Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Mazzaroth (Zodiac)

The Mazzaroth (Zodiac)
By Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)

Midrash Rabbah - Esther VII:11 With Kislev came the merit of Hanukah,[127] with Tebeth the merit of Ezra-Nechemiah (Nehemiah), as it says, And the children of the captivity did so. And Ezra-Nechemiah (Nehemiah) the priest... were separated... in the first day of the tenth month... and they were finished with all the men that had married foreign women, etc. (Ezra-Nechemiah (Nehemiah) X, 16 f.). With Shebat came up the merit of the Men of the Great Synagogue; for on the twenty-third of that month all Israel gathered together to take counsel about the concubine of Gibeah and the graven image of Micah.[128] When the month of Adar came up, he found no merit in it and he began to rejoice. He then turned to examining the signs of the Zodiac. In the sign of the Lamb[129] he found the merit of Passover, as it says, Every man a lamb, according to their fathers’ houses (Ex. XII, 3). In that of Taurus (ox) was found the merit of Joseph who was called ox, as it says, His firstling bullock, majesty is his (Deut. XXXIII, 17); and also the merit of the offering, as it says, When a bullock, or a sheep, or a goat is brought forth, etc. (Lev. XXII, 27). In Gemini (twins) was found the merit of Peretz and Zerach[130] who were called twins, as it says, Behold, twins were in her womb (Gen. XXXVIII, 27). In Leo (lion) was found the merit of Daniel who was from the tribe of Judah which is called lion, as it says, Judah is a lion's whelp (ib. XLIX, 9). In Virgo (virgin) there was the merit of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, who were like a maiden that knows no man except her husband; so they did not change their God or their law and clung to their Judaism. Libra (scales) is Iyov (Job), as it says, O that my vexation we weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances (Iyov (Job) VI, 2). Scorpio is Yechezkel (Ezekiel), as it says, Thou dost dwell among scorpions (Ezek., 6).[131] Sagittarius (bowman) is Joseph, as it says, But his bow abode firm (Gen. XLIX, 24). Capricornus (kid) is Jacob, as it says, And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands (ib. XXVII, 16). Aquarius (water-carrier) is Moses, as it says, And moreover he drew water for us (Ex. II, 19).[132] On reaching the sign of Pisces (fishes) which shines in the month of Adar, he found no merit in it and rejoiced saying, ‘Adar has no merit, its sign has no merit, and what is more, in Adar Moses their master died.’ He, however, did not know that on the first[133] of Adar Moses died and on the first of Adar he was born. He said: ‘Just as fishes swallow one another, so I will swallow them.’ Said the Holy One, blessed be He, to him: ' Wretch! Fishes sometimes swallow and sometimes are swallowed, and now it is you who will be swallowed.’ Said R. Hanan: The same thing is intimated by the verse, Whereas it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them (Est. IX, 1). R. Tanhuma said: And the Lord said not that He would blot out the name of Israel (II Melakim (Kings) XIV, 27), but what He said was, For I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek (Ex. XVII, 14)

XII. Miscellaneous Thoughts

The word Mazal does not literally mean "luck."

The Hebrew word Mazal, which literally means the astrological zodiac sign or the luck which comes from the stars, has been said to really be composed of three words: makom, z'man, limmud, being in the right place at the right time and knowing how to utilize opportunities.

"Mazal" is literally associated with the 12 signs of the Zodiac, which are called the "Mazalot," but we use the word in a way which means more than just the Zodiac. Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzatto explains that there is a multi-leveled conceptual system through which HaShem interacts with the physical Creation. In other words, "energy" which originates with HaShem travels through this system and eventually reaches us. At some point along the way, this energy is said to pass through the Mazalot, the stars and the planets, which then transfer it to the rest of Creation. This explains how people trained in astrology may know what will happen to an individual in the future. They are "reading," through the configuration of the Mazalot, the energy that is yet to be delivered. However, we are actually forbidden to engage in the prediction of the future via astrology even though it may work. The source of this prohibition is, "You shall be tamim (pure, perfect, simple) with the HaShem your G-d."

Mazal ("sign," pl. mazalot):

1. a spiritual conduit of Divine beneficence (from the Hebrew root "to flow" [nozel]).
2. specifically, the thirteen tufts of the "beard" of Arich Arpin.
3. a physical embodiment of such a spiritual conduit, such as a star, planet, constellation, etc.
4. specifically, the twelve constellations of the zodiac.
5. According to our sages, the Jewish People are not under the influence of the mazalot (Shabbat 156a).

God chose not to give the Torah in Nisan or Iyar, for the mazal of Nisan is a lamb and the mazal of Iyar is a bull and neither is capable of singing praise. Rather, He gave the Torah in Sivan, for the mazal of Sivan is twins, who have hands with which to clap and legs with which to dance.[140]

In Kabbala and Chasidut, it is explained that the thirteenth mazal transforms the entire set of mazalot into attributes of mercy. This is because numerically, twelve is a closed, rigid, perfect system; reflected in the physical world by the twelve lunar months and the twelve signs of the zodiac; in the Jewish people, by the twelve tribes; in the spiritual realm, by the twelve permutations of the letters of the Divine Name Havaya, and so on. In each of these sets, however, there is a (sometimes hidden) thirteenth element that adds the flexibility and adaptive quality that makes the set alive, pliable and viable. This is perhaps most clearly evident with regard to the twelve lunar months. In the Jewish calendar, a thirteenth month is added in 7 out of every 19 years in order to align the lunar year with the solar year. Here, the thirteenth lunar month makes the twelve original ones into an empathic system that can coexist with its solar “mate.” Similarly, the thirteenth tribe, Levi, officiates at the Temple, reconciling the twelve tribes of the Jewish people with their “mate,” HaShem.

What do we mean when we say "Mazel Tov"? We are saying a brief prayer at this time which is strongly influenced by the Mazalot, that Hashem will ensure that the "energy" that is sent will be only for good.

Chodshei Hashanah (Part Fifteen)

Adar Sheni -- The Second Month of Adar (Based on the work Chodesh B'chodsho, p. 116)
The Jewish Leap Year has thirteen months, while an ordinary year has twelve months. There is a hidden connection between the twelve months, and the twelve tribes -- the twelve sons of Yaakov/Yisrael (Jacob/Israel). If so, what is the significance of thirteen months?

Yoseif (Joseph) was of such vital importance to the family that he is sometimes thought of as a tribe, sometimes as one of the Fathers. The word "Yoseif" comes from the root "to add," "to be extra." Yaakov's blessing to Yoseif was that Yoseif's own sons would be counted as Yaakov's sons, as tribes themselves (Beraishis [Bereshit (Genesis)] 48:5). Yoseif is the one who has added to the tribes, and he himself disappears, converting into a patriarch -- a father of tribes.

The two tribes emanating from Yoseif make thirteen. Thus, an ordinary year corresponds to the twelve original sons; the leap year, to thirteen tribes, counting the added sons of Yoseif. (Sefas Emes, Beis Yisrael).

Good fortune comes to the Jewish People during Adar (Talmud, Ta'anis 29b). Evil forces have no effect on someone born during the Second Month of Adar, for no sign of the zodiac corresponds to the thirteenth month. Thus, the Second of Adar is essential to Israel and its faith, for it is said: Ein Mazal B'yisrael -- Israel is not bound by the astrological signs (or by scientific laws of determinism). (Chidah)

The miracle of Purim occurred during the Second Adar (Talmud Yerushalmi Megilah, chapter 1, halachah five).

The encyclopedia Judaica also indicates that there is a relationship between the mazzaroth and the tribes that is detailed in:

Yal., Ex.418; Yal., I Melakim (Kings) 185

The Encyclopedia Judaica indicates that "mazalot" in 2 Melakim (Kings) 23:5 indicates "planets".

II Melakim (Kings) 23:5 He did away with the pagan priests appointed by the kings of Judah to burn incense on the high places of the towns of Judah and on those around Jerusalem--those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and moon, to the constellations and to all the starry hosts.

The planets as mentioned in scripture:

Saturn (ht,ca - Shabtai - Kevan) is found in:

Amos 5:26. But you shall carry Sikuth your king, and iyun, your images, your star-god, which you made for ourselves.

The planet that influences Tevet, Shabbtai (Saturn), symbolizes the power of contemplation which characterizes the Shabbat experience: Refraining from the mundane, the world of the transcendent is revealed... (Seasons of the Moon - Tevet)

Venus - (vdub - Nogah, Meleket haShamayim, the queen of heaven). This is understood from from the fact that cakes are baked for her. Among the Assyro-Babylonians the cake-offerings were called “the bread of Ishtar” (Venus).[143] This usage is found in:

Yirimiyah (Jeremiah) 7:18. The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.

Jupiter (esm - tzedek - Gad “fortune”). This is a supposition. It is found in:

Yeshayah (Isaiah) 65:11 "But as for you who forsake HaShem and forget my holy mountain, who spread a table for Fortune and fill bowls of mixed wine for Destiny,

There is some speculation that “Destiny”, in the above verse refers to Venus.

Mars, Madim, is not to be found in the Bible. The root, though, is found[144]. The root is Edom:

123 'Edom, ed-ome'; or (fully) 'Edowm, edome'; from 122; red [see Gen. 25:25]; Edom, the elder twin-brother of Jacob; hence the region (Idumaea) occupied by him:-Edom, Edomites, Idumea.

This word means: (very) red or (very) mad. The red connection with Mars is obvious. The use of this root in the understanding of “mars” is in:

Yeshayah (Isaiah) 63:1-6 Who [is] this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this [that is] glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore [art thou] red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people [there was] none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance [is] in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and [there was] none to help; and I wondered that [there was] none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.

Dobin says: “Mars is the planet of intense energy, and the word takes it’s meaning from astrological understanding of the nature of the planet, Mars. Both intensity of action and redness are implied in the Hebrew name of the planet. Mars was known to be the planet which causes strife and war...”

* * *

Bereshit (Genesis) 11:27-32 This is the account of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth. Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram's wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor's wife was Milcah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milcah and Iscah. Now Sarai was barren; she had no children. Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there. Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Haran.

