Sleeping Beauty, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, and the Soul’s Search for Spirit

Traditional Fairy Tales are one of the few places in the Modern World where we still have access to Perennial Wisdom. The written versions of these stories are usually chronicles of much older oral folktales, and they are rich with symbolism. Often, the themes of these stories are universal, and there are different versions told in different cultures throughout the world. The tale of Sleeping Beauty is one of these stories. In a previous article, I discussed the symbolism of Saturn in the French version, which was collected by Charles Perrault. In this article, I would like to talk about the main theme of this story, which is the jouney of the Soul to find Spirit. I will also be talking about the same symbolism in the Norwegian version of this tale, East of the Sun and West of the Moon.

Spirit and Soul

The terms, Spirit and Soul, can be confusing to the modern reader. Many people, even experienced astrologers, confuse them. They are quite different, however.

In order to understand these concepts, it is important to realize that on a deep level we are all One. Everything and everyone in the Cosmos springs from the same Source, and on a very deep level, we never left that Source. In the Feminine Scripture, it is written,

If thou wouldst find union with Our Mother, know that thou hast never left Her.

If thou wouldst escape the veil of matter, know that there is no matter and is no veil.

Cry Marya 12-13, Gospel of Our Mother God

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This may be what the monotheistic movement in the Abrahamic tradition was originally trying to convey.  A better description can be found in the Vedic concept of Brahman and the Buddhist doctrine of “No Self.”

This is reflected on a lower level even in the manifest, material Universe. It is thought that everything in existence started with a single particle, smaller than an atom. It is also thought that all of the matter that makes up our physical bodies and the world around us comes from the explosion of stars at the end of their lives. Even Modern Scientists deeply entrenched in Rationalism would say that we are made out of stardust. Of course, none of these Modern Scientific Theories “prove” anything about Fundamental Truth, but all of this does seem rather magical!

The Spirit is the part of us that is still connected with the One. At its Highest Level, the Spirit is still United with the One, but at a lower level, it is the part of the One that lives inside each of us. This is true nature of the Solar Principle in its purest form.

At some point, each of us became separated from the One, or Spirit, and began to experience individuality. We became Souls. Our Souls came from Spirit and they reflect the Light of Spirit, but to a greater or lesser extent, they are also removed from pure Spirit. Most of us who have incarnated into a physical body on the manifest world are trapped on what is known in the Vedic and the Buddhist Traditions as the Wheel of Samsara. Our Souls can be seen in the Lunar Principle.

The story of Sleeping Beauty is the journey of the Soul searching for Spirit.

Sleeping Beauty

In Sleeping Beauty, a King and Queen are childless for a long time, but eventually they have a baby girl. Depending on the version, a certain number of fairies or wise women are invited to her christening. There is one, however, that does not get invited. She comes anyways, and out of anger and spite for not having been invited, she lays a curse on the Princess that she will  prick her finger on a spindle on her sixteenth birthday and die.

One of the fairies/wise women cleverly waits to give her gift until the end. She is not able to completely counteract the curse, but she is able to soften it, so that the Princess will not die, but only sleep for one hundred years. The King outlaws all spindles and orders them destroyed.

Sleeping Beauty curse

The Princess grows up to be beautiful and perfect in every way. In turns out that there was a spindle still around even after the decree of the King. On her sixteenth birthday, the Princess does find the spindle, pricks her finger, and falls into a deep sleep.

The Princess in this story represents Spirit. She is pure and perfect in every way.  Yet, she has fallen prey to a curse. In a sense, so has the Spirit inside of us, by entering the manifest world. Yet, even though the curse was supposed to be death, the Spirit cannot die, but instead falls into a deep sleep. In a sense, that is the condition we find ourselves in this life. In Greek mythology, there is the River of Lethe, or forgetfulness, which we must cross in between lives. The word for Truth in Greek is Aletheia, or Unforgetfulness.

Sleeping Beauty AwakenIn both the German and the French versions, thorns grow up around Sleeping Beauty. A Prince braves the thorns and finds her. In the Disney adaption of the German version, he must battle the evil queen Maleficent as a part of the journey. In the German version, the Prince kisses the Princess and she awakes. In the French version, she wakes up at the appointed time with the Prince present, and there is a second story line of danger afterwards, but ultimately, they are able to be together in peace.

The Prince in this story represents the Soul. Our own Souls are barred from Spirit, which is asleep behind a barrier of thorns. Through his bravery, he is able to reunite with Spirit, and they live happily ever after.

East of the Sun and West of the Moon

There is a Norwegian story with a similar motif as Sleeping Beauty called East of the Sun and West of the Moon. In this version, the genders of the characters are reversed. This gender reversal is of no matter, as Spirit and Soul, or the Solar and the Lunar, are beyond human gender.

The White Bear

In this story, there is a girl who was the youngest daughter of a poor husbandman. She was the most beautiful of all of the children. One day, a White Bear came to their door and asked her father if she could live with him. If she did, the White Bear would make them all as rich as they were then poor. The father said that he must ask his daughter first. At first the girl refused, but then she relented and said she would go for the sake of her family.

On the way to the home of the White Bear, he asked her, “Are you afraid?” Her answer was, “No.”

