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Isis Sophia I

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The Nature of the Planetary World - Mars

In our last letter we described in detail the nature and the sphere of the planet Mars. We will now try to illustrate this knowledge in a number of historical nativities. In such a consideration, we need to take into account not only the actual time of birth but also the period of prenatal embryonic development. For although the position of Mars at the moment of birth gives the decisive picture of the Mars nature of a human being, the movements and gestures of this planet during the embryonic development are also of importance. They show the inner evolution of the soul forces toward the final manifestation of the Mars nature. In order to understand the essential quality of Mars in relationship to the twelve constellations of the Zodiac, we have to start with the constellation of Virgin.

Mars in Virgin: When Joan of Arc was born, January 6, 1412, Mars had left the constellation of Lion and was about to enter Virgin. This example gives us an impression of how such a human being perceives the world and how this world awakens consciousness in the soul. In this case Mars, not having yet fully entered Virgin after having passed through the constellations from Fishes to Lion during the embryonic development, was still free from the influence of the Fall that happened during the evolution of Ancient Moon and which we have described in our last letter. It still had a sun-like quality and was not yet impeded by the darkening influx of the “rebellious” powers in the universe. The soul body was still in a state of cosmic innocence. This helps us to understand the strange power living in Joan of Arc that enabled her to intervene so decisively in the course of history. It was not only enthusiasm that gave her such strength and fearlessness, but it was the unshakable certainty of her spiritual call. As the forces of her soul body were beyond the darkening and weakening powers of hindrance due to the Fall, the sun-like magic of her appearance worked like a strange and irresistible miracle upon the people of her time.

When Friedrich Nietzsche, the famous philosopher, was born (October 15, 1844), Mars had already entered Virgin. It had entered the realm of the Zodiac that reflects the entry into that great cosmic epoch during which the rebellion of which we have spoken took place. This Mars of Nietzsche also passed through the constellations from Fishes to Virgin. This indicates that in Nietzsche's soul body there also lived something like the cosmic innocence, which we found in Joan of Arc, yet in his case this cosmic innocence became the victim of destructive, superhuman powers. Nietzsche's life is one of the greatest tragedies. Mars on its way from Fishes to Virgin could not overcome an opposition of Saturn, which took place in the second half of Nietzsche's embryonic development. The innocent, sun-like soul power that was hidden in Nietzsche and which shyly tried to break through in some of his writings — as well as in his relationship to Richard Wagner — could not really descend from its spiritual heights into the realities of earthly life. Thus his soul being was torn, and he became insane at the age of 44.

Mars in Scales: Mars entered Scales when Thomas More was born on the 7 February 1478. Here Mars had already taken one step further into the cosmic realm that reflects the Fall within Ancient Moon evolution. From what we know of his destiny, if we try to put ourselves into the place of Thomas More, we find that he was surrounded by a world in which dark impulses worked to oppose the manifestation of spiritual truth. However, Thomas More stood upright in the midst of this darkness. He was so great a character, and his soul or consciousness body was so filled with bright Sun forces, that he was able finally to be victor over the trials of destiny. We can find this soul power reflected in the prenatal movement of Mars. At the time of his conception Mars was in Bull, and it then moved through the constellations of Twins, Crab, Lion, and Virgin until it finally passed into Scales. Thus we find here again the cosmic innocence of the Mars forces that we also found in the two examples given above. This gave Thomas More his great strength of character.

Mars in Scorpion: Mars in Scorpion is the precise cosmic reflection of the Fall within Ancient Moon evolution. It is an expression of soul forces that are engulfed in one way or another by the consequences of the event which we have described; that event which after long periods of evolution finally made the Earth appear purely material.

We can find this influence of Mars in Scorpion in such nativities as that of Bacon of Verulam, born January 22, 1561, and the Archduke Rudolf of Austria, born August 21, 1858.

