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Isis Sophia I

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The Nature of the Planetary World - Mercury

Mercury and its Sphere

Contrary to the announcement in the 18th letter, we will not work out a historic nativity with reference to the planet Venus now but continue with the description of the activities of the planet Mercury and its sphere. After we have done this, we can embark on the delineation of a historic example with reference to the totality of the five planets together with the Sun and Moon, and this will be much more satisfactory than the consideration of the isolated activities of single planets.

Some readers may have noticed that the description of Venus in letter 18 is not what we might expect with regard to the essential activity of this planet, but that it has come much nearer to the character that we connect with Mercury. There is a deep inner reason for this. We have been speaking of the sphere of the planet Venus, for we considered it not from the point of view of fixed positions, such as the definite position of Venus in a nativity, but from the aspect of movement; for instance, during embryonic development. As soon as we consider the movements of a planet during a certain interval of time, we already look at the dynamic of its sphere, which is indicated by the gestures of the planet.

Therefore, we can experience that the character of the sphere, which is indicated by the gestures of Venus, has a different nature from that of the planet itself. The same applies to Mercury. Behind this is hidden the fact, which is known in occultism, that the spheres of these two inferior planets were exchanged at a certain moment of human evolution. The sphere of Venus has really the character of Mercury and that of Mercury the dynamic of Venus. During the period when humanity gradually lost the old knowledge of the spheres and looked solely at the visible planets, a veil began to be drawn before these mysteries that cannot easily be lifted, even today. Many riddles are thus still unsolved, and it will be the task of future spiritual astronomy gradually to bring light upon these problems. It is not possible in these letters, which are mainly concerned with astrosophy, to expound the many astronomical questions connected with this subject.

We will now have to discover the fundamental laws and gestures of the planet Mercury in order to find the character of its sphere. From a study of any astronomical handbook, we can find that this planet makes three loops during one year, and also that it has three superior conjunctions with the Sun. From previous descriptions in connection with Venus, we know that the inferior planets make loops (they are then retrograde) when in the course of their rhythms they stand in front of the Sun between the Sun and the Earth. They are in superior conjunction when they have moved behind the Sun and stand between the Sun and the outer fringe of our solar system.

Thus with regard to the gestures of Mercury we have two times three events that are related to each other. If we further imagine that Mercury, like the other planets, appears to us on Earth to be moving in a circle around the Earth, more or less in the circle of the Zodiac, then we have the picture that is produced in Fig. 1.

Diagram 1

Let us now recall what we said in the preceding letter about the character of the sphere of the planet during an inferior and a superior conjunction. The invisible sphere, of which the planet is only the densest point, is pressed together during the time of a loop and cannot properly unfold its activities with which it also embraces the Earth. During the superior conjunction, it is beautifully expanded in cosmic space. (We need only to replace Venus with Mercury in the diagram in the 18th letter in order to obtain the true picture of the movements of Mercury). Therefore, during the course of one year we have a triangle of inferior conjunctions of Mercury in the circle of the Zodiac and another triangle of superior conjunctions. The first one presents a more earthly, darkened mood of the planetary sphere and the second a cosmic light-filled manifestation.

However, this is not quite correct, for a careful observation throughout several years reveals that these conjunctions of the planet Mercury do not always take place in the exact same positions of the Zodiac. They fall back. For instance, in November/December 1945, we will find an inferior conjunction or loop of Mercury in the constellation of Scorpion. Next year about the same time another loop will occur in this constellation, but we will notice that it is further back in the Zodiac toward the constellation of Scales. We will notice that in the course of the next years, this point of the triangle (see Fig. 2) slowly wanders back through the ecliptic, and the other points of the triangles will move backward too. The six-pointed star of the sphere indicated by the planet Mercury turns around in the cosmic spaces just as the gestures of the planet Venus revealed a five-pointed star within its sphere (see 13th letter). In a period of about seven years, one point of the two triangles moves into the position of the Zodiac in which the preceding point stood 7 years before. Furthermore, after a time interval of about 20 years, each one of the points of the two triangles will return roughly into the same position that it occupied about 20 years before.

These rhythms already reveal a great deal about the inner character and activity of this sphere. We know how deeply the rhythm of seven years is inscribed into the human organization. It is connected with the development of capacities and hidden qualities in people. It carries the impulses that come to life in the soul of a person through stages of natural growth and unfolding toward fulfillment. This is even more distinctly expressed in the rhythm of 20 or 21 years. It is the rhythm of the development in the soul of a person of impulses toward the realization of a vocation. Thus, this sphere finds its expression in the will of a human being. We saw the Moon connected with the head of a person as far as the forces of the head and the possibilities of their further development are experienced by someone in the realm of thinking. Venus we saw manifest in the middle or rhythmic system of a human organization, the life that reflects itself in the feeling life. Now we see Mercury active in the depth of human willing.

In order to find the spiritual quality of Mercury and its sphere, we must go one step further. We found in the sphere of the Moon the activity of the hierarchy of the Angels. In the sphere that is indicated by the gestures of the planet Venus, we saw an expression of the working of the Archangels. The sphere of which the planet Mercury is the point of visible densification is the realm of the hierarchy of the Archai or Spirits of Time. Therefore, if we recall the spiritual biography of the Archai, we will be able to find the traces of their activity in the presence of this planet in our universe.

Within the cycle of cosmic evolution that we call Ancient Saturn, the Archai went through the stage of their evolution which corresponds in a certain way to the development of the human being during the present Earth evolution. They attained a consciousness equal to the “I” consciousness of human beings. We must now imagine that until the time of their activity within the Ancient Saturn cycle, there existed only the primeval Will substance that had been divided by the influence of the Spirits of Form into many single entities, the foundations of the physical bodies of humanity, and the beings in the other realms of nature. Now during the following stages of this cosmic evolution, the Archai began to be active. They radiated “personality” into the cosmic spaces, but the planetary substance was not able to retain these forces of personality experience. They were reflected back into the spiritual environment of the planet. Thus the Archai or Spirits of Personality attained a knowledge of their own personality, and this event brought about a change in the quality of the primeval planetary substance. It was separated one step further from its divine origin; it became heat or warmth. We may even experience it as the first decisive step of separation from the origin. The experience of the “I”, which is the evolutionary step of the Archai, bears in itself the tendency toward becoming an entity or becoming a center of existence distinct and cut off from its surroundings. The reflection of this experience of the Archai (as we said, the planetary substance could only hold the “reflection”) appeared as the transformation of the primeval divine Will substance into heat.

Therefore, the heat-substance became the “mirror” through which the hierarchy of the Archai experienced personality. This very first evolution of these spiritual beings is still today fundamentally imprinted in the sphere that is indicated by Mercury. It manifests itself on Earth wherever a connection can be established with the creation of people and the beings in the kingdoms of nature. Thus it becomes visible in the human warmth nature that is inherent in our will sphere. The study of Mercury and its movements during prenatal development reveal one's individual incorporation into the sphere of the will; they reveal, so to speak, the psychic “temperature” of the will life. This temperature is the foundation for a person's experience of his or herself as an ego. We know, for instance, how the warmth of the blood is connected with the development of the ego and the “I”, but we can also find in it the individual and characteristic ways in which human beings move their limbs as they are active in life and tackle its practical problems. In this we can experience the last traces of the heritage that the Archai or the Spirits of Personality have imprinted into the sphere belonging to the planet Mercury.

On the following stage of cosmic evolution, which we call Ancient Sun cycle or evolution, the Archai had advanced to a higher plane of consciousness, to the capacity of imaginative cognition. It was then no longer necessary for them to experience and know of their own Being through the reflection from the heat bodies as on the Ancient Saturn planet. Our human ancestor had, in the meantime, evolved to the stage of being able to bear and become penetrated by a life body. Into this life body the Archai could now work. They were aided by very exalted hierarchical beings, the Seraphim. The Archai penetrated these life bodies with their imaginations, received from the Seraphim or Spirits of Love. Thus a kind of primeval propagation was created in our human ancestor, and this propagation consisted of the power to give away some of their own substance out of which a new “daughter-being” could come into existence. Together with this, the first germs of the glandular organs were created that we observe in people today.

Here we have a beautiful indication of forces that are to be found, like an old inscription in the sphere belonging to the planet Mercury and which become manifest in the activity of this planet, within a person when its body is created during the embryonic development. Again we can detect here the gift of creative activity, which at once reveals two different sides of its primeval tendency. On one hand we see here the world of the secrets of the glandular activity in one's organization, not only in connection with propagation but also with regard to the function of the glands in their widest sense. These glands finally establish the balance of bodily formation and growth. They make the body a harmonized and beautiful image of the human archetype. They also make it possible for the human being to make itself, in artistic productivity of all kinds, an image of the cosmic, far-into-the-future-reaching archetype of humanity, who will not only be able to let the forces of nature produce the archetype of the physical and also spiritual human being through it but who will be able to be creator itself in cosmic space.

We can also find the manifestation of the Mercury forces and its sphere if we look at the gestures of this planet during the embryonic development of an individual. They reveal themselves in the life on Earth after birth, and they ask from each person his or her own fulfillment.

The following cycle of evolution, the Ancient Moon universe, again brought a further development of the activities of the Spirits of Personality. They then attained the consciousness of inspiration. Hitherto they had perceived the events in the universe in mighty inner pictures. Now they could hear the Word, the sounds of the inner language that was inherent as the moving impulse in all creation. Thus they were also able to work into the soul body of the human ancestor and awake in it the tendency toward independence.

