In this study of Rhythm we are attempting to comprehend the nature and essence of the most intangible and evanescent attribute of cosmic manifestation. We will discuss this subject from as archetypal a standpoint as possible; it is necessary to do so if we are to perceive the meaning of this attribute to the essentials of the arts.
Movement is the archetypal word which means the action of cosmic alchemy. The manifestations of the universe are continually in a state of change from one form, degree, size, quality, volume, cycle, and octave to another. No manifestated thing stays exactly the same from year to year--or even from day to day. Everything responds to the dynamic essence of evolutionary forces toward the end that inherent potentials will be released and fulfilled. Your body grows in size and in capacity-to-express or it deteriorates and lessens in capacity; whatever the direction, you, in your vehicle, move from one state to another. Your consciousness "moves" from one state to another and this movement is directly dependent on two things: (1) your reaction to a specific experience and (2) your succeeding action on the stimulator of your reaction. When your repetition of a negative reaction is carried into expression by corresponding action, you set up another negative cause and you move backward. This is so because experience-patterns manifest in sequence; if you fail to learn from the previous effect of a specific cause and put the ignorance into action again, your "lifeline" retrogresses instead of progresses. A repetition of a negative reaction which is counteracted by constructive action from the exercise of intelligence moves your evolutionary direction forward and upward. Think about this in terms of your movement in consciousness through your incarnation. The complete freedom to move forward from a specific aspect of a specific experience-pattern means that you have learned to apply the principle inherent in the experience-pattern in terms of your cycle-status.
Rhythm is the cosmic law of cause and effect working through movement. In rhythm, all effects occur in natural timing. By rhythm, every specific emanation is "born" at the time that is consistent with its attributes.
The reference to "Cosmic Alchemy" is applicable to the human body in this way: breathing is the inhalation that makes oxidation possible; the exhalation is the casting out of the un-needed residue. The heart-beat makes it possible for the body to inhale in order to feed and refresh the tissues of the body by the arterial action; the venous action is the withdrawing of that which is not needed. These two actions of the body, in addition to the "inhalation" of foodstuffs and the "exhalation" of wastes, are the primary illustrations of rhythmic action in the alchemicalization of the body. Though the body is timed for the fulfillment of its needs, we eat and drink according to conscious action; the breath and heart-beat are directed by the subconscious--they "go on" automatically. Think a bit about the natural rhythms of your physical life-alchemy is the purpose which is being fulfilled by these timed processes. Mankind has other ways of being alerted to the rhythms of the universe. Let us consider a few examples of the evidences of rhythm in the natural world:
That metrical indication in music which we call "two four" rhythm--two full counts to each measure (one-and-two-and) not only illustrates the polarity of time but it is the archetype of all rhythmic action. Count one is male-masculine, the "and" is the feminine completion of the count; count two is female-masculine, its "and" is the feminine completion. (The masculine-feminine of male-female is cosmic polarity in four- fold expression-the Universal "Adam-and-Eve. ") Now-
Breathing: count one is the beginning of the inhalation; "and" is the completion of the inhalation; count two is the beginning of the exhalation; its "and" is the completion of the exhalation.
Waves: count one-the "inhalation"--is the "gathering of water-forces" as they recede from the shore; "and" is the forward surge to the apex of the wave; count two is the down-crashing of the wave: "and" is the farthest point reached by the forward-action of the wave on the shore. This illustrates the wave's "breathing," but the music of the wave is counted by the "pulse" of its sound; count one is the down-beat--the loud crashing sound; "and" is the forward surge to the highest point on the shore; count two is the "ingathering noise;" its "and" is the forward surge to the apex of the wave. The noise of the "crash" is analogous to the down-beat of count one in the musical measure, the heaviest" accent. "
Days: the spectrum of the days of a year has rhythmic polarity in several ways. One is the polarity of day-time (conscious existence) and night-time (subconscious existence). Count one is sunrise; its "and" is noon; count two is sunset; its "and" is midnight. Seasonally, the spring equinox--Aries is analogous to sunrise; Cancer, to noon; Libra, to sunset; and Capricorn, to midnight. (This analogy does not refer to the Great Mandala, which has Cancer at the midnight-point and Capricorn at the noon- point; it is an analogy of the powers of sunlight during each day to its occult significance during the sequences in the year.)