Bacon of Verulam, especially toward the end of his life, was defeated by the impulse that led to the modern conception of natural science. He has even been called the father of the empiricism that became so important in scientific method. This is an empiricism that does not take into account the presence of any spirit in nature. It considers the phenomena of nature simply as the result of the more or less mechanical reactions of material substances. Thus those forces, which had their origin in the Fall, brought humanity to the deepest point in the whole course of its evolution, for humanity came to experience the world as pure matter.

The Archduke Rudolf of Austria became so dissatisfied with the narrow and very materialistic life, which as heir to the Austrian and Hungarian crown he was obliged to live, that he committed suicide. This shows that the Mars impulse of the Fall, when not taken up, can even destroy a human life.

Mars in Archer: Mars in Archer reflects a condition of the astral body that brings to human beings an experience of the conflict of the material world with the spark of the spirit within them.

When Goethe was born, August 28, 1749, Mars had entered the constellation of Archer. At the time of his conception Mars stood in Virgin. From there it moved through Scales and Scorpion and in the last months of Goethe's embryonic development made a loop in Scorpion and Archer.

Because of the individual nature of Goethe's soul body, the effect of the Fall could be fully seen in this personality, and he recognized within himself the conflict due to this world event. He speaks of the two souls that lived in him. The one always strove to drag him down into the realm where the senses are found to experience a world of pure matter, and the other called him back to the heavenly world where those spirits live who are the exalted ancestors of humanity's own being. We can also experience that Goethe, in his struggle between these forces in his soul body, overcame the consequences of the Fall. He purified the consciousness of his sense experiences. He could see the spirit working in nature and described it in his writings of the archetypal plant. He perceived this as the supersensible prototype of all existing plant life, which appear modified in the peculiarities of the visible types of the plant world.

Another personality who had almost the same gestures of Mars in his nativity and during his prenatal development is Count Leo Tolstoy, born September 9, 1828. If we read his biographies, his diaries, and his books, many of which reveal the struggle of his life, we can detect in him that discord which originates in the Fall caused by the development of the human astral body. He felt himself continuously torn between a world of matter which caught him through his senses, and a world that was the manifestation of the spiritual evolution of humanity and the universe. He suffered severely from this discord, yet he too, to a great extent, overcame that Fall. This is revealed not so much in his doings and writings, but in the way in which today he appears as a human being to the soul life of humanity. The mere sound of his name has a certain weight in the cultural life of today, and this cannot easily be put aside.

Mars in Goat: Mars in Goat reflects a condition of the human soul body that enables it to overcome the consequences of the Fall. Now the human being can finally redeem the duality created by humanity's temptation through the forces of the great cosmic Fall.

When Richard Wagner was born, May 22,1813, Mars had entered the constellation of Goat. At the time of his conception it stood in Lion. Thus it had moved during the prenatal development through Lion, Virgin, Scales, Scorpion, and Archer until it entered Goat. This signifies, so to speak, a long journey of these forces before they reach their final goal. We can find this confirmed in Richard Wagner's life. There was something in his soul nature that was like the heritage of a sun-like innocence, derived from past stages of humanity, when it had not yet entered so deeply into the abyss of the separation from the spiritual world. This we find reflected in the position of Mars in Lion. Then we see it entering the constellations that reflect the Fall. This is connected with a long period of inner struggle and difficulty.

However, later in his life he reached the goal of his striving. He found that which he called “peace from the powers of illusion” in his own soul, and out of this peace of the soul he could create the music of his last great drama Parsifal. Mars in Goat strives for the pacification of the soul forces that wandered through the deep valley of human denial of the spirit and loneliness within the material world, resulting from the development of the human soul body since the rebellion within Ancient Moon evolution.

Mars in Waterman: With Mars in Waterman, there arises the problem of whether the human being can not only strive for the purification of the Mars nature, but even redeem the duality that has entered the soul as the result of the Fall. The striving for the redemption of the discord in the human soul body is mostly — seen from a superficial point of view — connected with catastrophes in human life. From a more spiritual point of view, it is mostly a struggle between the head and heart forces. In the head those forces of the astral body are active that are apt to connect humanity through the senses too strongly with the world of matter, whereas those forces that are working through the heart want to establish the connection of human beings with the universe through the power of love. The head and the senses are open to the Ahrimanic temptation; the heart must be guarded from Lucifer's temptation.

