Sunday, October 28, 2018

Astrological Monograph: The Fire Triplicity

One grouping of zodiacal signs – called the triplicities by astrologers – is organized thusly: fire for Aries, Leo and Sagittarius; water for Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces; air for Gemini, Libra and Aquarius; and earth for Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. 

The triple aspect of the triplicity refers to the number of signs associated with a given element, a word used here in its anachronistic sense to represent the four basic constituents of the physical – and metaphysical – universe, rather than materials on the periodic table. 

An element assumes variable states when occupying different signs of a triplicity grouping. The fire of Aries, for example, can burn out of control, destroying forests and property, or it can be used to clear land of dead wood to make way for a new crop. 

The fire of Leo, in its turn, is literally and figuratively connected with the Sun, since - in the northern hemisphere, at least – the sign rules the height of the summer season. 

There is something to this association, for certain; however, it’s worth noting that while the Sun is dignified in Leo due to its natural placement, its exaltation in Aries; which is to say, the Sun’s potentiality to achieve its highest spiritual expression in the sign, implies a profound and transcendent fire symbology. 

This symbology might be informed by current scientific knowledge about the Sun, which shows how celestial energy is the result of titanic forces of gravity and pressure acting on millions of nuclear explosions in a star’s core. 

The symbology might be developed with the concept that Earth orbits the Sun in a Goldilocks Zone – a region hospitable to life as we know it – as opposed to more problematic vectors of other planets. It serves as a reminder that solar effects vary, depending on location. The energy output of a star, assumed in its totality, is uncontrollable, and what results of that output is difficult – maybe even impossible – for human minds to grasp entirely. 

The Sun shines on without prejudice or restraint, but its light falls differently, depending on whether one observes from Earth, Venus or Mars.         

Yet the Sun is essential for the existence of life on this planet generally, a fact that aligns well with Aries zodiacal position at the vernal equinox and the renewal of spring in the northern hemisphere. Light becomes surplus, and days get longer and warmer during the Season of the Ram.

Conceptualized in these ways, the Sun – as an expression of elemental fire - does seem to have more in common with Aries raw dynamism than Leo’s regal largesse.
Despite these arguments, the elemental fire related to Leo will remain associated primarily with the Sun because of its constancy – it rises everyday, whether we see it or not – than for its life-giving qualities. The fixity of the Leonine fire endures; rather than creating or destroying, it is life-sustaining. It is the fire one might use to cook a meal; an apt metaphor for this utilitarian elemental state.

In Sagittarius, the elemental fire becomes expansive and mutable, like lava; liquid fire. The bestial quality of the Centaur’s sign – represented by its animal half – is connected to the natural world, the material world, so the association with molten rock emitted from the Earth is well-founded. 

Another metaphor for this aspect of the fire triplicity could be elemental fire in its explosive or volatile expression, as both states are characteristic of the Sagittarian temperament.

Electricity, too, being a manifestation of elemental fire energy, might be considered aptly represented by Sagittarius, as the sign is ruled by Jupiter - a planet named after the chief sky god of Roman myth, and a deity who wielded lightning bolts in battle.