Dec 29, 2012

Who's your daddy? No, really

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my work, ye mighty, and despair!"

There's a popular idea amongst the conspiracy crowd that one of the characteristics of the Illuminati (or other villain-du-jour) is that they "never let a crisis go to waste." It doesn't take very long, though, to find good ole projection acting out again - the debate is never more intense than after a terrible tragedy, such as the recent shooting in Sandy Hook. The victims' bodies were still warm when the extremists (many in the mainstream media, even) took the opportunity to spout the usual nonsense, usually revolving around gun control.

It doesn't need to be said that there is a complete lack of respect for the victims and their families (the worst are those who say "well, I don't want to politicize the issue, but..."), but they don't even use these unfortunate events to talk about the real issues. Of course, gun control isn't a real issue - morality is. There is an underlying celebration of these events, almost, because it helps to steer everyone away from self-reflection. Perhaps, then, once again, we should dampen the white noise of the media and see where the semiotic crumbs lead us...

While a look at the meaning behind the name Alexander (Sandy <- Sandra <- Alexandra) is not uninteresting, the story of a certain conqueror is probably more worth taking a look at, so that we can widen the scope a little bit. The story of Alexander the Great is a great reminder of the narcissism that is all too frequent in our brief history. But first, a bit of background.

"How do I look, dad?"

It's pretty clear that, although we do live in an excessively authoritative society, it's wrong to call it patriarchal. That is to say, it is patriarchal in the sense that the biological father rules, but not in the sense that the archetypal father rules (i.e. pseudopatriarchal). In order to understand this, we need to take a look at what motherhood and fatherhood are really about.

The matriarchate/patriarchate dichotomy can be seen in the Zodiac (as anything else, really), in this case as the left side of the wheel for the former and the right side for the latter. I will go into more detail on this later on, for now suffice it to consider that the Capricorn-to-Gemini sweep is about the archetypal mother (hence the 10th House representing the mother figure) and the Cancer-to-Sagittarius sweep about the father*.

The point is: 85-95% of Westerners gets stuck at the Cancer level; that is to say, there is an absence of a father figure for most of us. Rather than progress through that stage of development, most will regress back to one of the stages of the matriarchal sweep (i.e. rationalization, greed/gluttony, violence, drugs, ideologies, authorities). The (not necessarily biological) mother's role is to feed the baby, nurture it, make it feel loved and cared for. This is necessary because it's how the baby will gain self-confidence and become assertive. However, there comes a point when the umbilical cord (literal or otherwise) needs to be cut, and this is where the father comes in.

If no one is there to separate the child from the mother, s/he begins to feel entitled to warmth, food and protection. Soon, s/he starts believing s/he 'more' special (or equal) than the others, and then naturally becomes more and more fearful, because it cannot conceive of being separated from all it 'deserves.' The father's 'job' is not only to show the child that the world is not going to bend to his/her whims, but also to assure him/her that everything is going to be alright in the end. After all, daddy still gets mommy's love after spending most of the day away, and without crying or making a fuss.

So back to Alexander. It's not news that the nobility tends to be exceptionally spoiled, but Alexander's case is borderline stereotypical. Here are a few short passages from the Wiki entry:
  • "Philip [Alexander's father], overjoyed at this display of courage and ambition, kissed his son tearfully, declaring: 'My boy, you must find a kingdom big enough for your ambitions. Macedon is too small for you.'" This is a reference to the famous episode of the taming of Bucephalas.
  • "Some of Alexander's strongest personality traits formed in response to his parents. His mother had huge ambitions, and encouraged him to believe it was his destiny to conquer the Persian Empire."
  • "According to Plutarch, among Alexander's traits were a violent temper and rash, impulsive nature, which undoubtedly contributed to some of his decisions."
  • "During his final years, and especially after the death of Hephaestion, Alexander began to exhibit signs of megalomania and paranoia."
  • "He appears to have believed himself a deity, or at least sought to deify himself. Olympias [his mother] always insisted to him that he was the son of Zeus."
What's clear here is that the matriarchal side of Alexander's development was taken too far, given that his father, who clearly felt entitled himself**, was simply yet another mother to him. Alexander's self-confidence was taken to very high levels, but the difference with him is that he happened to be a military genius, allowing his narcissism to reach epic proportions. The fear that he would not get, well, everything, certainly made him aggressive, and no doubt had its effects on his sexuality as well, though the specifics are up to speculation.

Needless to say, conquering the whole planet wouldn't have made Alexander into Zeus. As a matter of fact, Zeus himself was very aware of the father's role: whenever humans committed hubris, he was quick to act. He may have been a bit excessive at times, but he had the right idea.

Jeff immediately regretted giving Zeus the finger

However, egomaniacal despots are far from the only way the father's absence can manifest, and this brings us back to Newtown. I suggest you take a look at this post over at the Secret Sun to get the details, but it seems that Adam Lanza's father's absence was more than just physical. This absence left the mother to fill the hole, and boy was she the wrong stuff for that. By all appearances, the massacre was a result of Lanza's belief in the Maya apocalypse, a belief fed to him via his paranoid mother.

After all, contemporary Connecticut isn't exactly Prohibition-era Chicago. The Lanzas lived in a very peaceful neighborhood, so it's clear their paranoia was completely out of proportion - which suggests the issues were more in their heads than in the real world. The same is true, of course, for most gun-rights activists and doom-sayers, but the consequences in this case were particularly tragic.

Another manifestation is the entitlement culture that has been booming lately, and not just in the US (here in Brazil we have our own such programs, such as the "Bolsa Família"). Unfortunately, the debate is always quickly hijacked by extremists, and it always comes down to "those bums are feeding off my taxes" versus "they can't do anything about it" - which means that if you favor cuts to 'entitlement programs' while at the same time wanting to help the unfortunate...well, there's not much room for you.

In the end, then, all everyone ends up talking about is what others are doing wrong. Never mind that what is right or wrong has more to do with the culture and historical period than with absolute laws, i.e., ethics is not the same as morality. This is where the lack of father figure comes in: the father forces you to figure out what's right or wrong based on experience, both your own and others', rather than on some abstract ideology or on an "authority."

What nobody talks about regarding gun control is that 'banning all the guns' or 'semi-automatics for everyone' are attempts at change from the outside, that is to say, not the responsibility of an actual person. Banning guns frees you from the responsibility of considering the ethics of gun ownership, doesn't require you to think about how the issue is reflected in your own life. Likewise, in clinging tightly to your rifle and defending yourself from the control of the government, you don't take time to consider whether it's reasonable for you to own that rifle in the first place.

What can you do to prevent another such massacre? Frankly, nothing. All the extreme, reactionary measures are simply putting a band-aid on a cancer, because they're just another case of attacking the symptoms rather than the cause. What you CAN do, however, is to raise your children properly (i.e. making sure there are both mother and father figures, regardless of the actual people involved), work on improving yourself, think about what it means to be a moral person, help out your community without the expectation of something in return. You may not be able to stop another Adam Lanza from shooting up a school, but it certainly is within your power not to raise an Adam Lanza yourself.

