Western astrology has its roots in ancient Egyptian and Chaldean astrology (8th century B.C.) and, until many centuries after the birth of Christ, was not substantially distinct from astronomy It was the priestly class in Mesopotamia that observed the celestial vault and recorded every astronomical event on time.
For a long time astrology and astronomy were closely linked, but beginning with the introduction of the Cartesian scientific method their paths slowly diverged.
With Alexander the Great and his conquests, highly evolved Egyptian and Chaldean traditions came into contact with Greek culture. And it was the Egyptians first, and the Greeks later, who initiated an associative process between celestial bodies and deities, conforming the names of constellations and planets to their traditions, which was absorbed within the philosophical, spiritual and esoteric circles of those cultures.
Astrology can be considered a “boundary discipline,” in fact its basic principles are based on astronomical and trigonometric elements and notions accessible to anyone, while the association with these elements and notions of symbolic meanings presupposes “the ability to perceive, recognize and interpret the inner spirit hidden in the symbols themselves.”
Astrology has been an important map for reading human psychism. The psychic archetypes represented by the mythological planets known in antiquity tell of human evolution, of what in the various historical stages man was inclined to believe, of what was engraved in his DNA and therefore, collectively could accept and make “true.” The limit of human knowledge was reflected and extended, now as then, to the boundaries of the universe, represented by the limits of the zodiac and its planets: the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, as the zodiacal belt symbolized the space that God had demarcated to create the world.
Only relatively recently have these celestial bodies been joined by the “discovery” of the so-called “transpersonal planets”-Uranus (1781), Neptune (1846) and Pluto (1930). Collective evolutionary history has thus opened up possibilities to “see” beyond the hitherto known world, beyond our “Pillars of Hercules,” to overcome the limits of Cartesian dualism.
The Enneagram is a symbol of representation of the whole of reality, a dynamic model that synthesizes the Universe at both the macrocosmic and microcosmic levels. It has in common with Astrology the schematic summarization of human nature into a limited number of character types.
Astrology describes twelve types of man, while the Enneagram speaks of nine types: the seven planets known in antiquity plus the two lunar nodes North and South. Each type can be associated with a planet or astronomical point.
Type Ones avoid the COLLERA. The One aims for perfectionism, and its capital vice is IRA. The One corresponds to the planet Mars. Originally the god of agriculture, Mars is the equivalent of the Greek Ares, god of war: Roman soldiers paid homage to him before going into battle. In astrology it represents the masculine side of the character. Endowed with a strong sexual charge, Mars can make an individual as aggressive as he is resolute, as rugged and rough as he is positive and full of energy.
Two types avoid recognizing their own needs. The Two avoids asking and is continually tempted to help others by running away from himself. Its capital vice is HOPE, and the planet to which it belongs is the Sun.
Sun worship is thought to have originated in Asia, but almost every known civilization has had a solar deity. In the West the most important was Apollo. The Sun, which is in fact a star and not a planet, represents generosity of heart, affection and magnanimity, creativity and joy; but the Sun, with negative aspects, can nurture self-esteem to the point of changing it into pomposity.
Type Threes avoid failure. Threes are great manipulators: they can make others happy that they can be activated for them. Their capital vice is LIE and the astronomical point connected to them is Caput Draconis, (the dragon’s head), one of the two lunar nodes.
Type Fours fear ORDINARITY. The Four are perpetually sad, dejected, and in need of attention like no other of the enneagrammatic types. Their capital vice is INVIDENCE, and Mercury is the planet that represents them. Mercury is the Roman correspondent of Hermes, the messenger of the gods. It is the quintessential intellectual, intuitive, rational, versatile and argumentative, but also an excellent conduit for communication.This planet stimulates the mind, which can make the individual envious, critical and argumentative.
Type Fives are tempted by KNOWING. They don’t ask and they don’t give. Their capital vice is AVARICE, and the planet that outlines them is Saturn. In ancient times Saturn marked the boundary of the known solar system, which is why it is symbolically associated with limitation but also with perseverance; its influence can make one practical and careful, or selfish and narrow-minded.
Enneatype Six avoids WRONG BEHAVIOR. He gives his loyalty in exchange for security. Its capital vice is FEAR and the astronomical point that corresponds to it is Cauda Draconis (the dragon’s tail) the south lunar node.
Seven types avoid PAIN. They love pleasure and fun and shy away from pain, which they tend to “transfer.” Their capital vice is INTEMPERANCE, and the planet that describes them is Jupiter, the equivalent of the Greek Zeus, the father of the gods who from the heights of Olympus threw thunderbolts in anger. This planet rules learning, philosophy, and languages; its influence can stimulate optimism, loyalty, and justice, but it can make one deluded, extravagant, vain, and lead to overindulgence in oneself.
