The chapter on Cancer in the commentaries is lengthier than either of the first three chapters – Aries, Taurus, or Gemini. In my haste to record my notes on TMC I accidentally skipped over Gemini having lost my place, and I rushed ahead thinking those notes were recorded already. I read the chapter on Gemini plus the commentaries but needed to backtrack and make my notes post hoc. I was going to pause, and course correct straight away, but something told me that it was important to keep moving so that is what I did. The payoff for making that decision was not necessarily revelatory but many insights came flooding into my awareness all at once. Hopefully, these notes capture one or more of those insights in a way that will be helpful to others who choose to join me on this journey.
Cancer is significant because it is a Cardinal Sign and the first Water Sign of the Zodiac which follows the Cosmic direction away from Cosmic Sunset (Aries), and toward Cosmic Midnight (Cancer). The Cosmic direction is easily confused by the two directions observable in the horoscope, where planets trace a counterclockwise movement in a yearly time frame, but move in a clockwise direction on a daily time frame. One direction is determined by the rotation of the Earth upon its axis (every 24 hours, the daily motion), and the other is determined by the orbit of the Earth around the Sun (every 365 days, the yearly motion). In any case, the Cosmic direction that ‘Thea’ (Patrizia) speaks about does not move toward Cosmic Midday (Capricorn) it moves toward Cosmic Midnight (Cancer). This nuanced discussion requires a little more space which she provides in her commentaries on Cancer due to a necessary recapping of the first three signs, which puts the first quarter of the children’s journey into context by connecting this leg of the journey to the greater circle, the remaining 9 signs – 12 signs in all.
She begins with the reminder that Gemini ends the first quarter, and like other quarters to come, the signs in this position have a Mutable Quality. She teaches elsewhere how the modalities of the Zodiac represent Creation, Preservation, and Destruction, which she ascribes to the three gunas in Hindu philosophy. So, Gemini is a sign of destruction, but she also speaks to the evolutionary function that is more in keeping with dissolution not destruction. Aries is the vital impetus for life. There is a thrust of energy that becomes restrained in Taurus, the Aries spark accrues in Taurus before dispersing in Gemini. So it seems the job to be done by the third “dissolves the barriers and sets in motion a wavering dispersal of energy…” For this reason, astrologers see a correspondence between Gemini and a “superficial nature” or a “lack of depth.”
One manifestation is made up of three-signs, and so the first triad introduces the three modes of energy that will repeat an additional three times, or four times in all, around the entire Zodiac. Importantly, each manifestation shares the exact same energy modes, in the exact same order, but distinct in terms of element expression and Sign. To see Destruction as Dissolution is meaningful because it relates more precisely to a Cosmic Harmony.
Thea then segues to further explain a few recondite meanings as they relate to parental relationships, and where Gemini identifies with the Child. The Word, Gemini, is the Child in the ‘play’ in so far as there is a “manifest divinity,” or Trinity at work. It is the job of the Third to dissolve what was confined in Taurus, the second principle, or what “the Mother, has established.” The point she makes is that the process is analogous to human gestation, and the developmental process of a fetus. The experience of birth in “a cosmic” sense means breaking through to successively greater levels of freedom. The Third is important to the play, because she is the force that keeps the action moving, she keeps the progress on track as it were.
An extraordinary paragraph follows: The Signs are referred to as Cosmic Principles and the journey is about the energy passing through them, evolution. The Signs are described as realms of varying dimension that follow a precise order and constitution. In the review of the first three signs what becomes increasingly clear, in case the reader hasn’t yet comprehended its message, is that this journey is a Cosmic Journey. The realm of “non-differentiated cosmic being” is behind the children at this point in the story as their “plunge into the dimension of human, earthly existence” begins. Cancer principles emerge such as protection, and security. Patrizia makes a brilliant observation that Cancer follows Gemini in the order of Signs, suggesting that the Ego (the many layers of expression, what she calls the subtle sheaths and veils that act as a protective covering) was a necessary creation in reaction to the appearance of Mind.
There is an interesting discussion about the “kindling of the psychic fire” within the body and that this Fire needs to be protected as it grows. She refers to this fire as the Soul. The story of The Magical Carousel is where the “Tree of Knowledge” (the biblical story of Genesis) synthesizes the Mind of Mankind with the Soul, and where the human form experiences the Fall. Gemini is the tree of knowledge and Cancer is the sign of the ‘Fall.’ However, there is no judgment of sin in the prevaricating sense of good and evil, which in the Bible is made emphatic. Instead, the story relates a growing consciousness, an increase of awareness that moves from a mental progression into an emotional one. The realm of Cancer thus provides the ideal conditions for the gestation of the Soul.
