What is Spirituality
We had said earlier that spirituality is experience, and observation, and evaluation of experience against one's inner peace. Experience occurs in all the twelve houses. For the Body, this scopes to the Ascendant, the Ascendant Lord and Mars, for action. As experience is evaluated by the mind, we look to the Moon, the Moon's sign and the nakshatra of the Moon to determine how experience impinges upon the subtle levels. Subtler still is the causal body, sarira, which is comprised of the Sun, and the dharma trikonas, the 5th and 9th Houses. We note the Atmakaraka, the planet with the highest degrees in the Navamsha chart. This planet becomes the King of the horoscope as it is the significator of the soul, for the horoscope tells of the Soul's journey through life, this time.
Elements of Mysticism
Divinity is always divinity in ordinary; that is, the divine is known, worshipped and experienced in ordinary, not the extraordinary. So dreams, divine interventions, signs, books, mini-miracles occur in everyday ordinary, if we but look for them. Meditation may be a matter of the 4th, 5th, 9th or 12th houses; dreams may be a matter of the 8th house due the need for dreams to be unlocked with the key of understanding. We may sit and do japa (or rosary) - chanting of mantras for steadiness of mind. The 5th house is known as mantra sthana, the house of mantras. If Saturn is here - and Saturn lessens kama, desire, it is said to be a good location for Saturn. Steadiness of mind is indicated by planets in and aspects on this house, the condition of the moon, and the aspects on the Moon.
Moon as presiding deity of the mind is a critical element in spirituality. Many say the mind must go: this is not necessary, for we need the tides, the seasons, the monthly cycles of waxing and waning as the body wends its way through time. Without the moon, the night would be total darkness. Without the mind, there is no map to the goal, no struggle, no challenges of past life karmas, no rudder to guide the the senses through the ups and downs of life. The mind must set the goal, fix its vision firmly on the goal, and strive mightily to reach the goal, come what may. Just as the Moon is the presiding deity of the mind and has other purposes and is needful in the external world, so also, the mind is needful to interpret the outer world and map the path through life and strive to the goal.
Aspects of Transcendence
Earlier, we had clarified Transcendence as the encounter the Divine Self that is resident in other peoples and in other things or the environment outside of the self.
Transcendence may be experienced as the fruit of participation in spiritual study groups (11th House), as dedication and surrender to the divine (dedication of energy, efforts in the 6th house, surrender to the goal in the 12th house). We may have divinity in our focus and engage in group morning and evening prayers or devotions ... matters of the 10th house. Keeping divinity in focus as vision of the divine is effort proper to the 9th house. Sacred reading, reading of spiritual literature of the world's traditions may be matters of the 7th house, for the divine is only revealed in relationship ... with another, with one other, with humankind, with the Universe.
Thoughts on Sanctification
To sanctify is to make holy. We make things holy, consecrate time, consecrate objects, consecrate people with activity, usually activity in common. We may make activity holy by offering the fruits of that activity to the divine and detaching from the results of that activity (6th House); we may undertake charitable projects for good of society and the underprivileged (12th house); we may attend workshops on spirituality, spiritual teachings and attend retreats (11th house), we may conduct prayers in common (10th house), we may engage groups in prayer also (7th or 11th house, depending on our relations with those with whom we pray). We may engage in dialogue of understanding with peoples from other faiths (interfaith or inter-religious dialogue) (9th house, 11th from 11th).
Spiritual Practice as Problem Solving Resource
Spirituality as problem solving skill is the essential spiritual character of a person. This spiritual character is known from what a person feels, what they think, what they say, what they do, and the harmony that flows from this - called integrity, or better still, true humanness.
The spiritual bank we spoke of has the spiritual credits we have built up over time upon which we may make withdrawals - in times of loss (12th house), delays, frustrations, disappointments (8th house), and when we are traumatised. Here the credits are found in a strong 4th House, our home, our place of retreat and harmony, emotional balance. When life presents its ugliest side - without disciplines, without boundaries - threatening the foundation of external stability in society, then the spiritual credits of the 5th House (timely spiritual discipline) help us to tide the ups and downs of life. We do not practice spirituality in isolation; the path to the divine is never a path alone. Even renunciates need society to fill their begging bowls. The path to the divine is often a path for others, the path of example, the path of penance and purification. These are matters of the 11th house, since all may draw on the resources of everyday living. Spirituality is not in the meditation cell, nor the monastic cloister, nor the preserve of the ashram: divinity is found everywhere. Hence, 11th house is also a spiritual resource, the place of relations with one and all.
Spirituality as Ethical and Virtuous Behaviour
Ethical and virtuous behaviour is living and acting, doing and interacting with other people - in accordance with your values - those principles and guides to behaviour that you deem important to you, which are in accord with your spirituality.
We may from time to time undertake self-review and self-audit (2nd house, assessing spiritual wealth). We may do this alone, we may work with a trusted spiritual companion, we may ask a spiritual director for feedback. All feedback hurts, but all feedback given in love is for our progress. We may look to our motivations for action (9th house). As values guide behaviour, our personal values are always open to scrutiny of ourselves and our neighbours; if not, then we see the splinter in our brother's eye and ignore the plank in our own eye. (8th house, the house of hidden perceptions). We may take common sense (7th house, learned in relations with the world) and apply this to our spiritual common sense (11th house, application of spiritual teachings in community) in order to find the proper path of action to take.
There is personal spirituality, and there is the general spiritual direction followed by a faith community in common, be it a church, a coven, an ashram, a friary, a monastery, or monastic community of men, or of women. They may be cenobitic, they may follow the apophatic path of emptiness, they may follow the kataphatic path of divinity in ordinary.
In all respects, the spiritual path followed can be indicated by various houses, planets, and the subtle bodies that make up the sheath which we call the human form. All these can be represented by planets, dharma trikonas, the birth chart, the Navamsha chart, the condition of the Moon, the Vimshamsha, the 20th division of the Birth chart. Spirituality is always a personal journey towards the goal of life. The Atmakaraka may be discerned, as may the personal divine form for that believer also be discerned.
There is much to be said for astrology for prediction and for explaining the roll-out of karma of fixed, movable and mutable kinds thus far in life. Astrology maps the path of the soul, the soul-contract for this lifetime. As such, astrology also gives indications and dispositions towards character, the antarkaranas, the inner instruments of action that make up thoughts, words and deeds, which, when done in harmony and with integrity, lead to true humanness.
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