THE URANIAN INSTITUTE
One point seems to be very clear: How Hades manifests in our lives (high or low) depends strongly on our spiritual and metaphysical outlook, and its effect on our approach to life.
In February 2002, this article again undergoes updating after study of the remarkable and revealing text by Brian Clark entitled The Underworld in Myth & Antiquity: Amplifying Pluto, in which he includes significant information on the mythological accounts of Hades as an underworld reality, contextualizing and consolidating some of the isolated observations recorded about Hades as an astrological factor. This article includes ongoing revisions, expanding on an earlier article of mine which appeared in unauthorized altered form in the Uranian Forum in 1988, and translated into German from that altered article in the Hamburger Hefte in 1989. Numerous new insights and observations have come to my attention since that time -- some of them due to the published materials of such insightful and gifted astrological writers as Ruth Brummund, Martha Lang-Wescott, and Brian Clark. Many of the following conclusions have come from my study of individual horoscopes and how they compare with the statements in other writings on the topic, as well as study of metaphysical literature dealing with the key concepts traditionally associated with Hades, and how actual astrological observations correlate with the astrological and mythological literature.
A number of harsh criticisms have been launched since the beginning of my now more than decade-long journey to greater insight into the nature of Hades, and those criticisms most often came from those who labeled my efforts to uncover and develop the constructive attributes of Hades as being "unrealistic" or even "Pollyanna". It should be pointed out, in response, that in earlier days, before society and astrologers evolved further, Saturn was the great malefic which only brought grief or death; Uranus was the planet of explosions and disasters and brought only destruction and upsets; Neptune was primarily the planet of deceit, escapism, and disappointment; and Pluto was the planet of fascists, gangsters, and destruction. However, as time passed and our insights increased and fleshed out with more comprehensive perspectives, we have realized that all these interpretations are indeed fitting in the most negative situations, where the planetary energies are distorted or misapplied or even abused -- yet require additional observation to determine what the positive and perhaps less sensational manifestations are. When we fear new realities, there is an unfortunate tendency to see only their negative and threatening aspects. After many years of negative misconceptions, we now realize that Saturn also stabilizes, Uranus also mechanizes and facilitates functions, Neptune also inspires and allows us to empathize, and Pluto also lends us the power to build, develop, and regenerate. The most negative events were noted in early observations probably because they were the most striking, sensational, and obvious. Hades was often treated as the scapegoat, "bugaboo", or "dustbin of our Solar System". It certainly can have negative manifestations, just as all other planets can, and it likewise should have positive manifestations which, as responsible astrologers, we should seek to understand if we are to help clients deal with its very high-impact transits and directions.
Part of the problem in fully understanding Hades is that it frequently correlates with obscure situations and subtle energies.... and the most frequent purely physical manifestations of it that we see are all too often in situations where subtle or metaphysical realities are neglected, overlooked, or in transition to or from dense physical manifestation. Thus it has similarities with Neptune in terms of its nature and effects; but is much more profound (as it is further out in our solar system). It is sometimes associated with the "ancient mysteries". The writings of Ruth Brummund emphasize the significance of mystical and metaphysical factors in the energies of Hades (as she couples Hades together with Neptune, the planet of empathy and communion, into a single sector of the Uranian Mandala); Alfred Witte, in some cases described Hades in ways that correlate with this interpretation, pointing out for example the correlation between Hades and nuns. Like Neptune, Hades also seems to point to our blind spots and vulnerabilities (which are resolved by striving toward increasing consciousness of our lives and surrounding realities... the vulnerabilities are often due to our very lack of consciousness, or ignorance of the more subtle realities) when functioning with grossly materialistic considerations. Both planets' association with illness, for example, are tied in with neglect or ignorance of subtle realities around us, physical and perhaps also metaphysical, perhaps basic to natural laws. We often remedy illness through absorbing pharmaceutical chemicals or basic natural elements found in minerals, herbs, and vitamins, thus restoring subtle chemical balances in our bodies. Remember that Hades and Neptune also correlate with non-solid substances, including liquids, gases, dust, and unalloyed chemicals. Because many subtle and metaphysical realities are not always sufficiently included in our socioculturually programmed everyday belief systems and paradigms, we sometimes deal with highly problematic or even disastrous issues with either Neptune or Hades, depending again on how consciously (with open awareness versus prejudices or preconceived assumptions) we empathize with people, situations, things, and other living beings (including animals) in our environs, and to what degree when understand the realities of the underlying, and not always obvious, chemistry of the realities we encounter. Some cultures seem to be more conscious of these considerations, and these are often the more nature-focused and less crassly materialistic cultures. If we all remain in the realm of "material boys and girls", these realities stay beyond our grasp, our consciousness. Hades seems to trigger primal emotions, which can have both negative and positive manifestations. The current American cultural interest in shamanism and mystical paradigms is a manifestation of the attempt to compensate for the lack of metaphysical and spiritual integration in our culture, to re-establish an imbalance created by rampant and unrefined crass materialism, and popular religious permutations which have lost the original mystical component.
