As we said before, the mystery of the goddesses of Antiquity and of the Orient —each of which symbolizes a lunar phase or, to put it more astrologically, a Lunar House are still waiting for their Cham-polfion, (French archaeologist who deciphered Egyptian hieroglyph-ics-tr.) It is not yet at all clear to which phase the images of Semele or of Rhea belong, but every tradition can contribute to the reconstruction of Lunar Astrology.
In Hinduism, Vishnu represents the Sun; he is described in Pu ranic literature and in the Rig-Veda1 as being in constant movement, like a turning wheel; his ninety chargers each bearing four names evidently refers to the 360° of the Zodiac, divided into four quadru-plicities, and to the three hundred sixty days of the year divided into four seasons of ninety days each. Shiva, divine destroyer or rather transformer of the world, is primarily a lunar image. His sacred day is Monday; even today the members of the caste Lingayats refuse to work on that day.2 His role of perpetual transformer of the world seems perfectly analogous to that of the Moon which gives a different face each night from that of the day before and the day to follow.
As is well known, the cult of Shiva embraces a whole pantheon of different gods and goddesses; each of these individual aspects of divinity should refer to a specific lunar phase.
For example, the day of the new Moon is consecrated to the adoration of Parvati, the spouse of Shiva. This identifies her with our Hecate, goddess of somber rites, the shadowy Moon of the First and Twenty-eighth Lunar Houses, which we have already discussed at length.
Here we have an interesting comparison. In India Parvati is associated with the number twenty-one. On the day of the new Moon this goddess is offered twenty-one threads with a knot in each, and a fan with twenty-one braces. This fan is passed twenty-one times around the statue of the goddess.
Now the twenty-first card of our Tarot is the Fool; the image of spiritual unawareness or of the forces of darkness, the only arcanum of the Tarot (along with the Sixteenth) which is really appropriate to the phase of Hecate!
Parvati symbolizes the invisible Moon,— although she is considered an ideal wife, which at first glance would seem to contradict the comparison with Hecate. But the fidelity to the spouse can frequently be observed with the dark Moon (especially if Hecate is in Taurus or Cancer), and one need only read Kalidasa, the greatest Hindu poet, to find out all the difficulties Parvati had before her marriage to Shiva.
Clearly, it could be said that the feminine projections of the gods (emanations, polarities) are always of lunar substance, but the trinity Parvati-Sarasvati-Laksmi always dominates the other divinities, because this trinity is the feminine projection of the Tri-murti, the principal Hindu trinity, and from our point of view, Parvati, the projection of the lunar god, occupies a separate position.
Before leaving the subject of the new Moon, we might mention an interesting item: British authorities have noticed that burglaries, which are very common in India, cease almost completely on certain days —those of the new Moon! This is due to the general belief that the days of the new Moon are unlucky in all aspects, even for theft!
Among the Shivaites, the full Moon is consecrated to Kama, the Hindu Eros, and the festival of holi takes place then. Known in Assam as Fagwa, this feast is no longer observed in our time, except perhaps by meals which are usually much richer on that day; but it is valuable to astrologers, because it reveals the Hindu symbols of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Lunar Houses.
We must remember that when Parvati decided to win the love of Shiva, she was aided in this enterprise by Kama, Rati (Pleasure), his spouse, and Vasanta (Spring), his friend. Shiva turned Kama to ashes with one glance of his third eye. This myth is explained by the fact that each of these deities represents a distinct lunar phase: Kama, the full Moon must disappear to permit Uma the beautiful daughter of Himalaya, to become Parvati, wife of Shiva. In other words, the death of the full Moon is indispensible if the new Moon is to take place.
It is very possible that when the castes originated, at a time when Lunar Astrology was an active system, the castes themselves were associated with specific lunar phases. This explains many local cults with several interesting relics; for example, there is no other way to explain the fact that the Kotas of the artisan caste visit temples only at the time of the full Moon.
The customs and traditions of different localities in India can reveal the individual nature of different lunar days. The Eleventh and Twelfth days of the Moon, which correspond to the trine to the Sun, are considered important and favorable almost everywhere. For example, a woman among the Kurubas, the caste of weavers, separated from her husband for the period of confinement before delivery, would return to the home with her newborn child on the eleventh day after birth ; and her husband would choose a name on the twelfth.
The same tribe follows a custom of purification for ten days after each death; this period of purification ends on the eleventh day with a special ceremony performed by the oldest son of the deceased. On this day of conclusive purification, the Moon forms a trine with the place it occupied at the moment of death; and since the Moon rules the "etheric double" — which in the eyes of the occultists represents the reservoir of etheric forces- this trine must relate to the fragmenting of the "etheric double" or to its total dissociation from the physical body.
Lastly, among the same Kurubas, there is Dassahara, the feast of the tenth day, associated with the goddess of the hearth Kalu Devaru. So besides Parvati and Kama, Hindu tradition has preserved another definite personification of a fragment of the lunar orbit.
This period of ten days, which corresponds to the first trine of the Moon, is also found among the nomad caste of Bonthuks scattered over the regions of Gunfur and of Bellary. The eleventh day after a death occurs among this caste, a cloth is usually spread on the floor of the house of the deceased, and on it are placed leaves filled with food for the shade of the deceased; after this the direct tie with the dead person seems to disappear. This ceremony is comparable to the one mentioned above.
There is still much that could be said on the subject of remnants of the lunar system in the Hindu customs and superstitions, but it would take a whole volume to treat the subject fully. Outside of the realm of folklore, there are traces of the twenty-eight Mansions and the twenty-eight Lunar Houses even in the Mackenzie collection of manuscripts, which speak of the reign of twenty-eight Kings of the kingdom of Kongu, which vanished near the end of the second con-
tury of the Christian era; these kings are a type of astrological arrangement of historical events. They arc divided into two dynasties: solar (which represents the waxing Moon) and gemgu (symbolizing the waning Moon),3 This interpretation is supported by the fact that some chronicles attribute the origin of Kapous or Reddis* (who are still the most important caste of the ruling party of Madras) to the Yadava, the race of lunar beings.
All these details as well as many others recounting the traces of Lunar Astrology in Hinduism, are particularly valuable if we recall that the excavations of Mohenjo-Daro and of Harappa show that the cult of Shiva goes back as far as the civilization of the Indus, in other words, three thousand years B.C., even earlier than the dravidians.5
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