Journey with Bear

The White Bear lived in a beautiful home, and the girl had everything she could wish for. Every night, however, a man would come and lie down beside her. He would always be gone before daylight, so she never knew who he was.

The Mother’s Advice

After a time, she started to get homesick, and the White Bear said that she could visit her family. Before he did, he gave the girl a warning. He said that her mother would try to give her advice, but that she should not listen to it. If she followed her mother’s advice, it would bring misery on them both.

When she went home, the mother did indeed give her advice. She told her mother about the strange man who visited, and her mother told her that he was probably a troll. She said that the girl should hide a candle in her breast at night, and that she should light it when she was sure the man was asleep so she could see who he was.

When the girl returned to the White Bear, he asked if her mother had given her advice. The girl admitted that her mother had. The White Bear cautioned her again not to follow her mother’s advice.

Mother's Bad AdviceWhen the girl went to bed, just as before, a man came in and lay down next to her. When she was sure that he was asleep, she lit the candle that she had hid in her breast according to her mother’s advice. When she did, she saw the most handsome man she had ever seen. She was so enamored by him that she could not help but kiss him. When she did three tallows from the candled dripped on him and he woke up.

At this time, the man told him that he was under a curse to live as a White Bear during the day and as a man at night for the space of a year. If he could live with a woman for a year without her finding out, he would be free of the curse. Because the girl found out, however, he would have to leave her to go to the land East of the Sun and West of the Moon, and marry an ugly Ogress Princess.

There is some overlap in this story with Beauty and the Beast, in which the Beast is Soul and the Beauty is Spirit; however, in this case, the White Bear does seem to represent Spirit. To begin with, Bears are magical animals with a deep history of being considered Sacred. Also, the girl’s recognition of the True Nature of the White Bear does not save him. Instead, her discovery before the appointed time cemented the curse. The mother’s advice can be seen as the wisdom of the world, which is often counter to the Wisdom of Spirit. The third clue that this is a Sleeping Beauty story is that the girl undertakes a Hero’s Journey to rescue her Prince.

The Hero’s Journey

When the White Bear leaves for the land East of the Sun, West of the Moon, the girl goes to find him, even after being told it was impossible. As in rise stories such as Cinderella, she receives magical help along the way.  You can read the full journey here, but whenever she asks directions, she is asked in return, “Are you afraid?” When she replies that she is not, the helper says that maybe she was the one who should have married the Prince. The helper gives as much help as he/she/it can, and many of them also give her inexplicable gifts in case they can be of use.

Eventually, the girl does find the Prince, who is in the custody of the Ogress Princess. For three nights, the girl barters one of the gifts she received along the way for one night with the Prince. For the first two nights, he is asleep and does not waken. Before the third night, however, he is told about the girl, and he realizes that he has been drugged. He does not eat or drink anything given to him, so on the third night, he is awake when the girl comes.

East of the Sun Happy Ending

The Prince assures the girl that he will work things out, and he devises a test that the Ogress Princess and her mother will fail, but that the girl will pass. When this happens, as in Sleeping Beauty, they marry and “live happily ever after.” The Soul has journeyed to find Spirit, which has led to Liberation and Enlightenment.

Essentialist Astrology, Defining My Practice

In the last several years, I have been working towards developing a philosophical basis for my astrology practice and refining my methodology accordingly. It has been clear to me for some time that I need to forge my own path in astrology rather than follow an already established one. It seems like it is time now to give that path a name and define my philosophy and methods.

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The Problem

I have been defining my practice as “astrology using Classical Western methods, grounded in the Divine Feminine.” I have come to think that there are a number of problems with this description, however. To start off with, it seems to be a bit too long and complicated. Also, given the present common usage of many of these terms, it can be a bit misleading.

With the internet and YouTube, many more people are exposed to astrology and the different branches and schools of thought in astrology than ever before. This being the case, how an astrologer labels herself or does not label herself brings with it certain expectations. For example, it seems that using the term astrologer with no other label or explanation tends to create the expectation of either Modern Psychological Astrology or a mixture of philosophies and methods. Classical/Traditional Astrology also creates a set of expections that I believe no longer fits what I do.

More problematic I think is the use of the term Divine Feminine with respect to the astrology I practice. While this is absolutely true, it may give the impression that my practice is limited to those who share my religious beliefs, in the same way as if I defined myself as a Christian, Jewish, or Buddhist Astrologer would. An even bigger difficulty is that there are several astrologers currently using the term Divine Feminine and associating this term with asteroids and the like. Also, as far as I can tell, all of them accept without question the association of the feminine with the nocturnal signs and the Divine Feminine as limited to the Lunar and Venusian principles. It is tempting to enter the fray in that discussion more than I already have, but it seems easier to just use different language to define what I do.

I had not intended to define a potential new branch of astrology,  but as I would say in Japanese, しょうがありません, shou ga arimasen (“it can’t be helped.”)

So, in that light, I have chosen the name Essentialist Astrology for the type of astrology I do. I think that this description is accurate. Also, from what I can tell, no one else is using it, so it does not come with any predefined expectations. I imagine that things will unfold as time goes on, but as of now, here is a prelimary definition of Essentialist Astrology.

Essentialist Astrology Defined

Below are what seem to be the basic tenets and assumptions of Essentialist Astrology.

