Spinoza (the “Gentle Philosopher”, the “God-intoxicated
December 4, 1632, Amsterdam, Holland, 4:00 PM, LMT. (Source: Marc Penfield
who references Matthews who gave Spinoza Gemini rising). Died, February
Referenced: Ascendant, Gemini; Sun in Sagittarius, with Mercury conjunct
Saturn also in Sagittarius; Moon and Uranus in Virgo; Venus conjunct
Mars in Capricorn; Jupiter conjunct Pluto in Taurus; Neptune in Scorpio)
we are faced with the possibility of two or, perhaps, three charts.
A date of November 24, 1632 is sometimes suggested , but it is uncertain
whether this date is to be interpreted in the Old Style which would
convert it to December 4, 1632, New Style (a date also frequently used
and the one which will be used in the present interpretation). The New
Style positions for December 4, 1632 and the Old Style Positions for
November 24, 1632, 4:00 PM are as given above. The New Style positions
for November 24, 1632, 2:00 PM are as given immediately below:
Chart not Referenced: Ascendant, Aries: Sun in Sagittarius conjunct
Saturn also in Sagittarius; Moon in Taurus; Mercury in Scorpio; Venus
conjunct Mars in Sagittarius; Jupiter conjunct Pluto in Taurus; Uranus
in Virgo; Uranus in Virgo; Neptune in Scorpio)
alternative chart could be erected with Gemini on the Ascendant for
the earlier date, November 24, 1632. Such a chart is suggested by Marc
Penfield in his An Astrological Who’s Who, 1972, and shows the
last degree of Gemini rising. When Penfield published his Penfield Collection
in 1978, he utilized the December 4th date, and changed the Ascendant
in Gemini from the 30th degree to the 18th degree. It is this latter
chart which will be used as the basis for the interpretation.)
author has done his best to compare these charts to Spinoza’s
character and to the events in his life. The December 4th chart, NS,
was chosen for the following reasons.
Immediately before his mother’s death in late 1638 or early 1639
there was a solar eclipse (on December 5, 1638) in the very same degree
as Spinoza’s Sun in the December 4th natal chart. The Sun is ruler
of the IC in all Gemini rising charts for Spinoza, and, therefore, rules
Immediately before his own death which occurred on February 21, 1677,
there was another solar eclipse (on December 5, 1676) which occurred
within just a degree of Spinoza’s Sun in the December 4th natal
chart. The fourth house rules, among other things, the “end of
These two very similar eclipses were decisive in his life and would
not have touched any such significant points in the chart erected for
November 24th, New Style, for the Sagittarius Sun would have been in
only the third degree.
The rigor and exactitude of Spinoza’s rationalistic thought are
characteristic of a conjunction between Saturn and Mercury (in Sagittarius).
This conjunction occurs only in the December 4th chart.
Spinoza died of tuberculosis, apparently aggravated by his inhaling
glass dust from lens grinding. In the 4:00 PM chart for December 4th,
Saturn in Sagittarius is placed in the sixth house (ruling his occupation—not
his true philosophical career or vocation). Saturn is the ruler of the
eighth house, the house of death. This placement, therefore, shows the
cause of death as related to his occupation or employment. This is not
the case with the chart usually offered for the November 24th date—a
chart with Aries rising and Saturn in the eighth house.
Further, in the Gemini rising charts, the December 4th chart shows a
conjunction between Saturn and Mercury—Mercury being the orthodox
ruler of the Gemini Ascendant. Mercury and Gemini are associated with
the lungs and Spinoza died of a lung affliction. In the earlier Gemini
rising chart (for November 24th), Saturn and Mercury are at least eleven
degrees from each other—too wide for a conjunction. The cause
of death as tuberculosis is far more accurately reflected by the Saturn/Mercury
conjunction (with Saturn as the bringer of affliction)—especially
since Sagittarius, in which they are both found, since it is the sign
reciprocal to Gemini, is often involved in lung ailments.
Spinoza developed considerable expertise as a lens grinder. The Virgo
Moon of the December 4th chart is more suggestive of this skill. Additionally,
Mars and Venus have moved into Capricorn in this later chart. These
three earth signs suggest something of the exactitude required for mastery
of such a craft—much more so than a Taurus Moon and Mars and Venus
in Sagittarius (in the November 24th chart).
The Aries rising chart of November 24th does not correlate well with
the character of the “gentle philosopher”, who, it appears,
ever sought to avoid confrontation (even with the elders of the Jewish
Synagogue who unjustly accused him of blasphemy and heresy).
The extensive correspondence which Spinoza carried forward, correlates
far better with a Gemini Ascendant and a Sun near the seventh house
cusp than with the Aries Ascendant.
The Virgo Moon, found only in the December 4th chart, seems suitable
for Spinoza’s retiring way of life and bachelorhood. Further,
when his father died in March of 1654, there was a lunar eclipse (on
March 3, 1654) two degrees from the Virgo Moon. There was property dispute
as a result of this death, and the Moon, implicated by eclipse, symbolizes
property, and is the ruler of the third house in the December 4th chart.