This can even lead to physical malformation under certain circumstances. The astrologer Alan Leo reports the case of a child that was born “without posterior cranial development or brains, with merely a frontal mask in fact.” When this child was born, Mars was in Waterman. Of course this was not the only fact in the nativity that indicated the cause of this malformation. We have as a historical example the nativity of Mary, Queen of the Scots. When she was born, December 7, 1542, Mars had just entered Waterman. At the time of her conception it stood between Scales and Scorpion, where it started to make a loop, or retrograde movement.

Thus we have a very good example of a personality who through her astral organism was involved in the Fall. The position of Mars in Waterman at the time of her birth indicates that this was only one side of her nature. Her life story proves that she was continually absorbed by the struggle between her head and her heart consciousness. We can only understand in this way the chaos through which she had to pass at times. The last act that happened in her life, the beheading, is like a materialized symbol of the gigantic struggle within this personality.

From an outer point of view it may appear that she did not succeed in reconciling the head and heart forces, as her head was severed from her heart. Although during her long captivity, she gradually established within herself peace between the opposing forces in her soul. Finally she remained as spiritual victor on the battle field of her own being, and the details of her death are only a grim reflective caricature painted by the powers of jealousy that oppose spirituality.

Mars in Fishes: Mars in Fishes can lead to the realization of peace as the result of the reconciliation between the contradicting forces described above, that is, between the powers of Heaven and Earth. This realization may come only after a lifelong struggle through the deep valley of the Fall. Here a consideration of the prenatal movements of Mars is exceedingly important.

We have knowledge of one ideal example of Mars in Fishes. When Novalis was born, May 2, 1772, Mars was in this constellation. About the time of his conception Mars entered Virgin. This indicates that there was present in the astral body of Novalis a manifestation of the seven aspects of the soul body about which we have spoken above, and which we have described from the point of view of Mars in the constellations from Virgin to Fishes. In Novalis the sun-like cosmic innocence of the astral forces was manifest, as well as the great “Fall and Rise”. All this grandeur of astral power was then finally accumulated in the position of Mars in Fishes. It became a healing power of peace and reconciliation permeating all those who lived in the surrounding of this wonderful being. We have many accounts of this fact. His astral forces were brought into harmony and awakened to the reality of the spiritual world after he had gone through the most agonizing soul experiences, which brought home to him the reality of the Fall in the garment of death, for he met death in the loss of one of his most beloved friends.

Mars in Ram: Mars in Ram indicates a soul body that, if it is associated with certain other facts, provides a suitable foundation for cognition of the spiritual world. Mars in the constellations from Virgin to Fishes is connected with the cosmic development that led into the Fall and with its redemption. The constellations from Ram to Lion are opposite those which we have described above; therefore, they reflect those powers that gradually withdrew to higher spiritual regions when the great Fall occurred.

We have an example in the nativity of Swedenborg. At the time of his birth, January 29, 1688, Mars stood in Ram. We know that he developed a capacity of clairvoyance in his later life. In this case we need to add several facts in order to understand this clairvoyance of Swedenborg, but we cannot do it now. Perhaps later there may be an opportunity for us to elaborate the details of this nativity.

Mars in Bull: When Raphael Santi was born, March 26 or April 6, 1483, Mars had entered the constellation of Bull. At the time of his conception, Mars was in Waterman where it performed a loop in the first stages of Raphael's prenatal development.

Mars indicates a condition of the consciousness body that, from the beginning, carries the impulse of reconciliation between the astral forces of head and heart and also of forming a conscious relationship between Heaven and Earth. Indeed, if we look at his portrait or read his biography, we can find it confirmed that in this amiable personality there was not the shadow of discord between Heaven and Earth but a warm, radiating love for all existence in the universe.

