Johann Georg Gichtel: Theosophia Practica (1638)
The 7 Sacred Planets, which correspond to the Sephiroth of the Kabbalah, are the occult principles from which the structure of reality, as we know it, derives. They were the object of study as much of alchemy, which dealt with their effect on Earth, as much of astrology, which dealt with their effect in the Cosmos. The 7 Planets are the macrocosmic image of the Angels who govern the cosmos, that one can consider as the 7 Elohim, the spirits of the Planets, or as the 7 Archangels, the Planetary Genii, or Dhyani Chohan.
These planets are the Ancient 7 Sacred Planets: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury and Moon. These are the planets that are part of the planetary chain of the Earth. In this series, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are not considered, since these external planets are not part of our planetary chain, but were formed before it.
Just as in the macrocosm there are seven planets, so in the microcosm there are reflections of their spiritual nature. They manifest themselves differently in the four worlds, namely, the Higher Devachan (World of Reason), the Lower Devachan (World of Thought), the Astral World and the Physical-Etheric World, and therefore in the bodies that derive from these: physical body, etheric body, astral body.
In the physical body of the Earth, the planets leave a mineral trace: these are the metals, the fruits of the bowels of the Earth, whose alchemical properties reflect the behavior of the wandering planets in the celestial vault. Moreover, before passing into the body of the Earth, the influences of the planets are reflected in the astral body of man, forming seven astral centers, astral current wheels, the Lotus Flowers, which take the name of Chakras in the Eastern tradition. The same influences then reach the etheric body, forming the seven etheric organs, essential for establishing the vital balance between the human body and the body of the cosmos.
The Occult Correspondences
To follow the name of the Planet, the astral chakra, the etheric organ and finally the physical metal:
Saturn: Sahasrara chakra or Crown, organ Spleen, metal Lead;
Jupiter: Ajna chakra or Third Eye, organ Liver, metal Tin;
Mars: Vishuddha chakra or Throat, organ Gallbladder, metal Iron;
Sun: Anahata chakra or Heart, organ Heart, metal Gold;
Venus: Manipura chakra or Solar Plexus, organ Kidney, metal Copper;
Mercury: Svadhisthana chakra or Sacral Plexus, organ Lungs, metal Mercury;
Moon: Muladhara chakra or Root, organ Genitals / Brain, metal Silver.
Each chakra also corresponds to a primordial vocalization of the human being. The sounds associated with the chakras are part of the fundamental exercises of eurythmy:
Saturn – U: is the sound of opening up to the heights, which allows one to open oneself to higher impulses; but also the sound of doubt, pain and fear. It gives you the possibility to learn from your mistakes.
Jupiter-O is the sound of wonder, of embracing the world, of containing the macrocosm in the microcosm. It confers communion between microcosm and macrocosm.
Mars – E: is the sound that stands between the ego and openness to the world, reflecting in ourselves, the defense of individuality. It gives us the strength to be ourselves.
Sun – Au: is the sound of pain that comes from the awareness that follows astonishment. This sound proceeds from the ancient Atlantic mysteries, in the “Tau”, and represents the vibration of creation pervading the entire cosmos. It gives the idea of the divine origin of the whole.
Venus – A: is the sound of wonder, of openness to the world and receptivity to the wonder of the cosmos. It confers love for each other.
Mercury – I: in many languages it is still the sound of individuality: in Italian it is “Io”, in French “Je”, in German “Ich”, in English “I”. It is the sound of the manifestation of the I on Earth. It confers its profound identity through thinking.
Luna – Ei: it is the sound that encloses in a form, that welcomes and collects in kindness matter.
The Seven Sacred Planets are presided over by the 7 Elohim, angelic entities of the fourth chorus of the Second Hierarchy (also called Potesta’). These spiritual beings also express themselves as the essence of the planets and therefore they are the true archetypes of evolution that we can call Seven Planetary Archetypes. Each of them corresponds to one of the seven days of Cosmic Week, also called Seven Metamorphoses of the Earth. After the seventh stage, an eighth stage is added, the Future Volcano, which corresponds to the last stage of evolution of the Earth, when it will be transformed into the new Sun.