The dispute was with one of Spinoza’s siblings (siblings are ruled
by the third house)—his stepsister. Another solar eclipse about
six months before the father’s death occurred within twenty minutes
of arc of Spinoza’s Uranus position. In the Gemini rising chart
of December 4th, Uranus is the ruler of the Aquarius MC, indicating
the (sudden?) loss of the father.
Most convincing of all for the chart with the 18th degree of Gemini
rising is Spinoza’s excommunication from the Jewish Synagogue
in July of 1656. Again two solar eclipses are involved—one in
the 10th degree of Leo about a year before the excommunication and another
in the 7th degree of Aquarius about six months before this determining
event. The Aquarius/Leo MC/IC in the December 4th Gemini chart was,
therefore, implicated—though the “hit” was not exact..
Nothing would be touched in the Aries rising chart of November 24th.
Further, and most impressively, Pluto which is the planet ruling excommunication,
expulsion and exile was making a transit across the ascending degree
(the 18th degree of Gemini) exactly at the time of the excommunication.
In addition, after that expulsion from the synagogue, he was banished
(Pluto) from Amsterdam for a short time by the civil authorities. All
of this most certainly points to the validity of a Gemini rising chart,
as Pluto had passed the opposition of his Sagittarius Sun some two years
before, and nothing so dramatic had occurred. The Gemini rising chart
for December 4th is far more convincing than the a Gemini rising chart
for November 24th.
Life and Chart Analysis
(Baruch) Spinoza was one of the world’s great philosophers. He
was both a rigorous rationalist and a pantheist, seeking to understand
the world by the Euclidean method, reasoning deductively from self-evident
axioms and carefully formulated definitions to profound conclusions
concerning the nature of God, Man and human society.
his death in 1677, Spinoza has at various times been both in and out
of favor. The period of particular disfavor occurred for about a century
after his death, during which times his ideas were widely considered
as blasphemous. A skeptical critic, Pierre Bayle called Spinozism “the
most monstrous hypothesis imaginable, the most absurd”. David
Hume, a Scottish Skeptic, empiricist and historian, referred to
the “hideous hypothesis” of Spinoza.
no lesser minds that the great German initiate poet, novelist, and scientist,
Johann Wolfgang von
Goethe, as well as dramatist and critic G.E. Lessing, and the poet
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
found in Spinoza much to admire—an intensely spiritual understanding
of reality yet divorced from all religious dogma.
has been called the “gentle philosopher” and the “God-intoxicated
philosopher”. A man of modest and retiring habits, he had a profound
effect upon some of the foremost thinkers of the seventeenth century
and his influence has continued to grow in philosophical circles, especially
since the early 19th century. Spinoza became so popular with unusually
diverse groups of philosophers partially because it was possible to
read into his works a support for such widely contrasting world-views
as atheism, materialism, pantheism, absolute idealism, and empiricism,
to name only a few.
so many antagonistic schools of thought could find a resonance with
Spinoza’s philosophy gives some idea of the breadth and depth
(and perhaps, the essential obscurity) of Spinoza’s lucidly-articulated
principle works are the Ethics (1665), the Short Treatise
on God, Man, and His Well-Being, the Treatise on the Correction
of the Understanding, the geometrical version of René Descartes'
Philosophical Principles, A Treatise on Religious and Political
Philosophy (1670), and Posthumous Works, including the
Treatise on the Improvement of Understanding, Letters, and Hebrew
belonged to a group of Jews who fled the Inquisition from Spain and
Portugal. His family settled in Holland, which after its successful
revolt from Spain adopted a policy of religious toleration. Spinoza
was educated in the orthodox Jewish manner, but studied Latin, absorbed
the works of the significant philosophers, especially Thomas
Hobbes and René
Descartes, and received a thorough schooling in scholastic theology
emerged as an independent thinker which led him into constant conflict
with the authorities of the Jewish Synagogue of Amsterdam. After threats
and bribes failed to silence him, he was excommunicated from the Synagogue
in July, 1656. He abandoned his Hebrew name, “Baruch”, and
chose the Latin name, “Benedict”.
from his philosophical pursuits, Spinoza became a lens grinder of great
skill (Moon in Virgo and the presence of the fifth ray). Some suggest
that he undertook this occupation of necessity in order to make a living,
but others see him pursuing a scientific interest in optics. Apparently
he was also supported by a series of grants, pensions and bequests which
made it possible for him to pursue his interest in philosophy.
lived a modest and retiring life. He had numerous friendships with the
philosophically and scientifically minded, and shared his writings within
these circles; he dared not publish them for fear of the authorities—civil
and religious. Only one of his books (A Treatise on Religious and
Political Philosophy) actually was published under his true name
during his lifetime.
maintained a wide correspondence (Gemini Ascendant) and was visited
by many philosophers, the distinguished Gottfried
Wilhelm von Leibniz among them. A few years before his death he
was offered a professorship at Heidelberg, but he preferred his quiet
life and especially the freedom of thought which it afforded him.
contracted tuberculosis (Gemini/Sagittarius axis, with Mercury conjunct
Saturn) and his condition was apparently aggravated by his inhalation
of glass dust from the grinding of lenses. He died on February 21, 1677,
leaving instructions for the posthumous publication of various of his
works—under his own name.
