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The Study of the Planetary System as a Whole

The Planets and the Sun
It has become the custom in modern astrology to link together under the name of "planets" every moving celestial body belonging to our solar system, including the Sun and the Moon. This practice derives largely from the use of the ephemeris in which the positions of the Sun, the Moon and the planets are listed side by side, and it has obviously some degree of justification. Yet the ancient astrologers were wise indeed in establishing a very clear distinction between the two Lights (Sun and Moon) and the planets themselves. I repeat that the Lights refer to the realm of life proper — a realm of duality and of polar interplay between two basic types of forces or factors (solar and lunar); a realm which reveals the foundations of the very process of living, and the meaning or purpose of this universal process. The Sun represents the spiritual purpose which calls every living organism into being, and the original impulse (or release of life-potential) which is the fountain-head of all the energies which will animate this organism; while the Moon symbolizes those evolutionary forces which successively generate, illumine and disintegrate the generic and racial form of the organism, building and destroying cells and organs through which the solar potential can become actualized as biological-psychological activity. These solar and lunar factors are directed toward the fulfillment of the need of earth-substance which, through their activity, is once more enabled to experience life and the state of organic wholeness or spiritual integration.
      We are thus primarily dealing with three inseparable factors: Sun, Moon and earth (the latter becoming the horizon-line in individual birth-charts). They constitute "reality" — the whole of it — at the level of life pure and simple. Nothing needs fundamentally to be added to them. The Sun is "purpose"; the Moon is "life." The periodical relationship of the Moon and the Sun (the lunation cycle) reveals the "purpose of living" (the solar value of the Moon's activity) and as well the special or individual character of the will to live (the lunar expression of the solar purpose). This will to live (the essence of all bio-psychological activity) is, on the one hand, the potency of purpose, and on the other, the feeling-reactions to the life-forces out of which consciousness and selfhood emerge. Indeed, this realm of life per se is, in every one of its aspects, the realm of duality. It is the world of polarity, of sex, of "personality" (the radiance, or heaviness, of bio-psychological living), of happiness — and of drama born of conflicts.
      There is, however, another realm of human development; one which is governed no longer by duality, but instead by the principle of multiple functional integration. It is the realm in which the solar system as a whole operates, conditioning at every moment through its interplanetary structure — the tone-quality of the solar releases of life-potential and purpose. These solar releases fecundate the lunar sphere and arouse in it the evolutionary energies which actually construct the body (and later the psychological structures) of the human individual. However, as these lunar builders evolve the cells and organs of the man-to-be, they follow unconsciously the pattern latent in the solar release, or "tone." They do so in the manner (as yet most mysterious to us) in which the acorn grows into the oak tree, bringing out into manifestation as roots, trunk, leaves, flowers the structures which the seed somehow contained as life-potential.
      This life-potential — this seed-pattern — is projected or emanated, by the creative spirit (the Sun, in astrology); but it is determined or conditioned by the state of the solar system as a whole — thus, by the complex relationships of the planets to the Sun and to each other. To think that a planet, individually and separately, influences an organism on the earth-surface by sending some mysterious kind of "ray" is probably naive. What "influences" the formation, generation and development of earth-creatures is the total state of the solar system during every phase of the life-process and especially as the human being reaches, with the first breath, the condition of independent existence. This "total state of the solar system" acts in a direct way only through the Sun, source of all life-processes. But what is released by the Sun is given archetypal form or "tone-quality" by the solar system as a whole — thus, by the assembly of the planets. We might say that the planets constitute (approximately) the Legislature while the Sun is the Executive; in which case we would have to think of the Moon as the many governmental agencies and managerial bureaus bringing laws and executive decisions down to the level of actual practical application and concrete management.
      Solar releases can be likened to instrumental tones, each of which represents a complex grouping of secondary vibrations or "overtones." The inner structure of these tones (which gives them their individual character, rhythm and quality) is symbolized in astrology by the planetary structure of the birth-chart. The Sun represents the purpose of a life; but every effective purpose is conditioned by a plan of operation. The purpose determines the plan; yet the purpose is also conditioned by the actual possibility there is of making a workable plan to realize this purpose — much as musical tones are conditioned by the limitations of the instruments. The planets, considered as a group, constitute the workable plan, and as well those agencies which oversee its workings.

How to Determine the Meaning of the Planets
When asked how the various planets came to receive the meaning and characteristics attributed to them in astrology, most astrologers are likely to say that these planetary characteristics are the results of centuries and millennia of observations in which connections between planetary positions, events and personal characteristics were tested out and established by repeated evidence. Astrology, however, can present only very uncertain claims — historically as well as philosophically — to the status of a "science" as this term is understood today. It has, in fact, a much more significant position within the vast field of human knowledge and wisdom than that of an immature and far from exact empirical science. I defined astrology as a technique in human understanding and said that its essential method is to go from the whole to the parts; thus, for instance, from the entire yearly path of the Sun to the twelve component zodiacal signs, from the space surrounding the newborn to the twelve houses which are specialized divisions of this space. Likewise as we come to analyze the individual significance of the planets in astrology we should follow the same method and consider first of all the solar system as a whole, as a cosmic organism in which every planet (and planetoid, if need be) occupies a particular place and fulfills a particular function.
      As the zodiacal signs Aries and Gemini possess certain essential characteristics because of being respectively the first and third signs which follow the spring equinox (the beginning of the "natural zodiac"), likewise, the basic meaning of every planet — for us human beings — is derived from the planet's place within the total structure of the solar system as seen and understood by men. This meaning is determined by the order of the planets in the two planetary series extending from the earth to the Sun, and from the earth to the outer spaces of the galaxy. Thus the astrological significance of Venus is a consequence of the fact that Venus is the first planet in the series which reaches Sun-ward; while Mars, being the first planet in the planetary sequence in the direction of galactic spaces, is thereby endowed with an opposite and complementary attribute. After Venus, in the direction of the Sun, comes Mercury. This fact serves to establish Mercury's fundamental characteristics; while the belt of asteroids separating Mars from Jupiter and Saturn establishes a basic distinction between the former and the two giants of the solar system.
      The size of the planet, the peculiarities of its motions, the number of its satellites and their peculiarities of motion, add also a great deal to our understanding of the planet's "function" within the solar system — as we experience it. From all these data the essential significance and the characteristic attributes of every planet (even of those very recently discovered) are derived by a deductive process which is an expression of this capacity for "functional knowledge" which I already mentioned as the outstanding manifestation of astrological wisdom.
      The planets can be likened to pattern-making, agencies impressing their group-decisions upon the basic types of energies which flow constantly from the Sun. Let me repeat that the planets do not themselves release energy; but they act, in astrological symbolism, as if they activated, accentuated or attenuated, those life-forces with they have an "affinity." Mars, for instance, does not "generate" what human beings experience as desire, or initiative, or aggressiveness. This type of power streams from the Sun, together with other kinds of power; but because Mars is the planet next to, and outside of, the earth’s orbit, Mars becomes invested with the characteristics of out-going initiative and impulsive desire in so far as earth creatures are concerned.
      Saturn is likewise, to all organisms on the earth, the symbolic expression of the power of contraction and limitation, because it succeeds the expansive Jupiter in the planetary series — Jupiter, which takes the raw Martian impulsiveness and matures it within the matrix of social relationship and group-responsibility. But Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, or any other planet, do not generate life-power. They simply act as "transformers" of the complex solar energy; separating, as it were, the several basic energy-threads and giving to each the special intensity and character which belongs to it according to an overall pattern or plan — indeed, the very pattern revealed by the grouping of the planets themselves in the sky at the moment of birth.
      The action of the planets could perhaps best be illustrated symbolically by that of a prism which separates the different colors contained in the solar light, and spreads them in space according to a definite pattern (the spectrum of sunlight). The nearly concentric orbits of the planets would act as a diffraction grating (an instrument which can take the place of a prism in physics) dispersing or differentiating sunlight, resolving it into component energies. Each planet would thus correspond to a certain color of the spectrum, according to its place in the "grating" of the solar system. But one apparently should not use this analogy in order to connect every planet with a particular color as the planetary sequence does not follow the color scale.
      Because such an interpretation of the function of the planets in astrology is rather abstract, the astrologer has been more or less compelled to speak in semi-mythological terms, and to make of every planet an entity with the power to "influence" earthly organisms and human minds — indeed, a sort of god. Yet it is time for all thinking persons interested in astrology to ask for an interpretation which considers the planets not as separate Powers, decreeing good fortune or tragedy for men, but as a group of factors — a collective instrumentality — which takes the complex, but latent, power of the Sun's light, differentiates and spreads it out into colored rays, each of which performs a particular function in the body and psyche of human beings. The planets are not the "rays," but the indicators of the process which differentiates solar light into "rays" or modes of organic power at work.

