Much confusion can arise in the mind of the person interested in astrology if a basic distinction is not made between the type of "solar" charts used in magazine forecasts and a natal chart calculated for the exact time and place of a person's birth. When forecasts are made for "the twelve signs of the zodiac", each sign actually encompasses some hundred million persons living on this earth. The basis for the forecasts is the state of the solar system during a particular day, week, month or year, and by this I mean the positions of the Sun, the Moon and the planets in zodiacal signs, and the "aspects" (ie. the angular relationships) which these ten celestial bodies make to each other during the period being studied.
All celestial bodies move at different speeds. They take more or less time to move through (i.e. to transit) the signs of the zodiac. Moreover, when on a planet moves across a degree of the zodiac which is occupied by a planet in the precisely calculated birth-chart, the first planet is said to transit the second. Thus when we study solar charts and transits we are dealing with the periodical motions of celestial bodies — which means in ordinary modern practice, with the motion of the planets, the Sun and the Moon being regarded as astrological planets. The astrologer assumes that this unceasing flow of change in the sky is in some manner connected with the constant stream of events experienced by human beings on this earth; and this being demonstrably the case, he says that he can predict more or less accurately these events by studying the planets' motions.
The question which is not usually asked is this: When we speak of "events", what do we really mean and more especially what or who do these events affect?
The Meaning of Events
This may appear to be a peculiar questions yet it actually in a very vital one — and a profound one. Can I speak of an event, if I am not there to be affected by it, or if I am unaware of what is effecting me? Do events really exist if no human being in there to perceive them or to be changed by them?
I wrote long ago that events do not happen to us, we happen to them. I walk on the sidewalk of a city along a building in construction, a brick falls upon my head. The falling of the brick is not an event for me unless I happen to walk exactly at the point of its fall. The real event is not the fall of the brick, but my response to it: i.e. how I take it, what I happen to wear on my head, etc. A man found himself clairvoyant as a result of a violent shook affecting his head — and fame came to him. Was not the real event for him the change that occurred within his head? Another man might have been paralyzed for life.
The cyclic processes of nature pursue their course unconcerned by what we, human beings, do in response to them — that is, how we fit into them as individuals. Of course we are parts of such natural processes; we are subjected to gravitation as everything is, and we too exert a gravitational pull, immensely small as it is, upon everything around us. But we are parts of these processes only in so far an we are bodies of matter with certain limits — bodies that are affected by changes in life-rhythms such an puberty, menopause, old age, etc. As members of the human species, which in turn is part of the earth's biosphere and thus related to every other living thing in our region of the planet. We are bound by genetic patterns of growth and molded by the circumstances prevailing in our environment. But if we are able to think of ourselves, and to see as "individuals" the situation becomes essential different.
How does it become different? It is when a new factor enters the stage of our life. When one realizes it is "my" life. I am living it, I am giving to this biological and psycho-social life which I call "mine" an individualized and relatively unique reference. I call this frame of reference "my self" - I. The moment I really and thoroughly do this, with utter conviction, I emerge from "nature". I happen to nature. I respond to nature, to its laws and its events, I give them - or at least I can give them, if my individuality is strong and definite enough — my meaning. I can even to some extent make them serve a purpose I have consciously met. I can "manage" them.
Management vs. Rule
But let us be careful here. To manage is not the same as to rule — even though in common usage people often fail to consider the difference, a very essential one indeed. Management implies a keen understanding of the materials and the life-processes you are dealing with. It uses laws of nature (i.e. set processes of change) to modify other processing so that they are made to serve a purpose and thus to acquire a human, or an "individual", meaning.
You can also say the same thing if you speak of a very wise "ruler" full of understanding as well as knowledge but most rulers known to men are not wise. They use what in called "will", it is rather an intense one-pointed human desire or bio-psychological drive for aggrandizement, power, wealth, sexual satisfaction, etc. These are drives inherent in human nature. They may become "individualized" and acquire a very particular, uniquely individual purpose and meaning; but they rarely do so.
Astrologers keep on repeating an old saying: "The wise man rules his stars" — but they forget the most important word in the statements "wise". No wise man actually "rules" anything he manages them. He accepts what is, but gives to that his own individual meaning — and thus transforms the events. You cannot speak correctly of the same event if you consider it as having happened in the life of an ordinary, passion-driven and fearful man or in the life of a Sage. The natural processes involved in the actual circumstances are the same; but, strictly speaking, the events differ because in the first case the man is passive and is molded by it, while the Sage uses the events as material for the creation of his own meaning. It becomes a work of art.
The critical reader may think that I am needlessly trying to integrate the objective (the fact) and the subjective reaction (passive or creative) of a human being. If so, I have to go one step further in making my point, once the Sage has developed the ability to give his own individual meaning to events that are normally frustrating or destructive for ordinary peoples the objective events themselves become different. The Yogi, for instance, can live in a hut in a jungle infested with tigers and reptiles, but he is never attacked. The quality of his relationship to natural processes has become changed, his "smell" does not attract or infuriate wild animals.
