A Journal of Inner Work and Therapeutic Arts
Immanence and Identity in Plural Personality
Richard Dagan

Briefs Index...

Brahma, Rudra, Maheswara
A psychodynamic assessment emphasizing the 2-8 axis.

24-28 June 2014

In Aspects & Gates: The 2nd/8th house axis, ch.3 of Deborah Houlding's The Houses: Temples of the sky, the author explores the ancient concept of house 'empowerment' relative to aspectual relationship between the house cusps and the ascendant. "Since the ascendant represents the entry of light, and therefore life and vitality, the aspect (view) that each house has of the ascendant determines both the quantity and quality of 'life-energy' imbued into that area of heaven [...]" (25).

Houses (axes) 1/7, 3/9, 4/10, and 5/11 have good or strong connections with the ascendant, forming aspects of conjunction, opposition, sextile, square and trine. Houses (axes) 2/8 and 6/12, on the other hand, have 'dark' or weak connections by traditional interpretation, forming semi-sextile and inconjunct aspects.

Houlding makes the point that modern interpretations, focused on personal transformation, matters of sex, pregnancy, finance, other people's resources and more — effectively miss or disregard the traditional view, which emphasizes personal loss and decline, descent into Underworld, the dying and absence of the light, all in the context of overall transformation as expressed in the whole of the nativity.

Traditionally the second house is representative of our own substance and profit whilst the 8th indicates an area of decline. The origin of this can again be traced to the cycle of nature and the Sun's interaction with the Earth. It is worth noting that originally the 8th house was known as 'the beginning of death', because from its cusp the heavenly sphere falls towards the descendant. The area is an entirely unfortunate one — it has no effective access to the light of the ascendant and its diurnal motion is one of decline. The lack of any strong aspect from the ascendant to the 2nd house also gave this house an unfortunate reputation in early astrology. Like the 8th, classical astrologers knew it by such ominous names as the 'Gate of Hades', 'Gate of Hell', or 'Portal of Pluto', a tradition arising from the ancient Mesopotamians and Egyptians who placed the rulership of the direction north under the 'Guardians of the Gates'. [...]

In reference to the 8th, Houlding tells us, 4th century astrologer Firmicus Maternus uses the Greek term Epicataphora, which means 'falling down into the Underworld' [also, alternatively (επικατάφορα), der Niedergang der Gestirne → the decline of the stars]; whereas the 2nd is referred to as Anaphora, 'rising up from the Underworld' [ἀναφορά (anaphorá, 'a carrying back'), from ἀνά (aná, 'up') + φέρω (phérō, 'I carry'); also, alternatively (ἀναφορά), das Aufsteigen, der Aufgang der Gestirne → the upgrade, the rising of the stars].

The 8th is the portal of entry to the Underworld and the 2nd, the portal of release therefrom.

Houlding adduces the myth of Ishtar's descent to and return from the Underworld as "a further clue" regarding the symbolism of the 2nd, but here she emphasizes Ishtar's loss of garments and jewels on descent, nakedness as a requirement of entry, and her recovery of possessions on ascent; the myth is otherwise not elaborated upon. While the Sumerian precursor of the Akkadian Ishtar myth is similar, the focus of the former is on the personal experience and tribulations of the goddess, details omitted or minimized in the latter, which focuses more on the nature of the Underworld and the cosmologic divide. But let's begin with the Akkadian.

Ishtar's descent "according to the ancient degree", as demanded by Ereshkigal, requires that Ishtar shed the symbols of her status, her adornments and clothing, one item at each of the seven gates, leaving her naked on passing through the seventh. Ereshkigal sees Ishtar and is angered at her presence. Ishtar does not reflect, becomes enraged and attacks her sister, who then orders Ishtar imprisoned and afflicted with 60 diseases in punishment. Meanwhile, on earth, all sexual activity has ceased. Weeping, Shamash (sun-god) goes to father Sin (moon-god) in the presence of Ea, king of the gods, who intervenes in response to the report. Revived by the waters of life obtained from Ereshkigal by the intersex being Asu-shu-namir, whom Ea had created and provided instructions to resolve the situation, Ishtar regained her possessions in ascent through the gates. Houlding believes this myth "reflects the cyclical process of loss and increase which is symbolic of death and rebirth", but the corresponding Sumerian myth, featuring Inanna and the fate of Dumuzi, Inanna's Descent to the Underworld, seems much more apposite in that regard.

