The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 64, titled:
With Chris Brennan, Kelly Surtees and Austin Coppock
Episode originally released on February 24th 2016
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Transcribed by Christina Madden
Transcription released July 6th, 2019
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Hi! My name is Chris Brennan and you are listening to The Astrology Podcast. We are recording this episode on Tuesday February 24th 2016 at approximately 2:26 PM in Denver Colorado and this is the 64th episode of the show.
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In this episode I am going to be talking with Kelly Surtees and Austin Coppock about the significations of the seven traditional planets. So let’s get right to it. Kelly and Austin welcome back to the show.
Austin Coppock: Hey Chris.
Kelly Surtees: Hey Chris, thanks.
Chris Brennan: Alright, I am excited about this episode. So, the genesis of this episode is that I have been working on the chapter of my book (for most of this month), on Hellenistic Astrology, that deals with the significations of the planets, and the original significations of the planets in what is essentially one of the earliest forms of Western Astrology. So, I thought you two would be great people to talk about this with, in order to discuss some of the core fundamental meanings of the seven traditional planets, and where we get some of those meanings from, or what they are derived from, and to have maybe an hour long discussion exploring that topic.
So the starting point of this is, actually I just finished earlier this month, I finalised a translation of the first chapter of The Anthology of Vettius Valens where he gives the significations of the planets. And it took me awhile, it is something I have been working on (off and on), for five or six years now. Basically in Valens’ he has a separate section for each of the seven planets and then he just lists off a hundred significations or a hundred different meanings that are associated with each of those planets. It is interesting because some of them are individual isolated meanings that are obviously coming from some broad overarching archetype, and other meanings are ones that are part of a series that are tied into or contrast in some way with other planets.
So, I thought that would be partially a good starting point for discussing the meanings of each of these planets and sort of getting a sense for how they can be used as a unit or as a set on their own. One of the things I think that’s changing, is that typically in modern astrology in late 20th Century, the planets were the nine or ten planetary bodies that go out through Neptune and Pluto, but in ancient times and in traditional astrology the planets were the seven traditional celestial bodies that you can see with the naked eye. I think a lot of astrologers are starting to go back to looking at that distinction, of planets that you can see with the naked eye, as an important or significant distinction that sets the seven traditional planets in a category of their own. Did you guys make that transition at some point, or how do you deal with…do you see there as being a distinction between the seven traditional planets versus the outer planets, or do you otherwise not really view that as a distinction?
KELLY: Totally, I totally see that there is a difference. I did make a switch I guess fairly early in my practice, and that switch had to do primarily with taking the outer planets out as sign rulers. I think one of the big differences is that the seven original or traditional planets are visible to the naked eye, so to my mind, that we experience them differently versus the modern or outer planets which we need an intermediary like a piece of technology to connect with or to view. So there’s a qualitative difference, if that makes sense.
CHRIS: Yeah, I think that is an important distinction from a symbolic standpoint, where in the ancient world where they were talking about different forms of divination of which astrology was one, but also other forms of divination (of which we still have some forms of today like tarot card reading, or tea leaf reading, or palmistry), the observational, the thing that you can see, that is visible to the observer, and the specific way that it appears to the observer, has important symbolic implications for the phenomena that is being discussed. I think that is where the visible versus not visible distinction comes into play when it comes to the planets.
KELLY: Hugely so.
AUSTIN: Yeah, my transition from regarding Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, as sort of part of exactly the same set, occurred pretty much exactly the same way that Kelly described. I ceased using them as sign rulers although I am still very interested in aspects to them, either transiting or natal. I would say that the visibility is of course the most important component, the possibility of being seen by the naked eye, but at the same time, we do have to remember that we look at the traditional planets even when we can’t see them. We are interested in the fact that Saturn is in the 3rd house in a chart even though Saturn was not visible to the naked eye. In astrology as opposed to the types of sortilege that you were describing, in tarot for instance you don’t read the cards that don’t come up, whereas in astrology that distinction between visibility and invisibility is very important, because both say something. If Mercury is too close to the Sun to be seen, that actually gives us information, right? Invisibility is a sign in astrology, which is a relatively unique part of its symbolic language, as opposed to palmistry, you don’t read the lines that aren’t there on the hand, whereas we astrologers look in particular as to ‘who is missing’.
CHRIS: Definitely. It is interesting that both of you say that your access point for this was the modern rulerships, because that was actually my access point as well. I was very resistant to the idea of traditional rulerships, and I think that is the biggest thing that people get stuck on initially, in wanting to differentiate between the traditional planets and the outer planets, to the extent that I was almost like militantly resistant to that idea, like Charleton Heston pry them from my cold dead hands type…
AUSTIN & KELLY: [laughter]
AUSTIN: Well we all know why, it’s because you are Scorpio. You got to have Pluto and all the cool Plutonian stuff as your ruler. I have consistently found that it is the Scorpios who don’t want to have Pluto prised from their cold dead hands, which is of course very consistent with obsession and obstinacy that of course both come with Pluto. Anyway, I know this is going to tie in with other things, but because of the way that a lot of us learnt astrology through 20th Century texts, some of the traditional planets lost some of their ‘cool’
AUSTIN: And that cool was given to these outer planets. So, you might have somebody who was born with the Sun in Aquarius who is very unusual, and they are like “well that is what Uranus means right? So how can I be ruled by Saturn if I am outside of social structures?” And we will get into what has been stolen, what fire has been stolen, from the traditional planets, but I think that is part of people’s resistance. It’s that, ‘well I can’t describe what I see using what I know about the traditional planets’.
CHRIS: Right, because of the taking of significations from the traditional planets and applying them to the outer planets. Additionally, I mean, it’s gone even further than that, where the nuances and the deep meanings of some of the inner planets have been watered down or lost to some extent, and the outer planets often times become the main focal point in many forms of modern astrology to the detriment of I think, the understanding of the traditional seven planets. So in some forms of astrology it is like it is almost entirely predicated on certain outer planets, like in Evolutionary Astrology and the emphasis on Pluto for example.
So part of what I think has been happening recently and part of what we are doing here is just reacquainting people with the subtlety, and the nuances, and the importance of the seven traditional planets. When we say seven traditional planets of course we are referring to, and we are including in that, the Sun and the Moon, the two luminaries, as planets as well.
So going back to basics, in terms of the original meaning of planet, I think you had made a point about that in terms of what the word planet means right Kelly?
KELLY: Yes as far as I understand it the word planet describes a ‘wandering’ star. That was to differentiate the planets originally, from the stars that appeared to be ‘fixed’ which we would call “Fixed Stars” in modern astrology. And the wandering planets or the group that we use as planets (and has been used as planets) moved much more quickly than the fixed stars did. So they were brighter and more mobile, and I think that is part of where the original fixation that went to them originally came from.
CHRIS: Sure, if you go out and look at the night sky, actually last night I was coming out of some place with Leisa and we looked up and saw the full Moon which had recently taken place in Virgo but it took place right next to and in conjunction with Jupiter, so you could see the really bright full Moon and this really bright star hanging out right next to the Moon and that star is actually not a star at all it’s a planet, it was the planet Jupiter. So over many centuries ancient sky observers noticed that there was this group of stars that actually moved around, unlike the rest of the stars which stayed fixed in the night sky, and so they became known as the planets or as the wanderers.
Here though we get to the fundamental question which is “where did the basic meanings or significations of the planets come from?” If somebody was going to invent astrology all over again from scratch, let’s just assume you were trying to invent astrology from scratch and you have none of the prior traditions or none of the prior meanings or knowledge of anything, how would you come up with the significations of the planets and what would be your starting point? A lot of people in modern times especially the past 30 or 40 years oftentimes start with the mythology or with the name of the planet and any sort of cultural associations that there are with that name or with the designation that is given to the planetary body or other celestial body. But one of the things that I found interesting, one of the things that other people have found interesting as well, in looking at some of the ancient texts, is that mythology doesn’t come up as frequently and is not referred to or resorted to as commonly in order to explicate the meanings of the planets and other celestial bodies, as one might assume if you are approaching it as a modern astrologer, where that is oftentimes one of the first things that people refer to.
So in modern times mythology is a core element but in ancient times if you look at, for example, a translation of Valens he is not saying the Sun rules the intellect because of its association with the Greek God Helios. He just has other conceptual or theoretical rationales for why the Sun is associated with the intellect and they don’t necessarily have anything to do with the God who is associated or shares a name with that celestial body. So that is an important point that I wanted to mention, that’s partially a hobby horse of mine, because I feel like the use of mythology, because it has been assumed and projected back, and assumed that it’s always been a core component, people have sort of gone nuts with it over the past two decades in applying that and perhaps over applying it in order to get to the meanings of things, instead of doing it the old or the original way, which I feel started originally with an observational component of ‘what does that celestial body look like’ or ‘what kind of visible properties does it have that might be relevant in its interpretation’. Do you guys have the same reservations in that way about mythology, or how to you feel about mythology in terms of how it is applied to astrology and the planets in particular?
AUSTIN: Well I have a couple of thoughts on that. One, in those texts which you are referring to, they don’t call that planet Jupiter or Zeus right, they call it the star of Zeus.
CHRIS: Right they use the possessive form.
AUSTIN: Right, you know this is a body which belongs to this God. So even there we have some distance, it is not a direct identification. Just using words that way indicates that there is a relationship but it’s not identity. Another…you know I think you can over use it, but the significations of the traditional planets and the Greco-Roman deities which they share names with, are generally pretty good, you won’t go terribly afield. I feel like that strategy starts breaking down as far as reliability goes, as soon as you get into the more recently discovered bodies.
CHRIS: Oh yeah you made that point about Neptune in the last episode right.
AUSTIN: Yeah well Neptune and Uranus, and Neptune is the worst, it has almost nothing to do with that Roman God except that it seems to have something to do with water, that is like basically the only connection.
KELLY: The only thing.
AUSTIN: It is so not an angry, raping, male sea god, that is not what Neptune transits bring you at all. Whereas with the traditional planets, the connections are not too far off. I think one of the reasons for that is that the traditional planets get their God names largely through a process of synchronisation between Greek and Roman god names and earlier Mesopotamian god names for those planets. And because the Mesopotamians had a very astrally focused religion, they were actively thinking about which deities coincided and made the most sense with various bodies. So you have the names for the traditionals coming out of that many hundred year-long project, whereas our modern ones come out of a debate among astronomers, who are not sky priests of the same calibre.
CHRIS: Right we were like a hair’s width from naming Uranus George right?
AUSTIN: Yes, George, and then Herschel and then nah Uranus.
CHRIS: And then another good piece of evidence for this is, even though…I mean the Tarnas school and students of Tarnas I think have been just as guilty as other modern astrologers of the over extension of mythology to new bodies, especially recently. But Tarnas even himself has made that argument that Prometheus is a better myth to be associated with Uranus than the myth of Uranus to some extent. So even there you can see this tension in modern astrologers sometimes who apply the myths to the planets in recognising that in some instances just because this name was arbitrarily applied to this celestial body by astronomers does not necessarily mean that it’s fully evocative of the full range of meanings or the significations of the body astrologically.
AUSTIN: Yeah. That actually came up in conversation in a reading I did very recently. I was talking about Uranus and stories, and Uranus doesn’t have many stories. Basically Uranus’s main story is when he got his nuts cut off, right, and that is not what we use the planet Uranus for…like there’s not a whole lot there. So I personally agree with Tarnas on that particular point.
AUSTIN: And I have said that Dionysus is a better Greco-Roman model for Neptune, if you want to go Greco-Roman.
KELLY: The point about the benefic/malefic and the light and darkness, in terms of the traditional planets, that may be a really valid point.
CHRIS: Yeah I think that’s really the core in actuality of where the significations of the planets primarily come from and that the conceptual and theoretical starting point is this use of contrarieties or of opposites in order to determine significations. The general point is that in order for something to mean something or to signify something, if you are trying to create a conceptual system, like if you are trying to create astrology from scratch, and you are trying to come up with a system of meanings, then if something is going to mean something then you have to have something that means the opposite or that signifies the opposite or like the antithesis of that. This is I think where benefic and malefic becomes the best starting point for that, because it derives from a fundamental observational component, which is that, if you look in the night sky and you observe the planets, you will see these two groups. One of the groups is Venus and Jupiter that appear very bright, white, shining stars, and then you’ll see Mars and Saturn, that appear sort of darker and more muted and murky, where Mars is reddish and Saturn is kind of brownish.
AUSTIN: Yeah they are kind of dusky
KELLY: Dusky is a good word, dull is the other word.
CHRIS: Yes and this immediately sets up a contrast between two groups of planets, which is the fundamental distinction of benefic and malefic. From this the astrologers seemed to have started deriving contrasts and opposites, which included things like moral opposites and the application of good vs evil, if you are contrasting scenarios or actions, like good actions vs bad actions. And that is actually part of what the names for benefics and malefics derive from, the Greek term for benefic actually originally meant ‘good doer’ whereas the term for malefic meant ‘evil doer’ or ‘bad doer’. But it also invokes subjective opposites in terms of experiences, so the experience of events subjectively in a person’s life where the benefics tend to be associated with subjectively positive events and the malefics tend to be associated with subjectively negative events. For example subjectively speaking, people usually prefer health and they usually do not prefer illness. So that becomes a basic contrast or opposite between benefics and malefics. Life vs death, good vs evil, health vs sickness, and so on and so forth.
AUSTIN: I want to jump in with just one point about moral polarities, about good vs evil and good doers and bad doers.
AUSTIN: When we say good or evil it is absolutely impossible to detach those terms from the let’s say, 1500 years of Christian framing of those terms, whether Catholic, Protestant or whatever. Our culture exists or at least was birthed out of a framework where there is an extreme moral polarity, like literally God and the Devil. When people in that broadly Roman Empire region, or in the Hellenistic era, very few of them were coming out of a cosmological framework, where there was an absolute good and an absolute bad. And so one of the things that I see when people try to think about malefic and benefic, is they often immediately associate it with these moral extremes that come out of a monotheistic tradition, and that wasn’t the framing of the idea of good and evil in the culture that actually produced astrology and produced these terms. You know it’s a much more relativistic, much more pantheistic thing…you know the underworld wasn’t hell, there was part of the underworld where you would get fucked up if you were naughty, but there were lots of other areas. And sure the gods were up in the heavens, but you know they were sort of shady sometimes too. It’s a much more mundane good and evil like you said. One of the ways that I teach it is it’s the difference between a good day and a bad day, which is not morally absolute. It’s not an evil day filled with the power of Satan, it was just like ah that was a hard day, and oh this was a great day, I got rewarded for my things on this day.
CHRIS: Right, in connection with the category of subjectively conventional values.
CHRIS: So, and in line with that, some of the oppositions that I extracted or pulled out from this translation of Valens that I did, (where he is contrasting the benefics and the malefics and what they signify) in order to give you some idea of the polarities (that are opposites) that they are focusing on; because this becomes how they come up with some of the basic significations, is by having certain overarching concepts like benefic and malefic and categorisations as applied to the planets, and then they start saying “well if this planet would signify this, then this other planet would signify this”.
For example Venus signifies love whereas Mars is said to signify hatred. Jupiter signifies freedom whereas Saturn signifies imprisonment. Venus signifies the acquisition of additional property while Mars signifies the taking away of one’s possessions. Jupiter signifies wisdom while Saturn signifies ignorance. Jupiter signifies the begetting of children and childbirth while Mars signifies abortion and Saturn signifies childlessness. Venus signifies marriage whilst Saturn signifies those who are unmarried or widowed, and finally Venus signifies friendship, Jupiter signifies alliances, while Mars signifies separations of friends and war.
Those are some of the contrasts and these are extremes, because in ancient texts they tended to paint things in terms of extremes and then you were supposed to infer or figure out what the middle ground was. And Valens several times says there are instances in which the benefics can be not positive or can be counter productive and there are instances where the malefics can be constructive or even positive depending on other conditions and how they’re placed in the chart. But this at least, with the basic binary distinction of benefic and malefic, allows us a starting point to start extracting some basic significations based on just polarities or based on contrarieties.
KELLY: It’s really helpful particularly with the idea of begetting of children and childbirth versus childlessness, the Jupiter Saturn paradigm. It sounds very extreme and it is, but working with clients there is a level of grey area say around fertility. There are some charts that are extremely fertile or charts that are extremely barren and if you are going to have these experiences in life, then of course we do need these extreme versions of the planets. Jupiter in a very good condition, the one client example I am thinking of say, Jupiter in Pisces conjunct Venus with Venus being the ruler of the 5th house we get easy conception, easy birth, multiple children. So that is what you are saying I guess Chris about the grey area, that an extremely good Jupiter can be extremely positive on some of these topics and an extremely difficult Saturn can be extremely challenging I guess.
CHRIS: Yes exactly, you first have to establish the extremes and then once you’ve done that you can establish what the middle ground is or what the grey area is. That’s where this sort of discussion gets stopped before it can really take place in modern times because the counterpoint usually against benefic and malefic is “well what about all these people who have middle ground experiences with Saturn where Saturn is kind of constructive”, or “what about these people who have middle ground experiences with Jupiter because Jupiter is not well placed and therefore it signifies excess” and things like that, and they say therefore benefic and malefic is a useless distinction. And that’s such a false or misleading position to take because you’re taking instances in which those planets are not placed in their extreme situations where they could be extremely positive or they could be extremely negative and in which they coincide or correlate with those sorts of experiences and then you are extrapolating from that, and sort of rejecting a useful distinction just because there are middle of the ground scenarios.
Anyway, so the first step I think, (and that is where benefic and malefic is a useful starting point), is just establishing what the most extreme manifestations could be, and that really runs the full gamut of human experience in all different areas of the life whether it comes to relationships or having children or career or friendship or family or what have you. There is a huge spectrum of different positive and negative experiences and you really have to identify the full spectrum before you can really come to an understanding of what the planets could mean, especially when in contrast with each other.
So that is a good starting point, benefic and malefic. After that I think this theme of contrarieties can be opened up even more and in some of the texts like in Rhetorius you see them trying to contrast the planets with each other through different schemes like for example the domicile assignments or the traditional Rulership schemes where the two luminaries the Sun and the Moon, ruling Leo and Cancer are placed in opposition to the two signs that are ruled by Saturn. And so there you start getting different contrasts between the Sun and the Moon signifying things like light and warmth, opposite to Saturn signifying things like the cold and darkness. Or you get other assignments like Mercury’s signs opposite to Jupiter’s signs or Venus’s signs opposite to Mars’s signs, so this draws out additional polarities, they are not necessarily just the benefic malefic polarities, but they can be more nuanced than that.
So, yes that’s a good starting point. Other considerations that are sometimes taken into account are things like Ptolemy’s basic natures of hot, cold, wet and dry and the temperament model that I know you’ve done a lot of work with Kelly when it comes to the planets, and that is something you’ve found really useful right?
KELLY: It is really useful. I guess maybe I am at that age where part of my client practice does focus on the fertility side of things. But even in terms of the psychological connection of someone who has got a dry tone or a wet tone to their personality, it is hugely descriptive and I think it is one of those things that is really lost in our modern approach with looking at the planets. You know we don’t think about the Moon as being cold and wet and moist, we just think about it as having to do with emotions. But somebody who has got a very lunar personality maybe their Moon is on the Ascendant in a Water sign for instance, they’re going to have, even in their physical body but as well as their psychology, that idea of togetherness or joining which is very much what wet planets or wet influences do. I think it is significant, and Ptolemy does talk about it in the Tetrabiblos he sort of describes it, the heading that I think is most useful as ‘under the influences of the planetary orbs’. You know, the Sun is found to produce heat and dryness, the Moon principally generates moisture etc. etc., and the idea just as you were saying is to define the core quality of each of the planets according to whether it’s hot, dry, cold, or wet, and then to infer or develop personality traits or life possibilities. If your career has a very dry quality, dryness can be a bit thin on the ground or a bit barren whereas wetness can talk about the generation qualities so there is a lot that you can extrapolate just from those most basic concepts I guess.
CHRIS: I actually have a note on my desk, that I wrote from your lecture that you gave at ISAR about a year and a half ago, you had really good keywords for hot, cold, wet and dry, you said hot is about movement, cold is about slowness, wet is about cohesion, and dry is about separation. And I am not sure if that was directly from what you were saying or if I was inferring those qualities from your talk, but I thought they were really good keywords for understanding those basic natures just on their own and then by extension applying those potentially to the planets in terms of those being powers of the planets from which you could derive other significations.
KELLY: Absolutely, you know we talk about Saturn being a planet associated with the idea of the hermit, well Saturn is a very dry planet so it creates separation or it’s an independent or self-contained kind of quality, so absolutely…it’s a hugely rich study for anyone who does want to dive into that side of things more.
CHRIS: Sure and it’s definitely something that Ptolemy at least in terms of ancient texts, really was maybe not the originator, but he systemised it to an extent that it may not have been systemised before and then in the medieval tradition they really went to town with that sort of Aristotelian approach.
KELLY: Yes they did.
CHRIS: They used that as the basis for deriving a lot of other significations for the planets. So let’s see, there are also other things that you have to take into account in terms of not just understanding the universal meaning of the planet but also some of its individual significations, like Sect the distinction between day and night charts which is important because of the modifying role that Sect can play in altering the benefic or malefic functioning of a planet in a chart, and in terms of the spectrum of extremely positive versus extremely negative significations coming from individual planets.
There are also other considerations like being ‘under the beams’ being too close to the Sun within 15 degrees of a conjunction thus obscuring the light and the significations of that planet like Austin was talking about earlier.
There is the distinction between being a morning star planet versus an evening star planet which is when a planet rises before the Sun on the day of the native’s birth versus sets after the Sun on the day of the native’s birth.
There are other considerations like speed and whether the planet is moving faster than its average daily motion or slower than its average daily motion and then finally there’s a whole other complicated set of what’s called the ‘bonification and maltreatment conditions’ which are seven specific conditions whereby the benefic planets and the malefic planets can either affirm and say yes to what other planets want to signify, or they can deny and say no to what other planet wants to signify, through their configurations and relationships with those planets.
So all of this falls under the general rubric of studying planetary condition which is kind of a complicated topic on its own but I wanted to mention some of those really briefly just to be clear that there’s a bunch of stuff that would have to be taken into account as part of a more nuanced discussion about the basic significations of the planets that obviously we can’t cover in an hour long episode. So let’s back up though and maybe just go through the planets individually or quickly and talk about some of their basic meanings and how we conceptualise them on their own.
Do you guys want to start with a specific one?
AUSTIN: We could go in ascending Ptolemaic order, if we are going to be traditional. Or we could go from the fastest to the slowest.
KELLY: Let’s do it.
CHRIS: OK, well then let’s start with the Moon.
So the Moon is sometimes used as a starting point in terms of what Austin said the ascending Ptolemaic or ascending Chaldean order, where the Moon is first because it’s the celestial body that is the closest to us and it’s the one that moves the quickest since the Moon will orbit the Earth and do a complete track through the zodiac over the course of a month. So it is pretty fast spending only two and a half days per sign.
So what are some of the basic meanings of the moon then that are derived from that? One of the first and primary ones that Valens actually mentions, and that all ancient astrologers mention, is that because the moon is the celestial body that is the closest to us here on earth, that it primarily becomes associated with the body and the physical incarnation of the individual, because that’s what we are doing here, that’s what is happening here on earth, we are all alive in physical bodies living out our physical earthly lives.
AUSTIN: Right, so the Moon is associated strongly with the tides of generation and corruption. The coming into being and the passing away of the bodies of things. And in a sense that is the closest planetary sphere to us, right, that’s what we see. We see bodies emerge and then we see bodies decay. So that is the fastest moving and the most impermanent thing and that impermanency, the constant change which the moon evidences through her phases, is a big part of the core symbolism. Things are always changing, and the Moon rules those things which always change. On a psychological level one of those things is mood, like our moods are constantly changing. The Moon rules those things which move at her pace, and again like you said Chris she only spends two and a half days in a sign and so those things which are wishy washy or back and forth, those particular parts of us, are what she rules. Right?
CHRIS: Right, and this is contrasted with the Sun which they tend to associate with light and with more of a sense of permanence and the things associated with that such as, (at least in Valens in the 2nd Century), things like the soul and the intellect, which he then is contrasting with the Moon which also emits light at night when it is visible, but one of the interesting things is he says it possesses a counterfeit light. This observation that the Moon is reflecting back the light of the Sun and in some sense then there is almost a counterfeit, or…misleading isn’t the right word, but sort of a counterfeit nature to some of the significations of the Moon. So, the Moon’s association with the body is partially a contrast (at least in the 2nd Century) with the body being something that, you know it doesn’t have permanence, it grows old, and changes and eventually dies versus what they are contrasting the Sun and things associated like the soul and the intellect with which they view as something more permanent or something more real and sort of external in some sense.
AUSTIN: Yeah more enduring, that’s a theme through classical philosophy, which permeates astrology in a lot of ways. You know, what is fixed and permanent, and what is constantly changing. And that which endures longer is generally considered to have more ontological value, it is more real right?
AUSTIN: And if we are looking at that we could say okay Sun and Moon just on a really simple psychological level, if the Sun is identity, who I am, (and we are not going to try and define identity further than that because it is a huge topic), but we could say okay this is who I am, and the Moon is this is how I feel right now. You know like hmm I could use a snack. Now, I could use a snack, is not an enduring feature of one’s identity (laughter).
KELLY: (laughing) Hopefully not.
AUSTIN: And so both are obviously necessary to describe the human condition but we do have the constancy of the Sun contrasted with the inconstancy of the Moon.
KELLY: And you see that too in the physicality or the visibility that the moon is varying in shape and size almost from one night to the next. Whereas in contrast to that the Sun is much more steady, particularly in terms of its speed. So part of again that idea about permanency or enduring with the Sun. The Sun has a more stable movement if you like whereas the movement of the Moon is much more in flux or constantly changing. And again we get that idea of the Moon ruling those things like mood, and also the mind you know those thoughts that flicker through the mind, because they are constantly in flux just like the moon’s shape is.
CHRIS: Sure, and let’s see and in terms of other significations, and I am just looking at some of the ones I got from Valens since that’s what I’ve been focused on, but he lists things, and some of them are common and modern astrologers still associate, so for example he says the home, and housekeeping, are two of the significations of the Moon, also the queen, the mistress of the house. But he also mentions other things that are a little different than modern astrology, for example he associates the Moon with travel because it is moving so swiftly.
CHRIS: As well as wanderings, and then he also has the body parts of course that’s a whole separate topic, the planetary melothesia which is the assignment of either planets or signs of the zodiac to different parts of the body. The Moon is said to rule the left eye, the stomach, the breasts, and other things depending on what system of melothesia that you are using.
KELLY: I think the travelling is really important, because of the movement, and that is something you don’t get in the modern texts on the Moon. And the other piece is the connection to the mind or thinking or even language and communication. There are some references to do with the Moon having…the idea of the written word being a sacred symbol, and this idea of the moon God Toth being the god of scribes. So there is a connection to language if you like or expression or communication that I don’t think we get in the modern theories or thoughts around the Moon.
CHRIS: I mean that becomes a little bit more controversial in terms of different sources just because there is an issue there, and I was trying to work that out, where the Egyptians originally associated Toth with the Moon, but then in the Hellenistic period, through the cultural synchronism, they merged the Egyptian God Toth with the Greek God Hermes into the sort of same deity or sort of mythical figure, but the Greeks associated the planet Mercury with Hermes and so Toth then started becoming associated with Mercury as well and so, in Valens at least, he associates speech and writing with Mercury and then he associates the mind and the intellect with the Sun. Whereas in the Indian tradition they definitely do associate the Moon with the mind.
CHRIS: So there becomes different traditions and different, depending on what symbolic system you are using and what references you’re using, there’s sort of some disagreement in some of them.
AUSTIN: Yeah with the Toth thing, you have to consider why and how Toth was associated with the Moon. There wasn’t an identification. Toth was responsible for creating calendars for sectioning off and dividing time. And if you’re trying to divide time after you do day and night which everybody does, which even animals understand, your first mathematical division of time is going to come about by tracking the lunar cycle right? So the Moon in a sense gives us the gift of the first calendar. And so it is in what we’d could say is a very Mercurial mode that Toth is tied to the Moon. It’s not just like oh yeah he lives in the Moon it’s in that very specifically intellective numerical way that he is tied to the Moon.
CHRIS: Mhmm…and additionally another category which shouldn’t be overlooked as well is the people or like family members associated with the planets. So the Moon is commonly associated with the mother, Valens also associates it with the nurse and with the older sister, but also the Moon sometimes is said to signify females in general. And well maybe we can go into that, I mean one of the basic things surrounding that I think is they are associating the Sun with males because it omits light versus the Moon with females because it is seen as receiving the light of the Sun, and so they are drawing a distinction between sort of this active component versus a receptive component.
KELLY: And that distinction seems to be…active and receptive, you do see that with what’s referred to as more masculine types versus more feminine types.
CHRIS: Right, and that gets applied in, like Christopher Renstrom and I went over this section in Ptolemy at one point where he deals with human sexuality, and Ptolemy has this interesting almost spectrum of human sexuality, depending on whether a person has an excess of planets that are quote unquote masculinised or quote unquote feminised in terms of where they fall in terms of conventional societal sort of like gender roles and gender expectations. It is interesting because some of this on the one hand is very traditional in terms of the strict distinction between masculine and feminine in finding significators, but then there’s also this other element where it is much more nuanced than it might seem at first and more similar to some modern gender theories than you might expect.
