Sunday, January 4, 2015
The Spiritual Meaning of Gravity and the Planets
This article is a continuation of the article on the meaning of how the universe is expanding at the speed of light from all points. The value of the correspondence we spoke of in that article has not only to do with science but also in the encouragement they offer in caring for our souls and the meaning of life. It is a deeply held value that every person that ever lived is gifted with unique use and attributes and talents to serve life, and the correspondence in that article deeply supports this. It affirms a view of the cosmos many cultures value, a view that is full of wonder, intellect and wisdom. The ancient and modern practice of astrology that sees meaning and character in all of the planets is a good example. It is a well developed practice, full of detail, and connects people lives to the heavenly bodies. The vision of ‘The Music of the Spheres’, began with pythagoras, and was developed through history, especially during medieval times. It incorporates a geometrical and mystical meaning to the movement of the planets. The Hopi Indians see the universe with great wonder and a deep metaphysic of their own.
Astrology tells us that the personal attributes of a person are influenced by the formation of the planets and sun at the exact moment of their birth. It believes that the position of the planets in their orbit at the time of a new born baby on earth forms a unique constellation according to the moment and place of birth, and the result is that the attributes of the person’s soul and personality are reflected in this constellation. Astrology doesn’t speak of God but the whole philosophy of its science melds with the idea that everything in the universe is orchestrated by the infinite love and wisdom of the Lord. At the moment of birth there is a need in the universe, (or a use to be filled), and the person born is imbued with unique character by God to contribute to that need. Swedenborg expresses this on a cosmic scale in a very beautiful way when he says: “The more people who enter heaven, the more complete it becomes”. It is inherent in this statement that every person born has unique meaning for the whole, and that if they seek this in good faith and use, they will enter a fulfilment of greater use in heaven. For instance, Swedenborg writes that there is a providential reason for each persons time of birth and death, it could be that they still need to learn something here, or they have some use for others to learn here, or it could also be that they are needed in heaven for a purpose to people there, and this use somehow balances equilibrium.
Lets look further at how the scientific knowledge of the planets is imbued with meaning by correspondences. Every object has gravity based on its mass. The planets are so enormous that their gravities are dominant in our solar system, though less than the sun, but they are also much closer to us. Here we often say that a person ‘gravitates to their love’, which speaks to a great truth. In the spiritual world gravity corresponds to the attractive force of love. In the spiritual world like attracts like; ‘gravity’ (love, affection) is the force that draws people to the society they belong to and holds them there based on the quality of love they possess. This is made more understandable when we see that every society in heaven has its own atmosphere. Atmosphere’s are composed of the spiritual substance of love and wisdom, particularly how these two are married together in a unique way in each society. Swedenborg tells how each society has its own breathing pattern, and someone not from a soceity who enters it finds it difficult to breath unless they can come into harmony with the affections of that society, because breath and speech correspond to affection. The practice of astrology, the Music of the Spheres, the cosmology of the Hopi Indians - each of which give distinct qualities to the planets, movements, and their atmospheres - are examples of these qualities bleeding through to us.
Because gravity corresponds to the attractive force of love I think it is important to reflect on the nature of love. Love and wisdom proceed from the divine heart of the Lord in the spiritual sun; they are the source of life and sustain all life. Swedenborg says there is a cosmic pulse from the spiritual sun that extends throughout the universe and governs living hearts. Love from the Lord is married to wisdom and contains infinite things, but we receive it according to our love. Love is a container that holds innumerable particulars of knowledge and wisdom. For us love is a desire and yearning that seeks an end and all the wisdom necessary to achieve the end is contained in that love and desire. This is difficult to grasp in the abstract so lets give an example. Swedenborg tells the story of a man he knew in the world who was simple and who had little education, but who was pure of heart and loved the Word. He met this man again in heaven and was amazed that the man was able to discourse greatly on the nature of things and the Word with great wisdom. The reason being that in the spiritual world his love expanded to its fruition, for love opens our internals and the wisdom that comes with it becomes our own. In common language we say it this way: to love is to know, and to know is to love. Love by nature is deep affection not only for the beloved but also for wisdom. Both increase and elevate each other. Gravity corresponds to love, and so it makes sense that the unique quality of love and wisdom in heavenly societies corresponds to the unique qualities attributed to planets in the solar system by humnaity. It also makes sense that the constellation of planets at the time of a person’s birth form distinct qualities that are part of God’s expression of that person’s potential gifts.
This also melds beautifully with the medieval conception of “the music of the spheres”. In ‘The Narnian’ Alan Jacobs describes C.S. Lewis love of the spheres and their nature: “Among the ‘old lore’ of our world there is one tradition that Lewis found especially fascinating, and that turns up repeatedly in his fiction…The spheres are in medieval astronomy the abodes of the planets. These spheres surround the earth, moving outward from us in concentric circles; beyond them is the Empyrean, the heaven of heavens, where God’s presence dwells most fully. But what is there music? That music is made by the friction of their contact as they ceremoniously rotate at their various speeds; it is of extraordinary beauty.” This kind of system engages a deeper view of the universe than science, and intuitively engages the universal principles Swedenborg witnessed in heaven. The spheres surrounding the planets are like the atmospheres of the spiritual world and the planets correspond to societies in heaven that have character, use, love and meaning.
Whether astrology or the sphere of the planets can be scientifically proven is not the point. The universe is full of wonders in very particular ways that we can endlessly learn. Astrology, the sphere of the planets, the Hopi Indians express how some of the spiritual qualities of the universe bleed through into nature and into our mind and soul’s perception. And the wonders we will some day see in the spiritual world far far outshine what we know now.