Retreat at Slangenburg castle, a secondary direction New Moon inventure


The word “inventure” has been chosen by me to address the real meaning of a secondary direction: the inside adventure.

About 6 years ago, during a short holiday, I arrived incidentally in the “Achterhoek” a region in the Netherlands known for beautiful nature, houses and rest. By then I happened to visit Slangenburg Castle and the chapel of its related Benedictine Abbey. I was struck by the fine warm atmosphere in the chapel and immediately decided to return whenever I should feel the need for a journey inside.

 A New Moon according to secondary directions

A couple of months ago, when I discovered the fact of the upcoming New Moon according to secondary directions (further to indicate as NM pr. in this article), I immediately remembered the chapel and decided to plan a retreat at Slangenburg for this event. I made a short search for the website and a telephone call and the visit was arranged. The NM pr occurs about every 30 year in somebodies life. It is the moment when Sun and Moon in their secondary directions will meet at the same degree of the zodiac according to the principle “a day for a year”. Astrologists use secondary directions and transits to understand the influences of planets on life of individuals at a certain moment in time.

In his book dealing with Pluto Jeff Green explains the difference between these techniques as follows:

–          Transits lead to changing circumstances and afterwards they will influence the inner

–          Secondary directions the inner change happens first and afterwards the person will express this in the outside world.

During secondary directions the soul is prepared to future changes and they will be effectuated later in the real world e.g. as a result of a transit. The last time I had this NM pr. was 30 years ago, the year when our youngest child was born. We experienced this by then and still do as a big gift from heaven. The degree for the NM pr. gives directions for the following stage in life. A New Moon always indicates the beginning of a period and the NM pr. indicates a new beginning from a strong experienced feeling of the soul.

The 21st degree of Taurus.

The 21st degree of Taurus for this NM pr. is represented in several archetypical systems.

For this article I will use the systems of Janduz and the Sabian system according to Rudhyar and Jones. According to Mr. and Mrs. Koppejan in their book “Beeldengids van de dierenriem” the symbols of Janduz should be regarded at the etheric Moon plane (the external symbol) and the Sabian symbols as an influence on the inner astral level of chakra’s and energy centers (the internal symbol). There is a direct relation between these archetypical meanings and the psychology of Jung.

The archetypical symbol according to Janduz is: “An owl, sitting high in a tree, watches a snake, rolled around a branch. Underneath a wild bear comes out of the bush. He turns his head and shows his teeth”. This degree is indicated as a degree of alertness. The growth of consciousness shows a big potential when somebody can find inner peace. A nice challenge when somebody is in a period with heavy transits from Pluto opposed to Saturn and square Neptune.

The archetypical symbol according to the Sabian symbols is “A finger pointing to a line in an open book”. It is about the learning to discern what in one’s culture and religion is meaningful. It symbolizes the finger of God indicating the stage of growth in somebodies life and the way understanding for this can be developed to become seed for the knowledge of future generations.

Slangenburg castle

When I entered the castle at the beginning of the retreat I was received by a friendly host that explained me many things about the history of the castle and the modus operandi for the guests. Since the midst of last century the castle is used as a retreat. People from various destinations have been visiting it and still do. The common thing is there need to withdraw in themselves for a while in a quiet surroundings, the individual  reasons are various ranging from the remembrance of a moment of personal grief to the need for inspiration to be creative. There is plenty of opportunity to withdraw in the own chamber, library on a walk through the forest or in the chapel of the abbey. About 75% of all guests during my stay had visited the retreat more than once. There is a possibility to attend religious ceremonies but participation is fully optional. During my 3 day stay I attended a number of religious ceremonies, a managed meditation and made withdrew every day for some time in the chapel of the abbey. The warm serene atmosphere had caught me and the relaxation was experience thoroughly. An ideal place for meditation on the symbolism of the 21st degree of Taurus. I also read a lot. I brought some neo theosophist material with me from Alice Baily explaining the relation between illness and the construction of our body and a book from Prof. Stoop a Dutch doctor about the theme “Darwin, love and God”. The last book discusses the official ideas of the Roman Catholic Church in relation to modern scientific insights about the story of creation from Genesis and the celibately rules.

 The experience

The NM pr. Was on the last day of my stay. I made a walk to the chapel and experienced a real flow. When I reached the chapel I  saw a number of burning candles almost forming a complete circle. By lighting 2 additional candles I could make visible the Omega symbol Ω. Rudhyar, the man who wrote about seed man, once indicated the “Omega state” as a ultimate state of consciousness. A beautiful symbolism to meditate on. Once having entered the chapel the feeling of flow remained and the ideas about the lines of expected contribution to society became clear to me. A contribution from the idea of collective interest looking for the places where seed will be received in fertile soil.