"Ur of the Chaldeans" literally means "Light of the Astrologers".

* * *

The Encyclopedia Judaica indicates that 1 Divrei HaYamim (Chronicles) 12:33 indicates that the tribe of Issachar were the astronomers of Israel:

1 Divrei HaYamim (Chronicles) 12:33 of the Issacharites, men who knew how to interpret the signs of the times, to determine how Israel should act; their chiefs were 200, and all their kinsmen followed them;[145]

The blesssing of Bereshit (Genesis) 24:1 is interpreted as the gift of astronomy - Tosefta Kid. 5:17.
Bereshit (Genesis) 24:1 Abraham was now old and well advanced in years, and HaShem had blessed him in every way.

* * *

"Twelve constellations have I created in the firmament, and for each constellation I have created thirty hosts, and for each host I have created thirty legions, and for each legion I have created thirty cohorts, and for each cohort I have created thirty maniples, and for each maniple I have created thirty camps, and to each camp I have attached three hundred and sixty five thousands of myriads of stars ..." (Tractate Berachos 32a) This passage of the Talmud is mysterious. Is this the number of stars in the Universe? The number of stars stated in the Talmud is 1.06434 X 10^18. The number of stars in the Universe estimated by modern science in somewhere between 10^18 and 10^20.

Mazzaroth (The Constellations)

The very first place in the Torah that we find the word mazzaroth, it is spelled out every seven letters in Bereshit (Genesis) 4:26 through Bereshit (Genesis) 5:1. What did Josephus say about Seth and his offspring? (Jospehus, attributes the origin of astrology to Seth, the offspring of Adam. (Antiquties of the Jews, Chapter 2:3).

* * *

The astrological sign for the month of Shevat is Aquarius, the water bearer, or as it is called in Hebrew, "D'li," "the pail." The pail draws water from its source, and brings the water to where it is used. We find the comparison between water and Torah often in the writings of our Sages. In Shevat, we are supposed to recognize that our task is to act as the "Torah bearer" and to draw from the Torah so that the Torah is properly used. The fact the New Year for Trees falls under this sign is of course no coincidence. Most obviously, trees need water for their survival, and the needed delivery of water to the trees so that fruit forms is a focus on the New Year for Trees. The deeper significance arises from the comparison made in the Torah (Devarim 20:19) of "for the trees of the field are like man." Man, like trees, needs "water" for sustenance. Just as physical water enables a tree to bring forth fruit, so too does the Torah, spiritual water, enable man to bring forth fruit. As we mentioned before, this requires work and toil. So that we remember that we have help in our task, we celebrate the New Year for Trees on the 15th day of the month. Until the 15th day, the moon has been growing in light. The 15th day is typically the day of the full moon. It signifies the completeness and fullness that we have right when we are born - we have been taught the entire Torah. We start our toil realizing that G-d was there to help us, to plant a seed within us.

The 15th day of Shevat is a day on which we pray that growth should begin. Trees should get the water they sorely need so that they bear fruit. Man should properly immerse himself in Torah so that he reaches his full potential. The 15th day of Shevat is a day on which we recognize that G-d is there to help us with our endeavors. He provides us with what we need to be successful, although our success depends on our efforts as well. Tu B'Shvat should be the start of a truly fruitful year for all of us.

(Based on Sefer B'nai Yesaschar)

* * *

The Validity of Astrology

The discussion regarding the validity of astrology is found in the Talmud Shabbat 156a as follows:

It was recorded in Rabbi Joshua ben Levi’s notebook: He who [is born] on the first day of the week [Sunday] shall be a man without one [thing] in him - What does ‘without one [thing] in him’ mean? Shall we say, without one virtue? Surely Rabbi Ashi said: I was born on the first day of the week! Hence it must surely mean, one vice. But Surely Rabbi Ashi said: I and Dimi ben Kakuzta were born on the first day of the week: I am a king (head of the academy) and he is the captain of thieves! Rather it means either completely virtuous or completely wicked. [What is the reason? Because light and darkness were created on that day.] He who is born on the second day of the week will be bad-tempered. What is the reason? Because the waters were divided thereon. (Division or disunity is caused by bad temper, Rashi) so will he be estranged from other people through his temper). He who is born on the third day of the week will be wealthy and unchaste. What is the reason? Because herbs were created thereon. (Herbs multiply very rapidly and also continually intermingle with other herbs.) He who is born on the fourth day of the week will be wise and of a retentive memory. What is the reason? Because the luminaries were suspended [thereon]. He who is born on the fifth day of the week will be generous. What is the reason? Because the fish and birds were created thereon. (Which are fed by G-d’s loving kindness.) He who is born on the eve of the Sabbath will be a seeker. Rabbi Nahman ben Isaac commented: A seeker after good deeds. He who is born on the Sabbath will die on the Sabbath, because the great day of the Sabbath was desecrated on his account. Raba son of Rabbi Shila observed: And he shall be called a great and holy man. (Maharsha: Not all born on the Sabbath die on the Sabbath, but only those who are very holy.)

Rabbi Hanina said to them, [his disciples]: Go out and tell the son of Levi, Not the constellation of the day but that of the hour is the determining influence. He who is born under the constellation of the sun will be a distinguished (bright and handsome) man: he will eat and drink of his own and his secrets will lie uncovered; if a thief, he will have no success. He who is born under Venus will be wealthy and unchaste [immoral]. What is the reason? Because fire was created therein. He who is born under Mercury will be of a retentive memory and wise. What is the reason? Because it [Mercury] is the sun’s scribe. He who is born under the Moon will be a man to suffer evil, building and demolishing, demolishing and building. eating and drinking that which is not his and his secrets will remain hidden: if a thief, he will be successful. He who is born under Saturn will be a man whose plans will be frustrated. Others say: All [nefarious] designs against him will be frustrated. He who is born under Tzedek [Jupiter] will be a right-doing man [tzaddik] Rabbi Nahman ben Isaac observed: ‘He who is born under Mars will be a shedder of blood. Rabbi Ashi observed: Either a surgeon, a thief, a slaughterer, or a ‘mohel’ (a performer of ritual circumcision). Rabbah said: I was born under Mars. Abaye retorted: You too inflict punishment and kill.

It was stated. Rabbi Hanina said: The planetary influence gives wisdom, the planetary influence gives wealth, and Israel stands under planetary influence, (yesh mazal leyisrael). Rabbi Johanan maintained: Israel is immune from planetary influence, (eyn mazal leyisrael).

The Talmud goes on to bring many proofs that Israel is immune from planetary influence:

Now, Rabbi Johanan is consistent with his view, for Rabbi Johanan said: How do we know that Israel is immune from planetary influence? Because it is said, Thus says the L-rd, Learn not the way of the nations, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the nations are dismayed at them: they are dismayed but not Israel.

Rab too is of the opinion that Israel is immune from planetary influence. For Rab Judah said in Rab’s name: How do we know that Israel is immune from planetary influence? Because it is said, and he brought him forth from abroad.(Genesis 15:5) Abraham pleaded before the Holy One, blessed be He, ‘Sovereign of the Universe! one born in mine house is mine heir.’ ‘Not so,’ He replied, ‘but he that shall come forth out of your own bowels.’ ‘Sovereign of the Universe!’ cried he, ‘I have looked at my constellation and find that I am not fated to beget child.’ ‘Go forth from [i.e., cease] thy planet [gazing], for Israel is free from planetary influence...

From Samuel too [we learn that] Israel is immune from planetary influence. For Samuel and Ablat were sitting, while certain people were going to a lake. Said Ablat to Samuel: ‘That man is going but will not return, [for] a snake will bite him and he will die.’ ‘If he is an Israelite,’ replied Samuel. ‘he will go and return.’ While they were sitting he went and returned. [Thereupon] Ablat arose and threw off his [the man’s] knapsack, [and] found a snake therein cut up and lying in two pieces. Samuel said to him, ‘What did you do (to be saved)?’ ‘Every day we pooled our bread and ate it; but to-day one of us had no bread, and he was ashamed. I told them that "I will go and collect [the bread]". When I came to him, I pretended to take [bread] from him, so that he should not be ashamed.’ ‘You have done a good deed,’ said Samuel to him. Then Samuel went out and lectured: But charity (righteousness) delivers from death;(Proverbs 10:2) and [this does not mean] from an unnatural death, but from death itself.

From Rabbi Akiba too [we learn that] Israel is free from planetary influence. For Rabbi Akiba had a daughter. Now, astrologers told him, On the day she enters the bridal chamber a snake will bite her and she will die. He was very worried about this. On that day [of her marriage] she took a brooch [and] stuck it into the wall and by chance it penetrated [sank] into the eye of a serpent. The following morning, when she took it out, the snake came trailing after it. ‘What did you do?’ her father asked her. ‘A poor man came to our door in the evening.’ she replied, ‘and everybody was busy at the banquet, and there was none to attend to him. So I took the portion which was given to me and gave it to him. ‘You have done a good deed,’ said he to her. Thereupon Rabbi Akiba went out and lectured: ‘But charity delivers from death’: and not [merely] from an unnatural death, but from death itself.

From Rabbi Nahman ben Isaac too [we learn that] Israel is free from planetary influence. For Rabbi Nahman ben Isaac’s mother was told by astrologers, Your son will be a thief. [So] she did not let him [be] bareheaded, saying to him, ‘Cover your head so that the fear of heaven may be upon you, and pray [for mercy]’. Now, he did not know why she spoke that to him. One day he was sitting and studying under a palm tree; temptation overcame him, he climbed up and bit off a cluster [of dates] with his teeth. (The tree did not belong to him. - This story shows that head-covering was not so common, though regarded as conducive to piety. - From these stories we see that belief in planetary influence was not entirely rejected, but that these Rabbis held that it might be counteracted by good deeds.)

In his famous Letter on Astrology, Rambam vigorously denounced belief in any astrological influence over human life. He described the philosophical opposition to astrology as a thoroughly naturalistic one which did not allow for the influence of the stars. The correct Jewish belief, in his view, agreed with this and also accepted the notion of G-d’s Providence, thereby utterly rejecting any astrological influences. Rambam declared that he had read all the extant astrological books, and decried the fact that people naturally give credence to any doctrine that is recorded in a text, even if it is nonsense. Yet most medieval philosophers, including Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra, believed in astrological influences and even went so far as to claim that empirical evidence supported this belief. No less a radical thinker than Rabbi Levi ben Gershon (Ralbag), was a firm believer in the effects of the stars upon human life, and based his position on empirical evidence.

Ramban (Responsum 282) and Nimukei Yosef (Sanhedrin, Chapter 7) explain that the study of astrology is not forbidden. They note that though the Talmud above (Shabbat 156a) states: "There is no mazal (celestial, source of influence) for Israel," there were sages who did not share that view. Thus, even though the latter was a minority opinion, the fact that it exists demonstrates that astrology is not nonsense, nor is involvement in its study forbidden.

[In that context (see also the Ra'avad, Hilchot Teshuvah 5:5), the statement from Shabbat can be explained as follows: The mazalot (stars and signs of the zodiac)exert influence on the world. A Jew, however, can rise above these influences and exercise total free will.]

The Mazzaroth (Zodiac) web page
The Watchman home page

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Sidereal Frame

Excerpted from: Prometheus the Awakener
Spring Publications, Woodstock, CT

The Sidereal Frame

The current Astrological chart is an Earth based view of the solar system for a given point on the Earth at a given time. The Ascendent, Midheaven and houses represent the daily turning of the Earth. The signs represent the annual motion of the Earth around the Sun. The planets move through the signs at different rates and as such represent those aspects of life that operate on a similar timescale.

The Ascendent traverses the whole of the Zodiac in 24 hours, about two hours in each sign. It is the clock on our day and as such governs those functions of the body and mind that operate on a similar timescale - body functions and associated feelings, impressions, attention. (Two hours is about the limit for most entertainments - films, concerts, spectator sports).

The Moon takes twenty eight days to go once around the Zodiac, spending only two days in each sign. It governs those aspects of life that change from day to day, the many faces of our everyday personality that may seem consistent to ourselves but may seem to wax and wane to others.

Mercury takes about three months to circle the Sun but because it is so close to the Sun it follows it around the Zodiac, moving backwards and forwards around the Solar position on a three monthly cycle. At its fastest it passes through a zodiacal sign in a fortnight and covers affairs of this nature - our pattern of work, our weekly routine, our immediate plans. In the course of a year Mercury marks out the seasons.

Venus takes about eight months, 18 and 2/3 days in each sign. On this timescale we see a curious relationship with the Moon with its 18 and 2/3 year eclipse cycle or Saros. Venus covers the rise and fall of feelings, the span of desire. In the sky it is moon-like in that it can be seen in the evening or morning, and it waxes and wanes. In the way that the moon is the reactive feelings, externally stimulated, Venus is those feelings that are internally generated over time. Advertising campaigns usually run for about three weeks before their impact can be assessed.

Venus, Mercury and Moon are the three planets that lie between the Earth and the Sun - the Inner Planets - and as such govern our mundane existence of thinking, feeling and acting. They cover activities of less than a year - short terms goals and aspirations.

Mars takes two years to traverse the Zodiac. It is the last of the local planets - there is quite a leap to Jupiter - and as such sets the limits of our practical existence. Mars covers our strategies for life, our perceivable building blocks. Most educational courses are based around two years. Most martial arts require two years to attain Black Belt. It is the cycle of skill acquisition. One theory of learning is that understanding lags learning by two years.

Jupiter takes 12 years to traverse the Zodiac, about a year in each sign. Now we have a marker on life itself. The seven ages of man would give a lifespan of 84 years, which some astrologers take as the natural span of human life. Jupiter then rules those events that take years to unfold, a timescale beyond the perception of the inner planets.

Saturn takes 29 years on its journey through the Zodiac. This is the span of a single generation. Based on our 84 year life, humans just about cover three generations. This is supported in fact; child, parent and grandparent are usually co-existent. Great grandparents are usually near the very end of their span. Saturn therefore rules the generations and acts on a scale of this magnitude.

With Uranus and its 84 year journey we complete the full cycle of life. This is the level to which Uranus applies - the life's work, the changes that echo down three generations, the wisdom passed from the very old to the very young. The inspiration of Uranus may not be recognised in a lifetime - it may require death to give the perspective.

Neptune's cycle of 165 years goes beyond a single life to cover two lifetimes. It is the maximum extent of living memory - your grandfather's flickering memory of his great grandfather - six generations of Saturn on the limit of human recall. So all that you were in life collapses to just a handful of memories that will be all that is left of you in living memory. And with the years that too fades. Neptune cares not for individuals.

Pluto takes 248 years on its journey around the Zodiac. Three lifetimes, nine generations, the period of total renewal. This is the timescales on which nations rise or fall, over which enemies become friends, over which profound change works through all society. 248 years ago the industrial revolution was just gaining momentum. Now we enter the completion of that cycle with its consequences.

These are the cycles of Sidereal Astrology - the astrology of the world and the cycles of change that drive human affairs.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Hidden Enemy Within: Confront The Evil 1

The hidden enemy within; losing control of our soul; evil, the power that keeps us from what we want to be; found in ourselves and surrounds us [intention and will within]; dark expressions, forces of pain expressed in human beings - KNOW THYSELF !! - we must open our eyes and ears to the invisibility; we must turn on the lights [knowledge and self-understanding] - evil likes us to fear it [cohesive sentience; it has its own purpose] - we all possess faculties that have a given direction in certain circumstances [ie., pulled down into anger, hate; something in us draws us down, serving a purpose that is unknown to most human beings [maybe a blind mechanical response or a force, a sentience, SATAN] - we are spiritually deaf, dumb and blind; we have every influence ever created in us; heaven and hell, light and darkness meet in the human soul; these forces are given life by our choices, our decisions; our *relationship* with these forces determine who we are; self is relationship, we must be awake to what we are in relationship with !! - our mindset, conditioning, projection [movement of thought]; we cannot fix ourselves [psychology] with the very thing which is broken !! - we are in conflict, a divided being, a rift runs though the core of ourselves; "blame away", "explain away", are not answers - we are destroying our planet and ourselves in spite of all the prayerfulness [people resisting the evil]; we must understand NOT resist; the resisting actually increases the evil; we are fighting with shadows; we are fighting forces that are empowered by our *not* understanding their nature [ref: MM Book 1 Chapter 1-13 web page (widescreen) or blog] - we must learn to see into ourselves, we must discern spiritually - there is no such thing as "blind" anger, there is something in us that is angry [relative to our own conditioning; the dark state lives within us]; sympathetic vibration.

Darkness wins because we do not know how it operates; we are unaware that our *unconsciousness* is responsible; the negative state guides us [we remain asleep to its actual nature and action, its dictates] - THE ONLY POWER EVIL HAS IS IN DECEIVING US !! [FORGIVE THEM FATHER, FOR THEY *KNOW NOT* WHAT THEY DO] -- we define ourselves by our problems; our current sense of self [ie., the COG] is rooted in a nature that causes us to repeat the evil in order for us to remain within our false definitions !! - WE MUST TRANSCEND OURSELVES; WE MUST BE WHAT GOD WANTS US TO BE !! - there are parts of us that can only do one thing [a blind mechanical activity of darkness; suggestions serving their blind mechanical need] to restrict, to limit, to draw down - hatred is a self-imposed restriction; love is expansive, opening; these two consciousnesses are in us [we are sitting between two worlds of darkness and light; we have to choose - answering evil with evil is forwarding evil unto the whole human race [BUILDING HOLOCAUST] !! - EACH SOUL IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ITS OWN ACTIONS !! - to be human is to have crises; we must examine ourselves when things are at their darkest [when we are torn, confused; reaching]; this darkness can be the ground of the new understanding that we see ourselves in [these dark "gifts" come to us bearing choice; the adversarial is actually emissarial], an opportunity presented, and we are responsible for our choices - we do not have to be subjected to what we don't understand, instead we can understand what we are subjected to !! - the issue of justice is a private, individual affair [we must grow in this understanding; the world is on a downward path into war] - we will serve evil pursuits if we do not understand them, and our complicity with them !!

The Hidden Enemy Within: Confront The Evil 2

There is a Hell (of our own creation), tormented feelings, regret - heaven and hell are born out of our fears, not knowing what is, the possibilities - "what may be" can never be the source of integral change within [just another safety blanket (ie., most religions)] - our lives do not change when we die [an object in motion continues in the direction of its motion; we must change ourselves, our direction]; all damage we do to ourselves can be changed by a love of the truth; the damage can be undone !! [GOD IS TRUTH AND LIFE; WE CANNOT CHANGE OURSELVES, BUT GOD'S LOVE CAN !!] - society's pace keeps us from stopping to think, we must take the time to be conscious of ourselves, of our needs [mindful of our helpful thoughts and our hurtful thoughts]; changing our relationship with our inner world; we do not have to live with the pain !! - the only power the darkness has over us [deception] is in the absence of the light [fear is real in the dark]; illumination vs. domination; dark spiritual forces, conditions, cannot live within the light [GOD IS LIGHT] - fear was never intended to be a form for us; our thought-forms make it real [when we revisit a negative state, we revitalize what we want to be free of]; we must be aware of the evil consciousness, we must dismiss it, reject it [BY GOD'S PRESENCE; HEALING] - keeping in balance; our choice; the dark, the negative seemingly necessary; there is danger here, new understanding [recognition] precipitated by the darkness [WE MUST COME OUT OF THE SIN]; an ongoing relationship of primordial forces existent [THE FEAR (reverence) OF THE LORD IS THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM, A GOOD UNDERSTANDING HAVE ALL THEY WHO OBEY GOD'S COMMANDMENTS (the 10C: walking in the character of God); KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY IS TO DEPART FROM EVIL - EVIL IS *NOT* ESSENTIAL FOR NEW UNDERSTANDING; EVIL (application) IS THE *LACK* OF UNDERSTANDING !!].

The issue of control, the strength of evil; we are in a cage as a result of our limited understanding; powerlessness itself looks for power and control, and by doing so falls victim to the very thing it is seeking power and control over !! - we are evidence of a dualistic self; we express dualism; dualism is not necessarily real, but reality exists in levels - the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was to give the knowledge of the gods [the complexities, the nuances of things; not just knowing the simple good]; free will is [considered today] the result of the choice between good and evil; thus [the first sin] is deemed a gift [ATTRIBUTING GOD'S FREE WILL, FREE MORAL AGENCY, TO SIN, AS SATAN'S GIFT - GOOD AND EVIL IS NOT KNOWLEDGE AS SUCH, BUT THE NATURE OF THE SPIRITUAL APPLICATION, THE WISDOM, THE RELATIONSHIP (knowledge is revealed, taught, discovered)] -- we are beings of choice, to determine for ourselves [our character]; darkness and evil are horrible, but we grow from them; their potential makes us think !! - we see the world through the eyes of our understanding of the conditions existent; evil seems to have the upper hand because humans have gone to sleep; true and false are becoming unknown; we are being misled - the goodness within us must be recognized and fought for [GOD PROVIDES THE ALTERNATIVE] !! - learning and growing; religion seeks to codify experience, which is impossible; we must continue in the life God gives us NOT continue in the life we create for ourselves; we must let go of the self with its definitions, then we will see God's definitions !! -- is righteous anger evil, NO !! - evil is unrighteousness; the cause and effect are different - do the inner evils of our own mind relinquish our choice ?? -- [The Hidden Enemy Within: Confront The Evil 1 and 2 based on multiple sources, including author Guy Finley on "The Nature of Evil" (author Finley denies the existence of Satan)]

Guy Finley home page

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Planets and Archetypes 1

Planets and Archetypes
Richard Tarnas, Ph.D.
(excerpted from Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View, New York: Viking, 2005)

"Wisdom is knowing in depth the great metaphors of meaning." C.G. Jung

The concept of planetary archetypes, in many respects the pivotal concept of the emerging astrological paradigm, is complex and must be approached from several directions. Before describing the nature of the association between planets and archetypes, however, we must first address the concept of archetypes more generally, and the remarkable evolution of the archetypal perspective in the history of Western thought.

The earliest form of the archetypal perspective, and in certain respects its deepest ground, is the primordial experience of the great gods and goddesses of the ancient mythic imagination. In this once universal mode of consciousness, memorably embodied at the dawn of Western culture in the Homeric epics and later in classical Greek drama, reality is understood to be pervaded and structured by powerful numinous forces and presences which are rendered to the human imagination as the divinized figures and narratives of ancient myth, often closely associated with the celestial bodies.

Yet our modern word god, or deity or divinity, does not accurately convey the lived meaning of these primordial powers for the archaic sensibility, a meaning that was sustained and developed in the Platonic understanding of the divine. This point was clearly articulated by W. K. C. Guthrie, drawing on a valuable distinction originally made by the German scholar Wilamowitz-Moellendorff:

Theos, the Greek word which we have in mind when we speak of Plato's god, has primarily a predicative force. That is to say, the Greeks did not, as Christians or Jews do, first assert the existence of God and then proceed to enumerate his attributes, saying "God is good," "God is love" and so forth. Rather they were so impressed or awed by the things in life or nature remarkable either for joy or fear that they said "this is a god" or "that is a god." The Christian says "God is love," the Greek Love is theos," or "a god." As another writer [G. M. A. Grube] has explained it: "By saying that love, or victory, is god, or, to be more accurate, a god, was meant first and foremost that it is more than human, not subject to death, everlasting. . . . Any power, any force we see at work in the world, which is not born with us and will continue after we are gone could thus be called a god, and most of them were."

In this state of mind, and with this sensitiveness to the superhuman character of many things which happen to us, and which give us, it may be, sudden stabs of joy or pain which we do not understand, a Greek poet could write lines like: "Recognition between friends is theos." It is a state of mind which obviously has no small bearing on the much-discussed question of monotheism or polytheism in Plato, if indeed it does not rob the question of meaning altogether.

As the Greek mind evolved, by a process sometimes too simply described as a transition from myth to reason, the divine absolutes ordering the world of the mythic imagination were gradually deconstructed and conceived anew in philosophical form in the dialogues of Plato. Building on both the Presocratics' early philosophical discussions of the archai and the Pythagorean understanding of transcendent mathematical forms, and then more directly on the critical inquiries of his teacher Socrates, Plato gave to the archetypal perspective its classic metaphysical formulation. In the Platonic view, archetypes ”the Ideas or Forms ”are absolute essences that transcend the empirical world and yet give the world its form and meaning. They are timeless universals which serve as the fundamental reality informing every concrete particular. Something is beautiful precisely to the extent that the archetype of Beauty is present in it. Or, to put it alternatively, something is beautiful precisely to the extent that it participates in the archetype of Beauty. For Plato, direct knowledge of these Forms or Ideas is regarded as the spiritual goal of the philosopher and the intellectual passion of the scientist.

In turn, Plato's student and successor Aristotle brought to the concept of universal forms a more empiricist approach, supported by a rationalism that was more secular in the character of its logical analysis rather than spiritual and epiphanic. In the Aristotelian perspective, the forms lost their numinosity but gained a new recognition of their dynamic and teleological character as concretely embodied in the empirical world and processes of life. For Aristotle, the universal forms primarily exist in things, not above or beyond them. Moreover, they not only give form and essential qualities to concrete particulars but also dynamically transmute them from within, from potentiality to actuality and maturity, as the acorn gradually metamorphoses into the oak tree, the embryo into the mature organism, a young girl into a woman. The organism is drawn forward by the form to a realization of its inherent potential, just as a work of art is actualized by the artist guided by the form in the artist's mind. Matter is an intrinsic susceptibility to form, an unqualified openness to being configured and dynamically realized through form. In the case of a developing organism, after its essential character has been fully actualized, decay occurs as the form gradually loses its hold. The Aristotelian form thus serves both as an indwelling impulse that orders and moves development, and as the intelligible structure of a thing, its inner nature, that which makes it what it is, its essence. For Aristotle as for Plato, form is the principle by which something can be known, its essence recognized, its universal character distinguished within its particular embodiment.

Planets and Archetypes 2

The idea of archetypal or universal forms then underwent a number of important developments in the later classical, medieval, and Renaissance periods.2 It became the focus of one of the central and most sustained debates of Scholastic philosophy, the problem of universals, a controversy that both reflected and mediated the evolution of Western thought as the locus of intelligible reality gradually shifted from the transcendent to the immanent, from the universal to the particular, and ultimately from the divinely given archetypal Form (eidos) to the humanly constructed general name (nomina). After a final efflorescence in the philosophy and art of the High Renaissance, the concept of archetypes gradually retreated and then virtually disappeared with the modern rise of nominalist philosophy and empiricist science. The archetypal perspective remained vital principally in the arts, in classical and mythological studies, and in Romanticism, as a kind of archaic afterglow. Confined to the subjective realm of interior meaning by the dominant Enlightenment world view, it continued in this form latent within the modern sensibility. The radiant ascent and dominance of modern reason coincided precisely with the eclipse of the archetypal vision.

Between the triumph of nominalism in the seventeenth century and the rise of depth psychology in the twentieth, philosophy brought forth a weighty development, Kant's Copernican revolution in philosophy, that would subsequently have major consequences for the form in which the archetypal perspective would eventually reemerge. With Kant's critical turn, focused on discovering those subjective interpretive structures of the mind which order and condition all human knowledge and experience, the a priori categories and forms, the Enlightenment project underwent a crucial shift in philosophical concern, from the object of knowledge to the knowing subject, that would influence virtually every field of modern thought.

It was not until the turn of the twentieth century, foreshadowed by Nietzsche's vision of the Dionysian and Apollonian principles shaping human culture, that the concept of archetypes began to undergo an unexpected renascence. The immediate matrix of its rebirth was the empirical discoveries of depth psychology ”first with Freud's insights into the Oedipus complex, Eros and Thanatos, Ego, Id, and Superego (a powerful mythology, as Wittgenstein called psychoanalysis), and then in an expanded, fully articulated form with the work of Jung and archetypal psychology. Jung, as we have seen, drawing on Kant's critical epistemology as well as Freud's instinct theory, yet going beyond both, described archetypes as autonomous primordial forms in the psyche that structure and impel all human experience and behavior. In his last formulations influenced by his research on synchronicities, Jung came to regard archetypes as expressions not only of a collective unconscious shared by all human beings, but of a larger matrix of being and meaning that informs and encompasses both the physical world and the human psyche.

Finally, further developments of the archetypal perspective emerged in the postmodern period, not only in post-Jungian psychology but in other fields such as anthropology, mythology, religious studies, philosophy of science, linguistic analysis, phenomenology, process philosophy, and feminist scholarship. In the crucible of postmodern thought, the concept of archetypes was elaborated and critiqued, refined through the deconstruction of rigidly essentialist false universals and cultural stereotypes, and enriched through an increased awareness of archetypes' fluid, evolving, multivalent, and participatory nature. Reflecting many of the above influences, James Hillman sums up the archetypal perspective in depth psychology:

Let us then imagine archetypes as the deepest patterns of psychic functioning, the roots of the soul governing the perspectives we have of ourselves and the world. They are the axiomatic, self-evident images to which psychic life and our theories about it ever return. . . . There are many other metaphors for describing them: immaterial potentials of structure, like invisible crystals in solution or forms in plants that suddenly show forth under certain conditions; patterns of instinctual behavior like those in animals that direct actions along unswerving paths; the genres and topoi in literature; the recurring typicalities in history; the basic syndromes in psychiatry; the paradigmatic thought models in science; the world-wide figures, rituals, and relationships in anthropology.

But one thing is absolutely essential to the notion of archetypes: their emotional possessive effect, their bedazzlement of consciousness so that it becomes blind to its own stance. By setting up a universe which tends to hold everything we do, see, and say in the sway of its cosmos, an archetype is best comparable with a God. And Gods, religions sometimes say, are less accessible to the senses and to the intellect than they are to the imaginative vision and emotion of the soul.

