The Middle Realm – The Celestial Realm

Historical Occult Cosmology

The Celestial realm is the realm of the visible heavenly bodies: Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. With the exception of the Moon and Sun, which can’t help but be in the wrong places in an earth-centric model, the planets are correctly ordered in comparison to their actual, helio-centric placement, with Mercury being the innermost planet and Saturn being the outer. (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are never visible to the naked eye and were unknown in Fludd’s day.)

Nature of The Realm

Celestial objects are considered material yet imperishable: they do have a physical existence (which is why we can see them), but they neither decay nor otherwise transform. Their movements are absolutely predictable through astronomy, never deviating from the paths upon which they were placed.

The Sun's Placement in A Earth-Centric Model

The Sun has particular significance in Fludd’s cosmology. Occultists commonly associated God with the Sun, as it provides both life-giving heat as well as illumination, which drives back darkness, a common symbol of evil. (The association of heat, lightness, God and goodness is a concept that crosses religious and culture lines and is found throughout the world.) The logical position for the Sun therefore would be in the outermost layer, closest to God and most spiritual of the celestial bodies. However, the accepted physical placement of the Sun was between Venus and Mars (since our solar year is longer than the Venusian cycle yet shorter than the Martian one), residing in the middle layer of the celestial realm.

Fludd explained the Sun’s illogical placement by stressing its intermediary nature, which was emphasized by its central position.

It was understood that spiritual and material things could not directly connect, which was the reason for this complex hierarchy of layers. The Sun was God’s representative of sorts, burning with both a spiritual and physical light so that life might flourish on earth. To suit this purpose, it had to sit at the halfway point between the two opposites of physicality and spirituality.

The Moon

In some models, the element of Spirit acts as a bridge between Physical and Celestial realms. In others, this level is absent, and the transitory function is largely associated with the moon.

The moon was seen as the most "earthy" of the Celestial bodies. It has the shortest cycle, correctly implying that it is the body physically closest to us. It also has the most obvious influence on physical reality through the ebb and flow of the tides.

The Stars – The Firmament

The edge of the Celestial realm is marked by the stars, all of which were understood to reside on the same level and moved as one, as they appear to do from a vantage point on earth. This layer is known as the firmament or the Caelum Stellatum. This acts as a bridge between the Celestial and Angelic realms.

Other Names

The Celestial realm is sometimes referred to by a variety of other names such as the Ethereal, Mathematical or Rational realm. Mathematics and rationality are seen as more advanced states than mere physical existence.