Into the Outer Darkness

I was impressed by an article on the outer planets by Myriam Hildotter at The Apple Seed. I will be quoting from and referring to a small part of that article. I don’t think anyone should be excused from reading the original in full.ptolemaic

I’ve had reason to contemplate the outer planets lately, after having them turned off in all my astrology programmes for the last eight years. In part, it’s because I’ve become alarmed and curious regarding the number of so called Tradition Astrologers returning to the trans personals as if they could do so without doing some violence to the Tradition itself.

This system cannot accommodate asteroids or invisible planets without changing it at its core. I must add that there are many more who have come to understand the beauty and abilities of Traditional Astrology of late and hope this trend continues.

I’m starting with this particular quote from Hildotter:

“Now, if the Traditional Planets represent the Higher Cosmological Spheres, it is not hard to extrapolate that the three Outer Planets represent Lower Spheres, or the Outer Darkness referred to in the Christian tradition. Interestingly enough, these planets may have very well been known about in Ancient times. Certainly, Uranus was. Our Ancient forebears knew enough not to intentionally invoke these planets, however.”

Traditional Astrology is based on light. In modern astrology, orbs are given to aspects> In Traditional Astrology they are assigned to planets  The size of the orb depends on the light emitted. Obviously, Mercury will not have the Same orb as Jupiter. The Ptolemaic universe is superficially geocentric but is ultimately rooted in the divine. The planetary spheres represent what we might call a ladder of light.

In a Lecture on “The Real Astrology” in 2003 John Frawley stated: “Astrology is the science of light. Light existed before the Sun and Moon were created. This is essential light: the light of the essences of things. Astrology works by communication of essential light: the light of the essences of things”

It helps to have some understanding of Aristotle, particularly his Metaphysics and On the Heavens as well as an acquaintance with Platonic and Neo-Platonic thought to grasp the underpinnings of this system, but the system itself is much older. One of the core elements of this schema is the seven planets and luminaries in a particular order. This is usually referred to as the Chaldean Order. The order is based on ascension from Earth to the next closest planet, which is the Moon and continues the furthermost planet, Saturn. When you look at the rulerships, it becomes obvious that this form of divine symmetry permeates the entire system.

At the core, we have the Sun and Moon ruling Leo and Cancer, the next signs on either side, Gemini and Virgo. The pattern continues until we reach Saturn, ruler of Capricorn and Aquarius.

For our immediate purposes however, note that the Sun is at the centre and Venus and Mars on either side, as what the Egyptians called Severity and Mercy. If you add a planet or asteroid into the system, the Sun is no longer at the centre


The Earth rests in the Sublunary Sphere, a place of generation and decay. Saturn represents the furthest reaches of the planetary system  — the outer limits if you like. Beyond Saturn is the realm of the Fixed Stars (also light) and then the Sphere of the Prime Mover, the source of light. This places the trans-personals in the outer darkness.

In order to accommodate the outer planets, we would have to dismantle the Classical model. If one is doing that consciously and fully understands the consequences we could say we are merely using another form of astrology that pretty much ignores what holds the system together.

Unfortunately, more commonly I see self-named Traditional astrologers using outer planets if we use tight orbs. This brings us full circle. We are now talking about allotting orbs as one might to a fixed star. However, they are not stars and emit no light we perceive without the use of powerful telescopes.

It is important to understand that the trans personals, particularly Uranus, were known by the ancients. Indian astrologers claim they have known about them for over 7,000 years.  Uranus is very, very faint, but can be seen as a tiny smudge without a telescope, if you know exactly where to look. I concur with Hildotter that the three outer planets (?) correspond to modern ailments

I’ve maintained for many years that the fascination with the outer planets, usually at the expense of those closer to home, is a perfect analogy for contemporary alienation – that which is furthest from Sol becomes the focus – staring into the abyss, as far away from the light as possible believing they are connecting with higher, transformative energies. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Sun is the ultimate source of life If seen from Pluto, it is a faint star

Sandro Botticelli La Carte de l'Enfer

Sandro Botticelli La Carte de l’Enfer

One of the advantages of not looking at outer planets for eight years is seeing what happens when you bring them back. I see no purpose for them in The Judgment of Nativities and perhaps even less in Horary. Mundane and Electional astrology has been practised successfully since the dawn of civilization in one form or another.

Let’s take a look at what the outer planets signify:

Uranus – Sudden, unexpected change, massive explosions, an unpredictable and highly disruptive force. The mythology of Uranus is some of the most sordid reading you are likely to read. He’s a monster and none the better for being castrated. Positive but erroneous associations were borrowed from Mars and Mercury. The irony that Aquarius, a Fixed Air Sign is said to be ruled by a planet that violently changes all the time is truly spectacular.

