"Even belief in Perun will be useful. It will be needed to create a general picture of the world."
K.E.Tsiolkovsky, the father of Russian cosmic explores.
The cognitive approach to astrology
is usually considered to be part of the empirical because astrologers
in their practice base themselves mainly upon psychological observations.
It is the most simple and effective method for everyday astrology
but nevertheless leads to superficial insight into the subject
of the first science of humanity. The statistically based cosmobiological
approach is desined to overcome the subjectivity of observations,
connecting the motion of planets with presise physical rhythms.
The scientific method is most efficient in medical applications
but reaches it's limits in attempting to reveal the deepest motives
of personal activity without opening the window to the soul.
However there is a third approach
- the humanitarian or cultural historical method which gives us
the opportunity to create the picture of the development of thought
and psyche of human beings. Mythology describes us the picture
in the most primary way. The mythological conceptions of the ancients
can help us to substantiate universal astrological notions.
The components of ancient myth
rooted in different cultures hold much in common, and retain signification
in the consciousness of contemporary people. It inspired C.G.Jung
to connect modern science with the believes of the past in creating
the notion of the archetype.
Archetypes are primary
forms which serves as the basis for imagery, unconsciously evoking
the activity of the imagination. They appear in dreams and delirium
as well as in art and literature and manifest the unity of the
human mind, permitting us to feel its connection with the Universe
and infinity. Jung addressed the subject the following way:
"One who speaks in archetypes
speaks with thousand voices. He transforms elements arising from
the world of simultaneous and inconstant into manifestations of
the eternal, simoultaneously elevating his own destiny to the
scale of humanity at large."
Studying 'synchronicity' between
the psychic perceptions of different individuals and the objective
processes of reality led Jung to accept astrology as an explaination
for the phenomenon of universal rhythms ruling the collective
unconscious and the world at large. At first studying archetypes
in connection with the libido Jung then saw archetypes as the
sourse for astrological symbols and the myths of the ancients:
"Astrology, like the collective unconscious with which
psychology is concerned, consist of symbolic configuration: the
'planets' are the gods, symbols of the power of the unconscious."
Today the term 'archetype' is
accepted by astrologers, who use myths to amplify and decorate
astrological interpretation. But usually astrologers refer only
to the limited registry of European gods and when addressing the
others don't take into account their specific roles and definite
positions in the corresponding pantheons, merely borrowing for
own needs isolated characteristics and features. And for a proper
understanding and practical application of mythological images
we must perceive the picture of mundane mythology as a whole.
We can't fully understand the meaning of any sign of the Zodiac
ignoring the others, likewise to penetrate mythological archetypes
correctly we must perceive the entire set of images of the gods
systematically, taking into account different historical
layers and corresponding changes of imagery and defining the main
Every astrological notion corresponds
to a set of gods possessing various characteristics; the task
at hand is to define the initially unified mythological archetype
in the analysys of different cultures. This is possible because
an archetype is proposed as a universal notion. It gives us the
opportunity to consolidate, to enrich and even to correct our
representations about the role of a planet or a sign in the horoscope.
The mythological archetype of a planet, held in common by different
cultures, helps us to understand what characteristics are the
most primary and natural for the given planet and the corresponding
sign, and what extraneous features, and deviations from the original
archetype are allowed in any given cultural tradition. At the
same time astrology promotes a proper understanding of mythology,
drawing upon the immense variety of images making up the system.
Jung foresaw the positive role
that astrology could play in the interpretation of myths, but
having identified only a few separate archetypes, he didn't resolve
the problem of creating the whole picture and defining a conceptual
foundation of astrology. Developing the idea in our book "Mythology
and astrology", we tried to take the next step in the theory
of archetypes, representing the development of mundane mythology
within a system of astrological framework. This article is the
overwiew of the book.
* * *
The procession of mythological
images describing planets' concepts is displayed in reverse sequence
to the annual movement of the Sun through the signs of the Zodiac,
from Pisces to Aries. The notion of Chaos and primordial forces
as well as the most ancient gods transferring their functions
to successors, corresponds to Pisces, Aquarius and Capricorn.
The youngest gods should be considered the different personifications
of the planet Mars.
