How we see the stars is how we see ourselves. Every culture in history has told stories about the stars. According to these stories, the sky is filled with heroes, magical creatures, and gods who watch over us. For our ancestors, the sky reflected a larger harmony that ordered the heavens, all life, and human society. The discipline that studied this harmony was cosmology.
Cosmology has become lost to the modern Western world. Cosmology included astronomy, astrology, metaphysics, and religion. While divination and personal consultation (what many people think of when they think of astrology) were undoubtedly the lowest, if most practical, aspect of the discipline, astrology in general was the lynchpin of cosmology. Astrology is the study of how the harmony of the heavens interacts with the earth, the study of where we belong in the cosmic order.
In the modern West, cosmology has become reduced to mere astronomy. Metaphysics and religion became stripped from cosmology as cosmologists found ways to safely practice in the Middle Ages under the watchful eyes of a Christian Church keen to purge the world of anything that remotely resembled paganism. Astrology and astronomy parted ways in the so-called “Enlightenment.” Astronomy became an accepted science, and astrology was relegated to the backwaters.
Yet, without religion, metaphysics, and astrology, all we have is the study of the mechanics of the physical universe. This has led to a widespread belief that this is all that there is. How we view the stars is how we view ourselves, and we have learned to see ourselves as merely physical beings, just another animal on a remote planet.
Rather than an orderly cosmos, we now see a chaotic and dangerous universe, filled with hazards such as black holes, quasars, and pulsars. Rather than gods or heroes placed in the heavens, we see balls of gas that are born, explode, and collapse in a seemingly random fashion. Stars are given numbers rather than names and are classified by physical characteristics, such as brightness.
Yes, there is wonder to be found in the physical universe. There have been many reports of deep spiritual awakening coming from a study of the beauty and majesty of the heavenly bodies. It would take a hardened person to be able to look at the night sky without awe and humility.
That being said, to me, the beauty and wonder of the physical universe pales in comparison to the magnificent Harmony of the Spheres that can be heard in the cycles within cycles that are revealed in astrology. Modern science textbooks teach that cosmology gave way to modern astronomy when great scientists “discovered” that the Traditional Model of the Cosmos was false, and that there was a larger universe outside of our Solar System. This teaching is based on a misunderstanding of what the Traditional Model of the Cosmos represents.
The Traditional Model of the Cosmos does not represent the physical Solar System, but the Higher Planes of existence. Our Solar System, and presumably any solar system, is a microcosm of the full cosmos, as is every human being. Our Solar System, and indeed, the entire universe that can be “discovered,” exists entirely on the “earthly” or sublunary plane. Modern science can not disprove the Traditional Model of the Cosmos, because the scope of modern science is limited to the physical plane of existence. Ironically, rather than expanding our horizons beyond the solar system, modern science has limited our horizons to that which we can measure and observe with our senses and our machines. It is little wonder that the universe has become such a chaotic place to the modern world.
Astrology, if understood in its true form, can be the antidote to this modern limitation. Astrology does not “work” because there are “rays” from the planets and stars controlling our lives. Astrology “works” because Solar System is a microcosm of the larger cosmos, as are we. Astrology is not an outdated discipline that was cast aside because we now “know better”; astrology, even in its current debilitated state, is one of the few remnants of a time in which the true nature of the cosmos was known and understood.
One of the things that took me some time to understand when incorporating Classical Astrology into the Filianic Tradition was the relationship and the differences between the planets, the cosmological spheres, and the Janyati. Western Medieval and Renaissance Astrology has been studied under the backdrop of the Abrahamic religions, Christianity, Islam, and Judiasm, for almost two thousand years. With the fierce monotheistic nature of these religions, I think that the role of the Janyati became minimized. By the Hellenistic period, the planets became associated with Greco-Roman gods and goddesses. All legitimate Traditions throughout history have recognized that there really is only One Divine Source. On the other hand, that Divine Source may be seen through Her different Aspects, or the Janyati. At certain points in history, Tradition deteriorated to the point where the Janyati were seen as separate goddesses and gods, but their true nature is that they are Aspects of the Divine Source.
There are other Janyati besides the planetary Janyati. Some examples are Sai Werde, Sai Annya, and Sai Maia. For purposes of this article, however, it is the planetary Janyati that are most relevant.
The planetary Janyati are Angels and Aspects of Dea. They are unchanging and perfect. According to the Sacred Mythos in feminine Scripture, they came about after Primordial Maid turned from the Mother and could no longer look upon Her brightness. The Golden Light separated into seven colors, which represent the Janyati. For a fuller description of the planetary Janyati, please see this article.
