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from Humanistic to
Transpersonal Astrology
by Dane Rudhyar

First Published 1975

On Personal and Impersonal by Dane Rudhyar, 1929.

continued from Part Four

From what I have written in this and other books, it should be clear that I watch with misgivings the sincere efforts made by many astrologers to bring to astrology "scientific" respectability by using computerized proliferation of data and treating it statistically in a purely empirical manner. From what I have written in this and other books, it should be clear that I watch with misgivings the sincere efforts made by many astrologers to bring to astrology "scientific" respectability by using computerized proliferation of data and treating it statistically in a purely empirical manner. The aim of these efforts is to make it possible for astrology to be recognized as a valuable profession with definite standards based on a knowledge that could be taught for credit in universities. This inevitably would lead to legal regulations and the licensing of astrologers able to pass examinations, tests and perhaps periods of training. These would be provided by officially recognized state or national organizations which would thus control the practice of astrology.
      Such a situation exists in the fields of medicine, psychology, law and many other professions officially believed to have social value and needing special safeguards. It obviously is the answer to a real need in our society where personal greed and an anarchistic type of individualism and power-seeking prevail. Nevertheless governmental regulation and monopoly have serious drawbacks. These need to be pointed out to astrologers.
      The American Medical Association is a characteristic example of what would be likely to occur if astrological practice were State regulated and officially taught in colleges along the lines defined by scientific respectability and effectiveness. The AMA is a relevant example because the practice of medicine generates the possibility of very important financial profits, some directly through medical fees, others even more considerable in terms of the selling of pharmaceutical products, books on health, medical textbooks, etc. The same possibility, on a lesser yet still very important scale, exists in the field of astrology. It exists now in the present unregulated state of astrological practice; but it would be greatly magnified if astrology were taught in every school and college as a valuable method of insuring an optimal way of human beings to meet their everyday problems as well as their long-term psychological, physiological and social development.
      Moreover, the situation in astrology, with its many schools often at war with each other, parallels that existing in the fields of medicine and psychology. Totally different approaches to the treatment of illness at all human levels have been devised, some by ancient societies where they are still effectively applied, others in our own Western society in which new causes of disease and accidents have developed since the Industrial Revolution. Each of these different approaches results from the acceptance of a specific type of metaphysical, religious or psychological premise concerning the nature and purpose of man, life and the universe. Yet in the United States one approach to medical knowledge and expertise has received official sanction; a fact which reflects the glorification of our also officialized worship of empirical and materialistic science and of modern technology. A few other approaches, such as "spiritual healing" are allowed to operate, thanks to legal subterfuges, but bureaucratic controls dominate the medical and psychological field. Only one type of education is available in college to the would-be doctor and practicing psychologist; and political ambition, business pressures and the making of large profits are constant features of these fields, as of many others.
      The advocates of the legalization and official teaching of astrology point to the increasing amount of quackery and of unjustifiable and potentially dangerous practice by totally inexperienced self-styled astrologers. A great deal of psychological harm evidently can be done and is done everyday, not only by many insufficiently trained and careless practitioners eager to make a livelihood, but by people who, after a superficial acquaintance with astrological textbooks and after only sporadic attendance at a few lectures or study-classes, begin eagerly to tell everybody in their family and at social parties what their Sun-sign means, how their birth-charts fits or do not fit each other, and what transits they operate under. Predications of negative events and of dire failures, illness or even death are carelessly made, generating subconscious fear, even if the conscious mind refuses to accept them. And this may be, and still is being done by reputable astrologers who pass all licensing test, as well as by novices.
      The popularization of astrology since the start of the first widely successful magazine, American Astrology in 1932-33, the development of Sun-sign astrology and of printed interpretations of the positions of every planet in every zodiacal sign, the computerization, and now telephoning of such impersonal interpretations, have so increased the number of devotees, students, schools, and practitioners of astrology that, together with the development of new "scientific" techniques and computerized statistical research, a socio-cultural situation of major importance – and of real concern – has been created.
      In his 1973 Charles Carter Memorial Lecture entitled "Astrology and Society" the eminent English astrologer and thinker, Charles Harvey, commented upon the serious problems which "the integration of astrology into society must bring with it," quoting the words of John Addey, his predecessor as President of The Astrological Association, who had claimed that astrology was "destined to assume a central role in scientific thought." From this belief and by stating various reasons for its validity, Charles Harvey inferred that within the coming decades, astrology seemed equally destined to play a central role in society – not an unprecedented one, however, as ancient Chinese and Hindu cultures gave to their own types of astrology a dominant role in all social and educational processes. If this be the case, what then could be expected of such a widespread use and official recognition and control of astrology?
      The prospect Harvey envisioned appears ominous, as long as what he calls the "profit motive" is operating in our society. After suggesting what business, insurance companies and the branches of the Government in charge of internal security and maximal productivity could be expected to do if the exact birth-chart of very citizen were filed and available for scrutiny by any interested party – a ghastly prospect! – Harvey adds:
"Astrology is knowledge – a form of power as explosive and total as atomic power in potential. It is a power which can and will at first be used piecemeal by one group of people to exploit, control, discriminate against other groups of people – and the techniques that will make this possible are those that we are developing and encouraging in order to benefit mankind."(1)

