Astrology as a Traditional Science, Part IV: Research and Observation

In the past three articles, we have explored the origins and roots of rationalism, the essential and metaphysical principles upon which astrology is based, and how astrological problems would be addressed under Essentialist (the traditional approach defended by Plato that was common to all civilizations and was first breached in Periclean Athens), Aristotelian, and nominalist philosophies.  I also suggested that the Essentialist philosophy is soundest of these three philosophies.  I also suggested that we approach astrology as a traditional science, rather than as a modern science.  What does this mean?

A simple explanation of the difference between traditional science and modern science is that a traditional science accepts what has been handed down from tradition as true when that tradition is long standing and relatively uniform.  Traditional science treats metaphysical principles as trustworthy and constant and treats information that we perceive with our senses as unreliable and fleeting.  Modern science takes the opposite approach.  In modern science, nothing is considered true or proven unless it can be observed with our senses (either directly or with technological enhancement) or can be derived from our sense data using rational analysis.  Traditional science still uses sense data and rational analysis; however, information obtained from these sources is given a secondary status to information that has been passed down from solid tradition (you may recall that tradition is that which has been passed down to us from the beginning of time, see What is Tradition?)

How can this be?  Can we not trust what we can observe with our senses?  This proposition is a difficult one for Westerners, I think.  We are taught to question everything and that “seeing is believing.”  Under a traditionalist approach, however, we understand that the only part of the cosmos that we can perceive with our senses is the sublunary sphere; all of the higher planes are beyond our senses.  What we know of the higher planes is that which has been passed down to us from tradition.  There is a certain arrogance to modern scientific reliance on our own observation and rational analysis, assuming that we know better than our forebears did.  The modern attitude can be likened to that of a teenager ignoring the advice and wisdom of her parents.  Traditional science presumes that our forebears knew more and understood more than we did, so we trust tradition over our current sense data.

Does this mean that current research and our sense data are to be ignored by traditional science?  Not at all.  First of all, in the West, our tradition has been broken, particularly in the traditional science of astrology.  There are many fine astrologers and researchers who are busy at work translating and analyzing texts from the past 2,000 years, but this is a poor substitute for an unbroken line of tradition passed down from teacher to student over millennia.  Because of this, we do not have a uniform or consistent tradition to guide us.  There are some principles and techniques that are uniform, such as the traditional planetary rulerships of the signs.  There are other principles and techniques that are confusing at best and chaotic at worse, such as the various House systems.

In cases where tradition is unclear or confusing, we do need to use research and observation to sift through inconsistencies.  In a modern scientific approach, one would sift through these inconsistencies using a purely empirical approach.  We would conduct research to see what “worked.”  Research and observation to determine what techniques “work” is perfectly acceptable in a traditional science as well, particularly when the there is inconsistency and apparent disharmony in the tradition available to us.  On the other hand, in a traditional science, one would first analyze metaphysical foundations for the different techniques, if such information was available.  If it is clear that the metaphysical basis behind a technique is unsound, it should be discarded, whether or not it appears to “work.”

Furthermore, even if we had a solid, unbroken tradition, we would still need research and observation.  This is because of the doctrine of the unfolding of the ages.  For a detailed description of this doctrine, I will refer the reader to this article; however, the summary of this doctrine is that Axial Beings become more and more consolidated in matter as the greater cycle progresses.  At present, we are in the Age of Iron, and we are highly consolidated in matter.  While the metaphysical principles remain consistent and true, the application of these principles changes and becomes less pure.  A technique that may have worked in the past may not work in the same way as this material age continues to unfold.  A concrete example of this concept is the prediction of fertility using techniques that have been passed down from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.  In this day and age, we have reproductive technology to assist with such matters, so the techniques that “worked” in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance to predict whether an individual would have children may not work now, or more likely, may work, but in a different way.

This approach to research and observation is not the same as the modern approach.  When we undertake this research, we are not attempting to innovate, nor do we have any notion that we will “discover” something unknown to our forebears.  What we are doing is acknowledging the unfolding of the ages and that the sublunary plane is the world of flux and change.  The principles remain the same, but the application of these principles changes over time.  This is where the Essentialist understanding of metaphysics provides more flexibility than the Aristotelian understanding does.  The Essentialist understanding  of metaphysics is that the material reflects the metaphysical; it does not necessarily mimic the metaphysical.  Our theories and hypotheses must be derived from sound metaphysics and tradition; however, a reasonable amount of variance is allowed and even expected.  We can adapt our methods and techniques to be more accurate in a different age without challenging or upsetting the underlying principles.

