[The TL,DR: the placement of Enochian astrological ensigns of creation seem to fit the astrological system of exaltation, with adjustments for sect across the equinox line of 0 degrees Aries/Libra). Enochian does not seem to fit the Planetary Joys, which fits the nature of the mystical nature of the sephira into which Enochian guides the initiate: Binah (and its associated Vision of Sorrow). Following the Enochian astrological placements on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life makes intuitive sense if you hold that the ensign of Mercury is referring to Raphael as archangel of Tiphareth and the ensign of the Sun as is referring to Michael as archangel of Hod.]
Episode 255 of The Astrology Podcast featured a discussion with Chris Brennan and Benjamin Dykes about the exaltation of the planets, based on the latter’s translation of Abu Ma’shar. The episode itself is worth a listen as it gives additional rationale to what was already put forward about the exaltation of the planets. This spurred my thinking about the reasons for the assignments of the planets in Enochian, specifically the heptarchical system and the ensigns of creation; the latter is shown below:
In the Heptarchical system, each planet is ruled by an angelic king and its prince, but while the king is always called on the day (e.g., the king for the sun is called on Sunday–though, as Stenwick points out, the king seems to have authority over the sephiroth which the planet rules: Sunday for Tiphareth, Monday for Yesod, etc.) and hour, the Prince is called on the day of the planet but the hour of the planet which follows the heptarchical order above (i.e., the prince for Sunday is called on the hour of the moon). The order above,
Does not follow the typical hours scheme, which my sources tell me goes back to the Chaldeans, of:
This seems like a minor detail, but it is one that has bothered me. After all, Dee would request the angels’s views of existing magic and they were known to reply, paraphrasing Jason Louv, “That’s nice,” in the way a parent comments on a child’s drawing, and then provide a corrected version of it (consider the similarity of the Sigillum Dei Aemeth to the geometry shown on the cover of this translation of The Sworn Book of Honorius, for example!). So what is behind the change to the typical planetary hourly rotation?
I wondered whether the exaltations might have anything to do with this. Here is a chart of the exalted planets in their signs:
Things do seem out of order, don’t they? But then I pondered how these planets might look if I included sect rulership:
Finally, it occurred to me that with the start of the zodiac being at Aries, and with Venus being closest to this, I should mentally orient my zodiac about Venus and then add sect into the matter. A mental flipping of the Enochian about this equinox axis looks like this:
Note that the flipped Saturn precedes Mercury in Virgo because it has 21 degrees to shift vs Virgo’s 15 degrees which separate it from the equinox.
Dykes also mentions the interesting zig-zag pattern if you follow the planets according to decreasing brightness:
and here’s the same order with Enochian–interestingly, the same zig-zag pattern does not appear. However, following the luminosity pattern (below) does not follow any of the individual parts of the Enochian counterclockwise path (second figure below), plus, malefics and benefics are both separated by 2+ planets, and the most luminous planets all occupy the highest three positions of the heptagon:
I also wondered whether the Enochian order of the planets also relates to the planetary joys:
Note that the planetary joys are a house-based system, not a sign-based assignment of planets. Regardless, if we put Venus at the top of this pattern, this is the result:
Following the same order but using heptagonal spacing, we get:
If we flip this, once again about a vertical line, we get:
This is now resembling the Enochian heptarchical assignments. A few things to note about the four “mis-placed” planets (according to the original Enochian system):
- The bottom-right three planets are all the heaviest and day-chart rulers (a familiar issue, as seen above!).
- Two of the planets, the Sun and Mercury, have archangels (Michael and Raphael, respectively) whose associations switch when considering the sephiroth they rule (Raphael is the archangel of Tiphareth, which is ruled by the Sun, while Michael is the archangel of Hod, which is ruled by Mercury). Thus, we’ve seen some flexibility in associations across these two sephiroth.
- Saturn and Mars, both malefics, also rule sephiroth on the Pillar of Severity (“on your left”) on the Tree of Life in Kabbalah–as does Mercury.
- The seven classical planets are slightly imbalanced towards the Pillar of Severity as it is; the Luminaries and Benefics together rule four sephiroth, two each on the Middle and Mildness Pillars (though the entire tree itself is balanced).
The Planetary Joys scheme as a means of understanding the Enochian astrological order seems to fall apart (though I’d appreciate any commentary to the contrary–I already tried changing according to sect as above ), but why? Trying to think about why this might be, my mind kept going back to the pillar of Severity–the topmost sephiroth of which is Binah, which is associated with the mystical Vision of Sorrow (as well as the Vision of Wonder). What does Sorrow have to do with Joy? The answer is nothing!
However, what would an initiation of Binah, (“Understanding,”) have to do with exaltation? Why, everything! The exaltation of the human(e) into the Divine, which of course has everything to do with Sorrow (for those who cannot Understand their own Divinity), but Wonder for those who can.
Let me return to the Tree of Life for a quick look at the path as suggested by the ensigns; I’ve removed the sephiroth names for simplicity and shown what happens if we follow the heptarchical path (the path of the sephiroth in order of their ruling planets):
It’s kind of a mess! There’s a jump from Yetzirah to Atziluth & back down again! Then I thought about changing the associations of Mercury to mean Raphael as ruler of Tiphareth, and the sun to mean Michael as ruler of Hod:
This path seems faaar cleaner, and it makes more sense. A balanced person (Tiphareth) takes inventory of all the aspects of the surrounding sephiroth on the Tree of Life (much like the counting of the Omer), and then, having done all of this and found themselves with a solid foundation (Yesod), is initiated (via the Aethyrs) into Binah in Atziluth. After this, the initiate returns to this place of balance, but now with Divine awareness.
“If you’re not already solid in Tiphareth, you’re gonna have a baaad tiiiime.”
Just some thoughts!
UPDATE: I think I’ve come to realize the nature of why the nocturnal sect rulers stay where they are while the diurnal rulers flip. This related to Aleister Crowley’s N.O.X. formula, which focuses around the supernal sephiroth. The idea is that this supernal light is so vast and limitless, it is blinding and as such is “dark” like the night. Since the Aethyrs appear to be initiation into Binah, the system leaving in place the night rulers—but moving the day rulers “out of the way” of initiation into the supernals—makes sense.