The esoteric symbols of the planets describe the unfolding journey of consciousness: the sojourn into matter and the quest of the soul to navigate and master life before returning to the light from which it came.
Before we explore the journey, it is first necessary to become acquainted with a key premise from Sacred Geometry:
The foundations of the planet's shapes, namely the cross, the circle and the crescent, represent the three realms of consciousness:
With the symbol for the Sun we find a dot at the centre of a circle.
The Sun sits at the centre of the Solar system, with all the other planets revolving around it. Symbolically, we find our central field of consciousness, our ego, at the centre of our conscious identity and central to the well functioning of all the other facets of our psyche (planets). Psychologically, the Sun acts much like the hub of a wheel; a point of integration where conflicting sides of our own nature come together and integrate before manifesting externally as 'personality'.
Symbolically the dot within the circle represents the consciousness of man within the realm of universal spirit:- a small and yet important part of the whole. This also carries the implication of the 'self' being a smaller relative of the 'big one' - and that we too can grow and evolve to become at-one with the great and supreme universal consciousness from which everything flows. We are actively involved in the creative process of our own development - and our success, failure, speed or tardiness is purely in our hands. If the Sun is the Father of life in our solar system, then we are the Father of our spiritual progress and circumstances.
With the symbol for the Moon we find two crescents of the Soul together; one reflecting the other.
Whereas the symbol for the Sun shows our task to be to grow in the light of pure spirit and develop in consciousness, the symbol for the Moon shows that we already reflect the nature of pure spirit - unconsciously.
Likewise, when we are born we reflect our early immediate environment. Fox cubs make little dens, Lion cups drag a piece of carcass along the floor. Mum says, 'don't bloody swear', so we think, 'Right. Got it ! I won't bloody swear'. Mum says, as she takes a deep drag, 'Don't smoke' - so we say to ourselves, 'Right. Got it ! I won't smoke', as we reach for our second cigarette.
As a baby we absorb the atmospheres and circumstances around us into our unconscious notion of what 'home' is like. Later on in adult life we will unconsciously make decisions that resonate and reflect these early circumstances and experiences because this part of our psyche will then be able to communicate (through a sensation called 'familiarity') 'It's OK, the world is alright and normal after all …… and it feels like home'.
Wherever you find the Moon in the chart we are apt to unconsciously reflect what we find around us.
In a general sense, the astrological Moon represents:
- The early home environment.
- The relationship with your mother .
- The female archetype; a psychological template.
- Unconscious programming.
- Emotional needs.
- Vulnerability and caring.
- Talents that come naturally, developed from an early age.
With the symbol for the Mercury we find the crescent of the soul elevated above the circle of the spirit, which is turn, elevated above the cross of matter. Within the symbol of Mercury we find the consciousness of Man, his Soul / Psyche, elevated and raised over the realm of spirit, as well as that of matter.
Here, the Soul evolves through developing a clear channel through which the sensory impressions from the physical world can be passed up to spirit, and for the enlightenment of the spiritual world to pass down through the neurological channels and radiate out into the world of matter. The purpose task here is for the channel to become clear, to be free from limiting emotional and psychological filters of expectation and selective perception.
When the focus of our awareness is predominantly Mercurial, our mind tends to dissociate from feelings (the cross of matter) and intuition (the circle of the spirit) and the world is perceived through our personal model of life. We communicate our personal vision of reality to both the physical and spiritual world around us. In this sense, all of our thoughts are wishful prayers and all of our private thoughts are displayed through our body language and the aura. To communicate means to share a communal mind, and thoughts shared throughout the community are more harmonious when perceived through the filters of truth and reality.
In a general sense, the astrological Mercury represents:
- The immediate environment.
- The central nervous sytem .
- The development of language and absract thought.
- Communication style: expression and reception.
- Peer group dynamics.
- Learning style and expereinces in early education.
- Subjects of interest.
With the symbol for Venus we find the cross of matter attached to the circle of the spirit. The symbol of Venus represents a pre-conscious urge, an instinct to grow and evolve by absorbing the physical world into ourselves and into the spirit of who we are.
Here we blend with life completely and grow from the absorption of our experiences. The Soul nourishes it's growth by partaking of life's food; nutrition, emotions, objects, events and memories are bought into the system and retained as they are added, like building blocks, to a body of living experience. Emotions are absorbed in the same manner as both essential nutrients and toxins that must be flushed from the system if a healthy equilibrium is to be maintained. The spirit being fed directly from the realm of matter does not always have the ability to discriminate, as the absence of the soul/psyche, the cross of matter, can attest.
With this symbol spirit descends and takes form. Through the beauty and harmony of the love that resides at the inner most heart of human nature it is possible for humanity to build an enduring peace, based on justice, fairness and equality for all.
In a general sense, the astrological Venus represents:
- The development of the self-image
- Relationship to the images of other people.
- Unconcious template for relating closely with others.
- Relationship patterns.
- Innate sense of self worth.
- Desires and relationship to the material world.
- Wealth and ways obtaining money.
With the symbol for Mars we find that while the cross of matter is attached to the circle of the spirit it is being actively 'flung' further out and away, like an arrow, and is indicating growth through movement.
Here, the growth and evolution of the Soul comes with an automatic, pre-conscious reflex of movement, of action, of doing; before thinking (Mercury), or feeling (Moon). This is like an impulse drive that bursts out of our inner being and into the external world through our actions. Mars is like an athlete of the psyche, moving through time and space in the most efficient and expedient manner of its circumstances, like a hunter looking for more Soul food - experiences. This impulse to self-expression has no hidden agenda or underlying purpose, in it's essence it simply 'just-is'. This pure desire to simply express the truth of the self in each and every moment is modified and coloured by the Sign, House and Aspects Mars finds itself in.
Through the symbol of Mars we encounter a pre-conscious need for the self to reach out into life and grow and overcome all obstacles that stand in the way of gathering the Soul food of evolution. Like a raging fire we burst into like and instinctively deal with the 'here and now' of our current reality, driven to express our personal view of the truth ... Now !
In a general sense, the astrological Mars represents:
- The manner of self expression.
- Speed and the need to take affirmative action.
- Tendencies for suppression or depression.
- Impulsive behaviours.
- Outbusts and the quality of temper.
- Relationship to assertion or agression.
- Danger, violence and warfare
With the symbol for Jupiter we find the crescent of the Soul poised at the beginning of the journey through time along the cross of matter. The symbol of Jupiter represents our awareness of our orientation, direction and future. The symbol of Jupiter represents the awareness of the bigger picture into which we, and everything, fits.
Here the Soul (psyche) has foreknowledge of the journey ahead, and therefore, has the experience of optimism. Knowing that one is about to undertake a journey, and to have awareness of what is in store, means some of our attention can be diverted away from the immediate here-and-now and we can wander a little … or a lot.
Leaping into the cauldron of life with Jupiter is very different to rushing in with Mars. With Mars we are hunting to satisfy a hunger, with Jupiter we a travelling to explore and expand our knowledge and awareness. This will take some time and an inquisitive heart bursting with the spirit of adventure. This will take us up hill and down dale, through thick and thin and off to as many lands, or as many worlds as we can find to explore. We can do this because we know what we will find along the way; with Jupiter we can guarantee we will always find moments of life's adventure leading to the beginning of the next adventure; going home, and that's all we need to know. It is what we find in every book, philosophy, career, theory, valley, city, and village … all roads lead home.
In a general sense, the astrological Jupiter represents:
- The future.
- Optimism and enthusiam.
- The spirit of adventure.
- Further education.
- Journeys of the mind or body.
- Beliefs and models of reality.
- Philosophy and religion.
With the symbol for Saturn we find the crescent of the Soul elevated above the circle of the spirit and the cross of matter held aloft above all other realms. Within the symbol of Saturn we find that the worlds of structure and rules of existence in the physical world are held in higher value than those of the mind, the emotions or the spirit.
Here we find growth and progress through the consideration for the practical rather than for the happiness that may be acquired as a result of those strategies for progress. Time, and a high regard for the ability to plan with 'correct' timing is highly regarded as the Soul grows by immersing itself in the realm of time and space while distancing itself from the conscious perceptions of spirit.
Reincarnationists would assert that we incarnate into this life for the Soul to learn how to evolve in time and master the physical realm, the lowest of the spiritual realms of existence. Our success in this great task will mean we free ourselves from the illusions of fear to continue to seek the higher planes of wisdom and love with the joy of an eternal light heart ... and such rewards are found from the teachings of Saturn; for those with the wisdom to see, hear and understand.
In a general sense, the astrological Saturn represents:
- Structure; time and form.
- Appreciation for that which has endured over time.
- Wisdom and common sense.
- Success and reward.
- Failure and guilt.
- Status and social standing.
- Career and public image.
With the or symbol for Uranus we find the Cross of Matter still elevated above the Circle of the Spirit. However, the Crescent of the Soul appears twice here, on either side of the cross. Within or symbol of Uranus we find the Soul looks outward from both ends of the journey through time in the realm of physical space. This means the Soul is pulled by both an awareness from the here-and-now towards the far distant past and the far distant future; from the 'here' in space to other places in time.
The Soul is aware of the present, the past and the future, simultaneously. This creates a peculiar dilemma in consciousness: there is an infinite patience as the Soul 'intuits' the goal it will come to on the road ahead, and the point of origination from which it has travelled. The Soul is also very aware of being 'stuck' in the present, and this can often trigger a desire to move on. So, we have a heightened awareness, an enlightened viewpoint and an emotional desire to break away into freedom.
The very thought structures that enable the Soul to perceive its place in the universe are the same thought structures through which the Soul feels 'stuck' and compelled to tend and nurture. A bit like discovering a map of life - which is wonderful, and along with that discovery comes the realisation that your life is dedicated to looking after the safekeeping of the map. We are aware of being an individual in a crowd and a crowd of individuals. The symbol of Uranus shows our capacity to be aware of the process of life; the memory of before life and the future adventures of afterlife … all at once.
In a general sense, the astrological Uranus represents:
- Freedom and independence.
- The overturning of outmoded structures.
- Radical perspectives.
- Genius and/or maddness.
With the symbol for Neptune we find the crescent of the Soul ascending away from the cross of matter. Within the symbol for Neptune we find the realm of spirit and the inner-world of feelings, perceptions and archetypal images elevated above the seductive 'pull' of the experiences the physical realm has to offer.
Here the Soul finds salvation and redemption and eternal bliss as it ascends up and away from the 'lower' carnal world of lust and savagery. The only draw back in this mission to heal the Soul within the love of the spirit eternal is a simultaneous movement away from an awareness of time and distance. Neptune represents the heightened consciousness of spiritual development manifesting on Earth as the inspiration that expresses itself through great works of healing, clairvoyance, mesmerism, music, art, poetry, dance - coupled with an inability to accurately calculate and appreciate distances in time and space. Thus an individual can find themselves 'lost' in a sea of images of places and 'things out of sequence'. They can be clumsy, forgetful and impractical while being inspirational.
In the task of lifting away from the physical realm, issues denoted by Neptune's placement in the chart become less important and less dominant in the conscious awareness of the individual. It can seem as if those areas of life almost dissolve and slip though the fingers like water on its journey to a timeless sea ...
In a general sense, the astrological Neptune represents:
- A focus on the essence, rather than the form itself.
- The spirit of the law, for example, rather than its letter.
- Idealism and dissapointment.
- Empathy and compassion.
- Both clarity and confusion.
- Escapism though inspiration, worship, and the arts.
- Escapism though drugs and other harmful activites.
With the glyph, or symbol, for Pluto we find the Crescent of the Soul elevated above the Cross of Matter while the Circle of the Spirit rests in place above it. Within the symbol of Pluto we find everything in it's perfect and natural order. Spiritual energy, impulses and impressions filter into the psyche (Soul) and manifest through actions in the realm of time and space.
Here we find the individual being faced with the rightful order of things from a sometimes lopsided viewpoint. If the Soul/psyche has some intellectual, psychological or emotional distortions, unresolved issues, in its perceptions there may be a gap between 'what is' and 'what seems to be'. The symbol of Pluto shows everything in perfect alignment. If we have moved away from our true spiritual path then your inner being will bring those facets of your life back into alignment by influencing your unconscious to create, through behaviours and actions, the perfect environment in which those issues can be clearly identified and worked with. In other words, we somehow conspire to make our circumstances 'fit' the issues we need to learn, and, like a 'cosmic tuning fork' our inner-being resonates with the external circumstances and the 'trapped' feelings come to the surface for transformation and re-integration into the psyche.
