In this new video, I talk about the hidden esoteric meaning of the song from the 1940 animated classic, Pinocchio, When You Wish Upon a Star. I’m sure you’ll remember Jiminy Cricket singing to Pinocchio …
When you wish upon a star Makes no difference who you are Anything your heart desires Will come to you If your heart is in your dream No request is too extreme When you wish upon a star As dreamers do Fate is kind She brings to those who love The sweet fulfillment of their secret longing Like a bolt out of the blue Fate steps in and sees you through When you wish upon a star Your dream comes true
But because this delightful vignette comes from a film for children, you may have assumed that wishing upon a star is just a quaint childhood fantasy. It is, though, in fact, completely true… that when you wish upon a star, your dreams do come true.
The song’s lyrics are just a simplified way of describing a cosmological process that the alchemists of old knew all about, and so did the original composers of an old Etruscan myth about a naughty wooden puppet whose name meant pineal gland, or ‘third eye’.
In my book Stories in the Stars, I unravel the hidden messages in many ancient myths, including the original folk tale of Pinocchio, which in its bare bones, is yet another Hero’s Journey, the tale of one who has to face many trials and dragons in order to return home a full man …. or in the case of Pinocchio, a real boy. He undergoes an alchemical transformation, and this is where wishing on a star comes in.
The alchemists of old wouldn’t dream of going ahead with any of the seven steps of the process to create the Philosopher’s Stone until the right planet was in the right place to receive their prayers. In fact, the original meaning of the word “laboratory” is derived from the Latin term, ora et labora, or place of “prayer and work”. Of course, that was before the so-called scientists of the woefully-misnamed Age of Enlightenment threw out the baby with the bathwater in jettisoning spirit from matter.
As the song goes … it makes no difference where you are. But it does matter when, and to which star you’re addressing yourself.
All this knowledge was taught in the ancient Mystery Schools because it was understood to be key to the successful completion of the alchemical journey of the spirit in a human body here on Earth. The purpose of this quest is so that we can evolve into what is represented by the symbol of the Philosopher’s Stone… the stone that turns all it touches into gold.
So I hope you enjoy my new video about how it all works on my YouTube channel Annie’s Myths, Magic and Mysteries. I’m mostly reading from my book Stories in the Stars, Chapter 10, When You Wish Upon a Star, and it should give you plenty of pointers about how wishing upon a star could magnetise your desired future towards you. Or if you prefer to read it in article form, just keep reading here.
You probably know that it was the mythologist Joseph Campbell who first discovered The Hero With a Thousand Faces. He found that most folk tales about mythical heroes, worldwide, follow a similar blueprint… to quote him:
“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”
However, it was another mythologist, me, Annie Dieu-Le-Veut, who discovered that the hero’s journey is built on an astrological and alchemical template, and so now, here, I’m not only going to explain you how it works but I’ll also be teaching you how you can make it work for you.
The student of the ancient Mystery Teachings knew that in choosing the human journey, we have willingly entered into a supernatural enchantment that has, as its aim, the act of redeeming our ancestors – just as Pinocchio saves Geppetto from the belly of the Whale.
And that in completing that quest, we will light a path forward for succeeding generations.
The alchemical journey of the hero
Now … I should quickly point out that the sort of alchemy you’ll discover in the Hero’s Journey, as laid down here in my book, Stories in the Stars, will not necessarily involve you having to invest in equipment like test tubes or Bunsen burners.
It is an inner alchemy that, when practised properly, attuned with the stars Above and the ancestors Below, aligns our lives with natural forces, otherwise known as spirits or gods and goddesses…who can then help us to make the right choices. These Otherworldly entities in turn allow and show us how to map out our lives according to our chosen vocation or destiny.
The science of alchemy takes a much more holographic view of the universe than modern Western science … by acknowledging the spirit or energy inherent in all matter and which can be consulted in inner space. The alchemist of old had a prayer or meditation room within his ora et labora – or laboratory – to retreat into, to quiet his senses and journey inwards, to commune with the inner spirit or god of the material he was working on.
So before the advent of Christianity, to whom would he have been praying? Well, it very much depended on three factors, firstly, the culture he was born into, secondly, the material he was working on and, finally, the aim of his operation.
