Path 32, cont.
3. ASTROLOGY & ALCHEMY
a. The Age Factor in Astrology, and Transits
b. Saturn, Lord of Boundaries
c. The Nigredo in Alchemy
4. ORIENTATION & EXERCISE
a. Time Perception and Sensory Filtering
b. 32nd Pathworking: The Personal Experience of Time; Hypnosis and Time Experiments
c. Life Extension Practices (Aging, Rejuvenation, and Immortality)
3. ASTROLOGY AND ALCHEMY
a. Major Astrological Correspondences with the Age Factor
Age 7 Waxing square of Saturn to its natal place.
Age 12 First return of Jupiter to its natal place.
Age 14 Saturn opposition natal Saturn.
Age 19- New nodal cycle begins.
Age 21 Waning square of Saturn to its natal place.
Age 24 2nd return of Jupiter to its natal place.
Age 27+ Progressed Moon returns to its natal place.
Age 28 Uranus trine natal Uranus; inversion of the position of the Moons nodes. Part of Self of Astrological Spiritual Birth.
Age 29 Saturn returns to its natal place.
Age 30 The natal Sun-Moon aspect repeats itself in the progressions. Jupiter opposes natal Jupiter.
Age 36 2nd waxing square of Saturn to its natal place. 3rd return of Jupiter to its natal place.
Age 38- New nodal cycle begins.
Age 42 Uranus opposition natal Uranus; Neptune in waxing square to natal Neptune; Jupiter opposition natal Jupiter.
Age 44 2nd opposition of Saturn to its natal place.
Age 47 Inversion of the position of the Moon's nodes.
Age 48 4th return of Jupiter to its natal place.
Age 51 2nd waning square of Saturn to its natal place.
Age 55 Progressed Moon returns for second time to its natal place.
Age 56 Uranus in waning trine to Uranus; beginning of 4th nodal cycle.
Age 59 2nd return of Saturn to its natal place; 5th return of Jupiter to its natal place; Pluto in waxing square to its natal place; the natal Sun-Moon aspect repeats itself for the second time in the progressions.
Age 63 Waning square of Uranus to its natal place.
Age 65 Inversion of the position of the Moon's nodes.
Age 66 3rd waxing square of Saturn to its natal place.
Age 72 6th return of Jupiter to its natal place.
Age 75 Beginning of 5th nodal cycle; 3rd opposition of Saturn to its natal place.
Age 80 3rd waning square of Saturn to its natal place.
Age 82 2nd return of progressed Moon to its natal place.
Age 84 Uranus returns to its natal place; 7th return of Jupiter to its natal place; inversion of the position of the Moon's nodes.
INSERT PICTURE TRACTATUS PRIMI
b. SATURN, Lord of Boundaries and the Status Quo
The main planetary power of Saturn is maintenance of the status quo, including prevailing cultural attitudes. Saturn is toe personification of senex consciousness, which exaults in a rigid view of the superiority of wisdom and lengthy experience.
Saturn is a slow-moving planet, so its effects characterize specific groups of people, depending on which sign Saturn occupied at their birth. Saturn reflects the concerns of specific groups, and reflects the attitude an individual has toward society and cultural norms. Saturn points up our areas of limitation, and inertia. No one individual can embody all of existence, or expand indefinitely. By setting boundaries or limits on potential, Saturn functions allow the manifestation of events and forms. Saturn sets rules, and defines structures.
Saturn is not one of the fast-travelling personal planets. It extroverts the attention towards others. It manifests in feelings of duty, responsibility, and "correctness". For example, in working dutifully at one's job, one fits in successfully in society, and maintains a reputation as socially acceptable. However, Saturn also holds us back, keeping dreams unfulfilled, and creating frustration. Some people learn life's lessons in this way, yet others continue to "buck the system." When an individual conflicts with consensus reality, he is sure to experience turmoil, depression, and anxiety.
Saturn works with an automatic quality: "What goes around comes around." Our collective society is a consciousness which guides and chastises an individual into doing his "Karma Yoga", or fulfilling the destiny created for oneself. Karma Yoga is a course of action requiring the sublimation of one's behavior. It is a purging of gross desires, and exalts the concept of selfless service to mankind as the highest ideal.
To be a liberating path, Karma Yoga requires three things: 1). True knowledge of correct values, or not equating reality with Truth. 2). Respect for all forms of life. 3). Actively willed behavior, unbiased by fear of punishment or desire of reward. Lived rightly, it is actionless-action in a selfless devotion to duty.
Saturn helps us create our individual perspective on reality. It influences our "worldview." Even though we might understand intellectually that all is in constant flux, we could not operate effectively in that mode. Therefore, our mind creates a reality system, which is pragmatic and functionally efficient in its structure. The rigidity with which we adhere to our idiosyncratic realities determines our limitations, and raises conflicts with others who use different paradigms. The differences may be socially or culturally inspired, and create warring factions.
The aging process is governed by Saturn, since it represents actualization of more and more of one's potential. It presides over lingering death and chronic illness. At its worst, senex consciousness destroys spontaneity, obsessed by its repetitive disciplines into a narrowness of emotions, mental processes, and activities.
Robert Hand summarizes the core meaning of Saturn:
Reality as culturally defined; relationship to groups, consensus. Reality as structure and limitation; rules, the consequences of error. Too much actualized and too little potential left; aging, death. The father; learning a discipline, growing into a social role, learning the rules; schools, teachers, guides, bosses. Areas of life that need work. The limits of what can be perceived by the ordinary mind. (1)
Saturn also rules crises situations of life. These can bring realizations one's inner life. Wholeness in its psychological sense is found through personal encounters with the dictates of external circumstances. Pain, frustration, and leaden depression can educate one, leading to discovery of one's self. Life's delays and disappointments create a "ripening" process in the soul.
The experience of Saturn comes in normal, wake-a-day consciousness; it is not an alternate mode, since it denies the cultural validity of "alternate states". It cannot appreciate them, lacking the experience, and denies their value as a valid perspective. Saturn uses only logical thought which provides the basis of reality.
Saturn represents the "mentalized cravings" of the causal level. It is also termed "lust of result" and prevents transformations through binding of one's energies. There is a relationship between desires, attachments, and fate (or Karma). The powers of the instincts must be transformed. Conflict between the conscious and unconscious attitudes and goals must be harmonized.
Fighting against oneself is a self-destructive mode, creating guilt, futility, and endless pain and fear. However, by working oneself through this seemingly purposeless activity, one gains a new perspective on reality. In terms of QBL, consciousness rises from Malkuth to Yesod, along the Path of the Universe, XXI. Through this means, suffering becomes a meaningful path, "evil" is transmuted into a greater good: the individual unfoldment of the path to the Self.
In ancient times, when men relied on unaided vision, the orbit of Saturn marked the limits of mankind's Universe; thus, they were synonymous. Today, our conceptual limits are expanded, but Saturn still governs in the same qualitative manner.
We are still bound by the Lord of Time/Space and ego-consciousness.
c. The Nigredo in Alchemy
The Nigredo represents the rotting stench of decay from the ego's outmoded attitudes and lack of adaptability. It occurs at the time in the life of the aspirant when the strain of the environment has become intolerable. In time, the attacked alchemist comes to realize that he must willingly subject himself to change.
Raven's head is the traditional name for the stage of the process whose technical name is the Nigredo. The Nigredo is symbolized by multiple references to black substances, and is associated with the Shadow archetype, or repressed contents of the personal unconscious. The Nigredo implied a time of melancholia, sleeplessness, and restless volatility. This stage of discomfort with the status quo is quite necessary to initiate the alchemical process. There is an inherent value and meaning in this depression.
Psychologically, one experiences a chaotic state of conflict between hostile psychic elements. There is a tendency toward regression, or losing consciousness of the motivating factors of behavior. Any emotional response to the situation is practically impossible. In modern terms, it is equivalent to the concept of psychic dissociation, which is the root of neurosis and psychosis ("falling apart").
There is always psychic suffering when you "fall" down. This suffering may even persist for a lifetime if there is a technical blunder in The Work (Opus). The alchemist must "pick himself back up." Then, there will be further transmutations from the instinctive psyche.
This stage corresponds to the encounter with the Shadow. The ego and the Shadow must eventually be reconciled. The restlessness and disorientation are the product of an initial collision between conscious and unconscious factors. This is the beginning of a descent into darkness, or the unconscious.
As long as psyche struggles in the Nigredo, it will be emotionally attached to the literal aspects of any situation. Fascinated by "facts" and the "materialness" of any condition, the alchemist fails to extract the symbolic aspect which would allow him to break through into a fresh mode of perception. Typical manifestations of this stage include long dreams, confusions, and a drained or depressed mental attitude. The symbolic attitude is preserved when the Nigredo is perceived as part of a mystery process.
Missing the point, the eye of the aspirant caught up in the Nigredo looks for what is "wrong." It ruminates on such physical questions as, Is it an organic or neurological problem creating these manifestations of depression in me? It will then propose such treatments as pills, body work, or dance therapy. Grossness casts a veil or cloak of physicality over the subtle body of the alchemist and he fails to realize it is his soul which is sick unto death. The "cure" will not come through vitamin therapy, or rejuvenating drugs, or exercise.
The élan vital, or life energy has been pulled into the unconscious, leaving the ego frustrated and discontent. The emptiness and sterility of this condition may be the result of placing too much emphasis on "getting it together" in the work-a-day world, leaving the soul cut off from the well-springs of life. The feeling of being drained, or over-extended may become so powerful that one is forced into a breakdown which demands the time for introversion and recovery of energy reserves.
The ability to see through to a value in depression (to experience the meaningfulness of the feeling of meaninglessness) has a prognosticative purpose. Attaching meaning to depression allows an emotional participation which unblocks the flow of psychic energy. Depression is not a loss of meaning, but the feeling of loss of a sense of meaning. This is actually the beginning point of the quest, as illustrated by such stories as Dante's Inferno, Rider Haggard's SHE, and Melville's Moby Dick .
If one can see that the world is beautiful, but has lost the ability to feel that beauty, there are mood swings from sullen inertia to active despair. There is a sense of fragmentation and alienation from one's self. This is a major reason individuals seek psychological analysis, or a mystical path of renewal.
This whole experience is like a journey through the wilderness and it often appears in dreams under the symbol of the "Night-sea Journey." But when the problems of the personal unconscious have been met and dealt with in analysis, a sense of inner unity and renewal is usually found. This is often accompanied by glimpses of deeper values, of the Self, for instance, that are frequently couched in the terms of religious symbolism. The analysant feels that he is once again reconciled with himself and with God so he can go back to his ordinary life with renewed zest. The wilderness is no longer barren, his life blossoms and bears fruit. (3)
Path 32, connecting Malkuth with Yesod, the Sphere of the Moon, can be the path of renewal which transmutes the alchemist from his sense of confusion and despair.
Following this state of darkness, the alchemists report that light begins to dawn, due to the rising moon, which psychologically means the beginning of insight gained through paying attention to the unconscious, to the night happenings, to dreams and so on, which throw a light on one's inner condition. The moon also refers to Eros, relatedness through feeling. In other words, when the nigredo, the blackness, has been accepted and taken to oneself, instead of being blamed on outside situations and other people, one begins to see that it is one's own withdrawal and loss of feeling one's own shadow, that is the true cause of the darkness. Then the moon rises and in recognizing that one is suffering, not just a personal ill, but is participation in a human experience common to all mankind, feeling returns, feeling and compassion for the plight of one's fellows. That is the feminine eros; the lesser light begins to shine in the darkness of the night. (4)
Further alchemical transmutation will bring one into the warmth of the sun, the greater light, which means there is an increase in the light of consciousness (Tiphareth stage).
And so one meaning of the experience of depression is that our wholeness, or individuation, the Self, can no longer wait while we follow egotistic ways or even seek for legitimate ego fulfillment, and so the Self brings us, drives us, into the wilderness of depression...and communication between earth and heaven is even then about to be revealed to us, if only we will attend to the vision. (5)
a. Time Perception and Sensory Filtering, (Philo Stone, 1983)
The search for a higher reality has always been a major preoccupation of man. Throughout the ages, he has realized that his intellect, working through the senses, was unreliable. Either the senses reported inaccurately, or the intellect interpreted incorrectly. Or both. Certainly the emotions and associated brain chemistry biased our reactions. We are convinced that there must be some means of perceiving that which is reliable and eternal.
The search for a freedom from illusion has taken many forms. Amongst the many pathways we consider two dominate categories: science and religion. The tradition of science maintains that the intellectual evaluation of sensory data is a proper, if not the only means of viewing the universe and grasping reality. The intellect needs to be guided by dependable tools (i.e.. mathematics), the senses must be refined and expanded by physical equipment (detectors and instrumentation), and that the subjective interference (emotional bias) needs to be eliminated by proper methodology and reproducibility (scientific method and statistics).
The tradition of religion denies the value of the ordinary sensory modes and considers the intellect as a very limited part of the human potential. Instead, reality is to be approached by a supersensory perception induced by faith or ritual, or some rigorous discipline of the physical and mental being. As opposed to science, religion uses words, music, meditation, physical postures, symbolic ritual, deep emotions, devoted action, and so on, as the legitimate means of bringing the individual to self-realization. The two traditions reached their widest schism during the last two centuries when science developed general Laws and Theories which contradicted the teachings of a number of long established religions.
What is driving this change in the traditions of the "search"? Above all it is the threat to survival with which we are faced with rapidly increasing severity. Not surprising, we reject the science which mistakenly promised salvation by technology. It gave us, instead, the means of extinction, either by attrition (environmental pollution, weakening agricultural balance, reduction of the human being into a statistic).
We also reject the religion whose past Messiahs seem to have left us to our doom, whose promised future Saviors are too long in coming. Most practices are dusty with age, without vitality or applicability to modern conditions. Simultaneously, more subtle forces are at work.
In recent years, science has begun to recognize that the biological organism is capable of numerous perceptual modes beyond the limits implied by classical five sense organs. For example, there is also another sensory-motor input in the 0.3-3.0 GHz region (microwave). It can overlay information directly onto the brain, with out going through any other sense. Several reports demonstrate that the terrestrial geomagnetic, solar-ionic, and cosmic energy fields are also primary in importance, transmitting information to the organism regarding its preferred behavior.
Scientific journals, devoting their pages to traditional scientific reports, now often include the verified observations of extra-sensory information transfer (such as telepathy, clairvoyance, ESP and magnetic energy transfer). It appears that the biological sensory apparatus is, in fact, normally capable of detecting all that the sophisticated equipments do when the information is within the energy levels of environmental conditions. Further, our sensory abilities may be developed beyond this point by rigorous training, much like we would to develop any above-average performance. The implication is that the supersensory perception which religions strive to offer, is also something science is just beginning to measure and verify.
A movement in religion (and mysticism) is beginning to break through the barrier of conservative non-adaptation. The original teachings of nearly every religion have suddenly become available. The disenchanted may now turn eclectic, free to develop in accordance with current conditions. Since our immediate environment is almost universally technological, the past religious traditions are seemingly pitted against the machinery of science. The efficacy of religious disciplines and the validity of "truths" arrived at by mystical experience are now being confirmed or denied by modern scientific technique. In some cases, we even find new means of bringing about the "religious experience" through modern chemistry, electronics, and psycho-therapy.
A new field of study, formed by the synthesis of these two traditions, is coming back into existence. It is an approach to contacting reality, utilizing major characteristics of both religion and science. Religion works with the essence of being, our awareness, our consciousness, the temporal development of man. Science, on the other hand, works with physical, supposedly non-conscious, forces and learns to manipulate these physically, with the aid of the intellect. Science works with the spatio-energetic development of man.
