The Gnostic Circle and The Magical Carousel by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet
A Review by Lori Tompkins
In 2000 I came across two books, The Gnostic Circle and The Magical Carousel. Upon reading them it felt as though I had stumbled into an occult university library that contained information I had always been searching for without knowing what it was I was searching for. The author, Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet wrote of universal truths that are both obvious and deeply obscured by modern academia and civilization. These books occurred to me as a portal into, or a bridge to a higher world, a higher seeing ... a higher level and order of being, a higher love.
Her work offers students, among other things, knowledge of the higher purposes of Astrology, showing how it can be used for developing a Consciousness of Unity. Her yoga carries a force that is capable of de-constructing false ways of being and thinking, and of birthing the capacity to see the truth that underlies and connects all the phases, faces, and oppositional forces that we traverse in our paths.
The Magical Carousel (1979) is written as a fairytale. It tells of two children, Val and Pom-pom, who journey through the twelve different signs of the zodiac. How the children enter and exit the different signs or lands, and what happens to them during their stay, is a perfect expression of the three evolutionary flows or gunas contained in the Zodiac and how they play out through each sign. The astrological divisions of signs into Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable represents the energy flows of Creation, Preservation, Dissolution and correspond to the Indian gunas Rajas, Sattva, and Tamas. In time, readers may begin to recognize that the course of their own lives are reflected in the children's adventures, and that the zodiac is the story of how everything moves and evolves in Time, whether that be in a small time frame of a few days or years, or a very large time frame of thousands or tens of thousands or millions of years.
Whereas The Magical Carousel conveys the essential qualities of the zodiac in its parts and in its entirety, The Gnostic Circle (1978) shows how the zodiac plays out in the course of evolution and reveals truths of the history of our civilization and what we seem to be heading towards. The Gnostic Circle is a circle in which both the zodiac and the enneagram are drawn - the 12 and the 9 division of the circle. Students of the Gnostic Circle are offered a glimpse of the higher laws at work in our lives, beyond our mental consciousness, that can be seen if one knows how to look. One can begin to see how all the various sciences, religions, governments, nations, philosophies, histories, and disciplines are moving towards a point of integration ... moving from the many opposing points of view on the surface of things, towards the core, eternal truth of our being.The author and her books convey beautiful harmonies at work in our lives. The insights and information in her books occur as revelation - old truths, are seen anew in the context of our present world. It is not light reading. It is reading that demands engagement. I read much of her work with a calculator and pad of paper at hand so as to work out various gaps in my understanding or just in effort to keep up or digest what she writes.
Reading her books is like reading any yoga book in that one might get some mental insights and inspiration from reading them, but the real growth comes from practice in time, from observation, cultivating awareness and a willingness to see differently, a willingness to work with the forms presented. In the case of Ms. Norelli-Bachelet's yoga, one must have a willingness to consider an intelligence beyond the human mental capacity, that orchestrates an orderly evolution, in cycles of time, and an interest in seeing this intelligence expressed in our world, in time, in our numerical and astrological system. Many people feel inadequate, unable or uninterested in expanding their minds in this direction. But it is worth trying. I have personally found no higher source of Yogic, Transformational, Astrological, Cosmological, Metaphysical, Vedic and Gnostic Knowledge in my 15 years of study and inquiry into these subjects.
In my experience teaching hatha yoga, many people say they can't do the yoga because they are not flexible, don't have the necessary strength or the ability to balance. They see these things about themselves as a barrier to a practice rather than as an invitation or call to begin a yoga practice.
All Yoga is a practice in time, in which our deepest soul desires unfold like seeds planted in the earth. As a result of my encounters with Ms. Norelli-Bachelet's yoga, some revelations have sprouted up quickly in my own life, but others will take years to mature ... lifetimes.When I began my studies of her work, I did not understand or experience much of what she was transmitting and could not see my world from a perspective of Integrated Awareness, and Unity Consciousness, and could not apply Astrology or the Gnostic Circle to my world in any meaningful way. Three years later I am much better at this practice than I was*. Passageways are open now that were closed then. Life and Body flow in a more harmonious manner, my mind is a little more flexible and open, and the truth and beauty of what we are is more apparent to me now. My vision/seeing of reality is improved. What more to ask?
