Holy Mountain (Mount Athos) - Monastic Republic and "Avatar Degree"
Published: 26th February, 2018 I Author: Smiljana Gavrančić
Every morning in the port of Ouranoupolis, the little town on the “finger” of Chalcidice, Athos (Greece), there are two queues forming: male queue waiting for the ferry that transports monks and pilgrims to the Holy Mountain, and female queue waiting for the boat that sails around Athos, giving ladies the opportunity to see from afar the monk republic they are banned from. That is in accordance with Avaton, the old law that is believed to have been written according to instructions of the Mother of God, to whom the Holly Mountain is dedicated.
In pre-Christian times, Athos was famous for its temple of Zeus the Thunderer, shrines of Apollo, Artemis and other Olympian gods, but since then its appearance has mysteriously changed. From Greek Macedonia, the first area of Europe where the church was established by Paul the Apostle, Christ’s fate expanded like fire over the whole Chalcidice and scientists say there had been a mysterious scattering of people from the Athos peninsula. Christian tradition explained the disappearance of cities by the will of god, in order for the Holy Mountain to become the “Virgin Mary’s garden”, meant for monks who shall celebrate her.
It happened after the resurrection of Christ, when Virgin Mary sailed for Cyprus with St. John to visit resurrected Lazarus from Vitania, who was the episcope there. The ship was blown off to the eastern shore of Athos, to the present day port of the monastery Iviron. On that mild elevation above the sea, the natural amphitheater between the hills over which the clear fresh streams fall, there was a town of Kleonai with the famous Apollo’s shrine. As soon as Virgin Mary stepped ashore, pagan shrines and statues shook and crumbled, including the temple of the Zeus on the top of Athos.
The Holy Mountain is the mountain and peninsula in Greece, in the province of Macedonia. On that small stretch of land, the “third finger” of Chalcidice that juts into the sea some 60 km and is 7-12 km wide, there are 20 orthodox monasteries, 12 sketes and numerous mountain caves, constituting the autonomous state under the Greek sovereignty.
The monastic community was formally established in 963 AD, when the monk Athanasios the Athonite established the monastery the Great Lavra, still the largest and the most prominent of the monasteries existing today on Athos, after centuries of being under the rule of Byzantine, Serbs and Turks. It ended up under the modern Greek sovereignty after World War I and the brief diplomatic conflict between Greece and Russia over sovereignty. Monk Athanasios is known for introducing communal monasticism (the so-called coenobitic system) with monks living in communities instead of solitude.
Long fasts, vigils and kneeling brought monk Athanasios such monastic perfection that prior blessed him by allowing him to continue with asceticism in silence in a quiet place close to the monastery. Later, he lived in many desolate and lonely places, finally reaching a place called Melana, at the southern-eastern border of Mount Athos. He settled there far away from all other monk settlements on Athos, made himself a cottage and led life of asceticism, progressing to higher monastic achievements. Saint Athanasios the Athonite is considered to be one of the main representatives of isichastic tradition on the Holy Mount.
Hesychasm (Greek: ησυχια hesihia - stillness, rest, quiet, silence) is the praying tradition in Eastern Orthodox Church, practiced by monks hesychasts (Greek: Ἡσυχαστής hesihastes). This type of spiritual life is mainly present on the Holy Mount. Isichastic practice starts with atonement and accomplishments for purifying the body and the soul from passion. It is continued through permanent inner prayer of the heart, resulting in seeing of divine light, like apostles saw on Mount Tabor during Jesus’ transfiguration. Hesychasm is not only the act of accomplishment, but the complete turn to one’s inner self unified with fullness of church life and necessity of taking of sacraments.
According to Saint Athanasios’ hagiography, the Devil constantly tried to provoke the hatred in him towards the place of his settlement. The ascetic was determined to remain there for one year and then move to wherever the God directs him. On the last day of that year, while he prepared for the prayer, the heavenly light shone on him and filled him with indescribable joy, while he shed tears of bliss. Saint Athanasios got the gift of tenderness then, loving the place of his solitude as much as he used to loath it.
