Each of the planets has a dominate center of influence in the physical body. These centers are called wheels, or chakras by the Hindus. They correspond to seven centers in the body. Two are in the brain and one in the throat. These three correspond to the upper triangle in the sulphur symbol. The upright triangle symbolizes the cosmic fire. The other four are in the trunk of the body, and roughly correspond to the cross in the sulphur symbol. The symbol for sulphur represents self-consciousness. In Hindu sulphur is Rajas.
Fire and water and air, with the merest touch of mineral substance – this is what we really are, no matter what we seem to be. These our bodies, disguised as gross flesh and blood, are forms of living light. Every beat of our hearts, every inspiration and exhalation of our breath, every process of organic function, is a work of sunlight stored in our body-cells. Our brains change sunlight into thoughts. Applying Yoga/alchemical practices will bring about change in your blood chemistry. The upright triangle symbolizes the cosmic fire. The cross signifies the subdivision of that fire into four states of matter which were called Fire, Water, Air and Earth by the Ancients.
The planetary forces are also active in many other parts of the human body. These seven centers are the ones in which these influences are stored up, like electricity in a storage battery. It is upon this stored energy that we operate in the Great Work, and which is disguised as a “chemical operation upon metals” in the books of alchemists. Remember, too, that the Tarot deck of cards was created to disguise a study book for initiates of the Great Work. Those that are just intellectually curious or looking to be entertained won’t see, or even look, behind the blinds. Those seeking freedom – this is for them.
The symbols for the planets are composed of combinations of the circle (superconscious mind), the cross (self-conscious mind) and the crescent (subconscious mind). All of these symbols are used in the Tarot. The brief explanation below will help you to understand the Tarot Keys a little better. The following is an overview of their meanings. Looking up the Tarot Keys assigned to each planet will provide you a further explanation. With meditation even more will be revealed to you from within.
The color symbolism used in the descriptions below is associated with each planet. The forms technically known as wheels (chakras) or lotus-flowers are in the undeveloped person of dark colors and without movement – inert. In the clairvoyant, however, they are seen to be in motion and of luminous color. Our concern here is to get a basic understanding of the seven centers and how they relate to the Tarot teachings.
The Seven Centers
- Pineal body, a triangular or cone-shaped organ in the upper central part of the brain. Occult teaching says that this is the center through which the vibrations of superconsciousness reach us. It receives the influence of the ray of Mercury. The alchemical metal for Mercury is quicksilver (living silver). The color associated with Mercury is yellow. The symbol for alchemical Mercury is a crescent above a circle, which is above a cross. It’s identified with the Sahasrara (Crown) Chakra in Hindu. The entire symbol means superconsciousness. The Sanskrit name for superconsciousness is Sattva, literally meaning “illumination material.” The parts of the symbol are the crescent symbolizing the sub-consciousness (feminine) mind, the circle superconscious mind and the cross self-conscious (masculine) mind. The activity being expressed by the symbol is that in order to reach superconsciousness, the sub-conscious mind must be exalted through the purified application and direction of the self-conscious mind. Mercury is assigned to Key 1 The Magician.
- Pituitary body, or post-nasal ganglion, lower in the brain, behind the nose. This is the vehicle of ordinary telepathy, and our channel of communication with the universal subconscious plane of vibration. It is the center of influence of the Moon. The action and reaction between these two centers, pineal and pituitary, is the basis of self-consciousness, for their vibrations affect the entire system of sensory and motor centers in other parts of the brain. The color associated with the Moon is blue. The alchemical metal for the Moon is silver. It’s identified with the Agya (Third Eye) Chakra in Hindu. The Moon is assigned to Key 2 High Priestess.
- Pharyngeal plexus, in the throat, is the center of the emotional activities associated with the influence of Venus. It is identified with the thyroid gland. In Hindu it is the Vishuddha (Throat) Chakra. Its highest function is that which enables us to hear what is known in occult literature as the Voice of Silence. The color associated with Venus is emerald green. The alchemical metal for Venus is copper. The cross of self-consciousness is subordinate to the circle of superconsciousness. Venus is assigned to Key 3 The Empress.
- Cardiac plexus, near the heart, is the seat of the solar influence. Astrologers understand that the Sun is dominant in the heart. Physiologists call the next center the solar plexus, but it is not the seat of the solar influence. The alchemical metal of the Sun is gold. The color associated with the Sun is orange. In Hindu this is the Anahat (Heart) Chakra. It is the solar ray which puts us in direct contact with the One Life. The Sun is assigned to Key 19 The Sun.
- Solar Plexus, or abdominal brain, governs most of the vital functions of the body. It is under the influence of Jupiter. The alchemical metal for Jupiter is tin. The color associated with Jupiter is violet. The symbol of Jupiter shows the crescent is above the cross, and thus Jupiter represents the dominion of the self-consciousness by the subconscious mind. Jupiter rules reason and judgement, but the reasoning is always based on precedent. In Hindu this is the Manipurak (Solar Plexus) Chakra. Jupiter is assigned to Key 10 Wheel of Fortune.
- Prostatic ganglion, below the navel, is dominant in the reproductive functions of the body, especially in the seed-making functions. It is influenced by Mars. It is in the sympathetic nervous system. The alchemical metal is iron. The color associated with Mars is red. In Hindu it is the Svadhishtan (Sacral) Chakra. The symbol shows a combination of superconsciousness and self-consciousness, but with self-consciousness in the ascendant. Mars puts us in contact with the great undifferentiated Life Power, but deceives us with the belief that this power is our personal possession. Mars is assigned to Key 16 The Tower.
- Sacral plexus is the lowest of the ganglia. It governs excretion, and also the transmissive functions akin to excretion which provide the Life-Power with a succession of physical vehicles, generation after generation. This plexus is influenced by Saturn. The alchemical metal associated with Saturn is lead. The color is deep violet blue. In Hindu it is the Muladhar (Base) Chakra. The symbol is a combination of the cross and the crescent, with the crescent below. This is the ascendancy of pure reason over the race-memory. Saturn is assigned to Key 21 The World.