Different Interpretations of Solar and Lunar Paths

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Gangleri
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Different Interpretations of Solar and Lunar Paths

Post by Gangleri »

In the Hindu tradition the solar and lunar paths have been described as deva-yana and pitri-yana, which are the "gates of the gods" and the "gates of men". In the solar path a being aims towards a goal which releases one from the cosmos and the cycle of incarnations, while in the lunar path a being traverses the cycle of incarnations and returns to the world. Similarly, in the Norse tradition the one's who live and die heroically are seen to be going to Valhöll, while the bulk of humanity and the common men are seen to be descending into Hel, from whence a new cycle of incarnation commences after a rest and a purification process. These two are also the "solstitial gates" we briefly discussed in the Finnish section in the commentaries of the writings of Cato.

In some of the writings of Nefastos the traditional lunar path - as described for example in the Bhagavadgita - is interpreted as an equivalent of the downward path since from it "the being returns to the world", while traditionally it is seen simply as the gateway of common humanity, while the solar path is that of the high initiates who do not return because they have exited the cosmos entirely.

What other interpretations could there be to the solar and lunar paths?
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Grohan
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Re: Different Interpretations of Solar and Lunar Paths

Post by Grohan »

In Tree of Life there are three triads (+ Malkuth) which are probably indicated when you mentioned those gates: Lunar Triad, Solar Triad and Stellar Triad. R.J. Stewart notes in his book The Miracle Tree: "When you work with a Tree of Life, think always of Three Triads, within one another, flowing from one to the other, never separate, never linear". Some kind of dynamic non-dual perspective seems to be fruitful approach to these things. Tree of Death in contrast to Tree of Life may also be relevant here.

Steiner has noted the difference between Northern and Southern mysteries. Originally these mysteries were united but they became separated (although they have crossed their paths during the spiritual history of mankind and in future they will become united once again). Northern mysteries manifested for example in Apollonian, Odinistic and Zarathustrian mysteries and in their final initiation there happened an encounter with Cosmic Christ. They were macrocosmic mysteries which led initiate out of his soul in ecstatic manner. Southern mysteries manifested for example in Egyptian and Dionysian mysteries and in these mysteries there happened encounter with Luciferic gods in the depths of the soul of the initiate in mystic manner (microcosmos). Maybe we could designate Northern mysteries as Solar Path and Southern mysteries as Lunar Path?
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Re: Different Interpretations of Solar and Lunar Paths

Post by Kavi »

I guess one could.
It sounds also similar at least in association to Nietzsche's aesthetic theory? (Apollon - Dionysius)

By the way, Why Steiner calls them "Northern and Southern?"
I guess it doesn't have much to do with geography?
Is it like southern is more relating to underworld?
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Grohan
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Re: Different Interpretations of Solar and Lunar Paths

Post by Grohan »

Yes, Nietzsche's aesthetic theory may contain hints towards these things. Who knows, maybe Nietzsche was initiate in Dionysian mysteries in his previous life and he was unconsciously tuning into his reincarnational memory for inspiration towards his ideas? It's also interesting that Nietzsche had Zarathustra (an initiate from "Northern mysteries") as a character in his magnum opus while Nietzsche himself personally identified with Dionysus ("Southern mysteries").

As you noted the possible archetypal correspondence of south with the underworld so maybe we could then associate north with the overworld and also consider other cardinal directions. Sun rises from the east, culminates in the north, sets in the west and "sleeps" in the south (now we have moon instead of sun and then starts a new cycle). Maybe west and east could form a horizontal cycle while north and south could form a vertical axis (a world tree) which would represent those already mentioned "gates" (exits from and entrances to cyclical existence).

Do these possible archetypal correspondences have a relation on historical-geographical plane? I think one of the reasons why Steiner called these mysteries as he did, was because Northern mysteries originated from Hyberborea while the Southern mysteries emerged from Lemuria. The other reason is that initiation centers were probably located in the corresponding geographical directions even though the outer mystery practices (rites, temples etc.) were geographically "scattered". In Greek mythology Apollo traveled once a year to Hyberborea which may indicate this possibility. If you were a Greek in ancient times and wanted to be initiated in Apollonian mysteries, you may have needed to travel to North, maybe to the northern Black Sea area to get an initiation. Other Northern initiation centers were probably located in Germany (Externsteine), Ireland and Karelia (Solovetsky). (As a sidenote, it's interesting that Plato traveled to Egypt while Aristotle was born in Macedonia.)
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Nefastos
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Re: Different Interpretations of Solar and Lunar Paths

Post by Nefastos »

Gangleri wrote: Sun Jul 11, 2021 2:16 pmIn some of the writings of Nefastos the traditional lunar path - as described for example in the Bhagavadgita - is interpreted as an equivalent of the downward path since from it "the being returns to the world", while traditionally it is seen simply as the gateway of common humanity, while the solar path is that of the high initiates who do not return because they have exited the cosmos entirely.

My primary interpretation for the Lunar path would not be the downward path of evil, but the horizontal (sideways) path of egotism. It is true that those on the downward path also return, but that return is in so distant a future that it is practically into a different world. The actual downward path is also quite rare occasion, even though some small part of many of us will be drawn to such a diabolical vortex. But part is not a path, just like feeling a fleeting moment of compassion does not put one on the path of ascension.

In our easy, modern New Age vocabulary much is talked about the "white light" and the "black flame," where the latter usually means that one has spiritual feelings but in a non-orthodox way. This idea of growing either in light (for everyone to see) or in shade (in spiritual systems that are not widely recognized, but still uplifting) is better than the usual bright light vs. pitch black. The latter pair of opposites becomes cumbersome & paradoxical very quickly. But the former, speaking of two kinds of channels for the light, offer a valid metaphor. It is a bit curious why the Left Hand Path is not actually named after the stars, but the Moon. For even though the Moon is the largest luminous object in the night sky, are not the stars even more important, both in making of a spiritual experience, and in the astronomical & deep astrological sense? And from this star symbol as something that brings about the nightside and dayside symbolism (since most of the stars are actually suns) we instantly come to the Star of Azazel symbolism of joining the hands.

I think that speaking of the Solar and Lunar paths in their ancient meanings would also require quite a lot of understanding of older astrological systems.
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Gangleri
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Re: Different Interpretations of Solar and Lunar Paths

Post by Gangleri »

Grohan wrote: Tue Jul 13, 2021 4:01 pmNorthern mysteries manifested for example in Apollonian, Odinistic and Zarathustrian mysteries and in their final initiation there happened an encounter with Cosmic Christ. They were macrocosmic mysteries which led initiate out of his soul in ecstatic manner.
All I can ssay to this from my own experience with the runic cycle, that Odin led me to the Cosmic Christ, which can be seen in Northern Mysteries as Christ-Balder who always resurrects after a long night. The mystery can be called the synthesis of Christo-Paganic Mysteris, where one is lead out of the world and back. I dare not say anymore, for the mystery is horrible to bear.
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