THE MAGI & THE STAR-CHILD

Adoration Of The Magi By Fra Angelico 1433

Let me begin by stating clearly that I make no pretence to have finally solved the riddle of the Magi. I do hope that this short piece will contribute in a positive way to the ongoing study of the subject. In writing articles of this type, one needs to study the most recent scholarship as well as the ancient sources still extant. We may never know how much knowledge has been lost over the centuries, but we do know it was a great deal. These losses included the library of Alexandria and wholesale destruction of libraries during the Muslim invasions from North Africa, Persia and as far as India.

This continues from the two previous articles on the identity and nature of the Magi in particular relation to the Christmas story which combines Jewish and Persian elements. But first, it must be remembered that it is a story and it cannot be assumed that the narrator himself thought it to be an account of a temporal event. A story is not necessarily untrue, but it is a different kind of truth than the recalling of an historical event.

Further, our modern notion of historical accuracy is a fairly recent development. All cultures have maintained a mythological dimension to their own histories and it is often the case that the mythological tells us more about the society and its part in the greater cosmology than a historical “fact” might do.  The latter is also subject to selective memory and various interpretations, while the former is more or less deliberately symbolic in nature. A popular and condescending euphemism for this second type of writing is “pious fiction.” The modern world needs to recover the meaning of an epiphany if it expects to understand ancient texts as they were intended to be read.

I intend to take a circuitous approach to explain what I have come to understand about the story of the Magi, involving solid astrology, interpreting mythological traditions as well as cultural realities.

Mark Kidger, an astronomer, writes that if the object was as bright as is reported in the Protovangelium of James, it would have to be at least as bright as the Moon and would have been recorded all over the world. He asks: was the star really brilliant? Did these early accounts use artistic license? Which of the accounts, if any, was the “correct” one? Where we even supposed to take the story of the Star literally?  The Bible and the Apocryphal Gospels were never intended to be exact histories of the life of Jesus …. they are works written by the faithful for the faithful, and for those the writers hoped to convert.” (The Star of Bethlehem: An Astronomer’s View p. 19).

The interconnectedness and relative familiarity with different cultures in the Middle East, Rome, Greece, Egypt, and Persia are well documented but often trivialized. One cultural advantage of empires is the massive and facilitated flow of ideas, including familiarity with other languages. The Jews had been subjugated by the Romans, Babylonians, and Persians. Since the conquest of Alexander, they lived in a Hellenized world and it made for a heady mix. What emerged was a high degree of syncretism. One example was the existence of the Pharisees, a corruption of Parsi. The Jews appear to have adopted the idea of an afterlife in the Pharisee tradition, where the Sadducee school remained disinterested. The idea of an afterlife was shared by other cultures, but it would appear to be Zoroastrianism and the Persian influence that was primary

Depiction of Cyrus the Great by Jean Fouquet, 1470.Cyrus II_le Grand_et les_Hébreux

Certainly, the existence of the Magi was well known and their reputation was all but universally considered one of benevolence. Just as importantly, the Zoroastrian tradition had influenced the Greeks long before Plato, as well as Judaism. Jesus is considered by many scholars to be an Essene or at least influenced by them.  The theme of the sons of darkness and sons of light has no other obvious equivalence than Zoroastrianism. We don’t find this theme in Greek or Jewish thought. Neither do we find it in Egyptian religion.

When we consider the details of the Christmas story, the role of the Magi is fascinating. First of all, the Jews were expecting a triumphant Messiah – a King of Kings from the House of David. The story of the virgin birth of a holy child, destined to redeem humanity and openly challenge the Judaism of the times is not what they had in mind. The humble birthplace of Jesus has become a symbol of humility to Christians, but it couldn’t have helped the Jews to accept him as the Messiah. Beyond Talmudic teachings, the case against Jesus being the Messiah derives from several key Scriptures: Isaiah 11:1-9, Isaiah 2:3-4, and Micah 4:2-3 among them.

The Christmas story might be seen as an attempted rebuttal to the disdain in the Jewish community. However, there is far more to it than that. The story may have been an attempt to illustrate a number of things, even if that meant excessive embellishment and resorting to “pious fiction.”

There have been countless attempts to identify the “star of wonder” ranging from a possible conjunction of Jupiter and Venus to a comet and a supernova. None of the theories so far has triumphed and we are left with the distinct possibility that the star being followed was of a spiritual nature – what we might call an inner light. No astronomer has been able to identify what it was –  or if anything extraordinary was seen at all. My personal view is that the theories set forth haven’t taken the whole astrological picture into account.

Keplers_trigon. A series of great conjunctions and trigons from Kepler’s book De Stella Nova.

The first “modern” attempt to discover what identifiable astronomical events could explain the star over Bethlehem really was conducted by Johannes Kepler identifiable astronomical phenomenon lies behind the biblical story of the so-called Star of Bethlehem was effectively begun by the astronomer  Kepler (1571–1630),. Kepler was the mathematician to Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor1576–1612.

Johannes Kepler, ‘De stella nova in Pede Serpentarii’ (1606)

“In the years 1604–5 a supernova appeared in the constellation Ophiuchus and excited considerable discussion in Europe. Kepler kept a detailed record of his observations of the star. In the preceding year, 17 December 1603, at Prague he had also witnessed a conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn with Mars moving into the vicinity soon after, which interested him in his capacity as court astrologer. The supernova appeared in the neighbourhood of these three planets.

Jupiter-Saturn Conjunction Chart. Image credit: Star of the Magi

In medieval times the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, known as the “great conjunction” (recurring only once every 19·86 [incorrect] years on average), was regarded as of great astrological significance. Kepler calculated that a similar conjunction with Mars moving into the vicinity soon after had occurred in the year 7 B.C. = Julian year 39. On that occasion, the conjunction had been a triple conjunction, a very much rarer event than the normal single conjunction.” (Sachs, A., & Walker, C. (1984). Kepler’s View of the Star of Bethlehem and The Babylonian Almanac for 7/6 B.C). At the end of the day, it turned out that Kepler had miscalculated and ever since then, one attempt after another to identify the star has failed.

William Eamon provides a summary of the process: “Kepler believed that the new star was a portent of deep significance. It was, he concluded, “an exceedingly wonderful work of God.” In 1606, he published a pamphlet, De Stella Nova in Pede Serpentarii (On the New Star in the Foot of Serpens), describing his discovery. Kepler was convinced that the new star was the same as the one that the Three Kings followed on their way to Bethlehem. With somewhat tortured logic, he reasoned that the new star was the equivalent of one that appeared in the same constellation around the time of the birth of Christ. He identified the supernova with a star that appeared in a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn during the years 7-5 B.C. Since the supernova of 1604 appeared in the same conjunction, he reasoned, it had to be the same as the Star of Bethlehem that showed the Magi the way to Jesus.” (Kepler and the Star of Bethlehem)

It is crucial to remember that the Christmas story was written down long after the alleged events. Although not all scholars are in agreement, the majority believe that Mark was the first Gospel to be written, sometime around the year 70. This consensus has it that the Gospel of Matthew and the  Gospel of Luke was written down sometime in the 9th or final decade of the 1st century. Obviously, this casts the authorship into doubt. It has been countered that the original four evangelists had completed gospels that were then transcribed by others at a much later date. However, the record doesn’t support this at all. Even the choice of which gospels would be included had a political and tendentious element in their selection.

Nevertheless, those who insist that everything written in the Bible is to be taken as literal truth will need to deny any metaphorical meaning at all. For the rest of us, we are free to consider the possibility that some passages or stories in the Bible are powerfully metaphorical and that metaphor and elaboration can add to the power of the truth being told, even if it had no actual historical existence. It does not seem out of place here to mention that the modern understanding of history conforms to linear time. The very idea of linear time is an extreme abstraction with no modern scientific basis. It is part of the materialist creed.

Zoroastrianism, like Christianity, is a Universal religion.  As mentioned, the Jews also had every reason to venerate the Magi, emissaries from the East: The following is what is known as the Proclamation of Cyrus from Ezra 1:1-8 (ESV):

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing:

Modern Persian carpet showing Cyrus the Great, seen in Tehran

2“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel—he is the God who is in Jerusalem. And let each survivor, in whatever place he sojourns, be assisted by the men of his place with silver and gold, with goods and with beasts, besides freewill offerings for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.”

Then rose up the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up to rebuild the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem. And all who were about them aided them with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, with beasts, and with costly wares, besides all that was freely offered. Cyrus the king also brought out the vessels of the house of the Lord that Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and placed in the house of his gods. Cyrus king of Persia brought these out in the charge of Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah.

Among the classical Jewish sources, besides the Bible, Josephus (1st century AD) mentions that Cyrus freed the Jews from captivity and helped rebuild the temple. He also wrote to the rulers and governors that they should contribute to the rebuilding of the temple and assisted them in rebuilding the temple. A letter from Cyrus to the Jews is described by Josephus.:

KING CYRUS TO SISINNES AND SATHRABUZANES SENDETH GREETING:

“I have given leave to as many of the Jews that dwell in my country as please to return to their own country, and to rebuild their city, and to build the temple of God at Jerusalem on the same place where it was before. I have also sent my treasurer Mithridates, and Zorobabel, the governor of the Jews, that they may lay the foundations of the temple and may build it sixty cubits high, and of the same latitude, making three edifices of polished stones, and one of the wood of the country, and the same order extends to the altar whereon they offer sacrifices to God. I require also that the expenses for these things may be given out of my revenues. Moreover, I have also sent the vessels which king Nebuchadnezzar pillaged out of the temple, and have given them to Mithridates the treasurer, and to Zorobabel the governor of the Jews, that they may have them carried to Jerusalem, and may restore them to the temple of God. Now their number is as follows: Fifty chargers of gold, and five hundred of silver; forty Thericlean cups of gold, and five hundred of silver; fifty basons of gold, and five hundred of silver; thirty vessels for pouring [the drink-offerings], and three hundred of silver; thirty vials of gold, and two thousand four hundred of silver; with a thousand other large vessels. [Note] I permit them to have the same honour which they were used to have from their forefathers, as also for their small cattle, and for wine and oil, two hundred and five thousand and five hundred drachma; and for wheat flour, twenty thousand and five hundred artabae; and I give order that these expenses shall be given them out of the tributes due from Samaria. The priests shall also offer these sacrifices according to the laws of Moses in Jerusalem; and when they offer them, they shall pray to God for the preservation of the king and of his family, that the kingdom of Persia may continue. But my will is, that those who disobey these injunctions, and make them void, shall be hung upon a cross, and their substance brought into the king’s treasury.”

And such was the import of this epistle. Now the number of those that came out of captivity to Jerusalem were forty-two thousand four hundred and sixty-two.”

Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn – Daniel and Cyrus before the Idol Bel

The somewhat terse account in Matthew is expanded upon, with both similarities and differences in the apocryphal Protoevengelium of James. This work is overwhelmingly concerned with Mary, Joseph, establishing the legitimacy of the Christ child and answering all the kinds of questions that might be asked about virgin birth and the birth of the Christ child. James also gives us this:

“21. And, behold, Joseph was ready to go into Judæa. And there was a great commotion in Bethlehem of Judæa, for Magi came, saying: Where is he that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him. And when Herod heard, he was much disturbed and sent officers to the Magi. And he sent for the priests, and examined them, saying: How is it written about the Christ? Where is He to be born? And they said: In Bethlehem of Judæa, for so it is written. And he sent them away. And he examined the Magi, saying to them: What sign have you seen in reference to the king that has been born? And the Magi said: We have seen a star of great size shining among these stars, and obscuring their light so that the stars did not appear; and we thus knew that a king has been born to Israel, and we have come to worship him. And Herod said: Go and seek him; and if you find him, let me know, in order that I also may go and worship him. And the Magi went out. And, behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them until they came to the cave, and it stood over the top of the cave. And the Magi saw the infant with His mother Mary, and they brought forth from their bag gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned by the angel not to go into Judæa, they went into their own country by another road. .”

If we come to these passages expecting to learn of a physical celestial event, that is what we will understand. However, this is not the only possible interpretation of ” a star of great size shining among these stars, and obscuring their light, so that the stars did not appear; and we thus knew that a king has been born to Israel, and we have come to worship him.” Could this not be written in the same spirit as “The light shineth in the darkness” in the Gospel of John?  As I mentioned, the greatest irony of a belief in literalism is that it ignores that the very act of writing or story-telling is

Grotto of-the Nativity Close-up of the star at the birthplace of Jesus (© Custodia Terrae Sanctae)

metaphorical. They are part of how we process what we see. Even a technical manual will, more often than not, contain language that is not entirely literal. Turning to Judeo-Christian scripture we recognize that a direct command to “love your neighbour: can be taken at face value, even if understanding precisely what that means is subject to interpretation. The story of Jonah and the whale is a good case in point. We know that what happens in the story is impossible to explain using scientific principles. People cannot live inside whales, but if we out our material doubts aside, the story is rich in metaphorical meaning. Not believing that humans can live in whales is not cause for accusations of blasphemy except by the most extreme and demented American Evangelical Fundamentalist.