Secondary progressed Sun of the Byzantine was at 15° Leo 09’ in 963 AD, just like the Solar Arc MC (15º Leo 06’), while secondary progressed Sun of Istanbul (capital of Byzantine) was at 14º Aquarius 57’ (almost 15º Aquarius)! It is known that every 15º of each fixed sign is “Avatar degree” because it forms an angle of 45º (semi-square) with 0º of each cardinal sign, indicating the start of seasons (0º Aries – spring, 0º Cancer – summer, 0º Libra – fall and 0º Capricorn – winter). More precisely, the Great Cardinal Cross across 0º is activated, and it moves two very important countries like Israel (0º Capricorn) and Turkey (0º Libra). Istanbul itself (Tsargrad, Constantinople), the capital of Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire and finally Ottoman Empire “lives” at the transition from 29º Capricorn to 0º Aquarius, there is connection of old, tradition and new, modern. It will be interesting to see what happens in time to come when Jupiter and Saturn go into the Grand Conjunction at 0º Aquarius (December 2020). Great instability “lives” across those very instable points within Zodiac (0º Aries/0º Cancer/0º Libra/0º Capricorn) and that is why those countries are known as eternal “buffer zones”, a kind of gap between the East and the West. I also mapped my country, Serbia, exactly at 15º Leo. It had been under Ottoman rule for more than 500 years (from 15º Leo there is 45º to 0º Libra – Turkey), and it seems that the best form of governance for Serbia would be parliamentary monarchy, for it is the story of the central degree of the royal sign of Leo... But, just close to 15º Leo, the Berlin Serbia has its South Node, so it abandoned monarchy as the form of governance... , and that is our basic “lesson”, to transform that issue of monarchy... There is unbreakable bond between Poles and Jews. If I tell you that I mapped Poland to 15º Aquarius, while Israel is mapped to 0º Capricorn (forming 45º with 15º Aquarius). There shall be a problem there eternally, for those countries awaken the energy of the Grand Cardinal Cross where things happen very fast, recklessly, hastily.... We who live here in Balkans say that it is a “powder keg”... Finally, the background of every war is the Cross, faith, religion – it was, it is and it will be, for Jerusalem “vibrates” at 0º Capricorn and initiates the Grand Cardinal Cross through 0º!
For start, I shall say only this – my draconic Moon is at 16º Aquarius, just next to 15º Aquarius... Draconic horoscope is actually the lunar horoscope of every one of us and it contains soul’s memories of the previous incarnation. It is very important to recognize 2-3 conjunctions of the natal chart of one person and the draconic chart of another person (or state). Those conjunctions are the message from the past… By knowing the nature of the degree of conjunction, we can better understand what needs to be worked on in this life in order to mend the past, and by that the future as well, for there is no present. We have incarnated to live the past again, but also, as conscious beings, to change our future here and now (although here and now are terms that may be discussed).
When the monk Athanasios founded the monastery Great Lavra, apart from active Avatar degrees I also noticed the following: Solar Arc Saturn (ruler of Byzantine MC) was at 29º Taurus, on the Moon of Byzantine. This is not favorable spot within Zodiac, for it is known as star cluster Pleiades, just next to malefic star Algol (from Perseus constellation) and it relates to “weeping sisters”. The fate here is certainly not an easy one. It is known that many monasteries on Holy Mountain were often victims of fire… One of the better known monasteries after the Great Lavra, the Serbian Hilandar, was on fire on the night of March 3, 2004. Secondary progressed Sun of Democratic Greece 1974 was at 29º Leo (on my North Node) squaring 29º Taurus - Pleiades (Byzantine Moon). Tears just had to be shed... Being one of monasteries on Athos, Hilandar has a great fortune in icons, documents... Secondary Asc of Democratic Greece 1974 was at 7º Leo 04, opposing the Mercury (books, documents, frescos...) of Byzantine in 10th house (things the Byzantine Empire is known for), at 6º Aquarius 49’.
Interestingly, I recently had an “almost fire” at home. I managed to put it out somehow, I do not know exactly how, by the naked right hand (Mars is the right side, action, while Saturn is the left side, the consequence) with no wound left on my palm. It was a real, possible fire. When I made a chart for that moment (January 18, 2018, 00:44:18, Kikinda, Serbia), I saw IC at 7º Aquarius, MC at 7º Leo!