The symbol of Pluto shows us the natural order of things from the perspective of life within spirit; a window upon the land of light from which we emerge into this life and to which we return as this journey passes into the greatest adventure of all.
In a general sense, the astrological Pluto represents:
- The underlying spirit that creates all phenomenon.
- The realm of death from which we come and into which we return.
- Evolution, change and transformation.
- Releasing emotional, psychological and physical traumas.
- Issues of power and powerlessness.
Chiron was discovered in 1977 tracing an orbit between Saturn and Uranus. Too small be called a planet and yet too large to be considered an asteroid, Chiron came to be known as a planetoid.
This new addition to the astrologer's stellar vocabulary was given a symbol that sits outside of Sacred Geometry. Resembling a key, the circle of the spirit sits beneath the vertical stem of the cross of matter, upon which the horizontal journey of time is altered to resemble a steep path into, and then away from matter while ascending into and out of time.
Modern astrologers see Chiron as a bridge between the old structures of social convention, materialism and hierarchy (Saturn) and the new pathways of radical ideology, technology and altruistic group consciousness (Uranus).
In myth, Chiron was the first Centaur, a creature half-man and half-horse. Bridging the gap between the gods and the beasts, Chiron was raised to become proficient in both warfare and healing. He was a master of weapons and of naturopathy, astrology and all the healing arts. He was charged with teaching the children of great nobles and of the Gods. For his devoted service he was awarded the gift of immortality.
This proved to be his terrible challenge, for night in a drinking bout with other centaurs his leg was accidentally scratched by one of the arrows of Hercules ... it had been dipped in Hydra blood. Chiron now had a mortal wound from which he cannot die.
Synonymously, prior to 1977 psychology was a profession undertaken in rooms hidden away for the broken in society. Post 1977 and we have a new wave of concern in society. Psychology has become popular and its premise that problems can be adjusted, diminished changed or completely resolved by talking and listening has become mainstream in our culture.
Self help books abound and the stigmatism of seeking assistance is no more prevalent than it would be if a person were to entertain hiring a plumber to assist with fixing the heating. Wounded healers seek ways to help and heal others and the planet that is our home.
Astrologically, Chiron represents the point in the chart where we encounter our deepest wounds and greatest capacity to heal.
Astrologically, when mankind first looks upon a planet a new symbol of consciousness is perceived in the cosmos.
Uranus was seen in the 1770s at a time of new scientific discoveries, revolutions and proclamations of liberty, freedom and justice for all.
Neptune's first sighting in the 1880s coincided with the advent of great strides in healing and medicine. Water was used to transport goods, either by steam engine or canal. Photography bought a new perspective on life would inspire new visions beyond the imagination.
Pluto's discovery in 1930 came at a time of widening political divisions and extremes. Man sought new uncharted waters within his reality with the new science of psychology and opened forever the doors to the power of the sub atomic world.
Before Chiron's discovery in 1977, another planet was looked upon by mankind, signalling a change within our consciousness and re-defining our place in the cosmos.
In 1961, for the first time, mankind was able to cast his gaze upon the Earth.
We have been incredibly fortunate to share this wondrous sight through the mediums of photography and television. Everyone who watched with awe as Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon was deeply moved and in some way that moment will always remain with them.
For the astronauts themselves this must have been incredibly profound. What would it be like to look across and see your own world and to know that all you have ever been, all you will ever do, all you have ever known and every one you will come to know are over there ...
Since the 1960s, a growing concern about the welfare and health of our planet and all of its species has become a major concern across the globe. For a species that is so successful in evolving and developing its power of influence it is, hopefully, a sign of a rising wisdom within the consciousness of mankind that people now campaign for the direction of our progress to sit in harmony with nature.
We have the power to destroy the Earth and we hold the innate wisdom to steward our resources and keep safe our land during our time here. The direction in which we turn is in our fragile hands.