CHRIS: Alright so in order to keep this moving, so we’ve talked about the Moon and we’ve talked a little bit about the Sun, there might be…do we want to make a few additional statements about the Sun?
AUSTIN: Sure. One of the traditional significations which doesn’t get talked about a lot is the Sun’s association with intelligence. That’s a core signification in the Hellenistic texts whereas it is not something which is as widely discussed or even discussed much at all in 20th Century astrology. So on a very simple level, the Sun lights things up so that you can see them. The Sun is intimately tied with the ability to look and to see. Right?
CHRIS: To illuminate things.
AUSTIN: Right. You’re like oh there it is, and suddenly that is part of your intelligence. So that’s actually…yeah, what’s interesting is the intelligence. When people say intelligence because of the let’s say bias or at least the framework of our culture, people usually think of intellectual gymnastics or cleverness as being intelligence. Whereas if we were to work on cultural definitions of intelligence from the Greco-Roman period, certainly cleverness with words and numbers is a part of it, but intelligence was a faculty of the solar spirit rather than one’s cleverness with words. Right? So we have this sort of more central and to a certain degree more spiritual definition of intelligence which is anchored to the Sun in that period.
CHRIS: Definitely, and that actually is interesting because it becomes part of the reason why Mercury gets associated with acting as a go between, and as speech and letters, and other things that are used in order to convey intelligence or to convey knowledge. Because Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun it plays this role of sort of transferring things from the Sun which represents knowledge or wisdom, to the rest of the planets and therefore Mercury is like not so much the gatekeeper but he becomes the entry way or the…
AUSTIN: the intermediary
KELLY: or the conduit
AUSTIN: the medium
AUSTIN: So there’s a myth that I have to recite very briefly here. This is an Egyptian myth which illustrates these concepts rather perfectly. Basically there is Ra and he is the god of the Sun and he is hanging out with Toth who here is associated with Mercury. And Toth comes up to Ra and says hey guess what I’ve invented writing and it is going to be awesome, we don’t have to keep everything in our heads anymore. Ra says gee I don’t know about that, you know if people don’t have to remember things won’t their minds get weaker, isn’t everybody going to get dumb now that we have invented writing. And they go back and forth about it speaking of the various virtues and vices which the ability to write things down will enable, and of course what they decide on is, (and a Greek term is used in the retelling of this myth), is that language, especially the written language, is a pharmakon, which is a substance which is poisonous under some circumstances and medicine under other circumstances. So you have Ra here as the Sun advocating for raw intelligence and Mercury saying yeah but what about writing, we can write things down, we could keep a list, and you know I can record what you’ve said.
But of course you can simply write things down incorrectly. Basically it’s the introduction of the telephone game which is in a sense the progressive corruption of the word. And that was of course very important to a lot of the Greco-Roman folks who saw (especially if we go a little earlier and we look at the Greek tradition of philosophy), the spoken word was considered to be much more pure than the written word, it’s the reason we have dialogues right and those dialogues are recorded. In many ways this is the inversion of the idea of the holy word being primarily in a book, right? Anyway that is just a nice little piece about Mercury Toth saying hey I have this clever supplementary method and the Sun is that raw spiritual intelligence being ambivalent about that.
CHRIS: Yeah that is a great story that goes along with that. So yeah, Sun…let’s see, mind, intelligence…I am just reading through some of Valens’s significations. He says authority, kingship, rulership, the father, master, notable figures, so he actually associates celebrities or famous faces with the Sun. For parts of the body he says the right eye, the heart of course, and associates it with the substance of gold, so the Sun is commonly associated with gold. Any other points about the Sun before we move on?
AUSTIN: I mean a lot of those are just drawn from what it obviously is right. It’s the centre of things, it’s super bright and shiny. You know there is nothing more visible in the sky than the Sun.
CHRIS: Right and I think that is really important because one of the things you are doing sort of implicitly is, you are drawing symbolic associations from that thing, rather than, (and this is a really important point, but sometimes students of astrology don’t get it till later on), is that you are not drawing something from a physical mechanism of like the Sun is making this happen, but you are drawing symbolic associations from it, which can sometimes be kind of abstract. I don’t know how to articulate that very well right now because we have to keep moving through these, but I thought that was worth repeating.
Alright so Sun and Moon, after that maybe Mercury. Mercury gets associated with a ton of significations in pretty much every tradition of astrology. Doing this section of Valens was particularly annoying because his section on significations of Mercury was two or three times as long as his significations for the other planets. And that’s partially because Mercury plays this vacillating role, where he can go back and forth and he can be on one side or the other. He can take on the qualities of the other planets and sort of change them into something a little different. As we have already said he plays that in-between role of acting as an intermediary, so one of the first things that Valens associates with him is writings and speech, both in the sense of being things that you use in order to convey meaning, like you can use your words or you can use a pen in order to convey things that are coming from your intelligence, but ultimately what Mercury is signifying is not…it is primarily signifying the conveying of those things or sort of transmitting them.
AUSTIN: Yeah, one of the keywords I use for Mercury is translation right? If you have an understanding, you see something through your mind’s eye right, Sun, but then you have to somehow get that to somebody else, you have to translate that into words and maybe numbers. Another thing I wanted to say about Mercury, in the context of this framework of contrarieties, is Mercury is his own contrariety.
KELLY: That’s great.
AUSTIN: In all these systems Mercury is both benefic both slash neither benefic or malefic, Mercury is both slash neither of the day or night Sect, Mercury doesn’t have contrarieties in the same sense as the others planets do. There is the contrast with Jupiter which is the smallest body versus the largest body (outside of the Sun obviously), but he is lacking for contrarieties and so generates them within himself.
CHRIS: Right and male or female is a famous one as well
CHRIS: Alright let’s see, all sorts of other things. One interesting part of Mercury that comes up prominently in Valens at different points is this notion of Mercury as being about contesting things, or things being up in the air or kind of like undecided. I thought that was really interesting because it invoked some of the things that modern astrologers associate with Mercury retrograde periods for example. This notion of things being up in the air or being undecided or being up for dispute or contested, so disputation is one of the things that gets associated with Mercury, which is interesting because that’s kind of contrasted with Jupiter’s significations which tend to affirm or stabilise things, and Mercury sometimes plays, as you said Austin, an oppositional role with Jupiter, in that it tends to sometimes destabilise or to contest or argue about things.
CHRIS: As one possible role.
AUSTIN: Right, to a certain degree any other planet asserts something and Mercury says well let’s take a second to think about this.
CHRIS: Or plays the lawyer role which is actually one of his significations as well, which is the sort of devil’s advocate.
AUSTIN: Yeah the generation of contrarieties where none seem to exist.
CHRIS: Oh right that would be like, I want to say like the sceptic role of you know asking the questions, of asking the not delicate questions but the inconvenient questions and things like that or perhaps raising doubts where doubts hadn’t existed previously.
AUSTIN: Right…well and so in the Picatrix in the section where you are told how to identify the religion of somebody, you know all the planets are identified with religions, Mercury’s religion is atheism, and that is an 11th Century text (laughs).
AUSTIN: Everybody else has a faith of some sort, Mercury’s faith is in a lack thereof or in the disputation of the whole god thesis.
KELLY: Yeah there’s some really interesting pieces in this, I guess that you have been discovering Chris, this idea that (where did I just highlight) … well the one thing that we don’t often think about with Mercury in the modern astrology, is the author of all things pertaining to the market and the craft of banking.
CHRIS: Yeah that’s huge with Mercury…
KELLY: It’s huge, you know like the mercantiles, all the business and the contracts, and the going to market and negotiation, it’s all Mercury.
KELLY: Commerce exactly.
CHRIS: And you think of bartering, you’re at a market and you say how much is this and the guy says $100 and you say how about $50 and he says how about $75 and that sort of back and forth, I don’t know, dialectic is probably not the right term, but that back and forth sense, especially in a mercantile context, is very common for Mercury and in fact one of the final significations that Valens gives is he says that Mercury rules coinage and basically money.
CHRIS: And things that are exchanged for services or for products as well as the giving and taking of money.
KELLY: If you’ve ever seen a stock exchange floor, back in the days before computers did a lot of the trading, you have got that incredibly Mercurial environment where the comments and the information is literally flying around and deals worth so much money are being done, just in that bantering or that bartering if you like.
CHRIS: Definitely and it’s quick…
KELLY: Very quick
CHRIS: Because Mercury is such a quick planet, of all the actual planetary non-luminary bodies (so not including the Moon and the Sun), Mercury is the fastest of the planets so it gets associated with things that are very fast or very quick, in all areas traditionally.
KELLY: Very very fast. His speed is…he can get up to double the speed of the sun when he is going his fastest. So definitely.
AUSTIN: He is not just the fastest his speed is also the most variable.
KELLY: Most variable, that’s the other thing, if you understand how Mercury moves I guess through the ecliptic, he gets into little nooks and crannies that other planets don’t even get near. And I think that is part of the symbolism that we see in the mythology of Mercury the messenger.
AUSTIN: Right where he is thought to have free reign over the world above and the world below, rather than being primarily settled in one abode.
KELLY: Exactly he is the only one that can go between all three. Bernadette Brady years ago at a UAC did this animation of Mercury’s movement across the ecliptic, and it was phenomenal to see visually how wide he gets to the edges of the ecliptic, where some of the other planets just don’t go because their cycles are just not variable enough.
CHRIS: And some of this gets tied into, (like you were saying earlier), into this notion of irregularities with Mercury. And one of the statements that Valens says that really stood out to me, is that he says “it brings about all irregularities in our fortunes and many distractions from our goals”, so notions of irregularities and distractions are common themes with Mercury.
KELLY: That’s a great quote. And distractions it’s like the monkey mind right, you think you’re doing something then all of a sudden a bright shiny thing captures your eye and off you go.
