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Astrology as a Tool of Human Understanding

Astrology as a Tool of Human Understanding

The New Astrological Paradigm

From the earliest recorded histories of humanity, astrology has been fundamental to the spiritual realities which have run through the world's mythologies, religions, and healing traditions. One only needs look at the surviving Sumerian texts to read the context of their astrology in their poetry.

The Sumerians lived and breathed their astrology. It was not predictive, but as part of their religious ideologies, a means of 'connecting' with the here and now; a daily guide and practice for living an intelligent, connected, self-determining life. They modeled the whole of their society on the cosmic dance of the Sun, Moon, planets and stars in the heavens. They saw the order of the heavens as being something to ascribe to - that is, their societal structure mirrored that above, and in this structure they were seeking to bring down the order that they saw into the unpredictable times in which they lived.

In light of this, astrology may be seen as the key factor in the development of modern civilisation.

With the conquest of the Sumerians by the more progressive natured Babylonians, the Sumerian's 'connected' astrology gave way to event oriented, that is, predictive astrology. It was during these years of conquests and kings that astrology was melded with the Babylonian preoccupation with divination and the astrologer became more concerned with predicting the fate of kings and nations.

It is here that I will quote Lorenzo Smerillo whose erudite argument stands testament to this idea of astrology's roots in a recent debate on the history of astrology on the Astrological Conference on Technique supports this theory:-

"Specifically to astrological commentaries, I think one could reasonably
defend the view that the Babylonians built upon a system of astral
observation inherited from the Sumerians, and that in the Vth to VIth
centuries BCE they developed what we now call astrology (prediction of
the future life of an individual from the time and place of birth as
expressed in astronomically noted coordinates using the placement of
planets and lights).

Contrary to Hand this is a Babylonian development, not a Greek one.

After that we have a few additions to the system by the
Greeks, notably by Ptolemaeus, and after him commentaries upon
commentaries, until the system fell apart in the great information
revolution of the 16th century. Put that way it's not very glorious, and
perhaps it wasn't in fact.

Turning back to the question of scribal/commentary developments of texts
in the Sumerian and Akkadian materials, a discernment of layers of
textual development is essential (as it is the same mental process
inherent in the development of Platonism to Aristotle and the
Neo-Platonists up to Pico della Mirandola, or the whole of Indian
philosophies and the Chinese tradition, and the Meso-American tradition,
and the Judeo-christian tradition and such processes of development can
be modelled and expressed algorithmically).

What we find is a basic astral identification (some stars are named,
some constellations, the lights and planets). The form is not
recognisible as 'astrological', and it needs to be further noted that
this sort of text is a minor part of the whole religious system of these
peoples, to use a term they would not have understood.

After this beginning we have a massive development of astronomical
observation and then, and only then in the Vth century BCE, the
development of astrology. It should be immediately clear that this is a
crucial period for all of the above named cultures.

The thesis of Farmer and Henderson is that writing materials made this
possible and that the time was important too in world history as a whole.
That might ring some familiar bells in astrologically inclined heads.
Further the neurological basis of this is attested by F and H.
This should lead us to reflect more on the necessity of understanding
history as a process, and the place of astrological thought and commentary in that.

So yes, historical insight is an a priori. And no, and yes, there is
something else behind that historical moment in process, and that is not
a ateleological rehash of Plotinus' One, although that may perhaps in an
idealistically posited possible world be close to the mark.
Allow me to point out to the reader, that Robert Hand did not summarily discount the earlier heritage of our modern Western astrology at all, as can be evinced in his History of Astrology, an article he wrote for Project Hindsight.

The idea of a 'Greek heritage' stems from our own progressive natures and desire to 'know' the future -- predictive astrology as practised today can certainly be traced to the Hellenistic forms -- but in essence - it goes beyond that.

This brings us back to the point of this article, - what can astrology really offer us in practical terms of living today?

The study and practice of astrology, through its rich allegorical and archetypal symbolism, provides us with a symbolic framework facilitating an awareness that we are all indeed part of some inexplicable, enigmatic wholeness. This awareness can awaken and animate our reverence for the sacred, and bring a sense of enchantment and wonder at our place in the Universe to our lives.

This sense of wonder and enchantment that our ancestors held dear is something that is severely lacking for most of us in our world of the twin gods of consumerism and commercialism at the dawn of the new millennium. In spite of this disenchantment, or perhaps because of it, there would appear to be a Spiritual awakening occurring throughout the populace today.

Dissatisfaction with present life conditions abounds, but the conundrum of big business vs. true living seems to be coming to a head. Some consider that we are entering a modern day renaissance - and this can be evidenced in the number of interdisciplinary movements currently occurring throughout all professions.

As an unparalleled tool of self-awareness, astrology, when used with true open mindedness, can help us make our time--our experience, our very lives, -- deeply transformative. The expanded view with which astrology empowers us can open doors to a greater appreciation of our own motivations as well as a greater compassion for the motivations of others. It can also provide the psyche with a conceptual framework for realizing its fullest potential while at the same time, it can endow the soul with a fundamental understanding of its own evolution or unfoldment.

Today, astrology as a science is itself caught up in efforts to redefine its principles within a new model.

Humanistic and psychological astrology do not make predictions per se. This is clearly not their purpose. What these astrological disciplines do is chart the correlations of planetary cycles in terms of their observed correspondence to the life and development of an individual thereby providing a symbolic framework to define the avenues of growth and development of that personality.

Predictive techniques abound in Western astrological tradition and the refined Medieval techniques probably surpass most in terms of event oriented accuracy, however, clear distinction must be made between predictive techniques and the humanistic techniques which are more a philosophy for living an integrated, purposeful existence.

Humanistic, or psychologically oriented astrology as previously stated are not predictive tools, but then, predictive techniques hold no true psychological context, purely event oriented astrology with no framework to define the psyche. But still, the two are loosely intertwined. How is this so?
Personal growth of an individual is not an isolated phenomenon, but is related to and affected by contemporary trends in human affairs.

An individual horoscope can only be relevant if read in context of the social and political/economic group of which we are part. So, mundane astrology is the tool of interpreting issues of the outer, larger world and natal astrology the framework to describe an individual's inner, personal dynamics.

The need of Man, according to both psychologists and occultists, is that we should integrate all our experiences --preferably while on earth.

Adepts of various schools of occult thought claim to have achieved this and become 'whole'. By allowing through conscious effort in this life to become an integrated 'whole', and not allowing partial emotions, moods, or thoughts to masquerade as our 'Self', we really can say that we have achieved the purpose of our existence. Carl Gustov Jung refers to this as having secured individuality, but for the occultist that word has additional meaning.

As astrologers, we study the sky because like our ancestors, it gives us an experience of universal order. We do not seek to detach ourselves from the universe and its rhythms as the scientists have done in the past, but rather, we attempt to identify ourselves with these rhythms. Ancient astrologers explained the relationship of Man to the universe in terms of the law of correspondences - "as above, so below"; shades of the medieval alchemist - Paracelsus, Ficino. Astrologers explain the statement "man is made in the image of God" as meaning that the structural patterns of the manifested universe are expressions of an all-inclusive harmonic order operating within galaxies, solar systems, men and atoms alike. Thus for the astrologer, both the celestial bodies in our solar system and human nature follow the same law and rhythm of development. Therefore, in order to live a spiritually significant life, we, as human beings, should try to live in harmony with the laws which govern our Universe and the planets within our own small solar system.

* Ever since Einstein proposed that "everything is related to everything else in a space-time continuum," the reality of time values has taken on an increasing importance in man's explanations of reality. This means that, for the physical sciences, the reality of time has become a fourth dimension added to the three dimensions of space in terms of which one seeks to explain the universe.

* They [scientists] do not seem to realize the extent to which their mental conditioning limits their methods of investigation; the answers they find - and have found - may be "true" in terms of and within the limits of the point of view they adopt, but they are certainly not "true" explanations of total reality because the scientific method is built upon the systematic exclusion of all that the method cannot cope with.

[* Excerpts from Dane Rudyhar and Leyla Rael's Astrological Aspects -Aurora Publications - 1980]

It is truly difficult to appreciate just how far astrology has come over the last 70 years.

Astrology has never reached such sophistication as it stands today, - many techniques, systems and indeed philosophies of astrological thought have evolved. And each holds it's own relevance.

It was with the advent of humanistic psychology in the 1960's that astrologers began to think seriously about the chart in terms of personal growth and transformation. Carl Jung (1962) once said "astrology represents the summation of the psychological knowledge of antiquity". - The fact remains, that whilst there was a correlation with certain personality traits and general characteristics, there was very little psychological context in astrology prior to the 1960's that bore much relationship to what we could consider "psychological" today, yet the laws of correspondences and Hermetic thought that form the foundations of astrology, contain much.


Carl Jung, Dane Rudhyar, Charles Jayne, C.E.O Carter, Marc Edmund Jones and Alan Leo are names synonymous with what we regard as the foundations of the techniques of practice of Western astrology today.

To discuss Jung in the context of astrology requires some familiarity with his viewpoints and perceptions of psychology. The following background into his ideas might help demonstrate the significant factors.


As we know, astrology has an objective foundation and is understood through the system of Plotinus and Hermetic thought.

But the true meaning of astrology can only be found deep within the subjective psyche of human beings.

The psychology of Carl Jung provides us with an idea of how the structure of this meaning might take form. Jung's contribution to psychology has been no less than profound. There is an enormous amount of literature expounding upon Jung's perception and findings concerning the human mind.


At the very apex of the psyche rests the ego, which is at the center of consciousness. Jung thought of consciousness as an island, and surrounding this island is a very large ocean that represents the unconscious. Stretching away from this island toward the deep is a shadow-land Jung calls the personal unconscious. It belongs to the individual and holds countless forgotten experiences; it is formed from impulses and wishes and subliminal perceptions. Memories can be recalled from this area either through dreams and fantasies, or chance associations, or on occasion, through direct recall.

Jung found that ideas tend to constellate around a 'center', or become associated round a basic nucleus. The constellating power of the nuclear element corresponds to its value intensity or energy. Jung called these "complexes" which often become the object of treatment during a period of mental illness, and are usually discovered through associations--such as the word association test for example.

A complex may be conscious, partly conscious, or even unconscious. A complex can belong to the personal unconscious, or to the collective unconscious--that realm of the psyche that belongs to all humankind.

The analogy often used to describe the idea of the collective unconscious/personal unconscious as already mentioned, is that of the island in the vast ocean. The collective unconscious is the vast depths of the unfathomed ocean. It is the foundation from which our consciousness emerges. It cannot be defined because we have no knowledge of its boundaries or its true nature. All people share the same basic mental 'contents', and this is why Jung terms it the "collective" unconscious. As the physical qualities of humans evolved from lower to higher forms of being, so also did the brain, especially that which we call the psyche. This evolution can be evidenced in the different 'parts' of the structure of the human brain from the reptilian stem, lymbic system etc. to the cerebral cortex, and their correlated functions. .

