Sabian Symbols: Very old man facing dark space
This universal idea is best expressed through planets in
Cancer 14 (13° - 14°)
REMEMBERING ETERNAL TRUTH
As all that passes away proves to have been ephemeral,
what remains is the lasting truth
"Discovery of universal, eternal truths"
The archetype of an enlightened one is often portrayed as a wise old man - we think of Buddha, Lao Tse, Plato - and the association is with the unbending singular dedication to the study of Truth. Beneath all that changes, and above all visionary aspirations, is something that endures and is ever stable, basic and true. To live in remembrance of this is profound spiritual wisdom.
A VERY OLD MAN FACING A VAST DARK SPACE TO THE NORTHEAST
A very old man facing a vast dark space to the Northeast
Our circumstances are a gift to enable further self-discovery
There is something rather beautiful about certain old people, who have learned to look at darkness and light with a similar level of detachment. In the face of death, all life looks rather transient and inconsequential, and this is one of the inevitable realisations that can dawn upon us when we more frequently bring to mind the certainty of our imminent death. To the mature individual it brings calmness and clarity.
It is neither necessary nor appropriate to dwell within a chaos of misunderstanding. This gives rise to a lack of any specific life-purpose, and is evidence of a failure to grasp the essentials of what it means to be in the world, with all of its darkness and light. However troublesome they may be, our current life circumstances are a gift that enables us to find something more within ourselves, and to enlist the deeper elements of our nature – in order to deal with whatever occurs.
With certain skills and attitudes, we can fully expect to attract everything we need and want, and to find love and comfort, as well as meaning. Rather than deny the murkier elements within us, the secret is to sanction and embrace them.
What is called the shadow part of our nature is deemed bad, or even evil, and unwanted. Yet, in truth, these are simply distorted expressions of energy – and are, in and of themselves, neither bad nor good. It is our distorted perceptions of them that need to be held responsible, and changed.
Our aspirations and expectations of the future have no authentic limit; in essence, any self-reduction is false. In order to delve into previously hidden areas, we need to give ourselves permission – we need to sanction the dark areas of past experience that are so often only accepted non-judgementally by the very old. Only then will our perception of restrictions dissolve.
Eternal life offers the promise of the perpetual certainty of newness. We are free to enjoy rebirth with every new breath, and in each and every moment we can find renewal into purity and innocence. In Sufism, the word Bismillah is used as a mantra very frequently. It indicates that every moment is a new beginning, and we can be reborn with each breath. In order to let go of that which prevents such rebirth, we first need to own it honestly, fully and without judgement by exposing it to the light of loving consciousness. Unless we do so, we are constrained to live a life with a much lesser degree of richness and fulfilment.
Exploring the mysteries within, we gain more realizations and understandings; then it is helpful to look at the past with wisdom eyes so that, by reworking our perceptions, we can find inspiration and increased self-assurance. What was once thought of as disgraceful can be redeemed; past hurt can be released. Absolute forgiveness is divine grace, and will heal all distortions.
Very old man facing dark space
Commentary from Guin
I looked to the fixed stars for help and found Canopus there when Elsie received the symbol in 1925!
The Chinese called it The Star of The Old Man. It is the second brightest fixed star, it is used for navigation at sea and in space. Also called The Star of the Old Man of the South Pole. The Chinese legend is he was once a sickly boy who was predicted to die at age 19. He took wine and dried meat to two men playing chess under a tree. They thanked him by reversing the numbers of his age of death to 91. The two men are the North Pole who fixes the date of a person's birth and the South Pole who sets the death date.
The 1 and 9 flipping in relation to the earth's poles seems significant. When working with groups of symbols I sometimes have a sense they urgently want to warn us about major catastrophic events from long ago that will happen again. On a personal note, my father was a sickly boy whose lungs were damaged by scarlet fever at 2 years of age. His doctors predicted he would not live past age 19. He will turn 88 at the June solstice. I'll have to tell him about this myth. His Sun is 29 Gemini, exactly opposite mine.