An Observational Approach by Francis Evans

The study of Astrology has been carried out in a somewhat analytical and intellectual manner. Many claims for certain “knowledge” being more the “truth” than other interpretations has been apparent. The great sages of all time have been quick to offer useful techniques, though few ever seem to use these techniques, either on themselves nor on their experience at large. Following on from the work about polarity and paradox, as presented in the “Mirrored Being”, I want to present a new approach to astrology, that not only gives personal insight into ones own psychological make-up, shows where the soul is karmically on the road to evolutionary perfection, but an approach that is a path in its own right towards personal, social and spiritual growth.

This approach is scientific, in that it is based on constant observation, observation of the self, observation of your place on Earth, and observation of your place in the cosmos. Such observation is not made out of a trance state, whereby certain meanings are assigned to the observations, other than those that are bound with known data from many recorded observations.

There are three principles that may be used to augment these observations, being:-

  1. As above, so below and its converse. Thus anything observable in the heavens has a correspondence in the world, and anything observable in the world has a correspondence in the cosmos. Any theory may have validity if there is something observable to sustain it. All other theories should be placed in a category of “No supporting Evidence”, until something does arise to sustain it. As an aspirant, this should apply to all theory, no matter from how “reliable” a source it comes.
  2. The second principle is the Law of Correspondence. This law recognises that where two things have observable similarities, either in appearance or in behaviour, then there is a link between them, at some level.
  3. The last operating principle is that all truth is ultimately observable, greater truths are observable everywhere.

These principles are actually enough to generate a path into reality, guided by a adaptation of astrological understandings. So where did this understanding originate. Like all original thought, this conception originated with the synthesis from a number of streams. Streams of thought can be conceived of much like independent rivers flowing on their course through consciousness. Many such streams run parallel to each other, and require an experiential crisis to cause them to amalgamate into a new flow, much stronger and powerful.

One of the streams was a evening of trying to understand the meanings and usefulness of the asteroids in natal charts. The presentation came about from information from a single source, and certain mythological stories. As the only male presenter, and indeed only male in the room, I found that the interpretation and the manner of expressing it was actually very demeaning to the male principle and a very one-sided view of the god Jupiter. My male presentation was basically a factual analysis, and in the process I realised that most people, astrologers included had forgotten one totally obvious observable understanding, that we live on earth. That when we look out from Earth, we look through the influences of the planetary orbits, and therefore cannot see except through these filters.I was suddenly reminded that symbolically we may only look in one direction at a time, and looking in that direction, means that we cannot see the opposite directions. I will develop this in detail at a later time.

The second stream that occurred, was that I picked up a book I had bought on the teachings of Gurdjieff, which I had first encountered as Ouspensky’s “Fourth Way” a long time ago. I mention this only to show that this was not my first encounter with Gurdjieff and Sufi teaching. In this method, we are to consider that man has seven centres or minds. These are:- Moving centre; Instinctive centre; Sex centre; Emotional centre; Intellectual centre; Higher Emotional centre and Higher Intellectual centre. These centres can be said to operate in a three tier way. Rather than going into the method too deeply here, suffice to say that the average man is seen as being asleep, operating from the lower three centres. In order to wake up the approach is to teach a practice called self-remembering. Gurdjieff teaches that in order to wake up one must first remember that you are indeed asleep. The first steps then, is to consciously observe yourself every moment of the day, and assign which centre you are operating out of. The system does not consider one centre better than another, rather that each centre has a purpose and certain abilities, and areas of being that should be deal with from that centre are not taken by another centre. The ultimate sense of this method, and the most important, is that one observes where one is, exactly where one is without any embellishments.

When we apply this principle to our astrological approach we see that we have not been doing this precisely. The native is always looking out into the cosmos from Earth, this much is obvious. So let us consider here the obvious observations that are made.