The development of the primitive psyche is something that we are all a part of, and within this dimension are held all the common objects that the evolving human mind shares from the dim and distant past.


The Archetypes are the primordial mental images inherited by all individuals. Some believe these images to be contained in genetic or racial memory and exhibit common recurrent 'symbols'. A pattern or model - words in themselves suggestive of the world of fractals - but that constitutes another tale.

The contents of the collective unconscious are sometimes called primordial images, but they are more generally known as Archetypes. Jung believed these images formed during the thousands of years that human consciousness was emerging from, or evolving out of, the animal state.

The Archetypes have an enormous impact on the individual; they influence his relationships, form his mental and emotional outlook, and affect his 'destiny' in ways seldom if ever known. The existence of the Archetypes is inferred from Jung's study of his patients' dreams - in which he referred to them as motifs. He discovered in therapy that the content of dreams is expressed as symbols from the unconscious. The coming to consciousness of the symbol or motif is representative of the unconscious Archetype. The Archetypes are evinced in many forms, not only from clinical material, but all the other cultural activities by which man expresses himself.

"The most direct expression of the collective unconscious is to be found when the archetypes, as primordial images, appear in dreams, unusual states of mind, or psychotic fantasies. These images seem then to possess a power and energy of their own--they move and speak, they perceive and have purposes--they fascinate us and drive us to action which is entirely against our conscious intention. They inspire both creation and destruction, a work of art or an outburst of mob frenzy, for they are 'the hidden treasure upon which mankind ever and anon has drawn, and from which it has raised up its gods and demons, and all those potent and mighty thoughts without which man ceases to be man'. The unconscious therefore, in Jung's view, is not merely a cellar where man dumps his rubbish, but the source of consciousness and of the creative and destructive spirit of mankind."

The Archetypes appear to have their own initiative and specific energy. They can interfere with conscious processes with their own impulses and thought formations, and seem to come and go. Like complexes, they can obstruct or modify our own conscious intentions. Contact with the Archetypes creates the myths, religions, and philosophies that influence and characterize whole nations and epochs of history. The universal hero myth always refers to a powerful man or god-man who vanquishes evil in the form of dragons or monsters, and liberates his people from destruction and death.

The Archetypes are unique in that they can increase in frequency or vibration - gaining energy in the form of sudden "illumination" in the individual psyche. Jung uses the term "libido" for psychic energy, and when an Archetype is energised, it takes on "numinosity." Numinosity by definition is the awe inspiring presence of divinity -- that is, an expression of great psychic intensity. Jung uses the term to describe the aura of great light and warmth that is attached to the archetypes when they become manifest in a strong human experience. When a numinous psychic event takes place, a large concentration of psychic energy centers around it. As energy constellates around the archetypal symbol a 'complex' of psychic contents takes form.

For Jung: "psychic processes seem to be balances of energy flowing between spirit and instinct, though the question of whether a process is to be described as spiritual or as instinctual remains shrouded in darkness." Jung tends to think of the Archetype as opposed to the instinct, and uses the example of a man ruled by his instincts with a man seized by the spirit. We can usually see the distinction between the two without too much difficulty. The archetype represents the "authentic" element of spirit, and when the archetypes have a distinct numinous character they "can only be described as 'spiritual', if 'magical' is too strong a word." Thus numinosity takes on a mystical aura about it.


One of greatest discoveries in recent times is the theory of synchronicity proposed by Dr Carl Jung and physicist, Dr Wolfgang Pauli. Their theory attempts to explain coincidences, predictions, and altered states of consciousness, arguing that all entities in the Universe are interrelated and interdependent - supporting the concept of hierarchies at all levels of consciousness of Hermetic philosophy.

Synchronicity also appears to support the Collective Unconcious and Species Field theories.

The term synchronicity might be more simply defined as 'meaningful coincidence'. -We have all had experiences that seemed unique and unusual, and we just chalk it up to chance. There doesn't seem to be any connection between events that come together to produce an unexpected outcome--we just call it a coincidence. In some cases that is all it is: coincidence. But in other cases there is something more going on, the coincidence is 'meaningful' or even profound. A single synchronistic event can change a person's life forever. We are all aware of how cause and effect seems to determine just about everything in our lives. Science is the study of cause and effect, and has given us laws of nature that give us confidence and security and understanding of the world around us. Causal laws are a fact, and give us a basis to explain why things are the way they are. But Jung attempted to understand how certain events can be connected without a causal explanation. That is why he called synchronicity an acausal connecting principle.

Synchronicity seems bound up with the archetypes, and when the archetypes take on a "specific charge" they are raised to a supernormal degree of luminosity. That is, they become numinous. When this happens there is a withdrawing of so much energy from other possible contents of consciousness that they become darkened and eventually unconscious. The source of this power to affect the archetypes seems to stem from highly charged emotions, or intense feelings, or sudden inspirational flashes. When these things occur concurrently, the stage then becomes set for synchronistic events to unfold.

It will be interesting to see what current research into the asteroid belt and the often synchronistic occurance of the name of asteroids contacting planets in the natal chart to the actual event and person(s) involved will reveal.

