Zodiac Order of Nidanas



The science of astrology had its beginning with the most learned nations of antiquity. The first astrologers were priests and philosophers, who found no conflict between the principles of astrology and the sacred philosophical systems which, ancient historians agree, were first revealed to humanity by the gods. Thus astrology not only conforms with those universal laws which were the foundations of ancient wisdom, but is also perfectly compatible with ancient standards of morality and ethics.

[…] Brahman sages in rock-hewn temples, Chaldean magi on their lofty ziggurats, and Egyptian priests in their stone observatories did not devote thousands of years to the perfection of astrology merely out of curiosity concerning their mundane affairs. To all these wise men, the mysteries of the heavens were a revelation of divine principles and divine will. The handwriting of stars on the wall of heaven was to them in the very language of the gods.

The nations most given to astrological research also accepted the doctrine of the rebirth of human souls. Since these two important teachings, astrology and reincarnations, developed side by side, and the believers in the one teaching were also the exponents of the other, it is evident that no point of conflict exists between the belief in rebirth and the science of the stars.

Among Oriental nations, the science of astrology and the doctrine of rebirth are still included together in the philosophy of life. Old Hindu textbooks on astrology, attributed to the saints and Rishis, contain hints and allusions to the method of determining past and future states of existence from a natal horoscope. Among the lamas of Tibet, secret formulas, carefully guarded from the profane, are still used by astrologer-priests to determine the parts of the previous existence from the position of the stars at the beginning of this life.

The problems which these Tibetan priests seek to solve are comprehended under three headings:

1. The place of the spiritual entity among the Nidanas, or the sequence of consequences, which cause the physical incarnation of the soul. (Order the sign of the Zodiac).

2. The level or plane of consciousness in which the entity functioned prior to its present life, which contributes the moral force to the present existence. (Planetary sphere – Loka – Region).

3. Such details and circumstances of the previous existence as may account for the karma, or processes of retribution, which are at work in the present existence. (See indicating planet in Birth Chart).

In addition to these, a horoscope may be erected for the moment of death by which the future state of the soul or entity is estimated. (Flight to Loka – Planet sphere – Region)

Altogether, this part of astrology is concerned with that larger theater of action of which the present life is but a fragment. To all philosophic peoples, man’s present state is the result of previous life and action.

The principle behind the Bhava Chakra (Wheel of Houses – Cycle of Transmigratory Existence) recorded on the ceiling of the Lamaist monastery at Sik-kim is entirely astrological. The outer circle of the figure is divided into 12 parts which are termed the nidanas, or the causes, that move the soul to rebirth. These nidanas are the 12 zodiacal signs, each one of which contains within it an impulse to action, or as the ancients termed it, a cause of contact.

– The first nidana, under Aries, is called the unconscious will. It is represented by a blind man, and signifies the soul passing from death to rebirth.

– The second nidana, under Taurus, is called conformation, and is represented by a potter and his pots signifying the soul shaping the materials of the mental and physical natures.

– The third nidana, under Gemini, called the conscious will, is typified by the restlessness of the monkey. It signifies the rise of conscious experience in the soul.

– The fourth nidana, under Cancer, called self-consciousness, is represented by a ship containing man, woman, and animals and signifies the rise of the quality of individuality.

– The fifth nidana, under Leo, is represented by an empty house, and signifies the development of the sensory perceptions.

– The sixth nidana, under Virgo, is a figure representing marriage, and signifies the focusing of the sense perceptions upon exterior objects.

– The seventh nidana, under Libra, is represented by a figure with an arrow in its eye, and signifies the illusions of pain and pleasure and their reaction upon the soul.

– The eight nidana, under Scorpio, is called desire, and is involved in the experiences of gratification.

– The ninth nidana, under Sagittarius, is termed indulgence, and is represented by a man collecting fruit into a basket. It signifies attachment to worldly possessions.

– The tenth nidana, under Capricorn, represents maturity, and signifies the fullness of material existence brought to its highest philosophical level.

– The eleventh nidana, under Aquarius, is compensation represented by the birth of a son. This signifies the paying off of all debts to nature and final detachment therefrom.

– The twelfth nidana, under Pisces, shows the dead body being carried to the grave. It signifies decay of all points of contact by which the life is held to the material state.

After the twelfth, the first begins again, and so on through all the cycles of existence. The nidanas represent the dominating consciousness or the place of the spiritual self in the great cycle of progress. While our little life has its birth, growth, maturity and decay, so many hundreds of these lives form together a greater cycle involving a vast process of life moving through its several stages.

By the position of the sun, the nidana is determined; and by the Ascendant, the subdivision of the nidana is ascertained. Thus, a person born with the sun in Pisces is born to the experience of detachment, for he is bringing a cycle of experience to an end. A person born with the sun in Scorpio is born under the eighth nidana, and the sole purpose of his existence is to experience the consequences of greed, personality, and possession.

The Ascendant of the horoscope represents a minor cycle of experience with a great one. It qualifies and specializes the general significance. For example, the fifth nidana, or Leo, is an externalizing of the sensory power and generally manifests as ambition. If the Ascendant is in the third nidana, of Gemini, representing the effort to establish individual sufficiency, it qualifies the major factor and denotes that the ambitions will be of an intellectual or mental nature. By calculations based upon this arrangement, the primary purpose of the soul’s incarnation is established. In application, it is generally found that this purpose more or less dominates the individual in whose horoscope it is indicated.

Part 2


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4 thoughts on “Zodiac Order of Nidanas

  1. ~meredith June 25, 2015 at 3:17 pm Reply

    fascinating. interesting, the subtle ties with the Mayan calendar.

  2. thesevenminds June 25, 2015 at 7:12 pm Reply

    It leaves much room for further analysis. 😉

  3. Ed February 20, 2017 at 5:52 pm Reply

    You should know the development of Russian theosophists about this problem

  4. Ed February 20, 2017 at 5:54 pm Reply

    See Kalacakra of Theosophy

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