UPDATE: next on the blame list, DNA

* Cancer is a sign that is usually associated with the mother, and this is not wrong per se. However, there's more to motherhood than breastfeeding...

** In fact, Philip probably began to live through his son after a certain age; realizing that he had not conquered the world, he would make sure that his son (i.e. "it was thanks to me he became so smart") did such a thing, living it by proxy

Dec 12, 2012

Rover's in a Farm Upstate, Timmy

It seems that lately death has been in the air, and then some. Of course, as usual, nothing is ever good or bad per se. That death is, in some intangible way, closer to us, is just the beginning of Saturn's transit through Scorpio (not to mention Saturn transiting the natal Pluto of those of my generation). This feeling has been alleviated recently due to entry of the Moon and Mercury into Sagittarius, but be sure that there will be an undertow of death in the next couple of years. Now, I've discussed death before, but given the circumstances, it might do well to revisit the subject once more.

It's a given that Western culture does not have a very healthy attitude towards death (which was exacerbated by the idea behind most monotheistic religions that this life is your "one shot to make it"), but it seems to be particularly true in 21st-century America. This is mostly manifest in one of two ways: either one believes that "I'm screwed anyway" and takes an all too casual attitude towards death, or one believes that everything that will not lead to salvation (in their narrow-minded view) is not worth dealing with. It needn't be said, however, that the truth is usually somewhere in between.

Things are becoming more and more extreme, of course. The most salient manifestation is the Maya doomsday prophecy. There is a clear misunderstanding of the cyclical nature of time - the end of a cycle is never the end, period. There is no "end, period." Unfortunately, any potential end of a cycle is quickly co-opted by fearmongers, because a good sheep is a frightened sheep. But...take a look at the endless proclamations of apocalypse - especially those discussed in the media - and you'll be hard-pressed to find a prediction that came true.

"I'm sure THIS time the Space Brothers will come!"

It wasn't until recently, however, that things took a turn towards nihilism, and that's where the real danger lies. At least the "one-shotter" who is trying to get his ticket to Heaven is trying to live out some idea of morality. The apocalypse cults were usually restricted to the fringe, but it doesn't take long to see impending doom in some way or other nowadays, and this takes many more forms than your run-of-the-mill ancient prophecy.

One of the more subtle ways the surrender to death appears is in popular culture (which is rarely taken seriously). An early example is the success of doomsday-asteroid flicks Armageddon and Deep Impact, and another the boom in War of the Worlds scenarios (Independence Day and so on). You don't have to be Jung to realise that popular culture is merely a reflection of what's going on in the minds of people, and hopelessness is the law of the day. Even in Armageddon, where the world is saved, I would venture that most people don't think salvation is a realistic scenario. Looking for Bruce Willis means we're not thinking about what we can do to save the world.

But what are YOU doing?
The thing is, the more you fear death, the more power you attribute to it, and the more you allow to shape your life. It's no wonder, then, that one of the memes getting the most plays out there is zombies*. I'm not going to bother listing the many instances out there, just look at how zombies have been faring better than vampires (though of course a certain tween franchise may have had something to do with that) - and even then, vampires are all about death too.

The biggest hit nowadays is The Walking Dead. It's telling that most people don't realise that the title refers not only to the zombies, but to the survivors as well (i.e.: death is always just around the corner). It's no coincidence that zombies popularly eat brains, because that's exactly what they do. Since the alphas of the world have been so successful in instilling fear of death in the populace, it makes sense that we need zombie flicks to project this fear in order to feel slightly better our predicament.

Is "Fear the living" what you want to hear?
The problem with zombie scenarios (aside from the fact that they are arguably the most unrealistic doomsday scenario, as any study of epidemiology will show - we are VERY good at adapting) is that they are, most of the time, completely hopeless. To live in a zombie world is to completely surrender all hope that there are better things out there. It allows us to abdicate from our responsibilities towards helping to make the world a better place: "The whole world's gone to the shitter, so I might as well drink my way out."

I urge the reader, then, to consider why they are watching zombie movies. This is in no way an indictment of, for instance, The Walking Dead. I haven't seen it myself, but from all I hear it's excellently produced, has very good characters, and so on. The important thing is to be aware of the psychosocial dynamics at play. That is to say: don't get too invested in it.

However, the fear of death rears its ugly head in many places. Geekdom and science are some of the latest victims. If you remember the science fiction of the 70s, hope and optimism abounded. In spite of their sci-fi guise, Star Wars and Star Trek clearly conveyed the idea that life was more than the sum of its parts. There was a deep fascination with the endless possibilities of the universe, and the character dynamics involved hope, sacrifice, and courage. Now what do we get? Humans caught in an ages-old machine war.

Star Trek had the balls to talk about God
It's more than just sci-fi, however. It's also sci. The mindset du jour in the scientific academia (though this has been playing out for long - Carl Sagan is certainly not recent - it's only recently that they've achieved mainstream glorification) is the view that life is simply a accident, and that after death there is nothing**. Basically, what Bill Nye and Neil DeGrasse Tyson are selling you is that "life's a bitch, and then you die."

Is it any wonder, then, that millions upon millions flock to evangelical churches? Say you were born in the slums, and saw violence and destruction around you on a daily basis. Then two characters come to you trying to convince you to join their side. One of them says: "You were simply unlucky in the lottery of life. There's nothing after all this violence, so you're pretty much screwed. Also, you're just like any schmuck out there." The other says: "You are special and there's something special waiting for you after death. Just hang tough, endure the bad stuff, and soon enough your suffering will go away." Who would most people follow?

Attendance levels "skeptics" can only dream of
One of the most disturbing aspects of the materialistic view is the singularity theory. Ray Kurzweil and co. suggest, essentially, that one day machines will take over (though usually this is along the lines that we'll evolve into machines or insert our consciousness into machines) and that we will live forever after this point. Here is where our sick relationship with death is most clearly manifest: the idea that we deserve to live forever.

The assumption, of course, is that death is a bad thing. Death is, however, acausally related to Birth. Where there is a birth, there will necessarily be a death. Conversely, though, wherever there is death, there is also birth. Remember Newton (one of history's most famous astrologers/alchemists)? For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is not limited to material physics. Why then attribute an arbitrary value to death?

There is also the assumption that there can be a ghost in the machine. As far as evolution into robots goes, there is absolutely no confirmation that consciousness can ever be physically moved around - the translation of consciousness is a particularly nonsensical idea when you realise that the 'organ' of consciousness is the electrical field around us. As for robots taking over, it's quite simple: a character can never be more than a fragment of its creator (in all levels). You can teach a robot to do any rational calculation, but you can never teach a robot to do art, can you? All it will be able to do is imitate what has already been done. Why anyone would aspire to that is baffling.