Astrological literature on Hades written in the early 20th century described Hades energies as a combination of Moon and Saturn. I would like to point out that at that time, Neptune was still poorly understood... most astrologers recognized only its physical manifestations (with poor understanding of its psychological subtleties) mostly because physical manifestations are the first and simplest things people tend to look at; and I propose that the same is true still today for Hades. Additionally, partly due to the poor understanding of Neptune in earlier years among people in general, I would propose that Hades is more similar to a combination of the energies of Moon, Saturn, AND Neptune, with a deeper study of Neptune being a key to greater understanding of Hades. (Note how many Hades keywords are similar to concepts associated with Saturn and Neptune in combination.)
Returning to Ruth Brummund's Uranian Mandala, we see that she pairs Neptune with Hades as planets at the root (bottom) of the unconscious energies of the subconscious... both planetary bodies operating at a deep and sometimes not-fully-conscious level (although this can be changed through such methods as psychoanalysis or dream analysis or study of ancient mystical paradigms). Note again that mystical cultures (usually contrasting with "Western Civilization") often more consciously integrate awareness of these primal and metaphysical energies into their daily realities and social paradigms. This does not mean that the energies and issues of Hades are inherently primitive, but they appear crude to cultures that shut such issues and energies out, remain in denial of them, or push them aside as "inferior" or "primitive" issues or behavior in favor of shallow symbols, and do not seek to cultivate them to their constructive potential since there existence is often denied. In sum, the mystical component is seen by materialistic cultures as manifesting in more supposedly "primitive" cultures which may actually have something to teach us. Considering that, in terms of distance from both the Sun, Hades comes after both Pluto and Cupido (the planet of cooperative bonding and community), Hades may have much to do with the underpinnings of social and communal interactions, the core dynamics of relating after associations have been formed... basic issues of the social dynamic, of the reality of living on the same planet with many types of people of various social classes, and it is noteworthy that already in the early 20th century, Uranian astrologers noted Hades' connection with anthropology. Again, this is something that highly materialistic cultures cover up, deny, or even attempt to destroy. Ms Brummund emphasizes the importance of metaphysical or mystical concepts for understanding the messages and lessons of Hades in her commentary on the Transneptunians in the Brummund Technique Book.
It is my objective in this study to further investigate what the essential manifestations of Hades are, and to seek the unifying principles that connect the nature of these manifestations into coherent concepts. In the process, it seems necessary to consider deeper psychological and social issues, and to engage in a study of what are still, at the onset of the 21st century, considered metaphysical principles (which are shifting into the realm of physics due to recent and rapidly increasing discoveries) without which Hades, in certain of its aspects, might remain somewhat of a mystery. Thus, further understanding of Hades may develop with a new level of awareness and approach to reality that goes beyond the shallowness of simple crass materialism. Hamburg School astrologers have long associated Hades with chemistry, and this leads us to consider that Hades may correlate with the internal makeup of physical reality... its underlying components and admixtures as outlined in the descriptions of reality provided by particle physics. The principles of the ancient science of alchemy might lead us to a connection between the metaphysical considerations, scientific relativity, and modern chemistry. Here is another area where we might begin to unravel the remaining mysteries of Hades.