The Scope of "Solar" Forecasts
All of this has an immediate bearing on astrology and our approach to forecasts and transits; because such astrological features refer to natural processes which have their inevitable momentum and which gravitate toward ends which take no human person into account. As long an the person is a passive participant in natural or cosmic processes he can fight against them and perhaps gains a temporary respite — but only temporary. And in the majority of cases this fighting against "destiny" must completely fail, because it is impregnated through and through with fear, or perhaps with greedy expectations.
When, however, the human being to truly individualized — and does not merely think or claim that he is — the situation in fundamentally different. He does not fight against natural processes, or even fear. He accepts them as raw material for the creation of his tomorrows, as clay to be shaped into an images of which (deep inside of his consciousness-intuition) he has become aware — the image of his unique destiny and of his true, essential selfhood.
Is there any way in which this emergent individual can gain a more objective grasp — a "vision" — of the image of his essential self? The sustained practice of real "meditation" apparently can lead to such an intuitive super-intellectual realization of the real self — and many types of yoga or of mystical exercises have been devised to this end. Astrology could also lead to a realization of the individuals essential and unique individuality, provided the study of this abstract art is pursued in an adequate way — the way of "wisdom" rather than that of scientific knowledge (in the modern sense of these two terms).
The birth-chart of a human being is indeed, as I have said and repeated during the last 35 years, the seed pattern of his destiny as an individual. It is the abstract form of his individuality. This birth-chart calculated for the exact time and place of his birth (or more precisely, of his first breath, symbol of independent functioning in a particular earth-environment) does not merely represent a fleeting instant in the vast flow of natural phenomena. It is the beginning of a potential process of individualization. It is a creative act of Man.
It is true that the birth-chart pictures, projected on a two-dimensional sheet of paper, just one of the trillions of moments of the natural process of human evolution on earth. Indeed it may mean nothing else. But if this human being is able to question the values of his family, culture and society, as well as to look objectively and without mental involvement at the desires and drives of human nature operating within his body — if he has emerged in consciousness from nature and from the collective pull of his social-cultural environment — then his birth-chart can reveal to him "the face of his individual destiny".
Planets as Symbols
This revelation is of course in symbolic terms; for then the Sun, Jupiter, Saturn, etc. are no longer celestial bodies with mass and momentum in constant cyclic motion around a vast Galaxy, itself also moving toward some unknowable goal or cyclic end. They have become symbols. They are words of power that all together constitute the mantram (the sacred invocation) of the liberated man's individuality and his destiny. And individuality and destiny are only the two sides of the same reality extending in space (the archetypal form of the Individual self) and in time (the structured process by means of which what is only potential at birth may become fully actualized at life's end).
The study of an individual's birth-chart is, for this reason, based on an approach which ought to be different from that which deals with the day-by-day movement and the aspects of the planets; thus it is different from the study of solar charts for the twelve zodiacal types of human beings — solar charts which are inevitably featured in astrological magazines for general consumption. In solar charts, and in the study of transits in a more individualized type of astrological study, the planets (always including the Sun and Moon) are cosmic factors which through their constantly moving interrelationship affect the magnetic field of the earth and the conditions in the biosphere (the surface of the globe) as a whole. These factors affect potentially all human beings and indeed all living organisms.
On the other hands when we study an exactly calculated individual birth-chart we are looking at something which basically does not change. The closest approximation to such a birth-chart is what the biologist now often calls the "genetic code". This code — a pattern of relationship linking a vast number of hereditary raw materials (chromosomes) — is apparently existing at the very core of every one of the billions of cells of a human body. It in the "Signature" of the human being's individuality.
It is most unlikely however, that modern biologists have found the real key to this "Signature." Their genetic code is presumably only one aspect — the most material because based on physiological heredity — of a far more inclusive and more archetypal pattern of individual structure and destiny. The full grown oak is contained potentially in the acorns so, in a more abstract and cosmic sense, is the fully developed individual person contained in potentiality in the chart outlining two-dimensionally this cosmic environment at the creative moment of the first breath.
Most acorns never develop into oak trees; and most human beings do not develop into individuals truly emerged from the planetary, generic and social-cultural patterns of their natal environments. For this reasons astrology is not an exact science. It reveals only potentiality in terms of individual selfhood; and when it studies large scale natural processes controlled presumably by the motions of Sun and Moon and planets (and no doubt stars and Galaxies) it can only use a small amount of reliable factors and what is more, its findings refer to human nature in general and to broad categories (or "Types") of human beings.
Nevertheless, astrology brings to us an awareness of the great rhythms structuring our cosmic environment. It can give us a wonderful, intuitive sense of the meaning and power of time. It helps us to reintegrate ourselves into the universal Whole. It stimulates our consciousness in its efforts at breaking away from the narrow confines of our ego, mostly a product of social-cultural pressures and dictates. It can open doors; and if we are "wise", it should allow us to give meaning to our deepest urges and most intractable-traits of character by situating them in relation to the whole of our being and destiny. It can help us to solve our most acute problems and to understand what and who we are.
By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill.
Copyright © 1970 by Dane Rudhyar.
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