In the Middle Ages it was commonly understood that each of the Heavenly bodies, there were 7 we could see which did not belong to the Fixed stars, had their reflections on Earth. This is called the Doctrine of Signatures. So if there was an ailment that was clearly of Mars with flushed face and heats and fevers it was necessary to find a plant that would complement or reduce the symptoms. Perhaps of the Moon, cooling and soothing.
Each of the planets had its own metal, Saturn was Lead, Jupiter Tin, Mars Iron, Venus Copper, Mercury Quicksilver or electrum, a combination of all the metals, and then the Sun and Moon were the two noble metals of Gold and Silver respectively.
There was a traditional order of the planets, which was already established in antiquity, that ran from the Sphere of the Fixed Stars, so called because, although they were moving across the sky at night, they always held the same position relative to one another. What’s more they always returned to the same place of origin, even though it may take a year to do so. But against these were bodies which could be seen and were called the Wanderers because they meandered about the sky. Always within the Zodiacal belt, but for most of them they would move forwards for a period, halt and then begin to move backwards for a short while before proceeding on their way again. The only two which did not turn backwards were the Sun and Moon.
From the sphere of the Fixed Stars, the order of the planets ran
- Mercury and
It was according to this pattern that the numbers were given to the planets.
- Saturn was given 3,
- Jupiter 4,
- Mars 5,
- Sun 6,
- Venus 7,
- Mercury 8, and the
- Moon 9.
So when Jimi Hendrix sang -well if 6 turned out to be 9, I don’t mind. He was making a statement that, according to this ancient order of planets, was quite accurate. The order of the planets, as given in reverse order to that we looked at above, shows the actual position of the planets from the Sun outwards, if we swap the Sun for the Moon.
The order reads
- Moon (standing for Earth),
- Jupiter and
It was only after the discovery of telescopes that Uranus and the outer planets were discovered which then threw the orderly sequence and study of Astrology into disarray as signs needed to be found for them, but that is a topic for elsewhere.
Why should the Sun have been placed in the place of the Earth – well it was evident to those who lived on Earth at that time that the Sun was the most important planet – using that nomenclature for the star we inhabit.
The Sun determined the year and was attended by two companions, Venus and Mercury. These are the two Asvins of Hindu mythology. At times they would be ahead of him and at times would follow him. But the Sun was constant. It progressed steadily forwards and never turned back. Thus the Sun was taken as a symbol for the King. But the Moon also moved steadily forwards and rushed along at breakneck speed, heedless of the movement of others and so she was chosen as the Queen. It was clear to the sea-going nations that the Moon was important as she determined the tides.
It is a sorry condition we live in today. Now we have street lamps most of us never see the stars and so have no idea of the world we live in. Unless we know our environment how can we ever know ourselves?