences is the Moon. It feeds on human karmic factors and recycles them back to Earth endlessly, and has far greater effects. The Moon controls the tides, pulls on Earth’s gravity and supposedly agitates the psychological state of the mentally ill. Furthermore, its goal is to become a planet in its own right. According to the inner teachings of G.I Gurdjieff, P.D. Ouspensky, Rodney Collin and Boris Mouravieff, the spirit of the Moon absorbs some of the life force before it transmits the karmic factors back to Earth in a long and slow trek to once again become a living planet. Since it broke off from Earth, it is a bitter soul, lonely, barren and angry, feeding off the energy of others and attempting to reboot its lifecycle. As part of this process, certain unique alignments allow the Moon to increase its influence, causing disaster and suffering that helps accelerate its access to life energies and hence shorten its quest to once again become a living planet.
On 19 March the Moon came closest than it had to Earth in 18 years, making it a ‘Supermoon’. It was 20% brighter and 15% bigger than a normal Moon. The size of the Moon’s orbit varies slightly; the Supermoon was just 356,577 km away from Earth. Of course scientists argue this has a minimal physical effect on the Earth, and this may or may not be true, but the spiritual influence of this event cannot be underestimated. Not only did we have the huge earthquake and tsunami of 11 March and the ongoing Japanese nuclear crisis, but due to the Moon’s need to feed, war is also on the horizon. The role of violence and sacrifice to release life force has always been known since the earliest times, with the use of blood sacrifice and the manipulation of war by earthly leaders. What is less known is the cosmic use of war by the lunar sphere for its own ends.
While many pagans see the Moon as a symbol of the natural cycles of Earth, other older traditions see the Sun as the bringer of life and the Moon as a destructive force that must be kept under its submission. In such a system the Moon is seen as the bringer of war and pestilence when individuals and collectives do not control its baneful influence. The attack on Libya began on 19 March and certainly represents the irrationality of war. Reliable sources on the Libyan civil war are hard to find, yet it does seem that Muammar Qadhafi is fighting to protect his country from incursions by external sources such as al-Qaeda, and capitalists who just can’t wait to get their hands on his oil. Of course we do not hear about these factors in the news since the attack on Libya has been carefully media managed and has more in common with a psy-op than a civil war. As the Moon feeds war and destruction, delusion is spread individual to individual, mind to mind, and memes of collective madness take hold.
Magical Idealism and the Solar Way
Is it possible to escape the force of the Moon or are we just enslaved by cosmic influences? Whether we discuss the Fourth Way of G.I. Gurdjieff or the Magical Idealism of Julius Evola, both argue that only through creating a Self and taking full responsibility for our thoughts, emotions and actions can we remove ourselves from the influence of the planets and in Gurdjieff’s terms escape the Law of Accident.
For Gurdjieff this process involves aligning the various energy centres of the body and creating a higher sense of awareness from which evolves a new body (at the level of “all Suns”) which can survive death as a discrete and isolate form.
For Evola the Solar Way involves the philosophy of Magical Idealism whereby the subjective universe of the individual is harnessed to create a unique inner world from which a true Self can be forged. This process is uniquely personal, and while using the transmissions of the esoteric Tradition, is not limited to the moribund forms of religion or political philosophies. This I or Self is not forged simply through contemplation or knowledge but through action and deed. It is the true heroic path and it is only the hero who can overcome the power of the Moon, ascend the Ray of Creation and be reborn as an immortal through the power of the Sun.
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ROBERT BLACK is the editor of Living Traditions, an esotericist, traditionalist and researcher in the perennial wisdom tradition. You can visit his website at www.livingtraditions-magazine.com.
The above article appeared in New Dawn No. 126 (May-June 2011).
© New Dawn Magazine and the respective author.
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