The electrical field of the heart is 60 times greater than that of the brain

Undoubtedly, many science types will argue that the fact that we have never transferred consciousness is not proof that it cannot be done. Indeed, it's not. Consciousness, however, is not for the realm of science to deal with. It is not something that can be objectively experimented with, tested, and so on - it's necessarily subjective.

There is almost an undercurrent of panic when it comes to death in the 21st century, which makes it clear that this morbid fascination with hopeless scenarios is simply the death knell of the old Western culture. It doesn't take an economist to make a grim assessment of the situation in Europe and the US, and the cultural decline is but a reflection of this overall decay. Since we haven't been properly taught to deal with death, the only reaction left is panic (even if it is a very covert panic).

In the twilight of their empire, the British had the common sense to realise that their dominance was unsustainable. This allowed them to come out relatively unscathed from the decline of their hegemony. The same is not true in the US or the EU, though. There is a desperate clinging to the old energies - old energies that make less and less sense as each day goes by.

This is all well, though. If you've been paying attention, you'll see that this is also the birth of something new. While Western culture begins to eat itself, a new culture will rise. For every materialist turning to zombie entertainment there is a seeker who is tired of hopelessness. Think, then, on which side of history you want to find yourself in. Do you want to live within an idea of survivalism and fear, or do you want to live Love? Either way, the tide will wash away the cynics. A new dawn always puts a damper of the fear of darkness.

* Please check out this post for a more eloquent discussion of zombie-mania.

** I can't help but remember a quotation by Mark Twain: "I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."

Nov 28, 2012

The Fourfold Youniverse, pt. 1

"1 In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."

So begins the most well-known version of the Bible in English, the King James Bible. We see here an example of how we often take the elders' wisdom for granted: the same idea that we see in Genesis can be found in countless sources, Aristotle being one of the more prominent. Namely, that all things are made up of the four elements: Fire, Earth, Air and Water.

Now, the concretistic (i.e. 'earthy') reader will no doubt point out that things are a lot more complicated than the number 4 allows for. The instinctive ('fiery') reader, however, will see that sometimes simplifying can be a source of understanding as well.

Let's back up then. The most underlying (that is, non-reducible) distinction occurs between the positive and negative polarities. To reduce that polarity would be to return to the state of Oneness from which we began. We can assume, however, that things began in Unity, and this is where the common 'believer' will begin to get lost, because they still see this Unity as something separate from themselves, oblivious to the paradox that is the separation of Man and God. This is why I will generally abstain from using the term 'God', though I have no problem with it whatsoever.

So if the beginning came with the first division into polarities, these polarities must have come from an irreducible Unity (i.e. positive and negative, rather than 'or'). This Unity was all that there was. There was only one thing which it was not, which was exactly not being a Unity. This Unity then began to divide so that it could experience what it would be like not to be All, for there to be separation. So the Unity sacrificed itself to become all that is not One - and this is where we conscious beings come in. But that comes about later.

The first division, then, is between + and -. The former implies movement while the latter implies stability. Indeed, in the poles of a magnet, the electromagnetic field flows from the positive to the negative. However, something cannot be both mobile and stable at the same time. This can be found in Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, where you can measure either the position (-) or the speed (+) of a given particle, but not both at the same time. Likewise, an electron, for instance, can only be taken as either a particle (-) or a wave (+), never both at the same time. Back to Genesis: "3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day."

The paradox here is that this dynamic leads to a kind of stability in and of itself. This would require then a division of these two basic elements into four, and it is here that we leave positive and negative and head towards the four elements. In order for Unity to become non-Unity, there must be separation. This separation is then realised through the positive polarity (movement) and the negative (stability). In many creation myths, the first elements to be introduced are Air and Earth (Heaven and Earth, Gaia and Ouranos*, etc...). They are the elements that imply a separation, so this works out.

We have then Air (+) and Earth (-). For there to exist separation, then, these two elements are required: this original essence becomes matter (Earth); however, this is not enough, as all is still connected, which leads us to the appearance of space (Air). Back at the ranch of the Bible, we have in Genesis: "6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. [...]8 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so." [replace 'waters' with 'unity' here to get the picture]. But if all we have are space and matter, we come back to a natural stability. This requires the injection of two more factors.

It's not hard to imagine, then, Fire bringing a little energy to this system. The introduction of a chaotic element will certainly bring dynamism into the equation - chao ex ordo (the chaos out of the order). Fire itself, though, is clearly not enough - while most people see the value of a little chaos, no one wants to live in eternal chaos. We have to add the dichotomic element then, representing ordo ex chao (or chao ad ordo): Water.

Since we started out with space and matter, we will end up with the elements that bring some objective dynamism to the whole picture: energy and time. When Aristotle, then, said that everything is made up of the four elements, he was right: is there anything other than space, time, matter and energy? (The priest or psychologist will be quick to point out the anima - the soul, or consciousness - but we will see that this Fifth Element is simply another octave of Fire.)

If time is the fourth dimension of space, then it probably makes sense to consider energy as being simply the fourth dimension of matter. However, going down that direction seems like a bit too much navel-gazing. Let us come back to the beginning once more then. First, we have Earth and Air. It makes no sense, though, to be eternally separate, as it would defeat the entire purpose of separation in the first place. So there comes an element that will try to bring this separation back into Unity: Fire. The second law of thermodynamics makes this pretty clear: all matter will be reduced, eventually, back to pure energy. This leads to the introduction of the last element, which comes to balance Fire: Water, that is, time. Time is what allows all experiences to be actually experienced, rather than be immediately brought down to Unity. It is quite necessary, actually: we need to be able to see the order that lies in the fiery chaos to be able to truly become One again.

"Okay, that's all well and good, but if all the stuff that exists comes from Unity, it is still, after all, Unity, no?" Indeed, and that's where the Wild Card comes in: consciousness/Love. For Unity to become non-Unity, it must sacrifice its will. The will of the Unity can only be found in that initial moment, shaping everything that comes after, but what is done with this is not up to it anymore. And here come the point where the theologian will switch off: the Unity - God - does not, in fact, have free will in this manifest world. It was sacrificed for multiple free wills. That does not mean to say that the Unity knows not all - it knows all the potentials, for it created those potentials, but it does not know exactly how it will play out.

This is why the concept of prayer is so misunderstood. Many people, when praying, expect God to intercede on their behalf - but how can something with no will make a decision? They fail to realise that they themselves are the manifestation of free will! And this is where the idea of God being within us begins to make sense: God is not an old man in the sky (nor a devil under the earth, I might add) - you are simply a fractal of the Unity. Have you ever thought about why it's called the YOUniverse?

The famous comparison between a neural network and a model of the universe...hint, hint

Let's go back to physics a little bit. Heisenberg's principle states that something can be either a particle or a wave. A wave is a series of potentials within a certain fixed parameter. A particle is simply a given position in this wave of potentials. But what, then, determines whether it will be a wave or a particle? If we recall the idea of wavefunction collapse, the answer is easy: observation, that is, consciousness. The Universe without consciousness would simply be an infinite series of potentials - which is Unity.