But whatever his intention, it would have always included petitioning the spiritual ruler of the material he was going to transform, and at the right time. This is because everything in Nature, right down to the smallest blade of grass, has what is known as a planetary governor – in other words, it is ruled by those same gods and goddesses that the hero meets on his journey.
This cosmic ruler is vital to any alchemical operation; without the willing co-operation of a certain planetary governor at a certain time, no magic can take place.
Shadow-boxing with the universe
As Marc Edmund Jones writes in The Interpretation of a Horoscope:
“The planets are the dynamic bodies that distribute the forces of actual living and experience, setting up the strains and stresses of life and creating the basic complex in which you have your existence. You live by working against dynamic compulsions, struggling back and forth, interacting with the universe.
“You and the universe have a partnership in activity. You are shadow-boxing with the universe every minute of your existence. Even your dreams are the shadow-boxing you do when you are asleep.
“The planets are the bodies in the heavens which articulate the forces, or express the system of energy of which the universe is composed. The planets in your chart represent your distribution of this energy, or show what part of it you have made your own.”
So…we are born into human bodies or vessels which constitute our alchemical container – or cauldron – for this Great Work, to take us through a form of an alchemical evolution.
The astrological journey of the hero
Thus the planetary governors are arranged at our birth in a pre-determined and customised configuration which gives us our character, with all its specific strengths and weaknesses, and also gives rise to our challenges.
The following chart shows which god or goddess rules which astrological sign. Some of them rule two.
Every single mythological hero walks the circle of the constellations … even Pinocchio who, in the original story has 36 adventures … in other words, one for every decan of each of the 12 signs. I show in the following diagram the route he took in both the original folk tale, by Carlos Collodi, and also in the version for the Disney movie which, for the some reason, jumps from Cancer to Scorpio.
The passage of the Hero’s Journey is around the twelve astrological signs of the zodiac, with the planetary governors coming in to help or challenge according to whatever stage he – or we – are at. The planetary governors help in a crisis, but they may also have caused the crisis. Growth comes from dealing with adversity and in myths about the hero, it is most often when the dragon appears!
When we are resisting by fighting against our destiny …or dragon … or feeling depressed and frustrated about an important part of our life, it is often an indication that we are at a crucial part of our spiritual development.
So who are these gods that rule every second and minute of our lives?
There are seven altogether and each of them is identified with a planet in our solar system. In myths, they are symbolised in various guises from the Seven Sages to the Seven Dwarfs. These seven also govern one day of each week. So just think of it as advice centres opening. Each god’s advice centre opens on its name day during the first hour after the sun has risen.
The advice centres of the gods
I’m now going to give you detailed information about the qualities of each of them, to help you decide which one to appeal to for what and when their advice centre is open.
We begin on Sunday – the day of the Sun.
Both the Sun and the Moon are not technically planets. But they are the most influential stellar bodies in our solar system in a myriad of ways, and the dance that they perform together at the times of eclipses – known in alchemy as the Marriage of the Sun and the Moon – makes them primary drivers of the most powerful catalyst for transformation and fertility.
The Sun represents the masculine ego and it rules the astrological sign of Leo. Its perpetual flames are what give the leonine personality its mane that represents its magnaminous and warm-hearted generosity of spirit. As the ruler of the solar system, in which even gravity itself is governed, he beams down like a kind patriarch over all of his kingdom as he rides across the skies in his chariot, from dawn until dusk.
We often find the character who represents the Sun entering the myths of the hero when the protagonist reaches the age of young adulthood, such as was the case with Gilgamesh, Hercules and Arthur… to name but a few. It comes in to act as a guide and a teacher, to help him develop his courage, learn the virtues of loyalty, nobility and generosity, and to overcome his pride and selfishness.
The Sun can take the form of a father or an older relative like an uncle, or even an earlier ancestor, who acts as a teacher to the hero, leading by example so that the young man has an ideal role model to follow as he begins to plot his path forward.Sometimes, though, the lessons can be harsh, like in The Epic of Gilgamesh …. when the sun god sends Enkidu a fatal illness for insulting the Lady of Fortune, Ishtar.
The Sun is found in Babylonian myths as Shamash, in Greek myths as Helios, and in Celtic myths as Graine, Belinus or Lugh.
As a Leo, I am ruled by the Sun and so he is the planetary governor I’m most familiar with and I send my wishes to him often. He is there every day – albeit sometimes hidden behind quintessentially British grey clouds. But I always sense his presence and he opens my heart, informs my warmth, friendliness and generosity.
I have worked magically with the Sun for a long time. I once made an alchemical tincture with the herb eyebright, which is governed by the Sun.
But the most powerful solar work that I have ever done was to repeat, regularly over 40 days and 40 nights, a potent Vedic mantra dedicated to the Sun. The sounds made by Vedic mantras are built on the same geometrical frequencies and resonances described in Chapter 3: The Holographic Universe of Music of Stories in the Stars. So I experienced, in this way, building an energetic Sun temple in the deeps of the Underworld, which ended up playing a pivotal role in my shamanic work on the land.
His day of the week is Sunday, and so his advice centre is open for the first hour after dawn on that day.
Alchemical stage: The Alchemical Marriage of the Sun and the Moon which is the last stage just before the production of the Philosopher’s Stone … and symbolised in the heavens during an eclipse by the diamond ring.
Now on to Monday , and …
The Moon rules Cancer and she is generally portrayed as the watery, reflective pools of energy that can act as a mirror for our lives, holding all the memories – both consciously remembered and buried in the subconscious – deep in its submarinal depths.
As governor of the tides of the seas and the bodily fluids, she is also the ruler of the times and tides of man. Her magnetic pull rules over world affairs as a whole and not just in the inner being of the hero – but he can keep in step with her dance if he aligns himself spiritually to her three sides of maiden (new Moon), mother (full Moon) and crone (old or dark Moon).
The ancient Greeks identified her as three different women – Phoebe, Artemis, Selene – perhaps to reflect her three faces, and the Romans called her Diana.
She is definitely female, and I have quite a shy and reverential attitude towards her because her cool beauty, grace and wisdom often stun me into awed silence. She is utterly mysterious and yet immensely powerful and effective.
In a way, she is the essence of femininity, which is quietly tenacious yet not overbearing or ostentatious.
Her day of the week is Monday and so her advice centre is open for the first hour after dawn on that day.
Alchemical stage: The Alchemical Marriage of the Sun and the Moon, which, as I’ve already mentioned, is symbolised by the diamond ring of the eclipse, and it is the last stage before the production of the Philosopher’s Stone.
Now on to Tuesday.
In Anglo-Saxon English, Tuesday is literally Tiw’s day, named after the god Tiw.
To the Romans, though, he was Mars.
Mars rules both Aries and Scorpio, and as we follow the journey of the zodiac hero, we discover how those much-needed martial, warlike qualities develop through meeting our challenges, over time.
The Hero begins his journey along the Wheel of the zodiac at the Spring Equinox in the sign of Aries. At this stage, he is portrayed as the immature, fiery, thrusting hothead who is far more likely to rely on pure brute force to overcome his adversaries than his wits, which have yet to develop.
As the Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu pointed out in his sixth century BCE military treatise The Art of War, the wise warrior only goes into battle when all other recourses, such as intelligence and the arts of diplomacy, have failed. Also most importantly, he just goes to war when knows not only that he will win but also how his victory will be assured.
Sadly, our warrior at Aries has not yet to develop the whit and wisdom of Sun Tzu, and so he is displaying the undeveloped qualities of Mars. However, if all goes to plan, by the time he gets to Scorpio, which is also governed by Mars, he will be better prepared to learn how to be a great spiritual warrior – which is just as well, because this is when he has to face his greatest trials…more about which anon.
The Roman Mars was derived from the Greek Ares, but the source for both was the Babylonian Nergal. As a fertility god of the Underworld, Nergal was responsible for the uprushing fire from the Earth at springtime, which forces the sap of the greenery upwards.That is why alchemists always began their operations on the Spring Equinox, to take full advantage of that flaming force.
