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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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!
13 thoughts on “The Outer Planets: the Pseudomythos of “Higher Octaves” and “Transcendence””
In practice “spiritual but not religious” usually actually means “psychic but not spiritual” – said by people who have no idea of the distinction between the psychic and the Spiritual and assume anything not physical is “spiritual”.
That is precisely the underlying fallacy behind the pseudomythos you so expertly dissect here, honored Miss Hildotter. The Planetary Principles are reflections of the Divine, or truly Spiritual, but the thinking at work behind the “higher octave” notion is that of merely psychic entities expanding ever outward in a vague parody of the biological theory of evolutionism.
The whole point of evolutionism in its biological sense is that it is a theory in which life develops “accidentally” on the purely horizontal (physical) plane with no vertical (or Spiritual) prototypes. That is why it is called a pseudomythos – a creation-story that is tethered to the material plane.
The “higher octave” theory projects the same thing onto the psychic plane with planetary principles developing outward in “octaves” on the psychic plane rather than reflecting their Spiritual prototypes.
Interestingly while the use of the term “evolution” may seem an abuse of the biological theory it is not really. The biological pseudomythos is essentially a dogma that deprives biological life of its Spiritual prototype. The astrological pseudomythos is really the exact same dogma projected onto the psychic plane.
The difference is, that while in theory the astrological pseudomythos, like the biological pseudomythos, is “horizontal” – denying the Divine or Spiritual “superior roots” of things, in practice, it invokes inferior forces and thus is truly tamasic reaching below the horizontal physical plane into the chaotic realms of inferior psychism. As such it may rightly be called post-modern astrology.
To be more precise, Mars benefits from the MOISTURE of the night, for it is excessively dry, not excessively hot. Dryness separates. When there is too much dryness, things break apart, so much so that things that are in fact together become totally disparate from each other.
We can see this in civil wars, wars in general, racism, and the widespread over-emphasis on individualism we see today.
I see your point, honored Larxene-san, and it is well taken. I do think that Mars can be seen as excessively hot, as well as excessively dry, though.
With respect to rulerships, in my own practice, I tend to see Mars as stronger in Scorpio than Aries, because in Aries, Mars tends to act quickly, too quickly, and loses energy just as quickly. In Scorpio, Mars is slower to act and has much more stamina. When describing these rulerships, I often explain that Mars in Aries is the Warrior and Mars in Scorpio is the Martial Artist. This seems more related to the heat of Mars, not her dryness.
I think that there is also support for this in the Dorothean triplicities (which are the ones that I use), as Mars is the participating triplicity ruler for Earth (also dry, but cold), as well as being the night triplicity ruler of Water.
This all being said, I think that this is one area, like many in astrology, where there are different schools of thought, and I think that this is something that need not be reconciled by debate. Your position is certainly arguable.
I think, though, that we can agree that it is Mars that rules Scorpio, *not* Pluto!
We should also consider that Aries is a hot sign, while Scorpio is a cold sign, so when Mars is in Aries, his dryness and hotness TENDS towards excessiveness. Important to emphasise the “tends”, as Mars is still dignified by domicile in Aries, and so being in a comfortable position, he will become more benefic. Recall, that under the humoural theory of the Greeks, benefic means having temperance while malefic means being excessive and imbalanced.
So there are + and – factors everywhere that we have to consider.
There are two kinds of debate. First is the kind that seeks to promote one’s self interest. The second, and the one I’m trying to engage in, is to elucidate the truth.
That which provides us with light also blinds. The solution, is temperance.
Thank you for your comment. As I said before, I really do think that both positions can be supported with traditional authority.
Of course, I presupposed the second type of debate; however, I really do not think that this is a matter of Truth (capital T, Truth), but a rather minor astrological point. I think that both ways of looking at it are genuinely valid, depending on one’s perspective.
In the Sermon of the Apple Seed (the Sutra that I use for guidance in these matters) it states:
Seek not for certainty in any thing beyond the seed of Truth. 30. That the sky is above you and the earth below; that you breathe and eat and move – to these and to many things must you give your assent that the life of the world may proceed. 31. Yet even of these there is no certainty, for the world is but a dream from which you must some day awaken. 32. Within the world you may be certain only of that Truth which my Mother has given from beyond the world.
I honestly believe that this is one of these matters that falls within the things we can not be certain of.
Honored Larxene-san writes:
There are two kinds of debate. First is the kind that seeks to promote one’s self interest. The second, and the one I’m trying to engage in, is to elucidate the truth.
That is absolutely correct. The second kind of debate is the only kind any civilized person should even consider engaging in. However we should also consider that a matter that has been under discussion for centuries with serious traditional minds on both sides is possibly not going to be settled in one blog comment-column.
My knowledge of astrology is very limited, but I understand that the sign of Scorpio has both a lower and higher aspect, the latter being symbolized by the eagle. The four fixed signs, with the symbol of the eagle, appear in the traditional symbol of the tetramorph from Ezekiel, in turn associated with the four Evangelists. I suspect the “transcendent” association of Pluto derives by this association with the ascribed rulership of Scorpio.