Metaphysics: Spinoza philosophy was rationalistic, deductive and monistic
(i.e., characterized by the hypothesis of one fundamental substance).
Deductive rationalism is characteristic of the third ray (the Ray of
Abstract Intelligence); Monism suggests the presence of the inclusive
second ray of Love-Wisdom. Spinoza shared with Descartes
an intensely mathematical appreciation of the universe, though he differed
with Descartes on certain fundamentals.
for Descartes, mind and body were two different substances, for Spinoza
there was but one substance of which mind and body could be considered
different aspects. He called this substance both “God” and
“Nature”. He conceived the universe as a single substance
capable of an infinitude of attributes (hence his pantheism). “God
is a Being infinite in an infinite number of ways”. The universe
can be known by two of these attributes especially—“extension”
(the major property of matter) and “thought”, (the major
property of mind). God is not seen as a supernatural Entity in contradistinction
to Nature; God and Nature are one. God is Nature in its fulness.
Spinoza was a rationalist, he was, unlike a number of the absolute idealists,
also an empiricist. He was a close observer of Man and Nature. He studied
physical experiences in order to produce “adequate ideas”
which, in his view, depended upon a coherent, logical association of
perceived physical experiences. His belief in observation and empiricism
was, it might be said, out-pictured in his secondary occupation—that
of lens grinding. He interest was in how things are seen. His respect
for empiricism and his deepening understanding of optics both speak
for the presence of the scientific fifth ray in his ray formula.
his most famous and revolutionary work, the Ethics, Spinoza explores
the concepts of freedom, bondage and free will. In many ways, Spinoza
is a determinist, seeing the universe as a mechanistic system, and taking
issue with the existence of free will (either for God or Man).. The
principle of necessity (Saturn is conjunct Mercury and is dispositor
of his Venus/Mars conjunction) is of determining importance in his thought.
All beings seek to maintain and express the power of their being, and
thus virtue and power are one.
for Spinoza, power derives from a knowledge of necessity. When powerful
or virtuous persons act, they understand why they must act. They are
free only in their understanding. What they must do, they cannot escape
doing, but, because the have “adequate ideas”, they are
aware of the necessity of so doing.. Those, on the contrary, who are
not free, act without awareness of the law of their being (i.e., they
are driven to act by instinct and do not understand why they must act
or how they must act). Man is rigorously compelled and determined, but
some human beings see and know what is happening to them (and are thus
free—at least, in consciousness) and others do not see and know,
and hence are enslaved.
free individual is guided by the laws of his own nature. Those so guided
are never out of harmony with others similarly guided because the true
law of one’s nature is never at variance with the true law of
another’s. Always there is an inescapable conformity to law, and
no possibility of evading the law of one’s nature. The person
in bondage is moved by causes which he does not understand or about
which he is confused.
Spinoza, there is no distinction between will and reason. Ideas cannot
be passively entertained and later put into action. Ideas, and not will,
are the causes of action. By equating idea with power and virtue, and
thus discounting the will as an independent agency, Spinoza displays
his third ray bias. The third ray exalts the mind above all other faculties.
Thus, for Spinoza, the clear and reasonable mind is the cause of all
correct action. Will is subsumed into mind. Indeed, in Spinoza’s
ray makeup, the first ray is deficient, and his view of the process
of willing and thinking reflects this deficiency.
the realm of political philosophy, Spinoza shares with Thomas Hobbes
a number of similarities, but their conclusions are very different.
Both identify the reality of the “social contract”. Right
is seen as relative, and the social contract proves binding only as
long as it serves the advantage of the participants. But for Hobbes,
strongly influenced by Aries, Taurus and a greater intensity of the
first ray, advantage lies in satisfying as many desires a possible.
Hobbes was the more materialistic thinker. For Spinoza (focussed upon
the Sagittarius/Gemini axis) advantage is found is escaping from those
desires through understanding. Spinoza’s is the more detached
clarify Spinoza’s view of man’s social possibilities, it
can be said that Hobbes does not imagine a community of individuals
whose desires can be consistently satisfied, so the use of force or
repression is always necessary; Spinoza, however, more benign in his
imagination, can foresee just such a community and such consistent satisfaction,
so, in his political and religious thought, the notion of freedom, especially
freedom of inquiry (Gemini, Mercury, fifth ray), is of fundamental importance.
Again, we see a somewhat detached mind at work, perhaps naïve in
its estimation of the ease with which man’s instinctual nature
can be managed.