I once made an alchemical spagryic that was dedicated to Mars. I’d used nettles as the material, which I’d picked from Glastonbury Tor at dawn on a Tuesday. It was just a practice exercise. So I had no reason to use it then, and it sat in my cupboard for a long time.My life was so calm and uneventful in those days that I couldn’t imagine I’d ever need the strength and cunning of a warrior.
But one day, without going into too much detail, I did. I really did!
Luckily, I quickly remembered the Mars spagryic in my cupboard. I took a few drops in a glass of water and it’s no exaggeration to say that I was instantly transformed inside. I felt, energetically, as if I was holding a sharp sword straight at my enemy’s throat in that the words I delivered were mightier than the sword. When I spoke to him, he turned tail, as if on a sixpence, and ran, and never came back.
To this day, I keep this etheric sword in its scabbard around my waist. Sometimes, people can see it glinting there and they know I wouldn’t hesitate to pull it out, if required.
So Mars’ day of the week is Tuesday and his advice centre is open for the first hour after dawn on that day.
Alchemical stage: Calcination.
Now on to the next day, Wednesday, which is ruled by the Anglo-Saxon god Woden. To the Romans, however, he was Mercury. So let’s talk about Mercury.
Mercury rules both Gemini and Virgo and his epithet of Quicksilver Messenger explains his influence in those signs, which is largely about the lightning-fast processing and communication of information, whether across the synapses of the brain, across the world via transport, trading routes and telecommunications or holographically and fractally across the Three Worlds.
There are some who call Mercury a “trickster god”. He was almost certainly the prototype for Puck in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. So he can seem to be quite crafty and mischievous at times – especially when he goes retrograde – but that is because, I think, he has to be, and it is all for our own good in the end! But when Mercury is retrograde, we can expect all sorts of communication breakdowns and travel snarl-ups along this road less travelled.
Mercury was known as Nabu to the Babylonians, Thoth to the Egyptians, Odin to the Norse and the wing-footed messenger Hermes to the Greeks.
In my experience as a writer, I think he is the Welsh god Gwyddion, also known as Poet of Poets, and I have to admit that I would be lost without him. He is always there, inspiring my words and often, when I’m stuck, coming up with the bon mot or the next cunning twist in the plotline.
Mercury also plays a catalytic and thus pivotal role in every alchemical operation, no matter which planet governs the material or the stage.
His day of the week is Wednesday and so his advice centre is open for the first hour after dawn on that day.
Alchemical stage: As I said, Mercury is the prime catalyst of the whole operation, but he is particularly present when going through the Dissolution stage, which is the penultimate step before the final Marriage of the Sun and the Moon at Coagulation.
There are times when we feel that our lives are spinning out of control, and everything we do goes wrong and falls apart, no matter how hard we try to get it right. It can be a sign that our Alchemical Journey has reached the Dissolution stage, and it’s quite confusing when all kinds of weird stuff that you didn’t knowingly intend or cause starts popping up all around you. It only starts to make sense when you realise that it’s just your future rushing towards you.
Now we’ll go on to Thursday, which is named after the Norse god Thor, and the Roman equivalent is Jupiter.
Jupiter rules both Sagittarius and Pisces. He is the judge who the hero first meets when he falls down, at Scorpio, into the Halls of Judgment in the Underworld. There, all the deeds of his life, whether well-intentioned or not, rise like the dead from their graves to meet him. It is St John of the Cross’s Dark Night of the Soul when, to put it in Jungian terms, the Hero is required to face and heal his Shadow. If he passes those trials and is pronounced fit to become a hero, he has Won the Hallows.
The outcome varies in myths.
In some, if he has Won the Hallows, and redeemed the ancestors, it will automatically release his father from captivity in the Underworld, to be reborn on the Winter Solstice. Or sometimes he himself is reincarnated as a baby called the Radiant Child.
Jupiter reappears later on to guide the young child as he reaches Pisces, to help him widen his vision, and to give him confidence and courage to grab hold of new adventures and challenges in his first tentative explorations in trying to discover the meaning and purpose of human life.
Jupiter was known to the Babylonians as Marduk, to the Saxons and Norse as Thor, and to the Greeks as Zeus.
