An Analysis of the Signification of the Moon from Vettius Valens’ Anthology Part 1.

Figure 1. The Moon

Continuing my series on the significations of the planets from the Anthology of Vettius Valens, I will now focus on the Moon. Much like in the post on the Sun, I will be using the translation from Mark Riley. However, the texts of Chris Brennan Robert Schmidt will be used from time to time. In Part 1 of the series on the Moon, I will focus on introducing preliminary considerations while future parts will cover the significations.

Valens initially focuses on the Sun followed by moon. In Hellenistic times the moon would have been associated with the Goddesses Selene, Artemis or Hekate amongst others (including the Roman Goddess Luna). The original Hellenistic name for the moon would have been Selene. Selene was the sister of Helios, the Greek deity associated with the Sun. Unlike Artemis and Hekate, Selene was considered the personification of the Moon itself. Interestingly enough, Selene’s other name was Mene, which can also mean “month”, the passage of time typically associated with the Moon. Commonly, Selene was depicted in images containing the crescent moon which is reminiscent of the High Priestess Tarot Card. Hekate is another interesting goddess associated with the Moon. Especially Her triple form mirroring the phases of the Moon and general inconsistency.

In Hellenistic Astrology, the Moon was said to be the Sect Light of the Nocturnal Sect (Ruling Venus and Mars) and a feminine planet itself reflecting the deities associated with it. Furthermore, the apparent “femininity” of the Moon reflects its ability to receive light from the “masculine” Sun. The Moon is domiciled in Cancer which reflects its watery and secure nature as well as its inconsistency (which will be touched upon in the next post).

In the Golden Dawn system of magic, the Moon was associated with the sphere of Yesod on the Tree of life and the Grade of Theoricus. The moon is also associated with spiritual being such as Gabriel, Lavanael, Chasmodai and the Olympic Spirit Phul.

Claudius Ptolemy in his Tetrabiblos said “Most of the moon’s power consists of humidifying” due to its proximity to the moist exhalations from the Earth. This is also evident from the feminine nature of Venus and its proximity to the Earth according to Ptolemy. Hence these two planets alone are considered feminine in Ptolemy’s scheme. Ptolemy further goes on to say that because of its proximity to the Earth “Its action therefore is …  to soften and cause putrefaction in bodies”. This line indicates the Moons direct involvement in bodily matters. This can be extended to appearance, the subconscious, raw emotions, fertility, etc. In Hellenistic Astrology, the Part of Fortune, which was heavily associated with the body, was calculated from the position of the Moon. Finally, Ptolemy says that the Moon “shares moderately also in heating power because of the light which it receives from the Sun”. This statement affirms the “masculine” and “feminine” nature of both planets. The Sun emits and the Moon receives. I always connected this statement with the phrase “God made man in his image”. While the Sun signifies the mind and the intellect, the Moon signifies the material body.

Figure 2 (a) The Ten Spheres of Assiah and (b) The Qabalistic Tree of Life.

In Hermetic Qabalah, the Sphere of the Moon is right above the Sphere of the Earth in both schemes shown in Figure 2. The name of the Sphere of the Moon on Tree of Life is Yesod, also called “Foundation”. It is connected to the Sphere of the Earth, Malkuth, through the path of Tau (Saturn), associated with completion and the Tarot card “The Universe” or “The World”.

As mentioned earlier, Hellenistic Astrology employs the rules of polar opposites. Specifically, with the Sun and the Moon. The Giving and receiving of light, the “masculinity” and “femininity” etc. It is also interesting to note the opposition of the Sun and Moon with the planet Saturn. If one were to look at the previous blog post I have written on the rationale of the dignities of the dignities of the planets, you would notice the direct opposition of the Sun and Moon in Leo and Cancer with Saturn in Capricorn and Aquarius. As Saturn is the furthest traditional planet from the Earth and the Sun, it was associated with cold and dryness. As opposed to the Sun and Moon which are Warm and moist respectively. Hence the Sun and Moon as associated with life and light, the Saturn with Death and darkness. The attribution of the Planets to the Hexagram in the GD system, one can also notice the opposition of the Moon to Saturn in this scheme (See Figure 3). Which this opposition with Saturn is evident, keep in mind the necessity of crossing the Path of tau between the Malkuth and Yesod in the Tree of Life.

Figure 3. Planetary attributions to the Hexagram

Valens says about the Moon:

“The moon, lit by the reflection of the sun’s light and possessing a borrowed light, in a nativity indicates man’s life, body, the mother, conception, <beauty>, appearance, sight, living together (i.e. legitimate marriage), nurture, the older brother, housekeeping, the queen, the mistress of the house, possessions, fortune, the city, the assembly of the people, gains, expenses, the household, voyages, travel and wanderings (it does not provide straight pathways because of Cancer). The moon rules the parts of the body as follows: the left eye, the stomach, the breasts, the breath, the spleen, the dura mater, the marrow (as a result it causes dropsy/moist syndromes). Of materials it rules silver and glass.”

In future posts, I will analyze each individual signification in turn.

References

Vettius Valens Anthology, translated by Mark Riley https://www.csus.edu/indiv/r/rileymt/Vettius%20Valens%20entire.pdf

Brennan, C., Hellenistic Astrology: A Study of Fate and Fortune, Denver, Amor Fati, 2017

Ptolomy, C. Tetrabiblios, translated by ASHMAND J. M., Book 1, Part 7, http://www.astrologiamedieval.com/tabelas/Tetrabiblos.pdf

Regardie, I., The Golden Dawn, 6th edition, St Paul. Llewellyn, 1989

Published by Manu Forti's Astrology Blog

The blog of a Hellenistic Astrologer in Ireland. I have a PhD in Physics and have 4 cats :)

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