My nodal axis lies across 29º Leo /29º Aquarius and forms the square with 29º Taurus, so it is clear that there is a strong memory of my soul related to the Holy Mountain and the monastery the Great Lavra and that memory is not an easy one… In karmic astrology, 8th house from 5th house is the house of one’s end, one’s death in previous life, since the present 5th house is one’s beginning (Ascendant) in the previous life. The eighth house from the fifth is actually 12th house of the present natal chart, and when there is Saturn transiting that house, the person usually faces his or her deepest fears that live in the memory of the soul and present the moment when the life was ended. It is interesting that when my mother died, in 2013, transit Saturn was in my 12th house, in Scorpio, squaring my intercepted natal Mercury at 15º Aquarius (“Avatar degree”), while transit Jupiter (travel) was in my 8th house (which is 4th house in my previous life, as 4th house from the 5th one), on my natal Moon at 15º Cancer (exaltation of Jupiter – Jupiter is actually the God, the Creator). In other words, my natal Yod was activated (the nature of every Yod is actually Chiron – wound, hurt, but also the opportunity for healing). It is interesting that water houses were active, ones that tell the most related to karmic astrology. In my chart they are also in water signs, where memories live. So, in both the previous and present life, my 4th, 8th and 12th houses are in water signs – my memories are deep.
The cusp of my 12th house (death in the previous life) is at 2º Scorpio, where draconic Moon of the Byzantine is. That same Moon in natal chart of the Byzantine is positioned at 29º Taurus, where Solar Arc Saturn of the Byzantine was at the moment when the monk Athanasios founded the monastery the Great Lavra. It is the same Moon (women) that carries within the wound, pain, tears (Pleiades). But, at 2º Scorpio there was also the Solar Arc Moon of the Democratic Greece 1974 at the moment when the fire consumed the Serbian monastery Hilandar in Athos (March 2004).
Now, again about my event of January 18, 2018 – Ascendant was at 2º Scorpio 55’! By the way, Serbian Orthodox Church celebrates the Holly Cross Day on January 18, the day before the Epiphany (January 19) and St. John’s Day (January 20), the day St. John baptized the Christ in the river Jordan. And again there is the Cross, already mentioned from the point of view of astrology… Interestingly, the fire broke while I was trying to lite the incense and the match simply flew from my hand and landed on the table… But it seems I am on good terms with the Fire, and we balanced each other through the touch… I felt that maybe I “cleaned” some fire (problem) from before… and that the Light is coming…
If you ask me what my greatest fears are in relation to the memory of the end of my previous life, what ”lives” in my present 12th house (previous 8th house – the death), I have to say three things: fire, deep water and finally – the cat.
I have to add that at 3º Scorpio there is the degree of the Moon’s fall, but also of Pluto’s exaltation – here the life is on its “weakest” and the death is the “strongest”. When the Sun reaches 3º Scorpio, the Serbian Orthodox Church celebrates St. Petka (Saint Paraskeva), that powerful woman, famous for her asceticism. I mention her often, anybody reading my articles knows that, but she is the subject that comes to me, for she lives deeply subconsciously in me, wherever I go she is somehow in front of me, whether through dreams (12th house) or through my travels and visits to all those places, she is simply always behind me (12th house) in this life, my strong support, and to have support from 12th is very important… She strengthened my inner faith … If you ask me what my religion is to me, I would answer that it is one and only one, St. Petka herself. So finally, I think I am not religious in a classical sense of the word, I am only deeply connected with the spirit of this saint woman whose strength I feel in my spirit… Well, it all started with Jupiter touching my Moon at 15° Cancer in 8th house in 2013, when my mother suddenly died. After that I opened myself for the contact with her, or more precisely, I had to wait six Pluto’s oppositions in transit with 15º Capricorn to my natal Moon (and in-between several “hits” by Uranus from 15º Aries) for 15º Cancer to give it to me – and it gave much, my Soul (Moon) simply opened for the contact with the God. All tears of all women in me were shed through me, for the Moon has all memories of the Soul of all women in our genetics.