The 7 Rays
Described in such a way, these planetary archetypes are fully corresponding to the Seven Rays of Theosophy, although superficially, due to the different chromatic and planetary attributions, it would not seem so.
First Ray Will – Power: corresponds to creation first by the will of the Father, through the warmth of the Ancient Saturn;
Second Ray Love – Wisdom: corresponds to the love of the Son, through the air of the Ancient Sun;
Third Ray Active Intelligence – Adaptability: corresponds to the intelligence of the Holy Spirit, through the water of the Ancient Moon;
Fourth Ray Harmony through Conflict – Beauty: corresponds to the first phase of the metamorphosis of the Earth-Mars, where the law of Jehovah of the Old Testament was in force;
Fifth Ray of Concrete Knowledge – Science: corresponds to the second phase of the metamorphosis of the Earth-Mercury, where the Golden Rule of Christ of the New Testament was applied;
Sixth Ray Devotion – Idealism: corresponds to the imaginative consciousness of the Holy Spirit, through the water of the Future Jupiter;
Seventh Ray Ceremonial Order – Magic: corresponds to the inspired consciousness of the Son, through the air of the Future Venus;
In theosophy there is not an eighth ray; while anthroposophy considers the archetype of the Future Vulcan as a condensed repetition of all previous evolution on a higher octave, with the attainment of the intuitive consciousness of the Father in the warmth of Vulcan.
The Great Work
The activation paths of these astral and etheric centers correspond to the four phases of the Great Work of Alchemy to produce the Philosopher’s Stone and the Elixir of Long life:
Nigredo: in which the false image of the lower self is left, the vices decompose by darkening the shell that holds the soul captive. The seven planetary chakras are crossed in the order in which they are found in the occult system of the planets, i.e. in the geocentric system: Saturn – Jupiter – Mars – Sun – Venus – Mercury – Moon.
Albedo: the soul awakens to new life, having been purified of all its corruptible components. New life rises in her. The path is a spiral through the seven planetary chakras: Sun – Venus – Mars – Mercury – Jupiter – Moon – Saturn.
Rubedo: the purified soul is finally able to make the sacrifice of the lower self (astral ego) and is dressed in the red of Christ’s blood. The astral ego bleeds from the cross of the elements where it was crucified, thus uniting opposites and contraries. The planetary chakras are crossed in a dance that alternates subsolar and suprasolar planets: Sun – Moon – Mars – Mercury – Jupiter – Venus – Saturn.
Auredo: in the final phase of the Great Work, where the soul is sanctified and begins to shine with its own light, golden. “Our one is not the gold of the vulgo”, as the gold of philosophers was made within the human soul, by the action of the solar spirit. The lower self has been completely transformed into the higher self, following the proverb of St. Paul: “Not I, but Christ in me!”. The planetary chakras are crossed in the same order of cosmic evolution, namely the cosmic week: Saturn (Saturday) – Sun (Sunday) – Moon (Monday) – Mars (Tuesday) – Mercury (Wednesday) – Jupiter (Thursday) – Venus (Friday). We then return to Saturn, but now to an octave above the first completion of the Great Work, thus reaching the stage of Vulcan.
The verses of St. Paul
Regarding the harmonization of the seven planets in the sense of esoteric Christianity, here are the verses from St. Paul to the Ephesians (6:14-19), to which it is possible to associate the celestial gifts of the seven planets in order to form a spiritual armament:
Stand firm, gird your hips with the truth. – Moon Put on the armor of the authentic superior being. – Sun Put your feet up with the willingness to spread peace as a message from the angels. – Mercury In all your actions you hold the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the fiery arrows of Evil. – Saturn Take in your thoughts the certainty of salvation, it protects your head like a helmet, – Jupiter and grasp the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. – Mars …include me in your prayers. – Venus
The personality of Paul of Tarso is always represented with a sword: the iron of the double-edged sword is the metamorphosis from the fierce Saul, persecutor of Christians, to Paul, the instrument of Christ. The lightning strike on the road to Damascus is the first testimony of the vision of the Etheric Christ. Saul changed his name to Paul because he faced the shadows that the seven planets cast in him from the outside: as a slave to the planetary influences of ancient wisdom now decayed, he now radiates from his interiority the same light as those stars, like the Sun, making them manifest in him as new wisdom capable of taking control of free will. It is the redemption of the Shadow. These armor, shield and sword are the same sacred armament as the Knights of the Round Table. The sword is therefore the physical counterpart of the Word:
Not I, but the Christ in me!
