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Meanderings East and West

Exploring the Connection between Astrology and Yoga

The Force

Star Wars Light Saber BattleAries is the first sign in the Zodiac. It relates to beginnings. It's all about adventure and assertiveness. Individuals with many planets in Aries find it natural to become pioneers, inventors and leaders. They start new organizations. They work best alone or at the helm of the ship. They shine best when blazing a trail where others can follow. They like to be at the head of the pack.

Mars is the ruler of Aries - it is the "red planet" from which we get the term "martial arts". People whose chart has a strong influence of Mars, are like Aries types - no matter their Sun sign, Moon sign or even Rising sign. They are athletic, quick-witted and shoot from the hip. They like a challenge. They prefer to live on the edge. When things get dangerous, life is all the sweeter.

Progress Through Competition

From the perspective of Aries and Mars, life is ours for the taking. All we need is freedom: "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". It's all about individual effort. Competition brings progress. Survival of the Fittest is the rule of Natural Selection, the Law of the Jungle. Only the strong survive. No handouts please. God helps those who help themselves. Only when everyone works hard to take care of themselves and their family, is there progress and prosperity. That's the view from Mars.

Zeal and Zest

Jumping Man with SunsetWhen balanced, Aries and Mars bring energy to life. They transform boredom and stagnation into excitement and adventure. The muscles, body heat, digestion, clear vision and healthy pigmentation all come from the healthy functioning of Pitta in Sanskrit - translated as Fire - literally "that which burns".

Mars and Aries relate to the flow of energy through the Pingala Nadi (the "red channel"). The pingalic state of awareness is waking consciousness where logic prevails: A is not B. People and things are separate from one another. The Subject experiences the Object: the two are not the same. The Sun is said to be exalted in Aries: daylight functions through pingalic awareness. Pingalic awareness is all about the physical body and Mars/Aries types tend to be among the fitness gurus of the Zodiac - staying slim and firm. Pitta types are generally mesomorphs.

While sleep and dreams are ruled by the Moon, the world of Mars and Aries is dominated by the Yang or Solar principle: following one's Dharma, climbing the ladder of success, making a name for ones self. Protecting the home and hearth. Bringing home the bacon. Paying one's own way. Self-reliance.

 Man  Mars, Maker of Tools

Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times

Evolutionary biologists teach that our opposing thumb gave us a major advantage over other animals: being able to grasp things led to the development of tools. With those tools we were able to feed ourselves and protect ourselves from the environment. With good nutrition our brains were able to develop: at first to make better tools but eventually to develop intelligence and self-awareness.

Mars is all about technology. It inspires the race for ever-faster, smarter, more powerful devices. Mars gets the job done. Mars is the blacksmith: it harnesses Fire and Steel to make machines. Mars is the engineer.

As we saw in the previous article about Van Gogh, Fire can get out of control: there can be too much of a good thing. Society can become imbalanced towards the Yang. When the pendulum swings too far to the right, the same tools which man devises to free himself from drudgery, can enslave him.

The Hero's Journey: Transcending the Machine

George Lucas on the Set of Star WarsFilm maker George Lucas was born just before sunrise. The constellation Aries was ascending in the East. The eastern hemisphere of his chart holds the majority of planets. Consistent with the symbolism of Aries rising and a Sunrise birth, his chart announces initiative and leadership: a natural born "director" of others. Containing several planets in the first house, it indicates a talented person - not just a domineering one.

Chart ruler Mars is in the constellation Cancer, in the Fourth House: this is an incongruous placement for Mars, a "fallen" position for Mars twice over. Why ? Mars wants to make a name for itself in the world at large, but Cancer is shy and sensitive. Mars likes to be high in the chart, where it can shine in the House of Career, but the Fourth House is concerned with domestic affairs.

Mars and the Sun herald the future. They flourish within the Pingala dimension of material accomplishment - while Cancer and the Fourth House relate to tradition and the interior dimensions of the psyche: the Ida Nadi. Ida means comfort. It's the Lunar Channel.

Perhaps it is just this awkward arrangement which brought Lucas to the study of Myth: Cancer and the Fourth House correspond to the subconscious mind and the psychology of human development. When a planet is fallen in the chart, the native has to work to integrate it. This pattern may relate to the love/hate relationship with technology that we see in the Star Wars films: Luke Skywalker comes of age only after he goes past dependence on machines. He succeeds by relying on something immaterial and transpersonal: "a Jedi's strength flows from the Force".

George Lucas Horoscope

Luke Skywalker inhabits in a universe filled with more machines than people - our own future perhaps. In that realm, tribal societies whose inhabitants live in closer harmony with Nature - and one another - are pitted against an aggressive empire with overwhelmingly superior technology. They defeat the empire. According to the Dao De Jing, "That which goes against the Dao, surely cannot endure."

Luke Skywalker becomes a master only when he learns to properly channel and control his male energy. He loses a hand when he falters. His hand is replaced by a bio-mechanical prothesis. Those who fail altogether, either perish or become absorbed into the Machine of State. Darth Vader fails to master his Yang nature, loses his humanity altogether and becomes a high-technology monster, half man and half robot.

Reversing the title "Star Wars", we get "Wars Star" - Mars.

George Lucas' Mars is conjoined with Pluto and the North Node, in an angular house - aspected by the Moon. As we mentioned in the previous chapter, people born at Sunrise charts are like Leos: creative, dramatic, expressive - and Mr Lucas is that if he is anything - but this Mars pattern suggests something deeper, more volcanic and transformative. This chart has enough Mars/Pluto to render the native like a Scorpio.

Prior Admonitions

FrankensteinDarth Vader HelmetStar Wars wasn't the first time that writers have warned us about the dangers of imbalanced technology. Mary Shelly's Frankenstein was originally entitled Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus - a reference to the ancient Greek myth about the being who stole Fire from the Gods and gave it to humanity. Zeus punished him for the crime by having him bound to a rock. Every day an eagle would eat his liver and it would grow back every night, to be eaten again the next day. Study Ayurveda or Chinese Medicine to better understand the symbolism.

Mrs. Shelly penned Frankenstein in the early 19th century, during the First Industrial Revolution, which transformed Europe from a predominantly agrarian nation to one whose economy was based on factories, mills and fossil fuel. Decades later, Charles Dickens described the impact of industrialization on English society, bringing attention to the excesses that arise when a society becomes inordinately devoted to the pingalic ideal of "Every Man for Himself".

Power to the People

Nikola Tesla

Without the inventions and discoveries of Nikola Tesla, there would be no modern age as we know it. More than any other individual, he ushered in the Second Industrial Revolution - an economy based on abundant electric power. Another pioneer. Another person with Aries rising.

According to Wikipedia, he is responsible for the following inventions: various devices that use rotating magnetic fields,  the Induction motor, rotary transformers, "high" frequency alternators,  the Tesla coil, his magnifying transmitter and other means for increasing the intensity of electrical oscillations (including condenser discharge transformations and the Tesla oscillators),  Alternating Current long-distance electrical transmission system and other methods and devices for power transmission,  systems for wireless communication (prior art for the invention of radio) and radio frequency oscillators,  robotics and the electronic logic gate,  electrotherapy Tesla currents,  wireless transfer of electricity and the Tesla effect,  Tesla impedance phenomena,  Tesla electro-static field,  Tesla principle,  bifilar coil,  telegeodynamics,  Tesla insulation,  Tesla impulses,  Tesla frequencies,  Tesla discharge,  forms of commutators and methods of regulating third brushes,  Tesla turbines (bladeless turbines) for water, steam and gas and the Tesla pumps,  Tesla igniter,  corona discharge ozone generator,  Tesla compressor,  X-rays Tubes using the Bremsstrahlung process,  devices for ionized gases and "Hot Saint Elmo's Fire",  devices for high field emission,  devices for charged particle beams,  phantom streaming devices,  arc light systems,  methods for providing extremely low level of resistance to the passage of electric current (predecessor to superconductivity),  voltage multiplication circuitry,  devices for high voltage discharges,  devices for lightning protection,  VTOL aircraft,  dynamic theory of gravity,  concepts for electric vehicles  and polyphase systems.

Nikola Tesla Horoscope

Pluto the Power House

Electric DynamoPluto conjunct the ascendant in Aries: could the symbolism be more fitting for the person who invented the electric Dynamo ? Like Dynamite, the symbolism is of extreme power and energy. Aries and Mars are Yang. They represent kinetic energy: energy on the move. Scorpio and Pluto are Yin. They are potential anergy: energy expressed within. When the two get together, as they have in Tesla's chart... watch out !

One of the nice things about having Aries as the rising sign, is that all the planets tend to rule their natural houses. Mars rules the first, Venus the second, etc. At the other end of the spectrum, we find Libra rising, where all the rulers are backwards, so to speak. People with Aries rising get a material boost of sorts: their inner impulses (the planets) are more naturally expressed through their fields of action (the houses). In Tesla's chart, Pluto is not only Pluto, lord of the eighth sign Scorpio: it's lord of the the Eighth house as well. So in a sense, Tesla has a double Pluto symbol on the Ascendant.

Eighth House: the Power House

The 1/8 pattern appears in this chart three ways: from the Ascendant (which we already discussed), from the Moon, and from the Sun. Using the Moon's sign Virgo as the first house (Chandra Lagna in Sanskrit) the 8th house is Aries, and its ruler Mars is in Virgo, the first house. Using the Sun's sign Gemini as the first house (Surya Lagna in Sanskrit) the 8th house is Capricorn, and its ruler Saturn is in the Gemini, the first house. Mister Tesla was really Mister Pluto/Mars/8th House.

