The Esoteric Significance of Polar Alignment
“Concentration upon the Pole-Star will give knowledge of the orbits of the planets and the stars.” – Light of the Soul, Book III, #28.
In astronomy, polar alignment is the process of accurately aligning the rotational axis of a telescope’s equatorial mount with the north celestial pole. This alignment allows for accurate tracking, from the Earth’s perspective, of the fixed stars in the celestial sphere by means of a clock drive synchronized with the sidereal time.
The Celestial Sphere
(Image Courtesy of the Lunar and Planetary Institute)
A metaphor: the causal body — the monadic heart in the higher mind — as the telescope, and the Soul as the Observer “thinking in the heart”.
“The causal body is the correspondence in the monadic manifestation to the heart center.” – A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p. 538.
The mind (casual body) as an instrument of observation (telescope).
The optic nerve is a symbol of the antahkarana, and the entire structure of the eye ball is one of the most beautiful symbols of the threefold deity and the threefold man. – Esoteric Healing, p. 572
The need for a well-balanced and aligned instrument of observation.
A balanced mind is unbiased (free from glamour). The Technique of Light dissipates glamour.
Polaris (Ursa Minor) and the two Pointers (Ursa Major) serve as guideposts to align the mind with the divine Purpose and the Plan (polar alignment).
An aligned mind is free from illusion (right road map) and thus able to unfold the intuitive sense (thinking in the heart).
The Technique (Practice) of the Presence (mindfulness), or Agni Yoga, transcending the linear sense of time into the Eternal Now, dispels illusion.
Cosmic Swastika: the Cosmic Clock
“In the centre of the will of God I stand.
Naught shall deflect my will from His.
I implement that will by love.
I turn towards the field of service.
I, the Triangle divine [Monadic Triad] , work out that will
Within the square [Swastika] and serve my fellowmen.”
-DINA II, 141
Rule IX for Group Initiation. Let the group know there are no other selves. Let the group know there is no colour, only light; and then let darkness take the place of light, hiding all difference, blotting out all form. Then—at the place of tension, and at that darkest point—let the group see a point of clear cold fire, and in the fire (right at its very heart) let the One Initiator appear Whose star shone forth when the Door first was passed.
DINA I, p. 359. “May the Holy Ones Whose disciple I am show me the light I seek; give me the strong aid of Their compassion and Their wisdom. There is a peace which passeth understanding; it abides in the hearts of those who live in the Eternal. There is a power which maketh all things new; it lives and moves in those who know the Self as one. May that peace brood over us, that power uplift us till we stand where the One Initiator is invoked, till we see His star shine forth.”
Light of the Soul (Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, translated by Alice A. Bailey), Book III, Aphorism #28. Concentration upon the Pole-Star will give knowledge of the orbits of the planets and the stars.
This sutra is of small significance to the ordinary student, but is of profound use to the initiate or pledged disciple. Suffice it here to say that this sutra forms the background for all astrological investigation and from an appreciation of its meaning will eventuate an understanding of:
1. The relation of our solar system to the other six constellations which (with ours) form the seven force centres of which the seven great spiritual influences of our system are the reflections and agents.
2. The path of our sun in the Heavens and the twelve signs of the Zodiac through which our sun apparently passes. Therefore it will be apparent that this sutra is the key to the purpose of the [Page 304] seven and the twelve upon which all our creative processes are built.
3. The meaning of the twelve labours of Hercules in their relation to man, the microcosm.
4. The purpose of our planet, gained by the adept through an understanding of the triplicity formed by:
a. The Pole Star,
b. Our Earth Planet,
c. The Great Bear.
Other meanings are available to those who hold the key, but the above will suffice to show the deep, though esoteric significance attached to these brief words.
Light of the Soul, p. 331. Liberation from the thorny path refers to the path of physical life, and is nowhere more beautifully referred to than by the Christ in His parable of the Sowers, where some of the seed fell among thorns. The explanation is given that the thorns are the cares and troubles of worldly existence which succeed in choking the spiritual life and in veiling the true man for so long. The thorny path must lead to the northern path and that in turn to the Path of Initiation. In one of the old books in the Archives of the Lodge, are found these words:
“Let the seeker after truth escape from drowning and climb the river’s bank. Let him turn towards the northern star and on firm ground stand, his face directed towards the light. Then let the star lead.”
Esoteric Astrology. p. 361 [Gemini]: Venus is also the Earth’s alter ego, as it is called in the occult literature, and its true supplementary and complementary planet. You have thus established a double dual relationship: that of Gemini itself, the two brothers, and that of the Earth and Venus. The Earth is peculiarly related to the “brother whose light is waning,” for it is not a sacred planet, as you know, and to that aspect of divinity which is material or substantial; Venus is closely related to the “brother whose light grows stronger cycle by cycle” and thus to the soul whose nature is love. It is this Gemini-Venus situation which lies behind the fact that our Earth is uniquely the “planet of releasing sorrow and of purifying pain,” the energy producing these releasing factors being focused through Mercury and Venus upon our Earth. You will see, therefore, the significance of that triangle of planets [Page 362] (at which I hinted in A Treatise on Cosmic Fire): the Earth-Venus-Mercury.
