Astrology as Religion
[This is taken from Thomas H. Burgoyne’s The Science of the Soul and Stars.]
There is one species of Divine revelation which has not, and cannot, be tampered with, one great Bible, which forms the starry original of all Bibles.
This sacred Bible is the great Astral Bible of the skies; its chapters are the twelve great signs, its pages are the innumerable glittering constellations of the heavenly vault, and its characters are the personified ideals of the radiant Sun, the silvery moon, and the shining planets, of our solar sphere.
There are three different aspects of this sacred book, and in each aspect the same characters appear, but in different roles, their dress and natural surroundings being suited to the natural play of their symbolical parts. In fact, the whole imagery may be likened unto a play, or, rather, a series of plays, performed by the same company of artists. It may be a comedy, or it may be melodrama, or it may be a tragedy; but the principles behind the scenes are ever the same, and show forth the same Divine Oneness of Nature; demonstrating the eternal axiom. ONE TRUTH, ONE LIFE, ONE PRINCIPLE, AND ONE WORD, and in their fourfold expression, is the four great chapters of the celestial book of the starry heavens.
In this aspect the visible cosmos may be represented as a kaleidoscope. The visible constellations, planets, and other heavenly bodies, are the bits of colored glass; and Deity the invisible force, which keeps the instrument in motion. Each revolution produces a different pictorial figure, which, complete in its harmony of parts, is perfect in its mathematical proportions, and beautiful in its geometrical designs. And yet each creation, each form, and each combination of forms, are produced by the same little pieces of glass; and all of them, in reality, are optical illusions; i.e., natural phenomena, which deceive the physical senses. So it is with Cosmic Nature.
It must not, however, be supposed, because of this perfect and continual illusion of Nature’s playful phenomena, that all visible creation is purely an illusion of the senses, as some cranky metaphysicians would have it, because this is not so.
Going back again to our kaleidoscope, we can clearly see that without it, and its tinted beads, no such optical illusion is possible. There is, then, a basis of spiritual reality to all visible physical phenomena; but this basis lies concealed, because of the perfect illusion which the reflected image produces upon the material plane of the physical senses. The beads themselves are real. These are the basis, and the different pictures are the result, not of the beads, but of the angle from which they are reflected to our earthly vision. In other words, THE PLANE FROM WHICH WE BEHOLD THE PHENOMENA.
Hence, the nearer we approach the Divine center of our being, the less complicated Nature’s original designs become, and the farther we are removed from that central source, the more weird, mysterious, complicated, and incomprehensible, does Mother Nature appear, to the finite human mind. And this is especially so, to man’s theological instinct, his religiosity, that constitutes one of the fundamental factors of his being.
Nature is ever one in her original truths and their duplicate reflections; but ever conflicting and contradictory in her multiplied refractions through the minds of men. Therefore, we will present the primary concept of that grand Astro-Theology formulated by man’s great progenitors; and view the simple machinery, by which they typified to the primitive mind a general outline of Nature’s Divine providence.
All sacred books begin with an account of physical creation, the culmination of which, is the appearance of man and woman, as the parents of the race; and, while they will differ considerably in detail and make-up, the basic ideas embodied are essentially the same in all cosmo-genesis; so that in the Jewish Bible, accessible to all, one can read the primitive story of creation from a Jewish point of view, and, when read, rest satisfied that he has read the revelation vouchsafed to man in every age and in every clime. The only difference is one of mental peculiarity and national custom, along with climatic conditions. Hindu, Chaldean, Chinese, Persian, Egyptian, Scandinavian, Druidic and ancient Mexican are all the same–different names and drapery, to suit the people only, but essentially the same in the fundamental ideas conveyed.
THE CREATION OF THE WORLD
The simple story of creation begins at midnight, when the Sun has reached the lowest point in the arc–Capricorn. All Nature then is in a state of coma in the Northern Hemisphere, it is winter time, solar light and heat are at their lowest ebb; and the various appearances of motion, etc., are the Sun’s passage from Capricorn to Pisces, 60 degrees, and from Pisces to Aries, 30 degrees, making 90 degrees, or one quadrant of the circle. Then begin in real earnest the creative powers, it is spring time. The six days are the six signs of the northern arc, beginning with the disruptive fires of Aries. Then, in their order, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo; then Libra, the seventh day and the seventh sign, whose first point is opposite Aries and is the opposite point of the sphere, the point of equilibrium, equal day and equal night, it is autumn. It is the sixth sign from Aries, the first creative action, and so the sixth day following the fiery force, wherein God created the bi-sexual man. See Genesis, 1:5-27: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God created He him, male and female created He them.”