Planetary Classifications
This process of differentiation, then of focalization upon the various parts of the living organism (produced by the generative power of the Moon) can be divided into several phases. The character of these phases is revealed symbolically through the different ways in which planets can be paired, or linked in groups. And it is only as one fully understands these various types of inter-planetary relationships that the astrological meaning of each and all planets becomes a living reality in the consciousness of the astrologer.
      In one of these types of inter-planetary relationships the planets are paired by their rank in the two series which lead in opposite directions away from the earth: thus Mars and Venus, Jupiter and Mercury and the outer Sun (which may stand, in this case, for an intra-Mercurial planet, Vulcan). This pairing is very significant but less in the popular way in which Mars represents the masculine and Venus the feminine poles of sexuality, than in the deeper sense of the universal balance between centrifugal (Mars, as head of the outer series of planets) and centripetal forces (Venus as head of the inner, Sun-ward series). Indeed, the meaning of this Mars-Venus polarization is the meaning of "outward"; and "inward"; and these two directions of growth or unfoldment are found wherever there is life and consciousness.
      That there is such a two-fold polarization of the basic solar potential is the first fact to consider in the study of the planets; Mars and Venus are the primary and most personal expressions of that fact. They represent the most intimate realization of duality known to a human being. Such a realization, however, does not come to a human being as a result of successive changes from one polarity to another. It is not the realization of this, then that; but of this and that — both at the same time. In the realm of lunar generation there is an alternation of polarities: one type of activity follows another periodically. But when we deal with the realm of planets we deal with simultaneous modes of activities. The lunar world is the world of duration, of duality experienced in successive phases. The planetary world is the realm of "multiple functional integration"; planets operate all the time, even though the relative intensity of the planets' activities is constantly modified (this being shown in astrology by their "dignities," that is, their positions in zodiacal signs and houses).
      The difference between the lunar and the planetary realms is of capital importance. Where succession of changes in the process of life is the basic fact, consciousness is in bondage to time. But where simultaneity of expression exists — where one factor wanes while another waxes, and all factors balance and interpenetrate each other in a multitude of ways — there, consciousness is able to perpetuate itself and to establish its own stable vehicle of expression. In such a vehicle, the individual selfhood of a man or of a group of men is retained, sustained and reproduced.
      Where a group of men is concerned, such a vehicle of expression is a "culture" and the sum-total of the creations inspired by the group's typical response to life experiences. In the case of an individual person, the selfhood of that person can become immortalized within the "spiritual body," of which mystics and occultists speak, and which can be considered as a planetary web of solar energies established at the level of the creative-dynamic mind. At this level of pure planetary being, free from the tidal changes of the lunar world, solar spirit is expressed through a concerted organization of creative planetary forces — through the "universal brotherhood" of the planets.
      To understand these things means very much indeed to the astrologer seeking to interpret the birth-chart of an individual. Much of the confusion found in many astrological analyses is due to the astrologer's inability to separate in his or her own mind the sphere of action of life (the realm of soli-lunar activity) from that of a man's essential individuality or identity (the realm of the planets). These two spheres obviously act and react upon each other; they interpenetrate at almost every point. Yet they refer to two basically different types of processes within the human person. To integrate these is perhaps the most important task of an individual seeking to demonstrate real maturity and integral selfhood.
      The distinction between the inward and outward series of planets, with the earth as a starting point, establishes a polarization recognized in traditional Polemic astrology. Mars is said to be active or masculine; Venus, receptive or feminine. Jupiter finds in Mercury its negative pole. And this principle of polarization is expressed in the planets' "rulership" over zodiacal signs, as we’ll see in a subsequent chapter.
