AP18 Core Principles XII
Modern Planets and the Tradition
This Intensive considers the astrological nature of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto and examines how they may integrate with baseline principles. It is a rich vein of questioning which promises much discussion and insight into chart analysis. What may these bodies represent and how might that be applied? Are they ‘different’ to the long-established visible planetary pantheon (M-S)? If so, how and what is their class? Do they cast rays? Are they benefic or malefic in spirit? Do they have key attributes such as sect and essential dignity? Can they attain rulership, receive other planets, or be received? Should they require a different approach?
Many centuries before the ‘modern planets’ discovery, astrology was a full conceptual system functioning through its own lens of symbolic integrity. This was verified by a philosophical and proto-scientific sensibility of a profoundly geocentric experience, held within the grand design of an ancient cosmological model. It is important to realise that, regardless of modern astronomy, astrological technique still relates to this heritage worldview. The Art remains centralised on appearances translated by metaphor and allegory, and not on a literal physicality.
Planets are the most dynamising agencies in any chart. Core astrological definition as to what they ‘are’ and by which means they may ‘work’ will be critically assessed. The metaphysical value of light, as a vital informing basis, will be reflected upon. Certainly, the modern planets are ‘dark’ entities in this context, which suggests a modification to their symbolic capacity.
The workings of the traditional system are based on light and the providential appearance of the Heavens to the naked eye… …Light is the visible manifestation of truth, the substance of creation
- John Frawley: Real Astrology 2000 pp. 63-64
Questioning the differences between traditional and modern planets highlights techniques about astrological condition and approaches to preliminary analysis. Focus will turn to ‘rulership’, a key principle which has suffered increasingly generalised use over time, indicative of misplaced understanding.
When the modern outer planets, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto were discovered, they were arbitrarily given certain signs to rule, displacing the traditional rulers of those signs. The reasoning behind these new relationships is not altogether clear. Some astrologers attempt an explanation in terms of affinities in that the planets are ‘like’ the signs. However, the modern rulerships do not conform to the inherent underlying order and symmetry that exists in the original system.
- Demetra George: Astrology and the Authentic Self 2008, p.43
Further significant issues arise in the experience of this Intensive. For instance, discussing the astrology of the planets confronts the development of modern doctrines which seem affected by a lack of historical knowledge and astrological depth. An example includes the apparent transference of archetypal symbolism from traditional celestial bodies to the modern ones. Related subjects, amongst others, concern the conflation of planet/sign/house similarity in the 20th century ‘alphabet’ system and a contemporary overindulgence in ‘mythic’ justification.
It may be argued that the modern bodies are, now, part of astrology’s history. Could it be fair to propose Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto belong to their own category, albeit needing further definition? Perhaps they do stimulate a creative complexity, or are they just an unnecessary distortion? Do they have potential to add a separate symbolism? Or is it more appropriate for them to reinforce pre-existing evidence from visible planets?
Since planets are so primary to the Art, clarifying their role and use is fundamental. Quandaries will continue to develop and more research is begged as an ongoing excavation of astrology’s heritage provokes thoughtful review.
This intensive (AP18) was first presented on the Gold Coast(GCAS) in March 2011.
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