Lunar Mansions: A Small Excursion

Exploring Titus Burckhardt’s “Mystical Astrology According to Ibn ‘Arabi” continued:

I’ve never given the Lunar Mansions very much attention but it seems that they stand at the same level of significance as the the signs of the zodiac. Although Titus Burckhardt deals with them later in his book I would like to at least go into them a little in this posting.

The Moon passes through each Mansion in more or less one day. It covers a day of life experience. That is why it is not so difficult to see how such trivial things as cutting one’s hair have found their way in the “interpretation tables”. But these interpretations seem to lack a secure basis. It is as if something has been lost in translation. I think the connection with everyday affairs has a much deeper basis. And Ibn ‘Arabi’s writings do indeed give us access to a deeper level.

The Lunar Mansions are called manzil (manazil in the plural) in arabic. The word means at one level a station or waystation, a stop on the way. Ibn ‘Arabi however uses the word also to describe different stations of spiritual development. They are the stopping places in the soul’s pilgrimage to its Source. At each station God unveils one further Aspect of Himself. In the Futuhat al Mekkiya he speaks of a manzil as,

“The place on which God descends to you, or where you descend upon Him.”

But the manzil are also the daily stopping place of everyday life. Just as the Moon daily travels a further station between the stations of fullness and newness and back again, so to does each human being go through the daily stations of his life between birth and death. The Moon is an image of the pilgrimage of life. It is in our daily life that the themes which we bring with us at birth and which are shown in each individual horoscope are tackled. It is the choices we make in daily life, even when we fail, that development occurs. If we speak with Ibn ‘Arabi we face the veiled form of God Himself, only we don’t realize this. The Qur’an describes this quite succintly,

“And God’s is the east and the west: and wherever you turn there is God’s countenance.” (Sura 2, 115)

Or St. Paul,

“For now we see in a glass darkly, but then face to face.” (1 Cor. 13:12)

In a sense the mansions that are highlighted in the horoscope by planetary placement may very well give a clue to the unique lessons in life that the native faces. If we take into account that each mansion has a letter associated with it, then we could say, if we tried to form an imaginative picture, that the positions of the planets spell out one word in the book of Life and it is up to the native to find it and voice it, give it expression.

Each human being is like the Moon facing the Source of his or her Light. God.

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2 thoughts on “Lunar Mansions: A Small Excursion

  1. Love this and why has it taken one so long to learn that only an awakened sufi master could uneavel the mysteries of the stars and their role in tracing our way out of this celestial maze that the hindus call maya but never ever quite devise an escape strategy…..

    • Thank you for your comment.
      I suppose if one were to look closer at the Bhagavad Gita there might also be an answer – but maybe not so clearly in an astrological context?

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