Here is this week’s video which discusses the differences between Plato’s Perfect Forms and Jungian Archetypes.
Here is this week’s video which discusses the differences between Plato’s Perfect Forms and Jungian Archetypes.
One of the fundamental concepts in the practice of astrology as a traditional sacred science is that of Original Form. The Japanese word for this concept is 元型, genkei, which is literally “original form/type.” This is the true and first meaning of the term, “archetype.”
The reason that I started with the phrase Original Form and the Japanese word is that when one says the word “archetype,” it is often immediately placed in the context of Jungian psychology. The concept of the Archetype is far deeper and older. Plato wrote about this concept, but he was explaining Traditional Wisdom that was already starting to become lost in his time. It has been said that astronomical “discoveries” such as the Earth’s orbit around the Sun have been a challenge for astrology; however, it is the Darwinian Pseudomythos of Evolution which has been far more devastating.
It is not the Theory of Evolution itself that is devastating for astrology, but the Pseudomythos that has been built up around it, particularly in popular culture. There is nothing metaphysically untenable about more complicated forms coming from simpler forms.* An entire tree grows out of an acorn. What is metaphysically untenable, and unprovable, is that this came about by random “mutations” of which some survived and some did not. Even more untenable and unprovable is the extension of this Pseudomythos of random chaotic chance to the workings of the entire physical Universe.
Archetypes in the original and truest sense of the word are the Original Forms in the mind of the Creator. The Archetypes themselves are not manifest in the physical world, but everything in the physical world is a reflection of an Archetype. Cats are cats because they are reflections of the Cat Archetype, which originated in the mind of the Creator. While there are some Archetypes, such as the Princess or the Wheel, which can come about through Axial Beings (“humans”), they originated with the Creator, who is far above physical manifestation.
Jungian psychological “archetypes” are said to come about through the “collective unconscious” of the human psyche, which does exist in Traditional metaphysical thought, but at a level below physical manifestation, not above. Jungian “archetypes” are limited to that which can be found in the human psyche and are derived from the Darwinian Pseudomythos. The Archetype of the Cat can not exist in the Jungian or Darwinian world.
This distinction is quite important. Everything depends upon it. Our astrological forebears can not be truly understood without a Traditional understanding of Archetypes, or 元型 “Genkei” Original Forms.
Who am I? This is an age old question that has dominated philosophy and spiritual thought for millenia. In the Enlightenment, René Descartes made the well-known statement, “Cogito ergo sum,” or “I think, therefore, I am.” This idea has dominated Western thought since that time, and it is the Rationalist approach to this question.
Traditional thought has a much different answer to this question, and this answer can be seen in the symbols of the glyphs for the Janyati and their planets. Each of the Janyati/planetary glyphs are made up of three symbols, the circle, the crescent, and the cross. In a recent article, I included a very humble drawing that I made showing the Traditional Model of the Cosmos, and I used the glyphs in that drawing. If you look at the glyphs, you will see that each of these glyphs is made up of one, two, or three of these symbols in various combinations.
The cross is the symbol of the material world. It is also the symbol of humans as Axial Beings with the capacity for Free Will. I have spoken at length about the symbol of the cross in previous articles. An introductory article regarding the symbol of the cross can be found here. As you can see, the symbol of the cross is found in all of the non-luminary planetary glyphs.
The luminaries, the Sun (Sai Raya) and the Moon (Sai Candre), are the only glyphs that contain only one symbol. The cross is not contained in either of these glyphs. This is because the principles that they represent are beyond and independent of the material world. These are the pure solar and lunar principles, and these principles are the answer to the question, “Who am I?”
At the very deepest level, we are One with the Divine and with all of existence. This is stated in many places in feminine Scripture:
“For the Spirit is One, and I am the Spirit, and you are the Spirit also, in the innermost temple of your heart.” – The Temple of the Heart
“Raise not thy voice above a gentle tone except it be in song, nor seek to place thyself above another, for the spirit in each is a ray of the Spirit My Mother, and as thou render service unto them, so servest thou also Her.” – The Heart of Water
“If thou wouldst find union with our Mother, know that thou has never left Her.” – Cry Marya
This Mystery is not only found in the Deanic/Filianic tradition, but is found deep in the teachings of all legitimate traditions. This is the Mystery of the Atman and the Spirit. The circle is the symbol of this Mystery. The glyph for the Sun is a point* surrounded by a large circle, which is the Mystery of the Spirit that is both deep within us and far outside of us. The Mystery is explained (as well as it can be explained in words), in the Temple of the Heart:
Know your own heart and make examination thereof; for if you know not your own heart, there can be no true knowledge of anything. But within the innermost temple of your heart shall you find the seas and the heavens and all the illimitable cosmos; For the space within this temple is as vast as the manifest universe.
The ignorant eye shall not see this temple from without, For it is smaller than the seed of an apple, and the seventh part of a seventh part divided again until what part remains can be seen nor touched nor tasted.
The ignorant eye shall not see this temple from within, for it is vast as the manifest universe.
Beyond life, beyond death is the temple, for it is a temple of the Spirit.