November 24th chart, shows an Aries Ascendant, like that of Hobbes,
and a Taurus Moon (Hobbes also had a strong stellium of four planets
and two asteroids in Taurus). This kind of chart does not seem correct
for the “gentle philosopher”, so detached from his well
controlled emotions (Moon in Virgo). Spinoza is capable of ‘mentalizing’
the life process, and seeks freedom from the bio-psychic compulsions;
Hobbes seems rather more in their grip. Thus, again, the later chart
for December 4th, emphasizing Gemini and Virgo (Sagittarius remains
the same) seems more suitable.
this woefully brief summary of Spinoza’s philosophy and some knowledge
of his life process, we can offer a speculative hypothesis regarding
Vehicle: Ray 5
Vehicle: Ray 2
Vehicle Ray 7
it is not possible to gain a good idea of the ray of Spinoza’s
monadic vehicle. The overall impression of his energy system is that
it offers a mixture of rays two and three. Spinoza, as one of the greatest
of philosophical minds, may well have stood at an evolutionary point
where the ray of the monad could be considered influential. There is
much to suggest that he was an initiate of the third degree or, at least,
very nearly at that stage. His profound love and respect for geometry
connects him to that Ray Lord Who is known as “The Grand Geometrician”
— the Ray Lord of the second ray.
following quotation from The Secret Doctrine contrasts Leibniz’
and Spinoza’s views with respect to ultimate reality—(for
us) the realm of the monad.
student must now be shown the fundamental distinction between the
system of Leibniz* and that of occult philosophy, on the question
of the Monads, and this may be done with his Monadology before us.
It may be correctly stated that were Leibniz' and Spinoza's systems
reconciled, the essence and Spirit of esoteric philosophy would be
made to appear. From the shock of the two -- as opposed to the Cartesian
system -- emerge the truths of the Archaic doctrine. Both opposed
the metaphysics of Descartes. His idea of the contrast of two substances
-- Extension and Thought -- radically differing from each other and
mutually irreducible, was too arbitrary and too unphilosophical for
them. Thus Leibniz made of the two Cartesian substances two attributes
of one universal unity, in which he saw God. Spinoza recognised but
one universal indivisible substance and absolute ALL, like Parabrahman.
Leibniz, on the contrary perceived the existence of a plurality of
substances. There was but ONE for Spinoza; for Leibniz an infinitude
of Beings, from, and in, the One. Hence, though both admitted but
one real Entity, while Spinoza made it impersonal and indivisible,
Leibniz divided his personal Deity into a number of divine and semi-divine
Beings. Spinoza was a subjective, Leibniz an objective Pantheist,
yet both were great philosophers in their intuitive perceptions”.
(SD Vol. I, 629)
was, in HPB’s words a “subjective Pantheist”, and
Leibniz, an “objective Pantheist”. Here, it can be argued,
we see the difference between a profoundly unitive second ray and the
profundity of the ray of multiplicity and discrimination—the third.
Both philosophers sought to overcome the “Cartesian split”,
but Spinoza had recourse to a “universal, indivisible substance
and absolute ALL, (in HPB’s words) like Parabrahman”, and
the other, more influenced at a fundamental level by the third ray,
believed in an “infinitude of beings”.
Plato and Aristotle, the truth lies in the combination of perspectives—Plato
representing more the second ray and Aristotle the third. There is something
Neptunian about the tendency to dissolve all multiplicity into a single
substance, and indeed, Neptune is prominent in the December 4th, 4:00
PM chart, conjunct the Vertex in Spinoza’s chart for December
for the second ray in Spinoza’s astrological chart are several.
Firstly, if Gemini is the Ascendant (as can be reasonably hypothesized),
then the second ray is strongly represented. Further, if we speak of
monadic influence with respect to the second ray, the point opposite
the Sun (considered by the author as the “monadic point”)
would be found in second ray Gemini, and would therefore be an important
point of entry for second ray energies related to the monad. This does
not mean however, that all monadically sensitive individuals with a
Sagittarius Sun (and thus a monadic
point in second ray Gemini) would necessarily have a second ray
monad, just as the ray or rays distributed by the soul-oriented Ascendant
do not necessarily reveal the ray of the soul.
conduit for the second ray is the Moon in second ray/sixth ray Virgo.
The Moon is the esoteric ruler of Virgo and veils either Vulcan or Neptune.
Spinoza’s pervasive, gently unitive (rather than ardent) mysticism
makes the veil of Neptune more likely, though for a highly advanced
and mental individual, Uranus must always be considered in relation
to the veiling Moon. In Spinoza’s chart, Uranus, as it happens,
is in Virgo relatively close to the Moon, with the Part of Fortune at
the midpoint between the two.
another second ray conduit is second ray Jupiter found in the second
sign, Taurus. Jupiter, as the orthodox ruler of the Sagittarius Sun
sign, is a powerful planet. Placed in Taurus, it emphasizes the Wisdom
rather than the Love aspect of the second ray.
is also closely parallel to one of the alternative Ascendants—the
Equatorial Ascendant. As well, Jupiter is found in the twelfth house,
a mansion in which it is accidentally dignified and friendly to the
expression of the second ray, for the sign most correlated with the
twelfth house is Pisces, which distributes the second ray as well s
soul ray (a subray of the monadic ray) was very probably the third,
which inclined him him, initially, to identify so strongly with the
thought of René Descartes, to the point that Spinoza re-systematized
and presented in a more geometrical form Descartes’ Principia.