They are cosmic perspectives in which the soul participates. They are the lords of its realms of being, the patterns for its mimesis. The soul cannot be, except in one of their patterns. All psychic reality is governed by one or another archetypal fantasy, given sanction by a God. I cannot but be in them.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Planets and Archetypes 3

There is no place without Gods and no activity that does not enact them. Every fantasy, every experience has its archetypal reason. There is nothing that does not belong to one God or another.

Archetypes thus can be understood and described in many ways, and much of the history of Western thought has evolved and revolved around this very issue. For our present purposes, we can define an archetype as a universal principle or force that affects ”impels, structures, permeates ”the human psyche and the world of human experience on many levels. One can think of them in mythic terms as gods and goddesses (or what Blake called the Immortals ), in Platonic terms as transcendent first principles and numinous Ideas, or in Aristotelian terms as immanent universals and dynamic indwelling forms. One can approach them in a Kantian mode as a priori categories of perception and cognition, in Schopenhauerian terms as the universal essences embodied in great works of art, or in the Nietzschean manner as primordial principles symbolizing basic cultural tendencies and modes of being. In the twentieth-century context, one can conceive of them in Husserlian terms as essential structures of human experience, in Wittgensteinian terms as linguistic family resemblances linking disparate but overlapping particulars, or in Whiteheadian terms as eternal objects and pure potentialities whose ingression informs the unfolding process of reality. Finally, with depth psychology, one can approach them in the Freudian mode as primordial instincts impelling and structuring biological and psychological processes, or in the Jungian manner as fundamental formal principles of the human psyche, universal expressions of a collective unconscious and unus mundus.

In a sense, the idea of archetypes is itself an archetype, an arche, a continually shape-shifting principle of principles, with multiple creative inflections and variations through the ages as diffracted through different individual and cultural sensibilities. In the course of that long evolution, the archetypal idea seems to have come full circle, arriving now in its post-synchronicity development at a place very closely resembling its ancient origins as cosmic archai, but with its many inflections and potentialities, as well as new dimensions altogether, having been unfolded and explored.

We can thus conceive of archetypes as possessing a transcendent and numinous quality, and yet simultaneously manifesting in specific down-to-earth physical, emotional, and cognitive embodiments. They are enduring a priori structures and essences, and yet are also dynamically indeterminate, open to inflection by many contingent factors, cultural and biographical, circumstantial and participatory. They are, in one sense, timeless and above the changing flux of phenomena, as in the Platonic understanding, and yet in another sense deeply malleable, evolving, and open to the widest diversity of creative human enaction. They seem to move from both within and without, manifesting as impulses, emotions, images, ideas, and interpretive structures in the interior psyche, yet also as concrete forms, events, and contexts in the external world, including synchronistic phenomena. Finally, they can be discussed and thought of in a scientific or philosophical manner as first principles and formal causes, and yet also be understood at another level in terms of mythic personae dramatis that are most adequately approached or apprehended through the powers of the poetic imagination or spiritual intuition. As Jung noted concerning his own mode of discourse when discussing the archetypal content of psychological phenomena:

It is possible to describe this content in rational, scientific language, but in this way one entirely fails to express its living character. Therefore, in describing the living processes of the psyche, I deliberately and consciously give preference to a dramatic, mythological way of thinking and speaking, because this is not only more expressive but also more exact than an abstract scientific terminology, which is wont to toy with the notion that its theoretic formulations may one fine day be resolved into algebraic equations.

Planets and Archetypes 4

Planetary Archetypes

The astrological thesis as developed within the Platonic-Jungian lineage holds that these complex, multidimensional archetypes governing the forms of human experience are intelligibly connected with the planets and their movements in the heavens. This association is observable in a constant coincidence between specific planetary alignments and specific archetypally patterned phenomena in human affairs. It is important for what follows that we understand the nature of this correspondence between planets and archetypes. It does not appear to be accurate to say that astrologers have, in essence, arbitrarily used the mythological stories of the ancients about the gods Jupiter and Saturn, Venus, Mars, Mercury, and the rest to project symbolic meaning onto the planets, which are in actuality merely neutral material bodies without intrinsic significance. Rather, a considerable body of evidence suggests that the movements of the planets named Jupiter and Saturn, Venus, Mars, and Mercury tend to coincide with patterns of human experience that closely resemble the character of those planets' mythical counterparts. That is, the astrologer's insight, perhaps intuitive and divinatory in its ancient origins, appears to be fundamentally an empirical one. This empiricism is given context and meaning by a mythic, archetypal perspective, a perspective that the planetary correlations seem to support and illustrate with remarkable consistency. The nature of these correlations presents to the astrological researcher what appears to be an orchestrated synthesis combining the precision of mathematical astronomy with the psychological complexity of the archetypal imagination, a synthesis whose sources seemingly exist a priori within the fabric of the universe.3

Here is where the distinction between the ancient philosophical (Platonic) and the modern psychological (earlier Jungian) conceptions of archetypes becomes especially relevant. Whereas the original Jungian archetypes were primarily considered to be the basic formal principles of the human psyche, the original Platonic archetypes were regarded as the essential principles of reality itself, rooted in the very nature of the cosmos.4 What separated these two views, of course, was the long development of Western thought that gradually differentiated a meaning-giving human subject from a neutral objective world, thereby necessarily locating the source of any universal principles of meaning within the human psyche. Integrating these two views (much as Jung began to do in his final years under the impact of synchronicities), contemporary astrology suggests that archetypes possess a reality that is both objective and subjective, informing both outer cosmos and inner human psyche ” as above so below ”with the human being playing a pivotal role in the specific inflection and participatory enactment of the universal archetypes' concrete manifestation.

In effect, planetary archetypes are considered to be both Jungian (psychological) and Platonic (metaphysical) in nature ”universal essences or forms at once intrinsic to and independent of the human mind, which not only endure as timeless universals but are also co-creatively enacted and recursively affected through human participation. And they are regarded as functioning in something like a Pythagorean-Platonic cosmic setting, i.e., in a cosmos pervasively integrated through the workings of a universal intelligence and creative principle ”but again, with the crucial additional factor of human co-creative participation in the concrete expressions of this creative principle, with the human being recognized as itself a potentially autonomous embodiment of the cosmos and its creative power and intelligence.

In Jungian terms, the astrological evidence suggests that the collective unconscious is ultimately embedded in the macrocosm itself, with the shifting planetary patterns reflected in the archetypal dynamics of human experience. One could also say that the macrocosm is embedded in the collective unconscious, with the human psyche a microcosmic vessel of the cosmic whole. In Platonic terms, astrology affirms the existence of an anima mundi informing the cosmos, a world soul in which the human psyche participates. Finally, the Platonic, Jungian, and astrological understandings of archetypes are all complexly linked, both historically and conceptually, to the archetypal structures, narratives, and figures of ancient myth. Thus Campbell's famous dictum:

It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation.

So also Jung: I hold Kerenyi to be absolutely right when he says that in the symbol the world itself is speaking. 5

Friday, February 19, 2010

Planets and Archetypes 5

For conceptual clarity, then, when we consider the meaning and character of each planetary archetype in the following chapters, it will be useful to understand these principles in three different senses: in the Homeric sense as a primordial deity and mythic figure, in the Platonic sense as a cosmic and metaphysical principle, and in the Jungian sense as a psychological principle (with its Kantian and Freudian background), with all of these associated with a specific planet. For example, the archetype of Venus can be approached on the Homeric level as the Greek mythic figure of Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love, the Mesopotamian Ishtar, the Roman Venus. On the Platonic level Venus can be understood in terms of the metaphysical principle of Eros and the Beautiful. And on the Jungian level Venus can be viewed as the psychological tendency to perceive, desire, create, or in some other way experience beauty and love, to attract and be attracted, to seek harmony and aesthetic or sensuous pleasure, to engage in artistic activity and in romantic and social relations. These different levels or senses, however, are distinguished here only to suggest the inherent complexity and ambiguity of archetypes, which must be formulated not as literal concretely definable entities, but rather as dynamic potentialities and essences of meaning that cannot be localized or restricted to a specific dimension.

Finally, alongside this essential multidimensionality of archetypes is their equally essential multivalence . The Saturn archetype can express itself as judgment but also as old age, as tradition but also as oppression, as time but also as mortality, as depression but also as discipline, as gravity in the sense of heaviness and weight but also as gravity in the sense of seriousness and dignity. Thus Jung:

The ground principles, the archai, of the unconscious are indescribable because of their wealth of reference, although in themselves recognizable. The discriminating intellect naturally keeps on trying to establish their singleness of meaning and thus misses the essential point; for what we can above all establish as the one thing consistent with their nature is their manifold meaning, their almost limitless wealth of reference, which makes any unilateral formulation impossible.

This discussion is directly relevant to the results of our earlier consideration of free will and determinism in astrology. If I may summarize that complex but crucial thesis in a single statement: It seems to be specifically the multivalent potentiality that is intrinsic to the planetary archetypes ”their dynamic indeterminacy ”that opens up ontological space for the human being's full co-creative participation in the unfolding of individual life, history, and the cosmic process. It is just this combination of archetypal multivalence and an autonomous participatory self that engenders the possibility of a genuinely open universe. The resulting cosmological metastructure is still Pythagorean-Platonic in essential ways, but the relationship of the human self and the cosmic principles has undergone a metamorphosis that fully reflects and integrates the enormous modern and postmodern developments.

Our philosophical understanding of archetypes, our scientific understanding of the cosmos, and our psychological understanding of the self ”as well as our experience of all these ”have all radically shifted and evolved in the course of our history, and have done so in complexly interconnected ways at each stage in this evolution.

