Since this article was published, the work has evolved considerably, and several of the Archetype names have changed. The most current approach to Archetypal Astrology and the planets is covered in the Online Natal Astrology Class , and of course in Archetypal Astrology: What is a birth chart?
A birth chart is a map, and a map is a symbolic representation of something; it is at once a symbol and a collection of symbols that can help us to make sense of or navigate something much larger and infinitely more complex. While maps and symbols are essential tools, a map is not the terrain, and a symbol is not the thing—or things—that it represents.
Symbols have an inherent truth about them; in the most distilled and simplified manner they can capture and convey the true essence and nature of a thing.
As a map, the birth chart contains an infinite amount of information condensed into the purest and most elegant set of symbols. Making any practical use of the map, however, requires that we filter out most of the information and choose one or two planes of reality on which to operate.
The archetypal plane is yet another perspective from which we can view the birth chart. Archetypes are powerful symbols that live in the human collective unconscious. They represent the essence and the quintessence of things: We recognize archetypal patterns whenever we encounter them in our lives; they allow us to define and categorize our experiences.
Although we know the truth of an archetype, we are unable to adequately describe it. We cannot fully explain what the archetypal Feminine is, and yet we immediately recognize this archetype each time we experience it. Exploring the map of the birth chart from the archetypal perspective requires that we shift and expand our understanding of reality.
Each of our games, each of our stories, unique as they are, are built on the same premise. In order for us to believe the story, we must believe that we are the opposite of who we are and be utterly convinced that we are separate, finite, limited, individual beings.
The opportunity with archetypal astrology is to become aware that we are, in fact, playing a game, and we play games because they are fun. Working with archetypal astrology allows us to enter into our own, unique stories and discover the Joy, the Freedom and the Fun of living our own lives.
In the course of the story we will encounter and experience the planetary archetypes in myriad forms. In the paragraphs below, you will encounter each of the planetary archetypes. It is not possible, certainly not in so few words, to capture and dissect the essence of these archetypes.
Archetypes, after all, are symbols in and of themselves.
Rather, consider each of these descriptions to be a taste, an introduction; perhaps an open door, or merely a map that points to a door that may, at some point, be opened. In order to play the Human Game with skill, we must be in right relationship with these archetypes.
They require respect, and reverence, and humility. The invitation is to use these brief descriptions to guide you on your own journey to encounter the planets within. The Sun is the archetype of the Hero.
The opportunity to manifest and act out whatever archetypal energies Jupiter is influencing. Shadow Qualities Materialism, inflation, greed. Astrology illuminates the fundamental archetypal dynamics that profoundly . The Jupiter archetype is associated with the Greek mythic figure of Zeus, the king .
The Hero is the most important archetype. Without the Hero, there is no story. Without the Hero, nothing happens. We assume that we are the Heroes of our stories, but this is rarely the case. Accepting the archetype of the Hero requires courage and conviction, strength and faith.
The journey of the Hero is fraught with danger, and while many people hear the Call, few are willing to heed it. It requires that we leave behind everything that we know. We must relinquish everything that is safe and comfortable and familiar, and step into the unknown completely undefended. The Hero will, through hard work and many trials, encounter teachers and allies, develop skills and uncover hidden treasures.
But few are able to overcome the initial fear of taking the first step away from the small, safe lives and the small, safe story that we know. The Sun is the Source of all life. The Sun is the Source of our power, and yet we are afraid to encounter it fully. If we look directly at the Sun, we will be blinded, we will be burned.
The illusion of Moonlight is so much softer, so much safer. And yet so few of us wonder exactly what will be burned away if we embrace the Sun; for what the Sun burns away is nothing but the old story, the old life that kept us small. What is left, what cannot burn, is the Hero. The Sun is what calls us to our greatness.
The Sun is our potential, the Truth of who we are, the Truth of who we can be if we are willing to surrender the illusion of who we think we are. Are you willing to heed the Call?
Are you ready to claim your greatness? The Sign where the Sun resides indicates how you want to be a Hero in your story. Contemplate the energy of your Sun Sign and discover the nature of your unique and individual call to greatness. The Moon is the Archetype of the Mirror. The Moon reflects the light of the Sun, and like all reflections, it distorts and filters the essence of the Source, depicting a facet, a shadow, some single element of the original for deeper reflection.
