In this video, I examine a subject that is at the very basis of the craft of astrology, and that is what one excepts as authoritative and persuasive. This goes to the heart of the differences among the various branches and types of Western Astrology.
Here is the latest video on the Essentialist Astrology Channel:
For more information on this subject, see:
Guénon, René, The Dark Age, The Crisis of the Modern World, Sophia Perennis, 1942
Trent, Alice Lucy, Cycles of Time, The Feminine Universe, The Golden Order Press, 1997
Here is this week’s video which discusses the differences between Plato’s Perfect Forms and Jungian Archetypes.
Here is this week’s video on the Essentialist Astrology channel:
Here is a link to the written text of this sutra:
Here is the next video in this series, The Sphere of the Moon.
Part Two of the series about the Traditional Model of the Cosmos is now ready. This one gives a brief description of the differences between Plato and Aristotle on the subject of Perfect Form.
For further reading, see:
Below is the first installment of a series on my new YouTube channel, Essentialist Astrology, about the Traditional Model of the Cosmos.
It is my intention to have new videos on this channel every Friday afternoon.
Next week’s episode will be Part II: Plato and Aristotle.
One of the important teachings in Filianism relates to the interaction between the home, or the Hestia, and the marketplace, or the Agora. Both are necessary for us, but in many modern cultures, there is a huge imbalance in how we treat both. The Agora is seen as central and more important than the Hestia. Filianism teaches that the reverse is true, that the Hestia is central and primary and that the Agora is secondary.
The Year of Sai Rhavë
In the Filianic calendar, the year starts on March 21, which is the day that we ritually celebrate Eastre and the Equinox, regardless of the day that the Equinox actually falls on, which varies from year to year. The day of the week that this day falls on is the first day of the week, and the Janya, or Great Angel, that rules that day is believed to govern the year.
This year, March 21 fell on Saturday, so the Janya of this year is Sai Rhavë, whose planet is Saturn.
On my astrology site, I talked about the astrological chart for the physical Equinox. If you are interested in reading it, here is a link to that article:
Yet, as a Filianist, I also believe that the Janya who rules the year also takes on added significance during the year.
Sai Rhavë is a severe Janya, and She often makes life difficult for us on the physical plane. Even so, She is necessary and a manifestation of Dea. Her lessons are important, even if they are not ones that anyone would wish for.
As we start this year, for most of us, the themes of Sai Rhavë are quite clear. All around the world, people are in quarantine and isolation due to a rampant pandemic that is sweeping the world. The Rhavic symbolism behind this is obvious.
Yet, as is always the case with Sai Rhavë, we can also learn some very important lessons from the experience.
I believe that one of these lessons is the importance of the Hestia, as well as a deepened appreciation for the sectors of life that are traditionally associated with the Feminine Principle.
What is Essential?
In the state of the U.S. that I live, we are under a “stay-at-home” order. All businesses, except for those deemed “essential” are closed down. In effect, the Agora has been effectively shut down. It is interesting, though, to learn what business activities truly are essential.
Of course, in this crisis, medical care providers are essential. Yet, the businesses that directly support the Hestia are also essential, such as food providers, store clerks, and sanitation workers. Many of these people do not generally get much respect in our society, but during these times, they have been heroic in helping to provide for our comfort and our needs, risking their own health and safety.
Teachers and those who care for children are also getting new respect as parents are attempting to teach their children at home.
In addition to those who are still at work, we are also learning about what it is that we actually need, as well as the strange things that we think that we need.
Most of those in the U.S. have never really experienced shortages. We might be limited by our financial resources in what we can buy, but there has always been the sense that we could buy whatever we needed or wanted if we could afford it. Now, we are discovering that many things are quite difficult to find.
One of the stranger things has been just how important people seem to find toilet paper, which has now become a scarce commodity. Although, I remember many conversations with my late grandmother in which we talked about a new invention or technology, and she recounted to me that she remembered when they invented toilet paper. I wonder what she would say about all of this.
Taking Stock of our Personal Hestia
Now that many people are at home, we are gaining awareness of our own Hestias and our own immediate families. There are those that are experiencing loneliness and boredom, particularly those that live alone. There are those that are having to be together with people that they have spent very little time with. Ironically, for some, such as housewives and stay-at-home moms, this is a time of greater engagement with the Agora, with spouses working from home.
While this is uncomfortable for many people, it is also a great opportunity to really examine our own Hestia and to see what changes need to be made.
This is not just a matter of practical considerations, such as working on our housekeeping or our relationships. It is also a matter of examining our hearts and souls and taking a hard look at our priorities.
