Sabian Symbols: Old man attempting vainly to reveal the mysteries
This universal idea is best expressed through planets in
16th degree of Taurus (15°- 16°)
Only when old ways have clearly failed
can new knowledge be discovered and presented
Every single moment is new - we stand now in a new reality and find that old wisdom is simply inadequate to explain what is the case now; it cannot guide us completely and so we look for and find a new perspective. We try to explain it to others, but with few expectations, and no attachment to success.
AN OLD TEACHER FAILS TO INTEREST HIS PUPILS IN TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE
An old teacher fails to interest his pupils in traditional knowledge
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Old man attempting vainly to reveal the mysteries
The highest reward is in process not outcome
Despite the apparent futility, the old man keeps on trying to demonstrate to others what he has learned of life’s meaning. It is of supreme importance to him, but mainly so that he can reveal the ultimate secrets of life actually to himself. As a life path, this degree offers constant proof that all life is ephemeral and nothing is what it seems. Ambition therefore is clearly foolish – yet since all is folly, nothing is folly. Realising this, one wins the freedom to be exactly what one is: nothing more, nothing less.
Through study he is aware of how transient reality is, and therefore how inadequate is any attempt to explain the patterns and equations of life. The mystery of life is not the same for everyone and any attempt to impress our perception upon another is pointless. All that can be done is to awaken ourselves so that others awaken by resonance. A teacher’s deeper purpose therefore is to learn what they can about themselves.
So the determination to dramatise to others our own sense of what is real, and the tenacious, repeated stirring-to-effort, is motivated largely by the promise of personal self-fulfilment. The need to share our understandings with another is as much to do with our need for union as it is any compulsion to instruct.
True teaching is based on resonance not ideas. To be known, knowledge must be experienced – as both the presence and absence of a quality or belief. The revelation of both aspects of any teaching is required, as each side of a duality presents itself – now supportive, now challenging. A master shows indifference to short-term outcomes, in the knowledge that eventually a determined student will learn both sides of whatever is needed.
The essential self is always in danger due to inertia because ‘self’ is an energy configuration, therefore subject to entropy. Because it is kept awake when energised by conflict, the teacher chooses material of a provocative nature, in order to create a revolt in the student. Such an attitude is conducive to transformational growth for those who step up and choose to stay with the process. It takes this constant friction to maintain an uncompromising determination to fulfil our potential.
Nonetheless, even on the level of intellect, realisation is of great value and has cosmic as well as personal importance. Both the means, and the result, is an uncompromising integrity of vision. However, there is a warning – that such single-minded focus on the mysteries tends to make us rather unworldly, and we understand that practicalities are not always uppermost in mind.
Tenacity is the means not the end. Reality is sufficiently accommodating that any determined attitude is a valid life-path – and to develop an absolute never-say-die approach, we need insuperable challenges. Thus, difficulty and dispiriting results may well be the proper circumstances for a true seeker who wants more grit. When we are lucky or courageous enough to find a path that we can commit to, then the perfect task is one that can never be accomplished finally or fully. This is because the process, not the outcome, is the reward.