Consciousness itself, though, is a unity (lower-case 'u'), which gives it a flavour of Fire. After all, although all the atoms in your body are different after 7 years, you still remain quintessentially 'you'. We see here the importance of the pyramid structure: the base gives us the four elements, while the capstone gives us an objective viewpoint from which to navigate those four elements. The pyramids in Egypt, for one, used to have a golden capstone, and it doesn't take much research to find the connection between gold and consciousness** (i.e. the sign of Leo).

A digital rendering of the Giza pyramid in ancient times
The four elements can also be found (well, everywhere, but...) in the four functions of the mind as exposed by Jung:
- intuition (fire): the desire to bring things back to Oneness, innate knowledge, desire, energy, chaos (absolute chaos can be seen as a unity), consciousness;
- sensation (earth): the material world, physical limitations, registering phenomena;
- thinking (air): rationality, putting things apart (i.e.: putting 'space' between things), abstract processes;
- feeling (water): seeing unity in the chaos, connecting the different times, value, unconsciousness;

Fire and Earth are the irrational, extraverted functions of the mind: fire wants to go back to Unity (a Unity which cannot be rationalised), while Earth depends on input from outside. That leaves Air and Water as the rational, intraverted functions: after all, thinking and feeling exist inside ourselves. A good example to make this more clear is the difference between Freud and Jung: while both were psychologists (that is, both started from Water, seeking to find coherence in the chaos of the psyche), Freud favoured his earthy aspect (seeking to establish a 'psychological science') while Jung favoured his fiery aspect (while not seeking to establish a 'psychological religion', it can be argued that he did just that). This bridges us from the inside world of the mind to the outside world of human thought.

The most telling dichotomy in this world is probably that between 'science' and 'religion'. One can see no shortage of disputes between both, which is actually quite funny, given that they are the irrational functions (i.e. they depend on 'outside' sources, as it were) of the mind - it is quite easy to see how scientists' attitude can be 'religious', and how theologians' attitudes can be a bit too 'scientific'. This problem is easily enough solved with the auxiliary functions of philosophy (which will give a sense of ethics to either) and psychology (which will allow them to distinguish between 'good' and 'evil', two terms that are quite problematic, but a bit unavoidable). We have the schema then:

Now, I understand that this can be highly confusing, and that there is a number of potential objections to my line of thinking. However, the idea here is not to convince the reader with mathematical proof, but simply to leave some bread crumbs that lead down to the rabbit hole. In the next installment of the series, we'll take a look at how this dynamic affects the planets and signs in astrology, and further on I will propose a new system of exaltation that fits this new perspective.

Meanwhile, I certainly do not claim to have final knowledge of anything (there is no such thing in the human world), and I invite any physicists, theologians, philosophers and psychologists to let me know if I have made any egregious mistakes (especially the physicists - though it will be hard to convince them to discuss the immaterial), and all others to tip in with their thoughts. Hopefully, this dissertation will light a fire (or plant a seed, if you prefer) in the reader's mind, and lead all of this back to Oneness. In the meantime, be sure to check out my discussion on the three qualities, which will allow us to break down each of elements into three, giving us the twelve signs of the zodiac.

Finally, none of this would have been possible without the contributions of Freud Astrology - I am eternally in debt. Be sure to check it out if any of this arouses your interest!

* It is interesting to note that Gaia and Ouranos had twelve children (six male, six female) - bringing us easily towards the zodiac.

** This is why the 'invaders' of Ancient Astronaut mythology are said to come here after gold: they are not looking to take our physical gold (which is plentiful in the Universe), but our consciousnesses and our ability to make choices - this will be explored in further detail in my analysis of Cowboys vs. Aliens.

Oct 2, 2012

Aquarius-to-Leo: the Beauty and the Inner Beast

The archetypal journey can be expressed in myriad ways, but I've come to find that the astrological mandala resonates to an incredible degree. Today we are going to take a look at the 11-to-5 portion of the journey (although it only goes up to 12, we have to see it as more of a three-dimensional spiral than a two-dimensional circle) as embodied in Disney's greatest movie*, Beauty and the Beast. It was the only animation ever to be nominated for a Best Movie Oscar before the switch to the current ten-nominee format. Unlike most adaptations, B&B managed to leave much more of a mark than its predecessor. Click here if you'd like to read a comparison between both versions, but I'll be focusing on the movie.

I already knew, of course, that it was a wonderful movie, but reading the article above led me to see how the story is about the journey from Aquarius to Leo, and it's incredible how the movie actually shows all the steps in the sequence, respectively Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini and Cancer. If you have never seen it, or if it's been a long time, I urge you to watch this movie, regardless of how much you care about archetypes and symbols.

In a nutshell, "the most beautiful love story ever told" is of course never a story about another, but about the love of self, which is the most important love there is (for are you not a fragment of the Creator yourself?). B&B describes the archetypal journey of the Aquarian girl, on her way to discover, accept and love the shadow side or herself, embodied by Leo. A journey of a thousand miles, however, begins with one step...

Step 1: Aquarius

The film begins with a shot of the woods around the castle, and, as I'll elaborate in a future post, they represent the full potentiality of the soul, the dark place where we must journey in order to become truly ourselves. This is indeed what will happen to Belle, and much of the action in the movie takes place in the forest.


There is actually a step 0 - Capricorn. Though the protagonist's journey starts off in Aquarius, the story itself begins with an old lady who arrives at the prince's castle and asks to stay overnight. It is sometimes easy to forget that Capricorn is a female/negative sign (it is, arguably, the most masculine of yin signs, just as Libra is the most feminine of yang signs), and if we go back to the archetypal female journey, it represents the Old Crone (or Hecate) side of Persephone, the wise and mature old woman. Capricorn is the first sign of the Fall from the Midheaven, and this explains Capricorn's morose and pessimistic (superficially) attitude. It also corresponds to the first sign of winter.

The old lady, in an allusion to her Tauran origins, offers the prince a rose in exchange for the overnight stay. The young, arrogant prince turns her away, and here Disney lays the ground for the superficial moral of the story, that about inner beauty as opposed to outer beauty. While this lesson is perfectly valid, it is not the one that is truly central to the story. It pays off to look at the images and leave the words aside for a moment.

Of course the cloak is green

Notice the crescent Moon and the Lightning, both underpinning the dark, feminine aspect of the story. Looking within is certainly a feminine faculty, and I don't think I need to elaborate on the Moon as a stand-in for the yin principle. I've discussed Lightning previously here and here, so check those posts out for a more extensive analysis. Suffice it to say that the unconscious is quite loose.

