The astrological tradition has bequeathed to us the following statements of suggestive magnitude but sealed content :
The Sun is exalted in Aries and falls in Libra.
The Moon is exalted in Taurus and falls in Scorpio.
Mercury is exalted in Virgo and falls in Pisces.
Venus is exalted in Pisces and falls in Virgo.
Mars is exalted in Capricorn and falls in Cancer.
Jupiter is exalted in Cancer and falls in Capricorn.
Saturn is exalted in Libra and falls in Aries.
These accepted facts of astrological wisdom have come to be used mostly quantitatively and pragmatically-as indications of greatest strength of expression for the planet considered. One does not generally ask what the meaning of this special strength may be, nor what qualitative content lies hidden in each statement. These are some of the questions this book seeks to explore, following the Emerald rule that "As above, so below", and that everything stated in the heavens has its counterpart in the inner heaven of the human consciousness.
The word "exaltation" evokes plenitude of expression. It suggests a state of full vibrancy - what any entity experiences and radiates when its core principle is engaged by the presenting opportunity to fully actualise its design. Fullness of being is what exalts any unit of consciousness.
The proposition of a "planet exalted in a sign" points to a special affinity between a planet and a sign. The sign seems to indicate a particular field of energy which brings "out" (ex-) and "heightens" (-alt) the planet's expression because of a special resonance with its essence and inmost intention. In this sign, the planet comes fully to itSelf. It is fulfilled - its central identity galvanised, its fundamental purpose evoked, revealed and fully orchestrated by the zodiacal context of the sign.
Whereas a planet is "dignified" in a sign which corresponds to its character and reflects its nature, it finds its exaltation in the sign which "up-lifts" or exposes the root of its various meanings and functions, while allowing full manifestation of the impulse in which they originate.
My attempt in the study to follow has been to unfold the more comprehensive picture of a planet which its exaltation reveals - to bring to light a deeper level of significance related to the purpose of a planetary being. By brooding over the zodiacal temples where the respective "altars" of the planets are found, we take the invitation contained in the fact of the "exaltations" to contemplate the planets in their heightened state of expression and discover in it, illumined, their essential design and work.
The perspectives gained can then be brought to bear upon individual experience and lend insight, not only into exalted placements in a chart, but into the planets themselves and the houses in which they are exalted.
My intention and hope is to elicit, beyond the practical use of the planetary alphabet to read into psyche and existence, a more comprehensive relation to the beings who play their part in the cosmic psyche and pursue their tasks through its human replica - our individual psyche; to ponder their purposes which drive our lives because they are our purposes, and within and through each of us, bring man and world:
- to rise as "self." (Sun/Aries);
- to carve, forge and refine their "nature" to fully embody the indwelling Self (Moon/Taurus);
- to transmute the light of intelligence, active in analysing facts and processes of nature or sorting out substrata of experience, into the light of wisdom which delivers the soul hidden in all matters (Mercury/Virgo);
- to penetrate the most forlorn dimension of human experience with the presence of self and capacity of heart that returns everything to being; to lift the world to its Self with the healing power of love and the saving force of beauty (Venus/Pisces);
- to realise and exert wisely the power of human actions and decisions to build the world-temple. (Mars/Capricorn);
- to tend growth and becoming through the magnetic power of trust and faith, of meaning and vision (Jupiter/Cancer);
- to balance or adjust one's stance, as an individual or a group, to the widening base of reality created by the pressure to outgrow a limiting ring of egoity or karma; to invent a new wheel of "self" inclusive of a next dimension of being. (Saturn/Libra).
The meditative penetration into the purposes of the planets attempted in this book is anchored in certain tenets of esoteric astrology, in particular some fundamental indications given by A. Bailey in her book Esoteric Astrology. The reader unfamiliar with these is invited to use as references the tables presented below.
Most significant in regard to this study is the notion of three levels of rulerships for each zodiacal sign. To the orthodox ruler of traditional astrology is superimposed an "esoteric" ruler and a "hierarchical" ruler. Each corresponds to the level of manifestation of the zodiacal energy expressed by a particular individuality according to his/her main focus of consciousness and life demonstration- personality intelligence, soul wisdom or spiritual will.
The soul rulership begins to have relevance for the person whose attitudes and choices, rapport and responses to life show a mindful relation to the universal self in all beings and bespeak the awareness of an essential raison d'Ítre for all events and facts; the person whose concerns, in his/her thinking, feeling or doing, are engaged in larger-than-personal spheres of awareness and motivated by more than personal ends.
The hierarchical rulership has little direct relevance for the individual until he/she becomes a fully soul infused personality - a member of the human hierarchy, a true human being- an Initiate.
The following table lists these rulerships:
Constellation/Sign Orthodox Ruler Esoteric Ruler Hierarchical Ruler
Aries Mars Mercury Uranus
Taurus Venus Vulcan Vulcan
Gemini Mercury Venus Earth
Cancer Moon Neptune Neptune
Leo Sun Sun [veiling Neptune] Sun [veiling Uranus]
Virgo Mercury Moon veiling Vulcan Jupiter
Libra Venus Uranus Saturn
Scorpio Mars Mars Mercury
Sagittarius Jupiter Earth Mars
Capricorn Saturn Saturn Venus
Aquarius Uranus Jupiter Moon
Pisces Jupiter Pluto Pluto
The second table lists the seven rays- the seven energies said to underlie all manifestation. Mentioned by H. P. Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine as the primeval Seven "to be found and recognized in every religion", the rays' names and attributes were presented later on by A. Bailey, and their study developed in relation to esoteric psychology, initiations, esoteric healing, astrology and cosmology, in her five-volumeTreatise on the Seven Rays. Following are her formulation of the seven ray qualities, and the astrological signs and planets which convey them.
Ray 1 Will Power Aries Leo Capricorn Pluto Vulcan
Ray 2 Love Wisdom Gemini Virgo Pisces Sun Jupiter
Ray 3 Active Intelligence Libra Cancer Capricorn Earth Saturn
Ray 4 Harmony Through Conflict Taurus Scorpio Sagittarius Moon Mercury
Ray 5 Concrete Science Leo Sagittarius Aquarius Venus
Ray 6 Abstract Idealism Virgo Sagittarius Pisces Mars Neptune
Ray 7 Ceremonial Order Aries Cancer Capricorn Uranus
EXALTATION OF SATURN IN LIBRA
Saturn, the archetypal dweller on the threshold of Self.
The seventh exaltation resonates with the first (the exaltation of the Sun in Aries) as its echo and counterpart. Through the opposition and complementarity of the signs Aries and Libra, a polarity is revealed between the Sun and Saturn, and a partnership exalted between their functions within the universe and the human psyche.
Saturn is the "Satan" of the old astrological lore, carrier of all fateful events, negative dispositions and malefic influences.
In their exalted rapport, Saturn and the Sun are set across the horizon, "back" to face - as twilight to dawn; as fall (Libra) to spring (Aries); as the unconscious shadow to the radiance of the Self; or as the enemy-friend guarding the next gate of the emerging Self.
The sun sets and "falls" in the West (Libra) - the West of all "Satans". The "Light from the East" falls in the Western worlds where "gold" materialises and science and technology are exalted. Yet, it is out of such science that the full light of man will arise, shining through his creative efforts and achievements (Saturn) .
Their exaltation in opposite signs reveals an underlying partnership between the two principles. On one hand, Saturn-Satan is set up as a partner to the rising of the sun; he is a key participant in the dawn of dynamic selfhood. On the other hand, the self-expression or the creative will of the exalted Sun (Sun/Aries) calls for the balancing and adjusting function of Saturn (Libra). Saturn is the dark partner in the exaltation of the light, the pressure of the "notself" destined to elicit Selfhood in the evolving consciousness (Sun), the resistance of matter which makes spirit "spring" (Aries). It is by having to emerge from the limitations of imprisoning matters that the Self is exalted.
On the archetypal threshold which Libra represents, Saturn stands as the dweller who veils and eventually reveals the Self. He guards the temporary ring-pass-not of a self and reveals the threshold to greater Selfhood hidden in the limitation imposed by self-consciousness on a broader sphere of reality and I-dentification. He guards the ascending thresholds of a self through the widening spheres of Selfhood - ever a custodian and sober reminder of the relativity (Libra) of Identity (Aries) .
Saturn as universal dweller: the relational Necessity of creation.
The exaltation of Saturn in Libra also points to the relational foundation of creation, the relational nature of the axial law along which the universe, and anything in the universe, constitutes itself and evolves. This ongoing "con-stituting" of the world-Fact - the task of "con-statuere" (lat.), that is of "setting up" an evolving world as a "co-herent" manifestation of its indwelling self - is the exalted function of Saturn, and in fact a literal translation of Saturn/Libra. In the accomplishment of this task, Saturn stands for the Law which faces and confronts each and every expression of free will (Sun/Aries) in the world - the relational Necessity (Saturn/Libra) which governs universal existence. All that springs from the initiative of men and the creation of "gods" is naturally placed in the balance of its relation to the whole and subject to the adjustments which the needs of a greater context require from the singular expressions of its units.