Many stories in the Bible are replete with metaphorical thought and in many cases re-telling of stories from other cultures, such as Egypt and Babylon. They are not primarily historical documents, although that are many who treat them as if they were.The first task of scripture is to impart spiritual truths and present material that illustrates the way of righteousness and the consequences of ignoring the wise. In that sense, Hindu scripture is of the same kind. There may very well be historical references, but history itself is not the most important factor.

There are many elements here that are immediately germane to the art of astrology. The more mystical the content, the more literalism falls away. What is above, is below. We are born of stars and the light we experience is microcosmic as well as macrocosmic. We speak of illuminated minds and inner light. We also speak of the benighted consciousness and the “outer darkness.” In the Gospels, the “exterior darkness” or “outer darkness” is a place referred to three times in the Gospel of Matthew (8:12, 22:13, and 25:30) into which a person may be “cast out”, and where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth”.

The Sages and the Star-Child: An Introduction to the Revelation of the Magi, An Ancient Christian Apocryphon” is the title of a PhD dissertation by Brent Christopher Landau of The Faculty of Harvard Divinity School.

Landau “analyzes a poorly-known ancient Christian apocryphal writing, termed the Revelation of the Magi. This document purports to be the personal testimony of the biblical Magi on the coming of Christ, and is the longest and most complex narrative devoted to the Magi surviving from antiquity.” The thesis is compelling and at the very least provides a fairly detailed first-hand account of the experience from the Magi point of view.

The entire dissertation is available online, so I see no useful purpose in rehearsing it here, but there are several things that need to be said.  The purpose and general focus of this series of articles on the Magi are on magic, metaphor, and astrology.  Here we have an astronomical event that probably didn’t occur at all, read by Magi who were astrologers. The realization that the star was Christ himself, in perhaps a similar sense as we see in his transfiguration. All three Synoptic Gospels tell the story of the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-9; Luke9:28-36). With a remarkable agreement, all three place the event shortly after Peter’s confession of faith that Jesus is the Messiah and Jesus’ first prediction of his passion and death.

Perhaps the greatest anathema to astrology according to Christian theologians is the mistaken view that astrologers believe the stars dictate what will happen to individuals and societies.  In their view, this somehow circumvents the will of a supreme being, when in fact the astrologer reads the signs to gain knowledge of divine will. Sorcerers and fortune tellers are considered to be cut from the same cloth as astrologers. However, in Judaism and Zoroastrianism, the stars are clearly understood to be useful and several books in the Jewish Bible, such as The Book of Daniel are saturated with astrological meaning. Yet in the Tanakh, we find The metaphor of the clock and time is germane here. The clock doesn’t create time, it just tells you what time it is.

It’s increasingly apparent that the importance of astrology in Judaism increased during the Babylonian captivity and the strong and friendly contacts with the Persians, who maintained a fairly practical form of the art.

It should be noted that there very few Jews would deny the presence of astrology in the Tanakh, but there would be reservations s well.  – However, “two biblical passages dealing with the diviner (menaḥesh) and soothsayer (me’onen; Lev. 19:26; Deut. 18:10) were understood by the rabbis as bearing relation to astrology (Sanh. 65b–66a; cf. Maim. Yad, Avodah Zarah 11:8, 9). The prophets were aware of the practices of “star-gazers” (ḥoverei ha-shamayim) among the Babylonians and other peoples but they scoffed at them (Isa. 47:13; Jer. 10:2). In the book of Daniel the Babylonian astrologers arecalled kasdim (Chaldeans), and in Aramaic kasda’ei (2:2, 4, 5, 10; 4:14; 5:7, 11). The Sibylline Oracles (219–231) praise the Jewish people for refraining from astrology, which is a delusion. The Book of Jubilees (12:16–18) depicts the patriarch Abraham as overcoming the beliefs of the astrologers. The first Book of Enoch (8:3) includes astrology among the sins spread among mortals by the primeval giants (nefilim). Josephus, however, writes that astrology was common among the Jews in his days and that Jewish misinterpretation of celestial signs was partially responsible for the outbreak of the revolt against the Romans and its continuation for four years (Jos., Wars, 6:288ff.)”Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 .

Ketubbah – Jewish Marriage Contract, Leghorn, Italy, 1728 with astrological symbols

1300 years later, Moses Maimonides was vehemently opposed to the practise of astrology, but his view had virtually no influence on subsequent Jewish writers. Astrology had become an integral element of Judaism. After all, the Yiddish mazel tov derives from Hebrew words meaning a constellation of good stars and destiny. Considering the extraordinary influence and reputation of  Maimonides, this stands as a  strong endorsement of astrology by the Jewish community.

“With the exception of Joseph Judah ibn Aknin and his enthusiastic admirer R. *Jedaiah ha-Penini (Bedersi), none of the Jewish philosophers of the succeeding generations opposed or deprecated astrology. Even the rationalistic *Levi b. Gershom maintained that the activities and events of a man’s life were predestined by the positions and movements of celestial bodies. The astrologers fail, he asserted, first of all because of insufficient knowledge about the movements of the stars and the effects of their changed positions on sublunar beings, and secondly, because of the intervention of intellect and free will, “for the intellect and the will are empowered to carry us beyond the limitations imposed by the celestial bodies” (Milḥamot Adonai 2:2). Shem-Tov ibn *Falaquera also considered astrology a true science and made use of it. Many of the great rabbis, commentators, preachers, and ethical teachers dealt with astrology and were favourably disposed toward it; *Abraham b. David of Posquières, in his Hassagot, a commentary on Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah; *Naḥmanides (Commentary on Gen. 1:16; Lev. 23:24, and passim) and his pupil Solomon b. Abraham *Adret (Responsa, no. 652); *Baḥya b. Asher (Commentary on Ex. 11:4; and passim); Isaac *Aboab (Menorat ha-Ma’or, 143; passim); Simeon b. Ẓemaḥ *Duran (Magen Avot, 72bff., and Tashbeẓ, no. 513); Isaac *Abrabanel , who cited many proofs “from the science of astronomy in regard to the celestial conjunctions” for his opinion that the redemption of Israel would begin in 1503 and come to completion in 1531 (Ma’yenei ha-Yeshu’ah, 12:2); Isaac *Arama (Akedat Yiẓḥak, 34, 56), though he disapproved of eschatological reckonings based on astrology; Moses b. Ḥayyim *Alshekh ; *Judah Loew b. Bezalel (Maharal) of Prague, who is reputed to have practiced astrology in the company of his friend Tycho Brahe; David *Gans ; Leone of *Modena ; Joseph Solomon *Delmedigo of Candia, Jonathan *Eybeschuetz ; and *Elijah , Gaon of Vilna (Commentary on Sefer Yeẓirah). A definitely negative attitude toward astrology was assumed by Azariah dei *Rossi” (Me’or Einayim, 42, 43). Source: Enyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008c

Detail of the ancient kibbutz Beth Alpha mosaic, Israel: a zodiac wheel with all 12 symbols and names of the zodiac, surrounded by four female figures at the corners, identifying the seasons of the year; at the centre, Helios, the sun god driving a quadriga, with moon and stars. (Picture: Art Resource, NY; biblicalarchaeology.org/via @Inés Peschiera Kežman Pfeifer)

Most importantly, traditional astrology views the stars as microcosm and macrocosm. In most cases, we study the macrocosmic heavens to shed light on the microcosm. In the case of the Star Child, we have the Magi reading the advent of Christ by an inner illumination. This appears to be the message when we have looked at all the sources and considered the identity of the players in this cosmic drama. We talk about “outer space” but there is a corresponding “inner space.”

Of course, the proclamation that the Kingdon of Heaven is within you is used only by Matthew. Mark and Luke used “kingdom of God” Compare Matthew 11:11-12 with Luke 7:28; Matthew 13:11with Mark 4:11 and Luke 8:10; Matthew 13:24 with Mark 4:26; Matthew 13:31 with Mark 4:30 and Luke 13:18; Matthew 13:33 with Luke 13:20; Matthew 18:3 with Mark 10:14 and Luke 18:16; and Matthew 22:2 with Luke 13:29. The two phrases clearly mean the same thing.

If we revisit words of the Magi in Matthew:

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East [or at its rising and have come to worship Him ” we are left with a tantalizing and evocative image, but we still don’t have any idea what this rising star was. It was common to refer to planets as stars, but there isn’t anything close to bright enough to match the description.

If we take this account at face value and ignore the impossible exaggerations which have, ironically, obscured all the main points, we would have a chart very similar to this.

This chart shows the rising of Jupiter the king planet, in the royal sign of Leo and with the Kings’ star, Regulus. This certainly fits with the description of the Star in the East. It is ascending ahead of the Sun with enough clearance from the Sun to allow visibility.

Regulus, in Leo (The Lion), means “little king,” named by Copernicus. It is the heart of the Lion and associated with generosity and ambition. If well aspected it will raise the person to high positions in life and denotes successful activity. Its nature is Mars and Jupiter. Bayer name Alpha Leo. Apparent magnitude +1.3 This star rising with Jupiter would have been considered a strong indicator of the birth of a king when combined with the other elements present.

Some have suggested that “born of a Virgin” means the Sun in Virgo. I see no compelling reason to take this view, but it may be worthy of further research. We can say that the Sun in Virgo is suggestively positioned.

The triple conjunction of Venus and Mercury and the Ascendant with Jupiter would make for a convincing candidate for the birth of a great king in Babylonian as well as Persian astrology. The Moon is in her domicile in Cancer and Mars in his Exaltation is safely in the 6th house, like a tiger in a cage. This is where Mars has his Joy.

Saturn retrograde and conjunct the Midheaven is more sinister. The Jews are under the governance of Saturn and this new king is not welcome by the highest authorities. There is a tight conjunction of  Saturn with the fixed star Rigel, the brightest star in Orion, The Hunter (Apparent magnitude +0.3) The star is of the nature of Jupiter and Saturn and associated with fame, wealth, and lasting honours.  Rigel is a fortunate star and a very powerful one.  This would serve as a protective element.

This is the most likely way that the Magi determined the location of the birth. Saturn conjunct the MC is in the place of authority. It is only natural that they would visit Herod.

I make no claims to this being the exact date, but the time would be close enough to provide us with an accurate enough and relatively short window for this configuration to occur, making this a strong candidate for something approaching what must have occurred.

It seems ironic that many of the attempts to embellish and exaggerate the message of the Magi have obscured what might otherwise have been obvious.

The Magi are what scripture and tradition say they are – highly skilled astrologers, almost certainly from Persia. There has been a number of attempts over the years to make them appear to be like a Unicef greeting card depicting them as all Jewish kings from Yemen.

I don’t believe that The Star-Child account is meant to be taken entirely literally, but it is a rather lovely narrative of the Star leading to the Child. For approximately two billion  Christians, Christ is their Guiding Star

Rigel, one of the brightest stars in the sky, intrinsically as well as in appearance. A blue-white supergiant in the constellation Orion. Image courtesy of Encyclopaedia Brittanica.

The exquisite sign of Aquarius

                                                                          Marsilio Ficino:

Marsilio Ficino

Due to the precession of the equinoxes we are entering the age of Aquarius.

Many astrologers believe it is a time of openness and humanism. Partly we can foresee some development regarding ideas, since Aquarius is an air sign. But such ideas will not always, especially in Aquarius, dealing with fair ideals.

We can´t forget that Aquarius is ruled by the great malefic, Saturn, which, being a day planet, is happier in Aquarius than in Capricorn, which it  also rules.

Thus, keeping with the traditional view, not only Aquarius opposes Leo, but their respective rulers, Saturn and Sun, also do so.

marsilio.pdf

The Sun is the daytime luminary, so we can expect a darker time linked to this opposition, as soon as Aquarius will rule the time.

One thing to keep in mind is that many astrologers identify signs with houses, which is a mistake and confuses things.

The signs refer to the position of the constellations in the sky. But houses are the most terrestrial phenomenon that exists as it is experienced as the change between day and night and the several hours over a period of a day.

Meanwhile, the constellations remain unchanged. It is the earth that changes, offering every two hours a different position in the east.

The fact that we observe, let´s say, the sign of Aries at dawn during the fall in the southern hemisphere, does not mean that dawn or the 1st house has to do with Aries, since in another latitude and longitude Libra, or any other constellation / sign, can be seen.

Much of what is thought about Aquarius relates to the fact that in the standard zodiac, which has Aries as its beginning, Aquarius appears in the 11th house, which in fact is a positive house, connected with fraternity and hope, and where Jupiter has its joy.

However, Jupiter rejoices in the 11th house, whatever sign appears there and not necessarily in Aquarius. Therefore, there is a huge difference between signs and houses.