The old woman turns out to be a beautiful enchantress, and, in spite of the prince's pleas, decides to teach him a lesson, seeing that there is no love in his heart. She curses him, giving him a hideous (though really beautiful) appearance. The prince's servants are unfairly transformed as well, but this is perfectly acceptable because not only is this a Disney movie, but the servants are all, in the end, merely facets of the protagonist's personality (remember the point here is to see everything as a dream).

This screen cap resonates with the XVI-Tower trump of the Tarot, and I can't help but notice that 11+5=16. Notice the duality that is present here, and creepy woods show their face as well. Anyway, the Beast is terrified of his appearance, no doubt a reminder that modern culture encourages judgment based on physical appearance, not to mention a complete denial of the shadow aspects both of the world and of oneself. The Beast, the shadow, is then locked away in the protagonist's mind, and it here that the journey truly begins. The Beast's only connection to the outside world is a mirror, which underscores the fact that this is all the protagonist - just like in a dream.

It does well to remember that, just as Aquarius needs his shadowy Leo side, so does Leo need Aquarius - Aquarius being the sign of hope, signified by the 17th trump of the Tarot, the Star.

Step 1

The title appears, and the story truly begins. We are finally introduced to Aquarius, the eponymous Belle. She could not be more Aquarian: she spends most of her time immersed in books, and Aquarius loves stories and archetypes (as the very existence of this blog attests); her father (who is really just the old masculine side of hers, inherited from her culture and upbringing, which is no longer appropriate) is an inventor, another Aquarian trait; she is not particularly fond of anything romantic (no doubt considering it to be too much of a display of falsehood) and is quite single, despite her looks. This last one is an important point because we see here that Belle is denying her Leo shadow, which seeks the warmth of romance and the attention of the masses.

Here we have a hint as to events to come - the ogre is one of the more famous Beasts around. Everyone sees that Belle is weird:

"Dazed and distracted," "never part of any crowd," "'cause her head's up on some cloud," "no denying she's a funny girl." She bemoans her provincial life, taking for granted all the good things about it. However, at the library she discusses her love of "far-off places, daring swordfights, magic spells, a prince in disguise." This is particularly interesting. Belle does here what many modern geeks do (as eloquently put by Chris Knowles recently): notice how, in spite of the usual defense of rationality, logic, materialism, reductionism, and so on, geeks are immersed in all sorts of fantastic and magical works - Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, even Twilight. Geek culture is an embodiment of the Aquarius-denying-Leo dynamic. Fortunately, unlike many geeks, Belle accepts her Leo eventually.

Here the old librarian (the wise function of Belle's psyche) tells her that all those fantasies are actually hers already. The town then resumes singing about what an oddball Belle is (a familiar sound for Aquarians, though rarely in song): "that girl is so peculiar," "with a dreamy far-off look," "and her nose stuck in a book," "what a puzzle to the rest of us is Belle." There is also a moment when Belle instinctively protects herself from falling water, reflecting once more the Aquarian's mistrust of emotion.

One cannot suppress one's instincts, however. Belle sits by a fountain and sings about Prince Charming, while a sheep (her animal, unconscious side) bites a piece off a page - indicating the beginning of Belle's transformation. She tells the sheep she won't discover the Prince until chapter 3, which, together with the book, foreshadows the Gemini step of the journey.

Gaston then appears, and he is nothing but the negative aspects of Leo (the fact that he's a hunter reminds us of arrogant Heracles) - Belle wisely rejects his advances. His Sancho Panza is a tiny man called Lefou (the Fool), who provides some comedy relief.

Belle later goes home, and encourages her father to continue working on his invention, saying he'll become a world-famous inventor. Here we have an allusion to Aquarius's secret desire for fame and attention, a side he consistently projects on Leos. She then reinforces the idea that she feels like she doesn't belong to that world - and indeed she doesn't. Incidentally, their horse is called Phillippe, which means 'friend of horses' (philos hippos).

A bridge to a new chapter

Step 2: Pisces

Maurice, the father, heads to the invention fair, but gets lost on the way. Here we have our first hint of Pisces: whether it was daydreaming or confusing information, Neptune leads him astray. Tellingly, his horse refuses at first to head down the creepy path - his instinct (which will later inform Belle of her father's misfortune). However, in typical stubborn Aquarian fashion, into the creepy path they go.

Wolves appear at the scene, and they'll be especially significant later on. The horse backs up and wakes a nest of bats, that is to say, the protagonist has woken the shadow from its slumber (and remember the bat sleeps upside down). Abandoned by his horse, he begins to flee the wolves, and finds a castle gate, slamming it just as the wolves arrive. One of the wolves grabs his foot, which is, of course, the part of the body signified by Pisces (along with the immune system - food for thought).

It begins to rain (Pisces), and he stumbles into the castle and meets Cogsworth and Lumière. We then have the first appearance of the Beast - naturally, a shadow.

The servants then coddle the old man, reminding us of Pisces' opposite Virgo, which rules services and employees. The beast then shows his face (after appearing as a shadow again - just to be sure), finally. He is obviously vexed, and throws the old man in prison, yet another signifier of Pisces. Here the ego is dissolving after the confrontation with the shadow, the Beast inside.

The scene reverts to the village, where Gaston and Lefou are hiding (Pisces) staring at the water wheel (Pisces). Gaston has arranged a wedding without Belle's knowledge, and we have even more Pisces in the form of the band - Pisces rules music. Belle, obviously, rejects his advances. The horse returns and takes Belle to the castle, where she finds her father imprisoned, deep in the castle's dungeon.

She then takes Pisces to its conclusion: she sacrifices her own freedom for her father's. This is related to a common sign used to represent Jesus, our most famous martyr: a fish. This is right after the Beast reveals himself under the light of the Moon. This underscores the fact that the discovery of the shadow side is never easy: it involves sacrifice, retreat, almost insanity. The ego must be completely dissolved into the ocean before one can rise again in Aries, and this is the next step our heroine will take.

There is one more interesting thing to notice before our new beginning (in addition to the self-explanatory fact that Belle wears blue and the Beast wears red). The Beast, at the suggestion of Lumière (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), offers Belle a more comfortable room, asking her: "You wanna...You wanna stay in the tower?" Check here for an intro to the Tower archetype.

The Beast then leads Belle deeper into the castle, which is filled with gargoyles - remember the Blue Beard story. He attempts to talk to her (once again at the behest of the talking candelabra) and allows her to explore the whole castle except for the west wing. The West being the direction where the sun sets, it indicates one's destiny (it is no coincidence the conquest of the West provided the backdrop for the concept of Manifest Destiny is American lore), the path we must follow if we are to be born again.

There is a pause here from the action in the castle for a song about Gaston. It's worth noting that antlers are rather emphasised here, and there is even a Ram's head hung on the wall of the tavern...Also noteworthy is the verse that goes "Give 5 hurrahs, give 12 hip-hips," 5 of course being not only the number of Man, but also the number of Leo, and 12 being the steps in the zodiac. Gaston is an interesting mix of Leo and Aries, though he is mostly there as a cautionary example of negative Leo.