The Seven Virtues and the Seven Deadly Vices
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are in turn attributable to the Seven Capital Virtues (the sum of the Three Theological Virtues and of the Four Cardinal Virtues), opposed to the Seven Capital Vices, according to the planetary sequence.
The planetary impulses are inserted into our astral body, here they become prey to the Luciferic spirits to the point of creating astral crystallizations: there is thus an astral ego for every capital vice. Such egos tend to preserve themselves at the expense of the integrity of the spiritual individual, instilling the compulsion to repeat themselves so that they can be perpetrated, influencing the other people as well. By force of repetition they corrupt the etheric body and thus the physical one.
However, when the I, once it has assumed the principle of Christ, takes control of the astral egos, this is capable of converting their luciferic impulse, thus passing from the vice of the extreme to the virtue that lies in the right medium. Before returning the etheric and physical body to healing, the I must illuminate the astral body with the light of the consciousness.
Planets as Archetypes
As we have seen, in Western esotericism chakras are counted from top to bottom, so that they correspond to the Planets from Saturn to the Moon. On the contrary, in Eastern esotericism, the chakras are counted from bottom to top. Thus, in the Tradition of the Western Mysteries, which is divided into two main schools, the Christian-Esoteric and the Rosicrucian, the order in which one works on the chakras is exactly the opposite of the Tradition of the Eastern Mysteries.
However, the association with the Planets remains unchanged despite the inversion of the sequence, it is only the numbering of the chakras that changes. The chakras are astral organs in formation in the astral body. While physical organs have a counterpart in the etheric body, like the liver. Both astral chakras and etheric organs refer to Planets, which are a higher principle than both of them, being causal realities on a higher plane than either astral or physical-etheric planes. It is the archetype of the Planet that connects astral chakras and etheric organs beyond the physical, etheric and astral bodies. On an even higher level, there are further correspondences for the physical body concerning the 12 Signs of the Zodiac, the so-called Zodiacal Melotesia.
Just as the etheric body expresses itself in the physical body in organs and glands, so the astral body expresses itself in the physical body through associated nerve centers, and so the I expresses itself in the physical body in the blood. The blood nourishes both the glands and the nervous system, which means that the I is in contact with both the etheric and the astral bodies. Moreover, the association between the nervous, glandular and blood systems is today called, from the point of view of natural science, psycho-neuro-endocrine immunology, a denomination in which the “psycho-neurological” component is the reflex of the astral body, the “endocrine” one is the reflex of the etheric body and finally the immunological one is the reflex of the I in the blood.
From the evolutionary point of view, the Ego came into being on the present Earth and corresponds in the physical body to the blood and on the other hand to the skeletal system as crystallization. The astral body was formed on the Ancient Moon and corresponds to the nervous system in the physical body; the etheric body was formed on the Ancient Sun and corresponds to the endocrine system in the physical body; the physical body was formed on the Ancient Saturn and corresponds to the sensory system in the physical body.
In order to employ these concepts, it is necessary to understand the forces emanating from the archetype, the Planet, in the case of chakras and organs, or the Signs of the Zodiac, in the case of the parts of the physical body. In order for a treatment to be truly holistic, different aspects must be considered together, aspects that always refer to the archetype of the Planet or the Zodiacal Sign.
