Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Archons As Planetary Forces

Many Gnostic texts display the Archons as the 7 “old planets” (Mars, Venus, Sol, Luna, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn), and most of them attribute the Demiurge (as head of the Archons) to Saturn. So, does this mean that the Gnostics of old actually believed in evil entities that existed “up there” who rule the fate of humanity? Or does it mean that many Gnostics saw these not as beings, per se, but more in an astrological sense, as the planetary influence upon our lives?

We know from Science that the Moon (Luna) has an actual effect on water on this planet, on the tides, and even on the menstrual cycle of women (which is tied up in the cycles of the moon). The moon is also said to affect the minds of men and woman (after all, we are dominantly made of water), and asylums frequently report more “madness” at the time of a Full Moon. Indeed, this is where we get the terms lunacy and lunatic form: luna-cy and luna-tic.

We know from sheer existence that the Sun (Sol) has an actual effect on the life of this planet, and that without it life could not exist. It provides heat. It helps plants grow. It even affects our moods, for when the sun is less frequent in Winter many people report the “winter blues” (which is why so many religions have adopted solar ceremonies in an attempt to off-set this). Indeed, some modern research indicates that the flu virus becomes prominent in winter simply because our Vitamin D levels have been depleted by lack of sunlight.

Now, I’m not as well-versed, scientifically-speaking, on whether or not the other planets have such a noticeable affect on us here on Earth, and, if so, what those effects might be. However, it doesn’t take much of a leap to consider that they do, given their proximity, have an effect on things here. This is what astrology teaches us.

What if the bondage of the Archons is the bondage to our “fate”, delineated in our natal chart in astrology? What if it is the bondage to the effects of the planets on our lives? What if freedom from them involves planetary workings to off-set these effects? What if, for example, a writer lacking in Mercury in his chart (the planet best associated with writing and the intellect), knowing that he is bound by the forces of the Archons to produce inferior material, propitiates Mercury, invokes this planetary energies on a regular basis? What if a volatile person banishes Mars energies? Is this the work of a Gnostic? Is this part and parcel of some of the ancient ceremonies that Gnostics carried out?

Now, let’s look at Saturn. Some people point out the remarkable similarity between the name “Saturn” and the name “Satan”, and perhaps the Gnostics of old were some of those people (after all, some Gnostics equated the Demiurge with Satan). Saturn is the most malignant planet in our system. He is, in essence, the primary force of bondage. He is Death. The image of the Grim Reaper was originally an image of Saturn. If Yahweh in the Old Testament is the Demiurge, and his kicking humanity out of Eden was the removal of humanity’s primordial immortality, then he is the instigator of Death, and he is, thus, Saturn. In Western Astrology there is a thing called a “Saturn Return”, which is basically the time when Saturn returns to its original place in your birth-chart (taking roughly 30 years to do so). Then follows a 2 year period of, effectively, “bad luck”. Vedic Astrology has something similar, called a Sade Sati, which lasts for a painstaking 7 and a half years (I’ll take the 2 years please!). Again, the emphasis is on bad stuff happening: accidents, loss of money, illness, friends and family dying, etc. All in all, Saturn is seen as the “big bad daddy” of the astrological system. Of course, Death is also transformative, as anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the Tarot or the dying-and-resurrecting-gods mythoi will know. But the emphasis is still that Saturn is bad, and it’s easy to see how the Demiurge came to be associated with him.

I’m pushed for time at the moment, but the purpose of this short post is to illustrate the different ways we can look at the mythology available to us. This is one way we can look at the Archons of old in modern light, and one that may feel most at home for all the astrologers among us. How do the planets affect us? And how do we make the most of their good effects and lessen the effects of the bad?

Monday, May 05, 2008

From Everlasting To Everlasting

"The corn was orient and immortal wheat, which never should be reaped, nor was ever sown. I thought it had stood from everlasting to everlasting. The dust and the stones of the street were as precious as gold; the gates were at first the end of the world. The green trees when I saw them first through one of the gates, transported and ravished me, their sweetness and unusual beauty made my heart to leap, and almost mad with ecstasy, they were such strange and wonderful things. The men! O what venerable and reverent creatures did the aged seem! Immortal Cherubim! And the young men glittering and sparkling angels, and maids, strange seraphic pieces of life and beauty. Boys and girls tumbling in the street, and playing, were moving jewels ... I knew not that they were born or should die. But all things abided eternally as they were in their proper places. Eternity was manifest in the Light of the Day, and something infinite behind everything appeared ..."
"All appeared new and strange at first, inexpressibly rare and delightful and beautiful. I was a little stranger which at my entrance into the world was saluted and surrounded with innumerable joys. My knowledge was Divine; I knew by intuition those things which since my Apostacy I collected again by the highest reason. My very ignorance was advantageous. I seemed as one brought into the state of innocence. All things were spotless and pure and glorious; yea, and infinitely mine and joyful and precious. I knew not that there were any sins, or complaints or laws. I dreamed not of poverties, contentions, or vices. All tears and quarrels were hidden from my eyes. Everything was at rest, free and immortal. I knew nothing of sickness or death or exaction. In the absence of these I was entertained like an angel with the works of God in their splendour and glory; I saw all in the peace of Eden ... All Time was Eternity, and a perpetual Sabbath ..."

from Centuries of Meditation by Thomas Traherne (via the Introduction to Israel Regardie's The Golden Dawn)