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

A Feminine Tradition

Tradition is important. A grounding in tradition gives us sustenance and strength. We can not understand who we are unless we know where we came from. I believe that many of the problems of the modern world stem from a separation from our roots.

I am an astrologer, and my belief in tradition extends to my astrology. Yet, there is a problem. Most, if not all, of the historical astrologers who left behind written material were men, and they often wrote from a patriarchal, and at times misogynistic, perspective. To the extent material is traditional, it tends to be patriarchal.

This problem extends far beyond astrology. In history, the study of wars and battles is considered “serious” study, while other areas of life are relegated to the margins. When we learn of the contributions of women, it is generally the contributions of women as rulers or as warriors. While it is easy to admire strong historical feminine figures such as Joan of Arc and Queen Elizabeth I, there are many other lesser known stories of feminine heroism.

For example, Queen Katherine of Aragon, who is primarily remembered for her marital troubles with King Henry VIII, but was a remarkable person in her own right. She was fully proficient in the skills of women in that historical time; for example, she made King Henry’s shirts, even as he was courting Anne Boleyn. Yet, she also supervised all of the provisioning for King Henry’s wars, and even led the battle against the Scots while King Henry was off fighting with France. Another interesting thing she did was to promote the education of girls, and she made sure that her daughter was very well educated.

Another interesting historical figure is Empress Elizabeth of the Austria-Hungarian Empire. Yes, in many ways, she led a rather tragic life. She had one of history’s worst mother-in-laws. Yet, she loved to travel, she learned new languages all of her life…she was said to be fluent and literate in at least 7. She was a champion of the mentally ill and convinced her husband to take an interest in her cause as well. She survived her mother-in-law, and while her first several children were taken from her by her mother-in-law, she fought and prevailed to raise her younger children.

Throughout history, women have been the keepers of tradition. Women have cooked food, made clothing, and told stories to their children. It is in these anonymous activities that our traditions have been handed down from generation to generation, and these activities are far more important to our culture and to our lives than wars or battles.

In modern times, women are freer to compete in workforce and the marketplace, and I believe that this is good and important. On the other hand, traditionally feminine contributions are as, if not more, devalued than they ever were.

This blog is devoted to the reclamation of a feminine tradition. In this blog, in addition to matters of feminine tradition, I will talk about astrology. I have spent the last several years developing my craft in a way that is feminine positive, while still being grounded in tradition. While many of my readers may not have a specific interest in astrology, I believe that the discussion is important for everyone. Our cosmology shapes our beliefs about our world and ourselves, whether or not we “believe in astrology.”

vlcsnap-2018-03-21-20h44m20s220
This picture is from the Takarazuka rendition of Elizabeth, a musical about the life of Empress Elizabeth of Austria-Hungary

I have also spent the last several years deeply immersed in the Japanese language. In the modern world, Japanese culture has a strong global impact, and from the perspective of feminine tradition, it is one of the few cultures producing media in which the feminine is portrayed in a positive and empowering manner. From beautiful Takarazuka plays, with an all female cast, to shoujo anime, such as Sailor Moon and Precure, to a kawaii culture that produces gentle, feminine characters such as Hello Kitty, Japanese culture has a lot to offer to those seeking to reclaim a feminine identity.

In addition to studying Japanese, I am also studying Swedish, which is the language of my own personal heritage. My grandmother came to the U.S. from Sweden when she was 25, with my 5 year-old uncle and 2 year-old mother, following my grandfather, who arrived a year earlier in search of his own mother.  The stories of my grandmother have been and still are a source of strength and inspiration for me, and it seemed fitting to study her mother tongue in reclaiming my feminine roots.

This project started off as one blog, but it has now grown into three. In this blog, I will be discussing matters of astrology, metaphysics, philosophy, and thealogy. It is my hope that this site will generate lively discussion in order to explore the issues raised in my articles. The second site, The Stars Within Their Courses, is a site devoted solely to astrology. The third site is called Momor’s Backporch, which is where I talk about various topics such as Anime, language learning, the state of my garden, and so forth. This is also where I will write articles in Japanese and Swedish from time to time.

Please enjoy.

よろしくお願いします。

 

Our Stars, Our Selves

How we see the stars is how we see ourselves. Every culture in history has told stories about the stars. According to these stories, the sky is filled with heroes, magical creatures, and gods who watch over us. For our ancestors, the sky reflected a larger harmony that ordered the heavens, all life, and human society. The discipline that studied this  harmony was cosmology.

Cosmology has become lost to the modern Western world. Cosmology included astronomy, astrology, metaphysics, and religion. While divination and personal consultation (what many people think of when they think of astrology) were undoubtedly the lowest, if most practical, aspect of the discipline, astrology in general was the lynchpin of cosmology. Astrology is the study of how the harmony of the heavens interacts with the earth, the study of where we belong in the cosmic order.