My own experience of Jupiter is one of expansiveness and joy, and also the thrill that comes when starting a new venture and when I want to call on him, I burn juniper berries.
His day of the week is Thursday and so his advice centre is open for the first hour after dawn on that day.
Alchemical stage: Sublimation.
Now on to Friday.
Our day Friday is named after the Norse goddess Freya, but to the Babylonians she was Ishtar, and to the Greeks she was Aphrodite and to the Romans, she was Venus.
Venus is probably the planetary governor we are most familiar with. So you’ll most likely already know that the Lady of Fortune is associated with love, beauty, harmony, proportion and order.
Venus governs both Taurus and Libra, thus first appearing to the young mythological warrior when he has not yet developed enough maturity to know how to handle a relationship with any woman, let alone a goddess. He tends to go at her like a bull in a china shop. So as is illustrated in The Epic of Gilgamesh, he is usually swiftly ejected out of Taurus at the end of her delicate foot and, as a result of offending her, he suffers a Reversal of Fortune.
This downturn in his luck leads him into a number of challenging tests and trials that help him to develop his wisdom and qualities of leadership. So when he gets to meet Venus again at Libra to receive her sexual initiation, he is more mature and considered in his behaviour, and thus matters are usually more harmonious and fruitful.
Venus was Inanna to the Sumerians, Ishtar to the Babylonians, Isis to the Egyptians, Freya to the Norse and Aphrodite to the Greeks.
Her day of the week is Friday and so her advice centre is open for the first hour after dawn on that day.
Alchemical stage: Conjunction.
And finally, it’s the weekend and we’ve reached Saturday … and Saturn.
Saturn is the planetary governor that rules the death and rebirth of the hero in the Underworld at Capricorn, and he also guides the early life of the reborn champion during his passage as a young toddler through Aquarius.
Otherwise known as Old Father Time, Saturn is a strict teacher who can make us feel frustrated, but he has our own best interests at heart and his presence in our lives only becomes a problem when we rail against his discipline.
It can seem, when Saturn is around, that nothing is going right in your life … while in reality, it is because the stern disciplinarian has interceded to prevent your haphazard passage through human existence from falling off into the Wheel of the zodiac into the abyss.
If Saturn tells you sit down and get on with your homework, it is probably best to just quietly obey, and I actually do find there is a certain sense of satisfaction and almost relief in accepting and acknowledging such constraints at times.
Saturn was known as Ninurta to the Babylonians and Chronos to the Greeks.
But whatever his name, this god doesn’t take any prisoners … and we become much more aware of his restraining and restricting qualities at the times of our Saturn Return. We each experience three instances of the Saturn Return in our lives, because it’s when the planet stations back in our charts at the same place it was at the time of our births.
The planet of Saturn is a slow mover – glacially slow, he refuses to be hurried! And so he takes around 29 years to complete his orbit around the Sun. This means that we experience our Saturn Return every 29 years – roughly around the ages of 29, 58 and 87.
His day of the week is Saturday and so his advice centre is open for the first hour after dawn on that day.
Alchemical stage: Coagulation.
So that was a brief introduction to the seven gods and goddesses who are available for consultation at dawn on their name days.
Now to conclude this teaching, I’d like to add a word or two about the Earth.
After all, not only is it a planet too but it is the fourth one from the Sun and the only astronomical orb that is known to harbour life… so far anyway. So what about its planetary governance? In my experience, the Fae – otherwise known as the faeries – are the rulers here on this Middle World planet. They are the spirits of the lands and seas of the entire Earth.
There are almost as many different names for faery folk as there are countries. For instance, they are the fada in Portugal, the fee in Germany, the tylwyth teg in Wales, the vila in Bosnia, the nepi in Kazakhstan, the devas in India, the peri in Turkey, the zanash in Albania, the nang tiem in Vietnam, the diwata in the Philippines, the feetjie in Afrikaans, the patupaiarehe to the Maori and the juniya to the Arabs, to mention a mere few.
So it is surprising to me that so many peoples, all over the world, have a name for a species of beings that so few will admit exists!
Stories in the Stars is available on Amazon and all good online bookstores worldwide – or learn more about the book from the video below.