Finally, in his case Mars had entered Bull, which is opposite Scorpion. When Mars is in Scorpion, we have a manifestation of the Fall written into the human astral body. Although this position marks the beginning of the decline of universal development into matter, it also marks the opening out for humanity of the beauty of the world of the senses. The beauty of the world of the senses is the last remnant of the manifestation of the spirit within it. It radiates from Bull through Mars and can penetrate the opposite constellation. Therefore, if Mars is in Bull in a nativity, it manifests itself in the astral body of such a human being as the power to recognize the spirit in the physical world as beauty. It can come forth as an inclination toward poetry, but in the case of Raphael it revealed itself in the beautiful world of color. If we stand in front of his paintings, for instance, as those of the “Stanza della Signatura”, we can experience the soul condition that must have inspired Raphael. There the world of material objects has become a revelation of the spirit through the language of color.

Mars in Twins: The famous philosopher Schopenhauer was born when Mars stood in the constellation of Twins, February 22, 1788. It started its course in Fishes about the time of his conception. During the last months of this prenatal development, it made a loop in Twins.
The Twins are opposite Archer. In the aspect of Mars in Archer, we found an astral condition that can make human existence appear as a discord between the material and the spiritual world. With Mars in Twins, this fight is, so to speak, decided in favor of the spiritual world.

Schopenhauer's philosophy, which to a certain extent is connected with the individual condition of his soul body, is an expression of this tendency. A human being's experience of the world is, according to the world conception of Schopenhauer, the result of his own soul condition. Therefore, if we experience pain and sorrow, it is due to the fact that we ourselves have created this world through our soul connection with it. For the sake of salvation from pain and sorrow, we must turn away our soul life from this world. In this outlook, there appears some vague connection with a misinterpreted Buddhism. It is a kind of spiritualism that does not want to purify the sense perceptions so that the light of the spirit can again shine through the objects of the physical world but longs to escape that world which is rigid and uncomfortable and leave it unredeemed.

This is the danger of Mars in Twins, but of course the goal that it demands is the realization of the necessity for that struggle in us as a matter of importance for the whole world destiny.

Mars in Crab: When the poet of the Divina Comedia, Dante, was born (May 1265), Mars was in Crab. It started during the prenatal development with a loop in Bull. Therefore, we can recall what we said about Mars in Bull. In this case the poet shed the light of the spirit upon the events of the material world that were dark and tragic in the personal life of the poet. Then in the aspect of Mars in Crab we find indicated another capacity engraved into the soul body of Dante. In the opposite constellation, in Goat, we found indicated the impulse to pacify the contradicting forces in the soul. Here in Dante's poem, overshadowed by Mars in Crab, we find the manifestation of the cosmic grandeur of this process of pacification and purification. The gigantic scenes of the Inferno and the Purgatorio are the cosmic background of those experiences through which every human being has to pass after death.

Mars in Lion: Lion is opposite Waterman. Mars in Waterman indicates the striving for the union between the astral forces working in the heart and the head. When Mars is in Lion we can experience the striving for the cosmic realization, the spiritual achievement of this union. This appears as enthusiasm in the head or realm of thinking and in the heart or realm of willing.

Such a kind of substantiated enthusiasm we can detect in the poet Schiller. When he was born, November 10, 1759, Mars had entered Lion after it had started its journey in Waterman about the time of his conception. The enthusiasm and the striving for the union between head and heart literally consumed his body.

At the birth of Napoleon I, August 15, 1769, Mars was also in Lion but in conjunction with Neptune. It had started in Ram with a loop and in conjunction with Uranus. The power of the soul body, indicated in the gesture of Mars, could also have become a realized enthusiasm, let us say, for the ideal of the French Revolution. However, it was estranged from the physical world and became instead a kind of mechanical spiritualistic dynamism, which rather destroyed the union between the physical and the spiritual world. This tragedy manifests itself in the conjunctions of Mars with Uranus and Neptune, which imposed a superhuman, even inhuman mood upon the qualities of Mars.