CHRIS: Right. Ok so there are a ton of other things that we could mention with Mercury but we should probably move on. So the next planet after that we shall go to is Venus. Venus is pretty easy because a lot of its significations fall under this rubric of unifying things or reconciling things. That was the two premier keywords that Schmidt used in the domicile assignments taking that cue from Rhetorius where Rhetorius was using the domiciles to act as like a basic framework for understanding the contrarieties of the planets. And a lot of Venus’s basic significations, and I found this actually recently in a translation that came out not too long ago of Proclus’s commentary on the Timeaus, and he says something very explicit about Venus’s significations actually coming from or being derived from this contrast with Mars. So Proclus says that Venus possesses the power of binding things together and harmonising that which has been separated. And that which is separated of course being signified by Mars, since Mars primarily signifies things that sever or that separate whereas Venus represents things that bind together, or that reconcile, or that unify.
KELLY: Yeah that word of unification is really important for Venus I think.
CHRIS: Definitely, because not everyone, but a large chunk of the significations that many people use, for Venus, could fall under that general rubric. And really that’s every astrologer’s goal, and is something I have been working on for a long time. I realise that it’s almost, somewhat impossible because when astrologers talk about the planets as archetypes, I think that’s a good way to conceptualise them, that we are talking about…you know, when Valens lists a hundred different significations or let’s say fifty significations for Venus it’s clear that there are themes that are uniting and combining many of these significations. There is some sort of overarching umbrella concept from which all of the other significations are being derived and that’s what the concept of an archetype (broadly speaking especially in modern times) is. This idea that there is this overarching core principle from which all of the manifold individual significations are being derived from. But one of the frustrating things that I have found is that by its very definition an archetype is something that is sort of transcendental, or it exists outside of, or just outside of reality, to the extent that it can’t be fully articulated because it encompasses all of the possible manifestations in the world of that specific concept. But by definition it can’t really be fully articulated so…you can try, and sometimes you can come really close, by for example coming up with those overarching keywords like unifying and reconciling for Venus and from that you’ll get you know 20 individual actual significations of Venus itself like marriages, and relationships, and friendship, and reconciling people that have had disputes and things like that which are all falling under a very similar rubric, but you can never quite articulate the primary archetypal principle.
KELLY: It’s very hard to do, so yeah having some of these keywords that sort of summarise all the other themes can be helpful or key concepts I guess.
CHRIS: Right, so Venus signifies things like friendship, marriage, and relationships. Are there any other big major ones that I am completely overlooking?
AUSTIN: Oh there’s one I found really interesting because of my interests as well as the fact that it is not mentioned very often, but one of Venus’s functions in a Greco-Roman era text is to rule over ceremony and ritual in a religious sense.
KELLY: Oh lovely.
AUSTIN: Which is basically theatre right?
AUSTIN: Venus already rules the arts, but people have a more spare definition of what religion is supposed to look like these days, you know Catholics aside. And if we imagine any of the many religious and spiritual enactments that were going on during this period, there is quite a bit that’s happening right? If you look at let’s say magical or hermetic material which describes how to create a ritual or a ceremony, it’s like well you’ve got to use this colour, and this kind of cloth, and this kind of incense, it is rather artistic. So Venus is uniting the aesthetic qualities associated with something in order to evoke it. And that word evoke is actually what I was thinking of when you were discussing the difficulty in showing something which cannot be shown. You cannot show the archetype, but you can evoke it by gathering together its many significations and that is really the art of rituals, to evoke the invisible by means of the visible.
CHRIS: Yeah and every student of astrology needs to understand that you have to memorise and come to an understanding of what the planet means by reading all these individual significations and that’s the way it’s always been done because of the impossibility of fully evoking or articulating the core overarching concept. In some instances you can get close but it’s really the individual significations that you have to understand in order to understand the full range.
So that, one of the ones that you just bought up Austin, is really important because that is a core overarching concept which is that Venus tends to signify things that are harmonious or aesthetically pleasing or aesthetically appealing.
CHRIS: So from that you get derived a ton of significations having to do with, for example Valens says music making, sweet singing, pleasant sounds, but he also says things like refined arts, beauty of form, painting, embroidery, and all sorts of other things like that that have to do with either harmony or things that are beautiful, basically things that are aesthetically pleasing.
AUSTIN: Right, and so Venus reconciles us to the world of the senses. Right, it is not those things that repel us from the material world but those things which attract us to it and help us to appreciate it.
CHRIS: Which is probably just like another form of harmony itself as opposed to what disharmony or things that are unharmonious.
KELLY: Yeah and that’s also picking up the Venus Mars polarity if you like. Venus has that magnetic traction not in terms of romantic attraction but literally a force of attraction that pulls things in or binds things together which is opposite to Mars which has the strife or the discord which causes that separation or that distance.
AUSTIN: Right, Empedocles.
CHRIS: Oh what was that…just restate that.
AUSTIN: Oh I just said Empedocles, Empedocles has this doctrine of basically harmony and strife being the two powers that make and unmake all things and they are associated with Mars and Venus.
KELLY: Yes and anything pretty anything that we are drawn to that is Venus magic or Venus at work I think.
CHRIS: And that becomes really funny in birth charts, because I have some really good examples of that, of just sometimes people who have Venus in the first house (and the first house represents the body and physical appearance), just being abnormally, like physically beautiful or appealing or widely recognised as being appealing and two examples I used for that were Angelina Jolie
KELLY: Angelina yes, because it is right on her Ascendant and is very very tight.
CHRIS: Right and then for the male it was Paul Newman, who was a really famous actor, he played in Cool Hand Luke and a bunch of other movies and he also has Venus in the first house I think very close to the Ascendant. So, yeah and that can be manifested in different ways but basically Venus ends up being the part of the chart where themes of beauty or harmony or reconciliation are sort of manifested in a person’s life.
Alright so that’s Venus and that sets us up for a nice contrast with Mars which is often treated together with Venus in many different ways. And as I’ve said already and as Kelly emphasised the idea of severing, or separating, or pushing things apart becomes a major theme with Mars and becomes sort of the core of many of its significations. Some of them for example just reading off some of the ones in Valens, and again he tends to list the extremes that you understand what the extreme manifestations are, but he just says right from the outset that Mars signifies violence, wars, robbery, screams, the taking away of one’s possessions
CHRIS: Yeah…banishment, exile, estrangement from one’s parents…a lot of other things, he kind of goes on for a while.
KELLY: Yeah there’s a weird list of the Mars ones there. But it’s cutting and separating and aggravating.
CHRIS: Yeah, separations from friends for example is one of the things, like having a falling out with one’s friends is contrasted with Venus which is the bringing together of friends, or Jupiter which is alliances between different people and Mars represents the separation of that. Venus which indicated like pleasant harmonious sounds and music making, Mars’s contrast is that, Valens says that he signifies verbal abuse and screams, and insolence and lies. Lies is actually a really interesting one where a lot of the like misleading significations and the lying and deception type significations have been taken from some of the traditional planets and applied to the outer planets in modern times but it’s actually interesting how themes of dishonesty and stuff, which planets those get assigned to in the traditional approach, so one of Mars’s significations is lying and things like that.
Ah let’s see what else…anger, as a sort of emotional component to Mars, and fighting….yeah
AUSTIN: Well so to bring it back to temperament qualities, one of my go tos for Mars is that Mars rules intemperate heat.
KELLY: Yes excessive heat.
AUSTIN: Right, the Sun is warm but Mars rules intemperate heat, and so if you look over things like when people are intemperately heated they get violent, but Mars also rules things, to quote Valens, such as attacks of fevers, ulcers, skin eruptions and inflammations, right and that’s what happens when the body gets over heated it becomes reddened and unhappy.
AUSTIN: So for me two of my keywords for Mars are Mars cuts and burns.
AUSTIN: It separates by means of the blade and then overheats and destroys by means of fire. And of course fire is its own form of separation, if you set something on fire, that fire is literally separating that substance on a chemical level.
CHRIS: And that’s interesting because that’s actually in the temperament model that is part of Ptolemy’s basic definition of benefic and malefic, and it’s distinction, as you said, is that the malefics tend towards the extremes of hot and cold, whereas the benefics tend towards moderation and that’s what leads to the experience of more subjectively positive or negative events with the things they signify, is that the malefics tend towards extremes whereas the benefics tend towards moderation and its typically in the extremes that you’ll end up with scenarios that are experienced more negatively.
AUSTIN: Yeah. I will just add this to Mars so that it is not just entirely negative, is that, that type of extreme heat is necessary for the transformation of certain substances, such as all metals. And Mars’s association with metalworkers in particularly ironworkers, is as old as the text that we have.
You can’t create anything, you know, if you bring Venus to bear on a piece of iron and you just cool it gently, or the Sun, you just put the piece of iron out in the Sun, it cannot be transformed, right and so Mars is, the extremes of heat are necessary for the transformation of many different materials, some of which are psychic or internal.
CHRIS: Definitely, and in terms of other positive manifestations I know, especially modern times, athletes and athletics are associated typically with Mars, but also the military and soldiers have long been associated with Mars as well as other things like that or other professions in like that area.
KELLY: Absolutely, surgeons and surgery I think is something else that is associated with Mars, where the cutting or the separating qualities of Mars are put to productive use, I guess.
CHRIS: Definitely, you know that would be a good like Mars in Virgo type signification because of the attention to detail and the focusing on very tiny things that is necessary for Virgo. That is just something I was thinking about that Mars in Virgo would be a good signification for surgeons.
KELLY: Yes. Yes, and you do see that with Mars triggers or transits or activations in clients charts that they go in for minor surgeries or minor procedures where things are being cut or cut away.
CHRIS: Right, definitely, or in the negative end of the spectrum you know injuries and accidents and things like that you see sometimes with Mars as well.
KELLY: Yes yes 100%. You cut yourself accidentally or what have you.
AUSTIN: Yeah just on a sort of dumb transit level, whenever Mars hits a critical point in my chart, I always burn myself on the stove while taking something out of the oven,
AUSTIN: And I’ll also sometimes have problems with inflammation or internal heat.
