The Sun お日さま

Even though the Moon is the most important planet for our day to day lives, the Sun is the most important planet for our very existence. All warmth, light, and energy springs forth from the Sun. While the Sun temporarily yields power to the Moon at night, she is the dominant Luminary for those born during the day.

The Janya of the Sun: Sai Raya

Sai Raya dollIn the Filianic Tradition, the Janya, or Great Angel, that is associated with the Sun is Sai Raya. As I discussed in the article about the Moon, in this Tradition, Sai Raya, the Janya of the Sun, Sai Candre, and Sai Rhavë, the Janya of Saturn are associated with the Feminine Trinity, respectively, the Mother, the Daughter, and the Dark Mother. The other four Janyati are associated with the material elements.

In the Filianic Creation Mythos, the Mistress of All Things created the world because She had “no solid place that Her feet might rest upon.” The Mythos of God the Mother, 1:2, Authorised Version, The Gospel of our Mother God. She created a golden world of laughter and delight, and of the creation of Maid, it is written,

And at the edges, where the waters had been parted, they lay still and shallow; and there She cast Her gaze. And She saw an image of Herself, all suffused in the light of live and energy. And she laughed. And as She laughed, the image rose up from the water and stood before Her. And this was the first of Her daughters. And she was filled with love for Her, and therefore was the first creature of Spirit.

The Mythos of God the Mother 1:9-10.

Our Mother’s Love

In the Filianic Tradition, the Mother is All Loving and All Forgiving. After we were tricked into turning from Her, she rescued us from the trickery and destruction brought about by the Snake. When Her Daughter descended to the Nether Regions to bring light to the places in the world and in our souls where the Mother’s Light could not reach, She broke through the Gates of Hell to rescue Her Daughter, and in doing so all of the demons and those trapped in the Nether Regions were freed to return to the Light.

One of my favorite sutras in the Gospel of Our Mother God describes this love:

Take heart, My children, take joy and courage in our Mother.

For She that created you also loves you, even to the end of the age.

Take heart, though you have turned from Her.

For She has not forsaken you, neither are Her eyes filled with anger.

And Her hands that shattered the gates of Hell shall not harm you; that have broken Hell’s foundation shall be lain on you in gentleness.

Therefore hide not yourself from Her, and put aside the tangled weeds of thought that strive each with the other.

For of all things, love is the simplest.

On Our Mother’s Love.

The Sun and Spirit

In the Filianic Creation mythos as quoted above, humans were created as a reflection of Our Mother and as the first creature of Spirit. The Spirit is the part of us that is One with the Mother and with all of creation. It is common in the Filianic tradition for people to greet and depart saying “rayati” in honor of the Sun within each person. The glyphs for each of the Traditional planets is a combination of one or more of three symbols, the Circle of Spirit, the Crescent of Soul, and the Cross of the Material World. The glyph for the Sun is a circle proceeding from a single point, and thus represents our connection with the Source. I find it interesting that the Chinese character for the Sun, 日, is the same symbol in a rectangular form.

Solar GlyphThe Sun in the sky is a microcosm of the Supernal Sun, as is every hearth fire and the Heart in every person. Our true Heart is of course not the same as our physical heart, but the Sun is associated with the physical heart as well.

In astrology, it is often thought that the Sun represents our ego and our individuality, but this is not entirely accurate. The twelve signs of the zodiac represent the twelve major Archetypes of humans. The Sun in our charts represent the nature of our Spirit, or the part of us that sprang from our Mother in pure archetypal form. So, the Sun represents who we are at the deepest level. This is why Sun Sign descriptions work to a certain extent even though our souls are far more complicated than Sun Sign Astrology allows for. At some level, the Sun Sign will always shine through, even for those born at night, even for those whose Sun is hidden in the deepest recesses of their charts.

Pride and ego are representatives of the False Sun. Instead of allowing the pure archetype to flow from our Spirit, we start to believe that this archetype is our smaller individual self and we glorify our individual self.  By doing so, we become separated from our Source, and ironically, we become unable to truly shine, because “the little sphere is severed from the great.” The Sermon of the Apple Seed. A good mediation to help with pride and ego is from the Canticle of the Mother,

Of mine own self I can accomplish nothing;

Only so far as Thou art acting through me;

How dull my soul is, like the ashes of a fire;

Yet pierced through with Thine eternal rays,

Is she not radiant as the noonday sun?

 

Astrological Associations of the Sun

Sect: Day

Rules Leo

Fire Leo

Exalted in Aries

In Detriment in Aquarius

In Fall in Libra

Daytime Triplicity Ruler of Fire

Temperament:

Spring – Hot and Wet

Summer – Hot and Dry

Autumn – Cold and Dry

Winter – Cold and Wet

Day of the Week: Sunday

Orb: 17° (Moiety 8.5°)

Colors: Orange, gold, white, red

Plants: Roses; all plants with a pleasant smell and good savor, particularly those with yellow or reddish flowers; saffron; ginger; cinnamon; barley; marigold; rosemary; orange and apple trees

Animals: Lions; horses; bulls; goats; starfish; eagles; peacocks; swans

Metal: Gold

Stones: Hyacinth; chrysolite; adamant; rubies

Solar Intellect

In the article about the Moon, I discussed how Lunar Reason and Lunar “Intuition” are different than our Solar Intellect. So what is our Solar Intellect? As I discussed in the previous article, all of the planetary powers spring from the Sun, including our Intelligence or Consciousness. The Solar Intellect is the part of us, each one of us, that knows and can recognize Truth. We can recognize it as the part of us that sings inside when we hear Truth and that cringes when we hear falsehood.

