When walking upon the spiritual path, understanding the motives and intentions of the Soul is paramount. In fact, it can be proclaimed that living a spiritual life is based upon the conviction that the Higher Self (Soul) seeks to guide us along a particular path of development. Its light radiates through us, and by so doing, prompts us to conform to its divine purpose and plan. Yet, by what means does one find this beacon of guiding light from the Soul? In what way are we certain that the path upon which we place our feet is true to the Soul and its intentions? Such questions are profoundly important, and need be asked with regularity. Certainly the answer to these questions come in many wise and insightful ways. Meditation, revelatory dreams, the tarot, as well as many other divination systems, give much clarity to the journey. Interestingly, Esoteric Astrology is one of the most profoundly revealing of these systems, yet is little known among the spiritual community.
The purpose of this article is to introduce the reader to the fundamentals of Esoteric Astrology, as well as to provide an understanding as to how this astrological system is revelatory. It should be noted that Esoteric Astrology is not a system designed to replace tradition astrology. On the contrary, Esoteric Astrology is a method of chart interpretation that is supplementary to the traditional astrological approach. Quite honestly, it is a system that has value only when working with someone who is “consciously” living a spiritual life. For the everyday individual, traditional astrology, by itself, is quite adequate in helping him/her with the multitude of issues related to the mundane aspects of life. However, when an individual is definitely on the path in a conscious and deliberate way, the esoteric approach offers much deeper indications as to the unfolding nature of one’s spiritual life. In short, Esoteric Astrology can reveal the Soul’s incarnational intention. In addition, it is an astrological system that indicates how the Soul seeks to express itself in one’s outer life for the purpose of service and upliftment to others. In approaching the task of introducing this subject, I shall confine this discussion to the important features found in Esoteric Astrology, in what way they differ from traditional astrology, and how this astrological approach can uncover one’s deeper spiritual nature and purpose. In truth, astrology (whether traditional or esoteric) is an extremely complex and intricate science. Paradoxically, while it is complex, there is nonetheless a profound simplicity that underlies it all. It is this simplicity that this article will focus upon. We shall therefore discuss four aspects of Esoteric Astrology. They are:
1. The Meaning of an Astrological Sign
2. The Importance of the Sun, Moon and Ascendant
3. The Esoteric Planetary Rulers
4. The Use of the Seven Rays of Divine Manifestation
The Meaning of an Astrological Sign
In traditional astrology, signs are understood as possessing certain characteristics that influence the psychological makeup of an individual. Each of the twelve members of the zodiac are archetypally defined. To illustrate, let us do a comparative examination of a particular sign–Taurus. When we consider the sign of Taurus, there are key traits traditionally associated with this sign. Practicality, willfulness, stubbornness, and hedonistic tendencies are just few of the traits attributed to the Taurean individual. As already noted, Esoteric Astrology does not dispute the views of traditional astrology. Instead, it seeks to understand the higher qualities expressed by any sign. From an esoteric perspective, Taurus is the sign most related to the transformation of personal desire into spiritual aspiration, and this, leading ultimately to enlightened living. Through the power of selfless will, the Taurean individual learns to arrest the tendency to act upon personality desires. This s/he can do by redirecting and transforming personal desire into loving aspiration applied in practical ways. By so doing, and over time, the third eye (the bull’s eye) opens, and illumination then floods into his/her life. In truth it is the great sign of the Buddha, for in the ancient lore we are told that the Buddha was born, achieved enlightenment, and died in Taurus. And, as is well known, the teaching of Guatama Buddha centered around the importance of transmuting desire by means of walking the noble middle path between the opposites. Esoterically, Taurus is the sign where one’s personal will (which is activated by the desires of the lower-self) is transformed into a selfless determination to anchor the Will of God on Earth. This is what Taurus offers one who is consciously treading the spiritual path. Upon close examination it can be seen that these higher qualities of Taurus have relationship to the traditional qualities that have long been recognized. However, it is best to view the esoteric themes of a sign as a purer expression of that sign, and therefore foundational to the qualities traditionally associated with it. Each of the zodiacal signs contains a deeper meaning. It is this that the esoteric astrologer uses as a basis for interpreting the spiritual aspects of one’s life.