So for people who get discouraged with Ms. Norelli-Bachelet's books and say, "I can't practice this Integral Yoga or understand the Gnostic Circle, because I don't understand or know astrology or cosmology or the Veda," it is good to remember that the lack of higher understanding or truth of being can either be a barrier or a call to developing a higher understanding or truth of being.The loss of Eternal Truth or the Sanatana Dharma ... is both the barrier and the call to reclaiming it. But it seems certain that the call of what is lost of our True Nature will not stop until it is found, and that the barriers will continue to contain the gifts of our being, until the barriers are dissolved and the gifts liberated.
Here, the teaching comes to mind, "If you want liberation, study the lock."
Even though Patrizia writes that she is offering a key to higher understanding, many will not see a key, they will see a lock. I am writing to suggest that should this happen, the reader/student remember that success of yoga could be described as turning a lock into a key, or turning a locked door into the portal to Unified Truth Consciousness.
Excerpts from The Gnostic Circle
"Chapter 1, Essential Purpose of the Study of Cosmic Harmonies:"
"... it is our purpose here to speak of some of the essential reasons why the knowledge has been contained and transmitted in the zodiac and the structure of the solar system ... Moreover, it is our intention to give as clear a picture as possible of the true purpose of astrology, and in which way it can be an asset in the development of the spirit....
"Cosmic harmonies give us the understanding of the movement of progression within the eternal. The art in its totality is transmitted so that man may have a clear vision of the process of evolution, and above all, of its ultimate goal for any particular Age...
"... in order to understand this play, we must first realize that the ultimate aim of creation is to be an ever more direct manifestation of the upholding and underlying spirit.
The zodiac gives us a picture of this outer movement of evolution which has as its support the inherent spirit. It represents the aspect of the unique Energy in a state of movement, as opposed to the aspect of the unique Energy in a state of rest. The purest example of the former is Matter, and the purest example of the latter is Spirit. These two poles represent two aspects, apparently contradictory and opposite, of the One Unique Energy, working itself out into its fullest manifestation."
Excerpt from The Magical Carousel: Commentaries (© 1979 PNB)
"The fourth triad [Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces) will reveal the highest goal of the body, by connecting it to the vast universal dimension as well as to those absolute and upholding.
"The third triad, composed of the seventh, eight, and ninth signs is, however, the critical phase of the journey. We must cross this area if we would reach the summit of our goal. We cannot ignore it. We must face death- body decay and disintegration- if the truth of our place in the universal harmony is to be known. Rightly speaking, we must come to understand what is the role of human death in the scheme, what is its purpose, its necessity, and then we can hope to discover the method by which liberation from its hold can be achieved, and can venture into the heights beyond.
"All present-day spiritual disciplines offer only an incomplete experience of this third triad. Their realization carries them to this quarter, initiated by the airy congenial heights of the apparent Void; but it does not go beyond, precisely because Death, physical mortality, is not faced and experienced consciously. Thus the energy that Death consumes, that it hoards, is never released and does not serve the purposes of a higher evolution. Earth is at present the home of a mortal race which in its loftiest visions offers the seeker the hope of a heavenly paradise at some place or in some dimension beyond and away from the planet. Yet this concept is an illusion. It is the Knot of Libra, because of which the individual consumes himself when he reaches Scorpio in his progression through Time as experienced on Earth; he 'poisons' himself, as the scorpion can when attacked. The veil of Mind is so thoroughly blinding that no individual has the awakened capacity to face death consciously and rend the veil. However, the zodiac clearly reveals that the progression does not end in Scorpio. It is but the eighth sign, and since we have shown that the zodiac is the history of the evolution of consciousness on Earth, it is evident that the remaining four signs at some point in our development are to be experienced here, right on this planet and not elsewhere.
"The pioneering journey of Val and Pom-pom is an example of this breakthrough. Their encounter with the forces of inertia in Scorpio becomes not an experience of stagnation and death but rather one of liberation.
"In the hymns of the Rig Veda the very same encounter is described, as well as the same liberation."
The Gnostic Circle: A Synthesis in the Harmonies of the Cosmos
©Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet 1975
Third Addition published by Aeon Books, New York
The Magical Carousel & Commentaries
© Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet 1979
Aeon Books, California
books available from Yoga Loft (see home page) or
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For more information or other books available from Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet