The Individual Level of Interpretation - 5
Going Beyond the Individual Level
In the preceding discussion of the symbolic characters and meanings of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, I have already gone beyond the strictly individual level of human consciousness and life-responses, because I referred these planets to a process of transformation which affects the deepest roots of individual being — the transpersonal process that leads to a fourth level of activity and consciousness, a level beyond the individual. I did this because the value of a strictly individualistic type of consciousness and even of actual experience is today being challenged by worldwide events and possibilities which can hardly be ignored, even by the most individualistic human beings intent on self-fulfillment regardless of what may be working against it. We can, however, observe Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto as they operate in a more restricted sense. They can indeed operate, as it were, at the service of the individual self seeking to actualize as fully as possible its potential of birth as a particular human being in a particular environment. They do so when their activity balances that of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.
As I have pointed out in several places,(4
) Uranus can be seen to be the power that constantly opposes the conservative and security-obsessed activity of Saturn by producing minor shocks and crises compelling the mind to overcome its formalism and traditional assumptions, and by inciting the consciousness and feelings to open themselves to new ideals and broader viewpoints or more inclusive attitudes. Neptune, on the other hand, counter-acts the social ambition and unrestrained expansiveness of Jupiter; it seeks to depersonalize the motives of the individual and to give a more universalistic and humanitarian quality and character to the ideal of individual fulfillment. As to Pluto we can see this often cathartic and relentless planet performing a useful function as the purifier of Martian desires and impulses — a purification taking the form of a repudiation of all that does not strictly belong to the character and temperament of the individual.
In other words, the three trans-Saturnian planets impel, and sometimes even compel, the self-actualizing individual to overcome the inertia of old biological and social habits — even the inertia implied in self-satisfaction with past achievements which marked only minor steps on the road to the fulfillment of all the possibilities inherent in the individual nature. Yet at the level of individual selfhood, these transformative planets do not fully reveal their essential character, simply because the central "I" finds it impossible to imagine that it could be "more-than-I". The individual may eagerly strive to fulfill his or her personality; but what in the individualized consciousness says "I" finds it nearly impossible to accept not being the central power to which has to be referred all that the mandala of personality contains. The "I" can accept Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto only if they act as inspirers, inventors, light-bringers, mind expanders — and all their activities have to be directed toward the superb fulfillment of the experience and feelings of being a unique and creative individual self.
One might say that such a feeling of uniqueness is no different from what I have previously described as the ego-feeling, but there is a basic, even if outwardly subtle, difference. The ego operates at the sociocultural level
and is mainly concerned with preserving the form and security of the boundaries of the human being as a person able to keep successfully alive in a physical and social environment. The individualized
and self-conscious "I"
cares mostly for its central position and the fact that it should be the ultimate authority in all personal decisions. The ego is moved by fear, and often by guilt, a by-product of fear; the I-center is moved by pride. It will accept any transformation that gives more prestige or power to the personality, but only if that prestige and power serve to magnify the feeling of being-I. The transformative process must not endanger the centrality and the supreme importance of the "I am" realization. Transformation must be for the purpose of greater fulfillment as an individual. And the individual cannot conceive that such a fulfillment should be regarded as a preliminary step leading to a radical and utterly renewing metamorphosis of all the implications of being.
Yet the possibility of such a metamorphosis is what characterizes the human
stage in planetary evolution. As I have already stated Man, archetypally considered, represents a stage of transition between "life" and "light" — between dark planets and radiant stars. Man is planetary matter on its way to becoming the stellar energy we call light. Man is the "alchemical vessel" in which matter can be transmuted into spirit.
When Man appears on the stage of planetary evolution — whether on our Earth or on any other dark planet — the phase of biological organization of physical materials (atoms, molecules, cells) has already proven successful. Next comes the stage of collective cultural organization, which has been going on with varying success for millennia. Then, on the foundations built by life and culture, the process of individualization begins to operate. This process has so far been a rather disconcerting and questionable mixture of success and failure. More than the other stages, it has a transitional character because it represents the point at which two opposite currents can meet. The meeting occurs, however, in conditions of extreme instability and with the possibility of unpredictable results.
There are two
currents. What we interpret today as "evolution" is only one of them. The complete process of existence is a two-way process. Spirit descends toward matter as matter rises toward spirit
. The individual is the place of meeting; but it is a difficult meeting. The individualized human self seeks to perpetuate itself, believing itself the summit of evolution, the crown of existence. It craves for fulfillment as a separate, unique individual
. It clings to what it calls "my identity". As long as it can, it remains blind to the power and light that comes "down" to meet its precarious and inherently tragic eminence. The center of the mandala of personality remains closed to anything but what can be referred to it by the conscious mind.
Eventually, the stubborn and proud refusal to admit the existence of and, to meet what is beyond the individuality and its closed circle of being, must give way to an increasingly open attitude. But this is a difficult, often cathartic, and critical process — a transpersonal process. For whomever is experiencing it, the meaning of almost everything one had neatly characterized and evaluated inelectably changes; new needs take form, new problems have to be solved.
In order to meet them significantly, the astrologer-psychologist has to reinterpret whatever data he or she uses. A transpersonal approach to both astrology and psychology has to be developed. It can only be successfully practiced if based on a genuine and thorough understanding of what is really at stake once the individual opens up to the descent of spiritual, supermental forces. Such an understanding requires an at least partial or tentative realization of the nature of the spiritual Source from which the subliminal light and the transcendent power flow. This light and power may be directly experienced by the fully open individual consciousness, but the Source itself can only be envisioned or evoked through the intermediary of some kind of symbol, image or mythos
For an astrology that has long considered a human being as a miniature solar system, the state of being beyond the individual is most significantly symbolized by our galaxy, the Milky Way — an immense cosmic organism of radiant stars. One human individual can be imagined to correspond to each of these stars, and an individual's star is symbolically the star exactly at the Zenith at the place and time of birth. In the Christ-mythos, it is the Star of Bethlehem, the Christ-star that represents the divine Identity of Jesus, the totally open individual — the supreme product and apex of human evolution, thus symbolically speaking, the "Son" of archetypal Man. The transpersonal Way — or in the symbolism of esoteric traditions "the Path" — if successfully trodden, leads to the "divine Marriage", the union of the Son of Man and the Son of God; and the word God is here but a symbol to evoke the ineffable reality of a transhuman and divine state of being.
Mainly in my book. The Sun is Also a Star: The Galactic Dimension Astrology
(Santa Fe, Aurora Press.) Return
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