The Music of the Spheres: Octaves, An Introduction


abstract lines emanating from circles

There are those who dismiss the idea entirely.  Mercury the lower octave of Uranus?  Venus the lower octave of Neptune? Mars the lower octave of Pluto?  I’ve read and listened to endless words on the subject.  Some try to convince me that the concept of octaves doesn’t exist at all.  Others try to tell me that these aren’t the planets involved, and that there are other lower octaves assigned to the outer planets.  Some say that Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are actually lower octaves for something higher, which we haven’t yet discovered.

I’m going to stick with what I know, and what I know is Chiron.  There was an interesting aspect that came up in the last part of the 20th century.  A lot of us were born with Chiron opposite Uranus.  Now, with Chiron opposite Uranus, we’re supposed to have a larger vision, see the bigger picture.  Chiron/Uranus is supposed to serve and heal issues in the collective.  Chiron/Uranus is supposed to have (or achieve, at some point) an overview of life, so that all of the life can be seen from a higher ground, as though the distance of Uranus will provide us with a way forward, and we’ll see on the landscape below the patterns of what we need to do.  Oh, really?  The Chiron/Uranus people are usually more confused and clouded about purpose than the people without this aspect, because Chiron, in his typical way, knows something instinctively, but doesn’t know how to pull it off.  With Chiron/Uranus, the life purpose is often an itch longing to be scratched.  We know we’re here for a purpose, we know we’re here to serve, but we haven’t a clue why, or how. Checking the house positions/polarity of the opposition or the dispositors doesn’t usually help, but only adds to he confusion.   When we experience major Uranus upheavals, that Uranus begins to irritate and work through Chiron.  And when it does we face the limitations of mind that prevented us from understanding where our path lies. Mercury steps up a notch by facing the universal, rather than the mundane. The house where Chiron resides describes how we serve–the particular area of life that must be lit up before we contribute anything practical.  The house Uranus occupies tells us what type of experiences the inspiration/knowledge from on high filters through.  Wherever Uranus sits in the chart, we have a special way of knowing–but it takes Mercury adjustments to do anything practical with it.

This occurs whether or not Mercury and Uranus have an aspect between them. When you hit a tuning fork, all nearby strings that resonate to the same note will hum. As in music, they vibrate to the same tone, one more slowly than the other, but at the same rate.  One is more methodical and more involved in earthly things, one is faster and more refined, but, over time, they learn to work as one. And when they do, the mundane becomes increasingly refined and the higher octave planet becomes more accessible and useful, because the lower octave planet becomes familiar with using the more refined energy.

You need to be prepared when the transpersonal planets are emphasized in your chart, because the lower octave of each of these planets is in for an overhaul.   Fortunately, most of us tend to be involved with one or two of the transpersonals over the other one, so we’re not under assault all the time.  But there is no doubt about the fact that Neptune issues will directly affect Venus and Pluto problems will manifest in a change in Mars.  You don’t even have to work at it, it just happens.

Of course, when these planets are directly connected, you have the possibility of very rapid development, perhaps too rapid for real understanding.  If development occurs at an accelerated rate, before the person is ready for it, there is often shock, denial and retreat into old behaviours.  This is what happens when traumas occur–they may cause us to sink back, temporarily, into a state of being unaware.  Aspects between Mercury and Uranus, between Venus and Neptune and between Pluto and Mars may cause us to reject what we know. I know a number of people with Mars/Pluto aspects who have a hard time coming to terms with abuse and rejection and who sink into controlling behaviours, denying them all the while.  Mercury/Uranus may deny the other-worldly knowledge and perceptive experience that seeps in and turn ultra-logical and practical as a result, arguing itself out of what it instinctively knows.  Venus/Neptune may turn its back on the lessons of universal and unbounded love it instinctively understands and live life alone, denying its experience or declaring it an illusion.

Much is made of Mars acting as an ‘agent’ for Pluto, particularly in evolutionary astrology.  This is an idea carried over from Alice Bailey which was developed by Jeffrey Wolf Green in his books on Pluto.  The connection works most clearly with Mars and Pluto as they are both co-rulers of Scorpio.  Anyone who denies Mars’ Scorpio ties has only to work with Mars in secondary progression to see how he affects Scorpio houses and planets.  But the concept of lower and higher octaves has more to do with resonance than it does with aspect or sign.  Each pair of planets–Mercury/Uranus, Venus/Neptune, Mars/Plut0–asks a singular question:  who wins out, the ego or the soul?

When these inner planets are open to the experiences offered by the outer planets and Chiron, our lives change.  We feel less and less imprisoned, less a victim of our circumstances, and more and more we experience ourselves as co-creators of our own lives.  When the inner and outer planets start singing together, magic can happen.  We find things getting out of our way.  Confusion lifts, the fog clears, and whatever has been blocking our progress mysteriously disappears.   It takes time, of course, and experience.  But our instincts become honed and our intentions become more clear and we can perform miraculous feats in our mature years that we would never be able to pull off when we were younger.  We learn how to recognize and cooperate with the higher powers within and without us, rather than fight them.

As in all astrology, there is number involved in all three.  Pisces (Neptune) is the waxing quincunx to the last expression of Venus (Libra).  Aquarius is the waxing quincunx to the last expression of Mercury (Virgo).  And Scorpio is the waxing quincunx from Aries (Mars).  As we’ve seen before, the quincunx is a rather magical aspect.  It seems to gain knowledge by spontaneous leaps that defy the plodding processes of the human mind.  The way of the quincunx is to face and embrace the confusion, until enlightenment appears.

The three outer planets show us three paths to wisdom:  The Path of the Mind (Uranus), The Path of the Heart (Neptune) and The Path of Soul (Pluto).  Many of you will be surprised at my linking something as refined as the Soul to something as ruthless as Pluto, but that’s because we often don’t accept or understand the fact that the fire of the Soul is not only a Path, but a force to contend with.

The three part series on the octaves, The Three Paths to Wisdom, will begin next week.

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