Evolution & The Chain Of Being
This blog in a way is the 3rd post I have made in a series of previous posts that debate my own astrological philosophy. The two previous being (The philosophy of fate and free will) & (The balance of faith and astrology) you can find these in the blog archives @TheAlternativeAstrologyBlog. The premise of this blog is to explain the correlation between astrology, divinity and evolution and how philosophically I come to the conclusion they conceptually exist in harmony. I am going to draw on the thoughts of Steven Forest who explained to me the skipped step an evolutionary concept he shared with Jeffrey wolf Green, and one of his first influences as an astrologer Dane Rudhyar who’s cycles of life lectures have been a profound influence on me. I will though begin with the chain of being an Elizabethan era rational that explains divinity and how it connects nature the plains of existence and God together. The study of natural philosophy is at the very core of astrology and explains all astrological insights. This is why when we look at Darwin’s theory of evolution and compare it to both Forests skipped step concept the chain of being and Rudhyar’s cycles of life we see a direct correlation in the macrocosm and microcosm but also within the seven plains of existence. To fully understand my points, I recommend you watch all the YouTube videos in the references below by David Attenborough and listen to Rudhyar’s audio files also found in the references first as it will give you greater context.
The Chain of being:
Part are an exert of a paper I wrote in 2018 on (The Elizabethan World Picture)
If I had to pick one statement from the text to describe Tillyards explanation of the chain of being it would be (C4/P25) Gods creation, its unfaltering order, and its ultimate unity. My understanding is that the chain of being is everything beginning with the elements ascends to God forming an unbroken chain but in perfect order of ascension. This ascension is broken into classes or categories beginning with inanimate objects and ending with spiritual ones. The elements have an order matching their ascension from earth to sky, beginning with Earth as in the planet's crust, then Water that lay upon the crust, then Air that float above the oceans, then Fire that light the heavens. (This last statement is important to remember when thinking of Rudhyar’s cycles of life the elemental layers have an evolution much like Rudhyar’s signs in the cycles of life, Attenborough’s fossil layers or Forrest’s skipped step explains below) The elements where feed from the bottom of the chain into everything above and when the elements become evenly balanced they had reached the top of their given class. (This last statement correlates with Rudhyar’s ying yang theory of elemental polarity’s) Each class had a particular attribute over the ones above it, however, this was because the higher class had no longer a need for that attribute. Each class also has an order and a head of class a good example is shown on (C4/P29) God among the Angels, Sun among the Stars, justice among the virtues, and the head among the body’s members. The chain of being was adopted largely by Elizabethans with its beginnings in Plato’s Timaeus it gave them a sense of belonging in an ordered universe, where all are unique and connected to God. Even the less optimistic authors wrote of a natural order and ceremonial order where they believed gaps appeared. (C4/P34) The chain of being is still a means of spiritual ascent: but only in an ideal interpretation. God has a ceremonial as well as a natural law, and it is possible to ascend spiritually by looking on nature ceremonially. (These last few statements I make are important when we listen to Attenborough he speaks of gaps in evolution that are unexplained by science and are reflected in the chain of being but also the concept of the skipped step and Rudhyar’s cycles of life when looking at signs)
They understood the elements to be in conflict with each other when out of hierarchical order. Each had two quality,s when two elements did not share at least one similar quality they were in conflict. When they shared a quality they would link, when all four where together they required balance between them for stability. This is shown in the prime of each class of the chain of being when in each prime, Gold for example, all for elements are balanced. (C4/P62) But though the elements were arranged in this hierarchy, in their own chain of being, analogous to that of the living creatures, they were in actuality mixed in infinitely varied proportion and they were at perpetual war with each other. The following passage on the elements used in Alchemy confirms my understanding of the elements mixture of the prime at the top of each class. (C4/P65) The same perfect proportion in the human body caused health. And the aurum potabile of alchemy was the link between the perfect metal and perfect health in the patient. They had a strong belief in a divine order (chain of being) that man was a part of, and the elements were the building blocks for this order. (C4/P64) References to the elements in Elizabethan literature are very many and their imaginative function is to link the doings of men with the business of the cosmos.
In Rudhyar’s lectures he speaks of polarity between the elements, and the ying and yang of the elements creating imbalances or balances in manifestations. If we look to the chain of being and humans being at the top of their class or species we can gather some useful information. When we have health, we can say the elements are stable when they are not we can say there is illness. When there is death, ascendancy or evolution we can identify this with the way Rudhyar explains the Sun’s cycle traveling from sign to sign. The following signs like Darwin’s evolution and like the chain of beings elemental classes have little in common they are averse astrologically yet in nature they are the next natural step in evolution the next elemental phase there is a connection but its minor and releasing what is no longer needed is the evolutionary perspective not building on what’s already there. Rudhyar also explains that the polarity of elements works on more than just the physical plain but also the spiritual one. He also writes in previous works about evolutionary cycles being deaths and all new manifestations that spring forward are not the same as the previous however a tiny piece is one and the same as the previous manifestation. This can be seen in evolutionary jumps in nature according to Attenborough and in the microcosm a humans death and reincarnation.
Steven Forrest & Jeffrey Wolf Green:
Steven explained that what Jeffrey use to call the skipped step as being when the nodes were square a planetary body or light in a natal chart or at the bends as some may refer to it. In evolutionary astrology the nodes represent past life karma and future Dharma. So, when a skipped step appears in a chart it represents where we must change to evolve further. I bring this up as this is exactly what happens when a class in the chain of being cannot evolve in its current form, like the skipped step it must release something from the past and present and change to continue its evolution. And as we know from our understanding of the macrocosm and microcosm that if its happening at a human class of reincarnation then it only makes sense that it is happening within the chain of being, and explains the jumps in evolution Attenborough refers to in Darwin’s theory.
It is of my personal view that one can practise an astrological philosophy that encompasses one God and a natural evolution under his divine providence. That Darwin’s theory of evolution in fact is verified by astrological thought and mirrored in the chain of being and the cycles of the seasons. That not all evolution is maintained and manifests on the physical plain but on all 7 plains of existence the physical, emotional, mental, astral, etheric, celestial and ketheric plains which also mirror the chain of being and cycles of the seasons.
Dane Rudhyar audio listen to life cycles part one and two.
Charles Darwin video biography.
David Attenborough YouTube on God and Evolution co existing.
Tillyard, E M W.
The Elizabethan World Picture . Random House. Kindle Edition.
Astrology blog written by William Lamont Bellingen astrologer Australia on evolution and the chain of being.