These forces permeate our conscious and unconscious being. They are not a separate, non-conscious field, but rather an expression of the consciousness that is evident in life. We also find that our universe cannot be dimensionally divided, but that all aspects are integrated into experience of being. The temporal, spatial, and energetic development of man is the continuity of a singular development of the cosmos. From this realization comes the "art" of manipulating the conscious forces at will; the synthesis of scientific manipulation and religious experience of consciousness transformation.
This field of study, which is truly an art-form, has been known in its former incarnations as Magic, Sorcery, and Alchemy. It has recently been termed noetics, yoga science, and parapsychology.
The major point of integration between science and religion is sensory filtering; what we perceive, the how and why. The point of departure for crystallizing the synthesis into a viable, tangible form is temporal definition and time perception. Time is the most neglected concept in human nature. Science has mostly shied away from any direct confrontation of the role of time in mans assault on reality, being satisfied to use an accurate rhythmic instrument as the ultimate measure of the varied experience of time.
Religion has never before been called upon to enunciate its temporal awareness, its findings remain shrouded in formless intuition. The individual and social definitions, conceptions, and perceptions of time determines the sensory filtering and thus, also, the nature of the experience. Our recent temporal philosophy has been conductive to a perceptual mode and state of consciousness which is not in harmony with nature, and this reality. It filters out subtle and important information which we now classify as extra- or super-sensory. A temporal philosophy and accompanying methodology is now available, to bring harmony to our perceptual mode and widen its horizons to include, as normal, the extra- and super-sensory information.
A myriad of sensory information enters our sensory apparatus at the periphery. Only a small fraction of the data comes to us as conscious awareness of the world. Between the periphery and the brain, and between brain and mind, there are filters which reduce huge portions of sense input to background (white noise), leaving a foreground which is the minimum needed for survival. Recent experiments with developing kittens sheds light on the matter. The kittens were raised under one of three conditions. This first was a normal control situation, the second in an environment with only vertical visual stimuli, and the third was an environment of only horizontal visual stimuli. It was found that unlike the normal kittens, the kittens horizontally-trained were unable to perceive vertical objects. They would walk into chair legs, for example. The kittens vertically-trained were unable to perceive horizontal objects. They would never jump up onto a chair seat.
A detailed study of the neurological structure indicated that the kittens raised in a limited environment did not develop the synaptic pathways necessary for conveying the usual sense data. Thus, while the eyes worked normally, from the retina to the visual center there was an unbridged gap. Furthermore, this environmental restriction led to perceptual blocks when applied for only a few days during a critical period of development. Because the neural structure in humans is more complex, we expect a more readily adaptive mechanism to be in play. There is no doubt, however, that we perceive the world in the way we are conditioned. The sensory apparatus not only conveys information, they also filter it.
Classical examples of sensory filtering include the blocking of background music during an interesting conversation, the sqeek of a noisy windshield wiper, and gestalt pictures which contain two or more scenes that the mind can see at one time, depending on specific details to determine which picture becomes foreground and which becomes background. Any set of details could theoretically become foreground but we only become aware of those foregrounds that have some familiarity of form. A mother wakes to her baby's cry, while sleeping through other sounds of equal or greater volume. These are the gross expressions of the sensory filtering.
There are more subtle situations, particularly those regarding symbols, ideas, concepts, and interpretations where sensory filtering becomes important in ones sense of self and others (in the personal and social interaction), in ones approach to life according to that which is deemed possible and impossible. There is a closed circle in which our culture conditions our filters and our filters then effect our understanding of the world. This the determines the development of the culture. Total stagnation is only warded off by some unknown mechanism. It is somehow attuned to the fact that we must continue to perceive new and unexpected developments for the purpose of survival.
According to anthropological findings, early man lived in a world of Magic. The trend is cyclic and in going back to a perceptual and philosophic state of being, the control of conscious forces by man becomes paramount. That barrier may be seen as our temporal consciousness. During the past two centuries we have come to rely upon the clock and calendar as measures of time, dictators of a mundane reality. Where the ancients used astronomical indicators as tools to guide them, we have come to be ruled by these tools. We have lost freedom through the misguided enthusiasm for the success of science.
Our language still permits non-linear time concepts. Examples are time flies, or stands still, I don't have the time, could you spare some time, and so on. Our culture is unremitting in forcing conceptualizations of clock time as the only real time. Thus we often find that there are two kinds of time discussed; objective, physical, measurable, real, clock time; and subjective, mental, imaginary, sensory time. The former, being the real thing, manages to give some ultimate importance to the time units of seconds, minutes, and hours. This totally conquers the multi-leveled biological and geophysical clocktime rhythms. real time, as a measurable, in accordance with its scientific formulation, makes for a frozen past and an untouchable future. For in the same manner, the calendar and clock are allowed to dictate the possibility of perceiving or not perceiving certain events. All this in return for accurately predicting physical events and producing an apparently viable technology.
