Today we are going to continue our exploration of the Tao Te Ching for students of astrology. We will read through verses 21 and 22 and reflect on them in light of our daily practice of astrology.
Hey everyone, this is Acyuta-bhava from Nightlight Astrology. And today, we are going to continue our exploration of the Tao Te Ching for students of astrology. So today, we're going to be looking at verses 21 and 22 of the Tao Te Ching, and we will read through those verses and then reflect on them in light of our daily practice of astrology. This is an ancient wisdom text that has a lot to offer us and pairs very nicely with daily astrological reflection and study. So you don't have to have watched the entire series up to this point to get something good out of this. I recommend going back and listening to it because I think it's a good series of thoughts to take away. But you know, this can be standalone, you can start here, and you can hop around and episodes as well. Each verse is like a treasure trove of wisdom.
So for this series, I am using the Tarcher Cornerstone edition of the Tao Te Ching, which is translated by Jonathan star. I use the Tarcher edition for my exploration of the Hermetica some years ago, as well; Tarcher published my first book. So I found out about these little, almost like pocket-sized spiritual texts that they series that they did, and I've always really liked it and found that they're very accessible for newcomers to a text as well, whether it's the Hermetica, or in this case, the Tao Te Ching, so you know, you can pick it up, you can pick it up the book on Amazon very easily, I believe. Alright, let's go ahead and put verses 21 and 22 up on the screen so that you can see it. And actually, let me put this into full-screen mode here.
So verse 21 reads like this.
Perfect action, true virtue, supreme power. This is how Tao is revealed through those who follow it completely. Though formless and intangible, it gives rise to form; though vague and elusive, it gives rise to shapes, though dark and obscure; it is the spirit, the essence, the life-breath of all things. But is it real, you ask? I say its evidence is all of creation. From the first moment to the present, the name has been sounding. It is the gate through which the universe enters the witness by which the universe sees; how have I come to know all this? That very name has told me that name which is sounding right here, right now.
Going to verse 22, Surrender brings perfection; the crooked becomes straight, the empty becomes full, the worn becomes new, have little and gained much, have much and be confused. So the sage embraces the one and becomes a model for the world. Without showing Himself, He shines forth. Without promoting himself, he is distinguished. Without claiming reward, he gains endless merit without seeking glory; his glory endures. The sage knows how to follow, so he comes to command. He does not compete, so no one under heaven can compete with him. The ancient saying surrender brings perfection is not just empty words. Truly, Surrender brings perfection. And perfection brings the whole universe.
We're going to read through verse 21 again. Now, after the verse, I'll offer some reflections on this verse in light of our study of astrology.
Perfect action, true virtue, supreme power. This is how Tao is revealed through those who follow it completely. Though formless and intangible, it gives rise to form the vague and elusive it gives rise to shapes though dark and obscure. It is the spirit, the essence, the life-breath of all things. But is it real, you ask? I say its evidence is all of creation. From the first moment to the present, the name has been sounding; it is the gate through which the universe enters, the witness by which the universe sees; how have I come to know all of this? That very name has told me that name which is sounding right here, right now.
If I had to compare the path of astrology to the path that this particular verse describes the path that's described throughout the Tao Te Ching, I would say that astrology is always revealing to me every day by virtue of things that happen that I can't foresee. Like Venus squaring Saturn over this past weekend resulted in, we have a lawn service that someone; we have a very small lawn. But we have someone who comes by and cuts it once every week, I guess. And we just had some newly planted elderberry trees or bushes, I guess. And they mowed right over them. So it's very Venus in Taurus square Saturn, this destruction of something beautiful. And I couldn't have told you; I couldn't have guessed that that would have happened. I can see something like musical notes along the measures of a musical piece written in the sky. But I'm always surprised by the exact way in which the notes sound out and the planets somehow appear in my life.
Over the years of watching such things happen, sometimes I'm perfectly prepared; I can see it coming. And it's amazing to see how accurately it plays out. In other moments, I am completely surprised by how it plays out. And yet, the one thing that remains constant is the feeling that there is something like a musical composition flowing forth, a river that has an intelligence behind it in the way that everything unfolds and the way that everything happens. And in studying astrology, what I've noticed over the years is that I've come to trust the flow and the unfolding of events. That doesn't mean that they're not difficult for me and that times are confounding or elusive. Doesn't mean I always understand them or that there is some hidden meaning within every event that I'm always decoding. Sometimes it's just the simple recognition that there is this amazing intelligence. It's giving rise to form. Though vague and elusive it gives, it gives rise to shapes, the shapes of my experiences, my thoughts, my feelings, and my relationships. Though it is often dark and obscure to me, I trust that it is the spiritual essence behind all things that are flowing along. So I believe that the daily practice and study of astrology is very much like the way the path, the invisible intelligence that the Tao Te Ching describes. And I would say even if I had never read the Tao Te Ching, and if I were reading it for the first time, I would be struck by how similar the description of this verse is to what I feel and notice about the unfolding of life from the astrological perspective. It feels like a great dance, a great river that has all different kinds of currents. And it's often elusive, but you can see that there's an orchestration behind everything.
Verse 22 says,
Surrender brings perfection; the crooked becomes straight, the empty becomes full, the worn becomes new; have little and gain much, have much and be confused. So the sage embraces the one and becomes a model for the world. Without showing Himself, He shines forth, without promoting himself; He is distinguished without claiming the reward, he gains endless merit without seeking glory, His glory endures. The sage knows how to follow, so he comes to command; he does not compete, so no one under heaven can compete with him. The ancient saying surrender brings perfection is not just empty words; truly, surrender brings perfection. And perfection brings the whole universe.
If I had to describe simply what astrology is, when it becomes a spiritual practice, I would describe it as a moving meditation. And you've probably heard me use that phrase; if you've watched my channel, you've certainly heard me use it before. But that's because any wisdom that I've gotten from doing astrology has come as a result of trusting that there is this intelligent, mighty river of unfolding events and energies that the planets somehow depict or represent, at least in part. And that if I surrender to that unfolding, if I am appreciative of that unfolding, if I reflect upon it, if I stay curious, if I have a sense of humor about it, if I allow myself to be challenged, if I learn from it, if I take joy in it, then wisdom somehow comes into my life discernment and intelligence, like a light within that helps me know what to do and when to do it and how much or how little to do something.
And so when this verse says Surrender brings perfection, and it goes on to talk about how a sage becomes a sage, a spiritual leader, I see that as something that, you know, is accessible for all of us. It's not just for special, enlightened, you know, select elite gurus or something. It's not just for someone who has some kind of, you know, Hindu devotional name, like, you know, oh, once you know, like, I remember, you know, thinking, Oh, it's gonna be so cool. When I get initiated, I'll have this devotional name. And you know, it really hasn't changed a lot. Do you know what I mean? Like, it's just so there's always been, throughout the history of world religions, there's always been a distinction between the form and the essence of the spiritual or religious tradition. And what I love about the Tao Te Ching is, it's really, it's, it's not a set of doctrines, it's not really about liturgy and ritual. And it's not so much about a hierarchy that you climb, you know, with respect to other people in terms of your religious or spiritual expertise, or qualification, or whatever. It just very simply says that if you learn how to surrender, and you start to pay attention to and live your life in some kind of alignment with this divine intelligence, you somehow start to glow with an inner light that puts you into positions where you can be wise or helpful or healing for other people. And without the need to be promoted, you're distinguished without the need to be rewarded for spiritual good work; you gain some kind of merit because other people appreciate your authenticity. You don't seek any kind of glory, and yet the things that you've said and done and helped out with or contributed to somehow go on.