In the modern world, we are taught to distrust our Inner Light by both the worldview proposed by those who promote modern science and by those who teach a literalistic and rigid approach to religion, particularly in the Abrahamic faiths. This has caused much turmoil in the world. While these two approaches appear to be at odds with one another, and indeed, there is often bitter conflict between them, they really are two sides of the same coin.

The Solar Intellect can also be clouded by those who practice various forms of “New Age” spirituality. While the rationalists of science and the literalists of religion focus solely on the material, sublunary world of flux and change, “New Age” spirituality tends to focus heavily on the Lunar and the Lunary Sphere. A wise friend of mine often says, “those who say that they are ‘spiritual, but not religious’ are usually psychic, not spiritual.”

I believe that there is One Truth; however, that Truth is beyond our ability to express in human language. As in the famous quote from the Tao Te Ching, “The Tao that can be spoken is not the True Tao.” Religion, science, and spiritual practice are our attempts to explain and touch the Truth within our human limitations, so they can speak to Truth, but they can not be Truth. In a similar vein, the word philosophy means “the love of Wisdom,” because a person can not be taught Wisdom itself. Even so, there is a part of all of us that can recognize Truth, and that is our Solar Intellect.

The Moon お月さま

The Moon is by far the most important planet with respect to our day to day lives. She is the closest planet to Earth, and she governs all of our everyday affairs. She is a Luminary in her own right and is second in power only to the Sun. She is the dominant Luminary for those born at night.

The Janya of the Moon: Sai Candre

Sai Candre dollIn the Filianic Tradition, the Janya, or Great Angel, that is associated with the Moon is Sai Candre. In this Tradition, Sai Raya, the Janya of the Sun, Sai Candre, and Sai Rhavë, the Janya of Saturn are associated with the Feminine Trinity, respectively, the Mother, the Daughter, and the Dark Mother. The other four Janyati are associated with the material elements.

In the Filianic Creation Mythos, after the Fall and the separation of the world into the seven colors and Day and Night, we were no longer able to look upon the brightness of the Mother, so She gave birth to a Daughter “that was not separate from Her, but one with Her, and the child of Her Light.” The Mythos of God the Daughter 1:6, Authorised Version, The Gospel of Our Mother God. When the Daughter was fully grown,

…the Mother of All Things took Her to a high place upon the earth, saying: To You I give the governance of all of these things. You shall command the movements of the waters, and the wind shall be Your servant. The seasons of the earth shall you control, and all the times and seasons in the lives of My creatures. Every soul on earth and in the heavens shall be given into Your care, and the highest stars of the firmament shall know You as their Sovereign. For all of these things must be put from Me; for they can no longer look upon My brightness.

The Mythos of God the Daughter 3:1-5.

In the Filianic Tradition, it is the Daughter that is close to us and governs everything on Earth.

The Moon and Motherhood

The Moon is associated with motherhood and with mothers. While Sai Candre is associated with the Daughter in the Filianic Trinity, that association is with respect to the Solar Mother. As we are not able to look upon the Solar Mother, it is the Daughter that fulfills the role of the Mother for us on Earth. When we become mothers or mother figures, ideally, at least to a certain extent, we allow the Archetype of the Mother to flow through us, and this is a Divine Function.

The Lunary Sphere

In the Traditional Model of the Cosmos, the Lunary Sphere is the closest to the earthly or sublunary sphere, and is the realm of dreams and images. Of the Heavenly Spheres, this is the one that has the most direct impact on our material existence. I believe that this is how our thoughts impact our world. Our thoughts and the images we see all become a part of the Lunary Sphere, which then impacts the sublunary sphere, where we live. In the Feminine Scripture, it is written,

Thoughts of the mind pass not away, nor vanish into air.

For every thought is a builder in the subtle world that lies about you.

Thoughts of beauty and things of the Spirit refine and purify the soul, making her fair to look upon and graceful in her movements,

Uniting her with the universal music of eternity and gathering about her the servants of the Janyati.

But harsh thoughts harden the soul; coarse thoughts coarsen the soul; thoughts bound only to the tings of clay burden the soul with heavy chains.

My children, I speak not in pictures, for truly these things are; and to be seen by all whose eyes may pierce the veil of illusion.

The Moon: Body and Soul

In popular astrology, it is said that the Sun represents our individuality, and from a mundane perspective it might look that way, but I think that this a misunderstanding of the true nature of the Solar. It is the Moon that represents our individual souls. The glyphs for each of the Traditional planets is a combination of one or more of three symbols, the Circle of Spirit, the Crescent of Soul, and the Cross of the Material World. The glyph for the Moon is a double crescent, and thus represents the soul in its pure form.

Lunar GlyphThe Moon also governs our physical bodies as they are the earthly houses for our souls. In Chinese characters, which are known as kanji in Japanese, many of the kanji for body parts contain the radical, or part, which represents the Moon, 月. Some examples are 胸, mune, chest, お腹, onaka, stomach, 背中, senaka, back, and 心臓, shinzou, the physical organ of the heart.