His connection with another great third ray soul, Gottfried Wilhelm
von Leibniz was also profound. By one’s deep affiliations on the
physical plane, the ray of the soul can be reasonably estimated. .
Spinoza was a rationalist and ‘deductivist’—approaches
to thought supported by the reasonable and reasoning third ray rather
than the more strictly empirical fifth ray, or the more intuitive second.
Of course, any thinker on any ray can use deductive, empirical/inductive
or intuitive means, but the preponderance of emphasis indicates the
preponderant ray quality.
the emphasis upon necessity, conformity to law, and lack of free will
relates Spinoza to the Saturnian aspect of the third ray. Mercury as
well as Saturn distributes the third ray (Mercury, probably, in its
planetary personality nature), and Sagittarius (in which these two planets
are found conjuncted) is the third fire sign much associated with the
third aspect of the spiritual triad—the higher mind. Seen in this
way the Mercury/Saturn conjunction in Sagittarius represents a powerful
third ray focus (though it would also strengthen a concrete mind upon
the fifth ray).
Spinoza’s historical emphasis in Biblical interpretation and criticism
links him to the historical third ray. He was a thoughtful enemy of
unwarranted credulity (so often found upon the sixth ray). His freedom
from both religious dogmatism and blind faith, however, were not the
effect of the third ray alone (which when combined with the sixth can,
indeed, be dogmatic), but were equally caused by the probable absence
of the sixth ray in his ray makeup (regardless of power of sixth ray
Sagittarius), and by the strong representation (on possibly three levels—monadic,
personal and astral) of the second ray of Love-Wisdom.
placed a strong emphasis upon intelligibility. For him the doctrine
of free will (whether ascribed to Man or to God) rendered the world
unintelligible. He therefore repudiated the presumed freedom of a transcendent
God and with it, the free will of Man.. He, therefore, espoused a variety
of exacting determinism frequently found when the third ray conditions
the thought process.
well, he was dissatisfied with the informality of exposition characteristic
of his first two works. In his search for rational, deductive rigor,
he was responding to the thought-systematizing tendencies of the third
ray, supported by the fifth and seventh. This rigorous approach is truly
characteristic of the reasoning Saturn/Mercury conjunction. His purpose
was to present metaphysics deductively, that is, as a series of theorems
derived by necessary steps from self-evident premises expressed in terms
that are either self-explanatory or defined with unquestionable correctness.
In this approach we can surely see how much he blended the third and
ray conduits in Spinoza’s astrological chart are found in relation
to the sometimes third ray sign, Capricorn (containing a conjunction
of Mars and Venus) and also through Gemini (the third sign), and through
Virgo (like Gemini ruled by sometimes third ray Mercury, and, itself,
identified with the third or matter aspect). As previously stated the
Saturn/Mercury conjunction in Sagittarius can also represent a third
ray center of focus.
second ray seems the appropriate ray for the personality of this “gentle
philosopher”. He was mentally bold, but personally retiring and
inoffensive. Often he was employed as a teacher or tutor, frequently
gathering through his magnetism a study circle around him. His method
was one of accommodation. When, at his father’s death, his stepsister
sought to claim the entire inheritance, he entered a law suite (which
he won), only to let her keep nearly everything. This is characteristic
of the kind, second ray personality, and hardly consistent with the
possibility of an Aries Ascendant.
interest in optics and, in general, in the science of the day relates
him to the fifth ray—the “Ray of Science and Concrete Knowledge”.
It has already been noted that he embraced the value of empiricism (while
keeping it as a subset of third ray rationalism). Empiricism is also
motivated the fifth ray. Sagittarius conveys the fifth ray, and the
Virgo Moon and the Mercury/Saturn conjunction can reinforce its exacting,
discriminating tendencies. Fifth ray Venus is the esoteric ruler of
the hypothesized Gemini Ascendant, and is placed in Capricorn, a sign
friendly to the power of the discriminating mind.
in Capricorn position must be noted in relation to the possibility
of the third initiation (which it rules). That initiation is ruled by
the fifth ray and Capricorn, Venus is, thus, hierarchically placed,
offering to those capable of fulfilling its potential, the possibility
of intense illumination. Spinoza was capable. His doctrine of substantial
monism was his own way of revealing unity—the task of every disciple
who aspires to the third degree or has achieved it.
a more objective level, Spinoza’s method of thought is clear,
lucid and logical. Throughout his work, he explicitly or implicitly
emphasizes the value of definition (the province of the fifth ray),
and is at pains to define with precision so that his deductive method
can be maximally fruitful. As well, the practicalities of lens grinding
and polishing certainly must have demanded the fifth ray (plus the seventh)
if the task were to be successfully accomplished. He was, after all,
an expert in the craft. As well, his ongoing search for what he called
“clear and distinct ideas”, certainly suggests the presence
of the fifth ray.
seventh ray (entering especially through Capricorn) can be inferred
because of his apparent physical delicacy, his modesty, quietude, and
also his practical work with optics. The orderly and logical presentation
of his Ethics also suggests the ordering quality of the seventh ray.
more specifically to Spinoza’s astrology, we find his Sun, Mercury
and Saturn all in Sagittarius. In many ways, Sagittarius is the philosopher’s
sign, and also that of the seer. His interest in vision and optics is,
thus, partially related to this sign. Sagittarius is also related to
the quest for pure truth—especially when combined with the second
and third rays (the philosophical rays).