"All living things are controlled by 'electro-dynamic fields', which can be mapped and measured by standard voltometers. The Universe is an ordered system, the human organism an ordered component." So stated Professor S. Burr of Yale's School of Medicine in his work "Blue Print for Immortality". "The fields," he asserts, "are influenced by the vast forces of space and, like the simpler fields of physics, can produce an effect across a gap or space without any visible intervening means".

Jung found that the best instances of his theory of synchronicity were cases of ESP or extra sensory perception, parapsychology, numerology, and astrology. Jung believed he found direct evidence for the existence of acausal combinations of events through the experiments of J.B. Rhine. The experiment consists of an experimenter turning up a series of numbered cards bearing simple geometrical patterns. The subjects are asked to guess the signs as the cards are turned up. While the results varied, in many cases the results were distinctly above probability. The likelihood of success seemed to depend on how the subject approached the experiment. Eagerness and enthusiasm resulted in better results; lack of interest brought poor results. If the test subject was a strong believer in ESP, then the results were better than the results of those subjects that did not believe in ESP. As Jung says: "Lack of interest and boredom are negative factors; enthusiasm, positive expectation, hope, and belief in the possibility of ESP make for good results and seem to be the real conditions which determine whether there are going to be any results at all." For Jung, the results of these experiments affirmed that "Synchronicity means the simultaneous occurrence of a certain psychic state with one or more external events which appear as meaningful parallels to the momentary subjective state--and, in certain cases, vice versa."

Through Jung's research we now understand that the individual psyche is not just a product of personal experience, but has an evolutionary history emanating from a transpersonal dimension manifested in universal patterns and images such as are found in all the world's religions and mythologies.

As the mythologies form the stories of the Archetypes, an understanding of these mythologies can then be correlated to individual experience, and hence specifics may be placed into astrology's symbolic framework or frame of reference for objective resolution. Jung further discovered that the psyche has a structuring or ordering principle that unifies the various archetypal contents. The archetype of wholeness is the central archetype that Jung calls the Self.

The Self is the supreme psychic authority and subordinates all else to it including the ego. It is the central source of life and the fountain of our being. It is represented through those symbols that indicate wholeness or completeness such as mandalas, circles, and most importantly the sun, which has been described as the "Window opening into eternity," and the source of the divine within all living things.

The specific symbolism of the Sun's glyph, the circle with the "dot" in the centre where the circle represents wholeness or completeness and the centre "dot" the spark of the Divine and hence Self.


Plotinus' system, portrays stellar objects as holders of mind and the spiritual essence; we apprehend this reality as the Macrocosm. Inherent within the human body is the same structure that forms the essence of Soul, or the Microcosm. The ONE as object is an image or reflection of the other as subject, they merge and emerge one from the other. It follows that within the human soul, with the One at the center, there should be found a great light, or a miniature sun.

"All of creation and that which we experience is vibration"

The above statement serves to say that given that all is woven of the one thread; that there are higher {and lower} planes of consciousness; and that we, in our day to day lives, usually experience only one, and on occasion, the dream state; - and we accept that to experience other planes of consciousness, we need to attune our bodies and Minds in order to explore these realms; and that each of these realms has a corresponding part in the realm above and below it.

Understand this and you will understand the axiom of: "As above; So below" - The same "laws" apply within each succeeding sphere or plane, only at a higher or corresponding level.

The ancients believed that this was the "Music of the Spheres" - in octaves of seven measurable sets of harmonics, which corresponded to the seven known planets (including the luminaries) and that certain names or mnemonics held certain power.

Most occultists separate the mind of man into two vehicles, and most psychologists today would accept this differentiation and agree that man's mind has a twofold aspect or 'duality'. In addition to our physical perceptions and the thoughts that deal with all that relates to man's physical environment, there is a creative mind which is perhaps far more important in the defining of what man is. Most of the important physical functions such as the beating of the heart and cell renewal is done in the purely sub-conscious requiring no actual thought on our part, but is largely 'automatic'. This consciousness which is not obsessed by the physical environment is what Carl Gustov Jung called the collective unconsciousness. And the sending of telepathic messages and the storing of memories he placed under the heading of our superconscious selves.

The physical, etheric and astral all relate to a particular personality which is only a portion of a real 'self', but with abstract thought we touch that wider realm, - the spiritual realm, in which, as all the mystics of all the worlds' religions have taught us, our true self exists.

The power of abstract thought is on a higher frequency {ie. a higher state of consciousness} than concrete thought. The latter deals with observed fact and emotion emanating from physical causes. The former, abstract thinking, accepts values which apply in normal physical life but which we rightly attribute to as 'coming from above'; that is from the Oversoul.

The abstract, by visualisation, can create in the physical world and by the power of imagination can create in fact.

In our Western world we can readily observe this phenomenon in the analogy of the creation of a major building work.

The architect first visualises the layout and structure in his imagination and 'sees' how his work should look, then proceeds to document these ideas on paper until finally they descend to the physical and are erected in stone steel and concrete.

In the East this extends even further into the realm of "magik" in that Tibetan mystics seem to be able to, through meditation and visualisation actually create visible 'things' in the physical, known as thought forms.