Consider the difference between a culture which counts time by the second and another, such as the Hopi Indian, while smallest time unit is the length of time required to boil rice. And the Buddhist, who knows that he has lived, will continue to live for as many lifetimes as "the number of times a bird carrying a silk kerchief would have to fly over the top of a mountain, to wear the mountain away by the friction of the cloth". What would be the foreground in each case, where would the focus of attention be? How would one structure a society with each of those time units in mind? Consider the difference in mental states of each person working with those temporal indicators. An American may reject an endeavor as "too long" were it to take six hours. The Hopi might find a three-week (725 rice boilings, or 3/4 moons) project minor. And, the Buddhist is already considering the effects of his activities on his next lifetime. This shows up in our relative spiritual depth, our quality of interaction with the environment, the presentation of man in the arts.
In Tibet, time is also measured in sixty years cycles, and this year is also zero, calendars being measured in years from now. Thus historical events occur within cycles and fade with age. This is to be compared with our conceptualization which keeps time moving linearly and away from the origin.
The effect on our sensory perception of such temporal conceptions is reflected in the various approaches to reality by these different cultures. The basic unit of time relates to our calmness or hyperactivity. Cultures which have come to live by the European clock become nervous overproducers. Individuals who leave the bonds of society gain relaxation and depth (hence the value of the vacation away from the clock).
The things we perceive are related to survival in those conditions. In a modern technologic society our perceptions center about measurable, physical entities, or numerically and analytically regarded abstractions.
Quality is exchanged for quantity and frequency. Depth is exchanged for physical presence. Success is measured in terms of how much, how many, how often, how large, how fast...the gross attributes. The bigger the better.
In societies outside the clock-driven group, time is an expression of consciousness. Success is measured in subtle variations: The power of a single word, the beauty of a delicate and organic design, the meaning of a gesture, the fineness of detail. These are the extension beyond the temporal limits of the physical self. The foreground is the subtle but pervading pattern that is life.
We are in the temporal compression-chamber of the world's population/technology explosion. Our essential being, instead of extending through eternity, is sean as existing ephemerally. The present exists somewhere between the second just past and the second about to be ticked off. But this is a perceptual illusion. One is amazed to find that even today, with all the claims advanced by science, the organic being is rarely treated as a rhythmic, pulsing entity with its vibrations extending out infinitely through all directions of space and time.
When a doctor determines your state of physical health, it is a moments look at a harmonious orchestration of rhythms which will yield different results if studied again two hours later. The fact is, that the clock may indicate points of your multidimensional vibration, but you are not that point. Only your awareness is focused on that point and you are the integration of all the vibrations extending through time.
The past and the future, constructs of our physical brain, are not determined by the rhythmic clock but are perceived by the movement ofconcentration on the vibratory interaction. this can only be seen when the mind is freed of the bonds of current conceptual frameworks.
b. 32nd Pathworking: The Personal Experience of Time (4)
Our exploration of personal time begins with the basic biological rhythms that humans share with other animals. Man's body temperature, blood pressure, respiration, pulse rate, blood sugar, hemoglobin and amino acid levels vary on a daily basis. The level of adrenal hormones and concentrations of bio-chemicals in the nervous system also vary on a daily basis.
Women are especially subject to monthly cycles of hormones which influence not only physiology but emotions, performance and dreaming as well. Seasonal changes occur in hormones, blood sugar and other important bodily functions. Annual cycles in calcium metabolism halve been verified in humans. When we are healthy, these multiple cycles are well integrated and the result is a relatively stable system. These integrated cycles act as time keepers for our variations in energy, emotion, thought, dreams, and attitudes.
Our subjective awareness of time begins before language develops. Small babies show rhythmic behavior in the crib. Up to age nine, time seems to be expanded and changing slowly. Children do not have the ability to order events and classify them as adults do. Physiological rate could influence our perception of time and duration. Metabolic changes might alter time awareness. Temperature changes have been shown to alter time estimation. There are many factors which must influence our awareness of time.
Biologically, time is determined by external factors such as the rotation of the earth, the orbiting of the moon and the seasons of the sun. Internal factors include cyclic systems of various blood chemicals and tissue groups. There must be internal and external sensors that connect us to biological time, inherent biological clocks. The oscillating internal systems are usually synchronized to a high degree and thus provide a biological time base which is tuned to the changing external cycles of the astronomical clocks. Age is an important factor in setting the rate of the biological rhythms and influencing time experience.
Great confusion has resulted from considering time experience as a sensory process. An "organ" of time perception has been the object of much research. Such an organ could register any of several internal processes as the basis of time sensation. The problem with a sensory process model is that there are so many different biological clocks and astronomical clocks which are so closely interlocked that no single "clock" could emerge to be the "time keeper."
A better model is the "input register" cognitive theory. This theory holds that the experience of a brief interval is based upon the amount of information processed in that interval. This theory works well for the brief interval but encounters problems when longer durations are considered. A related cognitive information left in storage following the interval. Thus experiences of duration need only be related to other duration experiences and not derived from any "clock", internal or external.
Duration experience is dependent upon the amount of information processed and the manner in which that information is coded and stored. Brain specialists say that much of the cognitive power of the human brain lies in its ability to code and re-encode its own contents. Theoreticians in the information field speak about the possibility of refining codes until they reach a limit. At that limit, an optimal code is found that permits the processing of an infinite amount of information in an instant. The subjective experience of such an optimal coding would be of time standing still as understanding expanded to total comprehension. The mystics refer to this condition as "Realization."