We know from previous descriptions that during Ancient Saturn evolution our physical body was created, and within Ancient Sun evolution this physical body was permeated by life forces. We must imagine this Ancient Sun universe, which was not yet condensed into a system of visible stars, moving so that their orbits could be calculated. Nothing of such a starry world was then existent. But the laws of movement, which today seem frozen into the apparent rigidity of the starry world, were existent within the Ancient Sun universe like the psychic world of the Gods. For instance, that which we can perceive today as the loop of a planet might then have been only a soul movement expressing the inner perception of an event or perhaps a resolution of a spiritual being. There may have been the impulse to transform something into a form of existence, which this being had not assumed hitherto. In our human ancestor on Ancient Sun, a reflection was present of this ever-transmuting quality in the universe, and this brought about transmuting processes in its own body over a period of time. Thus it was endowed with life. Within Ancient Moon evolution this body was penetrated by a third principle, the soul, or astral body. Apart of the inner, moving soul world that directed the course of the world from inner experiences also entered this human ancestor. Now it was able to have a consciousness of that which happened within and around it. In itself was present an image of that which brought movement into the universe from psychic impulses, emotions, and reflections.

Into this soul, or astral body, the Spirits of Personality poured the impulses of independence and the character of personality. Thus it happened that this impulse is still today written into the sphere of those hierarchical Beings belonging to the planet Mercury. In the movement and the gestures of this planet, we can experience the revelation of that which lives in us as the microcosm of our personal soul world that manifests itself in intentions, emotions, and impulses. We can perceive the arrangement of this small inner soul universe in us — that the sympathies and antipathies act like the events in a starry universe and create the harmonies or perhaps the discords of a human soul life. As the stars have their rhythms — they may be invisible at certain times to our eyes owing to their positions in the sky, or they may be in strong or weak positions — thus also the human soul life has its rhythms. There may be long periods of passivity alternating with periods of strong activity. Periods of soul interest and direction may fade away and may be replaced by new interests and influxes. All these longer intervals of the psychic directions of the interests of a human being are indicated in a certain way in the prenatal gestures of this planet; for instance, whether a human being has, at a certain time of life, an inclination toward a materialistic or idealistic world outlook can be seen in the movements of Mercury.

The evolution of the Spirits of Personality within the Earth cycle brought also a new aspect into the activity, which today is manifest in the movements of the planet Mercury and the relationship of its sphere to people. Within Ancient Moon evolution, this hierarchy of spiritual Beings planted the impulse to develop independence into humanity's then-highest principle, the soul, or astral body. This impulse was necessary because we were intended by the Gods to become self-conscious bearers of the divine astrality in the future. This development also included the danger of our becoming too independent through complete separation from the cosmic soul world and of self-contentment in the microcosmic psychic realm of our own being. This danger is written into the sphere of the planet Mercury. For instance, we can find through the writing of Mercury in the nativity and its prenatal background the possible over-emphasis of a person's soul-independence, which then represents itself as intellectuality and brings a separation from the world of reality and imprisonment in the universe of its own soul. But independence in this realm is an illusion, because we cannot sever the bonds with the soul and spirit world of the universe, for we are born out of this realm. Thus we can also see the other danger that is the result of the illusion of intellectuality, the exposure of a person to the uncontrolled powers of passions and emotions that dwell deep in the realm of the subconscious.

We can now see that the picture of the gestures of the planet Mercury as two intersecting triangles is also an inner reality (see Fig. 1 & 2). One of the triangles is turned earthward and is formed by the inferior conjunctions near to the Earth. It signifies the danger of the fall of the Mercury capacities in a person into the grave of brain-bound intellectuality. The other triangle is turned heavenward and shows the danger of falling into the depths of incalculable and uncontrollable emotions and passions.

There is also another aspect of this planet and its sphere. The spiritual masters of this sphere, the Spirits of Personality, advanced within the Earth evolution to the consciousness of intuition. This is also written into this planetary sphere. Hence, we can develop these forces as they are embodied in our own being. And instead of being imprisoned in our own separated soul world, we can experience through inner development of our soul forces the presence of real spiritual beings within us. They live and work in our astral body, because it is taken from the world in which these Beings have their home. Yet if they are not recognized by us, if we live only in the realm of our own world-estranged, abstract intellectuality, then these Beings become the uncontrolled masters of our soul.

Therefore, if we look at the position and the gestures of Mercury in a nativity, it is not normally correct to consider these as a definite indication of the peculiarities of human destiny in the sense of astrological prognosis. This can be said not only of Mercury but of all the planets. We must learn to look at them as great cosmic questions of which the answers can be found only in the evolution of the hidden psychic and spiritual faculties of the human being. Only then can astrosophy descend again and incorporate itself into a new Christianized astrology.