When the monk Athanasios died, in 1004, secondary progressed Asc/Desc axis of Byzantine Empire was across 15º Capricorn/15º Cancer. I shall say again that my mother died with transit Jupiter at 15º Cancer, while transit Jupiter was at 15° Capricorn when my father died (April 6, 1996), which is really incredible, but clearly depicts the importance of this axis in my spiritual life…, and also my connection with the Holy Mountain, which, being the woman, I cannot visit in this life…
My Moon at 15º Cancer has a challenging square, applying one, with Pluto (the ruler of my Asc, but also the ruler of my 12th house – death in the previous life) at 21º Libra! Exactly at 21º Libra there is the draconic Asc of the Byzantine! Here, yet another sign! Also, at 21º Libra “lives” the star Spica (constellation of Virgo) that indicates gifts from the heaven, and being the only star of the Mars/Venus nature, it also indicates to take a look at Mars and Venus in my chart. These natural representatives of relations are in opposition in my chart (Mars is retrograde at 14º Virgo, while the Venus is exalted at 16º Pisces), and that opposition is in angular houses (10/4). But, the Moon at 15º Cancer reconciles that opposition with trine/sextile. So, if I want those gifts from heaven, my Heart should be in the right place, in the center, at 15º Cancer, so I can act from there… Anyway, 15º Cancer is the place of heart chakra (Anahata). When the heart is wounded, the unrest lives there (Saturn is in exile in Cancer).
Draconic Mars of the Byzantine is at 9º Taurus, right at my natal Chiron, also indicating some wound that came to me from those areas, but at the same time any wound opens the door to healing. Without a wound – there is no opportunity to heal. In the chart of the Byzantine, Mars is at 6º Sagittarius 50’ very close to one of the four royal stars, Antares, (now at 9º Sagittarius, for the stars move 1º in 72 years), known also as the “Keeper of the West”, so this might be a depiction of the wound that came from representatives of “Keeper of the West” at that time (Mars is in 7th house in the chart of the Byzantine – relations with others). Maybe they defended what is theirs, wanted to keep some western value, and I ended up wounded… (keep in mind that the Byzantine was actually the new, Eastern Roman Empire after the fall of the West Roman Empire). Byzantine’s Mars “carries” all that lives in Scorpio and Aries as signs of Mars’ domicile, so it “carries” Saturn at 13º Scorpio (the ruler of Byzantine’s Sun and MC – government of Byzantine) and Neptune at 13º Aries in 12th house (monasteries in the Byzantine). At the same time, Saturn and Neptune form the aspect of 150º, quincunx, the part of every Yod, and Yod is Chiron (wound, but also the healing), and the combination of Saturn and Neptune clearly indicates Orthodoxy as the part of Christianity (for the Catholicism would be represented by Jupiter/Neptune combination), because for Orthodoxy the characteristic trait is – “suffering is the road to salvation”. In other words, the Orthodoxy as the part of Christianity should have gone through what quincunx aspect represents (internal adjustments to circumstances), and to become somehow incorporated in all things represented by Mars at Antares (“The Keeper of the West”) in the chart of the Byzantine. In all that, draconic Mars of the Byzantine and my natal Chiron meet at 9º Taurus, so there is really the memory of being wounded, as I have already emphasized…
Draconic Neptune (monasteries, monk) of the Byzantine is at 16º Virgo, in conjunction with my retrograde Mars at 14º Virgo. Mars rules my 5th house (Asc in the previous life), my 8th from the 5th (death in the previous life) and my Asc in this life. In the Byzantine’s chart, Neptune is in 12th house, which is the house of isolated places, monasteries… with Virgo being the sign of serving…
According to the Constitution of Greece, Athos (the official name of the government of the Holy Mountain) is ruled by the Holy Community consisted of representatives of all 20 monasteries, and there is also the executive committee, the board of four members with the Protos being its head (through history many were Serbs, especially in XV and XVI centuries when the Serbs made the majority of monks in the Holy Mountain). So, Athos has political self-management.
The capital is Karyes, which is also the seat of the governor as the representative of the Greece government. In clerical terms, it is under the jurisdiction of Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.
In order to visit the Holy Mountain, one must have the permit of Greece government, but all monks get the Greek citizenship automatically. In other words, only monks are permitted to reside in that territory; presently, there are around 1.400 of them.
Women are banned from entering Athos; preservation of this tradition was the part of the agreement between the Greece and the European Union during accession. It is said that even female animals are banned, except for cats that catch mice and hens that lay eggs whose yolk is used for production of pigments for iconography. Small inconsistency...