Cancer has long been associated with life, and the creation of life coming full bloom at the Summer Solstice. But the concept of Water, the energy flow of Creation in its cardinality, and the start of the second triad bringing about the birth of “the individual dimension of being” is a remarkable construct that widens Astrology’s perspective back to its origin. For this reader there is a far greater sense of clarity in what “The Fall” represents, its main aspect so to speak, which describes the plunge from the cosmic heights (the first triad) into the inner sanctums and depths of individual being (the second triad). The biblical Fall is interesting by comparison since the “test” introduced to Adam and Eve resulted in their “seeing” and awakening to their own nakedness, the truth of their vulnerability against nature and sin. The test in The Magical Carousel is “severe” in the sense that the children lose whatever awareness they carried with them in their initial “plunge” from the Non-Manifest into the Manifest (Aries). Each new beginning, moves into a dimension that starts with a loss of consciousness and limited perception which is symbolized by the children sleeping.
Thea describes Cancer as the womb of Prakriti, “for she is the queen of myriad manifestations of biological forms.” Like nature, she tries on one costume after another, displaying a “multi-dimensional personality.” She continues, writing that “Cancer is the sign of the birth of the Person; but because the Fall carries one into unconsciousness, the higher purpose of the manifestation of the Person is obscured, and the person becomes enshrouded in the ego-veils, suffering in the process a diminishing of its finer and wider attributes.” What is depicted in the story is a dramatized version of these insights, the play portrays the process Thea describes, more succinctly than words alone could ever do. For example, the idea of separateness, and being “cut-off from the vast realm of the All” due to an encasement of the individual within their “ego-shell” is not explicitly spelled out but rather demonstrated by the plot and the action in the story. Boundaries are created, and a “separative consciousness” pervades, like the progression from chapter to chapter. This, she explains, is the result of Mind because the mental being is condemned in this way, “to this process, or this Fall, until a principle higher than Mind is unveiled.”
The message of the zodiac is related in this way to a progression of consciousness through 12 stages around the entire wheel, a journey through each sign and the unfoldment of the mental being into a being of supramental gnosis. “On a collective level the calamity of the mental being is the lost unified perception that is the goal of evolution on Earth.”
The Fall then is an initiation of the Soul into creation for the purpose of regaining “the lost vision of Oneness.” There are twelve signs in all, and the remaining nine signs symbolize the gestation period of another birth, a “re-birth” into this higher realm. This period is marked with the passage through the final Water sign in Pisces where the children emerge “in a consciousness of unity.” At this point in the commentaries, Patrizia makes the subtle distinction between the three Water signs, where Cancer begins the gestation period fully veiled in a sense, Scorpio works to eliminate “the veils of the individualized ego,” and Pisces represents the “the final dissolving of the separating veils.” The work therefore in Pisces symbolizes all that has come before in a holographic manner since there is a mirroring between the first three signs and the last three signs of the zodiac symbolized numerologically as the 10th, 11th, and 12th signs as compared to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd signs, but so much more than this when comparing the rulership of the first three signs as compared to the exalted planets of the last three signs. The point is to see a total vision of harmony, a continuous vision of wisdom emanating from the zodiac and not a truncated partial view of this means that. No part can be understood in isolation from the whole, while at the same time an integration of all the elements within perception must constantly be calibrated and attended to, but the individual will need to explore these concepts in their own lived experience, and to become their own expert in these matters. The purpose of these notes is to build my own understanding in what Thea was trying to convey with her new cosmology and simply share what I’ve learned.
A more thorough explanation of the symbol of Cancer ensues and, in the process, the greater structure of the zodiac is revealed. The Crab is the animal being that represents Cancerian attributes and “is remarkably accurate for conveying the sign’s place in the evolutionary scheme.” I must interject here that the first time through this story, and as it relates to The Gnostic Circle, it was rather difficult to wrap my head around the enormous swathes of time inferred by Thea’s definition of an Age, and what she meant by how much time was necessary to traverse three Ages (One Manifestation). But putting that notion aside, Thea makes it clear that no symbol, in this case The Crab, can be fully understood without the full understanding of the adjoining animal beings within the present triad. In the case of the second triad, The Crab, in the sign of Cancer, introduces an invertebrate whose soft vulnerable body is encased within an armored shell. This is a necessary part of the structure at this stage to protect since “the spine is the apparent channel for the play of subtle energies in the human body.” So, at this nascent stage the process of human awareness, what Thea call the evolution of consciousness, remains hidden. The spine does not appear at this stage in Cancer which again is why the hardened external shell is required, so that the physical being is kept safe to grow. Remember that this quadrant, or second triad, represents the physical being coming into its own form, but also introduces the environment where the emotional nature is discovered. A test and subsequent transformation every bit as magnanimous as the transition that occurred at the first angle, Cosmic Sunset, Aries. But here the transition is severe, and protection is needed so that the soul-spark survives the critical gestation period, to grow and be born.
The Crab is also shown to move diagonally which is a characteristic of the sign, typically allied with a tendency toward avoidance, a form of protection itself as Thea points out. The individual power is not yet accessible, nor expressible, as a direct force. And as The Queen of Night, ruler of the feminine sign, the mother principal expresses this urge for protection in a reproductive profusion that secures the “eternal display of her power.”
“Out of her castle of a thousand and one fantasies the survival of a select few is assured by her careful regard and the earthly evolution is certain of its ascending progress.”
The depth and detail of the narrative speaks to the feminine principle embedded in Nature, and itself a process recognized in scripture. Therein a power of soul domiciled in the cellular structure of creation, and what Thea refers to as “a nucleus of higher light” inhabits the being. But further still is the presence of what in the Vedic tradition is called the soul-spark, or psychic flame, Agni, “hidden in the waters.” This would be PomPom beneath the veils, but who eventually is found out in due time.
The next section of the commentaries was more challenging to read as a young man, when I had very little experience with The Gnostic Circle. Since then, not a day goes by wherein I do not learn something new about where I am on the Circle, or what the symbolism means. The Magical Carousel as it turns out is also a biographical story that details the journey of the Avatar of the Age. It is the story of the development of a soul, through an individual’s experience, to become an awakened being in the higher dimensions of consciousness. What gave me pause at this point was the suggestion that “most human beings do not, in fact, awaken from the slumber of Cancer.” That is, most of the world’s population is not fully born, not until recently was it even possible for the collective to access these higher states of consciousness (which is not to be confused with being “woke,” but how interesting that this term has become vogue). Patrizia learned only after the book was written, that many of the evets in the story corresponded to real events in her life that hadn’t happened yet. She therefore called The Magical Carousel a “prophetic autobiographical odyssey through the zodiac.” But the correspondences discovered went beyond symbolic events mirroring the timeline of the story, there were also numerological correspondences with names and dates that she outlined explicitly on pages 24-25 of the commentaries. These are recondite insights that describe a hereditary spiritual nature that can read like a mathematical proof on your first exposure to the material. But there is at the same time such an eloquent delivery and coherence that one is immediately struck by the notion that there is something special in the story being told, even if the symbols and commentaries are at first perplexing. The destination, therefore, is toward the symbol of the age, The Sun: “This is the symbol of the new creation that is not subject to the supremacy and regency of Mind.”
Knowledge is embedded in symbol and number, a necessary strategy for its preservation and enduring longevity. The skill with which the attributes of astrology are seamlessly woven into the text gains admiration from even the most astute practitioners of astrology. The keys in the story align perfectly with both the material and the psychological characteristics taught in traditional astrology lessons taken from the zodiac. But what’s fascinating in this tale is that the commentaries ”are meant to cast light on the true nature of the zodiac by offering the serious investigator a living example of the thousand fold branches of knowledge contained in the recondite symbols which have been a part of the Earth’s evolution since the dawn of time.”
In the synthetic nature of Astrology, and the wheel as it is described in The Magical Carousel, the totems and symbols convey all the depths and heights of knowledge to be discovered. The glyph for Cancer as an example carries all the significances of reproduction and motherhood. The glyph is womb like, evokes female breasts and her reproductive system. Gemini conveys its dual nature, and the expression of the symbol, like the characteristic of the nature of the sign, a linearity of perspective. Gemini is the realm of words, long windedness, and brain power, which is analogous to the rise of mental consciousness. However, back to Cancer, the rounds and curves suggests an all-encompassing emotional nature which in the story is precisely what the children encounter AND experience.
Thea points out the revealing features of Aries and Taurus as well, where Aries represents the “tremendous thrust of Aries, on the order of a ‘Big Bang’, which resonates with science’s view of the beginning of the universe, where it ALL began. In Taurus this energy moves into an enclosure, a containment within a vessel, which in the story is the Bull. Again, a cosmic nature pregnant with potential, but as with Matter, the imposition of its inherent nature experiences limitation within the structure of that potential. An interesting lesson from the narrative is not just how the correspondence of all the symbols becomes clear, but also how those traits described resonate with scientific discoveries throughout the twentieth century and beyond perhaps. The principal message of the story and of any story ever told, felt too much to swallow in a single gulp when I first read the story and commentaries. But over time, Thea’s words, not mine, continue to prove a perspective that I trust will fully guide future readers. When we change the way we look at things, those things we look at change. She wrote, “… the language of the zodiac carries us even beyond this understanding, and its true nature of the Absolute that contains within itself all processes of being and becoming and carries us to the portals of a new consciousness and a new condition of Being. Indeed, the real experience of the zodiac is an eternal state of Being.” When Thea writes ‘beyond this understanding,’ she is referring to the scientific discoveries that are not limited to “merely empirical” revelations, where process remains disconnected from purpose. Thea was a Seer. Her vision much grander, and more comprehensive than anything ever envisioned before. If her writings weren’t so eloquent, and so beautiful in form, it might be considered an audacious piece of work, and no doubt some will think that, but I’ve combed through this work from many angles and there are no leaks in the boat.
