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Plato, Reincarnation, and Astrology
Part III: Destiny and the Zodiac

In Robin Waterfield's translation of The Republic, Waterfield points to what are clear astrological referrals in this poignant quoted passage on reincarnation:

“When the souls had all finished choosing their lives, they approached Lachesis in the order the lottery had assigned them. She gave each of them the personal deity they’d selected to accompany them throughout their lives, as their guardians and to fulfill the choices they had made. Each deity first led its soul to Clotho (zodiacal signs), to pass under her hand and under the revolving orbit of the spindle, and so to ratify the destiny the soul had chosen in the lottery.

Then, once a connection has been made with her, the deity led the soul to Atropos (planets) and her spinning, to make the web woven by Clotho fixed and unalterable. Afterwards, the soul set a fixed course for Lady Necessity’s throne and passed under it…” Plato, The Republic translation by Robin Waterfield (620e)
(Italics for emphasis and the words contained within parentheses are mine.)

Ratify, Destiny, and Astrology
Here's where it comes in really, really handy to read and pay attention to translation notes...

According to Robin Waterfield, the word “ratify” was associated with the ruling of a planet. The word used for “destiny” meant (or later came to mean) “degree on the zodiacal circle.”

i.e. The ruling planet ratified [approved, sanctioned, authorized] the degree on the zodiacal circle. The guiding daemon or deity was assigned to this particular degree on the zodiacal circle.

As for the uncomfortable word, "unalterable," Waterfield points out that in Plato’s other writings, he (Plato) leaves room for change in each person's individual life.

"It is only the broad framework which is fixed... The whole of Plato's philosophy leaves room for self-improvement within that framework."

River of Neglect
Continuing on with Plato's myth, all the souls then traveled to the Plain of Oblivion, located next to the River of Neglect. Each soul was required to drink a certain portion of the water, that would cause them to forget his or her past life – but apparently some of the people unwisely drank more of the water than they had to.

(Didn't I tell you that much of Plato’s account would likely sound familiar?)

I won’t get into the fact that Plato, likewise, believed a man that had made less than wise decisions in his life would likely be required to take a “step down” and be reincarnated as a woman or an animal.

Which Point On the Astrological Chart?
In case you’re wondering, the possibility of setting a steadfast rule – as to which zodiacal degree on the horoscopic chart represents the guiding daemon or deity – appears to be a pointless, endless exercise in speculation and futility.

It’s impossible to now definitively know what (if anything) might have been on Plato's mind.

In ancient Greek astrology, the "horoskopos" literally meant "look to the hour [of birth]." The zodiacal sign of the Ascendant, followed closely by the zodiacal sign on the Midheaven, were considered to be of the greatest import.

Looking at all this through relatively modern eyes, the most likely suspects are therefore (primarily) the birth chart’s Ascendant and its planetary ruler, (secondarily) the Midheaven and its planetary ruler, and/or (thirdly) any planets that might be located on the Ascendant or Midheaven.

However, each and every horoskopic chart contains several potential guiding myths for an individual.

Ultimately, the jury will (and should) have to stay out on this one. Old world philosophers and thinkers were generally quite comfortable with the possibility of having wonderful, thought provoking, ineffable, tenuous mysteries with no one, single, absolute solution or resolution.

That manner of thinking is obviously extremely challenging for us - with our modern day (supposed) sensibilities and proclivities - to fully wrap our minds around.

My Own Views
As for my own views on the objective reality of reincarnation - parroting my mentor, CG Jung (parroting Gautama Buddha) - I prefer keeping the question of reincarnation open, without passing judgment on the matter.

Quoting St. Paul: "We know only in part, and we prophesy only in part;... for now we "see through a mirror, dimly."

Suggestion? All metaphsyical, religious, spiritual theories should start with: "It's as if... "

First page > Blame It On Plato > Page 1, 2, 3

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