New Site: The Stars In Their Courses

I have started a new site which will be focused primarily upon Astrology, and in particular, Astrology as a Traditional Sacred Science. This site will continue to explore areas of Feminine Essentialist philosophy and metaphysics; however, on the new site, I will be delving more deeply into the specific discipline of astrology.

Here is the link to the new site:

The Stars In Their Courses: Astrology as a Traditional Sacred Science

Telling Time, Astrology, and Japanese Kanji

Recently, I have been studying the Japanese language.  There are several reasons for this, but one of them is very much related to the work of this weblog.  The purpose of this weblog has been to explore, learn, and discuss the Ancient Wisdom that is the true foundation for Traditional Sciences, such as astrology once was.  Much of the material currently available to astrologers is post-Aristotelian.  As I discussed in previous articles, Aristotle taught a subtle, but quite significant, deviation from Traditional Wisdom with respect to the nature of Perfect Form and its relationship to physical manifestation.

I have observed that this deviation is embedded in all of Western thought, science, and philosophy.  Such a deviation did not occur in the East until the East was exposed to Western thought.  One can find information and clues with respect to Traditional Wisdom in Japanese kanji.  Recently, I have been studying time expressions, and the kanji for them are quite fascinating.

In order to fully understand why these kanji are so fascinating, it is important to understand the original and primordial purpose behind astrology.  As our ancestors became more consolidated into the material world, it was important to them to ensure that their earthly activities were still in harmony with the Divine Music of the Spheres.  They looked to the heavens and studied the movements of the heavenly bodies to determine the time that their endeavors were in accord with this Divine Music.

Music of the Spheres

The Feminine Scriptures contain references relevant to this:

It is Love that holds the stars within their courses, and all the worlds of the immeasurable cosmos within the harmony of the celestial music.

Truly, all the cycles of the times and the seasons; all the rhythms of the soul and of the mind and of the flesh; truly all these flow from the love of Our Lady, the Maid, that creation may not decompose, each several member flying away into black eternal chaos.

The Clew of Love

For there are ways and rhythms in the course of life, of day and night, of seasons and the moon, by which all life, all thought, all work are governed and these movements are the breath of the Divine, reflected in the highest spheres and every living thing.

All nature is a vast and subtle movement to which the innocent soul is close attuned.

The profane assay to sever themselves from this music, fixing new laws of gain and self-advantage against the law of universal love.

Honor in all things the times and the seasons, keeping fast in the times of fast with diligence and care; rejoicing in times of feast with generous outpouring.

No tree may blossom out of season, nor any flower greet springtime with austerity, but a maid lacking in inward control is broken from the rhythm.

The Way of Simplicity

Starry SkyFor readers of the Judeo-Christian tradition, these concepts can be found in the Hebrew written tradition as well:

And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.”  And it was so.

Genesis 1:14-15 (NRSV)

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NRSV)

These are the traditions I am most familiar with; however, I would imagine that this is a Universal concept, and that it can be found in all traditions.

To my joy and delight, I discovered that this concept seems to be embedded in the Japanese kanji for time expressions.

TokiOn the left is the kanji for time, toki, and also, ji, the marker for hour expressions, the Japanese equivalent of “o’clock.”  This kanji is made up of two other kanji.  The element on the right is the kanji for “temple.”  The element on the left is the kanji for “Sun.”  Quite simply, the hours are marked by the temple watching the Sun.

JikanThe Japanese word for time in the abstract sense and the word used to mark a number of hours is jikan.  The kanji for jikan is to the right.  As you can see, this kanji incorporates the kanji for time with a second kanji.  This second kanji also includes the element for Sun, but it is inside an element that symbolizes a gate.  The Sun is contained inside a gate!

Another interesting kanji is found in the word, matsu, “to wait,” 待つ.  The kanji is the first character in this word.  The temple is in this kanji as well. The other element of this kanji, is labeled “going man,” by Rikaichan, a wonderful translation aid/kanji analyzer that works with Firefox.  That element, or radical, is also found in the kanji included in the word, iku, “to go,” 行く.  I think one could speculate that the kanji contained in the word for wait may indicate that human endeavors are being directed by the temple; in other words, people are waiting for the proper time for action!

I find all of this quite fascinating!

For more information about the metaphysics behind Japanese kanji, I refer the reader to the following excellent articles on the subject:

Japanese Kanji for Left and Right: Why They Are What They Are

Kanji Symbols – Fire, Movement and Humanity

Learn Japanese Kanji through Symbolism

The Outer Planets: the Pseudomythos of “Higher Octaves” and “Transcendence”

A while back, I wrote an article about a theory that the Outer Planets represented the three poisons of the modern world, atomization, deracination, and deformation.  This article can be found here.