Finding New Ways to Do Business and to Connect with Others
One of the things that we are having to do is to find new ways to connect with others. People need contact with other people, and right now, physical contact is dangerous. Yet, for most of us, there are other ways to communicate. Churches are finding that they can have Services electronically. Families can keep in contact through phone calls and video chat. While this might not be as satisfying as being in person, these methods do serve to meet our social needs.
In many ways, we are much more fortunate than our ancestors who had to deal with various kinds of plagues. Even 20 years ago, this level of non-physical communication would not have been possible.
Indeed, I think that this is a large part of the big picture. We are moving from an era dominated by Earth to one dominated by Air. We are moving away from the physical and into the world of ideas and electronic communication. While this pandemic is pushing us faster in that direction, we were going there anyway.
For more information, see:
Many people are worried about the economy while we are not able to do business in person. That an understandable fear, but I believe that those companies that can adapt are going to survive and flourish, not just during this scary time, but into the future as well.
There will be change and turmoil, and some jobs will disappear. This happens whenever there are advances in technology. Yet, new jobs will emerge, and people will find ways to make a living.
Even after this pandemic is over, our world will not go back to the way it was. For better or for worse, we will all have to adjust to “the new normal.”
A Ray of Hope
In a crisis, the best and worst in people come out. Yet, so far, there seems to be a lot more good than bad.
Yes, some people are selfishly ignoring precautions or hoarding items that we all need. Yes, some politicians and leaders are being less than helpful. This is not the full picture, however.
Some people are doing their best to be good. Performers and entertainers are giving free video performances. People are going out of their way to support and encourage each other from a safe distance. Businesses are doing their best to respond to this crisis by giving paid sick leave and taking other precautions to prevent the spread of the disease.
In the U.S., for the first time in decades, opposing parties are working together for the common good.
Even though the physical borders between countries have closed, all over the world, people are working together to fight the same enemy. Many people are sharing their experiences in quarantine and isolation, and in some ways, this has brought us closer as a worldwide community than ever before.
Like all crises, this is an opportunity for us to call forth our best selves, whether we are heroic first responders, faithful grocery store clerks, or one of the many who are called to protect our own health so we don’t contribute to the spread of the disease or further tax the available medical resources.
This is a time of uncertainty and fear. Yet, this is also a time for us to take a deep look at ourselves and our values. Life has been changing over the last several decades, but this new crisis is pushing us headlong into that change. In particular, we are being forced to examine our relationship to both the home and the marketplace, and examine our priorities…as individuals, as families, as cities, as nations, and as a world.
2020 promises to be a year of big changes astrologically, culminating with a Jupiter/Saturn Conjunction, also known as a Great Conjunction, in Aquarius at the Winter Solstice. This will mark the end of a two-century era in which the Great Conjunctions fell in Earth Signs and the beginning of a new two-century era in which they will occur in Air Signs.
As if this were not enough, before Jupiter and Saturn can come together, they will both have had to cross the path of Pluto. Saturn closed in on Pluto on January 12, 2020, and Jupiter will meet with Pluto three times, on April 4, June 30, and November 12.
For a detailed discussion of the Transits of 2020, see 2020 – An Earth-Shattering Year.
While all astrologers agree that the Jupiter/Saturn Conjunction has great significance, what about the meaning of the conjunctions of both of these planets with Pluto?
Answers to this question will vary widely by who you talk to. A Modern Psychological Astrologer or an Evolutionary Astrologer will attach deep meaning to these transits, while a strict Traditional Astrologer might say that they have no meaning at all.
In order to examine this subject, it might be helpful to take a closer look at Pluto, its history, and the significance that has been given to it by astrologers.
The History of Pluto
Before we delve into the astrological and metaphysical meanings of Pluto, let us step back and look at what we know about the discovery of this planet, its demotion, and its current place in modern astronomy.
Pluto was discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh when he was 23 years old. He worked at the Lowell Observatory, and his job was to search for Planet X. A century had not yet gone by since the discovery of Neptune in the mid-1840s.
Apparently, in the late 19th century, some astronomers believed that the orbits of Uranus and Neptune were not what they were supposed to be and speculated that there was another planet causing the anomaly. This undiscovered planet was called Planet X.
Percival Lowell was a wealthy Bostonian and scholar who was interested in a variety of subjects, including mathematics and astronomy. He founded the Lowell Observatory, and searching for Planet X was one of his pet projects.
Percival Lowell did not live to see his dream become a reality, but one of the glyphs that is commonly used for Pluto has a combined P and L, which in addition to being the first letters for the name of the planet, were also the initials of his name.
Beginning in the early 1990s, barely 60 years into its discovery, Pluto’s status as a planet was beginning to be called into question. Part of the reason for this is that astronomers were finding out just how small Pluto really is. It is about two-thirds of the size of the Earth’s Moon.
Another difficulty is that Pluto’s orbit is quite messy. Like the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, Pluto’s orbit is filled with other space objects and is now known to be a part of a region that has been named the Kuiper Belt.