Saturn's exaltation in Libra suggests that the law which the planet is known to wield is a law of justness in all relationships. The expressive impulse or creative idea of an individual (Sun/Aries), touching the "bounds" of the whole, meets this law of all interrelatedness (Saturn/Libra) which confronts the "initiating" one with adjustments of will to will, action to reaction, rights to rights, freedom to freedom, or particular idea to comprehensive purpose. As Libra guards the horizon of Aries with the measure of the "Other", Saturn makes its rounds on the "borders" of any creative source, dwelling where the expression of s/Self meets resistance - this can mean the resistance of matter to Spirit and of man's egotistic will ("Satan") to God's will, or it may be as well the resistance of a person's or a group's integrity to someone's actions or ways, and the resistance which a greater purpose may oppose to creative initiative throughout cosmos.
Saturn is the resistance of Necessity.
It represents the necessity, intrinsic to universal Being, to venture both freely and as One - in the freedom of Its units and the convergent will of the whole. This Necessity is, in a certain respect, the essential axis of the universe. Though outpictured as an horizon (Libra) and peripheric border to the rising force of the will (Sun/Aries), the law exalted in Libra is an axis, a central reality, a hub where all motions - pulls and counterpulls - of cosmos resolve into the central spine of evolution.
In terms of human experience, this spine translates into the law of karma. Karma is the law of universal ad-justment - the inherent tension-towards ('ad'-) that which is just and around which the integrity of the universe constitutes itself. The resistance of Necessity is the reality of the universal Dweller.
Even though the dweller often seems to come and meet us from the peripheries of experience, it pertains to the indwelling self and is the projection, disguised under the objective side of life, of one's very will-to-integrity - the will to be One, as a person or as a universe. It is the shadow cast on circumstances by the distance between a personal inclination and the central axis of Being. The peripheral encounter is but the reflection of a one-sidedness in our relation to ourselves, an off-centeredness in our alignment to the whole, a bias in a group's relation to its Self.
This spine of universal justness is the expression of the evolution of the whole as One Self, truly creative and free throughout its parts, while inevitably One. It builds itself around the very core of the universe - the free will of creative Being. In fact, the law of adjustment and right relatedness is like a natural ossification of this universal marrow of spirit Free Will, an "invertebration" of the vortex of Being precipitated into existence- the armature of spirit and the existential manifestation of freedom.
Saturn is the custodian of the "central boundary" where the will of each is encountered by the necessity or Will of the whole, where the freedom of each "articulates" with the integrity of the whole and the choices of each condition the whole- where existencial separateness meets essential Identity. The law, which Saturn represents, is the expression of the inner equilibrium (Libra) which, claiming its necessity through karma, affirms the stance (Saturn) of the One Self we are as a universe.
Adjusting will to Will, Saturn balances cause with effect - the effects caused by any expression of will. It limits and rebalances the expression of individual free will with the effect of its enactment on others. It redresses the part with the response of the whole, reshapes it to Its need. The natural limit to what we do to each other and to the whole is ultimately the "resistance" offered by the hub of free creative Life which passes through the core of each and all of us - the reality of our essential Identity. The facts of history and the law of karma are the expression of this fact in time and space.
The law of right relatedness is the call of universal Identity throughout the worlds of duality. What I do to you is what I do to (my)Self.
To each limited perception and separative action which diffracts the lines of a vaster plan and distorts the axis of a greater sphere to which we pertain, karma sooner or later presents "the other" side - the counterpart which implants or redresses within each entity (be it a man, a group, a nation, a planet, a solar system) the axis of the whole.
Through the sweeping tides of offenses returning as pain, of omissions returning as summons, through debts reborn into sacrifices, flaws bent into faculties, karma weaves this "righting" of relation which builds the spine of the great world-being. Ceaselessly are decisions offset by the current of a larger Necessity, chosen directions ebb under the flow of greater realisations, old thought-waves are whip-lashed by smiting events - self is confronted and reshaped by Self. As the tides leave on the seashore a distinct spine of sand - the trace of their encounter with the earth - Saturn weaves the shore of spirit in the denser worlds of human matters. On the shore of eternity, it weaves time and the spine of history - a design of events and destinies. On the shore of spirit freedom, it precipitates the laws. In space, it crystallises the objective worlds- the skeleton of the mineral worlds which the relation of a logoic Life to Matter leaves on Its shores.
Saturn shows the reverse side of the freedom of spirit (an astrological evidence of this can be read in the hierarchical rulerships of Aries and its "reverse side", Libra - Uranus and Saturn). It constitutes the matter side of God, the mask of duality (Libra) under which manifestation in time and space veils the One, or the mask of resistance through which the lesser worlds experience the promptings of soul or spirit. Saturn represents that with which these lesser worlds carve the existential face of Divine Freedom - the laws. Laws are but the reverse side of Freedom - the back of God, as karma is but the "other" side - "our" side, the dual side - of Oneness. Karma is both an effect of the Oneness-that-is and a builder of the Oneness-to-be.
Saturn - the backbone of the Universe.
We find a refraction of this idea in the axial function which is that of Satan in Dante's spiritual geo/cosmography. As the two travellers of the "Divine Comedy" reach the threshold between the "downward spires" of hell and the upper worlds of Purgatory and Paradise, a powerful image unfolds of Satan as the spine of the lower worlds, head down into the abyss. Hell and paradise hinge on His hips (Libra). He is the "diabolic" one - the one "thrown across" (Gk. dia-bolos) space to separate heaven from hell and darkness from light; the devil precipitated across eternity to ripple it with the cycles of Time and the spirals of Evolution. He is the "divider" (devil/diabolos) risen from the natural foundation of the world to raise self-consciousness. He is the rent of self-consciousness in the seamlessness of the world-Being and that which dwells in this gap and keeps it open through the ambivalence of free will. He is that which by the same token allows the world to fold back into itSelf and to stitch through man's choices the central seam of its freely realised unity.
As Law is the precipitate of the universe's creative spirit and karma the effect of the reality of Oneness, so is Satan the precipitate of a universe's freedom.
Planted upside down in the moral psyche, Saturn-Satan elicits the building up of conscience, and on the hips of the psyche that conscience represents, the engulfing circles of hell "convert" into the aspiring cycles of purgatory and the ascent to paradise:
"When we had reached the point at which the thigh revolves", Dante recounts "just at the swelling of the hip, my guide, with heavy strain and rugged work, reversed his head to where his legs had been, and grappled on the hair, as one who climbs - I thought that we were going back to Hell. "Hold tight, my master said - he panted like a man exhausted - "it is by such stairs that we must take our leave of so much evil"... "Before I free myself from this abyss, master," I said when I had stood up straight, tell me -- how is he so placed head downward? Tell me, too, how has the Sun in so few hours gone from night to morning?" And he to me: "you still believe you are north of the center, where I grasped the hair of the dammed worm who pierces through the world. And you were as long as I descended; but when I turned, that's when you passed the point to which, from every part, all weights are drawn"...
In this dramatic illustration of Saturn in Libra, the world stands on Satan's hips (hips are traditionally ruled by Libra). It revolves around that power which precipitates the "paradise" of the formless worlds into time and space, while offering the very steps of return from "hell" to "paradise." The world revolves around the "diabolic" hip joint which articulates the abysses of the world-matter and the heights of the world-light. The gravitational point, the "riveting" center of separative gravity is also the pivotal place of the world's panting efforts out of the downward pull of matter. It is at this threshold of deliberate choice that shiftings occur in the orientation of consciousness - out of the self-centered worlds of Satan into the radiant worlds of the Sun. The hips of Satan are the very hips of the world consciousness.
Two dimensions of Saturn need to be distinguished: as the separative law of matter and form, Saturn generates the gravitational field which resists the unboundedness of spirit for the sake of building self-consciousness and securing personal integrity (its exoteric rulership of Capricorn); as the synthetic law of spirit, Saturn resists the limited expression of a s/Self, challenges the bent of particular choices or limiting ways for the sake of a more comprehensive design (in its hierarchical rulership of Libra).
Dante's picture shows how these two sides of Saturn articulate around the "hips" of the great Divide; how they struggle in man's efforts to negotiate within his consciousness the pull of matter and the pushing through of spirit - self and Self. The dynamic effect of the Saturn principle - its central presence as Satan in the world-picture - shows itself in the twisting motions and inner shiftings of evolutionary choices through which mankind slowly raises its Self.
The separative law of matter hides the promise of individualised selfhood. Within the particular gravitation of a person's psychic field are hidden his/her stairs to the Light; within his/her unconscious 'tendencies'- deliberate spiritual "intendings" await. The line of least resistance of the lower nature ("below the hip"), "The point to which, from every part, all weights are drawn", is also the path of highest resistance for the soul, a path of soul invigoration paved with opportunities of reversal through effort, of liberation through steadfastness. More and more clearly identified as the threshold of the soul realm draws near, the line of most resistant self-preservation or irresistible self-focus points precisely to the steps of "heavy strain and rugged work" across the next threshold of selfhood.
