Planetary Forces – Venus

Looking at the Fifth, or Throat, Chakra, we find the planet Venus and the Tarot card The Empress (Major Arcana Key 3). I have written about The Empress in a previous post, primarily as a symbol for the Divine Mother. Here she is associated with the gifts of the Fifth Chakra.

These gifts include the ability to speak one’s truth, and to create in a constructive way or at the highest level of our spiritual abilities. Mars (Second Chakra) is a more generative, reproductive sort of creativity. One of the tasks of the spiritual seeker is to take that Martian energy and transmute it into a power that can be used in the service of the Venus force.

The brightest object in the sky after the Sun and the Moon, Venus

Venus, the Fifth Chakra planet
is not only the planet of desire. She is the planet of beauty as well, and the Venus force seeks to bring beauty into our lives. Venus rules two signs: Taurus and Libra. Both are concerned with beauty in different ways. Taurus wants beauty in the physical world, whereas Libra wants divine justice, a beauty of the mind. Both are important, of course. A misguided Venus can be lazy, either physically or intellectually. The force can even be turned toward Mars, a reversal of the interplay needed for spiritual development. This can lead to lust, promiscuity, and a dissipation of the creative force.

The metal associated with Venus is copper. Just as copper is a great conductor of heat and electrical energy, the Venus force is a great conductor as well. Properly directed, Venus brings fulfillment and a sense of accomplishment. Copper is also very malleable, just as creativity can take many forms.

The note associated with The Empress, and Venus, is F#. This is the tritone of the C major scale, which is considered a very “feminine” interval. (I have blogged elsewhere about the tritone here.) It is rumored that the Catholic Church forbade its use in music at one time, though this is disputed. However, the late composer Kay Gardner stated that, while in school, she was once required to rewrite a musical piece that depended on the tritone.

Venus is beauty and creativity. Let her shine in your life to help you reach your greatest potential.

Planetary Forces – Sun

We have reached the heart of the matter, both figuratively and literally, as we explore the fourth chakra, province of the heart and the Sun. The Tarot card of the Fourth Chakra is Key 19, The Sun.

The Sun is the center of our solar system, just as the heart chakra is the central chakra of our energy system. (For those of you who might object to the Sun being called a planet, that’s just how it is in astrology. All the planets of the solar system – including Pluto, dadgumit – as well as the Sun and the Moon are considered to be planets.)

The human heart is also aligned with the central sphere of Tiphareth on the Tree of Life. This sphere is associated with the Son on the Central Pillar so, in English at least, it is an interesting homonym.

The Sun rules Leo, the astrological sign that governs the heart and the spine (your “backbone”).

Sun, the Fourth Chakra planet
The lion is known as a courageous beast, and when we live from our heart, we find our courage. However, a Sun out of control is quite destructive (think supernova), and if we let our Sun get the better of us, egotism and arrogance result. This leaves a path of destruction in our lives, and in the lives of those around us.

The Sun’s metal is gold, and there seems to be a special affinity between that precious metal and the spirit of humans. In fact, some indigenous peoples have called gold “the blood of the Sun.” (I have posted about this in another blog here). In medieval times, alchemists tried to turn lead into gold, or so the story goes. In actuality, it was a quest for enlightenment – an attempt to transcend earthly bonds (the metal lead – remember? from Saturn?) to attain union with the Divine (by linking to Tiphareth and Christ consciousness).

Man, there are future blog topics aplenty right here in this post! I’ll get to them, I promise.

The note associated with the Sun is D natural. This comes from the assignment of notes according to color correspondences, and the Sun is paired with the color orange. (Another blog topic, for another time.) D is also the tonic for the well-known Dorian mode (here is a brief video on the Dorian mode).

Rely on your Sun for courage and identity. Let it light the way to higher consciousness for you.

Planetary Forces – Jupiter

The next chakra to consider in our journey through the energy (and solar) system is the third chakra, located at the solar plexus. Its planet is Jupiter.

This chakra is associated with Tarot trump number 10, The Wheel of Fortune.

The choice of Jupiter for this chakra is an interesting one. Traditionally, the third chakra is associated with the force of Will, and the ability to put oneself forth in the world. Jupiter is an expansive, beneficent force in astrology, so the “putting forth” part of the chakra is well represented by this planet. Jupiter is an optimistic force, and this optimism is needed if we are engage the world with any success.

Jupiter rules the sign of Sagittarius, an outward sign interested in exploring, higher education, and distant travel.

Jupiter, the Third Chakra planet
Jupiter is also co-ruler of Pisces, another sign of expansion, but this time on the psychic and spiritual planes.

