Sabian Symbols: Officers on dress parade
This universal idea is best expressed through planets in
Pisces 6 (5°- 6°)
SUPPORT FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE
When we serve the needs of the group
we may expect to receive its support
We receive huge benefits from being part of a group – whether this is seen as a family, a friendship circle, a neighbourhood community, a nation or our species. Yet it comes at the price of a significant degree of conformity and obedience to controls and disciplines. Some involvement in some group is unavoidable and will inevitably generate a measure of friction or concession. Much of our life is moulded by the choices we make about how much friction we will tolerate in order not to be overly compromised.
A PARADE OF ARMY OFFICERS IN FULL DRESS
A parade of army officers in full dress
Appearance is but the experimental exhibition of authenticity
Most of us have an urge to make demonstration of our personal skills and capacity to achieve results in the world. We see this in children, and it doesn’t ever fully leave us. Officers on a dress parade are showing off how well they have trained themselves to do something few of us could manage to do. This is indicative of an aspect of the human psyche that occasionally comes around, in a cyclical pattern, and is evidenced by a deeply felt and wholly necessary intensification of being – at times, we feel the need to stretch ourselves to the limit.
Dignity and protocol always provide a valuable rehearsal of cultural and group values; that is what they are for. We wear certain uniforms at different times as an outer acknowledgement of our orderly adherence to community customs. To go shopping, on a picnic, to a funeral, to a dance – and all have their own pre-determined styles of dress and behaviour, coded for us to understand the background emotional condition we are expected to fit in with. Typically, the more intense the experience we want, the more seriously we take our look. Appearance is much more than a courteous, informative system of interface with the world – it is an important creative aspect of who and what we choose to be. This perception allows for us all to show greater appreciation of a person when they strengthen their own pattern of unique participation.
Most of this is entirely unconscious, and often even discussing it triggers a defensive reaction, yet it is generally understood that how we dress indicates our choice of what to take part in, and how seriously we want to engage. The one wearing sports clothes is looking for a certain type of emotional validation from others, which differs substantively from someone wearing black, or someone else dressed to kill.
Special privileges accrue to those who master this aspect of human experience, and these privileges are also ritualized – as important titles, public awards and entrées to the exclusive circles. This probably applies as much on the street as it does in corridors of power. To survive the pressure of such public attention requires exemplary self-discipline, because to stay at the top is even more difficult than to get there in the first place; others want your spot.
We invest in selfhood very carefully, and to stake our claim on the future we choose an image, and an assortment of opinions and behaviours, which are likely to be judged acceptable. This presentation is to serve the long-term purpose of our self-seeking ambition to live out all we can of the potentialities of life.
However, we must be careful not to accept as the real thing any legitimized, but rather unimaginative, attempts at the ideal experience. Titles, awards, public recognition and glamour are all shallow reflections of something deeper and more authentic that the essentially aristocratic soul strives to make clearly manifest in its incarnation. And if, at the top of the tree, we cannot tell the difference between these gestures and the real deal, then all of the straining to fit in will have been almost entirely wasted.
We find that the greater discipline is in resisting all the trappings, the rewards that appearances earn us. In the end we must learn to say No to glister and Yes only to gold.