The Traditional Model of the Cosmos

First and foremost, Essentialist Astrology asserts that the Traditional Model of the Cosmos is as valid now as it was in Ancient times. The scientific “discoveries” over the past several centuries do not call it into question, nor could they. Everything in the sensible Universe is a part of Earth, or the Sublunary Sphere, in this Model. All of the other spheres are above and outside of the material world that we can observe, measure, or extrapolate by reason. A fuller explanation of this can be found in the first chapter of The Feminine Universe, “The Image of the Cosmos.”

View on Tradition

Essentialist Astrology is rooted in the Western Astrological Tradition. It is an outgrowth of the modern practice of Traditional/Classical Astrology.  It gives the highest authority to techniques and principles that have survived through the ages to the presest day. Older traditions are given great respect, with the caveat that the older a tradition is, the less likely it is that we understand it properly. Essentialist Astrology does not reject post-Enlightenment innovations outright, but treats them with a high degree of skepticism.

That being said, in Essentialist Astrology, it is perfectly acceptable to adapt the Tradition to the Modern World, with the understanding that adaptation is different than innovation. It is also acceptable to reject apparent Patriarchal redactions to deeper astrological traditions.

The Janyati

The planets are not lifeless bodies orbiting about the Sun, but are representatives of Divine Intelligences. These Divine Intelligences have been seen as gods or angels in many cultures throughout time, and they continue to act in the Cosmos. In the West, the planets are named for the Greco-Roman gods and goddesses associated with these Intelligences; however, the Greco-Roman gods and goddesses are no longer worshipped by any culture today. Furthermore, the mythology associated with these gods and goddesses portrays them with human faults and shortcomings, and so, in this day and age, they create a barrier to our understanding of the High and Divine nature of these Intelligences.

Thus, it is necessary to use different names for the Divine Intelligences, and Essentialist Astrology calls them the Janyati, or Great Angels. The associations of the Janyati are as follows:

Sai Raya – The Sun

Sai Candre – The Moon

Sai Mati – Mercury

Sai Sushuri – Venus

Sai Vikhë – Mars

Sai Thamë – Jupiter

Sai Rhavë – Saturn

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Gender

Essentialist Astrology is feminine positive and rejects Patriarchal models of the Cosmos and society. Despite common belief, this is not a new or Modern way of thinking. Such ideas can be found as early in the Patriarchal Age as Plato’s Republic, and it is more likely than not that the earliest Cosmological and societal models were feminine.

On a practical level, this means that Essentialist Astrology rejects the division of the Janyati and their planets into genders. The Janyati themselves are beyond gender; however, they are usually depicted as feminine. This is because it is hard for humans to understand or image them as Intelligences without gender. Due to the nature of the world we live in, often when gender is undefined, images tend to default to the masculine. Thus, feminine images for the Janyati are more appropriate.

Also, as the currently accepted gender division of the signs seems to be a Patriarchal redaction of an earlier tradition and is redundant with the day/night division, it is rejected by Essentialist Astrology.

Living Archetypes

Essentialist Astrology treats the Zodiacal signs as the 12 main human Living Archetypes. Living Archetypes are not to be confused with the Jungian conception of archetypes as parts of the human psyche.  Living Archetypes are instead Perfect Forms created in the mind of the Divine Creator, and they are outside of and beyond human consciousness.

Conclusion

Over the past several years, my practice has unfolded along a path that is different from the current branches of astrology. As such, it seems appropriate to give this path the name, Essentialist Astrology. In this article, I have outlined some of its preliminary tenets. I am not sure how this will unfold, but this article is the first step in this journey.

Evolutionary Astrology, Thoughts and Musings

Evolutionary Astrology is a relatively new branch of astrology. This branch seems to claim to be able to trace the soul’s journey from incarnation to incarnation, and to determine what a soul is trying to accomplish in this lifetime. This branch also claims to be an astrology about freedom and choice. As a caveat to this article, I have not studied Evolutionary Astrology in depth. My knowledge is based on the introductory materials that can be found on the internet. For this reason, I might be misunderstanding key concepts. My musings are from the perspective of an outside observer only.

Even though I use mostly Classical Western methods, there are things I do find interesting about Evolutionary Astrology, and in many ways, I want to like it. One of the main schools in this branch is led by Steven Forrest. When I was studying astrology in my teens, Steven Forrest’s books, The Inner Sky and The Changing Sky, were some of the mainstays of my self-education. I really like his approach to astrology and his gentle wisdom and humor.

I also like the use of astrology as a tool to aid one’s spiritual journey in this life. I disagree with the methodology of Evolutionary Astrology to the extent that I understand it, but I largely agree with many (but not all) of the core perceptions as outlined on Steven Forrest’s site. While I do really want to like it, there are some things I just can not get past.

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Is Evolutionary Astrology Just Another Astrological Language?

Before I continue, there is the question of whether Evolutionary Astrology is simply a new astrological language. If that is the case, as a non-speaker of that language, I really do not have any business commenting at all. It is tempting to go that route. After all, it seems best when we can all just get along.

I think, though, that Evolutionary Astrology really is more than just a different language. By its very nature, it is not just talking about the physical world or people’s inner psychological workings. It is talking about the soul and matters that touch upon Fundamental Truth.