Spinoza, the wisdom that philosophy seeks is achieved when one perceives
the universe in its wholeness, through the “intellectual love
of God,” which merges the finite individual with the eternal unity
and provides the mind with the pure joy that is the final achievement
of its search. How very much this objective sounds like the purpose
of occult philosophy. One can see that the deeper purpose of the Great
Quest is not only the knowing but the merging—thus the importance
of the second ray (distributed by Jupiter—a ruler of Sagittarius).
contributed modesty, humility, practicality and precision in matters
of technique (for, it is said that he became an expert lens grinder),
and, in general, an ability to detach from the life of the emotions
(which he sought to understand, thus avoiding the tyranny of desire).
It also gave Spinoza the conviction that philosophy was a personal and
moral quest (Sagittarius), not only for wisdom in life, but for the
achievement of human perfection (Virgo).
proposed Gemini Ascendant would be highly important, and a more probable
sign than combative, confrontive Aries. When faced with the censorious
attitude of the elders of the Synagogue, Spinoza did not seek to enflame
the situation with a head-on confrontation characteristic of Aries.
Instead, he sought to defend himself rationally, and in an accommodating
six months before his excommunication, he even gave a substantial monetary
offering as a demonstration of his loyalty to the faith. His troubles
had begun because of his unorthodox thinking, teaching, reasoning—and
conversation. He simply found the orthodox approach to religious thought
unreasonable and unintelligible, and said so, especially in conversations
(Gemini) with other students. His practical fifth ray mind saw no reason
to believe in angels, in the immortality of the soul, or that God had
no body. His rebellion was of the mind rather than of the personality;
the second ray personality is not given to the more drastic, physicalized
forms of rebellion.
the planet of the new and better way, is implicated in his troubles
with the Jewish religious authorities.. His mind was rigorous and orthodox
enough (but only in relation to the definitions he formulated and to
his strict manner of reasoning from principles which he considered self-evident).
Uranus, however, stands in quintile to his Sagittarian Sun, and square
to his Venus/Mars conjunction in Capricorn. The quintile promotes originality
of thought and demands a mentally creative solution to problems. Uranus
never promotes acceptance of tradition—even though, in terms of
devising a technique to arrive at truth, his mind could be considered
conservative (Saturn conjunct Mercury). Venus, as a planet of harmony
and correct social relations, would be disrupted by the Uranus square,
and the square between Uranus and Mars would lead to all sorts of unintended
(accidental), unmanageable consequences.
thinks of Spinoza as an intuitive philosopher. Surely his first principles
were derived intuitively. What he did with them was ultra-rationalistic.
We see Gemini as a sign promotive of his intuitive process, and Sagittarius,
in which his Sun, Mercury and Saturn are placed is also an intuitive
sign. Because the esoteric ruler of Gemini, Venus, is placed in rigorous
Capricorn, there is a blend of intuition and intense mental illumination—a
stage of mental perception characteristic of the third initiation.
configuration of the Gemini Ascendant and its ruler gives him, via the
philosophical antahkarana, direct access to buddhi-manas. It is important
to realize that Spinoza was impersonal in his thought, and that he was,
therefore in certain ways, bypassing the causal body, which, for all
its beauty and quality, represents the sublimation of personally harvested
quality. Esoterically speaking, Spinoza had an actively employed antahkarana,
however rigorously rational he sought to be once the accessed ideas
entered the lower mental vehicle qualified by the fifth ray.
Mars/Venus conjunction in Capricorn tells us something about a possible
sublimation of the sexual instinct (a useful exercise in the achievement
of the soul-illumined mind). Very little is known about Spinoza’s
relationship life, except for some information about his important friends,
professional associations, and the family with which he stayed on very
good terms during the years before his death. Mars and Venus together
can represent a strong sexuality, or the reverse. In Spinoza’s
case there is good reason to argue the reverse, pointing to the Moon
in chaste Virgo, transmutative Uranus exactly sextile the Juno position
in Scorpio, and suppressive Saturn only three degrees away from Juno.
Venus and Mars are powerful in Capricorn—Venus, hierarchically,
and Mars because it is the exalted planet. But Venus (already the esoteric
ruler of the hypothesized Gemini Ascendant) is really a planet of greater
spiritual strength than Mars, and in this case could be thought of as
subduing the passional nature of Mars, and absorbing such energies for
the sake of illumined soul culture.
