X Commentaries

My notes on Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet’s Commentaries. Please see footnote for information on the source of this essay or go to the source: The Magical Carousel.

The commentaries for this chapter relate to a power that is represented by the iridescent tornado. A representation of Mahakali, the Hindu goddess. She is a fierce god associated with time, life, death, rebirth, and liberation, but also the consort of Bhairava, the god of consciousness, associated with the awakening conscience to reality. Omanisol too represents the power of Mahakali, and by extension, the tornado, and her serpentine motion mirrors that of a massive “serpent of pure energy”. Thea compares the image of the Serpent to the astrological sign of Scorpio and references the ‘coiled snake’ within the body, also known as Kundalini, when discussing the Tornado. While the goddess is known for her destructive force, here in chapter eleven her true mission is to reach the goal of universal transformation and ‘brook no quarter’ in route to that realization. She will “determinedly break through obstacles” and incessantly continue forward by breaking down all resistance.  

Metaphorically, the children are described as having entered “the realm of pure consciousness”. This realm is portrayed as a creative and inventive place, the birth of forms, not some hallucinatory figment of the mind. The consciousness-power reveals its strength and force by demolishing civilization as we know it. The children “meet here the undone structure of a dead and dying consciousness, the disintegrating spirit of a race that lingers only as a shadow of itself.” So, the new consciousness-power is intent on making its way to the future by clearing the path. Removing all obstructions clears the way for ‘new’ forms that materialize in the world. The “droning lamentations” Thea wrote about five decades ago are everywhere around us in the polarization of society and including an intense diffraction within the field of astrology. The anguish expressed is less about one side being right and the other side being wrong, than it is about “the collapse of the old consciousness”, an inevitable outcome set in motion, and witnessed by those practiced at SEEING such things. In the story the children represent the rise of a “new consciousness”, but even so they are at a loss for changing the course of things, powerless to help those displaced by the upheaval.  

The new way was at the time of the writing of The Magical Carousel still gestating in the “spheres of higher consciousness” beyond the capacity of ordinary human awareness. Unknowing creates anguish, uncertainty creates fear, and these emotions make us vulnerable to those who might convince us they know the way, even though they are blind themselves. The present milieu does seem to have a more intense foreboding of end times than in the past, that the end is near for real this time, and that this sense fuels Ignorance about what’s next, if anything.

One of the most significant insights from this work is the realization that the “true collective” can only be attained after plunging within, to the inner realms of the individual, to discover one’s “absolute truth”, also known as one’s individual dharma, or the “soul’s absolute truth”. Imagine a society composed of individuals who’ve realized their individual dharma? Total harmony and a complete absence of conflict is the only possible outcome. Disharmony and conflict are symptoms that belie a lack of this kind of realization. The harmony of the spheres is a perception made available once the journey arrives in Aquarius, and this is the meaning of the beautiful music the children hear upon entering the sign. The harmony streams down into human consciousness and becomes the impetus of a new society. The presence of conflict and polarization reflects an old consciousness clinging to the old and worn-out ways. Living in total accord on the other hand reflects a society that embodies “the newly manifested harmony of the spheres”. Students who work their way through The Magical Carousel are initiated by the process “into the true meaning of this universal brotherhood, wherein multiple elements join to form a new consciousness, new because of its perfect harmonization, its faithful reflection of the laws of cosmic existence”.

Initiation in Capricorn ends the approach of learning things mentally. “The depth of their realization affects their very physical structure — nay touches all the dimensions of their being”. After Capricorn learning these new harmonies entails transformation of every cell, and each part is compelled to serve in the “Work”.

The symbols and word pictures in this chapter reveal “the secrets of cosmic manifestation” from the point of view of the individual. I am reminded of my aunt’s enormous compost pile from which she used to feed her garden. “What goes in here”, I asked? “Everything but the kitchen sink”, she said. Similarly, we notice how the cosmic reallocation of energies moves from “place” to “place”, from compost pile, to garden, and back again. There is a perpetual motion where the old and tired energies collect, to rot and decay, but more so to reconstitute as they settle in the “jug” (the cosmic womb). The enriched residue acts like fertilizer in the process and is appropriated by the new creation. The process is eternal, a sorting-out, an interplay of Saturn and Uranus, of the old and new.