CHRIS: Definitely, and I forgot to mention when you said that Austin, I found this great quote from Iamblichus the other day where he says, (he is talking about Mars and Saturn) and he says “the emanation deriving from Saturn tends to pull things together while the emanation deriving from Mars tends to provoke motion in things however at the level of material things the passive, generative receptacle receives the one of Saturn as rigidity and coldness, whereas the other Mars it receives as a degree of inflammation exceeding moderation”. So this is on the mysteries and he is trying to explain how the benefics and malefics are not…the planets themselves are not inherently good or bad, or the planets themselves are not trying to do evil, but it’s just that in the sort of sublunar realm of experience, that the experience of excessive cold or heat as a broader symbolism tends to be experienced in a negative way.
AUSTIN: Right, they are just too extreme for us bro.
KELLY: Absolutely, absolutely.
CHRIS: Alright so moving along since we are going over time here, and if we finish up in the next 15 minutes we can still get the greater part of the forecast episode done, does that sound good to you guys.
KELLY: That sounds good…we’ve just got Jupiter and Saturn left.
CHRIS: Yeah, alright, so let’s jump straight onto Jupiter then. Jupiter is the so called greater benefic, Venus is the lesser benefic, and then Mars is the lesser malefic and Saturn is the greater malefic. Jupiter is…
AUSTIN: We should say why they are lesser and greater because there is a very clear reason.
KELLY: Tell us
AUSTIN: Well, the lesser benefic Venus and the lesser malefic Mars, are the two that move fast and the greater are the two that move slow.
KELLY: Good work
CHRIS: Right and they are also even like physically…
CHRIS: Much bigger or smaller.
AUSTIN: Yeah well we have two, that are the lessers, that are inside the asteroid belt, and they are both solid, we could walk upon either of them, whereas the greater are both gas giants and similar in size and composition. So they naturally pair off, once you’ve decided you know who’s bright and who’s dark then you can make that greater/lesser distinction really easily.
AUSTIN: I just wanted to bring that up because it sounds like some sort of pompous and arbitrary thing, but it’s really lesser in that those are faster and closer to us.
CHRIS: And I think that point about being more physical or being gaseous bodies is a great distinction because I think that’s going to be one of the next areas in like astrological research that hasn’t been used as much as it could, which is just the physical properties of the planets, now that we have the ability to investigate them.
AUSTIN: Oh yeah
CHRIS: Because sometimes there is some really interesting, and I’ve mentioned this before I think in other episodes, like with Nick Dagan Best, just how sometimes the physical properties of the planets when you look at them in the solar system, and they have actually been surprisingly evocative of significations that astrologers already associate with those planetary bodies even though we came up with those meanings long before we could actually inspect the planets.
AUSTIN: Yeah and just one more note on that, if we look at how the planets are grouped in Sect. Sect, Venus, the Moon and Mars, are the three bodies that are literally closest to Earth and you can walk on all of them, whereas if we look at Jupiter, Saturn and the Sun for the day Sect those are all huge things none of which we can actually walk on because they are not actually solid.
CHRIS: Hmm…interesting. Yeah and there is a bunch of things like that at some point I want to do a whole show on that, because there is another thing, like when Nick Dagan Best and I went to the planetarium when he was in town a few years ago, one of the things they really focused on is this huge like gash in Mars that looks like it has gotten a slice taken out of it or something like that because it has this huge like canyon or trench that runs through the planet and I thought that was really funny just given Mars’s common association with cuts, and with wounds and gashes and things like that.
KELLY: That’s fantastic.
AUSTIN: Yeah, and with it having, even though it’s a smaller planet, its mountains are much higher than those on Earth. And if we are talking about skin eruptions, right, the skin of the planet is popped, and scarred, and raised, and lowered in a way that is not harmonious or is less harmonious than the other, than our planet for example.
CHRIS: Nice, well I think that would be a good route to explore for people that are eager to look into some of the new planetary or other celestial bodies that are being discovered in terms of trying to determine their significations.
Anyway so back to Jupiter.
KELLY: Big, the biggest
CHRIS: Yes big and that’s actually a good starting point for the significations as a lot of Jupiter’s significations are things that are big or that are physically or philosophically big.
KELLY: Yes he seems to rule things, (certainly as a dynamic trigger with transits, progressions, time lord techniques), Jupiter talks about increase or growth or things becoming larger or there being more, doubling what you have or increase, and literally Jupiter is this gigantic thing in the solar system.
CHRIS: Right and abundance, like Valens says abundance, large gifts, an abundance of profits, so this idea of having a lot of something as well.
CHRIS: Okay and so other things in Schmidt’s whole thing contrasting the domiciles of the planets, two of the main significations he came up with that I think were very good, is the idea of Jupiter stabilising but also affirming or confirming things. It comes up very frequently in a lot of the significations this notion of stabilising things like things that are either up in the air, or things that are disputed become stable and become confirmed or they become sort of affirmed in a way where Jupiter says yes to things if there is a question about whether something will happen or whether things will come about, Jupiter tends to say yes to everything.
KELLY: I think…
AUSTIN: I would…
KELLY: You go Austin
AUSTIN: Ok one of my go-to words for Jupiter is coherence. When Jupiter is not making something bigger, he is establishing coherence between the constituent pieces of him. So for example when we talk about Jupiter as being associated with say personal growth, personal growth is not getting bigger, personal growth is finding harmony between the different components of what you are. Its reducing conflict internally, which might allow you to get bigger, to grow, but that internal harmony or the creation of coherence within a given thing, is huge for Jupiter, and that is actually a precondition for growth. Right, if something is out of proportion and its different pieces are not connected to each other then more growth is not only unnecessary but counterproductive, you’re just enlarging a problem. But Jupiter has this balancing function that is spoken of in lots and lots of traditional texts but has been somewhat ignored over the last 100 years in favour of its power to biggen things, and it does biggen things don’t get me wrong but that internal coherence is super important.
KELLY: That’s a beautiful point Austin about the balancing and the coherence.
CHRIS: Ah let’s see other things so Valens gives significations like confirmation of good things, relief from bad things, being released from bonds or being released from imprisonment, freedom, wealth, abundance, payments, justice, alliances, knowledge, he uses the term gnosis here, friendships with powerful people, and so on and so forth.
Alright, ok so let’s see, I am sure we are missing some things, are there any other major themes Kelly are there any other major themes we are missing for Jupiter?
KELLY: Did we talk about the wisdom and the knowledge piece side of it?
CHRIS: Yeah and I think that’s really important and probably needs to be articulated because something that Valens really emphasises is this idea of knowledge or wisdom again using the term gnosis which is really important and perhaps we should expand on.
KELLY: Yeah you mentioned gnosis right that’s true…
CHRIS: How do you contrast that, like how would Jupiter’s knowledge or wisdom contrast with say Mercury’s you know similar associations with I don’t know some forms of intelligence?
KELLY: Well I guess the difference is, Jupiter probably represents the wisdom in the sense of knowing or understanding perhaps in a fairly integrated or substantial way. I think Mercury’s link to intelligence is perhaps a little bit more the ability to express that wisdom that might come from Jupiter or elsewhere, but that knowing or that awareness I think that’s more Jupiter rather than Mercury.
CHRIS: Definitely, so maybe the difference between like Mercury collecting a bunch of facts and let’s say having a whole collection of different facts but then Jupiter actually understanding you know what’s being collected or having some actual insight into the underlying working of things or some wisdom surrounding it versus just a collection of data. Let’s say data points versus understanding the data.
KELLY: Yeah, data points would be totally Mercury the collection of facts just for the sake of knowing things whereas Jupiter would be more about is there some meaning, or context, or purpose behind those facts and that data or is there a way to tie them together in a bigger way. I think that would be the Jupiter piece.
AUSTIN: Jupiter asks how do we use…so what does this say about life and how can we use this to make life better. So we could assemble a number of facts about life but then you know we can ask sort of the classical philosophical question of ‘okay and so how does this inform our definition of the good life as well as the way that we might achieve it”. Jupiter is actually very application oriented.
AUSTIN: When we say wisdom, wisdom is something that is usually both transcendentally true as well as actionable and applying to many situations. I would also say I think that wisdom in many cases is what arises when there is coherence between the many facts and experiences which are present in the mind. Wisdom is a sort of meta product of the experience that one takes in. And another sort of Mercury Jupiter contrariety that I use when I am teaching is if we are looking at sort of different ideas of passing knowledge, wisdom on, let’s use knowledge because it is sort of halfway between wisdom and facts right…
AUSTIN: We have the sort of guru model where the guru (and of course Jupiter is called guru in the subcontinental traditions)…
AUSTIN: Where it is like let me try and pass my understanding on to you. And I have a lot of experience with this through Chinese martial arts and Taoism, where that’s the model right, but then we also have the university professor (as Mercury) as being the other style, where like you are supposed to go to class, read the facts, and then argue about it. There are different ways of perpetuating knowledge traditions.
CHRIS: That’s a really interesting point and then that term for knowledge the Greek term wisdom is also the source of the term gnostic for the gnostic sects in the ancient world including the gnostic Christian sect which was based around the idea that there was this underlying knowledge or truth that was like revealed to humanity that allowed them to be free or to liberate themselves and the passing on of that knowledge or wisdom from teacher to student was part of some of the mystery traditions and including the hermetic tradition.
AUSTIN: Right and it’s not primarily textual, the techniques are there so that you can have the experience, the direct experience of the divine, that’s what the gnosis is. Things you can say about that are not gnosis, right the gnosis is not primarily verbal nor is it primarily textural. And that’s what a guru is trying to pass on, he is trying to get you so you can see what he sees or what she sees. Whereas a Mercurial knowledge tradition is a different thing and of course the two intersect and interplay but there is a difference at that sort of raw archetypal level.
CHRIS: That brings us back to again to wisdom also being a good alternative maybe translation of that because I think, wisdom that’s a clear access point for understanding the difference for what you get with studying under a teacher where they have had years and years of experience, they have run into the dead ends and have found the things that work and the things that don’t work, and in having that experience of working directly with them you gain the benefit of their years of wisdom and their own work sort of directly versus something that you read in a book and you then have to work out on your own and you have a collection of things and theory but you are much less close to the working practice of how this actually works in practice.
