Arcanum 10: Uranus and the Wheel
To what extent the ancients were aware, even through psychic channels, of a planet beyond the orbit of Saturn is difficult at this time to determine. But that they knew there was a special principle and an influence, such as modern astrologers attribute to that planet, is quite certain from the fact that they portrayed the mythological character of Uranus as possessing the most outstanding characteristics of the planet of that name.
In birthchart analysis, the most commonly recognized influence of Uranus is that pertaining to the plane occupied by the department of life ruled by the planet. Relating to the things ruled by the house in the birthchart occupied by Uranus, the individual tends to have advanced ideas, or at least ideas that are quite different from those by whom he is surrounded.
One could mention outstanding people in every profession and almost every occupation who have broken from tradition, and have made unusual contributions to the line in which they were interested by some quite new method of procedure, who have Uranus exceptionally prominent in their charts of birth. And one could also cite the charts of cranks, eccentric characters, and would-be reformers, as indicating the influence of a prominent* Uranus in the chart of birth to impel the individual to seek a different mental level from that held by most; for the level on which the Uranian functions may be either above or below that occupied by the average.
Furthermore, it is common astrological observance that the progressed aspects to Uranus bring changes into the life which leave the individual, when the aspect has passed, on a quite different plane than he occupied before. Either in station or in mental attitude, after a strong progressed aspect to Uranus, one’s life is never the same as it was previously.
Observing a heavenly influence which gave rise to abrupt changes, after which life always functioned on either a higher or a lower plane of existence, the old time masters of astrological science designed Major Arcanum 10 of the tarot with intent to give it, in terms of symbolical pictograph which should not change with races or the passing of years, a rather complete explanation. This Arcanum, called The Wheel, portrays the influence of the planet we know as Uranus, and the universal principle which that planet rules.
The four-fold sphinx, on a platform above the wheel of change, as embracing the Lion, the Eagle, the Man and the Bull, and thus the four revolving quadrants of heaven which measure duration, indicates the passing of time. The circular platform on which the sphinx is mounted represents the zodiac, through which the progressing planets move as time so passes. The javelin clasped in the paw of the sphinx makes an angle with the zodiac, and is poised in the attitude of being ready to strike, either to the right or to the left, much as the progressed aspects, consisting of angular relations between the planets, move events in our favor or in opposition to our wishes. Uranus, as has been determined by The Brotherhood of Light, in a study of the birthcharts of 100 outstanding astrologers whose time of birth is known, more than any other planet, gives an interest in astrology. It was prominent in all 100 charts.
The two serpents and the two wings at the base of the column supporting the wheel, imply polarity; a division into positive and negative. And more than any other planetary influence, Uranus tends toward one extreme or the other, often reversing the mental attitude, or the trend of life, when a progressed aspect to the planet forms. It rules electricity, and especially relates to alternating current.
The platform of the zodiac on which stands the sphinx, quite definitely also is a plane, or level of existence. And as the javelin held by the sphinx makes new aspects, due to the passage of time, it impels the wheel to turn, lifting either the genie of light or the genie of evil, which are pictured on the circumference of the wheel, into supremacy, and thus placing the life on a new and entirely distinct level, represented by the zodiacal platform above. And this, as I have taken some pains to illustrate in connection with the lives of certain remarkable people, is precisely the influence a strong progressed aspect to Uranus has on human life.
But there is far more in the wheel than that. There is far more, as a matter of fact, explained in this Major Arcanum than we with our present knowledge of occult matters can comprehend; for much of that set forth in symbolical pictograph relates to the properties of things and forces on a higher, and four-dimensional, plane. People with the planet Uranus prominent, at times are able to see clairvoyantly, which is by means of four-dimensional sight; and they frequently become interested in the astral, or four-dimensional, plane. But our capacity for understanding four-dimensional existence, due to our restricted contact with any but the three-dimensional plane, is necessarily limited; and this Arcanum 10 goes far beyond such limits.
Even our most erudite electricians express ignorance of the explanation of some of the properties of alternating electric current, which Uranus rules, and it is merely on the boundary between the three-dimensional and the four-dimensional plane. They can devise certain formulas which permit them to predetermine what results will follow certain definite conditions, even as we can devise certain formulas which will permit us to determine, for instance, the effect upon an individual of a given number or a given name. But this is quite a different thing from understanding the details of the process involved.
A current of electricity flowing over a wire develops an electro-magnetic field of force at right angles to the direction the current is flowing. When the current ceases to flow, the field of force closes back on the wire. None of the energy is radiated into space. Nor with alternating current, such as is used to carry power to distant points over wires, is any of the energy of the field of force lost by being radiated into space. It all folds back on the wire when the current ceases flowing. But increase the frequency of the alternating current sufficiently, and for some reason, which electricians do not attempt to explain, some of the energy of the field of force keeps on going, and assumes the form of waves such as are used in radio transmission.
I mention radio waves here because, like a life which has experienced a powerful progressed aspect to Uranus, they occupy a plane, or level of existence, quite distinct from electrical fields which have not thus had the frequency of the currents which are responsible for them, intensified.
The levels of expression which relate to sound and the things more commonly contacted in three-dimensional life, repeat on a sequence of eight. That is, the gamut of physical existence seems to be complete in seven, the eighth note, or octave expression, merely sounding the same tone on a higher level. But this is not true on the mental or four-
dimensional plane; as Arcanum 10 clearly sets forth. In that realm, where planetary energies and thoughts are the potent factors, the gamut consists of nine tones, the tenth, or decave, expressing the same tone on a higher level.
In the tarot design, we see the upright post representing the figure 1, and the wheel, which is circular in form, representing the 0, which by itself stands for nothing, but in proximity to the 1, gives the number significance of 10. That is, a four-dimensional root tone, such as is expressed by any one of the 9 digits, when sounded on the next higher level, represented by the platform on which stands the sphinx, is then indicated by adding to it the cyclic symbol, or 0.
According to the doctrine handed down in the tarot, for there are 22 Major Arcana, one explaining the influence of each sign and each planet, there are ten planets in the chain. One, however, exerts a transitional function; and neglecting this, represented by Pluto, there are 9 root planets, just as there are 9 numbers before the addition of the 0 shows the influence of one of them carried to the next higher decave.
That is, the system of numbers in common use is based upon ten fundamental principles, the tenth influence closing the cycle, and starting a new gamut of existence. The 0 shows the completion of the cycle, and the 1 indicates that the first influence has been carried to a new plane, or phase of being. Thus either with planetary influences or with numbers, each essentially a four-dimensional vibration, we work with 10 separate characters, but there are only 9 root influences.
Any number above 9 is merely some root number, to which 9 has been added a given number of times. The number of times 9 thus has been added determines the plane, such as that occupied by the sphinx in the picture which stands above the post and the wheel, signifying number 10. This adding multiples of 9 to some number is called Theosophical Evolution, not because it derives from any particular group of people, but because Theosophy means Divine Wisdom, and because in its particular function the number 9 is the key to Divine Wisdom so far as numbers, cycles and four-dimensional influences are concerned.
Due to this particular function of the number 9, when a number higher than 9 is given, instead of dividing it by 9 repeatedly until a remainder less than 10 results, and thus obtaining its root, the same result may be obtained merely by repeatedly adding the digits of the number until there is but a single digit. Thus the process used by numerologists is not so arbitrary as it appears, but is based upon sound mathematics and the relations of four-dimensional vibrations. That is, the adding of the digits is but a short-cut method of dividing the number by 9.
Dealing thus with numbers, we are considering mere abstractions. But when man thinks of a number, a name, or anything else, his thought is not an abstraction, but a definite astral vibration radiating outward. The astral counterparts of objects also radiate definite astral vibrations. And astral vibrations, as well as physical vibrations, and those vibrations of the ether known as light and radiant heat, have an influence upon the things they contact.
The tones of musical instruments are other vibrations with which we are even more familiar, and which have many parallels to the astral vibrations of thought. For even as a musical composition has a key, so every train of thought has its key and influences its surroundings according to this key vibration. And each simple thought is a definite vibratory rate of physical substance.
With physical tones, if the vibration is increased to a certain degree, the same sound repeats itself on a higher level. Raising the vibration still more causes the tone to be produced on each of many higher levels. We commonly call each of these higher levels an octave expression of the tone, because it was customary to use the diatonic scale in which the interval between one tone level and the next was divided into seven divisions, so that the eighth (octave meaning eight) repeated the tone on a higher level.
Now a thought has a vibratory quality very similar to a tone, except that it expresses in four-dimensional substance, that is, in astral substance; and a thought can be sounded on different levels, just as a tone can thus be sounded. But it has been found convenient, and more in conformity with natural principles, as explained by Arcanum 10, to divide the interval between one thought-tone level and the next, not into 7, but into 9 divisions, so that the 10th shall express the same tone on the next higher level. The Arabs, from whom we derive our numerals, were at one time the outstanding students of stellar science, as witnessed by most of the stars bearing Arabic names. And our system of numbers, based on ten, is the most convenient for handling stellar influences and thought vibrations. Therefore, following the instructions given on Arcanum 10, instead of calling the interval between a fundamental thought and its expression on the next higher level an octave, we call it a decave (decave meaning ten).
In the notation, analysis, and charting of thoughts as vibratory tones which possess a power to influence human life, therefore, we have 9 root tones. But even as in music overtones play an important part both in composition and in the effect produced, so with thought-tones, there are peculiar over- tone effects that make it necessary to employ not merely 9 fundamental characters to express accurately all thought-effects; but to consider as distinct factors certain dominant overtone effects that observation shows to occur in the levels just above the 9 root tones. Thus to chart a train of thoughts it may be necessary to employ as many as 22 different characters.
Because thought-tones are vibratory rates in the fourth-dimension, we cannot follow the comparison with physical vibrations in too great detail. New properties are present in four-dimensional substance. But we can point out that with a thought-vibration the overtone quality is dominant from 1 up to tone 22, and that not only any one of the 9 root-tones, but any one of the 22 types of thought-vibration, can express its individuality on a higher vibratory level, or Decave.
Thus, as Arcanum 10 teaches us, in considering not merely thought- vibrations, but character vibrations and astrological-vibrations, because these are all four-dimensional vibrations, we cannot confine ourselves merely to 9 root tones, but, due to the peculiar overtone properties of astral vibratory rates, we must give full tone value to 22 different qualities, which properly can be called four-dimensional keys.
Every thought, every train of thought, every individual, every influence from the firmament and every force in nature, therefore, because its astral nature is thus tuned, vibrates to one of these 22 four-dimensional keys. And because each of the 22 key-tones may sound on various higher vibratory levels, or Decaves, in order to find the key to which the thought of a number, for instance, vibrates, it is necessary to reduce, or involve it, by subtracting multiples of 9. This may conveniently be done by adding the digits together until a number is obtained which is less than 23. This number is the key of the number considered, and in turn is allied to one of the 22 astrological vibratory rates, from which may be determined the kind of influence it will exert upon anything associated with it.
(This concludes part 10 of 23)