Life-Cycle: a perfect illustration of "two-four" rhythm; count one is birth; "and" is adolescence; count two is maturity; "and" is transition. This "process" is, of course, a cosmic pattern; it is the action of Life manifesting Itself.
Human Love: count one is mutual love-recognition; "and" is generation; count two is fulfillment of assumed responsibilities; "and" is realization of principles involved in the experience (fulfillment of Relationship).
Education: count one is the action which initiates a study-experience; "and" is the process of learning; count two is the action of applying that which has been intellectually learned; "and" is learning through work and/or through applying what was learned intellectually. If two-four is the rhythmic archetype of time measurement, three-four is the basic sub-archetype. Two-four and three-four are the metrical indications from which all other meters are derived. Two-four rhythm is symbolized in astrology by the archetypal symbol of the cross, four each of cardinal, fixed, and mutable signs. The cross is alchemicalization of consciousness through reaction to (or interpretation of)incarnated experience. Three-four rhythm is symbolized by the archetypal symbol of the trine which is the inherent spiritual potential; this potential is released and expressed by the sextile onto--and into--the square, which is the cross congested. The six radii--three diameters--of the sextile symbol representing the six fire and air signs, pictures the cardinal, fixed, and mutable of these masculine signs, the male of which is fire, the female is air. The sextile then, is "two 3's"; each one of these 3's, in enclosed form, is the equilateral triangle, half of the double grand trine, the power-love-wisdom of the individualized male or female. The four points of the archetypal Cross are the basic human relationships: male and female as "giver," male and female as "taker;" or male and female as "initiators of causes,"and male and female as "reactors to the effects of causes." This great symbol pictures the identities of inter-action and inter-exchange of all human beings with each other. The (enclosed) trine is potential for individualized spiritual radiation; this potential is the "fruitage" of that which was "fermented" by the cross congested through fear- ignorance, decrystallized by the counter-actives of the sextile and resulting in the pure residue of spiritual power, love and wisdom. The trine is "that which the soul has kept after the inhalation of experience and the decrystallization of congestions has been fulfilled. "Think of the analogy between the physical body and the soul body--each "inhales and feeds" "alchemicalizes, casts off what is not needed, and retains the essences of what it requires."
The occult significance of the trine has much to say regarding the mystical healing power of three-four rhythm. Astrology illustrates this in the sequence of the cardinal-fixed-mutable signs. Each sign "enfolds" three decanates and each element "enfolds " three signs. The generic-element trines are cosmic three-four rhythm expressing from the four basic identities; this illustrates the "enfoldment"of the horoscopical wheel as divinity enfolds the universe. Therefore, three-four rhythm conveys to our instinctual knowing the reminder of the eternal Presence of the Divine. There is a subtle, almost indescribable, grace and charm in three-four rhythm that two-four and four-four do not have. The occult significance of the latter two is structural; even in three-four rhythm, phrases are basically constructed in groups of two or four measures, thus carrying out the affiliation of trine with cross. In music therapy, three-four rhythm has been proved to possess a greater power for soothing and quieting. Three-four rhythm, in the archetypal structure of four-measure phrases. is divine power in manifestation.
When we apply the occult significanees of rhythm to astrology-in-action we see remarkable things. The basic breathing of vibratory action is the down-beat and the up-beat of the lunation and its Full Moon. This action is analogous to the inhalation-exhalation of air by the human-being; it is the vibratory alchemicalization on the entire archetypal body, humanity, as oxidation and eating are the composite of individual physical alchemical processes. According to our consciousness, our bodies "move" harmoniously or otherwise with the actions of sustenance. Correspondingly, our souls develop (move) with our responses to the action of vibration. An extension of "lunation-breathing" is seen in the study of solar eclipse, which is macrocosm to the microcosmic lunation. A solar-eclipse- pattern is the stimulation of two signs of a zodiacal diameter by two eclipses which are six months (six signs) apart. Such a pattern covers one year; a solar-eclipse-cycle (stimulation twice of the two signs of a zodiacal diameter) covers a period of two years and is remarkably analogous to a complete composition of music--in three-four rhythm.
