A Dash of Salt?

Recently Hazel asked in a comment to “Cardinal Dragon, Mutable Dragon and Fixed Dragon” about where the equivalent of alchemical Salt could be found in Astrology. Here are a few thoughts on this .

If you have ever grown salt crystals you will know that you have to “seed” your salt solution. This is a simple alchemical situation. Your Mercury is the solution, your Sulphur the “seed” and your Salt the crystals formed. These three principles can also be seen in the astrological qualities. The Cardinal or inceptional quality, is Sulphur. The changeable and many-faceted Mutable quality is Mercury. The Fixed or stable quality is Salt.*

The verse in the Sermon on the Mount, “You are the salt of the earth…” (Matthew 5-13 ) is often associated with alchemical Salt. But this is only half of the story. The succeeding verse, “You are the light of the world.…” must also be included. Why? Consider the following. Look at a grain of salt. It is crystalline, translucent and able to “receive” light and warmth without changing its form. Salt is an image of both our Physis and the world in purified form. We have an expression of the the hermetic principle, “As above so Below”. Salt/microcosm is able to receive and carry the Light of the World/macrocosm in itself. Salt that is sullied is not able to do this.

So at a basic level Salt is the Physis. The Physis is our body seen not as mere matter, a bundle of complex chemical reactions, but as the door to both the microcosm and macrocosm. It is not surprising that in traditional astrology we find the human body not only signified by the mundane houses but also the celestial houses. Only here and with nothing else do the significations coincide. This is an astrological expression of “Salt”.

Mundane houses are what nowadays are called “houses” and the celestial houses the “signs of the zodiac”. For example both the first house and the sign Aries signify the head. We can say that the mundane houses correspond to the microcosmic aspect of the Physis and the celestial houses to the macrocosmic aspect.

The houses are subdivided into the three positions of angular, succedent and cadent while the signs into the three qualities of cardinal, fixed and mutable. Here they begin to diverge from one another, A cardinal sign is not always angular, etc. It would be stretching it to want to try to label the three positions with the three alchemical qualities. At most they are an expression of “Salt” as they are fixed and never move, while the three qualities of cardinal, fixed and mutable have a “Mercury” aspect as they are constantly moving in respect to the mundane houses.

I have found a plausible candidate for the fixed dragon. More later. The constellation Draco might also be fixed but the fixed dragon of the nodes is something entirely different.

*John Frawley uses the metaphor of a day at the beach. The journey there with all of its expectations expresses the cardinal. The day itself with all of its experiences is the fixed. The journey back with its review of the day is the mutable. At the moment I can’t find the exact page. When I find the reference I will add it as a comment!

4 thoughts on “A Dash of Salt?

  1. Hello Thomas,
    I recall that particular analogy of John Frawley’s as well, although at the moment I’m not sure if it was in the original The Real Astrology book, or somewhere in an Astrologer’s Apprentice magazine. He explains the cardinal is the initiating energy which springs forth from the Divine, then comes fixed energy – as you say, “the day at the beach” enjoying one’s stay, and then finally the mutable or double-bodied energy which combines the previous two (reflecting on the trip out and the day on the beach) and returns them back to the Source.

    He has also discussed the three modes as they relate to the four primary fixed stars – Aldeberan, Regulus, Antares, and Fomahaut. He notes at the inception of the world these stars were in cardinal signs, then for century upon century as man explored and settled the world, they were in the fixed signs. Now (chillingly enough in my opinion) three of the four are in the mutable (returning to God) phase, with Regulus to arrive in Virgo in the matter of a few short years.
    Warm regards,

  2. Dear Marybeth,

    If it is any consolation, once Regulus enters Virgo he will be there for a very long time.
    Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment.

    Warm regards,

  3. Thank you so much for this clear essay on the aspects of salt in relation to alchemy and astrology. You have given me much to digest, and a wealth of imagery!

    I also enjoyed Marybeths comments especially about the four primary fixed stars.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s