In this video, I examine a subject that is at the very basis of the craft of astrology, and that is what one excepts as authoritative and persuasive. This goes to the heart of the differences among the various branches and types of Western Astrology.
I think that one of the most difficult Essentialist teachings for Modern people is its teaching on the subject of Evolution. Particularly troubling is the notion that the motion is of decline, rather than progress. In the West, we are educated in the Pseudo-Mythos of the forward progress of humanity, particularly in terms of knowledge of the material world and technology. From an Essentialist standpoint, however, increased knowledge of and interest in the material world and increased technology are signs of decline, not progress.
Technology comes about as a compensation for our decreased mental, physical, and spiritual capacity, and from a Traditionalist perspective is a sign of decline, not progress. Writing, for example, came about because of a decline in memory and the decay of oral tradition. We can see this decline in our own lifetime. Our grandparents were able to do many things without the technology that we need technology to do. I am often surprised and alarmed that many people younger than myself are unable to perform simple mathematics without a calculator and that many store clerks are unable to make change without a cash register.
Throughout history, people have worried about the decline in the then current “youth,” and what this would mean for the future. Language has declined throughout history. For example, all of the Romance languages are far simpler than Latin from which they are descended. In many churches, there are movements to “modernize” worship, which often means to make it simpler and more accessible for people. In Christianity, first worship moved from Latin to the vernacular, and now, there are many paraphrased versions of the Judeo-Christian written tradition available, including “The Message.”
With this in mind, we can see historical spiritual and intellectual inventions for what they were, not as advances, but as attempts to make ancient knowledge and wisdom accessible to our reduced capacities. This is inevitable. Inventions, such as writing, started off as quite intricate and complex and became simpler over time. Early ideographic styles contained rich symbolism of their own. The only significant survivor of these styles is Chinese/Japanese hanzi/kanji.
Will decline continue throughout time? Yes, in a way; however, this decline happens in a spiral, not a line. From Ancient wisdom, we can understand that we are at the end of the Iron Age when decline it at its greatest. We are headed to a new Golden Age. This Golden Age will be lower than the previous Golden Age, but from our perspective, it will be much higher than the age we live in. What will this Golden Age be like? We have no way of knowing that as this Age will be much beyond what we can imagine. It is possible, and even likely, that we will not be physical, manifest beings in the new Golden Age.
When will this happen? Tradition tells us that we are near the end of the Iron Age, but no legitimate Tradition will tell us when that is to occur. Does this have anything to do with the “Age of Aquarius”? I do not know. Perhaps. The Age of Aquarius will be (or is, depending on which calculation one follows) ruled by Saturn, and the following Age, the Age of Capricorn will also be ruled by Saturn. 4,000 years of being under the rule of Saturn seems a bit chilling, but we also know that Saturn is both the builder and the destroyer of the material realm.
This being said, there is a good reason that no legitimate Tradition will tell us when the end of the Age of Iron will be. This is not really information that will help us. Interestingly, though, in many ways, our lives are already becoming much less physical because of the computer and the Internet. Many of us spend a great deal of our time in “virtual reality,” and more and more our economic system is virtual as well.
What does all of this mean as far as Free Will? No matter what Age we find ourselves in, we still have Free Will. As discussed in earlier articles, Free Will is the choice between Dark and Light, between our True and False Selves, and between Good and Evil. Even now, near the end of the Age of Iron, we can still hold on to the Light.
A while back, I wrote an article about a theory that the Outer Planets represented the three poisons of the modern world, atomization, deracination, and deformation. This article can be found here.
I have recently had the occasion to further consider the Outer Planets, and some of the pseudomythos that has arisen surrounding them. In many ways, the pseudomythos* surrounding the Outer Planets is an outgrowth of the pseudomythos of Evolution. Indeed, in New Age astrology, the Outer Planets seem to be almost the agents of evolution, with the belief that the Outer Planets are the “higher octaves” of traditional planets and that they bring about “transcendence,” which is, according to this pseudomythos, a better or higher state of being.
While there are many variations of the “higher octave” theory, the most common one is that Uranus is the “higher octave” of Mercury, Neptune is the “higher octave” of Venus, and Pluto is the “higher octave” of Mars. The first and foremost problem with this theory is that all of the traditional planets are representatives of the Janyati, or aspects of the Divine. The existence of a planet that is a “higher octave” robs these planets of their status as one of the Seven Great Planetary Janyati. Indeed, the associations given to the Outer Planets have been robbed from the traditional planets. For example, the association of genius with Uranus usurps Mercury’s place as the representative of Divine Intelligence. Similarly, the association of Sacrificial Love to Neptune usurps Venus’ place as the representative of Divine Love, which includes Sacrificial Love. Indeed, the associations for both Mercury and Venus have been severely watered down in Modern Astrology.
Interestingly, the associations for Pluto have not seemed to really take anything away from Mars, except of course, the rulership of Scorpio. The associations for Pluto seem to be a combination of the worst Tamasic qualities of Mars and Saturn. Actually, the associations of Pluto seem to be the most honest, in that they are about as malefic as one can get. Yet, there is a strange notion that Pluto is “transformational,” but as Prof. Clark stated in his article, Into the Outer Darkness, “let’s just say that if Pluto is ‘transformational’ so is nuclear war and high levels of toxic radiation.”
Actually, assigning rulerships to the Outer Planets is problematic in and of itself. In the article, Into the Outer Darkness, Prof. Clark explains the traditional system of rulership of the planets to the signs. In this system, each of the non-luminary planets rules two signs, with a day sign and a night sign. The malefics, Mars and Saturn are thought to be better in the signs that are the opposite of their nature. Mars benefits by the coolness of night, and Saturn benefits by the warmth of day. The night sign of Mars is Scorpio, and the day sign of Saturn is Aquarius. In assigning the rulership of Scorpio to Pluto and Aquarius to Uranus, the malefics are stripped of the signs they are the strongest in. There is much more to say about these rulership assignments, but that could be an article in and of itself.
The other main pseudomythos that has arisen surrounding the Outer Planets is the notion of “transcendence.” The notion that transcendence is positive is a Tamasic notion. Transcending means to go beyond the normal boundaries. Yet, in Filianism, and I think in traditional thought in general, boundaries are positive. As it states in the Clew of Love in the feminine Scripture,
And for the existence that has fallen from perfection; truly it is the music of Divine harmony that sustains it in the motion of its wholeness.
It is Love that holds the drop of dew pendent upon the blade of grass, neither flowing forth in watery profusion, but swelling within the unseen urn of its brief harmony.
It is love that holds the stars within their courses, and all of the worlds of the immeasurable cosmos within the harmony of the celestial music.
Truly, all the cycles of the times and the seasons; all the rhythms of the soul and of the mind and of the flesh; truly all these flow from the love of Our Lady, the Maid, that creation may not decompose, each several member flying away into black eternal chaos.
To go higher is to ascend. In the Filianic Mythos of the Daughter, the Daughter ascends to Heaven. Similarly, in the Christian narrative, Jesus ascends to heaven. To go below is to descend. To transcend is to go beyond the boundaries of Love, or to fly away into “black eternal chaos.”
I think that this concept of “transcendence” is similar to the modern assertion of being “spiritual, but not religious.” I do understand the frustration people experience with the overly literal and overly systematized state of modern religion, particularly Christianity. I also understand that the separation of the religious and the secular is rather artificial. On the other hand, what I have found that often when people say they are “spiritual, but not religious,” it is really a form of katte ni suru. Katte ni suru is a Japanese phrase roughly meaning, do what you want, or do your own thing. In Western thought, this is seen as positive, but in Japan, this is quite a scathing insult. This implies that one no longer is a part of the group or the community.
We are also cautioned against this in The Sermon of the Apple Seed, “Dissonant and jarring with eternal Harmony, the little sphere is severed from the great.”
The Outer Planets are also at times called “transpersonal,” meaning that they are beyond or outside of the personal.** Yet, the traditional and Filianic teaching is that maid in a microcosm of the entire Cosmos. As it states in The Secret of the World, “And this is the secret of the world which the world would hide from you: that all things lie within the souls of maid, and only High Dea is without.” Now, one could argue that the “transpersonal” planets are a part of High Dea. The difficulty with that is that High Dea, or the Dark Mother, is by definition beyond anything we can understand from an un-Enlightened state. If we have reached a level of Enlightenment whereby we could understand the Dark Mother, we would have no need of astrology to guide us in our lives.
The Luminaries and the Filianic Trinity
I think that the modern fascination with the Outer Planets and with “transcendence” is part of the phenomenon of Tamasic Dialectic Miss Alice Lucy Trent described in The Feminine Universe. Tamasic (downward) forms take on a resemblance to Sattwic (upward) forms, in part because they both move away from the Rajastic (outward) forms.
I believe that there is a Sattwic form that the notions of “higher octaves” and “transcendence” invert. To explain this, I think an understanding of the Filianic Trinity is helpful. These concepts are certainly not unique to Filianism, and I believe that they are universal in Traditional thought; however, Filianism has a useful Mythos and vocabulary to explain the concept.
In the Filianic Creation Mythos, the Mistress of all Things created all of manifestation in joy and laughter. During this time, Primodial Maid danced and laughed with the Mother and all was golden. Each Maid and all of Creation “became the image of a golden fragment of Her Spirit.” In the cosmos, this is loosely associated with Sai Raya, the Sun, or our Solar Spirit.
After a time that can not be counted, because there “were neither days nor nights, nor moons to tell the month,” Maid was tempted by the Snake, who “had not been shaped by Her, and that was not Her daughter, nor a creature of spirit. But this was the space between the fragments and the nothingness that had been before things were. It had not energy nor delight, but only weight. It had not shape, but could only coil and uncoil itself about the things that were.” The Snake was “not golden, but black.”
In this Mythos, Maid was tempted to embrace rest and created Darkness. Then the Snake tried to destroy Creation with a Flood, but Creation was rescued by the Mother. The aftermath of this turning and Flood is described as follows:
1. And as the rain fell, the light came again, and a rainbow appeared in the sky, shedding its light upon all things. 2. And whereas all things had been golden, now they took on every hue and colour, and the world was beautiful; but it was not so beautiful as it had formerly been.
3. And She set Her seven Powers in the firmament, giving one to rule each colour of the earth.
4 And She said to Her daughter: what you have done may not be undone, for you have acted with My Spirit, and henceforth shall time be divided into day and night that you may rest. 4 But I shall keep watch in the heavens by night, and there shall be silver light that there may never be complete darkness. 6. By this shall I govern the movements of the waters, that the earth may never again be flooded. 7. The golden light of day will bring all goodness, but it will be too bright for your eyes. The silver light of night, that you may look upon.
8. The Snake shall keep the form that you have given it, and you shall be set in governance over it; but remember that it will ever attempt to beguile and destroy you as it has this night.
9. I shall not live as close to you as before, but still I shall pour blessings upon you, and you may give Me gifts — not in every moment as before, for you have learned to tire, but My light shall give you signs in this matter.
10. And the Mistress of All Things withdrew Herself into the sky, until She seemed but a slender crescent of light. 11. And the first daughter of creation fell to her knees and wept. And these were the first tears shed upon the whole of the earth.
As I stated before, in the Filianic Trinity, the Mother is loosely associated with Sai Raya, the Sun, or Solar principle. That which was before and beyond the Mother Creatrix is the Dark Mother, who is the “Darkness beyond the Light, and the Light beyond the Darkness,” but who is also completely beyond our understanding. The Dark Mother is loosely associated with Sai Rhavë, whose planetary representative is Saturn.
The bridge between the Mother and Creation, who has turned from the Mother, is the Daughter, who is loosely associated with Sai Candre, the Moon, or the Lunar principle. She is the “silver light of night, that you may look upon.” The Daughter is also the aspect of the Filianic Trinity that sustains all of Creation.
Interestingly enough, in contemplating the Traditional Model of the Cosmos, one can see that the spheres between the Solar and the Lunar are the Spheres of Sai Mati/Mercury and Sai Sushuri/Venus. These respectively represent the spiritual Way of Light and Way of Love. Both the Matic and the Sushuric principles are seen in a lower form in the Lunar principle and in a higher form in the Solar Principle. The lower form of the Matic principle is Lunar Reason, and the higher form is Solar Intellect. See Mummies and Lunimaries. Sadly, this article has already gotten quite long and involved, so I will have to leave the explanation of how this works with the Sushuric principle for another day. The Way of Love and the Way of Light are intertwined, however. As it says in Scripture, “perfect love is perfect knowledge and perfect knowledge is perfect love.”
Contemplating the Traditional Model of the Cosmos further, one can see that the Sun is in the center. Just beyond the Solar Sphere is the Sphere of Sai Vikhë or Mars. The highest form of the Vikhelic Principle is that of protection and rescue. In the Filianic Mythos, it is the Mother that rescues and defends Creation from the Snake. So, in some ways, I think that one can consider the Solar Principle as the highest form of the Vikhelic principle as well.
Interestingly enough, you can see the Solar Circle in the glyphs for Sai Mati/Mercury, Sai Sushuri/Venus, and Sai Vikhë/Mars.**
So, as you can see, there is no need to reach into “the Outer Darkness” with the Outer Planets for “transcendence.”
*a pseudomyth is a story-picture that falsely replaces traditional myth as the fundamental story of “how things are”
**As explained in the article, the traditional planets are all representatives of Janyati. Below is a quotation from the Chelouranyan explanation of the Janyati:
In the first place, let us be clear that the Janyati are not “forces” or “energies” conceived after the model of Newtonian physics (and dearly beloved of New Age movements). They are Intelligences. They are not people like us, it is true. But they are something more than people, not less than people. The greatest force in the universe is less than a person. It cannot think. We are speaking here of Intelligences immeasurably greater than ourselves. They have everything we people have, magnified a thousand times, and they have many qualities we cannot even conceive of. To picture them as something akin to people may not do them justice, but to picture them as something impersonal, like a force of nature, would do them infinitely less justice. They are everything we are and much more.
***if one truly contemplates the glyphs associated with the Outer Planets using the tradition meaning for the symbols of the Circle, the Crescent, and the Cross, the meanings for them are chillingly demonic. One can clearly see how they can not be “higher octaves” of anything!
In our day and age in the West, modern science and Christianity are in fierce conflict over the subject of the origin of humanity. In my last article, I gave a very brief and humble overview of the Feminine Essentialist teachings regarding the origins of Axial Beings, such as humans, and regarding the cycles of time, which does not hold with either Evolutionism or Creationism. One may wonder, why this is such a fierce debate in the world, and why does it matter anyways? What impact does this question have on our daily lives?
I think that the questions of where humans came from and what will happen to us when we pass from this earthly realm is of utmost importance, and in many ways it impacts every decision we make, including decisions on the mundane, day to day level.
In the Modern West, the dominant belief regarding these question is Evolutionism. As I write this, I am cringing at imagined outcries from my readers. Surely, Evolutionism is not a belief, it is a scientific theory! What is more, it is a scientific theory that has been proven. I understand that this is what we have all been taught from earliest childhood in the West; however, the very vehemence of the outcries is a sign that this is a belief system with its own dogma and doctrine. Even on its own terms, this belief has holes in it. For example, animals adapt to their environment far faster than can be accounted for by mutation and chance. Another hole is that while there is much physical evidence for the adaption of species, there is still no proof or evidence of one species changing to another.
Yet, even if the physical evidence for the evolution of our bodies was incontrovertible, this still says nothing about our souls or when or how they came to inhabit the physical body. Extreme Evolutionists would deny the existence of our souls and would instead reduce even our spiritual nature to biological processes.
I understand that what I have just said is challenging to many of my readers, but I ask anyone who is having difficulty to take a deep breath, have a cup of coffee or tea, and open your mind to this. It does matter, and it is important. I will let you digest this for a moment, while I discuss the opposition to Evolutionism, Creationism.
In the U.S., Creationism is the belief primarily held by Fundamentalist Christians. I am not sure to what extent similar beliefs are still held by other religious groups; however, the vocal and public opposition to Evolutionism has come from Fundamentalist Christian Creationism. The authority for the belief in creationism comes from a strict and literal reading of the Judeo-Christian Creation Mythos as if it was an accounting of factual historical events. The group of people who believe this are a small, but very vocal, minority in the U.S.
Recently, there has been a new movement known as Intelligent Design. Evolutionists fear the theory of Intelligent Design and decry that it represents a backdoor to teach Creationism in schools, but Intelligent Design is not Creationism. It does not rest on any Biblical authority, nor does it really speak to the question of where we came from. If I understand the Intelligent Design theory, it is the theory that the universe is too complex and beautiful for it to have happened by random chance, so there must be a Creator. This is as far as the theory goes, as far as I can tell. As an aside, as a Filianist, a Feminine Essentialist, and as an astrologer, who has studied the movements of the planets for meaning for decades, Intelligent Design seems to be an obvious truism, and I have trouble even imagining how Intelligent Design can be open for debate. Of course, there may very well be complexities that I am not aware of, so I will not enter further into that discussion .
So, now that I have likely offended everyone reading this, except for my readers who are already Feminine Essentialists, I shall take a deep breath and summon up courage for a bit of a side by side analysis of Evolutionism, Creationism, and Feminine Essentialism. Before I begin, though, I would like to refer the reader to the article, Fate, Free Will, the Cross, and Wa, to understand the metaphysical meaning of the symbolism of the Cross. For more intrepid readers, you might want to read an article that I wrote for the ISCA, Nativity Charts and Free Will. This article is a more technical astrological article about the application of the doctrine of the symbol of the Cross in Nativity readings. For the purpose of the following analysis, what is important to understand from these articles is that the Cross incorporates two axes, the vertical and the horizontal. The horizontal axis represents our material existence, and the vertical axis represents upward and downward movement or choices.
Now that the reader understands (or at least is aware of) the symbol of the Cross, let us all take a deep breath and delve into the analysis. I will preface my analysis a disclaimer that it is very simplistic. I am well aware that all of these belief systems are much, much more complex; however, I think that a basic analysis is helpful for purposes of this article.
Origins of the Human Physical Form: We evolved from lower forms, specifically from primates. We share a common ancestor with chimpanzees and other apes, who are our closest relatives. At some point in time, we became intelligent and eventually formed civilizations.
Origins of the Human Soul: Completely unknown, if indeed there is really such a thing as the human soul.
Goal of Humanity: Survival
Fate of the Soul: Completely unknown, if indeed there is really a human soul. Our body will perish at some point. After that, what happens to the soul is unknown.
Analysis using the Symbol of the Cross: There is no cross. There is only the horizontal axis. Everything, including spirituality, is judged based on its relation to the horizontal or material axis. This belief gives rise to such theologies as the Prosperity Gospel (the goal of spirituality is personal material success) and the Social Justice Gospel (the goal of spirituality is to promote and work for a better and more just world). This is not to say that there is anything wrong with either material prosperity or working for a better and more just world. The problem with both of these theologies is that they make the spiritual subordinate to the material, which is backwards from the Feminine Essentialist perspective, which is that the material is always subordinate to the spiritual.
Origins of the Human Soul: This is a bit tricky and is different with different denominations of Christianity. It seems that the human soul was created with the human body, and each of our individual souls only has one life in a physical body.