The MoonIn the modern West, cosmology has become reduced to mere astronomy. Metaphysics and religion became stripped from cosmology as cosmologists found ways to safely practice in the Middle Ages under the watchful eyes of a Christian Church keen to purge the world of anything that remotely resembled paganism. Astrology and astronomy parted ways in the so-called “Enlightenment.” Astronomy became an accepted science, and astrology was relegated to the backwaters.

Yet, without religion, metaphysics, and astrology, all we have is the study of the mechanics of the physical universe. This has led to a widespread belief that this is all that there is.  How we view the stars is how we view ourselves, and we have learned to see ourselves as merely physical beings, just another animal on a remote planet.

Rather than an orderly cosmos, we now see a chaotic and dangerous universe, filled with hazards such as black holes, quasars, and pulsars. Rather than gods or heroes placed in the heavens, we see balls of gas that are born, explode, and collapse in a seemingly random fashion. Stars are given numbers rather than names and are classified by physical characteristics, such as brightness.

Yes, there is wonder to be found in the physical universe. There have been many reports of deep spiritual awakening coming from a study of the beauty and majesty of the heavenly bodies.  It would take a hardened person to be able to look at the night sky without awe and humility.

That being said, to me, the beauty and wonder of the physical universe pales in comparison to the magnificent Harmony of the Spheres that can be heard in the cycles within cycles that are revealed in astrology. Modern science textbooks teach that cosmology gave way to modern astronomy when great scientists “discovered” that the Traditional Model of the Cosmos was false, and that there was a larger universe outside of our Solar System. This teaching is based on a misunderstanding of what the Traditional Model of the Cosmos represents.

The Traditional Model of the Cosmos does not represent the physical Solar System, but the Higher Planes of existence. Our Solar System, and presumably any solar system, is a microcosm of the full cosmos, as is every human being. Our Solar System, and indeed, the entire universe that can be “discovered,” exists entirely on the “earthly” or sublunary plane. Modern science can not disprove the Traditional Model of the Cosmos, because the scope of modern science is limited to the physical plane of existence. Ironically, rather than expanding our horizons beyond the solar system, modern science has limited our horizons to that which we can measure and observe with our senses and our machines. It is little wonder that the universe has become such a chaotic place to the modern world.

Astrology, if understood in its true form, can be the antidote to this modern limitation. Astrology does not “work” because there are “rays” from the planets and stars controlling our lives. Astrology “works” because Solar System is a microcosm of the larger cosmos, as are we. Astrology is not an outdated discipline that was cast aside because we now “know better”; astrology, even in its current debilitated state, is one of the few remnants of a time in which the true nature of the cosmos was known and understood.

 

Telling Time, Astrology, and Japanese Kanji

Recently, I have been studying the Japanese language.  There are several reasons for this, but one of them is very much related to the work of this weblog.  The purpose of this weblog has been to explore, learn, and discuss the Ancient Wisdom that is the true foundation for Traditional Sciences, such as astrology once was.  Much of the material currently available to astrologers is post-Aristotelian.  As I discussed in previous articles, Aristotle taught a subtle, but quite significant, deviation from Traditional Wisdom with respect to the nature of Perfect Form and its relationship to physical manifestation.

I have observed that this deviation is embedded in all of Western thought, science, and philosophy.  Such a deviation did not occur in the East until the East was exposed to Western thought.  One can find information and clues with respect to Traditional Wisdom in Japanese kanji.  Recently, I have been studying time expressions, and the kanji for them are quite fascinating.

In order to fully understand why these kanji are so fascinating, it is important to understand the original and primordial purpose behind astrology.  As our ancestors became more consolidated into the material world, it was important to them to ensure that their earthly activities were still in harmony with the Divine Music of the Spheres.  They looked to the heavens and studied the movements of the heavenly bodies to determine the time that their endeavors were in accord with this Divine Music.

Music of the Spheres

The Feminine Scriptures contain references relevant to this:

It is Love that holds the stars within their courses, and all 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.

The Clew of Love

For there are ways and rhythms in the course of life, of day and night, of seasons and the moon, by which all life, all thought, all work are governed and these movements are the breath of the Divine, reflected in the highest spheres and every living thing.

All nature is a vast and subtle movement to which the innocent soul is close attuned.

The profane assay to sever themselves from this music, fixing new laws of gain and self-advantage against the law of universal love.

Honor in all things the times and the seasons, keeping fast in the times of fast with diligence and care; rejoicing in times of feast with generous outpouring.

No tree may blossom out of season, nor any flower greet springtime with austerity, but a maid lacking in inward control is broken from the rhythm.

The Way of Simplicity

Starry SkyFor readers of the Judeo-Christian tradition, these concepts can be found in the Hebrew written tradition as well:

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 seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.”  And it was so.

Genesis 1:14-15 (NRSV)

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NRSV)

These are the traditions I am most familiar with; however, I would imagine that this is a Universal concept, and that it can be found in all traditions.

To my joy and delight, I discovered that this concept seems to be embedded in the Japanese kanji for time expressions.