The song is all about how strong and intimidating Gaston is, and there is one moment that sees him knocking over a chessboard in frustration - a clear sign of how he is the Leo rejecting his Aquarian side, chess being a game of pure rationality. We can conclude then that Gaston, whose name means 'stranger' in old German, is a Leo that, rather than progress to Aquarius, regresses back to Aries.

Step 3: Aries

Back at the castle, Mrs. Potts comes to Belle to offer her tea, and tells her how brave she's been - remember that all 12 signs are naturally within us, so it is not a question of her acquiring bravery, or any other Leo trait, but merely discovering that bravery within her. Belle laments that she's lost her father: now she can truly grow up and find her true self, but it is important to mourn that which dies (I suspect that in an R-rated version the father might die at the village after no one helps him). Mrs. Potts reminds her that everything will be alright in the end, and she's right, and not just for the movie.

The Beast invites Belle to dinner, but she refuses. Here we have the beginning of a battle of wills (you're welcome to picture this as two rams bashing their skulls) - the Beast knows he needs Belle, but he doesn't know much beyond rage and anger. This was all highlighted by the Gaston song from just before, only the Beast will actually learn his lesson. It's not easy though.

The Beast tries to be polite (though he lacks the Aquarian detachment required to make it convincing), but Belle continues to refuse. When one confronts the shadow, the initial reaction is always to reaffirm the ego, and this is clearly on display here. The Beast, however, gives us an important reminder:

The shadow is where the will resides, and the Beast is quite right here. The shadow is what provides the food for the mind, the fuel necessary to progress, and indeed, unless Belle can reconnect to her shadow side, she will starve. The Beast then retreats to the west wing, to the darkness within. Once more the idea of hopelessness is mentioned, accentuating the distance between the Lion and Ganymede.

In order to reinforce this motif, the movie takes us into the kitchen. This reminds me of an active imagination I once did wherein I found myself in a kitchen, full of ovens and metallic pans, and was told by the chef about the main types of food (grains, meat, vegetables and fruit, and sweets) - showing me the alchemical furnace, or calcinary, inside each of us, where the food of the mind is prepared and heated. Calcination was also a theme in another active imagination I did, where I burned the contents of a toy chest. Belle then is getting ready for her alchemical transformation, and the action segues into perhaps the movie's most famous song, "Be our guest."

Match + lit candles + spotlight...oh, you get it
Needless to say, Aries is a fire sign, and this theme is quite prominent is this bit of the movie. What is highlighted here is the need for transformation and new beginnings. Mars is the rules of Aries, and he signifies destruction (where Venus would be creation) - and, in this context of alchemy, it is important to remember that creation first requires destruction (I've recently seen A Dangerous Method, and Keira Knightley's character stresses this fact, mentioning that for conception to be possible, the parents must first destroy their egos in the act of sex).

Lumière says: "Life is so unnerving for a servant who's not serving./He's not whole without a soul to wait upon." This serves as a reminder that every mind is divided into principal and auxiliary organs, just as every body is. There are psychic servants ready to do our bidding - all we must do is call on them. It is also important to remember that Virgo is also a part of the zodiacal mandala, and it is in fact the next step for Leo.

sunspot, I would say
We also have a bit of a preview of the next step of the journey, as Taurus is the sign that rules food - but more on that later. We have a lot of intermingling here of fire with water, which is what happens when Pisces crosses over into Aries. Tea is just such an example, and all the saucers and cups reinforce the feminine side of this all that is being transformed; after all, your kitchen is in your own house, and this transformation doesn't require external factors. Here are consecutive moments in the song:

When the song ends, Belle notes how it's her first night in an enchanted castle. Cogsworth wonders how she found out (which leads me to believe that this is definitely a reinforcement of the Arian moment, because it doesn't take a genius to figure out dancing china = magic), and she says: "I figured it out (Aquarius) for myself (Aries)." They take a tour of the castle, and here we have one of the most telling lines in the whole movie:

I don't think there is much that needs to be explained here, but a quick look at the Wiki article for 'Rococo' gives us this curious line: "Unlike the more politically focused Baroque, the Rococo had more playful and often witty artistic themes." That is to say, Aquarius to Leo! Belle then asks what lies up the stairs, but since it is the west wing, where she is forbidden to go, Lumière and Cogsworth try to stall her. They offer to show her tapestries or the garden (Taurus) or the library (Gemini - more to come later), but she is intent on unconvering what is hidden. It is good to know Belle is not devoid of her feminine curiosity.

The shattered mirror is a recurrent theme in movies, as seen in Black Swan, a movie with many parallels to this one (the key difference is that Natalie Portman can't realise her integration, and rejects her shadow). Here it's symbolic of Belle losing her old identity - it's truly her armor that is being shattered. This mirror lies in a room where everything is tattered, torn or broken. Here Belle is going deep into her unconscious, that part of her psyche which has been abandoned all her life.

She discovers an old painting (obviously the young prince before his transformation), which is mostly torn. Here she begins to put her real self together, but, alas, she is interrupted by the glow of the flower that stands for the Beast's time before his transformation is final. The Beast finally appears (first as a shadow, of course), and yells at Belle for ignoring his warning. The shadow will always react strongly when light is shined upon it, so it is definitely not an easy process.

Belle is so frightened that she decides to run away from the castle altogether (fortunately, the Beast meant it when she was to be his forever). Here is where we encounter the wolves again, and this time they are quite significant. The first time the wolves appeared, Maurice could not confront them and this led to his demise in the end. Belle, however, is not alone.

12 wolves, actually
There is one significant moment before the Beast appears when Belle, riding her horse, runs across an iced lake, which begins to break off. When you remember that ice is ruled by Aquarius (bonus points: there is a reference to Black Swan in that post, which I hadn't remembered until now), the message is repeated: Belle's old self is going away, to be replaced by a dual, yet more complete self. Her Aquarian ego is being destroyed. This is also reflected in the bit where one of the wolves tries to grab her foot, echoing Maurice's encounters with the wolves, though here Belle escapes - she is not stuck in time like her father is.

Belle manages to get in touch with her wild self (check out Clarissa Estés's Women Who Run with the Wolves). This is an indication that she is finally beginning to integrate her shadow, which now does not have to take a destructive, external form, but a controlled, inner form. This is a battle that leaves scars, as the Beast feels after rescuing Belle.

I'll leave the reader to figure out how she lifted him onto the horse...
They return to the castle to take care of the Beast. Belle applies a hot, wet cloth (resonating Pisces-Aries again) to his scar, which sets off an argument, which happens here to be the final push through Aries. Needless to say, disputes, spats and altercations are all in Mars's realm. The wound begins to heal, however, and the trauma of re/birth is mostly over.

Steps 4 and 5: Taurus and Gemini

There is another interruption to show what Gaston is up to. This time, he is conversing with the head of the local asylum, bribing him to commit Maurice to the nuthouse. This is simply Gaston going further into his regression, crossing over to Pisces, ruler of asylums, hospitals and mental institutions. This is all for nothing, however, since Maurice has left to look for Belle.

