Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Recently, I had friends visit me from Toronto, and I took them to Xochicalco, a city in central Mexico that was abandoned over a thousand years ago. The best thing at the site is an artificial cave with a small, hexagonal tunnel in its roof, that archeologists call the Observatory. The Sun shines directly down the hexagonal tube at noon around May 14 each year, when our star has, from earth’s perspective, swung as far north as it goes, and is aligned with the Tropic of Cancer. (I thought this happened at Solstice, but no). Xochicalco was famous in ancient times as the place where the MesoAmerican calendars were all fixed and harmonised, and there are relief carvings there that commemorate a major gathering of astronomer-priests around 700 AD, held explicitly for this purpose.
I’m glad there are places you can go online to consult about what is where and when astronomically, because the four-dimensional complexity of the motions of our solar system always boggles my intellect. So, I’m always impressed by how these astronomer-priests 1400 years ago figured it all out for themselves.
I have an advantage living where I do, in that I’m not close to a city. The night sky is often permeated by the glow from Puebla 30 miles away, with its two-and-half million inhabitants, and hyper-populous Mexico City is just 35 miles north and a little west. But on any clear night I see six or eight times as many stars as was possible in Toronto, and sometimes more, so the night stars have a significance that city living denied me.
My mind went to this topic because the Equinox is almost on us. This is one of the times when we reflect most clearly on our relationship to the greater cosmos, at least on the solar system level. oOnsciously or otherwise, we are star-attuned at this point.
Equinox is not necessarily “equi-nox” where we are. It’s the day when, overall across planet earth, the day and night are most equal. The further from the equator we are, the more variation there can be. But it is the point where the global systems – biological, meteorological, psychospiritual and all the rest – are in a specific alignment with each other that permits the emergence of new developments whose seeds have been waiting for this point in time. It’s one of the most tangible astronomical alignments we experience, along with (obviously) the Solstices and the full Moon. Progressing through occult training only attunes us more to these things over time, not less, and Dion Fortune wasn’t the only magician writer who observed they can present strong personal difficulties.
I bemoan the fact that many magicians and would-be magicians today approach their subject with an aggressive skepticism as opposed to a critically prepared but open mind. We easily forget that occultism’s links to the actual stars and planets are ancient and deep-rooted. The Equinox ceremony is one means we have of correcting our over-intellectualised imbalance. It brings everything to a pause point. Ceremonially and symbolically we empty our temples, so that we’re looking directly into one level of the deep, dark emptiness of Nuit. Even the inner stars at that point are absent from the velvet blackness of heaven, and we can, if we will, use this still point to identify the ground of our own being in a manner normally unavailable to us. The first star to re-emerge from the stillness is our own.
Equinox thus facilitates our links to the star-source, and it also reminds us that we ourselves are star-stuff. That’s true on the physical level, considering how the elements on our earth all derived from star-dust originally, but it’s also an axiom of occult teaching. The stellar references in The Book of the Law – every man and every woman is a star, I am the flame that burns in every heart of man, and in the core of every star, and others – are not-so-subtle messages saying that beyond our self-perception as creatures of DNA and neuropeptides, ganglia and neurons, social inputs and influences from upbringing, we have a fundamental nature that is actually identical with the subtle essence of star-matter. These verses are not mere metaphors.
The Aeon of Isis was based on Lunar magick and the rhythms of the organic world around us. We never lose this level, this stratum, of our own nature, but in the Aeon of Osiris it was Solar consciousness that emerged on top of that, with its stress on the individual being. This Aeon of Horus is the time when we aim for the stars, whether we’re Richard Branson waiting to take the kids into orbit, or occultists seeking the essence of our own being. We are reaching for a far broader perspective now.
And on the subtle levels, star-consciousness is going to emerge as more of a presence or force, whatever other distractions we have going on. The ever-growing presence or force of HeruRaHa brings us steadily into the realm of the star-child, so that the Sun itself will finally be experienced by us all as just one star among stars. And so we will, at last, realign our relationship to ourselves, and become the stars The Book of the Law tells us we are.
So, if you’re celebrating the Equinox soon, and the clouds permit, take a little time to brave the cold to go out and remind yourself of That which you actually are.
Love is the law, love under will.