Whereas Inanna seems to have been the foremost female deity of the male-dominated Sumerian culture, a similar goddess Ishtar was worshipped by Semitic-speaking peoples to the north [...] From early times, Inanna and Ishtar became increasingly identified, until, by the period of Sargon the Great (about 2300 BCE), they were so similar that, in discussing them, scholars usually treat them as one deity — Inanna-Ishtar. Slowly, Inanna in her "infinite variety" gave way to Ishtar, whose primary functions were love/sexuality and war. Finally, with the first-millennium Assyrians and later, only Ishtar remained. We can still see remnants of Inanna in later Ishtar, but, in her final form, Ishtar seems a very different goddess. [...]

All of [Innana's] various aspects and functions involve transition, boundary crossing, and transformation — food and seed in a storehouse seemingly dead, but alive, poised to become something else; rain which changes infertile to fertile or the opposite. On the battlefield fortunes change, and people die — the ultimate transformation. What more appropriate place for the Lady of Transformation than on a battlefield! Morning and Evening Stars herald change: they appear at the boundaries of dark and light, light and dark. Love, sexuality, and sexual intercourse — all present important ways for human beings to change. [...]

So Inanna was a sex goddess, a love goddess, a war goddess, but she was much more. Although she was a goddess of "infinite variety," she was not, however, a contradictory deity, but a unified one. What unifies Inanna is change — transformation and transition. She is the way in and the way out, the door, the gateway. [...]

Dina Katz clearly distinguishes the difference between the Sumerian (Inanna) and Akkadian (Ishtar) versions of this myth in Inanna's Descent and Undressing the Dead as A Divine Law (1995). The Sumerian version focuses on Inanna and her objective, while the Akkadian, which depends on the former, omits personal portions (preparations for the journey, for example, and the effects of events on Ishtar) to focus more on the cosmologic, the nature of the Netherworld and the divide between it and the living, also touching on the seasonal cycle theme regarding Dumuzi.

Inanna intends to conquer the Netherworld, and she dresses accordingly. Ereshkigal neutralizes the threat, instructs the chief doorman of the Underworld to remove from Inanna all garments, symbols of status and authority, including the divine symbols, representing her seven divine powers (these aren't named specifically, and are possibly topological, as in the seven gates, seven judges); her majestic power is removed from her, the power by which she would otherwise take command of the Netherworld. When she passes through the final gate and faces her sister, Inanna is completely naked. She makes Erishkigal rise from her throne and assumes it, at which point she is judged by the Aruna, seven judges who condemn and render verdict against her   Inanna is turned into a corpse and hung on a hook.13

Prior to her departure, aware that her plans might go awry — no one returns from the realm she hopes to conquer — Inanna has instructed her trustworthy minister and companion Nincubur to lament her and petition the gods to mount rescue. If none are willing to help, the final appeal is to be to Enki, to whom Nincubur is to say, as she has to the others,

"[...] Father Enki, don't let anyone kill your daughter in the underworld. Don't let your precious metal be alloyed there with the dirt of the underworld. Don't let your precious lapis lazuli be split there with the mason's stone. Don't let your boxwood be chopped up there with the carpenter's wood. Don't let young lady Inana be killed in the underworld." [57-64]

Because "Father Enki, the lord of great wisdom, knows about the life-giving plant and the life-giving water. He is the one who will restore me to life." [65-67]

On hearing Nincubur's entreaty, Enki worries for his daughter. From the tips of two of his fingernails he creates two asexual beings, kur-jara, to whom he provides a life-giving plant, and gala-tura, to whom he provides life-giving water, instructing them the enter the Underworld by stealth, find and speak with the tired and troubled Erishkigal, sympathetically, in a specific way, and when she asks who you are, when she states intent, make her swear to this; accept neither water nor grain but, admitting neither whether it is of your king or queen, request possession of the corpse on the hook. When you have the corpse, sprinkle upon it the life-giving plant and life-giving water. All of these events transpire, and Inanna is revived.

The Aruna stop Inanna before she can ascend, demanding that she provide a substutute to take her place in the Underworld. Demons accompany her to accomplish this, and when they meet her in the land of the living would take Nincubur, but Inanna refuses. Instead, on return to the city, on finding Dumuzi(d), clothed magnificently and unaffected by grief, Inanna commands the demons take him.

Ngeshtin-ana (Geshtinanna), Dumuzi's sister, pleads in her brother's behalf. Innana grants her request to spend half the year in the Underworld, alternating with Dimuzi.

Dimuzi's fate may be correlated with the seasonal cycles, the death and rebirth of the Horned God. Joanne Pearson believes that the Horned God, the male deity in Wicca, is a composite solar and vegetation god derived from Cernunnos, Herne, Odin/Woden, with aspects of gods such as like Osiris, Attis and Dumuzi, dying and rising; also associated with Oak King, Green Man, Sun King, Corn King, Hunter, Lord of Death and the Underworld, and the Child of Promise, and that it draws from the Mesopotamian legend of Inanna's descent to the Underworld.14

"Brahma, Rudra, Maheswara" is a calculation of significant interest to me, and Jagannatha Hora provides it. I am utterly amazed at the scope of this program; it's an incredible tool for exploration and research. Inexpert in Vedic astrology and verging on the innumerate, I would otherwise be unable to attempt certain projects in this area.  Notwithstanding the fact that my work frequently deviates from tradition in astrology, I need accurate calculations. I am very grateful to Narasimha Rao for making this software available, and free of charge as well.

My "Brahma, Rudra, Maheswara" values appear to be Mercury, Saturn, Saturn.

I'm still evaluating the significance of this in terms of different dasha systems, and will shortly present what seem useful directions in that regard, but I want to begin with the implications of Mercury, Saturn, Saturn.

According to Vedic astrologer Robert A. Koch,

[t]he critical point to be seen with Sthira dasa is that the rashi dashas begin from the sign of the Brahma graha, a planet which needs to be carefully considered and evaluated by consistent and applicable rules. Among the three primal Deities mentioned in Vedic shastras, Vishnu, Brahma, and Mahesvara (Shiva), Brahma is the creator, being empowered by Sri Vishnu with Srishti-shakti, the power of generating universes and life forms from his supreme intelligence. [...] [T]he Brahma planet indicates the cause of creation of the living being and what types of samskaras follow him into this life and thus for which he is accountable. Whatever planet qualifies to be Brahma in the horoscope will show where the strongest desire of the living being may be found and in which areas of his incarnation this desire may be sought and fulfilled. [...]

The trans-Saturnians are not considered in this equation, but they seem principals too important to omit from such a exercise, particularly when they figure prominently in the natus. Of a different order than the traditional planets, they're nonetheless sensible in psychodynamic assessments and in some respects as higher octaves. Though they present with more collective impact and are not generally considered personal planets, the trans-Saturnians may be better accommodated and engaged in certain personality organizations and psychic states.

Dane Rudhyar believes that a heliocosmic sense of universal order is afforded through the planets operating between Sun and Saturn, "a Saturn-bounded level of consciousness", but that the trans-Saturnians indicate the path of transition from heliocentric to a galactic type of consciousness. He conceives the trans-Saturnians as agents of a Galaxy seeking to "dis-Saturnize" (destructuralize), and to some extent "dissolarize" (depersonalize, transpersonalize) when the time is apposite for such a transformation.

Uranus may be taken as a higher octave of Mercury, for example, though Rudhyar for one would argue they are quite different with respect to source and effect. Same for Venus/Neptune and Mars/Pluto. We might think of the trans-Saturnians as agents of the galactic, working in tension with the egoic structurings of Saturn and inner reality. I see this in the 2nd-5th-8th dynamic illustrated and discussed below; the tensions so indicated stimulate creative effort in the personal/transpersonal arena, through Chironic identification and experience.

In addition to Mercury/Uranus, Venus/Neptune, and Mars/Pluto, I also appreciate Saturn/Uranus and Jupiter/Neptune.

So then, regarding "Brahma, Rudra, Maheswara", the findings might be different from Mercury, Saturn, Saturn. Uranus might figure quite prominently. If Saturn is Rudra and Maheswara, we have the Destroyer and Preserver as different aspects of the structuring, stabilizing force, which we sometimes link with the Ether element and Vairocana, going to the elimination of ignorance.

In the column at right we consider the significance of the 2/8 axis in the chart, the meaning of "Gates" of Hell", portals to and from the Underworld, the Inanna archetype, the seasonal cycle of death and rebirth. The 2/8 axis figures prominently in the Rasi.

In the 8th House, entering the Underworld, we have Jupiter (GK), Anubis, and Hekate. In the 2nd House, emerging from the Underworld, we have Saturn (MK), Juno, and Mars (AK).

Jupiter is Yogada (GL), associated with power and authority, that of which Inanna was divested on passing through the seven gates. The expansion requires the death of the previous paradigm.

Hekate, a chthonic goddess, only child of the Titanes Perses and Asteria from whom she received her power over heaven, earth, and sea;1 Saviour (Soteira), Mother of Angels and the Cosmic World Soul;2 goddess of witchcraft, the night, the new moon, ghosts, necromancy and crossroads;3 linked to the world of Shades, came to be regarded as deity presiding over magic and spells, inventor of sorcery, appears with torch in each hand.4

Anubis is guide of souls to the world beyond, in charge of mummification, protection and ritual preparation of the corpse and its transfiguration; 'Lord of the cave mouth', entrance to the city of the dead; Opening of the Mouth ceremony to reawakened a dead person's senses; patron of lost souls.5,6,7,8 Anubis is identified with Hermes in the interpretacio graeca.9

In the 2nd House we find a powerful Saturn (MK) and Mars (AK), a Rajayoga, I learn from JHora, mediated by Juno. The entire complement squares the 5th, which encompasses the Galactic Center and Great Attractor, Aditi, Chiron, the Vertex and more, all of which in turn square Hekate, Anubis and Jupiter in the 8th.

In Scorpio, working through these issues is the creative focus, expressing the process and knowledge gained through Chironic transformation. Empathy and intuitive insight informed by analysis...

Radix, Topocentric, Sidereal, Lahiri, Whole Signs. Erected 27 June 15 for 16 May 50.

Mercury R is Amatyakaraka (AmK), the Kaala Lord is Mercury (Mahakala: Mercury), and Mercury is Doriphoros (scout planet, rising just before Sun, combust). AmK is the planet of second-highest degree and indicates the 2nd and 10th Houses.10  We've seen that 2nd in the portal of release from the Underworld, and we know that the AmK goes to career — ruled by Mars (AK) in the 2nd, Mercury tenants the 10th, Aries:

thoughts focus upon third-from-Budha = vyaya bhava-12
The dreams, prayer,
meditation, privacy,
bridge between the astral and the material worlds,

In bhava 12 we find Uranus... (and Ishtar).

In concluding this muse, I want to add the Karakamsa and Swamsa charts recently obtained free of charge from a remarkable site called Astrosage, offering comprehensive array of complex charts. Based on D-1 and D-9, which are altered by shifting of the Atmakaraka and planets by prescribed formula, the Karakamsa chart shows more of a physical dimension, experiences of the body, issues more of the material world, while the Swamsa shows more of the psychospiritual, experiences of the soul.12

In Swamsa, Jupiter, Sun and Pluto tenant the 2nd (Cap), with Neptune in the 8th (Can). Ketu is in the 5th (Ari) and Rahu, the 11th (Lib).