Returning to the protagonist/s, we find Belle enjoying the garden and Cogsworth giving advice to the Beast on how to show her his feelings. Flowers and chocolates are, of course, Venusian as it gets, hence the introduction to Taurus. Taurus, in being linked to Demeter, also rules gardens. The movement through these two sectors, 2 and 3, is rather quick. Lumière suggests the Beast show her something special:

Check out the double spiral staircase - seems rather contrived, no?
The Beast offers the library for Belle to use as she wishes. Bringing us to back to the beginning, when the librarian told Belle the book was hers, we hear the Beast say: "Then it's yours." Once again, we see books, stories, as already belonging to her - they are all already in her unconscious, all the archetypes, she just needs to shed some light on them. Appropriately, the Beast opened the huge curtains in the library. This is the beginning of the Gemini experience (i.e. learning to read and write, to communicate, to use your hands...)

During lunch (Taurus), the Beast starts off by eating how I imagine his is used to, merely with his mouth. A few ugly stares having him trying out the spoon, but he is not extremely successful. He is, in effect, learning to use his hands, the part of the body related to Gemini, along with the lungs. They compromise (the first of many) by abdicating the spoon but using the hands and being calm, echoing here the Air sign that hadn't been mentioned - Libra. There is in effect some Libra here - gracefulness, politeness, tact, those are all Libran traits. However, the focus is still on Gemini.

Belle will later teach the Beast to read and write, after reading many stories to him out loud. One story that is focused on is Romeo and Juliet, though I find this a bit strange, given that the play is about the dangers of youthful passion (they effectively killed themselves for no reason). An attempt to give the moment some depth, I guess, though I'd say it backfired.

At the garden, Belle teaches the Beast to feed little birds using his hands - once more we find the interplay of 2-Taurus and 3-Gemini. They break out into a song about how they're starting to fall in love with each other, how their affection is growing, and so on. This further highlights the current step in the journey, for in Taurus and in Gemini is where duality is first conceived and accepted.

Notice the role reversal?
In psychoanalytical terms, Taurus is when the young infant begins to differentiate between himself and his mother, as before s/he thought that everything was One - I. It sees that its will is dissociated from the will of the mother - for instance, the mother will not breastfeed the baby every single time s/he cries, so the baby understands that his needs cannot be met all the time. Further on, the young one begins to differentiate between good breast and bad breast, in that it discovers that both breasts are not equal, and begins to understand the same concept from two points of view. This is why the II sign is attributed to Gemini and not Taurus - Taurus knows there are two, but cannot leave the one. Here Belle and the Beast begin to conceive of other-selves and to see that there is more beyond the surface. Soon they will discover that there is more than good or bad breast.

The pair begin to play in the garden, throwing snowballs at each other. This further highlighting the Gemini atmosphere, for it corresponds roughly to the toddler stage of the child and the adolescent stage of Man, both associated with a lot of horse/play.

The servants join together to give the castle a nice refurbishing and to create a romantic mood, but Lumière tells him to 'let nature take its course.' Indeed, their interference is not necessary, but it is quite revealing: they are cleaning up all that had been left to rot, locked away in oubliette. Light is being shed upon the unconscious, the receptacle of all potentialities. Belle is on her way to integration, stepping every closer to her contact with Leo.

"We'll be human again, only human again," sing the furniture and the brooms and so on. The auxiliary Virgo function is celebrating their imminent return to humanity - inanimate objects turning into wo/men, the Self becoming real, that is, integrated. This scene is also interesting for the presence of spirals, such as the brooms dancing and the mud track left by the dog/footrest.

"On that glorious morn/When we're finally reborn," and so it goes. This moment culminates in the famous ballroom scene, bringing Venus out in all her splendor (Belle's yellow dress reminding us of Gemini). The Beast is shown being given a bath in preparation for the big night, foreshadowing the advent of Cancer after the completion of the 2nd/3rd step. During dinner, the Beast properly uses a spoon, and then they go dancing - indicating thus the end of the sign/s.

Step 6: Cancer

We have then our big moment - the dance. Here the transition from one sign to the other is echoed by the colours that dominate the scene: blue and yellow/golden (which happen to be the favourite colours of the Masons too). Yellow is the colour that represents Air, and blue Water - that is to say, Gemini and Cancer. How then does the story continue into Cancer?

The story of the Ant and the Grasshopper is a famous 'incarnation,' let's say, of the Cancer-Capricorn dynamic. However, usually only the Capricorn side is lauded, when what is ideal is actually a dynamic balance - that is to say, while the moral of the story is that the Grasshopper is irresponsible, we must also recognise that the Grasshopper's music brought some joy and life into the working days of the Ant, and that without it the Ant would certainly survive, but would probably have a pretty lousy time. Music and dancing are (partly) siginified by Cancer, which exists to bring joy and relaxation to balance out our need to achieve material success.

Here we begin to align with the beginning of the story, which I've shown as highlighting Capricorn. This is the moment when the Beauty and the Beast consolidate their love for each other and embrace (not that way) for the first time. Another element which reinforces the thematic is that the song is sung by Mrs. Potts, which is the Big Mama figure among the servants. This is all, however, the lighter side of Cancer - it does well to remember that it is also the Dark Night of the Soul.

If we consider the astrological mandala, the sign of Cancer lies at the bottom of the circle. This would be the equivalent of midnight, when the Sun is at the lowest point, from the perspective of a being on the Earth. It is usually a time when we are immersed in the unconscious. The midnight Sun beckons us to look inside, to look at our past, our foundation, what has made us who we are (as opposed to the midday Sun, which encourages us to look to the future, to secure our material success, and so on). It is important then that the magical moment is interrupted by Belle's concern for her father.

While we usually associate the sign of Cancer with motherhood, it does well to remember that, in one's birth chart, it is the 4th House cusp that actually represents the father (in an abstract form, the paternal function of one's upbringing). The Beast allows Belle to use his magic mirror (note that mirrors allow to see inside and behind, but to in front), which shows Maurice to be in grave danger. We see then that Belle must first make amends with her past, accept who she was and who she is now, before she can move on.

The Moon is the ruler of Cancer, and I've already discussed how it represents the infinite potential of the unconscious mind. It is the dreaming mind, where all that can happen does. We must remember that all 12 signs (and all 10 planets) are within us; all the archetypes are already there. It is simply a question of looking within to find that potential. In my R-rated version, where Maurice would die, this function could be fulfilled by some other form of seeing the past and letting it go. This is, incidentally, what the Beast does: he lets go of Belle, for deep down he knows that her Aquarius is within him as well - and this is exactly what will bring her back.

Here the Beast is showing Belle the importance of letting go, but she still clings too much to her Aquarian past. However, it is this final bit of suffering that will allow Belle to truly find the Leo with her. We must go all the way to the bottom of the zodiac before we can begin to rise again up to Capricorn.