      Another kind of pairing of planets brings together planets whose functions complement each other in a somewhat different manner. The couples are constituted by two successive planets in the series which originates in the Sun and spreads outward: thus Mercury and Venus, Earth and Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, Pluto and "X" (Proserpine?). This pairing has value particularly in a kind of heliocentric (Sun-centered) astrology in which the human intelligence seeks to understand the universe in a fully objective and "detached" manner; but it applies also to the more familiar and traditional type of astrology (geocentric or earth-centered). The two-by-two linking has significance in terms of the work which the planets, symbolically speaking, accomplish. Mercury and Venus are as inseparable in actual operation as electricity and magnetism; likewise Jupiter and Saturn constitute the two poles of all social activity, and Uranus and Neptune those found in all processes of metamorphosis (organic and psychological). Mars and the earth are likewise related, in the sense in which momentum and mass are related.
      Still another classification of the planet divides them into planets up to and including Saturn, and trans-Saturnian planets. The first category includes all planets which, being visible to the naked eye, are matters of common, generic and biological-sensorial experience. They may be called the "planets of organic living" or "planets of the conscious" (cf. my book, The Astrology of Personality). The second category refers to planets discovered by means of telescopes, mathematical calculations, or photographic investigations — that is, through various products of abstract intellectual activity and engineering skill. These remote planets (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, etc.) are thus "planets of transcendent activity" — planets symbolizing functions whose evolutionary purpose it is to make an individual greater than he normally is as a biological earth-conditioned entity. These functions act through mostly unconscious channels, through spectacular and utterly transforming visitations. They act, in both a constructive and a destructive manner — tearing down or dissolving the known in order to lead men to the unknown.
      This type of classification is probably the most basic because it is established on the fact that every whole is part of a greater whole. For this reason two forces are operating within every whole and affecting its component parts: one of them is the gravitational pull of its center — the other is the attraction toward the "greater whole" i.e. toward the Unknown, the Transcendent. Thus Sun and Galaxy are the two poles of planetary activity. One group of planets — which we call "planets of organic living" — is polarized by the Sun. The other group — the "planets of transcendent activity" beyond Saturn’s orbit — serves to link the solar world with the cosmic (and, to us, transcendent) realm of the "Fixed Stars." They constitute the "path" between the natural order of living and the state of creative emanation which we associate with the light-radiating stars; and this path is in many cases a battlefield.

These planets can be divided into three pairs, each of which has very distinct characteristics. Mercury and Venus are found inside of the earth's orbit and have no satellites. The Earth and Mars have respectively one and two satellites. Jupiter and Saturn are of giant size and accompanied by a vast number of satellites. Seen from the geocentric point of view, Mercury and Venus refer to man's "inner being." Mars releases what has reached the state of materiality and concreteness on the Earth, and through the generative power of the Moon. Jupiter and Saturn deal with the establishment of a larger "frame of reference" in which the separate earth-born entities can find their place and function, and thus can give a conscious meaning to their existence.
      These six "solar planets" constitute an organic group, a structural whole through which the tide of solar activity operates incessantly. What astrologers have failed to realize is that this solar tide has an ebb as well as a flow. There is a circulation of solar radiation within this system of planets which can be likened to circulation of the blood. The blood leaves the heart through the arteries, returns by way of the veins after having vivified every organ's characteristic activity. There may, or may not be, anything like arteries and veins in the solar system, but the circulation of solar radiations is undoubtedly related to the 11-year sun-spots cycle. Every planet it touches can be said to have an "arterial" and a "venous" type of activity and function. The characteristics of these functions are derived, naturally and logically, from the place each planet occupies in the "arterial" sequence (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) and in the reverse "venous" sequence (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Earth, Venus, Mercury).
      The "arterial" or outward solar tide refers to the process of involution; the "venous" or inward tide, to the process of evolution. An involutionary process can be illustrated by considering how a composer's inspiration (or emotional urge to create music) takes form as a musical theme with some definite tonality; then becomes a complex harmonic and polyphonic development, later an orchestral score on paper, and finally a symphony of actual sounds performed to satisfy an actual audience. Evolution deals with the growth and multiplication of the organic entity, and in man with the development of consciousness, values and creative endeavors.

A. The Outward Solar Tide
We start with a release of solar activity, which is at first an undifferentiated, homogeneous "potential" of being. It is the planets' function to differentiate and spread out this solar potential, transforming it into several basic types of forces.
      Mercury produces the first differentiation and the result is electricity — not however the type of electricity which manifests as lightning, as much as the electricity found to be the substance of all organic and cellular processes, as has been demonstrated by scientists such as Dr. Crile. Mercury's path in the sky, as seen from the earth, constitutes a kind of shuttle motion whose high points are its "inferior" and "superior" conjunctions with the Sun. This motion symbolizes well the process of induction of electrical impulses in an alternative current.