One of the other main founders of Evolutionary Astrology, Jeff Wolf Green, says that he received the basic tenets of this branch from a dream. This is an example of revealed knowledge, further evidence that we are looking at claims concerning Fundamental Truth. This means that this is not just a new astrological language, but a philosophy, and perhaps a religion.

I accept as a given that as beings in an unEnlightened state, our ability to understand Fundamental Truth is limited. Different religions tell different narratives to describe Truth, but none of these narratives are Truth itself. This does not mean that knowledge of these matters is merely a matter of perception and opinion, though. When looking at matters of Fundamental Truth, there are ideas that are in error. Thus, I am examining the philosophy behind Evolutionary Astrology, as I understand it, from a Traditional perspective.

The Name, Evolutionary Astrology

The first difficulty I have is the name itself. From a Traditional perspective, the direction of manifestation is decline, not progress. The word, evolution, means moving away from the Center. The main philosophy behind Evolutionary Astrology is that our souls incarnate from lifetime to lifetime, and that the birthchart can tell the “evolutionary condition” at the state of birth.

I do believe in reincarnation, or transmigration of souls, but my belief is closer to the Vedic and Buddhist traditions, in which this transmigration is part of the Wheel of Samsara. The ultimate goal of our souls is not to “evolve” on this wheel, but to escape it. Now, of course, it could be that the name of this branch of astrology does not really encompass a belief that our souls are progressing through evolution, but merely addresses why we are still on the Wheel of Samsara. I do not know enough about it to be sure. On the other hand, the Vedic tradition of astrology, which does address matters of Samsara, has been around a long time and is deeply rooted in an unbroken line between guru and student. Is a modern, Western branch of astrology that does the same thing necessary?  That is really a question, by the way. I do not know the answer.

Pluto

pluto-2677026_640My biggest fundamental difficulty with Evolutionary Astrology comes from the heavy use of the dwarf planet, Pluto. Evolutionary Astrology claims that the sign and house position of Pluto is fundamental to understanding the soul’s purpose in this life.

This claim is going beyond saying the Pluto has impact on our lives, which I think is possible. It is even going beyond giving Pluto rulership of the sign, Scorpio, which I think is false and a disruption of the entire system. This seems to be going so far as to elevate Pluto above the level of the Traditional planets on a spiritual level.  Indeed, one of the current schools of Evolutionary Astrology is called “The Pluto School.”

This elevation is not just a matter of technique by which reasonable astrologers might disagree. This is stating something about the nature of Fundamental Truth, and as such, needs to be carefully examined. I have come to see Pluto as representative of the poison of deformation or inversion of right and wrong, so this elevation of Pluto seems particularly troublesome to me.

Another difficulty is that Pluto was not discovered until 1930. Does that mean that we did not have access to information about the state of our souls until that time? This, more than anything, would seem to be to be a fatal flaw in the system.

On the other hand, according to Platonic and Eastern Traditions, we are currently in the late Iron Age, or Kali Yuga. This is the end of a larger cycle, and our souls could very well be using this lifetime to clean up old werde or karma before the next Golden Age begins. As such, we may need to deal with unsavory elements from our past lives, I do not know. If that were the case, perhaps we did not need to look at Plutonian issues until recently.

Still, from what I have seen, Evolutionary Astrology goes into areas of much complexity, and I wonder how useful and necessary this really is. Indeed, my own feeling is that being in the late Iron Age is all the more reason not to delve into such deep and dark complex matters.

In my own spiritual tradition, we are taught to turn away from these sorts of complexities as much as we can. In the Cry Marya, from the Gospel of Our Mother God, it is written, “All the complexities of the world are but the turnings of a labyrinth, and at the centre is the fiery rose-heart of our Mother, burning with perfect love.” We are taught that in this late Age, all that is required of us is to turn to Our Mother like humble, small children. We are assured that She will make up for any deficiencies in our devotion.

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Fate and Free Will

Another difficulty I have with Evolutionary Astrology is what seems to me a rather extreme position on the question of fate and free will. One of the core perceptions of Evolutionary Astrology as outlined on Steven Forrest’s site is: “An acceptance of the fact that human beings are responsible for the realities they experience, both internally and externally.”

I am a strong believer in Free Will, and I have a lot of difficulty with Traditional/Classical Astrologers who take a mechanical and fatalistic approach to our craft. On the other hand, I do not believe that Free Will necessarily means the freedom of agency with respect to our material existence. If that were the case, it would seem to lead to some rather harsh results.

For example, what about children who are born into horribly abusive households or into extreme poverty? Are they responsible for their plight? In some traditions, including the Vedic one, the answer might be yes, because of misdeeds from a previous life. In the Buddhist tradition, all of life is suffering, and these situations just represent more obvious forms.

The problem of human suffering is particularly difficult for monotheistic faiths. Indeed, there is the old monotheistic paradox that if God were all-powerful, God can not be good, and if God were good, God can not be all-powerful. The issue of suffering is directly addressed in the Judeo-Christian written tradition in the Book of Job. There is also the famous question in the Christian tradition from the Gospel According to John, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” John 9:2 NRSV

In the Filianic tradition, suffering is part of the necessary imperfection of manifestation, and it is beyond our power to fully comprehend from an unEnlightened state. We do not always have freedom of action or agency on the material plane. We do, however, have absolute Free Will in whether to turn to the Light or to the Dark, regardless of our material circumstances. This may or may not change anything in the physical world, but our choices will have a direct and clear impact on our souls.

