Theory : The Sidereal Body

The Sidereal Body   Four Levels   Levels of Development  
The Sidereal Body

Sidereal Body diagram

The Sidereal Body is term for a model of the psyche which uses traditional astrological symbolism for the planets. It is based on the layout of the solar system with the planets arranged in pairs around the asteroid belt, Psi (see Putting One Over On Bode. The Sun and Pluto are given special significance in this model; incidentally, neither are planets in scientific terms. From a psychological perspective, the Sun represents the centre - a still-point from which we can observe our known worlds. These are represented by the solar system. Pluto, on the other hand, is believed to be a comet originating from a region outside the solar system (the Kuiper Belt), that was knocked out of its orbit such that it now interacts with the solar system. Hence, Pluto represents a means of interaction between the known and the unknown; transformation.

Sun Pluto
Identity, 'I', Self That which has been
'known', transformed, resolved.

The planets from Mercury to Neptune are seen as functions of the psyche.


Four Levels

Living beings can be considered to have four levels of organisation:

The Instinctive Level

All organisms must have an instinctive level of functioning, in order to exist. This level includes the automatic bodily processes which maintain life. It includes the need for oxygen, hydrocarbons, water and minerals, the searching for these necessary substances and their ingestion. It includes the seeking of environments of optimum temperature and chemical composition, the avoidance of less comfortable environments and the sensory apparatus needed for this.

The Social (Emotional) Level

As soon as an organism has relationship with other beings, this level of functioning comes into operation. It is the level of relationships; of sexual reproduction and mating, of parent/child interaction and nurturing, of territorial aggression, of the family, the herd, the tribe and the crowd. All behaviours which have any social significance belong to this level.

The Conditioning Level

All organisms that can be trained and that can learn operate on this level. It assumes a degree of neurological sophistication that will allow for learning from experience. This is the level of habits and skills, of anything that can be acquired by observation, mimicry and practice.

The Abstracting Level

Organisms that can operate on this level are capable of abstract thought, of using chosen elements from their environment to create something new. It is the level of planning into the future and finding novel solutions to problems. Creative artistic expression and aesthetic sense as well as original scientific discovery and invention belong to this level.

These 4 levels form a hierarchy increasing in degree of sophistication from the simplest instinctive level to the most complex abstracting level:

Instinctive  right arrow  Emotional  right arrow  Conditioning  right arrow  Abstracting

For each level to operate, the preceding, simpler levels must already be in operation. For example, functioning on the instinctive level is a pre-requisite for all the others, as it is necessary for life itself to be maintained. Only the most simple organisms such as single-cell amoebae exist on this level alone.

Some insects and invertebrates exist on only the instinctive and emotional/social levels, in that they have complex social interactions which are completely instinctively-based, and in which learning plays no part.

It is essential that this level of relationships is in operation before learning and conditioning can take place. The social/emotional level is concerned with the formation of links, and until this is possible there is not the reinforcement necessary for learning.

Similarly, it is necessary to have the mastery over the environment that learned skills and habits can confer before the use of the environment in a creative and abstract way can occur. Many animals have sufficient intellectual organisation to be trained, such as the pigeons that behavioural scientists trained to play table-tennis, but only a few such as the apes can produce novel solutions to problems.


Levels of Development

The four levels described above are related to the Sidereal Body diagram as follows:-

Abstracting Mars ..engenders.. Jupiter
Chosen identifications
Quality of life

Conditioning EarthMoon ..engenders.. Saturn
How you see yourself
(That which can
create new karma)

Venus ..engenders.. Uranus

Instinctive Mercury ..engenders.. Neptune
Awareness of events
True Actions

As soon as a child is born it learns to interact with his mother and from this arises independence - his own IDENTITY, an I, a SELF, and it is beginning the process of ASTRACTION. Training the mind to abstract is learning a PHILOSOPHY of life.


PLUTO is the SEED of the next moment; it breaks conditioned behaviour in the ABSTRACTION of the I.


© The Astrological Society