AUSTIN: Yeah and I know we shouldn’t go on about this too much longer but in some traditions there is literally what they call direct transmission where the teacher will literally zap you with you know the juice, where you literally get the abstract energetic component of the tradition which is not the words that you can say about it.
CHRIS: Sure, alright I think that’s a good closing down point for Jupiter
AUSTIN: The juice
KELLY: The juice of Jupiter…love it that’s our hashtag
CHRIS: Well speaking of….that’s relevant to some of its significations of begetting children and childbearing which shows up very prominently then in the mix.
AUSTIN: Indeed…internally it’s the lord of semen, the womb etc.
KELLY: The juice and the growing, love it.
CHRIS: Right, listing the significations from Valens. And that’s actually an area where I do wonder if, you know because that’s something very prominent in some of Jupiter’s myths and it’s interesting that it shows up as one of the first significations of Valens where he says the begetting of children.
CHRIS: But yeah, who’s to say, it’s hard sometimes where there is just like symbolic things that make sense versus the mythology being what it is, so it is hard to say.
KELLY: Well a quick word on the temperament pieces of Jupiter, it’s a hot and moist planet, which are the conditions required for growth
KELLY: Did that just get worse.
AUSTIN: It did, it totally got worse
KELLY: Damn I was really trying to be serious there
AUSTIN: And so real quick, people don’t associate Jupiter with sexy at all
AUSTIN: You know modern astrologers nobody’s like that Jupiter that’s sexy right
KELLY: (laughs) Little do they know
AUSTIN: Little do they know
CHRIS: Yeah and that’s one of the things that stood out to me as well, as one of the first few significations that Valens actually gives for Jupiter is also desire, and love, and alliances, so there is other sort of Venusian almost type components that get tied in with Jupiter, or things that we might otherwise usually associate with Venus that come up in Jupiter as well. And that’s true of other planets where there are different crossovers and there are different pairs of planets that sometimes share similar significations, it happens also for Mars and Saturn, it happens for, the Sun and Moon exchange some significations, the Moon and Mercury have some similarities in their movements and therefore share some similar significations. There are different pairs where sometimes planets when they overlap due to different categorical properties or just different observational properties sometimes they will share similar significations.
KELLY: Absolutely and I think in someways that particularly, say Venus Jupiter they are both a benefic planet so we get some of the good things represented by both Venus and Jupiter but in a smaller or a larger scale way.
CHRIS: Definitely. Alright well let’s move on to our final planet which is Saturn, which is the furthest and slowest and dimmest of the seven traditional planetary bodies that can be seen with the naked eye. It represents the boundary in fact, the point where you can’t see any other visible planets, there are no other visible planets that can be seen with the naked eye past Saturn, so in some sense it represents the outer limits and this theme of boundaries or of walls or things that you can’t go past, becomes a very prominent theme for Saturn.
KELLY: Absolutely and I think that a lot of that is just the physical placement of Saturn in the cosmos as we experience it directly and that’s hugely important…over to you Austin.
AUSTIN: OK I want to read you guys a poem?
KELLY: Oh yes
AUSTIN: About the children of Saturn. It is not very long, I think it nicely summarises a lot of what we are going to talk about.
Saturn is my name
CHRIS: This is from like a 17th Century text or something?
AUSTIN: Yeah I sent you this
Saturn is my name; I am first
Of planets high above the earth.
I am by nature dry and cold,
And my works are manifold.
In my houses firmly stand –
The Goat and the Waterman.
I do much damage by my might,
By sea and land, by day and night.
My exaltation’s in the Scales,
But in the Ram my power fails.
Its thirty years, harsh and malign,
Ere I come again to the same sign.
My children are vicious, dry and old,
Envious, weary, wretched, cold.
Deep eyes, hard skin, their beards are small.
They’re lame, misshapen, depraved withal.
Traitorous, brooding, greedy, pale,
They often find themselves in jail.
They grub the dirt, dig graves, plow land,
In foul and stinking clothes they stand.
Condemned to die or live in sorrow,
Sweat and strain, or trouble borrow,
Always needy, never free,
Its Saturn’s children there you see.
CHRIS: Nice, that’s great, and it’s funny because it actually summarises a lot of the significations that Valens gives…I’m surprised, like that’s in 17th Century right?
AUSTIN: Ah I think so, it might be a little earlier yeah. It’s classic that’s why I wanted to read it.
KELLY: It is, it captures everything.
CHRIS: So let’s see, I am trying to think of a starting point. So, restrictions, boundaries, things that you can’t go beyond,
KELLY: Yeah, Saturn will say no to things, he will tell you ‘you cannot go here’, there’s a barrier across your path.
CHRIS: Yeah that becomes two of the primary meanings, the idea of rejecting things, and excluding things, and saying no to or negating things become really core concepts with Saturn.
AUSTIN: Well I would add to that, you know there’s this…one of Saturn’s polarities is confirmation or denial.
AUSTIN: You go and you take the test to see if you can become a licensed say therapist, and then you either pass or fail. The authority, the Saturnian figure, either confirms and says you’re good enough I guess, or you are rejected, your confirmation and denial. I know we’ve all talked about that a lot with Saturn. Then I would also say, another one of my favourite polarities with Saturn is inclusion and exclusion. A wall, a structure is always keeping somebody in and somebody out, and it is not necessarily better or worse to be on either side of that, but we have our human roles full of walls, right. So when people… one of my, not pet peeves, I don’t know what you call it but things that I keep talking about, is people who say “oh I’m an Aquarius and I can’t possibly see how Saturn could rule Aquarius”. Well Saturn rules exclusion are you on the outside of things? Welcome to Saturn, like what defines outside and inside, it’s a boundary, Saturn rules visible boundaries.
CHRIS: And it’s hilarious also if you go back and listen to our Saturn in Sagittarius episode how we were taking some of that symbolism and meaning of like boundaries, walls, and all of that, and how that has really manifested in the past several months in two very different ways. On the one hand your talking about walls just now is making me think of a lot of the furore in the discussion over Donald Trump becoming the leading candidate for the Republicans in the United States presidential election, and him talking constantly about putting a wall up between the US and Mexico, as a Saturn in Sagittarius type theme. Where in Sagittarius you have ideas of travel and that which is foreign and then with Saturn you get ideas of boundaries and putting up walls and things like that.
AUSTIN: Right the possibility of denial of travel and movement.
CHRIS: Right and then additionally as we have talked about, probably a lot at this point, but the immigration crisis, and the things happening in Europe and the Middle East in terms of large movements of people and interactions of cultures and stuff going on in terms of that with Saturn in Sagittarius?.
AUSTIN: Yes so let’s talk a little bit about how Jupiter and Saturn’s meanings contrast with each other in a meaningful way. One thing for example if Jupiter is growth or the biggening, Saturn is the limits of growth. Nothing can grow forever, everything has a container to some degree, and it becomes useless or counterproductive to continue increasing in scale. The very laws of physics treat things of a different scale differently. There is a reason we don’t have house sized ants, it’s because the structure of an ant doesn’t work on that scale it works on the insect scale, and it is why people who are huge, you know somebody who is eight feet tall, a lot of times they have a lot of health problems, like the human body doesn’t scale up super well.
CHRIS: So Saturn is boundaries and limitations sometimes they are ones that don’t feel good and are annoying and other times they are ones that are important for functional purposes and give us useful boundaries and guidelines.
KELLY: Absolutely. I think one of the words you used Austin, containment, that containment can be a boundary that prevents you moving forward but it can also be a safety net that stops you hurting yourself or going into danger. I think there is a potentially positive or protective quality to that side of Saturn too.
AUSTIN: Absolutely, absolutely, you know Saturn rules a lot, yeah it rules the erection of solid structures which you can certainly be imprisoned within, so there is that negative experience of containment, but there is also the being protected by the cold stone walls. Sometimes that’s helpful sometimes it’s necessary and of course, in a sense, we are all contained within the stone cold walls of our future crypts. Saturn is traditionally associated with death, which is the limit of all created things, at least the visible limit of all created things. Saturn is associated with tombs and of course when we are dead we are in a state of excessive coldness relative to life.
CHRIS: Hmmm. Right the diminishing of the heat and life of things.
AUSTIN: Right we are rigid and cold.
CHRIS: Let’s see, other significations and another one that is useful is things that are ‘long lasting’.
CHRIS: And things pertaining to time, yes things related to time in general, but especially those that take a long time, are often associated with Saturn, since there is this contrast between for example Mercury and the Moon moving really fast at one extreme of the visible planets, and then Saturn is the other extreme of the visible planets where it is moving extremely slow. It takes the Moon a month to go round the zodiac, Mercury takes a year or less, and then Saturn takes thirty years. So right there you get a contrast between different things that move very fast versus things that move very slow and take a long time. Also things that last a long time or things that have greater permanence in some instances.
KELLY: Yes the establishment of epochs or dynasties or legacies that are enduring, I think is also symbolised by Saturn.
CHRIS: Definitely. Let’s see there are some negative significations that are more like psychological and I think a lot of these are getting contrasted so some of the other planets like the Sun, for example, indicates action and getting things going, and movement, so sometimes the contrast with Saturn as the planet that rules the domiciles opposite to the sun or to the luminaries, is either inaction or sluggishness, slowness in action, or sometimes not taking action when you’re supposed to.
AUSTIN: Right and I’d say it also rules…what you see by transit a lot of the time, is Saturn describing periods of feeling stuck.
CHRIS and KELLY: Yes.