On a material level, there are areas we have choice and areas we do not. I think it unnecessarily harsh to say that we are responsible for everything we experience.

The Moon’s Nodes

In Evolutionary Astrology, the Moon’s Nodes represent the life path of the native. The South Node represents where we are coming from and the North Node represents where we are going.

In Classical/Traditional Astrology, there is no consensus as to the meaning of the Nodes. In Vedic Astrology, the Nodes are the Head and Tail of the Dragon, Rahu and Ketu, respectively. Both are considered malefic.

In my own practice, I have not seen an appreciable difference between the North and South Nodes, and I tend to view both as malefic. They are the places that eclipses form. I see eclipses as waves of darkness over the world soul. I do believe they have a karmic influence, but not necessarily on the level of individual souls. I think they represent collective karma, and the place they touch our charts is where our individual souls connect with or are impacted by the world soul. I think this is particularly true for those born during or whose charts progress into eclipse seasons. This is not a Traditional approach, but one that I developed in my own experience and practice.

Conclusion

There are things that I like about Evolutionary Astrology, in particular, the practice of using astrology to assist with the development of the soul. It seems to be a popular branch of astrology in this day and age, and I can see how it can be helpful to people. On the other hand, I find some of the techniques and practices problematic, especially the elevation of Pluto and what seems to be an extreme position on the question of Fate and Free Will. These techniques and practices raise important issues with respect to the philosophy of astrology and delve into matters that relate to Fundamental Truth.

Traditional Science, Quantum Physics, and Simulated Worlds

In my last article, it may have seemed like I was against science or at least against modern science. That is far from the case. I like science a lot. If it were not for science, I would not be at my computer writing this article. The natural world is an extremely fascinating place, and I am glad that there are people researching and teaching us about it.

What I do have difficulty with is the modern philosophy surrounding science. Science, or the study of the natural world, has been around at least as as far back as we have written records, and most likely had been around long before that. I have written articles discussing Traditional Science and how it is different than Modern Science, but in a very real sense, science is just science. If an atheist scientist, a Christian scientist, a Muslim scientist, or a Jewish scientist mix the same chemicals together, they will all get the same results. Eratosthenes of Cyrene was able to calculate the circumference of the Earth as far back as the 3rd Century B.C.E., and his calculation was in error by about 10 to 15%, depending on the value of the stade, the ancient unit of measurement he used. Yet, in 2012, when the modern scientist, Anthony Abreu Mora, used Eratosthenes’ formula with more accurate data, his result was in error by only 0.16%.

Rather than using the terms Traditional Science and Modern Science, it would probably be more accurate to say Traditional Philosophy and Modern Philosophy. It is from philosophy that the rules for how science is practiced and the beliefs about what science can tell us are derived. The philosophy surrounding science has undergone vast changes over the centuries.

Traditional/Platonic Thought

Let us start by looking at Traditional Philosophy as transmitted to us by Plato. While this philosophy is often called Platonian, Plato did not claim to be its originator. Plato said that he was transmitting what he had learned from his teacher, Socrates, who in turn said that he was transmitting wisdom from his own teachers.

Traditional Thought

In Traditional thought, as transmitted by Plato, there is Fundamental Truth. This Truth lies outside of the world. We learn about Truth through revealed knowledge and through our intuition. Revealed knowledge is knowledge that is given to us from outside of the world. An example of revealed knowledge is the astrological axiom, “as above, so below.” This came from the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus. The intuition referred to is not the lunar faculty that is often called intuition in the modern world, but the solar faculty that comes from our Heart.

When investigating the natural world, or engaging in scientific inquiry, it is permissible, and indeed, desirable, to use knowledge of Fundamental Truth obtained by revelation or intuition in interpreting the results of such inquiry. On the other hand, it is not permissible to use the results of scientific inquiry as knowledge of Fundamental Truth. If the results of scientific inquiry conflicted with knowledge of Fundamental Truth, that was to be expected. Fundamental Truth belonged to the perfect world of the Divine. Scientific inquiry merely revealed facts about the imperfect world of flux and change.

Aristotelian Thought

While Plato claimed to be merely transmitting knowledge from his teachers, his student, Aristotle departed from his teachings in significant ways.

Aristotelian ThoughtWhile Aristotle still believed in Fundamental Truth, according to his teachings, the natural world was intertwined with that Truth to a significant degree. The enmeshment of the two in this philosophy was so great that one should expect scientific inquiry to reveal the same information that was obtained through revealed knowledge and intuition. Because of this, if the results of research and observation of the material world conflicted with what was thought to be known about Fundamental Truth, this could cast our knowledge of Fundamental Truth into doubt. Knowledge could flow in both directions. Reason was the way in which we could arbitrate differences between our scientific knowledge and our knowledge of Fundamental Truth.

Christian Philosophy

Christian philosophers in the Middle Ages largely adopted Aristotelian philosophy.

Christian Philosophy

The main difference was that in Christian philosophy, conflicts between our knowledge of Fundamental Truth and scientific inquiry were to be arbitrated by Church doctrine and dogma rather than reason. This is why Galileo came into conflict with the Roman Catholic Church. It was not just that the heliocentric model of the solar system challenged Church doctrine, but also that Galileo attempted to give his own interpretation of the Bible based on his findings.