Goal of Humanity: Salvation
Analysis using the Symbol of the Cross: Creationism recognizes both the horizontal and vertical axes; however, there is a belief that our place on the vertical axis becomes fixed at some point in time. Different denominations have different beliefs as to the point that this happens, and how one is able to move along the vertical axis before one’s place becomes fixed. According to this belief system, after we die, we will go either to Heaven or Hell, and we will stay there eternally. The goal of spirituality is to help us go to Heaven, rather than Hell. The biggest difficulty with this goal from the Feminine Essentialist perspective is that is it grossly simplistic, and eternal Hell is an impossibility. Any Hell we may find ourselves in must be temporary, in that it is a state other than ultimate reunion with Dea.
Origins of the Human Physical Form: Our physical form is a reflection of the Essence of the Perfect Human Form in the Mind of Dea. The mechanics of how this actually happened on the material level are not all that important. We acknowledge that the “scientific proof” of evolution is not as solid as Evolutionists belief; however, it is not really a question worthy of debate or dispute.
Origins of the Human Soul: The Filianic Creed states, “I believe that I was created from before the dawn of time by the one eternal Dea.”
Goal of Humanity: Liberation.
Analysis using the Symbol of the Cross: Feminine Essentialism teaches that we have full movement up and down the vertical axis. We can choose Light or Dark at any time, and we can and do choose between Light and Dark moment by moment. As mentioned above, we believe that any state other than ultimate reunion with Dea is temporary. The goal of spirituality is to hold on to our connection with our Source through the Unfolding of the Ages. In the words of a dear friend and mentor in traditional metaphysics, “we don’t believe a soul can be eternally ****ed, but it can find itself in a Fine Mess.” The way a soul finds herself in a Fine Mess to separate herself from the Divine. Our connection becomes more and more attenuated as the Ages unfold from the Age of Gold to the Age of Iron, but in the later stages of time, simple efforts are enough, and Dea will make up for any deficiencies. In the feminine Scripture, it says, “None shall call upon Me and be lost.”
Why It Matters
I have just stated that in Feminine Essentialism, any state other than ultimate reunion with Dea is temporary, so a reader may ask, what does it matter what people believe? In a sense, it doesn’t. Sooner or later, all must come to the Truth, and it does not matter what name or image we have for our Source, whether God, Allah, Jesus, Dea, or any Name that has existed in history. There is only One Source. The true spiritual battle is not that which is between different religions but that which is between Light and Dark. All we are doing is offering our knowledge of Truth for anyone who may be interested.
On the other hand, these beliefs have practical implications. Evolutionism seems rather soul deadening, at least to me. Evolutionism also promotes a rather arrogant view of our ancestors. If we are descended form lower primates, then of course, we would know more than those who came before us. It also seems to me that a pure belief in random chance and survival of the fittest promotes a rather cut throat and materialistic attitude towards life. Because Evolutionism denies the vertical axis and teaches that we are animals (albeit intelligent animals), it negates true Free Will, reducing all human behavior to biological processes and survival mechanisms.
On one level, Creationism seems less soul deadening than Evolutionism, and from a Feminine Essentialist perspective is not exactly wrong like Evolutionism is. It is grossly simplistic, to be sure, but it preserves the notion that we are descended from the Angels, rather than ascended from Apes. While most forms of Creationism do not negate true Free Will, like Evolutionism does, they do severely limit it with the notion that there is a time that our souls can become fixed on the vertical axis (before final reunion with Dea), and it leads to some rather unpleasant and rude behavior in the name of “saving” people, such as conversion attempts that range from mildly annoying to brutally violent.
I appreciate the patience and indulgence of my readers who may not share my philosophy and faith. Please remember this is not intended to “convert” anyone, but merely to explain the thealogy and philosophy behind Feminine Essentialism.
The rationalist error and culture of literalism in the West creates a number of false dichotomies. One of the most famous and controversial is the Creation/Evolution debate between religion and modern science. To an essentialist, both sides of this debate are in error, and the heated arguments between adherents of these two camps become a bit silly. There are, of course, shades of grey with respect to the two belief systems, and few actually subscribe to the hardest versions of the two sides. That being said, the strictest adherents of these camps argue as follows:
Creationist Thought: The Christian version of Creationism begins with a belief that the Judeo-Christian written Tradition, the Bible, is literally true and historical. The world we live on was created about 6,000 years ago. The heavens and earth were created in 6 days according to the Judeo-Christian Creation Story, and we can trace back the age of the earth through the genealogy asrecorded in Genesis. Adam and Eve were historical figures that lived on this world in physical form and were tempted into disobedience against God and were expelled from the Garden of Eden, which was a physical place on this earth. There are those in this camp that hold that this version of how we came to be is the basis for their faith, that because they believe in God, the Judeo-Christian written Tradition must be historical and literal.
Now, as I said before, this is only the most extreme version of this belief system. There are also more moderate versions which take the story regarding the age of the earth as symbolic rather than literal. That being said, there is a tremendous amount of ink spilled and research dollars spent to research the historical accuracy of stories from the Judeo-Christian Tradition, so I would posit that the literalist viewpoint pervades even moderate Christian thinking.
Evolutionist Thought: The earth that we live in is countless billion years old and formed by chance from random elements that were left over from a supernova countless more billion years ago, which also happened by chance. Somehow a random group of amino acids formed together to make proteins which randomly became single celled organisms. These organisms evolved from these single celled organisms to complex forms of life like human beings through a process of mutation and natural selection for traits that had greater survival value. This belief system promotes a value system of “survival of the fittest” and that the weak perish so that the strongest survive. There are those in this camp that hold that the physical evidence that has been found to support this belief system proves that God does not exist, particularly as they believe that they have disproved the story of creation as told in the Judeo-Christian written Tradition.
Of course, again, this is the extreme viewpoint. Most who believe in evolution do not take the research as a conclusion that God was not involved in our formation or is non-existent. Still, this viewpoint is what is mostly taught in our culture, and one must subscribe to it, at least in part, to be taken seriously in most Western academic circles.
To an essentialist, both of these camps are in error, and this is a false dichotomy. To begin with, essentialist thought does not hold that a religious tradition must be historical and literal to be Truth. In fact, Truth, to be Truth, cannot be historical and cannot be based in space and time. Space and time belong to the world of flux and change, and therefore, are by nature illusion. Truth is found beyond space and time and beyond the world of flux and change. In essentialist thought, we are not our bodies; our souls inhabit a physical form in this place and time. Our souls have been around from the beginning of time, long before they entered the physical bodies they may currently be in, and our souls will return to their Source at the end of time. The mechanism by which our physical bodies were formed is immaterial to the nature of our souls or to whether or not our physical bodies were formed in the mind of God from a Sacred Archetype. The question of how God formed our bodies, whether creating them out of the dust all at once, whether growing them from the seed of a single celled organism, or whether there was some other mechanism involved, may be interesting but tells us nothing about the Truth beyond physicality and beyond space and time. We can read both the Sacred Tradition and observe the Natural World to speculate as to how our physical bodies were formed, but that tells us nothing about Truth.
This error on the part of both the very conservative and so-called progressive modern thinkers is the basis for the criticism of the practice of astrology by both of these camps. The very conservative will say that they do not believe in the practice of astrology because they “follow the will of God, not the stars.” The progressive will state all of the scientific observations of astronomy to point out the superstitions of the primitive humans were in error. They also will criticize those who believe that their lives are controlled by the stars.
Both sides miss the point. Even in the Judeo-Christian tradition, it is written, “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and for years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” In all traditional religions, the study of the stars and the planetary bodies marked times for religious festivals and for all human activity. The stars were seen as signs given to us by the Divine, not as actors in and of themselves.
The “scientific” world-view also mistakes the nature of astrology as the study of how the planets act upon us. Modern astrology has also followed this error in ascribing meaning to heavenly bodies, such as asteroids and the like, which are not a part of the sacred tradition. This error also plays a role in the meanings ascribed to the outer planets, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, but this is another topic for another day.