Hermetic Connections

In Hermetic 'magikal' or more properly, alchemical practice, this is akin to the form of "intent" - that is, wishing something hard enough that it does become true. [See Michael Baigent's book The Elixir and the Stone - Penguin Publishers 1998 for more on the hermetic connections of our civilisation]. The power of the human mind is truly formidable in this context. Primitive peoples around the globe utilise this form of sympathetic 'magick' in their religious and healing ceremonies. Today, in our Western societies, there is a resurgence of "alternative" health practices - energy techniques, and Spiritualism. The mind-body connection with 'dis-ease' has been scientifically established, our very DNA is changing - man's consciousness is taking the next step in it's evolution.

I believe that Jung's Archetypes that we spoke of earlier as arising from the depths of man's evolutionary pattern to be thought forms embedded or woven into the unconscious of mankind - the collective unconscious or the realm of the Akashic Records - that tapestry of all encompassing knowledge. These potent thought forms have been energised both consciously and unconsciously throughout millennia, as such, they have been given a 'conscious' existence of their own and hence at times act with a volition of their own, exhibiting what Jung described as "libido" and "numinosity".

For Jung, the historical records of medieval alchemy were a wonderful source for symbolic ideas and concepts. The most important may be the idea of the scintillae--the sparks from the Spirit of God. Jung compares the sparks to one of the archetypes, which is described as the Monad and the Sun; they both indicate the Deity. Psychologically, the Monad or Sun is regarded as a symbol of the Self. As the archetype of the Self takes on numinosity it also takes on luminosity. The medieval alchemist Paracelsus had an idea of this when he said: "And as little as aught can exist in man without the divine numen, so little can aught exist in man without the natural lumen. A man is made perfect by numen and lumen and these two alone. Everything springs from these two, and these two are in man, but without them man is nothing, though they can be without man."

We should at this point explore a little of the philosophy of the Esoteric and Hermetic views of the vehicles of man's mind so the following diagram may be of help………..

According to tradition, the Spiritual vehicle is the highest that man uses at this stage of our evolutionary development, and it completes his personality. It is the farthest from the physico-etheric's low vibrations, and at speeds which are beyond our possible comprehension in the physical realm.

A great number of names are used in different religions and mystical sciences to express this plane and its vehicles - 'The Casual Body'; 'The Inspirational Vehicle'; 'The Ego'; what St Paul meant by the 'Soul', are all attempts to express its wonder.

It expresses the three forces of will, of divine love {which Christians call charity}, and of inspiration. Spiritual must not be confused with that 'pure' spirit which is the spark of the Divine within us, but this separation is difficult to grasp - it is the infinite and the finite of the same.

We are told, through various writings that the vehicle is of circular shape, and pulses inward, yet at the same time radiates outward into the outer that surrounds it. The colours go inward like the petals of an incurved chrysanthemum, and there is an ever expanding outer ring of brilliance. It is at this level that one finds the Oversoul, the expression of Man, which is the storehouse of all the various personality lives have gathered from each life.

From this plane it is thought that the Oversoul can control all the materials and all the psychological powers and potentialities of the lower planes - the physico-etheric; Astral; Mental and from this plane impressions or perhaps more correctly instructions can be conveyed to Man.

For most men the Spiritual body will not be immensely active, but we are told that at no time can evil enter this sphere; only the good of the man can find tenure in this place {if place it is}. We are told that it is the absence of colours {that is spiritual possibilities} that have not yet been awakened that typify the generality of men of our age, but there are some who have achieved, whom we may call adepts.

It is probable that the ability to 'receive' these impressions from a higher collective power gave rise to the ideas of the Greek Oracle of Delphi; of the Hebrew Prophet; of the local soothsayer, all of whom, on occasion, have been gifted with prophetic illumination 'from above'.

There are, many documented cases of the personality being immersed in a consciousness that is beyond expression in earthly words.

In the East this is called 'Buddhic' power and they believe that certain adepts can tap into this 'divine' inspirational realm at will.

Suffice it to say at this stage that it exists.

No exercise or practicum for the Spiritual vehicle is given as those who 'know' have been silent and no documentation other than its mention can be found by the writer. This is not to say that there isn't any, just that the writer can find no one to illumine him.

It may however, be suggested that the student of occult lore prepare for such heights by constant practice and through music, poetry and literature - the arts in general, to look for a finer appreciation.

As the Buddhic is the plane approaching Unity, this is exactly what we must try to achieve - so - stretch your Mind.

Astrology is after all open ended and questing knowledge.

Jung recognised the light as the lumen naturae which illuminates consciousness, and the scintillae are germinal luminosities shining forth from the darkness of the unconscious. Of this natural light Paracelsus went on to say that: "The sun is invisible in men, but visible in the world, yet both are of one and the same sun." The alchemist Dorn went even further to identify the source of this inner light, as he said:

"For the life, the light of men, shineth in us, albeit dimly, and as though in darkness. It is not to be extracted from us, yet it is in us and not of us. But of Him to Whom it belongs, Who deigns to make us his dwelling place. . . . He has implanted that light in us that we may see in its light the light of Him Who dwells in inaccessible light, and that we may excel His other creatures; in this wise we are made like unto Him, that He has given us a spark of His light. Thus the truth is to be sought not in ourselves, but in the image of God which is within us."

Light is eternal and omnipresent, and while it diminishes in inverse proportion to the square of the distance, it sooner or later fills the entire universe. Light is the vehicle of divinity; it is the consciousness of God. We stand at the center of our own creation because at the center is the sun or the light of the ONE. We exist as a preordained Idea manifest within the Self. As an image of the One, so is the One an image of us; the mind of man is made manifest through his physical body as the ONE manifests through the body of the sun. Life is a solar idea.

