Four Levels of Interpreting
Human Experience and Astrological Data - 2
A Multilevel Astrology
Having thus briefly outlined the character of four basic levels at which human beings can operate, I shall now try to explain how astrology can take a different form and quality at each of these levels, and how astrologers operating at each of these levels should deal with the main data provided by the cyclic interplay of celestial motions.
The evolution of human consciousness and activity through these levels, when seen from the point of view of the historical process of civilization, is a slow process. This evolution is actually synchronous with the progressive development of the means of observation used by astronomers in order to build an increasingly broad and inclusive picture of the universe. The more encompassing this picture becomes, the easier it is for human beings to ascend to higher levels of consciousness. Nevertheless, today, just as at any historical period, only a minority of people operate consciously at the higher levels. There are human beings whose consciousness is centered at each one of the four levels I have defined.
In the majority of cases, that level is, I repeat, the biological level modified by strongly differentiated cultural patterns; yet because of the revolutionary state of crisis in which humanity as a whole is now living, a great many human beings find themselves attempting to move from one level of consciousness, and often activity, to the next. A dynamic, yet highly confusing situation thus exists and it is one of the main causes of the growing popularity of astrology. To many people, astrology now appears as a significant and inspiring means of interpreting what is happening to them and predicting what can be expected to happen personally and/or collectively. Astrology is also welcome because it can foster a sense of ordered and purposeful change, as well as meaningful process.
When I speak of consciousness being "centered" at one level or another, however, I do not mean that a particular
person acts or reacts only in terms of the values and purposes characterizing that one level. A human being does not remain a monolithic entity once he or she is able to think, feel, and behave at the more-than-biological and instinctual level. For example, a person may be utterly devoted to a religious cause or national community which, under certain circumstances so little values biological existence that it demands of its followers or citizens that in wartime they die to uphold the collective ideal; yet this same person may pass much of his or her time worrying about food, sexual and health problems, etc. The most independent, rugged individual not only still has to satisfy at least the most basic of his biological needs, he also uses the language of his culture in order to formulate his own opinions and life-goals; and whether in a negative or positive, destructive or constructive sense, he can hardly avoid acting and reacting in terms of the values of his family or natal social environment.
Yet, while a person's consciousness and activities may, and usually do (especially today), operate at more than one level, we can still speak of one particular level at which his or her "identity" is mainly established. Whether steadily and in terms of a true "center" of consciousness or not, a person functions mainly according to the values and rhythms of one level or another. Consciously or unconsciously, he or she also expects to be met at that level.
If a person asks for knowledge or guidance, the asking is thus conditioned, or at least colored, by the level at which he or she mainly operates, or by a conscious or subconscious attempt to move to the next level by gaining a new perspective. To gain a new perspective means to look at life in general and at oneself specifically from a new "place", in terms of a different frame of reference — thus from a new level of consciousness and understanding. During the transition from one level to another, since the consciousness is not yet firmly established at the new "place" or level, the person tends to expect to be met at the level at which he or she has functioned in the past — or in some cases to receive a "spiritual push" that will facilitate the change in level by giving him or her a "feel," an experience perhaps, of what the new level is.
Confronted by a client asking for guidance as well as increased self-knowledge, the astrologer should first of all try to intuitively "sense" the level at which the client is centered, or the level to which he or she is attempting at the time to direct his or her attention — and as a result is experiencing inner conflicts or crises in Interpersonal relationships. I say "intuitively sense" because it is not possible to ascertain from the birth-chart alone the level at which a particular client is operating, especially at a particular time in his or her life. Any horoscope is susceptible of interpretation at all possible levels. It may be the chart of a cat or a horse, the incorporation of a business firm, or a horary inquiry. And a particular person, while born into a family or social situation conditioning his or her operating at a particular level, may pass through a more or less prolonged and/or successful process of transition leading from that level to a succeeding one (or ones). Often the kind and quality of problems or inner conflicts that bring the client to an astrologer for a consultation present to the astrologer extremely strong "hints" from which he or she can deduce the level of the client's operation or the nature of the transition from level to level he or she is in the process of making.
Much depends upon, first, the astrologer's understanding of the archetypal pattern of levels in human development and of the transition-process leading from one level to the next — then, upon his or her ability to apply this more or less abstract understanding to particular circumstances and cases. Three types of study and mental training may facilitate this ability: (1) Studying the concept of levels in terms of, both, the psychological
development of individuals and the historical evolution of human societies [I have outlined this in my book. Beyond Individualism: The Psychology of Transformation, and I will develop the concepts further with a specifically astrological focus in the present volume]; (2) studying the historical social, religious, and cultural patterns of collective human development underlying and conditioning the kind of life-patterns and problems human beings encounter today; and, (3) studying the detailed, year-by-year biographies of well-known people along with their birth-charts and astrological progressions and transits (subjects we will study in Chapter 8).
The first point I mention is, of course, basic. In connection with all three points, however, I should say that study and the capacity for application are two different things. The second point I mention is also crucial, for many counselors today (including psychologists) fail sufficiently to appreciate the interrelatedness between cultural and personal development, between individual life-situations and problems and the overall socio-religious and historical context in which they, both, become possible and seek resolution. Only a thorough understanding of overall human development, both individual and collective, can enable a counselor to put into a truly holistic frame of reference and therefore into a workable perspective, a particular situation in a client's life.
The third point I mention has the possibility of integrating for practice the preceding two, yet to my knowledge it is an approach to astrological study followed by only a very few students and teachers. In many of my other works I have presented examples of points I was making, yet I have only rarely encountered a student who followed up by investigating the life of the person in order to truly understand what I was saying. Especially in my book, Person-Centered Astrology, in the chapter, "Interpreting the Birth-Chart as a Whole," I presented an entire case-study of a young man's life along with an outline of the kind of approach I took to a consultation with him. Here again, hardly any readers or students with whom I have discussed the matter of chart-interpretation noticed what I had said or thought deeply about the matter to follow-up what I had written.
It would be impractical and not in accord with the purpose of this book to present detailed case-study examples here. Giving examples would not only unfeasibly increase the size of this book, but would perhaps lead to imitative, rigid and rule-following interpretations. This book is not a "text book" with rules to memorize. It is rather an attempt to open up a new, multilevel dimension in the practice of astrology. If it leaves much to the intuition and imagination of the astrologer, it does so because these are the faculties which must be awakened and developed in astrologers if they are to practice effectively and safely the kind of multidimensional and — especially, as we see later on, — transpersonal approach I am presenting.
Astrology can offer significant answers to situations at each of the four levels I have outlined, or during the transition between these levels. But this does not mean that every astrologer — no more than every psychotherapist — can handle equally well the situation a particular client presents. An understanding of all I have mentioned above should at least be of great assistance in realizing the nature and implications of a situation and adapting the interpretation of astrological data in the client's birth-chart to his or her level of consciousness.
By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1980; by Dane Rudhyar
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