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of Psychological Complexes

by Dane Rudhyar

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In this book I have attempted to integrate closely a modern kind of psychology and astrology. The discussion of psychological complexes and emotional problems proceeds fundamentally at the level of a psychological study of the whole person, and I believe it can bring to the reader interested in a fuller understanding of his and others' character valuable new insights regardless of whether or not he is a student of astrology. Yet astrology plays an essential part in the discussion and in this analysis of the causes and meaning of psychological frustrations, tensions and blockages, in as much as it provides a structural frame of reference enabling us to establish, as it were, a map of the psychic life of a modern individual.
      Astrology provides the "structure," psychology the "contents" in this astro-psychological study of human beings under conditions of stress and strain as well as in more basically harmonious situations; and, as I have often stated, these two factors, structure and contents, are needed in any thorough and inclusive study of all forms of existence, be they biological, psychological, social or even cosmic. The pairing of the planets Saturn and Moon, Jupiter and Mercury, Venus and Mars is part of an astrological tradition of probably great antiquity; but the significance of such a pairing has usually not been fully understood. The pairing has usually not been related to the basic functions inherent in every living organism, or even in any steady and self-perpetuating system of social organization.
      Such a relationship is discussed in the second chapter of this book, and a fourth pair of planets, Uranus-Neptune, is added to correspond to a drive particularly intense in human beings, but existing also in other forms of life, the drive for self-transformation or self-transcendence. This is an essential urge, presumably expressing itself at the biological level as "mutations, " but becoming in man the great Promethean desire for ever wider horizons, for the conquest of higher levels of existence, for becoming "more-than-man" and reaching superhuman or ultra-human states of consciousness for becoming "God-like."
      What the esotericist calls the "Path" is a way of self-transformation and self-transcending, and this way can easily be shown to include three fundamental stages stages represented in astrological symbolism by Uranus, Neptune and Pluto with perhaps a fourth one to be referred to an as yet unknown planet, the probable existence of which I discussed many years ago, tentatively naming the planet Proserpine. The study of these trans-Saturnian planets, not included in the traditional system of astrology which we inherited from the Greeks and the Chaldeans, would take several chapters and would have greatly lengthened this book. For this reason I made only a succinct reference to such planets. The significance they have in a "transpersonal" kind of astrology has been discussed at length in my recent book The Sun Is Also A Star: The Galactic Dimension of Astrology (Dutton and Co.). In another volume, The Astrological Houses: The Spectrum of Individual Experience (Doubleday), I discussed how their location in the twelve houses of the birth chart affect the characteristic types of individual experience related to each house, and also how such a location reveals the most significant way in which these transformative functions to which the three planets refer can be seen operating in the lives of individuals.
      The ideas developed in this book belong to what, several years after writing it, I called "Humanistic Astrology." The term, humanistic, was used, not because of any relation to the European humanist movement of the 15th Century which later on developed as an anti-religious and ultra-rationalistic force in our Western civilization but in order to relate my astrological approach to the Humanistic Psychology movement started by Abraham Maslow, Anthony Sutich and many others. just as Humanistic Psychology developed as a "Third Force" beside, on the one hand Freudian psychology, and on the other Behavioristic and Experimental psychology, so I thought of Humanistic Astrology as essentially different from the traditional fortune-telling and predictive astrology, and also from the recent research and statistical astrology intent on achieving scientific respectability.
      This Humanistic Astrology had its origin in my book The Astrology of Personality, written from 1934 to 1936, and still now widely sold in its paperback Doubleday edition. It was further developed in several books, among them The Pulse of Life (now free online at the Rudhyar Archival Project) and The Lunation Cycle (Shambhala Publications), and later on The Practice of Astrology (Penguin Books; now free online at the Rudhyar Archival Project) and Person-Centered Astrology (C. S. A. Press). What I have attempted to show in all these writings is, I repeat, the interdependence of a psychology dealing with the human person as a whole and of an astrology whose purpose is to assist individuals in the development and fulfillment of their total being at all levels.
      It should be clear, however, that astrology and psychology can be of mutual benefit to each other only if it is well understood that astrological thinking is radically different from the rigorous intellectual thinking and empirical methods featured in modern science. Science proceeds by way of exclusion, dealing only with characteristics common to large groups; astrology proceeds by way of inclusion, relating every phenomenon of life to a few fundamental principles considered to be universally valid. The astrological planets (including Sun and Moon) are symbolic expressions of such principles. Because these principles operate at several levels of existence, the planets cannot be said to refer to particular cases, events or entities; they represent functions, which being common to every organized system, have only a general character. Thus, I have spoken of astrology as a symbolic language, as a technique of understanding, as an antidote for the exclusivistic type of empirical and rationalistic science dominating our collective mentality. It is a means to discover where the individual person fits in the universal scheme of life, the meaning and purpose of the individual's place and function in our universe the universe our human senses and mind can perceive and therefore in which we can consciously operate.
      Astrology can be a conscious way of meeting life's experiences and to gain from them understanding and wisdom. But it is only a means, a method one among many. So is modern science only a means and a method, one among many. Each method has its value and it produces results at a particular level; whether these results are constructive or destructive, deeply significant in a human sense or only superficial and strictly personal, depends on how the method is used and by whom. I only can hope that the people who will use the concepts and techniques I have presented in my many books will do so, not for ego-enhancement, intellectual curiosity, or purely material and social advantage, but in order to become more conscious and integrated men and women ready to assist others in dealing meaningfully and harmoniously with their own problems and in actualizing their innate potential.

By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1966 and 1976 by Dane Rudhyar
All Rights Reserved.

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