There are ten planetary archetypes. Seven of these were recognized in the classical astrological tradition and correspond to the seven celestial bodies of the solar system visible to the unaided eye (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn), while the other three correspond to those planets discovered by telescope in the modern era (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto).6 The astrological tradition has long held that when astronomy was originally united with astrology, the ancients named the visible planets according to each one's intrinsic archetypal character, that is, according to the ruling mythic deity of which the planet was the visible manifestation. The earliest surviving Greek text that named all the known planets is the Platonist dialogue the Epinomis , which explicitly postulated a cosmic association between the planets and specific gods.7 Written in the fourth century BC as an appendix to Plato's last work the Laws (and composed either by Plato himself or a close disciple), the Epinomis, like the Laws, affirmed the divinity of the planets, and then went on to introduce the specific Greek name for each planet according to the deity which that planet was understood to be sacred to ”Hermes, Aphrodite, Ares, Zeus, Kronos. These Greek gods were cited as corresponding to the equivalent Mesopotamian deities whose names had long been associated with the planets by the then already-ancient astrological tradition inherited from Babylonia. In turn, in later centuries these planets became known in Europe and the modern West by the names of their equivalent Roman incarnations, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

Planets and Archetypes 6

It will be useful here, as a preliminary summary, to set forth the specific archetypal meanings and qualities associated with each planet. As Jung recognized, however, the meanings of archetypes cannot be reduced to simple definitions, as if they were literal concrete entities whose basic essence could be exhausted once and for all with a neat algebraic formula:

A kind of fluid interpenetration belongs to the very nature of all archetypes. They can only be roughly circumscribed at best. Their living meaning comes out more from their presentation as a whole than from a single formulation. Every attempt to focus them more sharply is immediately punished by the intangible core of meaning losing its luminosity. No archetype can be reduced to a simple formula. It is a vessel which we can never empty, and never fill. . . . It persists throughout the ages and requires interpreting ever anew. The archetypes are the imperishable elements of the unconscious, but they change their shape continually. An archetypal principle is thus not so much defined as evoked. It is better conveyed through a wide range of examples that collectively illustrate and suggest the enduring intangible essence that is variously inflected through the archetype's diverse embodiments. In the following chapters I have adopted this mode of presentation ”a kind of self-presentation by the archetypes through their embodiments ”as the one most appropriate to the nature of the principles and data we will be exploring. With these caveats and qualifications in mind, the following brief summary can serve as a starting point for the more extensive descriptions and analyses to come.

Each archetypal principle can express itself in both positive and problematic form. Each can manifest within the context of the individual life and psyche or on a collective level. Each has a potential for both feminine and masculine inflections, beyond the specific gender of the Greco-Roman mythic figure associated with the planet or luminary in question. For all the planets, both those known to the ancients and those discovered in the modern era, the body of evidence we will be examining points to the existence of transcultural archetypal principles that inform and encompass the observed synchronistic patterns of meaning. The specific mythic deities of the more local cultural mythologies such as the Greek or Roman appear to represent particular inflections of these transcultural archetypes. The Greco-Roman figures and narratives are resonant with significance for the Western cultural imagination, but ultimately they seem to be best understood as culturally specific embodiments of more universal archetypal principles.

Sun: the central principle of vital creative energy, the will to exist; the impulse and capacity to be, to manifest, to be active, to be central, to radiate, to shine ; to rise above, achieve, integrate, and illuminate; the individual will and personal identity, the seat of mind and spirit, the animus, the executive functions of the self or ego, the capacity for initiative and purposeful assertion, the drive for individual autonomy and independence; directed and focused consciousness and self-awareness, the centrifugal expression of the self, the trajectory of self-manifestation, ascent and descent; the ruler of the day sky, of the clearly visible, the single source of luminosity that overcomes the encompassing darkness, the single-centered; yang ; the part that contains the whole in potentia ; Sol and all solar deities, the archetypal Hero in its many forms.

Moon: the matrix of being, the psychosomatic foundation of the self, the womb and ground of life; the body and the soul, that which senses and intuits, the feeling nature; the impulse and capacity to gestate and bring forth, to receive and reflect, to relate and respond, to need and to care, to nurture and be nurtured, the condition of dependence and interdependence; the diffusely conscious and the unconscious, the anima, the immanent, the centripetal, the home, the fertile source and ground; the cycle of manifestation, the waxing and waning, the eternal round; the ruler of the night sky, of the diffusely visible and the invisible, multiple sources of luminosity within the encompassing darkness, the multi-centered; yin ; the whole that contains the part in potentia ; Luna and all lunar deities, the Great Mother Goddess, together with aspects of the Child (puella , puer ), constituting the relational matrix of life.

Mercury: the principle of mind, thought, communication, that which articulates the primary creative energy and renders it intelligible; the impulse and capacity to think, to conceptualize, to connect and mediate, to use words and language, to give and receive information; to make sense of, to grasp, to perceive and reason, understand and articulate; to transport, translate, transmit; the principle of Logos; Hermes, the messenger of the gods.

Venus: the principle of desire, love, beauty, value; the impulse and capacity to attract and be attracted, to love and be loved, to seek and create beauty and harmony, to engage in social and romantic relations, sensuous pleasure, artistic and aesthetic experience; the principle of Eros and the Beautiful; Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty.

Planets and Archetypes 7

Mars: the principle of energetic force; the impulse and capacity to assert, to act and move energetically and forcefully, to produce an impact, to press forward and against, to defend and offend, to act with sharpness and ardor; the tendency to experience aggressiveness, anger, conflict, harm, violence, forceful physical energy; to be combative, competitive, courageous, vigorous; Ares, the god of war.

Jupiter: the principle of expansion, magnitude, growth, elevation, superiority; the capacity and impulse to enlarge and grow, to ascend and progress, to improve and magnify, to incorporate that which is external, to make greater wholes, to inflate; to experience success, honor, advancement, plenitude, abundance, prodigality, excess, surfeit; the capacity or inclination for magnanimity, optimism, enthusiasm, felicity, liberality, breadth of experience, philosophical and cultural aspiration, comprehensiveness and largeness of vision, pride, arrogance, aggrandizement, extravagance; fecundity, fortune, and providence; Zeus, the king of the Olympian gods.

Saturn: the principle of limit, structure, contraction, constraint, necessity, hard materiality, concrete manifestation; time, the past, tradition, age, maturity, mortality, the endings of things; gravity and gravitas, weightiness, that which burdens, challenges, fortifies, deepens; the tendency to confine and constrict, to divide and define, to negate and oppose, to strengthen through tension and resistance, to rigidify, to repress, to maintain a conservative and strict authority; to experience difficulty, decline, deprivation, defect and deficit, defeat, failure, alienation; the labor of existence, suffering, old age, death; the weight of the past, the workings of fate, character, karma, the consequences of past action, error and guilt, punishment, retribution; pessimism, inferiority, inhibition, isolation, oppression and depression; the impulse and capacity for discipline and duty, order, solitude, concentration, thoroughness and precision, discrimination and objectivity, restraint and patience, endurance, responsibility, seriousness, authority, wisdom; the harvest of time, effort, and experience; the concern with consensus reality, factual concreteness, conventional forms and structures, foundations, boundaries, solidity and stability, security and control, rational organization, efficiency, law, right and wrong, judgment, the superego; the dark, cold, heavy, dense, dry, old, slow, distant; Kronos, the stern father of the gods, the senex .

The above seven archetypal principles correspond to the seven celestial bodies known to the ancients, and constituted the foundation of the astrological tradition from its prehistoric origins through the early modern era. These principles were well-established in their basic character from the beginning of the classical Western astrological tradition in the early Hellenistic era, from around the second century BC onward, and their meanings continued to develop and be elaborated throughout later antiquity, the medieval era, and the Renaissance not only in astrological practice and esoteric writings but in the art, literature, and evolving religious and scientific thought of the larger culture.

Of the seven, Saturn was the most distant, slowest-moving planet visible to the naked eye, and its complex of meanings directly reflected that status ”the ruler of boundaries and limits, of finitude and endings, of distance, age, time, death, and fate. Many ancients, such as the Gnostic's and initiates of the mystery religions, believed that beyond Saturn existed another realm ruled by a greater, more encompassing deity, governing a domain of freedom and immortality beyond the constraints of fate and death. As we move to a brief summary of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, their discovery and their observed archetypal qualities, we move in time from the ancient to the modern, and in space from the orbit of Saturn to the much larger regions of space circumscribed by these outermost known planets, described by Dane Rudhyar as ambassadors of the galaxy.

Compared with the planets known to the ancients, with their Greco-Roman mythological associations and corresponding astrological meanings, the names and meanings of the three planets discovered by telescope in the modern era present a very different situation. Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto were named by modern astronomers without any archetypal correspondences in mind. They therefore inherited no archetypal meanings sanctioned by ancient tradition, meanings that were in turn affirmed, refined, and elaborated by continuing observations. This circumstance formed the starting point for an unexpectedly fruitful line of research, the results of which inform the following chapters. Many clarifications emerged concerning the relationship between the planets' given astronomical names and their observed archetypal meanings, based on the expanding body of empirical correlations recorded by the astrological research community. While correlations involving the ancient planets out through Saturn consistently suggest a definite coherence between the planets' specific mythological names and the observed synchronistic archetypal phenomena, correlations involving the outer three planets seem to point to archetypal principles whose nature in crucial respects differ from or radically transcend their astronomical names.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Planets and Archetypes 8

Uranus: For millennia, the Sun and Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn formed what the ancients considered to be an absolute cosmic structure of moving celestial bodies reflecting the primordial forces that governed human affairs. In 1781, however, an astronomer and musician named William Herschel, while conducting an exhaustive telescopic survey of the heavens, suddenly observed an object that was not an ordinary star. The object turned out to be the first planet to be discovered since antiquity. Herschel's stunning discovery immediately transformed the dimensions of the known solar system, the new planet being twice as far from the Sun as Saturn. It also presented an unprecedented challenge to the astrological tradition. The ancient seven-planet hierarchy circumscribed by Saturn had been irrevocably disrupted, with no established archetypal meaning for the new planet. Contemporary skeptics viewed its discovery as having placed the last nail in the coffin of a discredited astrology whose demise had been caused by the Scientific Revolution and proclaimed by the Enlightenment.

Astronomers considered several names for the new planet. Herschel first proposed the name Georgium Sidus in honor of his sovereign patron, George III of England. The French, no doubt unenthusiastic about the planetary deification of an English monarch, used the name Herschel . In the end, in keeping with the planets known to the ancients, the pantheon of classical mythology was called upon. The German astronomer Johann Elert Bode had suggested the name Uranus in the year of its discovery, and it was this name that eventually received international acceptance. The logic for naming the new planet Uranus seems to have been straightforward: The mythological Ouranos was the father of Kronos (Saturn), corresponding to the fact that the new planet was located beyond Saturn in the heavens ”just as Saturn was the father of Jupiter in mythology and the next planet beyond Jupiter in the heavens. Ouranos was also the god of the starry sky, as Hesiod called him, thus providing what seemed to be an especially apt name for the new planet. Astrologers adopted the name Uranus as well, but the meaning they eventually came to attribute to the new planet was generally different in character from that of the mythological Ouranos.

