Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Quality, Character or Tone of the Planets.

In his book "Astrology for the Millions" American astrologer Grant Lewi put forward a theory which I hadn't come across before, but which makes a lot of sense to me. He considered that, especially with regard to transits of the outer planets, it is the length of time they spend in a particular position which is paramount in their influence upon matters on Earth, and not any inherent differences in the planets themselves.

He believed that the nature of the experience under transits of Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto is substantially the same. "It is in reconciling the similarity of the experience with the lengthening out of the time process that you achieve an understanding of yourself, and of how to handle the influences"... of Uranus, Neptune, etc. as they come through the signs and houses and over the planets in your chart. He feels that, for instance, a Uranus transit to the Sun is essentially the same as a Saturn transit or even a Mars transit - the difference is in the time the planet remains in one place (over or in aspect to a natal planet or point).

Our bodies and minds are naturally conditioned to the fast transits of the inner planets and the Moon, and even to the relatively fast transits of Jupiter and Mars. By adulthood we have experienced several of these and instinctively, or subconsciously understand them. But when we experience a conjunction or hard aspect involving one of the outer planets, which lasts for much longer, it seems different. It is, but not in the ways we might first suppose - i.e. because Saturn's influence is said to be severe, Uranus brings the "unexpected", and Pluto is the transformer....etc. It's different because it lasts so much longer, but in truth the influence itself is the same in each case. Or so Mr Lewi theorises.

(From chapter 12 (page 376)"The Grand Strategy of Living - part 1: The Nature and Meaning of the Planets")

"It used to be stated, or implied, in the older astrological texts, that each of the Planets had a different quality, character, or tone, because of something inherent in its nature, Thus Saturn might have been said to have the quality of iron, hardness, weight; the character of sobriety or gloom; the tone of G-sharp Minor below middle C, or of the rumble of distant thunder. Mars might have been said to have the quality of hot steel, the character of courage or recklessness, and the tone of an awakening bugle. Whether these attributes emanated from the physio-chemical structure of the planets, which caused them to emit rays of a certain quality, or from other causes, was not clarified.

The premise seems to have been that each Planet had a quality inherent in itself, differentiating it and its influence from that of other Planets because of this self-contained quality.

Over a long period of study, in contact with numerous charts viewed experimentally and clinically, I have come to the conclusion that, so far as their astrological influence is concerned, the Planets do not differ in inherent quality. We know from the astronomers, physicists, spectrum-analysts, and chemists that the physical structure of the Planets is different, quantitatively, with respect to the percentages in which the elements are found in them and their atmospheres; and qualitatively, with respect to their stages of hotness, coolness, age, youth, formedness or non-formedness. It is possible that these differences do bear on their astrological influence.

However, consistent observation of planetary effects in a very large number of charts leads me to the conclusion that, whether or not Planets differ in their inherent character, their chief observable difference as they act in the chart is traceable directly to the difference in the rate of motion with which they pass through the Vitasphere...................."
(Grant Lewi calls the natal chart, or "map of your birth" the Vitasphere.)

"Once we disabuse our minds of the idea that Planets differ in quality, and base our view of the chart on their differences in rate of motion, we come to grips with the basic realities of the Vitasphere, with the meaning of planetary influences in the forming of character and the timing of opportunity."

That the effects of outer planet transits might have more to do with the length of their stay than with the traditional definition of the nature of that planet, seems logical enough. Pluto, Uranus and Saturn are broadly similar - they bring changes. This isn't surprising. Their motion is so slow as to make a visit from them to natal planets something unusual - a change in itself, and fundamental changes of outlook do occur at these times. Neptune is not as easy to see as a bringer of change though, or if it is, that change is of a particular type, specific to Neptune.

It's quite difficult to turn off the definitions imprinted in memory, in spite of trying I still tend to fall back on the traditional interpretations. I like Grant Lewi's theory though, it's well worth keeping in mind.

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