Now we will look closely at the continuing biography of the Being Philosophia. She has transitioned from the development of the head and thought perception in the Age of Aries (1945 BC – 215 AD) into the Age of Pisces. Here she will experience the three Solar cycles of development, encompassing the years 21-42 in a normal human biography. Here the three realms of the Ego, of Sentient Soul, Intellectual Soul, and Consciousness Soul unfold in turn. And what is at stake here? There is a movement, gradually, out of thought perception in the realm of the head, to thought experience in the realm of the will. We are now in the realm of the Fish, the Feet, the Will, the Ocean of the Subconscious depths. The human being will gradually come to feel thought as something produced out of their own depths, and not given to them by the cosmos. Really, this is a coming to terms with the reality of the individualized Ego, alone in the cosmos, rather than thought perception simply building the stage on which the Ego can unfold. Human beings increasingly have to grapple with what this means in terms of the Ego’s place in the cosmos, and the true fundamental nature of the Ego itself.
The first Solar cycle of the human being, from ages 21-28, marks the unfolding of the Sentient Soul, the lowest layer of the human Ego. At this point, the human Ego, the individual personality, is still relatively subconscious. One’s personality is still very determined by and reliant on family, social group, etc, and not determined from within. This corresponds, in Philosophia’s biography, to the year 215 – 935 AD, the first third of the Age of Pisces. This time period sees a revisiting of the philosophy of Plato in the form of Neoplatonism. The striving of individuals such as Origen, Porphyry, Plotinus, St. Augustine, Hypatia, and many others is to bring the Platonic mode of conception into another, more mysterious realm of human soul experience. These philosophers noted that the entirety of human soul experience could not be encapsulated in mere thinking; there was another realm, the mystical or religious realm, that had equal or even greater validity to them, which could not be adequately accessed by human thought. And so Platonic philosophy was used in order to elaborate and understand Christian theology, the content of religious experience.
It was also put into concrete practice by individuals such as Dionysius the Aereopagite in the 6th century in a process called henosis, whereby that which is not God, the One, is bit by bit negated within the soul. Thoughtful reflection is put to use to realize inwardly that which is not God within the human soul until one is brought gradually higher and higher up Jacob’s Ladder to the One—the the inexpressible Godhead of the World within the human soul. Whereas the Greek Philosophers felt that the microcosmic perception of thought was an adequate reflection of the macrocosm within the human soul, the Neoplatonists and early Church Fathers saw thought as an inadequate reflection of the macrocosm. Religious, mystical experience in union with thinking more adequately expressed the wholeness of the world within the human soul. This time period was brought to its fulfillment by John Scotus Eriugena in the 9th century AD.
The second Solar cycle in a human biography is that of the Intellectual Soul. Here the human personality settles into itself, via the first Saturn return at age 29.5 and the subsequent Christ years between ages 30-33. A balance begins to emerge between self and world, individual and surroundings. One no longer feels so merged with one’s environment, heredity, and social group. One strives to establish one’s profession and persona (mask) of adulthood, typically by finding one’s career, partner, children, etc.
In the biography of Philosophia, this corresponded to the second third of the Age of Pisces, the years 935 – 1655 AD. During this time period, there was renewed contact between Europe and the Middle East due to the Crusades. The Aristotelian world conception which had been preserved in the Arabian courts was transmitted back to the West from which it sprung. It fell into the lap of the Scholastics, of the Franciscans and Dominicans in particular, exactly during the equivalent of the Christ years in Philosophia’s biography (approximately 13th-16th centuries AD).
It was only during this time period of the Intellectual Soul development of Philosophia that mankind as a whole began to experience the individual Ego as the source of thinking rather than thought as a more or less outer perception coming towards the soul. Thomas Aquinas in particular took up the task of bringing into harmony Reason, which is the product of human thinking (work), and Faith, which comes to us from religious experience and dogma (grace). Human thinking cannot, out of itself, discover or create Truth, but has been brought about as a faculty of the human soul that is able to justify the given Truths of the spiritual world offered through religious dogma. Thomas Aquinas and the Scholastics subsequently Christened Aristotelianism just as the Neoplatonists had Christened Platonism 700 years prior.
The aftermath of the Scholastics was twofold. On the one hand the German mystics such as Nicolaus Cusanus arose. The methodology of these mystics had a kinship to the henosis of Dionysius, but with a key difference. With Dionysius, the aim was to access a hidden part of the human soul that revealed more of the world than was accessible to human thought. The German mystics no longer sought for this realm within the human soul itself; they wished to utilize and transform the thinking Ego in order to access an objective spiritual world outside of and beyond the human Ego. The Ego was seen as separate from an objective spiritual world, rather than immersed and interwoven with it.
Similarly, and subsequently, arose the scientific revolution of the 16th century, with Leonardo da Vinci, Giordano Bruno, and Copernicus. They too no longer perceived the outer world as though interwoven with a thought-structure embedded within it, and likewise interwoven with the content of the human soul. They saw thought as something produced out of their own rigorous inner activity, and the sense world as something totally separate and objective over against their individual, thinking subject (the Ego).
Within the Age of Aries, the transition out of the Egyptian/Babylonian cultural epoch—and into the Greco-Roman epoch—took place, in the 8th century BC. It was after this that the full flowering of thought-perception, devoid of picture consciousness, took place, in Ancient Greece rather than Egypt or Israel. Similarly, around this time in the biography of Philosophia, we see the transition out of the Greco-Roman epoch into the Central European epoch, in the early 15th century AD. And just as the last third of the Age of Aries (505 BC – 215 AD) saw the full flourishing of Ancient Greek philosophy, so the last third of the Age of Pisces has seen the full flourishing of what we might call consciousness of the Ego.
The third and last Solar cycle in a human biography takes place from the ages of 35-42. It is the unfolding of the Consciousness Soul. Here the individual human being feels completely alone, ideally fully established in their proficiencies, conscious of their weaknesses, self-determining, creative, and capable. If they are not the above, a deep dissatisfaction, an existential ennui can become ever stronger. Here the choice is made whether to rise to higher levels of development out of one’s own will and work, or to stagnate and devolve, to remain more or less a teenager for life. They may also feel increasingly the external pressures of life, increasingly wrapped up in, acutely aware of and concerned by external affairs over which they wish they had more control. It is an intense time of life.
This time period was marked in the biography of Philosophia in the year 1655, when she transitioned into the development of her Consciousness Soul. We can see this as a kind of mini-consciousness soul age within the wider one of 1414-3574 (the Central European epoch referred to above). The loneliest loneliness, the Self completely thrown back upon itself. The year 1655 came right on the heels of the life of Descartes, who coined the cogito ergo sum, “I think, therefore I am.” The keynote of Cartesianism was doubt: all that is not the thinking Ego must be met with doubt and skepticism in order to discover its true nature, its lawfulness according to Reason. The fundamental experience that cannot be doubted is this very doubting itself—I think, i.e. I doubt, therefore I am. Cartesianism increasingly came to split the world into two pieces: an extendable (i.e. measurable) outer world, and an unmeasurable/subjective inner world. Only what was measurable—i.e. sense perceptible and/or able to be described by Reason—could be considered objective, and therefore True and Real.
Notice that this Cartesian split went hand in hand with the transition from geocentrism to heliocentrism. Under a geocentric model, there was hierarchy and order intrinsic to the Universe. The spiritual world operated in the heights above, as expressed by the movements of the stellar bodies; the Earth was the center of this creative activity, and Man was the center of the Earth. There was a hierarchy of Angelic beings expressed in the planetary spheres above; this hierarchy was reflected in that of Nature (Man, Animal, Plant, Mineral) and Society (Priest, Knight, Merchant, Peasant) below. Reason and Faith lived together under a happy marriage.
After Kepler, all of this changed. You see, Kepler had a choice. He had before him the work of both Copernicus and Tycho Brahe. The Copernican model is the heliocentrism that we all know today. What this model subconsciously reinforced for the human being is: “You cannot trust appearances. You must abstract the mathematically accurate reality out of the sense perceptions that are deceiving you. The Earth has no special place in the world, and therefore you are not part of a hierarchy. You are not special; but you are free to engage in self-determination and discovery through doubt and research.” On the other hand, Tycho Brahe had rediscovered the ancient Egyptian model of a universe with two centers: the Sun and Moon revolve around the Earth, while the rest of the planets (and the cosmos) revolve around the Sun. The acceptance of the Tychonic perspective would have led to a delicate interweaving between the Enlightenment mood of discovery without casting off the immanent order of the cosmos. Man would have been free to investigate and discover, to create and to question, but still would have felt himself an integral part of a whole. For a time these two cosmologies competed; it was Kepler’s decision to adhere to and popularize the Copernican model that led to the “Cartesian split”, and ultimately the entire materialistic scientism our culture has been increasingly immersed in ever since.
In the next section, we will look more closely at the last third of the Age of Pisces, a time period we are right in the middle of (the mid-point of this Consciousness Soul development of Philosophia was just a few years ago, 2015). During the last third of the Age of Aries, we saw the emergence of Platonism, Aristotelianism, and the Mystery of Golgotha. These three together determined the course of the subsequent 2000 years, with the Christening of first Platonism and then Aristotelianism. Have we yet, over the course of this last third of the Age of Pisces, experienced something analogous to Platonism, Aristotelianism, and the Mystery of Golgotha? Where are we now?