As it is known, the reverse movement
of signs of the Zodiac coincides with the precessive motion and
refers to the great evolutionary cycle. According to the tradition
of Egypt, the formation of the world and the transformation of
man also begins in Pisces, symbolizing the Primary Division and
the beginning of development. One fish remains in the primordial
waters, providing the link with the original source, the other
leaves its native ocean, setting out on the path of transformations
and finally attaining the cosmic wisdom of Aries, the agnus sacrificed.
Likewise in mundane mythology gods displaying certain characteristic
features give up their places to new ones, and we can identify
the reverse order of the Zodiac signs with stages of evolution
of human consciousness reflecting the alteration of global historical
The evolution of mythological
images is considerably more difficult than Egyptian scheme indicated,
so we'll consider here only the main stages of development of
human perception as the main ground of mythological representation.
Archetype of Neptune (Pisces):
ABYSS OF CHAOS
How was the world formed and
what is its source? The mythologies of all cultures, as well as
the Bible, considered primordial Chaos as the cradle of the Universe.
Chaos represents the state of matter existing beyond conventional
imagination, which conceals an inherent threat to the very existence
of the world as we know it, and so becomes principally unfathomable.
But each person internally harbors a representation of that initial
state. This representation also exists in the world of the ancients:
Chaos is traditionally depicted as a dark ABYSS filled with water.
It is indeterminate, dense, and has no shape. Its substantial
characteristic is the absence of free space, and this coincides
with the modern representation of the Universe, expanding from
a superdense point - out of 'emptiness'. The word 'chaos'
means 'gaping emptiness'; `shunyata' in India has
the same meaning: emptiness giving birth all the beings. In the
mythology of ancient China, the primary watery chaos, a complete
darkness reminescent of the mixed content of a hen's egg, was
called Huntun, a conception that was transformed
into a god possessing the features of primary indivisibility.
So the world arose from Chaos
and Life was born in the waters. Human perception doesn't separate
these representations. The very appearance of both world and life
is fundamentally incomprehensible. The associated myths introduce
to us the image of the Great Mother-Sea, the world that was borne
by her is depicted as alive. According to the principle:'as in
the beginning, so at the end', the image of sea itself joins birth
and death. Everything that appeared from the primary chaos will
return to it, so the ocean is associated not only with killer
storms and earthquakes brought on by changing of cosmic rhythms,
but with the threat to existence itself. The Accadian great mother
Tiamat ('sea') manifests herself as a monstrous
hydra with seven heads, who was conquered by her descendent Marduk,
who created the world from elements of her body. In this passive
function chaos may be considered to be the material of creation.
Compared with vague Chaos, definite
Cosmos represents a deviation from primary undifferentiated wholeness;
the Sea gods resent this order and stand against it. The destructive
role of the Sea gods makes them rebels, and forces their expulsion
during periods of formation of new divine pantheons under the
leadership of the God of Thunder. Thus the Semitic Yammu
('sea') struggles against Balu, the leader of the pantheon,
for a return the primordial way of things under his omnipotence,
so also does the Greek Neptune, but they are defeated.
Retired from their former power
all throughout the Universe, the Sea gods occupy a peripheral
position (Greek Oceanus, Egyptian Nun),
that correlates with the idea of their wretchedness, weakness,
victimization, the general depiction as the youngest member of
the family (Neptune whose name means 'nephew').
The most characteristic example is the Indo-european myth about
Trita (the 'third' brother, etymologically
connected with Greek Triton) who was thrown into
a well by his older brothers. Here the well is associated with
primordial denseness and the absence of space and with the primary
waters where the universal source of fertility is hidden. That
reveals to us the sense of Pisces' sacrifice: Pisceans decline
participation in manifested and ordered existence (cosmos), so
as to remain intouch with something beyond Being, with the secret
omnipotence of Chaos, to find in the very depths of existence
the sources of eternity.
The composite images of the watery
abyss and it's secrets, the mothering bosom of the sea from whence
life arose, the destructive forces of chaos and self-sacrifice
which establish the connection between life and eternity, all
reflect an archetype of planet Neptune, which rules the sign of
Pisces. Regarding the mythologema from the historical point of
view, the representation of chaos or deluge correlates with the
cataclysms that provoked glacial melting and other natural processes,
which pushed the humanity out of former territories and created
the impulse to develop the defensive powers of mind.
