For some time, I have drawn an intuitive distinction between Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn on the one hand and the Moon, Venus, and Mercury on the other. That fits in fairly neatly with our post-Copernican understanding of the movements of the planets around the sun and of the Earth as the dividing line between these upper and lower heavens. It’s nagged at me, though, whether this might be a strange interposition between traditional astrology that puts the Earth at the center, with all of the planetary heavens above.
Reading Star Gods of the Maya provided me with an answer as to why this contemporary division sits well with traditional understandings of the planets. Mildebrath makes an obvious statement about naked eye astronomy which affirms the division between Jupiter-Mars-Saturn (JMS) and Moon-Venus-Mercury (MVM). Because Venus and Mercury are between us and the Sun, they can sometimes be seen to come between us and the Sun. Similarly, the orbit of the Moon can eclipse the Sun. The JMS planets, though, cannot pass in front of the Sun.
That is a small thing, I know, but it says something about the potencies of MVM planets that they can mediate the relationship between the Sun and the Earth as well as the cosmic potencies that define the outer planets.