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Shakespeare And Astrology

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Bianca
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« Reply #30 on: October 15, 2008, 12:05:14 pm »

             









The solutio

 

In alchemy, the solutio is a very Neptunian state in which, psychologically,

“…one’s individual identity is eroded.”10

Liz Green equates the solutio with the womb, a primal liquid world in which one rests peacefully, blissfully, in the amniotic fluid.

It seems part of Shakespeare’s design, therefore, that Romeo refers to the tomb where he and
Juliet are both about to take their lives as a “womb.”
« Last Edit: October 17, 2008, 11:37:17 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #31 on: October 15, 2008, 12:09:01 pm »












                                                    Hermetic Philosophy in Romeo and Juliet

 




Early Egyptians believed that the dead experienced a form of transformation:

They were transformed and elevated into eternity by becoming stars.




The Hermetic teachings imbued the Renaissance with a deep interest in ancient Egyptian religion,
so it is entirely possible that Shakespeare used this ancient religious imagery in Romeo and Juliet.
As Juliet waits alone in her bedroom for Romeo, she foreshadows a sublime cosmic transformation
after her death:



“Give me my Romeo, and when I shall die,/

Take him and cut him out in little stars,/

And he will make the face of heaven so fine/

That all the world will be in love with night”

(3.2.23-26).



These lines of Juliet are paralleled earlier by Romeo when he wonders what would happen if two stars were to trade places with Juliet’s eyes:



“…her eye in heaven/

Would through the airy region stream so bright/

That birds would sing and think it were not night”

(2.2.21-23).



Perhaps Shakespeare wanted us to believe not only that the golden statues represent a
transformation of the meaning of Romeo and Juliet’s deaths, but that the two lovers
themselves foresaw ultimate meaning, identity, and sublime beauty in the stars upon


                                                   “the face of heaven.”

 

            Although Romeo and Juliet lends itself naturally to analysis using astrology and alchemy, this youthful tragedy is but one part of a whole Shakespearean canon with themes similar to those presented in this article.

Many of the Bard’s plays resonate deeply with the ideal of a cosmic, universal pattern, reaching from the stars
and planets down to the smallest human action.

The tragic violation of cosmic order lies at the heart of Romeo and Juliet:


                                                     “Two households, both alike in dignity”


have strewn bloody, violent death over the streets of an Italian community.



Shakespeare used the symbolism of alchemy and the language of the planets and stars to finally bring a


                                                                “glooming peace”


to a small town in a foreign land where golden statues glitter under a starry sky.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2008, 11:38:13 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #32 on: October 15, 2008, 12:16:50 pm »










References and Notes
 

John M. Addey, “Shakespeare’s Attitude to Astrology,” in An Astrological Anthology: Essays and Excerpts from the Journal of the Astrological Association, Volume I, 1959-1970, ed. Zach Matthews, The Astrological Association, 1995, p. 31.

Martin Lings, The Sacred Art of Shakespeare: To Take Upon Us the Mystery of Things, Inner Traditions, 1998, p. 4.

Palden Jenkins, Living in Time and How Time Passes, The Glastonbury Archive, 2000. Released in full, with this citation located online at http://www.isleofavalon.co.uk/GlastonburyArchive/time/lit03.html
Lings, The Sacred Art of Shakespeare, p. 134.

From Mather Walker, “An Alchemical Viewpoint of Romeo and Juliet,” published online as part of a larger website called “Sir Francis Bacon’s New Advancement of Learning” and one of a series of online essays intended largely to show that Francis Bacon was the author of works attributed to Shakespeare, at http://www.sirbacon.org/mrandJ2.htm. Mather Walker makes several interesting points, including this one about the title page of the First Quarto.

Francis A. Yates, Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition,
The University of Chicago Press, 1964, p. 2.

Liz Greene and Howard Sasportas, Dynamics of the Unconscious: Seminars in Psychological Astrology, Volume 2, Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1988, p. 260.

Philippa Berry, “Between Idolatry and Astrology: Modes of Temporal Repetition in Romeo and Juliet,” in A Feminist Companion to Shakespeare, ed. Dympna Callaghan, Blackwell Publishers, 2000, p. 365.

Lings, The Sacred Art of Shakespeare, p. 135.

Greene and Sasportas, Dynamics of the Unconscious, p. 289.
   
 
     
 

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