The Events in the Sky

The planet Saturn is in the constellation of Twins. It entered this constellation at midsummer last year when it was in conjunction with the Sun; that is to say, it then stood directly behind the Sun. During Christmas time, on the 29 December, it was in opposition to the Sun. The Sun had then moved into the opposite part of the Zodiac and stood in the constellation of Archer. From October 24 until March 6 Saturn performed a loop. It then moved backward or against the general direction in which the heavenly bodies of our planetary system are moving. However, during this retrograde movement it did not leave the constellation of Twins.

We should look upon such an event as we look upon the movements of the hands of a clock. It is not the clock that determines our life, but we arrange our life according to the time which the clock indicates. Thus we cannot speak of any determination of earthly events by the influence of the heavenly bodies; for instance, in this case by Saturn in Twins, but we can read in this event the cosmic “hour” into which humanity has entered. It is left to us to fulfill the needs of this hour.

Saturn is reflected in the depths of the soul life of humanity. It announces the hour of the deeper historical impulses that come to life in the unknown realms of human will. The last time when Saturn was in Twins, humanity was in the midst of the First World War, for this was during the years 1914 to 1917. Now we are in a similar position and it looks as if all the unanswered problems of those past years have risen and stand again at the threshold. Very often it looks as if they had grown even greater.

The constellation of Twins reflects the age-old duality of human beings when they experience themselves as single individualities. On one side they experience, more or less, clearly in themselves the divine spark that connects the individual with a spiritual or cosmic world, and on the other hand they find themselves placed into the earthly world that they experience through the senses and which rigidly imprisons within them their truly “human” nature.

No reconciliation seems to exist between the two worlds that meet in the human individuality. These two worlds are at enmity and this hate grows greater every day. This is the position where humanity stands today. Saturn in Twins announces the “hour” of the “I”. These problems have to be solved during this hour, or humanity will be overtaken by a much mightier catastrophe at a later time.

This is the great question that appears reflected in the position of Saturn in Twins: how can the human soul guide itself between the spirit and the body? The revelations of the spirit are very powerful and will become still more powerful. In our time these revelations can be very strange and almost shattering. Those who are in the center of events, and those who have to fight in the different theaters of war know this only too well. Still there is the danger that the human being may not be able to take these experiences sufficiently seriously any longer, or that their souls may be overpowered and their lives brought into disorder. The spirit of humanity and of the world is in danger of becoming a disturbing phantom for the soul experience of humanity.

The world to which human beings are attached through the body is becoming more and more hardened and painful. Positive hatred of everything connected with spirit or even with soul seems to be innate in it. Because of this cold hatred, the Earth planet is in danger of becoming utterly unfit for human souls and suitable only for mechanized phantoms of the human being. The problem in the depths of the human soul that is reflected in the position of Saturn is this: how can humanity today overcome this twofold danger? We must overcome the power in ourselves that causes the world to which our body belongs to appear to us as rigid, cold, and hateful. If we purify our senses from the old-world, innate egoism, we can learn to perceive the physical world as a revelation of the spirit. Spiritual science gives us the power to look into nature and see the light of the spirit penetrating it. When the spirit reveals itself in the realm of the human soul, we need to recognize that there is a true path by which we may attain definite knowledge of the higher worlds. The realization of this knowledge, and the power to communicate it to those who are in need, is the task of those who have already followed the path that spiritual science has revealed. This knowledge alone can enable human beings to overcome the dangers arising from spiritual experiences for which the soul is unprepared and which work as disturbing phantoms.

This is the present situation of humanity as it is reflected in the position of Saturn in Twins. It shows the general outline of the forces that are working in the depths of human souls as a world destiny. Further influences are reflected by the position and movements of the other planets, but we shall speak of these in the following letters.

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