In this post, I will reveal how my website Living in Cycles got its name, what it means and how it reflects my understanding of life and the focus in my astrological practice. I’ve also included some of my personal experiences with number symbolism. You know what they say if a number repeatedly appears in your life… Oh, and I will also touch on free will and fate.
Starting a blog has been in my mind for a long time before I finally made it happen in spring 2018. It took me a while because I couldn’t decide whether to start one or more blogs. You see, I had three topics and three languages to work with. It’s wonderful when I think of how it eventually happened. I guess the universe saw I needed some help.
I was working the night shift having a break sitting on the couch reading something on my mobile when I heard the words “living in cycles.” I instantly knew this was the name for my blog, and before I could forget it, I wrote a note on my phone. The next moment I signed up for an account on WordPress.
Once the website was set up, I didn’t worry anymore about languages and topics. I eventually noticed that I am comfortable writing one blog in three languages, including all three topics. I never had to ponder what or in what language to write. I just know. I hope the diversity of languages and topics on my blog does not confuse you, my dear reader.
When my blog’s name came to me, I had only started my studies in traditional Hellenistic astrology. I later became interested in the chart for that moment, so I checked the note I made. Funnily it was written at 4:44 in the morning.
The number of the day, 22, adds up to four as well. Number four has shown up often in my life in a meaningful way, sometimes paired with number one. Also, three times four makes twelve: the zodiac signs, the twelve months, the twelve Olympians, the twelve apostles, etc. I’m sure you have heard about the significance of numbers.
As I write this, I remember that roughly four (!) years ago, I found an Ace of Hearts card on a path nearby. It was the 31st day of the month and the first time going for a walk after moving to a new place. A couple of days ago, I found a Three of Hearts card. It was again the 31st day. Thirty-one adds up to four. The numbers of both dates I found those cards each adds up to three. There has been something going on with numbers three and four the past years.
And did I just started writing this post on the 4th of April, the fourth month? Oh, and I’ve written four articles about numerology so far on my blog. The signs are everywhere.
This is not supposed to be a post about numerology. However, I shortly want to mention something here. Number four has appeared in my life, as far as I can remember since my Saturn return, whenever there was a significant change coming its way. Now, change is not the primary meaning of the number four—on the contrary.
Number four is mainly associated with stability, practicality, order, and the material world. But you know we are living in a world built on polarities, and change is only the other side of stability, as we can see indicated by the opposition of Saturn and the Moon in the Thema Mundi (watch my video about oneness, polarity, and diversity).
Interesting for me as an astrologer and someone who has experienced heavenly guidance throughout the years is that according to the Bible the sun, moon, and stars were created on the fourth day. Even more interesting is that through the creation of the lights and their relationship with each other, we see the nature of this place called Earth is indeed polarity. There is day and night, light and darkness, yin and yang.
Physical existence (symbolized through number four) is based upon polarity. Most clearly, we can see this reflected through the four elements: the foundation of the material world, our bodies included, and of which two are feminine and two masculine.
“14 and Elohiym said, the luminaries will exist in the sheet of the skies to make a separation between the day and the night 15 and they exist for signs and for appointed times and for days and years, and they exist for luminaries in the sheet of the skies to make light upon the land, and he existed so, 16 and Elohiym made two of the great luminaries, the great luminary for the regulation of the day, and the small luminary for the regulation of the night, and the stars 17 and Elohiym placed them in the sheet of the skies to make light upon the land, 18 and to regulate in the day and in the night, and to make a separation between the light and the darkness, and Elohiym saw that it was functional, 19 and evening existed and morning existed, a fourth day,”
Genesis 1:14-19, The Torah: A Mechanical Translation by Jeff A. Benner; Picture: The Fourth Day of Creation by Betsy Porter
For Cheiro, numbers four and eight were problematic, and his advice was to avoid them. There are to this day cultures that consider number four unlucky. On the other hand, some see number four as one of the most meaningful ones (see, e.g., Tetraktys, Tetragrammaton).
At this point, I can’t confirm Cheiro’s perception about number four having an unlucky connotation. There may be several reasons for that, one of them being that numbers carry, besides their general symbolism, a personal meaning depending on who is to receive their message. And as we know, different systems associate slightly different meanings to each number.
Cheiro’s wariness regarding number four may come from his association of Uranus with it. The planet related to number eight in Cheiro’s system is Saturn. Uranus and Saturn (the greater malefic in traditional astrology) both have a somewhat problematic reputation. But so have other planets, too. For example, Mars (the lesser malefic) associated with the number nine in Cheiro’s system. Number nine, on the contrary, is considered to be sacred. The association of number nine and Mars is one I’ve been wondering about.
Regarding Cheiro’s association of Uranus with number four, I have mixed feelings. It doesn’t seem that logical in many ways. But in his defense, there is a striking coincidence involving Uranus and number four in my birth chart—if it at all makes any sense to look for correlations in your birth chart in this case. Besides this, there are other possibilities, too, to associate number four with different factors in my chart. Anyway, for me, on a personal level, number four has been so far an indicator of change and a confirmation for being on the right track.
