Some fun (perhaps speculative) perspectives have been weaving themselves together for me involving the varied discrepancies observable across the spectrum of life as experienced by different individuals. It certainly seems that there are some areas where a person excels, and others on which they must work, and those areas are different across the board. Furthermore, it can seem as though some people seem to “get away” with things (bad diets, blunt speech, wreckless driving, etc.) in a particular arena, whereas others we may know seem to be held more accountable in those areas via experienced consequences. Expanded speculation into this arena has suggested that the matter can be approached for understanding by considering the metaphor of various people operating their life with a diverse “setup” to their “karmic credit accounts,” and that provides for one to have more or less of a “license” to “afford” particular experiences in comparison with another.
If we “package” life into various categories, we can differentiate separate arenas such as: health, money, communication skills, family life, children, gambling, work, partnerships, sex, worldy power, etc. When considering all of them together, it would be a fair assumption that everyone would rate themselves differently in each realm depending on their level of experienced success with that matter. In some places we may feel ourselves to be at the “top” while others perhaps closer to some “bottom.” Everyone’s configuration is uniquely their own, through whatever exchanges and experiences have brought them into the present moment. Their various “credit lines” (from each “account”) have been toggled to be where they are. But why?
Well, if the soul has experienced a “debt” (or lack) of some particular experience, it may “invest” its “established credit” into a position that will “afford” the personality more exploration into that area to create a more well-rounded Whole. In order to do that, there may be another area (that HAS been sufficiently built up) where the soul can “abstain” in some way for a period, so as to “transfer” the “allowance” of the lacking experience. (Any other “lines” of “credit” not necessarily used to generate the exchange would simply retain whatever “balance” had accrued in their “department” from which to continue working.) So what does this do?
In the effort to ultimately “clear” any “karmic debts,” the soul must work to “consolidate” (or “atone” and put together “at one”) all outstanding “balances,” which serve as a personal (personality-based) obstruction to complete and total liberated emancipation, viewed from the lens of its highest ideal. While this ultimate act of “atonement” is symphonically orchestrating, there may seem to be “gains” and “losses” as matters are juggled. As part of the largest over-arching example, sometimes the soul may “indulge” the personality along the joint path to fulfillment, as personality-desire experiences can all ultimately be used towards illumined realization in the long run, even if only by allowing the satiated “burning out” of the desire to be what serves as the method. As such, the personality may have more “leniency” at some times in some scenarios, while in other ways, and/or at other times, the individual may be held more accountable under the discipline of the soul.
We can also analogize the “dominance” of the personality with a pronouncement of the “vices” (letting flesh and form rule) and a “dominance” of the soul with a pronouncement of the “virtues” (letting the light of Spirit be sought). However, before anyone gets too hard on themselves, we’re ALL in a body, and so there’s typically at least one vice being “worked on” while we “clean up our act” ;)
Before I attempt to “tier” the “vicing” (and vice is such a good word, as they sure do seem to “grip” us in their “hold” while in form…) “transgressions,” it can generally be stated that they all boil down to some form of self-interest that runs EXCLUSIVE (and thereby separate) from the needs of the Whole, without regard beyond immediate self-gratification. (Instances where what’s good for oneself is good for All is another matter, as it reflects one’s individual will being in alignment with the larger collective Will.) Virtue is therefore all actions (with increasing subtlety) which demonstrate both harmlessness and love. Of course, it would be infinitely complex to try and sort out all the “business” of what we can perceive “transacting” in those around us; we may erroneously see some self-interest where a greater good is being served, or we may see some behavior as being selflessly originated if oblivious to its founding motivations. For such a reason, we are more or less instructed NOT to try and play “judge” where others are concerned, as well as being urged to leniency with ourselves even. (I suspect that complexity to be one reason Jesus discontinued the “eye for an eye” in the New Testament. In our ultimate ignorance, the “tit for tat” approach only binds the loop together more, while the universe’s own “accounting” system will impeccably work to restore the “balance” beyond any of our own attempted means.) However, while we are not truly suited to be judge and jury, we ARE encouraged to continually “take stock” of ourselves to perpetually better ourselves and our overall integrity, which is synonymously suggestive of Wholeness and At-one-ment, which, through its implicit definition, cannot ultimately be separate and exclusive from anything…Again, the chief “sin” (and way in which the “mark” is “missed”) is for one to encourage separation in any way that runs opposite to the Will’s objective of Oneness. However, even if theoretically understood, the ideal is high and lofty, and we’re all “climbing up” from “falling short” while in a body and doing that dance to “close the gap” as we bring the “Kingdom of Heaven” to Earth ;) As such, we often get lost in the maya/illusion of the personality world to the exclusion of soul components, and we don’t even recognize it. Sometimes we DO recognize, and we work on it, but the progress made differs for each person, scenario, etc. Again, everyone has different “karmic credit accounts” from which they operate their life to build towards the One aspiration, regardless of where anyone may APPEAR to be. Hence, no judgment.