In Paracelsus' view the lumen naturae comes primarily from the "astrum" or "sydus," the "star" in man. As Paracelsus states: "Indeed, man himself is an "Astrum": not by himself alone, but for ever and ever with all apostles and saints; each and every one is an astrum, the heaven a star . . . therefore saith also the Scripture: 'ye are lights of the world'. Now as in the star lieth the whole natural light, and from it man taketh the same like food from the earth into which he is born, so too must he be born into the star."

Psychological symbolism finds expression through the ideas of Paracelsus and what has become known as Hermetic Philosophy, and Jung speaks of Paracelsus with due respect: "He beholds the darksome psyche as a star-strewn night sky, whose planets and fixed constellations represent the archetypes in all their luminosity and numinosity. The starry vault of heaven is in truth the open book of cosmic projection, in which are reflected the mythologems, i.e., the archetypes. In this vision astrology and alchemy, the two classical functionaries of the psychology of the collective unconscious, join hands."

It is not surprising to find that Jung speaks of Paracelsus with such respect, as Phillipus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim {1493-1541}, -better known as Paracelsus, was a courageous man, who history reveals as a brilliant Swiss meta-physician, alchemist and philosopher of the 16th century.

In a time of supreme persecution of occult practices as heretical notions by the Church of Rome on the Continent, he dared to meld and unite the Platonic theories on the mysticism of Nature with Christian dogma in a manner which argued a hierarchical ladder of creation ascending from base matter to God.

He also defended the need to pull down the barriers between ritual practised in and out of the Church.

Paracelsus considered that all should be considered manifestations of the same God. "Holy Scriptures," he argued, "call sorcerers - without distinction - all those who were versed in supernatural things and were not at the same time holy. But this matter must be given some consideration ... we must not regard as sorcerers all those who are so called in the Holy Scriptures ... magic is an art which reveals its highest power and strength through faith ... for there are holy men in God who serve the beatific life; they are called Saints. But there are also holy men in God who serve the forces of Nature and they are called Magi. God shows his miracles through his holy men, both those of the beatific life and through those of Nature: what others are incapable of doing they can do, because it has been conferred on them as a special gift."

He argued that everything was part of the Divine Matrix and that all ultimately desends from what he described as: " the Mysterium Magnum which is the one mother of all things and of the elements and a grandmother of all stars, trees, and creatures of the flesh ... earth is the 'mother' of man who shares 'mother earth' with the plants, minerals, and certain spiritual emanations."

At a more humble level than that of Paracelsus, few 'pagan' practitioners of the arts of Nature were in a position to commit their views to the record, and much of the comment and terminology contained within the Corpus Hermeticum {the collective of surviving Hermetic texts of which the most famous is known as The Emerald Tablet} was therefore supplied from a Christian viewpoint.
It must be remembered that this was in a time blighted {in stark contrast to our modern living standards}, humanity wanted cures for its ailments and its sick animals, fortunes prophesied, charms to help recover lost possessions, potions to bring love.

To this end, the simple folk beseeched the local 'wise man/woman' or 'wizard/witch'.

Nothing has changed……………………….

NOTE: The Hermetic Books are a collection of metaphysical treatises and dialogues dating from around the middle of the 1st century BC to the 4th century AD, purporting to be revelations of Thoth, the Egyptian god of wisdom. Much of the collection, written in Greek and Latin, concerns alchemy, astrology, and magic, representing beliefs and ideas prevalent in the early Roman Empire. The 17 tracts of the Corpus Hermeticum deal with theological and philosophical questions; their central theme is the regeneration and deification of humankind through knowledge of the one transcendent God. Although the setting of the collection is Egyptian, its philosophical orientation is Greek (Platonic).

So where exactly does astrology fit into this picture?

During the 1930's, Dane Rudhyar began to reformulate modern astrology in terms of Jung's analytical psychology. He especially focused on Jung's idea that the psyche was a dynamic compound of opposing forces in equilibrium, and that the psyche was intrinsically motivated to evolve in the direction of psychic wholeness, a process Jung called individuation. Jung believed that the process of personality transformation was innate, or teleologically motivated. Personality was not merely the product of external forces, but strove purposefully towards a final goal of self-realization. As the individual learned from self-created experience, the archetypal structuring of the psyche became increasingly differentiated, integrated, and whole.

Rudhyar (1936) recognized that these ideas were readily adaptable to astrology. The chart, too, was a dynamic compound of opposing forces (sign polarities) in equilibrium. And the various parts of astrology with their myriad aspects, interrelations and correlations were symbolic of archetypal forces struggling to transform themselves into an integrated whole. Rudhyar realized that the process of individuation was implied in every horoscope.

Rudhyar's project for reformulation (reformation?) of astrology received new impetus from the humanistic movement in psychology. Humanistic psychology, as embodied in the writings of Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Rollo May, Hillman, Moore and others, had arisen in response to the bleak pessimism inherent in the Freudian psychoanalytic view and the "robots and talking rubbish bins" conception of human potential implied in behaviorism. Rudhyar's reformulation project culminated in his work The Astrology of Transformation (1980) and is continued by others.

Both psychoanalysis and behaviorism were deterministic in that they conceived of personality as the effect of causes external to the person himself—i.e., genetics, parents, environmental conditions, and so on. Humanistic psychologists countered this trend by developing models accounting for the apparent purposiveness and growth-seeking behavior of human beings.

It should be noted by the reader that Freud toward the end of his career wrote in a letter (1970) - "If I had my life to live over again I should devote myself to psychic research rather than psychoanalysis"……………………………….

Rather than portray the individual as caught in an interminable struggle between instinctual drives and the inhibiting influence of society (psychoanalysis), or fragment the person into a multitude of conditioned behaviors as seen from an external vantage point (behaviorism), humanists perceived the individual as a unified organism made up of autonomous drives and functions which could be differentiated from one another and integrated into a functional whole greater than the sum of its parts.

Humanistic psychologists challenged Freudian theory by postulating that instinctual drives were not dangerous forces erupting out of a primitive id, but were in fact healthy impulses that should be valued and trusted. The individual was perceived as a creative, self-actualizing, and self-determining organism capable of making responsible decisions and growing progressively toward an ideal state. Unlike behaviorists who ignored the internal world of consciousness, humanists emphasized the primacy of the subjective element. Behaviorists contended that behavior was solely conditioned by external causes, and humanists focused on the relevance of intentionality as an internal cause of behavior. While behaviorists were concerned with how behavior could be manipulated and controlled, humanists emphasized the capacity for personal freedom and choice. In sum, it was not the outer environment that was of central importance to the humanistic psychologist, but the person's inner world of perceptions, values, thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, expectations, needs, feelings, and sensations.

Rudhyar then, was the first to recognize how astrology and humanistic psychology complemented one another. The chart, in effect, could be utilized as a tool for mapping the complex inner world that humanists were starting to explore. Just as humanistic psychology was a response to the determinism inherent in psychoanalysis and behaviorism, humanistic astrology was a response to the determinism inherent in traditional, event-oriented astrology. Borrowing from Carl Roger's Client-Centered Therapy, Rudhyar in 1972, developed Person-Centered Astrology. Rudhyar was less concerned with whether astrology works than on how it could be utilized to assist the process of self-actualization.

The real question is, given that astrology works what is its proper use?

The astrological theory is that the planetary picture or pattern found in our birth-charts, related to the particular moment and place of our birth, will enable us to obtain a perspective on the particular manner in which we should use these human functions in order to grow in an individually meaningful and significant way. The rhythm and the time-table of this potential individual development will be keyed to the rhythm of the planetary cycles from the birth-moment onwards.
In the words of Plotinus, the third century Roman Neoplatonic philosopher:

"Many times it has happened; lifted out of the body into my Self; becoming external to all other things and Self centred; beholding a marvellous beauty; then, more than ever, assured of a community with the loftiest order; enacting the noblest life; acquiring identity with the divine - stationing within it by having attained that activity poised above whatsoever in the intellectual is less than the Supreme".

The oldest wisdom in the world tells us that we can consciously unite with the Divine whilst in this earthly body, for this is man truly born. If he 'misses' his destiny, nature is in no hurry; she will catch up with him some day and compel him to fulfil her secret purpose.

In 1969 Rudhyar founded the International Committee for Humanistic Astrology and declared that astrology was, or should be, primarily a technique for understanding human nature. He decried the implicit determinism of predictive astrology and focused instead on astrology's potential as a symbolic language. Instead of seeing planets as transmitters of physical influence, Rudhyar saw them as symbolic of human functions. As a psychological language and diagnostic tool, astrology could thus serve as a guide to the integration and transformation process - the growth of personality - the very process of individuation. Rudhyar's approach was "person-centered" in the sense that every birthchart was regarded as unique; a horoscope represented the individual's total potential in which no planet was "good" or "bad" but rather, each element was part of an organic whole. Events were not interpreted as isolated occurrences with fortunate or unfortunate effects, but as purposeful, phase-specific manifestations of developmental cycles of growth. An event then, derives its meaning from the stage it represents in a given planetary cycle, and contributes to an ongoing process of growth that leads inexorably toward self-realization of the highest potentials reaveled in the natal chart.

Alexander Ruperti, a student and colleague of Rudhyar's expounded this concept of cyclic development of the personality in his wonderful work Cycles of Becoming.

In the 1970's, the humanistic banner was taken up by such astrologers as Ziporah Dobyns, Richard Idemon, Stephen Arroyo, Robert Hand, Liz Greene and others. Humanistic astrologers assert that there is no absolute separation between human and divine, rather people and planets are woven into the same seamless web of being. Every individual is a focus and channel for the numinous energies that permeate the entire Cosmos. Consciousness, not matter, is the primary reality of the Universe. As the human psyche is both reflective of and embedded within the Universal Psyche, it partakes of the creative power of this parent Consciousness. The psyche is bound and animated by the laws and formative principles of the One Being of which all lesser beings are parts. While the universal laws of Absolute Being cannot be violated, the individual is free and self-determining within the boundaries of these laws.

Rudhyar's view is that each person is born in response to a need of the Universe at a particular time and place. The birth chart, in effect, represents the solution to this need; i.e., it reveals the purpose of the life and the key to one's destiny. In other words, the horoscope then, is like the "seed-plan" so often referred to by Rudhyar, indicating an individual's potentially unique path of development. (See the article by Rudhyar The Seed Man). A seed packet shows us a picture of the plant that the enclosed seeds may eventually become, so the horoscope symbolizes the kind of adult that the individual may become. In this view, nothing occurs in a human life except for a purpose, and this purpose is the purpose of the whole acting through the individual. (Synchronicity in action) This whole is often referred to as the core Self, the indwelling divinity that is rooted in a living, purposive universe. The question then becomes not what is going to happen, but what is its meaning? Astrology, said Rudhyar, can be utilized as a type of karma yoga in which everything that happens is related to who the person is and what he or she may become. Thus the humanistic astrologer should not be concerned with events per se, but only with the response or meaning that the client gives to them. "It is not the predictable events which ar

It is our duty and role as human beings and astrologers to guide others toward this understanding.