The arising of the rational,
spiritual force in mankind still remains an enigma for us. There
was a whole stage in the history of humanity, called by the Australian
aborigines 'the time of dreams', when mind was asleep and saw
the outer world through the haze of unconscious processes. Is
reason hidden in the depths of the soul, or on the contrary, was
there thought initially, which then decorated itself with a plentitude
of feelings? - The depth of the soul is hidden by mystery; Neptune
rules there, and for this planet all things are vague and relative.
Within the archetype of Neptune there is no such differentiation
between the mind and the soul which are united initially, being
the same as life itself.
Archetype of Uranus (Aquarius):
THE LIGHT OF THE SKY
Chaos gives birth to the Sky
and the Earth. The duality of Pisces latently contains seeds of
the next two signs: the lightest - Aquarius and the darkest -
Capricorn, manifesting the primary contradictions between the
ideal and the material. In Chaos a motion arises on the part of
Uranus resulting in the emergence of atoms of Saturn. Centrifugal
motion in the vacuum separates the light from the darkness.
Let us imagine the process as
ancients did: everything which is light rises up - more correctly,
spreads out - and the lightest thing is light, infinitely dispersed
in space, created by motion. So the Chinese Sky Chian
was formed. Somewhere beyond space, dark chaos remained, and the
blue dome of the firmament became a concrete bariere protecting
the light world from the invasion of the dark forces. It is the
blue arc of gates leading to the unknown world, and it is the
omniscient God of the Sky who possesses the keys to these gates.
Such was the ancient image of Roman Janus, with
one face turned toward this world, a world created by him, the
second face turned toward another world. Originally he was the
god of the firmament, then lost his dominance and merely became
a keeper of all the arcs and gates.
The god of the Sky is a creator
fulfilling the main act of creation: that is the separation of
the earth and the sky. In contrast to his successors, he founds
the world purely by means of thought, word or through his will,
because as yet nothing else exists. An abstract creator, he forms
the Universe as a whole, not worrying about the destiny of individual
beings. As the cold blue sky of February, he is infinitely removed
from humanity, commonly considered to be the substance of material
creation; usually it is not he who has created them from clay
or wood. Great Father of gods, he leaves determinate functions
to his children and having fulfilled his role, retires. Humanity
doesn't pay homage to the primary creator, having forgotten him,
but somehow it is always implied that indeed it is the Sky that
supports the World.
The primary god personifies the
light of the sky. But he is also connected with the darkness divided
from this light, with the wholeness of life and death of the primary
waters, like Aquarius who pours two streams from a jug: the water
of life and the water of death, providing constant transformation.
He is above evil and good, in the ordinary sense of these words.
The words 'deus' and 'devil' both emerges from the
name of the Indoeuropean Dyaus, 'the clear sky',
and the same root is found in the Russian words 'divny'
(miraculous) and 'diky' (wild). The god of the Sky is anarchic
and wild, wielding as his instrument the unceasing process of
creation which is as spontaneous as thought. The myth concerning
the Greek Uranus, who constantly gave birth to monsters,
and unsatisfied with his creations, hid them in the bosom of the
Earth, reflects the infinite process of arising and annihilation.
Gaea the Earth, exhausted from the labours of birth, asked Kronos
to castrate his father. That secured the separation of the Sky
from the Earth and determined the beginning of stable existence.
The image formation of the god
of the light Sky, historically correlates with the stage of great
population migrations, which opened new horizons after the retreat
of the glaciers. Peoples domesticated all territories fit for
their uses, which become human in the proper sense of the word,
illuminated with the light of thought. Isn't it miraculous, that
the spark of God in human beings retreated only confronted by
the eternal ices of Antarctica?
The luminosity, universality
and anarchy of the most ancient creators characterizes Uranus,
the planet of thought and liberty, which appeals to the spirit
of new development, makes the hidden manifest and sometimes becomes
dangerous for people. And the destiny of humankind to become the
owner of the Earth brings us to the next archetype.
Archetype of Saturn (Capricorn):
TIME AND FATE
In the free space of the Sky
the Earth is formed. ncessant unlimited motion within space has
no aim and produces no direct result. But in a limited world it
is possible to create something stable. The world of matter has
a beginning and an end, and it is definitely conditioned by laws
that keep it secure. These are the laws of time and fate, symbolized
in astrology by the planet Saturn. One thinks about the world
within the framework of time, which inexorably restricts our existence.
Beyond these limits, we could not imagine something definite,
and we would not be able to think at all.
As Chaos may be represented as
a point, the spontaneous motion of light as a line flying into
infinity, or as an unfurling spiral, throwing off the sparks of
new worlds, so the appearance of the Universe and our Earth may
be seen as a segment of the line, or as a piece of the spiral,
defined by a determined cycle.
The limited world is associated
with the Earth. Gods of the Earth and Time supersede the gods
of the Sky, becoming creators of stable being and defining it's
destiny. And the newly emerged material world is strictly subordinated
to the predetermination which formed it and exists in perfect
harmony with nature and itself. That is the Golden Age of the
Earth, associated with Saturn.
Those who determinate destiny,
as does Enki of Sumeria, often happen to have a
mission of creating humanity. A man is understood in mythology
as something undoubtedly material, so the substance used for making
people is usually earth. The latin words 'homo' and 'humus'
coincide not only in sound but in sense. Having lived out his
life man himself returns to the earth, it being his mother.
Of course the god who personifies
the universal principle of determination, in the creation of his
Universe, didn't intend that evil and death come into the world.
So the Iranian god of Time Zervan wanted to give
birth to only the good son Ormazd, not his evil brother Ariman.
But he gave birth to twins: such is the nature of the Time, that
definiteness of life means also predestination to death. To glimpse
the Sumerian goddess of fate Namtar meant certain
death, and the gods of fate often are also gods of death. The
sign of Capricorn is associated with the self-consciousness of
the individual, and his concern about responsibility for the continuation
of his genus is closely connected with his understanding of the
existence of death. The earth containing burial places of the
ancestors became the homeland.
So the archetype of earth, time
and fate gods is associated with the end of migrations and the
founding of a native homeland. A tribe holds a definite territory
and native gods, protecting its own genus, such as Roman Vesta,
the eldest daughter of Saturn, or Slavic Rod 'ancestor,
genus', the ancient leader of the pantheon. Man tried to influence
to the fates through prayers and offerings to his predecessors
on the land. Recognizing that life is determined according to
definite laws, and by the cycles of time, he tried to overcome
his dependence upon nature, developing agriculture on his own
lands. Also he tried to uphold the natural order and promote the
earth's fertility through seasonal offerings. Agriculture promoted
the development of the calendar, having made more perceptible
the abstract notion of time.
The New Year's celebration, the
traditional Roman carnival was originally connected with sacrifices
to Saturn, the god of sowing. His name means 'sower',
and it is related with the Russian words 'sytny'(fat, substantial)
and 'sut'' (to exist). Formation of the Saturnian archetype
reflects the period when humanity took it's existence into its'
own hands. But even after the canonization of fate, humanity still
could not influence the weather, so the old protectors of time
and the native lands ceded their power to the god of thunder.
Archetype of Jupiter (Sagittarius):
KING AND PRIEST
The God of Thunder personifying
the planet Jupiter takes on the image of the father of gods, the
lighting shaker, and sometimes even borrows the name of the God
of the Sky. So 'Zeus' is the transformation of the
ancient 'Dyaus' and the name of Jupiter
is also translated as 'father of the light'. Born after
the ancient creators, he overcomes them by force, defeating chtonic
monsters which were spontaneously created in the beginning of
the ages and suppressing the wild rebellions of chaos.
Transcending time and influencing
the fate of the world, he inherits the functions of his predecessors,
repeating and fulfilling the process of creation and in so doing
becomes the head of the pantheon of gods. And thus he founds a
society of which he is king.
proved his superiority over other gods and nature by ordering
a star to disappear and appear again, He then became the protector
of the gods and as the leader of the gods' army killed frightful
Tiamat, thus Chaos could never pretend to its omnipotence over
the Universe. The other gods in return built him the heavenly
Babylon which of course reflected the human society of that time.