William of Ockham and Nominalism

A few centuries before Galileo, William of Ockham developed the philosophy known as nominalism.

Nominalism

William of Ockham denied the existence of Fundamental Truth, except for the existence of God, and he also denied that science could tell us anything about God. By the same token, the study of God could tell us nothing about the material world. In effect, Ockham’s philosophy placed an impenetrable barrier between the study of the Divine and the study of the natural world.

Modern Scientific Thought

This brings us to the current state of modern scientific thought.

Modern Scientific Thought

In the Modern world, the generally accepted academic model is that scientific inquiry is the beginning of knowledge. There is no recognition of revealed knowledge or tradition. Intuition is considered untrustworthy. The rules by which scientific inquiry can be conducted are quite strict.

It is also widely believed that we can derive truth from scientific inquiry using reason. This truth does not rise to the level of Fundamental Truth, and further inquiry may, and often does, change what we believe to be true.

Quantum Physics

A good example of how scientific inquiry has changed what we believe to be true is in the discipline of quantum physics. For a few centuries after the Enlightenment, there was general consensus as to the mechanics of how things operated in the world. This consensus is now known as Newtonian physics or classical physics, after the famous scientist, Isaac Newton. The problem is that it has now been discovered that Newtonian physics do not work everywhere or all the time. When things get very very small, very very large, or very very fast, the laws of Newtonian physics get thrown out the window.

The most famous experiment in the field of quantum physics concerns the nature of light. This experiment was designed to test whether light was made of particles or if it was a wave, and involved sending light through two slits. If light was a wave, it should go through both slits, and if was made of particles, the individual particles would go through one slit or another.

Light Slit ExperimentThis experiment yielded strange results. If no one measured the light passing through the slits, light would act like a wave and go through both. If someone did measure each of the slits, light would seem to change into particles, each of which going through one hole or another. It seemed as if light would know whether or not it was being measured, and would change its properties accordingly.

This spawned the field of quantum mechanics or quantum physics, and it seems that the more they research in this field, the stranger and stranger things become.

Simulated Worlds

Let us put the confusing world of quantum physics aside for the moment and talk about simulated worlds. Modern technology has reached the level of sophistication that we have created game worlds that mimic the world we live in. In some of these worlds, activity takes place even during times when no human is actively participating in the world. It is conceivable that these games could reach the level of advancement that the characters in these games become conscious.

simulated world

This has led to the hypothesis that the world we live in may actually be a simulated world made by more advanced beings. For reasons that I have to admit that I do not fully understand, if we are able to create a simulated world in which the characters are conscious, we are more likely than not to live in a simulated world ourselves.

In the simulated game worlds that we create, in order to save computer memory, the world takes shape as characters interact with it. For example, light would not have to take on definite properties until it was measured, which is exactly what happens in the experiment discussed above. This would also explain many other things that have been discovered in quantum mechanics.

The World Illusion

This brings us full circle to Traditional/ Platonic Thought. Traditions throughout the world, East and West, teach that the world we live in is an illusion, and that the Real World exists outside of it. Many spiritual traditions teach ways to escape the World Illusion.

The rules of modern science do not allow us to consider these Traditional teachings, but the rules of Traditional Science not only allow us to consider them, they require it. It could be said that this shows that the methods of modern science will indeed lead us to Truth, but I do not know that this is exactly accurate. In Traditional teachings, those who seek after Truth earnestly and diligently will find it. The path to Liberation is open to all. It is not the methodology of seeking that is the key, but the intention and desire.

Interestingly enough, many proponents of modern science seem to ignore what is being discovered using their own rules.

William of Ockham and His Razor, The Religion of the Modern Scientific Establishment

In a series of articles I wrote several years ago, I proposed that the practice of astrology would be best served by grounding it in the framework of a traditional science. In this series of articles, I suggested that the study of astrology be grounded in essentialist metaphysical philosophy and thealogical principles. But doesn’t that involve religion? Yes, it does. I would argue, however, that the current establishments teaching and governing the modern sciences are also operating out of a religion; a very different religion from the ones that the practitioners of traditional sciences were grounded in, but a religion, nonetheless.

What is Religion?

The Oxford English Dictionary definition of religion is:

1. The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.

   1.1 A particular system of faith and worship.

   1.2 A pursuit or interest followed with great devotion.

The Miriam-Webster definition of religion is:

1 a : the state of a religious
   b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural
       (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
3 archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness
4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

By these definitions, however, particularly the Oxford one, one could argue that some Eastern traditions, such as Buddhism, do not qualify as religions. It may also be hard to include many Ancient and Classical “pagan” religions, traditions, and philosophies under this definition. Even within modern Christian denominations, there is a heavy debate with respect to whether Christianity should be based upon “faith” or “works.” Those denominations centered on “works” may have trouble with the Oxford definition, while those centered on “faith” may have trouble with the Miriam-Webster one.

While a precise definition that would encompass everything that most of us would consider religion is difficult, I propose that a working definition for the purposes of this article could be: a set of shared fundamental beliefs about what is true that are not derived from empirical evidence or observation.

What is Science?