Since at least the turn of the twentieth century, the unanimous consensus among contemporary astrologers has held the planet Uranus to be empirically associated with the principle of change, rebellion, freedom, liberation, reform and revolution, and the unexpected breakup of structures; with sudden surprises, revelations and awakenings, lightning-like flashes of insight, the acceleration of thoughts and events; and with intellectual brilliance, cultural innovation, technological invention, experiment, creativity, and originality. In addition to the occurrence of sudden breakthroughs and liberating events, Uranus transits are linked to unpredictable and disruptive changes, hence the planet is often referred to as the cosmic trickster. Another set of themes associated with Uranus is a concern with the celestial and the cosmic, with astronomy and astrology, with science and esoteric knowledge, and with space travel and aviation. In terms of personal character, Uranus is regarded as signifying the rebel and the innovator, the awakener, the individualist, the dissident, the eccentric, the restless and wayward. These various qualities are considered to be so pronounced in persons born with a prominent Uranus, and expressed so conspicuously in a person's life during Uranus transits, that there seems to have been essentially no disagreement among astrological authorities for at least the past century that these characteristics reflect the archetypal nature of the planet Uranus.

Only a few of these observed qualities, however, are directly relevant to the Greek mythic figure of Ouranos. There is nothing in the mythological Ouranos's character suggestive of the capacity or impulse for change, rebellion, liberation, awakening, or inventiveness. The tenor of the myth is entirely different: Ouranos is the primordial god of the heavens, found in many mythologies, whose relationship to the Earth goddess Gaia forms part of the Greek creation myth. Ouranos's role in that myth is not to initiate rebellion and change, but rather to resist it. Whereas the mythological Ouranos encounters a revolt by his progeny and is overthrown, the astrological Uranus is regarded as quite the opposite ”that which rebels and overthrows. Most of the other qualities believed by astrologers to be associated with the planet Uranus ”freedom, unpredictability, suddenness, speed, excitement, stimulation, restlessness, experiment, brilliance, originality, individualism, and so forth ”have no plausible counterparts in the myth of Ouranos. The important exception among the qualities and themes attributed to Uranus is the concern with the cosmic and celestial, with space and space travel, and with astronomy and astrology, all of which well fit Ouranos's nature as the god of the starry sky. Aside from this crucial parallel, however, unlike the planets known to the ancients, the planet Uranus does not closely correspond in its mythological name with the larger range of its observed astrological meanings. In most respects, the naming would appear to have arisen from the conventional logic of late eighteenth-century astronomers, not from the intuitive archetypal insight that is traditionally assumed to have played a role in the naming of the ancient planets.

Planets and Archetypes 9

Remarkably, however, all of the archetypal qualities associated with the new planet do fit another figure in Greek mythology with extraordinary precision: Prometheus, the Titan who rebelled against the gods, helped Zeus overthrow the tyrannical Kronos, then tricked the new sovereign authority Zeus, and stole fire from Mount Olympus to liberate humanity from the gods' power. Prometheus was considered the wisest of his race and taught humankind all the arts and sciences. Every major theme and quality astrologers associate with the planet Uranus seems to be reflected in the myth of Prometheus with a somewhat uncanny poetic exactitude: the initiation of radical change, the passion for freedom, the defiance of authority, the act of cosmic rebellion against a universal structure to free humanity of bondage, the urge to transcend limitation, the intellectual brilliance and genius, the element of excitement and risk. So also Prometheus's style in outwitting the gods, when he used subtle stratagems and unexpected timing to upset the established order. He too was regarded as the trickster in the cosmic scheme. The resonant symbol of Prometheus's fire conveys at once a rich cluster of meanings ”the creative spark, cultural and technological breakthrough, brilliance and innovation, the enhancement of human autonomy, sudden inspiration from above, the liberating gift from the heavens, the solar fire and light, lightning and electricity in their many senses both literal and metaphoric, the sudden catalyst of the new, speed and instantaneousness, incandescence, sudden enlightenment, intellectual and spiritual awakening ”all of which astrologers consider to be connected with the planet Uranus.

Interestingly, the major theme of the astrological Uranus that was clearly relevant to the mythological Ouranos ”the association with the heavens, the cosmic, the astronomical and astrological, the starry sky ”can also be recognized as essential to the Promethean myth, visible in Prometheus's role as teacher of astronomy and science to humankind, his quest to steal the fire from the heavens, and his concern with foresight, prediction, and esoteric understanding. The same theme is evident in the essential Promethean impulse to defy limitations, to defy the weight and slowness of gravity, to ascend and liberate from all constraints, and, more generally, to move humankind into a fundamentally different cosmic position in relationship to the gods.

The extant astrological literature does not reveal the precise basis originally used to determine Uranus's astrological meaning in the course of the nineteenth century, when astrologers were relatively few and texts rare. The earliest texts from the beginning of the twentieth century imply that consensus on the basic themes and qualities had already been achieved for some time. It is possible that the unique (and, indeed, Promethean) character of the planet's discovery itself had suggested the nature of the principle involved ”the sudden breakthrough from the heavens, the unexpected and unprecedented nature of the event, the crucial involvement of a technological invention (telescope), the radical disruption of astronomical and astrological tradition, the overthrow of past limits and structures. However, the earliest astrological texts I could find that discussed Uranus referred only to the character traits of persons with Uranus prominently placed at birth, implying that the study of natal charts had served as the principal basis for Uranus's definition.

More recent astrological sources suggested that the historical period of the planet's discovery in the late eighteenth century was relevant to its archetypal meaning ”using the reasoning that the discovery of the physical planet in some sense represented an emergence of the planet's corresponding archetype into the conscious awareness of the collective psyche. In this regard the parallels with Uranus's astrological meaning were certainly clear: The planet's discovery in 1781 occurred at the culmination of the Enlightenment, in the extraordinary era that brought forth the American and French Revolutions, the Industrial Revolution, and the age of Romanticism. In all these coinciding historical phenomena, the figure of Prometheus is of course readily evident as well: the championing of human freedom and individual self-determination, the challenge to traditional beliefs and customs, the revolt against royalty and aristocracy, against established religion, social privilege and political oppression; the Declarations of Independence and the Rights of Man, liberty and egality ; the beginnings of feminism, the widespread interest in radical ideas, the rapidity of change, the embrace of novelty, the celebration of human progress, the many inventions and technological advances, the revolutions in art and literature, the exaltation of the free human imagination and creative will, the plethora of geniuses and culture heroes. Here too were the Romantic poets with their great paeans to Prometheus himself. If the age of Uranus's discovery were to be given an archetypal characterization, none seemed more appropriate than Prometheus Unbound.

I have taken more time here in explicating the case of Uranus in the midst of these otherwise brief initial summaries of the planetary meanings, as it was my early study of this planet and the significant discrepancies between its given mythological name and its subsequently observed archetypal associations that set in motion many of the conceptual clarifications and research directions that form the background of the present book.8 The parallels with the mythic figure of Prometheus were sufficiently suggestive that I began a systematic examination of Uranus in natal charts, in transits, and in historical cycles, to see whether such an archetypal identification or association deepened my understanding of the relevant phenomena. The parallels also suggested to me the importance of carefully thinking through the relationship between planets and archetypes, between the given mythological names and the observed astrological meanings, and, more generally, between the empirical evidence of synchronistic correlations and an archetypal dimension of being to which the correlations appeared to point.

Planets and Archetypes 10

Neptune: On the basis of unexplained aberrations in the observed orbit of Uranus, two astronomers, John Couch Adams and Urbain Leverrier, independently posited the existence and position of a planet beyond Uranus whose gravitational influence was pulling Uranus out of its calculated orbit. The new planet was discovered in the predicted position by Johann Galle in 1846 and named Neptune, after the god of the sea. In the ensuing decades, astrologers again gradually arrived at a surprisingly universal consensus concerning the principal qualities and themes observed to coincide with the new planet's position in natal charts and transits.

Neptune is associated with the transcendent, spiritual, ideal, symbolic, and imaginative dimensions of life; with the subtle, formless, intangible, and invisible; with the unitive, timeless, immaterial, and infinite; with all that which transcends the limited literal temporal and material world of concretely empirical reality ”myth and religion, art and inspiration, ideals and aspirations, dreams and visions, mysticism, religious devotion, universal compassion. It is associated with the impulse to surrender separative existence and egoic control, to dissolve boundaries and structures in favor of underlying unities and undifferentiated wholes, merging that which was separate, healing and wholeness; the dissolution of ego boundaries and reality structures, states of psychological fusion and intimations of intrauterine existence, melted ecstasy, mystical union as well as primary narcissism; with tendencies towards illusion and delusion, deception and self-deception, escapism, intoxication, psychosis, perceptual and cognitive distortions, conflation and confusion, projection, fantasy; with the bedazzlement of consciousness whether by gods, archetypal complexes, or ideologies; with enchantment, in both positive and negative senses.

The archetypal principle linked to Neptune governs all non-ordinary states of consciousness, as well as the stream of consciousness and the oceanic depths of the unconscious. Characteristic metaphors for its domain include the infinite sea of the imagination, the mystical ocean of divine consciousness, the waters of purity and healing, and the archetypal wellspring of life. It is, in a sense, the archetype of the archetypal dimension itself, the anima mundi , the Gnostic pleroma, the Platonic realm of transcendent Ideas, the domain of the gods, the Immortals. In mythic terms, it is associated with the all-encompassing womb of the Goddess, and with all deities of mystical union, universal love, and transcendent beauty; the mystical Christ, the all-compassionate Buddha, the Atman-Brahman union, the union of Shiva and Shakti, the hieros gamos or sacred marriage; the dreaming Vishnu, maya and lila , the self-reflecting Narcissus, the divine absorbed in its own reflection; Orpheus, god of artistic inspiration, the Muses; the cosmic Sophia.