Belle then takes one last trip into the deep jungle of the unconscious, searching for her (dying) father function. She finds him eventually, and takes him back home (Cancer) to take care of him (Cancer). However, Gaston's regress into Pisces leads the head of the asylum to take away Maurice - allowing Gaston to bribe Belle into marrying him. This is all terrible, of course, but it will allow Belle to dissolve in Pisces her own past, and thus to finally become who she really is.

The villagers are shown the Beast thanks to Belle's magic mirror, but this only allows Gaston, the negative Leo, to scare them into going after the Beast. Since the villagers are all undifferentiated at best, with Gaston being truly regressive, they are not ready to confront their shadows, and thus would rather kill it off. It's telling that they sing about how the Beast would come and eat their children or what have you, given that the Beast has never actually left his castle.

This screencap is doubly revealing: first, we have the villagers repeating "I am! I am!", this phrase being the operative phrase for Aries ("I have" for Taurus, and so on); secondly, there is the silhouette with the pitchfork, signifying both Cancer and the shadow. But now we have reached the end of Cancer, and Leo begins, of course, with a little child.

Step 7: Leo

As the villagers make their way into the woods, Belle and their father are seen trapped in their own basement (I'll leave any conclusions on this aspect to the reader). All hope seems lost, but there is one character the villagers didn't notice: Chip, the little teacup. Chip is Mrs. Potts's kid, and we could consider him to be Belle's familiar (or the Beast's, but it's all the same) - that is, he is Belle's instinctual side. He could also be seen as Belle's underdeveloped shadow self, which is a Leo - and it is this familiar who will free Belle and Maurice from the basement.

Back the castle, the villagers are storming, but the furniture decides to fight back. The Beast himself, however, is despondent, his Aquarian (i.e. hopeful) side trapped in the basement. The villagers are easily defeated, naturally, but Gaston manages to sneak into the deeper parts of the castle. He goes after the Beast with a bow and arrow, making the allusion to Sagittarius that was missing (if you believe Scorpio is also absent, rest assured that it's not - the whole film is Scorpionic, the sign being the anchor around which the whole journey from Aquarius to Leo is made - B&B is just another form for the Persephone story).

Gaston shoots and kicks the Beast, who is too hopeless to fight back. It is helpful, when considering the complementary/opposite signs, to think of one sign's vice as the absence of the other sign's virtues. The Beast, in this case, is not in touch with his Aquarian side, a virtue of which is profound hope. This leads him to believe that the war is over after one battle is lost. Gaston, showing his ignorance of archetypical progression, assumes the Beast is too kind - the real problem is that he's given up. Being too kind is what happened to Belle before she met the Beast: surely Gaston would have given up his pursuit if she had rebuked him with a certain degree of violence (that is to say, if she had got in touch with her inner Leo).

But when all seems lost for the Beast, Belle, having escaped after accessing her underdeveloped (or perhaps developing is better) creativity - one of the keywords for understanding/expressing Leo - arrives at the castle. The Beast catches a glimpse of his hopeful side, and finally begins to fight back. Needless to say, he will win the battle, the progressed Leo being much more resourceful and strong than the regressing one. During the battle, lightning strikes repeatedly - take a look back at Step 0 for a refresher on Lightning.

At a certain moment, the Beast hides among the gargoyles, and Gaston cannot find him (being a regresser, he obviously cannot find his true self). This is an example of what I was talking about when saying that the journey from Aquarius to Leo is anchored around Scorpio (in this case signified by the gargoyles, the shadows, the hiding). The Beast quickly overpowers Gaston, and holds him by the throat (interestingly, the word 'gargoyle' is etymologically related to the word 'throat') above a steep fall. However, the Beast remembers Aquarius once more, and gives in to his humane side, sparing Gaston.

This was obviously, a terrible move (we must balance Leo and Aquarius, not give in to either), and Gaston comes back to stab him in the back, in one of the more explicit scenes you'll see in a Disney movie (I'm not sure even that would fly in our increasingly bowdlerised society). If the Beast had properly hanged on to his Scorpio midpoint, which was clearly helpful earlier, he would have expected Gaston's trick, and avoided this rather unpleasant experience. This is a story that deserves a happy ending, though (unlike in The Black Swan, which will be scrutinised itself soon enough), and Gaston slips and falls to his doom.

The Beast then lies bleeding with Belle at his side, and they both go on about how happy they are to see each other. There is one last moment of disintegration (take the word a little more literally here) when the Beast becomes hopeless again (and Belle obviously remains very hopeful). The Beast appears to die, just before Belle finally realises she loves him/herself. In an interesting case of a metaphor being more truthful than the literal fact, it's always darkest before dawn. And dawn indeed comes - in the form of a rain of light and sparks.

The Beast is transformed back into the prince, and what's important here is how downright androgynous the prince is. This represents the fusion of Aquarius and Leo - Belle has finally found and accepted her inner Leo, and vice-versa for the Beast. That the prince is so girly only serves to highlight the Oneness that arises from the discovery of the shadow side of the self.

Ooh la la
They finally kiss, symbolising once more the union of opposites. Just to make sure, the fireworks that were raining down before the Beast's transformation are now flying upwards again, after a magic mist wraps Belle and the prince into One, at long last. There's not much point in dwelling in the ending, though, as the rest is just Disney assuring us that everybody lives happily ever after (though the fight between the newly-human Lumière and Cogsworth shows us that internal disputes will always be present, even if to a lesser degree).


I chose Beauty and the Beast for personal and synchronistic reasons, but especially because I thought it was a good example of a movie that really resonates with people - the story is quite common, the songs are nothing special...but something definitely works. And I believe it works exactly because it manages to be so simple and to tell a story that anyone can relate to.

The journey from Aquarius to Leo is certainly not an easy one, as I can personally attest, but then again neither is any journey. It takes both courage and hope to move forward towards integration, and this journey is filled with pain, with difficulty, with loss. It is, however, the only journey we ever really undertake. Hopefully, you will be encouraged to look for the stories that resonate with you personally, and to understand why it is this or that particular story that, let's say, rings a bell in your soul/mind.

Finally, I urge you to think about your own life story, and how the archetypal mandala manifests in your own life. It doesn't matter whether you personally use astrology or some other means, such as the Kabbalah, the Tarot, or even Jungian or Freudian psychology. After all, if you've read this far, some interest must be there. It is not impossible to use these for trying to guess what is to come, but archetypes are much better used for diagnosis rather than prognosis. It won't give you immediate solutions, but then, if it were easy, it would be no fun. In the immortal words of JFK:

"We go to the Moon, not because it is easy, but because it is hard."

* You could make an argument about The Lion King, but since it's essentially Hamlet, I'll go with Beauty and the Beast - yes, it's also adapted from an earlier work, but the movie version clearly resonates much more.