by Robert Wilkinson
Within the great dualistic field we live, arising from what is called Maya, or Spirit, we humans are given our five senses and minds to learn through changing conditions how to be fully “divine” in our human-ness. This implies that beyond dualistic frames like “good and bad,” “right and wrong,” there is a place for forms of both harmonious and disharmonious experiences at points in our evolution. It all serves our learning to BE more perfectly our highest aspiration of self-expression, and bring forth more refined and worthy fruits of our various labors in this world. As we understand the dualisms of existence, we have the power to overcome all forms of suffering, and find a joyous enthusiasm of living, knowing we are moving toward an integrated better future.
I wrote some time ago about “Planetary and Psychological Dysfunctions,” just before the old site crashed. Today I will elaborate on some themes introduced there, with the original article weaved into the fabric of this one.
“Times change, and with them their changing demands,” the Sage of China counseled long ago. That which once worked for us no longer does, or is no longer applicable to our present situation. Old skills no longer apply, old attitudes are out of place. These create dynamic conditions where we eventually must consciously choose whether we want to stay stuck in attachment, aversion, delusion, or pessimism enslaving the imagination, or are willing to try new ways of doing our being.
These are things we must all deal with, sooner or later. The quicker we understand the antidotes for unfortunate behaviors, the quicker we orient ourselves toward something better than we had before. Sometimes, though, we must dismantle or even tear down old structures of doing and being to create space for our new self to do its thing. This is where we learn which planet we need to use constructively, usually through seeing its dysfunctional side.
Any time you confront a dysfunctional part of you, another person, or a situation, it can show you which of the “planetary lights” needs to change manifestation. Each of the planets has two expressions, constructive and destructive. When functioning in a healthy way, the planets show us personality strengths giving us power to bring forth health, wealth, love, and perfect self-expression for ourselves and others. When a planet is dysfunctional, it shows as behaviors that create suffering for us and others. So what are the planetary dualities, and some ways of interpreting how to recognize when a dysfunction is happens and how to transmute it?
Moon - Peace/Strife. This is the aspect of consciousness describing how subconsciousness responds to the immediacy of our experience.
By our Lunar function we fall into fear, dependency, or backward-looking insecurity, and thus come to know how to provide for the need of the moment in a mature and sensitive way, protecting what is valuable and nurturing that which needs care.
Mercury - Life/Death. This is the aspect of consciousness that can as easily create as destroy.
By our Mercury function we create chaos and disorganized scattered conditions through ambivalence, and thus come to see how to use discernment to coordinate various functions to bring forth perfect knowing how to do whatever needs to be done.
Venus - Wisdom/Folly. This is the aspect of consciousness describing our subconscious response to self-consciousness, affecting our "mental offspring."
By our Venus function we live our vanities, selfishness, or narcissistic ways of relating, and thus come to know how to capture at just the right times more beautiful forms of our inner picture of a higher, refined, elegant life and relationships.
Sun - Fruitfulness/Sterility. This is the aspect of consciousness describing our making of growth or deserts in our life and the lives of others.
By our Solar function we shine forth our pride, inflexibility, sense of entitlement or inability to bless others, and thus come to know how to be the living light at the center of our purpose and integrity, bringing forth life and abundance for self and others.
Mars - Grace/Sin. This is the aspect of consciousness that shows whether our responses are manifesting error or truth, maladjustment or beauty.
By our Martian function we force things before their time or confront abrasive, aggressive, or hostile energies in ourselves and others, and thus we learn how to sever what must be severed, and further what must be furthered, quickly and directly.
Jupiter - Wealth/Poverty. This is the aspect of consciousness showing how we are grasping circumstances with abundance or neediness.
By our Jupiterian function we waste time, energy, or money, or are merciful in ways others can mistake for weakness, teaching us to understand the eternal abundance of the Universe in giving us what we need when we need it, and accept it.
Saturn - Dominion/Slavery. This is the aspect of consciousness demonstrating whether we are limited or limiting others in helpful or hurtful ways.
By our Saturnian function we are slavers or enslaved, controllers or oppressed, and through these come to a patient and mature conscious participation in the Great Work, actively accepting our higher responsibilities and higher work to help our world.
The outer triad of invisible planets, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, do not have a dual quality, since they symbolize transpersonal energies that work together and synergistically, with each an aspect of the three-fold Divine Energy Force.
By understanding the dual functions of the 7 visible “Sacred” planets, we can more easily assess what's up in our own lives, as well as the lives of others. Any time a trait representing one of these shows itself as a problem, we can antidote and transmute the situation through applying the appropriate planetary solution to the dysfunctional behavior. For example, if we are with someone enslaved by a delusion or fear, then we may achieve dominion over the situation by demonstrating right limits, correct boundaries, and a sense of what duty or responsibility must be accepted or rejected to achieve completion and wholeness.
Or to give another example, if we find ourselves impoverished, it is a Solar issue, since the problem is fruitfulness not coming forth. Find a way beyond the sterility of the approach, how you’re life giving or not, through seeing what’s wrong in the field or function, and you will begin to restore fruitfulness to your efforts. By changing our mental state, or Mercury function, we come out of perceptions and opinions that create patterns of activity leading to decay or death, and come into recognizing how to see life-affirming approaches that open possibilities rather than denying the potential.
You can see how you can apply these solutions to problems of interpersonal living and communication. If you're trying to have a discussion with someone and what’s coming out of their mouth is a huge downer to your hopes, dreams, truth or experience, then affirm the life and light in your experience, truth, hopes and dreams, and see how it made you feel stronger, clearer, and more life-affirming. This way you don’t allow the decaying toxic Mercury behavior of the other to be accepted as any form of truth.
This is why it is useful NOT to agree with another's toxic point of view simply to be polite. To agree affirms what we really don’t want to affirm. We don’t want to attack their view, since using Mars interpersonally is seldom the best approach, often resulting in as much sin and error as truth. However, if we find an appropriate higher way of expressing Venus, it usually will lead us to wisdom rather than folly. That way we find desired beneficial outcomes helping us overcome many difficulties in human relations, both by avoiding certain traps and capturing forms of beauty.
On a related note, in Medical Astrology there are two ways posited to deal with planetary dysfunction. One applies opposite planet or sign antidotes to counter the problem. The other applies more of the same planetary energy, substituting the higher positive function for the lower. "Fighting fire with fire" is only one way of describing the second approach. Which of these is needed is usually determined by whether something is in excess or deficiency, and whether diminishment or “jumpstarting” is appropriate. That is how we learn and teach all we know.
(All text in bold or italix is from The Tarot – A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages, by the venerable Paul Foster Case. This article was originally posted 16 August 2005)