THE OUTER PLANETS & THE TREE OF LIFE
Such has been the interest in the extracts from Dion Fortune we used as reminders leading up to the coming Glastonbury seminar on 24th September that it would be churlish not to include this Addendum to her thoughts on the starry wisdom, taken from the same source.
The Tree and its traditional interpretation are very old. Evolution has moved on since the days when the symbolism of the Tree was established in the form in which it has come down to us, and three new planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, have been added to our experience of the solar system. It is significant to note that on the supernal level of the Tree are three Sephiroth, Daath, Chokmah, Kether, to which no planets are assigned. Exactly how these three newly discovered planets should be attributed to these three vacant Sephiroth is a matter of opinion in the absence of authority, and a great deal of experimental astrology will have to be done before the evidence necessary for a decision will have been gathered together. The most useful guidance known to me is afforded by the descriptions of these planets given by the well known American writer, Dane Rudhyar in his most valuable book ‘New Dimensions for New Men’. He does not, however, appear to be acquainted with the Tree of Life, so does not equate his system of astrology with its symbolism.
We may observe, however, that the planets are placed by tradition on the Tree in the order of their proximity to the Sun, Mercury, the nearest, being at the lower end of the range, and Saturn, the furthest, at the higher end; the Sephiroth left over at either end of the scale being filled in respectively by attributing them to Earth and the Moon and to the Zodiac and Space. The attribution of the Ninth and Tenth Sephiroth to the Moon and Earth respectively will be seen to be sound symbolism when we come to examine their significance in the Microcosm, which is man. If we carry the policy of the ancients a step further in assigning the planets to the Sephiroth in the order of their distance from the Sun, we shall attribute Uranus to Chokmah and Neptune to Kether. The nature of Uranus, as described by Dane Rudhyar, fits well on Chokmah, functioning in polarity with Binah, but traditionally Uranus is a space-god, and as such would naturally be attributed to Kether, nor is traditional symbolism lightly to be ignored. According to such symbolism, however, Neptune is the sea-god, and among the titles of Binah is that of ‘The Great Sea’. Nonetheless Binah is traditionally assigned to Saturn, and the symbolism works so well that the attribution can hardly be questioned. On the other hand, Neptune, though the Lord of Illusion in his lower aspect, and as such an infortune, is, according to Dane Rudhyar, the Lord of Ecstacy in his higher aspect, and the supreme ecstasy of Divine Union is given as the Spiritual Experience of Kether in the ‘Golden Dawn’ system.
Pluto is called by Dane Rudhyar the Sower of Celestial Seed, and Max Heindel in his system of esoteric astrology names him as the ruler of the subconscious levels of the mind. Astronomers have queried whether the comparatively small and very remote Pluto really derives from the Solar Nebula at all, or may have been drawn into its sphere of influence from outer space. All this fits well enough with the Qabalistic conception of Daath as a Sephirah on another plane of manifestation, as was taught by the ancient Qabalists, or as consciousness, as was taught in the ‘Golden Dawn’ in the days when I knew it. Those days were prior to the time when Freud’s doctrine of the unconscious mind had become a household word, and I think we should do no violence to the spirit of either Freud or the Qabalists if we equated Daath with subconsciousness instead of consciousness, for it is obvious that consciousness at such a primitive level as that of the Supernal Triad could hardly equate with what we know as consciousness today, but rather with what is for modern man subconsciousness.
I therefore give my vote for the attribution of Uranus to Chokmah, where its dynamic nature fits well as the opposite number of the static, feminine Binah, the Giver of Form, for the attribution of Neptune, Giver of Ecstasy, to Kether, the place where the vision of God face to face is seen*, and of the mysterious Pluto, ruler of the subconscious mind and Sower of Celestial Seed, to the equally mysterious Daath, wherein occurs the dawn of mind and the beginnings of the archetypal man, whose symbol is the five-pointed Star, its apex resting on Daath, its lower limbs on Netzach and Hod. The above attributions are only a matter of opinion, and I stand subject to correction, but they seem to me the most probably in the light of our present knowledge, though that is admittedly limited. If students will compare what I have to say in my ‘Mystical Qabalah’ with what Dane Rudhyar has to say in his ‘New Mansions for New Men’, they will find such data as is available and be able to try their own hand at team-making. It should be remembered, however, that all authority in occultism is not vested in tradition; that it is a living and growing system, and that there is no intrinsic reason why the present age, which is the dawn of a new epoch, should not produce seers of as great stature as those of old time, indeed of greater, for each one stands on the shoulders of his predecessors.
*Actually ‘Union with God’ as previously mentioned in paragraph 2 but the point remains valid. G.K.