LETTER - November 1945
Our Connection with the Stars - An Example: Tycho de Brahe
Now that our description
of the nature of the planets has come to a conclusion, we will start
to delineate some historic nativities [mainly that of Tycho de Brahe].
For this purpose we will mainly use the knowledge that we have elaborated
in the first 19 letters, and we will also have to develop some new points
of view in order to perform our task.
The nativity that we would
like to work out is that of Tycho de Brahe, the famous Danish astronomer.
He was born on December 14, 1546 o.s. [Julian Calendar], at Knudstorp
in the County of Schonen (Southern Sweden), at 10:00 a.m. He descended
from a noble family of Swedish origin.
We now need to work out
the position of the sky at this particular moment in relationship to the
birth place and the time. This is to be done with the help of astronomical
knowledge of the planets’ rhythms etc. It is not an easy task
with regard to historic data, because the planetary rhythms are not
as simple as we perhaps expect them to be. Many details and so-called
astronomical “disturbances” are to be taken into account.
Therefore, we cannot embark here on the details of these astronomical
calculations. (For modern data we can use astronomical tables such as the
Ephemeris, which give the position of the planets and other necessary
details for each day.)
When Tycho de Brahe was
born, the constellation of Archer had fully risen in the east, and Goat
followed during the hours after his birth. Thus the constellations Archer,
Scorpion, Scales, Virgin, Lion, and Crab were above the horizon. Virgin
was at about the highest point of the arch of this part of the Zodiac
that was in the hemisphere above the horizon. It was in the southwest
as seen from the birth place. Crab was setting in the west, and Twins
had already set. The Sun was at this time of the day in the southeastern
sky. As the birth took place in wintertime and in a high northern latitude,
the Sun stood very low, just above the horizon in the constellation
of Archer. Behind it stood Mercury, which was then in superior conjunction,
and Saturn was behind both of them. The Moon had just entered the constellation
of Virgin, and it was probably still faintly visible in the southwestern
part of the sky. All the other planets were at this moment underneath
the horizon of the birth place. They were in that part of the sky which
was, at that time of the day, still hidden underneath the eastern horizon.
Jupiter and Venus were in the constellation of Goat, and Mars was in
the constellation of Fishes.
In order to find the right
proportion of the nativity within the complexity of human connections
with the starry universe, we must now consider for a moment the meaning
of birth with regard to the totality of human existence. At the moment
of birth the organism of the child is separated from that of the mother.
It is now left to itself with that particular condition of body which
it has acquired up to this moment. All the processes of creation that
took place during the embryonic development have at this moment come
to an end, and although we can still observe development and growth
in the time after birth, this depends to a certain degree on the form
that has come to a rigid limitation at the moment of birth. Just as
this remarkable moment in the life of a human being is brought about
by the separation of the child from its mother, there is also a moment
when the human being is separated from its heavenly Mother whose outer
features we see in the visible stars. Before birth, the human embryo
was embedded in the womb of its heavenly Mother in the movements of
the stars in the universe and especially of the Moon, just as the physical
embryo was surrounded and protected by the womb of the physical mother.
At the moment of birth this heavenly Mother-Being withdraws and shows
in a last but now fixed picture, all that it had created before birth.
This is the nativity. Therefore, we should look at the nativity as something
that marks the close of a prenatal development. And we see it in the
proper proportion if we consider it as a kind of key to the prenatal
events. But it is the right key only if the birth has not been forced
to suit egoistic requirements, which is a rather widespread practice
today. It is different in cases where the life of the mother or the
child is in danger and when medical help is necessary.
If we now consider the
picture of the nativity of Tycho de Brahe in regard to the coordination
in space, then we have a real image of the baby in its ethereal, even
physical peculiarities. Let us imagine the daily rotation of the sky
from east to west in the hemisphere above the horizon. For the polar
region, of course, it is different — underneath the horizon, this
daily movement is from west to east. Furthermore, let us imagine a human
embryo coming into existence upon the Earth globe. The sphere above
the plane of the horizon, where the movement is from east to west, reminds
us of the dome of the human skull. From this sphere come those forces that
are more concerned with forming the head during the embryonic development.
Just as the stars rise in the east and stroke, as it were, the Earth
in their daily movement toward the west, the head is the predominant
part of the embryo, and out of it the body and the limbs grow downward.
However, we cannot see the stars below the horizon. If we are good mathematicians,
we can calculate their positions at a certain moment and point in the
direction in which they must be underneath the Earth, just as our limbs
more or less point toward the center of our globe. Hence, this sphere
is connected with the creation of the limb system. In between the two
spheres in the direction of the plane of the horizon, we have to seek
for the forces that manifest themselves in the creation of the rhythmic
system. Therefore, we have to seek the coordination of earthly and heavenly
space that finds its expression in the nativity and which gives a fixed
image of the constant weaving of the bodily form during the nine months
of embryonic development and arrive at the picture that is given above.
At the time of Tycho de Brahe's birth, the constellation of Goat
rose in the east. We can see in this a fixed picture of those forces
that had formed the head of this human being during the embryonic state.
Then, as the stars move toward the west and descend below the horizon,
they indicate how, out of this head, the rhythmic and the metabolic
systems grew downward. Thus we have the picture of the complete embryo
as in the diagram. If we now add to this picture the movements of the
planets during the embryonic development, we will have a very illuminating
demonstration of the connection of Tycho de Brahe with the starry universe
and how his destiny was reflected in it.
We will now consider the
movements and gestures of the planets within this picture. We will first
look at the Sun. A few days before the birth it entered the constellation
of Archer, yet within its own orbit it had entered just at this moment
the ecliptic sign of Capricorn. (Unfortunately, these partitions of
the ecliptic have the same names and symbols as the fixed-star Zodiac.
They should have different symbols, because they are of a different
quality and then much confusion could be avoided. We tried to speak
about this differentiation of signs and constellations in letter 13.)
The Sun in the sign of Capricorn gives us an image of Tycho's
bodily constitution. As we have already pointed out in the 13th letter,
the sign of the Capricorn is connected with the formation of the knees,
but there is also a very significant relationship between knees and
eyes in the human body. If we now look at the position of the Sun with
regard to the image of this human body in the diagram above, we can
at once perceive that this Capricorn Sun is strongly related to its
head. Therefore, the constitution in this case must have been eminently
organized toward the manifestation of “knee-forces” in the
head, which are nothing else than the eyes. If we now consider the fact
that Tycho de Brahe was an astronomer at a time when the telescope was
not yet invented, and he was, nevertheless, the first one who made a
substantial number of observations with regard to the positions and
the peculiarities of the stars, we are forced to the conclusion that
he was really able in an extraordinary way to use his whole body like
an eye. He must have been able to subordinate his whole organism to
the action of the eyes. This required quite a different attitude and
bodily discipline in those days than in our time. For instance, we can
attach a camera to the telescope, which then does the work of observation
for us. This extraordinary capacity in Tycho de Brahe is indicated by
the Sun in the sign of Capricorn, and in its conjunction with Mercury
Another aspect, which we can consider from this position of the Sun,
is that of the “open space”, which we described in the 15th
letter. We also mentioned Tycho de Brahe then, so we need not repeat
this here. However, we can now add that the Earth planet appeared in
the open space in the Light of Jupiter. If we could have looked down
upon the Earth from cosmic space when it was in that part of the ecliptic
which was not touched by the Sun during the prenatal development of
Tycho, we should have observed the planet Jupiter behind the Earth in
the constellation of Goat. This indicates that there rested deeply with
Tycho's rhythmic system, in his heart, the searching for that
chalice of the cosmos into which must flow the spiritual substance of
the Earth as the Holy Host of the universe. It was so deeply sunk into
his being that it became a reality only in his life after death, when
this grand imagination was not held by the forces of his body any longer.
In the fact of Jupiter standing behind the Earth, we have a revelation
that this Earth secretly really belongs to the furthest future of our
planet, we might almost say to the “Jupiter-future” of our
Earth planet when the Earth will become the new “Sun-Host”
in the Holy Grail of another universe. Later we shall have to say more
about Jupiter in this nativity.
The Moon was in the constellation
of Virgin at the time of Tycho de Brahe's birth. As we saw the
indication of those universal ether forces that build up the physical
frame of a human being in the position of the Sun, thus we can experience
in the Moon the image of the “other side” of the cosmic
ether that works within the organism and finally prepares it to become
an instrument of consciousness, even of the consciousness soul. We have
spoken of this in detail in the 16th and 17th letters. In this case
the Moon stood in the upper part of the cosmic Virgin. Here we have
the indication that Tycho de Brahe was able to enter into the realm
of the secrets of creation with his consciousness forces. These stars
in Virgin were perceived in many ways in olden times. One way was to
perceive the heavenly Father and Mother as united in one Being. Another
imagination was that of a gigantic studio or laboratory where mighty
hierarchical Beings gave the initial impulses for the various steps
of evolution. However, this imagination varied according to the regions
of this constellation. The imagination of this Virgin-mystery was implanted
into Tycho's being from the aspect of the universal “head
forces” that represent the spiritual essence of the world of the
stars. We need to remember that the woman, who is described in chapter
12 of the Revelation of St. John, has a crown of twelve stars upon her
head. It is the realm of the manifestation of the hierarchies through
the visible stars. Thus we can see how deeply Tycho de Brahe was connected
with the starry world. From his 13th year onward, he regarded the science
of the stars as the revelation of the Divinity.
The Moon at the time of
birth is, from still another point of view, a gateway to the forces
of the consciousness soul or, as we may put it, to the realm of thinking.
In the 14th letter, we described the Moon Nodes and their rhythms. (See
the diagram in the 14th letter.) Also in the same letter we developed
the fact that the Moon Nodes move across the point where the Sun stands
at the moment of birth, either some time before or after birth. This
revealed to us the connection with the realm of the dead.
In the same way, we can
also consider the fact that the Moon Nodes move across the position
in the Zodiac where we find the Moon in the nativity. This can also
take place sometime before or after birth, and need not necessarily
coincide with the moment of birth. As we have already pointed out in
the 14th letter, these Moon Nodes are gateways from the Sun to the Moon
sphere. If we now relate these gateways to the Moon of the nativity,
then we gain a picture that shows us how the higher forces of the Sun
sphere awake in the realm of the Moon, or in its human reflection, the
activity of thinking. In other words, we have a description of the influx
of the Thoughts of the Gods that dwell in the sphere of the Sun and
beyond into the human thinking. How the Thinking of the Gods appears
in people as their own thinking, as each one's own philosophy,
can be found in the individual distribution of the planets in the Zodiac
at the time when those gateways — the Moon Nodes — move
across the position in which the Moon stood in the nativity.
We owe this discovery to
certain indications that Rudolf Steiner gave in his lecture cycle Human
and Cosmic Thought, [where he defines these philosophies and moods].
He speaks there of the fact that besides the actual nativity, another
“spiritual nativity” can be found that shows the philosophy
of a human being and which may even be of greater importance than the
physical nativity. Researches in connection with historical personalities
have led to the confirmation of the fact that this spiritual nativity
is the one which appears when the Moon Nodes move across the Moon of
the nativity. The question is: how can we read in this spiritual nativity
the individual philosophy? This was clearly indicated by Rudolf Steiner.
He described how we can distinguish between philosophical tendencies.
Gnosis: the highest form
of philosophical conception, that which shines like a super-thinking
capacity into the human soul. It corresponds to Saturn in the starry
Logism: the tendency to
comprehend the universe with logical, philosophical thinking. Its cosmic
counterpart is Jupiter.
Voluntarism: the philosophical
tendency that strives to cognize the universe as the result of the activities
of the will forces. In the cosmos it is related to Mars.
Empiricism: the philosophical
tendency to learn the truth through sense-experience and experiment.
Its cosmic origin is the Sun.
Mysticism: the striving
to attain philosophical truth through mystical contemplation. In the
cosmos Venus corresponds to this philosophy.
Transcendentalism: a world
conception that takes into account the existence of a world beyond the
senses, a kind of metaphysical world. It is related to Mercury.
Occultism: cognizes the
“hidden” world as the only real one. The Moon is its cosmic
Each one of these seven
philosophical tendencies can appear in twelve different philosophical
“moods”, just as the planets move through the twelve constellations
of the Zodiac. These twelve moods are:
Idealism: experiences the
universe against the background of active, divine ideas. We find this
related to the constellation of Ram.
Rationalism: a mood that
cognizes the presence of ideas in the universe, not as active entities,
but as concepts that have been put into the existing objects long ago
and cannot evolve further. We find its cosmic equivalent in Bull.
Mathematism: the mood of
experiencing the universe as the expression of great mathematical laws,
as if it were created by a great cosmic mathematician. We find the cosmic
reflection in Twins.
Materialism: considers that
the universe consists only of matter that can be weighed, measured,
and counted. Crab is related to this world conception in the cosmos.
Sensualism: cognizes the
universe as existent only in that realm that is within the compass of
the senses. It corresponds to Lion in the Zodiac.
the “phenomena” in the universe as the essential foundations
of a philosophical world aspect. The constellation of Virgin is its
Realism: strives to make
the mood of cognition of reality the foundation of any philosophical
tendency. Its cosmic origin is Scales.
Dynamism: a philosophical
mood that carries the fundamental concept of powers or forces, but not
yet individual spiritual beings, into any of the seven philosophical
tendencies. Scorpion is its cosmic manifestation.
a world of individual spiritual beings (the Monads) that are beyond
the boundaries of the human being. Yet these Monads are incomprehensible;
thus this world of monadic beings is still only an abstract reality.
We find Archer as the cosmic counterpart.
Spiritualism: cognizes the
universe as the work and manifestation of individual spiritual beings
of a definite hierarchical order. The character and the attitude of
these hierarchical Beings can be distinguished and recognized. Its cosmic
manifestation is Goat.
Pneumatism: a philosophical
mood that cognizes Spirit as the foundation of the universe, yet does
not distinguish between individual spiritual beings. The Spirit is,
according to this view, a more or less undivided Oneness. This corresponds
Psychism: a mood that does
not recognize the Spirit as the foundation of the universe but, instead,
proposes something like a World Soul as the essence of universal existence.
It is related to Fishes.