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The fixed signs in religion and magic

EagleAstrology is the work of the devil, or so we’re told.  We are supposed to put our faith in Jesus Christ, and to recognize that it is only through Him that we have any chance of salvation.  If we put our faith in astrology we’re on the fast track to hell.  It is because we’re rejecting the truth of Jesus Christ, our one and only saviour, and instead falling for the glitter and bright lights of astrology.  We don’t need Jesus to save us, we can instead save ourselves, with horoscopes and crystal healing.

Yet there is an alternative view. Astrology may be a manifestation of God, a way in which He shows Himself to us.  Our horoscope, for example, is an indication of what God wants us to do with our life.  The positions of the planets at the moment of great events tell us what these events mean, in terms of the higher, Divine plan.

The connection between astrology and God is shown in the first chapter of Ezekiel, where the prophet has a vision of cosmic proportions.  He saw four living creatures, each having four faces and four wings (Ezekiel 1:9-10):

9 Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.
10 As for the likenesss of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.

We can see that the fixed signs are described.   The man is Aquarius, the lion is Leo, the ox is Taurus, and the eagle is Scorpio… but hold on, why not a scorpion?  Don’t worry, Aleister Crowley explained this, in The Book of Thoth.  More about that later.

Another part of Ezekiel’s vision is a set of wheels (Ezekiel 1:16):

The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.

We could be seeing a description of the ecliptic and the houses.  The wheel of the Zodiac and the wheel of the twelve houses.  The four living creatures are keeping the whole thing together, and this makes sense, because in Chapter 10 of Ezekiel we find out that the four living creatures are cherubim, a class of angels that can have a guardian role.  For example, when Adam and Eve got thrown out of the Garden of Eden, God placed cherubim on the east side of the garden, to stop the couple coming back.

From a linguistic perspective, cherubim is the plural of cherub.  In Christian art cherubs are often depicted as plump children.  This is not a useful description, and one should see cherubim as being more serious and assertive than that. They are there to guard and protect, not to float around innocent and childlike.

The cherubim are therefore at the cornerstone of the whole system, and their connection with the wheels described in the first chapter of Ezekiel may indicate that they underpin the whole of astrology.  They are the four stable elements, on which everything rests.

From an astrological point of view, one might then argue that the four fixed signs, namely Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius, are the most stable and archetypal of the signs.  If we follow the order of the quadruplicities, we go cardinal, fixed, mutable.  So cardinal Fire is Aries, fixed Fire is Leo, mutable Fire is Sagittarius.  Fire manifests in Aries, endures in Leo and dissipates in Sagittarius.  The fixed signs represent the finished product, rather than its beginning or ending.  In this sense, they are pure and complete.

At this stage, you may be wondering why an Eagle represents Scorpio rather than a Scorpion.  The cherubim represent the highest and purest level of the sign, and this is something explained by Aleister Crowley in The Book of Thoth. This is without doubt the best book on the Tarot, and it is based on Aleister Crowley and Frieda Harris’ Thoth tarot deck.  The pack’s Death card is associated with Scorpio, and in the card we can see a Scorpion, a snake and an eagle.  The scorpion represent the lowest level of Scorpio.  Someone who is vindictive and self-destructive, remembing the apocryphal story that when you surround a scorpion with a ring of burning petrol it stings itself to death.  The snake is the intermediate level.  When there’s trouble, it hides under a rock.  Then there is the highest level of Scorpio, the eagle.  It doesn’t worry about the petty worries and squabbling of the material plane – it soars about the clouds, powerful and free.

From a Christian perspective, the four faces of the cherubim are sometimes associated with the four gospels.  Matthew is represented by the man, Mark by the lion, Luke by the ox and John by the eagle.  Christ is a man, lion, ox and eagle, all at once. He is descended from ordinary men, and he has the kingliness of a lion.  As an ox he offered himself up for sacrifice, as an eagle he is eternal and everywhere.

The connection between the eagle and St. John’s gospel makes sense.  Long ago, when I was living in South London, a Christian knocked on my door, and when I showed him my books on astrology and the occult he tried to persuade me to see the light.  He told me that if I had doubts about Christianity, I should read this gospel.  It is the most spiritual and other worldly of the four, and its first five verses read as follows:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

This is the essence of Scorpio, at its highest level.  The Word is the divine intelligence, that has always existed, which was incarnated in Jesus Christ.  The high level Scorpio understands the infinity and fundemental rightness of this intelligence.  This is because it can fly above the emotional complications that leave many Scorpios stymied and earth-bound.

Ezekiel’s vision, and its relationship to the four elements, has always been important to astrologers and occultists, and it was picked up on by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.  They assigned the four symbols of the fixed signs to the four cardinal points.  So if one was setting up a magical circle, in the east one would have a yellow Aquarius symbol, in the west a blue eagle, in the north a black Taurus and in the south a red Leo.  You would then do the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, to ensure that your working space was clean.

But ritual magic may be a step too far.  The primary purpose of astrology is to show us God’s will, and a secondary purpose is to demonstrate, as Hamlet said, that “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”.  When you start straying into the magical arts, you’re putting your faith in something else, aside from Jesus Christ.  That could lead you to hell.  Or more likely, the realization that magical moments choose us, rather than the other way round.

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