From Chapter 1. The Alchemical Tantric Arrangement and Astrology’s Rosetta Stone
The Alchemical Arrangement
When the traditional planetary rulers of the twelve signs and the alchemical metals associated with the planets are added to the wheel of the zodiac, then the traditional planetary rulers of the signs and their associated metals share a pair of signs.
In a manner similar to “translating” the original Rosetta Stone, we have accomplished the first step in our process of translation by creating the “alchemical arrangement” of the signs. This arrangement puts Saturn and its alchemical metal, lead, at the bottom and the Sun and its alchemical metal, gold, at the top. The resulting order illuminates the understanding of alchemy as the process of “transforming lead into gold.”
The Alchemical Arrangement of the signs with their planetary rulers and associated alchemical metals around the Zodiac “wheel,” with Leo (Sun/Gold) and Cancer (Moon/Silver) at the top:
Sun - Gold
Moon - Silver CANCER
Mercury - Mercury GEMINI
LIBRA Venus - Copper VACCA/TAURUS
SCORPIO Mars - Iron ARIES
SAGITTARIUS Jupiter - Tin PISCES
CAPRICORN Saturn - Lead AQUARIUS
Medieval alchemy acknowledged a correlation between planets in the heavens and metals in the earth: “AS ABOVE, SO BELOW.” In fact they used the same symbols for both metals and planets.
Alchemy’s goal in a profound sense is of transforming lead into gold, a metaphor for the transformation of consciousness. We can see in the progression of the metals from grey lead, to useful tin and iron, to beautiful copper, shiny silver, and glistening gold, a movement toward more beauty and value. Likewise, the goal of the spiritual path is the transformation of consciousness from more conditioned patterns of thinking and behavior to freedom and enlightenment.
Adding the Tantric Connection
Observe that the seven traditional planets and their seven alchemical metals correspond perfectly with the seven chakras of tantric yoga. Yoga practitioners are familiar with the subtle energy wheels or chakras of Tantric Yoga. The chakras are most often seven in number and are associated with areas of the human physical body, from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. Various descriptions of the chakras and their symbolism will be developed more fully below and in the Appendix.
The seven planetary metals correlate with the seven chakras, from lead at the bottom or root chakra to gold at the top or crown chakra. Importantly, the overlay creates a perfect co-relation between the central heart chakra’s twelve petals, the twelve signs of the zodiac, and the twelve houses of astrology. The heart chakra is central to the chakra system with three chakras above and three below, and its symbol is a six-pointed star of two interlocking triangles pointing up and down. Thus the center of the chakra system is perfectly aligned with the central point of the astrology chart.
Beginning with Capricorn and Aquarius on the bottom of the zodiac wheel (relating to the 1st chakra), note that both of these signs were traditionally ruled by Saturn, whose metal is lead in Alchemy, also known as the prima materia or the primary material of the alchemical process of transformation. Moving upward, the other pairs of signs are: Sagittarius and Pisces, ruled by Jupiter (alchemical metal tin, 2nd chakra); Scorpio and Aries (Mars/iron, 3rd chakra); Libra and Taurus (Venus/copper, 4th chakra); Virgo and Gemini (Mercury/mercury, 5th chakra); Cancer, ruled by the Moon, which is related to silver, and the 6th chakra; and finally Leo, ruled by the golden Sun and related to the 7th or the thousand-petaled lotus crown chakra.
This arrangement symbolizes what the alchemists called “The Philosopher’s Stone,” a tool with the legendary alchemical ability to transform lead into gold. Similarly, in the chakra system, the movement upward through the chakras follows the awakening of a powerful transformative energy called “kundalini” and its movement through the seven chakras and their seven associated subtle elements (earth, water, fire, air, ether, sound, and light -- five traditional elements plus two super-subtle elements).
The Alchemy of the Trans-Saturnian Planets
Medieval alchemists were aware of seven planets in the heavens (including the Sun and Moon) and correlated them with seven metals in the earth. The “accidental” discovery by amateur astronomer William Herschel in 1781 of a possibly new planet opened the way for amazing synchronicity. Johann Bode, a German astronomer who calculated the new planet’s orbit, thought that the newly discovered planet should be named for Saturn’s father, “Ouranus,” divinity of the heavens, because Saturn had been named after Jupiter’s father. That is how the seventh planet from the Sun got the name “Uranus.” Interestingly, Johann Bode’s friend, chemist Martin Klaproth, in support of Bode’s name for the new planet, named the new element he discovered around this same time “uranium,” linking the planet Uranus with the radioactive element uranium. Eventually, astrologers assigned this new and unique planet Uranus as the ruler of the innovative sign Aquarius.
The alignment among the three disciplines of Astrology’s Rosetta Stone (astrology, alchemy, and tantra) presented above is more striking now when the planets beyond Saturn and their radioactive metals are added. When we observe that Uranus relates to the radioactive element uranium, that the next element in the Periodic Table radioactive element neptunium correlates with the planet discovered next, Neptune (the new ruler of Pisces), and radioactive element plutonium, next in the Periodic Table, correlates with Pluto (the new ruler of Scorpio), then the alignment among the three systems is even more striking.
The amazing progression of the more recently discovered planets and the radioactive elements named for them represents what in tantric yoga is called “the awakening of kundalini energy.” The outer circle of signs of the zodiac and their original ruling planets in the ATA represents the natural cycle of life and its revolution/evolution; while the direct inward/upward movement of energy via the Chiron portal and central nadi leads to involution/evolution. Although both paths hold potential for the evolution of consciousness, “revolution” suggests repetition, while “involution” implies a movement inward to the source/center.