Long back we touched upon the basics of astrology in 8) Astrology and Karma Theory and Astrology Basics (part-1) There, we have seen the correct approach to understand what astrology is all about. I suggest you to visit them for a brief recap. In the present article, let us go into some of the particulars of astrology. Just note that we are not going to go through the reasoning of astrology again, as we extensively dealt with it in the aforementioned articles. In this article we plainly go through the skeleton of astrology.
Astrology is often called as the “Language of Gods“. Do you know why? Because, gods’ abode is the celestial space (and also inside us – which can be understood by proper correspondence) and the events happening “above” were discovered to have a direct link to the events happening in our world “below”, and that is why it is understood as a language of gods i.e., as above so below. What they mean is, by understanding the phenomena of the heavens or the skies, we can understand those of the Earth (and its beings). Let us go systematically into the elements of this language.
Globe of Space:
A human becomes the center of space that surrounds him. By symmetry of observation, space around him takes the simplest form of a sphere and is often called a GLOBE of Space – “Kha-Gōḷa/Globe of brilliance“. Taking our bodily outer periphery of what we define as “ourselves“, as the center of perception, whatever exists in this space of globe, starting from the immediate surroundings up to the immeasurable depths of vast spaces, form the Sphere(s) of Influence.
We may think that we are separate from this globe of influence and hence are not related to it or its elements, but a close and systematic research will reveal the secret that we are indeed part of an interconnected network of forces. For this reason, we call it the Uni-verse. This interconnectedness is the key and backbone for the subject of astrology. This connection is understood by the ancient seers as “Poimandres” or the symbol “π” which relates the radius – our connection to the surroundings and the circumference – periphery of the globe of perception.
This sphere of influence can be divided into the following sets:
- Our immediate surroundings – The visible happenings on the Earth.
- The Solar System – Planets and Moon
- The Belt of Space – Zodiac, Asterisms, etc.
These three form a basic set of elements for the language of astrology. let us go through them in reverse order i.e., from without to within.
The Belt of Space:
When we look from equator, our SUN seems to revolve around the Earth, and straight above our heads, there is a belt of space that is concentric backdrop to to this path of SUN. This space of belt has innumerable stars (or solar systems) in it. The above picture gives a pictorial view of this. This belt of space is divided into many divisions in the scriptures of wisdom. But it is only in Indian wisdom-mines can we see the complete division scheme of this belt starting from 1, 2,… 5….12,…360,…720 divisions. Each division has a purpose. Just like we divide our daily routine into hours, or a plot of space into different room spaces, the seers divided this belt of space into certain number of sectors. The most prominent and widely used division, which is in vogue even today, is the division of this space into 12 and 27/28 parts. When we divide the belt of space into 12 equal parts, that division is named ZODIAC or RĀŚI. When we divide the same belt of space into 27/28 parts, that division is called ASTERISM/NAKSHATRA. In this article, let us deal with zodiac and leave Nakshatra division for a future article.
Now, consider the SUN’s apparent path. When we look from the Equator, this belt acts as a backdrop for its path (see the figure above). So, it gives us the impression that the SUN exists in one of these divisions at a given moment and is progressing day by day into another. Not only Sun, so do all other planets as observed from Earth’s equator. The divisions of this belt of space have certain effects on Earth/planets and beings therein. These effects cumulatively are recorded into the stories and allegories related to the name(s) of that division, in our scriptures. That is why they are named ZODIAC meaning group of animals or precisely group of seed principles.
The zodiacal belt acts as a mold for the shape of creation (seed principles) while the Sun and the planets, when apparently passing through those divisions of Zodiac act as lenses which bring down these seed principles onto Earth by superimposing their own characteristics/flavors. This is what is meant by “Sun in Aries does this or Moon in Sagittarius does that, etc.” and this in essence forms a key statement to understand astrology. Let us see what these Zodiacal divisions are.
Divisions of the Zodiacal Belt
In the following, let us briefly name the zodiacal divisions in English/Sanskrit (symbolic item that they represent) ———– their astrological symbol.
- Aries/Mēsha (Ram) ———————————- ♈︎
- Taurus/Vr̥shabha (Bull) —————————- ♉︎
- Gemini/Mithuna (Couple) ———————— ♊︎
- Cancer/Karkātaka (Crab) ———————— ♋︎
- Leo/Simha (Lion) ————————————- ♌︎
- Virgo/Kanya (Virgin) ——————————– ♍︎
- Libra/Tula (Balancing scale) ——————– ♎︎
- Scorpio/Vr̥shchika (Scorpion) —————— ♏︎
- Sagittarius/Dhanur (Bow and arrow) —— ♐︎
- Capricorn/Makara (Crocodile) —————– ♑︎
- Aquarius/Kumbha (Pot of water) ————- ♒︎
- Pisces/Mīna (Double fish) ————————– ♓︎
Each of these divisions is again divided in three ways based on the properties that they are equipped with:
- Starting from Aires, each is alternatively a masculine sign or a feminine sign i.e., Aries is masculine, Taurus is feminine, Gemini is Masculine, etc. The masculine and feminine here does not mean gender, but implies the properties of purusha and prakriti – the sun and sunlight relation.