Aquarius is a transitional stage in the evolution, and like Tomás Ó Cathasaigh’s Coire Sois, a sort of “cauldron of knowledge” in the Irish sense of myth making. Invariably there is a time and place in every story where the old and new meet up to force the action, to sort things out and change the narrative before melding varying points of view into something different, a new perspective. This is “the very means to undo the knots and make the way clear for the new. It may be said that the clash of energies in the cauldron of consciousness is the sign that the new is on its way, the time of realization is near”.

The commentaries make mention of how the messy contentiousness of modern life depends on combativeness, conflict and opposition that are nonexistent in Aquarius. Instead, there is a natural hierarchy. Each thing and person know their place. “… there is no conflict of interest, because all are united in consciousness for the fulfilment of the one goal”.  

The Speaker in the story represents the Transcendent Godhead, the center of Light. Wherein Capricorn, the same aspect illuminated as the Spirit of Time. Therein the manifestation of the Transcendent can be seen to have two attributes: the “seed” and the “vast”. Capricorn is about the seed, the “plunge to the core of matter” that beholds the seat of the Transcendent within, “who controls by the involved power of his Time”.  Aquarius then is the vast or the universal principle where a welcoming and an all-embracing energy invites participation. Although juxtaposed in the order of signs Aquarius expresses as the opposite of Capricorn in a way. We are reminded at this point that a prime feature of Libra, the second Air sign, has to do with opposites. Aquarius is the third Air sign, and “the paradoxical unity of seeming irreconcilables”. The entire journey through the Cosmic Day is destined for the fourth quarter of the zodiac, “the realm of unity”. It is here in the realm of unity that the enigmas of life are answered, and riddles are resolved.

The Magical Carousel reflects and rhymes with Sri Aurobindo’s epic poem Savitri. Aurobindo spent 36 years of his life writing and perfecting his main poetic work. 24000 lines which convey the story of an ancient conflict that rages between princes. His 12 Books resemble the organization of The Magical Carousel, and both reflect the shape of the zodiac. Book 11 specifically is where the heroine of the story, the Goddess Savitri, “is taken to the summits of consciousness to meet the ‘head of time’.” Her work is to undo destiny, or “plant a new seed of destiny” which can only be accomplished in the province “where the head of Time joins the base”. This same plot is worked out in the interplay of characters within The Magical Carousel from Scorpio onward. Death and the Dark Lord needs to be overcome by piercing the outer shades and veils covering the Truth to reveal the God of Light, “a child’s version of the great cosmic odyssey in twelve stages involving the victory of the immortal soul over Death”. Aurobindo transformed a brief and ancient tale into a symbol within his epic work. Patrizia points out that it is a tale “as old as time”, like legends found in the most ancient traditions such as in Chaldean and Babylonian myths. Ishtar loses Tammuz, and “in a yearly ritual follows the Dark Lord to his kingdom where the resurrection of Tammuz is secured”. Isis and Osiris present another version from Egypt, and we find yet another version from Greece in the tale of Demeter and Kore.

Again, Einstein’s pursuit of a unified theory is mentioned on page 122; he had spent nearly as much time building various “thought experiments” to unravel the riddle as Sri Aurobindo spent writing his epic poem Savitri. Einstein did not discover anything remotely close to a “unified field” during his lifetime. But the Speaker in the story represents an enlightened being who knows such truths and who creates ‘recipes’ through his consciousness force which plays out in the vast universal spaces as “current”, or in the “field” where forms come into material existence. Where the head meets the tail on the Serpent, or as previously mentioned, where the “head joins the base of Time”, this is where the “unified reality of cosmic existence” lies, within a duality of playful cosmic expression.

The point in the story where we learn that the duality is in fact a “unity” is during the demonstration of the golden globes. The small spheres are symbolic of oneness, of unity. Spherical forms convey a coming together, of joining, of unity. Oneness. Readers may recall that the Golden Sword in Libra was made of the same material as the spheres, and although differing in shape there is a definite connection between the objects. “The dramatic death and liberation of Scorpio is the experience by which the Sword’s power, its golden element, is thrown into the crucible — the Sagittarius Fire —to later emerge in Capricorn as the spherical globes…” The children emerge from Scorpio with triangular silver hearts which hearken in the next sign to the Fire Trinity between signs 1, 5, and 9. This called the Sacred Triangle by Thea. We witness by this progression the linear element (Golden Sword), transformed into the triangular shaped silver lockets in Scorpio, fired in the kiln of Sagittarius, the alchemist’s fire, and finally appearing in Capricorn as golden globes.

Therefore, the line becomes the triangle, and then the circle. This is a familiar lesson in metaphysics but here PNB introduces readers to perhaps the most recondite purpose that compelled her to write this book. Thea relates the Fire Trinity to Sri Aurobindo’s Mahasamadhi, December 5, 1950, and she points out that the Mother precisely used these numbers (1,5,9) for the core of the Mother’s chamber. The pulse of the Sun too is something of a revelation to modern science,  but emblematic in the story of the mysterious Clock in the core of the mountain. The secret mechanism of this pulse which powers the solar system is captured in the golden globes, and “is the answer to the victory over the powers of degeneration in the core of a particle or of a cell, and the subsequent realization of immortality, wherein the forces of inertia as determined by the body’s mass are overcome when in the core of the particle an equilibrium arises in a new experience of Time.” Reading this today sounds incredible, but imagine reading it in 1979? Thea suggests that the process of this transformation is described and found in the odyssey. From sword, to locket, to globe; a line, a triangle, and then a circle. Furthermore, these symbols together represent Simultaneous Time which is “the key to the perfect equilibrium or rest and motion”.

There is a pivot in the commentaries at this point for students interested in a more thorough treatment of some of these concepts, to explore the deeper significances, and deeper dimensions of astrology as she puts it, in the zodiacal wisdom she shares in her book The New Way.

Moving on Aquarius is compared to Virgo in the text, both being concerned at different levels with collective efforts, or community concerns. But Virgo is decidedly mentalized we can say and without the guidance of a “clear guiding spirit” so that agreement is in short supply, which drives criticism, disputes and disagreement. The parts are seen more easily than the whole, the brain dissects all, the “true vision of the whole, and above all the ideal and the goal” go missing. But this is not to say Aquarius, when prominent in the horoscope of an individual is motivated by magnanimous intentions alone. Aquarius individuals can be extremely egocentric and even their philanthropic endeavors operate under the guise of doing the collective work when in fact it is more usually self-serving so these organizations tend to fail their mission of achieving the higher goals proclaimed, of realizing Truth, fairness, and a more balanced society. The Aquarian today instead may be typified in the simple minded character Ayn Rand introduced to readers in her book Atlas Shrugged, when later in the book readers are introduced to the character who answers the question “Who is John Galt?”, or pick any social media influencer to day to stand in for this character. Basically we aggrandize the mind and mental powers like never before. But The Magical Carousel recognizes that “until the inner truth is realized, service is invariably a camouflage for self-gratification”.