The metal of Jupiter is tin. This metal has a prime use in coating other metals as a protectant, as it does not oxidize easily. The Jupiter force is the outer, protective force we need as we put our third chakra into contact with others. Also, tin is related to lead on the periodic table of elements. This reminds us that the expansion of Jupiter needs to be rooted in the groundedness of Saturn, so that we don’t lose sight of reality (which can be a problem for the Piscean part of our temperament).

The note of Jupiter, and the third chakra, is A#, the highest pitch of the planetary scale. Jupiter is certainly the loftiest of planetary forces from the standpoint of optimism and engagement with others. It helps us keep our chins up when the chips are down. As you may know, the word “jovial” comes from the Roman god Jove (or Jupiter), after whom this planet is named.

Keep your Jupiter force close at hand to ward off depression, and to help you meet the world with confidence.

Planetary Forces – Mars

Let’s continue on our journey through the planets associated with the chakras.

The second (or sacral) chakra is located an inch or two below the navel, and its planet is Mars.

Mars is paired with Key 16 (the Tower) of the major arcana of the Tarot.

The force that is typically attributed to Mars is evident in the card. As ruler of Aries, and co-ruler of Scorpio, Mars is seen as an initiating, driving planet, whose power also shows in the realm of sexuality and reproduction.

It is this very association with reproduction that is Mars’s greatest strength and biggest trap. Misused, Mars can be the instigator of personal destruction, and become a huge obstacle on the path toward self-realization. If properly directed, however, Mars is an indispensable ally, providing the force needed to overthrow out-worn illusions and limiting beliefs. In this way, we give birth to a new self, a more developed, spiritual self.

Mars, the Second Chakra planet

The metal of the red planet is iron, and it lends that solid, sturdy sense to our endeavors when its power is properly applied. But, we need to be regularly aware of our use of the Mars force to keep from becoming rusty, i.e., complacent in our current state. Remember, rusty gears don’t turn, and rusty tools are liable to break under stress.

The note C natural, the one that provides impetus to our musical scale, is the note of Mars. The C major scale is arguable the most basic scale, as there are no sharps or flats in it; and C, as the starting note, is known as the tonic of the scale. In this sense, Mars is like a tonic to our system, providing the energy needed for change and growth.

I encourage you to stoke up your Mars energy and direct it toward your personal growth. It is definitely the way to go.

Planetary Forces – Saturn

I thought I’d go through the planets associated with each of the chakras. This is important not only from the perspectives of personal development and astrology, but also so you don’t look like a fool at your next esoteric cocktail party when the topic comes up.

[You’re welcome]

The planet associated with the first chakra (located in the perineum) is Saturn.

This planet is paired with Key 21 (The World) of the Tarot’s major arcana. Astrologically speaking, Saturn has often gotten something of a bad rap. You know, terms like “the great malefic” have been offered to describe it. This misses the point. Admittedly, Saturn is a limiter, and tends to slow or obstruct whatever it touches in one’s chart. However, it’s also the planet that allows form to take place. Without the Saturnine influence, nothing could exist materially.

Lead is the metal that correlates with Saturn. Traditionally, nothing is more solid than that, or more grounding. Tethering us to the planet – that’s what Saturn does.

Saturn, the First Chakra planet

Interestingly, Key 21 and Saturn resonate to the note of A natural. Think it’s a coincidence that A natural is the note that orchestras tune to before they begin a concert (make their music come into existence)? Maybe, but I doubt it. These forces work at an unconscious level and we respond to their call.

Take a moment to thank your Saturn. You wouldn’t be here without it.

The World Turned Upside-Down

The title of today’s post is the name of a song that many mistakenly believe the British played at the surrender of Yorktown. The controversy is an interesting read and you can see it here, although Yorktown has nothing to do with the subject I want to write about today. The title, however, is apropos.

You see, The Hanged Man (Key 12 of the Tarot’s Major Arcana) is very much about seeing the world in just such a way — upside down, if you will. Notice how he is suspended, head down, hands bound. Yet, he has a glory about his head and his expression is serene. His legs are in a figure 4, like those of the World Dancer of Key 21 (“The World”) and the Emperor of Key 4. Mythologically, he is often compared to Odin, who suspended himself upside down from the World Tree to attain knowledge.Hanged

This card is associated with the element of Water, the planet Neptune, and the Hebrew letter Mem (water, also considered the Divine Fountain of Wisdom).

One common interpretation for this card when it appears in a spread is “suspension,” as if one is caught in a place where waiting is essential. It is as if conditions are not yet ripe for action. However, I think this interpretation is too shallow, and off the mark a bit.

Rather, those under the influence of The Hanged Man have an opportunity to see things in a new way, to dream a new dream, and to form a new reality (as water is formless and can be molded to any container). The Hanged Man knows that things are not as they seem.

Yet, there is a warning with this card as well. Escapism into fantasy can give the impression of wisdom gained, but it only results in fooling oneself. Neptune, ruler of Pisces, in its negative expression can signify addictions or drug-induced misperceptions. This is one reason why some mystery schools warn against the use of drugs in the pursuit of spiritual growth.

In the everyday world, look carefully at what the mass media feed us. Quite often, it is a corrupted version of The Hanged Man’s view. He reminds us that it is important to shake off the culturally-induced mass hypnosis. Thinking for ourselves by means of the Higher Self is where the true path lies.

Hard Work, Little Gain

I drew a Tarot card at random from the Waite-Rider deck today as the topic for this entry. You know, intuition is a funny thing. When it’s on, watch out. Case in point: While shuffling the deck to pick the card, I thought, “Hope it’s not the 7 of Pentacles. I don’t feel like talking about that card today. It’s kind of a bummer. Be a happy card, a happy card.”

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what happened. There she is in all her bummer glory, 7pentthe 7 of Pentacles. Honest to goodness, true story. For some reason, the Fates have decreed that this is the card I talk about today, so I talk about it. I’m not one to stiff the Fates.

The usual meaning for this card is similar to the title of today’s entry, “hard work with little gain,” or sometimes “speculative loss.” Sounds like the roller coaster ride of the financial markets. Those who have worked hard and faithfully put their money aside have awakened to the fact that unwarranted speculation can come back and bite even the innocent. However, that’s merely the superficial aspect of this card.

All Pentacles in Tarot tend to signify material reality, the physical plane. This tarot suit is sometimes called Coins, and has become the suit of Diamonds in modern playing card decks. So, money, physical stuff. Sevens in Tarot aren’t always the most auspicious of cards. They are associated with the sphere of Netzach on the Qabalistic Tree of Life. One of the attributes of Netzach is Desire. If not tempered by common sense, desire gets out of hand pretty easily. You know, Greed, Avarice — yeah, that deadly sin. Starting to sound a little speculative?

The 7 of Pentacles shows a measure of desire but not well-directed effort. Sure, the guy leaning dejectedly on the garden tool has worked, but his effort hasn’t paid off. Maybe his energy was scattered, maybe he bit off more than he could chew, or maybe he just didn’t know what the hell he was doing. Regardless, he’s not getting the return on his investment of energy, time, money, labor, whatever.

Lessons? One of them might be to link effort to desire, but make sure that desire isn’t leading you astray. Take stock of what you’ve been putting into a task and adjust things if and as needed. This card doesn’t (necessarily) mean you’ve been fleeced, but it does ask you to look around. Maybe you’ve been spinning your wheels, maybe you have a hole to dig yourself out of, maybe it’s time to plant a different crop since you ain’t getting much more out of this one.

So take stock of where your energy has been going. Don’t be afraid to cut your losses and move on to greener pastures if need be, regardless of whether it is in the financial realm, in a relationship, or even a belief system. Tarot is only there to help.

De Profundis

So, anybody out there up on their Latin? Or their Psalms? Or their movie dialogue?

This post’s title comes from a famous Latin phrase. The full verse is: De profundis clamo ad te, Domine. (Of course, it wasn’t written in Latin originally, but it’s a cool thing to say; just rolls off the tongue.)

De david

Translation: Out of the depths I cry unto you, O Lord. It’s from Psalm 130.

Or, from M. Night Shyamalan’s movie The Sixth Sense.

[When I heard the line in the flick, I knew what it meant before they translated it. Thank you, Father Pius — one of my high school Latin teachers]

At any rate, the quote suddenly occurred to me the other day. When I Googled it, it turned up being used in several blogs recently. Synchronicity at work.

According to Biblical lore, King David (in the picture) wrote this when he was feeling pretty low, which seems to have been fairly often if you’ve ever given Psalms a look. This was evidently David’s scene: feel bad, pluck the lyre, make up a psalm. Probably worked as well as any anti-depressant. He was one of the world’s premier music therapists, I suppose.

Back to synchronicity. I mean, I wasn’t feeling down when the quote came to me. It must have just been floating about in the collective unconscious and bobbed to the surface. For several people, by the looks of it.

Why is that floating around now? People worried about the economy? Expecting God to give them some hot stocks for their IRAs? Well here’s a news flash: Don’t go to God for stock tips, because as Einstein supposedly said, “God does not play dice with the Universe.”

[BTW, if you think the stock market is anything other than a sophisticated casino, think again. Anymore, it doesn’t have anything to do with how a company is doing, or the quality of its product. It’s about what the computer programs say, and about “the house” (the large investor) taking “the suckers” (you and me) for a ride.]

Oh, yeah — synchronicity. It may be the mind’s fervent need to make sense of the random (I doubt that), but it seems like certain themes, events, etc. associate themselves with each other to give us messages or lessons. That’s one way to think about synchronicity.