TokiOn the left is the kanji for time, toki, and also, ji, the marker for hour expressions, the Japanese equivalent of “o’clock.”  This kanji is made up of two other kanji.  The element on the right is the kanji for “temple.”  The element on the left is the kanji for “Sun.”  Quite simply, the hours are marked by the temple watching the Sun.

JikanThe Japanese word for time in the abstract sense and the word used to mark a number of hours is jikan.  The kanji for jikan is to the right.  As you can see, this kanji incorporates the kanji for time with a second kanji.  This second kanji also includes the element for Sun, but it is inside an element that symbolizes a gate.  The Sun is contained inside a gate!

Another interesting kanji is found in the word, matsu, “to wait,” 待つ.  The kanji is the first character in this word.  The temple is in this kanji as well. The other element of this kanji, is labeled “going man,” by Rikaichan, a wonderful translation aid/kanji analyzer that works with Firefox.  That element, or radical, is also found in the kanji included in the word, iku, “to go,” 行く.  I think one could speculate that the kanji contained in the word for wait may indicate that human endeavors are being directed by the temple; in other words, people are waiting for the proper time for action!

See also:

The Days of the Week and Japanese Kanji

For even more information about the metaphysics behind Japanese kanji, I refer the reader to the following excellent articles on the subject:

Japanese Kanji for Left and Right: Why They Are What They Are

Kanji Symbols – Fire, Movement and Humanity

Learn Japanese Kanji through Symbolism

 

The Outer Planets: the Pseudomythos of “Higher Octaves” and “Transcendence”

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.

Higher Octaves

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.

Transcendence

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.”

Ordered Solar System

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.

My very humble attempt at an illustration of the Traditional Model of the Cosmos
My very humble attempt at an illustration of the Traditional Model of the Cosmos

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.”

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*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!

Astrology as a Traditional Science, Part II: Angels and Archetypes

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 has 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 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.

Solar MotherThe 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”), derive 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.

The Twelve ArchetypesZodiac Image

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 world view” 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.

Astrology as a Traditional Science, Part III: Application

Astrology as a Traditional Science, Part I: The Origins of Rationalism

An interesting discussion emerged in the comments for one of my previous articles, The Outer Planets: A Theory.  As a result of this discussion, a friend of mine wrote an article discussing Traditional Cosmology, which may be a bit challenging for modern Western practitioners of Classical Astrology.  The article is here.  I would posit that this is the challenge of restoring astrology as a true traditional science, rather than succumbing to the temptation of trying to force our art and craft into the mold of modern science.

In this blog, I have used the term traditional science, but I have not defined its meaning. A traditional science is a study which applies metaphysical principles in a practical way to our material and physical lives. Until the Enlightenment in the West, all science was traditional science. This is the reason why the Roman Catholic Church concerned itself with the teachings of Galileo. It is hard to see this today because modern science has divorced itself from matters of metaphysics, theology, and religion. While there are modern scientists that are deeply spiritual and religious, there has been a “Chinese Wall” that has been built between science and religion that is strengthened and supported by both sides.

Plato and AristotleWhile the so-called “Enlightenment” was the beginning of the final stages of this movement, its roots in the West go very deep. The “Enlightenment” was really started by the nominalist movement who had proponents such as William of Ockham, but even this movement has deeper roots. When I began my studies of essentialist metaphysics, I found myself in disharmony with my teachers as I was trying to place what I had learned in Classical Astrology into essentialist teachings. It was not until I read an article by Robert Hand that I understood why. It all began as a  disagreement that Aristotle had with his teacher, Plato, on the nature of Perfect Form. If I understand the nature of this disagreement correctly, Aristotle taught that all Forms must manifest on the material plane, so that if a Form did not exist on the material plane, it could not exist on the metaphysical level as a Perfect Form. It seems to me that this was the idea that eventually led to modern substantialism.

This notion added a corollary to the axiom, “as above, so below,” teaching “if not below, than not above.” This created the false dichotomy between science and religion, because now, if something was discovered on the material plane that did not match theology, metaphysics, and philosophy, this discovery called into question the doctrines of these disciplines.  This led to a new corollary, “as below, so above.”  The doctrine of nominalism takes this a step further teaching, “there is no above, there is only below.”

It is against this backdrop that the “Enlightenment” became possible, and this is the backdrop against which all Western astrologers must attempt to practice their craft.  With the understanding of Ideal Form having been dismissed and lost, astrologers were left to explain and practice their craft in a world where the fundamental principles of the science were no longer taught or believed.  Against this backdrop, it is not surprising that astrologers themselves began to confuse the actual physical bodies of the planets for what they represented.  It is also not surprising that the “discovery” of new planets and astronomical bodies would lead astrologers to doubt their forerunners, as the true understanding of their craft had been long lost and disregarded by Western society.

In order to reclaim astrology as a true traditional science, I would posit that we must turn back the clock and develop an understanding of the essentialist metaphysical principles upon which this craft is based.

Astrology as a Traditional Science, Part II:  Angels and Archetypes