Esoteric Astrology, p. 47. We have, therefore, a direct stream of energy flowing through:
a. The logoic twelve-petalled egoic lotus, cosmic mental plane.
b. The solar twelve-petalled lotus.
c. The planetary logoic heart, also a twelve-petalled lotus.
d. The twelve-petalled human egoic lotus on the mental plane.
e. The twelve-petalled heart centre in a human being.
Or, to word it otherwise, energy flows direct from:
a. The solar Logos, via three great cosmic centres:
1. The central spiritual Sun.
2. The heart of the Sun.
3. The physical Sun.
b. The heart centre of the planetary Logos, situated on the fourth cosmic etheric plane (our buddhic plane).
c. The egoic lotus of a human being on the mental plane, which is literally a correspondence to the “heart of the Sun.” The monadic point is a reflection in the human system of the “central spiritual Sun.”
d. The heart centre of a man on the etheric plane of the physical plane, which is in its turn a correspondence to the physical Sun.
Thus the tiny atom is linked with the great central Life of the solar system.
Esoteric Astrology. There are four of the zodiacal signs which are mysteriously concerned with what one might call the “personality expression” (if such an unsuitable term can be used in default of better) of the solar Logos Himself, or with the Divine Quaternary, the fourfold manifestation of Deity.
These four signs are Aries—Leo—Scorpio—Aquarius, and they involve the expression of the energy of one Cardinal sign and of three signs which form part of the Fixed Cross of the heavens. We could express this truth in another manner: God the Father, the Will to manifest, initiates the creative process which is worked out through the activity of God the Son, the cosmic Christ, crucified upon the Fixed Cross in the heavens.
The activity of God [Page 194] the Holy Spirit, implicit in the Mutable Cross, is closely allied to the previous solar system, and the energy of that divine aspect is practically entirely occupied with manipulating the forces inherited from that system and inherent in the very nature of substance itself. This divine aspect is to the whole general divine manifestation what the lower nature (form life or personality in the three worlds of human evolution) is to the soul where an individual human being is concerned. As regards these three Persons of the divine Trinity, we might say that:
- Aries is the focal point of the expression of the first aspect of divinity, the will aspect.
- Leo is the focal point for the expression of the second aspect, the love-wisdom or consciousness aspect. This, primarily where humanity is concerned.
- Virgo is the focal point for the expression of the third aspect, that of active intelligence. In that sign the highest function of matter is symbolised.
The four signs—Aries, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius—are related to the following stars which are not numbered in the twelve signs of the zodiac; they constitute another field of relationships:
- Aries to one of the two stars, found in the constellation, the Great Bear, which are called the two Pointers.
- Leo to Polaris, the Pole Star, found in the Little Bear.
- Scorpio to Sirius, the Dog Star.
- Aquarius to Alcyone, one of the seven Pleiades.
There is little that I can tell you in connection with the energies pouring into the four zodiacal signs from these distant though potent points of outgoing energy; they are part of the life expression of an Identity, immeasurably superior [Page 195] to and more advanced than our solar Logos. A few hints may, however, be of service to the truly esoteric astrologer who may study these pages, particularly where Scorpio is concerned. Scorpio, at this particular stage of human evolution, governs the Path of Discipleship. You will note here also how Leo-Scorpio-Aquarius form a peculiar triangle of force, but of this I will later deal [in Chapter III under the heading, The Science of Triangles].
Aries is, as might be expected, closely connected with the Great Bear but peculiarly so with one of the stars called The Pointers; these point to the Pole star which is at this time a major “star of direction.” Direction, will, purpose and plan are all connected with the solar Logos and with His evolutionary undertakings in connection with the many lives manifesting in the vehicle of expression which we call the solar system. All these respond to the influences of the first ray which is, to all intents and purposes, the energy of divine embodied will, which has been esoterically described as “unavoidable directed purpose.” Within our solar system, Vulcan and Pluto are expressions or custodians of this first ray energy and are, as I have told you, esoteric planets. The first indication of the true spiritual will only begins to manifest upon the Path of Discipleship—hence the late discovery of these two planets (late in point of time and from the angle of human knowledge) for it is only in this Aryan race period that humanity is to any large extent beginning to manifest evidence (and as yet it is no more) of a reaction or a response to the spiritual will of deity as it comes to our planet and hence to us via Aries, Vulcan and Pluto. You have, therefore, the following direct line of will energy:
- The Pointer furthest from the Pole Star in the constellation of the Great Bear [Merak]. This is, esoterically speaking, [Page 196] a great reservoir or focal point for divine energy, carrying out God’s purpose. The Pointer nearest to the Pole Star [Dubhe] is expressive of a lower aspect of the will, which—in speaking of humanity—we call self-will.