      Fortunately John Addey and Charles Harvey probably expect too much of new astrological techniques and computers; but at the level of statistically expectable events they might be right. At the time Einstein developed the famous formula e=mc2, he presumably did not visualize the shocking results of dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. If he and some of his colleagues did so after witnessing a few weeks before what happened at Alamagordo, New Mexico, it was too late; the new power in the hands of men controlled by ambition, fear and the urge to demonstrate superior power could not be effectively controlled. Only a most precarious "balance of terror" is still today acting as a restraining factor.
      Fortunately also, human beings are not as determined by statistics as uranium atoms; yet if it is officially believed and seemingly proven by scientific authorities that astrology works in so far as the prediction of external events, periods of depression and of maximum productively, longevity and inbred traits of character are concerned, that belief could produce social regulations nearly as nefarious as the caste system in India proved to be.
      The issue is grave and should not be easily dismissed. A relatively chaotic outer situation may be more humane and constructive in terms of the fulfillment of man’s essential nature and destiny than a rigid and profit-oriented (or even productivity-oriented) kind of law and order. When a society is slowly dying of psychic as well as physical pollution, and its in institutions have lost their spiritual character and meaning, any human being in whom a wellspring of unpolluted "living waters" is bubbling forth should change his or her allegiance, and redirect it toward whatever is taking form, confusedly though it be, as counterculture. And let me repeat here that throughout the entire history of the Western civilization which began around 600 B.C. in Greece, there have been manifestations of countercultural trends. These polarize the intellectual, rationalistic, analytical and wildly individualistic character of the official culture. Eleusinian Mysteries were still powerful and significant in the psyche of the men of Aristotle’s and the Sophist’s time. There were Gnostics when the Fathers of the Church hammered out the binding dogmas of Catholicism. The Albigenses of Southern France stood against the Pope and the greedy French King, even though they finally succumbed. Alchemists knew what the scientific chemists of the Classical period and the 19th century had forgotten. Romantic poets and musicians for a while lived and sung in polar opposition to the scientific materialism and the bourgeois boredom and mediocrity of the Victorian Age.
      Today humanistic astrology, and far more so transpersonal astrology, can be called countercultural because they work in counterpoint to the spread of modified forms of classical astrology amid college-trained intellectuals who often have no vision of a future, except that of the kind of future which could be extrapolated from the speed of recent technological discoveries. Strictly popular astrology with its Sun-signs readings may have its value at the level of mass consciousness. Unabashed fortune-telling may be as good a diversion as periodical Mardi-Gras and Halloween, or Roman Saturnalia, when understood as social releases of tension. Even wars may have had their value when men lived totally in terms of life-urges common to all living organisms in the Earth’s biosphere. But an intellectualized and computerized astrology could be as destructive of truly spiritual values as a totally impersonal, intellectualized and computerized atomic warfare would be of human bodies. Let us hope that mankind will be saved from both!
      What is needed instead is a deeper understanding of what astrology can most significantly and valuably offer to human beings, whether at the humanistic or transpersonal level. What is needed is a nation-wide, and indeed if possible, worldwide campaign of education. The different levels at which natal astrology can operate should be clearly stated – the fortune-telling and popular level, the psychological and humanistic level, and the transpersonal transformation-oriented level. There should be room for a limited amount of research and statistical testing, but primarily on the basis of comparing the lives of persons born with practically the same birth-charts and not by starting with groups of professions or cases of specific diseases, because in the latter case the holistic approach to the charts is denied and one deals with sociocultural or biological groups and not with individuals.(2)
