> forbid...but of course respecting "signs and seasons".)
> Also, what do you mean by and how do you equate the '"Mutable"
> signs' as you say with these revelations of "volubility,
> adaptation and change"?
By metaphors, I simply mean symbols. The four horsemen are symbolic of four of the signs of the Zodiac.
The group of Zodiacal signs, for which Revelation has provided an exposé of the four horsemen's workings, are those of the "Mutable" category. "Mutable" signs are in a state of volubility, adaptation and change, they transform. They are Sagittarius, Virgo, Gemini and Pisces, and these correspond with the four Horsemen.
The "Fixed" signs that surround God's throne are Taurus, Scorpio, Aquarius and Leo. The "Fixed" signs are so-called because they have a controlling and stabilising effect.
There are four more astrological signs that make up the familiar twelve signs - Capricorn, Aries, Cancer and Libra. These four are known "Cardinal" signs and have to do with dynamism, initiative and motion.
Therefore, the four Mutable signs (the four horsemen) act as carriers between the four fixed signs that surround God's throne (Taurus, Scorpio, Aquarius and Leo), and the four Cardinal signs (Capricorn, Aries, Cancer and Libra). In other words, the four horsemen supply power to the four Cardinal signs that can then set things in motion here on earth. To put a more specific point on things, the four horsemen change the world, which is why, in this apocalypse period, change is happening at an exponential rate... change is taking place faster and faster. The four horsemen are voluble in the sense that they are literally catalysts and represent great changes on the earth plane.
I learned a great deal of this knowledge many years ago from an author by the name of F. Aster Barnwell, who wrote an excellent book called, Meditations on the Apocalypse.
About 10 years ago, I wrote my own precise of the book. Here are my notes with regards to the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, which comes after this quote from Revelation, so you can compare the verses with the notes I made:
"And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice as of thunder: 'Come!'
And I saw, and look! A white horse; and the one seated upon it had a bow; and a crown was given him, and he went forth conquering and to complete his conquest."
And when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say: 'Come!'
And another came forth, a fiery-coloured horse; and to the one seated upon it there was granted to take peace away from the earth so that they should slaughter one another; and a great sword was given him.
And when he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say: 'Come!'
And I saw, and, look! A black horse; and the one seated upon it had a pair of scales in his hand.
And I heard a voice as if in the midst of the four living creatures say: 'A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the olive oil and the wine.'
And when he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living Creature say: 'Come!'
And I saw, and, look! A pale horse; and the one seated upon it had the name Death. And Hades was closely following him.
And authority was given them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with a long sword and with food shortage and with death and by the wild beasts of the earth." (Revelation 6:1-8)
The Opening of the First Seal - The White Horse and Rider
The horse pointed out by the first living creature (Leo) was white and its rider had a bow and a crown. The mission of this horseman was to go forth to conquer.
The characteristic of the horse that is called upon here is its role as an agency of mediation. This is because a horse mediates between a person's destination and the place of discharge of that mission. Therefore, the four horsemen are appropriately representing the four "Mutable" signs, which are signs of mediation between the end goal of human striving - a spiritual orientation to life - and its opposite, a self-centred materialism. Since this mediation between the spiritual and the material is accomplished at the level of ideas and utilises our capacity for reasoning, the horse as a symbol can be seen to represent the faculty of the intellect.
White symbolises primordiality as well as purity. For example, white light is primordial and only becomes visible when broken up by a prism. When associated with a horse, white implies mediation at an advanced level. The functioning of the intellect indicated here is where one gains access to advanced knowledge. This is the process of spiritual discernment - a level of functioning where the intellect has gone beyond its own limits. By "spiritual discernment" it is meant that level of understanding where we begin to understand how things fit together - where we are able to comprehend wholes, patterns, and principles.
This display of symbols representing Sagittarius is further strengthened by the bow and the crown. The bow is an instrument for extending the reach, and the crown is a symbol of dominion and rulership. The sum total of these symbols suggests a consciousness that is concerned with reaching out and expanding its own boundaries by conquering all that is perceived to be opposed to it. This is the essence of the astrological sign of Sagittarius - the sign that is associated with higher learning, philosophy, religious fervour, law, and cultural exchanges.
The horseman is introduced by the lion, the living creature that is represented by Leo, the third sign of the zodiac. Both Leo and Sagittarius belong to the Fire Element. In this context several scriptures gain increased potency. For example, Paul said, "For no man can lay any other foundation than what is laid, which is Jesus Christ, Now if anyone builds on the foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood material, hay, stubble, each one's work will become manifest, for the day will show it up, because it will be revealed by means of fire; and fire itself will prove what sort of work each one's is." (1 Corinthians 3: 11 - 13)
The Opening of the Second Seal - The Red Horse and Rider
This horse is introduced by the second living Creature, the young bull, and this horse is red. Its rider was given a great sword, and power was given him to kill with the sword and to take peace from the earth. The symbol of the red horse indicates that the mode of mediation between a spiritual orientation to life and a self-centred materialism is in this instance, experience. This is because red is the colour of blood and of life in its most common expression.
The sword is an instrument for severing, and in this case, it is severing mankind from all the ties that bind it to the material and ephemeral, and therefore the "false". The power of intellect that is implied by the sword is the power of logical, rational thinking, borne out by experience. It is the representation of the analytical faculties as they are applied to practical situations.
The sword, as a symbol, has another aspect too. It is an instrument with which one can "open up" mysteries so that one can know for oneself. The fact that the exposition of this Horseman was accomplished by the explanation that the sword was given to the rider that "they should kill one another" and "take peace from the earth", has led many to interpret this Horseman as a foreboding of war. It is naive to think of it as implying war since it cannot be said that there was ever peace on the earth to begin with. Insofar as the sword symbolises our capacity for rational analysis, the only "peace" that it can take away is complacency.
The sign represented by this Horseman is Virgo, the sixth sign of the Zodiac, credited with analyticalness, attention to detail, the healing properties of Nature, the maturing properties of time, and our capacity to reflect. It is introduced by the Bull, which is represented, astrologically, by Taurus. Both are signs of the Earth Element.
The Opening of the Third Seal - The Black Horse and Rider
The horse pointed out by the third living creature that had a man's appearance was black, and its rider had a pair of balances in his hand. At the time when this horse made its appearance, a voice in the midst of the four living creatures said, "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the olive oil and the wine".
The black horse indicates the opposite of what was implied by the white horse, which represents the facility to discern patterns and principles as one of the modes in which the intellect functions. With the black horse, mediation takes place on a more practical level than spiritual discernment. The black horse symbolises the juxtaposition of objects, the accumulation of facts, and fascination with the mundane.
The pair of balances suggests the dynamic process that constitutes measurement and the calculation of equivalents. From the concrete reality of goods and commodities, to the more or less abstract domain of valuation or worth. These characteristics also sum up the manner in which the intellect functions in a questioning and speculative mode.
The voice announcing prices and suggesting caution with respect to the oil and the wine suggests that the scope of the speculative mind is limited. Oil and wine represent the essences of other commodities, and symbolically they represent values. Given the scepticism and vacillation of the mind in its speculative mode, it cannot be regarded as a good judge of the more subtle domain of values, as there may be a tendency to over-value, thus economic collapse and famine. This is the meaning of the warning not to hurt the oil and the wine. It is a warning against placing too much value on luxury products and their intended exploitation for financial gain. To ignore this warning is a misuse of the energy of the sign this black horse represents.
"Music is the only sensual pleasure without vice." - Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)