CHRIS: Feeling stuck or feeling like you’re not moving as fast as you’d like to be moving or you’re stuck in place somehow. It also, Valens says, rules obstacles in undertakings, so things that come up that get in your way that either slow you down or that stop you or make it so that you can’t proceed further on a certain path that you are trying to walk across. Psychologically there’s a lot of interesting stuff even early in Valens pertaining to depression, feelings of isolation, feelings of being sullen, being miserable, squalid is one of the significations he gives which is interesting I thought in light of the poem that you read earlier Austin, because squalid or at least the Greek term I was translating as squalid can literally mean both dry or parched, which is one of the significations associated with Saturn, but by extension it can also mean dirty or squalid and by extension it also has other associations such as being miserable or being dark, or being gloomy. And I thought that was really funny because Valens talks about Saturn also being clothed in black, so Saturn is like the original sort of Goth of the planets, it’s the Goth planet.
KELLY: Yes it’s the man in black.
CHRIS: There’s also some interesting… I bought this up earlier because oftentimes this gets appropriated and applied to Neptune, but in traditional astrology with the seven planets, Saturn actually had a lot of the significations having to do with deceit. So for example Valens says that Saturn signifies deceit, and those who conceal their deceit, or those who have a feigned appearance, so those who put on a false appearance.
AUSTIN: A quick example Bill Clinton is a Mercury Saturn.
CHRIS: And that’s Mercury and Saturn in Leo in the 11th house.
AUSTIN: Yes, and so he literally “I did not have sex with that woman”, he is known by a lie of national proportions.
CHRIS: Sure and that’s actually interesting because I was watching an interview with Christopher Hitchens the other day and it was old from like 2,000 or something when he wrote this book titled No one Left To Lie To, but he said it wasn’t just that he misinformed the public but there were close friends and associates that he told no, Monica Lewinsky is just a crazy person or something like that. To his inner circle he said it was a lie, and then he had to come forth with that or be honest to his friends and say there was actually something that happened with her, so that is interesting that you point that out.
Let’s see what other…
KELLY: The one other positive side of Saturn that is in the Valens work is this quote that he produces those that acquire great reputation, notable rank, guardianships, and a couple of other kind of odd things like fathers of other people’s children. But the great reputation, I thought that was kind of cool.
CHRIS: Yeah, so there is this acknowledgment that when Saturn is well placed and when it’s in a day chart when it is of the Sect in favour or when it’s well placed by sign or configuration with other planets, it can indicate people that become eminent, that become authority figures, they become the administrators of that which belongs to others, which then gets extended toward things like the fathers of other people’s children and things like that.
So yes there are definitely some very positive ones and that’s a point that Valens makes several times that even the malefics have the potential to be constructive under certain circumstances.
AUSTIN: Yeah I often think of the Sun as the king and Saturn as the prime minister.
KELLY: Oh that’s a great way of describing it.
AUSTIN: And I would also say even though it’s not in the set of significations, if we are going to contrast Jupiter and Saturn, I personally think both rule wisdom but of a very different sort. Saturn rules that sort of wisdom which comes about by being alone and cold and in a cell and meditating, for years at a time.
KELLY: The wisdom of introspection.
AUSTIN: Yeah, well and of wrestling with…you know there are actually a number of meditative traditions where you picture your death, and then by envisioning it a thousand different ways you come to terms with that limit of this life, and that gives you a psychological resilience which very few people have.
And so there is wisdom but it doesn’t look like the…it is not the realisation of divinity and love that we might see through Jupiter, it is a contemplation of the dark rather than the light.
CHRIS: Or, you know that which you’ve learned as a result of setbacks, or having paid your dues, or having suffered hardship or difficulty and come out the other side of it.
AUSTIN: Yeah I think of Saturn as ruling over many ordeals that people go through both intentional and unintentional and the pressure of that refining a certain part of the psyche or soul.
CHRIS: And another part that’s worth mentioning in that line is also the wisdom that comes from loss or those who have experienced loss, or difficulty, or hardship in some area and the sort of insight that gives into perhaps the state of things in a pragmatic sense, or perhaps just into the nature of the world in general, as a sort of perspective versus the more optimistic perspective maybe contrasting say the optimism of Jupiter that’s sort of an unbridled optimism versus the more cautious, or pessimistic, or pragmatic sort of insights or wisdom of Saturn.
AUSTIN: Yeah I think of Saturn as corresponding to the concept of sobriety in a lot of ways.
CHRIS: Definitely. Alright well I am sure there are many things, are there any other really main points that we needed to touch on with Saturn that we didn’t get a chance to?
KELLY: I am good with that, what about you Austin?
AUSTIN: I think that’s a good cursory examination.
CHRIS: OK. Well we’ve come to what turned into a two hour, supposed to be a one hour, run through of the seven traditional planets, so both of you, I think all of us, who have had extended discussions or taught extended discussions on the planets and different things, since I think this episode is going to be around for a while, maybe it will be useful just to mention where each of us goes into each these with more detail and then in the forecast episode that we are going to do next, we can talk about other upcoming things we have going on. Where can people find out more information about each of you where you go into more about each of the planets?
AUSTIN: Well last year I taught a month long class it was about six hours just going over the planets. People can purchase recordings of that on my website and in addition I am just about to start teaching a fresh round of basics classes and we are going to start with the planets because that’s where astrology begins. The first class for that will be on March 19th Saturday.
CHRIS: Ok and your website is austincoppock.com
CHRIS: Excellent, and Kelly you’ve done stuff on the planets, even your temperament talks and stuff right.
KELLY: Oh yeah the temperament talk, I was thinking about what to share now. Yeah the temperament talks I gave a lecture on that at ISAR in 2014, and that’s actually available for purchase, the recording along with the accompanying PowerPoint presentation, via my website. So from the main page you hit the resources option and then lectures is the option right underneath there or hit the lectures tab and it brings up all of my past conference lectures and the temperament one is there. In the last six months I have given a lecture called Planets, Passions and Problems, where I go into some of those criteria around Sect or speed, some of those special configurations that can strengthen a planet or kind of neutralise or weaken a planet and actually Bill Clinton’s chart is an example that I use in that lecture. And that lecture will be available in the next few weeks as soon as I come out of my contracted non-compete period. I am also teaching online classes at the moment, I will be diving into predictive astrology starting later in the summer so that info is also available on my website under the study tab so that’s kellysastrology.com for anyone who wants more on that.
CHRIS: Excellent, and of course for mine, I am working on my book which I hope to have finished and out later on this year, and in the meantime I’m not sure if I am going to release the significations of the planets that I have, this translation, because it is for the book. I do have it as part of my course on Hellenistic Astrology, which you can find out more about on my website hellenisticastrology.com and that’s primarily where I teach about the planets within a broader context of Hellenistic astrology and the broader systems that you can understand not just the meanings of the planets but also planetary condition and things like Sect, and visibility, and bonification and maltreatment and everything else. So I would check out the course at hellenisticastrology.com for that.
Alright well I think that brings us to the end of this episode. Yeah let’s end this episode for now and then we’ll figure out what to do about the next one. (Laughs) Alright so any final words about the seven traditional planets from you guys before we wrap this up?
CHRIS: Well how about this any tips for new students who are just learning astrology
KELLY: Oh yeah
CHRIS: And trying to develop an understanding of the meanings of the planets, do you have any tips for those guys.
KELLY: Well I think I would suggest if you haven’t already done what Austin and I did in the beginning which was start looking at the traditional ruling planet of the signs, that can kind of instantly and radically improve the accuracy I guess but also the depth with which you understand how the planets work. So if you are thinking about you’ve got a Pisces on the Midheaven or the 10th house start thinking about Jupiter as an important planet to do with career and working with that sitting and reflecting on that and watching that can be a good way to get started.
CHRIS: Definitely, and it can be tough though also at the same time because…
KELLY: It sounds simple but it can take a long time for you to get your head around it.
CHRIS: Right, just because the modern statements in many modern astrology books about the signs are often predicated sometimes on drawing significations from the outer planets and so it depends on what books you are reading. If you are reading a more traditional book it will make it clear that they are drawing the significations more…
KELLY: Oh yeah I’ve got a book that I would recommend yeah.
CHRIS: Which one would you recommend for that?
KELLY: It’s actually Traditional Astrology for Today an Introduction by Ben, by Dr. Benjamin Dykes. It’s really accessible there is a lovely little section in there where he looks at planets from a more traditional perspective and I think it’s a really good starting point for people.
CHRIS: Ok nice. Alright any final words from you Austin?
AUSTIN: Oh just that you can’t know too much about the planets. You are never going to waste your time by studying the planets. Almost everything else in astrology comes back to the planets, they’re really the root. So if you don’t know what else to study, just study the planets. Study, study, study, study, study, contemplate, draw pictures of them, think about colour coding schemes, use all of your senses and faculties to approach the planets you can’t possibly know too much about them.
CHRIS: Something that Leisa and I did a few years ago when we taught a series we had with our local astrology group here in Denver, we had this series that ran for a year where at each meeting we would have like a round table discussion and Leisa and I had compiled extracts of, it was like five or seven different treatments of the significations of the planets from different eras, from the 1st Century all the way through to the 20th Century. And we basically just read the excerpts of different astrologers and how they talked about what the significations of the planets were over the course of the past two thousand years and that gave us a lot of really great insight into how astrologers conceptualised the significations of the planets and what some of the similarities and differences were over the course of the different traditions. So that is really what I would recommend, is try to find different books from different eras of the astrological tradition and just compare the significations. So for example Vettius Valens the first chapter of his Anthology for the early tradition from the 2nd Century, and then you can do the medieval tradition like Bonatti or something or you can just jump forward to William Lily and the 17th Century, that’s a free book where you can look through his significations that he gives for the planets. And then you can jump forward to the twentieth Century and look at significations like Steven Forrest, and his book the Inner Sky has a really good summary of the significations of the planets. Or you can go earlier twentieth Century and go to Ebertin’s The Combination of Stellar Influences as being a really good source text for giving the significations of the planets and then jump forward as one of the most recent ones that I would look at would be Rick Tarnas’s Cosmos and Psyche and the significations of the planets that he gives in there. And that will give you a very broad overview of the significations that astrologers have associated with the planets over the past two thousand years.
Alright well that brings us to the end of this episode, so thanks Austin and Kelly for joining me.
CHRIS: Alright and thank you to the listener for listening and we will see you next time.