I have recently had the occasion to further consider the Outer Planets, and some of the pseudomythos that has arisen surrounding them.  In many ways, the pseudomythos* surrounding the Outer Planets is an outgrowth of the pseudomythos of Evolution.  Indeed, in New Age astrology, the Outer Planets seem to be almost the agents of evolution, with the belief that the Outer Planets are the “higher octaves” of traditional planets and that they bring about “transcendence,” which is, according to this pseudomythos, a better or higher state of being.

Higher Octaves

While there are many variations of the “higher octave” theory, the most common one is that Uranus is the “higher octave” of Mercury, Neptune is the “higher octave” of Venus, and Pluto is the “higher octave” of Mars.  The first and foremost problem with this theory is that all of the traditional planets are representatives of the Janyati, or aspects of the Divine.  The existence of a planet that is a “higher octave” robs these planets of their status as one of the Seven Great Planetary Janyati.  Indeed, the associations given to the Outer Planets have been robbed from the traditional planets.  For example, the association of genius with Uranus usurps Mercury’s place as the representative of Divine Intelligence.  Similarly, the association of Sacrificial Love to Neptune usurps Venus’ place as the representative of Divine Love, which includes Sacrificial Love.  Indeed, the associations for both Mercury and Venus have been severely watered down in Modern Astrology.

Interestingly, the associations for Pluto have not seemed to really take anything away from Mars, except of course, the rulership of Scorpio.  The associations for Pluto seem to be a combination of the worst Tamasic qualities of Mars and Saturn.  Actually, the associations of Pluto seem to be the most honest, in that they are about as malefic as one can get.   Yet, there is a strange notion that Pluto is “transformational,” but as Prof. Clark stated in his article, Into the Outer Darkness, “let’s just say that if Pluto is ‘transformational’ so is nuclear war and high levels of toxic radiation.”

Actually, assigning rulerships to the Outer Planets is problematic in and of itself.  In the article, Into the Outer Darkness, Prof. Clark explains the traditional system of rulership of the planets to the signs.  In this system, each of the non-luminary planets rules two signs, with a day sign and a night sign.  The malefics, Mars and Saturn are thought to be better in the signs that are the opposite of their nature.  Mars benefits by the coolness of night, and Saturn benefits by the warmth of day.  The night sign of Mars is Scorpio, and the day sign of Saturn is Aquarius.  In assigning the rulership of Scorpio to Pluto and Aquarius to Uranus, the malefics are stripped of the signs they are the strongest in.  There is much more to say about these rulership assignments, but that could be an article in and of itself.

Transcendence

The other main pseudomythos that has arisen surrounding the Outer Planets is the notion of “transcendence.”  The notion that transcendence is positive is a Tamasic notion.  Transcending means to go beyond the normal boundaries.  Yet, in Filianism, and I think in traditional thought in general, boundaries are positive.  As it states in the Clew of Love in the feminine Scripture,

And for the existence that has fallen from perfection; truly it is the music of Divine harmony that sustains it in the motion of its wholeness.

It is Love that holds the drop of dew pendent upon the blade of grass, neither flowing forth in watery profusion, but swelling within the unseen urn of its brief harmony.

It is love that holds the stars within their courses, and all of the worlds of the immeasurable cosmos within the harmony of the celestial music.

Truly, all the cycles of the times and the seasons; all the rhythms of the soul and of the mind and of the flesh; truly all these flow from the love of Our Lady, the Maid, that creation may not decompose, each several member flying away into black eternal chaos.

To go higher is to ascend.  In the Filianic Mythos of the Daughter, the Daughter ascends to Heaven.  Similarly, in the Christian narrative, Jesus ascends to heaven.  To go below is to descend.  To transcend is to go beyond the boundaries of Love, or to fly away into “black eternal chaos.”

Ordered Solar System

I think that this concept of “transcendence” is similar to the modern assertion of being “spiritual, but not religious.”  I do understand the frustration people experience with the overly literal and overly systematized state of modern religion, particularly Christianity.  I also understand that the separation of the religious and the secular is rather artificial.  On the other hand, what I have found that often when people say they are “spiritual, but not religious,” it is really a form of katte ni suru.  Katte ni suru is a Japanese phrase roughly meaning, do what you want, or do your own thing.  In Western thought, this is seen as positive, but in Japan, this is quite a scathing insult.  This implies that one no longer is a part of the group or the community.  See Japanese Training – Natto, Rice Grains and Speech and What I Learned in School.

We are also cautioned against this in The Sermon of the Apple Seed, “Dissonant and jarring with eternal Harmony, the little sphere is severed from the great.”

The Outer Planets are also at times called “transpersonal,” meaning that they are beyond or outside of the personal.**  Yet, the traditional and Filianic teaching is that maid in a microcosm of the entire Cosmos.  As it states in The Secret of the World, “And this is the secret of the world which the world would hide from you: that all things lie within the souls of maid, and only High Dea is without.”  Now, one could argue that the “transpersonal” planets are a part of High Dea.  The difficulty with that is that High Dea, or the Dark Mother, is by definition beyond anything we can understand from an un-Enlightened state.  If we have reached a level of Enlightenment whereby we could understand the Dark Mother, we would have no need of astrology to guide us in our lives.

The Luminaries and the Filianic Trinity

I think that the modern fascination with the Outer Planets and with “transcendence” is part of the phenomenon of Tamasic Dialectic Miss Alice Lucy Trent described in The Feminine Universe.  Tamasic (downward) forms take on a resemblance to Sattwic (upward) forms, in part because they both move away from the Rajastic (outward) forms.

I believe that there is a Sattwic form that the notions of “higher octaves” and “transcendence” invert.  To explain this, I think an understanding of the Filianic Trinity is helpful.  These concepts are certainly not unique to Filianism, and I believe that they are universal in Traditional thought; however, Filianism has a useful Mythos and vocabulary to explain the concept.

In the Filianic Creation Mythos, the Mistress of all Things created all of manifestation in joy and laughter.  During this time, Primodial Maid danced and laughed with the Mother and all was golden.  Each Maid and all of Creation “became the image of a golden fragment of Her Spirit.”  In the cosmos, this is loosely associated with Sai Raya, the Sun, or our Solar Spirit.

After a time that can not be counted, because there “were neither days nor nights, nor moons to tell the month,” Maid was tempted by the Snake, who “had not been shaped by Her, and that was not Her daughter, nor a creature of spirit. But this was the space between the fragments and the nothingness that had been before things were. It had not energy nor delight, but only weight. It had not shape, but could only coil and uncoil itself about the things that were.”  The Snake was “not golden, but black.”

In this Mythos, Maid was tempted to embrace rest and created Darkness.  Then the Snake tried to destroy Creation with a Flood, but Creation was rescued by the Mother.  The aftermath of this turning and Flood is described as follows:

1. And as the rain fell, the light came again, and a rainbow appeared in the sky, shedding its light upon all things. 2. And whereas all things had been golden, now they took on every hue and colour, and the world was beautiful; but it was not so beautiful as it had formerly been.

3. And She set Her seven Powers in the firmament, giving one to rule each colour of the earth.

4 And She said to Her daughter: what you have done may not be undone, for you have acted with My Spirit, and henceforth shall time be divided into day and night that you may rest. 4 But I shall keep watch in the heavens by night, and there shall be silver light that there may never be complete darkness. 6. By this shall I govern the movements of the waters, that the earth may never again be flooded. 7. The golden light of day will bring all goodness, but it will be too bright for your eyes. The silver light of night, that you may look upon.

8. The Snake shall keep the form that you have given it, and you shall be set in governance over it; but remember that it will ever attempt to beguile and destroy you as it has this night.

9. I shall not live as close to you as before, but still I shall pour blessings upon you, and you may give Me gifts — not in every moment as before, for you have learned to tire, but My light shall give you signs in this matter.

10. And the Mistress of All Things withdrew Herself into the sky, until She seemed but a slender crescent of light. 11. And the first daughter of creation fell to her knees and wept. And these were the first tears shed upon the whole of the earth.

As I stated before, in the Filianic Trinity, the Mother is loosely associated with Sai Raya, the Sun, or Solar principle.  That which was before and beyond the Mother Creatrix is the Dark Mother, who is the “Darkness beyond the Light, and the Light beyond the Darkness,” but who is also completely beyond our understanding.  The Dark Mother is loosely associated with Sai Rhavë, whose planetary representative is Saturn.

The bridge between the Mother and Creation, who has turned from the Mother, is the Daughter, who is loosely associated with Sai Candre, the Moon, or the Lunar principle.  She is the “silver light of night, that you may look upon.” The Daughter is also the aspect of the Filianic Trinity that sustains all of Creation.

My very humble attempt at an illustration of the Traditional Model of the Cosmos

My very humble attempt at an illustration of the Traditional Model of the Cosmos

Interestingly enough, in contemplating the Traditional Model of the Cosmos, one can see that the spheres between the Solar and the Lunar are the Spheres of Sai Mati/Mercury and Sai Sushuri/Venus.  These respectively represent the spiritual Way of Light and Way of Love.  Both the Matic and the Sushuric principles are seen in a lower form in the Lunar principle and in a higher form in the Solar Principle.  The lower form of the Matic principle is Lunar Reason, and the higher form is Solar Intellect.  See Mummies and Lunimaries.  Sadly, this article has already gotten quite long and involved, so I will have to leave the explanation of how this works with the Sushuric principle for another day.  The Way of Love and the Way of Light are intertwined, however.  As it says in Scripture, “perfect love is perfect knowledge and perfect knowledge is perfect love.”

Contemplating the Traditional Model of the Cosmos further, one can see that the Sun is in the center.  Just beyond the Solar Sphere is the Sphere of Sai Vikhë or Mars.  The highest form of the Vikhelic Principle is that of protection and rescue.  In the Filianic Mythos, it is the Mother that rescues and defends Creation from the Snake.  So, in some ways, I think that one can consider the Solar Principle as the highest form of the Vikhelic principle as well.

Interestingly enough, you can see the Solar Circle in the glyphs for Sai Mati/Mercury, Sai Sushuri/Venus, and Sai Vikhë/Mars.**

So, as you can see, there is no need to reach into “the Outer Darkness” with the Outer Planets for “transcendence.”

_________

*a pseudomyth is a story-picture that falsely replaces traditional myth as the fundamental story of “how things are”

**As explained in the article, the traditional planets are all representatives of Janyati.  Below is a quotation from the Chelouranyan explanation of the Janyati:

In the first place, let us be clear that the Janyati are not “forces” or “energies” conceived after the model of Newtonian physics (and dearly beloved of New Age movements). They are Intelligences. They are not people like us, it is true. But they are something more than people, not less than people. The greatest force in the universe is less than a person. It cannot think. We are speaking here of Intelligences immeasurably greater than ourselves. They have everything we people have, magnified a thousand times, and they have many qualities we cannot even conceive of. To picture them as something akin to people may not do them justice, but to picture them as something impersonal, like a force of nature, would do them infinitely less justice. They are everything we are and much more.

***if one truly contemplates the glyphs associated with the Outer Planets using the tradition meaning for the symbols of the Circle, the Crescent, and the Cross, the meanings for them are chillingly demonic.  One can clearly see how they can not be “higher octaves” of anything!

Astrology as a Traditional Science, Part II: Angels and Archetypes

Now that I have addressed the rationalist/substantialist intrusion into Western thought and some of its impact on the practice of astrology, it is time to discuss the essentialist basis from which astrology draws its tools and methods.  This is the answer to the recurring and age old question as to why astrology “works.”

Astrology is one of the few traditional sciences that is still being practiced.  As I discussed in my previous article, in the past, all sciences were traditional sciences, but over the centuries, traditional science was replaced by modern science.  While rationalism and modern science has invaded astrology, and many astrologers may not be aware of the traditional principles upon which this craft is based, these principles are deeply entwined in the tools and methods that astrologers use.

The most basic tools that astrologers use are the planets and the zodiac.  The physical planets and the zodiac are physical representations of deeper metaphysical principles.  They are not the principles themselves.  A metaphor I have been taught to explain this concept is that of the reflection of the Moon on the water.  The reflection may not look exactly like the Moon that it reflects, but the Moon is still the source of that reflection.  In the same way, the planets and the zodiac that we can see reflect principles that we can not see.

The planets reflect aspects of the Divine, whatever name we may use for the Divine.  My present spiritual tradition is Filianism, so I will be primarily using that spiritual language, although I will incorporate language from other traditions to the extent I am able to speak knowledgeably about the tradition.  These principles are not tied to any specific religion, however, and they are part of universal traditional wisdom.  Readers from other spiritual traditions, please feel free to translate these principles into your own spiritual lexicon.

The Seven Divine Principles

Below are the descriptions of the Seven Divine Principles.  I will include the Roman planetary name, the name of the Filianic Janya (or Angel), and the Eastern element (for the non-luminary principles) in my description.  I understand that there is also an association with the Judeo-Christian archangels, but in doing a brief internet search on the subject, I did not find agreement or consensus, and I do not have enough personal knowledge to sift through the differences.  So, please forgive that omission.

Solar MotherThe Sun, Sol, Sai Raya – The Solar/Creative Principle.  In the Filianic tradition, this principle is associated with (but not synonymous with) the Mother.  In the Christian tradition, this principle is loosely associated with the Risen Christ, and in the Roman Catholic tradition, with Our Lady of Guadalupe.  The Solar Principle is the source of all life and energy.  The Solar Principle is also the principle that links us with the One Spirit, and we each carry a microcosm of that principle in our own Heart.

The Moon, Luna, Sai Candre – The Lunar/Sustaining Principle.  In the Filianic tradition, this principle is associated with (but not synonymous with) the Daughter.  This is the principle that sustains our life in the material plane.  This principle is also the Redeeming Principle, and the bridge between our human existence and our Solar Heart connection with the Divine.  Just as the Moon reflects the light of the Sun, the Lunar Principle reflects the Solar Principle.  Just as we can not look directly at the Sun, but can look directly at the Moon, the Lunar principle is the principle that we can understand.  The Lunar Principle is also the principle of Divine Sacrifice, which is of course found in the Christian tradition, but the principle is as old as time itself, and is found in every religion.  Mary, in her aspect as the Queen of Heaven, is a symbol of the Lunar Principle in the Roman Catholic tradition, and Quan Yin is a symbol of the Lunar Principle in the Eastern tradition.

Saturn, Sai Rhavë, Earth – the Destructive Principle.  In the Filianic tradition, this principle is associated with (but not synonymous with) the Dark Mother, the Light beyond the Darkness and the Darkness beyond the Light.  This principle is the hardest to explain and understand, and in practical application, this principle is seen as malefic, but is an aspect of the Divine as well.  Paradoxically, the Rhavic Principle is the principle that both binds us to the material plane and releases us from it.  This principle tends to be quite severe in application and is associated with time.  While we can acknowledge that the Rhavic Principle is Divine, it is not a principle that one would invoke or embrace.  One can not truly understand this principle without having reached a very high level of Enlightenment.

Mercury, Sai Mati, Water – Divine Intelligence.  In the Eastern tradition, this principle is seen as the “Little Sun” and is very close to the Solar Principle.  In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the Matic Principle can be seen in Sophia, Divine Wisdom.  This is the principle from which Enlightenment comes, and indeed, the name Buddha (“the Enlightened One”) and the Bodhi tree (“the Tree of Wisdom”), derive from one of the names for the Matic Principle.

Venus, Sai Sushuri, Metal – Divine Love.  Even though in the West, unfortunately, this principle has been associated with only romantic love, this principle encompasses all forms of love and is the principle from which all Love and Beauty flow.  The Sushuric Principle is gentle and is also related to Divine Mercy.  One could argue that Jesus taught the Sushuric principle.   The Sushuric Principle is also associated with the beauty of manifestation.

Mars, Sai Vikhë, Fire – Divine Protection.  The Vikhelic Principle is both easy to understand and difficult to explain.  The Vikhelic Principle is the principle of conflict.  In order for there to be manifestation, there must be separation from the Divine.  Once this separation takes place, conflict becomes inevitable.  On a spiritual level, the Vikhelic Principle is the struggle between Good and Evil.  In the history of this world, the Vikhelic Principle is overbalanced to an extreme, but in its balanced form, it is a protective principle.  When the Vikhelic Principle is balanced, the conflict is against demons, including one’s own internal demons, and not against other human beings.  The Vihkelic Principle is also the principle of Free Will and is the ability to choose between Good and Evil.

Jupiter, Sai Thamë, Wood.  Divine Harmony.  The Thamic Principle is the principle of order and harmony.  This is the principle of the Music of the Spheres, and governs the rhythms of all life.  The Thamic Principle also governs societal structures and relationships.  Axial Beings, such as humans, have the choice to either join with the harmony of the Thamic principle or to set themselves against it.  Non-Axial Beings, such as animals and angels, do not have such a choice and will naturally take their proper place in the Celestial Harmony.

For a fuller description of these Principles, I will refer you to this article.

The Twelve ArchetypesZodiac Image

On the human level, the Seven Divine Principles are mediated through the Twelve Fundamental Archetypes of humankind, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces.  Just as the planets are the reflections of the Seven Divine Principles, the constellations of the zodiac are the physical reflections of the Twelve Fundamental Archetypes.  When the Divine Principles are mediated through the Archetypes, they may be enhanced or hindered through that mediation, depending on the Archetype.

The mediation of the Principles through the Archetypes is the essentialist basis for astrology.  It is also the basis for all other traditional sciences, such as alchemy and traditional medicine.  Sadly, this knowledge and understanding has largely been lost in the West.  Astrology is one of the few disciplines that still actively studies and applies these principles.

