A Most Beautiful Story

XII 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 Magical Carousel reaches an apotheosis in chapter 12, and while the action closes the chapter in one book, it simultaneously opens an entirely new book. In the enormous body of astrological literature, in philosophy, or in spiritual studies, I have yet to come across anything that is even remotely close to what is written here regarding the final triad of signs: Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. The Magical Carousel delivers a culminating tone and message that I’ve not read or studied elsewhere. PNB’s artful style blends with an authoritative command that strikes the reader sensitive enough to notice that she is in possession of a higher faculty, a bandwidth of another order, a sense of attunement that has far surpassed ordinary vision. Again, we learn of the principal modality flows, a theme of which she never tires, represented by the triplicities in the zodiac: Creation, Preservation, Dissolution. That is the interplay of Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable signs which repeat four times around the wheel. Astrologers categorized the signs in this way, as three qualities, modalities, or triplicities. This construct takes on special meaning in the last quarter, or as Thea refers to it, the “final stage” of the journey.

Capricorn is a determined and vigorous energy exhibiting stamina and stick-to-it-iveness like no other sign in the zodiac. Achievements are foreseen realizations; goals to be accomplished, despite all obstacles.

Aquarius fixes the energy in a way that stores it up, preserving and preparing for its release. As in Scorpio, the previous fixed sign, there is a containment of the forces, only here collected in the metaphorical “Jug.” Thea writes of the “penning-in” of energies, or light, alluding to the ancient hymns of the Rig Veda where the Panis steal the cows and hoards them in a cave, hidden from Indras’ view whose task it is to recover the cows (cow = light in Sanskrit). At the start of this chapter, the movement is held in abeyance, as the Sacred Server (Water Carrier) tilts the Jug and begins to pour. The contents must be poured forth, the un-containment of which prevents disaster.

Pisces refers to “The Way of Water” in a nod to the most recent Avatar movie. There is a gestation period associated with water, some kind of correspondence with the womb. “To emerge from that element is to die to one condition and thereby secure entry into another, a higher level of being.” Water precedes Fire in the zodiac which represents a fusion of Spirit and Soul at varying levels. The fusion of Cancer-Leo begets Virgo, an Earth sign, and in this telling of the zodiacal story, it brings the physicality of human nature. The next fusion point is between Scorpio-Sagittarius, which is realized in Capricorn, the next Earth sign where “the individual discovers his Stable Constant.” [Immortality] The work to be done in Pisces is sacred. Any lingering narrow-mindedness preventing the being from seeing the Truth, for the “realization of the perfect unity”, needs to be dissolved. The necessity is nothing short of total immersion into the “One and All”, the “Divine Mother and experience therein her true essence, her nature of Love.”

Returning to the observation of the point where Water meets Fire on the wheel, the Pisces-Aries point has a distinctive feature in that it marks the end, but also the beginning of the circle. Thea writes about this Sacred point having “its apotheosis in Taurus, the material vessel of cosmic dimensions.” The Mother’s body is Cosmic, undifferentiated atomic mass Thea calls it, and a part of her “sacrifice” related to Pisces is to serve the “Absolute in the play of self-objectification.” There is a kind of “undoing” in Pisces that speaks to the dissolution aspect of the three Gunas mentioned above (Creation, Preservation, and Dissolution).

The Mother is the Absolute, and according to Thea’s work… “She is the player, the instrument played upon, and the play. She is the All.”

Using the phrase “cosmic sea” and referencing the “waters of the Mother” in this context, almost conjures up a sense of spiritual jargon. But listening carefully to such language one discovers a much more straightforward message than one might think otherwise expect because such phrasing in this case simply refers to Consciousness “—the all-pervading essence-substance of our world.”

There is an interesting correlation made between the Vedic school of ancient priests and the Evangelist term used in The Revelation of St. John, “to describe the gnostic apotheosis, ‘a new heaven and a new earth’.” The Mother mentions that both traditions share an almost identical phrase. In addition, mystery school initiation rituals and exercises follow the same path as the story in twelve stages, culminating in Love, the Formless “experience of total and perfect unity…” In the Mother’s own experience, she had come face to face with this perfect “principle of the human form,” but unexpectedly the shape took the shape of a horse. (Sagittarius). Sri Aurobindo confirmed her experience where he said, “It (the shape of the horse, parenthetically my emphasis…) is certainly the prototype of the supramental form.”

The realization of the horse being on the “borderline” as the “prototype of the supramental form, is indeed proven to be the true wisdom.” The zodiac becomes the missing time-key in this respect which opens the eyes of seekers for the first time so that they can see this dimension of reality.

A transformation of this import is an interior shift in consciousness rather than an exteriorization of perspective. In the story, the Centaur experiences a “reversal of consciousness and contraction to a point” related to traveling at the speed of light, but the realization is that there really is no “up” or “down” as such because “. . . The speed of light is the limit of the material world”, which is what the Centaur experiences and how the mother described the same experience in unscientific terms when she described the frontier as “dividing the formed from the formless”. A big take away from the dialog explains how “one can understand why it is that the symbols are eternal and are the ones used by sages of all time and all places”. Creatures on Earth embody certain aspects of truth within manifestation and so have come to represent these truths.

The Sacred Triangle of the zodiac encompasses the 1st, 5th, and 9th signs, the Fire signs. The first, fifth, and ninth letters of the Greek alphabet, also happen to spell a mystical Name related to this work. But a notable significance about this observation corresponds with the fact that the last quarter of the zodiac combines signs whose elements are not Fire: Earth (Capricorn), Air (Aquarius) and Water (Pisces).

Earth (Capricorn): A creative flow, the Cardinal Energy allowing a “perfect expression of the deeper essence of material being.” Matter in an eternal dance, an endless forward thrust of evolution, immortality, a “conscious process of renewal”.

Air (Aquarius): A detached transcendent plane, the “perfect companion” in the sign intended for preservation, a Fixed Quality at the stage “where the elements of the new consciousness, of which the Air element is particularly indicative, are gathered together…” There is an organizational component within the subtle realms in a way that holds things together, matter(s) is(are) orderly and controlled. The movement is paused until the “time is ripe” for the Sacred Server to pour the energies into creation. An All-Cardinal force would jump the gun, before the energy had time to accumulate and organize, and a mutable, dissipated energy flow, would release the energy before its time and scatter the results in a weakened form too dispersed to be of significance, not accumulating, its power diminished.

Water (Pisces): A Dissolution — dissolving in a joyous flow of ecstasy, “— to dissolve in the waters of Divine Love”. Consciousness reaches the denser element of the currents in Aquarius, which become the “waters of divine Love”.  Understanding that this is the universal manifestation of LOVE; and realizing that from this cosmic ocean, from these WATERS, “all creation is born”, is the point of the journey.

Thea writes about the “manifest harmony” where she describes each element in the last quarter of the zodiac expressing “the most harmonious energy attuned with its nature”. That is Earth, Air, and Water culminate in forming “the new heaven and the new earth.” What this means is that the being must be fully immersed in the experience, to know the full circle, to regain all awareness previously lost and to have a lived experience that is conscious, but also to live/sacrifice experience as an offering to the Divine Mother. A total immersion of consciousness and being “must plunge into the divine Waters and dissolve” in Her Love (her Consciousness). The slippery notion here points to a process of dissolution that leads to an endless renewal, the end which is a new beginning. Again, Thea masterfully points to the Indian wisdom tradition that describes this process: “Sat-Chit-Ananda. The Absolute Brahaman is thus made up of these three modes, Sat, or Being, Chit, or Consciousness, Ananda, or Bliss. In the last triad of the zodiacal signs, we find the same truth of the Absolute expressed.” This quadrant is the realm Sri Aurobindo referred to as Supermind. There is a new plane of existence beyond a borderline that divides the lower world from a higher existence. But recall that the notion of higher and lower is an illusion of sorts, what this new plane consists of is an integrality and a unity of being previously unknown. This is why at the start of the journey the children are given twelve keys, but nine of those keys are the same size, and three are larger. “This division of 9 and 3 is a fundamental key in itself.”  Sagittarius corresponds to the ninth sign, the borderline, and the discovery of Aurobindo’s Supermind on Earth. The journey beyond Sagittarius and into Capricorn represents a profound initiation and the three larger keys symbolize unlocking the higher elements required for attuning and transforming the axis of Mind (Gemini) with Supermind (Sagittarius).