Astrological Associations of the Moon

Sect: Night

Rules Cancer

Water Cancer

Exalted in Taurus

In Detriment in Capricorn

In Fall in Scorpio

Nighttime Triplicity Ruler of Earth

Participating Triplicity Ruler of Water

Temperament:

New – Hot and Wet

1st Quarter – Hot and Dry

Full – Cold and Dry

3rd Quarter – Cold and Wet

Day of the Week: Monday

Orb: 12° (Moiety 6°)

Colors: White; violet; silver

Plants: Lettuce; cabbage; poppy; all trees or herbs with round, shady, great spreading leaves; mandrake; melon; onion

Animals: All animals that live in the water, such as frogs, otters, snails; weasels; all sea fowl, such as ducks and geese; owls; tortoises

Metal: Silver

Stones: Selenite, moonstone, all soft stones; crystals

Lunar Reason and Intuition

Both the Sun and the Moon are Luminaries, and thus subsume all of the planetary powers, not just their own. The Sun is a reflection of the Supernal Sun, or the Creatrix, and thus all of the other planetary powers spring forth from Her. The Moon is the mediator between the Sun and the Earth, and thus is the mediator of all of the other planetary powers as well.

While Sai Mati (the Janya of Mercury) is Pure Intellect, which springs forth from the Solar Intellect, this is mediated to us through Lunar Reason. It is through Lunar Reason that we are able to sense and understand the material world. One of the fallacies of the so-called Enlightenment has been to elevate Reason above all else, which is elevating Lunar over Solar. Reason is good and important, but her proper role is that of servant rather than mistress.

Most Modern astrologers and astrological texts associate the Moon with intuition, but in Modern English, the word intuition is used in many different ways, which leads to a great deal of confusion. Pure Intuition, or tuition from within, is a function of our Solar Hearts and of Pure Intelligence, which is the Intelligence at the Center of all of Creation. At a very deep level, all of us can recognize the Truth in our Hearts. Yet, in the material world in the Late Iron Age, there is much that separates us from our Heart and from the Truth. Ideally, we would have a living Tradition to lead us to back to our True Heart and to the Truth, but that has largely been lost in the Modern West.

Just as the Moon mediates all other Solar Functions, the Moon also mediates our ability to connect with our Solar Intellect. At its highest level, this is the nature of Lunar intuition, and this can be used to help us navigate through the remnants of Tradition that are left to us in this day and age. The term is also used, however, for the faculties to sense subtle forces outside of the five senses as well as to sense the Lunary Sphere just above ours. As with Lunar Reason, these faculties are useful, but just as with Lunar Reason, it is best to use them cautiously and humbly, and as our servant, not our mistress.

Asteroids, Lilith, Eris and the Divine Feminine

In working with the Divine Feminine in astrology, many astrologers make use of bodies and points outside of the Traditional planets, such as Eris, Asteroids, or Lilith. I find this practice rather problematic on philosophical grounds, not just as an astrologer, but as a Filianist and devotee of Dea.

I can fully understand feeling the need to find more support for feminine expression within the framework of Western astrology. In the current system, the feminine is treated as synonymous with nocturnal, and in planetary expression is limited to the Moon and Venus.  Furthermore, in modern patriarchal culture, the feminine associations for the Lunar and Venusian principles are devalued and tend to be considered solely in their relation to men. The Lunar principle is often seen as only representing the Mother role, specifically as the Mother of sons, and the Venusian principle is considered as representing the erotic. The Venusian concern for beauty is ridiculed and considered superficial by those who consider themselves feminists, and is viewed solely as a way to attract boyfriends and husbands. Is it any wonder that those seeking the Divine Feminine would seek to look outside this system?

While I do understand why astrologers would look outside the system, I think that this practice concedes too much, and it leads to difficult symbolic and philosophical places.

Asteroids

Asteroids are bodies in the solar system too small to be considered planets. Most of them are found between Mars and Jupiter. Many of the larger asteroids are named for female deities, such as Vesta, Ceres, Juno, and Pallas Athena. Ceres is the largest, and she has been recently promoted to the new classification, dwarf planet. There are many theories for how asteroids formed. A common recent theory is that Jupiter prevented these bodies from coalescing into a planet.  This theory is interesting philosophically in that it seems very much in line with the Patriarchal Revolution.

From what I can tell, most of the associations for these asteroids are positive and affirming; however, all of these associations can be found within the traditional 7 planets, without the need to search for them floating in the asteroid belt.

asteroids

Vesta

The asteroid Vesta is said to be the significator of the hearth fire and our center. However, it is the Sun that is the true hearth fire. Every hearth fire in every home is a microcosm of the Supernal Sun. Our center or our True Heart is a microcosm of the Supernal Sun as well.

Ceres

Ceres is large enough that she is now considered a dwarf planet, and her name is the Romanization of the Greek deity, Demeter. The story of Demeter and her daughter Persephone is one of the great Myths of the death and resurrection of God or Dea. This Mythos is shown in the Wheel of the Year and astrologically in the rhythm of the Solar/Lunar cycle, or the phases of the Moon.

Juno

Juno is seen to represent matters related to love, marriage and commitment. Juno, or Hera in the Greek pantheon, is one of the many female deities that has been named “Queen of Heaven.” She had responsibility for the heavens, the earth, the seasons and the weather. These associations are far too important to be relegated to an asteroid, and they rightly belong to the Moon and Venus.

