Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, and from an astrological perspective, she is never more than 27° away from the Sun. Indeed, in some traditions, Mercury is known as the Little Sun. Mercury governs intelligence and communication of all forms. Mercury is the only planet that is equally at home during the day and at night.
The Janya of Mercury: Sai Mati
In the Filianic Tradition, the Janya, or Great Angel, that is associated with Mercury is Sai Mati, and Sai Mati is associated with the element of Air.
Sai Mati is the Janya of Intelligence, and at her highest level, she is one with Solar Intellect. It can be said that Sai Mati is the Light of the Sun. The Moon mediates this Intelligence to us, where it becomes the lesser human capacity for reason. Sai Mati is associated with Sophia in the Judeo-Christian tradition, Athene in the Hellenistic tradition in her capacity as the Goddess of Wisdom, Sri Saraswati in the Vedic tradition, and Our Lady Mary in her capacity as Sedes Sapientiae, or the Seat of Wisdom.
Sai Mati is the source of inspiration and genius. In Modern Astrology, human genius is sometimes assigned to the planet Uranus, but this usurps the place that Sai Mati has always held, by whatever name she has been assigned throughout the ages. There is an interesting story about Uranus and Sai Mati’s planet, Mercury. The orbits of both of these planets were a little off by Newtonian physics. The anomalies in their orbits were mysteries to 19th Century scientists.
The mystery surrounding Uranus was solved first. Apparently the eccentric orbit could be accounted for if there was another planet beyond Uranus tugging on it. Using the anomalies in Uranus’ orbit and Newtonian physics, the planet Neptune was discovered in 1846. Shortly after that, in 1859, anomalies to Mercury’s orbit were also found. Scientists thought that they would solve this mystery in the same way by finding another planet closer to the Sun than Mercury. Indeed, there were those who thought they saw another planet, and they named this planet, Vulcan.
It turned out that Vulcan did not really exist. It was Albert Einstein who eventually solved this mystery, by proposing the theory of general relativity! Indeed, Mercury’s anomalous orbit is in part what induced him to come up with this theory. While the details of this are beyond my level of understanding of astrophysics, apparently Mercury is so close to the Sun that the ordinary Newtonian laws of gravity do not work very well. This story is a digression to be sure, but it seems appropriate somehow.
It seems that no other astrological event strikes as much terror in people in the modern world as a Mercury retrograde does. People who know nothing about astrology except for their Sun Sign get nervous about Mercury retrogrades.
Because the Sun is the center of our Solar System, when we observe the movements of the planets from Earth, with the exception of the Sun and the Moon, all of them go retrograde, or backwards, from time to time. Astrologically, when a planet is retrograde, she is debilitated, and she does not work as well. As Mercury rules communication, when she is retrograde, matters related to communication are impaired. This can cause problems in offices like lost paperwork, computer malfunctions, and general annoyances of that nature.
Honestly, I do not think that Mercury retrogrades are nearly as bad as they are made out to be. Other astrological events such as eclipses and eclipse seasons seem far more chaotic to me. The most important thing to remember during Mercury retrogrades is to take extra care and double and triple check your work, particularly if it involves paperwork or other forms of communication.
In Sai Mati’s glyph, the Circle of Spirit, or the connection with the Solar is resting on top of the cross of the material world. The Crescent of Soul is resting on top of the Circle, but it is lying on its side, passive. This represents the Lunar capacity as it is subordinate to and reflective of the Solar. In Sai Mati, we have the perfect configuration of Spirit, Soul, and the Material World forged together to bring us Wisdom.
On a lighter note, a friend of mine with some knowledge of astrology says that she always remembers the glyph for Mercury because it has a thinking cap. That is a wonderful way to remember as well.
Stones: Millstone, fire-stone, topaz, and all stones of diverse color
The Way of Light
There is a spiritual path associated with each of the non-Luminary Janyati. Each path is complete in and of itself and if followed fully, will lead to the Divine. That being said, the path associated with Sai Mati is one of the two purest. Sai Mati’s path is that of study and contemplation, or the Way of Light.
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 spring 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
In 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.
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.
The 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 represents 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,
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 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
In 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.
The 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.
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
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.
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 our 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 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.
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 is said to represent matters of wisdom, intellect, creativity, and skill. The goddess for whom she is named was seen as an 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.
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.
The 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 canon. 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 significator 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 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 a 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In 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.
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?
While 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.
The 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.
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.
A while back, I wrote an article about a theory that the Outer Planets represented the three poisons of the modern world, atomization, deracination, and deformation. This article can be found here.
I have recently had the occasion to further consider the Outer Planets, and some of the pseudomythos that has arisen surrounding them. In many ways, the pseudomythos* surrounding the Outer Planets is an outgrowth of the pseudomythos of Evolution. Indeed, in New Age astrology, the Outer Planets seem to be almost the agents of evolution, with the belief that the Outer Planets are the “higher octaves” of traditional planets and that they bring about “transcendence,” which is, according to this pseudomythos, a better or higher state of being.
While there are many variations of the “higher octave” theory, the most common one is that Uranus is the “higher octave” of Mercury, Neptune is the “higher octave” of Venus, and Pluto is the “higher octave” of Mars. The first and foremost problem with this theory is that all of the traditional planets are representatives of the Janyati, or aspects of the Divine. The existence of a planet that is a “higher octave” robs these planets of their status as one of the Seven Great Planetary Janyati. Indeed, the associations given to the Outer Planets have been robbed from the traditional planets. For example, the association of genius with Uranus usurps Mercury’s place as the representative of Divine Intelligence. Similarly, the association of Sacrificial Love to Neptune usurps Venus’ place as the representative of Divine Love, which includes Sacrificial Love. Indeed, the associations for both Mercury and Venus have been severely watered down in Modern Astrology.
Interestingly, the associations for Pluto have not seemed to really take anything away from Mars, except of course, the rulership of Scorpio. The associations for Pluto seem to be a combination of the worst Tamasic qualities of Mars and Saturn. Actually, the associations of Pluto seem to be the most honest, in that they are about as malefic as one can get. Yet, there is a strange notion that Pluto is “transformational,” but as Prof. Clark stated in his article, Into the Outer Darkness, “let’s just say that if Pluto is ‘transformational’ so is nuclear war and high levels of toxic radiation.”
Actually, assigning rulerships to the Outer Planets is problematic in and of itself. In the article, Into the Outer Darkness, Prof. Clark explains the traditional system of rulership of the planets to the signs. In this system, each of the non-luminary planets rules two signs, with a day sign and a night sign. The malefics, Mars and Saturn are thought to be better in the signs that are the opposite of their nature. Mars benefits by the coolness of night, and Saturn benefits by the warmth of day. The night sign of Mars is Scorpio, and the day sign of Saturn is Aquarius. In assigning the rulership of Scorpio to Pluto and Aquarius to Uranus, the malefics are stripped of the signs they are the strongest in. There is much more to say about these rulership assignments, but that could be an article in and of itself.
The other main pseudomythos that has arisen surrounding the Outer Planets is the notion of “transcendence.” The notion that transcendence is positive is a Tamasic notion. Transcending means to go beyond the normal boundaries. Yet, in Filianism, and I think in traditional thought in general, boundaries are positive. As it states in the Clew of Love in the feminine Scripture,
And for the existence that has fallen from perfection; truly it is the music of Divine harmony that sustains it in the motion of its wholeness.
It is Love that holds the drop of dew pendent upon the blade of grass, neither flowing forth in watery profusion, but swelling within the unseen urn of its brief harmony.
It is love that holds the stars within their courses, and all of the worlds of the immeasurable cosmos within the harmony of the celestial music.
Truly, all the cycles of the times and the seasons; all the rhythms of the soul and of the mind and of the flesh; truly all these flow from the love of Our Lady, the Maid, that creation may not decompose, each several member flying away into black eternal chaos.
To go higher is to ascend. In the Filianic Mythos of the Daughter, the Daughter ascends to Heaven. Similarly, in the Christian narrative, Jesus ascends to heaven. To go below is to descend. To transcend is to go beyond the boundaries of Love, or to fly away into “black eternal chaos.”
I think that this concept of “transcendence” is similar to the modern assertion of being “spiritual, but not religious.” I do understand the frustration people experience with the overly literal and overly systematized state of modern religion, particularly Christianity. I also understand that the separation of the religious and the secular is rather artificial. On the other hand, what I have found that often when people say they are “spiritual, but not religious,” it is really a form of katte ni suru. Katte ni suru is a Japanese phrase roughly meaning, do what you want, or do your own thing. In Western thought, this is seen as positive, but in Japan, this is quite a scathing insult. This implies that one no longer is a part of the group or the community.
We are also cautioned against this in The Sermon of the Apple Seed, “Dissonant and jarring with eternal Harmony, the little sphere is severed from the great.”
The Outer Planets are also at times called “transpersonal,” meaning that they are beyond or outside of the personal.** Yet, the traditional and Filianic teaching is that maid in a microcosm of the entire Cosmos. As it states in The Secret of the World, “And this is the secret of the world which the world would hide from you: that all things lie within the souls of maid, and only High Dea is without.” Now, one could argue that the “transpersonal” planets are a part of High Dea. The difficulty with that is that High Dea, or the Dark Mother, is by definition beyond anything we can understand from an un-Enlightened state. If we have reached a level of Enlightenment whereby we could understand the Dark Mother, we would have no need of astrology to guide us in our lives.
The Luminaries and the Filianic Trinity
I think that the modern fascination with the Outer Planets and with “transcendence” is part of the phenomenon of Tamasic Dialectic Miss Alice Lucy Trent described in The Feminine Universe. Tamasic (downward) forms take on a resemblance to Sattwic (upward) forms, in part because they both move away from the Rajastic (outward) forms.
I believe that there is a Sattwic form that the notions of “higher octaves” and “transcendence” invert. To explain this, I think an understanding of the Filianic Trinity is helpful. These concepts are certainly not unique to Filianism, and I believe that they are universal in Traditional thought; however, Filianism has a useful Mythos and vocabulary to explain the concept.
