PLANETARY SYMBOLS: ORIGIN AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THEIR SHAPES
We have been drawn into the school of philosophical love in which is taught everlasting charity and brotherly love. We are informed through the Western Wisdom Teachings that Astrology is one of the most important subjects of this school. In fact, it is the backbone of the whole Teaching. It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. All are encouraged to take up the study of this Sacred Science if possible. We will use this short article to look at the nature of the symbols of some of the planets, so that all may have the inspiration to start or continue to learn deeply this subject of considerable importance.
Man is essentially a spirit, but since we are placed in this material plane, we are also composed of a soul and a physical body (matter) in order to gain the necessary experience in this physical existence. As we read from the Message of the Stars, “The planets or man-bearing worlds within the zodiac are constantly being worked upon by the Great hosts of Divine Beings in various ways according to the stage they have reached in evolution”. We can see here why Max Heindel often says, “Everything in this world is good-in-the-making”.
As stated above, since man is composed of spirit, soul and body, so also the symbols for the planets are composed of these three factors; the circle, which means spirit, the half circle which we may take as the symbol of the soul, and the cross which we take as the symbol of matter. When we apply this key, we have in the Sun symbol a circle, which stands as a symbol of spirit. This is the real ‘man’.
Then we have Mars , which is composed of the circle and the cross above. The spirit is under the cross, which we may take to mean that the spirit is in bondage to matter and to the body. Thus, we find the martial people very material. With them, the saying, “Might is right” is applicable. Everything is for self. Mars always asks, “What can I get for myself and how much pleasure can I get. What is the best I can do for myself and how can I oust everybody else”? We can overcome the Martian passions by learning to live selflessly, so that we can benefit from the courage and energy it gives.
Next, we come to Venus, which is quite the reverse of Mars. Mars often fights, but Venus doesn’t fight. Venus has the spirit above the cross of matter. The spirit thus has balance of power and therefore she is the planet of love. Venus says, “How much can I do for somebody else? I want to help somebody. I want to attract everybody to myself that I may do them some goods.”
The next symbol is Saturn. Here the soul or instinctual mind, symbolised by the half circle is under the dominance of matter represented by the cross. Hence, the Saturn people are materialistic in the extreme. They are very selfish also in every way. They grasp everything for self. Again, we learn that, when the lessons of Saturn are patiently learned, good things can come out of the experiences, for He is the disciplinarian.
Jupiter is the opposite combination of Saturn. Here the soul is above the cross of matter. The Jupiter person is jovial, good-natured fellow, saying, “Well, how are you? Is there anyway, I can assist you”? They are always trying to be philanthropic and help somebody. They are charitable in nature. They are making the world friendlier to live. The Good Book says, “And there abideth faith, hope and charity, but the greatest of these is charity”. Humanity is gradually working towards the Jupiterian consciousness.
We also have the half circle itself. This is the symbol of the Moon, but that is just the soul. The lunar people are emotional, but they have not much backbone.
Finally, we have the planetary symbol composed of all the three factors. This is the planet of the mind, Mercury, uniting all the attributes of body, soul and spirit. It is the pivot. Mercury enhances the good of both the reason and the reasoning mind, but it is of no value except as coloured by the other planets.
We can see from the above that under Saturn and Mars, fear is the keynote of humanity’s existence. But when we evolve and come under the influence of Venus, Jupiter and Mercury, we overcome fear with love, reason and kindness. “Perfect love casteth out fear” as the Bible says. If we combine the planets, the symbolism is also seen. The moon with Mars makes the person still more foolhardy and bare-brained than he/she would otherwise be. The moon together with Venus makes the person more emotional and devotional than otherwise. If Mercury is with Mars, it gives a keener intelligence and reasoning power. With Saturn, it gives deeper thought, grasping and selfish mind. Jupiter with Mercury enhances the good of both the reason and benevolence and they work together for philanthropic purposes.
Let us meditate and ponder over the significance of these planetary symbols and see why the Elder Brothers through Max Heindel designed the form for monthly report for the priests of the Aquarian Age whereby two important questions are faithfully answered every month. Let us also take as our own, the immortal words of Thomas Paine, “The world is my country, to do good is my religion”.
REFS: Max Heindel.
1. Rosicrucian Philosophy in Questions and Answers, VOL. 2
2. The Message of the Stars
3. Simplified Scientific Astrology.