Pallas Athena

Pallas Athena is said to represent matters of wisdom, intellect, creativity, and skill. The goddess for whom she is named was seen as agent of civilization in Greece. Yet, all of these associations are part of Mercury. Mercury represents Intellect on all levels. Even in the current Western system, Mercury is considered feminine as well as masculine.

As I have said, all of the traits that have been assigned to these asteroids are nice, but they all belong to the Seven Traditional Planets. I consider it a much better, and more empowering, practice to look for the Divine Feminine in the Seven Traditional Planets than in small bodies between Mars and Jupiter that may have been prevented from forming a planet by Jupiter.

Lilith

The qualities that have been assigned to the above four asteroids are positive, and my only issue with them is that I believe they belong to the Seven Traditional planets, not to asteroids. Lilith is an entirely different matter.

The folklore surrounding Lilith is dark and gruesome. In this folklore, she was Adam’s first wife before the creation of Eve. She was supposedly cast aside for failure to submit to Adam and then turned to a demon that killed children.

adam and eveThe story of Lilith does not appear to be true Mythos but a part of Midrash in the Judaic Tradition. Midrash are stories used to provide backstories or explain contradictory information in the official cannon. It seems that the Midrash concerning Lilith was used to resolve the apparent discrepancy between the two Creation narratives. The first Creation narrative says:

So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Genesis 1:27 NRSV.

This seems to imply that men and women were created at the same time. In the second Creation narrative, Eve was created second from Adam’s rib. According to Midrash, Lilith was Adam’s first wife, and Eve was created after Lilith was cast aside.

There are feminists who have taken Lilith as an empowering symbol, but I think that is unnecessary and dangerous. Whether the demon Lilith exists or not, the symbols we use and imagine have real consequences. They become a part of our Image Sphere.

In astrology, there is an asteroid named Lilith, and Lilith is also used for a point that is called the Black Moon, which is the lunar apogee, or the point where the Moon is the furthest from Earth.

For me, if such an awful signifactor does exist as Lilith would represent, I think it would be best to stay far, far away from it. I certainly would not embrace it as a source of empowerment.

Eris

Eris was discovered on January 5, 2005, and is a little larger than Pluto. This created a great deal of controversy, and eventually led to a new classification known as dwarf planet. Pluto was demoted and the asteroid Ceres was promoted. Since that time, two other bodies have been added to this classification. The mythology surrounding the name Eris is unsavory in a manner similar to Lilith. She is the goddess of discord, and in some stories gave birth to demons such as Algos (pain and sorrow) and Dysnomia (lawlessness).

There are astrologers who are using Eris to represent the Female Warrior.  However, just as I would never embrace Lilith, I have no desire to embrace Eris. Mars is the Warrior and can represent Warriors of either gender.

Summary

In an effort to discover the Divine Feminine and find astrologically empowering symbols, astrologers have turned to asteroids, dwarf planets, and the apogee of the Moon. While the asteroids’ symbols are mostly benign, they are redundant with the associations found in the Traditional 7 Planets. The symbolism surrounding Lilith, either the asteroid or the Moon’s apogee, is dark and frightening and best avoided, and the same can be said for the dwarf planet, Eris.

I think that the Divine Feminine can be found within the regular Tradition and within the Seven Traditional Planets, not just in the Moon and Venus. I see no need to cede the realm of Tradition to patriarchy, and I think it is safer and more empowering to reclaim Tradition than it is look for sources outside of Tradition.

Sleeping Beauty and the Three Faces of Saturn

Like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty is an iconic fairy tale. In the Aarne-Thompson-Uther Classification of Folk Tales, Sleeping Beauty stories are given the classification number 410 and there are at least twenty-two of them throughout the world. I found the French version, which was collected by Charles Perrault, of particular interest.

Saturn, the One Not Invited

In the Perrault version of Sleeping Beauty, seven fairies were invited to the christening of a long awaited princess so that they could give her gifts. As an astrologer, whenever I see the number seven in a story, I immediately look for symbolism with respect to the seven traditional planetary powers. Each of these fairies were given place settings of pure gold, set with diamonds and rubies.

There was also one old fairy who was not invited. According to this version of the story, “She had not left her tower for fifty years, and people believed that she was dead or under a spell.” This description is a classic representation of the planetary power of Saturn. In the material realm, Saturn is the Greater Malefic, and represents the passage of time, as well as isolation, death, and difficulties or curses. Saturn is rarely invited, yet comes into our lives whether we want her or not. While the King made her a place at the table, he did not have a gold place setting for her, and she was insulted.

sleeping beauty christening

When it came time to give the little princess her gifts, one of the fairies held back, suspecting that the older fairy would attempt some mischief. The rest of the fairies gave their gifts.

The youngest gave her the gift that she would be the most beautiful person in the world, the second that she would have the mind like an angel, the third that all of her actions would be admirable, the fourth that she would dance perfectly, the fifth that she would sing like a nightingale, and the sixth, that she would play every musical instrument to perfection.

I believe that the traditional planetary powers are the seven main aspects of the Divine, and that as microcosms of the Divine, humans as Axial Beings have reflections of these powers within ourselves.  I also believe that humans have Free Will, and thus, we can express these powers in an ordinary material fashion, and in their highest and lowest forms. I also believe that each human has a True and a False Self, and that we can manifest True and False versions of all of the planetary powers.