Venus in Capricorn represents the “light supernal” found
upon the mountain top of initiation. One can see Spinoza’s ‘mental
passion’ (Mars in Capricorn) bending every effort to reach the
sublime light. This conjunction, therefore, can represent the power
of the soul (Venus) over the personality (Mars), and the conquest of
passion (Mars) by dispassion (Venus). One has the sense that Spinoza
knew what it was to negate the “ancient authority” of the
personality, and thus pass into the greater Light.
most important work was his Ethics. Sagittarius conduces to reasoning
about ethical matters, and the second decanate of the Gemini Ascendant,
ruled by Libra, presents issues of right human relationship for deliberation.
As well, the Sun is found very near the seventh house cusp where deep
questions concerning the structure and patterns of human society are
to be solved. Further, the Moon is Virgo, gives the tendency to find
the flaw and offer critique in the effort to heal. The asteroid of commitment,
Vesta, is found in the Libra, the sign of justice, fair play and right
human relations, augmenting Spinoza’s interest in ethical considerations
and his hope for solutions to humanity’s social problems.
nature, Spinoza was an optimist (Sun in Sagittarius), though strangely
he did not believe in freewill. He believed that humanity could be released
from its passions through the power
of understanding. Was he imagining that the majority of human beings
could achieve what he had? If so, perhaps he was overly optimistic,
for few stood at his level, depth and breadth of perception.
conjunction of Jupiter and Pluto in Taurus (both conjuncted to the Equatorial
Ascendant) is significant for several reasons. First of all, it creates
because of its spatial contrast with the remaining planets, a “seesaw”
pattern—indicative of alternation and the need for balancing and
harmonizing opposing forces. This conjunctive blending of the planets
Jupiter and Pluto (one upon the second ray and the other upon the first)
focused in the karmic and summarizing twelfth house where resolution
and synthesis are to be sought, accounts for an important dynamic in
Spinoza’s life. He was, in his thought, at once constructive (Jupiter)
and destructive (Pluto). Jupiter in Taurus can be related to his philosophy
of one, all-embracing (Jupiter) substance (Taurus).
relates to his philosophical need to eliminate both a transcendent God
and human free will and to see all action as the necessity (Saturn)
and the compulsion (Pluto) of law (Saturn). Pluto further represents
the banishment of many personally comforting religious and theological
thoughts to the realm of illusion. These two planets are, therefore,
closely related to his substantial monistic pantheism. God is all (Jupiter)
of Nature (Taurus).
is but one all-inclusive (Jupiter) substance (Taurus). This one substance
annihilates (Pluto) all distinctions. Pluto is the esoteric and hierarchical
ruler of this twelfth house, and represents the destructive power which
reduces all things to one thing.
anti-Deist ideas were considered heretical and dangerous. Spinoza did
not and could not directly challenge the prevailing repressive and unphilosophical
religious opinion which surrounded him. Jupiter represents the power
to publish, and it is in the twelfth house where expression is suppressed
and inhibited. Pluto strengthened the inhibition upon publication. Pluto,
in this case, represents the dire penalty which would have been exacted
had Spinoza published his thoughts directly and under his own name.
these two planets can be interpreted as ‘surreptitious (Pluto)
publication (Jupiter)’ (which was the method he chose in order
to bring his writings into at least some sort of circulation—mostly
among his friends and sympathizers).
we see Spinoza’s Pantheism anchored in his Jupiter/Pluto conjunction
in the twelfth house, and Neptune at the Vertex. His rationalism and
determinism were working through his Saturn/Mercury conjunction. His
elevation of thought over passion is indicated by the Venus/Mars conjunction
in sober, purposeful Capricorn and also Saturn at the midpoint between
Mercury and Juno. His rebellion against conventional perspectives entered
through his Uranus quintile to his Sagittarius Sun and the Uranus square
to Venus and Mars.
mastery of his precise craft (lens grinding) was facilitated by his
Virgo Moon and, again, by the Saturn/Mercury conjunction. His intuition
was promoted by his Gemini Ascendant with its esoteric ruler, Venus,
in Capricorn, the sign of supernal light. Ceres, the asteroid of nurturance
is found in the seventh house (of the social contract) within two degrees
of the cusp, and indicates his care and concern for the improving the
quality of human interaction. The Ascendant and Sun are opposed to each
other (and contraparallel) indicating his broad, objective perspective,
and his attempt to apply an ethical solution of the conflict between
self and others.
all his rationalism and lofty impersonal thought, Spinoza must have
been very aware of the power of opposing, irrational forces. His Mars
is conjunct the “evil” star Facies, which relates to ruthlessness
and aggression, to being the perpetrator or victim of violence. The
negative potentials did not work out in physical violence in Spinoza’s
life, but he must have been acutely aware of the horrific potentials
lurking in the “beast”, the sumtotal of aroused and poorly
comprehended instinctual nature.
his excommunication from the Jewish Faith was the result of psychological
violence directed against him; the “archer” of religious
bigotry had taken aim at his freedom of thought. Perhaps the potency
of Venus, so close to Mars by conjunction, served to transmute and elevate
this difficult energy, so that, at least he was the victim rather than
difficult star was influential in his nature. Jupiter is also conjunct
Capulus, which signifies male sexual energy, aggression and libido.