The Events in the Sky

The starry sky during the month of October is extremely interesting. We can find two groups of events: on 1 October a conjunction between the Sun and Jupiter will take place, and on the same day a conjunction between Mercury and Jupiter will also occur. This suggests that Mercury must be very near the Sun also (seen from the Earth), and actually we can find that on 2 October there will be a superior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun. In this case, the planet Mercury will stand behind the Sun, between the Sun and Jupiter. Thus we will have the rare event of the Sun, Mercury, and Jupiter standing in one line behind one another. All the time the planet Neptune will be quite near the three heavenly bodies just mentioned; or putting it differently, if we were to extend a straight line from the Earth through the Sun, Mercury, and Jupiter into the space behind them, then we would come into the neighborhood of Neptune. In fact the conjunctions of the Sun, Mercury, and Jupiter with Neptune have taken place in the last days of September; that of the Sun and Neptune on Michaelmas Day, 29 September. We can see that this group of cosmic events is strongly related to the Michaelmas time of this year. All of them will take place in the constellation of Virgin, in the upper part of this constellation, which can be distinguished in the sky as the figure of a humanlike being but with wings like an angel. We cannot, however, see these events, because the Sun is so near that its light blots out any sight of these stars.

A conjunction between Mars and Saturn will occur in the constellation of Twins on 26 October, almost on the border between Twins and Crab. This is also a very important event, because it will inaugurate a long period during which both planets will become retrograde and will perform two more conjunctions. The last of them will occur on 20 March 1946.

Therefore, we have two groups of events: the one in the constellation of Virgin, the other in Twins. The latter one we can even observe during the early morning hours, between midnight and sunrise, around 26 October.

If we try to imagine these events, then dim memories of long past times and cultural conditions may sound from the depths of our being like the sounds of the ever-moving sea. From where do these fragments of memories come and what do they want to tell or to ask us?

The knowledge of the precession, which is the movement of the vernal point through the constellations of the Zodiac, might lead us back to the dim past when the great Zarathustra founded the Old Persian culture, about 6000 BC. Saturn, the great guardian of cosmic memory, may open this page in the cosmic records of world history, and we may be permitted to read on this page the grand story of Zarathustra and how he was able to experience, in or behind the stars, spiritual beings of the hierarchical orders working into the Earth planet. We might derive a faint imagination of how he saw in the events on the Earth, in the change of the seasons, in the events in human life and history, and in the fight between good and evil, the reflection of those mighty occurrences and constellations of the great universe. Living with the great spiritual beings of the universe, he was nearer the Earth and its conditions, its needs, and its future than other people of his time, because he lived and could unite with the origin of everything that was and was to come.

When we ask: From where did this gigantic guiding knowledge come?, then we may look at those other events that take place in the constellation of Virgin. If we again follow the guidance of the precession, the movement of the vernal point, we may be lead still further back into an even more remote past. We may come to an age, long before the great Atlantean flood that destroyed the continent of Atlantis. We may come to people who had a knowledge of the starry universe which surpasses everything that we can imagine today. They were called the Akkadians. They arranged and ordered everything in the social life on Earth according to the great prototypal order, which they perceived in or behind the starry universe. They experienced in the multitude of stars the writing of the heavenly host of exalted Beings, and in reading this script and acting according to it, they had the certain experience that their earthly affairs were arranged in the best possible manner.

These are the sounds we may hear if we try to listen with our inner ears to the starry events of which we have spoken. We may hear much more of which we must be silent until the time is ripe. But amongst all this we may perceive one deep, solemn sound, and we may become aware that it is the voice of that Being whose festival we celebrate in these days. He may want to remind us through those pictures of a remote past that humanity has lost and has to regain in an entirely new way. We cannot now look up to the stars as the guides of our life on Earth. They are dead for us; light-years and spectro-analytic hypotheses have banished them from us, but we can raise the will into our lamed thinking, and we can set out in order to find the stars in a new revelation. We may discover in them the grand memory of the whole past evolution of the world and humanity from the very beginning. From this all earthly and brain bound knowledge, surpassing cosmic memory, we may gain the wisdom with which we may now start to become human beings. Namely beings who, out of the unfathomable depths of the cosmic intelligence, know the needs and the goal of humanity, of the Earth, and of the whole cosmos and who freely act out of this knowledge into and for the future of our universe.

This might perhaps be a part of the Michaelmas message of this year that sounds through cosmic spaces and wants to be heard by human ears...

It is only a general representation of these cosmic events that we tried to describe. We may have to say much more about them in future.

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