Fundamentals of Astrology
Man is an image of the macrocosm (universe), and the universe is a reflection of the creative mind force. Heaven (mind) and earth (body) meet, fire (spirit) enters water (matter). Creation needs to experience itself. I think the perfect quote for astrology is, “As above, so below; As within, so without. Man, know thyself!” The zodiac is an ancient depiction of how our body is created, and the moment of our first breath defines the alchemical construction of our lower (physical) self. Due to the precession of the equinoxes and artifacts in Egypt, the zodiac must be at least 30,000 years old, if not 56,000 years – and the more I reflect on it, the more it seems likely.
Astrology (astro = star – and stars produce light; logos = Greek “word“), so astrology is the word of light, just like the Sanskrit word for astrology is “Jyotish”, which means “science of light”.
We have the 7 classical planets (just like we have the 7 days of the week, the 7 liberal arts, 7 colours of the rainbow, 7 musical notes, the 7 deadly sins and virtues – the list goes on and on; the newly discovered modern planets are the higher octaves) and the 4 creational forces of the universe (Ezekiel’s vision of “wheels within wheels” from the Book of Enoch can be interpreted in many ways; the Eagle, Bull, Lion and Man = the four elements which are construed as “angels” in one of the Dead Sea scrolls, related to the “angles” of the chart wheel: Asc, Dsc, IC, MC – the 4 cardinal directions, 4 seasons etc), which are condensed to flesh and bones by father Sun, the exterior centre of illumination of our Solar System. Thus, the mind (Moon) and the conscious self (Sun) is transformed into a dream-like experience known as “reality”, and projected into a cyclical process culminating as the “human life”.
Ultimately, all answers indeed lie within ourselves – because inside and outside are reflections of one another and both are actually one and the same. This is precisely what the ancient sages realized (the Buddha, the Vedic rishi, old shamans etc), and why they placed so much importance on meditation, introspection, trance, retreat. The Buddha stated that if space travel was possible, he wouldn’t have had any need for it (on a physical level) as he knew that he could access the mysteries of the universe in the “space” of his own mind – just by going within. Similarly, we could say that the Milky way corresponds to the Solar Plexus. The Orion Nebulae is the womb of stars etc.
I believe the first step toward liberation, at least on a mental level, is to get acquainted with the ancient science of astrology. Astrology is the metaphysical study of the nature of man, or the animal nature of the physical body. Therefore it is depicted by the zodiac, the “Circle of Animals” (Zoo – diac). Astrology explains how our lower nature (body) is composed and why this is so. This includes our physical body, our hormones, our way of thinking, our character, our emotions, our moods, our “biological cycle”, our capabilities, our aspirations, our dislikes, our chemistry with other people and the way our body reacts to certain challenges and situations, which is linked to brain chemistry (the Hypothalamus gland/endocrine system).
And what is a planet? A “planet” literally means a “wanderer” (Greek “planētēs”) – in other words “it wanders (in relation to the fixed stars)”.
The Sun represents the soul/conscious awareness (Sol) and the Moon is the reflection or holographic projection of that light/awareness on this physical plane (Earth). The Moon is our subjective reality – emotions and opinions – which are changeable and subconscious, and which fluctuate, just like the tidal waves. The Moon mirrors the Sun, and what happens when that mirror (illusion) breaks? Our perception of our conscious self would “break” as well.
The well-known fairytale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is an excellent symbolic representation of this – the Evil Queen owns a mirror which she constantly consults, it acts as an object of validation for her own “sense of self” and her subjective perception of “beauty”. The magic mirror, which ironically mirrors her subconscious mind, always responds that Snow White is more beautiful – an opinion, which stirs all sorts of afflictive emotions in her (jealousy, a poison of the mind), and leads to her own destruction, an example of an unhealthy ego or sense of self (Sun) which she projected onto Snow White, a victim of this psychological terror.
Notice that split zodiac wheel around the mirror? Disney is full of such symbolism. In the Evil Queen’s case, it symbolizes her split personality (pretending or transforming into an old helpless woman to gain Snow White’s sympathy). This is a broken person. Also, see the signs of both Libra and Scorpio at the top of the mirror? Libra = beauty. Scorpio (unevolved) = destruction/jealousy/death/obsession.
Now, getting back to the fundamentals – all annual holidays are based on the quarters, decans, constellations and keywords of the zodiac wheel:
Christmas: 3 days after winter solstice
New Year: entry into the Taurus decanate (exaltation of the Moon) of Capricorn
Epiphany: 12 days after Christmas, to represent the Sun going through all 12 signs
Groundhog’s Day: 40 days after winter solstice
Valentine’s Day. Libra (partnership, love) decanate in Aquarius
Lent: 40 days before spring equinox (Pisces deprivation)
Fool’s Day: entry of Leo decanate (blind courage or foolishness) in Aries
Easter: 1st Sunday after the 1st Full Moon after spring equinox (Sun resurrected)
May Day: entry of Virgo decanate (Maypole erected) in Taurus
Mother’s Day: 2nd Sunday in May (usually Auriga, Mastership, because the mother is the master builder)
Ascension Day: 40 days after Easter
Father’s Day: 3rd Sunday in June (Aquarius decan in Gemini)
American Independence Day: July 4, Scorpius decanate in Cancer (home), note the Mars fireworks (plus Sirius conjunction with our Sun)
Labour Day: 1st Monday in September (Hercules decanate, 12 labors are the 12 zodiac)
Halloween: last day of Scorpius decanate in Scorpius (incarnation in flesh about to take place)
All Saints: entry into the Pisces decanate in Scorpius (incarnation has taken place)
…and many more.
