THE PLANETS :
SEEN FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF
In books on astrology, we are often given long lists of information about the planets. Although there is some truth in this information, it is often too superficial. Many writers are unaware that they are indicating only the expression of a planet, its form of manifestation, and that they are in no way revealing the essential urge, or direction of energy, that the planet symbolises. For example, the planet Venus is said to rule love and also to give an appreciation of the arts and beauty. But why is this so? Why does an individual with Venus strong in his natal chart enjoy music or attractive clothes?
In her book RELATING, Liz Greene approaches astrology from the standpoint of Jungian psychology, and writes with a rare depth of perception. The two sciences, astrology and psychology, are concerned with the study of the soul. "Psyche" is a Greek word meaning "soul", and "logos" means "wisdom". By uniting astrology and psychology. we have a powerful tool for exploring the human psyche.
In order to understand Liz Greene's view of the planets, it is necessary to understand the words "ego", "unconscious" and "collective unconscious".
THE EGO AND THE UNCONSCIOUS
For most of us, the ego is all we know of ourselves. To each person the world appears different, because it is coloured by the particular viewpoint of the ego. Everything that we do not express in conscious form, ie. through the ego, is contained within the unconscious, in a nascent and inchoate form. We need our ego to survive, because our ego differentiates. it structures and orders our perceptions, and deals with only one possibility at a time. In myths and fairy tales, the unconscious is often symbolised by the sea, and the hero's journey into the depths is the ego's journey to the depths of the psyche. Only by making such a journey within ourselves can we become whole.
This is the unconscious which extends above and below human bounds, and is the repository of immense creative energy which extends to the unknown. It is possibly what was known to the ancients as the gods, or God.
The birth map does not plot the fate of an individual
in a predestined way. Rather, it symbolises the basic
lines of his character's potential development.
"It is a road map in the truest sense, for the object
of studying it is not to "overcome" the "influences"
of the planets, but rather to allow room in one's life
to express all those qualities and drives of which the
chart is a symbol." The birth chart is the particular
quest of the individual Hero.
The Self or Soul is not mapped out on the birth chart. It is symbolised by the entire Zodiac. Nor does the birth chart show whether an individual has begun to strive for wholeness.
The Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars symbolises urges which are ego-oriented and are readily available to consciousness.
The Sun is the heart of the solar system, and the most important symbol in the birth chart. It symbolises the individual's urge to become himself. It is the urge for self-awareness and wholeness. The Sun sign in a birth chart is not a set of pre-existent and crystallized behaviour patterns, but rather it indicates those qualities which the individual can potentially make conscious. In fact, it is his task to make these qualities conscious through the channel of his unique individuality. For example, the Sun in Aries does not make a man headstrong and impulsive, "but it suggests that he needs to cultivate a sense of the vitality of life, an ability to assert himself in the outside world, a capacity to initiate change and meet challenges creatively, if he is to become whole."
The Sun is a positive or masculine "planet" because it is associated with that side of life which concerns will, consciousness, decision, and impact on the environment in other words, an active principle. It is more "accessible" to men than to women, because it reflects an easier impulse for a man to make conscious.
The Moon symbolises the urge towards unconsciousness, the past, and immersion in the flow of feeling of the mass currents of life, without the struggle required for self-consciousness. The Moon is a symbol of the mother, both personal and archetypal, and the womb. It is the urge to satisfy emotional needs through relationship and the merging of identity. It symbolises the instinctual or nonrational nature.
The Moon also suggests, by its placement in the birth chart, "that sphere of life wherein the individual seeks a symbolic sleep, an unconsciousness, an escape or refuge" - where his needs will dominate rather than his will.
In general, the Sun is a symbol of consciousness and the Moon of the unconscious in a man's horoscope; and in a woman's the Moon symbolises consciousness and the Sun the unconscious. The Sun and Moon are two halves of the same unity. It is their harmonious integration which is the true sacred marriage, the inner union. In fairy tales, it is symbolised by the hero and his beloved living happily ever after.
Mercury is not merely a symbol of the intellect, but rather symbolises "the way we perceive and order our perceptions so that they can be comprehended and communicated." He is primarily the symbol of the urge to become aware, to understand and integrate unconscious intuition or five senses. Mercury in Cancer in a birth chart suggests a person who perceives through the unconscious and evaluates his perceptions through feeling.
Mercury is the planet closest to the Sun, and is the Sun's messenger. The Sun is the symbol of essence, and Mercury is the symbol of that function which enables us to know essence.
Venus and Mars are another way of expressing Sun and Moon. "Venus is the urge to relate, harmonise and adjust in the sphere of personal relationships." "Mars is the urge toward conquest, separating and asserting self over others to fulfil desire." Mars desires. Venus is the urge to be desired.
The Moon is the mother, Venus is the archetype of the lover: these are the two faces of woman. The Sun is the father, Mars is the conqueror: these are the two faces of man.
The urge symbolised by Venus is expressed in the way a person adorns himself, his personal taste, his response to beauty, his social values, his values in relationships and what he seeks in the ideal partnership.
The urge symbolised by Mars is expressed in the way a person goes about getting what he wants, the quality or mode of his desire, the manner in which he chases it, and the expression of his passions.
For men, Mars is a more accessible energy, and for women. Venus is more accessible. If a man has Venus in Aquarius, he will often seek Aquarian qualities in a woman as his ideal lover. A woman with Mars in Capricorn will seek Capricornian qualities in her lover.
THE PLANETS AT THE GATEWAY OF PERSONAL AND TRANSPERSONAL WORLDS
Jupiter and Saturn are the guardians at the gate of the personal world. They symbolise the urge to transcend the limited confines of the ego. Jupiter, a god of the heavens in mythology, is connected with the "upper" regions of the intuitive mind, while Saturn a god of the Earth, is connected with the "lower" regions of the personal unconscious, the dark side of human nature. Jupiter is a masculine urge, and Saturn is feminine.
Jupiter is concerned with the religious urge in man, the urge to experience the divine and create this experience through symbols. The sign in which Jupiter is placed in an individual's birth chart suggests the way in which he seeks this experience of meaning in life.
Saturn urges us to identify more and more with our limitations and our subjective interpretations of life, so that we eventually isolate ourselves so much that we are in a hell of dissociation from the deepest underlying currents of life. Through our pain, we become aware of that which is greater than the ego. In this way, Saturn is the great teacher.
THE OUTER OR TRANSPERSONAL PLANETS
Neptune, Uranus and Pluto are in the realm of the collective unconscious. The urges which these planets symbolise are rarely available to the consciousness of the individual.
Uranus and Neptune form another male-female dyad. Uranus is the masculine pole and Neptune the feminine.
Uranus is the Awakener, "the urge to break free from identification with material reality and to experience the world of the arcehtypal mind." One may experience Uranus in the urge to change one's understanding of oneself, one's work, one's beliefs or one's relationships.
Neptune is a water deity, and although he is a male figure in mythology, the energy he personifies is feminine. "Neptune is a symbol of the sea of collective feeling which moves us from below to immerse ourselves in the mass, offering up our hard-won and precarious individuality so that we may purify ourselves through dissolution." We can see this energy operating in a low level in any mob, motivated by a single emotional focus. In its highest form, the symbol of Neptune is the urge for purification, the experience of cleansing through immersion in the sea of the collective unconscious a truly religious experience.
Neptune and Uranus are usually unconscious in the majority of individuals and are experienced as powerful events which seem to be caused by the external hand of fate. However, such events are attracted inevitably by the Nepturian and Uranian forces within the psyche.
Pluto in mythology was Lord of the Underworld, ruling the dead and the riches of the earth. "The Symbol of Pluto is concerned with the archetypal experience of beginnings and endings, death and rebirth." But death is only an illusion, for the cycle of perpetual change and renewal is endless. we experience Pluto in the sphere of relationships - in emotional deaths and the feeling of loss, and rebirth in new relationships. Pluto is also connected with sexuality - in that the sexual act symbolises the death of separateness in union. The procreation of a child causes a Plutonian change in the psyche - from being a child, one has now become a parent. One phase has died and another is born.
Pluto also rules the death of the physical body.
The planets are symbols of the powers of the unconscious. "They symbolise archetypal experiences or energies which exist in all of life and exist also within man, who is part of life." once we have learned to understand the energies they symbolise, we can seek to understand their meanings when placed in particular signs of the zodiac, in an individual's birth chart.
RELATING - An Astrological Guide to Living with Others on a Small Planet, by Liz Greene. A.H. & A.W. Reed Ltd. New Zealand & Australia, /Samuel Weiser New York, 1978.
"Man is bound to the wheel of fate until consciousness of his God-given choice dawns upon him. Then he glimpses the paradoxical nature of the force that has both bound him and given him power to break the bonds "if" he will choose the pain entailed in the struggle and accept the perils of freedom to be encountered on the spiral way that sweeps upward from the broken wheel".
- Frances Wickes
This segment is to be a regular quarterly feature. It is sincerely hoped that it will not only provide answers to questions but more, serve as an active means of communication between students at all levels.
Feedback has been missing up to now. We want your questions, comments, criticisms, etc., not only in regard to astrology, QBL, and laboratory alchemy, but also in regard to the PRS and your journal, Parachemica. Senior students have volunteered to answer questions and it is quite likely that the question in your mind is the same as the one in the mind of more than another. So support your journal, your editor and your fellow students and let's have more feedback.
Q: I read in an old alchemical lab. bulletin (Vol.II, No. 2, 1970) where Salt of Melissa fused in a furnace showed yellow. When I tried this I could not even fuse the salt at all. How come?
A: If you used the Salt of Melissa that became the deadhead thereof or used its leached out salt, then it would not fuse.
If you take the entire plant and calcine it and recover the salt therefrom, then it will fuse. The yellow indicates the presence of residual sulphur which can further separate out.
Q: I find that I am naturally inclined to study Astrology and The Qabalah, but it is very difficult for me to even take the first step into Practical Laboratory Alchemy. What can I do about this?
A: This is a common problem among Alchemy students. It is worthwhile to study deeply the areas which interest you, but ultimately it is necessary to face that area which you find most difficult, because through it you will learn the most. The balance and integration of all three areas is essential to Alchemy.
Q: What can be done to get a higher degree of heat from an ordinary Fisher burner?
A: Use some ordinary asbestos cement transite pipe. Cut so that you can partly immerse your crucible in the cylinder and yet have it above the flame of the burner. Cut some air holes in the bottom for oxygen supply and leave enough of an opening on top so that the flame will not be extinguished for lack of oxygen.
Q: My oleum vitelli throws down considerable feces shortly after filtration. Repeated filtrations with slow papers still do not remedy this condition. When the oleum stands, sometimes for weeks and months, there is always a precipitate.
A: Take the smallest funnel you have. Insert some cottonwool to stopper the funnel outlet with just enough cotton on the bottom to keep the cotton from being pushed through the opening by the oil. it is slow filtering but will eliminate some of your problems.
Q: When angel water is distilled, is the spirit of tartar separated from the salt?