To Satan's upside down position, bound to the alienating urges of separative selfhood, Dante opposes the upright stance of spiritually intent man. Around the commanding presence of Satan/ Saturn, automatic inclinations find their way into autonomous gestures of Self, tendencies are reversed and arise as intentions. Saturn is the "staircase" of the world's emergence from its captivation by the gravity of all matters. It is the builder as well of the gradually emerging spine of a world raising its Self from unconscious activity to Presence - Saturn is evolution in the making. By affording each and all with the opportunity to spiral up from self-centeredness to Self-"centration," it induces choice. From the precipitate of humanity's choices, Saturn builds history; and with the cement of history, it ossifies the gradual en-vertebration of our universal stance - the ossature of our evolving world-Self.
The builder of the spine of Selfhood- Other of God, Other of man.
Through "Satan's" precipitation of creation, choice is offered to be pulled down or to step up. Through Saturn's divine adversity, man wrestles his spiritual stance out of the pull of "egocentric gravity," reorients to the "light" and redresses his selfhood to the axis of a wider sphere of Identity.
The sign Libra, in which Saturn is exalted, is the hip of the zodiac and the central "articulation" of the One - the place, archetypally, where the zodiac "bends" to join itSelf, and each zodiacal end bends to join the other .
It is so not only in the sequential exoteric space of the zodiacal circle, but in what A. Bailey calls "intermediate space" as well:
..."The constellation Libra" she writes , "occupies a unique place in the Great Wheel, for it is the energy coming from this constellation which controls what we might call the "hub of the wheel".
This is that point in intermediate space where the twelve zodiacal energies meet and cross. Libra, therefore, controls the "moment of reversal of the wheel" in the life of every aspirant"... the point-moment where each meets its other.
Satan is "the other" of God. He divides the One Logos along His very Logic of freedom, the principle of free selfhood. Saturn is "the other" of man. The dweller who represents what separates man from (him) Self, he stands on the threshold of his expansion into a larger sphere of identity. He is the face of his limitations and the step across his ring pass not. He meets man across the aisle of his day and stands in the way. Dressed in turn as friend or foe in the ambiguous garment of Libra, he confronts man's dual nature with the divinity hiding under his weakness or the evil lurking under his brilliance. He may wear the "sublime" we fear, as well as the weakness we deny.
As Satan is the adversary of God and His most intimate co-laborator, Saturn presents man with adversity - the adversity he needs in order to build his right stance in spiritual being.
The biblical God himself, the very god who casts down Satan-the serpent, occasionally takes on the ambiguous character of the Adversary. He tries to kill Moses after sending him on his mission,
"The Lord said to Moses, 'Go back to Egypt...'... On the way, at a place where they spent the night, the Lord met him and tried to kill him." He attacks Jacob at night, after saying: "Return to the land of your kindred, and I will be with you"
The mysterious episode of this nightly encounter is another quasi-mythical presentation of Saturn in Libra. Like Dante's Imagination, it presents a turning point and a threshold of reversal. Jacob is coming back from twenty years of exile, having fled the killing rage of his twin-brother Esau - his "other." Approaching Esau's land, he sends messengers before him to appease his brother with presents. The day before the encounter, he is distressed and "afraid that [Esau] may come and kill [them] all" . As he is "left alone" that night, having sent his two wives and eleven children across the stream which borders the land, "a man" meets him and "wrestles with him until daybreak." Who this "man" is remains mysterious. He is the archetypal "Other," whose countenance shifts in the shades of the night - the obscurity of the divided consciousness. If he is a lighted One, why does He want "to go, for day is breaking--?."
If He is a powerful One, how is it that He could not master" Jacob? In fact, seeing he could not master him, he "dislocates Jacob's hip." Yet, of him Jacob will say, " I have seen God face to face." Is he a man? Is he a God? He seems to carry the ambiguity of Jacob's alternate perception-of, and identification-with his own higher Self attempting to "master" his frightened psyche. His shifting face is that of the archetypal Dweller on the threshold which separates ego and Self - the "man" and the "God", the inner "brothers". A threatening adversary, the mysterious man turns to be a blessing angel ("I will not let you go, unless you bless me"). From under the attack of ego fears, arises the blessing of the indomitable Self. Two, yet one.
Saturn is the other face of the Sun of spirit, the fear of the separate which summons the dawn of the One, the illusion of duality through which each unit grows into its Self. Fear is the "devilish hip" of soul-strength, the spasm of the ego against soul love or spirit's Life. It points to the articulation of the spiritual man within the lesser self. It indicates where the hip may be located within the psyche - the revolving threshold between the exile of enslaving fears and desires and the reunion in solar freedom; the shifting point of personal illusion where hell can turn into paradise. It contains the very steps out of the ego's gravitational field; it points to where the soul can find its surest grip out of the present "infernal" circle. In the fear of internal or external adversity dwells the opportunity to find a wider based "balance" by with-standing (Saturn/Libra) God's power or soul's pressure with its equivalent, with "equal valor", or to step through destabilizing doubts and "dislocating" forces into the daybreak of a fuller Selfhood.
Out of the hand to hand wrestling, or more precisely in the equilibrium of the two (Libra), a new strength emerges in Jacob - the spiritual authority (Saturn) of the one who has "measured up" (Libra) to God: "Your name shall be Israel, because you have been strong against God, and shall prevail against men." Like the straight spine stemming from the balance of the hips, an exalted stance (Saturn) stems from such measuring up (Libra). This spiritual spine (Saturn) rests on a new co-measurement (Libra) of the lesser man with his divine Self. It arises from a unifying within Jacob of "the one" with "the other"(Libra), which the embrace with Esau illustrates the following day. "Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.."
In the unification of soul and personality staged here, Jacob's true spirit - the spirit of Israel - takes its stand. Upon the reunification of the sons of Isaac, "Israel" arises through its third Father (Saturn). Soon after, the birth of Jacob-Israel's twelth child heralds the radiant leadership of an archetypal One-among-the-twelve, a human jewel in a lotus of twelve tribes. He has crossed his inner "gap" and founded his spiritual stance in the embrace of his "two," in true Selfhood. (Saturn/Libra) .
Interestingly, this new stance and moral status of Jacob-Israel is rooted in a limp- a dislocated hip. So are Saturnian strengths within the psyche rooted in a particular lack of balance, a certain dysfunctionality which exalts the "righting" work of the planetary principle. Such strengths arise in a place of flaw or disproportion, of inappropriateness or in-adequacy, a place which needs realignment, fine tunings and adjustments. We learn from Jacob's name that he was born "The one who supplants." Born second of the twins, he had bought Esau's birthright for a lentil stew, then usurped their father's blessing destined to his first-born. Now, at this turning point in his life, he finds himself overwhelmed by the return of the "supplanted" twin and almost overthrown by his Dweller. In this facing and union with his own unredeemed self, a new equilibrium is found. A central spine of leadership and national identity emerges from the reunion of the two. It is rooted in a limp - precisely the karmic adjustment of a will-to-supplant.
It is interesting to consider how this very theme of "supplanting" the "other" and being supplanted seems to have haunted the history of the Jewish people and fed the collective shadow which ended up turning a diffuse fear into a sore fact in the Middle East. Rampant as a threat in the centuries of diaspora (where the Jew was made into "the other"), the mythical fear of supplantation has now been given the solid "grounds" of a resented fact - of lands and occupied territories.
Can a right line be drawn between the two brothers and sons of Abraham - Ismael and Isaac? Can a rod be forced into the tenuous line of unstable borders and settlements? Or will a spine of right relation emerge from an as of yet unthinkable embrace of each twin by the other? Will the other have to be met through fear and night as the face of God and make the first "limp" in the blessing, supplanted by a realisation of unity? Jerusalem, the city of Peace, is at the heart of the question, as Shamballa - the city of Peace - (ruled by Libra) holds the axis of our Identity as a globe.
This profound theme of supplantation, which carries collective fears, projections and demonizations, contains no less than the Idea of a unified world-consciousness and the germ of a global spine. The "Axis" forces of World War II - one of the most monstruous lines to have divided mankind - were if anything a caricature of this. The XXth century "Satan" stood on the obsession of supplantation, replacing what he perceived as the supplanting will of the Jewish people with the dominance of the Aryan race. Saturn is exalted in the Idea which has been striving to shape the spine of the collective goodwill ever since - that of right relating among "United Nations."
From the biblical Satan to the "man" who wrestles with Jacob, to Hitler surging on the path of humanity, Saturn is the Other who eventually elicits the One and "rights" the relation of the partial consciousness with the whole.
Continuing down the Judeo-Christian line of authority figures (Saturn), these reflections about the character and identity of Saturn conjure up the figure of Moses. In the process of becoming the leader and "spine" of the Hebrews (Saturn), Moses has to stand up to (Libra) their collective dweller by the red sea - the Egyptian Pharaoh - until the ineluctable contractions of karma, the ten plagues, deliver the path across which he can take his people into a new sphere of integrity. Of this sphere he is the axis, the "staff of God" among his people. He is their "I," and his sign - the sign of the serpent-staff - is like an evocative replica of the satan-spine of Dante's world axis - an emblem of the bipolarity of a world rooted in free will. The poles of matterbound lawlessness (snake) and spiritual lawfulness (staff) are the two poles of the divine axis of free will which runs through the universe as the very "I" of its Identity.