All these holidays have astrological meaning, which corresponds to the great story in the sky told by the 36 decan constellations. The equinox points carry the highest importance for human life. These are the two moments in the annual solar cycle where light and darkness are in perfect equilibrium, day and night are of equal length, duality is balanced.
As for the elements:
Earth (solid) is the seed of physical matter, created in Taurus, planted in Virgo and it unfolds in Capricorn (life in the body of flesh).
Water (liquid), the emotional seed of love, is created in Scorpio (feelings of the parents during intercourse), it is planted in Pisces and unfolds in Cancer.
Air (gas), the mental seed, is created in Aquarius (your thought structure as an individual), it is planted in Gemini and unfolds in Libra (entering the judgment hall, facing Yama the God of Death who weighs your heart/conscience on the scales).
Fire (plasma), the seed of will and energy, is created in Leo in the form of a heart (decision to incarnate), it is planted in Sagittarius and unfolds in Aries (resurrection).
Astrology has always been used throughout history to time events. This is why great emperors in the ancient world employed astrologers. The wheel, if you meditate on it like Kālacakra astrologers, will give answers to most of your questions. Kālacakra, in Sanskrit, means “wheel of time”. There are several significant spirals, or cycles/wheels of time, e.g. the 24 hours, secondly the solar year (March 21 to September 22 as spring and summer – day; September 23 to March 20 as autumn and winter – night), and third, the Platonic or Great Year caused by the rotation of the Earth axis, which results in a progression of the fixed stars as perceived from Earth of one degree every 72 solar years, which gives us 2160 years per zodiac sign (30 degrees) and 25920 years for the entire cycle (360 degrees). This Great Year, similar to the daily and annual cycle, also contains a “day” and a “night”. This manifests as human consciousness progressing and then again reducing, like ebb and flow, the only difference being that the flood rises higher each time around and the following ebb doesn’t go as far back as in the previous cycle.
Let’s take the great sail boat analogy that has been used in several well-known works of classic, specifically Greco-Roman poetry. It’s a perfect analogy for human life, utilizing the four elements, which are the four fields of human experience: a solid vessel (Earth, physical, 5 senses) has to make its way through the stormy seas of life (Water, emotions and desires), it is driven forward by catching wind in its sails (Air, thought), and navigating (making decisions) according to the starry heavens (Fire, action). This beautiful analogy is the basic theme of Greek classic works of poetry such as the Illiad/Odyssey, and Jason and the Argonauts.
Today the most neglected part of the boat/steering wheel analogy is the fire element, the navigation of vessels by the stars. As long as one is unaware of what is above (stars, planets, transits), one will not understand what is going on below (daily life). The birth chart is your map for the navigation of your vessel through physical life. It provides the reason, the purpose, it shows the gifts and the challenges, as well as the karmic mission.
The second thing about the boat analogy is that you need to calm the sea and the storm in your head. You need to wind down your desires and impulses from your body, and this includes the chain of thoughts that are fired at you by your lower brain (Cerebellum), day and night. Thoughts can be like a raging storm, if not properly managed. Emotions can be like tidal waves, they can literally knock you off the boat. To be the captain of your ship, you need to know where you are going in life, and astrology is a means of studying this information and calming the storms.
Another important point to consider when studying astrology is that our Sun makes a perfect sine wave. This daily solar sine wave, which further from the Arctic circle cannot be entirely observed (because the Sun moves below the horizon during night time), is the basis of astrology. The astrological houses are earth bound, they have nothing to do with the stars we see at night. The astrological houses are sky zones related to the movement of the Sun, as perceived from a certain point on Earth. People forget that the Sun by definition is a star.
One solar year equals the shape of a sine wave. Astrology is the science of light (wave). Putting the split sine wave back together produces the 360 circle that the Sun actually performs above the Earth plane, while moving around the North Pole. This 360 circle is called the ecliptic, the path on which the Sun moves in the sky. The Sun is tied to this path as it never diverts from it. The zone extending 8-9 degrees North and South of the Sun’s ecliptic is called the Zodiac band. So, the basis of (tropical) astrology is the sine wave, from equinox to solstice, to equinox, to solstice and back to equinox again. It is exactly what we see each day and each year and also each age, these are sine waves on different time scales. The daily solar sine wave is the basis of life on Earth. It is the basic pulse of life. This life wave has two distinctive halves: one half is outgoing, expanding, heating and electric; the other half is contracting, cooling, inverting and magnetic.
Astrology is basically a perfect system of coherent cosmology. The daily sine wave produces a distinctly different electro-magnetic energy every 2 hours. Tropical astrology explains the lower animal nature of human beings, the mundane affairs. Sidereal astrology, which deals with the stars or Svarga Loka in Sanskrit, explains our higher nature and longer time cycles via precession. So, both systems go hand in hand.