Within this Mystery is a paradox. We are One with the Divine, yet we are also separate from the Divine. The Deanic/Filianic Mythos, as well as the Mythos of many religions, teach of our turning from the Divine, or our choosing separation from the Divine. In the Temple of the Heart, it says, “About this temple and encompassing it round grows a garden rank with thorns, which are the thorns of khear.” In the Deanic/Filianic tradition khear is that which keeps us separate from the Divine. Khear is similar to sin in the Christian tradition, but it has slightly different connotations. In the Creation Mythos of the Deanic/Filianic tradition, after Axial Beings choose separation, the Light of the Mother became too bright to look upon, and needed to be mediated by the softer reflected Lunar Light of the Daughter.
The symbol of the crescent is the symbol of the softer Lunar Light. This symbol is also the symbol for our individual souls, seen in the crescent within a crescent in the symbol for the Moon. Our souls are the lesser reflection of the Solar Spirit within, and they are the part of us that is both eternal, but also experiences death and rebirth. The Mystery of our soul is complex, and I have been told that one Eastern meditation exercise is to contemplate one’s own soul and the boundaries of one’s soul. Any astrologer who has studied Nativity charts knows how complicated and intricate each individual is, filled with contradictions and twists and turns. Even Modern psychology, as limited as it is, recognizes concepts such as our Inner Child. Many of us function with multiple personae, such as our work persona, our parent persona (for those with children), and our persona with friends. Do these personae represent who we are, are they functional, are they something in between? The answers to these questions are not always all that clear, are they?
As stated before, the non-luminary planetary glyphs are symbolic of the way that each of these Janyatic/planetary principles mediate the Light of the Solar Spirit and the Lunar Crescent in the material world.
*Below is an excerpt from a comment from Cure Tadashiku regarding the point in the center of the Solar Glyph:
The center of the Solar glyph is…….the Point without extension:
2. Yet from the still point all movement comes; and Earth is the shadow of Heaven. 3. Space doth extend without limit, nor is there any boundary to the worlds, but the Point is without extension; yet from the Point alone all space proceedeth. 4. All manifest things are bound to the three times; of that which is, which was, which is to come; but the Moment is without time. It neither is nor was, nor ever will be.
The Solar glyph is precisely the extension of manifestation with the non-extended, unmanifest Point at its Center.
Thank you for the information, Cure Tadashiku.
One of the things that took me some time to understand when incorporating Classical Astrology into the Filianic Tradition was the relationship and the differences between the planets, the cosmological spheres, and the Janyati. Western Medieval and Renaissance Astrology has been studied under the backdrop of the Abrahamic religions, Christianity, Islam, and Judiasm, for almost two thousand years. With the fierce monotheistic nature of these religions, I think that the role of the Janyati became minimized. By the Hellenistic period, the planets became associated with Greco-Roman gods and goddesses. All legitimate Traditions throughout history have recognized that there really is only One Divine Source. On the other hand, that Divine Source may be seen through Her different Aspects, or the Janyati. At certain points in history, Tradition deteriorated to the point where the Janyati were seen as separate goddesses and gods, but their true nature is that they are Aspects of the Divine Source.
There are other Janyati besides the planetary Janyati. Some examples are Sai Werde, Sai Annya, and Sai Maia. For purposes of this article, however, it is the planetary Janyati that are most relevant.
The planetary Janyati are Angels and Aspects of Dea. They are unchanging and perfect. According to the Sacred Mythos in feminine Scripture, they came about after Primordial Maid turned from the Mother and could no longer look upon Her brightness. The Golden Light separated into seven colors, which represent the Janyati. For a fuller description of the planetary Janyati, please see this article.
When we start entering the realm of Cosmology, we are entering into the realm of manifestation. There is a mistaken Western notion that manifestation is limited to the sublunary sphere, the world that we can experience with our senses. The sublunary sphere includes the earth, everything in the sky, and everything in what modern scientists would call the universe. All of the planetary bodies and the fixed stars are part of the sublunary sphere of existence.
Between the sublunary sphere and the Highest Heaven are the Cosmological Spheres, as I discussed previously in this article. The sphere of the Fixed Stars is already part of manifestation and has already moved from the Center. That is why we can talk about evil fixed stars, like Algol. The actual fixed stars are in the sublunary sphere of flux and change but they are also representations the higher spheres. As above, so below.
While the Janyati are pure and perfect aspects of Dea, they cast light throughout the lower spheres of manifestation. The light they cast becomes less and less perfect the further it moves from the Center. Each person and each moment of time is a microcosm of the entire cosmos, which also includes each of the Janyatic principles. This is written in the fabric of the sublunary sphere in the movements of the heavenly bodies. This is also why we can talk about positive and negative expressions of the Janyatic and planetary principles. The Janyati are perfect. The expression of their light in individuals is not.
Here is an example that might help with understanding. The Archetype of the Flower belongs to Sai Sushuri (Venus). A flower is a flower because it is a reflection of the Divine Archetype of a Flower. This is a perfect correlation. When we start talking about individual physical flowers and types of flowers, the correlation becomes much less perfect. Even though the Divine Archetype of Flower belongs to Sai Sushuri, different physical flowers might be associated with other Janyati for various reasons, such as their color, their physical properties, mythology surrounding the flower, and so on. Sometimes, the associations are obvious, sometimes the reasons for the association have been obscured in a broken and fallen tradition.
There is a concept contained in Classical Astrology that works well to illustrate and explain how this works. This concept is the Almuten Figuris, or the Lady of the Soul. A Filianist may also think of the Almuten Figuris as her Guardian Janya. The calculation that I use for this is the one recorded by Ibn Ezra. This point can be calculated by hand or through software. There are, of course, other calculations used by other fine Classical Astrologers; however, I have found the Ibn Ezra calculation to be the most useful and accurate in my own practice.