Another thing to take into account is that the signs or constellations have their own proper characteristics:

As for the mode they can be fixed, common and mutable. The fixed signs keep things as they are. The common signs start things up and the mutable signs act sometimes in one way, sometimes in another.

As for the gender, the signs can be feminine and masculine. Feminine signs are centripetal, they hope, masculine signs are centrifugal, they seek.

As for its elemental nature the signs are divided in earth, water, fire and air. Earth signs wait for material security, water signs wait for being loved, air signs seek freedom of ideas and fire signs seek freedom of action.

In relation to Aquarius, object of our study, it is a masculine sign of air and is a fixed sign.

Male signs tend to be active and go after things. Air signs, which are masculine, tend to seek freedom of ideas and fixed signs tend to immutability.

We note here a kind of internal conflict in Aquarius because its immutability restricts the action to which Aquarius is prone. We can say that it is a sign that has a conflict in itself.

Leo is also fixed, but it is a sign of fire, but the Sun, its ruler, changes its sign much faster than Saturn, and Leo, having the Sun as its ruler can see the action needed being executed by others when its majesty, Leo, keep resting.

Aquarius is trapped in its freedom of ideas, and even if Saturn is in a masculine sign of action, Saturn is a slow planet, the slowest of all, which always suggests delays and melancholy.

Aquarius strives for freedom of ideas but cannot act in that direction because it is subject to its mode, which reflects immutability.

However, despite these more general characteristics, signs manifest themselves through their rulers, and it is then that we individualize a chart, be it mundane, personal, elective or horary.

In this case, there are specific rules and techniques for each of these kinds of astrology.

In a certain internet discussion of world astrology, someone told that the Aquarian age would bring “hopes” to mankind. I can´t agree, because Aquarius is ruled by the malefic Saturn and in the Thema Mundi it occupies the 8th house, a malefic house. Thinking about these matters we came across Marsilio Ficino´s chart. This man was a Renaissance´s astrologer, philosopher, translator, poet and physician.

At that time I was not aware of the chart, but got interested in the fact that this native, who wrote “Three books on Life”, “Soul Meditations,” and about the nature of love, had Aquarius on the Ascendant with Saturn!

I began to read his biography and to analyze his chart, in order to understand the meaning of Aquarius and his ruler being in the ascendant creating a prodigal author and a transmitter of ideas.

Much is said about Marsilio Ficino’s life, but very few is know of him in truly personal terms, for example if he was happy or unhappy person, if he had any love, how well he got along with people, etc.

About these matters we have nothing. His life, according to Wikipedia and other sites, quoted in the end ot this article , boils down only to his intellectual output, his intelligence, and the protection of the Medici´s. There are no books in any language, not even in Italian, narrating his personal biography. We have a lot about his writings, though.

First I will show his chart, obtained by Astrodatabank and considered as AA, that is, the time was reliable. Next I will write his biography as it is found on numerous websites, and then I will outline the chart, emphasizing the rising Aquarius sign.marsiliocarta.pdf

 Marsilio Ficino was born in Figline Valdarno, in October, 19, 1433 and died in Careggi, Florence, in 1st of October 1499

He was an Italian scholar and Catholic priest who was one of the most influential humanist philosophers of the early Italian Renaissance. He was an astrologer, a reviver of Neoplatonism in touch with the major academics of his day and the first translator of Plato‘s complete extant works into Latin. His Florentine Academy, an attempt to revive Plato’s Academy, influenced the direction and tenor of the Italian Renaissance and the development of European philosophy.

His father Diotifeci d’Agnolo was a physician under the patronage of Cosimo de’ Medici, who took the young man into his household and became the lifelong patron of Marsilio, who was made tutor to his grandson, Lorenzo de’ MediciGiovanni Pico della Mirandola, the Italian humanist philosopher and scholar was another of his students.

When Cosimo decided to refound Plato’s Academy at Florence he chose Ficino as its head. In 1462, Cosimo supplied Ficino with Greek manuscripts of Plato’s work, whereupon Ficino started translating the entire corpus to Latin.  Ficino also produced a translation of a collection of Hellenistic Greek documents found by Leonardo da Pistoia later called Hermetica, and the writings of many of the Neoplatonists, including PorphyryIamblichus and Plotinus.

A physician and a vegetarian, Ficino became a priest in 1473.

In 1474 Ficino completed his treatise on the immortality of the soul, Theologia Platonica de immortalitate animae (Platonic Theology). In the rush of enthusiasm for every rediscovery from Antiquity, he exhibited a great interest in the arts of astrology, which landed him in trouble with the Roman Catholic Church. In 1489 he was accused of magic before Pope Innocent VIII and needed strong defense to preserve him from the condemnation of heresy.

Probably due to early influences from his father Diotifeci, who was a doctor to Cosimo de’ Medici, Ficino published Latin and Italian treatises on medical subjects as De vita libri tres (Three books on life). His medical works exerted considerable influence on Renaissance physicians such as Paracelsus, with whom he shared the perception on the unity of the micro- and macrocosmos, and their interactions. Those works, which were very popular at the time, dealt with astrological and alchemical concepts. Thus Ficino came under the suspicion of heresy again; especially after the publication of the third book in 1489, which contained specific instructions on healthful living.

Ficino introduced the term and concept of “platonic love” in the West developed all along his work, mainly his famous De amore. He also practiced this love metaphysic with Giovanni Cavalcanti, whom he made the principal character in his commentary on the Convivio, and to whom he wrote ardent love letters in Latin that were published in his Epistulae in 1492; there are also numerous other indications to suggest that Ficino’s erotic impulses were directed exclusively towards men. His Latin translations of Plato’s texts put into practice the theories of anti-homosexuality in his Convivium.

With the death of Lorenzo of Medici, in 1492, the political balance between Florence and the other Italian states was broken. This was followed by a bloody period of war and invasion.

  The decline of the Medici will have a negative influence on Ficino’s life. The Academy’s activities have been extinguished and its thinking is harshly criticized by the powerful cleric Girolamo Savonarola, against whom Ficino will write an Apology in 1498.

Disgusted, the philosopher retires, dying in his house of Careggi in 1499.

Again:marsiliocarta.pdf

As we see, it is a chart whose ascendant is Aquarius. The native’s primary motivation is to pursue intellectual freedom. As Aquarius is a fixed sign, it persists in this goal, but has little malleability in the way it is pursued. Saturn, ruler of the sign, is a masculine planet and is dignified by domicile and placed in an angle.

Possessing the ascendant´s ruler in the ascendant we see that Marsilio was primarily interested in his own goals. But they are opposed by Jupiter in Leo, which we will analyze later.

Saturn is the dispositor of the Moon and Mars. The position of the Moon is quite negative, in the sign where it has its detriment and in bad house, the 12th.

This tells us of a reclusive type of life, which is confirmed by the fact that Mars, the dispositor of Mercury, ruler of the profession and ruler of the 10th house, is also falling in 12th house.

Mercury, on the cusp of the true MC, makes a sextile with Mars in the 12th house and Mercury, as we said, is the native’s profession dispositor: he is received by Mars, which is in its exaltation in Capricorn, so he wrote about deep and serious things and we suppose that in complete solitude. This sextile between Mars, ruler of the 10th and Mercury, ruler of the native´s profession, and Mars receiving Mercury by rulership, is the reason why Ficino´s writings and deep study were very important for the native’s reputation.

The chart is diurnal and the Sun is in the 10th house: the brilliance will be obtained without the native acting, since the Sun is in a feminine and passive sign, but because of Jupiter in the 7th House in Leo. So we understand most of Ficino´s life and support: Jupiter receives the Sun by rulership.

We can clearly see the partnership with solar and wealthy persons admiring  Marsilio’s studies.

Venus is the ruler of the 8th house, and is in its fall. Venus rules the 4th house, and Marsilio receives from Cosme a village to live and study. We see that a benefic dignified planet as an angular Jupiter, can turn bad things, as Venus in its fall, into not so bad, perhaps because Jupiter rules Pisces, the 2nd house of the chart. Also, the good effect is received because Venus in the 8th house is in Mercury’s sign, which is acting as a benefic. Venus in Virgo  is ruler of the 9th, which explains his priesthood.

His solar partners welcome him to court and value his knowledge, but his life was lived, most of the part, behind the scenes and alone, and love was represented only through letters, because he was shy, priest and rigid, not accepting sodomy.

I do not see Marsilio as an outgoing person at all, and he seems taciturn, melancholic, and sad.

Certainly he was not a threat to the Medici, as long as he developed the translations and the intelectual labor much appreciated by Lawrence the Magnific, who admired Plato.

I imagine that Marsilio submitted to the power of Jupiter, who acted not only for him to carry out his studies, which was his primary motivation, but Jupiter opposing to Saturn required a mundane life, parties and celebrations, which were important to the Medici, but not to Marsilio, who preferred a life of closure, quietness and study.

We do not know what really happened but it is very plausible that Marsilio have had to bow his head to the powerful Church, restricting his interest in magic and alchemy, since he was once accused of necromancy.

With these thoughts I hope to have shown a life which only obtained his primary motivation doing compromises and never having the total control over his own needs and freedom, including love.

 Had him a fiery ascendant, for example, he would hardly avoided quarreling in an environment filled with conflict over the power as used to happen in Florence at those days.

But the sign of Aquarius in the ascendant leads to great immutability, although Saturn, domiciled there, is masculine and leads to action, albeit very slowly.

Clélia Romano,DMA

August 2019

PS: Fort hose who want to know more of Ficino´s work I recomend the following encyclopedia  https://cse.google.com/cse?cx=001101905209118093242%3Arsrjvdp2op4&ie=UTF-8&q=+Ficino&sa=Search

Love and Marriage- Some Considerations

                                              by Clélia  Romano, DMA  March 2017

                       Astrological analysis of love, marriage and companionship is not difficult to delineate in a chart and frequently the astrologer is asked about these kinds of questions.

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is easier also to analyze this topic in a horary chart, since it is enough to look at the 7th house, its dispositor and the ascendant ruler, and see if there is any aspect between them. If both are in aspect  we have an important testimony in favour or against the question, depending on the type of aspect and if benefics or malefics give their testimony. If Venus and Moon appear in the configuration, especially in a male question, we can judge that the marriage will happen or will have a good evolution. If a maleficent planet appears in the configuration the matter tends to be hindred. In case of a female client, we accept a relation between the ascendant´s dispositor and the Sun to signify a possible marriage.

As Robert Zoller said, following medieval astrology,  the woman always goes in search of the Sun.

In a horary chart the Moon is co-ruler of the  chart and contributes sometimes very clearly, even replacing the ruler of the ascendant  or the ruler of the  7th house if she aspects one of the significators or a benefic strong by position .

However, the aim of this article is to present the most difficult questions, those which have not a simple answer, but that which takes into account the whole chart settings.

Venus and its position, angularity, sign and aspects, counts a lot in favor of happiness in love ( and even in life as a whole) and in an opposite way the aspects with Mars cause the end of things, ruptures and pain. The more I study individual charts the more I pay attention to the position of Venus by sign and by house, as well as its aspects, when the matter concerns marriage and love.

But even with this testimony the difficulties in delineation come from qualitative rather than quantitative aspects. A simple “yes” or “no” is easier than to describe  the kind of marriage or love the client will live.

When we get to the 7th house the  first thing is to be aware that we reach the West angle, one of the four hinges where important things in the chart will revolve, especially if there are planets in there.

Moreover, it should not be forgotten that  the 7th house makes an opposition to the ascendant. It is where the Sun sets on the West horizon. So, in the past, the 7th house was  considered the house of death.

In the human trajectory on earth we start from the known, from the mother’s womb, from the cradle, the ascendant, and  go towards what is unknown. What is awaiting or us after this journey is to reach the seventh house, the house of the Moon in Chaldean order. In this case the Moon is not  representing  women, but night, unknown and the obscure.

When Plato spoke about  primordial forms, one of them is the Same versus the Other. And the 7th House is the furthest house from the Ascendant (the Same), and it is attached to that which is unfamiliar, the Other.

The daily movement that carries the whole celestial vault toward the East, called by Plato the Circle of the Same, and by the astrologers the  Primary Movement  is faced by the opposite circle, which moves in an opposite direction, the zodiacal circle, i.e. the ecliptic ,the Circle of the Other. It was said that the Platonic Demiurge linked both.

A so disparate union gives some food for thought. The Ascendant and the 7th house are opposite in every sense and they were linked for some reason. We can not get to the ultimate reasons but we can speculate about the opposition link between the ascendant and the 7th house.

 

Traditional astrology has always given great importance to the topics of marriage, love and sex .

Of the planets, especially Venus has a lot of relation in the prediction and happiness of the marriage.

In any delineation one must look for a configuration, that is the relation between two, three or four planets in their signs and houses. A single planet does not say much.

The institution of marriage, though it has relations with Christianity, does not necessarily have to do with love, and it deals also  with hate and destruction.