It is the seventh, or day of the Lord (man), the climax of material creation and Lord of all living things, and be rests in the blissful Garden of Eden. This seventh day and seventh sign is the concealed sacred Libra the perfect union of the sexes. Then comes the fall from Libra, through Scorpio, and banishment from the Garden of Eden. That is the victory of Satan, or Winter, over Summer, etc. It is useless to repeat the same old, old story. The yearly journey of the Sun around the constellated dial of Deity is the astrological basis of all primitive cosmology.
THE SCHEME OF REDEMPTION
In addition to the creation of the world and the fall of man through sin, we find all people in possession of a grand scheme of redemption, and, like the former, we shall find them all essentially the same. They all require a mediator between the angry God and disobedient man, and they all require that this mediator shall be Divine, or semi-Divine. Nothing less can satisfy Deity’s demands; or, rather, let us say man’s own carnal imagination. It is simply another turn of our cosmic kaleidoscope, and behold! the actors have changed. Capricorn becomes the stable of the Goat, in the manger of which the young Savior of the world is born. As a type of all, we will take the Gospel Savior. It is again midnight. The Sun enters the sign Capricorn on the twenty- first of December. This is the lowest point of the arc, South, and for three days he is stationary, or in darkness. And now it is Christmas Eve. He (the Sun or Savior) begins to move, and at midnight is born as the celestial Virgo is rising upon the Eastern quadrant of the skies; hence the Sun-God is born of a Virgin. Then comes the flight to escape Kronos, or Saturn (ruling Capricorn), who kills the young babes. There is a period of silence in the God’s history while the Sun is in transit through the signs Capricorn and part of Aquarius. That is, he is hidden or obscured by the clouded skies of this period. We hear of him but once again until he, the Sun-God, or Savior, is thirty years old, or has transited thirty degrees of space. He has entered the sign Aquarius (symbolical of the Man.) Now begins the period of miracles.
Let us digress for a space, and refer to our chapter on the constellations. We shall find a perfect analogy between this miracle- working period and the constellations Aquarius and Pisces, as therein given. The first miracle we read of is turning water into wine. This may be seen in a threefold aspect. The Sun-God changes by his life- forces the waters of winter into the rich vintage of the harvest, where the Virgin (Virgo) Mother again appears. Again, the wine becomes the blood–the life offered up on the vernal cross to strengthen, renew and make merry with new life our Earth and its people. The devil (or winter), with his powers of darkness, is defeated and man saved. The final triumph is the crucifixion in Aries, the vernal equinox, about the twenty-first of March, quickly followed by the resurrection, or renewal of life. Then the God rises into heaven, to sit upon the throne at the summer solstice, to bless his people. We read, that, the Savior of mankind was crucified between two thieves. Very good. The equinoctial point is the dividing line between light and darkness, winter and summer. In other words, the Sun is resuming his northern arc, to replenish the Earth with his solar force and preserve his people from death in the coming winter. The life of a Buddha, a Krishna or a Christ, are all found in their completeness in the life of Horus; while the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are Isis, Horus and Osirus. The same trinity, under different names, are found in all nations. It is the Sun, Moon and Human Soul, which is the only true mediator of Man.
There is another version of this celestial crucifixion, wherein the Sun-God-Savior, after the supper of the harvest in Virgo, is crucified at the autumnal equinox upon the equator. We read that he was dying from the sixth to the ninth hours–three hours, three signs, or from the 21st of September to the 21st of December, when he is laid in the tomb. This is the lowest point of the Sun’s journey in the southern hemisphere, and darkness holds the balance in our northern hemisphere. The three days in the tomb are the three months, or three signs, before the vernal equinox, or the resurrection, the rising out of the South to bring salvation to the northern portion of our Earth.
We have now only to glance over various diverging lines of the same cosmology and the same redemption. All these allegories typified TRUTHS. They all teach the Initiate the mysteries of creation, of man’s destiny and his necessary Cycle of Material Probation. Some of the most beautiful parables may be read in this light. Abraham, and the story of his wanderings in the deserts of Asia Minor; of Lot and his unfaithful wife, are to be seen still written in the heavens. Hagar and Ishmael are still there; so also are Esau and his brother Jacob; the story of Joseph and his brethren; of Sampson and his twelve labors. This is the same beautiful story. The Sun, shorn of his glory, or solar force, at the autumnal equinox, stands upon the equator between the two pillars of the temple (or light and darkness), and pulls down the temple (or signs) into the southern hemisphere. And behind this we have the eternal truth of the soul, when, giving way to the allurements of matter (Delilah), the soul is shorn of its spiritual covering, or conscience, and sinks into matter and death. And the story of David and Goliath can be read to-day as clearly as of yore.
