The Practice of Astrology at the Transpersonal Level - 3
Transpersonal astrology should not be approached
with the expectation that it may solve any or all personal problems. It can only help an individual, confused by a situation filled with unknown and knowable factors, transcend
these problems by clearly, objectively, and unemotionally understanding where they fit into the larger, transformative pattern of a step-by-step unfoldment of innate, but mostly latent potentiality. A psychologist of the human potential movement might arouse in a long-restrained and static personality the impulse to develop unused capacities and what is so often mistakenly called "creativity" or "spontaneity." But this arousal would, in most instances, have only an emotional or personal foundation. It would usually operate, at best, only at the individual level of consciousness and activity. Nevertheless, this is obviously the highest level at which the immense majority of human beings today can operate. The individual who in his or her distress has tried some of these now-popularized methods may eventually reach an astrologer known to use a transpersonal approach.
A transpersonal interpretation of astrological data is not meant to provide the client with set and precise solutions or recipes for "spiritual living." Its basic function is to evoke possibilities
emerging out of a new and more inclusive way of understanding not merely a particular situation or conflict, but the need or opportunity for transformation the situation suggests or underscores. For such an understanding to be effective, the client's present situation or conflict has to be shown to him or her as a particular phase of a process of transformation whose entire span must also be abstractly surveyed, understood, and subjectively assented to by the I-center of the client's personality.
This may mean that as a preliminary step to a transpersonal interpretation, or to the astrologer's assessing its appropriateness, the astrologer and client together might review the major events, circumstances, and inner turning points in the client's life thus far. This can be significantly enlightening for both the client and the astrologer, especially if such a review takes place against the background of the astrological progressions and major transits of the client's life — for as I have said at the close of the last chapter, transpersonal astrology tends to give a greater importance to the process of change and unfoldment of latent potentialities itself, i.e., to what is represented by astrological progressions and transits, than to what may be symbolized in the birth-chart alone.
For the client, such a review may help to reveal the unquestionable inevitability of entering upon the path of radical transformation, for he or she may come to see how the whole of his or her life has been leading to such a decision. For the astrologer, such a review may enable him or her to at least tentatively answer a crucial question: is the individual whose chart is being studied ready
, sufficiently eager
, and at least moderately able
to safely begin or to pursue farther the process of transformation? Asking and at least tentatively answering this question is indeed crucial, for both the client and the astrologer, for the path of radical transformation, once entered upon, cannot be safely trodden backward, unless it be for the temporary purpose of a "strategic retreat" or for testing to learn if one has missed the right turn in a deeply confusing situation.
From such a review the astrologer may indeed be able to determine that the client understands, accepts, and is ready to pursue an interpretation of his or her chart giving a transformative meaning to all the elements of the personality and life-pattern. On the other hand, what may be revealed is an individual still uncertain and confused, one who still needs to pursue goals of social or personal fulfillment. Nevertheless, underlying the client's confusion, apathy, or self-centeredness, the astrologer may perceive an inner strength and soul-directed intuition, which the astrologer can hope to arouse in the client by presenting him or her with a new possibility of existence, a new vision.
Nevertheless, in attempting to assess the client's readiness for a transpersonal interpretation of his or her birth-chart and other astrological data, the astrologer finds himself or herself in a similar position to the one of trying to assess the level at which the client is already operating. He or she must therefore take into consideration all I have said and pointed toward when discussing that problem in Chapter 3, and as well all of the issues I have raised since the opening pages of this chapter.
The fact is that it is extremely difficult for an astrologer to "know" how his or her client will actually react to any kind of interpretation of the astrological factors involved in any situation being discussed. No one can even be absolutely certain at the level of the mind what his or her own responses will be when being made aware of what at first may seem to be an unfamiliar or, astrologically speaking, a dire prospect just ahead, or the need for a crucial decision requiring severance from some familiar situation. A higher-than-mental kind of "knowing" should operate in the astrologer; a sense of inevitability should be experienced by the client, making what we love to call "free choice" actually irrelevant. But such a feeling-experience of inevitability or "no choice" may not come easily to most people relying strongly upon mental processes in which pro-and-con argumentation predominates; or, if such a feeling arises in the consciousness, it may result from the mind having been so thoroughly indoctrinated in a particular approach to life and problem-solving that there can be no doubt about what is the "right" judgment or course of action one may take.
In terms of the everyday practice of astrology, all this may simply mean that the transpersonal astrologer — more than the ordinary astrologer who merely describes a client's character and apparent opportunities, strengths and weaknesses — has to rely upon his or her deepest intuition of what seems possible
for the client. Two or more ways of interpreting past experiences in the client's life, or several alternative courses of action and their expectable consequences in relation to present situations may have to be presented by the astrologer as a way of testing from the immediate reaction or facial expression of the client the character or range of what is possible for him or her.
However, when an astrologer (or psychologist) has taken a definite public stand on the most basic questions involved in the function and practice of astrology (or psychology), it is quite likely that mainly persons who, consciously or unconsciously, need
what that practitioner has to offer will be attracted to him or her to ask for a consultation. In any case, the astrologer should make his or her position clear at the start, stating to prospective clients what his or her basic approach to astrology and life in general is. Some written statement by the astrologer, which the client is asked to accept, may prove very useful, especially if the legal status of astrology in the place where the consultation is held is doubtful, which is the usual case.
Nevertheless, such a written statement or even a tacit or explicit agreement between the astrologer and the client should not be taken by either party to it as an absolution of responsibility. Anytime a counselor attempts to guide a client — even if he or she simply tries to present the client's problem or situation in a clearer light or from a broader perspective — he or she assumes responsibility. This is a fact which I have consistently stressed during the last forty years, particularly at the beginning of my book, The Practice of Astrology
) Anyone who reveals to another person a truth, a law, or any kind of knowledge, especially when that person will most likely be unable or unwilling to apply the knowledge in a constructive way or will use it destructively, incurs a perhaps grave responsibility. It may be that in the long run the person may nevertheless benefit from the knowledge or guidance, and that the first adverse reaction was unavoidable and made valuable by the ultimate results; but this does not lessen the responsibility of the teacher or guide.
Accepting responsibility for whatever one says or does in any form of interpersonal relationship is one of the basic prerogatives of being human. Man's destiny — and his burden — is to deliberately induce change in the processes of life and spiritual unfoldment, and he must accept responsibility for the changes. Refusing to change or to help make changes does not excuse one from taking responsibility either, for if an astrologer understands what the transpersonal process implies but refuses to assume that responsibility toward a client in need of transpersonal guidance, the astrologer may still be accountable for his or her "non-action" — perhaps for the loss of the only chance the client had at that time to relate to a higher level of existence.
The only way an individual can in a sense transcend this responsibility is by having truly become an "agent" for a transpersonal purpose and operation. But one can easily make oneself believe that one has actually become such an agent, while in reality what one says or does is entirely or mainly the product of one's personal self — a self which can wear many subtle disguises and whose mind can perform wonders of rationalization!
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