When we study medieval techniques to predict marriage, some things seem outdated, but I do not think that anything has essentially changed.

We must remember that in medieval times Europe was pagan, and in it lived the Celts, Anglo-Saxons, French and Germanic tribes. Civil marriage did not exist for people. Rarely did anyone know their grandparents and sometimes even their parents . The family as we know nowadays only existed among the aristocrats and the incipient bourgeoisie, which, in order to pass on their power and lands, made marriage an arrangement and a mutual partnership in which the children are generated to continue and expand the family business. Marriages were arranged long before the bride and groom were old enough to formalize a carnal union. The woman had a inferior role to that of the man, but if we were to study the society of the time there was very little place for individualism, even for man.

The Catholic Church tried to institute marriage as a sacrament, but the people did not have even an economic condition to pay for civil marriage.

Uses and customs were worth more than any contract, and in a certain culture of medieval times a woman was considered married to a man if he took his keys customarily in his own belt. Returning a woman to the family imposed a certain payment on the man, such as a compensation.

Who consulted the astrologer was not the common people  but the aristocracy and bourgeoisie that was formed from the thirteenth century. They wanted to know if they would find a bearable partner , whether the woman would be fertile or spoiled, whether she would accept the sexual act with the appropriate pleasure, whether she will be straight or gay, whether the future partners would be able or not to control their sexual appetites or if they would fornicate with the servants, etc.

When one reads the observations and conditions for the prediction of marriage in medieval authors we, as an individualistic society , tend to put them aside and say that they do not serve in our culture. Sometimes they even seem laughable.

However, I urge you to analyze your study charts to see how timely the old assertions are: behind ideals bathed in romantic civility, human beings and marriage have not changed much and behind the scenes lies the same medieval needs, for they are human and marriage is nothing less than a contract aimed to carrying forward some form of partnership capable of increasing or at least managing better the patrimony of the couple or the family, generating children and allowing them a minimum of development, besides guarantee a group of people belonging to a clan capable of protect against malicious strangers.

All this can happen with love, but most fall with ruled and compromises.

The 7th house relates to both love and hate, the spouse, boyfriend or lover, partners but also enemies. It  means the forces that opposes us, people who openly face us, to whom we end up going to war: it representes the Circle of the Other.

To talk about love we have to look at almost all houses, meanwhile marriage is a question intrinsic to the 7th.

Whe can see love, looking to the ascendant, when Venus appears there, making the native someone prone to harmony. In the fourth house, making the family atmosphere clean, beautiful and harmonious, and we know how important this foundation is to foster love, in the fifth house, fostering the pleasure of carnal union and of the children. In the 7th house, if you learned how to deal with compromises, in the 9th house as the love for God, in the 11th house, the love to our friends and even in the 12th house, the compassion and pity to the excluded and unfornunate.

Everything depends on the relations of Venus with other planets because, depending of this the love can change in hate, self-complacency, laziness, perversion.

The ancient authors describe marriage and the type of sexual intercourse, but not love, because love is virtual, can be in every house or in none.

Poets say that love is an emotion which do not want compensation, simply gives and do not expect  receiving, since the pleasure of love stays in the very sensation that love brings.

I finish with a quote from  Mortimer Adler: “love consists in giving without getting in return; in giving what is not owed, what is not due the other. That’s why true love is never based, as associations for utility or pleasure are, on a fair exchange.”
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A brief commentary on planetary essences

by Pablo Ianiszewski F.

Why do we talk about benefic and malefic planets? Does it not predispose us to conceive existence from a negative point of view? Ancient astrologers had no qualms about recognizing a duality of light and darkness, of life and death, of creative and destructive forces throughout creation. From Zoroaster to Heraclitus, from Viasa to Hermes, the recognition of cosmic dualism is fundamental in all reflections on nature, both in the East and the West. Ignoring this reality does nothing to suppress the polarity that organizes the structure of the universe.

As I have noted elsewhere, traditional astrology has strong philosophical roots. The primal qualities of nature, articulated by Aristotle, are of special relevance to understanding why certain celestial bodies are beneficial and others are not. All beings can be reduced to four essential essences, which account for their intrinsic nature, namely the qualities of hotness, coldness, wetness, and dryness. From the combination of hot and dry comes the fire; from cold and wet, the water rises; from hot and wet comes the air; and from cold with dry the earth rises. It is these four elements that give substance to everything that exists, including the essential nature of the planets. In this context, Saturn is cold and dry; Jupiter is hot and wet; Mars is hot and dry; the Sun is hot and dry; Venus is cold and wet; Mercury is cold and dry; the Moon is cold and wet.

Anyone with a basic knowledge of agriculture, or who has observed for some time the conditions of nature, will know that hot and wet (jungle) is very favorable for life. The cold and wet (coast) is also propitious, but not so much. The hot and dry (desert) often hinders the development of life, while the cold and dry (tundra) is terribly hostile to everything alive. Here is why there are some planets designated as benefic and others malefic. Jupiter is benefic because it is moderately hot and wet. Venus is the lesser benefic because it is moderately cold and wet. Saturn is the great malefic because it is extremely cold and dry. Mars is the lesser malefic because it is extremely hot and dry. The Sun is relatively benefic because it is moderately hot and dry, but can act as malefic when its heat is greatly increased. The Moon is relatively benefic because it is moderately cold and wet, but becomes evil when it is in the waning phase. Finally Mercury changes according to the accidents and conditions with which it is related, being variable in coldness and dryness. It is so in astrology, benefic is the pro-life and evil the opposite of it.

If more than three thousand years of meticulous observation of nature by philosophers, astrologers and alchemists is not convincing enough, then make your own observations to corroborate or rule out the existence of a natural reality beyond the subjective needs of the human ego. Of course, we accept the existence of those who do not want to deal with reality, preferring what makes them feel more secure. We do not want to snatch them from that position. These words are addressed to those who wish to get out of the psychological maze and look beyond the defensive strategies we use to deal with our anxiety before the world. Nature exists and can teach us much, but for this we must lose our fear and accept existence with its lights and shadows. Life is duality. Denying dualism is one of the roots of neurosis; to transcend it is the goal of the spiritual path.

Al-Kindi – The Transmission of Greek Metaphysics to Islamic Theology

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A blog post on someone of the stature of al-Kindi can scarcely do him justice; but it can serve as an introduction to this extraordinary man as well as the transmission and absorption of Greek texts into Islamic theology. It is also my hope that al-Kindi will regain his former prominence among the many other Islamic contributors to human knowledge and to astrology in particular. His cosmology is essentially simple and I believe answers to many of the on-going discussion on the nature of fate and free-will.

To understand how al-Kindi’s mind works, his study of  The religion, philosophy, literature, geography, chronology of India is a good place to start. He’s is infinitely curious and readily absorbs the philosophy and weighs the values of other very different nations. I have placed the complete work in two volumes in the file section. Familiarity with al-Kindi breeds content. He stands as an essential figure of the Islamic Golden Age. It was tolerance, acceptance and inclusiveness that created the Age – not a rigid xenophobia.  It came about by a respect of other cultures and a willingness to work with them.

Abu Yusuf Ya‘qub ibn Ishaq Al-Kindi (ca. 800–870 CE) was the first self-identified philosopher in the Islamic and specifically Arabic tradition. His work with a group of scholars and translators, in what became known as the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, gave to the Arab world the works of Aristotle, the Neo-Platonists, and Greek mathematicians and scientists.  He did not appear to demonstrate the rigid distinctions between Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy that became the bugbear of later European philosophers. This in itself was no mean feat, but Al Kindi seemed to instinctively know what was of a similar nature and what was not.. al-Kindi’s own thought was suffused with Neo-Platonism, though his main authority in philosophical matters was Aristotle.

The Semitic or Abrahamic religions are less replete with metaphysical codes, but have what is more properly called cosmological ones, when compared for example, with the seemingly endless metaphysical systems of Hinduism. This is also true when those same texts are compared to the Platonic tradition, including the sophisticated and exquisite vision written down by Plotinus. It applied as well to the philosophy of Aristotle. It was to the latter than Al-Kindi first became transfixed. The distinction between Metaphysics, Cosmology and Ontology can at times become blurred of intermingled. To invite them into Islamic thought is not for the careless or faint of heart .

Al-Kindi is often referred to as the Arab’s philosopher. As has happened to so many great minds throughout history, the investigation of the most cherished ideas had lead to suspicions of heterodoxy. The word ‘heterodoxy’ is a convenient catch-all phrase that can be leveled at those who disagree, have some doubts or simply see the nature of reality through a different lens.In this respect, the story of Al-Kindi has contemporary relevance, with particular regard to the understanding of the nature of astrology. The contemporary Traditional astrologer will feel pretty much at home in Al-Kindi’s cosmology.

The new lens of Greek Philosophy provided Al Kindi with a means by which the Theology and Cosmology of the Quran, resulted in a highly significant shift in Astrological thought. By the time of Al-Ghazali, Islamic Philosophy and with it the Golden Age of was eclipsed by a literalist pessimism that has persisted to this day. What was at one time a naturally accepted element of Islam became heavily suspect. It is important to note, however, that Al-Kindi fell short of the view that the universe must be infinite.  It could have lead to his alienation at best and a death sentence at worst, as it did in a later period for Giordano Bruno.

The deep fear of infinity has historically put restrictions on the subject. Perhaps the fear of infinity is no more than the fear that our prescribed limits might prove to be no more than mind-forged manacles, as W. Blake so keenly understood. Limits are an important element in Islam: in general more so than either of the other Abrahamic religions. In the Islamic afterlife, it is made clear that there are no limits. Lastly, I believe infinity is ‘reserved’ for God on this side of the grave.  Philosophers throughout history have always needed to be adept at avoiding stepping on theological toes.

There are no precise parallels to the non-Islamic world on this matter, but the pseudo-prophetic Savonarola lead to a very similar shift, and in fact to a rapid decline in the creativity, tolerance, syncretism and ebullient optimism of Renaissance Florence.

Even Pico della Mirandola succumbed to the dogmatic position that what isn’t a particularly privileged form of Christianity, must be the work of the Devil. I’m certain that many great thinkers were frankly terrified at the speed in which the obscure monk, Savonarola, could turn Florence into a city full of mad people with proverbial pitchforks and literal torches.

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al-ghazali

The contempt and paranoia regarding the new learning was epitomized by the en mass burning of books and works o art, including works by Michelangelo. These were considered the vanities, in the biblical sense o the word and the burning of all these things was called the bonfire of the vanities, a term that survives to this day. This episode in Western history shall forever remain a reminder of how quickly great elements of civilizations can be destroyed by supernatural fears, that even otherwise rational people can fall prey.

In Islam, as in other Middle Eastern and Asian cultures there existed a very different sense of time. It was circular or spiral, but never linear. From the Greeks and developed to a fine science was the Prime Mover – one who is not acted upon – to the participation of the Prime Mover through secondary causes. This lends itself perfectly to Astrology. It means, among other things, that the Stars can easily become the agents of Providence, without diminishing the First Cause.

This was not to be the position of Al Ghazali. There was no room in his thinking for such niceties.  There was one cause and one cause only, no secondary powers could be entertained because they amounted to shirk – the attribution of partners to Allah.

Al-Kindi’s own treatises, many of them personal letters, were addressed to the family o the Caliph, who depended on his translations just as the Medic family would rely on Marsilo Ficino. Core texts included the Theology of Aristotle and Book of Causes along with Arabic versions of Plotinus and Proclus. This textual alchemy was fomented at the political and philosophical core of Islam.

Al-Kindi’s philosophical treatises also include On First Philosophy, in which he argues that the world is not eternal and that God is a simple One. This needs to be understood in the context of an Islamic thinker attempting reconciliation with Greek philosophy. The reality of Tawheed is the first principal in Muslim belief.  It is to believe that Allah alone is the ‘Rabb’ -Creator, Provider and Sustainer (note the identical attributes within Hinduism and elsewhere). He has no partner and needs no partner. To suggest that HE does is the greatest blasphemy in Islam.

Allah alone has the power to determine destiny, and He alone is truly Self-Sufficient (As-Samad) upon whom all the creation depends, as He says: “Allah created all things and He is the Wakeel (Trustee, Disposer of affairs, Guardian) of all things. “To Him belong the keys of the Heavens and the earth. He (Allah) enlarges and restricts provisions to whomever He Wills. Surely, He has Knowledge of everything. See Surah az-Zumar (39): 62. and Surah ash-Shoorah (42): 12. The guidance of the stars is a theme repeated many times in the Qu’ran, but often dismissed as something else.

The key difference from a modern point of view is not whether or not Aristotle was a monotheist.  For all intents and purposes he was . But it would be more accurate to call him a Deist, rather than a Theist. It may seem a fine point and it doesn’t seem to have deterred al Kindi, if in fact he truly appreciated the distinction. The Primum Mobile easily translates to Creator.

al-Kindi’s work in mathematics and other sciences was impressive and became known in both the later Arabic and Latin traditions for his positions on astrology, along with Averroes.

Arab scholar working diligently in the House of Wisdom. (Artist Unknown).
Arab scholar working diligently in the House of Wisdom. (Artist Unknown).

al-Kindi’s claims for astrology commit him to the idea that a wide range of specific events can be predicted on the basis of astral causation. His doctrine of providence goes further by “implying that all events in the lower world are caused by the stars, which are carrying out the benign “command” of God. This doctrine is set out in On the Prostration of the Outermost Sphere” ( Abu Rida 1950, 244–261, Rashed and Jolivet 1998, 177–99) and On the Proximate Agent Cause of Generation and Corruption (Abu Rida 1950, 214–237).

In al-Kindi’s system and, I would suggest, in the Qu’ran itselff, the heavens are possessed of souls who freely follow God’s command so as to move in such a way that the providentially intended sublunary things and events will come about.

This, according to al-Kindi, is what the Qu’ran refers to when it says that the stars “prostrate” themselves before God. In Proximate Agent Cause, meanwhile, al-Kindi gives a more detailed account of the means by which the heavens cause things in the lower world (here he invokes friction, not rays). The most obvious effect of the stars on our world is of course the seasons, because the sun (due to its size and proximity) is the heavenly body with the most powerful effect. If there were no such heavenly causation, according to al-Kindi, the elements would never have combined at all, and the lower realm would consist of four spheres of unmixed earth, water, air and fire.

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al-Kindi’s account of astral causation and providence is typical of his philosophical method. He combines and builds on ideas from Aristotle, later Greek philosophers, as well as so-called “scientific” figures such as Ptolemy. In his work “Prostration” he provides a rational explanation of central concepts in Islam. His explanation of the meaning o the stars prostrating themselves shows a keen interest in going beyond syncretism to a more enlightened reading of the Qu’ran. Al-Kindi appears to have been certain that once his more enlightened colleagues are exposed to his presentations of Greek wisdom, they will

agree that these non-Arabic and non-Muslim texts can be used —together with “Arabic” disciplines like grammar — in the service of a more profound understanding of Islam. These are heady claims and not ones ultimately shared by Al-Ghazali and his followers. Nevertheless, there existed what could be called an Al-Kindian tradition long ater his passing.  This current flourished in the tenth century, which is most obviously represented by the first and second generations of al-Kindi’s. followers.

Musicians_and_their_instruments Topkapi Palace Museum Library, H. 2164.
Musicians and instruments Topkapi Palace Museum Library H. 2164.

al Kindi ‘s advanced contributions to Musicology seem like a natural and intrinsic progression of his cosmology.Al-Kindi’s optimism on this score was not necessarily borne out in subsequent generations. But among thinkers influenced by al-Kindi, one can discern a continuing tendency to harmonize “foreign” philosophy with the “indigenous” developments of Muslim culture. This is one feature of what might be called the “Kindian tradition,” an intellectual current that runs up through the tenth century, which is most obviously represented by first and second generation students of al-Kindi’s.

In a world off ‘what ifs’ it is clear that the position of Al Kindi and like minded philosophers would have developed into a more universally tolerant Islam and one in which the reading of the stars was not confused with the worship of them. Today, we have weather forecasts that seem to be false more often than not, but I cannot imagine any sane person considering meteorology as shirk. Reading the sign of nature is something we do all the time, from the practice off horticulture to the study of the biological origins of life and indeed the universe itself.  https://youtu.be/cse4uDqj_w8

Isra and Mi’raj in the Zubdat-al Tawarikh

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Celestial map, signs of the Zodiac and lunar mansions in the Zubdat-al Tawarikh, dedicated to the Ottoman Sultan Murad III in 1583

First and foremost, I’m fascinated that a book on the natural world is prefaced with a painting of how that world is both sustained and came into being. The visual arts and astrology have long been inseparable.  The earliest star-lore was depicted visually in Sumer and far back into the Paleolithic period. The movements of the Heavens has always been of great importance and one picture really can be worth a thousand words when it comes to explaining Cosmologies.

Today, what we call history is not prefaced with a primary reference to the mystical creation. This makes these works most intriguing because they offer us a window into a mostly forgotten, but essential cosmologies. That is because we live in what we think is a linear, largely material reality. Other cultures, including the Turks, believed that time unfolded in spirals.

Most importantly, we no longer live with the concept of divine origin. Traditional Astrology is very much aware of this reality The image contains an enormous amount of information. Most fundamentally, we have circles within circles At the centre is the source. Next, the seven planets and luminaries are shown in their orbits following the Chaldean order. Beyond the orbit of Saturn have the realm of the Fixed Stars and it appears that the artist has chosen to place the zodiac beyond the black circle.

The theme and to some extent the style was probably inspired by an earlier work the Catalan Atlas by Cresques Abraham and his son Jehuda. It’s a fine work that predates Zubdat al Tawarikh by

Cosmographical diagram od Earth personified by an astronomer holding an astrolabe center of the Universe surrounded by concentric circles representing the four elements the seven planets the spheres and their personification - mid 14th C.
The Catalan Atlas. Cosmographical diagram od Earth personified by an astronomer holding an astrolabe at the center of the Universe surrounded by concentric circles representing the four elements the seven planets the spheres and their personification – mid 14th C.

two centuries. The Catalan Atlas is fairly accurate works of geography with astrological, cosmological plates such as the one below. There is a strikingly lovely page showing the signs and zodiacs as well  It will readily be seen that the Atlas lacks the lavish illustrations, the astrological detail and the strongly mystical representation of the natural world, including the heavens, working in harmony.

The seven planets and luminaries are shown in their orbits following the Chaldean order in a spiral. Beyond the orbit of Saturn, we have the realm of the Fixed Stars and it appears that the artist has chosen to place the zodiac beyond the black circle.

What makes this a particularly fine work, is that it includes the Decans in relation to Lunar Phases as well as the twenty-eight Lunar Mansions, with Angels guarding the Four Directions.

Miniature painting of a parade of two riding-gaz veterans from umelia in front of sultanmurat-iii-from-the-surname hmayun 16th century ce
Miniature painting of a parade of two riding-gaz veterans from umelia in front of sultanmurat-iii-from-the-surname hmayun 16th century ce

Miniature painting of a parade of two riding Gazi – Veterans from Rumelia – in front of Sultan Murat III from the Surname i hümayun 16th century CE

Although the style is very much Turkish and Islamic in style, it is entirely recognizable as what has become known as the Ptolemaic Universe, The relationship between this cosmology and the Night Journey of Muhammad will become clear.

Muhamad’s Night Journey is in Sura Al Nisra of the Quran and further embellished in the Hadiths It’s controversial these days. Many modern Muslims consider this to be a literal event that occurred at a particularly time and place.  – The Prophet rides on Buraq to Jerusalem where he ascends to meet the various Prophets from what is now known as the  Dome of the Rock.

Muhammad travels the seven heavens on Buraq
Muhammad travels the seven heavens on Buraq

The mystical version has is that the Prophet rose through levels of consciousness. In either case, there is an ascent of Seven spheres, an essential theme that has repeated over and over again. In Ayat 11 we have the following exhortation “And We have made the night and day two signs, and We erased the sign of the night and made the sign of the day visible that you may seek bounty from your Lord and may know the number of years and the account [of time]. And everything We have set out in detail.”

This and other passages in the Quran support astrology as a guide to the wise. The usual context is in ‘to show the way’ which clearly refers to the use of stars in navigation but also implies other uses, such as choosing the correct time for an event,, medical diagnosis military matters and affairs of State.  If this were not the case, Islam would have had no cause to compose the type of artwork that we see here, or produce some of the finest astrologers in the Middle Ages and beyond.

The exhortations against astrology are most specifically related to attempting to know such things as the time of the last day and the resurrection. This is the prerogative of the Creator. Common fortune telling won’t find any more support in the Quran as it does in the Bible. Indeed, many sects of Christianity regard astrology as forbidden. In much of my work I have tried to show the massive difference in intent, method and applications of divination compared to the disreputable and unwise world of fortune telling.

Portrait of Humayun, posthumously painted c. 1700 He was an avid astrologer.
Portrait of Humayun, posthumously painted c. 1700 He was an avid astrologer.

Imagine for a moment that you visit your physician and she tells you that you have a serious illness and may not have long to live. That physician has just made a prognostication based on medical knowledge. This could be construed as prediction and in fact it is. When a skilled astrologer reads a chart it for many of the same reason a medical professional might be consulted. Questions about physical, spiritual and mental health can and are addressed by competent astrologers.  Likewise, you might be concerned about making a choice between two or more things. The astrologer won’t make the choice for you, but they can offer very valuable information

Likewise, you might be concerned about making a choice between two or more things. The astrologer won’t make the choice for you, but they can offer very valuable information  There is time to seed and a time to reap. One of the greatest uses of astrology are, as far as I’m concerned, is in the medical field. Knowing your humour, the strengths and weakness you have are all sound applications of  the Celestial Science. If you read scripture carefully, you will not find thes4e applications of astrology to be forbidden.

Makhzan al-Asrār by Niẓāmīمخزن الاسرار Folio 3v The Prophet on Burāq
Makhzan al-Asrār by Niẓāmīمخزن الاسرار Folio 3v The Prophet on Burāq

Above, we what is essentially the sane theme found in the previous paintings, but with a a slight twist. This Persian Sufi painting describes the Night Journey of the Prophet. This work is far more complex than first meets the eye. The painting has deteriorated, but we can still see the planets, represented anthropomorphically. The Sun and Moon are represented as disks. occupying the first and fourth sphere, as per the Chaldea order. We can also see the constellations, but they are projected in such as a way that we have the illusion of looking through the spheres. Remember that this is illustrating Muhammad’s mystical Night Journey.

Returning to the Quranic position on astrology, let’s examine a few more quotations. There is a Sura in the Quran known as Buruj, an Arabic word meaning ‘Constellation’ or ‘Zodiac sign’. Surah Buruj is the 85th Surah in the Quran. The starting of the Surah is : “I swear by the sky where there are buruj…” (i.e Allah swears by th sky where are  zodiac signs.)

“I have created buruj  [Zodiac signs] in the sky and decorated them for viewers and I have also protected them from evils…” (Surah Hizr 16)

Prophet Muhammad-Miraj Isra
Prophet Muhammad-Miraj Isra

“How great he is, who has created buruj in the sky and placed the Sun and shining Moon over there…” (Surah Furkan 61 )

In Arabic Astrology, we find that the sign Leo is named ‘Asad Buruj’. ‘Asad’ means a lion thus the Arabic name of Leo, which is represented by a lion, is ‘Asad Buruj’. Similarly, Libra is named, ‘Meejan Buruj’. The Arabic word ‘Meejan’ means a balance.

The emphasis on the creation of constellations, given the context we have, does nothing to indicate that a study of the same is somehow haram.

Finally, we can take a brief survey of some of Islam’s most esteemed astrologer. Most are surprised to find that the poet Omar Khayyam of Khorasan was an accomplished astrologer(1019-1135)  He was so accurate in his predictions that he even understood about his own death. This isn’t exactly the same as knowing the time of his death but points to a deep understanding of the art.  Many will be familiar with Sahl Ibn Bishr, Al Kindi, Ibn Arabi, Al Biruni and others.

However, I think the crown should go to Ibn Sina (980-1037) He was brilliant Muslim scientist who developed Alchemy. He was also very much devoted to astronomy and astrology, but other than his prolific philosophical works his contributions to medicine are immeasurable. His massive pharmacopeia is still in use among medical astrologers and natural healers.

This may seem trivial to some, but we have a great deal at stake worldwide. Literalist Fundamentalism is not compatible with peace and has the effect of numbing the mind. The golden age of Islam did not flourish because of  a stricter adherence to Shariah, as is commonly thought by contemporary Muslims, but because it was a period of openness, serious study of Classical antiquity and a willingness to work with people of divergent faiths and ethnicities.

Some thoughts about malefic and benefic planets

The last Mars / Saturn  conjunction in Sagittarius, on August 24th, 2016, raises some important considerations.

On the same day of the conjunction it happened there was an earthquake in Italy and 240 people were killed.

Here in Brazil the the impeachment trial of President Dilma Rousseff  was initiated by the Senate..

Ordinary people face problems of various kinds, especially those with planets in mutable signs.

In the heavens, most of the planets and luminaries are in Virgo. Virgo is Brazil´s Solar Sign, and the malefics in Sagittarius happen to be on the MC of this country.

Dilma Rousseff, who withdrew from the Presidency, has Mars in Virgo at 4 degrees, the Sun in Sagittarius at 25 degrees, Jupiter and Mercury at 11º and 10º. The malefic conjunction is activating  these points defiantly.

We can imagine that the Senate vote will not be  positive for the president.

Brasil

grande conjunção Marte SaturnoI’m reminded of Steven Birtchfield´s words, when he wrote of the Zodiac as “living signs”

I consider it a very appropriate expression and we can observe that in heavens Sagittarius and all double signs are suffering, and the reflection of this is the situation in earth.The universe is a living organism and if one of its parts suffers, the whole body suffers.

Rubens-Höllensturz

Mundane occurrences depend on each natal chart and on the ruler ship of each planet in the signs.

But what strikes me is that we should keep in mind a reorientation.

The allocation off benefic and malefic planets comes  down to us from the Babylonians. However, there are features that go beyond the benefics bringing good things in life and malefics bringing bad experiences.

If we take a malefic and observe how he exercises his malfeasance, we tend to think that it is so called because of causing harmful things in our world. The real evil characteristic of the planet, however, rests in the fact that he treats other planets badly and such treatment, by synchronicity, reflects in our world.

Indirectly the malefic qualities belonging to Saturn and Mars translates into bad events that occur to humans, but in the first instance is the  war in heavens the responsible factor. The opposite effect is caused by the benefics, which treat well and benefit the other planets.

In a way, the idea that planetary relations should be seen from a heavenly point of view and not from the human point of view should always be remembered.

This is a focus  that we must get used to.

Explaining better we can reach the difference between benefics and malefics not because of a human perspective, but because in the first place, the living planets are suffering,  and this is caused by Saturn and Mars, squaring Virgo, afflicting the Sun and the Moon,( at least in the conjunction chart for Brazil), squaring the Nodes and all the planets in Virgo. The living creatures are suffering because Mars and Saturn are malefics, and their suffering causes tragedies on earth, but the point is to give light on WHY a planet is said to be malefic, and the answer is that it is because he cause war in heavens.

Clélia Romano, DMA     August 2016

 

Mundane Astrology and the Croatian Presidential Elections 2014/15 – Part I

It has been a while since I have written anything. There are many reasons for this but the main reason being I have had to concentrate on health issues. It is remarkable that when our physical being is “in tune” then often our “mental” or “soul” finds the appropriate partner to be more successful and complete. The opposite is also very observable and true, that when the body suffers then often qualities of the soul are diminished. There is a strong symbiotic relationship between the two, i.e. the qualities of the soul[1] and the body. Quite understandably every person is a unique composition where the balances or imbalances are going to have an outcome that may be fallaciously recognised as a general characterisation when it is rather quite specific and personal.

This article is about mundane prediction and delineation; before the fact rather than hindsight astrology we find so prevalent today. I have been told by certain popular and respected astrologers that the mundane techniques of our astrological forefathers, like Abu Ma’shār and Māshā´āllāh, are not relevant today because they delineated events concerning dynasties and kings and the political world is not the same today so those techniques cannot be used today.

This objection is wrong on many points. There are still families, dynasties and religions “ruling” this world. And regardless the political systems, the concepts laid down by these forefathers are still valid, even if their applications may have to vary. For example, when discussing the meanings of the Jupiter/Saturn conjunctions when they shift triplicities, we are told by Abu Ma’shār that they can indicate the rise of a new religion and prophet(s).

[21] In the presence of one of these times that we have defined, one looks at the horoscopes of those times, and the location of the celestial bodies’ in them, and all their natural and accidental conditions <which result> from their essence and from <their relation to> the Sun and the sphere, and one discovers (1) the nature of their indication from the planets which have predominance over the principal positions, and (2) the time of it according to what the indicators point out. Then one looks at the indications of these six principles.

[22] This is divided into three divisions. The first is proper to universal states, like the property of the indicators of great Beginnings indicating universal matters like floods, dynasties, religions, and the like at the time of the conjunction of the two superior <planets> in Aries and their conjunction when they shift from one triplicity to another.[2]

While Professor Dykes was working on his second book of World Astrology, I was in contact with him and we were discussing the “mean conjunctions” and how they were calculated.[3] In comparing our notes and calculations I was made acutely aware of one particular triplicity shift in history. In 1603 there was a shift of the mean conjunctions into the fire signs, starting at 00° Sagittarius 33’ 51”.

That is actually a pretty relevant shift when you consider the theory behind the importance of the shifts of triplicity indicating universal beginnings of important “religions”. This particular era found many brilliant minds building the arguments and philosophical underpinnings of Democracy and what has become, in the words of several historical writers, a word which has acquired “a universally sacred character” and given “the notion of democracy a moral and almost religious content”. In this era were the minds of Francis Bacon (1561-1626), Montesquieu (1689-1755), Voltaire (1694-1766), Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-88), David Hume (1711-76), and Adam Smith (1723-1790). And one, foremost among these “prophets”, was John Locke (1632-1704).

Abu Ma’shār gives in his instructions some interesting information:

“We say that if the conjunction occurs in the fiery triplicity, it indicates power for the eastern people, and that the strongest of their signs is Sagittarius…”

Of course that is very relevant at the shift, which was to Sagittarius, since the political power was in Britain and “eastern people”[4] were to be the colonists.

2.) “As for the time of the appearance of the indications, the fiery triplicity indicates three conjunctions after the return of the conjunction to the sign of the triplicity to which the conjunction shifts;”

But he also adds this qualifier,

“It is possible that the times of the indications are different: according to this scheme, the indications of the shift to the fiery triplicity occur after 9 conjunctions from the time of the shift…”

This is very interesting as the appearance of the indications of this “new religion” would appear in the 9th conjunction after the shift which was to 1782! Quite remarkably, only 7 years later the newly formed American Congress began its duties and the first president took up his position.[5]

These are things with no relevance for today? I hardly think so. Over the past several years I have been using these techniques with regards to particular world events; From the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 to the general elections in Britain in 2011. I have not published everything. Certain predictions in the course of discussions on astrology forums have been documented. I have to make perfectly clear here that at no time have I done this to “make a name” for myself. Our art is supposed to help others, not glorify oneself. This is why I have not published much of my work. This particular post is therefore probably only the second time I have, through a public media, made known this work.

The following prediction and delineation concerning the outcome of the Presidential elections in Croatia was published on the East European Traditional Astrology forum “Astrološki dijalozi”, December 29th 2014 and January 2nd 2015 respectively.

On 29.12.2014 I stated the following:

“Been looking at some charts and contemplating the election in Croatia…. I really know nothing of the politics involved so my opinion is a purely astrological one…. I will be glad to explain how I came to it when I get things written up. My first impressions are that Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović will win this vote. The charts I have been considering are the Aries Ingress, Libra Ingress, Mars/Saturn conjunction and lunation prior to the election as well as the sunrise chart of the Election Day.”

I guess you can call this Part 1 of my judgment concerning the elections in Croatia. I am not trying to be longwinded but I thought it important to explain my judgment[6] and what it is based on. As I understand there have been some who make predictions that are not explained and from what I understand of the conversations their judgments and predictions are quite speculative and perhaps not based in much astrology. I am not here to judge anyone else but to just render my judgment as best I can using the Astrology that I practice. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong and won’t be the first time I have not totally understood what I was seeing.

I will start my judgment with two charts; 1) the chart of the revolution of the year in which the ruler accedes, and 2) the chart of the ascension of the ruler. You will no doubt notice that for the first chart I have chosen to cast the chart of the Ingress for 2010. I have my reasons but the main one is simply because his acceding to power occurs only 1 month before the Ingress and falls just after the pre-ingress lunation (new Moon). Therefore I have deemed the 2010 Ingress more relevant to the length of the rulers rule rather than the Ingress for 2009. This is my judgment call. I could name other astrologers from the past, like Mashā´āllāh, who understood the need to do likewise, so I am in good company on this call.

Figure 1 Croatia_Aries Ingress 2010
Figure 1
Croatia_Aries Ingress 2010

Now Abū Ma’shār would have us use this chart in this way:[7]

“…one looks at the revolution of the world-year in which the ruler accedes, and then one looks at Saturn.”

One might well ask, why Saturn? Why not the Sun? The answer is a very important philosophical cornerstone that is based in something very old and probably coming from the Persians.

“…. Related to the superior planet furthest from the world of generation and corruption, i.e. to Saturn, is the indication for matters of Beginnings…”

Saturn indicated all “lofty” beginnings; a rulership, a kingdom or dynasty, a new religion, etc. You will find this doctrine also in Māshā´āllāh, Saul, Umar and others. In these sources you will find that Saturn signified the current and lawful king.[8]

So what does Abu want us to do with Saturn? In the chart of the Revolution of the Year we find Saturn in the Ascendant. We are to see what domicile it is and who the lord of his domicile is. In this case Saturn is in Libra and Venus is the Lady of the domicile. Both are in cardines so he would have us see how many ascensional degrees there are between Venus and Saturn. In effect directing Venus to Saturn and we are to count 1 year for every 30°. I have already done the calculations and there are 160 ascensional degrees between them and dividing this by 30 we find that it is 5 years.

Now the other chart in this process of discovering the length of a rulers rule is to look at the actual chart of the rulers acceding to power. In this case the ruler assumed his rulership on the 18th of February 2010 and I have included this chart as well.

Figure 2 Croatia_Josipovic accedes 2010
Figure 2
Croatia_Josipovic accedes 2010

Now Abu would have us do something a little different in this chart, but no less very profound and significant.

“As for <discovering> the measurement of their periods from their accession, it is found from the distance between Mars and its lord…”

Why Mars? Again this is based in a philosophical cornerstone of these ancients which is stated as follows,

“Related to the third of these planets in order, i.e. to Mars, is the indication for wars, strifes, and the like, being, as it were, the decline to the final ends of things, because the ends of things indicate destruction of their orderly arrangements after their perfection, and corruption of their regularity.”

Mars signified the end of things. So we were to do with Mars just as we did with Saturn, i.e. look at the domicile it is in and who its lord is. In the ascensional chart we find Mars in Leo and the Sun conjunct the cardine of the MC in Aquarius. And in the same way we judged from Saturn and its beginning so judge we here of its end with Mars and count the ascensional degrees between Mars and the Sun and give 30° to every year. There are 153 ascensional degrees between the Sun and Mars which once again is 5 years.

The last testimony he suggests is to direct the Midheaven, as we would do in a nativity, to a malefic that would cut off the years of his rule. We are to judge one month for every degree. The Midheaven will come to the square of Mars in 59°. Once again we end up with 5 years because 59 divided by 12 is just shy of the 5 years (5×12=60).

When reading up on Croatia’s government and election process I was surprised to find that the term of President is 5 years! So I was rather convinced that he[9] will only serve one term.

This second part in my notes is about the Croatian election based on the Revolution of the World-year 2014.

Figure 3 Croatia_Aries ingress 2014
Figure 3
Croatia_Aries ingress 2014

I notice in the revolution of the year (see Figure 3) that the Ascendant and Midheaven are close to changing signs and the signs are common (mutable). We have 28° Virgo 51’ marking the ascendant and 28° Gemini 37’ marking the Midheaven. The Sun is also setting, handing over his dominion to the Moon. I also note that the Midheaven[10] moves into the Moons domicile[11]. Themes are important to note. In this case I am noting the theme of endings and change. The Lord of the year is Mercury because of his testimony in the ascendant and his testimony as the other luminary’s[12] term lord and he is in a strong place being the 7th by counting.[13]

Since Mercury is also the significator of the king[14] then the state of the king is because of the state of the people.[15] This is something important to understand for the year and further readings of charts, i.e. how the fate of the king is bound to the fate of the people.

We should note the zodiacal state of Mercury. Mercury is the only planet that has one sign as both its detriment and fall. The sign of Pisces as Mercury’s detriment represents a threat to the people’s (and therefore the king’s) being and operative ability. It signifies very clearly the peoples (especially the common people) inability to gain through livelihood, their poorness and their being brought low. Its descension (fall) indicates their sorrow, prison, and distress; it is the place of their worthlessness relative to their own interests; they hate their situation, and are restricted. This state of being is particularly intense in this year because Mercury is oriental, direct and free of the Sun. By division Mercury is cadent and being carried away from the angle, however it is very interesting that Mercury has a strong helper from among the cabinet of the ruler (11th house/sign). Mercury is applying[16] to Jupiter in its exaltation and by division in the strength of the Midheaven and the 11th by counting. Because Jupiter will receive Mercury from a strong place, it will lift Mercury from its detriment and depression.

Jupiter I would deem is a very powerful “noble” in some position of the current government. Jupiter being occidental in a feminine sign leads me to believe this is a powerful woman.

The state of the “commoners” is also underlined by the Moons conjunction with a retrograde Saturn in the sign of her descension, Scorpio!

Another indication of the people’s bad situation can be seen by Mars in its detriment in the 2nd and destroying the fruits of the people’s livelihoods while the coffers of government are overflowing.[17] This is all setting the stage for the events of the rest of the year.

[1] Ptolemy attributed the rational mind to Mercury and irrational mind to the Moon.