Considered as a whole, these themes, qualities, and figures suggest that the name Neptune is both apt and inadequate in denoting a mythological figure embodying the planet's corresponding archetypal principle. On the one hand, central to the observed characteristics is an underlying symbolic association with water, the sea, the ocean, streams and rivers, mists and fogs, liquidity and dissolution, the amniotic and prenatal, the permeable and undifferentiated. In this regard, one thinks of the many oceanic and watery metaphors used to describe mystical experience, the primordial participation mystique of undifferentiated awareness, the fetal and infantile state of primary fusion, the realms of the imagination, the fluid nature of psychic life generally: the stream of consciousness, the influx of inspiration, the all-encompassing divine ocean of consciousness of which our individual selves are but temporarily separate drops, the mists of prehistory, the fog of confusion, drowning in the treacherous deep waters of the unconscious psyche, slipping into madness or addiction, surrendering to the flow of experience, dissolving into the divine union, melted ecstasy, and so forth. One thinks here, too, of Freud's reference to the oceanic feeling : a sensation of ˜eternity,' a feeling as of something limitless, unbounded ”as it were, ˜oceanic'. . . . it is the feeling of an indissoluble bond, of being one with the external world as a whole. Equally relevant is William James' image of a transcendental mother-sea of consciousness with which the individual consciousness is continuous, and of which the brain essentially serves as a sieve or filtering conduit.9

On the other hand, in virtually all other respects the original mythological character of the Roman Neptune and Greek Poseidon ”tempestuous, violent, earthshaking, belligerent, often ill-tempered and vengeful (thus resembling most of the other Greco-Roman patriarchal warrior gods) ”is deeply incongruent with the complex set of qualities and themes that have been consistently observed in connection with the planet Neptune, and that are more accurately reflected in the mystically unitive deities and archetypal figures cited above. Nevertheless, as with Uranus's mythological association with the starry heavens and air, so also with Neptune's association with the sea and water: the name given to the new planet does seem to possess a certain poetic accuracy in terms of the mythological location and element associated with it, perhaps a reflection of synchronistic factors playing a role in the astronomers' intuition and choice of names.

Planets and Archetypes 11

Pluto: On the basis of discrepancies observed in the orbit of Neptune as well as aberrations still remaining in the orbit of Uranus, the existence of a further planet was posited by the astronomer Percival Lowell, leading to its discovery in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh. Further extensive observations with increasingly advanced technologies have uncovered no further planets within our solar system. After much consideration among many alternatives, the new planet was named Pluto, god of the underworld. Observations of potential correlations with Pluto by astrologers in the subsequent decades suggested that the qualities associated with the new planet in fact bore a striking relevance to the mythic character of Pluto, the Greek Hades, as well as to the figure of Dionysus, with whom Hades-Pluto was closely associated by the Greeks.10 Closely analogous to Freud's concept of the primordial Id, the broiling cauldron of the instincts, and to Darwin's understanding of nature and the biological struggle for existence, the archetype associated with the planet Pluto is also closely linked to Nietzsche's Dionysian principle and the will to power, as well as to Schopenhauer's blind striving Will ”all embodying the powerful forces of nature and emerging from nature's chthonic depths, the intense, fiery elemental underworld. Again, as with both Uranus and Neptune, so also in Pluto's case the mythological domain and element associated with the new planet's given name appear to be poetically accurate, but here the overall archetypal parallels between the mythic figure and the observed qualities are considerably more extensive.

Beyond these ancient Greco-Roman figures (Pluto, Hades, Dionysus) and cognate modern European concepts (Freudian Id, Darwinian nature, Schopenhauerian Will, Nietzschean will to power and Dionysian impulse), the archetype associated with the planet Pluto also encompasses a number of major deities outside the Western context such as Shiva, god of destruction and creation, as well as Kali and Shakti, goddesses of erotic power and elemental transformation, destruction and regeneration, death and rebirth.

To summarize the consensus of contemporary astrologers: Pluto is associated with the principle of elemental power, depth, and intensity; with that which compels, empowers, and intensifies whatever it touches, sometimes to overwhelming and catastrophic extremes; with the primordial instincts, libidinal and aggressive, destructive and regenerative, volcanic and cathartic, eliminative, transformative, ever-evolving; with the biological processes of birth, sex, and death, the cycle of death and rebirth; with upheaval, breakdown, and decay, violent, purgatorial discharge of pent-up energies, purifying fire; situations of life-and-death extremes, power struggles, all that is titanic, potent, and massive; with the underworld in all senses ”elemental, geological, instinctual, political, social, sexual, urban, criminal, mythological, demonic ”the dark, mysterious, taboo, and often terrifying reality that lurks beneath the surface of things, beneath the ego, societal conventions, and the veneer of civilization, beneath the surface of the Earth, that is periodically unleashed with destructive and transformative force; that which impels, burns, consumes, transfigures, resurrects; the Serpent power, kundalini; the Greek Hades and Dionysus; the Indian deities of destruction and regeneration, death and rebirth, Shiva, Kali, Shakti.

As we will see in the coming chapters, much of the evidence we will be examining, both biographical and historical, concerns correlations involving the three outermost planets. The archetypal principles associated with Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto seem to be particularly relevant for illuminating the deeper transpersonal and collective patterns of historical, cultural, and psychological phenomena.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Planets and Archetypes 12

Notes for Planets and Archetypes:

2. I have examined these several stages in the evolution of the archetypal perspective in the history of Western thought at greater length in The Passion of the Western Mind . For the Platonic doctrine of archetypal Forms and its complex relationship to Greek myth, see pp. 4-32. For Aristotle's contrasting view of universals, see pp. 55-72. For later classical developments, see pp. 81-87. For Christian, medieval, and Renaissance developments, see pp. 106-111, 165-170, 179-191, 200-221.

3. Cf. Aby Warburg's description of astrology as uniquely the meeting and confrontation point between the demands of a rational order, as in Greek science, and the myths and superstitions inherited from the East: between logic and magic, between mathematics and mythology, between Athens and Alexandria (Eugenio Garin, Astrology in the Renaissance , trans. C. Jackson and J. Allen, rev. C. Robertson [London: Arkana, 1983], p. xi). Aside from the historically inaccurate suggestion that myths were not fundamental to the ancient Greek sensibility, and the related assumption of Alexandrian or Eastern irrationalism, the description otherwise aptly renders the dialectical synthesis that brought forth the Western astrological tradition in the Hellenistic era.

4. An additional difference between Platonic and Jungian archetypes has been emphasized by classical Jungians (e.g., Edward Edinger, Marie-Louise von Franz), who regard Platonic principles as inert patterns, as compared with Jungian archetypes which are seen as dynamic agencies in the psyche, independent and autonomous. The problem with this simple distinction is that Plato's archetypal principles are of widely varying kinds, shifting in nature from dialogue to dialogue. While some are indeed inert patterns (e.g., the mathematical forms), others possess a spiritual dynamism whose epiphanic power transforms the philosopher's being and whose ontological power moves the cosmos (the Good, the Beautiful). Similarly, Plato's discussion of Eros in The Symposium suggests a psychological dynamism not unlike what one would find in a Jungian context (and, in this case, Freudian as well). There is more continuity between Plato's Forms and the ancient gods than the inert-pattern characterization would indicate.

The dynamism of universal forms becomes fully explicit in Aristotle, but at the expense of their numinosity and transcendence. In effect, Jung draws on different aspects of the Platonic and Aristotelian conceptions, integrating these in turn with Freudian-Darwinian instincts and Kantian categories. Jung does not, however, always keep these differing and overlapping aspects of archetypes in view or sufficiently distinguished, which has produced confusion and controversy in many discussions of Jungian archetypes in recent decades, as discussed in the next note.

5. When Jung made statements such as . . . in the symbol the world itself is speaking, or Synchronicity postulates a meaning which is a priori in relation to human consciousness and apparently exists outside man, it is clear that he had transcended the Kantian epistemological framework with its decisive division between subjectively structured phenomena and unknowable noumena (things-in-themselves beyond the reach of human subjectivity). Archetypes whose meaning could be said to exist outside man, informing both the human psyche and the world itself, were clearly not bound by the Kantian structure of knowledge and reality.

Yet in his own mind, as reflected in many statements both public and private, Jung loyally upheld the Kantian framework throughout his life, and never ceased insisting on its essential relevance and validity for his findings. The paradoxes, contradictions, and confusions of the Jung-Kant relationship deeply affected important dialogues in which Jung participated in the course of his life, and have riddled Jung scholarship for decades. (See, for example, Stephanie de Voogd, C. G. Jung: Psychologist of the Future, ˜Philosopher' of the Past, Spring 1977: An Annual of Archetypal Psychology and Jungian Thought, pp. 175-182; Barbara Eckman, Jung, Hegel, and the Subjective Universe, Spring 1986: An Annual of Archetypal Psychology and Jungian Thought , pp. 88-99; as well as many contributions from Wolfgang Giegerich.)

Certainly Jung's continuing loyalty to Kant was biographically understandable, given not only the enduring effect of reading Kant and Schopenhauer (his entrance to Kant) in his youth, but also the cultural and intellectual context within which he worked throughout his life. From the beginning of Jung's career, Kant's thought provided Jung with crucial philosophical protection vis-a-vis conventional scientific critiques of his findings. Jung could always defend his controversial discussions of spiritual phenomena and religious experience by saying that these were empirical data revealing the structure of the human mind, with no necessary metaphysical implications. But as many commentators have noted, not only did Jung often make statements with vivid metaphysical implications and assumptions, but in addition the Kantian framework became less and less capable of assimilating the discoveries and theoretical advances of Jung's later work, particularly in the area of synchronicity and what he now called the psychoid (psyche-like) archetype that is seen as informing both psyche and matter, challenging the absoluteness of the modern subject-object dichotomy. As a result, his statements concerning these epistemological and metaphysical issues became increasingly ambiguous and self-contradictory. (See, for example, Sean Kelly's insightful discussion from the Hegelian perspective in Individuation and the Absolute [New York: Paulist Press, 1993], pp. 15-37.)
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