- The 12 signs are again divided into 3 sets of 4 signs each, called as CROSSES. These three crosses are symbolically allegorised in bible (Alice. A. Bailey’s work on esoteric astrology). They are Mutable (mobile)-group starting with Aries, Fixed-group starting with Taurus and Cardinal (dual) – group starting with Gemini.
- The 12 signs form a 4 sets of 3 signs each, called TRINES. Each of this trine has the properties of Fire (spark of life), Earth (the base for life), Air (the pulsation of life) and Water (the fluid of life). Space permeates all these trines.
These three divisions of 12 signs form a basic element of language of astrology. Because their primary attributes depend on SUN, the soul giver, they are often named SUN-Signs. But this does not restrict the idea that every planet’s apparent position in the zodiacal sign has a different effect on the point of observation.
In vēdic scriptures there are almost 33 primary planets under study. But a modern scientifically oriented mind can seriously question this part. The key lies in defining what a planet is. Vēda never defines a planet as “planetary object” – like The planetary globe Venus or planetary globe Uranus, etc. The planets in terms of Vēda are the planetary deities – manifest/un-manifest. If un-manifest, can they affect us? Well, can our thoughts and impulses, which are un-manifest, affect us? The same applies here. Each planet is like our body i.e., it has a planetary deity (akin to our soul) and may have a physical matter (akin to our body).
At any rate, let us concentrate on the planetary deity concept and look at the primary ones along with their symbols in the following.
- SUN/Sūrya – ☉ – This acts as the soul (I AM in all). The direct rays of SUN act as souls and hence scriptures quote them as sūrya vamśa. Its rays are reflected by other planets onto point of observation which act as the planetary deity’s properties – Just like leaves are green, but the color is of sun’s ray.
- Moon/Chandra – ☽ – This acts as mind (chandramā manasō …). The rays reflected by Moon act as reproductory angels/Pitr̥ Dēvās and hence scriptures quote them as Chandra vamśa. Also, moon is the abode for Sōma, the celestial god of periodicity.
- Mercury/Budha – ☿ – This acts as Buddhi or discriminative WILL. Sage Nārada is associated with this planet in scriptures.
- Venus/Śukra – ♀︎- This acts as the agent of reproduction and hence scriptures name is Śukrā (semen).
- Earth/Bhū – ⊕ – This acts as physical body or physical plane.
- Mars/Kuja – ♂︎ – This acts as the personality or individual awareness and the god associated with this at cosmic level is Kumāra (son of shiva)
- Jupiter/Guru – ♃ – This act as the divine guidance and hence scriptures name it Guru or Br̥haspathi.
- Saturn/Śani – ♄ – This acts as TIME for us. It reaps the KARMA seeds that we sow in each life, under the guidance of GURU/Jupiter. Its periodicity is 30 years as seen from Earth and Jupiter’s is 12 years. That is why our time measurements are an LCM of 30 and 12 (jupiter, the divine guidance) which is 60. Our year cycle, times, etc., are divided into ghatis and vighatis, minutes, seconds, etc., use this 60 as base number for this reason.
- Uranus (varuṇa), Neptune (Indra), Pluto (Yama) – May be some other time we can go through about these special planets (even if Pluto is not a planet, the planetary deity YAMA still works through us – so don’t loose sight of basic roots of definitions).
- Node/Rāhu – ☊ and Anti-node/Ketu – ☋ – They are potential form of deities who in association with other planets affect the point of observation. The story of the two demons’ heads being cut by snake symbolizes the formation of node and anti node by the wobbly path of moon around the Earth and Earth’s path around the SUN.
This second section of planets form yet another element in the language of astrology. So, far far off, we have innumerable stars forming a belt of space, which was divided into 12 and subsequent divisions. These divisions act as molds which work through the planetary principles and descend to the point of observation. Because we often study ourselves, the point of observation is Earth and our own inner-core.
