Mythic Prelude: The Burning Bowl


  The symbol and sacramental tool for this month, and by implication for all of 2003, is the Burning Bowl. In circles of ceremony and mythology, the Burning Bowl is used for rites of purification by fire, in which the alchemists -- as individuals, or as large groups of people who do alchemical worship together -- cast into the fire bits of paper, cloth or wood which bear, in writing or intention or both, a character flaw, soul hole or heart dis-ease that the alchemist wants to purify out of his or her energy field, to continue the process of soul cleansing and perfection. The Burning Bowl is a major symbol of spiritual transformation, of which we shall see more below.

   The Burning Bowl is the image for January 2003 because the New Moon (Jan. 2), brings Sun and Moon into conjunction in the 13th degree of Capricorn. The Sabian symbol of this degree is The Fire Worshiper.

   From Marc Edmund Jones' The Sabian Symbols in Astrology :

   "CAPRICORN 13    A fire worshiper    This is a symbol of man's inner strength through his realization of an invisible tie with the creative power of the universe itself, dramatized by his continual outreach to the divine in a spiritualizing of his aspiration and a dedication of his talents and possessions to the over-all reality. He knows he must demonstrate his ultimate independence of his circumstances or else surrender his own potentialities forever. Here is ideality brought to the point of miracle. The keyword is MAGIC. When positive, the degree is extraordinary skill in enlisting every resource of the world for the exaltation of self and the consummation of its ambitions, and when negative, consistent overestimation of personal capacity." 

    We shall see in the coming months what will burn in the bowl of 2003. The dark side of the fire worshiper symbol, the "consistent overestimation of personal capacity" is evident now in countless news stories about Whom to Hate and Fear, and What We're Going to Do to Whom Before They Do It to Us. Dire predictions and slyly planted pre-news are already circulating about 2003, especially in relation to May, the month of the Double Black Moon.

    Want to hear some Dire Predictions for 2003? No way. Not here. Not on your soul. The fear propaganda, for those addicted or flirting with darkness, is easy to find elsewhere.

    We look ahead first from this month at the arc and flow of 2003, and years to come. The main theme for the moment is that extreme changes and disturbances are unlikely on the planet from now through about Feb. 14, Valentine's Day. The main astral events of 2003 come from March to July, with the point of greatest friction and synergy in late June and early July. The astral scenario for the first half of the year (scroll to the end of the rubrics to skip the astrology):

    Feb. 13: Dragon's Head exits Gemini, where it is "exalted", and enters Taurus, where it will remain until the end of 2004. Expect, among other things, that social gatherings will happen less easily and spontaneously for the next two years, and we may see as much fake festive entertainment as frightened people can absorb, some of it desperately escapist.

    March 10: Uranus exits Aquarius, sign of his rulership and power, and enters Pisces, where he will remain until March 2011. Uranus' transition into Aries eight years from now is in fact one of several major astral events that precede the Great Change of 2011 and 2012. One way to view the difference between Uranus in Aquarius (April '95 to March '03) and Uranus in Pisces (March '03 to March '11) is that for the last 8 years, fireworks have been going off in the air. For the next 8 years, we will be trying to ignite fireworks under water. Uranus in Pisces will be a time for both of the spiritual extremes embodied by Neptune, in everything from profound mystical perception to vain fantasies induced by the wrong drugs, used unceremonially. As Neptune rules all mood- and mind-altering drugs, wider shamanic experimentation in plant powers, and much blowing and burning of powders and leaves, can be expected in the first decade of the new Millennium. Billions of new spiritual linkages will form, the critical mass in fact, though it will seem for a time, to many, that nothing is happening because they don't see anything televised, vocalized or verbalized. The hidden Hive Mind of humanity and other conscious beings is forming intuitively and telepathically.

   Mid-March to March 29: Dragon's Head at 0° Gemini square Uranus at 0° Pisces. A time of retreat from the usual sociabilities, of some uneasiness and annoyance in the presence of others, a desire to be with small groups rather than large ones.

   January through June, Cumulative: Jupiter in Leo moves toward an exact opposition to Neptune -- in other words, the usual tension of governments with firearms vs. spiritual activists working through electronic media. This mutual pressure is most intense on June 3, the day that Saturn moves out of Gemini and into Cancer, where he is "in detriment" until July, 2005. The coming two years favor patient diplomacy rather than overt, dramatic action at a time when, startlingly, useless authorities and official agencies seem sometimes to fade in presence and disappear from sheer lack of anyone's attention or interest. Meanwhile, many wise people will go underground, if not to seek refuge from torrents of lies and noise, then from a conviction that those who know do not speak, and those who speak do not know.

   It is vitally important that we understand this silence for what it is, as Uranus-in-Pisces may at first be discouraging to many awakened souls. Some will infer from the new silences in our spiritual field that many lightworkers have given up or skipped town, and that the momentum toward the Aquarian Age has died. The truth is that to evolve, we will become less talkative. The silences of 2003, while ominous to some, are the normal sound of the spiritual body coming into cohesion. The waters of Pisces run soundless and deep, but are irresistibly strong, as the end years of Uranus in Pisces, in 2010 and 2011, will show.

   June 23 - 24: The astral energy of the year so far climaxes in late June in two alignments of great complexity, power and beauty. The heart of the combination is a trine (120° arc) of the Sun, Saturn and Mars, all conjunct in Cancer, with Uranus in Pisces. At the same time, Mercury and Venus, conjunct in Gemini, will be opposite Pluto in Sagittarius. The short take on this is that as summer begins, Earth's people will gift themselves with great energy, stamina, determination, inventiveness and courage. Just why this infusion of fortitude comes, and whether it flows in response to anything, remain to be seen. Beneficent changes of great importance, and seminal activities, are favored now.

   July 1: High point of a month-long trine between Jupiter in Leo and Pluto in Sagittarius. Planet-wide leaps in consciousness are possible. The entire 10-day period from June 24 to the American independence day is a must-utilize opportunity for awakening Earth's people.


   For now, as 2003 begins, it is enough to say that there are two waves to the year, cresting in June and December, the two times when the alchemical fire kindled at the January New Moon will best consume whatever the alchemist wishes to burn. The New Moon of Jan. 2 is necessarily a healing moon, as Chiron in Capricorn is conjunct the Sun and Moon.

    The question of what's burning in 2003 has already begun to percolate, and will bubble bigger toward the spring -- though what is in the crucible is less important than the intention with which the fire in the Burning Bowl is lit. Earth and her people are now engaged in a process of spiritual alchemy that is no mere matter of transmuting lead into gold, but a soul purification in which the gold of love is what is left after the Sun's fire has burned away the silver of fear and envy (the Moon), the mercury of chatter and inconstancy, the copper of greed and lust (Venus), the iron of wrath (Mars), the tin of pride (Jupiter) and the lead of grief, and all illusions of separation (Saturn).

   While the year will have its physical fires, the soul fires are the ones that will have the deeper, longer-lasting effect. These are the fires of choice, and the ones who use them are the alchemists Yeats had in mind when he wrote of the "sages standing in god's holy fire / As in the gold mosaic of a wall" ("Sailing to Byzantium").

   The fire that awakened people will experience this year is the one from In Praise of Rumi:


Sleep is gone from me.

All the normal fires of blood:

Hunger, sleep, pain of the body,

these have gone out in me.

Now there is only

this one fire

growing --

the fire of You

that has ignited in me,

and ravages the sweet, small home of self

where I had thought to live

with contentment (and with death).

I am awake in the night

fighting this fire . . .

   See you in the Burning Bowl. Keep holding that frequency.


Copyright 2003 Dan Furst



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