Again, however, a “benefic” planet (Jupiter) is involved
with the difficult star, offering the Jupiterian possibility of elevation
through understanding. The presence of negative and materially-tending
energies gives no indication about how an individual will handle them.
So much depends upon the level of evolution; Spinoza’s was high.
closest of these star aspects is a parallel between Alcyone (the “Star
of Individuality”) and the Ascendant. Perhaps this connection
to Alcyone connected Spinoza to a deep appreciation for the true nature
of substance—for the Pleiades are fundamentally connected with
the substantial/material nature of reality. There is an important triangle
between the Pleiades, Gemini and Sagittarius, expressed through Mercury
(found in Sagittarius).This triangle emphasizes the importance of matter
and intelligence. is reminded of a revelatory jest by the Master K.H.,
when He stated, ironically, “Don’t you realize we are materialists?”
His knowledge of the equivalence of spirit and matter lay behind this
a few quotations from Spinoza himself, will more vividly
illustrate the nature and quality of his thought:
is, is in God, and without God nothing can be, or be conceived”.
(Ethics, Book I, Proposition XV)
is a pantheistic statement, and overcomes the split between God and
is the efficient cause not only of the existence of things, but also
of their essence.
Corollary. Individual things are nothing but modifications of the
attributes of God, or modes by which the attributes of God are expressed
in a fixed and definite manner”.(Ethics, Book I, Proposition
could well be dealing with Gnostic Emanationist Theory. This position
is very like the one taken in Eastern Esotericism. The complete identification
between God and ‘things’ is hereby enunciated. The fusion
of the second and third rays is evident. The One and the Many are united;
this union can be appreciated under the Sagittarius (the One) and Gemini
(the Many) polarity.
who has a true idea, simultaneously knows that he has a true idea,
and cannot doubt of the truth of the thing perceived”. (Ethics,
Book II, Proposition XLIII)
we touch the planet of pure reason, the buddhi plane, and come face
to face with the “straight knowledge”, the unmediated knowledge
of the intuition. Mind in the usual sense has been transcended. Reasoning
has turned to pure reason. It is clear that Spinoza knew the joys of
men’s habits of mind differ, so that some more readily embrace
one form of faith, some another, for what moves one to pray may move
another to scoff, I conclude ... that everyone should be free to choose
for himself the foundations of his creed, and that faith should be
judged only by its fruits”. (A Theologico-Political Treatise)
is a statement advocating complete toleration of all religious views.
It arises particularly from the sign Gemini, which understands the relativity
of all things, and from Sagittarius which honors the religious impulse..
who seeks for the true causes of miracles, and strives to understand
natural phenomena as an intelligent being, and not to gaze at them
like a fool, is set down and denounced as an impious heretic by those,
whom the masses adore as the interpreters of nature and the gods.
Such persons know that, with the removal of ignorance, the wonder
which forms their only available means for proving and preserving
their authority would vanish also” (Ethics, Book I, Appendix).
is rationalism at its clearest, and an example of the clear-seeing analysis
of Saturn Mercury, supported by the luminosity of Venus in Capricorn.
Spinoza is speaking from a chapter of his own history, when he was excommunicated
from the Jewish faith for thinking (and discussing) his metaphysical
ideas freely. This occurred as expulsive Pluto transited his Ascendant.
himself probably would not have seen much validity in astrology. He
was part of the Enlightenment, which sought to do away with superstitious
ideas which clouded the mind. Perhaps, if he had accepted astrology
(as Newton did), he would have found in it only a method for justifying
the inescapable determinism which was so much a part of his mechanistic
we consider Benedict Spinoza, we find ourselves in the presence of a
profound, careful and original thinker—a lover of wisdom (philosopher)
with deep spiritual intuitions and a mind insistent upon presenting
these intuitions to the world of human thought in the most rational
and reasonable way possible. History has demonstrated the enmity of
the unconscious forces to such enlightened systems.
light of the events of the twentieth century, Spinoza could be considered
a naïve optimist. Nature is not “rational” (apparently);
Man is unmanageable; human progress is not assured and chaos, it seems,
is built into Creation. Yet we suspect Spinoza was privy to certain
perceptions which can be gathered only when focussed within the realm
of the spiritual triad, and which are eternally true upon that level.
Somehow, he found “God” there, and sought to convey that
vision of unity to those who were capable of thinking about it .
unison let the group perceive the Triad shining forth, dimming the
light of the soul and blotting out the light of form. The Macrocosmic
Whole is all there is. Let the group perceive that whole and then
no longer use the thought, ‘my soul and thine’.”
(Rule V for Disciples and Initiates, R&I 20)