Remember that this story was written in 1970 and published 9 years later in ’79. The subtle remarks making mention of the “fact” that this myth was a story based on biographical details, and that once revealed might run the risk of landing the author inside a mental institution was a real risk. So, it is remarkable that Ayama tells the children, “To awaken from all the dreams”, but not in the sense of believing that the lived experience is an “illusion”, or some kind of “simulation” (as is gaining popularity in the modern domain of neuroscience). Quite the opposite, Ayama encourages the children to lift the veils that affect perception which makes “matter itself unreal”, an illusion. The old consciousness is a thing which attempts to escape from real life into a hereafter instead of fully immersing in and embracing life. This is what the Bubble represents, a separation, a being cut off from creation and imagining all sorts of fantasy, by denying and rejecting reality. “Their penned in condition is the real illusion, for it is the victory of the forces of inertia.”  

The elimination of the veils which blind us is achieved by a power of Love, so that the goal of rejoining the carousel can be realized and a new integral being reached. Light and Dark work together in this effort, Aditi and Diti, the Mother of Light and the Mother of Dark, both a part of the creation. They are one. The zodiac expresses this truth in that each sign is made up of both light and dark, where in twelve signs can be viewed as twenty-four. The Magical Carousel took place over a 24-year period, and in a fascinating correspondence, the twenty-four-part division of the chamber in the Capricorn chapter corresponds with The Mother’s Temple design. Time’s mystery is revealed, the true significance of the Philosopher’s Stone realized, the Elixir of Life found in this new formula.

Love is the only power that can “truly integrate and harmonize, incorporating all the elements, excluding none however incongruous they may be.” Joining the circle again, at the end of the story, represents how lesser and higher forces combine as one; these forces sweep away the ‘illusion’ of separation, that some arbitrary level or certain direction, being “up” or “down”, above, or below, is real. “The Fishes are one with the All, thoroughly delighted by their conscious participation in the full paly.” They are in the flow and blissfully a part of the whole with full abandon because they are filled with Love. Knowing this divine reality helps usher in the “integral transformation”.

Division and separation need to be eliminated as constructs of the mind. The Bubble represents the fragility of the element that veils consciousness from the total realization of the circle. Love is the power that brings ALL together in a way that “unifies and harmonizes” experience and brings together “conscious awareness of the precise control and orderly arrangement of all the diverse elements in creation.” What is eliminated is important. Resistance is removed, there are no harsh angles or dividing lines because a basic unity is realized. Jupiter and Venus are prominent in Pisces. Jupiter the traditional ruler of Pisces shares rulership with Sagittarius and Venus is exalted in Pisces which invites the essence of Divine Love into the realm, but Neptune’s presence is the power that distorts and appears to insist on a sense of lingering separation or what Thea calls “the planet of the elusive tenuous veil.”

One can easily imagine how our emotional nature might crave too much and become overzealous to merge with everything before its time, to find some false or artificial means of piercing the bubble. An act which in fact would do the opposite and maintain the air of separation that divides one from a more perfect realization. Addiction, the whole psychedelic church movement, or good old fashion rebellion might be good examples in the present milieu of faking a breakthrough.

But here in the last stage of the mythic tale, something else is conveyed. A true unity of consciousness unencumbered by crutch or false aid is accomplished through the “culmination of the integral yoga” that’s involved in the process. This is the last phase of a 24-year process (12 x’s 2) signaling a new beginning in a never-ending process. All the parts become harmonized and integrated by illumination of light so that the isolated parts are joined through the dissolution of the veils that separate and immerse the being into the ALL which is “the secret of a perfect Surrender, the greatest contribution of Pisces in the play of the twelve.”

Consider the symbol of Pisces…as with all signs, to better understand the nature of each stage, and of the total realization in this case, it is important to study the symbols. The symbols are the hieroglyphic containers of wisdom, carrying both an exoteric as well as an esoteric meaning.

