Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Planetary and Celestial Spheres

Ok, chances are good that you've read Jason's "What If" post. I think it's interesting and raises some very good questions about things that are worth thinking about. Knowing Jason, he's got some very, very good reasons for thinking about things this way.

Personally, at this stage of my Work, the classical order of the planets is more appropriate within the context of Hermetic magic than the actual, material, astronomical order of the planets. The Ptolemaic geocentric cosmology is based on how things look from the Earth. You see, it's a very specific relative interpretation of manifestations in the heavens. The whole system is based on how things affect us while here based on a terrestrial point of view.

It doesn't matter where thing happen to "really" be, it matters how they affect you in your daily activities. The interpretations of the Chaldeans are accurate and appropriate to the magician performing Hermetic Magic while incarnated on the Earth. The system has more explanatory force, it provides more power to predict outcomes of Hermetic rituals and processes than any emerging magical system that takes the planets actual positions relative to the Sun into account, or relative to the black holes in the centers of galaxies into account. We don't live on the Sun, we don't live on the black holes. We live here on Earth.

If you look at Astrology, you'll see that every chart is created based on a place, a physical location on the Earth, at a specific time. You can't cast a horary or natal chart without those two pieces of information. They are the base of the chart, literally. It starts with where you're at on the Earth, and then you start plugging in "where" the stars and constellations line up relative to that particular place and time. It's all relative, to put it in Einstein's terms.

Astrological charts are used to gain insight into how things are going to manifest here on Earth. Likewise, the classical order of the planets provides insight into how things are going to manifest within Hermetic magic. The approach, the model, the map influences the overall subjective experience of the journey towards the destination. The events along the journey influence the experience of the destination when it is reached. After the time is spent at the destination, the journey as well as the experience at the destination are remembered and continue to influence your experiences as a whole.

I think that whatever system an incarnated magician living on the Earth uses should be based on their perspective from the Earth. The Altar Glyph that I found in Agrippa's Scale of the Number Four lines up your altar in harmony with the the apparent locations of the planets and elements as seen from the Earth. It becomes the bridge between the macrocosm and the microcosm from the perspective of a soul incarnated in a physical body, a consciousness that spends most of its time aware of the physical realm. That, in my opinion, is practical. You aren't going to experience existence as if you were physically in a black hole, I would hope. Jason understands this, he touches on that towards the end of his post.

At some point in my Work, I fully expect to be travelling spiritually to the stars. I've already begun, in fact. I'm in the early stages of exploration and integration, and the Intelligences I've met so far have only been the ones with direct contact, links, or a current that runs through and into the physical Earth that I experience in my "waking" life. As long as I am incarnated, I think I will continue to frame my spiritual experiences from the perspective of an incarnated being. I think that's the point of the classical order of the planets.

Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto aren't included in the traditional system. There are also a few billion stars that aren't part of any of the named constellations that aren't included in astrology or Hermetics. Their gravitational effects, the light they emit, the cosmic radiation they generate, the streams of neutrinos that emanate and bounce off them do hit the Earth regularly, causing some form of effect on the physical plane at a really microcosmic level.

But like the stars that aren't in named constellations, the trans Saturnian planets don't play a major role in Hermetic magic within the spheres of the planets. I believe their influence and meaning are reserved for exploration of the Sphere of the Fixed stars, the Eighth sphere in Hermetic Cosmology, and the Ninth. Whatever their influence on the physical realm might be, I think it is so subtle, or so intricately wrapped up with everything that it is more important or practically useful to work with the things that are tapping into it than it is to focus on the source. Like Chiah, the fifth part of the soul in Kabbalistic terms, or Quintessence in Alchemy, the forces from these spheres by themselves may not do any "work," but without them nothing else can do any "work" either. I honestly don't know though, this is all based on current experiences and interpretations.

But I'm probably right. Within my current context, any way.


  1. Yup. That's the thing about calculating planetary motion. Calculating it as if the planets orbit the sun is the easiest: the math is simpler. But you could just as easily calculate orbits as if they described complex spirals around the moon, or an astroid, or the center of the galaxy. For the sake of magic, since we live on earth, we might as well calculate it from our perspective (for the sake of science, though, of course, let's keep the math maximally simple).

  2. Very well thought out. I particularly appreciated that most important phrase: "within current context."

  3. @Patrick, teh maths have never been my thing.

    @Lavanah, yeah, I've been wrong before. Maybe even twice, but I can't imagine.

  4. Well, yeah, RO, and you've been honest and open about it. But I wasn't even referring to you specifically-I think that everyone should use the phrase far more often.

  5. I totally agree with your worlview frater. For magic we should use a geocentric system since we are here, based on earth and changing the system has severe impliccation in the Macrocosmic/Microcosmic relation ship. btw, Frawley has a VERY interesting (and traditional) explanation of why the outer planets are not used in traditional astrology/magic in his "The real astrology" books



Thanks for your comments, your opinions are valued, even if I disagree with them. Please feel free to criticize my ideas and arguments, question my observations, and push back if you disagree.