This sign of the "Divine Spine" with which Moses is invested announces his spiritual mission as the Law giver. When he brings the Tables down the mountain, it is the backbone of a divine Order that he plants in human matters to draw the line between right and wrong (Saturn/Libra) - a structure of commandments destined to shape and organise human living according to the basics of right relating.
We find in the biblical account a transparent illustration of the idea which had emerged earlier- of Saturn as the Law and of the Law as the back of God. To Moses, who has asked the Lord to show him his glory, is granted a vision of His back,
" See, there is a place by me where you shall stand in the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen."
The Law-bringer is the one who knows "the back of God" and seeks to shape the physical worlds and organise the social worlds into the objective or the "reverse side" of God they are meant to be - a structure which begins to reflect divine rapports and relationships. Destined to create the frame of a lawful social organism, the stone tablets of commandments are like divine vertebrae taking hold of the chaotic matters of human living.
Within the backbone of "do's" and "don'ts" the glory of God stands hidden, and although the influx of Life "passes" down, it is unknown and unfelt as such. Yet Its presence creates the pressures and tractions necessary to shape the right stance of a human group and the behavior of its individual members, until the basic laws of human living become as instinctual as physical balance and coordination.
Saturn is the other side of the living God - its existential side - the reverse side of the hub of Being - the backbone which ensures the active penetration of the commanding marrow of Life into the many lives.
The significance of the law is in its slow bringing of the Below "in accordance" (Libra) with the Above, so that a degree of spiritual integration may begin to show in the physical life (Saturn).
"Have them make me a sanctuary (Saturn/Capricorn) in accordance (Libra) with the pattern I showed you on the mountain, so that I may dwell among them."
Laws (Saturn) are the expression of the ongoing ad-justment - that is the bringing about of a just relation (Libra) - between the peripheries and the core of worlds, between concrete matters and their idea or spirit. "A law, A. Bailey writes, is but the effect of the continued intelligent activity of the Life aspect as it works in conjunction with matter." It is the unfolding conjugality of the two (Libra). Saturn's essence and reason to be is the collaboration (Libra) of matter and Life, of the many and the One. Its manifestation is the law (Saturn). The law is the temporary seal on what constitutes at a certain point in consciousness a "fair" relation between the right of matter and the right of spirit.
The inner reality of the Law, "exalted" in Libra- Love.
With the next law bringer, the Christ, the "back of God" begins to glow with the living element of the law and its letter - the spirit of right relatedness and the substance of love. Now the Face of God passes among humanity: "Whoever has seen me, has seen the Father." That the exacting and punishing old testament God may show His face of love on the earth speaks to humanity's readiness to see with soul into its own soul and to respond in its choices to the soulful quality of "lawful" actions - to imbue itself, its law abiding self, with soul, solarity, Christhood. The divine blood running through the human, then the planetary, body actualises the ensouling presence of the One sun of Self. In the new "commandment" given by the Christ, "that you love one another," the Capricornian back of the law discloses within its tight texture and rigid bones of rules and practices, the unifying force of love - the wise will to harmonise and unify (Libra) which, in truth, inspires and "inspirits" the disciplining character of the law. The law is exalted in the principle of just relation which lives in its core. In the exalted understanding of the law, it may be more "right" to heal a fellow man than respect the interdictions of Shabbath. It becomes more "just" to forgive than throw the stone of retributive "justice".
The multiple rules and regulations of the old law sought to remind the externals of existence of their greater model - to carve the letter of God in man. They marked this rapport in the flesh (circumcision), in the rhythms of time (from shabbath to festivals), in the proportions of space (the Temple), in objects and rituals. The one commandment of the new law awakens the spirit of all lawfulness in the inwardness of the human soul. Stepping closer into its essence, the law is no longer an external consolidator of social order, appropriate conduct and structures of living. No longer does it seek to take hold of human behaviors, but to inspire the soul.
The face of the Christ does not pass by human behavior, hiding behind the hand of commandments, but He passes through the consciousness, as the inner response which alone vivifies right actions and just choices. Christ Law justifies by love. The "justification" of human life shifts from right doing and rule-abiding to right relating, from the measure of righteousness which may characterize it, to the measure of love which motivates it. Man finds his stance as a "Just" through the circumcision of the heart - by removing the externals from the essential - no longer in the circumcision of the flesh.
The descending inflow of the soul principle of Love into the core of humanity was the "exalted" outcome of a new balance the Christ established between the solar and the planetary realm. He adjusted the light of the earth to the ray of the Sun that he was bringing down a cosmic "Sinai", allowing for a new measure of solar life in the earth. By raying forth His presence among mankind, He realigned the human consciousness to the axis of the solar whole. Typifying exalted Saturn on a new threshold of mankind, he released the old ring of its righteous personality into the larger sphere of its soul. He infused the "right" forms of living with the life of their meaning, and, in a most radical act of harmonisation, bathed the earth in the "blood" of the Sun.
Before the crucial deed which was to balance out the karma of the earth, Jesus-the Christ faced a Dweller, when "he was left alone that night". "He took with him Peter, James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And said to them, "I am deeply grieved, even to death". "In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground." Fear and inner struggle signaled in Jacob the pending adjustment of self. With Moses, the pressure of growing responsability (Saturn) elicited a sense of inadequacy and reticence, "But he said, 'O my Lord, please send someone else'. Jacob was facing his personal dweller. Moses "his people"'s dweller. The Christ faced the planet's dweller - the "karma of the earth", that which held the earth "in Egypt," bound to the repetitive memory of matter.
On the threshold of the larger solar sphere into which humanity is expanding through Him, the Christ grieves, fears and sweats. What arises in the sweat of His body is the fear of the whole earth overwhelmed by its coming transfusion with Sun life, of humanity faced with its Christhood- the sweat of matter called to transmutation, the sweat of the separative called to union, the reticent called to trust, the slumbering called to wakefulness, the weak called to strength.
What sweats, under the pressure of the Saturnian threshold, is the resistance of the old context of life and the defense of the habitual borders - the resistance of the ring-pass-not about to be supplanted, of the veil of consciousness about to be rent or the envelope of life challenged to outgrow itself; the grief of what has to surrender its previous integrity to a greater integration. The distress is of that which has to ad-just itself to "the Way, the Truth and the Life" - the distress of all the lesser wills faced by the more comprehensive Idea of the all and harnessed in the synthetic "I" of the Christ.
His wrestling with humanity's ancient resistance and suffering with its fears precede the great realignment - the Cross standing on the mount of earth, down which resurrecting Life-blood will flow. Dante's crossing of the threshold of hell holds a vision for us of the resistance and sweat which accompany the reversal of polarity and the shift from night to day, from gravitation into matter to aspiration into light. Before supplanting the tree of the Fall with the cross of redemption and turning Satan's spine into an axis of solar light, before transfusing the knowledge of what to do (law) with the Life of why do it (love), the Christ knows the agonizing "panting and sweating" of the earth about to turn and align to the sun. He knows the dark sweat of humanity about to be bathed in soul light. Christed.
A "measure" for this radical shift of polarity is offered when we contemplate Dante's "point to which, from every part, all weights are drawn" in contrast to the all-attracting point of dynamic Selfhood suggested in the Christ's words, "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me".
Through the Christ, mankind's "centre of gravity" is reversed - from "Satan" to Christ, from self-centeredness to soul. Mankind is "lifted up" by the exaltation of the Christ. Human beings are drawn to a new "gravity" - dharma.
The exaltation of human dharma (Saturn)- to embrace and unify spirit and matter (Libra). The stance of soul which the Christ principle kindles in the spine of mankind is rooted in his unifying stretch (Libra) - the cross - between the agonizing resistance of matter and the will of divinity coexistent within man; between man's fear of the sublime and his will to sub-limation (the will to transcend the thresholds (lat. limen) that limit his life).
The just-ness of mankind stands in a similar embrace of greatness and nothingness, of a deep will-to-unity and a constant experience of dissonance, separateness, adversity.
In Gethsemane, the ensouler of mankind is brought to the beginning - to mankind's recurrent beginnings of fear and anguish. As He penetrates deeper into the mysteries of the matter He is about to trans-substantiate and revivify, the Christ experiences the resistant hells of the human kind. To "turn around" the global Adversity, He lets its "gravity" take hold of His vehicles and by descending along its pulls and surrendering to its wills (kissing Judas, sweating in anguish, throwing himself to the ground in distress, dying into the blindnesses of men and the matter of the earth, "descending into Hell"), He in deed takes hold of all matters which in Him and through Him are "turned to light". "Very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen,...they saw that the stone had been rolled away." Similarly, it is by climbing down the hip of Satan that Virgil and Dante had found themselves standing up in the light of day. "Tell me, too, how has the Sun in so few hours gone from night to morning?"
