Mars 火星

Mars is the first planet that can move independently of the Sun, which is integral to her meaning. Mars is the planet that is the most deeply associated with Free Will, or the power to choose between the Light and the Dark. As such, she is heavily enmeshed in materiality. Mars’ influence in manifestation is usually harmful, and she is known as the Lesser Malefic.

The Janya of Mars: Sai Vikhë

durga-mother-godThe Great Angel, or Janya, that governs Mars in the Filianic Tradition is Sai Vikhë. Sai Vikhë is associated with the element of Fire.

In many Traditions, there is a Fall, when our Souls became separated from the Divine. In the Judeo-Christian Tradition, this was when we were driven out of Eden after the disobedience of Adam and Eve. In the Filianic Tradition, it was when the First Maid was tempted by the Snake to call Darkness upon the world in order to experience rest. In a sense, this can be viewed as something bad, but in another sense, manifestation as we know it would be impossible if this did not happen. We could not be Axial Beings without the Fall, because the power to choose is also the power to disobey.

After the Fall, the Great Vikhail, or War between Light and Dark, began. It is deeply embedded in our lives and the way we view the world. For example, conflict is a necessary part of any story. Indeed, a story without at least some conflict would be boring. No one would read a tale in which the protagonist was happy every day and nothing bad ever happened.

A good description of the Great Vikhail is found in Feminine Scripture:

Truly, the world is a field of conflict between the powers of good and the legions of the Dark One. In the cycles of civilizations is the conflict manifest, and in the soul of every maid.

For the servants of the Dark One fasten upon the false self like to the bindweed upon a growing plant. And the radiant Janyati of heaven stand ready to defend the soul when she shall cry upon them.

The Gospel of Our Mother God, Thoughts of the Mind, 25-26

Sai Vikhë is our protector in the Great Vikhail, which always starts within ourselves. Each one of us has a True Self who is turned to the Light, and a False Self who is facing the Dark.  In most cultures, Sai Vikhë is depicted as masculine; however, one very powerful feminine image for Her that has survived into the modern era is Sri Durga in the Vedic Tradition.

Mars and Gender

In the Modern West, Mars is associated with the masculine gender. Does this make Mars masculine? I tend to think not. There are many other things that Mars is associated with, such as the metal iron. This does not make Mars itself iron.

In the Western astrological tradition, as it has been passed down to us, the planets are said to have gender. The Moon and Venus are said to be feminine, Mercury is said to be neuter or androgynous, and the rest of the planets are said to be masculine. There has been some interesting work by the astrologer Charlie Obert that suggests that originally Saturn was feminine.

While I find the research into Saturn fascinating, in practice, I believe that the gender classification of the planets is no longer useful, if it ever was, and it may even be harmful. This classification comes to us through the Hellenistic tradition, which was highly patriarchal. There seems to be a strong impulse towards gender classification in the Indo-European tradition as a whole. For example, most Indo-European languages assign gender to nouns. This has been dropped in the English language, but it is still very much a part of other Indo-European languages such as Spanish, French, and German.

At one time, the gender classification of nouns may have had deep metaphysical meaning, but whatever that may have been, it is lost in the present era. For example, in Germen, a fork is feminine and a maiden is masculine. Mostly, this just serves as a headache for foreign learners of the language.

Warrior WomanIn astrology, by contrast, the meaning of the gender classification of the planets has become so solidified and taken so literally that many people, including experienced astrologers, believe that femininity is defined by and restricted to the Lunar and the Venusian, and that masculinity is defined by the absence of these planetary principles. As both men and women clearly have all the planetary principles, this has morphed into the strange notion in Modern psychology that we all have a masculine side and a feminine side.

As astrology is a language, and like all languages, change and adaption are sometimes necessary. I think that it is perfectly legitimate to use either masculine or feminine imagery and language for all of the planets. There is nothing wrong with using masculine imagery and language for Venus or feminine imagery and language for Mars. On the other hand, I do think that there is a strong tendency to take these classifications literally, and for that reason, it seems best to use one gender or the other for all of the planetary principles. I use feminine imagery out of aesthetic preference and because part of my work is trying to restore the Divine Feminine. On the other hand, when I am working with the chart of a man, I use all masculine imagery.

The Material World and Spirit

sign-of-sai-vikheThere are three symbols contained within all of the glyphs of the traditional planets. These are the Circle of Spirit, the Crescent of Soul, and the Cross of the Material World.

The symbol for Sai Vikhë is the Cross on top of Spirit. The Spirit is burdened by the Material World, but the Cross is turned 45°. This is because it is impossible for the Material World to dominate Spirit.

The glyph for the planet Mars has evolved to the point that the Cross has become a Spear. At this time, near the end of the Iron Age, the Vikhelic principle has become much harder and stronger. It could be that the patriarchal revolution came about because of the overbalanced state of the Vikhelic principle that is a defining feature of this Age.

Astrological Associations of Mars

Sect: Night

Oriental Element: Ka 火 Fire

Rules Scorpio, Night House

Water Scorpio

Rules Aries, Day House

Fire Aries

Exalted in Capricorn

In Detriment in Libra and Taurus

In Fall in Cancer

Nighttime Triplicity Ruler of Water

Participating Triplicity Ruler of Earth

In Joy in the 6th House

Temperament:

Hot and Dry

Day of the Week: Tuesday

Orb: 7° (Moiety 3.5°)

Color: Red

Plants: Nettle, onion, garlic, pepper, ginger, hemlock, chestnut tree

Animals: Tiger, horse, wolf, hawk, vulture, shark, scorpion

Metal: Iron

Stones: Adamant, loadstone, bloodstone, jasper

The Way of the Warrior

Each of the non-luminary Janyati has a spiritual path, which if followed, will lead to the Divine. The Path associated with Sai Vikhë is that of the Warrior. In the modern age, this Path can be seen in the various Martial Arts, all of which teach mastery of self in addition to the skills needed to fight an opponent.

Generational Astrology, Great Conjunctions, and Pluto

After planetary rulerships, one of the biggest divides between Traditional and Modern astrologers is in the area of Generational Astrology. In Modern Astrology, generations are marked by the Outer Planets, particularly Pluto. In Traditional Astrology, generations are marked with the Great Conjunctions, or the conjunctions between Jupiter and Saturn, which occur every 20 years.

To be honest, before I was convinced to use Classical methods, one of my biggest objections was over Generational Astrology. Pluto in Leo really seemed to describe the Baby Boom generation very well, and Pluto in Virgo seemed to describe Gen X, my generation, as well. Yet, when I looked at the chart for my generation from the perspective of the Great Conjunction, the detail was incredible, far richer than what I could glean from just knowning the sign of Pluto at the time of my birth. That is one of the things that convinced me to switch to Traditional/Classical methods in my work.

For several years, I did not use the Outer Planets for anything, but I have come to believe that the Outers do have some impact on us. More precisely, I believe that they can have impact on us. I have formulated a theory that the Outer Planets represent modern poisons. So, given this, it is possible that the Outer Planets do say something about generations, at least in the Modern Era.

generations

What is a Generation Anyway?

In order to discuss generations in astrology, we must first understand what we mean by this term. When I looked up it up on Wikipedia, there seem to be several different definitions. It could mean “all of the people born and living at about the same time, regarded collectively.” Alternatively, it could mean, “the average period, generally considered to be about thirty years, during which children are born and grow up, become adults, and begin to have children of their own.” The term generations can also be used to describe the relationships within individual extended families.

In the 20th and 21st Centuries, generations in the United States were given labels. These labels were used in many ways, but in the present time, they are used heavily for marketing purposes. Businesses want to know how to effectively advertise to each generation. There does not seem to be uniformity as to the actual start and end dates of each generation, but this is a common demarcation:

  • GI Generation – 1901 – 1926
  • Silent Generation – 1927 – 1945
  • Baby Boomers – 1946 – 1964
  • Generation X – 1965 – 1980
  • Millenial Generation – 1981 – 2000
  • Generation Z – after 2001

Jupiter/Saturn Conjunctions

Traditionally, generations were marked by Jupiter/Saturn conjunctions, also known as Great Conjunctions, and they occur approximately every 20 years. Below are the dates and the charts for all of the Great Conjunctions since 1900 to the present. With Great Conjunctions, the chart is specific for each location, and these charts are cast for Chicago, Illinois.

November 28, 1901

Great Conjunction 1901 Chicago

September 9, 1921

Great Conjunction 1921 Chicago

 

August 8, 1940 – Triple Conjunction

The Great Conjunction of 1940 was actually a triple conjuction. August 8 was the first, but the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction repeated on October 20, 1940 and February 15, 1941. Multiple Jupiter/Saturn conjunctions are quite rare. The last multiple conjuction was in 1821, which was a double conjunction in Aries, and the last triple conjuction was in 1682-1683 in Leo.

Great Conjunction 1940 Chicago

February 18, 1961

Great Conjunction 1961 Chicago

December 31, 1980 – Triple Conjunction

This was yet another triple conjunction. The second Jupiter/Saturn conjunction was on March 4, 1981, and the third was on July 24, 1981. It seems significant that there were two triple conjunctions in the 20th Century.

Great Conjunction 1980 Chicago

May 19, 2000

Great Conjunction 2000 Chicago

Analysis

It would take a lot time to delineate each of these charts, but just taking a superficial look, it seems that the dates do not match completely with the generation dates. On the other hand half of them begin during the same year as the Great Conjunctions. It is also interesting to note that the triple conjunction of 1940 corresponds roughly with the “Baby Boomers” and the triple conjunction of 1980 corresponds almost exactly with the “Millenials.”

One of the advantages to using Great Conjunctions is that there is a full chart to delineate, though. Furthermore, it is possible to watch the changes as the Jupiter/Saturn cycle moves through its phases.

Pluto Signs

Now that we have seen the Great Conjunctions, let us compare them to the Pluto ingresses.

Pluto was not discovered until 1930, and even if Pluto does have impact, I do not know that it is really fair to count it before it was discovered. Still, for the sake of comparing dates, I will list them.

Another issue with using Pluto signs is that because of the retrograde cycle, there is usually a period of time in which it would go back and forth between signs. I will list the date of first ingress and the date of the final ingress.

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Gemini

First ingress – July 21, 1882

Final ingress – April 19, 1884

Cancer

First ingress – September 10, 1912

Final ingress – May 26, 1914

**Februrary 18, 1930 – date of Pluto’s discovery**

Leo

First ingress – October 7, 1937

Final ingress – June 14, 1939

Virgo

First ingress – October 20, 1956

Final ingress – June 10, 1958

Libra

First ingress – October 5, 1971

Final ingress – July 30, 1972

Scorpio

First ingress – November 5, 1983

Final ingress – August 28, 1984

Sagittarius

First ingress – January 17, 1995

Final ingress – November 10, 1995

Capricorn

First ingress – January 26, 2008

Final ingress – November 27, 2008

Analysis

While the Great Conjunction dates were not an exact match, the Pluto ingresses are not even close. I think that a review of the dates alone is enough to rule out Pluto as a marker for the generations, even as they are defined at present in the United States.

Further Thoughts

While it is clear that Pluto ingresses do not correspond with the generations as they are defined in the U.S., there is a potential way to use Pluto, if one is so inclined. If one were to view Pluto as in indicator of a modern poison, there is an argument that it does have at least some validity. For example, Pluto in Leo does seem to have relevance to the Baby Boomers in the U.S., growing up in the time of unprecedented affluence, but with constant fear of nuclear attack, to the extent they had “duck and cover” drills at school.

On the other hand, this influence, should one choose to accept it, can be seen in the Great Conjunction chart of 1940. This is a full chart, and Pluto is in Leo in that chart.

Conclusion

In this article, we have looked at the traditional method of measuring generations using Great Conjunctions and the modern method of using Pluto signs. It seems that the evidence overwhelmingly favors the Great Conjunctions. While not exact, the dates of the Great Conjuctions match the non-astrological delineations of the generations better than Pluto ingresses do. This method generates charts that can be studied and analyzed, where as Pluto signs can only give “pop astrology” type descriptions. Finally, any markers that Pluto signs might have can be read into the Great Conjunction charts, if one is so inclined.

Venus 金星

Venus is the planet that rules love of all forms and creation. Astrologically, she is never more than 48° away from the Sun. She can only appear near Sunrise, when she is the Morning Star, or near Sunset, when she is the Evening Star. Her influence in manifestation is usually helpful, and she is known as the Lesser Benefic.

The Janya of Venus: Sai Sushuri

Sai Sushuri dollIn the Filianic Tradition, the Janya, or Great Angel, that governs Venus is Sai Sushuri, and Sai Sushuri is associated with the element of Water.

Sai Sushuri is the Janya of Love. Modern interpretations of historical gods and goddesses associated with Her reduce Her role to merely romantic love or fertility.  Sai Sushuri governs all forms of Love, however. She governs Divine Love, motherly love, and love of friends and family. It can be said that Sai Sushuri is the Warmth of the Sun. Sai Sushuri is also the Janya associated with Creation, and she is responsible for its beauty.  Sai Sushuri’s association with Venus/Aphrodite is well-known, but she is also associated with Sri Mahalakshmi in the Vedic tradition, and Our Lady Mary in all of Her images as Loving Mother.

Feminine Scripture provides a beautiful description of the Divine Love associated with Sai Sushuri and Her role in manifestation:

Love is the soul of harmony by which all existence is made possible.

For perfect existence is of the Spirit, its very nature is Love. The pure soul is in harmony with Dea and with her self and with all things.

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 on a 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 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.

For Light is the essence and Love is the form. And it is by Love that the essence of a tree remains a tree. Else might it as lief become a rushing wind or a forkèd lightning flash.

The Gospel of Our Mother God, The Clew of Love, 1-7

Sai Sushuri’s Pentacle

Sai Sushuri’s symbol is the pentacle. The number 5 can be seen in all of Creation, down to the number of fingers on each of our hands and toes on each of our feet. Sai Sushuri’s pentacle can also be seen in the orbit of her planet, Venus.

Spirit and the Material World

sign-of-sai-sushuri1The glyphs of the traditional planets are made from three symbols, the Circle of Spirit, the Crescent of Soul, and the Cross of the Material World. These glyphs are the same as the glyphs for their Janyati.

In Sai Sushuri’s glyph, the Circle of Spirit, or the connection with the Solar is on top of the cross of the material world. This symbol shows that the material world comes down from pure Spirit, but is still governed by Spirit. This is a gentle symbol reminding us of the Source of our existence.

Astrological Associations of Venus

Sect: Night

Oriental Element: Kin 金 (Gold or Metal)

Rules Taurus, Night House

Earth Taurus

Rules Libra, Day House

Air Libra

Exalted in Pisces

In Detriment in Aries and Scorpio

In Fall in Virgo

Daytime Triplicity Ruler of Earth and Water

In Joy in the 5th House

Temperament:

Oriental (in front of the Sun): Hot and Wet

Occidental (behind the Sun): Cold and Wet

Day of the Week: Friday

Orb: 7° (Moiety 3.5°)

Colors: Green, pink

Plants: Lilies, violets, daffodils, apple trees, thyme

Animals: Deer, panther, goats, sparrows, nightingales, pelican, dolphins

Metal: Copper

Stones: Cornelian, sky-colored sapphire, red and white coral, lapis lazuli

The Way of Love

There is a spiritual path associated with each of the non-Luminary Janyati. Each path is complete in and of itself and if followed fully, will lead to the Divine. That being said, the path associated with Sai Sushuri is one of the two purest, along with the path of Sai Mati. Sai Sushuri’s path is that of kindness and compassion, or the Way of Love. The Way of Light and the Way of Love may seem like separate paths, but they are intertwined. It is said, “Perfect Love is Perfect Knowledge, and Perfect Knowledge is Perfect Love.”

Sleeping Beauty, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, and the Soul’s Search for Spirit

Traditional Fairy Tales are one of the few places in the Modern World where we still have access to Perennial Wisdom. The written versions of these stories are usually chronicles of much older oral folktales, and they are rich with symbolism. Often, the themes of these stories are universal, and there are different versions told in different cultures throughout the world. The tale of Sleeping Beauty is one of these stories. In a previous article, I discussed the symbolism of Saturn in the French version, which was collected by Charles Perrault. In this article, I would like to talk about the main theme of this story, which is the jouney of the Soul to find Spirit. I will also be talking about the same symbolism in the Norwegian version of this tale, East of the Sun and West of the Moon.

Spirit and Soul

The terms, Spirit and Soul, can be confusing to the modern reader. Many people, even experienced astrologers, confuse them. They are quite different, however.

In order to understand these concepts, it is important to realize that on a deep level we are all One. Everything and everyone in the Cosmos springs from the same Source, and on a very deep level, we never left that Source. In the Feminine Scripture, it is written,

If thou wouldst find union with Our Mother, know that thou hast never left Her.

If thou wouldst escape the veil of matter, know that there is no matter and is no veil.

Cry Marya 12-13, Gospel of Our Mother God

lotus-1205631_640

This may be what the monotheistic movement in the Abrahamic tradition was originally trying to convey.  A better description can be found in the Vedic concept of Brahman and the Buddhist doctrine of “No Self.”

This is reflected on a lower level even in the manifest, material Universe. It is thought that everything in existence started with a single particle, smaller than an atom. It is also thought that all of the matter that makes up our physical bodies and the world around us comes from the explosion of stars at the end of their lives. Even Modern Scientists deeply entrenched in Rationalism would say that we are made out of stardust. Of course, none of these Modern Scientific Theories “prove” anything about Fundamental Truth, but all of this does seem rather magical!

The Spirit is the part of us that is still connected with the One. At its Highest Level, the Spirit is still United with the One, but at a lower level, it is the part of the One that lives inside each of us. This is true nature of the Solar Principle in its purest form.

At some point, each of us became separated from the One, or Spirit, and began to experience individuality. We became Souls. Our Souls came from Spirit and they reflect the Light of Spirit, but to a greater or lesser extent, they are also removed from pure Spirit. Most of us who have incarnated into a physical body on the manifest world are trapped on what is known in the Vedic and the Buddhist Traditions as the Wheel of Samsara. Our Souls can be seen in the Lunar Principle.

The story of Sleeping Beauty is the journey of the Soul searching for Spirit.

Sleeping Beauty

In Sleeping Beauty, a King and Queen are childless for a long time, but eventually they have a baby girl. Depending on the version, a certain number of fairies or wise women are invited to her christening. There is one, however, that does not get invited. She comes anyways, and out of anger and spite for not having been invited, she lays a curse on the Princess that she will  prick her finger on a spindle on her sixteenth birthday and die.

One of the fairies/wise women cleverly waits to give her gift until the end. She is not able to completely counteract the curse, but she is able to soften it, so that the Princess will not die, but only sleep for one hundred years. The King outlaws all spindles and orders them destroyed.

Sleeping Beauty curse

The Princess grows up to be beautiful and perfect in every way. In turns out that there was a spindle still around even after the decree of the King. On her sixteenth birthday, the Princess does find the spindle, pricks her finger, and falls into a deep sleep.

The Princess in this story represents Spirit. She is pure and perfect in every way.  Yet, she has fallen prey to a curse. In a sense, so has the Spirit inside of us, by entering the manifest world. Yet, even though the curse was supposed to be death, the Spirit cannot die, but instead falls into a deep sleep. In a sense, that is the condition we find ourselves in this life. In Greek mythology, there is the River of Lethe, or forgetfulness, which we must cross in between lives. The word for Truth in Greek is Aletheia, or Unforgetfulness.

Sleeping Beauty AwakenIn both the German and the French versions, thorns grow up around Sleeping Beauty. A Prince braves the thorns and finds her. In the Disney adaption of the German version, he must battle the evil queen Maleficent as a part of the journey. In the German version, the Prince kisses the Princess and she awakes. In the French version, she wakes up at the appointed time with the Prince present, and there is a second story line of danger afterwards, but ultimately, they are able to be together in peace.

The Prince in this story represents the Soul. Our own Souls are barred from Spirit, which is asleep behind a barrier of thorns. Through his bravery, he is able to reunite with Spirit, and they live happily ever after.

East of the Sun and West of the Moon

There is a Norwegian story with a similar motif as Sleeping Beauty called East of the Sun and West of the Moon. In this version, the genders of the characters are reversed. This gender reversal is of no matter, as Spirit and Soul, or the Solar and the Lunar, are beyond human gender.

The White Bear

In this story, there is a girl who was the youngest daughter of a poor husbandman. She was the most beautiful of all of the children. One day, a White Bear came to their door and asked her father if she could live with him. If she did, the White Bear would make them all as rich as they were then poor. The father said that he must ask his daughter first. At first the girl refused, but then she relented and said she would go for the sake of her family.

On the way to the home of the White Bear, he asked her, “Are you afraid?” Her answer was, “No.”

Journey with Bear

The White Bear lived in a beautiful home, and the girl had everything she could wish for. Every night, however, a man would come and lie down beside her. He would always be gone before daylight, so she never knew who he was.

The Mother’s Advice

After a time, she started to get homesick, and the White Bear said that she could visit her family. Before he did, he gave the girl a warning. He said that her mother would try to give her advice, but that she should not listen to it. If she followed her mother’s advice, it would bring misery on them both.

When she went home, the mother did indeed give her advice. She told her mother about the strange man who visited, and her mother told her that he was probably a troll. She said that the girl should hide a candle in her breast at night, and that she should light it when she was sure the man was asleep so she could see who he was.

When the girl returned to the White Bear, he asked if her mother had given her advice. The girl admitted that her mother had. The White Bear cautioned her again not to follow her mother’s advice.

Mother's Bad AdviceWhen the girl went to bed, just as before, a man came in and lay down next to her. When she was sure that he was asleep, she lit the candle that she had hid in her breast according to her mother’s advice. When she did, she saw the most handsome man she had ever seen. She was so enamored by him that she could not help but kiss him. When she did three tallows from the candled dripped on him and he woke up.

At this time, the man told him that he was under a curse to live as a White Bear during the day and as a man at night for the space of a year. If he could live with a woman for a year without her finding out, he would be free of the curse. Because the girl found out, however, he would have to leave her to go to the land East of the Sun and West of the Moon, and marry an ugly Ogress Princess.

There is some overlap in this story with Beauty and the Beast, in which the Beast is Soul and the Beauty is Spirit; however, in this case, the White Bear does seem to represent Spirit. To begin with, Bears are magical animals with a deep history of being considered Sacred. Also, the girl’s recognition of the True Nature of the White Bear does not save him. Instead, her discovery before the appointed time cemented the curse. The mother’s advice can be seen as the wisdom of the world, which is often counter to the Wisdom of Spirit. The third clue that this is a Sleeping Beauty story is that the girl undertakes a Hero’s Journey to rescue her Prince.

The Hero’s Journey

When the White Bear leaves for the land East of the Sun, West of the Moon, the girl goes to find him, even after being told it was impossible. As in rise stories such as Cinderella, she receives magical help along the way.  You can read the full journey here, but whenever she asks directions, she is asked in return, “Are you afraid?” When she replies that she is not, the helper says that maybe she was the one who should have married the Prince. The helper gives as much help as he/she/it can, and many of them also give her inexplicable gifts in case they can be of use.

Eventually, the girl does find the Prince, who is in the custody of the Ogress Princess. For three nights, the girl barters one of the gifts she received along the way for one night with the Prince. For the first two nights, he is asleep and does not waken. Before the third night, however, he is told about the girl, and he realizes that he has been drugged. He does not eat or drink anything given to him, so on the third night, he is awake when the girl comes.

East of the Sun Happy Ending

The Prince assures the girl that he will work things out, and he devises a test that the Ogress Princess and her mother will fail, but that the girl will pass. When this happens, as in Sleeping Beauty, they marry and “live happily ever after.” The Soul has journeyed to find Spirit, which has led to Liberation and Enlightenment.

Essentialist Astrology, Defining My Practice

In the last several years, I have been working towards developing a philosophical basis for my astrology practice and refining my methodology accordingly. It has been clear to me for some time that I need to forge my own path in astrology rather than follow an already established one. It seems like it is time now to give that path a name and define my philosophy and methods.

milky-way-1030765_640

The Problem

I have been defining my practice as “astrology using Classical Western methods, grounded in the Divine Feminine.” I have come to think that there are a number of problems with this description, however. To start off with, it seems to be a bit too long and complicated. Also, given the present common usage of many of these terms, it can be a bit misleading.

With the internet and YouTube, many more people are exposed to astrology and the different branches and schools of thought in astrology than ever before. This being the case, how an astrologer labels herself or does not label herself brings with it certain expectations. For example, it seems that using the term astrologer with no other label or explanation tends to create the expectation of either Modern Psychological Astrology or a mixture of philosophies and methods. Classical/Traditional Astrology also creates a set of expections that I believe no longer fits what I do.

More problematic I think is the use of the term Divine Feminine with respect to the astrology I practice. While this is absolutely true, it may give the impression that my practice is limited to those who share my religious beliefs, in the same way as if I defined myself as a Christian, Jewish, or Buddhist Astrologer would. An even bigger difficulty is that there are several astrologers currently using the term Divine Feminine and associating this term with asteroids and the like. Also, as far as I can tell, all of them accept without question the association of the feminine with the nocturnal signs and the Divine Feminine as limited to the Lunar and Venusian principles. It is tempting to enter the fray in that discussion more than I already have, but it seems easier to just use different language to define what I do.

I had not intended to define a potential new branch of astrology,  but as I would say in Japanese, しょうがありません, shou ga arimasen (“it can’t be helped.”)

So, in that light, I have chosen the name Essentialist Astrology for the type of astrology I do. I think that this description is accurate. Also, from what I can tell, no one else is using it, so it does not come with any predefined expectations. I imagine that things will unfold as time goes on, but as of now, here is a prelimary definition of Essentialist Astrology.

Essentialist Astrology Defined

Below are what seem to be the basic tenets and assumptions of Essentialist Astrology.

The Traditional Model of the Cosmos

First and foremost, Essentialist Astrology asserts that the Traditional Model of the Cosmos is as valid now as it was in Ancient times. The scientific “discoveries” over the past several centuries do not call it into question, nor could they. Everything in the sensible Universe is a part of Earth, or the Sublunary Sphere, in this Model. All of the other spheres are above and outside of the material world that we can observe, measure, or extrapolate by reason. A fuller explanation of this can be found in the first chapter of The Feminine Universe, “The Image of the Cosmos.”

View on Tradition

Essentialist Astrology is rooted in the Western Astrological Tradition. It is an outgrowth of the modern practice of Traditional/Classical Astrology.  It gives the highest authority to techniques and principles that have survived through the ages to the presest day. Older traditions are given great respect, with the caveat that the older a tradition is, the less likely it is that we understand it properly. Essentialist Astrology does not reject post-Enlightenment innovations outright, but treats them with a high degree of skepticism.

That being said, in Essentialist Astrology, it is perfectly acceptable to adapt the Tradition to the Modern World, with the understanding that adaptation is different than innovation. It is also acceptable to reject apparent Patriarchal redactions to deeper astrological traditions.

The Janyati

The planets are not lifeless bodies orbiting about the Sun, but are representatives of Divine Intelligences. These Divine Intelligences have been seen as gods or angels in many cultures throughout time, and they continue to act in the Cosmos. In the West, the planets are named for the Greco-Roman gods and goddesses associated with these Intelligences; however, the Greco-Roman gods and goddesses are no longer worshipped by any culture today. Furthermore, the mythology associated with these gods and goddesses portrays them with human faults and shortcomings, and so, in this day and age, they create a barrier to our understanding of the High and Divine nature of these Intelligences.

Thus, it is necessary to use different names for the Divine Intelligences, and Essentialist Astrology calls them the Janyati, or Great Angels. The associations of the Janyati are as follows:

Sai Raya – The Sun

Sai Candre – The Moon

Sai Mati – Mercury

Sai Sushuri – Venus

Sai Vikhë – Mars

Sai Thamë – Jupiter

Sai Rhavë – Saturn

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Gender

Essentialist Astrology is feminine positive and rejects Patriarchal models of the Cosmos and society. Despite common belief, this is not a new or Modern way of thinking. Such ideas can be found as early in the Patriarchal Age as Plato’s Republic, and it is more likely than not that the earliest Cosmological and societal models were feminine.

On a practical level, this means that Essentialist Astrology rejects the division of the Janyati and their planets into genders. The Janyati themselves are beyond gender; however, they are usually depicted as feminine. This is because it is hard for humans to understand or image them as Intelligences without gender. Due to the nature of the world we live in, often when gender is undefined, images tend to default to the masculine. Thus, feminine images for the Janyati are more appropriate.

Also, as the currently accepted gender division of the signs seems to be a Patriarchal redaction of an earlier tradition and is redundant with the day/night division, it is rejected by Essentialist Astrology.

Living Archetypes

Essentialist Astrology treats the Zodiacal signs as the 12 main human Living Archetypes. Living Archetypes are not to be confused with the Jungian conception of archetypes as parts of the human psyche.  Living Archetypes are instead Perfect Forms created in the mind of the Divine Creator, and they are outside of and beyond human consciousness.

Conclusion

Over the past several years, my practice has unfolded along a path that is different from the current branches of astrology. As such, it seems appropriate to give this path the name, Essentialist Astrology. In this article, I have outlined some of its preliminary tenets. I am not sure how this will unfold, but this article is the first step in this journey.

Evolutionary Astrology, Thoughts and Musings

Evolutionary Astrology is a relatively new branch of astrology. This branch seems to claim to be able to trace the soul’s journey from incarnation to incarnation, and to determine what a soul is trying to accomplish in this lifetime. This branch also claims to be an astrology about freedom and choice. As a caveat to this article, I have not studied Evolutionary Astrology in depth. My knowledge is based on the introductory materials that can be found on the internet. For this reason, I might be misunderstanding key concepts. My musings are from the perspective of an outside observer only.

Even though I use mostly Classical Western methods, there are things I do find interesting about Evolutionary Astrology, and in many ways, I want to like it. One of the main schools in this branch is led by Steven Forrest. When I was studying astrology in my teens, Steven Forrest’s books, The Inner Sky and The Changing Sky, were some of the mainstays of my self-education. I really like his approach to astrology and his gentle wisdom and humor.

I also like the use of astrology as a tool to aid one’s spiritual journey in this life. I disagree with the methodology of Evolutionary Astrology to the extent that I understand it, but I largely agree with many (but not all) of the core perceptions as outlined on Steven Forrest’s site. While I do really want to like it, there are some things I just can not get past.

Stairway

Is Evolutionary Astrology Just Another Astrological Language?

Before I continue, there is the question of whether Evolutionary Astrology is simply a new astrological language. If that is the case, as a non-speaker of that language, I really do not have any business commenting at all. It is tempting to go that route. After all, it seems best when we can all just get along.

I think, though, that Evolutionary Astrology really is more than just a different language. By its very nature, it is not just talking about the physical world or people’s inner psychological workings. It is talking about the soul and matters that touch upon Fundamental Truth.

One of the other main founders of Evolutionary Astrology, Jeff Wolf Green, says that he received the basic tenets of this branch from a dream. This is an example of revealed knowledge, further evidence that we are looking at claims concerning Fundamental Truth. This means that this is not just a new astrological language, but a philosophy, and perhaps a religion.

I accept as a given that as beings in an unEnlightened state, our ability to understand Fundamental Truth is limited. Different religions tell different narratives to describe Truth, but none of these narratives are Truth itself. This does not mean that knowledge of these matters is merely a matter of perception and opinion, though. When looking at matters of Fundamental Truth, there are ideas that are in error. Thus, I am examining the philosophy behind Evolutionary Astrology, as I understand it, from a Traditional perspective.

The Name, Evolutionary Astrology

The first difficulty I have is the name itself. From a Traditional perspective, the direction of manifestation is decline, not progress. The word, evolution, means moving away from the Center. The main philosophy behind Evolutionary Astrology is that our souls incarnate from lifetime to lifetime, and that the birthchart can tell the “evolutionary condition” at the state of birth.

I do believe in reincarnation, or transmigration of souls, but my belief is closer to the Vedic and Buddhist traditions, in which this transmigration is part of the Wheel of Samsara. The ultimate goal of our souls is not to “evolve” on this wheel, but to escape it. Now, of course, it could be that the name of this branch of astrology does not really encompass a belief that our souls are progressing through evolution, but merely addresses why we are still on the Wheel of Samsara. I do not know enough about it to be sure. On the other hand, the Vedic tradition of astrology, which does address matters of Samsara, has been around a long time and is deeply rooted in an unbroken line between guru and student. Is a modern, Western branch of astrology that does the same thing necessary?  That is really a question, by the way. I do not know the answer.

Pluto

pluto-2677026_640My biggest fundamental difficulty with Evolutionary Astrology comes from the heavy use of the dwarf planet, Pluto. Evolutionary Astrology claims that the sign and house position of Pluto is fundamental to understanding the soul’s purpose in this life.

This claim is going beyond saying the Pluto has impact on our lives, which I think is possible. It is even going beyond giving Pluto rulership of the sign, Scorpio, which I think is false and a disruption of the entire system. This seems to be going so far as to elevate Pluto above the level of the Traditional planets on a spiritual level.  Indeed, one of the current schools of Evolutionary Astrology is called “The Pluto School.”

This elevation is not just a matter of technique by which reasonable astrologers might disagree. This is stating something about the nature of Fundamental Truth, and as such, needs to be carefully examined. I have come to see Pluto as representative of the poison of deformation or inversion of right and wrong, so this elevation of Pluto seems particularly troublesome to me.

Another difficulty is that Pluto was not discovered until 1930. Does that mean that we did not have access to information about the state of our souls until that time? This, more than anything, would seem to be to be a fatal flaw in the system.

On the other hand, according to Platonic and Eastern Traditions, we are currently in the late Iron Age, or Kali Yuga. This is the end of a larger cycle, and our souls could very well be using this lifetime to clean up old werde or karma before the next Golden Age begins. As such, we may need to deal with unsavory elements from our past lives, I do not know. If that were the case, perhaps we did not need to look at Plutonian issues until recently.

Still, from what I have seen, Evolutionary Astrology goes into areas of much complexity, and I wonder how useful and necessary this really is. Indeed, my own feeling is that being in the late Iron Age is all the more reason not to delve into such deep and dark complex matters.

In my own spiritual tradition, we are taught to turn away from these sorts of complexities as much as we can. In the Cry Marya, from the Gospel of Our Mother God, it is written, “All the complexities of the world are but the turnings of a labyrinth, and at the centre is the fiery rose-heart of our Mother, burning with perfect love.” We are taught that in this late Age, all that is required of us is to turn to Our Mother like humble, small children. We are assured that She will make up for any deficiencies in our devotion.

Tangled Tree

Fate and Free Will

Another difficulty I have with Evolutionary Astrology is what seems to me a rather extreme position on the question of fate and free will. One of the core perceptions of Evolutionary Astrology as outlined on Steven Forrest’s site is: “An acceptance of the fact that human beings are responsible for the realities they experience, both internally and externally.”

I am a strong believer in Free Will, and I have a lot of difficulty with Traditional/Classical Astrologers who take a mechanical and fatalistic approach to our craft. On the other hand, I do not believe that Free Will necessarily means the freedom of agency with respect to our material existence. If that were the case, it would seem to lead to some rather harsh results.

For example, what about children who are born into horribly abusive households or into extreme poverty? Are they responsible for their plight? In some traditions, including the Vedic one, the answer might be yes, because of misdeeds from a previous life. In the Buddhist tradition, all of life is suffering, and these situations just represent more obvious forms.

The problem of human suffering is particularly difficult for monotheistic faiths. Indeed, there is the old monotheistic paradox that if God were all-powerful, God can not be good, and if God were good, God can not be all-powerful. The issue of suffering is directly addressed in the Judeo-Christian written tradition in the Book of Job. There is also the famous question in the Christian tradition from the Gospel According to John, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” John 9:2 NRSV

In the Filianic tradition, suffering is part of the necessary imperfection of manifestation, and it is beyond our power to fully comprehend from an unEnlightened state. We do not always have freedom of action or agency on the material plane. We do, however, have absolute Free Will in whether to turn to the Light or to the Dark, regardless of our material circumstances. This may or may not change anything in the physical world, but our choices will have a direct and clear impact on our souls.

On a material level, there are areas we have choice and areas we do not. I think it unnecessarily harsh to say that we are responsible for everything we experience.

The Moon’s Nodes

In Evolutionary Astrology, the Moon’s Nodes represent the life path of the native. The South Node represents where we are coming from and the North Node represents where we are going.

In Classical/Traditional Astrology, there is no consensus as to the meaning of the Nodes. In Vedic Astrology, the Nodes are the Head and Tail of the Dragon, Rahu and Ketu, respectively. Both are considered malefic.

In my own practice, I have not seen an appreciable difference between the North and South Nodes, and I tend to view both as malefic. They are the places that eclipses form. I see eclipses as waves of darkness over the world soul. I do believe they have a karmic influence, but not necessarily on the level of individual souls. I think they represent collective karma, and the place they touch our charts is where our individual souls connect with or are impacted by the world soul. I think this is particularly true for those born during or whose charts progress into eclipse seasons. This is not a Traditional approach, but one that I developed in my own experience and practice.

Conclusion

There are things that I like about Evolutionary Astrology, in particular, the practice of using astrology to assist with the development of the soul. It seems to be a popular branch of astrology in this day and age, and I can see how it can be helpful to people. On the other hand, I find some of the techniques and practices problematic, especially the elevation of Pluto and what seems to be an extreme position on the question of Fate and Free Will. These techniques and practices raise important issues with respect to the philosophy of astrology and delve into matters that relate to Fundamental Truth.

Mercury 水星

Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, and from an astrological perspective, she is never more than 27° away from the Sun. Indeed, in some traditions, Mercury is known as the Little Sun. Mercury governs intelligence and communication of all forms. Mercury is the only planet that is equally at home during the day and at night.

The Janya of Mercury: Sai Mati

Sai Mati dollIn the Filianic Tradition, the Janya, or Great Angel, that is associated with Mercury is Sai Mati, and Sai Mati is associated with the element of Air.

Sai Mati is the Janya of Intelligence, and at her highest level, she is one with Solar Intellect. It can be said that Sai Mati is the Light of the Sun. The Moon mediates this Intelligence to us, where it becomes the lesser human capacity for reason. Sai Mati is associated with Sophia in the Judeo-Christian tradition, Athene in the Hellenistic tradition in her capacity as the Goddess of Wisdom, Sri Saraswati in the Vedic tradition, and Our Lady Mary in her capacity as Sedes Sapientiae, or the Seat of Wisdom.

Sai Mati is the source of inspiration and genius. In Modern Astrology, human genius is sometimes assigned to the planet Uranus, but this usurps the place that Sai Mati has always held, by whatever name she has been assigned throughout the ages.  There is an interesting story about Uranus and Sai Mati’s planet, Mercury. The orbits of both of these planets were a little off by Newtonian physics. The anomalies in their orbits were mysteries to 19th Century scientists.

The mystery surrounding Uranus was solved first. Apparently the eccentric orbit could be accounted for if there was another planet beyond Uranus tugging on it. Using the anomalies in Uranus’ orbit and Newtonian physics, the planet Neptune was discovered in 1846. Shortly after that, in 1859, anomalies to Mercury’s orbit were also found.  Scientists thought that they would solve this mystery in the same way by finding another planet closer to the Sun than Mercury. Indeed, there were those who thought they saw another planet, and they named this planet, Vulcan.

It turned out that Vulcan did not really exist. It was Albert Einstein who eventually solved this mystery, by proposing the theory of general relativity! Indeed, Mercury’s anomalous orbit is in part what induced him to come up with this theory. While the details of this are beyond my level of understanding of astrophysics, apparently Mercury is so close to the Sun that the ordinary Newtonian laws of gravity do not work very well. This story is a digression to be sure, but it seems appropriate somehow.

Mercury Retrograde

It seems that no other astrological event strikes as much terror in people in the modern world as a Mercury retrograde does. People who know nothing about astrology except for their Sun Sign get nervous about Mercury retrogrades.

Because the Sun is the center of our Solar System, when we observe the movements of the planets from Earth, with the exception of the Sun and the Moon, all of them go retrograde, or backwards, from time to time. Astrologically, when a planet is retrograde, she is debilitated, and she does not work as well. As Mercury rules communication, when she is retrograde, matters related to communication are impaired. This can cause problems in offices like lost paperwork, computer malfunctions, and general annoyances of that nature.

Honestly, I do not think that Mercury retrogrades are nearly as bad as they are made out to be. Other astrological events such as eclipses and eclipse seasons seem far more chaotic to me. The most important thing to remember during Mercury retrogrades is to take extra care and double and triple check your work, particularly if it involves paperwork or other forms of communication.

Spirit, Soul, and the Material World

The glyphs of the traditional planets are made from three symbols, the Circle of Spirit, the Crescent of Soul, and the Cross of the Material World. These glyphs are the same as the glyphs for their Janyati. Sai Mati is the only planetary Janya whose symbol contains all three elements.

Mercury Glyph

In Sai Mati’s glyph, the Circle of Spirit, or the connection with the Solar is resting on top of the cross of the material world. The Crescent of Soul is resting on top of the Circle, but it is lying on its side, passive. This represents the Lunar capacity as it is subordinate to and reflective of the Solar. In Sai Mati, we have the perfect configuration of Spirit, Soul, and the Material World forged together to bring us Wisdom.

On a lighter note, a friend of mine with some knowledge of astrology says that she always remembers the glyph for Mercury because it has a thinking cap. That is a wonderful way to remember as well.

Astrological Associations of Mercury

Sect: Both Day and Night

Oriental Element: Mizu 水 (Water)

Rules Gemini, Day House

Air Gemini

Rules Virgo, Night House

Earth Virgo

Exalted in Virgo

In Detriment in Sagittarius and Pisces

In Fall in Pisces

Nighttime Triplicity Ruler of Air

In Joy in the 1st House

Temperament:

Oriental (in front of the Sun): Hot and Dry

Occidental (behind the Sun): Hot and Wet

Day of the Week: Wednesday

Orb: 7° (Moiety 3.5°)

Colors: Yellow (saffron), bluish grey

Plants: Beans, plants that bear their seed in husks or pods, three leaved grasses, walnut and walnut tree

Animals: Hyenas, apes, foxes, squirrels, weasels, spiders, parrots, swallows, and bees

Metal: Mercury

Stones: Millstone, fire-stone, topaz, and all stones of diverse color

The Way of Light

There is a spiritual path associated with each of the non-Luminary Janyati. Each path is complete in and of itself and if followed fully, will lead to the Divine. That being said, the path associated with Sai Mati is one of the two purest. Sai Mati’s path is that of study and contemplation, or the Way of Light.