Expanding our Spiritual Orientation
thru Sagittarius & Jupiter
by Jef Bartow
As alluded to in our last article, the last four phases in the creative cycle relate to how we integrate our new spiritual practice, project or life endeavor into the greater society. The potential for success beyond our own personal fulfillment becomes our greater opportunity in the last third of the cycle. For most humans, this last part of the cycle remains only a potential unless some significant fate or destiny is involved. With Sagittarius as the natural ruler for this ninth phase, it will be characterized by expanding our orientation to find a broader more philosophical basis for our spiritual practice, new project or life endeavor. Frankly, this ninth phase is where we make some decisions or take some actions that determine whether our spiritual practice can be meaningful in the context of the larger society of as a whole. Many times, it isn't and therefore this last third of the cycle involves becoming crystallized in our spiritual practice until we either put it to death, or we die.
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A fairly simple way to understand this is through things we experience in society around us. For myself, I became less and less motivated to attend church where and when the singing carried no Holy Spirit and the ritual of the service carried little meaning or relevance in living a spiritual life. Unfortunately, much of society's religious activities are so ritualized and crystallized that the true spirit has been lost. For every new spiritual practice, new project or life endeavor we must face this inertia at some point. During this ninth phase in the creative process, significant points are encountered including "passivity within the status quo" or lack of difficulty resulting in a struggle with inertia. The challenge is to develop a deeper understanding, meaning and purpose for our creative endeavor begun in Aries. As we approach a crisis in consciousness at the end of this phase, we are first challenged to materialize a more spirit conditioned value or new creative impulse for our spiritual practice. If we let inertia (ease of action) take over, we slide into a "vulgarization" or "art for art's sake" habitual practice which results in a loss of meaning and value.
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Other examples within our larger society include how many of our holidays mean little other than a day off to most people. Over the last few decades, our freedom loving capitalist society has lost much of its freedom loving in the relentless search for materialistic gratification and the assumed ease of end-of-life that it should produce. I believe that surveys taken at this point in our society’s progression would reveal that less and less of us feel a sense of freedom and creative potential that were the founding principles of our country. I find this somewhat new perspective to highly condition the X and Y. generations born after the mid 1960s. So what does this relate to our new spiritual practice that is the core of this article series? One good example is the spiritual practice of journaling. I do not think I've met one person who continued journaling for a long period of time without either stopping or losing much of the power of reflection through it. I certainly did. The challenge for me to expand my spiritual orientation was revealed by the passage "pray without ceasing." Instead of reflectively journaling once a day, I realized that this meditative practice needed to be internalized as a continuous reflection on all of life activities as they are happening. That is how I learned to pray without ceasing. Regarding the spiritual practice of dream analysis, I recorded virtually every dream that I had for over ten years. I was able to move from analyzing each dream individually to analyzing a set of dreams to gain a much deeper meaning and understanding as to my spiritual journey and issues. At one level, this is what this ninth phase is about. At another level, I had to let go of documenting my dreams and move to integrating my nighttime dream life with my daytime spiritual focus in order to take my dreaming to a new creative level. Astrologically, Sagittarius is on my second house cusp ruled by Jupiter in Aries in my fifth house. Creating a deeper understanding and more philosophical approach to life and society (characteristics of Sagittarius) would most easily be developed for me by utilizing my talents and resources (second house activities) while developing my self-worth (goal of the second house).
This would be greatly assisted by being courageous, pioneering and initiating in my creative self-expression (characteristics of Aries in the fifth house) to better integrate my beliefs and ethical standards for living (functions of Jupiter). I have already discussed in previous articles examples of how I took standard spiritual practices and expanded them into a whole new way of engaging in society (e.g. exercising and participating in triathlons).
Another good example of expanding and deepening the meaning and purpose of our spiritual practices (ninth phase challenges) can be highlighted through the practice of reading spiritually oriented books. If you take a walk up and down the aisles of your local bookstores, you'll find all the most popular books that have been written regarding spirituality. Every few months you'll find new books that are both explaining the classics in an easier to understand way or addressing the current fad in spiritual growth/living. Fulfilling the challenges in the ninth phase regarding reading spiritual materials doesn't come from buying paperback after paperback that talks about love, relationships, meditation, yoga, etc. etc. This is living the crystallized inertia “art for art's sake” in the ninth phase. The challenge in the ninth phase is to move to deeper focused, complex, challenging books and treatises that have been documented by key spiritual saints and mystics. A few these examples include: A Synthesis of Yoga by Sri Aurobindo; Thinking in Destiny by H.W. Percival; The Secret Doctrine by H.P. Blavatsky; and Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill. In psychology, good examples include reading the Collected Works by C.G. Jung or Ken Wilber. In metaphysics, committing to read and study the works of Alice Bailey would be a good example of how to take your current level of understanding and meaning to a whole new level. Of course the challenge with all of these is not just to read them, but integrate them into your life perspective and outer societal activities. The challenge of the ninth phase in the creative process for any spiritual practice, new project or life endeavor is to take the message and energy to a whole new level within yourself and how you integrate yourself within society. This expanding, broadening and deepening of understanding was and is the commitment of those who have become the spiritual sages and mystics we admire. For most of the rest of humanity, this challenging phase is where spiritual practices and life loses its meaning and becomes rote ritual.