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.
In 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.
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.