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6248Re: [neoplatonism] Welcome to new member

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  • david.gallagher70
    Mar 19, 2014
      Cancer and Capricorn are the zodiacal signs in which the respective summer and winter solstices occur; Cancer that where the northern hemisphere of the earth is astronomically closest to the sun; summer solstice.  Capricorn is opposite; where the northern hemisphere is most remote from the sun.  The signs merely indicate the constellations in which the sun is rising at the solstices.
      Rene Guenon, in an obscure article (reprinted in Fundamental Symbols: The Universal Language of Sacred Science (Gallimard, 1962, English translation Quinta Essentia, UK, 1995), asserts that, according to "the perennial philosophy", summer solstice symbolizes "the stairway of man", and winter "the stairway of the gods".  I'm not aware of any ancient corroborating sources.
      Perhaps relevant, although not alluded to by Guenon as I recall (I don't have the book at hand), the summer solstice sun-rise point on the eastern horizon is directly opposite the point on the western horizon where the sun sets on winter solstice; the latter symbolic of descent into the "cave" (Hades?).
      On this basis, I would interpret the idea of souls 'descending' in Cancer as descending into embodiment, or rebirth from the cave (as a gestational metaphor) into renewed terrestrial existence.  The reasoning in this instance seems counterintuitive, yet appropriate by analogy; taking our sun as the logos from which the souls descend. 
      Hopefully those more astrologically proficient will shed further light.

      In a message dated 3/19/2014 12:16:52 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, goya@... writes:

      I'd like to welcome aboard Nilufer Akcay, who is working on a thesis on
      Porphyry's Cave of the Nymphs.

      It so happens that our group at the CNRS is just finishing off a new
      translation with commentary of this work.

      I've found two aspects of it difficult. First, it's hard to tell when
      Porphyry's talking and when he's plagiarizing Numenius. Second, I find the
      astrology hard to understand, particularly the business about souls
      descending through Cancer and rising through Capricorn. I don't get in
      what sense Cancer is said to be constellation closest to the earth,
      although it's also the northernmost sign of the zodiac. The parallel
      testimonies of Proclus and Macrobius seem merely to confuse issues, as
      when Macrobius says the soul first shifts from Cancer to Leo.....

      Anybody have light to shed?

      Michael Chase
      CNRS UPR 76

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