The Two Faces of Astrology - 4
The astrological chart erected for the moment of the first breath
in a particular locality on the surface of the globe is a symbol of what is potential for the newborn, thus of how he or she can best actualize
what he or she is born for. What the person is born for is essentially to reach the status of "being-an-individual", autonomous, centered in the consciousness of "being-l", and at least relatively free from a condition of basic subservience, to his or her culture and its paradigms. So considered the birth-chart is the "Creation Myth" of the individuality-to-be. It is a sacred symbol. As the celestial entities indicated in this complex symbol (the birth-chart) keep moving in their ordered courses, the symbol becomes a ritual — a sacred performance.
To see one's life as a sacred performance — and every moment and experience in it as a significant phase of the process of actualization of the birth-potential prefigured in the exact moment and place of birth — is to live, not merely one's individual "solar myth," but also one's galactic myth. It can now be a galactic myth, because the consciousness of the vanguard of mankind has come to demand for its symbols a frame of reference more vast than the solar system. The Milky Way should be considered in this frame of reference, because it represents the next step in cosmic organization beyond the solar system.
It is true that astronomers are now linking several galaxies into a metagalactic system, and there may be other similar groupings. But we cannot experientially know whether we should think of them as parts of an Einsteinian "finite universe" or as separate cosmic aggregations speeding through the infinity of space. Human consciousness can only significantly and practically evolve one step at a time. It can now pass from the level at which we can observe an all-powerful autocratic Sun surrounded by subservient dark planets, to that of galaxies which constitute vast organizations of radiant centers of light we call stars, each galaxy separated from the next by enormous distances.
Transpersonal astrology as I have formulated it deals with the symbolic passage of human consciousness from the level of the solar system (or heliocosm) to that of the galaxy considered as a vast Company of light-radiating Star-beings. Such a passage is a ritual drama in several Acts and many scenes. An individualized person today can consciously and significantly live
such a drama, phase-by-phase, crisis-by-crisis. It is a modern Great Mystery. But this living-experiencing cannot be described by the words or images of a mind still structured by the demands and wants of biological and strictly personal existence; it can only be evoked through the power of symbols. To give precise "information" about the transphysical and transindividual type of experience would be only to force into a material mold symbolic pictures that have been impressed upon the mind in rare moments of clairthinking
) It would be to project the galaxy upon the cloud-covered surface of our planet.
What is projected is only a symbol of the transcendent reality; but because it is a symbol does not mean that it is "unreal". Neither does it mean that because there is such a transcendent, light-radiating, galactic reality, we, as physical beings living on a dark planet, are unreal. Every level of consciousness and activity is as real
as any other — for the beings operating at that level, either because they are born at that level or have temporarily chosen to operate there for some purpose, perhaps a purpose we human beings can never truly understand. We can only reduce to terms of our own level of consciousness, words, and imagery what the purified and calm region of our mind has reflected — reflected rather than organismically experienced.
The glory of the human state of existence is that it is able to reflect such images of a higher level of existence. All human beings have this ability, latently, but few have fully actualized it. Man has this ability because Man represents a stage of transition between "life" and "light"
— between planets and stars. Man is planetary matter on its way to the stellar energy we call light. This way, once it is understood and followed in clear consciousness and deliberate will, is the transpersonal way — the truly "human" way. What we usually think of as human is actually but "pre-human". Human nature, as we generally picture it, is animal nature experiencing the attraction of galactic being and as a result finding itself in the tragic situation of being — to use old religious terms — neither beast nor angel, but a battlefield on which the two levels of being interact, at times in bloody conflict, at others in the exhausted slumber of what we call social normality.
Only a relatively few individuals today can truly "understand" what this condition of life means. Most others either sleep in dreamless slumber or dream symbolic pictures which elude their understanding because the partially remembered dream is almost unavoidably distorted by refraction through the water of the emotional or cultural mind. For this reason, the individual who deeply feels the compulsion to move to the higher level of consciousness needs various kinds of help to remember
, not so much the dream-scenes as their essential meaning.
More important still than remembering our "great dreams" — the vivid ones that seem suddenly to awaken us — is to understand all
events, crises, and changes of consciousness and attitude of our life. This is necessary in order to discover and fully realize where we stand on the path of transformation, what phase of the process of trans-human metamorphosis we are now experiencing, whence we came and whither we are going. We can only gain such an understanding if we take the Yin approach to life; if we "flow with" life and let it whisper to us words that may evoke in our stilled and serene consciousness images of the road we are following and of the Holy City ahead still obscured by the smog of our forever extended intellectual suburbs, their vacuous comforts and insane distractions from the one thing that counts: to walk on — our mind, will, and emotions focused upon the glowing tower we see dimly outlined in the distance.
Astrology can be of real assistance for those who seek such an understanding of the transpersonal way. But it has to be an astrology that aims at the discovery of meaning
— meaning latent in the symbols the astrologer has taken out of the wondrous experience of night-skies as potential guides on the road to the stars. It is a difficult, often tragic road, from crisis to crisis. But for a conscious individual, nothing really is of any importance save to walk on it — deliberately, undeviatingly and with total faith.
These two fundamental approaches to astrology — reflecting as they do two equally basic ways of living, feeling, and thinking — can be considered complementary as well as opposite. Each of them, if lived exclusively and dogmatically, produces negative results. We can reach a state of consciousness in which they are seen as complementary aspects of the human potential; but for an individual to intellectually and emotionally assert that at this time of history and in our Western world they are equally valid in actual practice is usually to fail to correctly assess and understand the situation in which we are living. It is to give in emotionally to the now-fashionable trend, according to which "every teacher really says the same thing" or that "we are all one" - and this is on the principle that we are now in an age of synthesis.
Synthesis, I repeat, is not chaos. Synthesis refers to the seed condition, for in the seed the entire potency
of a vegetable species is condensed. There is no synthesis in the humus to which decaying leaves add only chemicals. Synthesis does not imply non-differentiation. Synthesis reveals the perfect form, not formlessness.
Unfortunately, the hippie and post-hippie generations which used psychedelic substances to start within their psyches a process of relative deconditioning
have been made to believe that deconditioning is a positive state, and that purposeless and directionless living is an ideal way. Deconditioning is a necessary phase at the beginning, or rather before
the beginning, of the positive path of transformation, but it is a phase to be passed
through, not to luxuriate in or wander in aimlessly. To sing out ecstatically, "We are all one. Every teaching leads to the same Truth (with a massive capital T!)" is meaningless as a basis for practical action and formed consciousness. Unity is a necessary background
realization; the facts we must face are differentiation and individualization. The goal, harmony, is the organization
of differences, not
For the same reason, the kind of life of which Gautama the Buddha spoke as "the Middle Way" is but too often sadly misunderstood to mean lack of commitment in any definite direction, thus an unpolarized state of being, neither hot nor cold, black or white, but instead a meandering through undefined expanses of formless and tepid greyness. The path of the Buddhist Arhat and Bodhisattva is anything but grey or unpolarized. One cannot walk in two directions at once. Unfortunately, "consciousness" has been so extolled at the expense of "activity" and function within a larger whole that a condition of unformed and uncentered passivity — a negative
Yin state — is often presented as the only alternative to an overly forceful (and therefore equally negative) Yang state of aggressive behavior and/or egocentric, intellectual thinking.
To tread the Middle Way means to avoid extremes; and all extremes are, strictly speaking, "negative" because they destroy the essence of the path one treads. Both ambitious over-activity (spiritually as well as socially) and mediumistically uncontrollable passivity and openness are negative states. The Buddha preached against the rigid, ascetic practices of some Yogis, but his Dharma (or way of life) was a way of most positive self-control with regard to food, sex, and bodily comfort. It was a way of structured openness and strongly oriented practices
The practice of transpersonal astrology, like that of transformative living, should also combine structure and openness inasmuch as it should be based on cosmic principles of organization — organization in space (the study of formal arrangements) and organizations in time (the study of cycles and their phases). But the transpersonal approach is evidently not the only valid one. It is, in fact, an approach that probably befits only a relatively few people, if followed genuinely and without deviation, and if all its implications are consciously accepted. Above all, it has to be clearly understood, and in order to understand it clearly it has to be seen in a proper social perspective. The next chapter will attempt to provide some basis for such an understanding.
This coined term is used in the same context as one would use clairvoyance
(clear-seeing) or clairsentience
(clear-feeling) or clairaudience
(clear-hearing) with a meta- or parapsychological implication, above or beyond the norm. Return