To look out into the solar system at all we must first look through the orbit of the Moon. The moon is continually changing phases, but always presents us with the same face. If we accept that the moon has something to do with our emotional states, then it is evident that we, the observer, cannot look at anything except through our emotions. To begin to see anything clearly at all, first we must stabilise our emotional states. The Moon is deemed to be the female light, primarily because it is a reflective one.

The solar system relies totally on the Sun for life, and the gravitational force creates the stability for all the planets. The Sun radiates out the energy that sustains us individually and as a living planet. For this reason we can attach to it the fundamental essence of life, the internal driver, which we know as both soul and spirit. The Sun is deemed to be the male light, because it is the emissive and radiating light. To look at the sun we must look through the orbits of Moon, Venus, Mercury, and possibly some of the smaller asteroids. Of course we cannot look at the Sun directly because it is too active, so we need some sort of mediator lens to look through.
Let us take the planets first.

Venus is the next planet to us, closer towards the sun. In order to look at the Sun, that is the inner self, we have to look through the orbit of Venus, the first and actually only, female planet. Rather than being a slight on women this is also a significant observation. Venus is assigned the nature of relationships, in particular loving relationships. In effect, Venus has the nature of true universal love. Hence, before you can achieve any sort of clarity about the inner realms, you have to be able to love. This love is a natural ability of woman, providing she has her face turned towards the Sun.Thus, before we can ever hope to become enlightened we must first create a quiet and calm emotional state, and then open our hearts to love.

Closer again to the Sun is Mercury. This planet is associated with the mind, and also with androgyny. Mercury is also known as Hermes, and in the western tradition is associated with the higher mental attributes of inspired magic. Actually, Hermaphroditus was the son of Hermes and Aphrodite (the Greek name for Venus).The myth is that he resisted the seductions of Salmacis, who subsequently begged the gods to never separate him from her, and thus their two bodies became one, having both sexual organs. Thus, in both cases there is a calming of the emotions, creating a loving heart, whence one can be inspired with higher knowledge, and through this knowledge one can at last be touched by the Sun, by the primary light and life. It is worth noting that Mercury is a very poisonous material when you come into contact with it, but as older people will remember, very enticing to play with. Because Mercury is a metal liquid at ordinary temperatures it makes a extremely flat shiny surface, and is used as the “perfect” mirror in some scientific equipment. Mercury, then, reflects the Solar nature to us.

All well and good. Here is the opposite viewpoint. Once again when we observe ourselves, are we truly attracted to the light or are we investigating our position in the world? You see, the first requires us to place our attention towards the inner light, and the other towards the outer universe. Let us see what happens. When we look outwards to the universe, the first thing we do is to turn our backs on the inner light, there is no alternative. Then when we look out we still have to go through the orbit of the Moon and then that of Mars. Mars is the most strongly male planet that has been attached to war. More truthfully, it is better seen as fight or flight. The main function of Mars is that of protection, of self and the family. What is it protecting itself from? When we look further afield, the main structures are the social planets. Thus, Mars protects us from going to far (Jupiter) and being too restricted (Saturn). This personal planet protects us from society.

The two lights, the personal planets and the social planets have been seen with the naked eye for millennia, but there are other ingredients that require other means to perceive. Somehow they are beyond the abilities of ordinary man or woman to see or understand. These are the transpersonal planets, which I will deal with later, and the asteroids. Although there seems to be an idea that these asteroids are all feminine, this is not the case, although the four major ones are.