Negative Eight types dodge DEBT.They tend to impose their will on others even through the use of force. Their capital vice is LUST, and the associated planet is Venus. Venus inherited the attributes of the Greek Aphrodite, thus becoming the goddess of all forms of love: ideal, familial and sexual. It represents a person’s emotional life. Charm and elegance are also associated with the planet Venus. In bad aspect it turns love into sex and lust, or into selfishness and little respect for others’ feelings.
Enneatypes Nine avoid CONFLICT. Nothing is more important to them than peace and moderation. They are born mediators. Their capital vice is ACCIDENT, and the planet of reference is the Moon. Sloth is the typical lunar vice. Behind this softness is a fear of putting oneself out in the world, a lack of structure that is accompanied by a need to be protected and contained.
Point number Nine with the Moon represents the tip of the inner triangle of the Enneagram. The other two points are the two Lunar Nodes: the Tail, or enneatype Six and the Dragon’s Head or enneatype Three. But what do these three points represent in the enneagrammatic whole, what is their symbolic message?
In ancient times the pole star was not our Polaris in the tail of Ursa Minor, but the legendary Thuban, placed in the body of the Dragon, an immense serpent of stars. Since then, gradually, due to the precession of the equinoxes, the pole has shifted until it reaches today’s North Star. The supreme guardian of the starry sky was the Dragon, whose quality was his tireless vigilance, his exceptional eyesight and his ability to never sleep. It seems that the etymological root of the term comes from the Greek word DERKEIN, meaning “to see.”
The fact that the Dragon’s stars never set made this creature the true symbol of eternity, awareness and vigilance. Astronomically, lunar nodes are the mathematical points that delineate the intersection of the lunar orbit with the ecliptic, which is the Sun’s apparent path around the Earth. The nodes are the points where the lunar and solar principles connect. The North Node is the point where the Moon’s orbit rises above the ecliptic, and the South Node is the point where the Moon’s orbit falls below the ecliptic. The two nodes are always exactly opposite each other. These are mathematical points, therefore, not physical bodies. Nodes express pure energy.
The Moon reflects sunlight, is passive, receptive and feminine, emotional and psychic. It provides form and position to our experiences, to solar expression. It refers to our conditioning, habits, vices: it is our memory, our subconscious and our unconscious. The Sun, on the contrary is our consciousness, will, power, life purpose.
Nodes represent on the map the points where our past and memories of our lunar soul intertwine with solar conscious experiences. The South Node (Cauda Draconis) is the point under the ecliptic that connects us to our past. The North Node (Caput Draconis) is the point where we emerge from the past and move into new territory, into new possibilities. Centrifugal or centripetal motion? The Moon is in the center, a powerful mediator of our psychism. The myths surrounding her tend to show her as beautiful and feminine, but also a cruel seductress: she beguiled Odysseus in the guise of the sorceress Circe; as Hecate she rewarded her favorites; and she was seen leading her chariot across the night sky in the guise of Selene, the hypnotizer of Endymion, king of Ilia. Selene fell in love with the handsome young man and visited him every night in a cave on Mount Latmo. As long as she could have him always to herself, Selene gave him eternal sleep.
Three, in all cosmogonies, represents the transformative aspect, the fruit, of the union of an active aspect with a passive aspect. Past, present, future: Latent potentials represented by the dots on our triangle. The Moon, the apex of the triangle, stands there mediating our choices. Will we slide toward the hypnotic tendencies of the past, toward the memories embedded in our DNA , toward group, familial and social rules, toward the Tail of the Dragon, the enneatype Six, or will we tend to move and point directly toward the Head of the Dragon, toward the unexplored potentials of the North Node, toward unexplored aspects of our DNA? Even this point, however, contains a trap: the tendency to want to turn one’s back on the past in pursuit of new experiences.
Enneatypes Three, (the Caput Draconis, the North Node), are driven to strive for success. Their personality tends to identify with personal success. They do not admit their mistakes and try to avoid all forms of failure, even at the cost of lying to themselves and others about the outcome of their efforts. The personal price of their triumph is very high indeed!
The temptation of the North Node is forgetfulness of one’s past in pursuit of future success, and this trap is no less dangerous than that of the South Node. It is not by severing ties with the past that we will achieve true equilbrium. Fear of failure or actual defeats would lead us back toward the South Node, making us feel the bitter taste of spiritual failure. The real process indicated by the North Node, by the enneapit Three, is, in fact, not to forget one’s origins, but to use them to build on them, utsing them in a new way. Only firm roots give birth to a solid structure!
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