      Electricity does not operate alone. Science today has come to realize that every living organism is, at the level of operative forces, an "electromagnetic field" — or as the occultist would say, an "astral matrix," a "web of forces." Mercury supplies the electricity, Venus is the symbol of all magnetic processes. An electrical current sent through a coil of wires (copper is the metal of Venus) induces magnetism and creates an electromagnetic field. Such a field is a zone of influence within which particles of many substances are compelled to assume definite patterns, along the otherwise invisible "lines of forces" of the field.
      Venus, receiving the solar energy after it has become transformed by Mercury into electrical current, produces a magnetic field, which releases the formative power latent in the solar outpourings. The archetypal form (or "seed form") of the organism is produced within the Venusian field (a kind of dynamic matrix, not to be confused with the lunar womb). Venus is, thus, the controlling power directing the formation of all seeds. It establishes the pattern of the oak in every acorn, the "pattern of Man" in every fecundated human ovum — and, at a higher level, the "Divine Form" (the Augoeides of Platonic mystics) within every human soul "impregnated" by the spirit.
      With Mars, we reach the realm of organic activity directed outward. The solar tide acts now from an organic body (and at the psycho-mental level, from an ego-centered consciousness) as from a new base of operation; and the solid, dense, unyielding nature of this earthly base is such that the existence of the solar source comes to be forgotten, and the body and the ego act as substitutes for the creative solar spirit; Martian impulsiveness taking the place of the primordial solar "desire" for manifestation. But while the latter operates always in answer to an external need and in order to re-establish cosmic harmony and wholeness, Mars' desires are usually yearnings of the earth organism (or ego) for "self-expression" or for release of an unbearable inner pressure, regardless of what the consequences might be for those affected by the release, Mars controls, thus, all mechanisms of physical and psychological release — the muscles of the body and the personal will.
      After Mars, the solar tide flowing outward meets the realm of the Asteroids, then Jupiter. Mars, being action directed outward from an established earth's center, is a conquest of space. But space is not empty. Space is filled, at best, with the remains of disintegrated worlds (the Asteroids) — remains which the Martian conqueror can subjugate — or else, with a host of entities which may challenge effectively his onward match. In the first case, a way must be found to assimilate the encountered remains of the past; in the second, to establish with those opposing further progress some kind of cooperation. These two alternatives represent the basic functions of Jupiter, in relation to the centrifugal tide of solar activity. Jupiter, in the body, refers to all processes of food assimilation (liver, pancreas, duodenum, etc.) At the level of collective human living, Jupiter expands the individual's sphere of personal activity by relating it to those of other men's endeavor. Relationship leads to the "feel" of group-cooperation, to an increase of power, thus to a sense of greater living and success. Social life is born as a result, and the realization that one belongs to a larger whole, that one can use the power of this larger whole when needed.

The next step is to make this sense of communal being and of personal intensification through group-relationship more permanent. This is the task of Saturn. Saturn builds all conceivable types of social or group structures — any structure, that is, which defines the "place" which an individual occupies in a group. At a mental level, Saturn manifests as the power of rigorous, logical thinking which certifies the right that any idea or statement has to precede or follow other ideas or statements.
      Saturn makes the individual's place in the greater whole not only well defined, but unchangeable and secure. It guarantees to any man that be will remain what he is; and this means actually that he will maintain his place, basic characteristics and position against the pressure of change, and especially against the intrusion of individuals more powerful than he is as a single person. Saturn guarantees him that he is not, in fact, a single, solitary person. The power of the whole community — of its laws and its police force is back of him — provided he remains in the place where be belongs. At the organic level, Saturn represents the skeleton, because it is the function of the skeleton to keep every organ where it belongs in relation to the "law" of the human organism.
      With Saturn we reach the sun's polar opposite. The sun is a wellspring of constant outpourings of light and life-potential. It is pure creativeness. Saturn is just the opposite: it sets every type of differentiated activity in a definite, unmodifiable place. It is pure stability — negatively, absolute rigidity. Nevertheless Saturn fulfills the purpose of the Sun; for each solar release, if considered as an individual source of life-processes, aims at fulfilling the need for integration of a certain type of material particles (or of chaotic psychic remains). True integration not only requires a Venusian archetype defining the solar pattern of organic integration, and a concrete organism generated within the lunar womb; it also demands that the organism be able to express its integrated self (or natural being), for it is only through "expression" that a man becomes aware of himself, whether as the result of enmity or of group-cooperation.
