Astrology is not a solace process but a means for the emancipation of the human being from the bonds of the ego.
Following the reinterpretations of Western astrology over the centuries, we see that it has always revealed and still shows today a two-faced feature. On the one hand, the general semblance of the individual, their psychosomatic constitution, is compared and harmonised with the celestial cycles to adapt it to a universal vision of reality; this is the attitude of wisdom, the direct experience that arises from the understanding of the unity inherent in the diversity of natural manifestations. On the other hand, the prediction potentials of astrological configurations are a shelter by those who – suffering the uncertainty of their living in the world – project themselves into a personal future that in no way relates to what one is in the present moment. It is as if the expectation of a better tomorrow could redeem the inability to understand an existential continuum where past and future meet the present; this should determine the full responsibility of one’s actions in defining the evolutionary path.
The gap between the self and perceived objects, in our case the celestial aspects as a representation of an internal space modelled on reality, results in the estrangement of the individual from their outer life, the loneliness of those who see the world as separate, reachable only through the brain reflected logic. Astrology is, therefore, an instrument of knowledge based on the consideration that human consciousness and the cosmos have as their basis a single process. ‘Cosmos’, in harmony with the Greek etymology of the term κόσμος, is the order that our awareness imposes on the primal chaos, the shapeless matter pre-existing to the ordering light of the intellect. This world vision is at the root of magical and astrological thought as a seal of the coexistence between immanent and transcendent reality.
With the consolidation in the humanity of the individuation process, the astrology of origins begins a slow decay process, ending with the birth of the concept of superstition, a word derived from the Latin superstāre, to stay above. Cicero, among the Romans, judged the superstitiōnem as a practice to pray the gods to sŭperstĭto – keep alive – their children. We could define that as an actual logic of detachment from a spiritual reality no longer lived within, that imposes the need for a beseeching attitude towards the divine principle which – separated and placed above – can no longer guide the human being if not begged or questioned.
Thus we see more and more privileged, in the astrology context, the prediction aspect as an instrument to recover the inner emptiness created by the separation from the first causes. The top of this process can be seen today in the simplification of astrology, which has become pure amusement with mass astrology or a consoling motif in the most exclusive astrologer-client relationships. Without detracting from the good that can derive from knowledge, even if partial, of astrology, it is a fact that the accusation of superstition to which it is subject offers the basis for reasonable attacks, especially by those who follow a scientific model of thought.
And speaking of science, we cannot fail to mention the complex mix between natural astrology and magical-spiritual thought. To give one example among many, the fracture between the observations of Ptolemy, a supporter of astrology based on the qualities of matter – events determined by physical causes deriving from the planets – and the vision of Plotinus, which on the contrary, he saw in the ‘wandering stars’ the mere indicators of a destiny regulated by divine decree. Over the centuries, many scholars developed the mantic aspect of natural astrology in association with astronomical-mathematical observations. In Italy, astrology had university importance from the fourteenth century until about 1600, after the advance of the Inquisition put a stop to its development. Natural divination was in contrast with God’s presence, the only holder of human destinies.
However, this did not prevent the rise of a rich and flourishing astrology literature, which focused on characters such as Jean Baptiste Morin, French mathematician and astrologer, author of the ponderous and complex Astrologia Gallica. Or in William Lilly, a famous English astrologer who, with his work Christian Astrology, published in English rather than Latin, contributed to the widespread of the subject. In the eighteenth century, with the approach of the Age of Enlightenment, encyclopaedias began to record the gap between astronomy and astrology. Thus natural astrology became the testing ground for studying celestial phenomena from a scientific point of view. In contrast, judicial astrology dealt after that with the exclusive prognostic and predictive aspect.
The mixture of magical intellect and modern knowledge has over time produced a hybrid that goes by the name of scientific astrology. The same line of thought led in previous centuries to support the Ptolemaic causal vision. The difference is that the current era offers rules and tools capable of corroborating its thesis. However, it is still an unorthodox approach – which brings us back to the concept mentioned earlier of superstition – attempting to recover the organicity of astrology through technical-methodological refinement.
Baron Von Klöckler, German physician and astrologer well known for his experimental contributions to the symbolic criteria of astrological interpretation, writes in the Italian edition of his Kursus der Astrologie, Band II: “Ancient wisdom could be satisfied with dogma: ‘How above, so below ‘, while modern man guided by science will seek an exact definition of the series of causalities reigning in astrological relations … We would have to do with a very complicated system of resonance, of biological, physiological, and psychological tuning functions with certain types of radiation or radiant intervals… Future research could show that different elements of this system are associated with different causal sets. Until it is possible to solve the problem of causality, we must order astrological experiences based on criteria that spring from themselves. The future will bring this ‘provisional’ state of things, however beneficial, towards the final order” . Regarding astrology in its spiritual guise, the author is equally clear: if astrology, he says, “were a science of the spirit, the correspondence between astral configurations and life events should be directly understandable … Neither with intuition nor with any cognitive act of the sciences of the spirit, it is possible to grasp, for example, the relationship between Mercury and the nervous system, and in particular with the mind” .
