Astrology and Sacred Sites: The Longmen Grottoes at Luoyang
Luoyang is also the site of one of the finest examples of ancient chiinese art: the Longmen Grottoes.
The Longmen Grottoes are about 100.000 buddhist statues in 1.400 caves on the banks of the Yi River south of Luoyang carved out of the rock between 493 AD and 1127 AD.
Astrogeographic position for Field Level 3 which describes the whole area of the Longmen Grottoes: one coordinate of the site is located right next to the cardinal divide between practical air sign Gemini the sign of signposts, signs, language, communication, learning and technology and emotional water sign Cancer the sign of river beds and indicator for the location of the site right next to the river.
Gemini as the sign of signposts
Neither Gemini nor Cancer are astrological or astrogeographical indicators for decoration and ornamentation as would be Libra and Sagittarius. This means that the sculpting project is not to be seen as for the purpose of decoration in the first place as in the case of the Buddhas of Bamyan. Gemini as the sign of learning and teaching could indicate that religious or political education or simply practical training of sculptors were major issues here. The role of Buddhism as a concept with a similar dogmatic impact as the later monotheist religions (Jewish, Christian and Islamic religions) had been made use of in a number of countries since the times of the reign of Ashoka over India between 262 and 223 BCE. Gemini as the sign of technology, communication, manipulation and propaganda could be a hint at the function of the sculpting projects as an element of indoctrination of the local population.
In regard to the excessive and continuous duplication of the idea of creating sculptures and the exploitation of the ressources (rock) it is also functional air sign Gemini`s role here which is to be examined as the astrological factor to be related with the inflationary tendencies of the sculpting projects.
Gemini may not be an indicator for Gautama Buddha himself. But in several ways I have observed it as a major indicator for Buddhism. As Buddhism does not relate to the concept of god like other religions it is potentially related to the assumption of superiority of a godless religion. And Buddhism is being instrumentalized widely for neglecting god. The reflexes that can arise from a supposed superiority of the intellect over mystification may be practically useful and good for many purposes. The mental belief in illumination can often involve the assumption of a technical solution for the problems of mankind. These concepts of the technologies of illumination are typical for many aspects of buddhism. And as Gemini is the sign of intelligence the word “Buddhi” which actually means “intelligence” directly relates to Gemini with the name of Buddhism. But of course it would be a big mistake to reduce Buddhism to it`s resonance with the realms of Gemini.
Cancer as the Sign of Modernity in Art
The role of Cancer in culture, art and religion is directly related to Cancer`s meaning as the sign of emotional identity and authenticity. Cancer does not depend on form and shape as other signs do. It more directly relates to the content and emotional impact of works of art and architecture. Therefore places in Cancer have the potential to reconnect the mental projections, associations and ideas on which works of art are based with the emotional plane by reflecting their impact on personal emotionality. Not only is Gautama Buddha assumed to have been born with a Cancer ascendant. The relation of Cancer with the Buddhist religion allows the reflection and resonance of the supposed enlightenment within the reality of the individual emotional body. Therefore Cancer surely is a plausible corrective for functional and mental illumination. For the role of Cancer in Buddhism compare also: Jokhang Temple in the Tibetan capital Lhasa.
The Poilitical and Religious aspects of Aquarius
The second coordinate of the grottoes is located in creative, innovative, spiritual air sign Aquarius the sign of the sky, self-finding, religious quests, the casteless (outcast) status of monks and the reconnection with the spiritual origin of life. As the Buddha was a monk and castelessness his status the astrogeographic position in Aquarius indicates an intense resonance with the aspect of the spiritual quest through castlessness as an original motif in the legends about Buddha`s life – though not really of later Buddhism.
The astrogeographic coordinate in Aquarius may be interpreted as an indication for the attempt of the local kings to replace older religions, fight back established priest castes and replace older dynasties related to older religions. For this role of Aquarius compare the astrogeographic position of the revolutionary new capital of Achenaten: Aquarius and Leo – The Capital of the Sun God Aton. Compare wikipedia article: “The earliest history of the creation of Longmen Grottoes is traced to the reign of Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei dynasty when he shifted his capital to Luoyang from Dàtóng.”
Wether or not and in how far Aquarius can be discussed here as a potential indicator for the aspects of creativity in the works of art is an extremely interesting and important question. First of all there are several aspects to creativity which when confused make a clearer understanding and definition of the subject impossible.
Aquarius as an air sign and through it`s role for the spiritual plane is the deliverer of inspiration (information) from Pisces the realm of the unconscious, timeless and the full potentials of the unlimited ressources for solutions. The water bearer transports the waters of inspiration from the spiritual plane (Pisces) to the giver of forms for eartly manifestations (Capricorn). Therefore it is Aquarius`s role in art to transport the inspiration from the plane of the abstract to the plane of specification. Therefore the position in Aquarius could be a valuable indication for the initial phase of the sculpting projects here.