Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Correct?" Planetary Rulership

I had a very good question from a student about how to deal with differences in list of planetary rulerships.

What do you do when Agrippa says one thing Al-biruni another and Lilly a third thing about which planet rules something?

First, we are in the grip of the modern world view which wants to take a strictly formal logic view of everything. A=A, A is not B, therefore A = B is false. So we want to have strict categories and fit everything into the one "right" category. But reality is more complex than this. While hate is diametrically opposed to love, we have all had the experience of hating and loving someone at the same time. A is not B, but B = A!

This is the baggage we bring to the question of what planet rules a particular thing. But let's step back a bit and see what we are doing when we discuss planetary rulership. In fact all material things contain all 7 planets in varying amounts. "Also, amongst vegetables, every thing that bears fruit is from Jupiter, and every thing that bears flowers is from Venus; all seed and bark is from Mercury, and all roots from Saturn, and all wood from Mars, and leaves from the Moon." Agrippa Three Books of Occult Philosophy Bk I ch 30.

So when we say that a particular thing is ruled by a planet, we are making a judgment about which quality or qualities we think predominate in the thing and then a further judgment about which planet is associated with that quality. Generally we would say that roses are ruled by Venus, because of their beauty and sweet smell, but if I get pricked I may suddenly focus on Mars who rules their thorns.

The key with planetary rulership attributions is not to determine the one "right" classification, but to get a sense of what quality the maker of the list was focused on and why. In a very real sense by learning about the things a planet rules, we are learning about the personality of the spirit of the planet, just as if I know a person likes coffee houses, jazz and wearing a beret, I'm learning about their personality.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fixed Stars Not on the List

I had a question recently about working with a fixed star that wasn't on the 15 fixed stars list. One of the reasons we work with the manuscript Hermes on the 15 Fixed Stars is that we have the fullest amount of information with them, including sigils, in various versions, descriptions of their images, plant and mineral rulerships and best of all, effects.

Of course, all the fixed stars, like all things in the Cosmos, have spirit/angel/daimons. If we knew how to approach them and what they were useful for, we could work with any fixed star or constellation, for that matter.

There might be a way to mechanically generate fixed star sigils, akin to the use of magic squares/planetary tables for planets. More to my personal preference is a more artistic and visionary process, similar to what Jason Miller and his collaborator used for their recent set of planetary sigils in "Advanced Planetary Magic" I like the idea of getting images and sigils directly from the spirits in dreams and visions. But we are going to have to wait for this sort of information until our contemporary visionaries make contact with these spirits.

In the meantime we can certainly use the image of a constellation for a constellation talisman, for Fomalhaut, "the mouth of the fish" a fixed star in the Pisces Australis, the Southern Fish we might use an image of a fish or even an actual picture of Fomalhaut, see Wikipedia on Fomalhaut. This approach, using the planets was followed in Israel Hibner's 1698 Mysterium Sigillorum, Herbarum and Lapidum, "The Mysteries of Sigils, Herbs and Stones." Available at Renaissance Astrology.

I look forward to seeing more visionary art and visionary communication with the spirits of the fixed stars and constellations!