When we start entering the realm of Cosmology, we are entering into the realm of manifestation. There is a mistaken Western notion that manifestation is limited to the sublunary sphere, the world that we can experience with our senses. The sublunary sphere includes the earth, everything in the sky, and everything in what modern scientists would call the universe. All of the planetary bodies and the fixed stars are part of the sublunary sphere of existence.
Between the sublunary sphere and the Highest Heaven are the Cosmological Spheres, as I discussed previously in this article. The sphere of the Fixed Stars is already part of manifestation and has already moved from the Center. That is why we can talk about evil fixed stars, like Algol. The actual fixed stars are in the sublunary sphere of flux and change but they are also representations the higher spheres. As above, so below.
While the Janyati are pure and perfect aspects of Dea, they cast light throughout the lower spheres of manifestation. The light they cast becomes less and less perfect the further it moves from the Center. Each person and each moment of time is a microcosm of the entire cosmos, which also includes each of the Janyatic principles. This is written in the fabric of the sublunary sphere in the movements of the heavenly bodies. This is also why we can talk about positive and negative expressions of the Janyatic and planetary principles. The Janyati are perfect. The expression of their light in individuals is not.
Here is an example that might help with understanding. The Archetype of the Flower belongs to Sai Sushuri (Venus). A flower is a flower because it is a reflection of the Divine Archetype of a Flower. This is a perfect correlation. When we start talking about individual physical flowers and types of flowers, the correlation becomes much less perfect. Even though the Divine Archetype of Flower belongs to Sai Sushuri, different physical flowers might be associated with other Janyati for various reasons, such as their color, their physical properties, mythology surrounding the flower, and so on. Sometimes, the associations are obvious, sometimes the reasons for the association have been obscured in a broken and fallen tradition.
There is a concept contained in Classical Astrology that works well to illustrate and explain how this works. This concept is the Almuten Figuris, or the Lady of the Soul. A Filianist may also think of the Almuten Figuris as her Guardian Janya. The calculation that I use for this is the one recorded by Ibn Ezra. This point can be calculated by hand or through software. There are, of course, other calculations used by other fine Classical Astrologers; however, I have found the Ibn Ezra calculation to be the most useful and accurate in my own practice.
The Almuten Figuris or Guardian Janya is the Janya that is a person’s strongest connection with her True Self and with Dea. Please forgive me for discussing my own chart, but I think that one’s Guardian Janya is rather personal. To me, it seems impolite to share such personal information about anyone other than oneself in public. It does help to have a specific illustration, though; so for this purpose, I will use my own chart.
My Guardian Janya is Sai Sushuri (Venus). This means that in following the path to my True Self, I need to connect with Sai Sushuri. The Way of Love is my path to the Divine. If I get lost, I need to look to Divine Mercy and to Divine Love and let them run through me.
On the other hand, my Guardian Janya being Sai Sushuri does not mean that I will seem Sushuric or even have many Sushuric traits. Mars (Sai Vikhë) is actually stronger in my chart. I also have Jupiter (Sai Thamë) and the Moon (Sai Candre) very close to my Ascendant. If one were to be looking for a planet or a Janya that described my personality or how I would seem to act, those three planets would give a much better description of this. Sometimes one’s Guardian Janya will seem to govern personal traits of the native; sometimes she will not.
The position and condition of the Guardian Janya in the Nativity Chart will show the extent to which a Native will manifest the traits of her Guardian Janya and will give clues and guidance as to how easy or hard it is for her Guardian Janya to guide her. In my case, Venus has many dignities; however, she is Combust, or within 8 degrees of the Sun. This represents the main barrier to Sai Sushuri’s ability to guide me. The Sun in a Nativity in her low form represents the ego. The Sun in my chart also rules my 10th House, the house of career and public recognition. So, in my case, Sai Sushuri is inhibited by my tendency to hide, and by my ego and career. Interestingly in my chart, Venus is separating from Combustion, so it is predictable that I would find it easier to come under Sai Sushuri’s guidance later in life. Those of you who are following my current spiritual journey in my diary on my personal blog will likely see how this is manifesting as I have gotten older.
Filianists who know their Guardian Janya can also use symbolism related to their Guardian Janya on their home shrines to help them connect with their Guardian Janya. On my own shrine, I have a pink doily with a pentacle that I made myself and a sand dollar given to me by a friend that shows Sai Sushuri’s signature in manifestation.
The Traditional Model of the Cosmos is not truly a geocentric model as is popularly believed.
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 Lunary 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.