All that laid out, here is a partial list of behaviors that seem to have an innately self-interest based personality-centered “error” to them (in consideration of the highest aspirational attainment), even if these “evils” of “vice” can be temporarily made to work for the greater good through acts of Grace. I will include them from seemingly most egregious to most subtle (although I am NOT trying to “catch them all”), and so those near the end may even seem totally unproblematic and ridiculous to list as “vices”…I do get that, and let it be clear that I am NOT saying I don’t have vices which I participate in, but I do still see them to be ULTIMATELY “undesirable” habits that may EVENTUALLY (by large leaps of spiritual growth and discipline) be eradicated. However, until such a time, they will continue to “flavor” the “palette” of experienced expression until it is no longer necessary for their out-pictured “lesson” to be “demonstrated.” Here it goes:
1. Murder/Rape/physical violence
6. Addictions (drugs and other escapes)
10. Killing to eat (meat and plants besides fruit/nuts and what’s “offered freely”)
11. Sex (except for procreation or “selfless facilitation”)
That should be a sufficient “umbrella” to provide an idea of the spectrum, and although the classical “7 deadly sins” may prove a more succinct (and in some instances, overlapping) classification, I wanted to be sure and include certain specifics in particular for at least partial discussion. What they ALL have in common is a separating focus on the small self (personality) that excludes itself from any larger whole or purpose. Creatively though, the universe can (and does) STILL manage to weave transgressions into an overall pattern of wholeness, where each “shortcoming” is but a thread on its way to becoming more perfectly complete. While some things from the list (higher up) may seem obviously harmful, others may not seem so. That’s one reason why the transgressions lower on the list seem to stay in acceptable “season” for longer; it takes more time indulging in those activities and ways before any harmful detriment to self can be ascertained. (Besides directly harming another, to harm self ultimately harms all as well, since the overall “pattern” of growth is “woven” together. Some harm may be acute and immediate, while other is chronic and far-reaching, but harm IS ultimately objective.)
Regardless of where one might feel themselves to be in respect to the vices presented, or whether they agree with a particular concept assigned as a vice, generally speaking, we all simply “grow up” and OUT of “our vices” as the soul develops and matures; we’re not all necessarily “awarely exposed” to all of them to their full encompassment, but we do each strive to “betterment” from wherever our understanding is concentrated. However, along the way, “detours” to such striving may be made (with or without our own direct acknowledgement) in order to receive a particular lesson, work out a particular issue, or to “burn out” some particular karma. The “allowances” to certain vices could thus be thought of it terms as the degree of “learning curve” permitted with some life aspects, while others may be held in tighter “check.” Thus, we have some people who can smoke cigarettes their whole lives and remain healthy, while others do a drug one time and die. We have some people who have sex for pleasure with multiple others and remain fine, while others have unprotected sex once and get a disease. Some people drive drunk all the time and never get a ticket, while others drive drunk once and are jailed. Everyone has a different “set” of “allowances” that “credits” them (karmically) with the ability to “afford” various experiences differently, according to what areas of growth and learning their soul is ultimately positioned to undertake. Bearing that in mind makes it ever more important NOT to get lost in ANY judgment about the affairs of others; we know not what they’re truly “up to” on a soul level. We are really best suited to focus on “know thyself” as a course of action, since we can really only stand in our power from a position of personal connection with Source…not speculating into others’ connections with Source. (And for the record, we’re ALL “plugged in” and connected, so it is always deleterious to presume that others are more or less so. We each simply demonstrate different configurations of connection while we “spiral around” in attempt to express more Wholeness.)
