Astrology presents us with the play of the archetypal forces at work in life, the great powers of the cosmic mind. On one hand, these extend down into the cosmic unconscious, the teeming inconscient ocean of the ignorance wherein great elemental forces struggle. It is here, in the dark sea at the beginning of the world, that the inertia of the lower forms of life persist tenaciously with their primeval fears, desires, aggression and attachment. On the other hand, these same forces extend upwards into the cosmic consciousness, the infinite ocean above the world, which contains in its great creative matrix, the potencies of all redemption and transformation. As the latter is, mythologically speaking, the domain of the demons or titans (asuras), the former is the domain of the Gods or Devas. These two domains are ever in conflict or opposition, the Gods with their ascending or evolutionary force and the demons with their descending or devolutionary force.
It is through the elements; earth, water, fire, air and ether that these two forces clash: the Gods aspiring to bring the flux of the elements into a vision of cosmos, the demons straining to return them to the dull sleep of chaos. From this came the Greek vision of the world as a conflict between the elements and a conflict between the Gods and the demons, a view the ancient Hindus also shared. In the Hindu view the Gods and the demons are the powers of light and darkness working through the senses, which is where our consciousness struggles between the inner and the outer worlds.
Yet these two warring forces are also related and, in some ways, complementary. The planets project both forces, the powers of both evolution and devolution, ascent and descent. These two powers are one--the undivine is the inversion or reflection of the Divine. The planets in their higher or harmonized nature function as deities to carry us up into the light. In their lower or conflicting nature, they become the demons that drive us into darkness and despair. It also depends upon how we use their energy. Using it consciously through self-knowledge, meditation, mantras and gems, it moves us upwards. Taking it unconsciously, not regarding the cosmic powers in our life, it drives us downward, puts us under a negative spell of illusion.
The planets as great Gods and great demons are the lords of great power we must respect. They may create or destroy, further or restrain, either the ascending or descending force. As each planet is the natural lord of certain forces, according to basic nature and sign rulership, so each planet is also a "temporal lord" or temporary ruler of certain forces through time according to the principles of house rulership. It is according to this principle of house rulership that much of the great power of the planets comes out, for good or ill. One of the unique and most important principles of Vedic astrology is this principle of house rulership--that the nature of planets changes according to what houses each planet rules relative to the ascendant. What is a good planet for one ascendant may be a malefic for another. Vedic astrology does not ascribe to planets a simple fixed nature but modifies planetary nature according to each ascendant. This principle is of particular importance for understanding how planets project their effects through time.
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