Astrology as participation in the cosmic dimension of existence
Spread of simple elements: sun sign, planets in the signs and reading of the transits in the key of popular psychology
That can include both newspaper astrology and summary interpretation based on the elements mentioned.
Integration of astrology with scientific thought through statistical comparison
We can define it as a “leaning” towards astrological scientism through the use of statistical parameters, that is, of countless repeated tests. The difference between humanistic and scientific astrology lies in the fact that the statistical datum has to do with sampling, with a quantitative image giving an average value as a result, without being interested in the integrated aspect of the human being. Secondly, in the scientific approach to astrology, the causal dimension is at the expense of the symbolic one. The concatenation of events, from celestial to terrestrial and then individual – the necessary basis of causality theory – is not compatible with the synchronic fact, which is essentially a celestial-terrestrial sharing. It is also true that we ascertain the cause-effect phenomenon by daily experience. Still, the causal concatenation between celestial and terrestrial phenomena would give rise to something from something entirely different (as if a specific seed could originate any type of plant).
Association between astrology and esoteric-spiritualistic doctrines of Eastern and Western origin
The flaw lies in the bent to realise improbable merging of elements between various doctrines, which in themselves constitute an organically structured corpus responding to different social and personal needs (even astrology, from this point of view, is an esoteric discipline). However, through this relational procedure, it is possible to highlight the spiritual soul of astrology rather than exclusively privileging its predicting aspect.
Recognition of the symbolic nature of astrology
Observing celestial motions is a way to order an otherwise chaotic and disorganised existential whole.
Purpose of integrated astrology
It seems interesting to me to discuss briefly the ontological consequences of the desire for order of humankind, which according to Rudhyar, justifies the development of astrology as a “technique of understanding”. The author identifies the universal order with the Principle, the Self, God. It is a fact that the cosmic rhythms contrast with the uncertainty of earthly phenomena, the certainty and the spilling over of fatalities that occur in the form of pleasant and unpleasant events. Hence, the opportunity arises to order the chaotic horizon of existence by ascend towards the light and later casting one’s gaze down to discover that the world is only apparently messy. Time becomes cyclical, and space bends; defining God or Universal Principle as a synchronic and interdependent vision of reality is only vital by the perspective of personal attitude and faith. The self-knowledge brought about by astrology is a prelude to experiencing one’s meaning and the universe’s purpose. As Hermes Trismegistus stated, it is the sense of true wisdom: “as above, so below”.
The relation between astronomy and astrology
The primary function of astrology is to show the correlation between cosmic and individual facts. Astronomy is the scientific study of the phenomena of the universe. Therefore, we cannot speak of events caused by one or more planetary configurations as we would adhere to a scientific approach to our matter. In the integrated approach to astrology, we observe the coincidence of celestial and terrestrial phenomena and the synchronism between the two orders of magnitude.
According to humanistic astrologers, this has nothing to do with the planetary electromagnetic influences, which would be, for others, the necessitating cause in the human and cosmic relationship. There are indeed such influences (think of the relationship between sunspots and the incidence of psychotic states; or the cases relating to the worsening of psychic disorders in conjunction with the moon’s phases). However, that does not explain the individual; instead, it describes external causes and statistical population (a study falling entirely within the scope of scientific research).
Rudhyar rightly states that astrology is the study of fragments of time, that is, of planets that, as fragments of time, enable us to follow the level of maturity and evolution of living organisms. From this perspective, each individual has within himself, expressed by the natal configuration, a specific resonance capacity that grants them the development of their objectives over time. These objectives act in harmony with the individual’s genetic, ethnic, and cultural substrate. In a sense, human beings are the bearer of an expectation, and astrology allows them to become aware of it.
The forming role of human organisation
Human beings are living creatures endowed with a structure limited by the bodily horizon or systems relating to each other that deserve the nickname of “organic totalities”. These are groups of individuals in a close relationship forming a recognisable basic structure (couple, family, state, people with a common purpose and ideas).
The structure underlying a “singularity” (individual or groupings of individuals) results from the activities of an organisation principle aimed at forming and moulding rhythmically according to space-time schemes. From the Sphere and the Sky, symbolic presentations of the space-time continuum, individual structures apparently isolated take shape, finding their raison d’etre in mutual correspondence, to the point of understanding each other in the structural organicity of the universe. This relationship of interdependence is also valid concerning the functionality expressed by the single organs or cells and the mutual relationship between parts and totality of the body and psyche. In this sense, health represents the integration of the organism, the individual adaptation to the inherent structural balance.
The object of study of astrology
The integrated human being – considered entirely and not only at a partial and incomplete level – is the main object of astrological interpretation. The integral organism includes various types of activity, bodily, psychic, mental, emotional, etc. But the separate analysis of its components does not do justice to the holistic concept of interdependence between the parts unless the single attribute preludes actually to a discovery of one’s way of being integrated (for example, physical discomfort can involve an imbalance of the psyche). The astrology interpretation can also extend to couple or collective situations (synastry and mundane astrology) and the study of natural phenomena (Astro meteorology), but always as part of the collective human experience. The study of atmospheric phenomena and telluric events such as earthquakes, etc., is a function of the degree of integration that man can achieve in the terrestrial context (and whose equilibrium gradient creates an “ecological” habitat).
Suppose the astrologer aims to order the chaotic experience of a shattered ego. In that case, he knows the integration process is in the hands of the individual, in their ability to adapt to the cosmic order. Rudhyar also speaks of the spiritual principles dynamising the “host” organism towards a harmonic realisation. It is a fact that the horoscope emphasises both personality integration and disintegration in equal measure. Everything depends on knowing how to present horoscopes data to make its use constructive. The possibility of an astrology prediction follows the cyclical development of celestial motions and their interpretation concerning human character and behaviour. The existence of a cyclical order can undoubtedly give rise to the suspicion of determinism; however, aside from the structural conditioning to which they must necessarily submit, human beings are free to the extent that they are individualised, an organic microcosm following an intrinsic rule. It is not determinism that inspires fear; on the contrary, we often evoke it to safeguard and protect our existential continuity. But it is the idea that nothing can happen outside of a planned path. Discovering one’s order means escaping from every rule and concept; to free oneself, like the wise, from the will of the stars, which is none other than our will to depend on self-created structures to protect an illusory separation. Prediction in an integrated key is the reading of a person’s stages of development, which, in order not to be destructive, must necessarily aim at understanding their life, defining their limits and then suggesting their openings.
The responsibility of astrological knowledge
Astrological counselling originates from balancing learning the meaning of astrology symbols in the individual and their presentation at an informative level. The intimate union between the client and the astrologer turns down the one-way work, the thesis based on the acceptance by faith of the figure of the seer astrologer who imprints the bond of a prophecy. In terms of gain, this attitude is winning and ensures continuity in the request for information; it does not worry about the consultant’s assimilative abilities. The information surplus causes favourable conditions for splitting cognitive and conscious processes. In other words, the knowledge derived from it is no longer adequate for the deliberate use of one’s potential; it does not integrate the individual into the stream of becoming. Instead, it divides them into a series of incomplete processes sharpening the sense of irresponsibility, settling down in a knowledge devoid of collective and universal reference points.
The astrologer’s authority
The astrologer, therefore, holds power. This power derives from using a knowledge made up of enigmatic symbols, planetary energies that in the vision of the relative daily life project themselves with alarming force and against which the common defences are worthless. The need for a deontological directive is evident. The occurring crisis of judgment and direction when one penetrates the inner self through symbolic means requires a qualified guide.
Astrology and fear
Fear is generally associated with change. A life of stability and immobility infuses the relative safety of a known situation, which trains the self to perceive one’s life in terms of non-pain. But this condition, in the changing scenario of existence, is unnatural. Suppose we follow in detail the psychological consequences of a change. In that case, we see the initial nervousness giving way to the fear of seeing the old recognition schemes shattered, up to the desperation of those who feel forced to cling to the same feeling of dread, in a world devoured by chaos. But in such cases, the fear, rather than induced by events, is intimately evoked. It is the spectre of a crisis necessary to overcome the evolutionary impasse. The astrologer consulted in one of the client’s critical stages, especially in the initial phase of discomfort, must avoid crystallising fear in objective presentations such as planetary aspects; he has not to strengthen the client’s pain. Say that, for example, a transiting Saturn square Mercury requires the utmost attention because it could cause illness or misfortune; from that moment on, the client will focus on an expectation of sure happen tragedy dominated by remote unattainable planetary powers. It is very different from presenting this type of aspect as a possibility to redefine and integrate Saturn values in the context of the personality by going through the effort of change.
Astrology as divination of the future is an example of how the astrologer can indulge in vanity and self-satisfaction by relying on the client’s curiosity and existential insecurity. We cannot deny that astrology appears as divination. Still, the event is always represented by an impersonal factor, a neutral force whose meaning in positive and negative terms acquires meaning through the conscious being. It is the individual who happens to the event, and not vice versa. Therefore, the primary purpose of “divination” is to insert the individual in the human and universal collectivity. Stopping halfway by introducing the individual to a series of events that preserve a purely informative purpose means ignoring the interdependent relationship between the subject of analysis and their being in the world. However, making them feel responsible does not mean offering the possibility of escaping the change cycle. Instead, the future will change with them when awareness reorients perceptions and expectations of their existence.
The birth chart
Erecting a horoscope involves choosing a significant moment based on which we bring the heavenly and earthly situations in the natal chart. For the birth of a human being, this moment finds its expression in the first cry, the air emission following the first inhalation. Such is the response of a new being to the impression the universe, through inspiration, transmits to the unborn child. In a sense, this first breath carries the universe within itself, and the cry is the potential response of the unborn child to the inhalation of the universal pneuma. This potential will then be refined and diversified with development. A reminiscence of this first individual act finds a singular confirmation in Mithra’s rituals. At the end of his initiation, the officiant emits a bellow, evidence of his re-integration with the cosmic principle .
Astrological reference frames
The operative tools of astrology are selected based on meaningful frames of reference we use to insert certain astronomical data. The two-dimensional structure of the horoscope is in itself the selective representation of a much more complex astronomical situation. The reference frames within which the solar system’s characteristics acquire an anthropocentric interpretation (horizon, meridian and ecliptic) have the highest symbolic value. Later on, we extend the reference frame concept to the cyclical development of human beings to give meaning to their transient experiences (by transits, progressions, solar revolutions, etc.).
Horizon and meridian
The horizon is the dividing line between sky and earth. Psychologically, the horizon symbolises the limit within which an organic totality operates, a limitation that allows us to define its formal and structural qualifications. At the same time, besides being a dividing line, this limit is also a point of contact between the individual instances it contains and the cosmic manifestation. As in the figure of that psychological test where we can alternatively perceive the outline of a chalice as two profiles, cosmos is mirrored in the outlines of the human figure, activating an organic response that consists in the unfolding of an existence adhering to the cosmic model.
The meridian symbolises the individual’s development. Astronomically, the meridian is the great circle having the polar axis as diameter and on which the Sun is at noon. While the horizon defines the structural organisation of the human being, the meridian deals with the evolutionary performance of the organism itself or the balance between human and cosmic factors. With the meridian, human existence acquires order and tends to the maximum elevation by entering the community context. In this way, we divide the horoscope into four parts; it is a reference system that guarantees the reading of the personality based on its physical-psychic elements.
The zodiac function is essentially a field function. It is a place or a matrix where space adjusts itself according to energetic (solar) models. The different incidence of solar rays over the year sets the course of the seasons, defining a reading of the particular energy phase based on an extrapolation. For example, we associate the Taurus sign with the neck. Taurus is not the neck; however, the solar function in the Taurus phase “rules” an energy emission whose field of action falls within the symbolism of the neck and related function (first phase of assimilation).
Planetary dynamics unfold based on the respective positions of the planets in the solar energy field. The planetary activity differentiates solar energy along functional lines determined by their distance from the system’s centre. The placement of the planets in the zodiac signs helps to outline the scope of this differentiation. For example, Sun in Taurus refers specifically to a solar energy phase. Venus in Taurus means that the Venusian structural function is being implemented in the solar matrix field. Therefore, Venus, the planet regulating the homeostatic functions of balance and harmony in the individual and between individuals, manifests itself in Taurus as a formative element linked to nourishment and instinctive and sensual expression values of spring symbolism.
The House system
Regarding the house system, we have to point out the differences between them and the zodiac. As we have already noted, the zodiac and planets are archetypal expressions of vital dynamism and functional differentiation. The house system originates the orientation of these archetypes in the local anthropocentric context; therefore, domification creates a space within which the zodiacal field finds its expression. The fundamental axis of the house system is the ASC/DSC line (representation of the local horizon, meeting place between Heaven and Earth). It describes the inception of an individuality partaking in the archetypes of the earth (the zodiacal hemisphere obscured by the Earth body) and heaven (the visible hemisphere). The duodenary subdivision of the house system is necessary to date the evolution of the human personality based on experience. The individual experiences each zodiacal portion first at the level of unconscious participation and then becoming aware of their being in the world, assuming the rhythm of the objective context.
Precession of the Equinoxes
Concerning the precessional rhythm, the phase shift between zodiac and actual constellations finds its raison d’etre in the cyclical rotation that changes the purpose and instances of the zodiacal energies according to the conception of the’ Ages of humanity’. While the functions of the seasonal zodiac remain unchanged, the human community finds itself experiencing a global instance, like the current one of the sign of Pisces, representing the birth of Christ’s spirit.
- Rudhyar, Dane – The Practice of Astrology – New York 1968