Now, let us come to our immediate surroundings and consider the effects of the above two spheres of perception on this sphere of existence. We, being closest to Earth, its planetary deity has an abundance influence on its own beings, us. That is why we call it “Mother Earth” or “Bhū Dēvi” or “Pruthvi – Land ruled by king Pruthu”, etc. In actuality, Earth rotates on its axis. But, being in its rotating frame of reference, we see the whole space of perception revolves around us. This creates a motion in the wheel of zodiac to rotate, Earth being its center. There are as many wheels as there are planets and the outermost periphery being the Zodiacal belt. Let us see some splendors of these movements which affect us globally.
The rotation of Zodiac causes particular sign to rise at the east every 2 hours (12 signs – 24 hrs) every day. But this rising sign changes every month, at a particular time on that day. Zodiacal belt is a constant belt. But, because Earth changes its position as it revolves around the Sun, this phenomenon of different rising sign every month, occurs. The rising sign, towards the East, at the time of Birth is called Ascendent/Lagna. More on this in some other post.
Sun also rises every day in the east. But, as the rising backdrop zodiac sign changes, every month SUN rises in a different sign. This creates different splendors of 6 seasons, 12 Months (Māsa), 3 climates, etc. This is the reason for different flora and fauna as well.
The revolution of SUN around the Earth causes 4 points of primary importance (as seen from northern hemisphere/equator) – Equinoxes and Solstices.
- March 21 – Vernal Equinox
- June 21 – Summer Solstice
- Sept 21 – Autumn Equinox
- Dec 21 – Winter Solstice
The four points on year-cycle divide the whole year into 4 parts. Each part again has 6 waxing and waning moon phases making a total of 24 (Śukla Paksha and Krishna Paksha) moon phases. A moon phase is interplay of position of Moon and Sun with respect to us. As pointed earlier, Sun – the souls and Moon – the bodies implies their interplay rule majority portion of our life. That is why we have solar, lunar and Soli-Lunar calendars in vogue. Depending on this 24 division of year-cycle, we divided a day into 24 parts. We call the whole day as “A-hōRā-tra” and each of its 24th division as “HōRa” or “Hour“.
- Did you see how I defined Zodiac? That is correct way to approach ancient truth. May of the western and modern Indian astrologers and astronomers think that Zodiac (aries/ram, taurus/bull, etc.) mean that few stars group into such a shape of a ram or a bull. That is absurd. It is the effect that they create, as we explored above, that gave a particular division of the belt of space, that name. It is exactly on similar lines to that of any scripture’s secret code of myth. We need to go beyond what meets the eye. Otherwise we will end up at such weird connotations.
- There is a correspondence between the year-cycle and day-cycle that I put in one of the above figures. March 21st – Vernal Equinox forms the start of the year – the sunrise for Dēvās while Sept 21 – Autumn equinox forms the sunset for dēvās. So, one should keep this point in mind before approaching scriptures and dēvā concepts. This is the reason why Dīrghatamas is associated to Dec-21st – The longest night (Winter solstice) and hence his story of him being born blind, etc.
- There is a direct link to 12 zodiac signs and our human body. When ever a planet apparently passes through one of the sign, depending on its state and other aspects, the particular body part is affected (good/bad). This is key to what they call medical astrology. The link is as follows:
- Aries—- ♈︎ — Forehead (eyebrows and nose canal)
- Taurus—– ♉︎ — The face (circle of face and upper part)
- Gemini—– ♊︎ — The vocal cords in neck (symbol self explanatory), the dualities like hands, shoulders etc.
- Cancer—— ♋︎ — The lungs and respiration (hence reversible or cyclic symbol)
- Leo—– ♌︎ — The stomach and diaphragm (hence symbol of a cave like structure)
- Virgo—— ♍︎ — The lower abdomen and intestines (symbol of curves)
- Libra—— ♎︎ — The hip and fulcrum between upper and lower parts of body (symbol of symmetry)
- Scorpio—– ♏︎ — The genital organs (hence the arrow for male and half of virgo symbol for female)
- Sagittarius—– ♐︎ — The thighs which help us move (hence arrow)
- Capricorn—— ♑︎ — The knees (hence a symbol of a bent knee/leg)
- Aquarius—– ♒︎ — The calves (hence the double lines)
- Pisces—– ♓︎ — The feet (hence the symbol of joining imprints)
- The symbols of planets, if you observe have basic elements of cross, circle and arrow.
- Cross symbolizes a horizontal (physical body/dormant consciousness) and a vertical symbolizes an awakened consciousness. Both together form the many combinations of these two ideal states.
- Circle represents the globe of perception.
- Arrow represents a time or swift movement.
- Now, cross over circle (earth) or circle above cross (venus), or a cross with arrow (sagittarius) etc., can be easily decoded (in future posts). But the key is this.
There is much more depth to each part of this article. We will slowly go into those details in future. Until then stay tuned 🙂