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The Planets
and their Symbols
by Dane Rudhyar

First Published in
Everywoman's Astrology

Uranus and Neptune

The most basic fact of existence is that any organized system or unit of existence is at the same time contained within a greater whole, and the container of smaller wholes. A living cell for instance, contains many molecules, but it is also only one among myriads other cells constituting a living organism.
      A human being, in turn, contains billions of cells, but he is only one living organism within the earth's total being which includes trillions of other organisms. Likewise what we call our Sun is only one of the billions of stars contained in the great spiral nebula which we know as the galaxy in turn rules over a system of planets.
      These planets fall into two categories: those within Saturn's orbit (Saturn included), and those outside of this orbit. The first group constitutes the solar system per se. Saturn, with its highly symbolic ring, is traditionally Lord of the Boundaries. Every living organism, or any well-organized system of activity (be it a business firm or a national state), must have concrete boundaries. Yet its influence, and indeed its total being, does not stop altogether at these boundaries. It extends into a relatively transcendent zone, which in the case of a human being we may call its "aura."
      The nature of such an aura is best understood if we see it as an expression of the state of relationship in which the living organism is related to the larger whole in the existence and the activities of which it participates. The aura is thus a zone of exchange; within it we find the complex radiations which the organism emanates and which constitute projection of its vibratory state of health, of feeling and mind. We find also what comes to the organism from his environment, whether it be to bring him what it requires for its subsistence and further growth, or take away, purify or transmute negative products and waste materials.
      It is to the "aura" of the solar system, considered as a strictly defined and self-sufficient cosmic entity, that Uranus, Neptune and Pluto belong. They represent three characteristic modes of interaction between this solar system and the greater whole in which it is operating, the galaxy. They are in the space field surrounding the solar system, but not of it. They do not belong to our system because they are the "agents of the galaxy." They are witnesses to and servants of this immense cosmic existence.
      As the solar system exists within the galactic space, the substance of the galaxy pervades the entire solar system, and as well every cell of our human bodies and every earthly molecule somewhat as sea water pervades every fish living therein, or as the air's oxygen pervades every human cell. But these "agents of the galaxy" have their headquarters outside of the specific Saturnian boundaries of our solar system.
      As far as man is concerned, their base of operation is outside of his skin-bounded physical organism. A man, I repeat, is in constant relationship with his social and planetary environment, for he is a participant (however insignificant his participation may be) in the total life of humanity and of the planet earth. I, as a person, act within humanity and the earth and humanity and the earth act, not only upon, but also within me. No one can escape from such an interaction as long as he breathes air, eats food and excretes waste materials. There are analogical processes in the realm of mind as well, for we inhale elements from the collective mentality of our people, and every thought of ours leaves us to make an impact upon the vast reservoir of the mind of humanity.
      Uranus, Neptune and Pluto represent the forces which bring humanity messages from the beyond. Not only messages, but powerful suggestions and perhaps commands. And by "the beyond" I do not mean anything miraculous or mystical but simply the vast realm of the galaxy.
      In multitude of ways, most of which may seem very strange and disturbing to "normal" citizens of an ego-centered technology worshipping society, the forces acting in humanity which Uranus, and Neptune represent compel us sharply or insidiously to become aware of facts, concepts and ideas which upset our tradition-based status quo. We have to be aware of these when we reach a point at which the manner of our participation in the activities of the greater whole of which we are parts is scheduled to change. The great clock of evolution sounds the "Move head!" and move ahead we must. Some do move ahead; others stumble in fright and drop away from the mainstream of life.
      Uranus rings the bell, or flashes the command. We may not hear or see it. We may think this is just one of those changes of scenery which give spice to our dull existence. We rush onward, head over heels, and become utterly confused or bewildered by peculiar circumstances, and even more perhaps by our unexpected reactions. We have never behaved or felt that way before, we think. But the ego-self that thinks thus does not realize, or does not want to realize, that what the Uranus-dictated situation demands is this ego's abdication or radical transformation.
      The ego of the present-day average man and indeed of most intellectual people constitutes a particular way of participating in the great drama of human evolution on this planet, indeed a particular way of serving the purpose of humanity. There are other ways, which required a type of psycho-mental organization more inclusive, wider in scope, more spiritual in dynamics than the type which today we label "ego."
      Uranus gives us at least intimations of the nature of these ways. We see them exemplified in geniuses in all fields of human activity religious, artistic, scientific, political, etc. The lives of these men are geared to the vast wheel of the evolution of Man not to the small wheel geared to a greedy, inert, materialistic and precedent haunted ego.

Neptune complements Uranus by dissolving everything that Uranus has shattered or let loose. Neptune is the Great Solvent of the Alchemist, and also the Great Confuser. It fuses together traditionally separate and exclusivistic types of peoples, of cultures, of individuals and racial behaviors, of class feelings. It levels down prominences that long stood on dogmatic pedestals and foundations of prejudice. Neptune is the sea. Everything returns to the sea, as autumnal leaves return to the soil. Out of new combinations virgin substance will use in time to serve the purpose of a new and wider mode of existence.
The astrological symbol for Neptune, refers to the trident of the Greek god who had dominion over the sea. Deeper still it suggests the operation of a threefold Divine Power dominating the individual in crisis. In some countries the symbol for Neptune displays a circle instead of a cross, in which case we are referred to the most positive aspect of Neptune that is, Neptune as the creator of forms of organization which are all inclusive, which encompass all because they are born of total compassion. Neptune, for instance, inspires all true forms of social cooperation and federation. It shows the way to an eventual global integration of humanity dynamized by love and perfect mutuality in all relationships a sort of spiritual United Nations.
The symbol for Uranus is literally the letter H, initial of the name of the man who discovered the planet Herschel. But in its proper form the sign should be drawn as above, which is the symbol for the earth with two vertical bars added. It is a symbol of "initiation," for on either side of the candidate in ancient initiations two sponsors always stood just as Moses and Elijah stood on each side Jesus at the great spiritual event of the Transfiguration.
      The keyword of Uranus is transcendence, which literally means to take a step beyond where you are. The keyword for Neptune is solution, which can mean the disappearance of old problems, but also could bring about a condition in which everything an individual or a civilization depended upon is being cleared away because it had become a hindrance to progress.

Read Part Five
Mercury and Pluto

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

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