      This awareness is greatest as the individual comes to know his place in a larger social whole. Knowing his place and function in this whole he also knows how others know him. "Consciousness" means literally "knowing together." There can only be consciousness for man, as man knows how other men — his peers or superiors, or even his inferiors — know him. Consciousness is the outcome of shared awareness, of awareness of self answering to and probing into the awareness of others. Saturn defines the foundation of consciousness (and as well of individual selfhood) by placing it within a stable frame of reference. Saturn turns negative and an obstacle to human growth only when the need for stability becomes a yearning for security at any cost. Then the Saturnian frame of reference becomes a prison; clear and logical thinking becomes dogma; selfhood becomes a shell; the ego, a tyrant.

B. The Inward Tide
Consciousness rises from the Saturnian foundation and reaches back toward the Sun. This is the ebb of life. The living organism and the living ego, now established in structural stability, experience the unfoldment of their individual powers. They experience organic growth.
      To be conscious of one's rightful and permanent place and function in one's group, one's nation, one's race — and ultimately in humanity as a persistent organic whole — and to feel the stability of it beyond any doubt means to have realized that one is an individual self. The more unique this position, the sharper the sense of individual selfhood. As a "personal ego" man is still insecure and ephemeral. As a genius, whose fame remains through centuries, the individual acquires social immortality — thus a collective permanency. As a "spiritual Identity" whose consciousness endures beyond death, the individual reaches the goal of cyclic immortality, retaining his "place" through an entire cycle of humanity's development. At every step, man says "I"; but saying it means more and more. It means greater integration and a more total fulfillment of the original solar purpose.
      To know one's selfhood is not enough. This knowledge would be empty if not vivified by the feeling of one's constant participation in the life of one's community, and eventually of humanity or of the universe. It would be meaningless if the other members of the group were not warmly responsive to this participation. And here Jupiter comes in, transfiguring ego into soul, social cooperation into religious communion, individual selfhood into the mystic experience of unity which men call God. The consciousness of the Saturnian "I" becomes ever more inclusive and significant; and Jupiter pours into the return tide of solar power the ferment of compassion and understanding. The greater the inclusiveness of the unit, the more the life of the whole seeks to manifest through the unit's activity. The individual becomes a representative man, endowed with "authority."
      On the basis of whatever degree of jupiterian inclusiveness an individual consciously operates, the Mars function then acts as a drive toward the solar spirit. Mars is then the power of devotion and of self-sacrifice — and negatively of fanaticism. It is faith; and faith is always based on a sense of inner assurance (Saturn) and on a feeling of participation with others or with the universe (Jupiter).
      In the realm of the Earth "faith" leads to "works." The Earth is not considered as a planet in geocentric astrology; but, in its stead, the Moon — especially when at Full Moon, outside of the earth's orbit — gathers in the substance of the outer planets' inward strivings and generates with it "organisms of consciousness." She is then the Muse, the inspiring woman, the servant of the gods. She brings to man's consciousness Images of spiritual activity and as she performs this task, she is the anima of Jungian psychology. Indeed she reflects even what has happened beyond Saturn's boundaries.
      The ebbing solar tide then reaches the realm of Venus; and in this realm everything comes to bloom. It is the realm of beauty and of conscious love, because it is, above all, the realm of value. Culture and art are born from this sense of "value" — and likewise morality and the highest quality of sharing which illumines the return of consciousness to its solar source. Venus is still "magnetism"; but, in terms of consciousness, this means "love," and true love is the feeling which emerges from the individual's sharing in objects of value, in ideals and in cultural group-images. Such a sharing establishes community patterns polarizing the organic pattern which Venus had built at the corresponding level of the outward tide of solar activity.
      Mercury generalizes the values to which Venus gives form into concepts and abstractions. Mercury is memory and the faculty of mental association. It is the granary in which every factor of life in its seed state receives a clear and expressible meaning. What was structure (Saturn), feeling of participation (Jupiter), faith (Mars) and value (Venus) reaches now the final stage of growth as thought. Images become ideas; and ideas — like seeds — can be transferred. They can be carried to all men, in space and time, by language and words. They are the seed of immortal being — the journey's end.