A Phenomenal Mercury

Nikola Tesla's chart servers as an extreme example of the signature of Mercury in a horoscope. Four planets are in Gemini. The Sun is in Gemini, Mercury is in its own sign in Gemini. All are in the 3rd house and since Gemini is the 3rd sign, the symbolism is multiplied. Tesla's Moon is in Virgo, the other sign ruled by Mercury, as is Mars, the ruler of his Aries-rising chart. It's hard to imagine a more mercurial chart - but that's what we expect to find in the chart of a scientific genius and inventor. If not, we'd have to question the validity of our methods.

Difficulty in Partnerships

Tesla has Moon in Virgo - the Virgin. He has the ruler of the chart in Virgo. He has Venus conjunct Saturn. Venus is combust the Sun and in square aspect to Mars... It's probably best that he didn't marry ! The partnerships Tesla formed, were disappointing. He got the short end of the stick in business matters, from giants like Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse.

When Pluto is strong in the chart, we can expect tugs of war with others, especially those in positions of power. You can read about Tesla's experiences with the men who created the modern Energy Sector. Unlike Tesla, they weren't interested in giving away free electricity for the general benefit of mankind. They saw things from a more pingalic perspective: as an opportunity to make a personal fortune.

Modern observers suggest that Telsa may have likely displayed some form of Aspergers Syndrome: his obsession and compulsions with numerology, personal hygiene, sleeplessness, solitude, etc. Tesla never married: he claimed to be devoted to his work and to be a celibate. For the last decades of his life, he lived alone at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. A monk-like existence can be seen astrologically in his Mars Ketu conjunction. Mars, as ruler of the chart, is the most important planet. The Moon as next-fastest moving symbol is together with Mars, in the sign of the Virgin. In traditional Indian astrology, Ketu is regarded as "spiritual" force because it swallows things up. It makes them disappear and prevents them functioning in a normal way. Material losses steer the individual towards God, it is believed.

Kuja Dosha: Mars Affliction to Relationships

HeartsOne of the Sanskrit names for Mars is Kuja ("burning coal"). This refers to its correspondence with the Fire element. Dosha means that which ruins or spoils things. Kuja Dosha - also known as Mangal Dosha - is known as "Mars Affliction". It suggests that the native will have difficulty with partners. According to traditional Indian astrology, the pattern occurs when Mars is the 1st, 4th, 7th, 8th or 12th houses.

But wait: there are only 12 houses in a chart: almost 1/2 the entire population has Mars in one of those houses ! Let's take this Yoga with a measure of skepticism. It may not be as reliable advertised... or is it ?

In all these traditional placements, Mars is in hard aspect to the Seventh House of partnerships and marriage. (Remember that in Indian Astrology, a planet can cast an aspect to a house, whether the house contains any planets or not.) Perhaps a more reliable indicator of Mars-induced marriage problems, would be Mars in the Seventh House or Mars in hard aspect to the Lord of the Seventh House, or to Venus, the karaka or general indicator of relationships.

Consider the underlying psychology of Mars: it gives an independent and decisive nature, inclined to action. There's nothing wrong with that. Many people need energetic people around them. People with Mars in the Seventh House, have such a need. Energetic people are complimentary to their nature.

If the Seventh House and its ruler is poorly disposed in the chart (bad aspects, inappropriate sign placement, retrograde, low house strength, etc.) then partnership problems are more likely, but not absolutely predestined. Women with Mars in the Seventh House can expect masculine, assertive partners - and so can men. With such partners, there may be a higher likelihood of disputes, arguments and misunderstandings - but also the promise of excitement and stimulation.

Saint George and the Dragon

Saint George and the DragonPopular culture needs healthy role models: people who embody the positive qualities of Aries and Mars. Another Sanskrit name for the Red Planet is Mangala ("the auspicious one"). When Mars energy is balanced, it's what we call in the West a hero, a knight in shining armor.

Patron Saint of many nations and lineages, Saint George is venerated on April 23 every year. On that day, the Sun is at roughly 10 degrees of sidereal Aries - its highest point of exaltation. Saint George is famous for slaying a dragon that threatened the life of a city by blocking its supply of water from a pond. Every day, the citizens offered it a sheep, but when no sheep could be found, a maiden had to be sacrificed instead. One day, the princess of the city drew the short straw. George appeared and protecting himself by making the sign of the Cross, he slayed the dragon, rescued the princess and saved the city.

The myth of Saint George is ancient: it predates Christianity. Like all myths, it springs from the very structure of the human psyche. The dragon symbolizes excess Fire, embodied in the Sun and Mars. It overwhelms the wholesome pattern of living, which is symbolized by citizens drawing their daily supply of Water: the Moon and Venus. Aggression spoils harmonious society: each day they offer the dragon a sheep or a maiden - symbols of Libra and Venus - but it's never enough to pacify an insatiable appetite. Eventually, the dragon threatens the ultimate Venus/Moon symbol of the city: the princess. A saint - a holy one - appears.

Making the sign of the Cross, he vanquishes the dragon. His holiness is his wholeness, his achievement of balance, symbolized by the Cross. The Cross is a symbol of harmony between the Four Elements, the primary forces of the psyche. Restoring the Elements to their proper measure, Saint George restores order in the world. In the language of Star Wars, he brings balance to the Force.

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