I love this verse. The sage knows how to follow, So he comes to command. It's as though you know, until we, for example, with the planets, until we really learn to surrender to the unfolding of our lives, all the different seasons of our lives, every astrological transit that comes recognizing this is here for my growth for me to learn and evolve, and I'm going to do my best, and we learn how to follow the planets are always moving out ahead of us, as students of astrology, we always are looking at them in terms of some kind of dynamic application one planet is making to another, an ingress, a planet is about to make, a retrograde, we're always anticipating where things are going. Excuse me, and when we learn how to follow that unfolding of the planets, day by day, we learn how to come into alignment with us; with we learned how to come into alignment with it. There's a weird way in which we become naturally suited for certain kinds of tasks. You find your right place somehow. in things like competition and the need for merit and gain and respect, and all that kind of stuff; kind of falls off. It's like skin that's coming off from us or something. The ancient saying surrender brings perfection is not just empty words; truly, surrender brings perfection, and perfection brings the whole universe. I like that the word perfection is very similar to the astrological word perfection here; it does not, in my mind, mean, you know, like a case of perfectionism. Rather it means some kind of completeness. Perfection brings the whole universe. In astrology, we think of two planets perfecting an aspect. It means something is brought about in its fullness and rightness in its right time in its right place. Astrology is really about learning how to recognize that timing and alignment. And the more that you do so, the more that you surrender to it, the more naturally that you become wise, but wise without pretension, wise without a sense of your own.
You know, a sense of your own position without any kind of posturing in some ways; what is more, What's remarkable to me about really wise and inspiring people that I've met in my life through different spiritual traditions, including the astrological tradition, yoga tradition, sort of mystical, Christian shamanic traditions, is that like really wise people. What's really profound about them is that they're also very like they make you feel like just an everyday person; they don't make you feel like they're up here and you're down here. What's amazing to me about living a life, an astrological life is that every day, we get a sense of the divine timing of things; we start living with this almost like a sixth planetary sense. And it becomes easy to feel like you're a friend to everyone and everything because you see someone going through something, and you go, Well, I wonder what transit that is. And it immediately can help to humanize. You know, rather than coming up with a judgment, you come up with a reflection; you're in a meditative, contemplative mode, and having gone through such experiences yourself, you can usually you can find empathy or compassion more easily. So I'm always amazed at how, like, once you meet someone I don't know anywhere, and you find out that they also speak the language of astrology. It's like, ah, you know, it's so nice. And one of the things I've observed about; you feel at home; you feel like you're with someone who has a similar kind of appreciation for life and experience. And what's also interesting is that some of the people that I met earlier on in my life who were astrologers prior to knowing they were astrologers made me feel that same way. They made me feel like these are people who seem very wise and attentive and careful and thoughtful. And they're completely unpretentious. There's something about the language and study of astrology. That, to me, at its best, is very unpretentious. Because it's not, it's not connected to like a priesthood per se, at least not now. It's not connected to doctrines and liturgy. It's free of that, and yet it helps you to walk along in alignment with a divine intelligence that can be just as effective as any kind of spiritual practice that there is.
So you know, to me, astrologers who live life with this kind of appreciation, this eye for the divine intelligence behind all things, are sages; maybe they don't know so, and that's probably the best thing about them is that they don't know so. But anyway, those are just a few thoughts. I'm starting to ramble. So I'll stop. But I hope that you are enjoying this series and that it's giving you some useful insights. To me, as you guys know, if I am not pausing occasionally to reflect upon why we're doing astrology if I'm just constantly droning on about the newest transit, the newest horoscope, the next big action without helping us go back and go like why are we doing this? Then I'm missing something. I'm, and I'm failing in, an obligation or responsibility that I feel that astrologers have always had as not just prognosticators but, you know, ambassadors to a spiritual way of life. I think we have to try to remember that refresh ourselves on that. So I hope that you get a little spark of that somehow in this series. That is what I have for today. And tomorrow, we will be back for more. Bye, everyone.