So, what am I supposed to get from Psalms 130:1? I think it has to do with remembering that the Higher Self is always there, even when one is not in the depths. After all, as I said before, I wasn’t there when the quote hit me. Also, I think it’s about not waiting until one is in the depths to check out whatever guidance there is to be had. In other words, it’s always good to see what can be gleaned from powers that have a greater perspective.

How to go about this checking is one’s personal choice. From prayer and meditation to Tarot cards and bird entrails, various methods have been tried. I know some prefer looking at guts, but as for myself, I think I’ll pass on the entrails.

However you choose to do it, pick your method and don’t be concerned about how others go about it. As they say in Latin: De gustibus non est disputandum (There ain’t no accounting for taste).

The World Dancer

Today, let’s really get down to earth. There’s no better way to do this than to spend a little meditation time with Tarot Key 21, The World. This card is associated with the Root chakra, our intimate connection with physical reality.

Aligned with Saturn, the planet of limitation and materialization, Key 21 has plenty of symbols that indicate limits. This is good because, without limitation, energy would be unregulated and never get organized enough to become anything material.

Look at the card. The World Dancer in the center, not unlike Shiva – as Nataraja – dancing to prepare the world for a new existence, is confined within the wreath of actuality. Her legs are in the shape of the number 4, the number of the material world. The dancer has in her hands the two great currents (yin and yang, lunar and solar) that balance to bring fulfillment. She has all the ancient elements at her command as well. These are represented by the symbols of the fixed signs of the zodiac: Taurus (bull), Aquarius (man), Scorpio (eagle), and Leo (lion), which are also the four creatures drawing the chariot of God in the book of Ezekiel.

Her color is blue-violet, the color of the Central Channel of esoteric Buddhism. The Central Channel is the place from which each of us arises. Face it, she has what it takes to make things happen in the world. Meditate on the card to bring yourself a feeling of groundedness and connection to the everyday.

Thank her too, because without her solidifying energies, there wouldn’t be, well, us or anything else.

Reflections on Joy

My numerological Life Path is a 3, which centers on Joy and Creative Expression. (I’ll spare you the numerological definitions and machinations for now.)

The energy of 3 is that of a Joy of Living and Creative Expression. Those with this energy are good with words, can sell items and ideas, are artistic, and are quite creative. On the positive side, they are often welcoming and affectionate, charming, and inspirational. Negatively, they can scatter their energies, be superficial, or be overly moody and critical.Joy

Those who know me well will be quick to recognize me in the above description, especially the charming and inspirational part (yeah). Overly moody and critical? Perish the thought – and anyone who thinks so is a classless jerk (no judgment, just a fact).

[Humor alert: the preceding paragraph was intended to be facetious.]

Getting off track. Sorry. Given my Life Path, I think about Joy as a concept from time to time. Like lately, for instance. When I ponder this stuff, I often happen upon writings or ideas that shine a little light on my process. Two such nigglings have tapped me lately.

The first is from author Paul Coelho (who wrote The Alchemist, The Manual of the Warrior of Light, and other books): Each human has the right to seek out joy, joy being understood as something which makes one content – not necessarily that which makes others content.

The second is from a psychic reading I had recently: Joy is facilitated by creativity. Joy is found in recognizing the perfection in every moment.

I’ve been looking at the depth of these statements and reconciling them in my noggin. I know that creativity brings me contentment and, true to my 3 nature, I’ve dabbled in everything from writing and music to dancing and painting. (I can say with some authority that painting isn’t it for me. I still paint, and draw, like a four year old. My father could draw and paint; my brother still can; I got nothin’, as they say. But regarding dancing, I was told long ago by a female acquaintance, “You move pretty good for a white guy.” Um, I took that as a compliment.)

Perhaps these exercises in creativity bring contentment to others as well, but that’s only a bonus when it does, because I really do these things for me. Yet, there’s a part of me that has a hard time with this, since I’m kind of a giving guy, or so I’m told. Maybe giving can bring one contentment too? Of course it can, and therein lies its Joy.

Recognizing the perfection in every moment is a tough one, but somewhere in me is the realization that it is possible, and I’ve been fortunate to be able to find that recognition occasionally, and even a bit more often of late. I see that as a sign of growth, which brings me contentment, which brings me . . . you get the idea.

There’s quite a bit in the esoteric literature about becoming a clear channel for the highest vibrations of our true Selves. I’m convinced that this is the surest way to Joy, since when that happens, we are both supremely content and the embodiment of the perfection of that moment. On the other hand, I think being joyful can lead to becoming a clear channel. This was affirmed in an exercise I did recently while using some techniques I’ve been studying. In this exercise, I visited an alternative version of myself, one that had achieved spiritual enlightenment. When I asked him how he did it, he responded, “I choose Joy.”

There’s something to shoot for, eh?