III. RUDHYAR'S INTEGRATION OF EXPERIENCE AND CONCEPTS
Any person having the possibility of working, consciously or unconsciously, at whatever level, as an agent for sociocultural transformation has somehow to establish an effective relation with some developing trend in the society whose collective or group consciousness is to be transformed. While the fields of music and the philosophy of culture were the first in which Rudhyar demonstrated his transformative vision, when he came to America (November 1916 to New York, January 1920 to Los Angeles), these fields were most undeveloped, and the response to his revolutionary ideas was minimal. After 1932, Rudhyar's activity in the field of astrology, which barely existed in America at the time, became the means to establish the necessary contact with a potentially large American public. This contact was made possible by Paul Clancy, who offered to Rudhyar the pages of his new magazine American Astrology, which soon became successful. Clancy gave Rudhyar carte blanche to use the magazine as a channel for his astrological reform along psychospiritual and philosophical lines.
Rudhyar had learned the principles and techniques of traditional astrology in 1920-21, at the headquarters of the Theosophical Society at Krotona. He had come there to write scenic music for the Pilgrimage Play depicting the life of Christ, and it was there that he came in close contact with theosophical and, in general, occult doctrines. The books on astrology he read were mostly by Alan Leo and Sepharial, both of whom were theosophists trying to revive classical European astrology in England, and by the Rosicrucian, Max Heindl.
In 1931, the mimeographed courses on astrology written by the philosopher-occultist Marc Edmund Jones for his small experimental group, the Sabian Assembly (of which Rudhyar was never a member), made him aware of new possibilities for astrology. In 1932 and 1933, his reading of the first translated books of the psychologist C. G. Jung, of Holism and Evolution by the philosopher-statesman Jan Smuts, and works on the new
Einsteinian physics, sparked in his mind the idea of integrating astrology and depth-psychology in terms of the holistic approach emerging in philosophy and atomic physics. In relation to his theosophical and metaphysical studies, he realized that astrology could serve as a link between the cosmic and the psychological. In relation to depth-psychology, which dealt with the contents of the psyche, a reformulated astrology could reveal the basic structure of a person's personality and life.
The Great Depression (which made it impossible for him to continue giving lecture-recitals at the homes of patrons of the arts) and the practical responsibilities of his marriage in 1930 made Paul Clancy's offer to publish monthly articles in American Astrology still more important. Alice Bailey's subsequent offer to publish Rudhyar's first large treatise on astrology, The Astrology of Personality
(1936), and New Mansions for New Men
(1938) added even more weight to his new enterprise.
During the next forty years, Rudhyar published several articles each month, not only in American Astrology, where he filled a section entitled "Psychological Astrology," but also (after 1939) in Horoscope, World Astrology, Current Astrology, The Astrologer, and others. Some of these articles were published under the pseudonyms Francis J. Ramsay and Daniel Morison, so as to avoid having too many articles by the same author in one issue of a magazine. In all, Rudhyar wrote about a thousand articles, of which an estimated quarter of a trillion copies were printed and circulated.
The basic ideas Rudhyar outlined in his articles eventually were incorporated into twenty books on astrology, which are now being translated into six languages. Almost single-handedly, he has reformulated astrology in the twentieth century. While many ideas he was the first to formulate have now become integral to modern astrological thinking, many also have become materialized, "pop-psychologized," or banalized by being only partly understood or taken out of context, and many recent students of astrology may be unaware of their origin. Nevertheless, the popularity of his astrological ideas continues to grow in America and abroad as well as recognition of him as a philosopher with a new cosmic as well as psychological vision.
Technical and specific interpretive matters aside, Rudhyar has stressed the following themes, among others, in astrology:
- The function of astrology in all ancient cultures has been to answer man's most basic need the need to feel secure by seeing order in existence. Or, one could also say, that the perception of celestial order confirms man's innate belief that there is order in existence. In either case, the perception of celestial order (astrology) has been the basis of all culture, religion, and science.
- Why the revival of interest in astrology: The two basic frames of reference for order and security in Euro-American culture are science and religion. Reacting against and compensating for centuries of religious dogmatism, the modern mind has become, both, pervaded by glamour and illusions concerning science and disillusioned with it. This is because of the spectacular success of science and its technology's dismal failure to make life more secure. "No wonder then that distraught members of an equally chaotic society increasingly turn to ancient concepts of order and security."
- Rudhyar does not, however, see the revival of interest in astrology as only a return to ancient concepts. He sees "a transformed astrology as a door into a future realm of understanding order and feeling secure . . . My ultimate aim in reformulating astrology has not been to help people using or studying astrology feel secure by avoiding the unpredictable and traumatic. It has been to transform the search for a static kind of security-by-avoidance into a search for a dynamic kind of security that can be achieved only through understanding the place and meaning of the cathartic and transformative in human life."
- There is no one thing called Astrology (with a capital A). There are and have been many astrologies, each representing the kind of order a particular culture sees in celestial motions, the kind of relationship the culture formulates between heaven and earth.
The kind of order and security astrology can provide today is symbolic and holarchic. Rudhyar does not rely upon theories of planetary "influences" or "energies" to justify astrology, but believes that our culture's perceptions of celestial order the solar system is for us a symbol of the greater whole in which we "live, move, and have our being."
Signs of the zodiac, planets, aspects (that is, angular relationships between planets), houses of the horoscope, and so on are all symbols derived from our culture's astronomical facts of celestial motions; they symbolize basic principles and functional activities that operate everywhere according to parallel or corresponding rhythms in the sky, in human collectivities, in the lives of individual persons. In other words, whatever has ordered and organized the solar system and the motions of the planets also orders processes of existence on earth.
For Rudhyar, astrology is a symbolic language wherein a part (or lesser whole a person) can read the "message" of the greater whole writ large.
- For a particular person, this celestial message is symbolized by his or her horoscope a map of the celestial situation at the exact time, from the perspective of the particular place, of the newborn's first breath. This first breath symbolically and existentially unites the newborn with the whole biosphere air being the element that, circulating rapidly around the whole planet, is breathed by all living creatures.
The birth-chart is essentially a symbol of the need of the greater whole in potential answer to which one's birth occurred. It is one's "celestial name," one's dharma or truth-of-being, what one is born for. Rudhyar's approach to astrology is thus purposive rather than merely descriptive: it aims at helping human beings fulfill the purpose for which they were born. Nothing in a birth-chart, transits, or progressions (actual and symbolic celestial motions after birth) is in itself "good" or "bad," "fortunate" or "unfortunate. " Everything astrological and existential is what it is because it needs to be that way.
Astrological symbols reveal structural, not existential knowledge. Progressions and transits are like clocks and calendars: they symbolize the passage of time and mark its structural divisions or turning points; they do not make things happen. In relation to actual events and periods of life, they symbolize particular functional activities or life-themes and thus reveal ("re-veil") the meaning of the event or period. They do not indicate precisely what will happen.
- Rudhyar was probably the first to stress the astrologer's psychological responsibility to the client: the astrologer should function neither as oracle nor judge, but as a "consultant" to the client, bearing in mind the psychological implications of predictions ("good" or "bad") or pronouncements. The astrologer's main aim should be to help the client understand the meaning of his or her situation, of what has happened in the past, and how all experiences and events can be seen as phases of a process from birth to death.
- In order to clarify his approach and differentiate it from others, Rudhyar has called it by various names:
Harmonic astrology was used mainly in the 1930s and '40s The term was meant to show that astrology could reveal the "harmony of the whole person." It saw the birthchart as a formula for integrating the various aspects and functions of the personality for maximum intensity and fulfillment in living.
Person-centered astrology This term was used in the late 1960s in contrast to "event-oriented" astrology. It was meant to evoke the idea that, essentially, events do not happen to persons, persons happen to events that is, the meaning a person gives to an event, and the response he or she makes to it, are more important than the specific nature of the event itself.
Humanistic astrology This term was used also in the late 1960s to show that Rudhyar saw his approach to astrology in similar relation to the field of astrology as humanistic psychology was to the field of psychology. Humanistic psychology was a "third force" or alternative to Freudian psychoanalysis on one hand and statistical, experimental behaviorism on the other. Rudhyar's humanistic astrology was also a "third force," an alternative to both the traditional, predictive (fortune-telling) approach and a newly developing approach endeavoring to justify astrology statistically and to practice it according to statistical findings.