The Almuten Figuris or Guardian Janya is the Janya that is a person’s strongest connection with her True Self and with Dea. Please forgive me for discussing my own chart, but I think that one’s Guardian Janya is rather personal. To me, it seems impolite to share such personal information about anyone other than oneself in public. It does help to have a specific illustration, though; so for this purpose, I will use my own chart.
My Guardian Janya is Sai Sushuri (Venus). This means that in following the path to my True Self, I need to connect with Sai Sushuri. The Way of Love is my path to the Divine. If I get lost, I need to look to Divine Mercy and to Divine Love and let them run through me.
On the other hand, my Guardian Janya being Sai Sushuri does not mean that I will seem Sushuric or even have many Sushuric traits. Mars (Sai Vikhë) is actually stronger in my chart. I also have Jupiter (Sai Thamë) and the Moon (Sai Candre) very close to my Ascendant. If one were to be looking for a planet or a Janya that described my personality or how I would seem to act, those three planets would give a much better description of this. Sometimes one’s Guardian Janya will seem to govern personal traits of the native; sometimes she will not.
The position and condition of the Guardian Janya in the Nativity Chart will show the extent to which a Native will manifest the traits of her Guardian Janya and will give clues and guidance as to how easy or hard it is for her Guardian Janya to guide her. In my case, Venus has many dignities; however, she is Combust, or within 8 degrees of the Sun. This represents the main barrier to Sai Sushuri’s ability to guide me. The Sun in a Nativity in her low form represents the ego. The Sun in my chart also rules my 10th House, the house of career and public recognition. So, in my case, Sai Sushuri is inhibited by my tendency to hide, and by my ego and career. Interestingly in my chart, Venus is separating from Combustion, so it is predictable that I would find it easier to come under Sai Sushuri’s guidance later in life. Those of you who are following my current spiritual journey in my diary on my personal blog will likely see how this is manifesting as I have gotten older.
Filianists who know their Guardian Janya can also use symbolism related to their Guardian Janya on their home shrines to help them connect with their Guardian Janya. On my own shrine, I have a pink doily with a pentacle that I made myself and a sand dollar given to me by a friend that shows Sai Sushuri’s signature in manifestation.
The study of astrology is primarily a study of cycles of time from the Great Year, marked by the Precession of the Equinoxes, over a period of approximately 25,600 years to the daily cycle of 24 hours, and many cycles in between. There is another cycle that we are much less aware of in the West, but which is still taught in Eastern traditions.
Inherent in Filianist thealogy is the understanding that we are not our bodies. We are not completely our souls either, but it is helpful to use the term soul as the individual Axial Being that undergoes the process of rebirth. This concept is not as simple as it may seem, but the complexity of this gets into matters well beyond the scope of this article, and truly, it is a bit beyond what we can understand fully from a non-Enlightened state of being.
I have just introduced a term, Axial Being, and I believe that this term needs definition. An Axial Being is one that has Free Will. We must understand that Axial Beings are not necessarily the highest or most intelligent beings in manifestation. Animals are non-Axial Beings, but so are angels. Axial Beings are the souls that have the power to choose between good and evil and that can be something different than they were born to be. A cat will always fundamentally be a cat and will act as it natural and normal for a cat. There are a few very rare exceptions to this, but in general, this is true. By the same token, an angel will always be an angel and will act the nature of an angel. Axial Beings are the only beings that are capable of acting against their nature.
A fundamental belief of Deanism/Filianism is that we have been around since before the dawn of time. The Filianic Creed begins: “I believe that I was created from before the dawn of time by the one eternal Dea.” This does not mean we believe that we have inhabited physical bodies the entire time. Indeed, the Filianic Creation Mythos speaks to an unmeasured period, after Creation and before time, where we lived in relative Union with Dea. It is implicitly understood that at this time, we did not inhabit physical bodies, as we understand the concept today.
It is for this reason that the Creation/Evolution debate that so divides Modern Western culture is ridiculously literalistic from the perspective of Essentialist and Filianist teachings. Where our actual bodies come from is really immaterial. It may be interesting to ponder and study, but this study says nothing about us as Axial Beings. At some point, Axial Beings began to inhabit the physical, human form. How and when this happened is beyond the scope of what we can learn through physical science.
From tradition, we do have some teaching to inform us on this subject. This teaching is that of the unfolding of the Cycles of Time. There have likely been many full Cycles of Time since the beginning of time, but one Cycle of Time is the most that we are really capable of understanding from a state of non-Enlightenment. The Cycle of Time is analogous to the yearly seasons we experience and is a cycle of consolidation into matter.
The first Age in the Cycle is the Age of Gold, or the Satya Yuga. In this age, our souls barely inhabit physical form, if they do at all. In the Age of Gold, we are mostly, if not completely, spirit. With each subsequent Age, the Age of Silver, the Treta Yuga, the Age of Bronze, the Dvapara Yuga, and the Age of Iron, the Kali Yuga, we become increasingly consolidated into matter. It is only in the Age of Iron that our souls are fully consolidated into matter, and the consolidation becomes heavier and stronger as the Age of Iron progresses.