- Aries, in which the will to create or to manifest makes its appearance and the great divine experiment is initiated.
- Vulcan and Pluto are related to the two Pointers and are only now beginning, in any definite and clear manner, to affect human response. Their effect has been planetary in its nature up to date and has not hitherto been at all effective in either the fourth or the second kingdoms in nature.
- Shamballa, the Custodian of the Plan for our planet.
Leo is the sign wherein the consciousness of individuality is developed, utilised and finally consecrated to divine purpose. It is related to Polaris, the Pole Star (found in the Little Bear) and it is also peculiarly susceptible to the influence of that Pointer in the Great Bear which is the nearest to the Pole Star [Dubhe]. Esoterically speaking, the Pole Star is regarded as the “star of re-orientation” whereby the art of “refacing and recovering that which is lost” is developed. This eventually brings a man back to his originating source. It might, therefore, be correctly inferred that this Pointer [Dubhe] and the energy emanating from it guides humanity upon the involutionary path, and is constantly active in its influence upon the man who is still upon the Mutable Cross. Then the energy of the Pointer furthest from the Pole Star [Merak] begins to make its presence felt and a sense of right direction or guidance is registered by the disciple upon the Path, and such guidance (when followed) leads man nearer to the Hierarchy.
It is here that the divine [Page 197] necessity of achieving alignment is portrayed for us in the symbolism of the sky and when it has been achieved then there is a direct inflow of divine energy and man is linked up in a new and creative manner to sources of divine supply. Astrologers will do well (in connection with the horoscopes of disciples and particularly of initiates) to consider the two Pointers [Merak @ Leo 19 and Dubhe @ Leo 15] and the Pole Star [@ Gemini 28]. They are mysteriously connected with the three aspects of incarnated man—Spirit, soul and body. More than this it is not permitted to me to convey to you. I may, however, give you another hint. These three stars are embodiments of the three aspects of divine will. It is the three aspects of all expressions of divinity in manifestation which underlie the Science of Triangles. This I will later elaborate.
Another triangle of energy also appears: Aries, Leo and Polaris, and they are doubly connected through the medium of the Pointers.
Esoteric Quarterly, Winter 2006, p. 49. In perhaps what is an even more striking example of likeness between the astrological correlations posited by Leo and by Bailey for the Tibetan, there is a linkage posited by Leo between the monad and the Pole Star, [Alan Leo. Esoteric Astrology. Destiny Books, 1913/1983, p. 261] which star, of course, belongs to the class of fixed stars. It was a special claim of the Tibetan’s version of esoteric astrology that monadic awareness is equivalent to awareness of the energies coming from the fixed stars and non-zodiacal constellations. Thus, although Leo had in mind just the Pole Star and not fixed stars or non-zodiacal constellations in general, he was certainly on the same track the Tibetan would ultimately take in regard to the linkage of monadic awareness with the influence of the fixed stars and non-zodiacal constellations.
[Excerpt from Alan Leo’s Esoteric Astrology]
Q: Why is Polaris at Gemini 28 if its RA is 2.5?
A: Because celestial longitude is NOT equal to ecliptic longitude!
Although 1 hr of RA = 15 degrees of celestial longitude, the obliquity of the ecliptic with respect to the celestial equator makes it necessary to apply spherical trigonometry formulas to calculate the corresponding ecliptic longitude.
Ref: Calculating the right ascension (i.e. converting from ecliptic to equatorial coordinates) requires some spherical trigonometry, but fortunately there are internet tools that will do this, such as here.
The resulting RA coordinates are: Aries 0h 0m 0s; Taurus 1h 51m 39s; Gemini 3h 51m 16s; Cancer 6h 0m 0s; Leo 8h 8m 44s; Virgo 10h 8m 21s; Libra 12h 0m 0s; Scorpio 13h 51m 39s; Sagittarius 15h 51m 16s; Capricorn 18h 0m 0s; Aquarius 20h 8m 44s; Pisces 22h 8m 21s.
Example (Polaris J2000)
Celestial +89:15:50.00 Latitude (deg) +02:31:49.00 Longitude(deg)
Ecliptic +66:31:02.44 Latitude (deg) +88:09:15.10 Longitude(deg)
Galactic +26:24:14.56 Latitude (deg) +122:47:04.51 Longitude(deg)
88 degrees = GE 28
The transformation from celestial right ascension (α) and declination (δ)
to ecliptic longitude (λ) and declination (β)
sin β = cos ε sin δ – sin α cos δ sin ε
cos λ cos β = cos α cos δ
sin λ cos β = sin ε sin δ + sin α cos δ cos ε
where ε = 23.439 281° is the obliquity of the ecliptic.
[work in progress]
Source: Landscape astrophoto by JB @ Atlanta home, circa 2019 Summer Solstice.