[2] Part I, Chapter 1 of The Book of Religions and Dynasties (On the Great Conjunctions), Ed. and Trans. Keiji Yamamoto, Charles Burnett, Volume 1: The Arabic Original (Leiden: Brill, 2000)

[3] This is an entirely other subject which I cannot go into here. But Professor Dykes goes into very good detail in his World Astrology II. To understand these principles I highly recommend this book. It is well worth the investment if you are interested in mundane astrology.

[4] On the eastern seaboard of what would become the United States, the four distinct British regions were: New England, the Middle Colonies, the Chesapeake Bay Colonies (Upper South) and the Lower South.

[5] The First United States Congress, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives, first officially convened on March 4, 1789.

[6] My “judgement” was that I predicted, contrary to popular opinion, that Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović would be elected the country’s first woman president.

[7] Chapter 5 in Part II of Kitāb al-milal wa-d-duwal – The Book of Religions and Dynasties

[8] Also I strongly recommend reading Ben Dykes introduction in his newest translation contribution, Astrology of the World II.

[9] I mean Josipovic, the current Croatian President.

[10] The Midheaven is the place of the sun’s strength and power which is also a masculine sign, Gemini.

[11] Cancer is a feminine sign and house of the “feminine” luminary.

[12] I.e. the Moon

[13] Please note I am using whole sign houses. The term, “by counting” was used by the Medieval astrologers to indicate they were using whole signs and “by division”, indicating mundane divisions of the quadrants.

[14] I chose the ruler of the 10th over the Sun because Mercury is in a better “place”, the 7th and 10th from the 10th, rather than the Sun falling in the 8th place.

[15]And if you knew this in a revolution of years (that the Lord of the Year was the same as the significator of the King), know even the significator of the king from the Lord of the Year, and know his condition from the condition of the rustics.” Cf. Mashā’āllāh’s, “Revolutions of the years of the World” Chapter 19

[16] It is applying to but not yet joined to Jupiter, so technically Mercury is not yet pushing his authority to Jupiter. However I note that it will.

[17] This judgement is based on the 11th being the treasury of the government with Jupiter there and testified to by the Sun which is in its exaltation Aries and in the 8th of taxation and debt which opposes the peoples resources, the 2nd.

The Mysteries in Hellenistic astrology

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The Mysteries in Hellenistic astrology

the original article and some 2014 review

Clelia Romano, DMA Copyright 2007-2014

This article was inspired by the lectures presented by Robert
Schmidt during the Vll Astrological Conclave in Cumberland, July 2007.

Robert Schmidt together with Robert Hand and Robert Zoller created the memorable
project Hindsight. In the beginning of 1990 they began the translation of
Greek and Latin astrological sources to English. The translation was an essential
tool in order that the current astrologers could recover and recall the great
Art and the nobility of the ancient astrology.

It’s impossible to discuss Hellenistic Astrology disregarding some important
philosophical concepts. The Greeks were really great philosophers, and they
had a quite complex insight on the cosmos and human existence.

 Sometimes it’s difficult to understand their way of thinking, but if
we are able to leave aside the analytic mind just like we did when we relinquished
the Cartesian point of view in order to become astrologers, believing that
we can find more in the occult than in the cold way of measuring things, we
will be able to envision the true meaning of the Greek thinking.

We will see some quite unusual and at times weird concepts: there are many
clues in Hellenistic astrology devised to force you into thinking. Hence,
be prepared for unsettling ideas.

Some of them, according to Robert Schmidt´s information, are related
to esoteric aspects that are being revealed through recently discovered ancient
Tablets containing new ways of dealing with the meaning of houses. One of
these Tablets ends with the following words:

“He, Trasyllus, describes how Trimegistus said”

                            The Mystery of the Houses

The houses are divided in angular houses, pos ascensional and and cadents from
the angle. The first ones are called “pivots” by the Greeks and
they work like hinges around which everything revolves.

The post ascentional houses have the function of supporting the house before
they are those through which you enter a cadent house. The cadent house, a house
between worlds, on the other hand has the function of destroying the previous
house, and is like a bridge to the next one.

From where the division of houses came from? The Greeks were the first to describe
the Hõroskopos, the exact point of the Ascendant and this happened in
the second century BC when Hypsicles of Alexandria discovered the mathematical
method for calculating it. At this time appeared the first chart with the respective
horoskopo.

Vettius Valens, in his Anthology written in the 2nd century AC, used whole signs
and also topic division based in Porphyry.

The Hõroskopo is the point from where we depart to describe the other
houses. For the Greeks, however, any point can be used as Hõroskopos.
The chart can depart from a LOT, for example, (the Fortune Lot , the Spirit
Lot, the Eros Lot, etc ) or even any other house can became a Hõroskopos,
a point of departure, the first house to analyze the others under a specific
subject. For example, if the issue is a financial problem, we can depart from
the Lot of Fortune or from the Second House, or use the system of derivative
houses.

The detailed description of this virtuosity in the Hellenist astrology is well
described in the introduction by Robert Hand to the Book ll of Vettius Valens
Anthology

In spite of the determination of the exact position of the Hõroskopos,
the Greeks always used whole signs instead of dynamic houses, even if we have
testimonies of the topic division as well.

What means to use the whole sign systm of houses? Let’s assume the Ascendant
to be at 22º of Cancer. The first house initiates in the beginning of Cancer
and goes as far as its last degree. A planet at 29º of Cancer would be
considered in the first house.

But we haven’t discussed any mysteries yet…so far we just described
some astrological Hellenist statements.

We know the terrestrial houses are 12 and that they have a meaning, according
to their aspects relative to the Ascendant.

The Eight topic houses system coexisted with the current 12 houses system at
that time.

The Greeks had two words for life:

“Zoo”: the physical existence and “Bios”, the life you
live, the livelihood.

And you live your life in Places that the Greeks named Topos or Houses as we
name them nowadays.

The “Hõroskopos ” is the first house and represents “Zoo”,
the physical life. This life is supported by the activity of the Second House.
The issue of the Second House is a Bios´s issue.

Now we will see the explanation of life in a different way.

According to the new material being translated, the life that we live is shared
by the 12th, the 10th and the 8th houses.

This is really a mystery and a weird one, because what kind of life you can
live in the 8th house, the place of death if your life is restricted to being
alive?

In the 10th house, the statement is perfectly understandable because in the
10th is where you live and act without restriction your adulthood.

And the 12th house, a cadent house, “apoclima”, between worlds?!
You are not alive yet, this is prior to our existence! How can we understand
such a weird statement?

I invite you to empty your mind and listen carefully:

The 12th house has a meaning of preparation: at the same time it’s the
apoclima, a decline, a turn backwards from the first, but it is the house where
you choose your Bios, where you’re not living your life, but choosing
the one that you will have to live.

Greek astrology was not reincarnationist but used a lot of Plato’s theory,
and Plato believed in reincarnation.

According to this theory, after the 12th we have the birth of the body, the
First House.

As soon as we live the three houses after the 12th and go directly to the end of
the Second House, which supports the First, we find the abyss of the Third House.
It is an initiation and we have to jump over it. At this moment we don’t
go to the Third, but to the 9th house: it’s the death of our childhood:
the 9th is the 8th of the Second.

The first return of Saturn occurs at this time and it represent the good-bye
to the first youth, in order to enter the adulthood. This event occurs at about
thirty years of age: we reach our maturity.

In the 9th, a cadent house, we prepare for our prime, we get subsidies, guides
and learning to achieve our acts in life. We reach the 10th house , the Praxis,
prepared to act in the public life, having children included, matter of the
10th for the Greeks.

The 11th house is the patronage, the friends and institutions that support our
public life and position.

Additional 30 years are spent in the 9th, 10th and 11th houses. It is the period
between the 30 and 60 years of age.

Once you lived the 11th house it is time for your second initiation: -you’ll
have to jump to the 6th House, the illnesses of the body, which will prepare
you for death, which will happen in the 7th House. Indeed, the setting place
makes opposition to the Ascendant.

The next thirty years of the native life will revolve around this new theme:
the destruction of life.

Back to our initial theme: what kind of activity can we have in the 8th house,
also called “lethargy” and when our body is supposed to be dead?

In this house we have to drink the water of forgetfulness, to forget the life
we lived and our Bios. This is the activity of the 8th: to forget.

So, the 12th House is a preparation for the Bios. We get a Zoo, a body, and
we begin to live our life going straight to the end of the Second House, where
our first thirty years of life are spent.

After this rite of passage that occurs -not by coincidence at the same time
we have the first Saturn´s return -there is a jump from youth to adulthood,
where we will live the next thirty years of our life, in the prime of our adulthood
and living the good houses, the 9th, 10th and 11th. Next, we have the second
Saturn’s return, another jump, this time to a worse place, the illness
of the 6th House which will prepare us for death.

Let’s suppose that someone lived more than 90 years. This person would
jump to the 8th of the 8th: i.e. from the 8th house to the Third (a between-worlds
house), cadent, preparing for the 4th, the Hades, and after this to the 5th,
the fame after death.

In the Hellenistic texts, action is Praxis, and Praxis is matter of the 10th
house, but also of the Third, because Praxis means practice but also means to
transverse spaces and to travel, matters of the Third: the travel to Hades.

From another side, siblings are matter of the Third, but the ruler of the Third,
Mercury, is the same ruler of the 12th in the Thema Mundi [iii], Mercury, means
that brothers and sisters are those who came for the same purposes and with
the same agenda. Our brothers are those who came from the same symbolical womb.

The Third House, between worlds in the Thema Mundi, is represented by the double
sign of Virgo [ii], disposed by Mercury, who is Psycho pomp.

What does the soul have to do in the Third house? It´s suppose to travel
to the underworld, to the Hades.

The 4th house is Nemesis’ house, the reward, the justice, the place where
the soul will be weighed. The Fourth House has its own Lot, the Lot of Nemesis
or Justice, based on the relationship between the Lot of Fortune and Saturn.

Nemesis becomes a contributing cause of fate coming from underground sources.

In the underworld´s house the soul will be weighed and evaluated until
it reaches the 5th house and again, jump to the 12th, where a new beginning
will be prepared.

In the 12th House, after the soul passes by the place of the Necessity it is
ready to live another life and another Bios. Hermes said that the Bios was supported
by the second house and for the Praxis, i.e. the 10th House, but besides this,
for the Third House that is a place of travel and dreams.

The Greeks had a very consistent way of seeing the houses.

We notice that they went clockwise and counterclockwise, and the use of derivative
houses was a rule. Besides this, each house could be used as the “horoskopus”
for the matter it represented.

So, if the Fourth House has to do with Hades, the place where the soul is weighed,
it has to do with both parents as well, and the First House is the 10th of the
Fourth: we are the result of our parent’s action. A house has many meanings,
as we can see, depending on its relation of the other houses.

In the Thema Mundi, our next topic, we will see that the Fourth House has to
do with Saturn and Nemesis, because the Fourth House is Libra in the Thema Mundi,
where Saturn exalts.

The 5th house is the posthumous fame, good or bad, and represents what will
happen to our body or ashes after death. At the same time, the 5th house has
to do with the legacy from the parents.

The meaning of the houses is mixed and it is important to consider everything
that was said, not discarding the news just because they are news. The ideas
are very consistent, and for sure they demanded a lot of dedication from the
ancients sages of Greece ,trying to figure out the human destiny facing the
large cycles and initiations of the life that ends with death, at least regarding
to our Zoo and present by Bios.

 

                                        The Thema Mundi

450px-Thema_Mundi_svg

Now we will take a first tour of the underlying philosophy in the Hellenistic
astrology. We went through a place where the meaning of the houses is virtual,
and each of them can represent the most varied kind of things, including the
journey of the soul to the earth and to the underworld.

To better explain the philosophical issue and the underlying Mystery of the
astrological houses, we will use the Thema Mundi, a hypothetical chart on the
birth of the world.

Such a chart is very ancient and is certainly used before the Christian Era.  Pingree says  in “Essays on Islamic Philosophy and Science”ed. G.F. Hourani that Gayomard, the first persian man had the Ascendent on 19th of Cancer. The myth of creation is not the same as the neoplatonic , but Cancer as the birth of the world seems to be common.  Keyumars, the first man, is named Gayomard in the sacred Zoroastrian text, the Avesta ( 6the century BC).

The Greeks had contact with astrology as it was practiced by Babylonians and Egyptians and they used the Thema Mundi to construct their own philosophical and astrological understanding,

As we can see the Thema has the rising sign in Cancer and the MC in Aries,
which seems coherent, since Cancer is the universal symbol of generation. The
choice was not random. In the origins of the Persian civilization, astronomers
realized that in the sky in Cancer´s place, instead of constellations
and stars there was a vast black hole, without stars. For some scholars, the
round and big shape of this hole resembled a large crab or a turtle, from which
the idea of the Crab would come. Also the word “to cut” in Arcadian
has some similarity to crab, and “cut” should mean the division
between two sides of the sky, coinciding with the summer solstice in Cancer
divind the year.

