Tuesday, September 6, 2011
The Heavenly Bodies As Representatives
THE HEAVENLY BODIES
This system, which teaches the seven primal principles and studies their effects on the different levels of reality, is called astrology. In astrology, when we speak of Saturn we really mean the primal principle that Saturn stands for. Only in purely practical work does the astrologer resort to observing the actual planet in the sky. Astrology is about primal principles, not about stars and planets. The planets are a practical vocabulary, though not the only possible way of expressing the principles. Someone who knows astrology very well will find that in time he hardly needs the planetary level any longer, since he will have learnt to recognize the principles on all levels.
At this point we should dispose of some of the most common misconceptions about astrology. Opponents of astrology deny that the heavenly bodies can have a concrete influence on mankind. By now it will be clear to the reader that this objection is not pertinent to astrology which does not, in fact, assume a direct influence on human beings. But confusion has arisen from the fact that there are still astrologers who believe in an influence of this kind. Some of then even consider themselves particularly progressive and scientific and are fond of quoting discoveries and correlations between planetary movements, sunspots and so forth on the one hand and the electromagnetic fields of living cells on the other. Nobody doubts this correlation, but a correlation is not the same as an influence. These facts only confirm how, as we saw earlier, the same principles operate analogically on different planes. It is easy to correlate things but that does not prove a causal connection.
So let us not talk any longer about astrology being the study of celestial influences on our lives. Many astrologers cast horoscopes for the founding of states, the signing of contracts, the laying of foundation stones and so on. In such cases what is the use of clever talk about electro-magnetic influences on our cells? Much of an astrologer's work deals with theoretical planetary positions which cannot be traced in the sky at the times when they come into effect (transits, progressions, solar return and so on). Let us sum up as follows:
1 Astrology deals with archetypal principles which on the plane of ideas represent the primal constituents from which reality, in all its manifestations, is formed.
2 These primal principles run vertically through all planes of manifestation. Thus chains of analogy are formed, whose individual components belong to different levels but are linked by a common principle.
3 An observation on one plane can, with the help of analogy, be transformed to any other plane. The plane of reference for astrology is the sky.
4 The primal principles in astrology are called Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The planets bearing these names are merely representatives of these principles.
In more recent times astrologers have worked with three further principles, namely: Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.
5 There are no causal connections between the heavenly bodies and the various levels of reality.
6 The planets are a scale on which we measure reality with relative exactitude. But they do not influence reality any more than mercury in a thermometer produces a temperature.
7 Astrological thinking is vertical, according to the esoteric axiom: as above, so below.
This verticality is typical of all esoteric systems and is the main reason why esoteric thinking appears so nonsensical to outsiders. Outside esotericism there is only horizontal thinking. Yet with the help of our vertical chains of analogy many otherwise incomprehensible connections suddenly become clear. Here are a few examples:
It is a favourite habit of our interior designers to deck living-rooms in black and chrome, as one can see by looking through a few magazines devoted to home decoration. Without exception all rooms decorated in this way will feature a parlour palm. Naturally this is attributed to the unerring stylistic flair of the interior designers. In fact, they are unconsciously following the Saturnian chain of symbols. A black room embodies the principle of Saturn, and only a plant which also represents this principle is felt to be suitable for such a room.
Let us take an example from everyday speech which might be more readily grasped. We use the expression “wise old owl”. Unless we know the chain of analogies, this idiom is difficult to explain, but for someone versed in astrology the connection is obvious. On the animal plane the owl represents the Jupiterian principle, which is also strongly associated with the quality of wisdom, because Jupiter is, among other things, the planet of study and philosophy.
As another Jupiterian example, let us take the expression “touch wood”, which we say to ensure the good outcome of an expectation. Wood, as a material, belongs to the Jupiterian principle. Hence, by touching wood, we invoke Jupiter, which is also the planet of good fortune.
As a final example consider the expression “as cunning as a fox”. The fox is part of the symbolic chain of Mercury, the planet of cleverness, adroitness and quickness of wit.
These simple examples will, for the time being, suffice to suggest to the reader the value of a vertical way of thinking. Later, when I come to the subject of astrological therapy, I shall deal with the practical uses of our matrix.