Further research has shown that the manner in which information is passed, coded and stored is critical for duration experience. If an experience can be easily broken into chunks with familiar labels, that experience appears to be short. If experience is novel, then it can't be easily and simply coded and it seems to be longer. Routine activities such as driving to work are difficult to recall because the code is established in terms of a few broad categories such as "starting the car", "driving downtown", and "parking". On the other hand, if an accident occurs on the way, the novelty forces the use of an unfamiliar code which makes the experience seem much longer than it actually was. The possibility also exists for recording an experience after the fact. Following the accident, the interval could be recorded under the new label of just "the accident" so that as time passes, that experience seems to shrink in memory. The storage size and coding theory can cover the widest range of experimental data and for the time being looks like the best explanation of duration experience and its many facets.
On the subjective level, time is determined by our expectations, memories and our familiar patterns of thought. Our conceptual framework determines how we categorize experience, both immediately and in memory, and this determines our experience of duration. This over-laps the non-conceptual influences of the many internal biological rhythms and the external astronomical cycles. Conceptual sophistication is a function of age and education, both of which will play a large role in shaping duration experience.
Personality and Time
Personality exerts influence on the personal experience of time. Emotional people (FEELING TYPE) see time as continuous and circular because the present evokes the past which gives meaning to the present. The present is always being compared to past events so that the emotional content will be revealed. The length of an experience is less important than the intensity of the emotion connected with the experience. In general, time is less important to emotional people than emotion.
Intellectual individuals (THINKING TYPE) also see time as continuous, but linear rather than circular. The past gives rise to the present which in turn gives birth to the future in orderly succession. The present is always being tested against the ongoing process to insure orderly evolution. The significance of an experience in terms of developmental patterns is more important than the length or the emotional content. In general, time is less important than orderly processes and clear principles of behavior. The orderly flow of time is more important than past, present, or future.
People who are primarily oriented toward the senses (SENSATION TYPE) see time as discontinuous and momentary as the march of events pass, each independent and complete in itself. The moment arises and having been experienced is replaced by a new fresh moment to be experienced. Each moment is weighed for its content in terms of concrete physical reality and physical activity. The importance of each moment depends upon the intensity of sensation and action as well as the gratification achieved. Duration is not experienced as such by the sensory types. Time is less important than the intensity of immediate experience. Past and future are unimportant when compared to the present.
Intuitive individuals (INTUITIVE TYPES) also see time as discontinuous but experience possibilities as being more real than the present moment. The future is glimpsed and then the present is manipulated toward that vision. The present is evaluated in terms of its importance in the realization of a particular future. The importance of an experience lies in the possibilities which are suggested and/or fulfilled by it. Time is less important than inspiration and bright visions of possible futures. The future is more important than the past or present.
There is a natural progression through this system of psychotypes which is a function of age and personal maturity. Very young children tend to be sensual in orientation and concern themselves with the present. Adolescents exercise their intuition and enjoy bright visions of interesting futures. Mature adults are expected to be balanced in their time perspective and to use hindsight as well as foresight in order to carry out necessary plans and processes. Old people are usually oriented toward the past and emotional in their involvement with traditions and memories. A few individuals do not follow this development. A great deal of conflict between different age groups can be traced back to these differences in time perspective and psychotype.
Hypnosis and Time Experiments
Experiments with hypnotism have revealed some interesting aspects of personal time dilation and contraction. The past, present, and future were each expanded and contracted by hypnotic suggestion. When the past was eliminated, the subject became confused and irritable. There was a loss of inhibition and a loss of differentiation of meaning. Time estimates were shorter than actual clock time. When the past was expanded, the subject reported being happy. He became single minded about his interests and was abrupt and difficult when disturbed.
When the present was eliminated, the subject lapsed into a rigid trance. He would not respond to stimuli. He later reported being aware but unable to respond to anything. He said that it was very unpleasant and seemed as if he were dead. When the present was expanded, the subject experienced a mood of great luminosity. He became very interested in lines and his problems became less important.
When the future was eliminated, the subject entered a euphoric, semi-mystical state. Everything seemed to occupy a boundless present. He was free of any anxiety and spent his time savoring his immediate experiences. He was very interested in colors and textures. When the future was expanded, the subject experienced aa happy, mystical condition. He felt that he had plenty of time to do everything. Deadlines became unimportant and he said that death just became the end of life and was no longer an event to be feared.
When both past and future were eliminated, the subject entered into a trance state very similar to the no-present condition. He later reported the feeling of being a machine, unable to feel and respond. Simultaneous expansion of past and future caused the subject to become very introspective and review his past and future direction. He said that he felt more like a philosopher than he ever had.
When both the past and present were expanded, the subject entered a happy state. He became intensely interested in the origin and developmental history of things. Expansion of present and future caused another happy, mystical condition. He said that by integrating present and future, he had triumphed over death. He became restless and hyperactive and began to play practical jokes and became very infantile.
These hypnosis experiments illustrate the importance of our attitudes and beliefs toward time. The past, present and future seem to co-exist in our minds and our attitudes about each influence our experience of time and life in general at a particular moment. The hypnosis can be seen as simulation of critical events which alter our beliefs and attitudes. A profound challenge toward our past beliefs or our view of future potential could have the effect of contracting the past or future. A sudden realization about the past or a bright new vision of the future could have an expansion effect.