Clearly, when used in this context, the advantage of the birth-chart is that it depicts the individual as a whole and thus provides a means for understanding how internal conflicts can result in personality fragmentation and the exteriorization of conflict. Individuals split off and deny or suppress certain aspects of themselves when the needs that underlay the expression of these aspects meet with pain and frustration. Various functions get repressed and projected, and thus the individual is reduced to only part of what he or she potentially is. Unintegrated functions are typically experienced in the outer world in the guise of people and situations the individual attracts. What the individual experiences as a problematic situation or relationship can be seen in the chart as an aspect of his or her own psyche. In this way, the horoscope indicates what functions have been denied and projected, and through what circumstances (the houses) they will likely be encountered.

While the birthchart provides insight into an individual's internal conflicts, it is transits, directions and progressions that tell us when these conflicts will be targeted for the healing process of crises, assimilation and integration. These planetary movements indicate the nature, meaning, and duration of various developmental periods, each of which presents its own challenges and opportunities. While transits may correlate with outer events that seem to impinge upon the individual, astrology suggests that these events are the synchronous external manifestation of inner changes. In other words, environment and psyche are reflections and compliments of one another. The outer events serve as the trigger or stimulus to promote inner psychological growth. Seen in this way, transits reveal those parts of a person's nature which are ready to be consciously integrated, explored or transformed.

"Timing in life is everything" and this includes revelation of knowledge. For as Rudhyar repeatedly tells us, "knowledge is only useful if it can be utilised at that particular stage of developmental being relative to the cycle".

To re-engage a "split-off" part usually results in crisis since it means that the old order has to die in order for a new, more inclusive order to emerge. The humanistic astrologer, says Rudhyar "……welcomes crises as signs of growth. He attempts to help the client or patient to reorient himself toward the causes of the crisis, to reassesses his goals as well as his motives, to accept what is, but in a new and holistic manner……..which eventually should lead to harmony, inner peace, wisdom and compassion."

The true value of astrology, then, is not its power to predict what the gods have in store for humans, but its ability to reveal the god-like powers that reside in the depths of every human being.

Accordingly, the focus in humanistic astrology is inward, not outward, and interpretations are made in terms of personal growth and fulfillment. Simply put, the goal is to help an individual realize the potentials that are symbolized by the horoscope. For example, Saturn opposed Venus in the natal chart indicates not simply "misfortune in love," but the potential to love deeply, enduringly, and responsibly along with the patience and determination to overcome difficulties.
In other words, the opposition refers to a polarity and as such represents potential for balance by achieving the centre represented as the centre of the wheel of life or birth chart -- that centre resides in us……..

While realization of this potential may require a certain amount of hardship and suffering, to predict only hardship and suffering with no understanding of the potential gains involved is shortsighted at best and damaging at worst.

Ziporah Dobyns put it this way:-

"Telling people they are fated to experience specific negative events can be highly destructive. The view taken here is that character is destiny, and that by changing our character (our habitual attitudes, beliefs, and actions) we can change our destiny. With self-knowledge, we can integrate conflicts, overcome weaknesses, further develop talents, and move toward balance. As humanistic psychology puts it, we can achieve self-actualization and self-transcendence."

In many ways, humanistic astrology represents a genuine advancement. Both Jungian and humanistic psychologies have been criticised for their lack of precision in describing the inner nature of the human being.

References to archetypes, faculties, functions, impulses and the like tend to be vague and speculative, with no concrete referents for outlining in a systematic manner the structure of the psyche in a neat box. Humanistic psychology is more a set of attitudes toward the person than a precise and useful theory of personality and human growth. Astrology, on the other hand, provides objective predictable correlates for the structure and dynamics of the psyche while also indicating the directions that constructive growth might occur.

In other words a so-called "hard aspect" need not be so if a person can learn to redirect their attention and so learn to truly live with the energies implied. But here is the crux of individuation - this process can only occur when the individual is consciously aware of the potentials and able to undertake to do something about them and astrology of course can assist in pin-pointing this essential timing.

Humanistic and psychological astrology then, is the application of astrological concepts to provide both a concise theory of personality and a diagnostic tool which can be effectively utilised in clinical practise .

Astrology presents a complex, multidimensional theory of behavior that depicts the psyche as a hierarchical structure comprised of archetypal needs, cognitive structures, emergent thoughts and behaviors, and corresponding events. It also provides a powerful and flexible assessment device that allows the astrologer to discern clues to the formative experiences of childhood, gain insight into the meaning of current events, and target periods of future growth. Unlike traditional, event-oriented astrology, astrology used in this sense is not concerned with superficial trait descriptions or the prediction of future events. Rather, the astrology is used to foster empathy for an individual's internal world (their current level of reality) and thereby enhance the ability to effectively treat psychological problems, modify, ameliorate or remove existing symptoms, and promote positive personality growth and fulfillment through conscious awareness.

It cannot be stressed though that as astrologers, one should not overstep the bounds of one's discipline and experience -- should a client present with problems beyond the bounds of your own experience -- as a professional, recognise this fact and refer them to someone who is suitably qualified to help them.


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