Count one is the first eclipse; counts two and three of that first "measure" are the succeeding two lunations; count one of the second measure is the "mid-point" lunation which squares the eclipse; counts two and three are the lunations which succeed the "mid-point;" count one of the third measure is the next eclipse; the five lunations which follow it repeat the sequence of the first two measures: the total of the two eclipses and their ten lunations comprises a "pattern;" the "cycle" is completed by thenext two eclipses and their ten lunationsw makinga complete vibratory composition; the Full Moon of the fourth eclipse of a cycle will fall approximately conjunct the first eclipse. To sum up: a cycle of two stimulations of two signs of a zodiacal diameter; each eclipse having its "mid-point lunation;" this is analogous to, in music, twenty-four measures in three-four rhythm-two eight-measure-phrases, four four-measure-phrases. The "and" of each "separate count" is, of course, the Full Moon of each eclipse or lunation.
Example: eclipse Scorpio 20, November, 1947; mid- point lunation Aquarius 20, February, 1948; eclipse Taurus 19, May, 1948, mid- point Leo 13, August, 1946. Lunations in Virgo and Libra, September and October, 1948, complete the "pattern," first half of the Scorpio-Taurus "cycle." Eclipse Scorpio 9, November, 1948, mid-point lunation Aquarius 9, February, 1949; eclipse Taurus 9, May,1949, followed by five lunations to the eclipse in Libra (Taurus-Libra ruled by Venus--stimulus of one planetary vibration), October, 1949, which was followed by five lunations to the eclipse in Pisces 28, in March,1950, which, in turn, inaugurated another "cycle of vibratory music" entitled "Pisces-Virgo;" this one will carry over into 1952-- two eclipses in Pisces, two in Virgo with their mid-point lunations. How did you react to your chart-stimulations under the Scorpio-Taurus cycle? How are you preparing to meet the conditions represented in your chart by the four eclipses in Pisces-Virgo? Now (August, 1950) we are just finishing the first half of the first pattern of this cycle; the second pattern will be initiated on September 12 by the eclipse in Virgo 19. How are you playing your "music?" Practicing hard?
In conclusion, a few remarks about rhythm as it applies to the other arts. Music and dance are the two arts in which the attribute of rhythm is most obviously and concretely manifested. Music is the perception of archetypes by intuitive audition and the manifestation of this perception in tonal contrivances. Dance is the alchemicalization of archetypal bodily postures through rhythm, as manifestation of archetype- perception; it is painting (or drawing) and sculpture "mobilized;" it is sequence of which sculpture is a "frozen point." Painting is manifested, basically, by lines. We recognize that the line-work which co-ordinates the basic theme of a picture to its secondary factors is rhythm out-pictured because line, in a drawing or painting, is emanation of structure-points--just as it is in astrology. The theme of a picture is, of course, the archetype which the artist seeks to manifest. Objectively, however,the "down-beat" of a picture is the focal point of the interpretative expression. The "rhythmic movement" in a painting is in the gradation of line-directions and the gradation of color-sharings. Sequence (movement) of inter-related harmonies of design and vibration composite the essence of "rhythm-in-painting." Dramatic art has rhythm in the timing of line-reading, exits and entrances (movements "into-and out-of"), actions on the stage, and the proportionate time-element in the inter-relationship of scenes (of each act) to each other and of the acts to each other.Sculpture and architecture have rhythm in pretty much the same way that painting and drawing have; except that harmony of mass- relationship, rather than that of color-relationship, is the important factor.
The beautiful illustrations of rhythm in astrology are seen in the "spacing" of the twelve house-cusps and their grouping in sequences of quadrants and semi-circles; the "two-four" of alternate signs and of opposite signs--also of the lunation and Full Moon pattern; the "three-four" of cusps in each quadrant and of signs in each trine; the "four-four" of the points of each cross and the great action- pattern of "conjunction, square, opposition, square" of the progressed Moon and transiting planets.
There is the "dance" of the Sun each year, and of the Moon every twenty-eight days, and of each of the planets in its own "tempo" through the zodiac; the mighty "beats" of day-and-night, of zodiacal diameter and of planetary dignity--and--detriment.
Mighty Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto conduct the inflow of great vibratory life-waves of humans incarnating under the entrance into--and passage through--the zodiacal signs and their decanates by the rhythmic alchemy of these Master Powers.
There is of course your own rhythmic entrance into each basic experience-pattern during your incarnation; the "spacing" of the aspects in your natal chart as they are rhythmically activated from your birth-time.
Open your eyes and your awareness more than ever before to the harmonious rhythmic significance of astrological symbology; it is, in specialized form, the picturing of the beauty of patterned cosmic polarity in action.