The gifts of the six fairies represent the highest or True versions of their respective planetary powers. Some of the gifts are quite clear. The “mind like an angel” is the gift from Mercury, the ability to “play every musical instrument to perfection” is the gift from Jupiter, and certainty “that all of her actions would be admirable” is the gift from Mars. The other three are a little less clear, however, I would say that the ability to “sing like a nightingale” is the gift from Venus, the ability to “dance perfectly” is the gift from the Moon, and that “she would be the most beautiful person in the world” is the gift from the Sun.

sleeping beauty spindle

Then it was the old fairy’s turn, and she “declared that the Princess would prick her hand on a spindle and die.” After that the fairy in hiding said,

Do not worry, King and Queen, that your daughter shall die: it is true that I do not have enough power to undo entirely what my elder has done. The Princess will prick her hand on a spindle; but instead of dying, she shall only fall into a deep sleep that will last one hundred years. In the end, a king’s son will awaken her.

This is the Saturn principle at its highest. In the material world, Saturn is indeed a malefic. Because we are mortal, in a sense, every life is a tragedy. Suffering and death are always with us. Yet, I believe that there is a higher reality, and True Saturn is the gift of transcendence and Enlightenment. Rather than dying, the princess will sleep and be awakened into a new and better reality.

The Ogress

In the next part of the story, the princess does succumb to the curse and sleeps for a hundred years, and a king’s son does undertake a bold adventure to find her. This represents the Soul’s search for the Spirit, and I may write about this at a later date. In the Perrault version, however, the waking of the princess is not the end of the story. There is a second part.

sleeping-beauty_ogressIn the second part of this version, the prince and the princess must marry in secret, because the prince’s mother was “descended from ogres” and seemed to have an appetite for children. They live together in secret for more than two years and have two children together, a daughter named Aurora, meaning “Dawn,” and a son named Jour, meaning “Day.”

After two years, the prince’s father dies, and he becomes the king. At this point, he discloses his marriage and his children. As the king, he is obliged to go to war, and he leaves his country and his family in the care of his mother.

His mother takes this opportunity to order that the children one by one and then the king’s wife be cooked and served to her with a mustard sauce. Rather than complying with this horrid order, the head waiter hides the children and the wife away and served the ogress other meat telling her that it was the children and the wife.  The ogress discovers the deception and attempts to kill them herself in a huge vat filled with toads, vipers, snakes, and serpents. The King returned just in time to see what was happening, and the ogress was so enraged that she threw herself in the vat and “was devoured in a moment by the loathsome creatures she had put there.” After that, the “King could not help but be grieved, since she was his mother, but it was not long until his beautiful wife and children brought him all the comfort he needed.

I think that the ogress mother in this part of the story signifies the third face of Saturn, or False Saturn. The old, uninvited fairy represented ordinary, material Saturn, or death, loss, and hardship. The ogress was intentionally cruel and vicious. In this version, after finding the princess, the prince turned king must fight one more battle before coming into his power and having a happy ending. This battle is against his False Self at its worst, False Saturn. Even though he knew about his mother’s potential for cruelty, he negligently leaves his family and his country in her care as he goes off to war. The False Self only has the power we give it. With the help of a kind soul in the form of the head waiter, his family is spared until he returns. False Saturn destroys herself when recognized for who she is, and they all live happily ever after.

A Feminine Sun? Gender and the Planets

In the current system of Western Astrology, the planets are assigned gender. The Moon and Venus are feminine, Mercury is both masculine and feminine, and the Sun and the rest of the planets are masculine. As with the case of the gender assignment of the elements, the gender assignment of the planets has a long pedigree, and is rarely, if ever, questioned.

Where did these gender assignments come from?

AmaterasuWhile many historical cultures assigned gods and goddesses to the planets, the gender of the planetary deities is far from uniform. The Norse Sun deity, Sunna or Sol, was feminine, as is the Sun deity in Japan, Amaterasu. In the German language, it is still common to refer to the luminaries as Frau Sunne and Herr Mond. In the Vedic tradition, all of the planetary deities are masculine.

The gender of the planets in the Modern Western system has been passed down to us in the seminal ancient astrological textbook, the Tetrobiblios and seems to be derived from the gender of the corresponding god or goddess in the Greco-Roman pantheon.

A Problematic System

I think that this planetary gender assignment is problematic in terms of its influence on popular culture with respect to ideas and beliefs about femininity, and about masculinity, for that matter. I do not think it adds much, if anything, to astrology on a practical level.

One of the first things that one notices is that the planetary gender assignments are not even. There are 4 masculine planets, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, with only 2 feminine planets, the Moon and Venus.  Furthermore, the dominant luminary is assigned to the masculine gender and the subordinate luminary to the feminine gender. This is clearly a system heavily influenced by patriarchy, which is understandable, as Greco-Roman culture was highly patriarchal.

I think that there is an even deeper problem, however, in that it codifies very rigid gender roles that are present to this very day. Not even ardent feminists question the gender assignment of the luminaries. Instead, many of them seem to try to elevate the Moon over the Sun, which is a much greater upset to astrology and metaphysics.

The truth of the matter is that all people, regardless of gender, have all of the seven traditional planets in their chart and in their psyche. There is no way to tell a person’s gender from her Nativity Chart. An astrologer may argue that the planetary gender is mere symbolism and that the symbolism does not apply to actual human gender. Perhaps that may be the perception of an experienced astrologer, but the symbolism most certainly influences lay perception of human gender, and I sincerely doubt that even experienced astrologers are immune.

