Graduating From Planet Earth
Passing Through the Sub-Lunar Realm

I was going to name this article 'Escaping From Planet Earth', but that makes Earth sound like a prison, which it does resemble in certain respects.

The Earth is a place for souls who need experience and training in the physical realm. It's a place for would-be creators to learn the ropes and participate in the process of divine co-Creation. But once committed, the Earth is a place we cannot leave until we have learned the lessons, developed the attributes, and overcome the challenges of living on the earth plane.

One of the most difficult challenges we face here on Earth is the cultivation of the quality of 'non-attachment'. It's natural for us to become attached to material objects, physical circumstances and places, and human personalities. These things come to represent physical and emotional security in our lives. This is as natural as an infant's attachment to its mother (who is the eidolon of security in its young life). But for a child to grow and evolve it must eventually detach itself physically and emotionally (to a certain extent) from its mother. And so it is for human-beings in relation to our Mother Earth.

When I say 'detach emotionally' I do not mean we need to become 'hard-hearted'. Rather, I'm describing a process of transcending the 'lower' emotions and cultivating and expressing the 'higher' emotions. This however, is not an easy task.

As you know, the Moon orbits the Earth. This, like all physical appearances, is merely symbolic of a deeper meaning and reality. The Moon (in our astrological scheme) is the symbol par excellence of 'physical attachment'. For example, the Moon's attachment to the Earth is symbolic of the etheric body's attachment to the physical body. The etheric body enmeshes us within the dense physical world. It anchors the human personality (i.e. the human psyche) into the physical body thereby forcing us to remain consciously focused within this dense level of manifestation.

The Moon

But the Moon's symbolic meaning doesn't end there. The imprisonment of the Moon within the gravitational field of the Earth also represents our own physical-emotional security-based containment on this planet—i.e. our attachment to earthly living. This is the Moon's basic meaning in Astrology.

What is not so widely known however, (although the Ancients knew of it), is that the orbit of the Moon symbolizes a 'ring-pass-not' (i.e. a metaphysical barrier) that prevents us from being able to leave the Earth's energy system (or planetary 'aura'). In other words, the Moon is like a gatekeeper who admits the entrance of souls to planet Earth and who guards the gate so that none may leave until they have developed the attribute of physical 'non-attachment'.

When we die and leave our physical body we enter into (what is called) the 'sub-lunar' realm. Symbolically speaking, this realm fills the space between the Earth and the orbit of the Moon. It's a realm that combines elemental earth (from planet Earth) and elemental water (from the Moon) and therefore was known (in ancient times) to resemble a quagmire—i.e. a region of 'mud'.

"Macrobius tells us about the opinion of some philosophers who think that the moon is the demarcation of life and death and that souls falling from there towards earth are incarnated, while those rising from the moon to the heavens are returning to their former celestial life." From: Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices. Pg. 26. Brill, 2012.

Astrologically, the Moon rules the zodiacal sign Cancer, and (in a similar vein) the Ancients thought that the human soul enters the wheel of the Earth's Tropical zodiac through Cancer and leaves it via Capricorn.

"There was quite a bit of speculation in ancient literature about the exact location of the star gates that the soul journeys through when it incarnates (or descends) and when it exits (or ascends). The neo-Pythagorean philosophers Numenius and Cronius identified the ascension gate as Capricorn, while the gate to descend was through Cancer. These were the winter and summer tropics, the "gates of the sun" or the "mouths" or portals for the ascent and descent of the soul." Ibid. Pg. 25.

The same idea is expressed in the teachings of Alice Bailey.

This symbolism of the soul incarnating through Cancer is basically the same as the notion of the soul descending from the Moon to the Earth. Both images emphasize the principle of physical/emotional attachment as exemplified by Cancer and its ruler, the Moon. In fact, the sub-lunar realm can be imagined as being an expression (or extension) of the sign Cancer. Interestingly, the soul is said to exit the Earth's zodiac through Capricorn—the sign that is opposite Cancer in the zodiacal circle—the sign that embodies most strongly the principle of 'non-attachment'.

The planet Saturn rules Capricorn, and like the Moon, Saturn's orbit defines a 'ring pass-not'—one that prevents us from leaving our solar system until we have developed and integrated (in consciousness) the attributes of independence and emotional detachment (among others). Thus, the Moon and Saturn work together to help free Humanity from our dependence on the 'Earth' (and the Form principle in general).

So, on death we are thought to pass into the sub-lunar realm wherein our general future is determined according to how well we have developed the attribute of physical 'non-attachment'. If we have adequately cultivated this attribute then we're able to pass by the Moon (i.e. the 'gate-keeper' of the sub-lunar realm) and leave the energetic sphere of the Earth/Moon system. If we are found wanting then we're compelled to descend and reincarnate upon the Earth.

The crucifixion of Christ upon the fourfold cross of the elements is a symbol for Humanity's containment within the Earth sphere (i.e. our attachment to physical forms). The four-fold cross also hints at the significance of the fourth sign of the zodiac—Cancer.