In general, critical events can expand or contract the past, present and/or the future to produce profound alterations in a person's attitudes and general behavior. The critical process of aging will automatically expand and contract the past and future. The young have small pasts and large futures, the mature have a balance and the old have large pasts and small futures. This fact may help account for the general behavioral differences among age groups.
c. Life Extension Practices (Aging, Rejuvenation, and Immortality)
In our youth-oriented culture, "old age" is approached with trepidation, and staved off with heroic attempts at maintaining physical fitness. The anxiety and stress of daily living gradually convert into attitudes of depression and despair over waning physical and mental abilities.
The very powerful cultural group between the ages of fifty-five and seventy is not only healthier, but more affluent and better educated than any comparable group in the past. The field of Geriatrics has responded to the need of this group for improved quality of life. Since aging begins with the Saturn Return at approximately age 30, the benefits of this research are useful to the general populace.
Legends of the Fountain of Youth, Immortality, Alchemy and modern Geriatrics have a common denominator: the quest for longevity. Longevity has various implications in the four planes of existence. These include 1) spiritual immortality of the soul after physical death, 2) maintenance of mental acuity and learning ability, 3) fantasies of eternal youth and their emotional content, and 4) a high degree of physical fitness throughout a long lifespan.
1. Spiritual Immortality, in Alchemy, is the result of the rejuvenating effects of the Elixir. This Elixir is most often described in old alchemical texts as an herbo-metallic preparation. Many of them speak of various forms of preparations containing Mercury. It is difficult to see how these could have any salutary effect, considering Mercury's poisonous capability.
The actual rejuvenation effects of the Elixir were more likely psychological effects resulting from the production of the Philosopher's Stone. This Stone is the alchemical symbol for contact with the higher Self, one's wholeness. The Self archetype brings its characteristic sense of the overcoming or transcending of the limitations of time. The Elixir is the flow of transpersonal energies into the personal life, revitalizing the entire being. The Elixir is the liquid form of the Philosopher's Stone.
For an interesting insight into the birth of herbal medicine, imagine the old crones and wizened men who combed the forests and glenns. These oldsters were beyond their productive years, and when the local culture was unable to support them, they were thrown back on their own resources. Many had to forage for long hours every day just to grub enough nourishment to sustain life. Therefore, they sought not only for cures to their ills, but for tonics, stimulants, and energizers to lighten the burden of their work, and restore a sense of youthful vigor. Thus, we hear of the revitalizing properties of soma, in alchemical lore. Some of these traditional energizers include gotu kola, ginseng, ephedra (or Mormon Tea), coca, and fo-ti-tieng.
In any viewpoint short of full immortality, aging seems inevitable. There are, however, programs and practices which can slow down, and in some cases even reverse the aging process.
Aging is a complex process which involves the gradually decline of various systems of orderly management or homeostasis in the body. Among these are breakdowns in the auto-immune system, faulty replication of DNA, oxidation of fats in the body producing toxins, cross-linking of molecules aging the skin, arteries and other tissues, the decline of the brain's chemical messengers, accumulation of wastes, hormone imbalance, lack of ability to repair damage.
2. Mental Acuity. Senility is a disease, not the inevitable mental condition in old age. It has many causes and degrees of severity, but many of these may be relieved or prevented with nutritional or drug therapy. Of primary importance is the production of neurotransmitters which allow the brain cells to communicate effectively with one another, increasing access to stored information. The major neurotransmitters are norepinephrine, acetylcholine, dopamine. When there are inadequate amounts of these in the brain, the result is depression, apathy, and ennui. Another major factor in decreased mental ability results from the breaking of fine, hair-like connections between brain cells, known as neurites. With these factors in mind, we may outline a program for rejuvenation of brain function, including the following:
Hydergine stimulates the regrowth of connections between nerve cells which are necessary for learning and recall. In this way, it improves both alertness (R.A.S.) and high-level cognitive functions (cerebral cortex). The brain's intricate function depends on interactions at critical junctions between cells called synapses. These nerve junctions are in a fine network if fibers on the branching axons. According to the holographic paradigm of memory storage and retrieval, the more cells you bring together the more detailed the information. Therefore, as this drug takes effect, overall memory improves; not everything will be immediately accessible to recall, but more detail is possible to recover.
Vasopressin is a pituitary gland hormone which is marketed under the tradename Diapid, in a nasal spray. It also improves memory and learning ability. It is a proven treatment for amnesia. During trauma, it may be released in massive doses from the pituitary gland, initiating that flood of imagery where one's life flashes before the eyes. Marijuana use suppresses the release of pituitary vasopressin, and cocaine use stimulates it (but also results in a depressing bloodpressure, reaction time, coordination, and visualization. Aging cuts down the amount of vasopressin secretion. Earl Hunt (1983) recounts the results of experiments:
We also tested university alumni. A previous experiment had shown that in this educated population, visualization abilities decline with age, beginning in the 30's. Only half of the participants over 40 could adopt the imaging strategy. (6)
An effective clinical dose for improving memory is 16 I.U. per day, 4x nasally. There is no deleterious effect on bloodpressure or urine retention at this dose. With its direct relationship to visualization ability, this might prove of particular interest to artists, engineers, and other who require this in their work. It is certainly required in the practice of magickal ceremony, where the maintaining of the visualization is critical in the effectiveness of the rite.
Choline is an important nutritional factor as it is a precursor to acetylcholine. Its inclusion in the daily supplements insures the availability of the proper components for the body to synthesize this important neurotransmitter. It is required for muscular control and proper muscle tone. Choline is most effective combined with lecithin and Vitamin B-5 for easy conversion.
Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid which our brains use to synthesize Norepinephrine (also called noradreneline). It relieves the depression or "drained" feeling occurring when levels of this neurotransmitter are low. Depleted NE reserves are responsible for mental fatigue or lack of concentration. NE may be replaced at the synapse junction through doses of 100 to 1,000 milligrams per day of phenylalanine combined with Vitamins C and B-6.
Do not combine this treatment with MAO inhibiting drugs used for depression treatment.
MAO inhibitors are used to treat depression because starting at age 45, MAO levels tend to rise, and this destroys NE reserves resulting in depression. It is precisely this MAO imbalance which produces the apathy of old age, including anxiety, depression, and less of interest in life's activities. this produces a shortage of norepinephrine and other neurotransmitters, especially in the hindbrain, attacking the quality of one's experience of "being alive". Tricyclic compounds prevent this condition by stopping the deamination of catecholamines in the brain and at the nerve synapse. Anyone using these anti-depressants must avoid alcohol, amphetemines, and certain foods. Depression and anxiety stress the body and accelerate the aging process.
Serotonin is a companion to NE in the regulation of the experience of pain and pleasure. The overproduction of serotonin is linked to hyperactivity, then exhaustion, anxiety and depression. Irritation by serotonin can also lead to overproduction of histamines, adrenaline and noradreneline. When the exhausted system can no longer produce hormones to control normal functioning, a state of exhaustion ensues much like the "come down" from long term abuse of stimulant drugs. Serotonin irritation also overstimulates the thyroid.
3. Emotional Life. Fantasies of eternal youth are associated with the puer complex and one's attitudes toward aging. One of the most commonly accepted means of maintaining a zest for life comes from the vital connection existing between grandparents and grandchildren. They offer a symbiotic reinforcement system for one another, stretching from past to future with a sure continuity. there are several roles which grandparents fulfill including providing the youngsters with an emotional history. The child is an oracular vision of one's futurity.
--oral history of the cultural past
--family historian; link to dead relatives
--ethnic heritage; reenact rituals of the past in present
--religious faith and values
--emotional attachment fixes lessons in mind
--lifetime of experience
--working with life's basics (food, clothing, shelter, transportation)
--deepen sexual identity
--instill pride in a job well done
c. Role Model
--provide a model for grandparenting
--role model for aging; adjustment to old age, and death itself
--elders embody the last stage of life
--attitudes, moral ideals, talents and behavior of the family
--has lived a long time and learned to expect the unexpected
--has no "real" power yet makes the seemingly impossible happen
--accesses mystical dimension of life where dreams come true
--most basic role, physical and emotional
--Great parents are primary caretakers when parents are absent
An emotional sense of value and well being is maintained throughout the lifespan when an individual has a meaningful position within the family. This sense of purpose and belonging eliminates loneliness and depression which accelerate the aging process. One experiences immortality in the continuity of family life.
4. Physical fitness for long life includes a nutritional program started early in life to maintain systems, rather than a crash program for repair of damage. For life extension, a consistent program including mega-vitamin doses, antioxidants, RNA and DNA supplements, and minerals is recommended.
A new therapeutic treatment is Gerovital or GH-3, which reestablishes a balanced functioning, or homeostasis, in the body systems. It is a form of procaine, which is composed of the B vitamin PABA and diethylaminoethanol (DEAE). It is useful in the treatment of anxiety and depression, without the limitations imposed by an MAO inhibitor. Its anesthetic qualities make it desirable for use by those with chronic pain, such as that from arthritis. Gerovital's ingredient DEAE acts as a mood elevator, as do vasopressin, and Hydergine, providing a synergetic "tonic" or energizing effect of rejuvination.
1. Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw, Life Extension; A Practical Scientific Approach, (Warner Books, N.Y., 1982).
2. John A. Mann, Secrets of Life Extension, (Bantam Books, N.Y., 1982).
3. Herbert Baily, GH3, (Bantam Books, N.Y., 1977).
4. Indian Alchemy or Rasayana In the Light of Asceticism & Geriatrics, S. Mahdihassan, (Vikas Publishing House PVT LTD, New Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, 1979).
1. Robert Hand, Horoscope Symbols, Para Research; Rockford, Mass. 1981; p. 330.
2. Alexander Ruperti, Cycles of Becoming; CRCS Publications, Davis, CA.; 1978, p. 27.
3. M. Esther Harding, "The Value and Meaning of Depression" Bulletin for the A.P.C. of N.Y.; (Analytical Psychology Club of N.Y., Inc., 1970); p. 10.
4. Ibid., p. 13
5. Ibid., p. 15.
6. Earl Hunt, "On the Nature of Intelligence", Science (Jan. 1983; Vol. 219, No. 458; American Association for the Advancement of Science, Wash. D.C.) p145.
NEXT: BASICS OF YESOD
NEXT: BOOK III: YESOD, SPHERE 9, THE MOON
Return to Synergetic Qabala Homepage
Return to Holistic Qabala Homepage
Go to Iona Miller's Collected Works, the Ionasphere
File Created: 7/23/02 Last Updated: 8/3/02
Web Design by Iona Miller and Vickie Webb.