Unlike the case of religion, the Oxford English dictionary provides a workable definition of science that is usable for this discussion:

The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

This definition is large enough to encompass the Traditional Sciences, such as alchemy and cosmology, and the Modern ones, such as chemistry and physics.

The Relationship Between Science and Religion

EuclidWhile proponents and practitioners of the Modern Sciences tend to claim that their beliefs about what is true are based entirely on observation, experimentation, and rational analysis derived from observation and experimentation, such a claim is impossible.  Even in the very logical and rational discipline of Geometry, one must begin with fundamental beliefs which cannot be tested through observation or experimentation.  For example, we believe that a straight line which extends infinitely long in either direction can exist. There is no way that a human being could ever test this belief, yet without this belief the study of Geometry would be impossible. In around 300 B.C., the foundational textbook for Geometry, Elements, which is attributed to Euclid, identified 10 fundamental beliefs that formed the basis for all of Geometry.

There is no discipline in any modern or traditional science that does not at its source rely upon untestable beliefs.  Even the existence of the world we live in must rest upon a belief. In his famous thought experiment, René Decartes concluded that if a demon had captured him and set about to deceive him and to create and place him in a illusory world, he would have no way to uncover that deception. The popular science fiction series, the Matrix, is based on such a scenario, with conscious and intelligent machines taking the place of demons. The only conclusion he could reach with any certainty was “cognito, ergo sum,” or in English, “I think, therefore I am.” The reason he could feel certain of this was that if he was thinking, there must be something doing the thinking. Thus the only thing he could be certain of was his own existence.

While I believe that there are many flaws in Cartesian philosophy, his thought experiments demonstrated the limits of knowledge that we can obtain with experimentation and observation. On some level, the starting point of any scientific inquiry will be a set of untestable beliefs. That is unavoidable. The difference between Traditional and Modern scientists is in the set of untestable beliefs that they accept and that form the foundation and allowed boundaries for further inquiry.

Types of Reason

In order to guard against the uncertainty of the information obtainable through our senses, Enlightenment philosophers have extolled reason as the way to obtain knowledge of truth. The most basic type of reasoning is deductive reasoning. An example of this type reasoning is as follows:

  1. All cats are animals.
  2. Fluffy is a cat.
  3. Therefore, Fluffy is an animal.

FluffyIf the premises are true, and the logic is correct, we will invariably come to a sound conclusion. The difficulty is that the knowledge we can obtain from deductive reasoning is limited in scope.

Another form of reasoning is inductive reasoning, which is the derivation of general principles from specific observations. Most empirical sciences regularly employ inductive reasoning. For example, we have observed many cats that give birth to live kittens, and we have not observed any that lay eggs; therefore, we are allowed to conclude that mother cats give birth to live kittens and do not lay eggs. It is possible that someday, someone will observe a cat that lays eggs, but we can consider that possibility highly unlikely. Inductive reasoning is less certain than deductive reasoning, but it is still allowable.

Deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning are staples of both modern and traditional sciences, and neither of these types of reasoning require the need to turn to beliefs that are not self-evident or fundamental in scope, such as the theoretical possibility of a straight line or the existence of the natural world.

The difference between the rules of practice for the modern and traditional sciences is in how to handle matters that are not amenable to either deductive or inductive reasoning, and how to decide between competing hypotheses with respect to explanations as to the nature of things or how the world works. When there are competing hypotheses in these matters, it is human nature to come up with “ad hoc excuses” to save a theory, many of which can not be tested, and so there must be criteria by which to judge and decide between them.

In these cases, practitioners of traditional sciences turned to traditionally accepted metaphysical principles and to revealed knowledge to sort between competing theories. Now, a reader could argue that it was traditionally accepted that the Earth was the center of the Solar System, and that this was proven to be wrong. The problem with this argument is that when the geocentric model of the Solar System was prevalent, traditional knowledge had already been broken. Aristotelian principles represented a major break from tradition, as did Christian philosophy. Admittedly, having a broken tradition severely limits our ability to revive traditional science, but I believe we can still proceed cautiously, so long as we act with humility, honestly admitting to the level of certainty that is possible to us.

Inference to the Best Explanation and Occam’s Razor

Whereas practitioners of traditional sciences would turn to traditional doctrine and metaphysics to examine matters not amenable to deductive or inductive reasoning, most modern scientific disciplines handle such matters by employing what is known as abductive reasoning, or “inference to the best explanation.” This practice does not attempt to achieve certainty, it purportedly only seeks to determine the most likely explanation for a given natural phenomenon.

According to accepted practice as taught by the current scientific establishment, the best explanation is one that is testable, has the widest scope, is the simplest, and is conservative in that it adheres to already established theories. The first difficulty with this form of reasoning is that by definition, it will only consider theories that are testable. Now, of course, for a theory to be examined by science, traditional or modern, it must be testable, and it is perfectly logical and acceptable to confine one’s research to that which can be tested; however, there is no basis other than belief to consider a testable theory better than an untestable one.   Of course, it makes sense to guard against “ad hoc” excuses for theories, especially if these excuses turn the theory from a testable one to an untestable one; however, there are traditional teachings, such as the proto-element of Aethyr, that make no claims as to be testable by material means.