And it is by surrendering to the night of his great Enemy that Jacob had passed the threshold of his old ring-pass-not and walked into the Day of his true Self and destiny... "The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel "...
Through the Christ's great Surrender, the sun rises in the earth, the soul of mankind leaps forth in its "tomb" and is raised to life within the human consciousness. Mankind conceives itSelf as a Christ Being.
"Very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen,...they saw that the stone had been rolled away"
The law of the Christ has rolled away the law of the stone. The sunLight has counterbalanced within the earth the commanding weight of the past, the Christ has overturned within mankind the gravitational pull of matter.
Saturn's exaltation in Libra speaks to a Christ-like stance of the soul-conscious man balancing spirit and matter - ever more exalted spirit with ever more entrenched matters.
As in the embrace by Jacob of his dweller-angel, this full embrace by the Christ of the cosmic polarities (Libra) at work within the earth is key to his power to reverse dark into Light and resurrect death into Life. His radical inclusiveness opens within the human consciousness the threshold, sealed until then, between lunar and solar worlds. His "going down" opens the way for mankind to raise itself from its lunar self-consciousness to a solar consciousness of itSelf as One living Being. He IS in fact this threshold between hell and heaven - between personal separateness and soul unity.
It is on such a threshold made of the two arms of His cross bridging the gaping abyss of the lower worlds that the icons of the Eastern church represent the resurrecting Christ. While a first glance shows him lifting "the dead" with his outstretched hand, a deeper look reveals how the fullness of his radiant stance, encompassing of depths and heights, is what "raises" and draws them irresistibly into his living light through the gate he has become between earth and sun, between the separate spheres of personal existence and the one sphere of soul living.
Such full embrace of the worlds-extremes (Libra) is key to the mediating dharma (Saturn) of man and may well be the exalted law of human beingness.
THE EXALTATION OF MARS IN CAPRICORN
"Sustained effort is the seed of synthesis, the cause of achievement, and that which finally overcomes death."
"The spiral horn endures, for it is sovereign and adamantine, and transmutes through the ages into many unknown compounds."
Mars is exalted in Capricorn, the sign of initiation, ruled hierarchically by Venus. Venus is associated with the unitive fire which transfigures the initiate atop the mountain of initiation and kindles in each mortal the "jewel of immortality".
On the mountaintop where "the star of the Initiator shines forth," Venus summons the immortal in man to the sky of the fixed stars. In the fire of Venus, the long-wandered inner sky is essentialised to its sun; the circling around the light is stilled to a "point of vivid light". Venus heralds the revelation of the fixed star in man - of man as a fixed star in the sky of the immortals; it heralds the arising of a fixed light in the esoteric heavens of mankind - the light of the Initiate, also named precisely the "enlightened one" - self-generated, emittive and no longer reflective and mutable. A new light of tried universality and stilled quintessence initiates its sun life. This light begins to shine in the spiritual sphere which embraces the psychic life of humanity in the same way that the zodiac of the fixed stars embraces the wandering planets and defines or "fixes" their places in space for the earth observer.
Exalted Mars - the unique-horn.
Capricorn is the sign of the "horned-goat" which slowly and surely climbs the mount of the three worlds. Mars, the energy of vitality and the strength of daring, produces eventually the courageous climber, exalted by the formidable slopes and the relentless call for creative steps.
The fact that Venus (as spiritual ruler) and Mars (as exalted planet) find one of their highest potential of expression in the same sign (Capricorn) speaks to the particular opportunity which the spiritual horizon of Capricorn opens for the pair of opposites that the two planets represent in the three worlds - the opportunity to come together and operate synergistically in the human consciousness. The hierarchical revelation of one (Venus) and the exaltation of the other (Mars) at the same point - mountain top - of self awareness point to the transcending, fostered by Capricorn, of what affirmed them or maintained them as polarities - as the masculine and feminine or the yin and yang of experience, as the poles of combativeness and compromise, of distinctness and union. In the event of radical unification of being (of self and other as one soul, of personal and universal as one Self) which is the experience of the first major Initiation, the soul unit - an incipient sun or star unit - emits the will of the venusian light (which in the personal psyche shone as the attractive light of acquiescence and receptivity) while the martian nature is moved unequivocally by love - the motive of the soul and the exalted expression of the force of desire and action symbolized by Mars. So love (associated with Venus) is what moves exalted Mars; and a radiant will (associated with Mars) emanates from hierarchical Venus. The mystery of Capricorn brings about the unification of the ways, the synergy of the modes; it seals as one the way of the forward (Mars) and the way of the around (Venus), the way of action and the way of attraction, the direct way and the adaptive way, the way of assertiveness and the way of acquiescence. Now the soul reigns, genderless because genderful. Its faculty of intuitive wisdom is indeed both active and receptive, attractive and penetrating. By eliciting or sealing the singular way of the dual, Capricorn initiates the way of the Unicorn.
The initiate is Self generating, because in him the "active" self and the "receptive" self have unified. Behind the Mars and Venus of the relating world of the psyche, it is the vaster dualities of consciousness, of lunar personality and solar Self, which have become one. When the mirror of duality begins to collapse, the pursuer Mars realizes itself to be the pursued (Venus). What elicits motion (from emotion to creative will) is realized to be an unknown attraction. That which motivates (Mars) the will of gods and men is an attractive (Venus) force.
It is the pull which its essential Being exerts on the whole creation to realize and BE its Self, a pull which Capricorn, in being the "sign of the signature of God" and of the achievement of men, seals and heralds.
However, before the essence of fulfillment is recognized and the real Attractor responded to, before Venus loses all her garments and acquires in the psyche the most inconspicuous presence of the alchemical stone and the pure power to essentialise what it touches, the real pull is veiled under the many forms (Venus) of fulfillment pursued (Mars). Mars pursues the forms, unaware that he is attracted by the silent attribute of the Self - his Self as well - veiled in it. Venus attracts, unaware of her responsibility to drive the whole to its central nucleus of divine Life.
On the mount of Capricorn, the strength which is the power of the accomplished climber of worlds has lost the distinct features of the earlier polarities. Is it the strength of will? Is it the power of love? Is it the magnetic force of Venus? Or is it that of the highly trained and exalted courage of Mars? The force of attraction of the soul and the force of resilience of the personality have circled around to a "point of vivid light".
Circling around the one mount of being, they have become the one force of true human Being. In the invisible light of hierarchical Venus, Mars ascends the mountain of becoming and ultimately wills the love that has moved him all along.
The venusian mode of hollowing out and the martian mode of penetrating through merge in the spiral of ascent. And they move as one in the spiraling horn of the Unicorn associated with Capricorn. We notice how the spiral presents in a three-dimensional perspective what a central (and two-dimensional) view would show as "the circling to a point of vivid light" mentioned before.
The two principles long-paired as opposites, join on the mount of initiation where they constellate the figure of the Unicorn. And indeed we do wonder: Is the spiraling horn earthly substance aspired from above (the venusian perspective) or is it spirit projected from below (the martian perception)? The same dual perception plays upon the consciousness while watching the spiraling dance of the dervish , also a figure of exalted motion and transfiguring unity. Is the swirling dervish "spearing" into the spirit worlds as his right hand indicates, or is he magnetizing, "animating" the heavens down towards the earth along his left hand? He is both - a spear and a grail, a unicorn figure. The perfectly focused motion of Mars exalts him (and us) along the axis of Being and the graceful surrendering power of Venus attracts the white harmony of universality to the earth .
Much in the very lore of the Unicorn, and in what the medieval and renaissance imagination wove in it, discreetly and intensely hints at this coming together of Venus and Mars. The legends may recount the hunt for the unicorn, while the tapestries illustrate the theme of "The lady with the Unicorn". To capture the elusive animal, the popular legends tell, the hunters need a virgin. They will leave her alone in the woods, knowing that this is the way to attract the unicorn out of its invisibility. The subtle creature defies the aggressive cleverness of Mars unless it be blended with the receptive simplicity of soul associated with the virgin. The hunter must learn how to captivate (Venus) that which he was trying to capture (Mars) by infusing the forces of pursuit with the grace of expectancy, the forces of the personality with the presence of the soul. He must lay his "weapons" around the attentiveness of the virgin; that is he must turn his personal forces into the "captivating", magnetic power of the soul's Presence. The personality (the hunter) in yielding to the soul (the virgin), allows spirit to "appear in" the consciousness. In other words, it allows the consciousness to become, however briefly at first, the space of the monadic being of the unicorn - the spiraling horn of spirit, the realization of Identity in Being.
In the 15th century Codex Unicornis, a manuscript from an Italian Fraternity of the Unicorn, Magnalucius, the founder of the order, recounts his first "encounters" with the Unicorn:
"Shortly after daybreak, as is my habit, I walked in contemplation through the alder groves bordering our river. There I glimpsed a forest creature altogether white in color... Now this was the remarkable thing: I was balanced in a most inward state of devotion, yet this curious creature did not draw my attention outward, as is the irksome habit of intriguing objects. Instead, I stood awhile in a most pleasurable stillness of mind and spirit; for the beast seemed as much within me as without, among the alders".