- Astrology and statistics: Statistics deal only with large groups and have no bearing on individuals. Given the premise that in 75 out of 100 cases, astrological factor X produces or is associated with Y situation, an astrologer dealing with a particular client has no reason to assume that the client will be one of the 75% rather than one of the 25%.
- Astrology, academic "respectability," and licensing:
"In a field remarkable for its multiplicity of doctrines, none of which can be proven solely valid for validity depends as much on the level of consciousness and the attitude of the client as on the technical knowledge of the astrologer the possibility for some group to politically dominate the entire field is evident [viz. the AMA in medicine] . . . Obviously, many astrologers are not fit to affect the lives of their clients . . . But passing a state examination would not prove their ability to deal constructively with the multitude of psychological problems with which their clients may confront them."
"If popular and scientifically-oriented astrology today represent a 'mainstream,' then [the astrology] I have envisioned would be its 'counterculture. ' It was meant as a challenge to the ordinary popular type of astrology to accept co-existence with a 'cosmopsychology' which is but part of a far wider movement of cultural and social transformation. An astrology taught in colleges, but divorced from such a movement and mainly intent on the development of a professionalism supported by national or state regulations would have, in my opinion, little meaning in the present world-crisis a crisis of consciousness."
- Transpersonal astrology:
Like the pioneers of the humanistic movement in psychology, Rudhyar acknowledged the limitations and omissions of a strictly humanistic approach to astrology. Although he had used the term transpersonal in 1930, he did not write specifically about transpersonal astrology until the early 1970s. Long before, however, whenever he wrote or spoke about the trans-Saturnian planets, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto whose "influences" conventional astrologers characterized as "malefic" Rudhyar spoke about them as symbols of transformation, of going beyond the safe, secure realm of sociocultural convention and tradition and the circumference of individual selfbood (frames of reference symbolized by Saturn).
Transpersonal astrology addresses itself to the needs of individuals who realize that mere satisfaction the growth and fulfillment of their individuality at a strictly personal or cultural level is not an end in itself.
We usually think we are acting futureward when we try to actualize our birth-potentials, but what is actualized is mainly a prolongation, and usually only a superficially modified repetition, of our genetic and sociocultural past. The possibility of reaching a transindividual level forces us to choose between allegiance to a past we seek to fulfill in our own personal way and a future evolutionary state requiring radical transformation.
While a person-centered or humanistic approach is a tool for helping a person develop his or her birth-potentials (including the potentiality for individualized selfhood) harmoniously along socioculturally acceptable lines, transpersonal astrology tries to evoke for the individual eager for self-transcendence the possibility of using every circumstance, event, tension, and crisis as a means to overcome the inertia of his or her past, of social and mental habits, and above all, of the resistance of the "I" (the principle of individuality) to anything that would undermine its centralizing and controlling authority that is, a radical transformation based on the realization that the "I" is a functional part of a much greater whole. Such a realization should form the foundation, not so much for a "giving up" of the "I," but for the self-consecration of the "I" to the performance of its dharma within and on behalf of the greater whole.
Transpersonal astrology is not "esoteric astrology," nor is it based on some sort of "soul chart." The same birthchart is the foundation for both a humanistic and transpersonal interpretation. It represents what a human organism starts from, the "givens" of his or her life. Generically, the human being has the possibility of becoming a person (sociocultural level), then a self-actualizing, autonomous individual, and eventually of growing beyond the state of strictly individual selfhood.
The birth-chart is actually a "snapshot" of the state of the solar system (seen from a particular place on earth) at the time a human being is born. It is a moment in an immense continuum of activity involving all celestial factors and implying both the historical past and future momentum of their movements. Likewise, a human being is also a small area of space in the midst of the immense wave which is the evolution of mankind. It is an area into which a vast number of ancestral and sociocultural currents of psychic, mental, and spiritual forces converge. The humanistic approach concentrates on this convergence of factors shown by the birth-chart as a formula for personality integration and fulfillment. The transpersonal approach concentrates on the dynamic process of transformation implied in the birth-chart and its future movement (progressions).
The humanistic approach concentrates on horizontal relationships (relationships between entities operating at the same level one's ancestors and family [biological level]; peers, associates, friends, lovers, spouses, and so on [sociocultural or individual level]. The transpersonal approach, on the other hand, concentrates on vertical relationships that is, on the relationship between an individual (lesser whole) and the greater whole (in on sense humanity and the planet earth, in another the spiritual Quality and the Soul Field).
