If some point in the sky above is taken for reference - the eastern horizon, for example, since this is the most important aspect of any horoscope and is termed the ‘ascendant’ by astrologers - in twenty-four hours this reference point will see the passing of all the degrees of the zodiac, while the Moon makes its circuit of the sky in slightly less than twenty-eight days - 27.32, to be precise - and the Sun a whole year. In its monthly course, the Moon would seem to copy the day: it grows larger, reaches its fullness, shrinks and passes into a phase of darkness. The seasons of the year seem, too, to repeat upon a larger scale the divisions of the day: Spring is morning; Summer, noon; Autumn, sunset; and Winter, darkness. As far back as the third millennium вс Sumerian literary sources show how comparisons were made between a day, a lunar month and a year.
The same concept as Ezekiel’s is to be found not only among the Babylonians, but in the Vedas and in Chinese tradition as well. To an astrologer, these are not vague comparisons or poetic similes, but astronomical interactions which must be taken into account when casting a horoscope and upon which datable forecasts are chiefly based. The configurations produced in respect of the position of the stars on the twentieth day after birth, together with those in the twentieth lunar month, correspond with events occurring in the twentieth year of the subject’s life, and so on. These comparisons are the very basis of what are termed ‘astrological directions’ which are classified, in order of importance, primary, secondary and tertiary. The ‘primary directions’ are favoured by French astrologers, the ‘secondary’ (1 day = 1 year) have been employed by astrologers in the English-speaking world since the seventeenth century, while the ‘tertiary’ (1 lunar month = 1 year), although first studied by the American Benjamine and the Frenchman Maurice Froger, have been particular favourites of the Germans for the last twenty years.
Jewish thinkers have represented the creation as being carried out over six days: the significance of the seventh day being that it represented eternal life. The six days’ creation set out in Genesis has been a favourite topic for countless Jewish and Christian commentators.
In the Ascension of Isaiah, freed from the bondage of the flesh, the soul undertakes a journey which corresponds to the six days of the creation of the world, the seventh day symbolizing the rest which God took. The soul had thus to pass through seven Fleavens. It experienced the creation of the self through the different creations of God and the succession of days. Each day symbolized a stage of spiritual ascension.
Other rabbinical commentators interpret the seventh day not as the day upon which God rested after his work of creation - since God cannot feel weariness - but as the moment when God of his own volition ceased to intervene in the world, the moment when he handed government of and responsibility for the universe to mankind. This was so that by undertaking the task he might bring it to completion, humanize it and make it worthy to receive in due course its Creator, who would then dwell with his creation. Correspondingly by being given this task of joint creation, mankind becomes worthy to live with its God. Thus the seventh day represents the time for specifically human activity, when mankind is left to its own devices, the time for creation and cultivation as opposed to the natural world, created in six days and given to mankind as a field for its own activity. By contrast, the eighth day will be one of renewal, when Creator and creature will be made one again in a universe of perfect harmony.