Pluto’s final fall from grace happened when another body larger than it was found to be further out into the Kuiper Belt. This body eventually became known as Eris, after the Greek goddess of strife and discord.
In 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) officially determined the definition of a planet to be a celestial body that 1) is in orbit around the Sun; 2) has enough mass to be round; 3) has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit.
Celestial bodies that have only met the first two criteria are now known as dwarf planets, and there are now 5 bodies that belong in this classification, among them, Pluto, Eris, and Ceres.
Pluto’s demotion was highly controversial. In his book, The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the director of the Hayden Planetarium and one of the key players in Pluto’s reclassification, tells the story of the popular outcry. Apparently, Dr. Tyson received quite a bit of mail complaining about the demotion, which included letters from elementary school children. One letter even included a picture of Pluto crying.
It turns out that the elementary school children discussed above may have been right to be concerned about Pluto’s feelings. Unbeknownst to anyone, Pluto apparently has a heart.
In 2006, the space probe, New Horizons, was launched to explore the outer Solar System. This probe arrived at Pluto in 2015 and mapped this celestial body along with its largest moon, Charon. Charon is so large in comparison with Pluto that Charon does not actually orbit Pluto. Instead, these bodies orbit a point between them.
New Horizons sent back a great deal of data about Pluto. Some of the most interesting discoveries were that the most prominent feature of Pluto’s landscape is a large heart-shaped region and that there may be water beneath its surface.
Pluto in Astrology
Pluto’s role in astrology has also taken many twists and turns. At the present time, Pluto is just as controversial in the astrological community as it is in the scientific one. For the most part, Indian astrology does not incorporate Pluto or any of the modern planets, but for such a small celestial body, it has become a very big bone of contention among Western astrologers.
Below are some of the views of Pluto based on three of the main branches of Western Astrology.
Strict Traditional or Classical Astrologers ignore Pluto altogether. They also ignore Uranus, Neptune, and all of the asteroids. They primarily use the Seven Traditional Planets and see no need to make room for any of the planets discovered in modern times. This is, in part, because of the doctrine of visibility, which is that only the bodies that are visible have meaning to our lives.
Yet, there are many astrologers, some of them quite well-known, that use mostly traditional methodology and still incorporate Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto in their readings.
In general, though, these astrologers do not assign the planets the rulerships of any signs, and instead, stick to the traditional rulership scheme.
Modern Psychological Astrology
The most common branch of astrology that is practiced in the West can be loosely described as Modern Psychological. Actually, this is far from a unified or organized school of thought, but there are some common themes.
The reason it is often termed psychological astrology is that its primary purpose is to describe people’s personality traits and internal psychological dynamics. Often, practitioners do not try to predict events that will happen in people’s lives but instead focus on a person’s Free Will.
Planets and celestial bodies are often incorporated into the system shortly after they are discovered. Innovation is welcome and even encouraged by practitioners.
In Modern Psychological Astrology, Pluto governs deep internal psychological forces. The associations for Pluto are often quite dark, although, it is also termed the planet of “transformation.” Pluto is assigned the rulership of Scorpio, sometimes alongside Mars, the traditional ruler, and sometimes in place of Mars. Areas assigned to Pluto are the areas of the psyche are ugly, violent, and that most people try to keep buried.
On a global level, it has been noted that Pluto was discovered as we were discovering atomic power, and the element named for it, plutonium, was used in the first atomic bomb detonated in war.
Pluto’s demotion has not changed its usage by most Modern Psychological Astrologers, although some have included other dwarf planets, such as Ceres and Eris, into their readings.
Evolutionary Astrology takes Pluto even further, teaching that it is central to a person’s soul. Indeed, it points to the soul’s karma and its intentions in this present life. One of the major schools of Evolutionary Astrology is known as The Pluto School.
This branch of astrology also combines a sign, its ruler, and the house whose number corresponds to that sign, and gives them all a synonymous meaning. In this system, Scorpio, Pluto, and the 8th House all mean approximately the same thing.
Interestingly enough, this system places a heavy emphasis on Free Will. The chart is just a reflection of your past up until the point that you were born, and you can decide what to do with it in this life.
Even so, in many cases, Evolutionary Astrology often takes a close look at the traumas and unpleasant experiences that one has encountered in this and previous lives.
Further Discussion and Research
Last spring, on the Astrology Podcast, hosted by Chris Brennan, there was an interesting episode titled How Did Pluto and the Outer Planets Get Their Meanings. The panelists were Chris Brennan, Kenneth Miller, Sam Reynolds, and Lisa Schaim.
You can watch this episode on YouTube here.
This was a very good discussion, and I highly recommend it.