- Transpersonal astrology and the transmutation of karma into dharma:
Karma represents the inertia of past patterns and currents of energies
- in terms of one's ancestors and genetic background (biological level)
- in terms of the past of one's society and culture (sociocultural level)
- in terms of one's past decisions and actions (individual level)
- in terms of the relative successes or failures of one's predecessor personalities in relation to the Soul Field (transindividual level)
Dharma represents the potential meaning and purpose the greater whole (humanity or the Soul Field) has invested in the birth of a new human being. It is what the newborn could do for humanity and what it will help him or her to do, if help is possible. The inertia of karma, however, may force merely a repetition of old patterns.
Such a repetition would be almost inevitable if there were no possibility of the greater whole deliberately interacting with the lesser whole, the human being.
The transpersonal way is that path on which karma is transmutated into dharma: the inertia of the individual's past is used to fulfill a need of humanity. Along that way, crises serve to challenge the individual to stop acting as a creature of the past and to become a creator of the future or rather, to become a focusing agent through whom humanity (or the Soul Field) is able to fulfill a particular, limited purpose.
Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto symbolize three steps or stages on the transpersonal way:
- some kind of crisis that reveals the inability of a strictly humanistic or person-centered approach to "solve" one's problems (Uranus)
- the process of becoming objective to forces of the past which condition one's actions, feelings, and thoughts; of deconditioning and severance (Neptune)
- a process of complete catharsis and repolarization, that is, the formation and empowerment of a new set of images polarizing one's mind and life and rebirth (Pluto).
- Astrological cycles symbolizing collective and planetary
As the possibilities for personal or individual growth or transformation are to a great extent defined by the stage of collective (generic and archetypal) human development, astrological symbols of long cycles can be of significant help in understanding the possibilities implied in our collective situation:
(a) Hindu chronology speaks of multiples of a great cycle of 4,320,000 years, the lengths of four ages proceeding according to a descending arithmetic progression: Satya Yuga (4 units), Trκtya Yuga (3 units), Dvβpara Yuga (2 units), Kali Yuga (1 unit 432,000 years). For Rudhyar, this cycle represents the involution of a spiritual impulse, which "decays" as it becomes increasingly "involved" in matter and loses its initial purity. Kali Yuga, the Dark Age, whose first 5,000 years ended in 1898 A.D., is not only the end of a great cycle, but also the period of gestation of a new humanity leading to the birth of a new Golden Age (Satya Yuga).
(b) In a more limited sense, astrologically speaking, the 26,000-year cycle of precession of the equinoxes and its twelve subdivisions or Ages (Piscean, Aquarian, and so on) refer to the evolution of the planet earth and mankind. Thus the now-ending Piscean Age the beginning of which Rudhyar puts at about 97-100 B.C. marked the beginning not only of an Age, but of a complete 26,000-year cycle.
For Rudhyar, the keynote of the 26,000-year cycle that ended when the Piscean Age began was cultivation; the keynote of the present cycle, universalization.
What Rudhyar calls the Christ-Impulse constitutes the dynamizing, polarizing impulse, not only for the Piscean Age, but for the entire 26,000-year cycle. During the Piscean Age it was polarized by (or found its matrix for development in) the image of Caesar the conqueror and administrator, the material, psychological counterpart to Jesus's revelation "involving" itself into human substance. Thus the first phase of this 26,000-year cycle has been one of both transcendent idealism and conflict. It was embodied in the European culture-cycle during the Christian era there, its prelude having begun about 600 B.C.
For Rudhyar, the Aquarian Age will not begin until about 2060 A.D., but the transition toward it (a "seed period" of one tenth of an Age) began about 1844-46. In 1844, the Persian prophet, the Bab, announced the end of an age and the impending appearance of a divine manifestation who would sound the creative "tone" of a new era of human evolution. Nineteen years later, Baha'u'llah declared himself to be this manifestation and founded the Baha'i Faith actually a program for global organization based on divine revelation. Polarizing the Baha'i image of world order came the communist image projected by Marx, whose Communist Manifesto was published in 1848. Both movements represent firsts at outlining a truly global organization one based on spiritual principles, the other on atheistic materialism and control of the means of producing goods. The accent on globality and humanitarian ideals also was symbolized by the discovery of the planet Neptune in 1846.
As the Aquarian Age will be the second period of the 26,000-year cycle, it should witness a substantiation (the keynote of phase 2 of any cycle) of the Christ-Impulse. But much collective karma of religious dogmatism and materialistic reaction against it must be neutralized and overcome, perhaps especially in the first half of the coming Age.
(c) While the Ages of the precessional cycle refer to cyclic developments affecting the growth and dissolution of culture-wholes proper, the process of civilization is keyed to a 10,000-year rhythm symbolized by multiple cycles of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. The successive conjunctions of Pluto and Neptune at about 500-year intervals define significant sub-rhythms in this process.
Because Pluto's orbit is highly elongated and Neptune's nearly circular, twice in each Pluto/Neptune cycle Pluto passes inside the orbit of Neptune. As this occurs, Pluto and Neptune move at about the same rate, so their relationship remains relatively the same for nearly a century. Since about 1941, Pluto and Neptune have been in sextile an aspect of about 60 degrees symbolizing organization. While such a long aspect occurs about every 250 years, it is not always a sextile following (rather than preceding) a conjunction. The "Enlightenment" period of the American and French revolutions occurred toward the end of a century-long trine (an aspect symbolizing the expression of creative vision). Toward the end of the last long sextile like ours, Constantinople fell to the Turks, and many Byzantine scholars fled to northern Italy where they sparked the Humanist movement and the Italian Renaissance. In our present long sextile (which will end around 2030). Tibet has been overtaken by the Chinese, and many Buddhist scholars and Tibetan lamas have emigrated to the West.
The function of a period whose "signature" is such a long sextile is to organize in form what was released under the preceding Pluto/Neptune conjunction (1891-92). During that time, the World Parliament of Religions was held in Chicago, and for the first time Americans heard some of the Eastern wisdom directly from learned Orientals. Technological inventions of the last decade of the nineteenth century are too numerous to mention here but perhaps most significant among them was the discovery of radium by Mme. Curie in 1898.
(d) Astrologically, our century has been one of crisis and transition. Between 1892 and 2000 all interplanetary cycles end and begin anew (at least once, some several times because their periods are short enough). Most significant have been and will be the Pluto/Uranus conjunctions of 1966-67 and the Neptune/Uranus conjunctions of 1993. While the period surrounding the Pluto/Uranus conjunctions emphasized the liberating, revolutionary symbolism of Uranus and Aquarius (there was a "stellium" of seven planets in Aquarius in 1962), the period surrounding the Neptune/Uranus conjunctions of 1993 will emphasize the consolidating, more reactionary symbolism of Capricorn although Capricorn also symbolizes the "great hope of rebirth and self-renewal, the glad tidings of Christ-birth" (the Neptune/Uranus conjunction itself occurs in Capricorn and there will be a stellium of seven planets in Capricorn in 1994). Between now and then, Libra (1981-83 interpersonal and international relationships and diplomacy) and Sagittarius (1983-88 expansion, formulation of philosophy or ideology) will be highlighted in turn.
Rudhyar often mentions a remark made by a theosophist-occultist who was a significant exemplar for him early in his life, "There is nothing one can do to Kali Yuga, but there is a great deal one can do in Kali Yuga." For Rudhyar, exactly what happens as our century ends and the transition to the much-awaited (and often overly idealized and utopianized) Aquarian Age accelerates is of relatively little importance. What counts is the quality of mind, involvement, and response individuals offer to the challenges of their lives and times. He often bewails the young generations' ignorance of and disinterest in history, for he feels that opportunities for transformation now are not totally different from what they were at major turning points in the past. Individuals living then, however, lacked the truly global perspective we can have today, and there were not publicly available to them the occult-esoteric principles which today can give structure, objectivity, and clarity to an understanding of evolutionary processes.
For Rudhyar, the one essential requirement for collective or individual transformation is the development of a new mentality a new mind able to meet and envision the future because free from the "ghosts" of the past: a mind consciously formed and structured to be a clear lens for focusing transpersonal activity; a mind consciously accepting its evolutionary function to be the vessel in which spirit and matter can become harmonized.
By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1983 by Leyla Raλl
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