And slowly answer'd Arthur from the barge:
The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
— Tennyson, The Passing of Arthur
Pythagoras, who, according to tradition, was able to sense the ever changing harmony of the stars and planets in their movements, called this universal symphony of nature the "Music of the Spheres," as coming from the heart of nature herself.
While we are not able to hear this celestial music ourselves, the earth in its yearly journey about the sun produces the seasons, which we may think of as a musical symphony in four movements; for in each quarter of the year the motif and tempo vary, bringing to every being new conditions for necessary experience. For the year, the lunar month, and every day, each repeats on its own small scale the pattern of a manvantara. And the rotation of little cycles within larger cycles brings about shifts and changes, so that no cycle is ever exactly like the preceding.
This may be one reason why the Teachers have always warned us not to let our minds crystallize about any idea, for if we do we may fail to see the opportunity in the new phase of the great symphony.
A year is rounding to its close and a new year will soon begin, in which a new chance is offered to everyone, for it is in a sense a reshuffling of the cards. It is a true intuition which has led to the practice of making New Year's resolutions.
Into each phase of life from childhood to old age there comes a karmic heritage from the past which could not find expression except under those particular conditions. But continually men strive to carry youth into middle age, and middle age into old age, not realizing that each scene in the drama of life has experiences and opportunity for soul growth not provided by any other.
In the calendar in common use much of the inner structure of the universe is symbolized, and just because the interlocking cycles of every grade follow the same general plan, the student will find much worthy of careful study, in this one of the most familiar things in life.
Unfortunately the calendar as used at present is in certain ways out of gear with nature, but nevertheless the twelve months are symbolic of the twelve signs of the zodiac and their twelve magnetic influences. The days of the week are named for the seven sacred planets and the seven universal principles associated with them. The four quarters of the year, the four phases of the moon, and the four parts of the day, in their intermeshing form a kind of paradigm of the operations and structure of the universe.
But there is a grander significance which is contained in the initiatory cycles which take place at the four sacred seasons — the summer and winter solstices and the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. At these times those who are worthy and well qualified are permitted to take the step which raises them above ordinary humanhood into that of active workers in the guardian wall of humanity.
The Theosophical ForumTHEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE