In part one of this series we tracked the origins of alchemy, the mother of all modern sciences, and looked over the shoulder of alchemists on three continents to complete our overview. In part two we examined the Four Elements within you as well as in the outer world. We also presented a Four Element meditation.
This time around we will once again focus on you. No, not your New Years’ resolution to lose ten pounds! Rather we are going to investigate and uncover the meaning and the practical applications of one of the most outrageous claims you may have ever heard: that you harbor the Moon and the Stars within you!
First off, what does that mean? You may have seen in some books on Yoga, drawings of the seven main chakras of the human energy body. These seven chakras are energy transceivers along the spinal column that can be approached experientially by getting involved in certain forms of meditation, yogic or tantric techniques, and in Reichian therapy. In the West, man is sometimes referred to as a "book with seven seals" – here the term seal is the equivalent to the Indian term "chakra."
No matter where on the planet they were located and what their culture, the mystics of old experienced and utilized the same seven main energy centers. Alchemists took their observations further and came up with a correlation of the seven seals within the human energy body and the energies of the so-called seven Hermetic Planets.
The view that we harbor the energies of planets and stars within is actually the real origin of the traditional Hermetic axiom: “as above, so below.” In Western alchemy, as well as in Ayurveda, the seven Hermetic Planets or their archetypal God-forms or energies are considered to rule the seven seals, which in turn rule particular organs.
The Western correspondences from top to the bottom are: 1) the moon rules the brain and head, and is represented by the metal silver; 2) Mercury rules the nerves and the lungs and is represented by quicksilver; 3) Venus rules the veins and the kidneys and is represented by copper; 4) The sun rules the heart as well as the arteries and is represented by gold; 5) Mars rules the gall bladder and is represented by iron; 6) Jupiter rules the liver and is represented by tin; 7) Saturn rules the spleen and is represented by lead. In addition, Earth rules the medulla oblongata and is represented by antimony.
The influence of the moon upon the head is modulated by the two nodes of the moon. The lunar north node, called Dragon’s Head or Rahu in India, is represented by zirconium and has a secondary effect upon the synchronization of brain functions. The lunar south node, Dragon’s Tail or Ketu, is represented by beryllium and has a secondary effect upon eyesight and psychic abilities. Humans are said to carry within them the archetypal energies of all the twelve signs of the zodiac, from Aries ruling the head all the way down to Pisces ruling the feet.
After reading all these correspondences, we may well ask – is this stuff from the ancients for real? Or is it all just some fancy metaphor for an archaic joke that is lost on us?
Aspiring students of modern medicine who go through what is lovingly called “cadaver lab" – an exercise in how to preserve life by focusing on dead organs pickled in toxic chemicals and proudly displayed in cut-open bodies – might well ascribe to the latter viewpoint. But the last laugh might be on them as they proudly practice such reputable cutting-edge "science" in an attempt to progress in the healing arts.
However, because all the ancient holistic healing arts formed core doctrines around these correspondences in their development of therapies and natural medicines, we should be able to find some evidence, circumstantial or otherwise, to back the claims of the ancients.
Quite remarkably, we do find modern corroborations. The late Italian M.D., Giuseppe Calligaris, mapped the human skin and discovered a network of lines – a grid of longitudinal meridians and parallels of latitude on the skin – that have less electrical resistance, are hyper-esthesic, and form geometrical patterns. Calligaris discovered that certain lines and points on the skin were related to specific conscious and subconscious portions of the mind, and, when stimulated, induced paranormal abilities. He discovered points of intersections of cosmic energies, which acted as mirrors, collectors and accumulators. And he showed conclusively that being born under a certain sign of the zodiac, with its ruling planet, activates a series of specific lines and points at the moment of birth which reflect the particular stellar and planetary energy at that point in time.
Calligaris’ findings clearly substantiate the basic claim of Astrology that the planets and stars influence us. But we do find a conflict here with modern Western tropical astrology: it is the archetypal energy of the planets and stars in the actual sky at time of birth that are reflected on the skin. The tropical zodiac that is used today, however, was aligned with the true, sidereal zodiac ca. 200 A.D.. Due to the precession of the equinoxes, the tropical zodiac is about 23 degrees off today.
For the purpose of determining the true influences of planets and stars, we need to utilize the sidereal zodiac, which is done in Indian Astrology, better known as Jyotish, and in the traditional Egyptian Sidereal Astrology that has been rediscovered by Cyril Fagan.
Rudolf Steiner attempted to revive many aspects of this ancient knowledge of the alchemical correspondences. One of his students, Lilly Kolisko, performed hundreds of experiments of capillary dynamolysis, a technique that employs metal salts in solution on filter paper. She observed the formation of recurring patterns during certain planetary constellations. In 1926, one year after Steiner's death, Kolisko first witnessed "the working of the stars on Earthly substance." Here is how she describes the breakthrough moment:
"An invisible hand had blotted out the working of the lead in my solution. The Sun had stood before the planet Saturn and here below on Earth the lead could not manifest its activity. When the Stars speak man must stand still in silent awe."
In the next article on alchemy, we will talk about the art of the alchemist and its value in corroborating the above basic axioms. For this purpose we will take a look at the use of alchemical medicines made of metals, minerals and gemstones that are considered to be the Earthly representatives of the above discussed stellar energies.