Let’s look briefly to the relationship between astral chakras and etheric organs:
Sahasrara corresponds to Saturn, the Lotus of the Crown, the 1st Chakra as the directional center of the whole astral sphere that sends a continuous influence from the Superior I to the Inferior I, actually composing what in the Eastern Mysteries is called Antahkarana or Rainbow Bridge. Saturn corresponds in turn to the etheric organ of the spleen, which is involved in the renewal, reserve and digestion of the blood, which as we know is the vehicle of the I. Thus Saturn, as a superior principle binds the Superior causative I to the Inferior caused ego, which uses the vehicle of the blood to express itself on the physical plane.
Ajna corresponds to Jupiter and the Lotus of the Third Eye, as the organ of the astral body or the 2nd Chakra. In turn, Jupiter corresponds, in the etheric body, to the liver as a reserve and generator of etheric vital forces. Jupiter connects the nervous center of vision with the liver also on the physical plane, since Ajna and liver are both involved in the sense of sight, so an overloaded liver will bring a decrease in vision.
Vishudda corresponds to Mars, the Lotus of the Larynx, the 3rd Chakra, the expressive and creative center that assimilates the outer reality to the inner reality of the soul. It is therefore the one who establishes and defends the boundaries. This is evident in the case of people with a lack of will, who are permeable to the outside world, as well as in people with a stormy will, who are too closed to the outside world: both a defect and an excess of this center makes them incapable of relating to the world. Mars also corresponds to the gallbladder, which secretes the bile that assimilates the substances introduced with food, which are therefore still bound to the Earth and the Cosmos, and assimilates them into human blood, which is a red liquid tissue, given by the presence of iron, the metal of Mars.
Anahata corresponds to the Sun, the Lotus of the Heart, the 4th Chakra in which the three upper chakras meet the three lower chakras. The Heart Lotus balances the upper planets Saturn, Jupiter and Mars with the lower ones of Venus, Mercury and the Moon. In the same way the heart balances the upper part of the body (system of the head, breathing and arms) with the bowels, reproductive-excretor system and legs. Consequently, every Luciferic tendency will tend to uproot man, while every Ahrimanic tendency will tend to root him too much.
Manipura corresponds to Venus, the Solar Plexus Lotus, the 5th Chakra. It is the seat of the emotions and therefore of the inner reflex reactions which are directly overturned on the bowels, governing the rhythm of peristalsis in the assimilation by the intestine. The bowels are the “second brain” and they are the most blood-rich organ after the brain itself. Venus is related both to what must be assimilated and to what must be eliminated by blood, the kidneys are the etheric organ of Venus, a reserve of the astral.
Svadhisthana corresponds to Mercury, the Lotus of the Sacred, the 6th Chakra is the seat of the sexual force and therefore of the connection with the flow of life beyond space and time, in evolution. Mercury represents communication, relation and conjunction of opposites, and is an androgynous god, of union of male and female in the “Son”. For this reason it corresponds to the organ of the etheric lungs, which lets entering the cosmic astral, in the form of air, into the thoracic cavity, which by dissolving in the water of the pulmonary alveols, makes the astral to become individual and therefore allows the oxygenation of the blood.
Muladhara corresponds to the Moon, the Lotus of the Root, the 7th Chakra. The Moon closes the circle, being associated both to the brain, the highest organ, and to the etheric genitals, the lowest organ. If the brain is in direct connection with Sahasrara (epiphysis) and Ajna (pituitary gland); the genitals are in direct connection with Svadhisthana, being the center of the sexual force.
So we can group these causal links into three aspects:
Higher planets: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, causing downward;
Median Planet: Sun, connecting and harmonizing;
Lower Planets: Venus, Mercury and the Moon caused from above.
These in turn can be divided into two poles, according to the bodies:
Superior Pole Astral-I of causes: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun;
Inferior Pole Etheric-physical of effects: Venus, Mercury, Moon and Earth.
In a holistic treatment, therefore, it will always be necessary to treat all the components of the occult constitution of a person, choosing a treatment that acts on the effects, directly on the physical-etheric organ; and a treatment that instead acts on the causes that reside in the astral-spiritual. It will also be possible to use several complementary treatments at the same time in accordance with the fact that the superior plane causes the inferior plane, according to the sequence that goes downwards from the top: I, astral, etheric and finally the physical one.