The more we study Hades, the more often the concept of Hades as Applied Metaphysics comes up (more pragmatic than Neptune). Hades could well be a link between physical and non-physical realities; and thus perhaps why it is associated by some authors with research and investigation.... something about its energies prompts us to investigate the unknown, and seek answers to what does not explain itself readily by surface manifestations. The symbolism of the ancient mythical realm of Hades is thus appropriate. Hades appears to emphasize the unity between the physical and the metaphysical, how the subtle elements of reality are intertwined with the crass. Its negative manifestations seem to rear their heads when we ignore or deny the "metaphysical" elements of reality. Hades sometimes seems to confront us with the power and even necessity of that knowledge.... something not always so easy to access in a consumerist society. Hades might also lead us to gain a deeper understanding of the underlying essence of all life, in physical, metaphysical, social, and psychological senses. Hades might be seen as the underlying essentials of life once the surface coverings are stripped away. As the adage goes "we are born into this world naked, and naked when we leave", which of course refers not only to whether we have clothes on or not, but to the fact that the external trappings that we attach ourselves to and accumulate are of little significance either at birth or at death... and that its what we are actually made of, and make of ourselves internally, that counts. A well-developed understanding of Hades might help us to remember this throughout our lives so that the underlying realities at a deeper level of life are not denied, do not go unattended, and thus do not become problematic for us when Hades arrives by transit or direction to confront us.
Several Uranian writers, including Janis Page, have stressed the strong connection between Hades and shamanism, just as other writings from Germany underline its connection with alchemy as well as chemistry, and anthropology. The groundwork for this article began when transiting Hades was conjunct my MC, manifest as a published article when transiting Hades was 135 my Mercury; and as it continued to make major 1st, 4th, and 8th harmonic contacts with my MC, Mercury, and Ascendant, I took more and more notice of its manifestations in everyday life, including symbols. During this time period, it may have been more than simple coincidence that I was taking courses in a university department of Anthropology, became a member of the Brotherhood of Light, whose principles are based on profound ancient Egyptian hermetic/alchemical/metaphysical principles, was first exposed to Alan Watts' explanations of Buddhist Tantra through his "Wisdom of the Mountains" lecture tape, and continued studies in a university department where over half the faculty were trained in anthropological linguistics. One symbol that came to my repeated attention a few years later was the cross of certain Christian sects that adds a semicircular appendage to the side, and its similarity to the Hades glyph. This may also point the mystical traditions that Christianity was based on at its origins. Witte, in a 1924 article on Hades, did in fact point out that Hades was associated with, among other phenomena, nuns. In Christian civilization we have the Red Cross while in Islamic civilization we have the Red Crescent; if we put the two together, we have the glyph for Hades, where the dichotomy is resolved. Ruth Brummund points out in her Uranian Mandala that both Neptune and Hades are associated with mystical communion. It is not impossible that more may be revealed about Hades matters and principles through study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hammadi texts. These realities are still part and parcel of our daily life, yet often get shoved aside or cast out in crass consumerist societies... and these same mystical principles persist in more ancient cultures that revolve more around nature than the temporal products of man. As Janis Page points out in her meditation on Hades, "Here are the places, people, situations where fine and stylish clothing and an MBA degree are less than useless." While many of us in western civilization tend to cast Hades realities aside and shove them under the rug, in favor of lop-sided materialism divorced from spiritual realities, these metaphysical realities surface during major Hades transits, which can be rather trying if we have refused to integrate deeper spiritual laws and intuitive perceptions into our value systems... and resulting lessons may teach us about the basic laws of undecorated reality through such experiences as poverty, disease, or primal, even predatory, instincts in either ourselves or in other, where the "animal" sometimes seems to comes out. An understanding of deeper principles of social cause and effect may be necessary to untangle such dilemmas -- we are driven to deal with primal realities and look beneath the plastic. It is appropriate that Hades would be found prominent in the charts of social workers and other problem-solvers, including medical doctors and psychologists. Ruth Brummund's Rulebook points to the relationship of Hades to the principles of service to others. Hades is also prominent in the charts of cleaning workers and miners, who deal with basic, primal, essential elements of life on the physical plane... the daily maintenance required for continued healthy existence, and the core elements of which the earth and manufactured products consist. It seems to be significant in the charts of repair-workers who deal with defects and deficiencies and take measures to fix or remediate them. Some Uranians emphasize that Hades correlates with recycling. Ideologically, Hades leads us toward belief in the value of the experiences of the common people, i.e. populism in its various manifestations. These realities are essential components of what we all live through and experience, and the less conscious of them we are, the more problematic and uncomfortable we find situations when Hades arrives by direction or transit to contact significant points in our charts, when we are called upon to deal with them directly. Hades raises the question, "can we all move forward as a human race if we neglect the needs and development of humanity as a whole?" Is Hades unpleasant and disgusting? It could be, if we refuse to accept the value and positive potentials of its energies and their influences on our lives, or refuse to deal with things that we may, on a large social scale, be more connected with than we think, in terms of cause and effect, even if just through our value and belief systems. Could it be that the problems of Hades, and other TNs such as Kronos and Vulkanus, remain as long as our social paradigms continue according to an antique master/servant polarity that perpetuates primitive dichotomies that bring so much misery to human society?
Neptune can manifest drunks and escapists; or highly-inspiring artists and spiritual devotees. Pluto can manifest as gangsters and plutocrats, or those with uplifting rehabilitative skills and transformational power. Perhaps Hades, also, has some equally disparate manifestations. Brian Clark, in his remarkable book The Underworld in Myth and Antiquity chapter "Hades as Place" points out that mythologically, Hades was a complex underworld locale, and contained not only Tartarus, the realm of the evil to be punished, but also the Elysian Fields, the abode of heroes who recognized the higher power of the gods above their own egos, and who studied the ancient mysteries.
There might well also be parallels between the increasing knowledge of the Transneptunian regions due to recent space technology and an increasing understanding of what he have previously labeled as a marginal gray area of "metaphysics". This we can see glimpses of in the new physics insights that are being more broadly accepted and investigated at the threshold of the 21st century. A deeper understanding of Hades may help us navigate through this period of universal reorientation, particularly as we lean more toward international and truly multicultural world integration unbiased toward any one assumed single "superior" national or racial culture.
Figure 1 is our first look at Hades from a historical, and rather bleak, perspective, with keywords taken from the 1959 Rules for Planetary Pictures, a book of Witte's observations recorded by his students in the 1930s, and later supplemented with additional interpretations by Hermann Lefeldt:
QUOTES FROM JUNG, STEINER, WATTS, CLARK, AND PAGELS; AND SUBSEQUENT CONCLUSIONS.
"' the rationalistic European finds much that is human alien to him, and he prides himself on this without realizing that his rationality is won at the expense of his vitality, and that the primitive part of his personality is consequently condemned to a more or less underground existence'" (Jung, 1968, p 245)
"Because the human psyche is capable of projecting parts of itself into the environment and experiencing them as though they were precepts, the judgment that something is evil is psychologically problematic ... Since evil is a category of thought and conscious discernment, it can be misused, and in the hands of a relatively unconscious or unscrupulous person it can itself become the cause of ethics problems.... There is no Archimedean vertex from which a final, absolute judgment on good and evil can be made.
"Despite staking out his ground here, which could easily lead to utter moral relativism, Jung did not move in that direction. Just because the categories of good and evil are the product of and tool of consciousness does not mean that they are arbitrary and can be assigned to actions, persons, or parts of persons without heavy consequences. ...
"In order for consciousness to perform its function of moral discrimination adaptively and accurately, it must increase awareness of personal and collective shadow motivations, take back projections to the maximum extent possible, and test for validity. Time and time again Jung cries out for people to recognize their shadow parts. Questions of morals and ethics must become the subject of serious debate, of inner and outer consideration and argument, and of continual refinement. The conscious struggle to come to a moral decision is for Jung the prerequisite for what he calls ethics, the action of the whole person, the self. If this work is left undone, the individual and society as a whole will suffer." (Steiner, pp 9-10).
"When humans adopt a more disinterested viewpoint, they transcend the categories of good and evil to an extent -- and view human life, human behavior, and human motivation from a vertex that sees it all as "just so". Human beings love each other, and we hate each other. We sacrifice for each other and destroy each other. We are noble and base. And all of this belongs to human nature. The judgments we make about good and evil are bound to be biased by our own interests and tilted in favor of our pet tendencies and traits. .... Jung's position also allows one to remain optimistic to a certain extent about the rehabilitation of perpetrators. If it is not the case that the perpetrator is intrinsically evil, then it follows that a spark of hope remains for change and for a reversal of the traits and qualities that led to the evil act. Criminals bear the weight of a shadow projection for society, but in Jung's view the criminal remains a member of the human community and represents an aspect of everyone." (Steiner, pp 10-11).
"For Jung, this movement toward the incarnation of God's darkness was to be seen as the most elemental source of the persistent lure to do that which consciousness judges to be evil. It is an irrational force beyond the will of the ego. The ego is drawn by the magnetism of God's need to incarnate His own dark destructiveness. This is the ultimate source of evil, its absolute home. It was this horrifying thought that inspired Jung to write 'Answer to Job' and to recognize, in Aion (1951), that 'it is quite within the bounds of possibility for a man to recognize the relative evil of his nature, but it is a rare and shattering experience for him to gaze into the face of absolute evil'". (Steiner, p 15).
In Elaine Pagels' study of the Nag Hammadi texts, she writes, "when gnostic Christians inquired about the origin of evil they did not interpret the term, as we do, primarily in terms of moral evil. The Greek term kakía (like the English term "ill-ness") originally meant "what is bad" -- what one desires to avoid, such as physical pain, sickness, suffering, misfortune, every kind of harm. When followers of Valentius aske about the source of kakía, they referred especially to emotional harm -- fear, confusion, grief. According to the Gospel of Truth, the process of self-discovery begins as a persson experiences the "anguish and terror" of the human condition, as if lost in a fog or haunted in sleep by terrifying nightmares." (Pagels, pp 143-144).
This leads to comments from Alan Watts's tape "Wisdom of the Mountains" where he speaks of the essential principles of Buddhist Tantra, i.e. "staring into the eye of the hurricane" with detachment and calm. Here Watts points out that the wisdom to be derived from tantric practice (unlike pop sexual "tantra", which is only a minuscule and marginal, if not distorted, component of what true tantra involves) is in essence dependent on the ability to face the most intensely and emotionally overwhelming, primal experiences and elements of reality and at the same time remain emotionally calm, centered, non-judgmental, and as objective as possible, staring into the face of the most discomforting realities. And this seems to be a lesson that Hades seeks to teach us... how to let go of our squeamishness, our fear, our defensive judgments and prejudices and face what we must face without being overcome or blinded to the facts. Reality just IS.
Additionally, Jung made this reference to the myth of Hades:
"The underworld, a sort of Hades, is divided into four hollow places which serve as abodes for the spirits of the dead until the Last Judgment. Three of these hollow places are dark, but one is birth and contains a 'fountain of water.' This is the abode of the righteous. With statements of this type we enter into a definitely psychological realm, namely that of Mandala symbolism to which also belong the ratios 1:3 and 3:4. The quadripartite Hades of Enoch corresponds to a chthonic quaternity, which presumably stands in everlasting contrast to a pneumatic or heavenly one. The former corresponds in alchemy to the quaternio of the elements, the latter to a fourfold, or total, aspect of the deity, as for instance Barbelo, Kolorbas, Mercurius quadratus, and the four-faced gods all indicate." (Jung, 1958, paras 671-672)
The last statement implies that the myth of Hades is not necessarily synonymous with the Christian concept of Hell, but is instead an underground realm that includes the "good" as well as the "evil", as is pointed out in Clark's article on Pluto and Hades. (Clark, 2001) It would be interesting to compare this with the "Purgatory" concept from Catholic Christian literature (eliminated in many Protestant sects).
Some additional, very pertinent excerpts from Clark's book on the myths of Pluto and Hades:
In reference to symbolic correlations with medicine, psychology, displacement, and the unconscious: "As siblings, (Hades and his sister Hestia) spent their formative years 'in the belly' of Chronus, devoured by their fearful father. Fearing fate would repeat itself and his children would overthrow him as he had overthrown his father, Chronus swallowed his own progeny. Hestia and Hades became accustomed to the interior of their father's womb, familiar with the sense of internality. The first underworld experience for Hades is participating in the repressed psychic life of his father. Hades and his sister Hestia are the only two siblings who remain detached from the Olympian family dramas and feuds. Unlike their brothers ... or their sisters ... they are not identified with their family of origin or their siblings. Their places are internal, interior, and introverted. ... As gods of place both Hestia and Hades have been re-placed and dis-placed, which are potent clues as to what we may have culturally and psychologically done with these gods. In a modern context, this place of Hades, as a metaphor for the unconscious, has become displaced. (Clark, 1998, 2-3)
This has an interesting parallel with Alfred Witte's description of Hades as reflecting a spectral color so similar to that of the night sky that it would be difficult to see.