From the book Die Lehren der Rosenkreuzer aus dem 16ten und 17ten Jahrhundert (see my book look through), known in the English-speaking world under the title Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians, I know that numbers three and four have a special place in Rosicrucianism. I haven’t studied the Rosicrucian plates on these numbers yet, but I will do so soon. It may give some new insights into this topic.
There is so much coming to my mind as I write these lines that I think I need to dedicate a whole article to number four at some point. Oh, Cancer is the fourth sign of the zodiac and the first sign in the Thema Mundi. Four is the Emperor in the Tarot and associated with Aries, the first sign of the zodiac…. There is indeed a lot to write about. I’m so excited right now. I can’t wait to tap more into this.
Attached and conscious
Back to astrology and Living in Cycles. In astrology, a person’s life path and its cycles are shown through the position and relationship of the lights and planets at birth and calculations based thereupon. This is only logical since we as human beings are part of the creation and therefore connected with its laws and cycles.
Here we come to a point where some will ask what about free will? I understand that even though we are part of creation carrying certain inclinations, being also influenced by our surroundings, and having to fulfill a role, there is a part within us that is not dependable or intertwined with the limitations of creation. This is where our relationship with the Divine comes into play.
There is a passage in the Corpus Hermeticum where Asclepius talks to king Ammon, saying:
For they (the spirits) shape our souls after themselves and arouse them by residing in our sinews, in our marrow, veins and arteries, and even in our brain, penetrating as deep as our very entrails. The spirits who are set as attendants beneath each star according to what each birth merits, take possession of each one of us at the moment we are born and are given breath. Never stationary but turning about they change places from moment to moment. Now when these spirits enter the two parts of the soul through the body, each agitates the soul according to its own activity. But the rational part of the soul stands free of the tyranny of these powers and remains fit to receive God. When by way of the Sun that rational part in a man is illumined by a ray of light (and such men are few), the spiritual powers cease to affect them. For no spirit or god has any power against one ray from the supreme God. But all other men are borne and led, both soul and body, by the powers, whose activities they dearly love. It is their thinking which is misled and misleads, not the love. Thus the powers have control over all our affairs upon earth through the instruments of our bodies. This control Hermes called destiny. Thus the spiritual world depends upon God and the physical world on the spiritual, and through the spiritual and physical world the Sun receives from God a flow of consciousness, that is of creative power (tou agathou). Around the Sun are the eight spheres, who depend on it; first is the sphere of the fixed stars, then the six of the planets and the one that encircles the earth. The spiritual powers depend on the spheres, and men upon the spiritual powers. Thus all things and all men are dependent upon God.
The Way of Hermes: New Translations of The Corpus Hermeticum and The Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius. Clement Salaman, Dorine van Oyen, William D. Wharton, Jean-Pierre Mahe. Inner Traditions, 2004.
Here an older translation (1906) of the same passage translated by G.R.S. Mead:
For they (daimons) do shape our souls like to themselves, and set them moving with them,—obsessing nerves, and marrow, veins and arteries, the brain itself, down to the very heart. For on each one of us being born and made alive, the daimons take hold on us—those [daimones] who are in service at that moment [of the wheel] of Genesis, who are ranged under each one of the Stars. For that these change at every moment; they do not stay the same, but circle back again. These, then, descending through the body to the two parts of the soul, set it awhirling, each one towards its own activity. But the soul’s rational part is set above the lordship of the daimons—designed to be receptacle of God. Who then doth have a Ray shining upon him through the Sun within his rational part—and these in all are few on them the daimons do not act; for no one of the daimons or of Gods has any power against one Ray of God. As for the rest, they are all led and driven, soul and body, by the daimons—loving and hating the activities of these. The reason (logos), [then,] is not the love that is deceived and that deceives. The daimons, therefore, exercise the whole of this terrene economy, using our bodies as [their] instruments. And this economy Hermes has called Heimarmenē. The World Intelligible, then, depends from God; the Sensible from the Intelligible [World]. The Sun, through the Intelligible and the Sensible Cosmos, pours forth abundantly the stream from God of Good,—that is, the demiurgic operation. And round the Sun are the Eight Spheres, dependent from Him—the [Sphere] of the Non-wandering Ones, the Six [Spheres] of the Wanderers, and one Circumterrene. And from the Spheres depend the daimones; and from these, men. And thus all things and all [of them] depend from God.
Some have a rather negative attitude towards the physical world. There is much to say where such an attitude may come from, but now is not the time for it. Nevertheless, I will say this. Let’s be careful with our mindset about the physical creation.
The strive for detachment can be a form of denial and harmful to oneself and others. How can we take care of something, ourselves included, without being (fully) connected to it? Isn’t humankind’s primary mission to take care of the Earth and each other—the physical creation? There is a reason for physical reality. There is a reason why planet Earth is built in a certain way. And there is a reason for you being born into this world, and into a physical body. I believe this reason is a good one.
As we read from the above-cited speech attributed to Asclepius, we are under the spiritual world’s influence. However, according to him, there is a part of the human soul that is free from this influence. Asclepius calls it the rational part of the soul. He tells us that “When by way of the Sun that rational part in a man is illumined by a ray of light […], the spiritual powers cease to affect them.” This is quite a powerful statement.
At this point, I am not fully on board with the idea that the spiritual world symbolized through the movement of the planets has no influence whatsoever on someone’s life who’s “rational part is illumined by a ray of light”. Even after awakening, we still have to deal with everyday life matters. Natural principles do not suddenly cease to work. We are, through our bodies, still part of physical reality and its interactions. Life cycles, as shown through astrological techniques, do work regardless of one’s awareness or faith.
So, where is the difference? The Sun is a symbol of consciousness. Asclepius tells us that the spiritual powers’ requirement to cease acting on us is the ingress of (one of?) the light’s rays into the rational part of our soul. I believe it is exactly this awakening to consciousness that makes the difference. It’s about seeing the attachment and understanding how all, you included, is related.
From this perspective, someone who is not conscious of the spiritual world and the Divine would live mostly on “autopilot,” feeling indeed sometimes rather tossed around than having a say in their life. On the flip side, the experiences of people who have gone through a significant transition in their consciousness confirm that a feeling of freedom comes with it.
What changes for you if you have become conscious is, in my experience, the way you live through the cycles of your life. These phases and their quality of time keep being predetermined, but now you can actively work through and with them. It has now become a mutual interaction instead of a one-way relation.
Unfortunate things still happen to people who “have seen the light.” Finding faith does not prevent you from experiencing difficulties, but it makes a difference in how you deal with them, which eventually will impact your personal development.
As Asclepius states, it is the ray of light that causes illumination. I believe there are various ways for someone to become conscious. The light will find its way where doors are open. Astrology is one of the tools that can help to become and stay aware of the mechanics of life. It also helps to navigate through the cycles of your life by elucidating the nature of each phase.
At this point, I believe life is about becoming conscious. Physical reality is the playground for becoming aware and exercising one’s will based on interaction with one’s purpose and the Divine. Astrology can function as a map helping the traveler navigate and grow through the different stages of their earthly life and strengthen their relationship with the Divine.
A side note
You may know the popular children’s song revolving around a lion hunt. During the adventure, the hunter has to pass several obstacles. In each case, when faced with a new obstacle, the hunter states, “You cannot go over it. You cannot go under it. You cannot go round.” Depending on the nature of the obstacle, the hunter has to go through it, hop from a tuffet to a tuffet, go along the bridge, or go into the cave.
The song is primarily about dealing with fear showing that one must face and solve the obstacles on one’s path properly. There is no going under, over, or round. If you want to meet the lion (tell me in the comments section below what you think the lion represents), you must be brave and continue the adventure. But be aware, you eventually might find what you were seeking! Do you dare?
So, what about the meaning of Living in Cycles? When I heard these words, I didn’t know about my future passion for the cycles of life nor that I would strive to become a professional astrologer. However, I have always had a deep inner knowing about the cyclical nature of life. Astrology then gave me tools to make each phase of life conscious, understand them better, and eventually work with them in the best way possible.
The universe knew my disposition and that I would learn time-lord techniques in my astrology studies. Giving me the name Living in Cycles for my website was just a reflection of what would grow soon. It has also been a sign of confirmation to keep focusing on what I like to contemplate most—life, death, and rebirth, the creation and the creator.
Spiral of life
Sometimes people confuse cycles with circles, but there is a crucial difference! We say we are going round in circles when we want to express that we are stuck—indeed not a situation we are eager to find ourselves in. Although the feeling of being trapped going round in circles is real for someone who experiences it, life itself is an ongoing movement—always.
One way of understanding life is to think of it as a spiral. There is a circular but forward or upward-moving development. Life is progression. This is mirrored through astrology. Even if the planets continually make their rounds through the zodiac circle, they constantly form new patterns in relationship to each other. There is always something fresh and unique involved.
Circular movement implies sameness and repetition, whereas cyclicality as a spiral movement means progress and new beginnings along the way. A point that moves along a spiral will keep returning to the same spot each round, but on a new level.
Life can be understood as a spiral unfolding itself over time. The birth chart is the seed from which life sprouts. It contains information on the quality of time for each phase of your life.
Picture: Glory Window, Dallas Thanks-Giving Square Chapel; by msandersmusic | Pixabay
Astrologically, the starting point of the spiral would be your birth chart which is the foundation, the root (hence the birth chart is called “radix”) of your life. Your life cycles are based on this chart. All calculations for determining the unique phases of your life are made using the moment of your birth, the minute you took your first breath. From there, your life has started unfolding itself. The planets, too, kept moving.
As you travel through time, your life keeps developing. This is reflected through various astrological techniques. Especially traditional astrology knows many techniques that help understand the quality of time you are currently living under. It can also shed light on past phases and experiences in your life, which I find most helpful.
I hope you are not going round in circles but evolving into the best version of yourself through the unique cycles you are destined to live through. I wish you all the best on your path!
P.S. If you seek to understand the cycles of your life from an astrological point of view, I’m glad to help you. For information about my services, please read here.
Featured Image: Ajay kumar Singh | Pixabay