That presents a curious aspect of the “vice” phenomenon, and the encouragement not to judge how “right” or “wrong” others are ultimately are (although, yes, as a culture, we still have a duty to define and confine “wrongdoings” from causing harm when harm is obviously crossing boundaries from self to other). Still, the assortment of “vices” are really best considered as “maladies of the soul” in that the individual is indeed “suffering” in some sense of “confusion” and “insanity” (to varying degrees) while continuing to carry out the acts of vice. We could obviously say that those with tendencies towards murder, rape, and cruelty have some sort of mental illness, and even those who lie and steal could be seen as sociopaths. In short, those whose “sin” harms, or is at the expense of, others must first be contained from causing harm, and THEN rehabilitation is necessary for healing. Moving down, we also obviously feel pulled to offer “rehab” to those facing addiction, and even it has come to be classified as a “disease” in some circles. It is at the stage of “addict” where we can most clearly see where the shift in responsibility is culturally ascribed. To blame, or not to blame, the addict for their condition? Depending on what extent their actions are harming others, and the degree to which we see all transgressions as just “disturbances” to heal, the line begins to blur…Of course, who would ever BLAME someone for just sitting around watching TV all day, or having consensual sex with a buffet of people, or ambitiously climbing the corporate ladder, or securing a lot of money and keep it to themselves, or eating a chicken sandwich. None of those things incite blame with prescribed punishments as consequence; they are, more or less, culturally allowed…and sometimes even encouraged. Others, culturally viewed as being more taboo, are attempted to be controlled by externals laws and means, but for those transgressions that are not punished as harmful, the attempts to exert control over them OR to encourage them are both counter-productive in the big picture.
Encouraging vices, whether ignorantly and “innocently” or knowingly and manipulatively, should be self-explanatorily detrimental (provided one is in agreement that some such a thing IS a vice). Still, any “vice” that gets exalted, like the selfish lusts for power and position, will often “ensnare” focus until one is able to reach a satiation of it to determine its ultimate emptiness. However, even when the vice IS understood to ultimately be “bad” for you (such as self-harming addictions, prostitution, gambling), attempts to control and avert the behavior through external means is not sufficient; the change has to come from within. As such, when laws (or codes of conduct) are put in place to prohibit such vices, the repression of the energies often recoils with a resurgence to engage in those behaviors more so, while simply hiding one’s engagement. Illegalizing drugs increases their demand. Illegalizing gambling glamourizes it. Condemning non-procreative sex causes it to flourish. Any time that even wisdom is enFORCED, it incites some equal but opposite rebellion. Therefore, everyone must ultimately be allowed (and GUIDED but not coerced….) to come to their true conclusion on their own, in their own way, at their own time. Putting a “rush” or “charge” on it only retards the sought after achievement. That is why a compassionately sound system of rehabilitation is necessary, as even when we must step in to contain (and/or seemingly “punish”) those who transgress against others, the “wrongdoer” will only aspire towards not being “caught” until they internally realize the complete detriment of their actions. Similarly, an addict must WANT to be helped before any tactics for recovery will have an effect.
It is also interesting to observe how, as long as a “vice” is “en vogue,” the attempt to control and corral it is lacking. No one would try to make eating meat illegal or have a meat-eaters recovery program….except maybe an especially self-righteous vegan….yet we DO make some drugs illegal…but not alcohol...and we don’t set laws on how long someone can watch TV. Some addictions are approached with coercion to deter while others are approached with encouragement to entice. To contrast, the church sought to vehemently control people’s sex expression through condemnation at one time, and now it is practically sold throughout the secular culture. The point may be, despite whatever stage the “law of the land” may be at in approaching how the physical dimension of the collective governs, whether an ultimately objective “vice” is blockaded against or invited in, individuals MUST be allowed to reach their own conclusions as to such before the lesson can truly, and completely, be assimilated. Until such a time, typical personality choices will reflect a continual striving away from vice, at whatever level is being worked upon, while some “residue” may remain though being “shed.”
Flipping on an astrological viewpoint for a second, one can even think of their natal chart as a “karmic contract” (indicative of various “karmic credit accounts”) that the soul designs to allow the personality a basic “shape” to their experience, which will cover and cross areas necessary for continued growth, while also allowing certain desires and effects to be enacted. It’s designed so as to assure some modicum of development takes place, even if the personality “rules” most prominently. (In such a case, personal ambition and desire would dominate, allowing much to be “burned out,” while the soul would not make much substantial progress in the larger frame of things.) Additionally though, as the soul develops and consciously grows (via the personality), the chart also indicates “opportunities” which, with the soul in charge, transmutes the occasion for personality desire to be met into a higher expression that more actually addresses the core of that energy’s impetus. We’re all “reaching towards” greater soul contact and actualization, so the “range” of our ability to demonstrate such will reflect in how we decide to handle the energies we’re dealt—for ourselves only, or for the Whole. Usually it’s a combination, which (despite “seasons” to the contrary) ultimately grows towards service rendered to the Whole (of which self [and soul] is a holographic “part”).
