There is a genuine fascination, a strange reverence, that the subject of the seven sacred planets seems to evoke. Perhaps astronomy in general has always interested the writer, and that may account for the particular interest in the teachings of Theosophy relating to the heavenly spheres moving in their appointed routes in the skies. That this is a vast subject, a tyro would quickly admit; that it is important in these times may warrant some explanation.
The basic axiom of universal brotherhood takes on a profound and penetrating significance when one looks into the real structure and orderly operations of the kosmos. Brotherhood is no sentiment or mere emotional effervescing. We are all rooted together literally — linked with all that is, we have our ties with the suns, the moons, the planets, and even the encircling Milky Way. Nature is a unity! Is this teaching of importance at this time?
The study of the seven sacred planets is but one of four facets of a jewel — one of four subdivisions of a group of teachings in the Esoteric Philosophy called the Doctrine of the Spheres. One aspect of this general doctrine is that of the Universal Solar System, a system comprising all the planets and their satellites, visible and invisible, which belong to our solar family. It should be noted that aside from the nine planets of which present-day astronomy tells us, there are innumerable invisible planetary bodies which our "fourth plane" eyes cannot perceive. Our Universal Solar System is septenary; it has seven planes or worlds, seven suns of which our earthly vision takes in but one.
It may prove of interest to state that the planet Neptune does not belong to our Universal Solar System. While it is a "planet" in that it does revolve around our sun, in reality it is a "capture" — captured as other planets have taken to themselves "moons" (or more accurately, satellites, as each planet can have only one true moon). Furthermore, inasmuch as the planet Uranus revolves around our sun, it is a member of our Universal Solar System, though not of our Solar System.
Our own solar system concerns the second of the four aspects of the general Doctrine of the Spheres. It is this portion of the teaching that deals with the seven sacred planets of the ancients.
But before returning to our theme, we will mention, for the purpose of completeness, the third and fourth subdivisions of the Doctrine of the Spheres. The third aspect is one which the author of Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy refers to only by allusion, for obvious reasons. It deals with the relation of Mars and Mercury and the "four secret planets" to our earth. The fourth and final aspect of the Doctrine of the Spheres has to do with our Earth planetary chain.
To resume the study of our main theme: the seven sacred planets. We shall name them: a secret planet not visible to us; Mercury; Venus; a mystery planet now invisible to earth men — let us call it "Vulcan'; Mars; Jupiter; and Saturn. The secret planet, unnamed, is now dying, as it is nearing the end of its cycle. When the earth enters its seventh round, this secret planet will be its "moon," or more correctly, its satellite; our real moon will have become "atomic stellar dust."
Why were the seven planets considered and called "sacred" by the ancients? One reason was that our Earth's planetary chain, i. e., its seven globes, were formed and are under the guidance of these seven planets. Further, each sacred planet acts as a guide and protector of a Root-Race. But in two very succinct sentences, Dr. de Purucker gives the most telling reason for terming these seven planets "sacred." He explains:
There are seven main or Chief Rays or Forces which make and which inform the Sun; and these seven Forces are the Seven Solar Logoi. Each one of these seven main Logoi is sub-divided in its turn into seven; and these seven subdivisions of one chief Ray or Logos form the Rectors, the Genii, the Archangels, if you will, of which the "Seven Sacred Planets" are the Houses. —Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, p. 460
We may parenthetically state, as an example of the interblendings and interworkings in our kosmos, that our Earth itself is one of a series of seven planets (other than our own planetary chain) which aid in building the sevenfold planetary chains of certain other planets.
It was stated above that each globe of our Earth's planetary chain was builded or overseen in its construction by one of the seven sacred planets. More accurately, it is the spiritual Rectors of the sacred planets who are the builders or guides; and as an additional point it must be remembered that each globe of our Earth-chain has its own especial characteristics, its own swabhava which acts as a prime mover, a definite influence in its shaping.
We are told that the globes of our own septenary planetary chain, that is, Globes A, B, C, D (our earth), E, F, and G, were formed under the respective guidance of "Vulcan," Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Mercury, Mars, and a secret planet. Further, each of the seven globes (A, B, C, etc.) is under the guidance of the following respective constellations of the zodiac: Leo, Sagittarius, Libra, Capricorn, Virgo, Scorpio, and Cancer. We have omitted mention of the five arupa, or formless globes, of our twelvefold planetary chain. We must enter a caveat here: It should not be assumed that one sacred planet, or one constellation solely, acts in forming a particular globe of our Earth-chain. It is true that one sacred planet and one constellation are the predominating influences, but every one of the others leaves its mark. Nature is a unity; there are no hard and fast dividing lines, no segregation into cubby-holes.
There are some very interesting details about the ages of each of the seven sacred planets, that is, their ages physically and spiritually speaking. As a general rule, the density of a planet will indicate its physical age. Also, generally speaking, the farther a body is from the sun, the physically younger it is. Mars, usually considered by astronomers as being older than the Earth merely because our telescopes seem to find few if any traces of organic life there, is actually younger, physically, than the Earth. Theosophy holds Mars to be in obscuration — asleep — though it cannot be called dead. There is life on Mars; it has just ended its third "Round," or minor cycle within its greater Life-Cycle.
The planet Venus is in its seventh round — much older than the Earth — as is Mercury, likewise. The latter, however, is just beginning its last and seventh round. The planet Saturn, while physically younger than the Earth (being farther away from the Sun) is more advanced spiritually than our Earth.
There appears to be a mystery surrounding Mars. Often in listing the seven sacred planets, the Sun and the Moon are used as two substitute names for "Vulcan" and another unnamed secret planet. We find Mars "to a certain extent . . . in the same category."
Perhaps the most fundamental key iterated in Theosophy is the old old axiom of the Hermetists: "As above, so below." And as we find the Universe to be a living being, a vast organism, we may step down the analogy to a human walking here on Globe D- man being a replica, a microcosm of the universe, the macrocosm. As man has his organs, his nervous system, etc., so it is with the universe. The Kosmos has its organs, its circulatory system, its stream of life forces pulsating through certain well-defined, albeit invisible, channels with their centers (the planetary bodies)
corresponding to the ganglions of a human's nervous system. So it follows that the hosts of entities comprising our universe are not moving in a helter-skelter jumble, but in definite grooves, proper pathways toward which their magnetic or gravitational attractions draw them. Yes, everything in the Universe is connected, is a unity- a most heartening, a most stimulating teaching, a teaching which when comprehended and lived is found to be the only straight and true way to inner peace.
The mass of men worry themselves into nameless graves: here and there a great soul forgets himself into immortality. — Emerson
The Theosophical ForumTHEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE