Stars, Constellations and Signs of the Zodiac - 5
The astrology which built the zodiac of constellations and all that belongs to it refers fundamentally to what has been called the "Vitalistic Age". It was the Age that presumably saw the rise of agriculture on the banks of large rivers whether in China, Northern India, Mesopotamia or Egypt and the development everywhere of "cults of fertility" and "Solar Myths", later expanded in a variety of "Great Mysteries". An earlier period of human evolution refers to the Animistic Ages in which men saw everywhere "spirits" and sought to propitiate them; but Animism blended with Vitalism — and it is still with us in a new form (the "atomistic approach" to the universe) — while the Vitalistic imagery of the Mediterranean cultures before Christ was re-embodied under new names in the rituals and festivals of the Catholic Church. Traditional zodiacal astrology is largely influenced by such earlier approaches to existence.
To say that this zodiac of constellations is mythological is merely to say that it was a creation of a type of mentality which stressed greatly — and for this period of history most validly — the myth-making faculty of the human psyche. Our modern science has succeeded in bringing such a faculty in great disfavor; but recent psychological schools of thought and practice are once more emphasizing its value in psychotherapy. Many individuals today long for this mythical world to which they had become alien. And this is no doubt one of the reasons for the resurgence of interest in astrology, particularly among the young people who refuse to become identified with, and integrated in our technological and computerized social-political system. I am very much in favor of a new development of the myth-making faculty; but mankind needs new myths and a new feeling of relationship to the universe, and not the reinstatement of the Egyptian, Chaldean or Hindu imagery. We have to start afresh from the facts of our modern experience enlarged by the discoveries of modern astronomy. Astrology interprets the facts which astronomy and physics reveal to us — but I mean here really facts and not merely hypotheses which change every few years.
I have no doubt that sooner or later a "galactic astrology" will develop as a result of our so-called "Space Age". In it man may transcend the limitations of our geocentric and narrowly heliocentric approach. It would describe the relationship of a human observer anywhere to the galaxy. Such an astrology would deal with stars, but not as "fixed" celestial bodies. It would see them as functional units in the immensely vast system of activities which we call the Milky Way. Such a galactic type of astrology would presumably use as a base line the intersection of the plane of the celestial equator (a prolongation of the actual equator of the earth) and the plane of our lentil-shaped galaxy (the Milky Way). The recent discoveries made by Dr. Giorgio Piccardi, director of the Institute of physical chemistry in Florence, Italy, concerning the effect of still unknown cosmic radiations on water, seem to link the observed effect with the constantly changing relationship between these two planes (cf. Michel Gauquelin's book Cosmic Clocks first published in French under the title L'Astrologie devant la Science.)
Unfortunately we know so little as yet about the stars as individual sources of radiations, or as "cells" in the vast cosmic body of the galaxy, that it is very difficult to interpret their meaning, and the Medieval lore about the "fixed stars" is certainly not reliable. Nevertheless, when we deal with humanity as a whole — as a functional system of activities within the earth-entity, we are confronted with the vast process of unfoldment of human civilization and it is to this process that the precessional cycle refers.
This cycle, I repeat, is one of the three most basic cyclic motions of our planet — the other two being the day and the year cycles. The day refers to the sequence of stages or levels at which the consciousness of man operates; the year, to the series of yearly changes in the manner in which solar energies operate on our globe, stimulating cyclically the rhythm of life on the earth-surface. The precessional cycle refers to the gradual, but basically periodical transformations of the collective consciousness of mankind — and, we may assume, of other life-species.
I should add here that this precessional cycle, being the result of a motion of our planet, refers essentially to the unfoldment of what is inherent in the earth itself as an organic whole. On the other hand, the cycles of the planets which compose the solar system should be considered as frames of reference for the effect of the solar system as a whole upon the earth. The planets are external factors; they refer to what happens in our immediate cosmic environment. Their combined motions within the vast spaces which are filled with radiation from the sun produce very complex currents, and everything on this earth is affected in some way by these whirlpools of energy.
The stars also are centers of radiation within the larger cosmic whole within which the sun and the entire solar system is revolving at immense speed. If they represent anything in the symbolic language of astrology, it is the presence of transcendental Powers — powers to which we may be related in various ways, constructive or destructive, when we emerge from the womb of earth-bound consciousness and rise beyond the compulsion of biological-emotional drives which are inherent in the nature of the solar and lunar forces animating our body and psyche. But I am speaking here of single stars, or perhaps of groups of closely related stars — related by their age and the direction of their motions — and not of man-made zodiacal constellations along the path of the apparent annual motion of the sun, the ecliptic. Single stars are actual facts within the Milky Way; constellations are mythological images. The two must not be confused.
By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1969 by Dane Rudhyar
and Copyright © 2001 by Leyla Rudhyar Hill
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