Since the dawn of time, our ancestors knew only seven planets that are visible to the naked eye. The planet Neptun was discovered in the 17th century, Uranus a century later. Since then, we have discovered Pluto and an infinite space full of celestial objects.
Seven or nine planets?
One of the basic ideas of ancient astrology was that the seven planets rule twelve zodiac signs. The seven days of the week come from this system. Also, the seven wonders, seven deadly sins, seven virtues, and many other things related to this sacred number.
When Neptun and Uranus appeared, the excited western astrologists rushed to assign them to the zodiac. And so Uranus got the Aquarius, while Neptun got the Pisces. The dwarf planet Pluto never got that privilege. This is logical, as adding more and more variables would make the whole system very impractical.
Another core idea of astrology is that the planets influence us by their light. If we cannot see this light, it means that it does not influence us to any important degree. Therefore, I doubt that the ancient astrologers would have included these new planets in their charts – even if they knew of their existence.
For the people who invented astrology, the Aquarius and the Pisces already had their planets – Saturn and Jupiter, respectively. By reassigning their rulership, we have damaged the ancient harmony that was an integral part of the zodiac. For thousands of years, that harmony was at the very core of mythology, philosophy, and religion. And we can never truly understand it when relying on modern literature.
“Sun salutation” and the zodiac
Sun salutation is probably the most popular yoga exercise. And even though it should be obvious from its name, very few understand how it relates to the zodiac. In fact, during many years of studying yoga and the Vedas, I have never encountered a single text on this subject.
But the fact is that the asanas of this exercise are one with the ancient system of astrology, based on the seven planets ruling the zodiac. The double nature of Saturn which starts and ends the yearly cycle, mirrors in the first and the last asana. Furthermore, the direct opposites of the Sun and the Moon are visible in Cancer and Leo.
There is much more to add, but this is enough to grasp the basic idea that the energy flow of Macrocosmos mirrors in the Microcosmos of our bodies. This is the harmony that we lost by adding Uranus and Neptun.
Yoga and astrology
In fact, many other yoga asanas could be related to constellations. Here are a few more examples:
Astronomy in Vedic religion
Yoga was invented by deeply religious people, the ascetics in search of the highest truth. Behind the physical practice of yoga lies an intricate system of philosophy that is best reflected in the Vedas.
The goal of yoga was to unite the body, soul, and mind, in terms of Microcosmos. But also to unite this Microcosmos with the Macrocosmos, seen as a supreme deity that has three forms. These three forms, known as Trimurti, were Brahma – the Creator, Vishnu – the preserver, and Shiva – the transformer.
Again, it seems that nowadays we have forgotten their relationship with the zodiac. I will dedicate the rest of this article to this idea. To understand it, you only need to know that due to the astronomical phenomena of precession, the celestial cross of solstices and equinoxes moves. These four key events, which are determining the four seasons, are not always in the same constellations.
Here, we will focus only on the alignment that lasted roughly between 4700-2500 BC.
Shiva and Nandi – Orion and Taurus
There are obvious parallels between Shiva and Orion. And the same goes for the white bull Nandi and the constellation of Taurus.
Firstly, Shiva has the crescent moon in his hair, indicating that there is a nocturnal element in the narrative. Also, the crescent moon is a symbol of new beginnings, which fits his role of the transformer.
Secondly, he has water running out of his hair. This is a clear allusion to the head of Orion being at the “source” of the Milky Way.
His relationship to the number three, symbolized by the Trident, could relate to the constellation of Orion, most commonly recognized by the three stars on its belt. There is, of course, a deeper meaning to this.
Nandi, sometimes depicted as half man, half bull (typical zodiac image) was the guardian to Shiva’s abode. It is a fact that the ancients saw the Milky Way as the path of the souls, and Orion as a guide. This could be a reference to that.
Vishnu and Garuda – Hercules and Aquila
Shiva has the Nandi bull as his vahana, but Vishnu has the eagle Garuda. Since the scriptures are clear that Garuda is an eagle, it can only be the constellation of Aquilla. Positioned behind the Scorpio, it lies as a direct opposite to Taurus, marking the autumn equinox.
The representation of Vishnu in the stars is probably the constellation of Hercules. Both Vishnu and Garuda, are often depicted in the shape of this constellation.
Brahma and the swan – Aquarius and Cygnus
The supreme deity Brahma is four-faced and four-headed. In one of his hands, he is holding a jug – an obvious allusion to Aquarius. His vahana is the swan – an allusion to constellation Cygnus.
The Vedic Idea of Brahma is very interesting, in the sense that he is a “secondary creator”, born of the union of Shiva and Parvati. The same idea resonates in Christianity, where Christ is born on the 25th of December, nine months after the spring equinox.
But Brahma should not be equated with Christ. Krishna suits that role much better, as an avatar of the supreme god who descended on Earth. Brahma’s swan – the Cygnus, will help us to understand his true identity.
Namely, in the very ancient times, the true north was lying close to the brightest star Deneb, which lies in this constellation. The myth of the cosmic egg, the seed of the universe, probably dates to this period. For the ancients, the unmoving polar star has represented the absolute. This simply means that the imagery around Brahma is extremely ancient, much more ancient than 4500 BC.
Parvati and the lion, Virgo and the Leo
Shiva’s consort, the goddess Parvati had a lion as her vahana. No need to explain here how that the animal relates to the constellation of Leo. But in her seated position, she is reminiscent of the Mother Goddess representations that we encounter all across the northern hemisphere.
A good example is a Phrygian goddess Cybele whose chariot is pulled by the lions. But even more reminiscent are the representations of the Egyptian Isis and the Virgin Mary.
In one of the previous articles, I have proposed a sensational theory that the name of Ganesha relates to the Turkic word for Sun. By now it should be clear how I came to that conclusion.
The summer solstice was between Virgo and Leo around 4500 BC. During the winter solstice, on the 25th of December, the Sun went on the opposite side, and these constellations would have been visible on the southern sky, announcing the birth of the new Sun.
The image of the Virgin Mary probably comes from Egyptian Isis or the Phrygian Cybele. But since 2,500 BC, the solstice moved to the constellation of Cancer, and then to Gemini with Christianity. Because of this shift, in our era, Virgo is marking the autumn equinox, not the solstice. But the imagery remained – that is how strong is the power of these symbols.
The Vedic pantheon, just like any other pantheon known to man, draws its inspiration from stellar imagery. For the sake of brevity, I decided not to go further in analyzing it, but it is obvious that Agni’s ram is Aries, and so on…
The interesting thing about the Vedic pantheon is that it is the oldest form of religion that we know, and therefore an important key for the understanding of all of the others. The stellar imagery depicted in this article dates to the 5th millennium BC, but its roots are considerably older.
As evident from the etymology of Ganesha – the Sun, there was a certain influence of the cultures of the steppes on Vedic religion, although nowadays this fact is completely ignored by the scholars. In the following article, I will show clear parallels between the Vedic and the Ancient Slavic pantheon.
For now, let us just say that one would be foolish to assume that showing this relationship between the stars and religion is my call to atheism. No doubt, the wise men of the old who created this system were deeply spiritual. Our self-obsessed, faithless civilization is still dependent on their language of the symbols – we encounter them daily. But perhaps, it is precisely this lack of faith, that does not allow us to truly decode them. And perhaps, they hold the key to our salvation.