To reiterate: It's our physical/emotional attachment to the substance (in its many forms) of planet Earth that prevents us from passing beyond the sub-lunar realm and that compels us to reincarnate back upon the Earth.

Some of the personal attachments that hold us prisoner within the Earth sphere are as follows:

Perhaps the hardest of these to overcome is our attachment to family and other strong emotionally-based relationships. Have you ever wondered why the 'Masters of the Wisdom' choose to remain single, and detached from their biological family? It's so that when they leave their physical bodies they are able to pass more easily through and beyond the sub-lunar realm.

Luke 8:20-21 - And it was told Him (Christ) by some, who said, "Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see You." But He answered and said to them, "My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it."

The Masters consciously choose to reincarnate from the higher realms onto the Earth plane in order to assist in some way with the evolution of Humanity. But they need to be able to get back to their place of origin after completing their mission on Earth. Therefore, they choose to remain physically and emotionally detached from the mundane world. By so doing, they are assured of easy passage through the sub-lunar realm and are therefore able to return to the higher spiritual planes.

An individual who follows the 'normal' life-path of a human-being generally maintains (throughout their life) a powerful emotional bond with their parents and with their marriage-partner and children. But the emotional relationships established in these circumstances make it extremely difficult to move beyond the sub-lunar realm. Do you think that (after passing over into the sub-lunar realm) you'll be strong enough to say goodbye to your children and to your parents in order to proceed through the lunar gate into the higher realms of existence? Most people are not able to say 'goodbye' and therefore are impelled to reincarnate upon the Earth in order to again be physically close to their loved ones. (Note the emphasis on the physical manifestation of loved ones. But we are all eternally linked at the soul level.) This emotional struggle is a natural part of the human evolutionary process on Earth.

After we enter the sub-lunar realm it's not only the 'positive' types of emotional relationships that impel us to reincarnate back on Earth. Our 'negative' emotional attachments also draw us back to this planet. If you have an 'arch-enemy' or somebody who you feel has committed a terrible wrong against you, and if you harbor vengeful thoughts/feelings against them, then you may be impelled by your feelings to return to Earth in order to deliver 'payback'. In the sub-lunar realm these kinds of options are presented to us to test the level of our emotional attachments. And we are indeed given opportunities to reincarnate in order to reconnect with those individuals to settle our grievances, or settle the score. This sub-lunar process contributes to the cycle of violence and hate on our planet by returning angry hate-filled individuals to Earth until they are able to resolve their powerful negative emotions.

For example, the people who die angrily fighting in wars, who rage hatefully and violently against their regional neighbors, and those who die committing acts of terrorism against their sworn enemy, are very likely going to reincarnate back on our planet filled with anger and a subconscious need for revenge. That's why we can never stamp out hate and violence by killing the perpetrators. They will continually return to Earth and express their anger in a new form until we help them (and they help themselves) to resolve their issues peacefully. Until that time, we will find that societies around the globe will be increasingly plagued by generations of angry youths who (returning from the sub-lunar realm) are searching for an outlet for the subconscious anger they carry as a result of the violent experiences they had in their former lives. It is truly a vicious circle.

Another (less troubling) reason why we may choose to return to Earth from the sub-lunar realm is worldly ambition. If you have a goal that you're very passionate about, but that was denied you in your former life then a new opportunity to achieve that goal might be presented to you in the sub-lunar realm. You will be given the option to return and try again, and if you are strongly emotionally invested in achieving that goal then you might choose to reincarnate.

We must purge ourselves of all our attachments to material forms (i.e. overcome the 'gravitational pull' of the Earth) before we can finally graduate from the Earth plane and leave this world.

A special instance when passage through the sub-lunar realm is made easier is during an eclipse period. (An 'eclipse period' is reckoned as the two to four week period between solar and lunar eclipses. Eclipses occur in groups of two or three.) During this brief time a temporary path is opened for souls to transit from Earth to the higher spiritual realms. But this opening is not available to everyone. The souls who utilize an eclipse for passage through the sub-lunar realm have been engaged in a specialized mission during their incarnation on Earth and are therefore permitted (by divine authority) to exit via that special pathway. On death those souls are greeted by inner-plane guides who are assigned to escort them through the eclipse passage. Anybody else who happens to pass over during an eclipse period does not have the benefit of such guidance and therefore must go through the usual sub-lunar procedure. The Masters don't need to use an eclipse period to traverse the sub-lunar realm because they have detached themselves emotionally from the material world. Therefore they are able to pass through the sub-lunar realm at any time of their choosing.

It is necessary for us all (during the course of human evolution on Earth) to free ourselves from our emotional attachment to the Form principle. And at the same time we are required to cultivate the higher emotion of 'love without physical attachment'. It is only through this process of transformation that we are able to leave the Earth sphere and travel onward to our next port of call.

Patrick Mulcahy
[25th May, 2013 - Day of a lunar eclipse at 4° Sagittarius.]