Perhaps of most immediate interest or importance to humanity is our own patch of garden in the proverbial backyard of our own home galaxy, the Milky Way. Circling around the bulging center of the Milky Way galaxy at a distance of some 30,000 light years, three-fifths out along one of its massive swirling spiral arms lays our humble home solar system: the Sun, the Planets and various satellites and other smaller heavenly bodies.
Although Astrology translates as “Study of the Stars”, the only star of concern to most Astrologers today is of course our Sun. Even though it is true that the Signs of Astrology are derived from a group of constellations which form the band of stars which encircle the night skies of the Earth and through which the Sun and the planets seem to have their apparent motion, stars other than our own Sun assume little other importance in Astrology. This band of constellations which encircles the Earth and straddles her equator forms the belt of the Zodiac and provides the backdrop for all mainstream geocentric Astrology.
In keeping with the axiom “As Above, so below”, life on Earth, centered as it is within the Wheel or Circle of the Zodiac, represents and reflects the full potential of life within the Solar System. All aspects and the full spectrum of the human experience are contained and are to be found within the seed of the Zodiac Circle. These potentials are akin to the Fool Card and the Wheel of Fortune Card in the Tarot and the Cipher, the God Number, Zero (0), in Numerology. The apparent motions of the Sun and the Planets through the Zodiac as seen from the Earth’s surface provide a cyclical and never-ending, ever-changing kaleidoscope of celestial consequence and effect.
In many ways the macrocosm of the Solar System mirrors the psyche, the composition and the disposition of the microcosm of a human individual. The Sun, the Moon and each of the Planets each mirror a certain aspect of the human condition and taken together form a unique synthesis uncannily similar to an individual horoscope. Here once again the concept “As Above, so below”. Here follows a listing of the Sun, the Moon and the major planets along with corresponding keywords or brief concepts pertinent to each:
The Sun: the (True) Self, the Core of Being, the center which radiates light
and energy which animates and brings life to all other aspects of
Mercury: the Intellectual Nature; the Reasoning Faculty.
Venus: the Creative Nature; the Attractive Principle.
Earth: the Physical Nature; the Sensual Principle.
The Moon: the Emotional Nature; the Reflective Principle.
Mars: the Ego/Desire Nature; the Aggressive Principle.
Jupiter: the Philosophical Nature; the Expansive Principle.
Saturn: the Conscience/Superego; Formulation, Crystallization;
the Restrictive Principle.
Uranus: the Higher Mind; Chaos; the Revolutionary Nature;
the Intuitive Principle.
Neptune: Inspiration/Illumination; the Spiritual Nature;
the Mystical Principle.
Pluto: Upheaval/Rebirth; the Subconscious Nature;
the Transformational Principle.
It is a point of contention even among Astrologers themselves whether the planets (outside of the obvious physical effects of the Sun and the Moon) have a direct causal effect upon individual human psyches and life and events on Earth in general or whether they are merely harbingers or heralds of obscure celestial energies and influences which have no readily apparent source or cause. In Astrology, the movements of the planets and their geometrical relationship to each other as observed from Earth within the belt of the Zodiac seem to augur events and influences in a meaningful and predictable manner. There is a concept conceived by Swiss psychiatrist Carl G. Jung called synchronicity which states that two or more seemingly coincidental events can appear to have a meaningful relationship despite the lack of any apparent or tangible commonality or cause. This seemingly non-causal relationship or synchronicity may be the underlying principle or dynamic behind the seeming influence of the Sun, the Moon and the Planets as deemed by Astrology.
Setting aside whether the planets’ (including the Sun and the Moon) astrological influence is of a direct or circumstantial nature, it is time to take a closer look at just what form each individual planet’s influence actually takes and how it is expressed through the discipline of Astrology. One of the best ways to understand the symbolic nature of the planets is through the contemplation of the Jungian concept of the archetypes.
The archetypal energies go hand in hand with the Jungian concept of the collective unconscious. The collective unconscious is the universal counterpart to the personal unconscious which is the subliminal part of the Self or individual psyche which lies below the threshold of the everyday waking consciousness of the Ego. Just as the personal unconscious holds the total sum of the subliminal contents of the individual psyche, the collective unconscious is the repository for all of the unconscious elements and subliminal dynamics of humanity as a collective whole. Housed within the collective unconscious and forming the primary fundamental foundation for the collective human psyche in all of its manifestations are the archetypes.
Jung’s archetypes are universal primordial potentialities which act as the “raw dream-stuff” of the human collective unconscious. They act through the media of symbols, dreams, fantasies, myth, metaphor and culture. Of and on their own they are latent and undefined until given form through some form of meaningful interaction with the human psyche, whether individually or collectively, conscious or otherwise. Most often these psychic energies are felt or experienced as vague impressions which seem to emanate and to slowly emerge from the depths of the personal unconscious.
What is of primary importance here is the form that the archetypes take through mythology as expressed through the Zodiac in Western Astrology. Each of the planets comes to symbolize and to typify a particular mythical character, aspect or archetype which is brought to life through the art and practice of Astrology. In Astrology each planet has evolved into a grand personification of a prominent mythological figure. In the West the most predominantly used pantheons of mythological figures applied toward astrological practice and interpretation are of Greek and Roman origin. The naming of the planets after the names of the Classical Roman Gods and Goddesses was no mere coincidence and thus led directly to the personification of the planets themselves into dynamic embodied archetypes in the guise of anthropomorphic mythological figures.
Here follows a listing of the major Astrological Planets, their associated Roman Deities, and these deities’ general designated worldly affiliations:
Apollo: (Sun) music, poetry, prophecy, purity, light.
Diana: (Moon) archery, hunting, childbirth, light, nature.
Mercury: messenger of the gods, commerce, science, magick.
Venus: goddess of love, seduction, beauty.
Mars: god of war, aggression, passion.
Jupiter: king of the gods, fortune, benevolence.
Saturn: Father Time, agriculture, order, wisdom.
Uranus: Sky god, chaos, creativity, eccentricity.
Neptune: god of the sea, mystery, inspiration.
Pluto: god of the underworld, the unconscious, wealth, power,
Gaia: (Earth) Mother Earth, fertility, nurturance, sensuality,
Through Astrology, in conjunction with the imagery of Mythology, the Planets aptly give form to and express many of the primary archetypes which have their origins within the collective unconscious.