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Esoteric Astrology - The Nature of Esoteric Astrology - The Crosses and the Signs
2. The Crosses and the Signs

We will follow man from sign to sign as he - in travail and pain - forges the equipment and develops painfully the mechanism which will enable him to arrive at a major moment of crisis in his cyclic life wherein he will begin to free himself from the path of the great illusion along which he has traveled for aeons from Aries to Taurus, via Pisces and - reversing himself - will begin to travel the path of light from Aries to Pisces, via Taurus. This changing experience is expressed for us most beautifully in the sixth section of the Old Commentary:

"The Cross of many changes (the Mutable Cross. A.A.B.) continues with its whirling, carrying [82] crucified thereon the form of a man in whom is found the seed of all illusion.

But, from the Cross whereon he has been slain - e'en though he knew it not - the man climbs down and feels his way (with pain and many tears) on to another Cross - a Cross of blinding light, of fiery pain, of bitter woe, and yet the Cross of liberation. It is a stationary Cross, fixed in the Heavens, and guarded by the Angel.

Behind the Cross, another Cross appears, but that he may not reach (the Angel guards the way!) until the Bull has rent and torn the man, and then - the light shines forth; until the Serpent dread has wrestled with the man and brought him to his knees, and then - the lifting up into the light; until the Lion has been tamed, the secret of the Sphinx revealed, and then - the revelation of the inner light; until the man has lifted up his water-pot and joined the ranks of those who are the Water-bearers, and then the flowing of the stream of life will fill his water-pot and drain the rancid pool and cleanse its source and thus reveal the bidden way which leads unto the innermost light, hid by the final Cross. Then, from the Cross of man, the initiate finds his way, passes the Angel and leaves behind the inner torn veil, mounts the major Cross and passes into day, the final day. The wheel for him stands still. The sun and stars, for him, fade out. A great light is seen and... "

The three crosses on Mount Golgotha were Biblical symbols of these three astrological crosses, the Common or Mutable Cross, the Fixed Cross and the Cardinal Cross. [83]

I would ask you to remember that though I shall trace the progress of the man from sign to sign around the zodiacal way, yet there is not necessarily this ordered sequence of travel or the smooth passage from sign to sign as I may portray it. All souls come into incarnation in the sign Cancer. By this I mean that the very first human incarnation was always taken in this sign which has been recognized down the ages as "the doorway into life of those who must know death," just as the constellation Capricorn is ever regarded as another door and is called esoterically the "doorway into life of those who know not death." As the ages slip away, the man passes into and out of all the signs, the particular sign being determined by the nature of the personality ray which itself changes, as you know, from life to life. In those signs he learns the needed lessons, broadens his horizon, integrates his personality, begins to sense the conditioning soul, and thus discovers his essential duality. When he is upon the Path of Discipleship (and here I include the Path of Initiation) occult rumor says that he then becomes conditioned by the tireless Watcher, the soul, and is subjected (during the final stages of the path) to exactly twelve incarnations, passing one in each of the twelve signs. In them he has to prove himself, attaining great moments of crisis in each of the constellations of the Fixed Cross in particular. From point to point, stage to stage, and finally Cross to Cross, he fights for his spiritual life, in all the twelve houses and all the twelve constellations, subjected to countless combinations of forces and energies - ray, planetary, zodiacal and cosmic - until he is "made anew," becomes the "new man," is sensitive to the entire range of spiritual vibrations in our solar system and has achieved that detachment which will enable him to escape from the wheel of rebirth. He has accomplished [84] this by mounting the three Crosses - the cross of the Personality or the changing form, the Cross of the Disciple or the eternal soul, and the Cross of the Spirit. This really means that he has passed through three momentous crises in his life cycle.

  1. The Crisis of Incarnation -  The Mutable Cross
    The Mounting of the Wheel - Personality and form life
    The Cycle of Rebirth in Form - Experience
    Manifestation of Manhood
  2. The Crisis of Reorientation. The Fixed Cross
    The Changing to the 2nd Cross - The life of the soul
    Preparation for the 2nd Birth - Consciousness
    Manifestation of Christhood
  3. The Crisis of Initiation - The Cardinal Cross
    The Transfiguration - The Life of the Spirit
    Manifestation of Divinity
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