Venus and Mars

After such a long pause I thought I would try an experiment. The old technique of choosing a topic from a text at random. The text chosen from a random book, in this case Titus Burckhardt’s, Alchemie (German edition). The random text from the book is about how the planetary symbols are composed of the circle, cross and the semicircle. (Interesting isn’t it? I just happened to open the chapter on the planets and the metals, where astrology and alchemy meet 🙂 )

From the alchemical point of view the Sun and Moon form two poles, male and female. Each works on or can be bound to indifferent matter (represented by the cross) in the center. So each of the five metals other than gold (☉) and silver (☽), each have a different ‘combination’ of solar and lunar influences on indifferent matter. Copper (♀) and Iron (♀ reversed – see below) both have solar influence. Tin (♃) and Lead (♄) have lunar influence. And not surprisingly Quicksilver (☿) has both lunar and solar influences.



Notice the old symbol for Mars – no arrow. Instead having the cross of matter above the solar circle makes more sense astrologically. In the order of the planets seen geocentrically

 ☽    ☿   ♀   ☉   ♂    ♃    ♄

 Venus and Mars are closest to the Sun. Venus has a dominant solar circle. Venus/copper shows cosmic influence flowing into matter. Mars has a dominant cross of matter. Mars/iron shows material influence flowing into the cosmos.

Think about it. Iron is the metal that has made it possible for human beings to push matter into the cosmos. How? by surrounding/encasing ideas/vision with technology.

Titus Burkhardt refers to Basilius Valentinus when speaking about Venus or copper. Valentinus says that copper contains an abundance of unbound solar power much like a tree that has too much resin. Mars or iron is solar power that has become buried in the darkness of matter.

We can’t go into too much detail here. Consider this food for thought. You just might see Venus and Mars from an entirely new standpoint.

Nodes in Exaltation

A friend recently asked for my thoughts on the exaltation and fall of the Moon’s Nodes. He had come across references where the North Node is exalted in Sagittarius and the South Node in Gemini, contrary to traditional practice.

Many traditional astrologers ignore the nodes exaltation in the tables of dignities. They argue that as the nodes are not bodies but merely markers along the ecliptic it is absurd to give them a sign where they are exalted and conversely in fall. If one used the same logic there would also have to be a sign where they are in domicile and in detriment, as the planets are.

But how did the exaltation point for the North Node in Gemini and the South Node in Sagittarius come to be in the tables in the first place? What is the logic behind them being exalted just there and no where else?

We know that the Nodes play an important role in the eclipses of Sun and Moon. An eclipse can only take place when a Full or New Moon is near the Nodes. So the last New Moon was close enough to the nodes for a solar eclipse to occur, and the coming Full Moon is close enough for a lunar eclipse. You can generally rely on there being an eclipse of the Sun or Moon respectively to occur within two weeks of one another. Now the nodes can be considered as shadowing an eclipse. Imaginatively as the Dragon who shadows the Sun or Moon in order to devour them. The nodes mark where the path of the Moon crosses the ecliptic. North Node for the ascending Moon, South Node for the descending Moon. There are four other very important points on the ecliptic. These are the equinox points at 0 Aries and 0 Libra and the solstice points at 0 Cancer and 0 Capricorn. They remain constant as opposed to the nodal points which have a cycle of roughly 18 and 3/4 years to return to their original position.

The axis of the solstice at Cancer/Capricorn also forms the axis around which another set of ‘shadowy’ points are generated. These are the antisica. Any position in Cancer/Capricorn has its antisicion in Gemini/Sagittarius (just as any position at Aries/Libra has its antiscion at Virgo/Pisces). This corresponds to the traditional North Node/ South Node exaltation position.

If we consider that the Moon has her domicile in Cancer and the Sun his exaltation in Aries then it is not very difficult to see why the North Node, the node of increase, has its exaltation in Gemini, where the antiscia of a Cancer Moon are located. And conversely the descending node, the one of decrease, must have its exaltation at the corresponding antiscia of the Moon’s detriment.

Virgo, the second domicile of Mercury is where the exaltation points of the Sun have their antiscia, and would point, if one were searching for a domicile for the North Node, to Virgo.

This is not at all surprising if you consider how closely Mercury is bound with Dragon or Serpent imagry. In alchemical practice there are two Mercuries, one has wings the other is wingless. The first is found in Gemini, an air sign. The second is found in Virgo, an earth sign. And their tails are in Sagittarius and Pisces. One marks the dry path the other the wet.

Looked at in this way, it might be worthwhile to pay attention whether the nodes are in the mutable signs, for there they might prove stronger than elsewhere in a chart.

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!