Understanding astrology in this manner changes nothing and changes everything.  If nothing else, this understanding gives us a foundation to stand on when we are faced with substantialist criticisms of our craft.  I think that many of us, including myself, feel pressure to “justify” our craft in light of “scientific evidence,” but I think that this is ultimately a mistake and a cheapening of the great heritage that we have been given by our forerunners.  Of course, we need to use observation and research to refine our accuracy and our skills at application (which will be the subject of my next article), but we do not have to “justify” ourselves based on the “scientific world view” of rationalism.  Girded with an essentialist understanding of the underlying principles, we can avoid the trap of insecurely practicing our craft as a modern psuedo-science, and instead, we can boldly practice our craft in the manner of our forerunners, as a respectable and useful traditional science.

Astrology as a Traditional Science, Part III: Application

Astrology as a Traditional Science, Part I: The Origins of Rationalism

An interesting discussion emerged in the comments for one of my previous articles, The Outer Planets: A Theory.  As a result of this discussion, Cure Tadashiku wrote an article discussing Traditional Cosmology, which may be a bit challenging for modern Western practitioners of Classical Astrology.  The article is here.  I would posit that this is the challenge of restoring astrology as a true traditional science, rather than succumbing to the temptation of trying to force our art and craft into the mold of modern science.

In this blog, I have used the term traditional science, but I have not defined its meaning. A traditional science is a study which applies metaphysical principles in a practical way to our material and physical lives. Until the Enlightenment in the West, all science was traditional science. This is the reason why the Roman Catholic Church concerned itself with the teachings of Galileo. It is hard to see this today because modern science has divorced itself from matters of metaphysics, theology, and religion. While there are modern scientists that are deeply spiritual and religious, there has been a “Chinese Wall” that has been built between science and religion that is strengthened and supported by both sides.

Plato and AristotleWhile the so-called “Enlightenment” was the beginning of the final stages of this movement, its roots in the West go very deep. The “Enlightenment” was really started by the nominalist movement who had proponents such as William of Ockham, but even this movement has deeper roots. When I began my studies of essentialist metaphysics, I found myself in disharmony with my teachers as I was trying to place what I had learned in Classical Astrology into essentialist teachings. It was not until I read this article by Robert Hand that I understood why. It all began as a  disagreement that Aristotle had with his teacher, Plato, on the nature of Perfect Form. If I understand the nature of this disagreement correctly, Aristotle taught that all Forms must manifest on the material plane, so that if a Form did not exist on the material plane, it could not exist on the metaphysical level as a Perfect Form. It seems to me that this was the idea that eventually led to modern substantialism.

This notion added a corollary to the axiom, “as above, so below,” teaching “if not below, than not above.” This created the false dichotomy between science and religion, because now, if something was discovered on the material plane that did not match theology, metaphysics, and philosophy, this discovery called into question the doctrines of these disciplines.  This led to a new corollary, “as below, so above.”  The doctrine of nominalism takes this a step further teaching, “there is no above, there is only below.”

It is against this backdrop that the “Enlightenment” became possible, and this is the backdrop against which all Western astrologers must attempt to practice their craft.  With the understanding of Ideal Form having been dismissed and lost, astrologers were left to explain and practice their craft in a world where the fundamental principles of the science were no longer taught or believed.  Against this backdrop, it is not surprising that astrologers themselves began to confuse the actual physical bodies of the planets for what they represented.  It is also not surprising that the “discovery” of new planets and astronomical bodies would lead astrologers to doubt their forerunners, as the true understanding of their craft had been long lost and disregarded by Western society.

In order to reclaim astrology as a true traditional science, I would posit that we must turn back the clock and develop an understanding of the essentialist metaphysical principles upon which this craft is based.

Astrology as a Traditional Science, Part II:  Angels and Archetypes

Fate, Free Will, the Cross, and Wa

During and after the “Enlightenment,” predictive astrology lost favor as a respected craft.  One of the reasons for this is that predictive astrology contradicted Enlightenment notions of Free Will.  How can one predict anything, particularly in a Nativity chart, when we all have Free Will to be whatever we want to be?  This is likely a particularly popular argument in the United States, where children are taught things like, “America is the land of opportunity,” and “every kid can grow up to be the President.”

The CrossThe problem is that in the West, the traditional concept of Free Will has been misunderstood for some time.  The crux of the difficulty is mistaking freedom of choice for freedom of action.  We may not always have freedom of action, but we always have freedom of choice.

In order to explain the traditional concept of Free Will, it becomes helpful to look at the symbol of the Cross.  While Christianity has adopted the Cross as its symbol, the symbol of the Cross long predates Christianity, and is a primordial symbol.  On one level, the Cross is the symbol of the material world.  It is one of the three symbols that are used in the glyphs for the planets.  The other two are the Circle and the Crescent.  Actually, the symbol of the Cross makes sense for Christianity, in the belief that the Divine became incarnate in a living human being.

