Astrology by Hand Week 23
Freedom and Consciousness
Last week, among other things, I described the principle of how in the higher worlds there is more freedom, and in the lowest world, Cosmos, there is very little. Insofar as things are purely physical and material, their movements are determined either by cause and effect within the physical world or by causes originating in the higher world.
A consequence of this idea has been that many ancient astrologers believed that the material planets themselves were astrological causes within the physical world, and that as their motions are predetermined, so are the motions that they induce within us. However, as I indicated last week, it is more consistent with these teachings to believe that the movements of the physical planets are results of movements in higher worlds in which there is freedom, and that we participate in those worlds also, and therefore we have freedom.
I would like to call attention to two points that contradict the idea that we have no freedom. We have electional astrology, in which we pick times for taking action. This would not be possible if we had no freedom. Without freedom, we would neither need such an astrology, nor would we be able to use it. The results of our actions would be predetermined. There would be no ”electing.”
In magic, the situation is even more pronounced, because in magic the will of the practitioner becomes a genuine cause, even to the extent in some cases of affecting the physical world. But as the higher worlds are ones in which consciousness is more developed than it is in the physical world, so we can gain freedom only to the degree that we become more conscious ourselves. The more we manifest Soul and Nous, and the more we act with integrity (Oneness), the more we become free. This has practical astrological consequences aside from electional astrology.
Dignities and Debilities
The following is an application of some of the principles that I have been talking about. These concepts were first presented to me and others by Tim Smith in a lecture in which he presented the ideas of his teacher, the late Anthony Damiani. As presented, they are a combination of Damiani and Smith with some additions of my own.
In most, but not all, astrological signs, there are four planets with a significant relationship to the sign. There is the sign ruler, as in ”Mars rules Aries,” the exaltation ruler as in ”the Sun is exalted in Aries,” the planet in detriment as in ”Aries is the detriment of Venus,” and the planet in fall as in ”Saturn is in fall in Aries.” Two of these planets are ”dignified” or made better in some way, but two are ”debilitated” or made weaker in some way.
Damiani came to the conclusion that these were related to the four worlds in some way. He suggested that Mars represents the aspect of Aries as Oneness, the Sun as Nous or consciousness, Venus as Soul and Saturn as the physical universe, or Cosmos. In traditional occult philosophy, which is basically Neoplatonic, the two higher worlds partake more of perfection, the two lower worlds are more susceptible to corruption, especially Cosmos. But all four are good and in some way divine, even though we do not handle them properly.
The idea is quite simple. Detriment and fall do not really weaken a planet. It is more our problem. We are more creative with these planets when we are being conscious beings and less creative when we are less conscious. The planet in fact is actually dignified. It is ourselves that create the debility. This leads to a simple idea. Is there some way in which we can change our orientation so that ”weaknesses” become strengths? I began to look at this and found not only that it is possible, but I had actually been seeing it in my practice without realizing it.
Let me take Mercury as an example. I have Mercury in Sagittarius, which is its detriment. This is supposed to make my Mercury weak, in theory. Yet here I am, making a living writing, lecturing and doing astrology which is traditionally a Mercurial activity. But I do have some traditional detrimented Mercury problems. My handwriting is terrible, my level of manual and digital dexterity is quite low (according to tests) and I have always had some problems keeping things organized. What is going on here?
The answer seems to be that my Mercury effects divide along the lines of whether or not what I am doing requires my being fully present and conscious. When I am being conscious and intentional, everything Mercurial not only works, but works very well. I am actually known for doing things that are very Mercurial indeed. And when I am not being conscious, the sloppier effects of Mercury in Sagittarius become evident.
And then there is Mercury in Pisces, which is in both its detriment and fall. I have seen many people with that placement who work well with numbers, languages, philosophy, editing and all manner of things that require a strong Mercury. I have also seen people with this placement who have serious trouble communicating and whose thinking seems very fuzzy. Usually, even with these, I have found that their logic only seems fuzzy. There is usually something very potent about it once one understands it. I believe that this is the same effect that I have noted with Mercury in Sagittarius.
More on this next week as well as some conclusions on astrology and language.
Damiani’s complete teachings about astrology and philosophy are now available. Damiani, Anthony. Astronoesis. Larsen Press, 2000.
In traditional astrology, Mercury rules astrology rather than Uranus.
This is based on Mercury ruling and being exalted in Virgo. Some modern astrologers make Mercury exalted in Aquarius. There is no traditional foundation for that.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rob Hand, author of Planets in Transit and other works, is now involved in the translation and publication of texts regarding ancient and medieval astrology through ARHAT Media Inc.