Neptune – addiction, including alcoholism. The great deceiver and agent of confusion and dementia. Attributions that have nothing to do with Neptune were taken from the Moon, Saturn and Venus

Pluto – well, let’s just say that if Pluto is “transformational” so is a nuclear war and high levels of toxic radiation. He is associated with the worst biological and chemical weapons. Incorrect associations were borrowed mainly from Mars

Of course,  none of these associations were actually *borrowed* They were stolen, stripping the Traditional planets of much of their meaning. After all, has been tallied up, we can see that the cosmology, meaning  and structure has been unceremoniously tossed aside, as if the tradition that served us well for millennia were nothing more than last year’s model, that can be changed on a whim with impunity – yet another symptom of a throw away society

In short, the outer planets are all malefics of the first degree that describe different forms of devastation, much in the terms of social and moral decay noted by Hildotter.  It is increasingly apparent that astrologers are trying to attach the Transpersonals without understanding the consequences.

9 thoughts on “Into the Outer Darkness

  1. Reblogged this on Written on Diana's Mirror and commented:
    This is an excellent article that anyone who works with Traditional Astrology or any system of Astrology would enjoy reading.. The reposter adds into the original article some points where she focuses on showing how modern astrologer took characteristics from the traditional planets to explain certain events, diseases and unexpected events and gave them to the three Outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto which are not used in Traditional Astrology and showing that the same energy can be attributed to those traditional planets and luminaries.

  2. Pingback: The Outer Planets: the Pseudomythos of “Higher Octaves” and “Transcendence” | The Apple Seed

  3. I’m no one special. I have been self-studying astrology for near a decade now, on and off, but it’s only now become more serious. Without going into it further… I would firstly like to share my thanks, and then a sudden insight I just had. Thanks to this article. Perhaps it might be a little interesting to you, who knows.

    I had always known about the traditional rulerships but it wasn’t until I saw an image of it’s placements, and the symmetry (on a normal modern chart layout) with Sun and moon, surrounded with mercury, venus, mars, jupiter and saturn like a mirror, or butterfly wings, on both sides…. that something in me just clicked.

    So I’ve been pondering the place of the outer planets for a little while now, leaving them aside while I played around with the wheel. (Long story). I’ll try keep it short.

    My understanding as it stands, (outer planets aside) was that Mars (which I’m referring to as the champion at the moment) rules Aries and Scorpio, and in Scorpio encounters himself, or his double in a sense. Two warriors, one must lose… like a hall of mirrors or something, and in so doing Mars becomes aware of the reality of death. So then taking your perspective into account…

    Could it be that it is here in death, that he encounters Pluto, perhaps? The very archetype of war, nu-clear obliteration, and this Pluto with its skewed perspective, tries to lure Mars with a promise of power that transcends ‘both worlds’ … So it’s like a… what’ the word… a test. Like the Christian story of Jesus in the wilderness?

    Then the for example with Aquarius, I for some reason understand Saturn there as ruler representing the preparedness for ‘Transmission’ of knowledge (I see Saturn as the master at the moment) but then Uranus once again, perhaps tempting the consciousness to overthrow the establishment? Doesn’t that seem like a common theme perhaps that most people upon becoming more learned, and world-wise, there are moments when they might actually start hating the establishment they came from? Erroneously believing it should be destroyed, even though they themselves have issued from it?

    And then, where I see Pisces under the rulership of Jupiter as the place where sins are washed away, or where we learn to forgive, and are forgiven… I relate Jupiter at this stage with grace…. the gift which we receive… although it may involve some pain as old thought patterns are washed away in the waters of blessing… Right there, we may be tempted, as any mystic worth their salt would attest, either by grand visions, or ecstasies, false utopias….Neptune in this case…. ?

    So if I apply your logic of the trans-personals as being hidden tests attempting to strip the traditional planets of their power by way of false promises….

    It makes a kind of poetic sense to me.

    Of course, in my chart my venus is exactly conjunct pluto, sun conjunct uranus, and mars within 5 degrees of pluto… I almost feel like I’m betraying them… but perhaps the difficulties I experience in some of those areas is because I might be constantly experiencing these tests, luring me away, tempting me to walk down wrong paths…

    I don’t know. It seems pretty dark when I look at it that way…

  4. Pingback: The Outer Planets: the Pseudomythos of “Higher Octaves” and “Transcendence” – The Wisdom of Our Grandmothers

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