The text-books on astrology which have been written during the last seventy-five years reveal a definite evolution in astrological thinking and even in the character of astrological techniques. During the nineteenth century, English astrologers were in the forefront of the movement toward a restatement and popularization of this ancient system of thought, but they followed strictly in the footsteps of their Medieval and Renaissance predecessors, who in turn did little more than repeat what had been said by Ptolemy during the great days of the Roman Empire, when a vast era of human development was closing which had seen the birth, spread and triumph of astrology. Today, however, four basic trends are definitely manifest in astrology.
The first trend is a popularization of the simplest elements in astrology, those referring to the position of the Sun and the planets in the zodiac, and to their "transits" over the important points in the natal chart. This trend seeks to blend in varied proportions the fundamental methods of ancient and Medieval astrology with the broad psychological knowledge which has been spread through-out the United States.
The second trend is shown in an attempt to establish astrological findings upon a statistical and empirical basis which would give them a more "scientific" character and which might insure the eventual recognition of astrology by academic thinkers.
The third trend, appearing only here and there, is the result of a desire to correlate astrology with new or revised "esoteric" doctrines along the lines of occultism, Oriental or Occidental.
The fourth trend originates in the frank recognition of the symbolical character of astrology as a technique for a basic understanding of nature, and, above all, of human nature. Astrology, according to such an approach (which is the one taken by this writer), is shown to have been essentially, from the very dawn of human civilization, the result of man's attempt to understand the apparent confusion and chaos of his life-experiences by referring them to the ordered patterns of cyclic activity which he discovers in the sky.
Astrology is born of the poignant need in every man for order. Celestial phenomena reveal such an order; and using this order as a measuring stick and clock, man, by referring all that happens within and around him to it, satisfies at last his yearning for harmony. He learns to identify his consciousness and will with the "celestial" patterns and rhythms. He becomes one with the principle of universal order, which many call "God." And living an ordered life he becomes an integrated person: a man of wisdom. Though the energies of his own nature or of society at war may beat upon his consciousness through the gates of his senses and his feelings, yet he himself, as a centralized and integrated Self, is at peace. For, to him, even the most destructive storm has its place and function within the order of his destiny, or of mankind's destiny. And by "destiny" he means: the complete whole of a cycle of living.
Astrology, in such a conception of its character and use, is a technique for the gaining of wisdom through the understanding of the order in human nature and in all phenomena perceived by man: a technique in understanding.
Astrology as a technique in human understanding: this is, I believe, the deepest and most vital characterization I can establish of this system of thought which has been so greatly abused and so greatly misused. However, there is no attempt on my part to belittle the possibilities of forecasting the future which astrology undoubtedly offers to the master in this difficult art; and indeed no one acquainted with "horary astrology" can ever deny its amazing potentialities. But in order to use constructively and wisely these potentialities the astrologer need have gained more than mere technical proficiency – difficult even as such a gain is. He must also have reached a high decree of human understanding. For what the sky reveals is nothing but raw materials for human understanding. Everything ultimately depends upon individual understanding. This is so in astrology, as it is in medical or psychological therapy. Knowledge, in these fields, is not enough. Wisdom is needed.
The usual astrological text-books, old and new, are filled with data, the memorizing of which insures knowledge. But wisdom is an elusive factor. It can hardly be taught. It may partly be transferred from living person to living person. Yet, because it is based on the full understanding of total situations and of experiences lived without any reservations, it can only be acquired through actual living, through pain, through the discharge of responsibilities, through the courageous and honest putting forth of the whole of oneself in whatever experience is seen as significant.
Nevertheless, knowledge can be geared to the attainment of wisdom. And in this work, my aim is to make a presentation of the basic concepts and facts used in modern astrology which is as simple and clear as possible without losing sight of the ultimate goal of this kind of astrology: the development of human understanding. Each chapter of this book is thus conceived as outlining a basic step toward astrological wisdom. If the reader is not yet acquainted with the ordinary methods used in astrology, what is written should provide him with a sound basis for further and more detailed study. If the reader is thoroughly familiar with astrological techniques, I trust that he will find here a challenge to further thinking and the stimulation to seek always for deeper human values while using the astrological tools.
By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1969 by Dane Rudhyar
and Copyright © 2001 by Leyla Rudhyar Hill
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