The Second Harmonic

A reader’s question…

“When you speak about the two oppositions in the Mystic Rectangle besides the central Opposition on the back to back Yods in the Yin Gate, you use the word ‘subsidiary Issues.’  Are you using the word “Issue” in the sense of ‘problem,’ or in the sense of ‘way out’ or ‘solution’ to the central Opposition?

Let’s take our recent Full Moon Yin Gate as an example, since it’s still very much in effect.  The central Opposition is Uranus to Vesta-Ceres.  The “subsidiary” Oppositions are Venus-Saturn and Lilith-Chiron.  It’s a “derivative” of Lilith, but we can refer to it as Lilith because that’s the primary new Energy involved.

“Problem” is a relative term.  If I’m into eustress, a “problem” can be motivating, even exciting.  If I’m into stress, then I certainly don’t need more “problems,” I’ve got plenty already!  The word “issue” is a more neutral way of referring to what would appear to be a problem to someone in stress.  I don’t use the word “issue” to mean “way out” or “solution.”  But there’s more to it than that.

An Opposition presents a “problem” only to someone stuck in the mind.  An Opposition is a Duality.  If we’re in Either/Or mode and feel like we have to “pick up on one and leave the other behind” as John Sebastion so eloquently put it, then you bet, we have a problem.  And there are certainly some cases where we do have to make a Choice.  Suppose we felt that we had to Choose between Following our Joy (Uranus) and being True to our Creed (Vesta).  That’s a problem.

In Both/And mode we could PIAVA to modify our Creed to be more Sustainable (Ceres), which I think is the real proposition being offered to us here.  (We probably wouldn’t Choose to modify our Creed because most of our Beliefs have roots deeper than Choice.)  The Opposition will illustrate to us which portions of our historical Beliefs are obsolete relative to whom we’ve become.  That could be a problem if we’re locked into some Life situation where specific Beliefs are required, but other than that it should be liberating to rebalance our Beliefs with our joie de vivre.

This is a very fundamental “issue.”  Angeles Arrien (Tarot Handbook p.30) defines the Second Harmonic as…

“The universal principle of intuition, independence, self-trust, and self-resourcefulness.  This is the androgynous figure who archetypally represents balance. … Mythically, this archetype also represents the journey homeward or the return to oneself.”

In other words, the journey from the Duality of the mind to the Inclusiveness of the Heart.  Sounds a lot like Lilith, actually.  The Second Harmonic is represented by the High Priestess, and the High Priestess is the quintessential guardian of the specific Rituals and Doctrines of her Lineage – in her linear role – quite the opposite of “intuition, independence, self-trust, and self-resourcefulness.”  Yet like the Empress she has the power to express Compassion.  Another situation where we want to look at the Coin rather than the heads or the tails.  The Coin here is Both/Either.  Oppositions always invite us to look for the Coin.

As we’ve said many times, there are no contradictions in Nature; contradictions exist only in the mind of the observer.  Nature is Unitary and Multifarious; the observing mind is Dualistic.  The Opposition appears to involve contradistinction – between, say, being self-directed (Aries) or being other-directed (Libra).  The Aries-Libra Coin is Orientation.  Heads is self-direction, tails is other-directed.  What’s the Coin? is a very powerful question to Ask whenever we find ourselves stuck in Either/Or.  So on a more fundamental level the Yin Gate is asking us to examine our Orientation.  Do we habitually look for the Rules, or look for Joy?

So, what about the “subsidiary issues?”  They provide additional information about the central apparent dichotomy.  To rebalance Joy and Creed in our Lives we may need to also rebalance Beauty and Order (Venus-Saturn).  We may have been hedging our Values in order to maintain Discipline, or letting Pleasure distract us from keeping our Focus on The Most Important Thing.  What’s the Taurus-Scorpio Coin?  Stability would be a good approximation.  Balancing Work and Pleasure enhances Stability.

If we consider the other Opposition in the Mystic Rectangle to be Lilith and Chiron, what’s the Coin there?  What universal principle underlies both Despair/Miracle and Yindependence?  That Coin is Power – we either give away our Power (Despair or Subservience) or we keep it (Miracle or Suzerainty).  The Coin for Virgo-Pisces is Completion.  So we’re being called to Finish Business in the places where we’ve habitually given our Power away.

So “in a word,” the deeper indication is that we are Reorienting our Relationship to Power and Stability.  That certainly rings true for my Life lately; does it for yours?  If this was a natal chart and we were talking to a client, and they didn’t immediately resonate to that very concise formulation, we could bring in details about Creed, Joy, The Most Important Thing, Values, Self-Direction, and Perspective.

The Yin Gate is an Initiation into Mystery.  This one Asks us to sit with the Mystery of how Joie de Vivre and the Sacred fit together Sustainably in the World and in our Lives.  A Mystery is something we don’t have to figure out.  We don’t need to know the mechanism that makes it work.  We don’t need to know why it occurs, or how, or when.  Your Science may have a number of tidy definitions of how Plants make Food from Sunlight – it’s about the Chlorophyll or the Electrons or the Fertilizer, depending on who you talk to.  But it’s a Mystery.  By defining it we make it into a machine so we can pretend to be the only Conscious and Powerful Entities about.  By defining it we lose respect for its Magic.

I mean, truly, do you really Believe that by always Following Your Joy you can manifest Power and Stability?  For most of us it’s quite the opposite.  That’s the Mystery.  The problem in that first sentence is the word Believe.  Believing is Seeing; we Manifest what we Believe.  But we don’t change Beliefs by Choice.  How do we change them?  Another Mystery.  I wonder what Curiosity might do for us here?

One Response to “The Second Harmonic”

  1. Natacha Garnier de Molènes Says:

    In my experience, Curiosity is doing very much, in the sense that it has been leading me to explore the two sides of the coins, in relentless searches and frustrations, big stresses, but eventually powerful, rich and intense experiences. Maybe I can say that the Curiosity is the FUEL needed in order to face and experiment what each part of the coin represents. Tough work indeed, but very rewarding. About the sides of the coins, I would say one cannot avoid the very factual experiences related to each side. Because only by having visited them can we be met by the third one, the coin in itself. Curiosity here is GUIDING deeper and deeper in the circumambulating process that the oppositions are incessantly producing. From what I know, what is helpful in solving oppositions is COMMUNICATION. And this topic is an ever lasting apprenticeship! But definitely the key to the way out of the conflicts. Again and again, deepest Thanks for offering your insights.


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