In another passage, he describes being led by the Unicorn atop a high cliff:
"The view was wide and vast, yet at the same time everything appeared small and precious, as if I could embrace them all. My heart overflowed with silent bliss at these wonders, of which not the least was this: The landscape I gazed on seemed to be myself."
In the unified consciousness, the occulted "division" between inner and outer worlds - the polarization which objective consciousness introduces in Being and by which it occults Being - swirls into the one spiral horn of pure spirit Being. The entrance to the realm of the Unicorn is indicated to Magnalucius precisely as a subtle "between", a fissure between objective and subjective, between light and dark, consciousness and pure Livingness, as well as between active eagerness (Mars) and patient expectancy (Venus):
"Take thyself to the copse between the twin hills, Eugnostos instructed me, and wait until the hour when it is neither night nor day. There is thy entrance." .
The Unicorn "comes" - that is, one "becomes" the Unicorn - in the transcending of the dual perception of "space".
The Unicorn also takes one beyond the dual perception of time. When Magnalucius returns from his "long walk" with the Unicorn who had "stepped out of darkness when the unrisen sun was yet beneath the hills", - ... "the sun had still not risen" .
Later on, while gazing at the mighty horn, he describes the same subtle stepping out of time: "The world seemed to open into a different kind of time. All haste was banished. The fleeting moment seemed to slow, encouraging the most lucid perception of every splendid detail"
In the highlands of the Unicorn, the formative but frustrating pursuit of time and limitation of space have released their rings around the consciousness. Psychologically, hunting (Mars) and seducing (Venus) are transcended. While the hunter gives his hunting over to the evocative space of the soul, the lady of the tapestries is a lady-with-lion. To engage the Unicorn, the soul must have "shared space" with the full readiness of personality power - the lion. While Mars has learnt to go round towards his goal in a more intuitive way, Venus has learnt to project her luminous space with vividness and power.
In Capricorn, ex-alted Mars is lifted-out of the limited "gender" of its perception and use by the dual consciousness. The spear "turns" into a grail, and the grail (of the contemplative consciousness) into the spear of spirit Being. Through their exaltation, we discover in each Venus and Mars a facet of the same "Jewel of Immortality": If Pisces exalted in Venus the emerald Cup of the will to sacrifice (Pluto), Capricorn reveals in Mars the white Horn of intuitive synthesis and com-prehensive will (Venus). Exalted love is pure will; exalted will, pure love. The invisible spire of the Initiate is a penetrating (Mars) receptiveness (Venus), a magnetic spiritedness, able to in-spire people and circumstances- in other words to "turn" them to - if not into - the living edge of the three worlds represented on the banner of the Lady with the Unicorn by three crescent Moons.
The "signature of God", which Capricorn represents, signs the synthesis of the polarities - ultimately the polarities of spirit and matter refracted here in the "relative" polarities of the Mars-Venus modes and genders. Much leads to think that the mystery of this sign(ature) is related to the spiral. The Greek root of the word indicates the "divine" Source - speira, the germ of life - the spirit of it all.
Capricorn brings the cycle of Mars to step into its octave, from the initial launching of the One (Aries) into the dual, to the joining and unifying of the two (horns of Aries) in the single spiration of the Unicorn (Capricorn). Mars rules Aries exoterically. It is exalted in Capricorn. Capricorn is the sign in which the dualities of experience begin to be lived as one. In the fulfillment of each polarity through the other and as the "other" deploying itself in the mode of "the one", Capricorn initiates the accomplishment of "human being", the stance of Identity.
In the heights of Capricorn, the two modes of motion of the aspiring psyche literally "turn into" one. Mars, now experienced as a form of response in the psyche, which man's partial perception simply sees as action, is at the same time recognized as the expression of one's free will and the instrument of self-induced "coming to Be". On the way to the Capricorn point of unifying light, it becomes a worthwhile shift in perception to conceive of Mars as such a force of responsiveness, and of Venus as the agent - the Attractor-Wisdom which draws and "hollows out" our existential density from the heights of timeless Reason. Mars fills up with actions and zeal the resultant a-spiration to the unknown cause which is ever, beyond the apparent objectives, the great "cause" of the triune spirit, the cause which inspires in the divided worlds the on-going pursuits and struggles for knowledge, love and power.
The exaltation of Mars in Capricorn - from response to responsibility.
Leaving the unifying light of Venus, we now come down the mount of Capricorn to retrace the steps of Mars along the path of its exaltation and explore what this exaltation reveals about the planet.
What is it about Capricorn which exalts Mars? What does Capricorn disclose of the essence of Mars, of its true significance and purpose in the human experience?
It seems a paradox for the quick planet of fire to be exalted in the deliberate earth and solid rock of Capricorn, and for the drive to begin to be exalted in the sign of perseverance, duration and completion.
The fact that the planet of impulse and desire is exalted in the sign of achievement and actualization points to the steady intention hidden within the instinctualness of desire, and to the unconscious commitment which inspires the urge to act. Beyond the short term focus and immediate impact of man's "doings" (Mars), Capricorn opens perspectives of long term goals and motives, unsuspected dimensions of positive accomplishments or of destructive consequences. However spontaneously effected "on the spur of the moment", human actions and reactions land in the records (Capricorn) of our universe. Willingly or unwillingly, they generate inescapable consequences and constitute the basis, the "rock and earth" of the future conditions of human life.
"The spiral horn endures, for it is sovereign and adamantine and transmutes through the ages into many unknown compounds."
If a stern accountability Capricorn thus meets our actions, it is because it is inherent to that which moves us to act - the ability to respond (Mars) to life situations with action, to forms with desire, to causes with zeal, to ideas with enthusiasm, to the unknown with courage. This ability to respond which is at the root of action is our responsibility. Responsibility is the hidden root of martian action. From response-ability to responsibility is the road of Mars revealed by Capricorn. We can hear how the long steady note of maturity Capricorn slowly takes hold of the genuine spontaneity or youthful impulsiveness of Mars and pervades it to a continuo, how it brings human action to a mastery and exalts its lasting effects.
Whether the mountain of the goat be the local mount of personal ambitions, or the summit of the three worlds of personal experience, we can see how peaks of distant or not so distant consummations loom behind decisions to be made, local initiatives taken, anecdotal courage displayed.
The constant drive and activity which animate the human world via Mars, appear in this light as the surface motions, swirling and repetitive, or progressive and daring, of a vaster and deeper impulse: the journey of initiatory ascent (Mars, Capricorn) which eventually leads the all to actualize its intimate desire - its core intent.
Within the initially selfish claims of Mars, within the caprices of urges and the tempest of reactions, the fire of passions and the fever of actions, universal law, of which Capricorn is a custodian, lives and waits silently. The time eventually comes when the necessary pressure can be applied and responded to, when a measure of responsibility is born within the responses; motivations are increasingly conscious, the capricious whims of urges or fears are overtaken by deeper motivations and slowly disinvested; the urgency of the desiring nature is taken hold of by the conscious will. The capriciousness of the young goat who leaps and plays away from the mountain path is instilled with Capricornian determination and reoriented to the task to be accomplished. All along, the purposeful resolve of the whole (Capricorn) seeks to find its concrete articulation within the personal actions (Mars); the universal lawfulness of life slowly inspires and organizes the microcosmic vitality of Mars, infusing its motions with right motive, its activity with purposefulness, and inspiring its competitive forces and aspirations with intimations of the more essential victories at stake.
In the growing strength of its exaltation, Mars walks with the steady gait of consistent enthusiasm and directed passion in the steps of the world-goat, bending its arrow (Mars) to the angle of the climb - adjusting it to the particular effort of the world-knee up the mountain of human BEcoming. The conflicts and battles of the old soldier-fighter (Mars) are exalted in the peace of essentialised motive and simplified focus. They are seen for what they are, whatever their apparent motivation may have been - lessons in the ways and weapons of spiritual conquest.
A sign of discipline and steady determination, of authority and mastership, Capricorn is the sign of empires conquered or heights achieved by virtue of such qualities. The Capricornian spirit of conquest brings to the fore the theme of the quest which animates the life of Mars - from the urge to move, the drive to act and the need to assert, express, compete, overcome which move the consciousness of the world, to the overall impulse to venture forth which animates the world-Adventure. It suggests that if Mars is indeed driven, it is driven by a fundamental quest and objective.
A conquesting spirit animates the fire of Mars. Within that which prompts the body to move, exercise and develop stamina, lives the intent, Capricorn suggests, to conquer physical limitations and to best fit the physical vehicle for its function in the adventure - to forge the armor of the knight. In that which is moved by emotional desire and the urge to pursue what is desired or to attack what threatens, lives the astral horse of the quest, whose erratic urges and uncontrolled forces must be harnessed to singlepointed passion, zeal, diligence and tenacity.
In that which incites the mind to inquire and quest-ion, burns the determination to conquer the unknown (Capricorn) which sharpens the searchlight of learning and science - the sword of the human quest. In that which spurs the personality to insistently express itself and "get on its horse" to affirm, convince, exhort, argue, lives the search of the horseman for the proper affirmation of his stance and the conquest of the horse-man himself by the true knight within. In the courage to act and take initiative, in the will to respond to the necessity of the time, lives the exalted drive, the transpersonal drive of the knighted self who rides the inner mounts of the world's spiritual striving.