It may seem like this discussion has led us back to the methods that many astrologers already use in their practice and in application.  In a sense, that is absolutely correct.  Adopting an Essentialist philosophy does not necessarily change what we do on a practical level.  What does change is how we think about what we do, and how we analyze and explain our craft.  One of the areas of discomfort and disharmony for and between  Traditional/Classical Astrologers concerns how strictly we adhere to the lessons of astrologers of the past, and whatever approach we take, it is a source of criticism from modern astrologers.  This makes for some rather uncomfortable conversations in our attempts to explain whether and how we can adhere to tradition in a world that is very different from the world in which our predecessors lived.  As I have also demonstrated, there are flaws in the Aristotelian approach, and these flaws require mental gymnastics to explain and reconcile when we are confronted by the findings of modern science.

While the modern criticisms of Aristotelian philosophy have merit, the modern answer to these criticisms does not.  The error in the Aristotelian approach is not a lack of understanding of modern scientific principles; the error is in the departure from tradition.  Essentialist philosophy provides us with flexibility and gives us the guidance we need to adapt and adjust our practice to a changing world.  This philosophy expects and can accommodate variations between our tradition and our sense data in a way that Aristotelian philosophy cannot. Essentialist philosophy also sets the  parameters for adjustments to our practice.  The first parameter is that our adaptions derive from our tradition and do not disrupt tradition.  The second parameter is that we only adapt when it is necessary to obtain accurate readings in a more material and consolidated time, and these adaptations are vigorously tested.  We adapt and adjust, we do not innovate.

I understand that this series of articles may be a bit challenging.  The ideas that have been presented have been the result of a long dialogue and struggle that I have had in adapting my practice to an Essentialist understanding of the cosmos.  This struggle was reminiscent of the struggle I had several years ago when I was converted to Classical Astrology from Modern Astrology.  Like that struggle, this one was difficult and painful, but the end result was well worth the struggle.  For me, it has given me a new and richer understanding of our craft, and on a practical level, I believe it has allowed me to give more accurate and helpful readings to others.

Astrology as a Traditional Science, Part III: Application

We have discussed the origins of rationalist thought, and the 7 Divine Principles and the 12 Archetypes.  So, what does this all mean, and why does this matter to astrology as an applied science?

Let us go back to the disagreement between Plato and Aristotle on the issue of Perfect Form, and the later introduction of nominalism.  If you recall, Plato taught that Perfect Forms exist at the level of the Divine.  This teaching was not unique to Plato, and this is one of the basic precepts of essentialism.  Aristotle taught that all Perfect Forms must manifest in the material world, and any Perfect Form that does not manifest in the material world does not exist.  The later philosophy of nominalism teaches that only the manifest world exists.  Why do these differences matter?

In astrology, the Perfect Forms would be the Divine Principles and the 12 Archetypes.  According to Plato, and prior Traditional teachings, while the physical manifestation of these Forms derive from the Perfect Form, they are not necessarily perfect representations of these forms.  Also, Perfect Forms may exist without ever becoming manifest in physical form.  According to Aristotelian thought, all Perfect Forms must be manifest in physical form.  Nominalist thought would not acknowledge any Forms beyond manifest forms.

Ptolemy Model of CosmosWhile nominalist thought would state that the cosmos is the manifest universe, in the Traditional Model of the Cosmos, the manifest universe is the sublunary plane, and only the sublunary plane.  Plato and Aristotle would agree that the Traditional Model of the Cosmos is true and that the Solar System is a microcosm of the full cosmos.  Under this Model, the stars and planets that we can see are a visual model of the larger cosmos that we can not see.  The disagreement between the philosophers is over the question of whether what we can see is an exact replica of the cosmos we can not see.  According to Platonic thought, it does not have to be.  If what is seen in the physical sky does not match the Model of the Cosmos, it is interesting, but it does not change the metaphysical principles involved.  According to Aristotelian thought, if what is seen in the physical sky does not match our teachings regarding the Model of the Cosmos, this calls into question these teachings.