      The solar tide returns to the heart of the Sun having done its work; having given life to the planetary spheres and received from them meaning. What was power in the beginning has become in the end consciousness. From consciousness a new tide of creative power surges forth out of the inexhaustible heart of the Sun, and the process is renewed at a higher level — if all has been well with the previous tide!

The greatness of man is that he can always be greater. This urge to be greater, this incessant reaching out for vaster horizons and for the beyond of the known, is latent in every individual. It beats upon the consciousness or the feelings of men who are more daring or more restless, more evolved or more abnormal. It seizes them with a passion for transcendence and a rebelliousness against all traditions and limitations. It axes at the set Saturnian "frames of reference" with an insistence from which anger and fury are not always absent.
      This will to metamorphosis is expressed in astrology by the remote planets Uranus and Neptune. Together with Pluto, these constitute what we are able to know, today, of the still mysterious realm which links the solar system (as seen from the Earth) with the cosmic world of the Galaxy, the "Universal Brotherhood of Stars." These three remote planets refer to an intermediary realm and to a process of transition. In terms of individual experience and consciousness, they define the nature of the "path" which (according to mystics and occultists of all ages) a man must tread in order to become more-than-human — that is, an expression of the divine in a human form.
      These planets are seemingly parts of the solar system; yet they actually are attached to it more than they "belong" to it. In a very real sense, they are ambassadors from, and representatives of, the Galaxy. They are here, in the solar realm, to perform a definite job: the job of showing to whomever seeks to rise beyond the pull of the solar tide the way out and beyond.
      Uranus clears up the path that leads through the Saturnian boundaries. Neptune dissolves every personal feeling that clings still to the adventurer into the beyond. Pluto produces a new pattern of integration with an insistence that tends to obliterate even the memory of the past, pulverizing the structures of old and cementing the remains into a screen upon which to project the new Image. Uranus is the inspirer of revolt, the lightning that reveals for a brief blinding moment the vistas hidden by our very demand for security and rightful ownership. Such moments can transform all the implications of existence. Neptune, on the contrary, is the slow-working "universal solvent" which attacks the substance of customary living and of ego-centered consciousness. It forces the particular to fade out into the universal; and as this happens strange and fantastic illusions and mirages are likely to appear.
      Yet these planets destroy only in order to renew. They are planets of metamorphosis. They bring to the realm of the solar planets and to earth-born individuals a breath of the Stars. And that breath is filled with creative powers of a transcendent character. These, however, cannot take root in man, unless man's nature is free from the negative characteristics of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn lust or anger, greed and selfishness.
      Uranus and Neptune have been called "higher octaves" of Mercury and Venus. What should be said, rather, is that man can receive the constructive gifts of Uranus and Neptune’s only when the forces represented by Mercury and Venus have been allowed to operate fully on the return solar tide. These forces alone can provide a foundation for the development of "star-ward" consciousness under the guidance of Uranus and Neptune. Neptune needs the Venusian sense of value and of sharing in love in order to build the "concrete universals" (the inclusive and compassionate structures) which are the transcendent vehicles of expression of the universal spirit; and Uranus can bring dear visions of the starworld only to him who has a strong and steady capacity to think in terms of ideas and abstractions (Mercury).
      As to Pluto, it seems probable that this newly discovered planet is only the first of a pair or trinity of very distant and comet-like planets, probably with very elongated orbits. Such planets refer to the process of reconstruction at the end of the metamorphosis, to the action of groups, even more than of individuals. Pluto deals with the "style" of an art period, rather than with the characteristics of the individual artists. It reveals the impact of civilization upon the genesis of individuals. If it refers to death, it is because it has no regard for individuals and it is ready to destroy any organism in order to use its physical and psychic substances for new purposes. Pluto is the impersonal discipline of the Party, the Church, the Brotherhood. Only through its ordeals is the reborn individual "trans-substantiated" enough to become incorporated into the fabric of the universal organism which emerged from the strange matrix of Neptunian test-tubes.

By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1969 by Dane Rudhyar
and Copyright © 2001 by Leyla Rudhyar Hill
All Rights Reserved.

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