The Temples (Part 2)

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! This month we continue looking at the houses, discussing the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th.

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The 5th Temple: Joy, Creativity, Self Expression and Luck.

Location: The 5th temple is a space half way between the nadir of the sky and the western horizon. This means it is a completely non-visible area of the sky that is always below the horizon and out of view.

Discussion: At the 5th temple our tour of the temples has traveled over one quarter of the way around the wheel of the chart and this means that we are approaching the second of the 3 temples focused on pure existence, life and being (the first such temple was the 1st), and it is a place where that light of being is expressed as spontaneous joy and fun. It is worthy of deep reflection that such a place as the Temple of Joy and Pleasure exists alongside a temple for acquisition, memory, being and communication. Fun, or leisure, is just as fundamental an ingredient in life experience as any of these things are. In fact it is something vital, as the temples of existence – the 1st, 5th and 9th – are fundamentally about the experience of being alive.

The 5th temple is a place of joy, co-creation and pleasure and it develops and harmonises with the expression of the previous temple of spirit or existence, the 1st, by channel ling self identity through our creative outpouring of the life force, securing our procreative and co-creative life essence in acts, so its core aim is ‘Security of the Awareness of Existence’, a search for some kind of affirmative display and sharing of the creative potential of our own truly unique inner light through an emanation of it into the world. Whereas in the 1st the task is simply to be who we are in the 5th the task is to create who we are, to externalise who we are as some kind of creative output. It is a region that often naturally aspects the ascendant by trine (120 degrees, a harmonious, flowing aspect) and is a succeedent temple (temples 2, 5, 8, and 11 are succeedent temples because by primary motion objects are succeeding to or moving to one of the places of power, the Angular temples) therefore any natal planetary occupants tend to experience a slow but steady re-vitalising climb in energy through the course of life (this only applies to the occupants of a temple, not their rulers, so Mercury is only succeedent if it is inside a succeedent temple, not if it rules one.). In the 5th objects get charged up by our inner creative light and take form in our creations. This is the temple of The Art, the temple of creative power in which our lives become our creations. This is why the ancients called this temple the ‘Good Fortune’ (for it is indeed a great fortune bestowed on us by life) and attributed it to matters of mundane (earthly rather than spiritual) luck and chance. It has some connection then with reputation, with fame, lucky wins, notability and notoriety, especially for entertainers, gigolos, lovers and sports enthusiasts, but really it is fundamentally about securing a sense of joy in life by expressing our own uniqueness brilliantly to the world. It proclaims “I exist, and I am uniquely creative in this way…”

The 5th temple on the surface then is simply about fun and creativity; it contains and gives active expression, identity and meaning to all our procreative and artistic efforts, from the birth of children to love affairs to competitions, practical jokes, art, sports, our natural talents and hobbies and dramatic or theatrical gifts. In no other area of life do we connect with the radiant feeling of being alive so directly and vitally than in the 5th. It’s why countries go crazy ape shit with happiness when they win the world cup. LIFE IS MEANT TO BE FUNDivine Providence has gifted each created thing with the capacity to enjoy all of creation. This is why the 5th is so fundamental a part of life experience, along with communication and memory and the other temples. When there are problems in this temple, the whole chart can suffer as the joy of life is felt to be missing. We can feel very dead inside and cursed with bad luck when the creative spark is dim. Usually it becomes this way because we do not nurture it like the child it is. Our child. It has to be regarded as if we were its parent.

As a temple which creatively expresses our unique experience of existing it is more objective than the 1st because the 1st temple planets are right in front of our nose, so to speak, and we can suffer from not being able to see the woods for the trees, we are them, whereas planets in the 5th are not so entwined with our identity but more with what it creates, though 5th temple influences can still become factors in our displays of ego through our expression of creativity and self confidence, especially in the form of a desire for fame and praise. Our creativity allows us some objectivity on our own identity, so there is greater objectivity on ourselves in this temple than in the 1st temple as we can externally perceive ourselves in our creative acts, but this objectivity can make disruptions here have greater effects on our sense of the joy of being alive since we will equate it more with fortunate and unfortunate external effects and conditions – ‘luck’, the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ which either crush our creations or exalt them (with the danger that the ego will identify itself with its creations and grow self important). In this sense, working with the 5th temple can feel like falling in love or being heartbroken. In fact, those well known states are often very much to do with things stirring in the 5th. The joy of this temple is Venus, for here her essential meaning is strengthened by location in a region of sky that is fundamentally suitable to her principles, specifically, that of pleasure and romance, art and fun.

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In summation, because the successful and fortunate outcome of any creative effort is always joyous and uplifting for the human spirit this temple concerns our self confidence as well as our capacity to have fun, kick back, and amuse ourselves with recreation, hobbies and games, leisure time, sport, theatre, entertainment or art. In astrology it is therefore consulted in matters relating to ones own co-creations, our joys, creative acts, our children (and thus our fertility and issues involving pregnancy and parenthood) and in any matter in connection with fame, fun, games of luck and fortune, risk taking (which makes us feel alive) or following bliss, such as pleasurable hobbies and romantic flirtation and love affairs, gambling fortune and dating, but above all and most fundamentally, it is important to turn to whenever we are neglecting ourselves or life feels dull or overwhelmed with sorrows. Its planets and its key are the ones we should turn to when we cannot smile. The quest of the 5th temple is simply to live a happy and joyful existence and to express our unique creative power.

To truly know the joy of being alive and to unleash our creativity we have to express the highest creative power of:

1) The sign that opens this temple
2) The ruler of that sign
3) Any objects within the 5th temple, whether that be a natal placement or a temporary one

The secrets of the art of living are enacted here, and when we tap deep into them the inspiration is endless. Often we will sabotage this temple in the same way that we sabotage the inner child within us – we discipline it too much and keep it hidden away, because as every performer knows you make yourself vulnerable when you step into the spotlight. Yet this vulnerability is most often rooted in our need to impress the audience, and vanishes almost entirely when we focus on the creative flow, the art, the muse that is playing with us. Thats when we become extremely powerful, because we can allow the creation to happen without editorial gatekeeping – we become the creative power. Aside from this another major challenge of this temple is that we need to unlock our own point of contact with that creative power, a task which often involves ridding it of the narratives and stories of other creators. We have to overcome the tendency to copy our icons and heroes in order to reach our own creative inspiration. Its only when we do this that, magically, other people start to take notice because we are triggering in them their own embrace of their unique creative power – this is the greatest gift we can give to others through this temple.

Concepts: The art of living, eminence, creative self expression, dating and romance, gambling, fun and hobbies, leisure and sport, games, theatre and entertainment, fortune, procreation, our children.

Ancient terms: The Good Fortune, Place of Good Doing, Place of Freed Slaves.

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The 6th temple: Purification, Service, Daily Work, Apprenticeship, Skills

Location: The 6th temple is located just below the western horizon and is the place where everything in the sky goes to after it is seen to set and is no longer visible. It is therefore the place where the planets, Lights and stars visibly sink into the Earth like celestial seeds.

Discussion: At this point in our journey through all 12 temples which began at the eastern horizon (1st temple) and sank below it traveling through the non-visible portion of sky, first reaching the nadir at the 4th temple and then beginning to rise, we are now approaching the western horizon from underneath. This is the invisible region where planets and the Sun go after they completely set in the west, where they are buried like seeds each day by the turning of the Earth. It is the temple of physical service – the planets essential meaning is being absorbed into the Earth to be broken down and employed in natural processes, it is moving into the soil and the Plant and Elemental Realm, producing remedies – and it is the temple of the purification of flaws, a place where planetary energies tend to swiftly discorporate and become disembodied, just as the Suns light does when it sets here. The essential focus for the 6th temple is simply ‘Physical Awareness Learning’ but this simple phrase hides a complex set of expressions in human experiences. Here is where we learn to treat the physical body itself as a temple that receives Divine input and so discover the daily practices that are involved in maintaining it.

The cadent temples – the 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th – are traditionally the ‘weakest’ places in the sky because by primary motion they are places where planets and the Sun and Moon go after they have been in the places of power, the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th. What is really meant by this is that the objects in these regions are undergoing processes which tie up their energies, usually dissipating their effectiveness to some degree, draining them of substance but resulting in a learning experience. Thus they are busy places of learning. The 6th is the place where this learning is focused physically. It is not a place of high ambition (the 10th temple is that place) – here instead is the temple where we learn how to feed, clothe, clean and care for ourselves and other people in material terms and set about doing what needs doing to tend to such essential necessities. This is a temple that is grounding and habit forming for us. It is a place of apprenticeship, a place where we hone our skills.

Our learning process in respect of life in the material realm takes place chiefly through the acquired skills we develop and employ in daily acts of service and the toil we undertake in service to others and self while we are embodied here (any work and employment which does not directly further our ultimate goals – as noted above, those goals are symbolised by the 10th temple instead), also through our repetitive experience of humdrum routines (washing, cleaning, repairing), the mundane requirements of modern corporeal life, and through our experiences with the debility of health and the necessities of being tasked with the regular maintenance of a physical body (food, fitness, the prevention of and treatment of illness). All these areas embody the chief matters of the 6th temple.

Today this learning manifests in a truly vast variety of human expressions such as the countless fads in food and diet, physical illness and injuries sustained by accidents, toil and labour, workers rights and our employment of others (our servants and people we pay for services; in ancient days, also our slaves (with slavery in the ancient world being a matter of both the 6th and 12th houses), trade unions (in ages past, guilds), skills (practised abilities, rather than innate talents), tenants, hygiene and daily routine, servitude, any kind of daily work which holds little or no promise of advancement to our ulterior goals (scrubbing the kitchen dishes, cleaning the windows, taking out the garbage), the countless variety of remedies for the little things that ail us, our relationship to work colleagues, daily rituals, relations to pets and other small animals, and to cattle and farm animals, to name but a few. Along with poor maintenance of the body, work stress, unemployment and anxiety over day to day issues are fundamental causes of poor health and the 6th temple expresses this reality. There is a strong connection between the state of our health and the toil and labour we undertake every day.

The connection to small animals (‘pets’) and farmland animals is often taken as a “master and servant” relationship when in reality animals are far more than our servants and have much to teach us about material life. The truly magical expression of this temple towards domesticated animals is in allowing them to be what and who they are and respecting their spirit as equal, not training them to do whatever we command or using them as resources without respect, although some lines of communication must always be established within appropriate boundaries. In other words, our human perception of animals must often be purified of arrogant, superior human attitudes toward ‘lesser’ life forms in order to permit the magic to flow.

Some animals, though, have taken it upon themselves to gently remind us of our true significance…

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Mars has its joy in this temple not really because it accentuates his malevolence and ability to injure and sicken or because he indicates some form of enforced slavery as traditional books may indicate, but more because his energies and drive are given a regular outlet and because he gives such people a lot of energy to get their backs into labour at repetitive hard work, or for healing (many surgeons will have a prominent Mars here for example). Mars in this temple is also often a robust boon to physical repair or body strengthening – the blood is ruled by Mars and when found in the 6th, being ‘sunk’ into the flesh, Mars commonly purifies it via heat and more robust circulation, giving the cells of the body greater fighting spirit and empowering the muscular system. Being born with Mars in the 6th temple also busies our daily life and the drive of our will in helping other people, a focus which undermines the tendency of Mars to act selfishly, and at a more metaphysical level the cutting edge of what defines us as individuals (Mars) is what we achieve not for ourselves but for the benefit of other individuals. These are the real reasons Mars is given joy in this temple.

So the 6th temple represents all fields of life where we learn about the day to day realities of being in our body and in a physical world and so try to do things to keep it fit and running – it is where we learn about our basic physical condition and through this learning perform some kind of act of material service, a helpful contribution to or even a purification of physical matter. We get up early in the morning to bake bread for the town, we take the dog for a walk, we clean up the living room for guests, etc. It is more than our sweat and time that we must learn to physically give, as the Prophet of Orphalese in the well known book by Kahlil Gibran said –

“Work is love made visible….for if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger”. –  Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

The ancient world was not a very comfortable or easy world in which to try to make a living or even to physically survive day by day. Plagues, quakes, fires, floods, storms, famines, droughts, wild animals, insurrections and all kinds of troubles assailed daily life, and there was little to nothing in the way of support when calamity fell, as it regularly did. Struggle, toil, hardship and the danger of being eaten by a hungry or pissed critter were widespread. There was frequently nothing to stop someone else claiming your body and using it as a commodity in the slave markets, especially if you were a woman. Most people had to find water every day. Hard won stocks spoiled easily. So in the ancient world this temple is called The Bad Fortune, because the facts of life were far harsher. Today, such ill fortune still exists for billions of people all over the world and ancient world slavery is still very much alive and well, contrary to popular belief – its just less visible in polite society – but modern astrology focuses on sickness and the drudgery of being a wage-slave as the chief misfortunes of this temple. Like all the temples this place is really neither good nor bad, troubles come from anywhere and there are many blessings to be found in each of the houses. We can see illness as a bane, or we can see it as a signpost calling for healing. A true healer has experienced pain and been healed. My mum, on the advice of my nan, let me play in the dirt. This was very wise as I grew stronger in constitution. My immune system was also made stronger after the measles, the chickenpox, and who knows what else. Your day job might suck the life out of you, but it pays for all your stuff, staves off hunger and thirst and puts clothes on your skin. So there is something of a trade-off in this temple and our attitude to that is important in terms of how much ‘bad fortune’ we will draw from it. I have met people crippled in wheelchairs with less ‘bad fortune’ than some healthy millionaires I have known. They might complain endlessly about their daily troubles, while the person in the chair has had to purify and transcend them. Trouble is character building, and taking the easy short cut is not always wise – ask the sorcerers apprentice!

Concepts: Daily chores, routines, skills, our employees, co-workers, apprenticeship, illness (diagnosis and/or remedy of health problems), services, animal companions.

Ancient terms: The Bad Fortune, Place of Slaves, Place of Sickness and Troubles.

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The 7th Temple: Partnership, Contract, Rivalry and Polarity.

Location: The 7th temple lies directly above the western horizon and is the first of the temples in these articles to be a completely visible area of the sky.

Discussion: This visibility shifts the focus from the private world of the individual (1-6) firmly into the court of the public areas of experience, the areas of life the rest of the world has a window on. They don’t see our family interaction, our creativity, our bank account, our state of health or our thoughts, or if they do its because something is up there and we are showing something that is usually private. From the 7th to the 12th temple, the houses are now about things that have more of a public edge to them. The heart of the private sphere is in temple 4, while the heart of the public sphere is the 10th.

Importantly, the quality of light now shifts too – if we are born in the night hours then the Sun has to be in the 1st – 6th temples, so that temples 7-12 will be without daylight, and conversely if we born in the day the Sun must be in temples 7-12, filling them with daylight, so that temples 1-6 are dark. Every chart is half light and half dark. The light of the Sun will then fill an entire hemisphere of the chart, indicating more of a broad life focus on public or private experience. If the placement of planets reinforces this, for example if all of our planets are above the horizon including the Sun, then that hemisphere becomes super emphasized and the other one is often underdeveloped.

So the 6 temples following govern realms of life which are more public and in general nature they involve the notion of public self and attitude to dealings with others (above the horizon), rather than focusing on the inner realms and personal resources of the private self (below the horizon). This temple therefore introduces the concept of temporal polarity, the stark difference between night and day, internal and external, private and public, self and other. It is the place where night and day exchange evening kisses in the twilight, where I become you and you become me and together we become something new. Its magic is a measure of our ability to co-operate with another.

This is the temple of partnership or relating and its key phrase could be described as ‘Mental Awareness in Action’. The mental awareness or mental body joins with whatever it focuses itself on. Through our interactions, partnerships and face to face relationships with others we learn about our own way of thinking, communicating and being and see ourselves reflected in the thoughts we think about others and the faces they present to us. Our face to face relationships are mirrors. The intellectual and social dimensions of this temple encompass our intimate relationships as well as our business partners and open opponents (known enemies and rivals, competitors etc.), because all face to face relationships are reflections of our own thinking processes, our conscious and unconscious awareness. This region of the sky is the place where our spirit of being is reflected in the people we pair with, who are in turn drawn to us for mutual contact in mental and social experiences, but it is also descriptive of the way we relate to relating itself.

More technically, the spirit or mental body has a component which is analogous to the Earth Element which Bardon calls the ‘I – Consciousness’, the mental awareness of the being as a discrete and physical self (this does not mean that the 7th temple is always ‘Earth Element’ because in the section under discussion Bardon is talking about the pristine Elements of the universal mental body, the spirit, and the astrological chart is a map of the soul). This ‘I Consciousness’ contains and gives form to all the other Elements of the spirit through its binding cohesion of the spirits intellect, will, and feelings and operates as a transceiver on the timeless mental planes, thereby materially attracting and binding to us other mental qualities – other minds and ideations – ‘Others’ – according to its maturity and development. Whatever we identify our Self with must, due to the law of polarity, have an opposite which is not identified with Self, but like two sides of the same coin or night and day these two concepts express a singular meaning or idea and are thus inseparable. What we see in others we must first have within ourselves and then see reflected in them in mirror form. If we think someone is jealous it must first belong to us on some level, otherwise how could we re-cognise it when it comes? Further, since within the mental plane like attracts like, having thoughts attracts experience to us that is similar in nature to that thought; it attracts to itself that which complements it. That is the deeper mystical meaning of the biblical words ‘Love thy neighbour as thy Self’. It is the understanding that we are all connected as unified expressions of the Eternal, and seeing this in its infinite variety as everyone and everything we interact with. Mind is One Mind, with an infinite number of unique facets, each refracting the light of singular awareness into infinitely varied prisms. This temple is positioned to teach us this truth and to explore it through our primary and most significant personal relationships. Simply put, it is the temple where we learn to walk in the shoes of an infinite multitude of others and to see the world from their perspective, as well as explore the mystery of how we open the doors that invite them to do the same, either with us or with other people in their lives.

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Thus, this temple – and so all human relationships, not just those we have with a singular but significant other – serve as a reflective mirror of being (a mirror of the 1st temple) in external forms which change shapes and appear as different ‘others’, different partners and opposite numbers who are drawn to us as complementary forces by the radiation of our whole Self and yet are also discrete and independent embodiments of awareness in themselves, drawing us to them at the same time but from within their own centre. There is much more meaning and wisdom in the old adage “When the student is ready the teacher will appear” than is at first apparent, but we might also say “When the teacher is ready the student will appear”.

When we say “This is who I am, this is my identity” we are speaking from the 1st temple, but this identification automatically imply an Other which we are not – “that is who you are” – which is to say, something we actually are in truth, because it is shown in our 7th temple, but we do not recognise it being so because we do not identify our own being with it, it becomes something ‘others are’. These others then seem to complete us.

Deeper thought on this reveals that identity does not take on mental form without another for a reference point. Many people experience this as a person who complements them, but for a magician, who must be whole in and of themselves, this is not satisfactory and a deeper exploration is required in order to own the projections and experience the partner objectively, as they truly are, as well as to own the whole self so that it can be gifted to them. This is sometimes called clearing the air in relationships. Others call it chemistry, the kind we commonly experience between people but which can also apply to things, places and concepts – it is possible to fall in love with an idea and to marry oneself to that idea for life. All are appropriate views of what the 7th temple is about, but 95% of the time people gravitate to another human being who can mirror their own complexity to them.

Although its form is as infinitely varied as the variety of individuals who come into being, the purpose or intention of this process is always the same: to relate to others in a way which fully expresses our own uniqueness and in a way that the uniqueness of the other person (or thing) can open itself up to, thus creating a mutual enhancement of both identities. We have to know ourselves and be ourselves (1st temple) and at the same time allow partners to be themselves, adapting our own uniqueness so that it can be understood by theirs, which means we have to know what their needs are too (7th). This is what ‘making love’ really is – two people consciously engaged in this process: I am loving you in the unique way that I have to give my love and in a way that your unique way of receiving love can appreciate, and vice versa. Its what elevates having sex to spiritual communion and connection.

So this temple describes our marriage partners, known enemies or major rivals in public life, the type of people we are attracted to and attract, and our associations (often unto death), because who we are attracted to, the quality that draws us to them, is precisely that quality which we ourselves feel a lack of – or antagonism towards – within our self projection or being; that is, it is the opposite quality to that of the ascendant, and thus a quality that is not easily recognised by or as the Self in the now moment and is thus sought for externally in others – a lesson in polarity. The 7th temple is a ‘mental magnet’ that pulls people into a close orbit of our chart and so these people offer us what we have denied ourselves while at the same time receiving from us that which they need. Yet more than that it is also a way we have of interacting with entities who we perceive to have a life outside of our awareness, so for a magician it has important connections to evocation as well as the wandering of the mental body.

If the 7th temple and its ruler is well supported, essentially and/or accidentally dignified and with easy to handle aspects, and no occupant of the 7th temple objects and overturns this, the chart typically has its general wishes for partnering heard easily and so this will come more smoothly. If all of these conditions applying to the ruler and occupants of the 7th show a lack of support – the 7th ruler has no essential or accidental dignity, no harmonising aspects and nothing in the 7th temple provides any of these either, then it means that even finding someone compatible to be with can present dramatic problems and relationships in general are fraught with complications and difficulties because they are necessary learning experiences. A Light or planet in the 7th temple will have an even more powerful role to play in this, because planets in this temple are often more manifest than the ruler is, especially when close to the opening degree. Still, with a well placed ruler of this temple we will more likely attract marriage and business partners who work well with us rather than known enemies who spur us on by challenging and competing.

It should also be explained here that, as has been noted earlier, this temple introduces polarity. It should be obvious from a study of the 1st and 7th temples that the cusps of these places delineate the primary way the chart has of expressing the total complex of the Self into the world, through the quality of the identity and the interactions it forms with others. The 1st is “my outlook on my self” and the 7th is “my outlook on other people”. Together they form a fundamental polarity, one that underpins our entire existence. The other temples also polarise in a similar fashion, though they are far less fundamental:

Polarities in Astrology

  • Self (1st) and Others (7th) – the identification polarity
  • Holding (2nd) and Releasing (8th) – the sensual polarity
  • Thinking (3rd) and Believing (9th) – the cognitive polarity
  • Memory (4th) and Aspiration (10th) – the temporal polarity
  • Making (5th) and Sharing (11th) – the co-creative polarity
  • Grounding (6th) and Transcending (12th) – the essential polarity (as in essence)

In the zodiac the Elements are arranged in the following scheme:

  • Fire polarises with Air
  • Water polarises with Earth

Please note that the Elements of astrology are arranged with Fire opposing Air, not Water, and that Water opposes Earth, not Fire. I call the (non-astrological) oppositions of Fire-Water and Air-Earth a magical opposition, and the astrological type of Fire-Air, Water-Earth a natural opposition. The difference between them is that a magical opposition of the Elements involves Elements of two differing Fluid qualities (it is either an Electric/Magnetic, or Neutral/ElectroMagnetic pairing) and a natural opposition involves Elements of a similar Fluid quality (Electric/Neutral or Magnetic/ElectroMagnetic). Looking at the symbols for the Elements this is clearer:

sign_firesign_air Fire and Air have a bias to upward pointing Electric Fluid

sign_watersign_earth Water and Earth have a bias to downward pointing Magnetic Fluid

So why is the zodiac arranged in a natural opposition of the Elements (similar Fluid) rather than a magical opposition (different Fluid)? The reason is because the origin of the zodiac and its formulation is tied to nature, to the cycle of the natural seasons marked off by the four major stations of light in the calendar year, which also rotate the Elements in a natural opposition sequence:

  • Fire (Aries, Spring Equinox)
  • Water (Cancer, Summer Solstice)
  • Air (Libra, Autumn Equinox)
  • Earth (Capricorn, Winter Solstice)

Another way to say this is that a natural opposition emphasises the Fluids while a magical opposition emphasises the Elements. The natural opposition sequence is rotating, while the magical sequence is radiating in nature. The alternating triangles of the natural opposition sequence of the Elements are more stable and cohesive than the magical opposition sequence, which is more energy releasing, more explosive.

The polarity of the 1st-7th I will call the ‘identification polarity’. This polarity encompasses the concept of what we identify with both in ourselves and in others. The Elements in control of this axis and the factors connected to it will contribute to revealing:

1) The Fluid which is most identified with.
2) The personal qualities we identify with.
3) The relative stability of our identity, i.e. whether it changes frequently or almost never.
4) The processes involved in forming identifications.
5) The basic Elemental qualities of all our relationships.

Concepts: Partnership, co-.operation, empathy, contracts, rivalry, every kind of significant other, from business partner to the love of your life.

Ancient terms: The Setting Place, The Dying Place (many ancient thinkers associate the 7th with death and the end of life, rather than the 8th).

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The 8th Temple: Release, Hidden Power, Rebirth, Compulsion, Debt.

Location: The 8th temple is a region of the sky about midway between the western horizon and the midheaven of the sky.

Discussion: Although this is a realm of sky above the horizon it is one with a reputation for growing darkness and concealment because when the Sun reaches this place each day its light begins to fade as it sinks into the twilight of the west and the shadows begin to lengthen, especially in winter. As the area which marks the creeping approach of twilight and the dawning of the night the 8th house is the temple of release in which life lets go of the day, governing the ending of things in loss and death but also rest and hence peace. It is also a magical temple in which shadows become animated and lengthened. Its essence is occulted and astral, related to the 4th and 12th temples in that it is also, like they are, somewhat mysterious and deep, each being concerned with matters that are concealed. Each of these temples lead to arenas of life which unlock the most secreted experience, the most hidden and occluded aspects of our awareness where things must first be detected before they can be transmuted, transcended or grown through in order to become personal gold (consciously realised), infused with their own concealed power. This action of wilfully transmuting the Elements of the soul is the heart of the modern perspective on the 8th temple, its key being ‘Awareness of Astral Security’.

What does this mean? It means realising – really knowing in every fibre of your soul – that you are ok and that when you die your awareness will not. It means being at peace with your deeper (feeling) self and with physical mortality and releasing compacted emotional traumas from the tortured places they hide away in. It means letting go of the inhibiting darkness of repression, guilt and shame and casting off our emotional baggage, being ready to face and process what needs to be changed in our psyche, and it often represents something we do not want to give up or go through and have an innate resistance to even looking at but find secretly or even shamefully compelling, something perhaps that is for us taboo, forbidden, but promises great ecstasies as its mystery is unveiled. Hence it is the temple of our sexuality but is also the temple of death (our experience with people dying, and eventually our own death) because it is where things go for regeneration and recycling. The most ancient texts on astrology which survive assert that the 8th temple is not the only temple which has strong ties to death, but the others have fallen out of favour in modern times. The 4th temple is associated with death through its connection with things which are beneath the Earth, hence the grave and the consequences following death. The 7th temple begins at the western horizon, where the Sun sets, and so visually it represents the end of life, nominally in old age. The 6th and 12th temples were also always looked on as abodes of unfortunate or evil occurrence that could result in death. These were more superstitious times. Additionally, the ancient texts make no connection of the 8th temple with sexuality – this is a modern (and somewhat controversial) addition that emerged with the arrival of Pluto. It lies opposite the temple of acquisitions and is all the experiences we have of letting things go, of giving them up – surrendering even – and so of sharing with others. So it shows what we must relinquish in ourselves and with other people, or what we must somehow completely let go of to uncover a deep hidden power within us far beyond that attachment, an encounter that transforms and offers rebirth on a deep emotional level and the experiences which can lead to this. We can say that above the 8th temple is written the phrase ‘Emergency Exit’ and that it avails us an instinctive way out of situations that have outlived their usefulness, often a final way out.

But leaving is often laced with sorrow and regret and the matters of the 8th strips away the superficial layers we have cloaked our deeper feelings in to reveal what is wriggling underneath. So the 8th temple involves us in the journey of feeling more and more deeply and thus securely through connecting with and exploring our own (largely hidden) psychic-emotional and psycho-sexual drives and complexes, especially those related to the 8th temple – death wishes, grief, orgasm and the onset and approach of all kinds of irreversible endings in the world around us, trauma and tragic losses which evoke deep inner demons that confront us with feelings we must give up but don’t really want to surrender or face because we feel powerless against them, through the compulsions or lusts of sexual energy and the private sex life, in material and emotional resources lost or given away to others (taxes, debts, things stolen or favours owed, wrongs done to us), the flowering and the development of occult faculties of the soul and its penetration into the deep mysteries of our own innate magical power. This is the sometimes macabre and unsettling garden of the temple of release.

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Its function is different from the preceding astrally focused temple, the 4th, in that its task is to secure a quality of tranquil rest for the soul not by working through or outgrowing habits ingrained in it by the past, but by separating or weeding out – often violently culling – those parts that are no longer valuable to its present security or growth, however painful and grievous that might be; it volcanically purges deep emotional substance, thereby consigning the old of the soul to a regeneration rather than to habitually acting out on the impulses that found its existence. “That which does not kill us makes us stronger”, wrote Nietzsche (who was born with Cancer over the 8th temple and its ruler the Moon rising in the 1st in Sagittarius – which is actually a hopeful and comforting outlook). And it differs from the 12th temple in that here in the 8th there will always be an often traumatic or at least difficult experiential process, a purge or transmutation to move through, a demon to face so that the power within will rise to meet it; with the 12th temple, there is the possibility of an absolution, an immediate transcendence from karmic entanglements; not so here. Here, we have to go through something visceral and intensely tumultuous often because we must give it up, let it go, but feel too attached to things the way they are or are afraid to surrender to its power, which is to say, to our own literally undying power. This is the place where we scare ourselves as we discover what we are capable of, which is always so much more than what we expected. It is also the place where things have to rot and decay, decomposing into sticky substances before they are regenerated. It seems to be a place of horrors, until we look deeper.

So it is an emotionally visceral temple. Here in the 8th, grief, pain and loss are inherent aspects of life itself that must be felt so that the process of purging or releasing the infinitely hidden can emerge. Often this purge is a frightening or even grievous journey because it involves confronting some of the deepest and most troubling aspects of self and our sense of power and, more significantly, powerlessness. Things left overflowing or hemorrhaging from previous lives often end up here. Things left undone or incomplete belong more to the 12th temple.

Just as the light of the Sun begins to wane when it reaches this temple so too do the influences of other planets, they surrender or release control to a transformative process that causes their energy to begin draining by flowing from one state into another – they yield to the horizon of the Earth and prepare to rest upon Her bosom. The Sun dims and falls faster and faster from its height as it moves through this region in the space of each day and as it does it bleeds spectacular colours into the sky. Thus in the texts we find that this temple shows things that are in spillage – either completely out of our direct control, in decay or decline – the inevitable approach of death (of self and others), debts, inheritance, taxation, emotional trauma, victimisation and abuse, the threat of oblivion (fear of armageddon, rape, murder, suicide), our taboos and in modern astrology our inner (often secret) sexuality – this temple is our (often concealed) sexual potency and drive, with our more conscious, openly flirtatious, procreative sexual energy and our degree of fertility belong to the 5th temple. Ancient texts would have sourced all eroticism in the 5th and with the sign Scorpio (as well as Taurus, but less so), and with Venus and Mars. It is also the place of our magical and occult (hidden) power, separation and loss, situations in which our loss becomes another’s gain, etc. All these things are connected here and call for some kind of surrender of our need to control and retain attachment to what we have, emotionally and materially. In essence this temple is an arena whose champions hold the key to understanding and perceiving the purpose of mortality and the nature of what we must give up to experience renewal at the deepest level, for the empowerment of the soul.

All the matters of this region heighten or intensify our astral awareness and put us in touch with potent emotional compulsions and a deep power to deal with attachments and control mechanisms which we need to outgrow, but this requires detection and probing of our deeper motives. Things are never just what they appear to be here. A chart with an emphasis on the 8th temple (natally or through its keys) will need to let go of an over-attachment to some physical or more often emotional things (often shown by planets here) and will either do this via the areas described above or a mix of them, and the sign here will colour our experience and assign its ruling planet these duties in the chart according to the maturity of the soul and what is necessary for its astral growth. But the sign also gives a key quality to use in effecting a deep transfiguration of the self through the separating out and transforming of inner qualities. Master this temple through its sign and planetary occupants and ruler and you experience a profound rebirth and discover your own hidden power. You exit the darkness in ways that will ripple throughout your lifetimes, forever. What other temple offers so great a treasure?

The axis of the 2nd/8th temples – which I define as the sensual polarity of ‘holding-releasing’ – is often associated with income and sex. That is, astrologers often talk about these two temples as being connected to financial and sexual affairs and the level of physical and astral security in our lives that these create. So it signifies a polarity connected with give and take, but fundamentally both the 2nd and the 8th concern themselves with building some kind of security, the 2nd in primarily a material form, the 8th in an astral. Both of these temples can influence our inherent sense of self worth, the worth we hold in our physical body and in our souls. When we are in debt or financially impoverished, when we have been traumatized or feel abused, self worth tends to plummet.

But the sensual polarity, as the name I chose for it implies, is about more than just material and emotional security, it is about sensuality, physical and emotional give and take on all levels. The 2nd temple provides material substance for sensual experience, the 8th emotional substance. Fundamentally, these two temples are about our approach to physical and emotional sensual experience of all kinds, from eating to buying to having sex or making love, and all the baggage we bring to the enjoyment and use of these things. Money is just our common medium of measuring access to sensory experience, a form of permission.

Concepts: Transformation, death and rebirth, survival instincts, debt and lending/borrowing, sexuality, the occult, counseling, natures secrets.

Ancient terms: The Idle Place, Place of Death.

Thats all for this moon, I hope you have enjoyed it and learned something! Next Moonth, the final part. 

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The Temples (part 1)

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! I have had repeated requests to say more about the 12 houses, and am planning a number of articles on the subject. Today I present the first part of a three part series on the houses (or temples as I call them) with parts 2 and 3 to follow in the coming months. I hope these will give learners at all stages something to think about. This month, temples 1-4 are under discussion.

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The 1st Temple: Being, Identity, Embodiment, Beginnings.

Location: The area of the sky that lies directly below the eastern horizon, upon which all celestial objects arise. The Sun is here every day in the hours before dawn – dawn actually marks the climactic end of the Suns daily passage through the 1st temple, as its light begins breaking the surface of the world in the east, heralding a new day. 

Discussion: Arguably this is the most important of the 12 temples because it is the front door to the chart and our primary way of influencing the Earth Zone (physical universe) and being influenced by it. This marks the point of entrance into life, the doorway into existence in the temporal sequential realm. From a hermetic standpoint at the moment of birth the individual physical, astral and mental body of the newborn emerges from the body of the mother still connected to her on the mental and astral planes. The mental body of the newborn separates from her with its first breath, and the astral body – which is the core transeiver of the substance of astral Light described by our astrology – remains connected to hers and does not begin to form its own discrete body until the umbilical cord is cut. This is the moment we should really be using as ‘birth’ from an astrological perspective, but emergence into the external material world is just as significant (astrology being a measurement of significance) and additionally the time between the two events is usually only a few seconds, and it would be extremely unusual for this amount of time to make a significant difference to the chart (although it might actually be up to as long as 20m before the cord is cut, in which case there is an issue). 

The degree of the ascendant that rises in the east at the place and time of this event delineates the 1st temple. Another way of saying this is that at the moment in which we took our first breath and the cord was then cut there was a particular zodiac sign placed in the east, rising into the sky. With the east being magically associated with the breath of life and the dawn or creation of things, this sign is ‘in the air’ at that time, being born with us, and so we inhale its essential meaning with our very first gasp of oxygen, and all of its significance acts to ‘close up’ the hole that once connected us to our mothers astral, at which point we become seperate people. The brain chemistry is imprinted with the occult significance of that moment and place, but this is just a product of the deeper astral conditioning which occurs. The sign that is on the 1st temple and all the qualities connected with the 1st temple in our chart describe the atmosphere in the room at this moment in time and space, the qualities of the observers, the events, the location, the overall impression that was present and became bound to the first experience of physical life. Thus it is our earliest and most primary astrological influence. It represents an astra-mental doorway into the physical universe, the living now moment and our deeply sourced memory of that cord to our mother being cut. That’s why it is so sensitive – it marks the beginning of time and independent existence, the birth of our unique and independent being. It says “I AM!”, and so it harbors truly tremendous creative power.

Astrologically (in many houses systems at least) the 1st temple opens with the degree of the ascendant which is a particularly powerful degree in the zodiac being the degree at the eastern horizon at the place and time we are born, so the 1st temple or house is the temple to bodily life itself. Its degree marks the metaphorical ‘place’ in the Earth Zone through which, with the help of our parents, our spirit-soul infused and crystallised its essence into our material form with the intake of our first breath. It is in a sense like the navel in the physical body, but is more like a knot or twist that is posited in our astra-mental body, a locus of attention in their Elements and in space-time. Our face, bodily gait, mannerisms, primary method of expression, degree and form of interaction with the outer world, what we are willing to consciously admit or show to others, quality of self sustainability, our overall health (as it is known to us – not unknown conditions) and the projection of our total character are among the primary relevant analogies here.

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More significantly, as the ascendant is the degree of the astrological zodiac rising on the eastern horizon at the moment you were born, the ascendant and to a degree the 1st temple are the symbolic ‘now’ moment in which you entered this world, the doorway through which you came into time, space and life, and this doorway is the framework or lens which you will always use in your perception of life and your expression of the total Self, the quality of ‘now’ moment in which your identity exists and is known to you (see this article by Leslie Polzer on the zodiac signs and the now moment). The ascendant and the 1st temple describe your experience of the now moment. This is a vital point to remember. As an angular temple (the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th, the ‘turning points’ of the sky) the 1st denotes action – these are places where the astrology is often obvious and is directly encountered as a highly active influence –  and as part of the trinity of the temples of existence (1st, 5th & 9th) its essence is therefore well described as “Awareness of Existence in Action”. It is thus the Temple of Being or Life, and was anciently called the Temple of Mercury, the planet which joys here, signifying (to the ancient mind) its connection to our spirit taking temporal form (the joy of a planet is the temple it naturally flourishes in). Other descriptions for it are the helm of the chart, the hour marker or the place of ascension.

The helm is a nice Mercurial word that aptly expresses the navigational power of this place. Objects here become so intrinsically a part of our being that we literally identify the self with them and their powers – our form of being becomes a living incarnation of their presence, thus we become a kind of planetary personification and navigate by that planets beacons. Think of the word ‘avatar’ here – a manifestation of a deity or spiritual being in bodily form on Earth. We are wearing a wardrobe that befits the planet and its beings are pleased with this, drawn to it – perhaps to our detriment. Such planets or stars are (often literally) ‘in our face’ throughout life and assume significance on a par with the Sun sign, especially if the planet (or star) is close to the ascendant. As old mythologies of personal human contact and union with the gods will attest, this is not always a good thing and it is never easy. Even Venus has her curse in the form of unwanted admirers, though some planets are more difficult for us mere mortals to be avatars of. Powerfully placed planets, like those in the 1st, can literally overpower and devour our own identities. This is not to say they must be tamed and made obedient as if they were unruly pets or demons, it is to say that you must be aware of a power within you which threatens to easily overpower your other motivations and character traits and that you must be consciously aware of that within your identity before you can master its amazingly positive potential.

Even when no planets are present in this area of the sky our relationship or connection to the sign of the ascendant and the Element it belongs to along with that signs planetary ruler (and the planets temporarily moving through the 1st temple as time passes) all become critical in terms of our overall vitality, our appearance, health and the way we project the energies of the entire horoscope directly onto the world at large, as well as how we view the external world and experience the now moment. This sign, Element and its planetary ruler become very dominant in our nature even when no other influences enforce it. They are the ones who open the doorway into physical life for our soul. The planet ruling the ascendant is the overall designer of our physical life, informed by our karma and by Divine Providence. It opens the double doors of the horizon, and the universe pours in. 

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For this reason this temple also has a direct relationship to our bodily wellbeing, our state of health. However, the analysis of health and the potential for illness in a chart is complex and involves many different considerations. The role of the 1st temple in health is in determining our conscious awareness of our well being, level of fortitude, our constitution and the conditions affecting our physical form which have a bearing on it such as our weight, bone structure, physique, etc. It also expresses our path to integrating the mental, astral and physical being into a consciously guided whole. The 1st temple provides us with vital powers with which to fight off disease and disturbance, so if there are strong planets here these can be used for self healing work, and sometimes also radiated to others through the aura, although this can be depletive and also result in transference of qualities we do not wish to transfer – we need a pure form of contact with that planet to conduct such healing safely.

In temple cycles we begin from the 1st temple because it has a direct connection to beginnings and the birth of things. When there are activations in the 1st temple key they result in not only changes to our identity but the new beginnings in life that naturally arise from such changes. Sometimes this happens in reverse, with changes in identity coming after major new life beginnings. We may try to figure out which causes what, but the truth is more that the true cause is an astral stimulus for a new beginning in life to take place, a new chapter to begin.

The trick with the 1st temple is to look within you seeking the connection you have with such influences (including the activators when they pass through here) and finding ways of bringing this awareness into the present moment of physical life. This increases the flow of you into life and thus the flow of life into you. You must work towards a place where these forces guide you in practical ways without leading to the self destructive pitfalls they can bring. This means you must raise your consciousness of them. For example, with Saturn you must introduce discipline but without becoming rigid, fearful, stern or inflexible, and you must try to embody the highest Saturnian virtues that you can. If you experience any of these negative things (being rigid, fearful, etc) disharmony in the health will be likely to follow, its a kind of indigestion as you are failing to absorb and process the raw essential meaning of the planet concerned and this leads to disruptions which attempt to clear the accumulated energy for you.

The sign that rises, the ascendant, will show the basic qualities we use to engage and interact with the world and its expression in our body form and astral aura, but these qualities will be slightly modified in most cases by the sign position of the planetary ruler of the ascendant and any planets in this temple or aspecting the ascendant.

Concepts: How we are seen by others, what we will admit to in ourselves, our image (hair, clothes, ‘look’), our mask, our constitution, our vitality, our mannerisms, our self expression, our way of interacting with the outer world, our general window of perception on life, our experience of the now moment. 
Ancient terms: hour marker, helm, place of ascension.

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The 2nd Temple: Worth, Value, Resources, Gear

Location: The area of sky approximately midway between the eastern horizon and the ‘bottom of the sky’, the IC (see 4th temple).

Discussion: This temple lies further below the horizon than the 1st and following on from it, so it is completely below the horizon. It is therefore an invisible region of the sky connected with things that are earthly (of the ground) and relates to private (unseen and personal) experiences. The key emphasis of the 2nd temple is ‘Awareness of Physical Security’ and I call it the Temple of Acquisitions. It says ‘I HAVE’. We could also call it the temple of property, values, receiving, providence and, most fundamentally of all, self worth and self esteem. On the most basic level it is about what we have to call on in terms of resources, what we value and what we use, have access to and own and the relationship we have to our own innate self worth as a result of our experience with physical needs. If you cannot feed yourself then your self worth is also impoverished. It is thus also the temple that relates to all those issues we have about the resources and physical needs of our material existence. It governs our attachments to material and physical being, how comfortable we are with being in possession of the body and all that this means – its capacity for sensual fulfillment and satisfaction, the attitude to possession, our resources and resourcefulness, income and earnings, our acquisitive need for certain solid objects, material security, savings and money, our tangible need for sensual contact and the sense of values which underlies all these things – anything that our physical experience tells us we need (food, water, shelter) or want (that new gadget) to have and hold onto in order to be physically secure. Planets here are like physical attachments, they often manifest as objects we own, income or resources, but they always represent something we value. And this temple also governs our self worth, how valued we feel and why. No planet has its joy in this temple; it is equally supportive of all planets natures.

Magically, then, this temple has a connection with the subterranean world, literal and metaphorical, it’s a place where things are literally coming out of the ground. It’s a place where things are coming towards the 1st temple (our being and identity) by primary motion (daily rotation of the Earth which causes all planets to cycle in a clockwise direction through all 12 houses in 24 hours) and this gives it its association with possessions, property, land, wealth, and the connections to material objects we bring with us into this life, all of which are extracted from the land. They are all things that come to us from out of the ground and so wealth and property are described here. If we accept the doctrine of reincarnation then it is possible for treasured objects to remain in our hands for many generations – a family heirloom, for example, passed down to a young grandson from his grandfather, may have been passed down to that grandfather by that grandson when he was his grandfather, for example. Objects can stay in families or just in our own hands for generations, magnetized by the astral connection that people create with them.They may even be destroyed and reform as something different that expresses the same significance, essentially reincarnating, surviving with us because the ideas and feelings that they represent as objects remain strong and magnetically bound to our spirit. For example, a person who loves transportation may have a treasured horse in one life, a much loved carriage in the next, and a valued car in the present. What reincarnates along with us here is the idea or spirit of an object and the feelings that accompany its possession. Yet, none of these things ever really belong to us; they are their own, bound to us only by the value we have placed in them, and our recognition of this is the magic that transforms the experience we have in this temple. It invests meaning into the things we receive and teaches us our most valuable lesson with respect to the matters of this house: everything is alive.

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All of this means the 2nd temple is primarily focused on the karma we have generated through experiences with being in a material body, specifically with wealth and poverty and the relationship these conditions have to the measurement of self esteem. If a person has powerful supportive influences in this temple it does not automatically make them prosperous and rich, but it does make them resourceful and it helps them to value themselves. If the influences in this temple are challenging and overbearing, it is because we have important lessons to learn about self worth and possibly karmic limitations on how much we can earn, perhaps so that we become more resourceful and learn how not to measure our self worth from what we own or earn. What is important in this temple, then, is not whether it shows whether we are going to make lots of money or be driven to material ruin, but what it reveals about what we find to be valuable and how much we recognize this as a part of our own inner nature. If we can see through the attachment to an object and perceive the attachment to the value that we see in that object and examine the value instead, we can perceive a map of the mind and soul in everything that we have surrounded ourselves with, a material representation of all the things we value, the feelings and thoughts they represent, and it is this that our astrology is revealing in the 2nd temple. The objects themselves act to secure this value in a form we can hold, touch and tangibly appreciate. They are material anchors for the significance we have invested into their essential meaning. Thus there is a tangible craving for the things represented by our astrology here, craving both for certain things and for a way of getting them.

This sensual, tangible craving is the tricky but juicy part of the 2nd temple to investigate– our senses are by their nature designed to gorge themselves on sensory input, our eyes are designed to see, our tongues to taste, our lips to kiss and our hands to hold. Our whole attitude to being in a physical body with all that implies is at the heart of this temple and when we perceive that we are also looking at what we value about it and thus what we value about physical life. For example, you might like a certain flavour of ice cream more than any other. When you examine that flavour and think about it, you find it says all kinds of things about you – perhaps you like the fruitiness and liveliness of mango, or the creamy cool of coconut. This is the 2nd temple and the entire mechanism of commerce and marketing is built upon it. In fact, consumerism blinds us to the true significance behind all these likes and dislikes and keeps us trapped in an endless hunger for more, better or next. This is a primary trap within the 2nd temple as it stands today.

Concepts: Possessions, manner or standard of living, attachments, receiving, self esteem, physical security, survival needs, stability, savings, resourcefulness, earning and spending habits.
Ancient Terms: Subterranean place, Gate of Hades, shadowy place

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The 3rd Temple: Siblings, Messages, Neighbourhoods, Whispers in the Wind

Location: The 3rd temple is an area that lies to one side of the nadir, next to the bottom of the sky, and so it is another buried place, hidden from view near the base of things.

Discussion: The 3rd temple is the Temple of Communication or Perception and of Thought Kinship (in the sense of ideas being siblings of one another via the law of attraction on the mental plane), and its key concept is ‘Mental Awareness Learning’, or mental and social integration with the local environment through private personal perceptions. This integration and learning takes place through areas of intellectual and social activity such as reading, writing, gossip, neighbouring and chatting, our earliest schooling and the mental behaviour we develop from any brothers and sisters, cousins or other ‘neighbourly’ family members. It also signifies short and accustomed journeys such as those in the car or train and those modes of transport or the non-exotic trips we make regularly. It is essentially all the fields of experience where we gather information from the local environment which shape the perceptions of our individual mental body, the integration of the different perspectives of the local mental realm as they manifest in the physical Earth nearby, in our neighbourhood. This is similar to the essential meaning of the planet Mercury but as a temple this place forms experience for us to encounter in the world rather than substance which we encounter within and around us, but there is an overlap between them. Broadly speaking, if Mercury is the way we think and its temple position is where we do our thinking and what we think about, then our 3rd temple is more descriptive of why we think what we do and the processing of localised information we undertake. If both Mercury and the 3rd temple are pumped with influences we will simply think far too much and encounter the problems that arise from this. Thoughts will be streaming, random and restless until we learn how to empty the mind completely, and then the disruptive effects cease and the sheer creativity can be expressed in an empowering way rather than a way which exhausts and scatters. Perhaps the easiest way to conceptualise what the 3rd temple expresses is to say that this part of our astrology is the running commentary in our head, the voice that we alone hear that is constantly reporting and chattering away about what it is currently witnessing, whereas Mercury is more about how we will pick it all apart later. I have seen this born out in people who have Mercury in the 3rd, because they have the quick witted kind of mind that is able to think and analyse on the fly. 

This region, which lies below the horizon and thus out of sight like our thoughts, is traditionally the place of the joy of the Moon and the temple of written and verbal communication, thus of letters and messages and of learning through the application of endless speculation and observation, opinion and reason, curiosity, gossip, the latest scandal or juicy tattle, short or regular trips, experiences with siblings and people in the neighbourhoods we inhabit. Today we can add text messages, emails, tweets and other more modern forms of fast, disposable communication. It may seem strange to us that Mercury is not the planet that joys here. The Moons joy in this region can be traced back to its role as messenger of astrological effects – as a satellite (sister) of the Earth the Moon is the transceiver between Earth and the rest of the solar system and this function is given free and joyous expression by the 3rd temple. Just as Luna collects, shapes and transmits the influence of the planets, touching each in every possible way every month, so too does our mental awareness collect, shape and transmit the intelligences of the mental plane around us.

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Another reason that the Moon joys in the 3rd temple is that very long ago the 3rd temple seems to have signified the influence of the private practice of religion and spirituality and (often but not always) the influence of a High Priestess and female wisdom in the community and the practise of lunar magic, thus it perhaps came to be known as the temple of the Moon Goddess for this reason. In other words it was about domestic and agricultural applications of spiritual wisdom, and so connected with midwifery and planting seeds. This also implies a connection to weather forecasting and the more traditional arts of divination that involve reading messages from clouds or birds in the sky. or the behaviour of wind. Its opposite, the 9th, is traditionally called the temple of the Sun God, the temple of solar worship. We can infer that this means that the 3rd temple can show our private spiritual and religious practices and the internal attitude we have to learning about the spiritual realms. The 3rd and 9th temples represent, for example, the complementary difference between book learning (3rd) and instruction by a guru or mentor at a temple (9th). Here in the 3rd there is also our long lost connection with nature spirits – the Tuatha de Danaan and the ‘little folk’, enshrined in the hearsay of folklore, to whom the Moon is as vital to life as the Sun is to us. In my experience it is by working with the 3rd temple that relations with these beings can be resumed, which means that you have to reopen the dialog with them which we closed ourselves off from (causing no small amount of offense, I might add).

The 3rd temple therefore polarises with the 9th temple (I will discuss polarity in the context of astrology in more detail in the discussion of the 7th temple). Where in the 3rd we learn information, opinion and facts, in the 9th we can place them in a broader context and hypothesize what they mean. Furthermore, because the 3rd temple influences our communicative mentality the forces in this region have an influence on the way we express our thinking, how we talk and speak and on the process of learning through communications (like our manner on telephones); and finally, since the nature of the mental plane itself is that like notions will attract one another, the 3rd temple brings us into contact with reflective images of our thoughts in the form of neighbours, and with a variety of different but sibling, twinned perspectives, – brother, sister (siblings are especially of the 3rd temple), next door neighbour, guy who bangs on the floor upstairs, book or magazine article, hidden faerie of the backyard who keeps unpegging your laundry – all of which are an emblematic representation reflecting our own conceptual thinking patterns back to us and allowing us to integrate them. But that doesn’t mean they are not alive and exist independently of us! Each of the mentally and socially focused temples – the 3rd, 7th and 11th – operate by this law of attraction on the mental plane but in different respects. The 7th focuses on our partners and face to face encounters; the 11th on our allies or groups with common ideals, our cohorts; the 3rd, virtually everyone else we encounter, even if we only hear their voices on the end of a phone line or receive regular spam email from them, but it specifically focuses on those we would call ‘brothers’ or ‘sisters’, regardless of blood ties.

In sum then, the 3rd temple is not only about the mysteries of why and how we communicate, the experience of schooling and early education and of siblings, but also of the mysteries of the mind, the magic of mental attraction whereby ideas which are like one another are drawn closer together, and the individuals task of finding a unique way to communicate their uniqueness to other minds. So it is the temple of sisterhood and brotherhood, the place where our activity on the mental plane is reflected in sibling relationships, the temple of communication where we discover our own power of mental transmission. The sign and Elemental and planetary qualities shaping life and expressing themselves through this region of the sky describe the activity and quality of our perception and our internal chatter, our ability to learn intellectually and interact socially at a local level and to grasp the connections between related notions.

Concepts: News, messages, book learning, study, regular or localised travel, siblings, neighbourhoods, covens, sacred places and nature spirits, means of conveyance of the mental body (mental wandering).
Ancient Terms: Place of the Goddess, Place of Brothers

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The 4th Temple: Memory, Lineage, Domain and Anchoring

Location: The region of the sky directly below the observers position where objects are turning towards the horizon to rise again.

Discussion: This region is the nadir or bottom of the horoscope, the underbelly of the chart, and I call it the Temple of Memory because it is the cargo hold of our history. Like the 1st temple cusp of the temple of being, known also as the ascendant or rising sign, this is one of the angles of the horoscope, a primary temple of power (the power being referred to here is in terms of ability to impact the physical dimension):

• Being (1st temple)
• Memory (4th temple)
• Partnership (7th temple)
• Destiny (10th temple)

This reflects the quadrapolar magnet in the realm of experiences as it is principally through these four sensitive degrees of the Earth Zone that the essential meaning of astrological influences held by planets and signs is transmitted and made physically manifest as experience in each person’s life. Essentially, regardless of which Elements control them, these 4 temples are the places of output where astrological influences have their greatest effects. So, as a place of power, its degree is one of the four most sensitive degrees in the Earth Zone. It is called the Imum Coeli, or IC – Latin for “bottom of the sky”. It is the place where the planets are at the lowest point in the sky beneath the Earth, the realm of the midnight Sun, but are approaching the point at which they will begin to arise again towards the eastern horizon. In mythic language, it is the place where the gods come to rest before they begin their journey back to the world of people. This is the realm of the ancestors, whose bones our present world stands upon and whose dust is in the air. It is a place to tread quietly, softly and with reverence.

This is a deep region which has an effect on the early shaping of the astral body, ingraining it with habits formed (at least on the surface) from parental mimicry or rebellion when we are young children – our relationship to our guardians is the mundane basis upon which the characterisation of the personal astral body proceeds. Regardless of which Element controls it, the essential quality of the 4th temple is “Astral Awareness in Action”. It is the realm of emotional or astral memory and habitual programmed response patterns, our fundamental connection to the history of our own soul. This is largely an area over which we have no conscious control; if an impulse passes through the astral and we have a strong memory and feeling inculcated into us by our past which matches that quality (or kicks against it) then there is always reciprocation, an automatic conditioned response which arises from this root. The fundamentals of this conditioning are inherited mainly from the soul’s inherent memory of its past and its childhood upbringing, and as time passes we experience it as a process whereby our adult persona forms from out of this nascent embryonic state, often meeting with realities through unfolding degrees of maturity, or repression. However, as we grow older this temple also begins to resonate will all past issues which we have not resolved, and so it can factor in ‘history is repeating’ experiences.

For example, first, we dream of and play at being an astronaut and exploring all the planets in the solar system as children; this is our 4th temple materia. As we grow, and wizen to the realities involved, we probably don’t get to become an astronaut but we might get to become an astrologer instead, perhaps a meteorologist, maybe simply a cashier in a late night store. We might even forget entirely that we ever dreamed of being an astronaut, but it is still there, and its astral impression inevitably informs where we are coming from. Whenever we look up at the stars we will stir this early memory, and we will get a whimsical feeling of something we cannot quite place. Any movie about space will stir this inner child. If we look deep enough, then, we see it is still there, and this awareness can then change the persistence and substance of the conditioning simply by unearthing it.

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This is a temple of memories, then, but more specifically, the persistence of memory as astral conditioning. Its challenge is to unearth the deeper, buried significance behind our habitual behaviour. In unearthing the root of our habitual behaviour, we find an even deeper level of memories and astral influences stirring below the surface, pulsing with life – an underworld of behaviour patterns layered upon deeper or older behaviour patterns. It is these most deeply rooted factors of the personality which are within the realm of the 4th temple, which appropriately lies at the base of every horoscope. In other words, this temple is like an archaeological dig, a site that can be continually excavated to unearth a deep wealth of self knowledge, and the main sites of initial exploration are our earliest memories of childhood and our parents and the feelings which grow from them, but it inevitably leads beyond the grave to the experiences of other lifetimes, lost worlds and the domain of our ancestral DNA. We find the fossils of creatures we never even knew existed, but they are there and we are a product of them.

However, this is usually not easy to confront; there is fear associated with this region, as the ancients gave it an association with death and the grave. The old cliché from horror films “don’t go into the cellar” aptly expresses this fear in modern terms. Yet if we do not go down into the cellar, the Thing in the basement will eventually come up the stairs for us or cause all hell to break loose down there…so we are forced to go down and find the heart of the mystery. We have to excavate the foundation of this temple to uncover all its bones so that we can see what we are resting our whole lives upon. This is somewhat like the 8th, but with an important difference – in the 8th, if the situation is ignored then what is hidden will ultimately arise from the deeps, uncontrolled, ravenous and starved of light, while in the 4th it will remain buried, rooting us in a blockage, and perhaps lead to a slow rot that eventually collapses the foundation of the house that is our life. And it is also somewhat like the 12th, but where the 12th leaves us with no other course but to accept the results of the past and chalk up any failures to experience, the 4th as an angular temple empowers us to do something with what we inherit from it. So, it says, your parents hit you when you were a kid? That sucks. What will you do about that now? Are you going to let that continue to hurt you, long after it is history?

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A large part of the initial part of this excavating is in coming to terms with our relationship to our parents and any experiences in our life with them that may have shaped us in a certain way. Traditionally this place is often called the place of the father, but this is clearly a product of the misogynistic way in which boys and girls were given different value by society. Some astrologers divide our mother and father between the 4th and the 10th temples, but they have differing philosophies and ideas about why and which parent belongs to which temple. In my experience the 10th temple does have a connection to our parents but it is much stronger and far more direct in the 4th, and it has always worked well for me to just consider both parents as being represented by the 4th, but especially the parent we bonded with or the one we had the most domestic time with.

Whatever the specifics, whether they are biological parents, adoptive parents, guardian angels or secret aunts, the 4th resonates with their early conditioning of our character. This includes their total absence because we are talking about the emotional needs of a child to be protected and nurtured here. Because this is a place of power the symbolism can be very literal in some cases. For instance, from my own father I learned about mortality because he died a week before I turned 13. I learned from him the fragility of life, how it can change in an instant and never be the same, and for many years the intensity of these impressions overwhelmed all other memories of him. Later, however, I was able to look back and uncover many memories and impressions that were made before he left, which lay beneath the emotive power of the memories surrounding his death. I could then remember the times he played with me and taught me how joyful and wondrous life was, without the pain of losing him overwhelming my emotions. I could remember him planting daffodil bulbs with me when I was 3 years old, showing me how deep they needed to be and which way they needed to be inserted, getting my hands and nails into the cold soil with glee, and then watching them grow day by day in the back of our garden with even more. So he gave me a very early appreciation of nature which has stayed with me ever since, but until I came to remember this gift it remained buried within me, underneath the disturbing memories of his death. I have Taurus on the cusp of the 4th temple, and Taurus is the sign of nature and planting. I also have Saturn on the cusp of this temple – the planet of separation, maturation and death. The consequences of his death – Saturn – had occluded my vision of the (Taurus themed) memory – I only knew it as ‘planting flowers makes me feel strangely sad’. It took a long time and lots of patient and continued effort (Saturn) but eventually I excavated those lost memories. So it is with every memory, not just those which make powerful impressions on our astral body. They are all infinitely deep. Our astral body is in effect the sum total of all our personal impressions of and reactions to personal events. ALL of them. When you think about that, its mind bogglingly complicated.

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When we genuflect on this it becomes quickly apparent that our parents also carried such conditioning and theirs too, and so on in a line we cannot trace back to its origins, for it stretches into complete obscurity, back beyond the recorded memories of even our most distant ancestors. Vast tapestries of connected memory palaces then reveal themselves, half hidden in the shade at all times but often anchored in place by family lines that can be traced and tell its tales. So our parents or more specifically our relationship to our early guardians and protectors and our progenitors are fundamental properties of this region of space, which lies below where we are born, in the direction of our ancestral bones in the ground. Yet even underneath this layer there are more, for the causes of our childhood experiences are not just the way our parents treat us but the way theirs treated them, and so on back, and we may then see the workings of karma in the 4th temple, because in large part its content must arise from the choices we have made in other lives, sometimes as our own ancestors. This is what is truly buried here – the complex foundation or memory of previous being, a staggering trove of treasures with which we have emerged into this world through having clothed ourselves in it pre-natally. Most people will only see their mother, father or guardians from childhood reflected here. Only the deepest introspection can lay a path to the deeper pre-natal memories, but they and the process of uncovering them are encoded here in astrological script. The other astrally focused temples – the 8th and 12th – are also founded in their own way on karmic circumstances arising from the past, but neither have the direct relevance and impact of the 4th as a place of power. It must also be made clear that all planets and all of astrology are rooted in past life memories and experiences, and that karma is therefore present in every part of the chart, however the 4th temple is especially concerned with the past and so with these matters and furthermore with the specific human experience of recovering memories of them. The Tail of the Dragon is another very significant point in this regard, as are the influences of Saturn.

Of course, our nationality is also a major theme of our early conditioning – a person born and raised in India will have a very different experience than one born in Brazil, for example, and while it does not show which culture we belong to, the 4th temple does show the connection we have to that native culture, our experience of being part of it, in much the same way as it shows our experience of being part of a family. This too is a very powerful factor in our lives overall and can be a major pattern in our incarnation cycle. We get karma with nations and tribes and families of all kinds. The ancient texts also attribute this place with the events that occur following ones death, when we are in the grave ourselves and observe events from the astral, but this has fallen out of use in modern astrology as our cultures have moved away from celebrating life in death towards a more fearful and taboo attitude to burial. In other words I suggest that our cultures move towards a less enlightened view of death (trying to forget it as soon as possible, and discarding most of the cultural rituals that honour our ancestors) has eroded our knowledge of this part of the 4th temples meaning, it is a part of the temple abandoned and in poor condition. This is partly why the meanings of astrological temples vary slightly from culture to culture and time to time – they are translated by human culture. The temples step down the vast cosmic play of forces (displayed by planets and signs and aspects) into temporal and spatial experience – consequently, we shape them as they shape us. Meditation on this matter considering that the temples are formed from the daily rotation of the Earth (primary motion) unfolds many deep mysteries on the nature of time, space and the mechanism by which astrological effects are produced. These revelations are not easy to put into words.

So in summation the 4th is the influence of the past, especially childhood and the guardians of childhood, the connection we have to our native culture and our buried memories of past lives which have a direct but often ‘underground’ bearing on the current one. Furthermore, since it is sourced in these foundational experiences the 4th temple is connected with establishing a base, hence, with our homes and our private life behind closed doors as adults, and with the basis or basics of anything. In a temple cycle, whatever was begun and born by the 1st temple lays a foundation – finds a home – in the 4th. In this way astrology draws a direct parallel between the place we call our own home, the influence of our parents in childhood, and the deep patterns of our incarnation history. Its challenge is to uncover the buried significance to our habits and early life experiences as a child. It shows us an ideal kind of home for our inner nature, one that will support and nurture us, the kind of quality we should invite into our homes in order for them to be healthy environments for us to live, and if we have an emphasis in this area of life (by the birth chart or through the 26 keys), we will spend our time laying down all kinds of platforms upon which future structures or even empires can be built. It can in adult life show our role as parents, based on our experience with our own parents – another example of how karmic influences shape family down generations, but our role as a parent shows up more directly in the 5th temple. Finally, from a hermetic perspective, and as the ancient texts state, this temple describes the qualities of the astral realm inhabited by the soul prior to and following its incarnation, the astral foundation of being which occurs before physical incarnation in the womb and its immediate resting place after death. In this temple we can investigate some of the reasons for our current incarnation, as it can reveal what they were and more significantly why they have a bearing now. We can see what we are founding this existence upon, the bottom line upon which it all rests. Without a strong anchor here, any chart will be cast adrift on the seas of change that life will inevitably bring, and there will be little we can call a haven from the storm. The sign opening this temple and its ruling planet as well as any planets found within this temple will be extremely sensitive to all these issues.

Concepts: Privacy, domestic life, family and parents, childhood, background, roots, basis, landed property, memories, influence of the past, end of life, way we may be remembered after death.
Ancient Terms: Underground Place, Bottom of the Heavens, Lake or Heart of Duat. 

Happy Tracks

Exploring the Otherworlds through Astrology

Hello again and welcome back to journeys for 2016  🙂 For my first message this year I am going to share with you a method of interacting with your astrology that I have used in my own life and gradually developed. It is a highly adaptable method and my explanation should serve only as an example of the possibilities. Journey deeper…