Planetary Forces – Mercury

With our visit to Mercury, we have reached the Seventh, or Crown, Chakra. This chakra is associated with the Tarot card The Magician (Major Arcana Key 1).

The Seventh Chakra is our connection to our Higher Self, the place through which divine wisdom enters. But why Mercury for this chakra? Shouldn’t the planet be something, I don’t know, loftier? Well, there are a couple of reasons for this choice.

First off, in mythology Mercury is the messenger of the gods; you know, the guy with wings on his heels, like in the FTD logo. It seems natural to assign the planet Mercury to this chakra, then. Also, Mercury is the communications planet in astrology. Where our Mercury is in our natal chart shows how we think and communicate.

Mercury, the Seventh Chakra planet

Astronomically, Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, and the Sun is seen in many esoteric traditions as the physical manifestation of the divine in our solar system. As such, Mercury is the intercessor, in that it lies between us and that representation of the godhead. Notice in The Magician, the figure stands with one arm aloft and the other down, directing the force from the above to the below – once again, an intercessor, a messenger, and a transducer of the power from the divine.

But the associations don’t end there. The metal for Mercury is, as you may have guessed, mercury or quicksilver. This curious element is a liquid at room temperature and runs about quickly (if you’ve ever played with it, you know it forms globules and balls that shimmer and move away at a touch). Furthermore, mercury is seen in alchemy as the symbol of the superconscious, the highest source of communication. Sulfur is symbolic of our regular consciousness, while salt is the unconscious, or automatic consciousness.

Too much Mercury leads to a disorganized mind, flitting from one topic to the next, a very ungrounded situation. Too little Mercury beings a dullness of thought, and a rigidity of belief untempered by a true connection to the divine.

The note for Mercury and the Seventh Chakra is E natural. This is the beginning note of the Phrygian mode, a mode used to evoke rapid movement and quickness. It is often used in flamenco music, for example.

Mercury – communication and communion. Listen carefully and you will be able to hear the whisperings of the divine.

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 – 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.

Chakras and the Planets of the Ancients

Recently, while giving a Reiki treatment, I was struck with the profound energies surrounding the chakras, and some of the associations that have been formed over time. Specifically in the Western mystery tradition, planets and metals have been associated with these seven, prime energy centers of the human body. They are located at (common name and planet in parentheses):Sol

  • the perineum (Root chakra; Saturn)
  • just below the navel (Sacral chakra; Mars)
  • at the solar plexus (Solar Plexus chakra; Jupiter)
  • at the heart (Heart chakra; Sun)
  • at the throat (Throat chakra; Venus)
  • at the brow (Third Eye chakra; Moon)
  • at the crown of the head (Crown chakra; Mercury)

Notice that these assignments were made before the discovery of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto (and I still think Pluto is a planet, dadgumit!)

These associations weren’t made will-nilly. For instance, Saturn (associated with Binah on the Tree of Life — see my post on the Tree of Life here.) is seen as a limiting force, but it also allows things to come into concrete existence. The Root chakra is our connection with the Earth, so that correspondence makes sense. Mars, the action-driven force that pushes us to create is linked to our Sacral, generative chakra. Jupiter, with its expansiveness is link with the chakra of Will, which pushes us forward in the world. The Sun is linked with the Heart center, which aligns with the Tree of Life sphere of Tiphareth, our connection to the Son (this is explained a bit in my post on the Holy Family). Venus, the expresser of beauty is linked to our expressive Throat center. The Moon, that mystical, feminine, intuitive planetary body is set into the Third Eye, our intuitive center. Finally, Mercury is at the crown. Mercury, messenger of the gods, linked to the point where we receive messages from the gods. Good fit.

Try this exercise: Visualize the planets or their mythological human representations at each of the seven centers. If you have a problem with visualizing more than one at a time, that’s no biggie; do one at a time. Concentrating on each center, feel the energy of it. Just let it come, don’t force it. See how the center feels to you. See if it makes sense to place that planet there. How does it fit? How does it not? Let it rumble around in your consciousness for a while. Nestle into it and let it flow. See where it takes you.

There are colors associated with the chakras too. I don’t want to get into that now, since there are several systems, and the one I favor doesn’t match the most popular one.  Sigh, always the outlier, this guy.

Take time to have fun with your chakras, because they have fun with you.