A Closer Look at Exaltation (2)

by Andrew Carter

One of my acquaintances, an Iranian Sufi who is conversant with the Zarathushtrian traditions of the Gathas, gave his opinion that all astrology (both eastern and western, ancient and modern) is largely “a footnote to our faith.” He encouraged me to consider the Bundahisn’s account of the world’s creation as a cultural artefact of Later Avestan cosmology that nevertheless preserves some pre-Zarathushtrian materials. These pre-Zarathushtrian materials, incorporated into the scriptures of the religion, preserve the astrological worldview of the Zarathushtrian faith.

The Bundahisn, the Zoroastrian Genesis, is a ninth- or tenth-century Persian text, but is a redaction of much earlier works; pre-Zarathushtrian compositions on myth, legend, and eschatology; this literature is in the Later Avestan dialect rather than in the Gathic dialect of Avesta which Zarathushtra used to composed his songs. It is not revelation in the sense of a direct communication from God to man, but general revelation in the broader sense of a divine disclosure within the works of creation.

As a result of my research, I was led to the conclusion that the Horoscope of the World as it is presented within the Bundahisn represents the earliest extant form of Revelation in relation to ancient astrology. I also came to the conclusion that the algorithm of exaltation postulated by Porphyry operates in reverse, from a strictly human perspective: everything proceeds from Revelation. In other words—first the exaltations, which are appointed to the planets by God before the fall, and then the domiciles, which are allotted to the planets (according to their natures) after the fall. Therefore, the domiciles of the planets represent the places to which they fell from their exaltations after the disruption of the celestial order.

However, the nodes of the Moon are not exalted according to the traditional “algorithm of exaltation” because they were not poisoned as a consequence of cosmic warfare, but were themselves the administrators of that poison. The celestial dragon is bound to the vehicles of the luminaries, but he did not fall so much as descend; he did not acquire a domicile of his own as a consequence of the fall, but needed to appropriate the exaltation of another in order to acquire its domicile, anticipated according to its nature. The dragon was already the adversary of the cosmic order within the pre-fallen cosmos.

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