To consider the exaltation of Mars is to contemplate the human adventure as a slow exaltation of the instinctual impulses of animal man into the courage of a responsible human being; and further on, as the exaltation of man's striving-to-collaborate - into the silent activity of a Master (Capricorn) wielding the purpose of the time. Every gesture then (Mars) bears in it the signature of God (Capricorn).
Capricorn suggests that the true desire for which all desires blindly grope is to partake in the great creative freedom of the one universal Desire called Law. The real passion Mars is to contribute to the divine architecture (Capricorn). The veritable courage is courage for destiny: the strength to recognize the design of spirit in the desire within or in the forces of circumstances without, and to act-ualize the divine signature which ever tries to break through the blindness of personal motion, the apparent contrariness of events or the challenges of decisions. It is the courage to enter one's true signature in the inner motion of evolution.
Cain - Prometheus - the Unicorn
In the background of these considerations on the exaltation of Mars in Capricorn, three personages emerge from the mythic depths of the human psyche:
Cain, Prometheus and the Unicorn.
Cain, who kills his brother in a fit of jealous anger (Mars) later becomes a "builder of city" (Capricorn). The first murderer of mankind, according to the biblical account, initiates a lineage of builders. His descendant, Hiram-Abiff, will be the architect of the Temple of Solomon. In the force of anger, as well as in opposition, conflict, adversity, lies the seed of the creative force which can build worlds.
Prometheus, who stole fire (Mars) from the gods, is freed by Hercules in the Capricornian labor. By the strength and courage of his own mastered fire or martian energy, Hercules initiates Prometheus to the creative and constructive use of the fire which long devoured him.
The penetrating stillness of the Unicorn (Capricorn) supersedes the forcefulness of the Ram (Mars). The red ardours of Mars in the three worlds are transcended in its white erectedness in spiritual being. All the projections of the desiring nature have gathered as one will - the single spiral horn of spiritual activity.
Desires have been focalised and unified, as the inscription indicates on the tent of the lady with the Unicorn:"To my only desire". All are exalted in the one a-spiration of the psyche ("the lady") to spirit, as the inconspicuous gathering of the animals around her central presence suggests. All impulses are realized to be one essential impulse, all impatiences one deliberate haste, all conflicts to serve one determination.
These three mythic figures stage the evolving life of Mars in the human psyche. Through the steps in the expression by man of the martian fire, we gather the story of the independent creative will which makes of the human being a free actor and a determining force in the worlds.
When Prometheus brought to man the fire he had stolen from the gods, the wrath of Zeus chained him to Mount Caucasus with iron shackles. A vulture would gnaw at his liver and blood trickle from the wound. There is in this the image of man enslaved by Mars, shackled on the mount of Becoming (Mount Caucasus is another "mountain of Qaf") by the iron power of his instincts, eaten up in his life-forces by his appetites, devoured by wants and passions, divided against himself and wasting his blood in reckless impulsiveness or anxious haste. The early ignorant appropriation of the fire of free will is depicted in the suffering of Prometheus. The wrath of the gods echoes the separative claims of ignited matter - the experience that "I" can do, want, desire, implement independently of others, independently of the whole. The same wrath had seized the biblical god when Adam and Eve stole the serpent fire, which chained mankind to the suffering of the "binding worlds of form". The vulture is the lower self and lower Mars in man which "like a pointed needle wants to engrave itself everywhere."
Mars exalted - the well-tempered builder.
The journey of Mars in the human consciousness parallels the evolution of the desiring self from Cain's violence to Hiram-Abiff's masterful accomplishment, from the vulture's selfish peckings and bitings to Prometheus's courageous and creative initiative, from the ram's passion to the Unicorn's spiritual will.
The process which brings the revelation and demonstration in man of the exalted function of Mars is a slow and arduous one.
Saturn's rulership of Capricorn is suggestive of the frustration and hard work which paves the path of Mars and tutors the lower fiery nature to its sublime expression in the Unicorn.
For long, conflictedness is the reality of Mars, whether the pressure of the iron shackles exacerbates the personal will or whether it paralyses it with guilt. Through the method of limitation and "cooling", the hot fiery matter of the desiring animal nature is slowly tamed and tempered. Crimes and unbounded wishfulness, violations and invasions discover the boundaries of the law (tribal, international or universal, social or karmic). All actions and passions elicit the natural return or the cosmic "retaliation" of wholeness which acquaints man with the forces he uses and doesn't know.
Slowly a road is seen. Cain, the son of fire, matures and tills the resistant soil. Mars walks with Saturn. Man becomes a "Compagnon du Devoir" , a Companion of the Duty Saturn, or a companion of the "Must" - of what must be. He chooses his tasks and faces his trials, itinerating from one test to the next on his journey of apprenticeship. In the same way that the companion walked from one master-mason to the next, or that Hercules was summoned to his next labor by the voice of his teacher, so is the Mars hero in every individual presented with the opportunities to build up his mastership of life. His recognition of "opportunities" is directly related to the degree of absorption by Mars of the Saturn principle, in other words its degree of maturity. As the labor proceeds, the craft is learned, the inner forces mastered and shaped to a skill. Intelligent direction and disciplining of his force prepares the craftsman - man the creator.
The imprisoning outer law has become the organizing principle of the fire within. True strength is built and toughened through the tempering process of Saturn. Impulses and drives are instilled with self-restraint; action is increasingly conceived in the context of larger-than-self purposes and informed with long-term perspectives and broad concerns. A larger picture begins to permeate the small decisions. Awareness of implications in time impregnates the choices made. A new economy thus characterizes the activity, and the vulture ceases its "wasting of blood". Saturn seeks to instill the spiritual law of economy, based on the intelligence of a more comprehensive vision. Such an economy will not spare the inconsiderate claims of the small self, but sharpen and deepen the choices with ethical considerations for the quality and durability of the work.
The outcome of this educating process in which Mars is ceaselessly tried and treated with the slow cooling processes of Saturn is that "stolen" fire is translated into human strength and a power of intelligent initiative.
As the seriousness (Capricorn) of every deed (Mars) and the far-reaching impact of decisions or initiatives is increasingly realized and planned with, the human being becomes more of a collaborator in the world evolution. He acts with the earth and mankind in mind, trustworthy of the task to shape his world in creative resonance with divine Law.
Symbolically, the exalting challenge of Mars in Capricorn is to quicken and arouse to a new birth and ascent the still, frozen Sun of the winter solstice. In a similar way, the warrior in man is both tempered and exalted through the many arresting forces of reality or practicality, the resistance of physicality and the pressures of time. By virtue of such mirroring resistance or adversity, inner courage is developed and a steady resoluteness towards the adversities and tasks of life.
In the utmost eloquence of concrete forms and facts, the physical body - our most perfected vehicle - offers a manifestation of each planetary function. Here the well-tempered character of mature Mars appears quite clearly in the constancy of the blood temperature, which calmly vehiculates, between the fevers of defense or inflammations and the cold of lifelessness, the life of a self.
In the consciousness, this well-tempered fire finds an expression in the mature strength which frees Prometheus and his creative force in man - the "Herculean" strength which burns through the passions of which it is made, precisely because it knows them intimately; the human courage which takes hold of their pecking or "thrashing around" to subject or redirect them to his creative aims. When he descends to hell in order to liberate Prometheus in the Capricorn labor, Hercules has first to master Cerberus, the three-headed dog. His dispassionate conquest is the success of mastered desires, tamed passions, domesticated "doghood".
When the piercing bark of man's physical urges, emotional impulses, mental opinionatedness - the three-headed dog in man - subside under the impersonal strength of solar man, the road to an exalted expression of Mars is open. The true freedom of independent creation, which Prometheus meant to bring to man, is liberated. Prometheus is released. The collaboration in the creative selfless building of worlds becomes "the only desire" of Unicorned man.
The latter life of Moses offers a pictorial illustration of the life and destiny of a unified-"Unicorned" man. The exaltation of Mars in Capricorn becomes alive when the fiery leader, the martian ram who against all odds freed and guided a whole people to their unique spiritual adventure and destiny, ascends the mount Sinai - in other words when he touches the summit of his inner mountain and becomes a spiraling horn of pure spiritual being. The zeal and inspiration (Mars) which had animated his life up to that point became a force of divine organization (Capricorn) and building of his human community. He came down the mountain with the tables of the law Saturn destined to regulate and structure the life of his people and to begin shaping and constructing this life into a world-temple - a world of more lawfulness, laid with a frame of divine intelligence, rapports and order which would prepare the space for the presence in mankind of the Being whose vehicle humanity constitutes. In a symbolic actualization of what he was working to achieve with the commandments Mars in the social fabric of human comportment, Moses also built the "Tent of God" - the Ark of the covenant - according to detailed divine instructions.
The forces of the human nature which Mars epitomizes in a certain respect, must become such an Ark - a fine and steady structure of balanced forces apt to harbor and maintain a space for the soul's presence in the daily consciousness.