In a very real sense, our lives are a journey through an endless hall of mirrors. Everyone and everything we encounter is simply a reflection of our True Self.
And yet, we wander, endlessly, looking for the one that is real. What we seek as we wander through the endless hall or mirrors, is safety, security, and comfort. We long to make a connection with the reflections we encounter, but the connections we experience are themselves mere reflections, and while we cling to them hungrily, they are never truly enough to satisfy our needs.
The Moon is the dream of our lives. The Moon is what fills in the subtext and the emotion. The Moon is the source of our needs, especially our need for Safety and for nurturing. The Moon is where we long to return to the Source.
The vast majority of us live through the Moon. We are asleep, dreaming, searching through a maze of mirrors for the fulfillment of our deepest longing, the longing to be whole. We see an infinite number of reflections, ever-changing, ever-moving, and we assume that we are looking outside of ourselves.
In truth, we are only ever looking within. The Sign of the Moon indicates how we seek emotional connections and safety. It is how we want to be comforted, and how we seek to comfort others. Mercury is the archetype of the Storyteller. We underestimate the power and importance of story. Our lives, our experiences are nothing but a story.
We are immersed, engrossed and utterly transported by the story. The story seems utterly real to us. And yet no matter how true, how real the story appears, it is, underneath, merely a story. What we experience as real and as true is nothing but a collection of well-chosen words declaimed by an expert storyteller. Story is what drives us.
Story is what we live for.
Esoterically, it is considered to be the planet of karma, the carrier of karma from past lifetimes, the consequences of which we now have to encounter in the present life. Usually the leader of the pantheon is the god of thunder. Archetype of Pluto Scorpio: Perhaps of all areas of astrology, it is the study of transits that produces the most compelling evidence for the power of the astrological perspective, and its immense pragmatic value. That is, instead of being ourselves a source of change and independence and excitement, we may tend to have change and unpredictable events thrust upon us, so that we are forced to open up our life to new horizons and new possibilities.
The duality of Pisces latently contains seeds of the next two signs: In Chaos a motion arises on the part of Uranus resulting in the emergence of atoms of Saturn.
Centrifugal motion in the vacuum separates the light from the darkness. Let us imagine the process as ancients did: So the Chinese Sky Chian was formed. Somewhere beyond space, dark chaos remained, and the blue dome of the firmament became a concrete bariere protecting the light world from the invasion of the dark forces.
It is the blue arc of gates leading to the unknown world, and it is the omniscient God of the Sky who possesses the keys to these gates. Such was the ancient image of Roman Janus , with one face turned toward this world, a world created by him, the second face turned toward another world.
Originally he was the god of the firmament, then lost his dominance and merely became a keeper of all the arcs and gates. The god of the Sky is a creator fulfilling the main act of creation: In contrast to his successors, he founds the world purely by means of thought, word or through his will, because as yet nothing else exists.
An abstract creator, he forms the Universe as a whole, not worrying about the destiny of individual beings.
As the cold blue sky of February, he is infinitely removed from humanity, commonly considered to be the substance of material creation; usually it is not he who has created them from clay or wood. Great Father of gods, he leaves determinate functions to his children and having fulfilled his role, retires.
Humanity doesn't pay homage to the primary creator, having forgotten him, but somehow it is always implied that indeed it is the Sky that supports the World.
The primary god personifies the light of the sky. But he is also connected with the darkness divided from this light, with the wholeness of life and death of the primary waters, like Aquarius who pours two streams from a jug: He is above evil and good, in the ordinary sense of these words.
The words ' deus ' and ' devil ' both emerges from the name of the Indoeuropean Dyaus , ' the clear sky ', and the same root is found in the Russian words ' divny ' miraculous and ' diky ' wild. The god of the Sky is anarchic and wild, wielding as his instrument the unceasing process of creation which is as spontaneous as thought.
The myth concerning the Greek Uranus , who constantly gave birth to monsters, and unsatisfied with his creations, hid them in the bosom of the Earth, reflects the infinite process of arising and annihilation.
