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The Planets
and their Symbols
by Dane Rudhyar

First Published in
Everywoman's Astrology

Venus and Mars

Venus and Mars are the planets closest to the earth; they refer to what is most personal and primordial in the make-up and the behavior of a human being, to the most intimate factors in the life of an individual.
      Venus moves inside of the earth's orbit, Mars outside of it; and this fact alone tells what meaning they have in astrology. Indeed the basic meanings attributed to each of the planets in our solar system is neither a matter of chance nor the result of millennial observations by astrologers and empirical tests; these meanings are deduced essentially from the place the planets occupy in the solar system and in relation to the earth.
      Thus, because Mars is the first planet outside the earth's orbit, it represents fundamentally outgoing activity and the organic and psychological instrumentalities which make such an activity possible (for instance, at the physical level, a man's muscles, his adrenal glands releasing quick energy for action).
      In contrast to Mars, Venus the first planet inside the earth's orbit refers to man's ability to bring into the field of his consciousness and inner life the results of his experiences, and thus to pass a feeling judgment pleasurable or painful, elating or depressing, good or bad upon these experiences which Mars made possible.
The symbolic characters traditionally used to represent Mars and Venus can best be understood if we relate them to the one for our planet, Earth. In many medieval paintings we find God (or even the emperor, as a divine ruler), holding in his hand a globe surmounted by a cross. This is the earth, as the home of Man, whom God created in His image and likeness.
      According to a persistent and widespread occult tradition, the planet Venus is the spiritual twin of the earth. It was from Venus that some eleven millions years ago a host of spiritual beings came upon our planet to give to animal-like human beings the divine "seed" of self-conscious intelligence and moral responsibility. The Greek myth of Prometheus is an abridged version of the same event.
      It is also said that wheat, perhaps corn and bees (and probably ants also, as everything has its shadow aspect) were brought along in some manner from Venus. Even the Hebrew Bible has its version of this "descent" upon the earth of quasi-divine beings when it speaks (Genesis 5) of the coming of the Sons of God who took as wives the daughters of men.
      Whether this be fact or myth (but what is the source of myth?) the astrological (and astronomical) sign for the earth is that of Venus inverted and we should remember the old saying that "the Devil is God inverted." Here on earth the cross dominates the circle or globe; on Venus it is the circle which stands over the cross. What does this mean?
When one looks through a small telescope or gunsight often a cross made of two fine threads (the web spun by the black widow spider-makes the best) helps us to focus our observations or aim This most ancient symbol, the even-armed cross, is not only a Christian image its meaning reaches into the very depth of existence, and especially of human existence, for man is that being in whom all powers and faculties can reach a clear and sharp focus. The value of our modern science and its rigorous type of logical thinking is that it is a discipline of thought which makes possible the most precise focusing of our attention our discrimination and, in general, our mental faculties.
      This indeed is the function of earth life and of incarnated man to be precise, accurate and sharply discriminative in conditions in which an either-or judgment (an intellectual-rational or a moral yes-or-no judgment) is imperative. But man can go too far and perhaps has gone too far along this road leading to the sharpest possible focusing of his mind and energies, and our modern scientific civilization, based on the "specialist," may yet prove how disastrous this "too far" can be.
      Venus, on other hand, refers to a realm of existence in which a whole view of life dominates the opposite earth trend toward the sharply focused analysis of a multitude of details. The circle is a symbol of wholeness, of infinite possibility. The Venus symbol tells us that in that Venus realm "with God everything is possible," because the consciousness of the whole is ever present.
      The Divine is also ever present. Yet it is present in close association with the "human" (i.e. the cross). It is a consciousness of wholeness emerging from the many crosses of existence. You start with the cross, the crisis, the tragedy, then you rise to the total vision, the conscious fulfillment or plenitude of being.
      On earth man starts from an unconscious fullness, of which the Garden of Eden is the Biblical symbol, then he has to emerge from this Edenic childlike unconsciousness in which he passively reflects the Divine Image and the emergence occurs through crises, through conflicts, through "sin" (the "negative way" which leads man to light out of sheer horror in the realm of darkness).
      About the 6th century B.C. humanity experienced a rebirth in mind. A new mind began to operate, whether in the Asia of the Buddha or the Europe of Pythagoras and the Greek classical era. This was an -emergence from a more naive, earthbound consciousness of life energies and sex power. It led to the Cross on Gethsemane and to European rationalism. It is only now that the Venusian type of mind is beginning really to operate in humanity the sense of the whole, intuitive thinking, and the emergence of a global society.
In the astrological gylph for the planet Mars there is also a circle and if the figure is correctly drawn an arrow pointing up to outer space at a 45-degree angle above the horizontal. The 45-degree angle is very significant in that it marks a direction of maximum intensity in electromagnetic fields. The circle here represents the biopsychic field of man's personality, and when internal pressure builds up to an explosive point it is released in a "Martian" outgoing. What we have therefore in the Mars symbol is a picture of simple, spontaneous release of energy.
      One can relate it to the symbol for Sagittarius, but in this hieroglyph we see a release which stems not from a circle but actually from a cross, whose vertical arm has been bent by a dynamic urge to expansion. It is probable that the direction of the arrow is not at a 45 degree angle to the horizontal, but rather at a 60 degree angle which would make it coincide with the direction represented by the cusps of the Third and Ninth Houses of a birth-chart And the sign Sagittarius has much to do with the Ninth House of the horoscope.

Read Part Three
Jupiter and Saturn

By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill.
Copyright © 1966 by Dane Rudhyar.
All Rights Reserved.

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