I have to repeat this - in this life I feel fear and a kind of animosity towards cats. I try to comprehend why… But, the answer might be just there… But I also know that I am indescribably drawn by the strength of the silence provided by the prayer, for if the Soul is fed with things it favors the most it shall overcome all circumstances and reach the personal peace, hard to obtain, but not impossible… I feel admiration towards true ascetics, the monks who have chosen that road as their own… They give me, the mere mortal, and the strength to find my own road, my inner faith and, as I grow older and hopefully wiser, to better deal with all challenges life puts before me every day. Lessons are always there for us to improve and correct the past…
Seventeen monasteries are Greek; out of the remaining three, one is Serbian (Hilandar), one Bulgarian (Zograf) and one Russian (Panteleimon). Although there is the sign of pride in it (which is the mortal sin in Christianity), there is the clear hierarchy among monasteries, i.e. ranking by honor and importance. Out of all non-Greek monasteries, the “best ranked” is the Serbian one, Hilandar.
It Is Truly Meet (Greek: Άξιον εστίν, old-Slavic: Достóйно éсть, English Axion Estin) is liturgical chanting in Orthodox Christianity.
According to tradition, it originated in the time of patriarch Nikola Hrisoverg (983-996). One night a monk was reading the canon to the Mother of God and chanting Čestnjejšuju in the kelija of the monastery Pantokrator, now known as "Axion Estin". His prior went to Karyes. Suddenly, a man appeared in the church and started to chant It Is Truly Meet. That chant was unknown to the church. The monk heard the chant and was excited both over its contents and the beautiful chanting. “They chant like this where I come from”, said the stranger to the monk. The monk wanted to have the chant in writing and he brought the plate to the stranger, who wrote the chant by his finger as he was writing in wax. Then, he suddenly disappeared. Christians believe that the stranger was Archangel Gabriel. The plate was taken to Istanbul. The chant It Is Truly Meet is still used during the church service.
Solar Arc MC of Istanbul (Tsargrad) at the beginning of its reign (983/984) was moving across 8º -9º Taurus, the place of my natal Chiron and draconic Mars of the Byzantine. The chant It Is Truly Meet is a kind of healing for me, and now I know why… At the same time Solar Arc Mars of Istanbul was at 0º Aries, which automatically opened the Grand Cardinal Cross I have already mentioned…
Karyes Church of Protaton (Dormition of the Virgin Mary) is the oldest in Athos and according to the tradition it was founded in 335 AD by emperor Constantin the Great. It was ruined in fire and rebuilt in X century during the reign of the emperor Nikephoros Phokas. In XII century the church was destroyed by Catholics and it was rebuilt again by Bulgarian emperors. Frescos from XIV century are preserved here, and in the upper part of the altar there is a holy object of Karyes, the miraculous icon of the Mother of God It Is Truly Meet, and also the miraculous icon of Christ the Savior is kept here. Around 100 monks live in Karyes...
In 335 AD, the secondary Ascendant of Istanbul (Tsargrad) was at 21º Libra (on my natal Pluto, the ruler of my Asc and my 12th house – death in the previous life, and draconic Asc of Byzantine). Secondary MC of Istanbul was in 335 AD at 24º Cancer, where Solar Arc cusp of 9th house (religion) of the Byzantine was in 963 AD, when monk Athanasios founded the monastery the Great Lavra. I work on a research for this text in January 2018, only after Uranus started its direct motion from 24º Aries, squaring 24º Cancer. Also, my Solar Arc Fortuna is already in the allowed orb with 24º Cancer, or more precisely it is at 23º Cancer 32’, and Fortuna is very personal point, maybe the most personal one for it contains Asc, Moon and Sun and represents trinity, Asc is our Body, Saturn, and in traditional astrology Saturn is at home in 1st house of horoscope. Moon is the Soul, while the Sun is the Spirit. So, in Fortuna there is trinity – Spirit, Soul and Body! Finally, the symbol of Fortuna is Cross in a circle…
All those messages came to me between two eclipses (31 Jan, 2018 – 15 Feb, 2018), which is very powerful time, the time of deep cognition. Finally, my Astro Center IAM INΦINITY- Αθήνα Center, has its Asc/Desc axis across 29º Leo/29º Aquarius, in square with the Moon of the Byzantine at 29º Taurus, while the Venus (the ruler of MC) of the Astro Center IAM INΦINITY- Αθήνα Center occupies the spot at 28° Capricorn, where the Sun and MC of the Byzantine are...
„Axion Estin“ (It Is Truly Meet)...
With Love & Blessings,
My article about Istanbul you can read here: Istanbul