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of Psychological Complexes

by Dane Rudhyar

Chapter Thirteen
The Urge to Self-Transcending

Every living organism undergoes constant transformations, but normally during a single span of its existence a tree or an animal experiences organic changes which follow a set generic pattern of growth, maturity and disintegration. This pattern can be modified in the course of the evolution of the species. There are organic mutations, but, at least as far as we are able to know, the individual organism (a particular plant or animal) is not conscious of the possibility of transforming itself, and especially has no conscious desire or yearning for a transformation which would alter radically the conditions and the awareness of its existence. This organism does not plan or will to become superior to what it naturally and generically is.
      It is man's privilege, and in a real sense his awesome responsibility, to be capable of altering radically the conditions of his existence through the use of a mind which presents to him new possibilities and unprecedented ways of acting. Man can always become a greater being. There is in this human mind a power that seeks to bend every circular process of thought into a spiral; and there is also in the human organism something we may call it the heart or soul which is capable of yearning for basic changes in feeling, for new ways of relating to other living entities and to the universe as a whole.
      When we studied the first three basic drives of organic existence we found ourselves in a realm where things not only are what they are, but seek to remain and reproduce what they are. This takes place at the physiological level of the body, and also at the level of an organized society and of an individual person. In any case we are dealing with activities occurring within definite boundaries and according to more or less set patterns and schedules. Saturn, Jupiter and Mars refer to such activities. Saturn symbolizes the formative power within all structural factors. Jupiter represents the feeling for social fellowship and the urge to a collective integration of human activities within the structural patterns imposed by Saturn, so that each person may find life easier and more abundant. Mars refers to the outgoing activities of a physical body and an individual person activities which are guided by either generic, collective-cultural, or individual judgments of value (Venus).
      The basic goal which these drives seek to reach is, broadly speaking, happiness in well-being i.e. in being pleasantly and abundantly what one is. "What one is" is this often elusive "identity" for which we are told today we must search, a search which seems to confuse so many of our young people. It has become a confusing search because the Saturn-Jupiter functions in modern society and in the prematurely individualized modern youth do no longer operate satisfactorily; that is to say, the basic structures and the sense of interpersonal relationship along well-defined traditional lines have shown themselves to be obsolete because ineffectual under our new conditions of existence.
      What produced these new social and personal conditions? The fact that the power latent in man's mind and "soul," to which I referred a few paragraphs above, has enormously increased its activity viz. the power to transform radically the very foundations of our thinking and our feeling-nature. The causes of such an increase can be explained in various ways. We have apparently reached a new phase in the process of human evolution, and we are living through a period of transition between the old phase which is gradually passing away, and a new one the character of which is as yet uncertain an uncertainty productive of widespread social disturbances and personal anxiety.
      This period of transition, interestingly enough, has seen since its beginning the discovery of three planets beyond Saturn's orbit, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto and it is probable that at least another planet will be discovered still farther away from the Sun. Thus everything has happened as if, when humanity needed new symbols to identify the newly aroused powers within its mind and soul it found these planets in its field of vision; that is to say, it discovered means to deal more consciously with, and to measure these new powers.
      The powers, of course, had been there all the time within Man; but they had not been used collectively and consciously i.e. in terms of publicly acknowledged social, cultural and personal values-to the point of becoming life-and-death issues for humanity as a whole. They had operated mainly, if not exclusively, through especially sensitive and evolved pioneers, through "mutants" (we might say) in whom the vast, impersonal driving power of evolution or some will prefer to say, the Will of God was able to operate under unusual conditions.
      Even in the India of the Upanishads the yogis and mystics constituted a small minority, and how few have been the individuals who truly lived a Christ-like life? Once Christianity became an organized religion it entered the realm of Jupiter and Saturn; it became a social factor. Yet there is no doubt that the revolutionary changes in human consciousness, which now have reached a high and perhaps critical level were foreshadowed by developments which started at least as far as the sixth century B. C. It is not impossible also that the existence of Uranus and Neptune was known to some of the priest-astrologers of Chaldea and other countries, for they probably had means of investigation of super-physical character.
      However, by studying the cycles of conjunction of the three trans-Saturnian planets we can conveniently and significantly identify and measure some of the most important rhythms of history and of the evolution of civilization all over the globe; and I am referring particularly to the nearly 500-year long cycle of the Neptune-Pluto conjunctions (the last one having occurred in 1891-92 early in the sign, Gemini) and to the cycles of Uranus and Neptune, or Uranus and Pluto.
      Here, however, I shall only mention a few points which refer to the pair Uranus-Neptune and are especially relevant to the subject of this book, leaving a vast amount of material concerning the three trans-Saturnian planets to be dealt with in another volume.(1) Uranus and Neptune constitute indeed a closely related pair, in that they represent in the type of astro-psychology I am presenting the two aspects of the function of self-transformation and self-transcending, at least in its preliminary manifestations.
      A Saturnian world is a closed, circular safe world a world of endlessly repetitive processes. Uranus makes of it an open field in which "ex-centric" (centrifugal) forces either persistently or periodically win over "con-centric" (gravitational) habits and a conformistic tradition-worshiping mentality. Uranus' victory may be explosive, if the resistance of Saturnian entrenched interests and concepts is too great to allow any compromise or give-and-take. But Uranus is not necessarily the advocate of revolutionary violence. It represents the centrifugal push that, if not stubbornly resisted by the concentric pull of Saturn, acts at every point of a cycle, transforming circular into spiral motion i.e. motion that harmoniously and beautifully expands from center outward, as is shown in a perfect spiral, such as nature shows us in the shape of a seashell like that of the nautilus.
      Alas, in this world of earth-matter and at this present stage of human evolution, harmonious transformations toward the state of open, ever-expanding selfhood are very rare, for the products of man's mind (concepts, institutions, religions, etc.) possess a powerful inertia i.e. a resistance to change. Thus Uranus has, most of the time, to act where there are strongly disturbed areas and emotional pressures in a human personality, or when a society is passing through an acute crisis (war, defeat, economic depression, collective fear, etc.). The action of the Uranus force upon the critical area of the personality or the society tends as a result to be explosive; yet in most cases this action has become acceptable to the more aware parts of the personality (or the society) which nevertheless may be suffering from and fears the spread or intensification of the disturbing factors.
      The same is true with regard to Neptune; but this planet deals with the realm of feelings and values rather than with the mind and its traditional concepts or personal blockages. Feelings too can be constricted or totally blocked by fear and anxiety; values can be frozen up into a rigid state in which any suspicion of change causes a tight ego-shell to close up until the danger to the status quo appears to be past. Complexes are generated which it is the function of Neptune to dissolve, or, in many cases, merely to elude.
      What Uranus has shattered, Neptune then dissolves. It is the "iuniversal solvent" of the alchemists. But Neptune refers also to all means a human being uses to escape from unbearable repetitive Saturn-controlled conditions, for instance, home drudgery, assembly-line factory work, monotonous form-filling typing, etc. Boredom and a depressive state of feelings result from such repetitive activities unless the performer can feel deeply within himself their value, that is, unless he accepts them wholly because they serve a high purpose which he has truly made his own. Boredom and a sense of futility generate a yearning for escape. This desire can lead, in time, to psychotic states; but at first we see it active in drinking, drug-taking, compulsive traveling and fun-seeking or love-making, and in many forms of pseudo-mysticism or supposedly "cosmic" consciousness.
      Neptune in this negative aspect is the escape into formlessness, irrationality and meaninglessness. It acts wherever man by some intoxicating glamor abdicates from his individual selfhood. In its positive aspect, however, Neptune refers to the vision of a realm in which forms are "open" and all-inclusive, and to the deep faith a person has in the possibility that he or she may be of real service in helping to make actual on this earth the sublime (or subliminal) realities of such a transcendent and trans-Saturnian realm.
      Uranus and Neptune should work together in making possible the transition between todays dominated by Saturnian yesterdays and creative moments utterly dedicated to glowing tomorrows. But often they do not, and this generates not actual complexes, but negative answers to complexes (or social-cultural crystallizations). Complexes, however, do develop when a naturally strong Uranus-Neptune function of self-transformation has become repeatedly frustrated. As we have already seen, this may produce a "sense of guilt" which can poison the soul and distort the mind.
      Negative forms of Uranus-Neptune activity can occur also when the great vision of a Prophet, a true mystic, a creative pioneer in one field or another, becomes materialized and so formalized that it loses all its radiant openness to life and to the tide of universal change. As the vision materializes into an organized religion (or any rigid social-cultural institution) it falls into a condition of subserviency to the Jupiter-Saturn purposes. This is more or less inevitable at present, but it calls in due time for the relatively violent operation of the too long inactive Uranus-Neptune function.
      With Pluto a state of more or less total denudation of the personality is reached. Pluto atomicizes all substances, reducing them to their most primitive elements. It lays bare all the stagnant depths of human nature, punctures all the unconscious shams, destroys all glamor, renders escapes futile and sickening. But it does all this symbolically speaking so that the seed it holds preciously within its realm (the beautiful "Proserpine") may find rich humus for its growth when the springtime of a new cycle begins.
      Everything, indeed, in life serves an ultimate purpose and contributes to the everlasting Harmony of universal existence even the most stubborn complexes and the deepest fears or emotional tragedies; for they are needed to polarize, when the time comes, the most intense activity of the transforming powers of life.
      The activity of these powers becomes more understandable and predictable to the wise student of astrology, as he or she studies the cycles of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto in the lives of individuals and nations. Through such an activity, man experiences the mysterious process of metamorphosis at the end of which he reaches the full actualization of the potentialities so long hidden within his innermost seed-being. He becomes not merely a greater human being, but "more-than-man." He becomes one with the "star" that is his spiritual essence. His consciousness no longer depends upon the Sun for bio-psychic sustainment, for he has become a participant in the Brotherhood of Stars, our immensely vast Galaxy.

1. The Sun Is Also A Star: The Galactic Dimension in Astrology (Dutton and Co., New York. 1975).  Return

By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1966 and 1976 by Dane Rudhyar
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