One may ask, if we accept the axiom, “As above, so below,” does this not mean that it is Aristotelian thought that must be true?  Should not what we see on the material plane match the metaphysical principles we can not see?  Not necessarily.  There is another axiom we can use to explain discrepancies between the physical and the metaphysical: “Earth moves, but Heaven is still.”  If one understands this axiom, one can see that it is not possible for a Perfect Form to manifest on the physical level.  Perfect Forms only exist at the level of the Highest Heaven.  Even at the level of the Sphere of the Fixed Stars, manifestation becomes imperfect.  This is why there can be evil fixed stars, such as Algol.  By the time we get to the level of the sublunary plane, forms become quite imperfect.  Forms we can see are reflections of the Perfect Form, but just as the reflection of the Moon does not look exactly like the physical Moon in the sky, the reflections of Perfect Forms do not look exactly like the Perfect Forms in the Highest Heaven.  Combining the axiom, “As above, so below,” with the axiom, “Earth moves, Heaven is still,” one can see how Platonic and Traditional Essentialist thought would be the soundest philosophy and doctrine.

Again, why does this matter?  Let us apply the three different philosophies to the 2 crises in astrology, the “discovery” of a heliocentric solar system, and the “discovery” of the Outer Planets.

The “discovery” of a heliocentric solar system is only a difficulty if one adheres to nominalism.  According to both Platonic and Aristotelian thought, an observation that the physical Sun is the center of the physical solar system is consistent with the metaphysical principle of the Solar Heart being central, see Mummies and Luminaries.  The manifest solar system exists in the sublunary plane, so an observation that the physical Sun is central to the physical solar system does not challenge the Traditional Model of the Cosmos in any way, and in fact, this observation supports generally accepted metaphysical teachings.  The only way that the “discovery” of a heliocentric solar system can challenge the Traditional Model of the Cosmos is if one believes that this model is describing the physical, manifest universe.LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

The “discovery” of the Outer Planets is a bit more complicated.  If one adheres to nonimalism, then the discovery of the Outer Planets becomes of utmost importance.  According to this philosophy, it is the physical planets themselves that impact us, so any new planets that are discovered must be incorporated into practice.  In fact, we may even need to include bodies such as asteroids, comets, and the moons of other planets into our practice.  If we decide to include some, but not all bodies, we must have a good reason for doing so.  The burden of proof is on the exclusion of these planets under this analysis.

The “discovery” of the Outer Planets is even more problematic for Aristotelian thought.  According to this philosophy, the physical universe must be a replica of the metaphysical cosmos.  The “discovery” of extra planets is inconsistent with the doctrines of the 7 Divine Principles and the Traditional Model of the Cosmos.  This creates a huge crisis. Do the 3 extra planets mean that there are 3 extra spheres to the cosmos?  Are there 3 more Divine Principles?  If the physical solar system must be an exact replica of the full cosmos, this would seem to be the case.  The “discovery” of extra planets calls into question past metaphysical teachings, and if these teachings are to be preserved, there must be an explanation.  History has born this out.  The “discovery” of the heliocentric model of the solar system did not disrupt the practice of astrology; the “discovery” of the Outer Planets did.

The “discovery” of the Outer Planets is not a problem for Platonic and Traditional Essentialist thought.  Under this philosophy, one does not expect the physical universe to be the exact replica of the entire cosmos.  The physical universe reflects the entire cosmos, but there can be and probably are, variations.  The fact that there are more physical planets than are accounted for in the Traditional Model of the Cosmos or in the 7 Divine Principles does not change anything.  The traditional teachings are preserved.  The system that has been passed down for millennia does not need to be revised or changed.  The Outer Planets can not represent Divine Principles, because tradition teaches us that there are Seven Divine Principles and the Archetypes that these Principles rule.  We treat the tradition that has been passed down to us as sacrosanct.

Under Platonic and Essentialist philosophy, the movements of the Outer Planets may have meaning for us.  This does not disrupt tradition.  In astrology, there are other points that are traditionally recognized as meaningful that are not equated with Divine Principles.  Some examples are the Lunar Nodes and Arabic Parts.   On the other hand, the Outer Planets do not have to have meaning just because they exist, have physical properties similar to the Traditional Planets, and can now be perceived with instruments.  The burden of proof is placed on assigning them meaning, rather than on not assigning them meaning.

On the other hand, under Platonic thought, even if the Outer Planets have meaning, they can not rule signs, and they do not represent extra cosmological spheres.   There are Seven Divine Principles, not nine or ten, and their relationship to the Archetypes is a matter of well established tradition.  Assigning rulerships to the Outer Planets disrupts the system in a way that attributing meaning to them does not.

