Friday, February 19, 2010

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.


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