In the Filianic Creation Mythos, the Mistress of all Things created all of manifestation in joy and laughter. During this time, Primodial Maid danced and laughed with the Mother and all was golden. Each Maid and all of Creation “became the image of a golden fragment of Her Spirit.” In the cosmos, this is loosely associated with Sai Raya, the Sun, or our Solar Spirit.
After a time that can not be counted, because there “were neither days nor nights, nor moons to tell the month,” Maid was tempted by the Snake, who “had not been shaped by Her, and that was not Her daughter, nor a creature of spirit. But this was the space between the fragments and the nothingness that had been before things were. It had not energy nor delight, but only weight. It had not shape, but could only coil and uncoil itself about the things that were.” The Snake was “not golden, but black.”
In this Mythos, Maid was tempted to embrace rest and created Darkness. Then the Snake tried to destroy Creation with a Flood, but Creation was rescued by the Mother. The aftermath of this turning and Flood is described as follows:
1. And as the rain fell, the light came again, and a rainbow appeared in the sky, shedding its light upon all things. 2. And whereas all things had been golden, now they took on every hue and colour, and the world was beautiful; but it was not so beautiful as it had formerly been.
3. And She set Her seven Powers in the firmament, giving one to rule each colour of the earth.
4 And She said to Her daughter: what you have done may not be undone, for you have acted with My Spirit, and henceforth shall time be divided into day and night that you may rest. 4 But I shall keep watch in the heavens by night, and there shall be silver light that there may never be complete darkness. 6. By this shall I govern the movements of the waters, that the earth may never again be flooded. 7. The golden light of day will bring all goodness, but it will be too bright for your eyes. The silver light of night, that you may look upon.
8. The Snake shall keep the form that you have given it, and you shall be set in governance over it; but remember that it will ever attempt to beguile and destroy you as it has this night.
9. I shall not live as close to you as before, but still I shall pour blessings upon you, and you may give Me gifts — not in every moment as before, for you have learned to tire, but My light shall give you signs in this matter.
10. And the Mistress of All Things withdrew Herself into the sky, until She seemed but a slender crescent of light. 11. And the first daughter of creation fell to her knees and wept. And these were the first tears shed upon the whole of the earth.
As I stated before, in the Filianic Trinity, the Mother is loosely associated with Sai Raya, the Sun, or Solar principle. That which was before and beyond the Mother Creatrix is the Dark Mother, who is the “Darkness beyond the Light, and the Light beyond the Darkness,” but who is also completely beyond our understanding. The Dark Mother is loosely associated with Sai Rhavë, whose planetary representative is Saturn.
The bridge between the Mother and Creation, who has turned from the Mother, is the Daughter, who is loosely associated with Sai Candre, the Moon, or the Lunar principle. She is the “silver light of night, that you may look upon.” The Daughter is also the aspect of the Filianic Trinity that sustains all of Creation.
Interestingly enough, in contemplating the Traditional Model of the Cosmos, one can see that the spheres between the Solar and the Lunar are the Spheres of Sai Mati/Mercury and Sai Sushuri/Venus. These respectively represent the spiritual Way of Light and Way of Love. Both the Matic and the Sushuric principles are seen in a lower form in the Lunar principle and in a higher form in the Solar Principle. The lower form of the Matic principle is Lunar Reason, and the higher form is Solar Intellect. See Mummies and Lunimaries. Sadly, this article has already gotten quite long and involved, so I will have to leave the explanation of how this works with the Sushuric principle for another day. The Way of Love and the Way of Light are intertwined, however. As it says in Scripture, “perfect love is perfect knowledge and perfect knowledge is perfect love.”
Contemplating the Traditional Model of the Cosmos further, one can see that the Sun is in the center. Just beyond the Solar Sphere is the Sphere of Sai Vikhë or Mars. The highest form of the Vikhelic Principle is that of protection and rescue. In the Filianic Mythos, it is the Mother that rescues and defends Creation from the Snake. So, in some ways, I think that one can consider the Solar Principle as the highest form of the Vikhelic principle as well.
Interestingly enough, you can see the Solar Circle in the glyphs for Sai Mati/Mercury, Sai Sushuri/Venus, and Sai Vikhë/Mars.**
So, as you can see, there is no need to reach into “the Outer Darkness” with the Outer Planets for “transcendence.”
*a pseudomyth is a story-picture that falsely replaces traditional myth as the fundamental story of “how things are”
In the first place, let us be clear that the Janyati are not “forces” or “energies” conceived after the model of Newtonian physics (and dearly beloved of New Age movements). They are Intelligences. They are not people like us, it is true. But they are something more than people, not less than people. The greatest force in the universe is less than a person. It cannot think. We are speaking here of Intelligences immeasurably greater than ourselves. They have everything we people have, magnified a thousand times, and they have many qualities we cannot even conceive of. To picture them as something akin to people may not do them justice, but to picture them as something impersonal, like a force of nature, would do them infinitely less justice. They are everything we are and much more.
***if one truly contemplates the glyphs associated with the Outer Planets using the tradition meaning for the symbols of the Circle, the Crescent, and the Cross, the meanings for them are chillingly demonic. One can clearly see how they can not be “higher octaves” of anything!