Tantra and the Astrological Energies
Lao Tsu tells us:
The Tao begot one.
One begot two.
Two begot three.
And three begot the ten thousand things.
The nature of astrology can be said to be born out the roots of tantra. Tantra (sanskrit tan – to weave, tra – a tool) is a weaving tool and as such by blending the natures of Shiva and Shakti the astrological tapestry is woven. This is how nature or ‘god’ per say embodies and ‘grows’ itself, evolving into ‘higher’ forms. At the heart of the mystery of tantra is expansion and awareness. By knowing and accepting our multidimensional energies we can become at peace with ourselves and enlighten our beings and others.
The mother energies, Shakti, are embodied in the physical, fundamental ‘earth’, comprised of the four elements, fire, earth, air and water. Each substance is rather lifeless unto itself but through the ‘kiss’ or touch of the male influence these elements come to life. The male energies, Shiva’s dance (Tandava), is the source of the cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution. These are commonly known as modalities in western astrology, be them cardinal, fixed and mutable. The masculine energies are that of intention, or how it chooses to ‘make love’ if you will to the various elements. These intentions embody the elements to have them dance or vibrate in a particular way. Each of the unique energies created when shiva and shakti meet(weave) in their various forms are the 12 astrological energies.
Within the elements and intentions there is a natural evolution in of themselves and within the energies that they co-create. Looking at the elements, first there is fire, the big bang if you will, creating creation itself. Out of this earth is born, what Einstein so eloquently wrote as E=mc2 or m=E/c2, where matter has been coalesced from energy or fire. This can be noted as just the inverse manifestation of an atomic bomb going off, where a tremendous amount of energy is transformed into a physical form with weight and dimension.
This fixed place looks as a wonderful place for nature to relax (hey Taurus!) but she moves onward and creates the next mysterious transformation. This is that of atmosphere (air), an aura that is grown from the earth itself. The nature of the aura is an echo of the earth and has the ability to move fluidly and mix without effort with other auras. Hence earth has found a way to communicate with other matter, searching for connection after being blown into bits after the creative ‘bang’.
Now having grown an atmosphere nature can do something amazing and that is creating water and thus life itself. How many of us have gazed transfixed at a huge cumulus cloud, with all it’s lightning and thunder, and witnessed the creation of water pouring down through the atmosphere and onto the earth. Earth has made an element which she can be empathic with and create life in all its wondrous forms.
Now Shiva’s part is seemingly simpler, having only three permutations and not having any embodiment. It is like a dance partner who comes along wishing to engage and energize Shakti to bring her to life in a certain fashion. The first male energy is cardinal, of moving one to new ways of being and experiencing herself. Similar to fire, this first energy creates for the sake of creation. After an ‘idea’ is born however, why not go into the mystery of the idea, to hold it in a fixed way to explore and savor it with full intention. And what would be the final chapter in the dance, to be able to change, or what’s know as being mutable, the very structure of Shakti’s embodiment.
Now that we have the female and male ‘parts’ we can combine them into all their combinations, the twelve astrological energies. This is a kundalini effect, two snakes spiraled around one another making love or contact with one another. The both snakes consists of 12 segments, the female composed of fire, earth, air and water repeated 3 times and the male snake cardinal, fixed and mutable repeating 4 times. Where the segments dance with, or ‘touch’ each other an energy is created, as noted, followed by their traditional names.
So in order cardinal fire (Aries), fixed earth (Taurus) mutable air (Gemini), cardinal water (Cancer), fixed fire (Leo), mutable earth (Virgo), cardinal air (Libra), fixed water (Scorpio), mutable fire (Sagittarius), cardinal earth (Capricorn), fixed air (Aquarius) and mutable water (Pisces). Astrology 101, right?
Each modality of the elements if an evolution from the next. Fire knows cardinality intrinsically (Aries), just watch something take aflame; it knows how to move and burn anew of its own accord. To fix fire (Leo) and contain it is an evolution to the next step. Finally to have fire be able to change with control or be mutable (Sagittarius) as needed for its own purpose is the last fire evolution.
Earth intrinsically knows how to be fixed (Taurus). Its next stop is to be able to move and change (Virgo) and finally to discover how to build, to be cardinal (Capricorn), to create structure from itself.
Air by nature is mutable (Gemini), willing to move with whatever force it comes in contact with. To change it needs a direction of its own to find cardinality (Libra) so that is has its own will and in it’s third movement can rest in a particular design, that of fixed air (Aquarius).
And then onto water, it intrinsically is able to seek its own level, to move down a stream cardinally finding its own way (Cancer). The challenge to be learnt here is how to stop moving, to become fixed (Scorpio), as with ice. Next to master being mutable, to flow it the way it desires, hence the image of the ocean for Pisces, where water is free to move as it wills in any of the 3 dimensions.
Our unique matrix of energies, known as our astrology, creates what’s know in Tibetan tantra as the ‘subtle body’ or ‘winds’ that blow through our very essence. These energies literally create our beings and provide a resting place for our souls during this lifetime. This knowledge has been apparent to indigenous cultures that lived and breathed with the the earth; these energies are apart of the natural world. They are alive within each one of us; our intuitive selves know them in a fashion beyond the conscious mind. Be with a person you like and tune into their rising, sun and moon energies; you will smell a unique flower, born of divine love.
What is incredible at first recognition is that these 12 energies are the same energies that life on earth moves through as the seasons progress. At the first day of spring cardinal fire is birthing tender shoots of green onto the landscape (Aries) and then by fall they are dying and going to seed (the Scorpion mystery of fixed water). The earth spins the wheel inviting each energy at different times and as when we are born we take on its unique thumbprint of energies that a time and place imprints upon us. This energy transferred at birth from mother earth, as well as the heavenly bodies above, into ourselves is how our subtle level of consciousness is formed. As Chief Seattle was quoted, “The earth does not belong to us, we belong to the earth”.
So how do these created energies mix together within ourselves and with others? When our soul finds a lover, what is this new dance we enter and create? Tantra has the next expansion up its sleeve here, the weave of how our energies intertwine with another. This is why love is so mysterious, that which can be felt as the essence of nature making love with herself through her own creations, you and your beloved.
And through love the places where our energies are not flowing freely are revealed. As our subtle body energies become more accepted and purified our ‘astrology’ becomes less ego identified or ’emptier’ so to speak, and this experience of emptiness, also know in tantra as non-dual wisdom, combined with the essential bliss of our true nature creates enlightenment.
Only when Shiva is united with Shakti does nature have the power to create. Shakti glows in her manifest radiance as Shiva holds her body in his vast, endless embrace. So deep is their passion that stars are born through their love.