Toni Wolff presented a fourfold typology of the feminine in a paper called “Structural Forms in the Feminine Psyche”. These four type operate in every woman’s psyche, although one or two are usually predominant. The four functions are:

  • The Mother:- This symbolises the functions of protection, nourishment, homemaking, and child rearing. Negatively it also represents possessiveness, over-protectiveness, and interference. This type of woman relates to a man through his function as a breadwinner. She may expect her children to adopt her social values and fulfill her vision for running their lives. Traditionally, the moon represents this archetype. Through the asteroids she is represented by Ceres.
  • The Daughter or Sister:- This is the love goddess Hathor, Aphrodite or Venus. Opposite to the mother, she is oriented towards personal relationship and unfolding herself and others as individuals. Ultimate love and personal interaction are her goals, along with avoiding confinement within the family or any social structure. Traditionally, represented by Venus, through the asteroids she is seen as Vesta.
  • The Amazon:- The Amazon woman relates to man more as a partner or competitor than a submissive wife or lover. She is oriented toward objective, cultural affairs and values, where individuality is fulfilled through a social responsibility. Negatively, she can become over efficient and insensitive to relationship and emotional needs. Traditionally, she is represented by Mercury, through the asteroids by Pallas Athene.
  • The Medium or Wise Woman:- She is the deeply subjective, intuitive, non-personal aspect of nature, open to the intangible elements of life. She also brings in the unconscious and unseen worlds. Negatively, she represents loss of identity and discrimination. Traditionally, she is represented by the planet Neptune, through the asteroids she is Juno.

It can be seen that although a certain interpretation has been placed on the four largest of the asteroids, they do not represent anything more than was already being represented through the traditional planets. However, this does not mean that they do not represent an attitude that we can learn about. The asteroids are extremely small and we may even call them insignificant, whereas the related planets are extremely large and significant by comparison. Three of these traditional planets lie between Earth and the essential Sun. The forth is one of the transpersonal planets, and actually is associated with the moon on another level. There is a general attitude with a significant group of women that suggests that anything traditional is another repression of feminism by the “patriarchy”. Such attitudes convert feminism into a outwardly looking protectorate, Marsian, through whose orbital focus one is forced to observe these asteroids. Such a viewpoint, has exaggerated the significance of the feminine asteroids, in an attempt to make women more vital in the world. This outlook, overlooks the real spirit nature of the inward looking feminine. This attitude can be explored through social history.

Woman for many years was confined and also interested in the home and children. It was a labour of love, that quite naturally attuned her towards the Venus qualities and thus towards the Source. Man, on the other hand was confined to foraging for sustenance and protecting the family. Such attention, naturally focused his attention towards Mars and its qualities. Prior to the Great Wars, woman was not that interested in man’s activities, and the territorial fights that ensued. But the First World War, changed that, for its ferocity and casualties brought women into the front lines, albeit as medics and auxiliaries. They also took over the support roles back home. This role shifted their attention from the Venusian direction and refocused it in the Marsian direction. The Second World War concretised this attention, and women began giving up their homemaker roles and became externally oriented. At the same time they lost their natural spiritual inclination. This loss has been acutely felt, and attributed quite correctly to the Marsian pull. Unfortunately, that pull has been accredited, unwisely, to men.

One result of this has been an introspection of the seemingly broken pieces of the psyche, which have been seen as these four major asteroids, in what is called the main asteroid belt. The problem is that look at them without firstly subduing the aggressive blaming tendencies of Mars, creates a view where they are attributed with greater importance and power than they actually have. The same can be said of the male asteroids, if the same level of importance is attached to them.

It is interesting to compare the four archetypes of women to the four archetypes of men. These archetypes are taken from Edward C. Whitmont’s book “The Symbolic Quest”.

  • The Father:- which symbolises structure and order, the ideal leader, king, protector, and lawgiver, the upholder of social conventions and values. Such a man sees women and children as wards or subjects. Negatively, he can be harsh and dogmatic. Traditionally, the father is represented by Saturn, with the possibility of Toro being the relative asteroid.
  • The Son or Brother:- The companion, brother, son and masculine lover. Opposite to the father, he is concerned with individual and personal expression, rather than social demands. His energy is dynamic and outwardly directed. His energy is towards initiating relationships and seeking his own identity. Traditionally represented by Mars, through the asteroids he is Eros.
  • The Hero:- seeks outward achievements and social recognition.He is concerned with establishing himself in social and political contexts. Typically, women are seen as partners in his success or obstacles in his way. Traditionally represented by the planet Jupiter, through the asteroids this is Apollo.
  • The Wise Man or Philosopher:- Is he who is attracted to the realms of ideas and metaphysics, rather than family, passion or ambition. He is a seeker of wisdom, a perceiver, scholar, teacher, rather than a ruler, lover, or administrator. Traditionally he is represented by the planet Pluto, and possibly by Chiron.

 

The final truth is that the asteroids are the remnants of a single entity that has been pulled apart and dispersed a long time ago. The idea that it can be put back together, somehow healed, is erroneous. There is no point, because healing comes about through an integration, and that can only be found by once more turning towards the light, and letting go of the jealousies, angers and resentments of the outer world.

I hope that I have presented a case that places the asteroids in a category that gives them a credence that is relevant to their actuality. If this is the case, let us try to understand what they might tell us about our current state.

In line with the thinking I have been offering right through this discussion, let us once more orientate ourselves on Earth looking outward. First we look through the Moon’s orbit, then through the Martian orbit of protection, into the broken and distributed multitudinal asteroid orbits towards the social planets. We may concede that singular planetary orbits act somewhat like a single lens, focusing solar energy, the asteroid belt provides a very fuzzy and distorted shattered lens to this energy. From this perspective, the social field is, and cannot be seen with any clarity. It is only seen through the many distortions of the multitudinal illusory personality identities. Each one of us operates like a multitude of unconnected personalities, taking on these distortions of our true natural archetypes, and interpreting the social structures we find ourselves in through these.

Thus, the social morals seemingly change rapidly and without direction, while other attitudes resist any change at all. We find ourselves in the social nutcracker, expand to survive, but not beyond the limits of human decency.

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The Astrology of Transformation of Dane Rudhyar

Dane Rhudyar

The ego operates at the sociocultural level and is concerned with protecting its boundaries in order to keep alive. It is motivated by fear and guilt.The individualise and self-conscious “I” in concerned with its own central and self-important position, and is motivated by pride, prestige and power.The individualised human self seeks to perpetuate itself, believing itself to be the summit of evolution, the crown of existence.

The complete process of existence is a two-way one, spirit descends into matter as matter ascends into spirit. It is in the individual where this process meets, a difficult meeting. The individual wants to preserve and perpetuate itself as the pinnacle of evolution, a separate and unique individual. The individual wants to cling blindly to what it knows, my identity, who I am. The transformational process of evolution begins when the individual begins to become open to an influx of supra-mental forces from a higher realm. The force may be experienced fully be the open individual consciousness, but the Source can only be envisioned or understood through some kind of symbol or mythic story. In the western tradition this is most commonly seen as the birth of the Christ, being reborn to Jesus. (It is interesting to note here that the name Jesus is Yeshuah in Hebrew and God is Yehovah. The difference between the name of God and the name of the Son is the change of the letter vau to shin. The letter vau represents the spark of the Divine descending down into matter, and the letter shin represents three candle flames. Thus, Jesus is the descended form whom within is alighted the triune Flames).

While the individual is under the control of their own identity they cannot even begin to determine what their deepest and ultimate life purpose may be. Eventually, over lifetimes, the feeling of pointlessness develops and the individual finds themselves in constant conflict with a society that no longer support and what they describe to themselves in chaotic terms. At the same time, they are greeted with an influx of intuitive and inspirational impulses from some other source. The accumulation of contradictory impulses is the motivation toward some deeper search, and an opening of the higher mental faculties to inner experience. This transcendent influx alters the quality of self-reference of the individual, who now defines themselves as part of a group, or movement. Rudhyar has called this the pleroma state, a state of we-ness or global attitude. In the pleroma state the consciousness of the individuals interpenetrate, although they act as separate beings within an overall purpose.

There are two forces active within the “soul”, one is the power of tradition and the effect of collective society and the other is the drive to express oneself as an individual. These two drives are absolutely necessary for the evolution of mankind, and the movement towards pleroma consciousness. In fact throughout the evolution of values systems we can see the vacillation from expressing individuality to suppressing it for the good of the whole and tradition. It is not until we can pass through the level of individual entrepreneurs and begin exploring systemic thinking as individuals in a group, can we conceive of pleroma global connections. At this level we perceive ourselves as an individual part of a symbiotic harmonic living global system, where each part and their needs is our own personal needs.

Such an individual has passed through transformation into a manifestation of the planetary being. It is said that the individual transcends their personal horoscope and are lighted by the light of the star which is sited on their mid-heaven, and they become a member of the galactic community.

Interpretation of Lights and Planets.

Sun: Biological level – the principle of fatherhood, the positive and fecundant aspect of the life-force.Sociocultural level – the drive for social recognition, power and prestige. The ambition to become the centre of influence.Individual level – the “I” seeking the fulfilment of the innate latent potentials of the personality.Transpersonal level – the quality of the being to participate in the activity and consciousness of a greater whole.

  • Moon: The aspect between sun and moon give clues to the possible union of the soul to the identity.
  • Mercury: The way in which the inherited mind can be repolarised towards a clear cosmic attitude.
  • Venus: Biological level: – what will help or hinder the development of the body and its functions.Sociocultural level: – Value judgements and moral code of being. Love and hate.Individual level: – the ideal of self-fulfilment and self-glorification.Transpersonal level: – The capacity to give form to spiritual ideals. The quality of discrimination.
  • Mars: Biological: – muscle power and glandular stimulation for overcoming physical obstacles, hunting, defeating enemies and sexual functioning.Sociocultural: – The ability to work for the fulfilment of a social ambition and recognition.Individual: – The power to assert oneself for one’s own ambition against social and cultural norms.Transpersonal: – The will to overcome obstacles to purpose fulfilment.
  • Part of Fortune: The location in relation to the angles symbolises the concrete form which the relationship between the “I centre” and the soul may take.
  • The number six symbolises the union of spirit with matter. The astrological mandala can be divided into six portions, each of which is an integrated bipolar grouping of masculine and feminine principles.The progressed-to-natal progressions deal with the relationship between the seed and what has emerged in the process of unfolding and self-actualisation.
  • The progressed-to-progressed indicates the ways in which self-transformation has occurred, with no attention on the past. The lunation cycle is particularly valid, from new moon to full moon, and the Sabian symbol to which they refer. The first fifteen years of the progressed lunation cycle relate to the unfoldment of some new impulse or life opportunity having been released at the new moon. Whereas the full moon may coincide with some kind of “illumination” or the intuitive revelation of a new goal or purpose. It can be an excellent time to withdraw and overcome past influences, especially if that from the new moon has proven to be frustrating and illusory. The full moon is often a moment of crisis, a choice point for change. The choice usually becomes clear during the progressed waning square.
  • The progressed lunation cycle can be an extremely valuable psychological tool for understanding the reasons behind traumatic experiences. In a way this understanding can lead to an objectivity about the past, and through that gain a transformative evaluation. The sense of guilt or personal inferiority is born from a lack of objectivity and understanding.

 

To perceive and understand an event objectively, one has not to be an “I” involved in its own existence, its prestige, happiness, but as a mind able to see the entire unfolding process. No event can be understood in isolation. It has not only a past and a future, but is a combination of a vast number of interconnected cyclic activities.

In the progressed-to-natal chart only the progressing planet has an influence of the natal aspect. These aspects seem to mark particular times to address and neutralise past karma. In the progressed-to-progressed chart, the activity is related to the cyclic patterns of the planets concerned. These aspects present the opportunity and openings in life to allow the energy of dharma to operate.