Stars, Constellations and Signs of the Zodiac - 4
The Nature of Astrology
Perhaps one of the basic issues, in this controversy between proponents of the two zodiacs, refers to the very nature of astrology; it involves also a general attitude to mankind's evolution. Most astrologers today have a tendency to think of astrology as a very special "science" which presents to us definite facts and direct causal relationships to the universe, discovered after long centuries of patient observations by generations of star-gazers. They see the zodiac as something as real and tangible as, let us say, the Van Allen bands which surround our globe. The ordinary astrologer likewise takes for granted the validity of an accumulated astrological "knowledge". For him, astrology is a thing apart, having its holy traditions; and, according to the siderealists, this tradition suffered a dreadful perversion — somewhat as Catholics used to think of Luther's Reformation.
A variety of theories have been formulated to try to explain what actually the zodiac i s, as a factual astronomical entity. The zodiac's division into twelve constellations, the shapes and the basic meanings of these star-groups (very heterogeneous ones, in many cases!) have been taken as if they were truths obtained by divine Revelation. Perhaps they are; no one can prove or disprove it. I simply do not follow such a line of thought, perhaps because I see astrology as the practical application of a basic universal philosophy which, while it is not at all new, nevertheless should be given a quite new, modern formulation so as to become a valid and convincing basis for a truly modern (or is it "future"?) human mentality.
I feel that astrology has always been — when formulated as a system of thinking — the application of a weltanschauung (world-view) the scope of which was much more extensive than the mere observation of the sky and the attempt to forecast coming events on this planet, Earth. This is why I said that the constellations of the zodiac are mythological entities; they are extraordinarily significant images, just as the Tarot cards or the Yi Ching hexagrams and their pictorializations are most significant symbolic pictures. All this zodiacal lore — including rulerships and exaltations as well as the four elements, etc. — are not the most essential factors in astrology; and certainly they should not be set once and for all as dogmas.
Astrology, as I see it, essentially is dealing with cycles of motions and cosmic (or bio-cosmic) rhythms. It is dealing with "form" or gestalt — with structuring principles inherent in every organized system of activities; thus in every whole. It is not a question of literal, direct, external influence exerted by some celestial body upon entities living on this earth. Astrology is a way of studying and understanding the arrangement or organization of a few essential functions and drives in every organized whole of activity. In olden days this concept was expressed as the structural correspondence between microcosm and macrocosm; but originally it was the entire earth which was seen as the microcosm, analogical in basic structure to the whole universe. Only later on as the process of human individualization proceeded and individual persons emerged from the all-pervading and totally controlling collective matrices of tribal societies, did such individual persons come to be regarded as microcosms — a fact which Jesus powerfully affirmed when he said: "The kingdom of heaven is within you."
This was a startling statement for men whose consciousness was still moulded by the basic experiences and beliefs of the tribal order; and in a very real sense it set astrology on a basically new foundation. This foundation was well understood in the Syria of the time of the Crusades. We find it developed in Medieval Alchemy, and stressed by the great Paracelsus, and in a somewhat different way by Boehme. Theirs was the true astrology — not that of the kingly or princely courts of the Renaissance and the Classical era.
By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1969 by Dane Rudhyar
and Copyright © 2001 by Leyla Rudhyar Hill
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