      In conclusion, I repeat that humanistic astrology deals only with individuals – with the whole person. It deals with it in relation to its geocultural and social environment. From the humanistic point of view, which I have presented for many years, the study of individual selfhood is meaningless except when integrated with the factor of relationship – just as determination of the Ascendant of a birth-chart inevitably implies that of the Descendant. But what should be expected and brought to a state of fruition are conscious and individualized relationships. There can be no "New Age" society unless such relationships are sought after and fulfilled as completely and meaningfully as possible, and no humanistic astrology unless the birth-chart is seen as a mandala symbolizing the whole person in the fullness of interrelated functional activities.
      The next step in the development of man and of astrology is the transpersonal approach. Everything in the total human being, and every interpersonal relationship can be used to polarize the descent of a spirit-emanated force or power which man manifest, perhaps as a vision or "seed idea" with transforming potentialities or as an ego-transcending, yet ego-utilizing realization of a "divine" intent and purpose which it is the individual’s dharma to actualize among men. In the first stage of transpersonal unfoldment what is mainly to be used is the power latent in crises. And Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are the best indicators of the meaning and potentiality of any crisis from the power of irreversible and eventually total conscious transformation can be released.
      On the transpersonal way everything can and should be used as the fuel to keep the fire of conscious transformation burning. All that at first produced conflicts, fear, insecurity, and (as an escape from fear) passionate and possessive attachments can be used. As the process unfolds, the human being within the limits of his natal potentialities, becomes the manifestation of a transcendent purpose, be it seen as a social, planetary or divine purpose. The individual, self-consecrated and irreversibly committed to that purpose, becomes an agent of the Divine – of the eonic spiritual Reality in which we live, move and have our human being. Some may call that Reality, God or Christ; others Buddha. Still others may speak of the Great Mother, Earth, or now, if their vision is turned toward the sky, of the Galaxy, in whose immense space men are living as fish in the ocean.
      Ancient astro-philosophers believed that the Milky Way was the womb of souls. I have said that each human individual is potentially linked in a transcendent manner to one of the billions of starts within the fourth-dimensional space of the Galaxy. Most intellectuals may well dismiss such a statement as pure mythology. Yet, who knows whether our modern astronomy may not also someday be considered myth – a myth created by our limited visual perceptions and our brittle intellect, for which telescopes and diffraction-gratings are Sibyls whose mathematical oracles it worships cosmic truths?

1. The Astrological Journal, (Winter 1973-74, pp. 4-10) issued quarterly in England by the Astrological Association.  Return

2. Many years ago, in articles in American Astrology magazine, and repeatedly since then, I have urged astrologers to start research projects in a few large cities, especially in France, where relatively accurate birth data have, by law, to be registered and are available to researchers – and where, before World War II, people could be traced fairly easily years later as they rarely changed residence. Even a study of the known lives of 10 to 50 people having the same birth-chart, but evidently quite different lives in terms of external events and different surrounding, would be sufficient to indicate the extent to which an astrologer at these people’s birth would have been justified in making the usual type of predictions and character-analysis.  Return

Read Part One

By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1972 and 1975 by Dane Rudhyar
All Rights Reserved.

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