“…man can move out of the ‘influences’ of the actual sky and the laws which bind him to a destiny overshadowed by the Ignorance, and he can move into a sphere of higher light and knowledge veiled to the ordinary eye, a harmony which is perceivable only to those who have eyes to see in a new way. ”Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet The Gnostic Circle
Back in the year 1998 I was watching the local access station on television. The owner of a hair salon called “Dream Weavers” was moonlighting as a talk show host of sorts. Her name was Rita Vanacore and she was doing a reasonable job given the training and experience she had which I am presuming was very little. I only watched the one episode though and cannot fairly critique her overall performance on that medium. Things have moved on now, everyone and anyone has jumped onto YouTube and I do not imagine Local Access TV is still a thing. On that episode she was interviewing a gentleman by the name of Robert Wilkerson. Robert had a wry smile and a gleam in his eye that was perfectly suited for his faint southern drawl. His voice was so attractive you could easily hear him commentating on The Masters, Golf’s “Green Jacket” Tournament held each spring in Augusta, Georgia. Soft, colorful, self-assured, and resonant. His voice was in the deep end of the alto range and perhaps a little high for his bullish shape and temperament. He was a Taurus. Of course.
Robert introduced me to The Gnostic Circle that night when he answered a fairly straightforward question about time and space in one of the most expansive ways I had ever heard before or since. And I never imagined the possibility of speaking about time cycles of such vast and incomprehensible lengths: 2,160 years. 6,480 years. 25,920 years and 77,760 years. I was aghast and mesmerized. He was so fluent and at ease with his remarkable insights and knowledge. I was hooked.
The next day I walked over to introduce myself. He was working at the Coffey Gallery which was located on Wall Street in Uptown Kingston. Katherine’s paintings and photography are brilliant. Robert looked up as I came into the gallery and said hello. I replied in kind and threw in a compliment about the show the night before. He was gracious and invited me to sit down. We chatted. I had escaped from my office which was one block south just above the bank. I was selling subprime mortgages at the time, it was before the Dotcom bubble and subprime mortgages were only a nascent contributor back then to what would become an epic failure in 10 years time creating the Global Financial Crisis. Robert had his astrology program open on his laptop behind the desk. He was there to greet walk-ins and provide a welcome to anyone looking to inquire about exhibiting their work or just in case they were interested in buying something off the wall. But I think he was especially welcoming when he discovered that I was there to talk astrology and specifically to learn about the magnificent chart he was discussing the night before. The 12 Manifestations.
For some reason astrologers feel compelled to throw in everything and the “kitchen sink” into their work. But Robert’s discussion was compelling not for what he threw into the mix but for he left out. There were no aspects or arguments over house systems. None of that. There was only this circle with the planets on the peripheral, and a mosaic of colored square inside holding the symbols familiar to us all. “Where did you learn astrology,” I asked. Robert said he had picked up all sorts of astrology over the years after much study and reading, but none of it matched what he learned from Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, as her principle student. When he met PNB is when his astrological knowledge began to accelerate. He had a good foundation. He was a long time student of the Supramental Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. And Robert has a professorial mind and capacity. He was a fascinating character to run into in Uptown Kingston in those days. An intellectual bon vivant of philosophical and astrological prowess that quite frankly might piss off a professional. I felt so fortunate on so many levels and not the least of which I was no professional. Not yet anyway. But I was excited.
Little did I know that next 9 years would consume a good deal of my time trying to wrap my head around Thea’s (PNB) work and for a number of those years immerse myself into the astrological pedagogy of Noel Tyl. Had I known a little more astrology at the time I might have avoided both teachers. They are both Capricorns! And me? I am a Pisces. Noel loved to tell the story of how he first met Zoltan Mason, in Mason’s famous astrology book store in NYC. Noel walked in wearing a full length fur coat and announced to Zoltan that he was interested in learning astrology. Zoltan wasted no time sizing him up. Noel was with his first wife, also a Pisces. Zoltan picked out their Sun signs just by looking at them or so the story goes. “Capricorn ALWAYS victimizes Pisces,” Noel would shout in his best Zoltan Mason impression. And somewhere in there was a punch line. I think that was it. Huh! I thought to myself. Maybe I should keep shopping for another teacher? As it turned out I consider both PNB and NJT two of my biggest blessings in this life. I could have not asked for better teachers. I received so much more than what I thought I was looking for at the time.
