|The Seven Planets of the Old World|
| Until the discovery of the three outer planets, astrology
was concerned only with the seven planets visible to the naked eye.
With the exception of Mercury, these planets can be usefully studied
as three pairs of opposites. We will begin with the two luminaries - the
Sun and Moon - which, in astrological terminology, are known as planets.
Essentially, the Sun and Moon represent our personal connection to Spirit and Soul, as can be seen clearly from the symbols for each planet. Neither symbol contains the cross of matter, which means that, ultimately, neither the Spirit nor the Soul belongs exclusively to our manifest lives, but to other realms of existence. During our lifetimes, however, which are the concern of our birth charts, the principles of Spirit and Soul are, as it were, 'stepped down' and projected onto our experience of our human parents, father and mother, creators of our physical existence.
The astrological Sun and Moon oppose and complement each other, respectively ruling the day and the night, light and darkness, male and female, clarity and complexity, radiating and reflecting qualities, certainty and doubt, straightness and roundness, and many other opposites associated with the opposing male and female principles. Every chart contains both the Sun and Moon which reveals, as Jung observed, that within the psyche the masculine and feminine principles are equally represented. It is never possible to know the sex of an individual from their birth chart, since the chart is simply the map of a particular moment in time and space and does not belong solely to us as individuals. Rather, the birth chart describes how the masculine and feminine principles will function in an individual's life, regardless of their sex. This is an important point, because in these politically correct times, people often have initial difficulty appreciating that the analogies drawn in astrology between masculine/feminine, positive/negative, active/passive, yang/yin, do not refer only to our biology, but also to our psyches, which contain a potential balance between these opposites.
An engraving from Michael Maier's alchemical text, Atalanta fugiens, (1618), showing the Sun and Moon as the twin complementary
principles of the alchemical work.
Copyright ©2005 by Clare Martin.
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