20180518_173853The current system limits the feminine to the Moon and Venus. Even though Mercury is both masculine and feminine, popular imagery almost always uses a masculine form for Mercury. By the same token, this separates the Lunar and the Venusian from the masculine. One may say that everyone has both masculine and feminine parts, and this is sometimes taken as a truism in modern psychology. I do not believe this to be the case, however, and if there is any truth to it, I do not think it applies to the planets in our charts.

In all of the years that I have practiced astrology and studied my own Nativity Chart, I have never seen any of the planets in my chart as masculine, not even my Mars in Aries. When I personify my Arian Mars, I think of her as Helga the Viking. I do not think that when I am interpreting the chart of a man that his Moon or Venus represent his supposed feminine parts. I think that a man will express his Moon and Venus in a masculine manner, just as I express my Mars in Aries in a feminine manner.

A Proposed Solution

I am a Traditionalist, and for the most part, I believe that traditions, particularly long established ones, should be preserved. On the other hand, I do believe that it is sometimes necessary to adapt traditions to the Modern Age, and that it is often advisable to adapt traditions that are clearly rooted in patriarchy.

As a Filianist, I use feminine language and imagery for God or Dea, and I also use feminine language and imagery for the Janyati, the great angels or Divine Sources behind the Planetary Principles. This is because Filianists do not see the Janyati as separate from Dea, but as the seven main aspects of Her. I would imagine that this is the reason that the planetary deities in the Vedic tradition are all masculine. In the same way, the Judeo-Christian traditions assign each of the planets a masculine Archangel.

I think that planetary powers are actually beyond human gender, the luminaries in particular. I think that the physical planets are as well. One of the difficulties is that English has no neuter pronoun for humans or for Divine powers, so without gender, it is hard not to see the planets as remote or mechanical. For this reason, I think it makes sense to use all feminine language and imagery or all masculine language and imagery. This emphasizes the full range of planetary expression to both genders.

There are times in which it becomes necessary to differentiate genders in a chart, particularly in horary (question) charts. In those cases, I believe that it is appropriate to use Mars for the male gender and Venus for the female one. I do not agree with this use for the Sun and the Moon. I think that the Solar and Lunar Principles are too high to use for human gender. I do agree with the use of the Moon for the mother when it is appropriate. I think that the mother role, which may sometimes be performed by a man, is a reflection of a High Divine Archetype, and thus may be represented by a luminary. I think that the father role of guide and disciplinarian, which may be performed by a woman, is adequately represented by Saturn.

While I see the Divine Principles behind the planets as feminine, when working with Nativity Charts, I tend to view all of the planets as the gender of the native, unless I am looking specifically at a issue that relates to gender. I really think that this makes the most sense overall. It allows me to personify the planets and give them life, while at the same time it avoids creating confusing or limiting perceptions about gender on an internal or external level.

As Different as Night and Day

The most fundamental division in cosmology is the division between Day and Night. The division between Day and Night is so important that it tends to be one of the first, if not the first, division in Creation Mythos.

Judeo-Christian written tradition begins as follows:

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light;” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Genesis 1:1-5, New Revised Standard Version

Deanic/Filianic tradition tells the story of the Snake who “had not been shaped by [the Mother], and that was not Her daughter, nor a creature of Spirit.” The Snake “hated all the things that had become.”  The Snake tempted the first Daughters of Creation saying:

First of the daughters of creation, you have lived for a time that cannot be counted, and have run for all that time in the footsteps of the Mother, and have never taken rest among the things that are.  Only embrace me and you shall have that rest.

The tradition tells how the Daughters of Creation were enticed by the Snake and asked the Mother to darken the world so that they might rest.  While the Daughters of Creation were resting, the Snake attempted to destroy creation in a Great Flood.  The Mistress of All Things rescued Creation; however, manifestation was permanently changed as a result.

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

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

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.  But I shall keep watch in the heavens by night, and there shall be silver light that there may never be complete darkness.  By this shall I govern the movements of the waters, that the earth may never again be flooded.  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.

The Mythos of God the Mother, The Gospel of Our Mother God.

vlcsnap-2016-05-06-00h32m41s851The division between Day and Night is the most fundamental division in manifestation, and in Classical Astrology, there are many calculations that are different during the day and during the night. The division between Day and Night is hierarchical, with Day being superior to Night. In the Deanic/Filianic tradition the golden light that is “too bright for [our] eyes” governs the Day, and the silver light that we “may look upon” governs the Night. According to the Judeo-Christian written tradition, “God made two great lights – the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night, to separate the light from the darkness.”

In Classical Astrology, in addition to the Sun belonging to the Day and the Moon belonging to the Night, Jupiter and Saturn, the Greater Benefic and the Greater Malefic, belong to the Day, and Venus and Mars, the Lesser Benefic and the Lesser Malefic, belong to the Night.