“Like all studies, astrology has different schools or systems. They can be divided into the more materialistic, or realistic, and the more spiritual — those which do not depend upon the actual physical positions of the planets and their ever-changing relation to each other, but rather find their meaning and the answer to the mystery of the evolution in a more divine species by a pure vision of the harmony that the Cosmos is, a harmony which is steady, unchanging, and eternal.”Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet The Gnostic Circle
My astrology has come a long way since the day I walked into that gallery. So much so that it somehow feels wrong to call it “my astrology.” Is that ever true? Do you ever get to a point where the astrology you practice is your own? Noel was extremely creative in his approach and at the same time acknowledge the influences that helped shape his voice. He had a unique astrological voice that was as rare as the gift God gave him to pound out Wagnerian opera performances. Patrizia’s work appears impossibly complex at first sight but she assures seekers that the design is simple and coherent when it is studied with new eyes, a new way of seeing.
The zodiac is a labyrinth for those who have not the key of knowledge or the guidance. One can become completely lost in these studies and, what is worse, one can be lost without realizing it. It is possible to spend a whole lifetime working with the planets and the zodiac and be totally convinced of having found the way and the light, when in fact we are merely spinning the web of illusion around ourselves convincing ourselves of harmonies and patterns which may have only slight relevance and may be only subjectively valid, having no bearing on the Great Truth and in no way being able to connect us with the source of objective knowing which the solar system represents.Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet The Gnostic Circle
I recently stumbled over a couple of YouTuber reviews of Neil Young’s song “Old Man.” And juxtaposed to a similar commentary on a tune by Frank Zappa. Two musicians but worlds apart in terms of style. Personally, I am more drawn to Neil’s storytelling and musicianship. But I am enough of a musician to understand that Zappa was a musical genius in his own right. Expressing that I was a fan was a way of cheering for a team that would never have me as a member. I did not have those chops. Nor could I sight read. I played by feel mostly and wrote lyrics, like Young. The problem with Zappa’s music is that his pieces were too heady. His approach was 1000% intellectual. Music was the result of solving an equation, like math, according to Zappa. It was dry and smart. Formulaic and iterative, sometimes blindly fast but still clinging to the algebraic rules that made his melodies sound austere. A performativity of anger and insult that called attention to himself through humor that bordered on the absurd. Weirdly, Zappa’s music carries more resonance with me today than it did back in my high school days. I did not like it then though, but pretended to like it. Music I did like I pretended not to like. The point is that when we are young and impressionable we are prone to share the fashion of the generation with which we belong. Which is not to say I didn’t love my rock & roll bands then and still do: Yes, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Traffic and Hendrix for example. But the older me would give myself more permission to better appreciate Queen and Bruce Springsteen for example, two great performers and musicians who were not quite cool enough for the click I hung around with at the time. What a shame. CSNY was awesome though. And Young’s “Old Man” was a soulful and deeply moving composition. One musician wrote and performed with his head. The other wrote with his heart and soul.
Much of the astrology we have inherited falls into one of these buckets. The emotional, vital, or heart bucket. And then there is the intellectualized or mental becket. One approach is dominated by feelings the other is dominated by abstractions of ideas.
“In astrology there are now myriads of systems, each day a further one appears and each of them has its basis in a partial truth and can therefore reveal a particle of the Design, because whatever the new system it is always taken from the zodiac of 12 which will invariably yield a beauty of form and a harmony of pattern.Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet The Gnostic Circle
My last post to borrow a phrase from a reader who shared some feedback with me on my Law of Aversion post, was a “wall of text.” It is not my intention to build walls. I want to build bridges. PNB, or Thea, was a seer of the highest order as far I can tell. There are so many confirming messages in her life’s work and simply in her poise of being which comes across in her writing. Understanding the Cosmic Harmonies she discusses in her books and on the Aeon Website is a worthy goal and seekers are encouraged to go and spend time with her. My astrology is an excursion along the way by comparison, like most every other astrologer on the planet. However, “my approach” does seem to work more often than not. I learned a “classical” style from the best in the business. However, I am humbled enough to know that my astrology is only one of kind among many and that although it does seem to get the job done it is not The Gnostic Circle. But I always have The Gnostic Circle running in the background although I never “mix” the two. At the end of the day, when you get together with your astrologer, so long as you come together with clear eyes, and full hearts, then you can’t lose.
CAN’T LOSEFriday Night Lights Coach Taylor