The Importance of the Sun, Moon and Ascendant (Rising Sign)
It is safe to say that in traditional astrology, the sun, moon, and rising signs are foundational to astrological interpretation and deduction. When considering Esoteric Astrology, this is most certainly true as well. However, Esoteric Astrology views each a bit differently, and rearranges their priority. In the ancient Esoteric Philosophy (sometimes referred to as the Ageless Wisdom), these three signs are defined as follows:
Ascendant: The sign of possibilities
Sun Sign: The sign of probabilities
Moon Sign: The prison of the Soul
From these descriptions it can be deduced that the ascendant (rising sign) is of primary importance when trying to understanding the spiritual “possibilities” present within one’s life. Traditionally, the ascendant is related to an individual’s ego expression, outer appearance and physical body. Yet, in Esoteric Astrology it is understood that these themes must be examined from the higher perspective as well. Therefore, the ascendant does not simply relate to a person’s physical form, but also to his/her spiritual form. In short, the ascendant rules the causal body. The causal body is the form through which the Soul functions. It is the abode of the Soul, so to speak. Contained within the causal body is the key to understanding the Soul’s incarnational intention. This is why the ascendant is so crucial in Esoteric Astrology. In truth, it reveals the remoter possibilities of Soul development. Therefore, from a spiritual perspective, the ascendant, not the sun sign, is the most important sign of consideration. Even so, the sun sign is still extremely important, for it holds the clue to one’s personality expression. It is the sign of probabilities, in that the energies and tendencies associated with one’s sun sign (traditionally understood) are most probable of expression. Fundamentally, the sun sign indicates the nature of the personality instrument that the Soul uses to express itself. However, for the Soul to be successful, the personality (sun sign tendencies) must be tamed. The personality must yield its authority to the Higher Self. Stated differently, the sun sign (personality) must acquiesce to the ascendant (Soul). The moon sign, on the other hand, is the great nemesis to the Soul. Esoterically interpreted, the moon indicates the sum-total of unconscious tendencies that hinder the Soul from further expressing itself in one’s life. Metaphorically, the moon sign imprisons the Soul. It represents spiritual limitations and handicaps, and must be transformed for continued spiritual growth to occur. These limiting qualities represent the negative attributes (as traditionally viewed) of the sign the moon is found within.
When looking at these three signs we see an amazing transformational dynamic occurring. The ascendant conceals the hidden purpose of the Soul. To express this purpose successfully requires that the individual arrest the selfish tendencies engendered by the sun sign. This s/he does by nurturing the higher qualities offered by the sun sign. In addition, s/he must analyze the moon sign, and its negative tendencies, and discover ways of uplifting them. This is achieved by first becoming conscious of these tendencies, then finding ways of redirecting them for the betterment of others.
The Esoteric Planetary Rulers
The planetary ruler of a sign could be considered the energetic representative of that sign. As such, the rulers of the ascendant, sun and moon signs play a pivotal role in esoteric interpretation. However, in addition to using traditional rulers when reading a natal chart, an esoteric astrologer will use a second tier of planetary rulers as well. These rulers are referred to as the esoteric rulers, and represent the higher qualities of the sign they rule. For example, the traditional ruler of Gemini is Mercury, yet its esoteric ruler is Venus. An Esoteric Astrologer will usually interpret a chart using the esoteric ruler for the ascendant and the traditional rulers for the sun and moon signs. The position of the esoteric ruler of the ascendant reveals the conditions for one’s future spiritual development, and is considered the ruling planet of the entire chart. The sun sign ruler, and its placement, gives deeper understanding to one’s current ego needs, and holds the clue to his/her responsiveness (or lack of responsiveness) to the Soul, while the position of the moon sign ruler indicates one’s instinctual past and the qualities that need to be transformed.
The Use of the Seven Rays of Divine Manifestation
A foundational principle in the Ageless Wisdom is that all of creation is based on the interaction of seven great streams of energy. Usually called the Seven Rays, these energies pour into our solar system and condition all life upon planet Earth. Each ray is of a different nature, therefore conditioning humanity with different qualities of spirit. In fact, the ancient teaching on this subject reveals that these rays are the most fundamental qualities within all of cosmos. Through it is not possible within this writing to convey details about these rays, their names reveal much about their nature.
Ray 1: The Ray of Divine Will and Power
Ray 2: The Ray of Love and Wisdom
Ray 3: The Ray of Abstract Intelligence and Activity
Ray 4: The Ray of Harmony through Conflict
Ray 5: The Ray of Concrete Knowledge and Science
Ray 6: The Ray of Idealism and Devotion
Ray 7: The Ray of Ceremonial Order and Magic
Most important to our subject, these Seven Rays come into our solar system via the twelve signs of the zodiac. Each ray expresses itself through three signs. As can be seen in the chart below, some signs transmit only a single ray, while others radiate two or three.
Ray 1: Aries, Leo, Capricorn
Ray 2: Gemini, Virgo, Pisces
Ray 3: Cancer, Libra, Capricorn
Ray 4: Taurus, Scorpio, Sagittarius
Ray 5: Leo, Sagittarius, Aquarius
Ray 6: Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces
Ray 7: Aries, Cancer, Capricorn
Because the Seven Rays are at the root of human existence, Esoteric Astrology puts much emphasis upon them when interpreting a chart. Essentially they reveal the highest qualities seeking expression through a sign. When considering someone’s natal chart, the use of the Rays as an interpretive tool is crucial. This is particularly true when considering the ascendant and sun sign.
When traveling upon the spiritual path, there is no greater goal than to live according to the wishes of one’s own Soul. As noted above, there are a wide variety of effective methods by which to come into a deeper understanding of the Soul and its purpose. One of these methods is through the use of Esoteric Astrology. Though it is a form of astrology that is only in its infancy, it has its roots in ancient Trans-Himalayan Wisdom, and is considered by many to be the emerging paradigm in the field of astrology. It is a system that brings one to a much deeper understanding of the profound meaning hidden within the zodiacal wheel, and reveals the higher potential offered in each astrological sign. Most importantly, the hidden purpose of the Soul can be unveiled through the esoteric approach. When this is revealed and acted upon, the Soul can then shine forth, and will do so without encumberment.