If one looks deeper into the symbolism of the Cross, one will see that it is made up of a horizontal line with a vertical line intersecting.  The horizontal line represents our life on the material plane.  This is our day to day physical existence.  The vertical intercepting line represents an upward or downward path.  Humans are Axial Beings.  This means that we are at the center or the axis of the cross.  As Axial Beings, we have the choice to live at the level of physical existence.  Animals live at this level of existence.  This is not our only choice though.  We can choose to live at a higher level of existence.  This level has nothing to do with physical wealth or success.  This level is choosing a higher spiritual life, or listening to our “higher angels.”  We can also choose to live at a lower level of existence.  We can succumb to our “demons,” as it were (humans are capable of evil that animals – literally – cannot dream of).  In popular culture, there is the image of a little angel and a little devil sitting on our shoulders, both whispering in our ears.

This is the essence of the traditional notion of Free Will, the day to day choice between the purely material, our “higher angels,” and our “demons.”  The traditional notion of Free Will was not freedom to do what one wants on the material plane.  The notion of individual freedom of action, in this sense, is quite out of place.  There is no real word in English to really explain this concept, so I will borrow a word from Japanese.  The word is wa.  The rough translation of wa is harmony, but a harmony beyond music.  This is the harmony of the heavens that is transmitted to Earth and governs everything from day to day routines to social relationships to spiritual rituals.  Wa governs everything.  The opposite of wa is fuwa, which is disruption of the celestial harmony.

The concept of wa is quite similar to the doctrine of the Music of the Spheres in astrology.  In a sense, astrology is being able to read and listen to this celestial music.  We are born with a particular part to play in the Music of the Spheres.  In a traditional society, we would generally know our part and be raised to sing or play that part.  Few of us reading this will have ever lived in a traditional society, so we can use all of the help we can get to learn to play or sing our part.  A good guide (who could be an astrologer) could help one find her natural wa, can point the way to the path of learning to excel at her part in the Celestial Music, and can warn her of temptations that may lead her to the lower path, or to fuwa.  So, in a large sense, such guidance not only does not negate Free Will, but it helps one to exercise her Free Will.

A good astrologer should be able to predict with reasonable accuracy events on the material plane.  Most people, most of the time, will operate on the horizontal plane of existence.  In other words, we tend to do what comes naturally to us.  With a Nativity Chart, one can also predict with reasonable accuracy the areas of one’s life where she is most open to the guidance of the angels, and where she is more likely to be tempted by her “demons.”  What can not be predicted, though, is whether a person will actually listen to the angel or the devil on her shoulder.  That choice can sometimes be a day by day choice.  This is really what is meant by Free Will.

Here is a concrete example.  One can predict that a person is likely to be quite irritable on a given day.  One can even predict that it would be likely she would have a fight with her spouse.  If she is aware of the celestial influence, she might be wise enough to go to bed early or go out to the gym to work off her excess martial energy.  If she is unaware, or does not manage to avoid the conflict, and a conflict ensues, there are still choices.  She could choose to apologize quickly and reconcile with her spouse, she could keep the fight going for days, or she could let the fight escalate to the point of a divorce with her spouse.  One can predict the potential for conflict, but one can not predict the actual choice she (or her spouse) will make in response to it.

Interestingly enough, as I mentioned above, the modern scientific world view in many ways negates this Free Will.  One example of this is the scientific notion that we are merely animals, or that we are on the same level of existence as animals, that our actions and behaviors are governed by chemicals and biology. This would mean that, like animals, we are not able to rise above or fall below than our horizontal, physical existence.*  Another example of a modern theory that seems to deny Free Will is the concept of “infinite universes.”  In this theory, every time anyone makes a choice, a new universe is created.  In the above example of the potential fight with the spouse, each of those choices has been made, with each of these choices creating a different universe.  If you think about this, this would mean that we really do not have choice.  For every choice that we make, an alternate of us has made every other choice possible.  This does not seem consistent with the doctrine of Free Will or with our place as Axial Beings.

If one thinks about it, the traditional doctrine of Free Will does allow for far more freedom than the materialistic notion of being able to “do whatever we want.”  Most of us are limited in many ways, by financial status, by health, by class, by education, by natural ability, by age, or by many other factors, in our means to do “what we want.”  Yet, no matter our circumstances, we can always choose the purely material, our higher angels, or our demons, at any time and at any point in our lives.  No matter how limited our freedom of action is, we always have freedom of choice.

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*Actually animals *can* rise above or fall below their horizontal physical existence as well, but it is rare. An example that has been passed down to this author from a respected teacher is that of a dog. A dog can rise above her horizontal physical existence by performing an act such as saving the life of her owner, or can fall below by going rogue. Still most of the time, a dog is going to just be a dog and will do what comes naturally to her.

The Outer Planets – A Theory

One of the big controversies in astrology is what planets should be included in reading charts.  In particular, what do we do with the planets that have been discovered since the 18th Century, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.  We have already established that these planets are not a part of the Traditional Model of the Cosmos.  One of the difficulties with Modern Astrology is that it abandoned the traditional model of the cosmos and traditional techniques in favor of new “discoveries.”

Traditional Astrology has been gaining ground in the past decade or so, which tries to retrieve and relearn techniques that have been long lost from Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance times.  Current practitioners of the craft of Traditional Astrology are not in agreement as to whether the modern planets should included in chart reading.  Some will argue that the modern planets have no meaning at all; others will argue that they DO have meaning, but that they should not be given rulerships or dignities in the signs of the zodiac.  In my own practice, I will have to say that it took me a while to formulate a theory regarding these planets.  For many years, I did not use then at all, and I hardly missed them.  Yet, when I included them in my readings, I did find that there was an added dimension to the chart by including them.  I did notice that they did not have the higher spiritual meanings ascribed to them by New Age astrologers.  Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto were malefics, pure and simple.

It was only recently, after reading The Feminine Universe, by Miss Alice Lucy Trent that I began to understand a possible new approach to these planets.  The Feminine Universe described three poisons of the Modern Era.  These poisons are atomization, deracination, and deformation.  It is axiomatic and generally agreed by astrologers that give any meaning at all to the modern planets is that their meaning is informed by the social and political conditions taking place when they were “discovered,” and most would agree that they did not have any meaning whatsoever until after their discovery.  If this was the case, then any meaning ascribed to them would have to be unique to the modern world.  As I thought about the meanings ascribed to these planets and compared them with the description of the above mentioned poisons, they fit almost perfectly together.  Below are the definitions of these poisons, as described by The Feminine Universe.

Don't Tread on MeAtomization

This is the force that separates us from one another.  In societies before the Modern Era, people lived most of their lives in community and in family.  One’s identity in the world was based on one’s community and family connections.  People did not make major decisions on their own.  In Modern times, we are very much cut off from each other, even our own families.  People live alone.  We have complicated governmental programs and insurance to help us in cases of emergency, whereas, in the past, one might rely on one’s family and community to care for us.  In many ways, the United States and other democratic nations are founded on atomization, and it is glorified as “rugged individualism.”  Interestingly enough, the meaning ascribed to Uranus is that of individualism, that which makes us separate and different from one another.  Uranus was discovered in 1781, around the time of the American and French Revolutions.

Downtown Chicago

Deracination

Deracination is the force that cuts us off from our roots and from our traditions.  This poison affects us in many different ways, from the way we dress to our manners and our furniture.  We no longer understand or care about our traditions.  Our understanding of our place in the world and in our community becomes confused and unclear.  This very much fits with the meaning ascribed to Neptune, confusion and lack of definition or clarity.  Neptune was discovered in 1846.  Interestingly enough, the Theosophical Society, which had a huge role in separating traditional sciences, such as astrology, from their roots, was founded in 1875.  In the last half century, deracination has become quite rampant and is most noticeable in the deterioration of our clothing choices and our manners since the mid-1960’s in the West.

PlutoDeformation

The last, and probably most destructive of these three poisons is the poison of Deformation.  This poison is one of inversion, an intentional creation of dark and disturbing images.  One can hardly watch television or consume any modern media without encountering rampant deformation.  The meaning ascribed to Pluto is of death and destruction, a fitting meaning to a planet named with the name of the Lord of the Underworld.  Pluto was discovered in 1930, the time period in between the World Wars, and right before World War II.  It is about 30 years later that Western civilization began a rampant deterioration that the Feminine Universe describes as the Eclipse.  

Now, if the Traditional Planets represent the Higher Cosmological Spheres, it is not hard to extrapolate that the three Outer Planets represent Lower Spheres, or the Outer Darkness, referred to in the Christian tradition.  Interestingly enough, these planets may have very well been known about in Ancient times.  Certainly, Uranus was.  Our Ancient forebears knew enough not to intentionally invoke these planets, however.

In my own astrological practice, I have begun to look to these planets from the viewpoint of places where a Native is most vulnerable to the poisons of atomization, deracination and deformation.  In so doing, I have found that this reading has given me far greater accuracy than any other reading of these planets that I have ever tried.