Hades in correlation with the earth and its fruits, nature religions, and their displacement: "The terrain of Hades has been banished farther and farther away from consciousness since antiquity. In earlier agricultural societies, the gods of the earth and underworld were closer allies. The gods of earth were fertility gods sharing the cyclical nature of life with the chthonian gods of death." (Clark, 1998, 2-3)
"And yet it is an undoubted fact that these divinities are amongst the oldest possessions of Greek religious faith. Indeed bound as they are to the soil of the country, they are the true local deities, the real gods of home and country." (Rohde, 158)
"Another epithet for Hades, Eubuleus, was sometimes applied to a divine child of Zeus and Persphone. In Argive tradition, he was the son of the priest, Trochilus, and the brother of Triptolemus, who was instructed by Demeter to spread the knowledge of agriculture. The epithet also means good counsel, which is a reference ot the wise counsel of Hades. The wise internal counsel is the images and feelings that arise from deep inside, even though they are often labeled 'irrational'. ... This epithet reminds us of Hades' instinctual wisdom and counsel. It is the sense of 'gut knowing', being uncompromisingly and blatantly honest, qualities that Pluto evokes." (Clark, 1998, 7-8) We might further surmise propose that while Pluto evokes 'gut knowing', Hades takes us deeper into experiencing the realities hinted at by Pluto.
As indicated in Clark's book, the value and significance of these instinctual insights of Hades are further described in the mythology, where various goddesses and gods travel through the land of Hades. Psyche must descend into Hades in payment for violating the wishes of Venus; as Psyche encounters dangerous situations in this dark and unknown land, the plants sing to her and the animals bring her safe passage. The symbolism implies that when we seem to be alone and in an unfamiliar place, by listening carefully to nature, like Psyche, we pass safely to our destination despite repeated potential for danger. In another myth, Euridyce goes to the land of Hades after being bitten by a snake. "Eurydice's descent reminds us of the necessity to retrieve lost aspects of ourselves that have been buried under cultural and familial stereotypes." (Clark, 1998, 22-23) These two myths point to the process of finding the instinctual "animal" within each of us so that it can be tamed. If we do not do this, Hades transits will give us situations where we see it manifest in others so that we can recognize it within ourselves.
And as a prime example of the potential scapegoating, unconsciousness, and denial of Hades, I am here reminded of a comical "fundamentalist" bumper sticker which reads "My ancestors weren't apes."
Next, we view a table of keywords for Hades taken from Roger Jacobson's Uranian Astrology book, first published in 1975, which significantly updated English-language sources on the subject, yet also remained in line primarily with Lefeldt's astrological techniques and writings. This text was a significant improvement over other English-language texts available at the time, yet did not reflect the most current developments taking place in Uranian Astrology in Germany at that time.
These keywords took us one step further toward our goal of understanding the nature of the energies of Hades. Yet, still further observation of the actual functions of Hades as revealed via chart analysis, plus newer insights revealed in more current German literature led to a further refinement of Hades interpretation guides.
PROPOSED INTERPRETATIONS OF HADES
Copyright 1999 by L Blake Finley; All Rights Reserved
As most any study of currently available literature would show, we have seen a surplus of negative/destructive manifestations listed and a shortage of corresponding positive/constructive manifestations of the same processes which could be cultivated under the same circumstances or with the same heretofore dysfunctional situation or personal trait.
One thing that comes to mind in looking at the older keywords is the problem of the same lopsided negativity that predominated in astrological literature about Saturn, Neptune, and Pluto in written only 30 or 40 years ago (and even still today, unfortunately), before humanistic astrology began to direct people to overcome their supposedly immutable "fate".
How, then do we prepare people with Hades prominent natally, by transit, or by direction, to deal constructively with, and get the most out of, the situation?
I would propose that we consider the following key concepts, which draw from and in some cases further clarify the historical keywords presented in previous literature. These are summarized in Figure 3, again in both constructive and destructive points along the continuum of reality, presented in a polarized format in order to attempt to balance and clarify the principles delineated in the past. This presentation attempts to synthesize the essence of historical and more current interpretations by other authors, and is backed by my own observations noted in actual informal research and astrological work with study charts and charts of clients.
THE SPIRITUAL MESSAGE OF HADES
A Hindu myth that might teach us much about Hades is the story of Arjuna and his dialogue with Krishna as described in the great epic The Bhagavad Gita. In dialogue with Arjuna, Krishna stated "All actions take place in time by the interweaving of the forces of Nature; but the man lost in selfish delusion thinks he himself the actor. The man who knows the relations between the forces of Nature and actions, however, sees how some forces of Nature work upon other forces of Nature, and becomes not their slave." (Mascaró, p 58)
In response to Arjuna's query about the nature of renunciation (a key concept of Hades), Krishna responds: "Both renunciation and holy work are a path to the Supreme ... Know that a man of true renunciation is he who craves not nor hates; for he who is above the two contraries soon finds his freedom... No work stains a man who is pure, who is in harmony, and who masters his life, whose soul is one with the soul of all... The Lord of the world is beyond the works of the world and their working, and beyond the results of these works; but the work of Nature rolls on.... For the pleasures that come form the world bear with them sorrows to come. They come and they go, they are transient: not in them do the wise find joy. But he who on this earth, before his departure, can endure the storms of desire and wrath, this man has joy." (Mascaró, p 66-68)
Is such a path and outlook to be confined to spiritual practitioners such as priests, nuns, and other religious devotees? Or, Hades asks us, is this a path we must all learn to follow before we find peace on earth and in the afterlife?
Additional insights may come from study of the ancient Egyptian Tarot symbols. In 1988, when I first wrote an earlier published version of this study, I drew strongest parallels between Hades and the "Devil" card. Indeed there are parallels, but perhaps the "Devil" card relates as well, if not moreso, to the lower side of Admetos, a planet similar in nature to Hades in certain aspects. Another card that one familiar with the Tarot might not suspect upon superficial observation, also relates to Hades. It is interesting here to note that the French Tarot scholar Jean Baptiste Pitois (Paul Christian) referred to the Devil card as "Typhon, the Electrical Whirlwind" (Oznaniec, p 20) and the card is shown in many decks with humans chained to the Devil, and in Crowley's deck with humans trapped inside the testicles of a large phallic symbol, all connoting the idea of confinement, restriction, and complusive cylical patterns... yet also conscious restraint if brought to a conscious level. More recently, I have noticed correlations between Hades and the Strength card, which depicts various human images taming or riding a lion, depending on the deck. Waite-Rider shows a benevolent haloed female figure bringing the lion under control with grace and firmness. Older medieval decks show a powerful male figure subduing the lion, and, Crowley's deck shows a sensuous and obviously powerful female figure riding a tamed lion, with her head pointed upward toward symbols of kundalini energy. The Crowley imagery appears to imply that the tamer has brought the primal strength and passion of the lion under control by attunement with and focus on higher principles of transmutation of primal energies. Pitois refers to this card as the "Tamed Lion". (Oznaniec, p 20) The Church of Light deck calls this card the "Enchantress", emphasizing its message about taming the lower animal nature, and "the extreme magnetic and feminine forces of nature". This exemplifies the doctrine that evil should not be simply resisted, but be overcome with compassion. The finer forces of woman, while not giving the physical strength of man, enable her to govern him by appealing to him interiorly, and thus she molds his efforts through his affectional nature" (Zain, pp 161-162); this returns to the concept of compassion. Many Tarot scholars have linked this card with Leo, since it shows a picture of a lion, but insightful scholars such as John Sandbach and Ronn Ballard (authors of the extraordinarily insightful book "Planets in Containment / Planetary Containments", like Zain, were not including Transneptunians references in their publications, and paired the lion card with Neptune, pointing out the underlying spiritual significance of the card. The similarities between Neptune and Hades being what they are, this also points to a possible correlation with Hades. And if so, it implies that Hades not only deals with the primal passions, but the process of bringing those primal urges under control... back to the Tantra principles that Alan Watts deliberated on, and the principles of abstinence in religious practices, designed to subdue the lower nature with the assumption that this will transform it into higher spiritual consciousness. Witte, in a 1924 article on Hades republished in 1975 in the "Der Mensch" anthology, referred to the planet Hades as correlating with the "Goddess of the Night" as well as to Nuns. (Witte, 1975).
