Lesson 5: Seven Spheres Above, Seven Spheres Below (Part One)

 A captive here on earth for the moment, I commune with the chorus of stars and they join in my sorrows and joys.”
― Gérard de Nerval, Selected Writings

In this two-part lesson, I will be introducing the seven classic planets of Western astrology and the seven chakra of Westernized Ayurvedic energy work.

I am not an astrologer and only work with the classic seven planets (and all other elements of astrology) as a tarot reader and theoretical magician. I have read a smattering of books on astropsychology and spiritual astrology and feel comfortable chattering about astrological archetypes even if I could never fully interpret my own natal chart.

I am not an Ayurveda practitioner and learned what I know about the chakras comes via mostly from the Theosophy Wiki and reading Wheels of Life: A User’s Guide to the Chakra System by Anodea Judith. I don’t know if I recommend the latter to someone interested in studying Ayurveda; it taught me enough to recognize the concepts and symbols of that esoteric system when they came up in books and conversations about tarot. The authors and I don’t always agree on the planetary or Qabalistic associations for the chakras; what I present are my own.

A Very Brief History of Astrology

Both Tropical astrology and Vedic astrology share roots in Babylon about 4000 ago. Hellenistic astrology originated during the Ptolemaic dynasty era in Egypt. A citizen of Alexandria, Claudius Ptolemy (c. AD 100 – c. 170) wrote a mathematical and astronomical treatise eventually called the Almagest.

“Mortal as I am, I know that I am born for a day. But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the earth.”
― Ptolemy

The Almagest contained the Ptolemaic geocentric model which became the prevalent cosmological paradigm. It was as accepted then as the Big Bang theory is now. This Ptolemaic system served as the cosmological paradigm in European thought until Copernicus’ heliocentric model replaced it in the early 1500s.

It is from the works of Claudius Ptolemy (and other prolific Alexandrian scientist-philosophers) that horoscopic astrology began. With horoscopic astrology came the practice of attributing elemental, planetary, and zodiacal qualities in related fields, including Western philosophy and early Western medicine.

Spiritual astrology isn’t new. Many esoteric groups (including the Theosophists, Anthroposophists and Rosicrucians) considered the planets as metaphors for the evolution of the soul through cosmic cycles but those groups are topics for future lessons. AstroPsychology is what I have a lot more personal passion for and a topic I clump into psychoterica.

Why Talk About The Chakras?

Our seven Chakras are all situated in the head, and it is these Master Chakras which govern and rule the seven (for there are seven) principal plexuses in the body, and the forty-two minor ones to which Physiology refuses that name. – Helena Petrovna Blavatsky,

It is through Theosophy that Ayurvedic ideas and practices first entered western occultism in the early 1900s, overlapping with the Hermetic Order of Golden Dawn. Then in the 1980s the New Age movement hit and made pieces of Ayurveda (yoga, the chakras, etc.,) suddenly really trendy and mass market. Tarot decks began to appear that incorporated the chakras much more obviously as part of their imagery or companion books. A working knowledge of the chakra as they associate with the classic planets is really helpful.

Cultural appropriation (and misappropriation) is a hot topic in occult circles these days. My personal point of view is that massive amounts of appropriation (and misappropriation) was done by those late 1800s-early 1900s occultists who created the Western occult tradition as we know it. The Western occult tradition has included yoga, Aryuvedic medicine, appropriations from the Kabbalah, and tarot cards for over a hundred years now. I study, practice, and teach this tradition but acknowledge (and have great respect for) older spiritual paths and philosophies that much of it was crafted from. I try to trace back to original sources and cite them when possible.

The Symbolic Power of 7

I have read that of all the base numerals, seven (7) seems to fascinate humans the most because of a combination of cultural, historical, esoteric, and psychological factors. While I don’t have evidence of that either way, I can say that when it comes to the occult? Seven has a lot of very important associations for the classical planets. Here are those that I think are most useful for esoteric tarot.

Hebrew Letter (KBL)KafTavDaletReshGimmelPehBet
Hebrew Letter (QBL)ReshGimmelPehBetKafDaletTav
(Solar Plexus)
(see next lesson)Vishuddha
(Throat )
(Third Eye)
Color by
RWS Major ArcanaSunHigh PriestessTowerMagicianWheel of
EmpressThe World

The way the chakras are associated with the planets in this chart is based on my personal opinion and does not match either the way it’s done by Whitcomb in The Magician’s Companion or by Judith in Wheels of Life. Work with whatever associations make the most sense to you.

Recommended Videos

There are no tarot journal exercises this time. Instead, I suggest watching these videos.

Astropsychology – The blending of Astrology and Psychology by Guru Jojo

What Is Theosophy? Part One by Alejandro Daniele

Ayurveda For Dummies – What is Ayurveda? by Charlene Ishani

Sanskrit Pronunciation of the Cakras (Chakras) by Manorama – Topic

Lesson 6: Seven Spheres Above, Seven Spheres Below (Part Two)

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