Historically, Jupiterian mythologema
tooks humans beyond the context of native genus and extended the
basis of society beyond the blood relationship to the level of
a state built on a common ideology. It shows the next step in
the development of human consciousness when such a unification,
the Sagittarian unity of minds, became possible. This stage corresponds
to the elaboration of religion and ritual: not only as personal
magical manipulations appealing to the chtonic and elemental forces
of Saturn and Uranus, but also as expressions of common thought
and representations of natural law describing the universal order
Usually the leader of the pantheon
is the god of thunder. Mythological thought thus manifests the
image of a king-priest who interacts with elemental forces and
by appealing to the Sky is able to evoke the rain, which is necessary
for a good crop. A picture of a thunderstorm always stoked people's
imagination, so it became a symbol of the highest power. Only
the strongest of gods could manage it. And the best of humans
was elected to serve as the connection with the Heavens. Like
Sagittarius, he directs the arrow of his mind which reaches the
Firmament and brings him directs knowledge of Nature. He is able
to influence natural conditions through the power of higher laws,
so he excersises a power which acts above fate. Thus the image
of the god of thunder was fused with the image of the omniscient
god of the light Sky. Properly speaking the King of gods in his
role as a king of people acts only as a translator of the higher
will as it relates to the Earth. But as observed from the Earth
the images may be read as the god of Thunder himself expressing
the will of the Heavens.
The god of thunder's location
between the Earth and the Sky associates him with high and rocky
places, where lightning flashes often strike, and the Indoeuropean
name of the god originates from the word 'perunt'(rock).
Such is the name of Russian Perun or Indian Parjanya.
We always associate the archetype of Jupiter with high elevations
which widen the range of mental perception and help to order existence
from above. The King of the gods coordinates the different dimensions
of the world and distributes goods, happiness, riches and fame
according to his fair laws.
Nevertheless he is not an primordial
god, so his laws are temporary and his state from time to time
must be transformed. The next archetype describes this transformation.
Archetype of Pluto (Scorpio):
THE POWER OF INTERIOR
It happens that not the entire
world falls under the rulership of the King of gods. As there
was always a rivalry between the true law and the forces of power
and money, so there exists a god of the bowels of the Earth, a
sovereign of innumerable treasures, who is independent from the
King of gods. The planet Pluto, symbolized by the image of the
eternal Enemy, embodies evil and death, that seeks to destroy
the external world order of Jupiter which personifies the principles
of good. The name Pluto means 'rich, full'
and so the chief of the under world is always rich because he
has acquired all things that have disappeared from the surface
of the Earth. As the gifts of the heavens and the fruits of work
on the earth are diminished day by day, the governor of Death
becomes richer and richer.
The existence of the ruler of
the subterranean world is justified through his function of keeping
hidden in the bowels of the Earth, far from the sight of humans
(or even gods!), a reserve potency, a force which nourishes not
only the vegetable kingdom but all beings as well. All that is
alive needs his energy. And as the potency of nature is passive,
the god of Thunder, in irrigating the Earth and awakening her
hidden fertility, manifests the new sprout of life by stimulating
stored up banks of energy. For life to progress, the god of the
Interior, like a Scorpion stinging itself with it's own tail,
brings out the extreme energies of war and illness, destroying
everything that doesn't meet the test and so is destined to be
ruined. It falls to the leader of gods to renew life on the surface
of the Earth.
The interaction between these
two sovereigns is depicted in the central Indoeuropean myth as
a struggle for herds of cows stolen away by the subterranean god
and hidden by him in the rocky lowlands. He can manifest himself
in the image of a viper from the depths (Indian Vritra
or Indoeuropean Budh). The god of Thunder then defeats
the viper in a battle of thunderstorms, and the herds of cows
return as flocks of clouds which provide fertilizing rain. The
process of the natural circle continues on infinitely, as does
the struggle of evil and good.
One finds the historical analog
of this battle in the real struggle between agriculturally based
peoples and the herders and nomads. In this period one's own people
personified everything good, and the alien everything evil. 'Goods'
means 'richness'. The roots of these abstract notions were
at first very simple, but then the representation of evil became
more complicated and formed the picture of the alien world as
a socialized image of chaos, or hell. The subterranean world is
associated with an exit to the abyss: the primary waters which
nourish inexhaustible sources of terrible power over the all the
The typical peaceful image of
the land of the dead is the Greek Elysium, plains
that serve as the pasture where the souls of the deads graze.
'Soul' is 'anima' in Latin and everything alive
may best be personified by an animal. The richness of another
world was usually associated with herds that embody multiplying
riches. The herder himself could display his animal's attributes,
for example horns and hoofs, showing his close relationship to
his wards. In the features of the shepherd god one can easily
discern the typical depiction of the Devil.
The word Elysium comes from the
root 'wel' which signified the main opponent of the leader
of gods (the word 'wealth' is also derived from this root).
It also relates to the Russian god of herds, richness and lowlands
Veles, and the Baltic Velnias, who
struggled with the Thunder god Percunas and then was transformed
into a Devil.
Nevertheless the plutonic thirst
to own and store any energy does not destroy the Universe. That
is meant to decay, dies, manifesting a well established harmony,
symbolized in astrology by the next sign: Libra.
Archetype of Vulcan and Chiron (Libra):
THE SMITH OF CULTURE
The planet Vulcan symbolizes
the balance of the Universe. This is usually represented by a
Smith god who calms the struggle among the world's opposing forces,
reconstructing the Universe each instant with his own hammer and
hands, not unlike the Indian Tvashtar ('creator,
master'). He forges the weapons that help the chief god to
defeat his subterranean Enemy and to dispense with this annoying
The image of the Smith god is
associated with the cultural mastering of fire and with the epoch
of smelting metal. Vulcan (the root of the name 'wel'
symbolizing the Enemy of the Thunder god) is a personification
of subterranean fire, ever awful and uncontrolable, which then
submits to a master. Vulcan is a hypothetical planet, and thus
the associeted archetype of cultural development has probably
not yet manifested its concrete signification in the world, which
may happen if the planet is discovered. Sometimes this planet
is considered to be the center of gravity of the Solar system,
projecting the idea of a perfect balance.
When destructive underground
forces of the most intractable and dangerous element come to serve
the needs of construction, it becomes clear that mankind is ready
to overcome it's inner passions and begin civilized existence.
The peace treaties between the tribes concerning the borders of
their territories put a halt to incessant fights. That the border
is sacred is illustrated by the legend of Rome's founder Romulus
who killed his brother Remus for stepping over a line drawn on
A treaty is the highest form
of social interaction, and in the civilized state a certain god
appeared whose duty it was to secure human agreements and to punish
transgressors. This type of god is personified by the Roman Quirin,
identified with Romulus and the justification of his legendary
act. The Iranian Mithra, having been born with a
trowel in his hand and personifying the Law of the Universe, regulates
the observance of treaties with a thousand eyes and ears. The
Indian Mitra also protects and considers wedlock
as a treaty, transforming personal human relations into a higher
social realm. Mithra's name etymologically means 'peaceful,
grateful, friendly'. Divine Smiths are also peacemakers: connected
with celestial and subterranean fields, they act as mediators
Creating palaces for gods from
their golden fire, like Greek Haephestus, and protecting
arts and crafts, the divine Smith forges the artificial order
of human civilization, dividing it from the wild custom of disorganized
nature. As the creator of the Sky defended the Universe from incursions
of Chaos by creating the dome of the Firmament, the master of
culture artificially forms his world, where no threats are imposed
on humanity. His acts of creation are always concrete and purposeful.
However myths often emphasize
the artificiality of the world, divided from elemental influences:
so when the Finnish divine Smith Ilmariinen fashions
the Sun and the Moon with his own hands, they aren't able to shine.
Often a polar pair of creator gods appears such as the Finnish
Ilmariinen and Vaeinaemoeinen or Indian
Varuna and Mitra, representing natural and
cultural models of order. Contemporary western civilization is
an example of the regulated world of Mithra, in contradistinction
the more anarchistic nature of the East which is represented by
One can associate with the archetype
of Libra certain lower gods, sometimes taking on animal form,
but benevolent to humans and assisting them, much in the way that
the Smith becomes an assistant to the leader of the pantheon.
The most famous such being is the Greek centaur Chiron,
the teacher of Aesculapus, Orpheus and Hercules. According to
the one of the legends he bestowed upon Hercules his immortality.
It is interesting that the asteroid Chiron, reflecting the sympathy
and sweetness of Libra, was discovered by the astronomer Charles
Koval, whose surname is translated as 'smith'.
When wild nature is not dangerous
for the society of humans, animals become man's allies instead
of his enemies. However the taming of wild animals, which signifies
the submission not only of the political but also of the economic
order to the human sphere, is traditionally associeted with the
next sign: Virgo.