Even more problematic is the requirement of simplicity. At first glance, this would seem to be a good criterion, and it is known as “Occam’s razor,” after William of Ockham, an English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher who lived between about 1287 and 1347. It is commonly thought that this doctrine teaches that all things being equal, the simplest explanation is most likely correct. I am not sure how such a doctrine could be verified, but it seems reasonable on the surface. Of course, this also begs the question as to what is meant by simplest.

William of OckhamThis is where the problem lies. It could be said that the simplest explanation is the one that involves the fewest assumptions. That seems logical as well. There is more, however. The most famous version of the doctrine of Occam’s Razor comes not from William of Ockham himself, but from a later philosopher, John Punch in 1639, which states, “Non sunt multiplicanda entia sine necessitate,” or in English, “Entities are not to be multiplied without necessity.” This doctrine has been expanded to exclude anything but observable natural phenomena from consideration as possible explanations.

It is said that with respect to the scientific method, Occam’s razor is not considered an irrefutable principle of logic or a scientific result; the fact that the scientific establishment teaches this practice at all speaks to a system of belief. This belief system rules out any explanation that can not be tested empirically out of hand, and it heavily favors explanations that are purely material.

The Problem

Ordinarily, I would not concern myself with the belief system of anyone else, but in the modern West, many practitioners of science claim to be the sole arbiters of truth, and the words “according to science” are treated with the same reverence as “from the mouth of God.” While there are some who will admit to the limitations of their field, there are others who will make proclamations about matters that are outside the purvue of any science, traditional or modern, such as the existence of God, the soul, or Free Will.

Furthermore, when information obtained through scientific investigation is transmitted to laity, there is no distinction between information obtained through direct observation, deduction, induction, or “inference to the best explanation.” All of these are treated as if they have the same reliability.

The situation becomes more complicated with respect to  those who do not accept the doctrines of the modern scientific establishment. Sensing, correctly, that their beliefs will not be given fair consideration, they often abandon reason altogether. Lay people who do believe in the doctrines of modern scientific establishment will respond by attacking those who do not, without real understanding of what science can tell us and what it can not. These debates within the laity are argued with the fervor of debates surrounding theology.

A current example of such a debate can be found surrounding what is commonly referred to as “the Mandela Effect.” The Mandela Effect got its name from the fact that there are many people who claim to have clear memories that Nelson Mandela died in prison in the late ’80’s or early ’90’s, even though he later became President of South Africa and lived until 2013.  In addition to this rather major discrepancy, there are many minor ones, such as movie quotes and names of children’s books. There are people who believe that these discrepancies have been caused by a change in the timeline or a shift to an alternate universe. There are others that believe that these discrepancies are simply tricks of the mind or false memories.

If one researches this online, it is impossible to get any objective view on the subject. Those who believe it is a change in the timeline claim to have “proof” based on the possibility of alternate timelines as proposed by quantum mechanics, and they point to research in quantum mechanics currently being performed by CERN as a possible cause of the shift in timelines. Those who do not believe that there has been a change in the timeline claim that the theory has been “debunked” because of known and predictable vagaries in our memories.

The reality is that the Mandela Effect has neither been “proved” nor “debunked.” I do not even know how it could be tested. It may be caused by a change in the timeline; it may be false memories. The truth of the matter is that despite the confidence by which people make their claims, no one really knows.

Summary

In this article, I have discussed how, despite claims to the contrary, the teachers and proponents of modern science base their teachings in a system of beliefs. Some of these beliefs are unavoidable and fundamental, like the belief in the existence of our reality, while others go beyond the scope of science’s domain.  I have examined three types of reasoning, deductive, inductive, and abductive, and discussed how the allowance of abductive reasoning reveals a belief system, and how these forms of reasoning tend to be treated as if they were equal when findings based on them are conveyed to the laity . I have also discussed how this practice creates a culture of discord among laity as shown in the controversy surrounding the “Mandela Effect.”

As Different as Night and Day

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

Judeo-Christian written tradition begins as follows:

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

Genesis 1:1-5, New Revised Standard Version

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

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

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

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

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

And She said to Her daughter: what you have done may not be undone, for you have acted with My Spirit, and henceforth shall time be divided into day and night that you may rest.  But I shall keep watch in the heavens by night, and there shall be silver light that there may never be complete darkness.  By this shall I govern the movements of the waters, that the earth may never again be flooded.  The golden light of day will bring all goodness, but it will be too bright for your eyes.  The silver light of night, that you may look upon.

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

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

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

Day

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

vlcsnap-2016-01-17-00h49m26s454Night

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

Gender and the Division Between Day and Night

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elements and Gender Chart

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

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

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

Now why does Ptolemy make that assumption?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Technical Considerations

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

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

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

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

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

Elements and Gender Chart - Hot and Cold

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

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

Elements and Gender Chart - Wet and Dry

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

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

With respect to individual signs:

Libra

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

Aquarius

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

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

Taurus and Virgo

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

Summary

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

***Upon further reflection, I have come to the belief that adding a new gender classification to astrology is too controversial in this day and age. My new proposal is to drop the gender classification with respect to sect, and add a new classification along the wet/dry polarity. I have termed this polarity consistency, and the two sides: soft, corresponding to wet, and hard, corresponding to dry.

For more information about this, see:

Soft and Hard, The Wet/Dry Polarity and Its Relationship to Astrological Aspects