Sabian Symbols: Priest performing a marriage ceremony
This universal idea is best expressed through planets in
Cancer 19 (18° - 19°)
SANCTIFYING A CODE OF CONDUCT
Belonging to a community carries duties of conformity and obedience which are emphasised by religious protocol and ritual
"Sanctifying a code of conduct"
Some of our activities and projects are entirely for personal satisfaction and have no great social implication. Others are sanctioned and sometimes sanctified by the rituals that define our particular social group. There are rites, rites of passage, ceremonies and celebrations, which can be religious, cultural or even commercial, that collectively bind us into our own community in its widest sense. They serve to give greater meaning to what we do by integrating us into the larger context.
A PRIEST PERFORMING A MARRIAGE CEREMONY
A priest performing a marriage ceremony
Civilisation promotes conformity to bring all facets of life into alignment
Before civilisation began to take shape, there were no priests, no ceremonies and no contracts for sexual relations. Civilisation is that which promotes conformity – and it can create bondage, and deny individuality. It is structured by laws and moral codes, backed up by penalties enforced by power-possessors.
These structures form the body of something else, which is much more subtle – the core ideals that define and describe those who adhere to them. Our racial and cultural identity express through these structures, and actually arise from them.
The rewards are found to be plentiful for the adherents. There are great advantages to be part of something, especially in knowing that others are willing to conform to principles and aspirations that we ourselves are bound to. As a result we find friendship, family and economic well-being easier to establish.
A special kind of self-fulfilment is possible if we align in service to the established rituals of our society. The priest’s submission is one example. Perhaps in the beginning the surrender – in service to the rituals – was meaningful because of the beliefs they represented, yet later rituals were employed as a means to perfect the surrendering itself.
The constant repetition of ritual has a very profound effect upon the adherent. The mind becomes very clear, and, so does the body of emotion. We can become very capable of enacting the current aspirations of those we serve – in other words, we become powerful.
The very need for the existence of priesthood points to an inability, within the general population, adequately to attend to the more spiritual side of life. The priest takes on the spiritual stewardship of human society out of concern for its integrity, knowing that individuals will not do this themselves – and are better able to project their most subtle qualities onto another person such as a priest.
This further empowers the priest. If dealt with properly, there can be the possibility of bringing all the many facets of life into organic alignment – otherwise the church can become an all-powerful ruler that corrupts the community’s highest aspect. But as we internalise and embody the values that the priest proclaims, we reduce our dependency upon external authority. If we live by our own code then we have no need to use someone else’s.