At least 40% of the population has a working understanding of the symbols representing each of the signs. Many would recognize Pisces as two semi arc circles attached by a horizontal line. Seekers and astrology students will be familiar with textbook interpretations including the following:

Pisces is a complex and multi-layered sign that embodies the culmination of all the experiences that have come before it. As the 12th sign of the zodiac, it represents the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new one. The waters that flow through the last three signs of the zodiac culminate in Pisces, which is a water sign ruled by Neptune, the planet of mysticism, dreams, and illusions.

Pisces is associated with the feet, which symbolizes its connection with the earth and the physical world. However, it is also associated with higher emotions and a spiritual awareness that goes beyond the material realm. The fish is the symbol of Pisces, which represents the duality and interconnectedness of life. The two fish swimming in opposite directions but tied at the tail symbolize the balance between the conscious and the subconscious mind.

Pisces is also associated with Venus, the planet of love and beauty, which is exalted in this sign. This represents the need for love and emotional fulfillment, which is a driving force for many Pisceans. The sign of Christianity also rose during the age of Pisces, which further highlights the spiritual and mystical nature of this sign.

The symbolism of the fish and the Vesica Piscis can be interpreted to reveal certain recondite meanings and provide a window to insightful, but mysterious understanding. However, as already mentioned, Pisces is a sign that represents the culmination of all that has come before it, and the potential for new beginnings and spiritual growth.

Lori Thompkins wrote about the Vesica Piscis in her 2018 book Geometric Keys of Vedic Wisdom and shares a remarkable story about how she discovered the ancient symbol of the three fishes and one head, the seed of a vision which was surely born in Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet’s work. Lori worked closely with Thea and relates her unique perspective of Thea’s esoteric understanding with fresh eyes. But before leaping ahead and too far afield of The Magical Carousel, let me bring the discussion back to where we left off and the point Thea made stating that “the real glyph is formed of two half circles, the center of one being the circumference of the other; the central line therefore serves to join the two radii/circumferences, in the following fashion.”

Lori expands this discussion based on how Thea’s ideas evolved, and then she unveils something NEW in her book, but ever more serendipitously discovers advanced ancient knowledge from the past that she shares on her blog post Demystifying The Ancient Symbol of the Fishes and One Head that in some measure affirms Thea’s work. A topic for another day.

Thea however, expounds on the occult knowledge of “two circles” and “two fishes”. If we think about a Carousel, we can easily imagine that it is horizontal and turning within a larger vertical circle, but within the context of Pisces the very idea of being “horizontal” or “vertical” loses all sense of meaning. The esoteric version of the symbol reveals a merging taking place, to “convey a perfect unity of the One and the All, of Point and Circumference; in other words, of Time and Space, the vertical and horizontal dimensions.”  

The experience described is one of a perfect unity that is inspired by Love, “whereby the core (the center of the circle), is joined to the all (the outer circumference). The bursting of the Bubble is the action. The center of the Bubble is the core. It is the center of the two circles, suspended in a cosmic sea.” The end of the story resolves with the Fishes carrying the children on their backs to join the circle. The Fish are symbolic of a perfect surrender which is the meaning and message delivered by the ancient Piscean hieroglyph. The resolution revolves around “the paradox of the unified Relative and Absolute, — the circumference and the central point.” The Spiritual (the Mother) dissolves and harmonizes the paradox, and the scientific (Einstein), ever seeking to fully explore and understand life’s mysteries, to rejoin what was separated in Pisces.

Sacred geometry has a name for the occult symbol of Pisces. It is called the Vesica Piscis, the fish’s bladder. Thea remarks on the joining of two circles, not three. Her student Lori Thompkins infers three-fishes in a slightly different context, which need not delay us any further but a discovery worth pursuing. Thea makes the connection between the merging of two circles within the individual and points to the Mother’s work in this same instance being central to her Temple design, “the core of the chamber”, a precise description of which was given in the Capricorn chapter as already mentioned. Of interest to readers and seekers is the notion that water connects all three signs in the final quarter of the circle. The Goat of Capricorn emerged from the sea with a fish’s tail. The Water Carrier is the Sacred Server of Aquarius whose job it is to pour the contents of the jug when the time is ripe. Pisces of course represents the cosmic sea, the goal of bringing “the perfect surrender down to Earth” which is the interpretation of the children’s original direction in the story, being pointed toward Saturn, the planet ruling Capricorn. So, there is an argument to be made for “three-Fishes” but this knowledge was left occulted, hidden until Lori’s research revealed a new connection.

The entirety of the story of The Magical Carousel describes an initiation into a sacred mystery for the realization of joining a New Movement, “a joyous abandon into the movement of creation which was not felt before.” There is an all-knowing, all-seeing sense of things that penetrates the deepest recesses of existence, meaning an illuminating Knowledge that acts within and without the individual’s sense of being: “the message of Oneness, of Love.”

Oneness and Love are inseparable, and Oneness can only be realized within the experience of Love. But in the story what is described is another kind of love above and apart from carnal experiences, a Higher Love, or “real love” as such experienced in the cosmic waters of Pisces (the Mother). Love and Oneness are two realizations that go together, and what is meant by the esoteric representation of the symbol of Pisces, the “real” and “true” glyph of the sign. This sacred and mysterious message which coincides with the journey through the final trinity of the zodiac is echoed in the Indian tradition and is called Sachchidananda.

The unconscious and the conscious merge in this final stage, Spirit and Matter, philosophy, and science (p.43 The Gnostic Circle). The children return to the vehicle which brought them on their journey, and they climb aboard as “conscious travelers” this time fully aware and the vehicle “knows no bounds” as they embark on a New Way. The destination of course is Saturn, the very epitome of the Carousel, of rings structured within rings within Time. There is a correspondence between the completion of this story in 1970, and 1961 with certain occult experiences the Mother had which are relayed in The Magical Carousel. Amazingly, the story concludes its symbolic eighteen year-round with a fresh look at Saturn, just as Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were about to send back live pictures of the forsaken planet… one an inner expression of the journey, the other an outer expression of adventure. “If science could see Saturn in both ways, a new world would be born. If it could see as a child sees, — that is. Saturn’s rings as a ‘magical carousel’, with all that this phrase implies; that Saturn with its rings is a perfect image of the zodiac as the horoscope of the Earth, the circle within which the planet’s destiny is escribed.”   Gary Flandro noticed a certain alignment of the outer planets that would provide a window for their exploration and that would not open again for 175 years. The time was ripe. The symbolism of The Magical Carousel was perfectly attuned with the serendipitous revelations mentioned throughout its pages. Nothing short of the realization of the unchanging and timeless truth of the fixed eternal circle we know as the zodiac. This is the “third” and hidden aspect in Lori Thompkins discovery of “three-fishes” not two. Of two circles merging on the individual and cosmic scale in Thea’s revelation, supported as she frequently mentions in her work by a Divine Light, a Third Circle. We see in the study below that the two circles are superimposed and supported upon One, upon the fixed and immovable occult circle that is there but unseen. Below is a geometric study of the Pisces symbol.  

Allen Ginsberg’s Interpretation, Indian Journals 1982

“If Science and indeed all men could have this experience of the unity between the inner and outer dimensions, the equality of the One and the All, the realization of oneness, of love, there would be an end to the consciousness of division and truly new eyes would look upon the truth that ever has been and will always be.”   

Thea quotes the Mother at length in the outro of her masterfully told tale of the zodiac. The mother wrote about a kind of fairy tale she imagined, in a letter dated May of 1962. “Picture it to yourself like this — you see life, you see it as it is, you are used to an existence of this sort, and it is dismal and sad (there are people who enjoy themselves, but it because they amuse themselves with very little!).” She goes on to suggest that a myth, or “fairy tale” lies behind all appearances and the vision is something beautiful to behold. Furthermore, that everyone contributes or participates in some measure, but that no one is aware of their participation. Instead, ordinary consciousness believes that the end of life means forgetting and leaving everything behind. This is a false notion, but the truth about all of this will be revealed soon enough for those willing to see the truth. The truth is a story of a beautiful image behind the story, a circular image, which is intent on coming down to Earth. What she foresaw was a children’s book and Thea ends her commentaries by again quoting the Mother: “I am going to tell you the most beautiful story in the world.” (p.152)

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

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