THE ZODIAC CIRCLE
There is a flow of ideas through the zodiac – shown in the unfolding from Aries to Pisces, and on again to Aries. We look at each sign, not as an unfolding of the ruling planet’s qualities but as a chapter in the story that tells the evolving journey of the soul. It is presented metaphorically, and needs to be grasped intuitively as well as rationally. Neither the scientist who shuns intuition, nor the space cadet who shuns rationality, will excel at astrology. In fact the depth of this ancient and profound system of knowledge is unavailable to either of these two categories of person. We need to avoid being closed-minded to appreciate astrology. This zodiacal journey symbolizes the journey that each one of us takes through life. Even Leo people must eventually learn the mystery of Virgo to become rounded persons. Indeed we each would gain hugely from an understanding of the full circle of the zodiac’s wisdom.
It begins with Aries, whose job is to develop a sufficiently well-defined strong ego to cope with the important task of asserting the uniqueness of self. Taurus is powerful enough to use its personality to build a stable material foundation, upon which everything else rests. Out of this, Gemini establishes a communication network as a means to link all things with all other things, creating education, trade and human society. Cancer raises human relationship to the level of family, so that children are both safe, and faithful to the traditions that gave them their home. Emotionally secure, Leo honours everything and anything that creatively expresses uniqueness and originality. Virgo adapts any impractical visionary idea so that it is made to function properly in the material world. Libra begins the process of reflexive self-consciousness by balancing my ego with your ego. Scorpio delves deep into any hidden areas – typically taboos that show us, as a species, that of which we are in denial. Sagittarius perpetually seeks to discern meaning in life, from which social contracts may be assembled. Capricorn makes these higher principles work in practical terms as collective constructs that offer social security. Aquarius idealizes humanity, and shows how we all can aspire to the greater good. Pisces has an intuitive memory of the transcendental state that gave rise to mysticism and the religious instinct; it is the gateway to self-surrender – which is refuted by Aries as the cycle starts again.
The above text shows how it is possible and very illuminating to tell the story, from the emergence of Aries to the surrendering of Pisces, as a sequential unfolding of the essential mystery of life. This is reasonable, obeys some rationality and is intuitively pleasing; also it works well. So we remember that this skeletal structure underpins our approach, and also in fact that the meanings of the twelve are potentially derived by studying the four elements and three qualities. So, earth, air, fire and water are expressed in three ways – initiating, sustaining, and adapting – to create a division of the full circle into 12 components – cardinal fire is Aries; fixed earth is Taurus, and so on.
However, we could see the twelve signs as gods, as archetypes, as self-aware beings of cosmic vastness. Then we would attribute to them more subtle qualities – characteristics of their divinity. It isn’t satisfactory to limit the reach of our understanding by using nothing more than intelligence; we have to get the feel of the sign, with its idiosyncratic ways of doing its job. To do so will require us to access that precise bit of ourselves – our own inner Virgoness, our own Leoninity. Nothing external could ever exist in the field of our perception without an equivalent inner, personal version of it.
It is meaningful to allow that Aries goes together well with Mars – that Mars rules Aries. Admittedly, Mars is the king that rules the kingdom of Aries – yet the kingdom has its own qualities. We study here the kingdoms, not the kings – and this shifts our perception away from traditional planet-centred interpretations that hide, or at least relegate, the fundamental zodiacal qualities. Aries is not essentially about warfare at all, whereas Mars is. Let’s not forget the primary conceptual place the zodiac signs themselves have in astrology before making them subservient to mere planets. Aries is about identifying the self as part of, but separate from, the wider community. Warfare is not the only activity that supports this, reflectiveness does too – in other words, peace. However, the zodiac signs are indeed presented differently, according to which planet is shining through it, and this significantly influences our perception of the sign, and its therefore its Sabian degree. The essential operation of the planets are shown here.
CORE MEANING OF THE PLANETS
Sun |Radiates the core truth of who essentially we are and what we stand for when pushed
Moon |Responds unconsciously and shows our need for nurturing relationships and environments
Mercury |Makes mental models of our experiences and communicates that with others
Venus |Feels a sense of harmony and attraction, which informs all relationships with people and things
Mars |Projects our will to be uniquely self-expressive, articulated through the struggle to overcome
Jupiter |Enables us to expand our reach and awareness by giving confidence to grasp opportunity
Saturn |Encourages us to cope, and come to terms with constraints, imposing order and meaning onto chaos
Chiron |Guides us through a journey of suffering and release born of phenomenal life, ever shifting perception
Uranus |Stimulates us to reject the status quo by offering glimpses of ultimate knowledge
Neptune |Shows how we try to make sense of the mysteries, by creating our personal and collective stories
Pluto |Soul evolution, how we respond to the march of history, the slowest, deepest changes of self
South Node |Shows the inherited skills and attitudes deriving from ancestral sources
North Node |Points the direction to go in order to find ultimate meaning in life