An antidote to losing energy to egoic impulses is to visualize something new, different, and have a clear sense of the goal in mind. “If this is luminous enough it has the power to compel individuals to live in a higher aspect of themselves and sacrifice self-interest for the good of the collective endeavor and the goal to be achieved”. But there will be many false expressions during this temporary building phase, different attempts at getting to the “new” and “original” expression of the goal, which is for each individually illuminated being to shine as light unto themselves. Like the Speaker in the story this light emanates from within. The compliment of Aquarius in this case is Leo, the home of the Sun and symbol of illuminated Spirit. But in the horoscope, it is well known that the Ego is present once more in Leo, wanting and needing to take ownership of All. The satisfactions sought are limited, pleasure seeking, and gratifying to the ego. When the “madness” is left behind and the children escape to Virgo there is the sense of striving, of purpose, and working toward a higher cause. But the institutionalization of rigidity and discipline becomes a kind of arrogance that through suppression and denial of the pursuit of pleasure tremendous physical and mental tasks are achieved. Conceit for living a more austere life, espousing puritanical polemic, suggests a certain amount of rigidity of consciousness which does not allow for more subtle energies that are entering the atmosphere to affect or penetrate the hearts and souls of human beings. This stance creates resistance that invites its own destruction…    

In the story the children are shaken up to the core by magnetic waves precisely for the purpose of breaking down any resistance, “shattering their very core”. The old ways of seeing the world need to be undone. The fact that they are in the center of the whirling Tornado speaks to the achievements and status gained in Capricorn, they carry over into Aquarius a “stable center” which enables them to witness the intensity and extreme action within Aquarius without becoming fodder themselves. They instead find themselves “in the center where there is peace and an immutable yet dynamic immobility”. This is the condition necessary to “enter the higher planes of consciousness where the new world exists in essence, in a timeless perfection”.

Experiencing Time in our physical biological condition presently is not positive in the sense that as we age, we have less time available to us, obviously, so the length of life remaining is negatively correlated to the span of a lifetime based on any future date we choose. As we age, we have less and less time available to us. Thea suggested that “because of physical mortality the action of contraction that Time imposes on the body, while serving to undo the body structure at the same time rigidifies the consciousness, since ninety-nine percent of people live in the physical mental consciousness, or at least under its rule”. The young are most open to new experiences, but the old seem to lose pliability to change their ways and habits. Specifically, individuals of a certain maturity will be “closed to the new Time”. The reason that the main characters in the story are children has to do with the messaging around this necessity for a childlike, pliable mind. Only in this way will the New Time (which was born in 1956) be realized.

The job of the protagonists is not to either directly (Leo) or indirectly (Virgo) fulfil some personal mission that satisfies some individual ambition. Their mission is to “serve the cause” which is in keeping with their individual dharma. The following paragraph on p. 128 discusses “the absence of any self-centered drive” as one of the most distinguishing characteristics of the new beings, so for sure this is not John Galt, who Rand held up as a peregrine of ego worship and its benefits. What is being described further is the action of the Speaker who concocts methods “precisely for the purpose of releasing energies that will force the emergence of the inner truth of each thing”. These energies flow in the form of the Waters of Aquarius. “The seed of the Transcendent is thus the object which his own vast currents of consciousness must water. He is both the Seed and the Vast, the particle and the wave. The field is unified because He is One”.

The next page or two launches into an experience the Mother had in 1961 where she describes that Sri Aurobindo “took her on a walk in the world of expression”. The world she describes in detail precisely mirrors the land Thea describes in chapter 11 of The Magical Carousel, although this was not consciously intended.

We learn about two aspects of the Transcendent in the story. The first aspect is a controlling entity, but in Aquarius another aspect is expressed which is the vast and expanded element. The symbolism is rich here, Time gestates and is contained within the Jug. “The power or the energy of Time is in its static aspect, it may be said. The force of evolution contained”. Time operates through the three energy modes in astrology known as Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable. All three forms are described by the shape and form of the symbol of Capricorn, but the symbol of Aquarius depicts only cosmic waves. The experience in Aquarius therefore is different from Capricorn in this respect, since it is universal versus the force in Capricorn which is more individual. Science tries to reconcile this concept (universal versus individual), by measuring both a particle’s position, and its momentum but cannot seem to measure both at once. However, understanding Time and its relationship to the zodiac provides a viewpoint with Absolute Time in Capricorn and Timelessness in Aquarius. Periodicities are unclear therefore in Aquarius. Patrizia goes into much more depth on this, and skimming the topic as I am leaves essential significances on the table. But the point of these notes is simply for my own edification, and to point seekers in a new direction that they might be open to if pedestrian disputes about methods of astrology have become a bore.