Now, in the final chapters of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna concludes: "Evil men know not what should be done or what should not be done. Purity is not in their hearts, nor good conduct, nor truth. They say, 'This world has no truth, no moral foundation, no God. There is no law of creation -- What is the purpose of life but desire and lust?' Firm in this belief, these men of dead souls, of truly little intelligence, undertake their work of evil: they are the enemies of this fair world, working for its destruction. They torture their soul with insatiable desires and full of deceit, insolence, and pride, they hold fast their dark ideas, and they carry on their impure work. Thus they are beset with innumerable cares which last long, all their life, until death. Their highest aim is sensual enjoyment, and they firmly think that this is all. They are bound by hundreds of vain hopes. Anger and lust is their refuge; and they strive by unjust means to amass wealth for their own cravings. 'I have gained this today, and I shall attain this desire. This wealth is mine, and that shall also be mine. I have slain that enemy, and others also shall I also slay. I am a lord, I enjoy life, I am successful, powerful, and happy. I am wealthy and of noble birth: who else is there like me? I shall pay for religious rituals, I shall make benefactions, I shall enjoy myself.' Thus they say in their darkness of delusion. Led astray by many wrong thoughts, entangled in the net of delusion, enchained to the pleasures of their cravings, they fall down into a foul hell. In their haughtiness of vainglory, drunk with the pride of their wealth, they offer their wrong sacrifices for ostentation, against divine law. In their chains of selfishness and arrogance, of violence and anger and lust, these malignant men hate me: they hate me in themselves and in others.
"In the vast cycles of life and death I inexorably hurl them down into destruction: these are the lowest of men, cruel and evil, whose soul is hate. Reborn in a lower life, in darkness birth after birth, they come not to me, Arjuna; but they go down the path of hell. Three are the gates to this hell, the death of the soul: the gate of lust, the gate of wrath, and the gate of greed. Let a man shun all three. When a man is free from these three doors of darkness, he does what is good for his soul, and then he enters the Path Supreme. But the man who rejects the words of the Scriptures and follows the impulse of desire attains neither his perfection, nor joy, nor the Path Supreme." (Mascaró, pp 110-111)
Could this be the core principle and truth of Hades... the human struggle with bringing primal instincts under control to serve a higher, transpersonal purpose?
If so, it again makes sense that Hades often shows prominently in the charts of psychologists and social workers, whose activities often focus on bringing the unconscious or semi-conscious primal instincts to light so that they can be consciously altered or transmuted. Perhaps the crescent component of the glyph refers to the primal, natural, feminine element that drives the social worker or nun to mother and nurture society on a greater than personal scale. Perhaps Hades, when operating at its most evolved level, provides a direct and unevasive connection to Mother Nature, recognizing deeper functions and meaning than just what appears on her surface manifestations.
Such conclusions imply that the "evil" side of Hades is the untamed selfish animal whose life is driven by semi-conscious primal urges, unpolished and unrefined, and disconnected from conscious higher spiritual principles and wisdom.... yet the potential is there for higher evolvement. And the lessons of Hades seem to direct one to just where the work needs to be done. Further study of charts will determine exactly how these principles and ideas manifest.... what the process is, and how it applies to our daily lives. Pertinent research could be quite valuable to all of us, as major Hades transits and directions correlate with times and experiences which are intense and which we rarely forget... implying that they are important lessons for us that may be understood only by looking at them from a broader and more transpersonal viewpoint.
Law of Reciprocity = Principle of Cause & Effect = "What goes around, comes around".
Also, this linked Rosicrucian article addresses how Pluto, too, is often perceived in a radically different manner today than how it was in earlier years. It could be interesting to draw parallels with Hades.
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