Gaea the Earth, exhausted from the labours of birth, asked Kronos to castrate his father. That secured the separation of the Sky from the Earth and determined the beginning of stable existence. The image formation of the god of the light Sky, historically correlates with the stage of great population migrations, which opened new horizons after the retreat of the glaciers.
Peoples domesticated all territories fit for their uses, which become human in the proper sense of the word, illuminated with the light of thought. Isn't it miraculous, that the spark of God in human beings retreated only confronted by the eternal ices of Antarctica? The luminosity, universality and anarchy of the most ancient creators characterizes Uranus, the planet of thought and liberty, which appeals to the spirit of new development, makes the hidden manifest and sometimes becomes dangerous for people.
And the destiny of humankind to become the owner of the Earth brings us to the next archetype. Archetype of Saturn Capricorn: But in a limited world it is possible to create something stable.
The world of matter has a beginning and an end, and it is definitely conditioned by laws that keep it secure. These are the laws of time and fate, symbolized in astrology by the planet Saturn.
One thinks about the world within the framework of time, which inexorably restricts our existence. Beyond these limits, we could not imagine something definite, and we would not be able to think at all. As Chaos may be represented as a point, the spontaneous motion of light as a line flying into infinity, or as an unfurling spiral, throwing off the sparks of new worlds, so the appearance of the Universe and our Earth may be seen as a segment of the line, or as a piece of the spiral, defined by a determined cycle.
The limited world is associated with the Earth. Gods of the Earth and Time supersede the gods of the Sky, becoming creators of stable being and defining it's destiny.
And the newly emerged material world is strictly subordinated to the predetermination which formed it and exists in perfect harmony with nature and itself. That is the Golden Age of the Earth, associated with Saturn. Those who determinate destiny, as does Enki of Sumeria, often happen to have a mission of creating humanity.
A man is understood in mythology as something undoubtedly material, so the substance used for making people is usually earth. The latin words ' homo ' and ' humus ' coincide not only in sound but in sense.
Having lived out his life man himself returns to the earth, it being his mother. Of course the god who personifies the universal principle of determination, in the creation of his Universe, didn't intend that evil and death come into the world. So the Iranian god of Time Zervan wanted to give birth to only the good son Ormazd, not his evil brother Ariman.
But he gave birth to twins: To glimpse the Sumerian goddess of fate Namtar meant certain death, and the gods of fate often are also gods of death. The sign of Capricorn is associated with the self-consciousness of the individual, and his concern about responsibility for the continuation of his genus is closely connected with his understanding of the existence of death.
The earth containing burial places of the ancestors became the homeland. So the archetype of earth, time and fate gods is associated with the end of migrations and the founding of a native homeland.
A tribe holds a definite territory and native gods, protecting its own genus, such as Roman Vesta , the eldest daughter of Saturn, or Slavic Rod ' ancestor, genus ', the ancient leader of the pantheon. Man tried to influence to the fates through prayers and offerings to his predecessors on the land. Recognizing that life is determined according to definite laws, and by the cycles of time, he tried to overcome his dependence upon nature, developing agriculture on his own lands.
Also he tried to uphold the natural order and promote the earth's fertility through seasonal offerings. Agriculture promoted the development of the calendar, having made more perceptible the abstract notion of time.
The New Year's celebration, the traditional Roman carnival was originally connected with sacrifices to Saturn , the god of sowing. His name means ' sower ', and it is related with the Russian words ' sytny ' fat, substantial and ' sut' ' to exist.
Formation of the Saturnian archetype reflects the period when humanity took it's existence into its' own hands. But even after the canonization of fate, humanity still could not influence the weather, so the old protectors of time and the native lands ceded their power to the god of thunder.
Archetype of Jupiter Sagittarius: So ' Zeus ' is the transformation of the ancient ' Dyaus ' and the name of Jupiter is also translated as ' father of the light '.
Born after the ancient creators, he overcomes them by force, defeating chtonic monsters which were spontaneously created in the beginning of the ages and suppressing the wild rebellions of chaos. Transcending time and influencing the fate of the world, he inherits the functions of his predecessors, repeating and fulfilling the process of creation and in so doing becomes the head of the pantheon of gods.
And thus he founds a society of which he is king. Babylonian Marduk proved his superiority over other gods and nature by ordering a star to disappear and appear again, He then became the protector of the gods and as the leader of the gods' army killed frightful Tiamat, thus Chaos could never pretend to its omnipotence over the Universe.
The other gods in return built him the heavenly Babylon which of course reflected the human society of that time. Historically, Jupiterian mythologema tooks humans beyond the context of native genus and extended the basis of society beyond the blood relationship to the level of a state built on a common ideology. It shows the next step in the development of human consciousness when such a unification, the Sagittarian unity of minds, became possible.
This stage corresponds to the elaboration of religion and ritual: Usually the leader of the pantheon is the god of thunder. Mythological thought thus manifests the image of a king-priest who interacts with elemental forces and by appealing to the Sky is able to evoke the rain, which is necessary for a good crop.
A picture of a thunderstorm always stoked people's imagination, so it became a symbol of the highest power. Only the strongest of gods could manage it. And the best of humans was elected to serve as the connection with the Heavens. Like Sagittarius, he directs the arrow of his mind which reaches the Firmament and brings him directs knowledge of Nature.
He is able to influence natural conditions through the power of higher laws, so he excersises a power which acts above fate. Thus the image of the god of thunder was fused with the image of the omniscient god of the light Sky. Properly speaking the King of gods in his role as a king of people acts only as a translator of the higher will as it relates to the Earth.
But as observed from the Earth the images may be read as the god of Thunder himself expressing the will of the Heavens. The god of thunder's location between the Earth and the Sky associates him with high and rocky places, where lightning flashes often strike, and the Indoeuropean name of the god originates from the word ' perunt ' rock.
Such is the name of Russian Perun or Indian Parjanya. We always associate the archetype of Jupiter with high elevations which widen the range of mental perception and help to order existence from above.
The King of the gods coordinates the different dimensions of the world and distributes goods, happiness, riches and fame according to his fair laws. Nevertheless he is not an primordial god, so his laws are temporary and his state from time to time must be transformed.
The next archetype describes this transformation. Archetype of Pluto Scorpio: As there was always a rivalry between the true law and the forces of power and money, so there exists a god of the bowels of the Earth, a sovereign of innumerable treasures, who is independent from the King of gods. The planet Pluto, symbolized by the image of the eternal Enemy, embodies evil and death, that seeks to destroy the external world order of Jupiter which personifies the principles of good.
The name Pluto means ' rich, full ' and so the chief of the under world is always rich because he has acquired all things that have disappeared from the surface of the Earth. As the gifts of the heavens and the fruits of work on the earth are diminished day by day, the governor of Death becomes richer and richer.
The existence of the ruler of the subterranean world is justified through his function of keeping hidden in the bowels of the Earth, far from the sight of humans or even gods! All that is alive needs his energy. And as the potency of nature is passive, the god of Thunder, in irrigating the Earth and awakening her hidden fertility, manifests the new sprout of life by stimulating stored up banks of energy.
For life to progress, the god of the Interior, like a Scorpion stinging itself with it's own tail, brings out the extreme energies of war and illness, destroying everything that doesn't meet the test and so is destined to be ruined.
It falls to the leader of gods to renew life on the surface of the Earth. The interaction between these two sovereigns is depicted in the central Indoeuropean myth as a struggle for herds of cows stolen away by the subterranean god and hidden by him in the rocky lowlands. He can manifest himself in the image of a viper from the depths Indian Vritra or Indoeuropean Budh.
The god of Thunder then defeats the viper in a battle of thunderstorms, and the herds of cows return as flocks of clouds which provide fertilizing rain. The process of the natural circle continues on infinitely, as does the struggle of evil and good.
One finds the historical analog of this battle in the real struggle between agriculturally based peoples and the herders and nomads. In this period one's own people personified everything good, and the alien everything evil.
The roots of these abstract notions were at first very simple, but then the representation of evil became more complicated and formed the picture of the alien world as a socialized image of chaos, or hell.
The subterranean world is associated with an exit to the abyss: