Planetary Cycles - 1
The Ten-Thousand Year Period
If as students of astrology we attempt to discover the basic rhythm structuring the periodical transformations of human societies and civilizations, which in turn reflect as well as concretize fundamental changes in the consciousness of the vanguard of mankind, we have to look for such a rhythm first of all in the periodical motions of the slower and most distant planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. These planets have been related in the preceding chapter to the crucial transformation of human living conditions and social-cultural values during the last centuries. We are today, it seems evident, reaching toward the last phase of this at least tentative mutation in Man's consciousness, and the three trans-Saturnian planets have become integral parts of the collective mind of humanity, each during the century whose overall character was most like the planet's own character as a potent and verifiable symbol of processes of transformation.
This evidently did not mean, I repeat, that the planets were not dynamic factors in this great field of cosmic activity, the solar system, before man knew publicly of their presence and their potential of symbolic and effective meaning. They were present in the sub-conscious background of human consciousness, and the cycles defined and structured by their revolutions around the Sun were operative factors in the evolution of mankind and of civilization. These cycles, as we saw, display a remarkable relationship, as Pluto's mean period of revolution (245.33 years) is about three times that of Uranus' period (83.75 years) which is very near the half of Neptune's period (163.74 years).(1
These periods are not exactly
in a 1. 2. 3 relationship but the very interesting and no doubt most significant fact is that we do not find in the universe or in the earth's biosphere any relationship between life-periods or cycles which produces exact numbers. The same thing is true of the shapes of living organisms and presumably of celestial systems; for while we can definitely speak of spiral forms in growth processes, of the geometrical patterns of leaves, etc., these shapes are probably never exactly perfect in a geometrical sense. The geometrical forms abstracted by man's rational mind are "archetypes" of living or cosmic processes; they are ideal Images. In the actual world of existence forms and cycles only approximate these archetypes, because in this existential world the infinite multiplicity of relationships between all existents introduces unceasingly slight variations and modifications.
This is why ancient philosophers spoke of a "World of Formation" as it were behind or above our world of earthly existence — the world of perfect archetypes, which was seen also to be the expression of the Mind of God, the Great Architect of the Universe. In terms of our actual existential experience no cycle is exactly twice the length of another; and we have the same thing in musical theory. Twelve intervals of fifths (a 3 to 2 relationship) cover a little more than seven octaves (a 2 to 1 relationship) — and this "more" is known as the Pythagorean comma. It is by taking out a twelfth part of this very small comma interval from every one of the twelve fifths that we have the exactly even intervals of half-tones in the modern type of "equal temperament."
This musical example has a great deal of relevance to our present discussion, for twelve revolutions of Uranus around the sun add up to a little over 1000 years; and this 1000 year cycle — and also the nearly 500-year cycle established by the successive conjunctions of Neptune and Pluto, of which more presently — constitute basic time measures, according to old occult traditions. Four periods of Pluto last presumably about 981 1/2 years, and six periods of Neptune 982.44 years. I say "presumably" for it may be naive to think that we know the exact lengths of these periods over a long span of years, and changes in the pattern of the solar system certainly should not be ruled out, as all planetary orbits have a remarkable way of being affected by the vast complexity of gravitational influences, and perhaps by other evenmore powerful factors.
These are periods in the tropical
zodiac which is used as the basis of calculations and interpretations in this book. The periods are naturally a little shorter than the ones in the sidereal
zodiac which, for some unknown reason are given in the current astrological ephemerides, though the latter use positions in the tropical zodiac. (The figures given here were obtained from Charles Jayne, of his articles in N. de Vore Encyclopedia of Astrology
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