The MC in Aries is quite appropriate, also, as the MC is where we develop our
actions to be seen in the world. The 7th House, that has the signification of
Death for opposing to the Ascendant, shows the sign of Capricorn and the IC
, Hades or underworld, is represented by Libra.

The Greeks explained the exaltations of the planets through geometrical drawings.
The trigons and hexagons drawn by the houses regarding the Rising Sign of the
Thema Mundi were regions where planets had their exaltations. Likewise, the
houses considered good for the Zoo had benefic planets in exaltation.

So, the 9th, the 10th and the 11th Houses are considered good places because
they “look” so to the horoskopus.

In the Rising Sign of the Thema Mundi, Cancer, Jupiter, the most benefic planet
has exaltation. In the 9th in the Thema Mundi, where is the sign of Fishes,
which makes a trigon to the horoskopos happens the exaltation of Venus, the
second benefic.

The Fifth House, in the Thema Mundi, is Scorpio and it has no planet in exaltation
in this sign. Though it makes a trigon with the Horoskopo, Scorpio is the fall
of the Moon, ruler of the Rising Sign in the Thema Mundi. Nothing can have exaltation
in the fall of the “horoskopo”´s ruler, it was said.

The two planets that exalt in Pisces and Cancer have to do with the Zoo, the
maintenance of life.

The 10th house is also beneficial to the Ascendant because it is a place where
the Bios works in the world and completes itself: in the Thema Mundi, we have
the sign of Aries, where the Sun exalts linking the action with visibility and
fame.

If the Sun exalts in the 10th, the other luminary, the Moon, exalts in the 11th,
making a hexagon with the Ascendant. In the Thema Mundi we have the Sign of
Taurus, giving support to the 10th house and making a sextile with the ASC.

In order of importance, after the first “pivot”, i.e. after the First
House, we have the 10th house and after the Seventh, Finally we have the 4th
House.

The 7th house is an important house since it is in a “pivot”, but
it is not good for the native. As a matter of fact, it makes an opposition to
the native´s life, represented by the horoskos and because of this, Mars
has his exaltation there, in the sign of Capricorn of the Thema Mundi: it is
the house from where injury comes.

The 7th house, however, even being a not good house for life is not as bad as
the 4th House, the Hades, the worse of the “pivot” houses, so the
exaltation of the biggest malefic, Saturn, is in the 4th of the Thema Mundi,
Libra, where “Bios” and Zoo are still destroyed. Saturn and Libra
weigh the souls in the house of Nemesis, the distribution of the justice.

To Mercury is given the exaltation in Virgo, the Third House, since it’s
a house that makes a sextile with the ASC (using the hexagonal figure)

The third house is the least bad of the cadent houses, and is named the Goddes´s
house.

The 9th is the best of the cadent houses, named the House of God.

With these considerations we hope to have given a small idea of the astrological
Greek philosophy. There are more articles to come up on this subject.

                                            xxxxxxxx

                                                The Cadent Houses and
the Thema Mundi as Inexhaustible Source 
of Astrological Knowledge

                                                 Clélia Romano,DMA  copyright 2014

There are articles not worthing to review . Even their eventual failures must
remain , otherwise we can delete some that was written when our memory was fresh
with astrological immersion in some important phase of our life . This is the
case, just now.

However it is important add further clarification that occurs after meditation
on certain topics and our own astrological maturity .

One of the things I could not help to clarify is how much of egyptien philosophy
in embedded on all the abpve explanation: we can´t forg that the sp called
Greek astrology was praticed in Egypt even if transmitted in Greek language.

The egyptien were much more interested in the soul and its destiny after life
than in encarnation, as Nick Campion made clear in the workshop that he gave
in Rio de Janeiro in 2011.

Traditional astrologers as Chris Brennan and Benjamin Dykes have offered a good
hypothesis explaining the position of the planets in the Thema Mundi in the
very house where they have exaltation.

My goal here is only to cover certain gaps relating especially to the cadent
houses , which are difficult to understand especially why they are ruled by
certain planets .

The first houses in each quarter of the chart are called ” pivots ”
or points that act as key points of life .

The houses hereinafter called post- ascensional houses have the function of
giving support to the previous ones. The following are called the cadent houses
or between worlds , and their function is to serve as a bridge to the next house
, the next pivot.

In this sense we can say that the Twelve House is a house where we choose our
incarnate life , where we choose our ” bios” .

Notice that both the 12 House and the 3rd House are ruled by Mercury. For this
reason they have important similarities . At first, Mercury forms a bridge between
the missing and the existing bios, ” chooses ” next life that will
have to be lived and this is quite near in its meaning of a thinking planet.

Mercury is also a psychopomp planet, mediating between what is above and what
is below.

Thus , in the third house , it also makes his role , as it was rumored that
the third house was related to travel and dreams and also to the brethren, children
of the same womb , the symbolic womb represented by the Twelve House .

But we can´t wonder why the 6th House, a house of diseases , has Jupiter
as ruler , just as the 9th : apparently this is not consistent with the maleficient
sense of the house .

My idea is the following: the 6th House is the 9th house from the 10th, which
means praxis, everything that we do. In this case , Jupiter , wisdom , prepares
to face the 7th House, which is the 10th House from the 10th. It is not a coincidence
that the 6th House is ruled by the same lord of the 9th House in Thema Mundi.
This may well be related to the fact that Jupiter represents the wise actions
necessary to accomplish our partnership.

Moreover and more relevant, is the fact that the 7th House is a dangerous one,
being ruled in the Thema Mundi by the malefic Saturn and having the lesser malefic
in exaltation there. Saturn rules also the 8th House , which is a house giving
its support to the 7th, the enemy of life, in other words, representing death.
So what kills is the 7th House and the the 8th House is death already happened
.

It seems to me that in the sixth house we need to prepare ourselves spiritually
for death. First , we get sick , we learn that our life and health is a miracle
, we prepare well or not so well , developing acceptance or another way to look
wisely to what is or was the course of our life and its end, waiting for us
.

It needs wisdom to make a good use of the 6th house! This is my explanation
on why Jupiter has rulership of the 6th House on the Thema Mundi .

The End

The Days of the Week and Japanese Kanji

Classical Astrologers hold the view that the Enlightenment brought about a profound shift in sensibility that was detrimental to the craft of astrology.  While many of us would accept this as a matter of course, we have been educated within the matrix of post-Enlightenment thought.  There are two assumptions that seem to be particularly difficult to overcome: 1) that the test of astrology is whether it “works”, or more specifically, that we can demonstrate that the movements of the planetary bodies have a demonstrable effect on our material existence; and 2) that astrology was “discovered” by Ancient scientists through observation of the material world as Modern scientists “discover” natural phenomena.

The second assumption must fall to the wayside when we consider the planetary rulerships for the days of the week.  Planetary Lords and Ladies of the Day are used in many different contexts in Classical Astrology, such as horary and electional work, and in calculations such as the Almuten Figuris.  Despite this, even though there is arguably a physical basis to a seven-day week (seven-days being roughly the quarter cycle of the Moon), I can not see that there is any plausible argument for a purely physical basis for the planetary rulerships of the specific days.

There is a discernible pattern in the assignment of rulerships to the days of the week, starting with the Sun and the Moon, and moving outward on an alternating basis from each of these luminaries.

Sunday                                       Monday (Moon)

Tuesday (Mars)                          Wednesday (Mercury)

Thursday (Jupiter)                      Friday (Venus)

Saturday (Saturn)

To be honest, I can only speculate on the reason for this pattern; however, it is very likely to be a spiritual and metaphysical reason, and not a physical one.  Interestingly, during the Enlightenment, in the West, there there were Protestants, such as the Puritans and the Quakers, who stripped the days of the week of their planetary correspondences to remove the “pagan” influences.  Quakers today still use numbered days, such as First Day and Second Day.

The planetary correspondences for the days of the week seem to transcend cultures.  One finds the same associations for the day of the week in Eastern religion and philosophy as in the West.

Recently, I have been immersed in the study of the Japanese language.  Japanese has three different sets of characters for writing.  There are two phonetically based “alphabets,” hiragana and katakana.  In addition, there is a third set, kanji, which are symbolic characters derived from Chinese writing.  Japanese school children are expected to learn around 2,000 different kanji by the time they graduate high school.  Among the earliest kanji learned by Japanese school children are the ones for the days of the week.

In Japanese, the days of the week are named for the Sun and the Moon, and the five Eastern elements.  The Eastern elements are not the same as the Western system of material elements, but instead directly correspond to the five non-luminary planetary principles.

kanji for week
kanji for day of the week

The kanji for each day of the week is made up of three characters.  The ending character is 日, which is the kanji for both the Sun and for day.  This is very similar to the Western solar glyph, except in this writing system, the glyphs are squared off.  The middle character is quite fascinating.  It is 曜.  As the reader can see, the kanji for Sun is included as a radical in this kanji to the left.  According to Essential Kanji, by P.G. O’Neill, the English name for the radical at the bottom is “small bird,” and the English name for doubled radical above it is “wing.”  There is another kanji that also contains the “small bird” with 2 “wings” on top.  This kanji is 躍, yaku, odo, which has a meaning of leap or jump, which includes the radical for “foot” instead of the radical for the Sun.  It seems that one could interpret the kanji for day of the week as something similar to “the flight of the Sun.”

The first character in the kanji for each day of the week is the kanji for the luminary or Eastern element for that day.  In Japanese, Sunday (the Sun’s Day) is nichiyoubi, or 日曜日.  As the reader can see, the character for the Sun is the first character in this kanji.

Monday (the Moon’s Day) is getsuyoubi, or 月曜日.  The kanji for the Moon looks a bit like the Sun on legs, which fits well with the light of the Moon being the reflection of Solar Light.  Astrologers are well aware of the Moon as the governess of the most intimate details of our physical existence.

Tuesday (Mars’ Day) is kayoubi or 火曜日 (Fire Day).  In the Eastern system, fire has a direct correlation to the Martial principle.  The kanji for fire contains the radical 人 in the center, which is also the kanji for hito, person, and nin, the counter for people.  There is a mark on either side of the person.  The Martial principle is closely associated with the duality of manifestation and choice and conflict.  Mars is also closely associated with will and Free Will, and is the first planet whose orbit is independent of the Sun’s.  See also Kanji Symbols-Fire, Movement, and Humanity

CaduceusWednesday (Mercury’s Day) is suiyoubi or 水曜日(Water Day).  In the Eastern system, water has a direct correlation to Mercurial principle.  This correlation may seem a bit less obvious than the association of Fire with the Martial principle; however, it does make sense upon further reflection.  Metaphysically, water is the most malleable of the elements, and is considered the “all possibility.”  There is an interesting similarity between the Hermetic symbol of the Caduceus and the kanji 水.  Also, the kanji for the metal mercury, suigin, is 水銀, which is literally, “water silver.”

Thursday (Jupiter’s Day) is mokuyoubi or 木曜日 (Wood Day).  Wood is associated with the Jovial principle.  The character at the beginning is 木, which is the kanji for tree.  As an aside, one of my favorite words in Japanese also contains the radical for tree in it.  The word is komaru or 困る.  The word is does not have a precise English translation, but it means being stuck, confused, or unable to move or proceed.  The kanji has a tree in a box, unable to grow.  In a sense, when the Jovial principle is blocked, we often become komaru.

Friday (Venus’ Day) is kinyoubi or 金曜日(Gold Day).  Gold, or Metal, is associated with the Venusian principle.  The first character in the kanji, 金, is the same as the kanji for kane,  or money.  The Venusian association with material wealth, prosperity, and money is a strong one.  Sri Lakshmi, of the Vedic tradition is strongly associated with both material wealth and the Venusian principle.

Lastly, Saturday (Saturn’s Day) is doyoubi or 土曜日 (Earth Day).  Earth is the Eastern element associated with the Saturnine principle.  In the kanji for Earth, 土, the cross of matter is firmly planted on the ground.  This symbol is strikingly similar to the glyph for Saturn, with the cross of matter on top of the lunar soul.  Also of interest is that the kanji for the number ten 十 is also the cross of matter.

I am still very much a novice in the study of Japanese.  There are calligraphers and sages of great wisdom that devote their lives to the study of the mysteries of kanji.  Yet, it seems there is profound metaphysical wisdom even in the very basic kanji learned by Japanese elementary school children, as can be seen in the kanji for the days of the week.

****Addendum

I just had a conversation with my Japanese Sensei (“Teacher”), and it seems that the names for the planets are the same as the Eastern elements and the days of the week, so:

Mercury is suisei, or 水星 (“Water Star”)

Venus is kinsei, or 金星 (“Gold Star”)

Mars is kasei, or 火星 (“Fire Star”)

Jupiter is mokusei, or 木星 (“Wood Star”)

Saturn is dosei, or 土星 (“Earth Star”)