As we contemplate the verities of astrology, our first path of thought should take us to the beginning, the point where the planets assumed their power and roles. Regressing the mind within the scope of time back to this point will take some free-form thinking: abandoning contemporary misconceptions on the art, even perhaps drifting away from the uncharted centuries it has had to develop into its own form. The most lucid insights into these origins, perhaps, are reflected in the ancient texts of Vedic astrology, and in this week’s post we will be exploring more of the magnificent opus, Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra (BPHS):
Ch. 2, v. 3-4. The unborn Vishnu has many incarnations. He has incarnated, as the Navagrahas (nine planets) to bestow on the living beings the results due to their karma. He is Janardan, exciter of human beings. He assumed the auspicious form of planets to destroy the Asuras and sustain the Devas.
The creation story of Vedic astrology is revealed in the above excerpt. The unborn absolute, or an original state of consciousness prior to form and content, manifested itself in nine separate “spheres of power”, or planets, to facilitate the distribution of karma, or the results of action, to living beings. Moreover, the form of the planets “destroy the Asuras and sustain the Devas.” This directly attributes the quality of Vishnu, as the agent of maintaining order, to the planets – that the role of the planets is to keep the functional and anticipated processes of the cosmos, the world, society, and the individual in their natural step. Deviance to the natural order, or dharma, is the work of asuras – that class of beings throughout Vedic lore work to subvert and possess the power of the devas: Agni (Fire), Vayu (Wind), Apas (Water), Privithi (Earth), Indra (Storm/Lightning), Surya (Sun), Chandra (Moon), Soma (Immortality), Rudra (Knowledge of the Forest), Savitri (Dawn). That all things follow a natural order is not the basis for a theological argument, but rather is used as an empirical and ontological assumption about reality, the field we find ourselves in.
To dig a bit deeper, and to shed a loftier light on this matter, our consideration turns towards a tricky excerpt from the BPHS:
Ch. 2, v. 8-13. The beings with more Jivatmāńś (identification with the limited, individual self) are mortal beings. The high degree of Paramatmāńś (identification with the infinite, universal self) from the planets – Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Rahu/Ketu – facilitated the incarnation of the Avatars. After completing their roles on Earth, Paramatmāńśas of the respective Avatars again merge in the respective planets. The Jivatma portions from the planets take births, as human beings and live their lives according to their karma, and again merge in the planets. And at the time of Mahapralaya (universal destruction) the planets also merge into Vishnu. The one who knows of all this is versed in the knowledge of the past, present and future. Without a knowledge of Jyotish these cannot be known…
Enjoyable and informative in itself, the language of this excerpt could fare well with some distillation. The “light” of Vedic astrology is the same light that illumines the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and Agamas/Tantras. Although the approaches differ in all of the texts, the result is the same: knowledge of the soul. Identification of consciousness with the limited, mortal body is integral to the process of karma and the field of action that we engage with. We find ourselves “wrapped up” in the engagements of life from the moment of birth to the time of death, for better or worse, and there is seemingly no reprieve. The endless process of action is perpetuated by the planets, as agents of karma, and not only is individual destiny bound to their grasp, but the expression or faculty of individuality itself “emerges from” their respective spheres. Humans enjoy only a limited portion of the total power of the planets, however, and this power is variable to a great degree. Limited identification of consciousness restricts the individual from fully blossoming into this power, and no matter how true or full a human embodies a planet’s energy, they will always be short of its full potential. At death, we are left with nothing, or possibly a trace of what we once were – but the planets remain. And at the great universal end, the planets themselves are nothing, and what remains is the Unborn. That our origin is planetary is a point of further consideration, to be sure, with the assumption that in reality, our source is nothing more or less than the infinite.
To come back to the reality of this week’s post, let us consider this point: that there are traditions that speak of “going beyond” the planets and their grasp. Assume for a moment that the language we are using is made modern, empirical to contemporary standards, and conceptually fit for a rational mind: that the totality of society, family, friendship, class, gender, species, even self-identification can be left behind, to posit that our true identity, before and after, and even amidst, all time and space and knowledge, is nothing but unborn consciousness. Further still, this unborn consciousness will live on, continuing even without name or form, through a continual cycle of universal creation and destruction – through innumerable Big Bangs and universal entropies. And that brilliant universal fire attracts us like moths to our own annihilation – and still, only the replete remains. To self-identify with this process, just for a moment, can unravel the gnarliest of karmic knots. From the Avadhuta Gita, the “Song of the Supremely Free”:
40. The absolute void and its opposite, all am I everlastingly.
41. Atman (Self) is not male or female, nor is It neuter; neither is It happiness or suffering. How dare ye pervert It?
42. Atman is not purified by the six methods of Yoga. Absence of the mind makes It no clearer. The teachings of a Guru reveal It not. It is all purity, in Itself, by Itself.
43. I am neither bound nor free. I am not separate from Brahman (Universal Self).
To come to this realization, and then act on it within the world, brings real change. Otherwise it is only fingers pointing at fingers pointing at the Moon. Our task is to shed more light on our dire situation, to think outside the confines of what has been grievously given to us, to accept that “nothing is true, and all is permitted.” We can step out from the field of planetary control, and through this come back with a clearer vision of what control is in a more exacting way.
To this week’s horoscope, then. On both Tuesday September 20th and Wednesday September 21st we see the Moon transiting through Gemini, Mercury’s duplicitous and airy sign. Mercury will be stationed at the tail end of Leo, the sign of the Sun, and the Moon will thus be eleven signs from there. This indicates that through clear and genuine communication and interaction, and engaging in constructive or healing actions, one will enjoy both gain and pleasure. The Moon and Mercury working together in this way will reveal insights into relationships with siblings and close friends, as well. Engaging with this dynamic is a two way street, like always, and whatever you contribute to your friendships, networks, or family will be rewarded duly.
Moving into the heart of the week, Thursday September 22nd, Friday September 23rd, and Saturday September 24th will be a three day block of planetary confluence and upheaval. Again we see four planets transiting through a single sign – the Sun, Mercury, Venus, and Saturn all in the earth sign Virgo. Mercury, of course, is the lord of Virgo, and thus carries the most weight as he slips into the sign on Thursday, joining the other three planets. An incredibly lofty and brilliant mood, grounded in the strength of the world and the soul, will be manifest clearly on these three days. Coupled with the Moon transiting into its own sign, Cancer, and a fiery conjunction with Mars, these three days will certainly spell out intensity on all levels and spheres. Approach these days with a light and creative gait, and you will be rewarded. Emotions can definitely get the best of you if left unchecked, especially those that heat the blood.
To end this astrological week, we see the Moon coming into Leo, the sign of the Sun. All the other planets will be in their above mentioned signs. The Moon coming into Leo on Sunday September 26th is also imbued with the energy of the new Moon. This will be a night of processing, relaxation, and conversation. It will be a perfect night to set up for the next two weeks and one’s own projects, which will be strengthened and fueled by the four planets in Virgo. Set realistic goals and write them down on the new Moon night, and follow them with persistence and consistency. Anything is possible during these strange conjunctions, especially in effecting the “real world”. There is little to anticipate on the negative side of things, and only good can come from connecting with those that you care for and support you and your endeavors during this night. Tread lightly, still, as the sensitivity of the new Moon will be fully present.
Ultimately, of course, our true self lays just beyond the field of the Moon. But it is on these most curious of planetary and lunar nights that we can realize and embody this knowledge to its fullest degree.