The Individual Level of Interpretation - 4
In the birth-charts of men and women trying consciously to meet problems and opportunities related to the process of individualization and at least temporary disengagement from collective values, the planet Mercury plays a most important role. It gives mental formulation to the solar will. It seeks to impersonalize and provide a conceptual foundation — a raison d'etre — for the often unclear (because emotional) urge the would-be individual experiences to live his or her own life.
This urge is seen in its emotional and personal aspect in the position of and the relationship between Mars and Venus. In these planets we can see symbolized what the drive toward individualization produces in the personality and consciousness of the "self-actualizing" human being seeking to assert (Mars) his or her own "difference", and to revalue (Venus) what his or her family and culture had impressed as being moral or immoral,
beautiful or ugly, socially acceptable or unacceptable.
At such a level of interpretation, Saturn, at least potentially, becomes the active power of the Father-within, the "law" of one's own being. But the center of that individualized, or individualizing, being is not a planet; it is symbolized, I repeat, by the central crossing of horizon and meridian. This I-center finds in Saturn the power to stabilize, steady, and insure the validity of its deep sense of uniqueness — its "identity". Saturn certifies, if not the new name the individual may have adopted, at least the "self-image" he or she is building.
Jupiter may refer to the manner in which the social status and group experiences of the individual have contributed to the urge to develop a realization of uniqueness. Jupiter is also the pride engendered by the process of individualization — a pride needed, at least at the beginning of the process, to overcome the fear that individualization may prove too painful or a tragic failure. This pride can nevertheless, later on, become a great
obstacle to further growth, because it can cut the individual "I" off from the power of its roots and insulate it from the descent of spiritual and transformative forces. At this individual level of consciousness, Jupiter can indeed have a more insidiously negative meaning than Saturn, because it tends to fill the Saturnian structure of individual selfhood with an ever-increasing feeling of achievement and a desire for fame and adulation. At the biological level, Jupiter too often leads to excess in eating and overweight. At the individual level, it may produce an over-estimation of one's importance, an unjustifiable Messianic complex, or even a paranoid attitude. As we have seen, it is at the sociocultural level that Jupiter can most beneficially and constructively operate, because it is essentially the "social" planet.
When a birth-chart is interpreted at the individual level, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto can play two very different roles. They can be interpreted as extensions of the individual person in his or her relation to society and cultural processes, or as relentless disturbers of the personality and the individual's peace of mind.
Uranus, in the first and positive sense, symbolizes the potential "genius" of the individual; and by genius I simply mean the capacity a person has to impress vividly upon the collective mind of his culture or community a vision or ideal which has "come to" him from a source of whose nature he is not clearly (if at all) aware. The "I-conscious" individual has emerged from his or her natal cultural matrix and is most eager to do his "own thing". The individual, even though willing to learn from the past of the culture, is intent upon expressing himself (or herself) in an original and creative manner — upon leaving his mark on society, or at least upon a few individuals to whom he has become close and an "inspiration". To do so in a strictly professional sense is to do it at a sociocultural level in terms of what one has learned. This is the application of, in the broad sense of the terms, craftsmanship or professional skill. It refers to "talent", but not to "genius". Talent is a sociocultural factor; genius, the mark of a truly individualized person — unless it manifests in a strictly mediumistic manner, in which case one can speak of "possession", such as occurred in prophethood or shamanistic performances at the tribal level.
In an individual's birth-chart, Uranus represents the area and the conditions in which the "genius" of the individual may find expression. Nothing in astrological terms, however, can show whether this expression will be significant for anyone beside the individual. The expression may satisfy only the need the individual has to reach beyond the sociocultural level and prove to himself that he is indeed an individual. This need has nevertheless a transformative character, as far as this single person is concerned. If the act or work of genius can transform a whole community or an entire culture, then it is truly linked with a manifestation (however limited and temporary) of the vast movement of human evolution. The individual may believe that what he created has such a meaning, but he does not really experience the source of the creative influx as a transcendent entity or power unless he has already reached beyond the strictly individual level.
This cannot occur as long as the mandala of personality has, as it were, a solid center. The personality is not only strictly defined and limited by its circumference — its outer form; it is also closed to inner influences that would affect its center. The I-center has to "open up" if transcendent and transindividual power and light is to flow into the mind and eventually the entire personality. Nevertheless, a pressure may be experienced which may be called an "inspiration" or an intuition. It might be symbolized in some cases as an osmotic seeping of the substance of a supermental reality into an individual consciousness sufficiently relaxed to allow this to happen. This gradual "seeping" should more specifically be interpreted as a Neptunian, rather than Uranian, process. Uranian events generally have a more explosive or lightning-like character. They are, at least at first, particularly experienced at the circumference of being. There, a ruthless conflict may take place between Saturn, seeking to maintain securely and at whatever cost the outer form and inner stability of the being, and Uranus' revolutionary impacts.
From the materialist's point of view, the revolutionary events which produce a breakdown of either a society or an individual person are thought to be "upheavals", not unlike volcanic eruptions; and undoubtedly such upheavals can readily occur when experiences which the ego had refused to admit to the field of consciousness have accumulated as "repressed psychic contents" in dark regions of the personality — the Freudian subconscious or Jung's personal unconscious. Such repressed psychic material and the energy it potentially contains are not unlike toxins accumulating in the body, occasionally flaring up when biological energy is at a low ebb or under attack by an outside force. Yet the fundamental causes of the most significant and ineluctable Uranian crises should rather be sought in a realm that transcends merely personal repressions.
Generally speaking, whenever the possibility for any system of organization (a living entity) to operate at the next higher level has opened up because a new evolutionary cycle had begun, a state of tension develops in that living system. This tension spreads — at first in an unnoticeable manner — throughout the system, and slowly but gradually increases. A whole society and the leaders of its culture experience restlessness and a deep discontent which need only a catalyst to explode. A mere spark of indignation caused by a scandal, a book, or poem that somehow hits a sensitive spot can be such a catalyst, as well as widespread hunger or poverty having reached an apparently unbearable level. The deepest cause of the explosion is the simple fact that a new cycle has started, releasing in a public form new dreams and hopes able to fire the collective imagination of human beings. Thus the famous saying: "Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come."
The Uranian revolutionary is an individual in whom certain personal factors have produced an unusual sensitivity to the change of rhythm caused by the opening of a new planetary cycle. If such an individual is not conscious of this sensitivity, and even less of what planetary and historical cycles are, then Uranus can only operate (symbolically speaking) within his or her closed-centered field of consciousness. The individual considers what he or she does and thinks as being his or her own, even if the feeling is strong in his or her consciousness that somehow the idea or impulse to act has "come to" him or her. In whatever way it may be believed to have come, the activity is bound to cause some sort of crisis; and the events it spawns may be strongly cathartic.
With Neptune, we are dealing not so much with critical events as with slow, persistent, and perhaps insidious changes. While Uranus may try to batter down the fortified walls of the Saturnian ego, Neptune tends to dissolve them. It has therefore been called the Universal Solvent and its erosionary operation compares to the slow but repeated action of sea waves upon the rocks of the shore. If Uranus refers to the restless discontent with conditions as they are and have been for a long time, Neptune evokes the appearance in the consciousness of the visionary image of what might be or should be. The Neptunian individual tends to be the dreamer of Utopias. His or her function in a culture is important because man cannot actually produce what he has not first imagined, imprecise though the images may have been.
To these Neptunian imaginings Pluto, in its positive aspect, brings concreteness and also a degree of fanaticism. Pluto is the ideologist. For the Plutonian individual, everything has to be decided and acted upon the basis of great impersonal, or rather superpersonal, principles. Pluto brings the universal into the particular, the cosmos into the human person. This can be magnificent or devastating — and at times both. If Pluto has often been given a bad reputation in astrological circles, it is because its symbolic action is utterly unsentimental and unconcerned with personal feelings. The sentimentality and constant concern with personal values and issues so evident in our present American culture can be seen as a reaction against the fact that human beings are now confronted with the insistent need of making decisions requiring the understanding of large scale planetary and cosmic principles; and most people are frightened by having to deal with such vast — and to them incomprehensible — issues. In panic they cling to the ropes that bind persons to an elusive play of attraction and repulsion. The ropes constantly break, love turns into hatred, or, what is worse, selfish indifference.
In the charts of most people, Pluto plays no significant individual role, but only refers to the person's involvement in collective and social or political Plutonian crises. When Pluto performs an important individual function, the individual often tries, consciously or instinctively, to gain personal advantage from these collective crises. Even in a catastrophic inflationary period, some individuals manage to make huge fortunes. The man who gains wealth or power through black market operations or by dealing in dangerous drugs — and also the munitions maker, the "merchant of death" — may have a Plutonian character. Pluto has also been associated with gang leadership because criminal gangs are the products of disintegrating social conditions, which have a Neptunian character. The idealistic and, at the present stage of social and cultural evolution, mostly unrealistic concept of egalitarianism is Neptunian. Necessary as it undoubtedly is when Saturnian rigidity and Jupiterian privileges have become static and meaningless, the Neptunian process of leveling down leads to social chaos and the negation of all functional differentiation — a necessity in any organized system of activity. When this occurs, Pluto has to act. It acts positively when it clearly formulates new principles of cosmic order to serve as a foundation for a new society — or, at the individual level, for a new personality and a new body. Pluto acts negatively when the individual uses chaos to gather around his or her ego and totally dominate a blind collectivity of lost souls eager for order and personal contact at any cost.
By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1980; by Dane Rudhyar
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