Day

The Day is bright and lively and golden. The Sun is the Ruler and Luminary of the Day.  The Day is the Realm of the Spirit.   Fundamental to the concept of Sect (Day/Night) is the temperamental quality of heat.  The Day is Hot, which means that activity is sped up during the Day.  The day is when most of us engage in the primary activity of our life. This is when we go to work, go to school, or take part in what we see as our role or our life purpose. The day is when the Queen is on parade. It is busy, exciting, wonderful and important; on the other hand, most other activities are suspended during this time. For people who were born during the day, the primary focus of their life is their “day job,” and their dominant Luminary is the Sun.

vlcsnap-2016-01-17-00h49m26s454Night

The Night is soft and quiet and gentle. The Moon is the Ruler and Luminary of the Night.  The Night is the Realm of the Soul.  While the Day is Hot, the Night is Cold.  Activity slows during the Night. During the night, the primary activities of the day slow down so that we can engage in the other aspects of our lives, such as eating, sleeping, spending time with those we love, and engaging in leisure activities.  For people born during the Night, the primary focus of their lives is not on their “day job,” but upon the other aspects of life, and their dominant Luminary is the Moon.

Gender and the Division Between Day and Night

For quite a long time, astrology has taught that Day is masculine and Night is feminine. This is belief is so deeply ingrained that most people would likely accept this as a truism, whether or not they “believe in astrology.” For reasons I discuss in this article, despite the longevity and stability of this association, I believe it to be dubious.

In the Modern West, discussion concerning gender is tricky and debates about gender are often heated and painful. There are those that believe that gender is strictly biological and qualities of masculinity and femininity are merely “social constructs.” I believe this line of thought to be dubious as well.

My view is in the middle of these extremes. I do believe that masculinity and femininity are real metaphysical principles, and that the differences between masculinity and femininity rise beyond the merely physical or societal. On the other hand, I do not believe that this division rises to the level of the fundamental division between Day and Night. I believe that it is a real, but lower level, metaphysical division.

Masculine Earth and a Feminine Sky: Challenging Assumptions about Gender and the Elements

Starting with the most basic Sun Sign books for non-astrologers, we learn that some signs are considered “masculine” and some signs are considered “feminine.” If we later decide to study astrology, the most basic astrology textbooks teach that signs of the elements Air and Fire are “masculine” and signs of the elements Earth and Water are “feminine.” This idea is so pervasive that even people who know nothing about astrology and would swear that they thought astrology was a silly superstition would likely assume that Earth was feminine.

Through many changes and disagreements in astrology, this basic concept has remained remarkably stable for over 2,000 years. So stable that few people would think to challenge it, even those who would otherwise consider themselves ardent feminists. Those who do challenge it generally suggest doing away with the entire system of gender with respect to the zodiac.

Ma'atI believe in Tradition, and in most cases, I would say that such stability in a concept over time is strong evidence for its validity. In this case, however, I believe that this concept must be challenged, because it is one of the bases for the belief that the masculine is superior to the feminine. In the current system, the active day signs are assigned to the masucline, and the passive night signs are assigned to the feminine. Furthermore, Air is the Element of the intellectual and priestly caste, and so this concept can and has been used to exclude women from this caste.

While I understand the temptation to remove gender from the entire system of classification of the zodiac, I think that in one sense this goes too far, and in another, it does not go far enough.

Most of Western Astrology has been transmitted to us through the Greeks. Western Astrology is believed to have originated in Egypt and Chaldea, which is likely the case; however, the system we use was originally recorded and systematized by Greek cosmologists. The Hellenistic influence is so strong that it has even found its way into Vedic astrology.

Greek culture was severely patriarchal, even for its time.  In Athens, women were excluded from all intellectual discourse and were restricted to the home unless they were accompanied by their husband or other male relative. It stands to reason that their cosmology would also be severely patriarchal.

I am about to enter into a rather technical discussion; however, I believe that this matter is important to everyone, not just astrologers. On my astrology blog, there is an article explaining the humors, temperament, and their relationship to the elements, which may be helpful to read before continuing if you are not an astrologer. For the purposes of this discussion, however, the most important thing to know is that the signs are classified along two axes: hot and cold, and wet and dry. I explained in the above article that:

The hot/cold axis relates to both literal heat and to activity level. Hot is fast, busy, and active; cold is slow-moving and calm. The wet/dry axis is a little more abstract. This axis relates to boundaries and distinctions. Moisture blends and softens boundaries and distinctions; dryness hardens them. Without wet there would be no growth; without dry there would be no form.

The elements are also divided into four elements, Air, Fire, Earth, and Water. Air is Hot and Wet, Fire is Hot and Dry, Earth is Cold and Dry, and Water is Cold and Wet. The Hot elements of Air and Fire are day signs, and the Cold elements of Earth and Water are the night signs. The signs alternate between hot and cold around the zodiac, as per this diagram.

Elements and Gender Chart

The Tetrabiblios, by Claudius Ptolemy, is arguably the most important Ancient textbook on Western Astrology. In the Tetrabiblios, the classification of signs and gender is explained as follows:

…they assigned six of the signs to the masculine and diurnal and an equal number to the feminine and nocturnal. An alternating order was assigned to them because day is always yoked to night and close to it, and female to male. Now as Aries is taken as the starting point…and as the male likewise rules and holds first place, since also the active is always superior to the passive in power, the signs of Aries and Libra were thought to be masculine and diurnal,…

After this, Ptolemy continues to describe at least three other systems for dividing masculine and feminine signs, but all of them assume that masculine and diurnal are equivalent and that feminine and nocturnal are equivalent.

Now why does Ptolemy make that assumption?

In the section concerning diurnal and nocturnal planets, he writes:

…the two most obvious intervals of those which make up time, the day is the more masculine because of its heat and active force, and night more feminine because of its moisture and gift of rest…

This passage does not seem to make much sense. The opposite of heat is not moisture, it is cold. Heat and moisture are on separate axes. Also, the night is not moist, the night is cold. The only part of night that is moist is the period between midnight and sunrise, the part of night between sunset and midnight is dry.

To further add to the confusion, in another section, Ptolemy says:

…because two of the four humours are fertile and active, the hot and the moist (for all things are brought together and increased by them), and two are destructive and passive, the dry and the cold, through which all things, again are separated and destroyed,….

What a minute? Here moist is “fertile and active,” yet in the first passage moisture is associated with the “gift of rest.”

I believe that these inconsistencies may be explained by an earlier alteration in the tradition, and the reason for this alteration can be inferred from second passage. The hot and the moist correspond to the element of Air, and the dry and the cold correspond to the element of Earth.  I believe that the original division between masculine and feminine was along the dry and moist axis, not the hot and cold one.

In the section concerning masculine and feminine planets, Ptolemy states,

…there are two primary kinds of natures, male and females, and the forces already mentioned that of the moist is especially feminine….

This would mean that the feminine elements would be the moist ones, Air and Water, and of course, the dry one, Fire and Earth, would be masculine. Yet, Air was considered the highest element, and the element associated with the intellectual classes, from which women were forceably excluded.

Further evidence for the assocation of moisture for feminine and dryness for masculine can be seen in the Egyptian pantheon in which there were several male and female god pairs with the male god associated with dryness and the female god associated with moisture.

Technical Considerations

This is all well and good on a theoretical level; however, astrology is a craft. How would this impact the craft of astrology? Would this change the entire system?

Actually, I think it would improve the craft and make it more useful and harmonious.

To begin with, it would reflect what are arguably the real differences between the feminine and and the masculine, at least with respect to human beings. The association of masculine with active and feminine with passive is dubious at best. Women have always worked as hard, if not harder, than men. Even to this day, when women are in the workforce, they often still have responsibility for the maintenance of the home and are still often the primary caretakers for children. Also, if women were truly passive, there would not have been the need for all of the social and legal restrictions to keep them subservient. Even with all of the restrictions, throughout history, women have found ways to gain power and triumph over patriarchy, even if they have been quiet ways.

On the other hand, when one looks at the actual differences between women and men, they do seem to be along the wet/dry division. Women’s bodies tend to be softer and plumper than those of men. Babies grow in the body of women, and moisture is necessary for growth. All other things being equal, men tend to be more analytical and women tend to be better at making connections. While men tend to be physically stronger, women tend to be more flexible. All of these differences are consistent with a wet/dry division.

What about the neat symmetry of alternating masculine and feminine that Ptolemy described above, and that is shown in the diagram below?

Elements and Gender Chart - Hot and Cold

This may not be of much concern to Modern Astrologers, but it is a very important concern to Traditional/Classical Astrologers. A symmetrical system is consistent with an orderly and harmonious cosmos, and this is essential to why astrology “works” from a Traditional or Classical perspective.

I believe that this system is actually more symmetrical than the current one, not less. Here is a diagram of a gender classification along the wet/dry axis:

Elements and Gender Chart - Wet and Dry

In the first diagram, the gender classification is redundant with the classification between day and night. It does not add anything to the system. Indeed, the hot/cold axis is given two distinct groupings, and the wet/dry axis has none.

Furthermore, in the first diagram, even though signs next to each other have different genders, the signs opposite and across from each other have the same gender. The adage that “opposites attract” holds true in astrology, and signs opposite each other in the zodiac form equal and opposite pairs. Signs next to each other do not and are said to be unable to “see” each other. It is much more harmonious to the overall system for opposite pairs to be of opposite gender that it is for them to be the same gender.

With respect to individual signs:

Libra

This change would make Libra feminine rather than masculine. Libra as a masculine sign always felt counter-intuitive to me. Libra is the sign of the hostess and the diplomat. Libra is motivated by beauty and balance. The most common fault of Libra is indecisiveness. All of these seem to be stereotypical traits of the feminine.

Aquarius

Aquarius, the Water Bearer, would also be feminine. It is true that Aquarius is generally depicted as a young man pouring water, and there are Greek and Egyptian myths that support the masculine association with the constellation. That being said, there is nothing inherently masculine about symbol of a water bearer. On the contrary, one could argue that this symbol is inherently feminine.

Actually, in one Greek myth, the constellation of Aquarius is occupied by one of Zeus’ favorites, Ganymede. Ganymede incurred the wrath of Zeus’ wife, Hera. Hera was jealous of Ganymede in part because of Zeus’ attention and affections for him, but also in part because he usurped the place of her daughter, Hebe, the goddess of youth. To me, this myth seems strangely fitting to the topic of this article.

Taurus and Virgo

This change would make Virgo the Virgin masculine rather than feminine. Admitted, this is counter-intuitive. On the other hand, Taurus the Bull would become masculine rather than feminine.

Summary

In this article, I have proposed an alteration to the present system of gender classification with respect to the signs. I have argued that the current classification along the hot/cold axis is likely a patriarchal alteration to justify subjugation of the feminine and to bar women from the priestly and intellectual classes. I have also argued that it is likely the original classification was along the wet/dry axis, and that this classification would be consistent with real differences between the feminine and the masculine in human beings. Furthermore, this system of classification would be more symmetrical and harmonious than the current one.