The human being’s apotheosis is made possible by a conscious progression unique to this planet and may be the reason that other planes take an interest in what happens here, in how we evolve. Gaining the ability to perceive the way and the ultimate destination means bringing the focus of the work down to Earth and not away from the planet in some life hereafter. The realization must be that being born on this planet is truthfully a blessing and not a curse.

The knowledge contained in the jug is kept to age and not be poured until the time is right. The fruit of our labor needs to ripen after its picked. True of wine, true of Truth. Seeing this harmonious pattern for when the “time is ripe” is not the same thing as an astrologer’s forecast, bloviated prognostications about what travelers and seekers can expect for the month and year ahead. “Those initiated into a special branch of higher knowledge that deals with Time” are intent on Seeing astrology applied for a higher purpose.  

Think of a time when things were going your way. When you might have felt aligned with the universe and all the surrounds you. Did you draft a poem? A book? Song? Did you give the performance of your life? Start a company? Get married or have a family? Now consider your relationship to your “higher power” at that time. A concept thrown around so cavalierly. But remember, in that moment, weren’t you indeed connected with a light from above that infused and illuminated the experience with conscious awareness no matter how brief? It is like that for a Seer, only in her case does the conscious awareness sustain over a lifetime and in a way that transforms the cellular structure of her physical body. The rest of us get a glimpse here or there and are sucked back eventually into the realm of wanting to “know” the uncertain future, blind to the Absolute. Nevertheless, Time is the essential element in this process, what Sri Aurobindo called an ally, and Thea called a helper. Aurobindo suggested that time was not the enemy, she suggested Time was not a hinderance, that Time was “a creator not a destroyer”.

The glimpses individuals have of this perception of Time are far and few between so that the depth of understanding necessary for making meaningful change, to transform and alter our way of being and as a result to change the patterns of learned behavior remains effete. Without the light from above we have little power to SEE anything. The patterns of life are arranged in Aquarius in a way that enables the “Eye that sees” to make meaningful sense of the order and sequence of events. The Sacred Server in the story does his work dispassionately. Total detachment from the drama at hand, but at once representative of the highest Ideals and the “highest realization of the collective”. The Sacred Server also emanates perfect attunement with the divine will, a “motiveless state of consciousness”, and as opposed to Sagittarius a more perfect sense of freedom unconstrained by the lower nature.

What does it mean to represent the evolving spirit of the planet? At some point, following the children, going along with them on their journey through the story reveals this potential. The Magical Carousel is an epic tale that is told in a way that is in keeping with an age-old tradition meant to convey significance and meaning in its message. The message here is nothing short of heralding a new time on earth full of grace and grandeur. But the difficulty in truly seeing this potential relates to how the world of appearances is in such a mess. Thea writes that this state reflects Shakti’s force to sweep away the old, an active force meant to dissolve and destroy the old so that the way can be cleared for the new.   

But too in Aquarius the action is static, not dynamic. There is to be a gestation period, a transition, a time of preparation until the ‘time is ripe’ and ready for the pouring of the Sacred Waters. Things must fall apart, and so they do except for in the eye of the Tornado. When the ‘time is ripe’ the children begin to spin like the Tornado and “are thrust into the dynamic movement” to fully participate in events unfolding on Earth, to “awaken the hearts of mankind”. Readers learn of certain biographical correspondences which were essential to the discovery of a time-key which becomes the topic of her next book, The Gnostic Circle.

A universal transformation is underway; a collective realization, as opposed to the realized individual of Capricorn. But these two signs work together, as more barriers need to be broken through to reach and achieve the Full realization.

Norelli-Bachelet, P. (2017). The Magical Carousel and Commentaries: A Zodiacal Odyssey (2017th ed.). Notion Press, Inc.

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