One of the more interesting parts of this video was a discussion by Kenneth Miller about a study he conducted regarding the views of astrologers concerning Pluto since its discovery.
According to his research, for the first few decades, most astrologers were unsure of whether Pluto did have meaning and if so, what that meaning was. Sometimes it seemed to impact people and sometimes it did not.
In most cases, astrologers from the early decades of Pluto’s discovery seemed to think that Pluto was only relevant in a birth chart if it impacted other planets or chart points in the chart.
In modern times, however, Kenneth Miller observed that astrologers who use Pluto are convinced that it does have meaning, are confident of that meaning, and see evidence of its influence whether or not it is connected with the more personal planets.
In the episode, he pondered what that might mean, assuming that both the astrologers of the past and present astrologers were faithfully reporting their professional observations. Could it be that Pluto actually is more influential now than it was in the past?
Also discussed in this video was the practice of ascribing meaning to Pluto and other celestial bodies based on the name given to them by astronomers as well as by what was going on in the world during their discovery. The basis for this practice is the doctrine of synchronicity. One of the observations made, however, that there did not seem to be any discussion of the significance of Pluto’s demotion according to synchronicity.
Pluto and Free Will
One of the central controversies in astrology concerns the roles of Fate and Free Will in our lives. This is not just an abstract philosophical discussion. For astrologers, it has profound practical implications. Our position on this issue governs how much we think that a person’s astrological chart can tell us and what we believe that we are able to predict by the movements of the planets.
Ultimately, every astrologer must come to terms with this question for themselves, but the different branches of Western Astrology tend to have different beliefs the interplay between Fate and Free Will.
Modern practitioners of Traditional/Classical Astrology tend to fall heavily on the side of Fate. There are a few who go so far as to think that our entire lives can be predicted with mathematical precision from our charts. This is an extreme view and is not held by many practicing astrologers, however.
Astrologers in the Hellenistic Age seemed to have a more nuanced view and in general, believed that some things were fated and some were subject to Free Will. I have found that most modern Traditional and Classical Astrologers would agree with this. Yet, I think that almost all would say that Fate plays at least some role in what happens to us and that we can predict our present and our future to a certain extent from our birth charts.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are Evolutionary Astrologers who do not believe in Fate, but ascribe everything to Free Will. As discussed before, in this branch, our birth chart only reflects the choices that we have made in past lives. Our present and future paths are up to us.
Most Modern Psychological Astrologers fall somewhere in between these two extremes.
For my own thoughts on the subject, I refer the reader to the article below:
One of the things that I have noticed is that it seems that there is a correlation between how much astrologers believe Pluto and the Outer Planets impact us and how great of a role Free Will plays in our lives.
I do not think that this is a coincidence.
Thoughts and Reflections
When I first read, The Feminist Universe, by Miss Alice Trent, I learned about the modern poisons of atomization, deracination, and deformation. Atomization separates us from each other, deracination separates us from our Source, and deformation twists and inverts that which is good and beautiful, making it an ugly parody.
If you are interested, you can purchase a copy of The Feminine Universe here.
When I was reading about these poisons, I was struck with how similar they were to the accepted meanings of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
I wrote about my thoughts in the article below:
In a later article, I discussed my thoughts on the notion that the Outer Planets were “Higher Octaves” of the Traditional Planets. The article is linked below:
Based on these reflections, and in monitoring my own chart as the charts of my clients and others I know, I have developed my own practice as to how I use Pluto and the Outers.
I do believe that they can have an impact on people, but that this impact is almost entirely the result of Free Will.
I believe that the Traditional Planets, which we can see with the naked eye, cannot be avoided. We do have some Free Will with respect to how we interact with the principles they represent, but we are fated to deal with them as Axial Beings in the material world. For example, a mortal cannot avoid Saturn. We will all face the ravages of time and will eventually die.
We can, however, avoid delving into the depths of Pluto. In order to see it, we must go to substantial lengths and effort to do so. I think that is a metaphor for the Pluto principle as well.
On the other hand, no one is an island, and if our society has embraced Pluto, we will be impacted by it at some level whether we want to be or not. I find it interesting that there has been an outcry against the demotion of Pluto, and that many astrologers have ignored it completely.
If synchronicity was involved in its discovery, surely its demotion was meaningful as well. I think that, perhaps, we have been given the choice to reject the principles that have been associated with it. Maybe, over time, our society will be able to make that choice.
Perhaps, we can use this year of changes to stop employing Pluto as a symbol for the principle which encourages us to dig up parts of our psyche better left buried or to take apart the building blocks of matter giving the power to destroy ourselves. Instead, we can let it alone to be a teeny world at the edge of our Solar System. We can enjoy its dance with its partner, Charon, let it have its heart, and speculate about what might be in the oceans beneath its surface.
I think that we have that choice if we want it.