Above is an example of a thought that wants to definitively distance astrology from the category of traditional sciences, attempting an improbable recovery through the instruments made available by modern knowledge. The author does not consider that astrology is like an organism whose parts are strictly interconnected and functional. And the planetary analogies follow a representation based on positional symbolism. In the case of Mercury, being the closest planet to the Sun makes it the messenger of the vital principle, the interpreter encoding the instruments suitable for exchanges and articulation of thought for interaction with the surrounding world: the nervous system and the mind, precisely.
It doesn’t get better when statistics meets astrology; Michel Gauquelin is the author of a treatise that posits a complex series of electromagnetic influences at the planetary level capable of determining a psychological temperament. He states that: “the general impression is that our statistical research should lead to the rehabilitation of an ancient planetary symbolism … Released from the archaic suffocating notions, it is undoubtedly capable of serving again” . At the most, statistics applied to astrology help to highlight a trend linked to particular planetary configurations. Still, again, the search for causal links only feeds the dualistic view of the whole system.
In some of his studies, CG Jung, one of the creators of modern Western psychology, revealed the attempt to promote synchronicity – the interconnection of certain events based on their being simultaneous – as a fundamental element of certain psychological states. His correspondence with the sinologist Wilhelm led him to deepen his studies on the I Ching. He recognised, in astrology as well, the complete unfolding of the principle of synchronicity. In this regard, he wrote: “Where therefore we formulate correct astrological diagnoses, they are not based on the influences of the stars, but on our hypothetical temporal qualities, that is, in other words: everything that is generated and produced in a particular moment carries within itself the specific quality of that moment” . Considering synchronicity as a link between two events or circumstances – for example, between the individual’s birth chart and their current planetary configurations – in a certain sense means abolishing time itself. And, with it, the concept of duration, or the time interval necessary to establish a cause-effect relationship between different regions of space.
And here we come to the paradigm shift introduced by quantum physics, or rather, as far as we are concerned, by the model of thought underlying some of its aspects. Heisenberg’s principle of indeterminacy establishes that given the complementary variables of a subatomic particle – such as position and velocity – we cannot measure one of the values without making the other impossible to define. In simple terms, this means we cannot know a particle’s state since the double wave-corpuscular nature of quantum objects prevents it from being specified except in terms of probability. However, when an experiment is prepared to reveal one of its aspects, we witness the wave function’s collapse: the particle’s nature decays into a well-determined state. It is as if there were two superimposable realities, one of which is similar to a ghost reality where the particle does not exist precisely, the other where it manifests itself in one of its eventual states when observed. The fundamental problem of this analysis is that our experience of reality is not affected by the indeterminacy relegated to the field of the infinitely small. We can apply a meaning to the macroscopic world, that is, to exercise an ordering principle through self-awareness, which reads the universe in a human form. However, below a minimum definition threshold, coherence is lost, and reality becomes chaotic, or rather, it expresses a potential waiting to be completed by consciousness.
We need to reflect on the central role of the human being as a ‘measure’ of things, on our ability to describe a vision appearing consistent and aimed at a purpose but which, if subject to atomic investigation, loses its compactness. How, then, can we approach an analytical and punctual perception of reality with a not-organic one? How to solve the paradox of a world swinging between order and chaos, based on how it is (or is not) observed? The answer lies in not choosing between the two systems, each reflecting the other but on different levels. A so-called eidetic, intuitive awareness can reach the integration of consciousness. However, the realisation in a transcendent sense does not imply the rejection of duality, but rather its integration into a model that considers the One as many simultaneously, when it reveals itself in the space-time manifestation. As if to say that Heaven is on Earth, but in a terrestrial way, and the Earth is in Heaven, but in a terrestrial way, to accomplish, quoting the Tabula Smaragdina, “the miracles of one thing”.
Astrology, as the cosmic organiser of individualities, can do much to mend the rift between the personal self and its principle; the symbol, a derivation of the Greek συμβάλλω (putting together), is the instrument we can use to create a bridge between personal and transpersonal orders of reality. Without an efficient approach, however, it is difficult to identify with one’s destiny. Even in the best scenario, precise indications are lacking when one frees oneself from the shackles of divining superstition to decide to operate with a broader and more aware gaze. However, as belonging to the group of esoteric sciences, astrology can adopt the most suitable techniques to achieve the development and assimilation of cosmic symbolism. We can define these operations as alchemical, requiring the deconstruction of the ego and its subsequent reintegration with the heavenly powers, this time internalised. Not an easy task, especially in the preparatory phase, which requires the uncovering of the mechanisms placed to defend the unresolved psychic knots, making us believe we are what we are not. Thus, the possibility of consciously accessing the astrological mirror of our soul, the image of our true potentials, is of priceless value.