That could be, Mr. Philemon, and you are absolutely right about Scorpio’s higher and lower aspects, with the eagle being the higher aspect. The symbol of the four fixed signs is in many places in the Judeo-Christian written tradition, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Revelations, as well as the four Evangelists.
I do not know if the “transcendent” association of Pluto comes from that. I believe that the associations with the Outers originally came from the Theosophic Society and spread through Modern Astrology.
I think the use of the Outers in interpretation is a subject of legitimate disagreement and debate among modern practitioners of Classical/Traditional Astrology. On the other hand, I think that one of the few areas of agreement between Classical/Traditional Astrologers, and one of the practical distinctions between Classical/Traditional Astrology and Modern Astrology is that Classical/Traditional Astrology retains the tradition rulerships for the signs and does NOT use the Outers in that capacity.
In considering the traditional order of the planets, as presented by Prof. Clark in the article you link to above, I notice that the planets inside the Earth’s orbit to the right of the Sun, in the column of Mercy, have even numbers in the days of the week, while the planets outside the Earth’s orbit to the left, in the column of Severity, have odd numbers. I also note that odd numbers are traditionally considered masculine and even numbers feminine. In arranging the planets in the traditional order, the order of the days of the week form a seven-pointed star. This pattern depends on having odd numbers on the left and even numbers on the right, with the number one representing the Sun at the top.
It’s also interesting that the Sun, Moon and Saturn, the Filianic greater Janyati Sai Raya, Sai Chandra and Sai Rhave,, form the three corners of the pattern, corresponding to 1, 2 and 7.
I will be honest that I do not know that Severity and Mercy extend to the full column on that chart, or just to Mars and Venus in the Egyptian system. In the Filianic system, Sai Rhavë (Saturn) is usually associated with Severity, but Sai Vikhë (Mars) can also be quite severe. Sai Rhavë (Saturn) is considered the Greater Malefic and Sai Vikhë (Mars) the Lesser Malefic. Of course, the Janyati themselves are not truly malefic, but do seem often to act that way on the physical level, particularly Sai Rhavë (Saturn).
Sai Thamë (Jupiter) is generally considered the Greater Benefic, and is not generally associated with Severity (to my knowledge); however, Sai Thamë does govern all social order and harmony. In a patriarchal system, Sai Thamë is associated with justice, but justice seems to add a bit of a Vikhelic overtone to harmony. Sai Sushuri (Venus), who is the Lesser Benefic, is very much associated with Mercy, and in the Filianic system, she has a special relationship with each of the other non-Luminary Janyati. Sai Sushuri’s relationship with Sai Rhavë is Mercy/Severity.
That is an interesting pattern you noticed with the numbers. I would be careful in getting too formulaic with numbers though. There are Janyatic associations with the numbers, or at least rather loose ones. For example, 5 is associated with Sai Sushuri, and 4 is associated with Sai Vikhë.
Recently, I have been a bit cautious of the masculine and feminine associations, and not just because in the Filianic system, all of the Janyati are feminine. In the Classical Western system, the Sun is masculine and the Moon is feminine*; however, that is reversed in some of the older traditions, such as the Japanese system, the Nordic system, and (I think) the Celtic system. For example, in Germany, the tradition is Frau Sunne und Herr Mond.
A more useful distinction, for applied astrology at least, is the day/night distinction. The day planets are the Sun, Jupiter, and Saturn. The night planets are the Moon, Venus, and Mars. Mercury can be either day or night, depending on accidentals, and is considered the mediator between day and night. As I discussed in the above article, Mars and Saturn are placed in the opposite sect (day/night) of their nature because they are considered better when moderated.
I do not know if this answered any questions, or if I have just confused things even further. The system is really quite intricate and complex. This is one of the reasons that trying to add the Outers really destroyed the system. There is an entire system of interpretation based on dignities and debilities that many Modern Astrologers are barely aware of, if they are aware of it at all.
*In the Classical Western system, only the Moon and Venus are feminine. Mercury is androgynous, and the other planets are masculine.
Interesting. In Geomancy, another ancient divinatory art, odd numbers are active (corresponding to masculine), and even numbers are passive (corresponding to feminine).
Dear Miss Hildotter,
Thank you for this clarification and this is most helpful. I am interested in learning more about traditional astrology from the symbolic rather than a practitioner’s standpoint. However the only traditional astrological text I have perused is Lilly’s Introduction.
I always put brackets around masculine/feminine duality, as the relevant distinction in a particular case can generally be seen more clearly in other terms. In this case, I think the duality outer/inner fits (with outer understood in the normal sense as distinct from the trans-Saturnine outer planets). This is clearly marked by orbital position. I thought it interesting how it also aligned with the day count. Of course as you note, day/night or light/dark applies as another form of duality and there’s more than one applicable number scheme.
I associate the columns of Mercy and Severity particularly with the Kaballah. Prof. Clark’s reference was the first time I saw this in an astrological context.
Oh, how interesting about the Kaballah! There really is so much fascinating symbolism, isn’t there?