This distinction and the “breaking point” between serving the personality and the soul can be understood through an esoteric consideration of the themes implicit around Libra and Scorpio in the zodiac. The “balancing act” of Libra can ideally be seen to symbolize a point of equilibrium generated where the desires of the personality and the desires of the soul are evenly matched and weighed out to perfection.
(Let’s go ahead and note that EVERY astrological sign’s archetypal energy is concerned with its own unique potential perfection. The activation of the will is perfected in Aries. The insight into forms of nature is perfected in Taurus. The merging of opposites is perfected in Gemini. The sensitive reception/outpouring of love is perfected in Cancer. The specialness of individualization is perfected in Leo. The optimally efficient integration of the personality is perfected in Virgo. The balance between the personality and the soul is perfected in Libra. The control of the will for the good of the soul is perfected in Scorpio. The aim of the soul for the good of the whole is perfected in Sagittarius. The attainment of the soul in obedience to the whole is perfected in Capricorn. The expansive contribution of the soul to the whole is perfected in Aquarius. The selflessness of the soul in overcoming attachment for the good of the whole is perfected in Pisces.)
Off that tangent and back on to the main vein, Libra’s “perfection” implies a harmony where the personality and soul “compromise” in such a way that neither one outweighs the other. However, beyond slight fluctuations that continue to refine such a point, an eventual stasis is to be anticipated, where neither “side” (the personality or soul) is able to effectively “make headway.” (This even suggests how Uranus, as Libra’s esoteric ruler, is especially useful for “blowing up” an existed equilibrium in pursuit of an elevated ideal to be innovatively pursued anew. Yet Saturn, as exalted in Libra and as its hierarchical ruler, suggests the overarching importance that an objectively equal “weighing of the scales” is overall.) Along the journey “around the wheel,” the “static tipping point” of Libra is often a place where one chooses to either reach ahead to confront the tests and trials of the soul in Scorpio, or return to a “round” of Virgo’s influence to further develop and perfect the instrument and vessel of one’s individual personality.
Provided one proceeds to next submerge themselves in the experiences of Scorpio, the “perfected goal” sought and “battled” for pertains to the proper use of the will (on two levels, exoterically and esoterically, via Mars) and the discernment between the two in even the most obscured occasions (owing to Mercury as the hierarchical ruler). Therefore, situations present themselves to an aspirant in Scorpio which requires them to make a choice between personal power and self-exclusivity or the mutual good of a larger whole. In this way, impurities are more deeply “boiled out,” as tendencies towards any vice “bar the door” to the individual for greater development and access to power in accord with how detrimental their vice would be if wielded in ways that could have an extended range of consequences on others. When manipulations and unethical resourcefulness are used in pursuit of maintaining one’s power/position at an expense to others (or ultimately even oneself), a “loss” recoils to “sting” and “burn” so that the error will be refrained from again. This process would be seen to slowly activate via Mars as the exoteric ruler. Once the personality has suffered enough to encourage a transformation, and the soul is “in the driver’s seat,” the power of the individual will becomes a powerful proponent of the soul (and Source), only “battling” when the cause is inclusively FOR the whole, and so only in merged fusion with soul and Source. This is Mars as the esoteric ruler of Scorpio. Lastly, as the will is brought into greater control by the soul, and the ability to wield power properly is demonstrated, greater and greater levels of discernment are applicable in order to properly choose the way of the soul, which must always recognize the fusion of the will with the Will, where “the two” meet as “One”. This is implied through Mercury as the hierarchical ruler for Scorpio.
Another way to consider the “Scorpio experience” of learning to control and properly use one’s will pertains to the different ways and effects such energy can be used in consideration of the whole “karmic credit account” metaphor, which would actually BE in the connotative domain of Scorpio. Depending on the configurations of one’s “karmic credit account,” and where one has leniency and doesn’t, one may or may not be able to indulge in more selfishly-based (and BASE) behaviors that are self-serving beyond any greater good. When that’s occurring, it can be thought of as though those “credit lines” are being “spent” though. One is essentially “drawing from” a place where they have “established” a robust line of “credit” in alignment with their embodied understanding—wisdom. However, it’s UNWISE to indulge past the limits of any understood boundaries of integrity, and so to do so would “deplete” the “allowed affordance” in that area unless replenished in some manner. Ideally, and when the soul is the dominant operator, the will is used in such a way that it is INvested INto working from a place of virtue (as opposed to vice) in collaboration with soul and the larger Will, and THOSE activities/behavior “build credit.” Some semblance of this dance, with a full spectrum of exchanges, could be seen to “play out” in all Life while the urge towards Wholeness is “taught.”