These Ages are not uniform in their length in terms of time. Each of the Ages is far shorter than the subsequent Age. The Age of Iron that we are currently in began around 5,000 or 6,000 years ago. Interestingly enough, the Judeo-Christian written tradition gives the time of Creation and of Adam and Eve as around the beginning of the current Age of Iron. While it is an overly simplistic interpretation to say that Creation began at this time, in a sense, there is some truth to it. We really can not truly understand the lives of our ancentresses prior to the beginning of the Age of Iron with information we can obtain from our senses, either directly or through reason. The reason for this is that we do not know the extent to which Axial Beings actually inhabited the physical human form in even the Age of Bronze, let alone in the Age of Silver or the Age of Gold.
Tradition tells us that we are currently in the final stages of the Age of Iron, and we will be next headed into a new Age of Gold. For good reason, no legitimate tradition will tell us the exact time when this will happen, but will only give us clues and a general description of how long each Age lasts.
This understanding plays a huge role in our analysis of disciplines such as traditional medicine and classical astrology. The Age of Iron is the age that we are the most consolidated into matter, and the consolidation increases as the Age progresses. This is the reason that what we think of as magic “worked” early in the Age of Iron, and does not really “work” very well today. As the Age of Iron progresses, we need more and more technology to accomplish what was accomplished through non-physical means at the beginning of the Age. This is why it is not correct to say that our forebears were superstitious when they used non-physical means for healing, such as appeals to aspects of Dea known as “gods and goddesses.” At the beginning of the Age of Iron, that likely still “worked.” These things do not “work” in the same way in the very late Age of Iron that we are currently in, but instead, we need more and more physical methods of healing, such as surgery and medicine.
In my series, Astrology as a Traditional Science, I discussed that the seeds of the modern rationalist movement in the West started at around the time that Aristotle diverged from his teacher, Plato, on the subject of Perfect Form. On one level, this divergence was somewhat false teaching, but on another level, there is some truth to what Aristotle and his contemporaries taught. On a practical level, in applied sciences such as medicine and astrology, we must engage in observation in addition to study of traditional, metaphysical principles. As our souls became more and more consolidated into matter, they became further away from their Perfect Form, and as that happened, pure metaphysical principles did not “work” in on a physical level in the same way as they did in earlier Ages, or even as they did at the beginning of the Iron Age.
So, for practical purposes, it might be useful to rely upon the information we derive from our senses in the late Iron Age, but we must still remember that Perfect Form exists, and we must also remember that in this late Age of Iron, we are as far away from Perfect Form as we can get in this current Cycle of Time.
While I have discussed the Cycle of Time as a movement of decline and a movement away from our Perfect Form, please understand that this Cycle is as natural as the cycle of the seasons of the year. The Age of Iron will always follow the Age of Bronze, just as Winter will always follow Fall. This decline will happen no matter what we as Axial Beings do or do not do.
There is another set of Ages that I believe that Axial Beings and societies do have a choice concerning, and that is the gunas, but that is a subject for another article.
One of the doctrines of Deanism and Filianism is the doctrine of our True and False Selves. I believe this doctrine is found in many religions; however, different religions have different terminology for the same concept.
The basic doctrine is that a person’s True Self is the part of her that is aligned with the Divine. Her ultimate True Self is actually One with the Divine, but on a mundane level, her True Self is her best self. Everyone has a True Self. Opposed to a person’s True Self is her False Self. Her False Self is aligned with the Dark and is opposed to the Light. Often one’s False Self acts in a subtle way, whispering thoughts of fear, ego, and selfishness. Our False Selves are always a twisted mirror of our True Selves. Within this thealogy, it is our True Selves that are real. We are our True Selves, not our False Selves.
Interestingly enough, a common theme in Japanese media shows this struggle between our True and our False Selves, and often the heroine must defeat her own False Self before she can continue to fight evil.
One of my personal stumbling blocks when studying Classical Astrology has been that many of our source teachers can be rather harsh and a bit negative, particularly about certain signs. Water signs, in particular, tend to get rather harsh treatment. As a Pisces Sun, with a Scorpio Moon and Ascendant, you can imagine that I am a bit sensitive about these things. Aside from my personal feelings, though, I have noticed that when one applies axioms and rules directly from Medieval or Classical authors, one gets a rather negative reading.
In some ways, it is a bit refreshing to move away from the over-positive readings one can get with Modern Astrology, but I will admit that the harshness of Medieval and Classical Astrology sometimes made me quite uncomfortable. I think that one of the difficulties may be a different philosophy. I think that Medieval and Renaissance Western philosophy tended to be quite harsh as well, with a belief that human nature was intrinsically bad. Modern New Age astrology tends to be a bit overly optimistic, assuming that everything about us is good.
I think that the doctrine of True and False Selves has been helpful for me in finding a balance between these two ways of looking at a chart. Everyone one has a True Self, and everyone has a False Self. Whether we operate out of our True Selves or our False Selves is a day by day, and sometimes even moment by moment decision on our parts. The doctrine of our True Selves is part and parcel with the doctrine of Free Will and the Cross, which is discussed here.
Nativity Charts are quite valuable in discerning the True Self and the False Self of a native. One can read a chart in its most positive light to see the person’s True Self and look at the chart in the most negative possible light to see her False Self. Sometimes the native will let her True Self shine through, sometimes her False Self will take over.
One can apply the doctrine of True and False Self to the zodiac signs. The zodiac signs are the 12 Archetypes of humankind. None of us reflect any of these Archetypes purely. We are all a mixture of these archetypes, and no two charts are exactly alike. Yet, in each of these Archetypes, we can see the operation of the doctrine of True and False Selves. We are often taught that the zodiac signs have positive and negative traits. The negative traits of each of the signs are always a twisting of the positive traits, just as the False Self is always a twisting of the True Self. With this thought, below I have made a humble attempt to show this doctrine in the 12 Archetypes or Signs.
Aries the Ram
True Aries: Strong, courageous, optimistic, friendly, decisive
False Aries: Impulsive, rude, brazen, foolhardy, selfish
Taurus the Bull
True Taurus: Patient, stable, kind, pleasant-mannered
False Taurus: Lazy, dull, stubborn, closed minded
Gemini the Twins
True Gemini: Open minded, friendly, curious, interested in almost anything
False Gemini: Flighty, indecisive, duplicitous, inconstant
Cancer the Crab
True Cancer: Nurturing, loving, attentive, caring
False Cancer: Clutching, unforgiving, mean
Leo the Lion
True Leo: Generous, fun loving, confident, charming
False Leo: Narcissistic, overbearing, attention seeking
Virgo the Virgin
True Virgo: Conscientious, detail-oriented, precise, intellectual
False Virgo: Hypercritical, unkind, paralyzed by perfectionism
Libra the Scales
True Libra: Diplomatic, pleasant, artistic, strong interpersonal skills
False Libra: Indecisive, manipulative, dishonest
Scorpio the Scorpion
The Martial Artist
True Scorpio: Passionate, determined, perceptive, loyal
False Scorpio: Possessive, jealous, stormy, vengeful
Sagittarius the Archer
True Sagittarius: Optimistic, philosophical, enthusiastic, generous, friendly
False Sagittarius: Pompous, over-confident, judgmental, ill-mannered
Capricorn the Goat
True Capricorn: Organized, efficient, practical, ambitious
False Capricorn: Overly ambitious, cold, unfeeling, miserly
Aquarius the Water Bearer
The Truth Teller
True Aquarius: Curious, intelligent, friendly, sociable
False Aquarius: Defiant, eccentric, immovable
Pisces the Fish
True Pisces: Gentle, kind, loving, compassionate, ethereal
False Pisces: Gullible, overly sensitive, escapist, prone to addictions
We have discussed the origins of rationalist thought, and the 7 Divine Principles and the 12 Archetypes. So, what does this all mean, and why does this matter to astrology as an applied science?
Let us go back to the disagreement between Plato and Aristotle on the issue of Perfect Form, and the later introduction of nominalism. If you recall, Plato taught that Perfect Forms exist at the level of the Divine. This teaching was not unique to Plato, and this is one of the basic precepts of essentialism. Aristotle taught that all Perfect Forms must manifest in the material world, and any Perfect Form that does not manifest in the material world does not exist. The later philosophy of nominalism teaches that only the manifest world exists. Why do these differences matter?
In astrology, the Perfect Forms would be the Divine Principles and the 12 Archetypes. According to Plato, and prior Traditional teachings, while the physical manifestation of these Forms derive from the Perfect Form, they are not necessarily perfect representations of these forms. Also, Perfect Forms may exist without ever becoming manifest in physical form. According to Aristotelian thought, all Perfect Forms must be manifest in physical form. Nominalist thought would not acknowledge any Forms beyond manifest forms.
While nominalist thought would state that the cosmos is the manifest universe, in the Traditional Model of the Cosmos, the manifest universe is the sublunary plane, and only the sublunary plane. Plato and Aristotle would agree that the Traditional Model of the Cosmos is true and that the Solar System is a microcosm of the full cosmos. Under this Model, the stars and planets that we can see are a visual model of the larger cosmos that we can not see. The disagreement between the philosophers is over the question of whether what we can see is an exact replica of the cosmos we can not see. According to Platonic thought, it does not have to be. If what is seen in the physical sky does not match the Model of the Cosmos, it is interesting, but it does not change the metaphysical principles involved. According to Aristotelian thought, if what is seen in the physical sky does not match our teachings regarding the Model of the Cosmos, this calls into question these teachings.
One may ask, if we accept the axiom, “As above, so below,” does this not mean that it is Aristotelian thought that must be true? Should not what we see on the material plane match the metaphysical principles we can not see? Not necessarily. There is another axiom we can use to explain discrepancies between the physical and the metaphysical: “Earth moves, but Heaven is still.” If one understands this axiom, one can see that it is not possible for a Perfect Form to manifest on the physical level. Perfect Forms only exist at the level of the Highest Heaven. Even at the level of the Sphere of the Fixed Stars, manifestation becomes imperfect. This is why there can be evil fixed stars, such as Algol. By the time we get to the level of the sublunary plane, forms become quite imperfect. Forms we can see are reflections of the Perfect Form, but just as the reflection of the Moon does not look exactly like the physical Moon in the sky, the reflections of Perfect Forms do not look exactly like the Perfect Forms in the Highest Heaven. Combining the axiom, “As above, so below,” with the axiom, “Earth moves, Heaven is still,” one can see how Platonic and Traditional Essentialist thought would be the soundest philosophy and doctrine.
Again, why does this matter? Let us apply the three different philosophies to the 2 crises in astrology, the “discovery” of a heliocentric solar system, and the “discovery” of the Outer Planets.
The “discovery” of a heliocentric solar system is only a difficulty if one adheres to nominalism. According to both Platonic and Aristotelian thought, an observation that the physical Sun is the center of the physical solar system is consistent with the metaphysical principle of the Solar Heart being central, see Mummies and Luminaries. The manifest solar system exists in the sublunary plane, so an observation that the physical Sun is central to the physical solar system does not challenge the Traditional Model of the Cosmos in any way, and in fact, this observation supports generally accepted metaphysical teachings. The only way that the “discovery” of a heliocentric solar system can challenge the Traditional Model of the Cosmos is if one believes that this model is describing the physical, manifest universe.
The “discovery” of the Outer Planets is a bit more complicated. If one adheres to nonimalism, then the discovery of the Outer Planets becomes of utmost importance. According to this philosophy, it is the physical planets themselves that impact us, so any new planets that are discovered must be incorporated into practice. In fact, we may even need to include bodies such as asteroids, comets, and the moons of other planets into our practice. If we decide to include some, but not all bodies, we must have a good reason for doing so. The burden of proof is on the exclusion of these planets under this analysis.
The “discovery” of the Outer Planets is even more problematic for Aristotelian thought. According to this philosophy, the physical universe must be a replica of the metaphysical cosmos. The “discovery” of extra planets is inconsistent with the doctrines of the 7 Divine Principles and the Traditional Model of the Cosmos. This creates a huge crisis. Do the 3 extra planets mean that there are 3 extra spheres to the cosmos? Are there 3 more Divine Principles? If the physical solar system must be an exact replica of the full cosmos, this would seem to be the case. The “discovery” of extra planets calls into question past metaphysical teachings, and if these teachings are to be preserved, there must be an explanation. History has born this out. The “discovery” of the heliocentric model of the solar system did not disrupt the practice of astrology; the “discovery” of the Outer Planets did.
The “discovery” of the Outer Planets is not a problem for Platonic and Traditional Essentialist thought. Under this philosophy, one does not expect the physical universe to be the exact replica of the entire cosmos. The physical universe reflects the entire cosmos, but there can be and probably are, variations. The fact that there are more physical planets than are accounted for in the Traditional Model of the Cosmos or in the 7 Divine Principles does not change anything. The traditional teachings are preserved. The system that has been passed down for millennia does not need to be revised or changed. The Outer Planets can not represent Divine Principles, because tradition teaches us that there are Seven Divine Principles and the Archetypes that these Principles rule. We treat the tradition that has been passed down to us as sacrosanct.
Under Platonic and Essentialist philosophy, the movements of the Outer Planets may have meaning for us. This does not disrupt tradition. In astrology, there are other points that are traditionally recognized as meaningful that are not equated with Divine Principles. Some examples are the Lunar Nodes and Arabic Parts. On the other hand, the Outer Planets do not have to have meaning just because they exist, have physical properties similar to the Traditional Planets, and can now be perceived with instruments. The burden of proof is placed on assigning them meaning, rather than on not assigning them meaning.
On the other hand, under Platonic thought, even if the Outer Planets have meaning, they can not rule signs, and they do not represent extra cosmological spheres. There are Seven Divine Principles, not nine or ten, and their relationship to the Archetypes is a matter of well established tradition. Assigning rulerships to the Outer Planets disrupts the system in a way that attributing meaning to them does not.
As you can see, returning to Platonic and Traditional Essentialist thought frees us to observe the physical universe and to adjust our practice accordingly. At the same time, it also anchors us and gives us boundaries for these observations and adjustments.
I intended this to be the final article in these series, but this explanation ended up being longer than I expected. Part IV of this series will explore the role of research and observation and its relationship to traditional teachings.
Now that I have addressed the rationalist/substantialist intrusion into Western thought and some of its impact on the practice of astrology, it is time to discuss the essentialist basis from which astrology draws its tools and methods. This is the answer to the recurring and age-old question as to why astrology “works.”
Astrology is one of the few traditional sciences that is still being practiced. As I discussed in my previous article, in the past, all sciences were traditional sciences, but over the centuries, traditional science was replaced by modern science. While rationalism and modern science have invaded astrology, and many astrologers may not be aware of the traditional principles upon which this craft is based, these principles are deeply entwined in the tools and methods that astrologers use.
The most basic tools that astrologers use are the planets and the zodiac. The physical planets and the zodiac are physical representations of deeper metaphysical principles. They are not the principles themselves. A metaphor I have been taught to explain this concept is that of the reflection of the Moon on the water. The reflection may not look exactly like the Moon that it reflects, but the Moon is still the source of that reflection. In the same way, the planets and the zodiac that we can see reflect principles that we can not see.
The planets reflect aspects of the Divine, whatever name we may use for the Divine. My present spiritual tradition is Filianism so I will be primarily using that spiritual language, although I will also incorporate language from other traditions to the extent I am able to speak knowledgeably about the tradition. These principles are not tied to any specific religion, however, and they are part of universal traditional wisdom. Readers from other spiritual traditions, please feel free to translate these principles into your own spiritual lexicon.
The Seven Divine Principles
Below are the descriptions of the Seven Divine Principles. I will include the Roman planetary name, the name of the Filianic Janya (or Angel), and the Eastern element (for the non-luminary principles) in my description. I understand that there is also an association with the Judeo-Christian archangels, but in doing a brief internet search on the subject, I did not find agreement or consensus, and I do not have enough personal knowledge to sift through the differences. So, please forgive that omission.
The Sun, Sol, Sai Raya – The Solar/Creative Principle. In the Filianic tradition, this principle is associated with (but not synonymous with) the Mother. In the Christian tradition, this principle is loosely associated with the Risen Christ, and in the Roman Catholic tradition, with Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Solar Principle is the source of all life and energy. The Solar Principle is also the principle that links us with the One Spirit, and we each carry a microcosm of that principle in our own Heart.
The Moon, Luna, Sai Candre – The Lunar/Sustaining Principle. In the Filianic tradition, this principle is associated with (but not synonymous with) the Daughter. This is the principle that sustains our life in the material plane. This principle is also the Redeeming Principle and the bridge between our human existence and our Solar Heart connection with the Divine. Just as the Moon reflects the light of the Sun, the Lunar Principle reflects the Solar Principle. Just as we can not look directly at the Sun, but can look directly at the Moon, the Lunar principle is the principle that we can understand. The Lunar Principle is also the principle of Divine Sacrifice, which is of course found in the Christian tradition, but the principle is as old as time itself and is found in every religion. Mary, in her aspect as the Queen of Heaven, is a symbol of the Lunar Principle in the Roman Catholic tradition, and Quan Yin is a symbol of the Lunar Principle in the Eastern tradition.
Saturn, Sai Rhavë, Earth – the Destructive Principle. In the Filianic tradition, this principle is associated with (but not synonymous with) the Dark Mother, the Light beyond the Darkness and the Darkness beyond the Light. This principle is the hardest to explain and understand, and in practical application, this principle is seen as malefic but is an aspect of the Divine as well. Paradoxically, the Rhavic Principle is the principle that both binds us to the material plane and releases us from it. This principle tends to be quite severe in application and is associated with time. While we can acknowledge that the Rhavic Principle is Divine, it is not a principle that one would invoke or embrace. One can not truly understand this principle without having reached a very high level of Enlightenment.
Mercury, Sai Mati, Water – Divine Intelligence. In the Eastern tradition, this principle is seen as the “Little Sun” and is very close to the Solar Principle. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the Matic Principle can be seen in Sophia, Divine Wisdom. This is the principle from which Enlightenment comes, and indeed, the name Buddha (“the Enlightened One”) and the Bodhi tree (“the Tree of Wisdom”), are derived from one of the names for the Matic Principle.
Venus, Sai Sushuri, Metal – Divine Love. Even though in the West, unfortunately, this principle has been associated with only romantic love, this principle encompasses all forms of love and is the principle from which all Love and Beauty flow. The Sushuric Principle is gentle and is also related to Divine Mercy. One could argue that Jesus taught the Sushuric principle. The Sushuric Principle is also associated with the beauty of manifestation.
Mars, Sai Vikhë, Fire – Divine Protection. The Vikhelic Principle is both easy to understand and difficult to explain. The Vikhelic Principle is the principle of conflict. In order for there to be manifestation, there must be separation from the Divine. Once this separation takes place, conflict becomes inevitable. On a spiritual level, the Vikhelic Principle is the struggle between Good and Evil. In the history of this world, the Vikhelic Principle is overbalanced to an extreme, but in its balanced form, it is a protective principle. When the Vikhelic Principle is balanced, the conflict is against demons, including one’s own internal demons, and not against other human beings. The Vihkelic Principle is also the principle of Free Will and is the ability to choose between Good and Evil.
Jupiter, Sai Thamë, Wood. Divine Harmony. The Thamic Principle is the principle of order and harmony. This is the principle of the Music of the Spheres and governs the rhythms of all life. The Thamic Principle also governs societal structures and relationships. Axial Beings, such as humans, have the choice to either join with the harmony of the Thamic principle or to set themselves against it. Non-Axial Beings, such as animals and angels, do not have such a choice and will naturally take their proper place in the Celestial Harmony.
For a fuller description of these Principles, I will refer you to this article.
On the human level, the Seven Divine Principles are mediated through the Twelve Fundamental Archetypes of humankind, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. Just as the planets are the reflections of the Seven Divine Principles, the constellations of the zodiac are the physical reflections of the Twelve Fundamental Archetypes. When the Divine Principles are mediated through the Archetypes, they may be enhanced or hindered through that mediation, depending on the Archetype.
The mediation of the Principles through the Archetypes is the essentialist basis for astrology. It is also the basis for all other traditional sciences, such as alchemy and traditional medicine. Sadly, this knowledge and understanding has largely been lost in the West. Astrology is one of the few disciplines that still actively studies and applies these principles.
Understanding astrology in this manner changes nothing and changes everything. If nothing else, this understanding gives us a foundation to stand on when we are faced with substantialist criticisms of our craft. I think that many of us, including myself, feel pressure to “justify” our craft in light of “scientific evidence,” but I think that this is ultimately a mistake and a cheapening of the great heritage that we have been given by our forerunners. Of course, we need to use observation and research to refine our accuracy and our skills at application (which will be the subject of my next article), but we do not have to “justify” ourselves based on the “scientific worldview” of rationalism. Girded with an essentialist understanding of the underlying principles, we can avoid the trap of insecurely practicing our craft as a modern pseudo-science, and instead, we can boldly practice our craft in the manner of our forerunners, as a respectable and useful traditional science.
One of the places where we can find Universal Truth is in fairy tales.
Yes, fairy tales…the timeless stories we tell our children, such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Beauty and the Beast. Fairy tales have been criticized in modern Western culture as being unrealistic or naïve and have been decried by feminists as for their portrayal of women as weak and helpless, needing protection and saving from a man. These criticisms really show how hard it is for the modern Western mind to get beyond literalistic thinking – reading fairy tales as if they were modern novels about individuals.
This literalism is actually quite an insidious inoculation from being able to really understand the true meaning of fairy tales or to get any real good out of them. So, the first step in being able to understand fairy tales and derive real metaphysical truth from these tales is to understand that they are not literal stories. They speak to Truth (with a capital T), not to factual truths. They are in the category of Mythology and Folklore, not stories of actual human beings.
So, we have just said fairy tales are not literal, factual truths, nor stories of actual human beings. So, what are fairy tales then?
Fairy tales are timeless stories of the human condition and our separation and reunion with the Divine. All separation from the Divine and from each other is only a temporary state, and that the only permanent state is that of reunion and Unity. Fairy tales all have common features. While fairy tales can be enjoyed and are instructive without an understanding of the meaning of these features, an understanding is helpful to reverse the rationalist conditioning that many of us have been exposed to from earliest childhood.
One of the features of fairy tales is that they are told to children and that they appeal to children in a magical way. The appeal to children is so powerful, that even in our heavily rationalist, materialistic culture, they have survived. While in response to Western rationalist, feminist thought, Disney has changed its telling of these timeless stories, particularly with respect to the roles and characteristics of the female characters, the older and more traditional movies, such as Cinderella and Snow White, are just as popular as they have ever been. Little girls are entranced by Disney princesses so much that they are effective marketing tools.
The sad thing is that the appeal to children is seen as a way to compartmentalize these stories as not being serious or relevant to adults or the Modern World. Yet, to the more traditional Essentialist mind, children are supposed to be told stories of Universal Truth. In the Sutra of The Way of Simplicity, it is written:
For the truth is such that a child may understand it, yet the sage, if she have not simplicity and love, may struggle with it for all of her life and have nothing.
What is your truth, if it cannot be shared with a child?
For in the eyes of Eternity, how little is the space between and infant and the wisest of the world?
These stories are not to be abandoned by adults. Yes, one will and should understand these stories differently as one matures, and indeed maturity requires one to be able to see Truth in a deeper way. On the other hand, as an Essentialist, one places special importance and value on stories that are told to children as those that speak to Universal Truth.
Another feature of a true fairy tale is that the setting is “once upon a time.” This is the marker that this is a story outside time and space. This should also be the first clue that these stories are not to be read literally. These speak to Truth that goes beyond time and space, and therefore beyond our literal human lives.
Commonly in fairy tales, Princesses and Princes are the main characters. This is another marker that these stories deal with matters beyond materiality and are not to be taken literally. These stories speak to ideals and to archetypes, symbolized by royalty.
These stories also speak to the interaction between the metaphysical passive (the Princess) and active (Prince Charming), in eastern terminology, yin and yang. In Eastern and Traditional thought, the passive state is the highest state, and the active state serves the passive. So, to an Essentialist, even thinking of these stories as any type of statement on the roles of actual gendered individuals is ridiculously literalistic. The interaction between the Princess and Prince Charming shows the interplay between the passive and the active states of being, with the passive generally representing the higher state. “Earth moves but Heaven is still”.
Another common feature of fairy tales is the involvement of evil. While as an Essentialist, on one level everything in existence is part of the Divine, on another level, inherent in manifestation is the struggle between good and evil.
This is a paradox, but one that is necessary to accept. Evil is as much of a part of manifestation as good and always seeks to destroy good. This is seen in that there is usually some form of “curse” that is placed on the protagonist. Interestingly, the types of curses upon the Princesses and the Princes are quite different. Princesses are trapped in drudgery and materiality (“Cinderella”) or completely asleep (“Sleeping Beauty” and “Snow White”). Princes are turned into monsters or lower beings (“Beauty and the Beast” and “The Frog and the Princess”).
In fairy tales, the curse is always lifted or the Princess is freed or rescued. It is love that lifts the curse. Love is seen to have a magical transforming power. Indeed, it is only love that can defeat the evil antagonist. This is the feature that is most criticized by modern society, as setting unrealistic expectations of marriage and being harmful to women. Yet, to an Essentialist, this is the Ultimate Truth. Love is transforming and healing. This transforming love is not romantic human love, it is Divine, Godly Love, which is the only thing that can transform and heal.
While Divine Love is not romantic human love, the interplay between the Transforming Love manifested by the Princes and that manifested by the Princesses is interesting in and of itself. The Princes show their love through actions, i.e., fighting the Evil Queen, searching for the girl who fits the slipper. The Princesses show their love through wisdom and awareness, i.e. seeing the beauty within the beast, kissing the frog. The Princess is often the divine Spirit who recognizes the lost soul in its earthly disguise.
As fairy tales begin with “Once Upon a Time,” they end with the protagonist “living happily ever after.” In a sense, this is the resolution of the paradox of the curse and Evil Queen. Good ultimately triumphs over evil. While evil is inherent in manifestation, the only Truth is the Divine.
We can never be permanently separated from the Divine. There is only one resolution. The evil must be overcome, the curse must be lifted, the Prince and Princess must come together, and they must “live happily ever after.” That is also the only resolution in the separation inherent in manifestation. We must return to the timeless state of union with the Divine.