The Sky of Fixed Stars and the Sky without Stars

Exploring Titus Burckhardt’s “Mystical Astrology According to Ibn ‘Arabi” continued:

I would like now to address the question of how the constellations in the Sphere of the Fixed Stars are related to the Sky without Stars. Notably the question of the twelve zodiacal constellations and the twelve signs of the zodiac.

The Sky of the Fixed Stars contains not only the constellations but all stars. Viewed as a landscape, the stars are the “population” of this sphere. Each star having its own character. Each group of stars defining the landscape. This imaginative landscape also has a sky, which is the sphere immediately above, the Sky without Stars. The twelve Towers are like beacons whose light encompasses the sphere of Fixed Stars. We have to remember that without the solar cycle there would be no differentiation. The signs are not dependant on whether a constellation moves by precession into another sign. Titus Burckhardt expresses this so,

“We have already shown that the qualitative divisions of the zodiac proceeds from the four constant terms of the solar cycle, the equinoxes and the solstices, and that it is not right to say – as some modern astrologers do – that the Spring Equinox moves from the sign of Aries to the sign of Aquarius, since the signs are counted invariably beginning from the vernal point. On the other hand, one could say that the constellation of Aries is moved towards the sign of Taurus or that the vernal point, that is to say the Spring Equinox, has moved from the constellation of Aries to that of Pisces; and one ought to suppose that the change of the relationship between these two supreme skies, that of the zodiacal ‘towers’ and that of the fixed stars has modified in a certain way that which one could call the ‘influence of the sky’.”

Yet another way to see how the two skys are related is to imagine you are sitting by a pool. The pool is the sky. In its depths shimmer multitudes of lights some brighter, others barely visible. These lights swim together. Standing around the pool are the twelve signs. Their images are reflected on the surface of the pool. It is mid-day and the Sun has reached its zenith. The movement of the groups of lights in the pool needn’t be confined by the reflexions in the water, there are no barriers, they move according to their own law. Now imagine it is midnight and the Moon is shining in its fullness. Instead of the signs the twenty-eight mansions are reflected on the surface of the pool. Towers by day and Mansions by night.

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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