All these things in mind, a person may find (and even see reflected in their chart) that they thematically activate the energies of their “signature” more for the personality in some “seasons” and more for the “soul” in others. One is not any better or worse in the grand view of things. The two angles now being considered (more coherently as a personality orientation with a potential proclivity more towards “vice” vs. a soul orientation with a potential proclivity more towards “virtue”) can be thought of as sterilely as the “in breath” and “out breath” that moves through us constantly. More and more, the notion of waking and sleeping, and life and death, can be thought of in this way, just like waves that ebb and flow. As such, one can imagine the soul to be “asleep” or “in deep meditation” while we are “awake” and “alive” in form. When we are “dead” and no longer incarnate, the soul “wakes” into its full activity while all that remains of our form activity is the echoing forth of any vibrations we once set in motion.
Within all these “pulsations,” it has been suggested that some physical lifetimes (or “seasons”) may have more personality or soul orientation. That could be signified by the degree to which the personality is concerned with its OWN “mediation” through which to bring it into rapport with the higher soul aspect of itSelf while IN incarnation. However, an experience where that is so is not inherently better or worse that one where it is not. To the simple contrary, some lifetimes may just be seen to “ride the crest” of the wave, where achieving growth, activity, catalyzation, etc. occurs and the soul makes “breakthroughs” with its Work’s reach upon the physical form. Other lifetimes may be pulled forward in the “trough” of the wave, where the pull of the energies one is already involved in is strongest, and the focus is more on stabilizing and maintaining the growth achieved thus far. One is not to be thought of as more glorious than the other, as both “seasons” must have their “churn” towards holistic perfection’s becoming. This can also be reflected as times where fate or free will is more in effect, when vices or virtues are more prominent, or when the soul or personality is superiorly active. There is a toggling back and forth across all boards as the “karmic accounts” are cleared towards a Oneness that points towards Source and Will, and the swinging of the pendulum towards or away from the “goal” at any one time is not entirely indicative of the overall progress being made in totality.
Another interesting “binary” angle to consider throughout the toggling in order to keep one’s aim “well-rounded,” is the distinction between the esoteric path of the occultist/sage in comparison with that of the mystic/saint. A certain respective yang or yin can also be seen embodied in each, and both must have their time of individual focus, while both must also be matured to work together in symphony. The occultist/sage is one who seeks to KNOW God/Source and its true nature. In such, they may actively seek to merge the will with the Will of God/Source so as to act as a conducting custodian ensuring(“insuring”) the Work to be done, while also teaching and lighting the way into the Knowledge that is found. The mystic/saint is one who seeks to LOVE God/Source and its true nature. In such, they may passively merge into the Being of God/Source is such a way that openly allows the Work to be done, while also demonstrating and exuding the Love that is found. In short, the occultist seeks to know and demonstrate the enacted Will of God and the mystic seeks to enact and demonstrate the knowledge of God’s Will. It’s a subtle distinction. Another ironic perspective can be shown to highlight that the occultist, coming to KNOW God/Source, cannot help but love what is known, as God demonstrates love, and the mystic, coming to LOVE God/Source, cannot help but know what is loved, as God/Source is understood in its demonstration. Basically, the two differing approaches “meet in the middle.” The occultist/sage can be seen as a more “head approach” while the mystic/saint follows a more “heart approach,” but BOTH approaches must be perfected, and turns may be taken with each in due “season” until they are sufficiently and maturely together in harmony. (It’s also worth noting that a “season” with a mystic “flavor” or occultist “flavor” is not inherently linked to a more personality or soul focus in the life. All the “ins and outs” are not exclusively tied with any one or another; the variance is infinite.
Overall, as we all continue towards growth and development as both personality and soul, certain experiencees are simply “credited” along the process of becoming. Everything remains “balanced” throughout all “exchanges” and “transactions,” but the ultimate goal would be the freedom from “debt,” which can be viewed as karma itself from a higher level. To not be bound to the wheel of karma, with all its “cause sprung” effects, subjected to “necessary” fate instead of creatively employing free will is the direction in which the aim aspires. However, at whatever stage of the journey we find ourselves, we’ve just got to always remember, you “get” what you “paid” for, so enjoy (IN joy) the “ride”…;)