On and off for days, clouds and rain have been the weather menu. The Sun is up there, ceaselessly shining, but we haven’t seen much of His radiant face. We miss the lack of a solar-pick-me-up, but feel gratitude for the much-needed rain, which nourishes local life. For ancient peoples keenly attuned to the shifting cycles of light and dark, summer’s growth and winter’s quiescence, expansion and contraction, activity and rest, the Sun was the singular symbol for the vitality of physical life whereupon its beams fed and sustained the world. The people were also keenly aware of the mystical Sun behind the Sun—the spiritual emanation behind and within the outer planetary body.
This unseen, spiritual energy was considered the true Essence of Life. As an “unknown quality” or inexplicable ingredient, the rationally oriented or materialistic mind cannot account for this invisible attribute as a real or quantifiable entity. But, it is the spark of life, and when this animating force of life departs, the physical life ceases. In the Sun’s extreme ability to scorch, ravage, and incinerate, it leaves the withering fruit of death, whereas in its more moderate rays of warmth, vitality, and strength there is the generation of health, hope, optimism, and abundance.
Life is composed of incessant trade-offs of challenging consequences on the one hand with delightful results on the other, as well as all that lies along the continuum of alternatives. Life presents us with a multitude of self-determining choices. The paradox is that we must choose. In that we have no choice. Electing not to choose is a choice in and of itself—presenting yet a another choice that portends an ever-novel effect. In the Grecian Mystery School established by Pythagoras (one of the world’s most famous philosophers), a central teaching embodied the power of choice. The symbol of the zodiac sign of Aries closely resembles the famous Pythagorean dictum of the “Forking of the Ways.”1
From the central, undivided stem arises a fork with a path to the left and one to the right. All of us eventually reach this moment where the Path of Life divides, and we must choose from the depths of our consciousness. Over the course of a life, several confrontations with the Fork will present themselves, encounters that significantly shift the course of life one way or the other. Such a crossroad forces us to choose all that one Path offers, while foregoing the options of the fork not taken. And then, there are the many times when a lesser Fork is reached, and the outcomes are also less noticeable in their long-term, life-altering effects.
On the symbolic level, the left-hand road signifies Earthly Wisdom and following the dictates of the ego-driven nature (in its extreme form) of folly, indulgence, dissipation, and eventual self-undoing, with unpleasant results. This left-hand path is the world of “phenomenal reality” and becoming entranced with what is outwardly visible and verifiable. In sheer contrast, the right-hand road was called Divine Wisdom and, if followed with steadfastness, dedication, focus, concentration, and integrity, this path would eventually lead to illumination or Cosmic Consciousness.
From the earliest peaks of civilization, the connotation of “right” and “left” has accrued great instructive power and is meaningfully scattered amidst the philosophies and scriptural texts throughout the world. The right orientation is linked to such things as the direction east, the masculine polarity of assertion, the diurnal half of the day, the right side of the body, the “conscious” mind, and further suggests qualities considered to be active, direct, strong, open, beneficial, familiar, righteous, and fixed on the externally driven, outer “self.”2
Conversely, the left orientation is symbolically associated with the direction west, the feminine polarity of receptivity, the nocturnal half of the day, the left side of the body, the “subconscious” mind, and to sharing our energies to create committed partnerships and unions. Moreover, the qualities associated with the left are said to diminish or weaken a strong sense of self through a desire to blend and compromise. The energies of the left are believed to indicate those qualities that are so-called “passive,” emotional, intuitional, unfamiliar, obscure, indirect, harmful, and even “sinister.”3
When the right and left halves are taken together as complements to one another and harmoniously balanced, they signify a unified totality—the wholeness each of us will finally attain when we make the conscious choice to travel the Path titled: “Be Full and Complete in Yourself Now.”
The Road Not Taken
Then took the other, as just as fair
And both that morning equally lay
I shall be telling this with a sigh
1. Manly P. Hall, 1977. The Secret Teachings of all Ages. The Philosophical Research Society, Inc. Los Angeles, CA. 245 pages.
2. Deborah Houlding. 2006. The Houses: The Temples of the Sky. The Wessex Astrologer, Bournemouth, England. 168 pages.
Text © by Zane Maser, 2015. Photos gratefully used from Wikimedia Commons. The photo of the two paved roads forking is attributed to Evelyn Simak from the UK Geograph project. All rights of Zane Maser and SunnyCat Astrology reserved worldwide.
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