I’m putting this in a separate post because it relates to a side issue. It’s arcane in a scholarly fashion, but it does bear directly on how I am reading the Yeatsian material. I distinguish the spirits’s appeal to a lunar model from the Yeatses’ overdetermination of that appeal. If it doesn’t matter to you, you can ignore this post without any concern whatsoever.
William devotes a large portion of A Vision to describing the way in which faculties and soul interact with each other over the course of their progress through lunar mansions. The Yeatses spend a fair amount of time with the spirits, too, articulating the criss-crossing influences of these mansions. However, that usage of the mansions needs to be heavily qualified.
First, William and George surely had some influence on the spirits’ use of the mansions to articulate the material they shared. They were both studying the lunar mansions as part of their broader occult studies; the notes of both William and George on the mansions have been discussed by scholars. However, it is very clear that the spirits pushed back against this being too readily interpellated with their material. While they made use of the lunar mansions, recall that this is what was available for them to use in George’s mind.
Moreover, the spirits took pains to distinguish their use of the lunar mansions in the system from the broader occult use. They encouraged George and William to avoid reading too much of that material while receiving the message (suggesting the spirits wanted to avoid having that material present in their medium to complicate things) and explicitly stated that the cycles they described had no relationship to the actual moon’s passage through the mansions. In many cases, they prefer to fall back on a system that focuses on the phases of the moon, rather than on the mansions per se.
What the mansions allow the spirits to do, though, is articulate an ascending cycle of development in which a He assigns a lifetime to each mansion, such that a soul passes through twenty-eight cycles before renewing the cycle, presumably at a ‘higher level’ but dramatically transformed.
(This is also where the cones of history become important, too, since the cones allow us to map an ascending spiral of lunar circuits along its circumference. Unlike many spiritualist models, this ascent does not seem to be forever and ever, higher and higher, amen. The cones articulate a view of cosmic alternation, in which catastrophic shifts in the spiritual plane demarcate radical breaks in the historical trajectory of people and societies. The implication is that at the end of a cycle everything gets shaken up and the process of ascent and development begins anew. Which gets us to the avatars…but that’s getting ahead of the discussion.
Short version: God uses creation like a kaleidoscope. The parallels with the eschatological material of the Enochian messages are interesting.)
The dramatic transformation is itself what the spirits are trying to achieve with the material they are providing to the Yeatses. In deploying the mask-like material that riddles the mansions of the moon associations while jusxtaposing them with their separateness from the actual moon, they are highlighting a division between symbol and reality. I suspect the Yeatses clung too tightly to the mansions, missing an opportunity.