As you can see, returning to Platonic and Traditional Essentialist thought frees us to observe the physical universe and to adjust our practice accordingly.  At the same time, it also anchors us and gives us boundaries for these observations and adjustments.

I intended this to be the final article in these series, but this explanation ended up being longer than I expected.  Part IV of this series will explore the role of research and observation and its relationship to traditional teachings.

Astrology as a Traditional Science, Part IV: Research and Observation

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

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

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

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

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

The Seven Divine Principles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Twelve ArchetypesZodiac Image

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

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

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

Astrology as a Traditional Science, Part III: Application

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mummies and Luminaries

One of the biggest challenges to practitioners of traditional sciences, such as astrology, is that of setting aside the prejudices that have been instilled in us from modern education.  One of the prejudices is a pervasive form of arrogance, which can be summarized by the formula: “Primitive people believed ……., but now we know…….”  When metaphysical principles are taught at all, they are taught from this perspective.

Here is an example of this type of teaching from Grout’s History of Western Music (3rd Edition)

For some Greek thinkers music also had a close connection with astronomy, not only through the identity of mathematical laws that were thought to underlie both the system of musical intervals and the system of the heavenly bodies, but also through a particular correspondence of certain modes and even certain notes with the various planets.  Such magical connotations and extensions of music were common among all Eastern peoples.  The idea was given poetic form by Plato in the beautiful myth of the “music of the spheres”; it is echoed by writers on music throughout the Middle Ages, and appears also in Shakespeare and Milton.  Ptolemy, one of the most important of the ancient writers on music, was also the leading astronomer of antiquity–as, in our own day, many of the best amateurs of music are physical scientists.

Now, at first, one may not think that this statement is too bad, but, as it turned out it was the only reference to the metaphysics of music in one of the more important textbooks for the study of music theory.

MummyAnother such example is the modern interpretation of Egyptian mummification practices.  During the mummification process, the heart was careful preserved intact in the body and the brain was discarded as unimportant.  The modern interpretation of this is that the Egyptians did not understand anatomy, and they did not know what the brain did.  From even a pragmatic standpoint, this condescending interpretation is contrary to the available data.  The fact that mummies thousands of years old are available to us to study should be enough to convince us that this culture had a very sophisticated understanding of the human body.  If we let go of the prejudice that has been instilled in us, we can start to really think about what the Egyptians may have been doing.

Unlike the modern perspective, from a traditionalist perspective, it is axiomatic that our forebears were our superiors, and that they knew more than we do now.  So rather than presuming that the Egyptians did not know what they were doing, the presumption changes to being that they knew and understood something that we have lost.  As it turns out, from a metaphysical standpoint, this practice is quite fascinating, and is instructive to us in re-educating ourselves to understanding traditional science.

The starting point for this analysis is that the Egyptians carefully preserved the heart.  ImageWhile modern Western society associates the heart with love, specifically romantic love, traditionally, the Heart was always Solar.  From a traditionalist perspective, Solar does not refer to the physical Sun, but to the Solar principle (although the physical Sun is the cosmic representation of the Solar principle).  The Solar principle is the Creative Aspect of the Divine, or the Mother principle.  The Solar principle in humans, as microcosms of the cosmos, is that part of us which is always connected to and even One with the Divine.

Traditionalists speak of the Solar Intellect, which is the part inside of us that understands all things.  In this day and age in the West, we have lost our understanding of the Solar Intellect, but the concept is still present in Eastern thought.

Just as the physical Moon reflects the light of the physical Sun, the Lunar principle is a reflection of the Solar principle.  The Lunar principle governs all physicality.  The Lunar principle also represents our individual souls.  The reflection of Solar Intellect is Lunar Reason.  Lunar Reason is how we process information on the material plane.  We also use Lunar Reason to process information we receive from our senses and to intuit matters that lie beyond our senses. We also use Lunar Reason to make inferences and to synthesize information into a usable form.

In modern times, we tend to believe that the information we receive from our senses is the most reliable information; however, this was not the case in the Ancient world.  Although, the brain or head being governed by the Lunar principle is not nearly as universal as the heart being governed by the Solar principle, the anatomical function of the brain almost directly corresponds with the concept of Lunar Reason.   Interestingly enough, there has been research that has shown that recipients of heart transplants take on the characteristics of the heart donor, so it is possible that the heart may have an anatomical function that is congruent with its metaphysical function.

So, if we were to presume that the Egyptians knew exactly what they were doing, this becomes quite instructive to us.  The Egyptians careful preserved the heart, which symbolically represents the Solar Principle.  They discarded the brain, which is the anatomical seat of Lunar Reason.  This would mean that they believed that in the afterlife, we would need our Solar Intellect, but that we would no longer need our Lunar Reason.  From a Traditionalist perspective, this is exactly right.  Lunar Reason is necessary for us in the world of flux and change, but the Solar Intellect is what survives and what is eternal.  Lunar Reason is also necessarily subordinate to Solar Intellect.

This is a huge change in the schema most of us were raised with.  We have been taught that the sense-data plus Lunar Reason are all that exists and that all we can be sure of is what we can process with our senses or derive from our senses.  The Traditionalist perspective is exactly the opposite.  The symbolic and the metaphysical is what we can be sure of.  The information we receive from our senses is transitory, part of the world of flux and change.  In other words, from the perspective of the Eternal, our Hearts are of primary importance, but our brain is only important from the perspective of our physical, material existence.

The Outer Planets – A Theory

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

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

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

Don't Tread on MeAtomization

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

Downtown Chicago

Deracination

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

PlutoDeformation

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

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

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

The Traditional Model of the Cosmos

“The Earth moves, but Heaven is still.  The rim revolves, but the Centre remains without motion.”

“At the rim is the movement greatest; close unto the centre is it the least.  Where there is no movement, there is purity.”

The Clew of the Horse, The Gospel of Our Mother God, Sun Daughter Press, 2008

The Traditional Model of the Cosmos is not truly a geocentric model as is popularly believed.

Ptolemy Model of Cosmos

The Center of this model is not the earth; the Center is the Highest Heaven, where God in Her Highest Form resides.   The Earth is between the Higher and the Lower Spheres, or the Axial Plane.  In the Christian Bible, the lower realms are referred to as the “outer darkness.”  To understand this, we really must remember that the Traditional Model of the Cosmos does *not* represent the physical universe (or solar system) that we can understand with our senses.  The most commonly known version of this model is the one set forth by Ptolemy.  This model shows the physical representation of this model in the form of the movements of the heavenly bodies, or the substance.  As we have discussed in previous articles, substance is always derived from Essence.  The Higher Planes are “above,” the earth (as in the planet we reside on) and the physical universe are “below.”  The Highest Heaven being the unmoving Center is evidenced by every lower Sphere having movement, and the Higher the sphere, the slower the movement.  The movement is greatest in the Sphere just above the physical universe, the Lunary Sphere.

The Center does not move.  The Earth is below the Higher Spheres.  There are also lower spheres below the Earth, but those I will address in another article.  The Earth is not just the physical planet we live on.  The Earth, in this model, is everything we can experience with the senses or measure with tools and instruments.  This is the world of flux and change.  Everything that modern science would describe as part of “the Universe” is “the Earth” in this model.

Now, there is a sense that the Earth *is* the center, as we see in the Ptolemaic model.  I will address this more fully in a future article, but the Earth also represents the Axial Plane or the place of choice.  There is also a sense that the Sun is the center, as I will discuss further in this article.  This is a matter of perspective, and these three views are not contrary to each other.  One of the differences between Traditional Science and what we consider science in modern times is that paradox is an accepted part of Traditional Science.  For the purposes of this article, though, the Highest Heaven is the Center.

The Highest Heaven is beyond manifestation.  At this level, all is One with the Divine.  Space and time are meaningless at this level.  The Highest Heaven is that which is beyond our human comprehension.  The Highest Heaven is unchanging and unchanged.  Here there is no beginning and no end.

The first sphere below the Highest Heaven is the Sphere of the Fixed Stars.  This Sphere has moved from the Center and is a part of manifestation, but is still very close to the Center.  This sphere is represented in the physical world by the fixed stars that we see in the sky.  These fixed stars are part of “the Earth,” but they are representative of the Sphere of the Fixed Stars.  This Sphere is a Sphere of wonders and is still beyond our comprehension.  This Sphere has moved from the Highest Heaven, as seen in the fact that there are destructive fixed stars such as Algol.  On the other hand, this Sphere has not moved very far.

Below the Sphere of the Fixed Stars is the Sphere of Saturn.  This is the first Sphere of physical manifestation.  This is the Sphere of time and of limitation.  Many words concerning the passage of time derive from Kronos, the Greek name for the ruler of this Sphere.  From the planet Earth, the Sphere of Saturn is represented by the orbit of the planet Saturn.  In the human realm, this Sphere is often experienced as hostile and severe.  In moving down the Heavenly Spheres, the Sphere of Saturn is a harsh fall from the wondrous sphere of the Fixed Stars.  In moving back up the Spheres, the seemingly destructive influence of this sphere is necessary to break down attachment to the material realm to return to the Sphere of the Fixed Stars and eventually return to the One in the Highest Heaven.

Below the Sphere of Saturn is the Sphere of Jupiter.  This is the Sphere of Divine Harmony.  This Sphere gives Order to manifestation.  This is a gentler Sphere than the one of Saturn.  This is where we can find beauty in manifestation.  This is where the Music of the Spheres generates.  It is from this Sphere that “right” and “wrong” come, and this is the sphere from which all societal structure and order stems.  The planet associated with this Sphere is associated with religion, law, music, and culture.

Below the Sphere of Jupiter is the Sphere of Mars.  This is Sphere of Free Will.  This is the first Sphere in which individuality becomes relevant.  The Spheres of Saturn (time) and Jupiter (harmony) are beyond individuality.  The Sphere of Mars is the Sphere of Choice.  For Choice to be meaningful, there must be something to choose between.  The Eternal Battle between Good and Evil, or the Vikhail, is associated with this Sphere.  This is shown in the Judeo-Christian mythology of the Fall, where Adam and Eve, in an act of disobedience (Free Will), eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  After that, the first act of violence becomes possible, and Cain murders his brother, Abel.  Human wars also generate in the Sphere of Mars.

The center Sphere is the Sphere of the Sun, or the Sphere of Self.  There are three planetary Spheres above this Sphere, and three planetary Spheres below this Sphere.  This Sphere is the Sphere of the True Self, the Self that is One with the Divine, and the False Self, or the ego.  This is the Sphere dividing that which is without from that which is within.  The Spheres above the Sun are the Spheres in which the Self interacts with that which is outside of the individual, where the Spheres below the Sun are within the individual.  Contrary to popular belief, the centrality of the Sun was certainly understood in the traditional Model of the Cosmos.  It was just understood in a much less literal way.

Below the Sphere of the Sun is the Sphere of Venus, or Divine Love.  While popular belief is that this Sphere is associated with romantic and physical love, this is the lower manifestation of this Sphere.  This Sphere is also Love in Her Highest Form.  The Way of Love is one of the Paths of the individual to the Divine, or from the Lunar to the Solar.  In the cosmos, this is seen by the Sphere of Venus being between the Sphere of the Moon and the Sun.  Venus is also sacrificial Love, which is seen in the Christian tradition as Jesus being sacrificed on the day of Venus, or Friday, and rising on the day of the Sun, or Sunday.

Next is the Sphere of Mercury, or Divine Intelligence.  Like the Sphere of Venus, the Sphere of Mercury is often trivialized as being related to the cognitive ability of human beings.  The Highest Form is Enlightenment, or the Path of Light.  This leads from the Lunar to the Solar by giving Knowledge of the World Illusion.  In a sense, the “Intelligent Design” of the manifest Universe is shown in this Sphere.  This is also the Sphere from which all knowledge and ideas come.  It is in this Sphere that we are able to contemplate the manifest Universe and what is beyond the manifest Universe.

Closest to “the Earth” is the Lunar Sphere.   This is the Sphere through which we pass from the sublunary sphere, or the physical universe that we experience with our senses and can measure, to the Higher Spheres, which we cannot measure.  The Lunar Sphere is the Sphere of dreams and the imagination.  As the closest Sphere to that of the senses, we do experience this Sphere in our nightly dreams.  Just as we can impact and pollute the sublunary sphere, we also can and do pollute the Lunar Sphere.  One of the ways we pollute the Lunary Sphere is through what we allow ourselves to see and to watch, and by the images we create, through various mediums, including violent and ugly television shows, music, and video games.  Gentle and loving images through those same mediums cleanse the Lunary Sphere.

At one level, we live on the sublunary sphere, but on a metaphysical level, we also live in all of the cosmological spheres at the same time (understanding that time becomes meaningless beyond the Sphere of Saturn).  Our souls descend through the Spheres to enter physicality, and they ascend back through these Spheres to return to the Highest Heaven.  This cannot be understood literally in the manner of most modern Western thinking, but is a Mystery, in the highest sense of the word, or that which must be understood at the Solar level, or within our hearts.