They are eternal, spiritual verities of human nature, and record, not only the history of the human race, its mutations and transmutations, but of the individual man and the suffering and delusive joys of his material life. Aye, more! It is the record of all his past existence and a type of his eternal destiny in the future.
Another turn of our cosmic kaleidoscope, and lo! the scene changes –the play extended, the angles greater, caused by the revolution of our solar parent through his celestial Zodiac. As the Sun passes out of one sign into another, or, in other words, forms a different angle to his own center of force, a new dispensation is born to the world; or, rather, re-born under a new guise. The great Sun-God appears to change his nature and manifests an entirely different set of attributes. That is the way man personified this play of Nature, through his imperfect conception of the cause of this change. But to him it was, and is, a truth, and man’s effort to externalize these attributes in a Divine personality was, and is, strictly from the plane of his mental development and spiritual unfolding.
The two pictures of this Astro-Theology, as set forth in the two divisions of the Jewish Bible, will illustrate our meaning. The Sun had entered the sign Aries some time prior to the exodus from Egypt. Aries is the constellation of Mars, the fiery, destructive and warrior element, or force, in Nature, and we find the Jewish conception of God a perfect embodiment of these attributes: The Lord of Hosts, a God mighty in battle, delighting in the shedding of blood and the smell of burnt offerings, ever marshalling the people to battle and destroying their foes and the works of his own hands; a God imbued with jealousy, anger, and revenge. This was the type set up by the Jewish savior and lawgiver, Moses.
After a period of 2,160 years, we find the Christian cosmology ushered in. The Sun has entered the sign Pisces, which is ruled by Jupiter, the beneficent father. The Christ, or mediator, of the Christian Gospel was an embodiment of the joint qualities of the sign and ruling planet. Gentle, loving and merciful, His words were messages of love and peace; His work was with the poor, oppressed and fallen; he eschewed sacrifices and burnt offerings; a contrite heart was the best offering; He taught the people that God was their Father, loving all, just, yet merciful. But a strong taint of the old conception has remained with the human race, hiding, at times, the beauty of the latter concept. These are, again, the refractions of eternal truths, viewed by man from his material plane. The elements are here presented, the alphabet and its key clearly defined. Therefore, let each one explore this tangled labyrinth of Astro-Theology for him or herself, and work out the various correspondences at leisure. It is enough to indicate the starry originals of all this seemingly confused mass of so-called Divine revelation in sacred books.
They, one and all, pertain to the same celestial phenomena, and the various Bibles are the outcome of man’s serious attempt to tabulate and externalize this heavenly order, to record his conceptions of these starry aspects and movements with their corresponding effects upon the Earth.
Probably the purest system to us is that which may yet be derived from Chaldean sources. This sacerdotal caste were the most perfect in their astral conceptions and complete in their symbolic system of recording, and if the great work found in King Sargon’s library in seventy tablets is ever translated, it will prove of priceless value to the student of these weird, but sublime, astrological mysteries.
In conclusion, as we reflect upon the fourfold aspect of the subject that we have presented in outline in these pages, the whole imagery passes in review before the mental vision. We see that the radiant constellations of the heavenly vault, with the beautiful reflection and counterpart, the shining Zodiac, are the two halves of the great Cycle of Necessity, the spiral of eternal, universal life, which binds the whole into unity, and unity into infinity. It is the grand scheme of creative life. The seven principles of Nature, or Divine Activities, are the forces producing the phenomena within seven angelic states, seven kingdoms, and, by seven planets, upon the external plane; the planets being the passive mediums of the positive spiritual forces. Upon this dual spiral, which reflects the seven rays of the solar spectrum is produced seven musical notes; one half of the spiral in sound and color being the complementary of the other half. Man, the Earth, and our solar system, are revolving, each orb in its own key, and its own peculiar ray, meeting and blending with other spirals, and the whole blending into one mighty spiral Cycle of Progressive Life, revolving around the Eternal, Infinite Ego-God, ever involving and evolving the attributes, powers and possibilities of the One great central source of Being.
It is a grand orchestra, pealing out in richest melody and sublime HARMONY, the grand Anthem of Creation: “We Praise Thee, O God.”