The Individual Level of Interpretation - 3
The Birth Chart and the Planets
in a Mandala-Type of Interpretation
Whether or not they clearly realize it to be fact, the majority of human beings, especially in the Western world, are struggling through the slow and arduous process of individualization. In interpreting the birth-charts of these individuals-in-the-making, it is therefore advisable and often imperative to assume that at the symbolic center of the birth-chart a centralizing entity — or power of integration — at least partially, perhaps weakly or spasmodically, operates. The birth-chart can therefore be considered a mandala; and all mandalas have to have a center and a circumference. Everything that is contained within this circumference should sooner or later be referred to the center. All the contents of the mandala of personality acquire their meaning by being related to the center. They are potentially, if not actually, powers which the central "I" should be able to use in order to express itself, to establish its position and status in the social environment, and to leave a characteristic mark — the signature of its individual being — upon whatever it is able to affect.
Any integrative process requires some kind of boundaries which set limits to it and define its scope in spatial terms. When a birth-chart is considered a mandala, its center is, I repeat, the point at which the horizon and meridian axes cross. There stands, if not the actual individual, at least the potentiality of individualization — the individual-in-the-making. The circumference which sets limits to the field of existence of an individual — his or her basic living space — is, in present-day astrology, the zodiac. The zodiac also symbolizes for the individual
generic "human nature", which also sets limits to individual development, yet not impassable ones. In the Western world, all but a few astrologers use what is called the tropical zodiac, which, to an astronomer, is the
ecliptic, the Earth's orbit.
At the biological level of interpretation, the zodiac is the field of electromagnetic energy surrounding the Earth. As the Sun's rays strike our biosphere at constantly changing angles month after month, they release into it and induce varying types of energies. The twelve signs of the zodiac represent twelve fundamental types of energies. The day of the year a person is born determines the type of energy providing the foundation on which the different biological processes operate, each in its own organic manner. This solar energy is then distributed by the Moon, and modified by the functional use the planets make of it.
At the sociocultural level, a person's "sun-sign" (the position of the Sun at birth in one of the twelve zodiacal signs), gives the astrologer some basic information concerning the "character" (or "personality" factor), of that person as he or she participates in family or social activities. By character is meant — or should be meant — the way of least resistance and maximum effectiveness this member of a society has found to operate among other members and in relation to a central collective authority. We have already seen what the other planets represent at this level.
When a birth-chart is interpreted at the individual level, the Sun symbolizes the "will" of the individual. But it should be clear that such an interpretation does not invalidate the biological and the social meanings of the Sun in this individual's life. The power of will which emanates from the individualized Sun is conditioned by the organic vitality and the psychic state and character of the person, as he or she strives to establish a stable, steady, and powerful life-stance. What is called "will" is the power of the I-center to order the mobilization of the biological and social energies operating within the circular space symbolizing the whole person in order to act in an individual way — thus to express its relatively unique character and purpose in life.
In modern astrology, the Sun is spoken of as "planet", and so is the Moon. Yet neither the Sun nor the Moon is in fact a planet in an astronomical sense. In an individualistically oriented astrology, they are considered planets because they represent functions or powers which, at least theoretically, are at the disposal of the central being, I-myself — just as are the functions represented by the actual planets. Every planet and every astrological factor found within the birth-chart — the mandala of personality — must be referred to the I-center, which gives them a conscious and individualized meaning.
In an individualized person, biological vitality becomes will, and the collective psychism of the community, class, or nation takes a particular form symbolized by the Moon. We refer to this particular form when we speak of the "feelings" or psychic state of a would-be individual as he or she struggles through the process of severance and detachment from the collective psychism in an attempt to experience "rebirth" as a liberated, autonomous, self-actualizing individual.
Today the term "psychic" most of the time designates phenomena and states of awareness which are outside of the field of what our particular culture-whole acknowledges as reality, yet which somehow are able to affect those participating in that field. I believe that many, if not most of such psychic phenomena have their roots in the disassociation occurring in a person's field of consciousness when he or she is pressured by special life-circumstances to sever the threads of attachment which link his or her "inner life" to the collective psychism of family and/or culture. The pressure may also be exerted by some transcendent power or group-entity constituting a sort of whirlpool of consciousness within the collective psychism of the culture — somewhat in the sense in which psychological experiences that have been repressed by the ego (for reasons of security, or out of sheer inertia and perhaps fear) tend to aggregate as "complexes". These complexes seek self-expression, or even revenge, by pressing upon and perhaps overwhelming the defenses of the ego.
In other cases, however, these extra-conscious pressuring factors or forces may be intent upon helping people, still in partial bondage to their culture and tradition, to break through. If there have already been drastic attempts to free oneself from Saturnian bondage — attempts which have left serious psychological scars — these higher types of psychic factors may become healing agencies. To the "psychic" experiencing the flow of healing power, they often seem to be "departed souls" living on "the other side" and eager to help struggling
human beings on "this side".
Many interpretations of what is involved in para-psychological occurrences and psychic or spiritual healing are possible, and in spite of the astronauts' landings on the Moon, which they physically experienced as a barren globe of sand and rocks, the real nature of our one and only satellite remains a great mystery — a mystery perhaps hidden in the extraordinary fact that from the Earth the discs of the Sun and the full Moon appear to be of practically the same size. This fact (which is what makes total eclipses possible) is indeed extraordinary, for it means that the small Moon had to be just close enough to the Earth so that it appears to be the same size as the far bigger and more distant Sun.
A polarization is evidently indicated, and at the level of the individual the Sun-Moon polarity points to that of the individualized will and a collective psychic power which is still much of a mystery. Some people may call it "soul", others (with Carl Jung) the "anima". It is, I believe, the counterpart of the principle of individuality. We shall see, in Chapter 5, what role it plays when a new process begins which leads from the individual state, the "I", to a transindividual condition of being.
By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1980; by Dane Rudhyar
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