The Practice of Astrology at the Transpersonal Level - 2
The Clients Readiness and
the Astrologer's Responsibility
An astrologer seeking to interpret a birth-chart as a symbol (or hieroglyph) of the possibility of an individual entering upon the path of radical transformation should evidently be thoroughly grounded in the language of astrology, whose words are planets, signs, and houses and whose syntax is provided by the interplanetary aspects — and (in a sense) whose punctuation is provided by the house cusps. The ordinary astrologer is like a prose writer giving more or less detailed information. The transpersonal astrologer is like a poet evoking the meaning of the whole chart as a symbol of the whole person and his or her potential of transformative unfoldment.
It is obvious that no one can really teach how to write poetry or define the qualifications for being a poet. All that can be taught in school are the rules used in poetry of a particular culture — rules that limit the field of expression but can also deepen this expression by condensing it (as in the Sonnet or the Haiku poetry of Japan).
Condensation implies the rejection of all non-essentials. Likewise, I tend to use only the simplest, most essential "words" in the language of astrology. I pay very little attention to "new discoveries" which do not fill an evident place in the basic structure of the solar system — for example, the few asteroids now often used simply because some astronomer took the trouble to calculate their orbits. Similarly, in the Occult astrology to which H. P. Blavatsky refers in The Secret Doctrine only "sacred planets" are said to be considered, though over a hundred other planets are in existence at one level of physicality or another.
A poet, however, does not usually feel responsible for the feelings his or her poetry may evoke in readers. Yet an author's responsibility can be great. We know historically that the publication of Goethe's Werther led to a number of suicides. The astrologer using a transpersonal approach (and no one has any right to call himself or herself "a transpersonal astrologer") thus incurs a twofold responsibility. On the one hand, he or she deals directly, face-to-face, with a client. Thus there is a person-to-person relationship and responsibility, as in the case of a consultation with a trained psychologist. Therefore, much depends upon what the person of the astrologer emanates to the client. There are a few "born astrologers," but this does not mean being "psychic". It means instead facility in translating the abstract words of the astrological language into inspiring, evocative, and cohesive meaning, also interpersonal sensitivity or empathy — and openness to "inner guidance."
This last-mentioned quality exemplifies the second aspect of responsibility assumed by the astrologer adopting a transpersonal approach, for as one who advocates treading the path of radical transformation he or she speaks for or represents to the client the promptings of the client's higher being and potentialities for transformation. This responsibility is not merely a "horizontal" one confined to the person-to-person astrologer-client relationship. It is also a "vertical" or transpersonal one in which the astrologer accepts being the "agent" or "mouthpiece" of higher powers urging the client to transform himself or herself, to open the closed center of the mandala of his or her personality to an influx of transcendent power and light. In this sense, the astrologer endeavoring to show the way along the path of radical transformation is indeed a poet, in the broadest sense of the original Greek term: one who acts as a "mover and shaker" of souls.
Let me repeat what I have often stated. Astrology is not a science. Transpersonal astrology is not even actually an "art." It is a means of communication. The good astrologer is able to communicate meanings. These are grounded in what the astrologer sees in a chart and its progressions and transits with his or her analytical mind (his or her knowledge of the language of communication). Such grounding never should take less than a few years of concentrated study not only of the elements of the language of astrology per se, but even more, of well-known people's birth-charts, progressions, and transits in connection with their detailed year-by-year biographies — the only way of intelligently studying the intricacies of actually applying and using astrology.
Assuming that the astrologer has understood, assented to and prepared himself or herself to assume the responsibility of all that is implied in the practice of a transpersonal approach, the actual use of such an approach for a particular client can prove valid, significant, and above all, safe and constructive only if the client already understands to some extent what a basic process of transformation implies, and more or less clearly feels, in the depth of his or her consciousness, the need to deal with long insoluble problems in a new and radical manner. Most of the time, such a feeling comes only after a person has experienced difficult crises and has perhaps been shocked into the realization that a basic change at any cost is imperative — and indeed the only alternative to complete breakdown. Various palliatives or partial solutions have probably been unsuccessfully tried along traditional lines — religious, moral, or psychological. But in our present society, which has lost most of its reliance upon ancient principles of interpersonal relationship and any sense of the "sacred", traditional solutions are often no longer convincing and therefore no longer valid or effective. The individual is then left to his or her own devices, and often seeks help along unconventional lines — perhaps rushing from one weekend seminar to another or from one ashram to the next. These excursions may sooner or later lead to an astrologer. But what does or should the client expect of an astrological "reading"?
If a person comes to an astrologer solely out of intellectual curiosity and simply to find out how much the astrologer will be able to tell concerning past or future events and character traits, he or she should certainly not come to an astrologer using a transpersonal approach, and the astrologer he or she sees should riot try to use one. It would also be far better if the client did not expect the astrologer to be a substitute father- or mother-figure on whom the whole responsibility for making decisions would be placed in a spirit of psychological dependence — a situation occurring frequently today.
By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1980; by Dane Rudhyar
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