Exalted Mars is the builder and architect of the divine world.
Each human being is such a more or less discreet builder of worlds, more or less wise with decisions and gestures, more or less inspired with visions and plans, more or less endowed with the strength to cut and carry the stones.
Hiram-Abiff, the exalted descendant, one might say, of Cain, is an historical example of an accomplished master-mason (Mars/Capricorn). He was hired by Solomon to build the great temple. A descendant of Tubal-Cain, he was, the bible tells, "the ancestor of all copper and iron smiths". The legend describes how his intimate knowledge of fire allowed him to succeed in his masterpiece - the "casting of the Brazen Sea". Such casting (Capricorn) of fiery metal (the molten sea of hot Mars), offers an exact metaphor for the mastery which is that of exalted Mars - the casting to a divine form of the physical, emotional and mental fires of the human nature.
When the fire of desire is cast into the laws of the soul, "the son of God may create" . The world becomes the Great Temple in which the blacksmith of God - man - wields creatively the forces and fires of the three worlds, knowing how his subtle actions and motioning of thoughts are causes which ever reorganize the conditions of the universe and contribute with lasting magic to the incessant building of the future:
"The slightest thing we do", Rudolph Steiner pointed out, "will affect the smallest atom of the next planet ... what man prints as form deriving from his soul on the matter of this earth-round is eternal, it will not pass away. Even though the matter thus given form outwardly decays .. what the human spirit has given shape to, in matter, will remain present as a continuing force".
The Exaltation in a Chart
The exaltation of Mars in an individual chart suggests a range of possibilities according to where on his journey the "apprentice" finds him/herself.
As long as Saturn (which is both the exoteric and esoteric ruler of Capricorn) is experienced as limiting shackles, it may exacerbate the lust for power and control. It may crystallize the need for competitive struggles, the drive to climb the social ladder and feed the vulture of personal ambitions with material success and mundane power. Or it may be that drives and desires are suppressed and maintained under excessive control and conformity. In both cases, the personality is exalted.
As the Saturnian process becomes partially internalized, the individual becomes "well-tempered" and demonstrates strength of character. He has built in much resistance to the heat and cold of aroused aspirations and chilling failures, and he walks steadily, sober to heated enthusiasms, strong to the waves of discouragement, able to sustain high pressure in positions of responsibility. No waste of reactions in his way to proceed, address a confrontation, place an assertion. There is something quite remarkable about the quality of his actions- well-informed, carefully organized and directed to achieve the practical ends envisioned. They are distinguished by their thoroughness, marked by a strong sense of responsibility for the intervention made and its consequences, or the object constructed and its durability, with a respect for the material used, its impact on society, man, or nature. Choices are based on a concern for quality, solidity, reliability. He is a hard-worker and takes pride in the excellence of his work.
For the disciple, a direct impact in the physical world will be an essential aspect of the spiritual discipline. He may be an excellent carpenter, mason, technician or scientist etc.. or a gifted builder, manager or organizer of human groups, able to bring spiritual lawfulness down into social structures, and to enter into laws and policies the right blend of societal constraints and creative impulses.
The case of Louis Pasteur exemplifies in an interesting way the exaltation of Mars. The stellium of Capricorn energies in his chart (Mercury, Neptune, Sun, Venus, Uranus, Mars) adds to the emphasis on Mars as their exalted dispositor. Pasteur has been described as a man "utterly intent upon his purposes", committed to his passion - science - hardworking and overworking himself all his life in "the temple of the future", as he named "the laboratories".
After putting an end to the commonly held belief in "spontaneous generation" (Mars) with a demonstration of physical causes behind any emergence of life (he discovered the existence of the micro-organisms), he developed preventative wars (Mars) so to speak, so as to master (Capricorn) the unruly invasions and destructions of human lives by these microscopic lives.
He devised the "tempering" method of vaccination by which, through the inoculation (Mars) of an attenuated (Saturn) dose of the adverse forces, resistance is built in, long-term immunity (Mars, Capricorn) created and repeatedly strengthened. This is a process analogous to the treatment used in the mineral kingdom for the hardening of metals (for instance precisely cast iron). He also devised a process of purification by heat, used now all over the world to prevent fermentation and to destroy certain micro-organisms in foods, so as to help maintain their integrity (Capricorn).
Many of the themes encountered earlier appear here, projected out on to the world of nature.
The Capricorn House
As the area of life where Mars is invisibly exalted, the house occupied by Capricorn in an individual chart is where most forbearance and fortitude can be developed and where considerable will must be exerted to sustain the effort on this particular mountain which life has designed for the individual to climb. This is where parental, societal or karmic law may oppress and teach, repress and strengthen, limit and temper; where deep motivation waits to be owned and freed to selflessly dare and soundly build.
Mars in a Chart
Regarding Mars itself in the chart, our considerations on the exaltation in Capricorn suggest new layers of individual exploration. General questions would be, based on the sign in which Mars is placed in the chart:
What image of fulfillment is eliciting your efforts? What sense of completion evokes your motivation? What do you plan to achieve and how are you determined to achieve it? What is your particular method of work? What is the special strength you aim at developing? What does the sign of Mars suggest as to your specific method to progress in the proper strengthening of the will? Describe your armor; your horse; your sword; the knighted Mars awaiting in your soul.
An understanding of Mars's exoteric and esoteric dispositors (that is, the respective rulers of the sign in which Mars is placed) is of good assistance in guiding the intelligent walk of Mars up to the mountain of its own conquest. The study of the exoteric dispositor will clarify such questions as: What is the specific impetuosity or reactivity of early Mars which needs to be disciplined and trained? How does "blood" tend to be wasted? To what are the tests of limitation and strengthening likely to be related?
From the perspective of the esoteric dispositor: What is the particular strength you must both identify and develop to fulfill your appointed task and offer your true contribution? What is your only desire and how will you take responsibility for it, live it and so approach the stance of a Unicorn?
What is your spiritual quest and how do you live the question which most deeply motivates your life journey? What is your craft and work, however discrete, in the world-temple?
What is the signature which you, as a soul and as "a god", mean to impress upon the spiritual future by infusing the instrument of your Mars nature (symbolized by the exoteric dispositor) with the white blood of the particular courage and dedication indicated by the esoteric dispositor?
To briefly exemplify this interplay of exoteric and esoteric rulerships, we may look at Henry Kissinger, (Mars rising in Gemini, indicating Mercury and Venus as exoteric and esoteric dispositors). His well-trained intellect (Mercury) was increasingly placed to the service of his diplomatic efforts to build warmer relations (Venus) between America, China and Russia .. "probably his most durable achievement".
Another example is Keir Hardie (Mars in Scorpio conjunct the Midheaven), the founding father of the Labor party:
"In the eyes of working class people, he was a hero, a Promethean figure .. who could express their needs and aspirations" . One biographer wrote: "The energy and spiritual force that might have been expended in sport or religion, or dissipated in excesses (a Mars of wasted blood would be the exoteric dispositor of Mars in Scorpio) were expended, when he discovered his life's purpose, in furthering that purpose. When he saw clearly what life called on him to do, he went at it with every fiber of his being, and continued unflinchingly throughout his life" (Higher Mars is the esoteric dispositor).
The Fall of Mars in Cancer
It is easy to sense how the planet of outward thrust may be said to "fall" in the sign of inward nesting, how the urge to emit and the drive to climb and conquer may feel thwarted and imprisoned when wrapped in the sensitivity and receptivity of Cancer; how the straight pursuit of Mars is weakened, at least initially, when it must bend and round itself into a protective stance, respond and react rather than strike directly, take care instead of cut through, unravel old matters instead of move forward, be held back by "home" issues (personal past, family, country) instead of on-the-way. The cross purposes of the two qualities of energy certainly account for the lack of assertiveness, the toned down expression of self and the indirect motion to the goal said to be characteristic of the placement.
Yet, once the confusing ambivalence of orientation is clarified (Mars directed outward and to the future, Cancer inward and to the past), the same process is seen at work; only the avenue is different, and the path less visible. This is a path where the need for training and discipline is with the pull of the instinctual needs and sensitivities more than with the aggressive push of a Mars in Aries for instance; where the strengthening of the will comes through the purification of the receptive nature; where the right move is freed by the "firing" of inner impressionability or outer conditionings.
On the higher turn of the spiral, Mars collaborates with its esoteric dispositor Neptune. Both planets convey the sixth ray, thus imbuing the individual with strong dedication to the spiritual Duty of incarnation Mars and with the profound desire to forget him/herself - to indeed "fall" into the surrounding conditions and surrender to the conditioning forms, as a necessary first step to spur and allow the redemption (Neptune) of these forms (Aries).
If Mars falls or the hero "disappears" in Cancer, it is because his soul project has been to enter the "crowd" and come in full touch with the realities of nature (human, animal or physical) so as to move his entire circumstances, the whole in which he is an agent, through a redemptive "initiating" process. The fall is again the necessary midnight to the fullness of the exaltation, and the sacrifice of Prometheus the promise of the Initiate.