With Cancer I’m drawn to the idea that Cancer is the realm of the soul, the birth of the soul as Thea put it. But she is more explicit in that the soul is eternal, and so it is not actually born in Cancer but “encased.” The soul then, does not enter existence into life’s entanglements to suffer the lived experience of mortal beings.
If each sign can be seen as a field of experience, an “episode” in the play where the soul interacts with the environment. The Cancer Episode then describes “the true nature of the psyche” and the process by which the Fall enables the ‘spark’ which became manifest at Aries, in Cancer becomes enshrouded and veiled “by virtue of being housed in a physical body.” Thea then explains more fully that the cellular level is an apt analogy, first because the environment is mostly water, and in addition because “the consciousness is disconnected from the light that is its true CORE.” Although the soul takes birth in Cancer the Mind becomes regent over this power, because creation is laidened with vestiges of the Mental creation, as she put it. This is the condition of Ignorance which shrouds awareness, making it difficult for travelers to see within this realm.
Because the soul does not travel together with the physical body, a popular misconception of popular psychology and astrological practice, Ignorance reigns regardless of one’s external expression, regardless of one’s intention. Most soul work is superficial, unenlightened, “slumbering consciousness.” The body is mortal, and decays but the soul is immortal. Cancer then marks the beginning as well as the end of the mystical journey, “thus, Cancer in the zodiacal journey is both the womb and the tomb.” An everlasting condition apparently until “the evolution of consciousness carries the races of Earth to the portals of a new physical creation, which means that the cells of the body of the future will be conscious of their immortal core-light.”
In the story, Val represents this core-light, the Third Principle of creation, or the psychic spark of the core of the cell, which enters Cancer. She is unaware of where she is and says as much when she says, “I have never been here before,” in answer to PomPom’s question as to which way to go. PomPom on the other hand, “represents the psychic core of Matter itself.” The distinction between these two psychic powers is obscure but may mean that one, the psychic spark, enters a mortal body as opposed to the psychic core, or soul, which is immortal.
The difficulty in connecting with the point of the story may have to do with the esoteric constructs which tease the mind to wrestle, but remember that Thea also mentions the biographical nature of the story, that in some very real sense the story describes a ‘lived experience’ more than it does a children’s fairy tale. Of course, this claim makes the invitation to wrestle even more enticing. Why? Because the metaphor fits well even with the casual observation that the children are varying forms of light, who enter the darkness, the realm of the Fall, as “an indication that the time has come for the awakening.”
“The psychic flame is kindled” in Cancer, and for the first time housed in the physical body. What is being represented here is of a new time and purpose because the children are the bearers of the core-seeds for the establishment of what’s to come. Insert that mind-blown emoji here if you need to, but recall that at the start of the journey Glow said as much, that the children were about to embark on “a journey much grander than an Earth being has ever known.” The consciousness of Glow is domiciled within their bodies, the home of the “temple of light.” Val becomes the protagonist of this chapter, the episode in Cancer. She is “the immortal light of the soul, core-essence of the cell.” PomPom as yet remains hidden and Thea says he corresponds to “the flame-core of material energy, the core of atomic and subatomic particles.” He is Agni, the fourth, found in the womb of the third. And so, the progression follows from Father, to Mother, to Child (“the primary trinity”), that is from Aries, to Taurus, to Gemini, where the fourth then emerges in Cancer. Agni (Mars) is contained within the vessel of the Third Child, within the heart of creation, as energy with potency. The story of creation described by the first three signs, or episodes in The Magical Carousel, dramatizes a new understanding of the progression of evolution. Patrizia closes this chapter in the commentaries with a reference to Greek mythology. “In Greek mythology the Sun/Mars of Aries is Apollo, His sister is Artemis, or the Cancer-Moon goddess, and in fact Artemis is the patroness of child-bearing.”
Norelli-Bachelet, P. (2017). The Magical Carousel and Commentaries: A Zodiacal Odyssey (2017th ed.). Notion Press, Inc.