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|Dane Rudhyar's reformulation
of astrological theory
by Dennis Frank
Dane Rudhyar wrote his first book on astrology in 1935, and it was published the following year. Entitled "The Astrology of Personality: a Reinterpretation of Astrological Concepts and Ideals in Terms of Contemporary Psychology and Philosophy", it was dedicated to his friend and fellow-Theosophist, Alice Bailey. It stands the test of time pretty well, particulary in view of the fact that few astrologers since have attempted any such intellectual endeavour.
Rudhyar writes in his 1970 preface to the 3rd edition that he first studied astrology in Theosophical circles in 1920, took in Marc Edmund Jones' writings on the subject a decade later "and soon afterward became deeply interested in Carl Jung's depth-psychology and also in the book "Holism and Evolution" written by the great South African statesman, internationalist and philosopher, Jan Smuts". (AP p.vii) He saw the possibilites of a synthesis if astrology "were considered in a new light and if many of its basic concepts were reformulated so as to fit the mentality and the experiences of the modern men and women of our post-World War 1 society". (AP p.vii) The publisher/editor of the magazine American Astrology gave his articles regular national distribution, as did Grant Lewi in Horoscope magazine, before the book appeared. It was a decade of considerable escalation of popularity of astrology, which resulted in its incorporation into newspapers in the form of sun-sign columns.
Rudhyar "tried to combine depth-psychology and holistic philosophy (both of which emphasize the integration of the personality) together with some of the most revealing and fecund vistas of occultism and Oriental metaphysics." (AP p.viii) That he succeeded in his attempt at a modern synthesis seems remarkable in retrospect only in comparison with most astrologers, who are content merely to regurgitate what astrological beliefs they have absorbed in a robotic manner. Anyone ought to be able to bring astrological theory and philosophy up to date by providing a contemporary rationale consistent with other intellectual disciplines, provided they ground it in the collective reality. Rudhyar appears so solitary in his towering contribution, apparently, because astrology normally attracts only those people with a pathological aversion to learning about collective reality.
That said, I must concede that Rudhyar's vision was flawed by his idealism. The baggage he carried from the social context of the Theosophical Society prevented him from integrating a scientific perspective. Here I must extend the reader the courtesy of acknowledging my own bias, due to my education in physics. If Rudhyar's cosmology had incorporated more of a physical perspective, it would probably have become accessible to scientific theoreticians with sympathetic metaphysical inclinations. Instead the Theosophical window-dressing obscures the inherent merit of the substance of his theory. He notes in his preface that "scientists are more and more concerned with the solar system as the 'cosmic environment' of our planet". (AP p.ix) Unfortunately this early premonition of the looming environmental perspective has been insufficiently followed up and incorporated.
In his 1970 preface Rudhyar noted that "astrology faces a crisis... caused by the vast expansion of the interest in astrology". (AP p.viii) This expansion was mainly manifesting in the generation coming of age at the time. "Many of them, having broken away from their family traditions and refusing to participate in a culture increasingly dominated by a de-humanized and de-natured approach to knowledge, to social organization, and to interpersonal relationships, long to discover their place and function in a more than human, universal or cosmic order. They want to know where they 'belong', what they really are when the ego-games are played out. Alas, the majority of astrologers are still too close to the fortune-telling category, too obsessed by telling 'what will happen', to be able to answer the needs of the young rebels." (AP p.ix)
Being one of the rebels becoming adult at the time, I can verify that Rudhyar correctly diagnosed the general need to discover selfhood and reconnect with nature widely felt by those in the counter-culture at the time. A Saturn cycle has gone by, and now few astrologers promote themselves as fortune-tellers. Perhaps there remains a minority whose egos seek recognition as experts who can predict things, but their strategy hinges on the hope, and pragmatic belief, that their predictions, invariably wrong, will be quickly forgotten due to the fast pace of life these days and consequent short memories. There is also the subsidiary strategy of making predictions sufficiently vague or equivocal as to be unfalsifiable or meaningless.
The majority these days prefer to focus on personality, along with a confused and superficial foray into character. Remember Alan Leo's focus on character and destiny in natal charts? Nowadays destiny is completely out of the question for most practitioners. I shared with Rudhyar the expectation that one's horoscope portrayed one's potential self, and this promise has retained its mystique and withstood the scrutiny of my inner sceptic. I find this is a common feeling amongst astrologers I know personally, so perhaps the match between the result of comprehending one's natal chart and one's self-understanding is the enduring testimonial to Rudhyar's vision and synthesis. Where I differ from my astrologer friends, and the majority, is my eternal priority of hewing to the real. Just about everyone else are fish swimming in the postmodern sea of constant flux, in which reality is seen as essentially unknowable. Too hard, so waste of time to try... I seem the rock in the ocean, grounded in the collective reality of nature (or at least this is my controlled folly in the sense of Castaneda). It is clear to me that we can form a knowledge of nature, our collective environment. We can likewise formulate a contemporary astrology on that basis, as Rudhyar suggested.
He also mentions that he was influenced by "Abraham Maslow, founder of what is known as humanistic psychology". Neither Freudian nor behaviourist, "it is also called Third force psychology. It seeks to help and guide individuals regarded as developing, aspiring, self-actualizing persons who at times may reach moments of exalted spiritual consciousness in 'peak experiences'. In a similar sense what I conceive as humanistic astrology is an astrology which assists individuals in the solution of their personal and interpersonal problems, as especially in actualizing more fully their birth-potential." (AP p.ix)
Someone's horoscope "symbolizes what the person potentially is and what he is meant to achieve, if he follows the 'instructions' which, as it were, are 'coded' in the pattern of the sky, as seen from the place at the exact moment of birth." (AP p.xi)
Astrology is seen by Rudhyar as "a 'language' which can reveal the archetype of what the total person (body, mind, feelings, etc.) essentially is - the 'form' of his or her individuality. What we vaguely and confusingly call 'destiny' is simply the process of actualization of the potentialities abstractly formulated in the birth-chart." The natal chart represents what someone "might be; indeed what he should be if he lives 'in tune with the universe'." (AP p.xi)
Rudhyar makes an important point when he notes that astrology, traditionally geocentric by design, ought to be seen as 'person-centred' when applied to individual people. Why? Because "each individual is in a very real sense the centre of his own universe. It is the way he orients himself to the universe as a whole that matters." (AP p.xii) We must remember that a crucial shift happened in astrology in the early 20th century, when the natal horoscope began to be conceived as a map of the psyche. If you read Alan Leo's books (the first decade of the century) you see it presented as merely indicative of character and destiny, with details spelt out according to traditional social categories. People are categorised as 'types' rather than described as unique individuals. I've always credited Rudhyar with this major advance, but perhaps he got the idea from Marc Edmond Jones. I find Jones impenetrable, and it has always seemed to me that his turgid prose results from a language impediment - a complete inability to write English so as to convey clarity of meaning. Perhaps someone with access to Jones could interpret him for us to establish if he deserves any credit for the above innovation.
Rudhyar restates the point a little differently. "Every human being is born at the center of his own space; and it is that space to which the circle of houses refers." (AP p.xiii) But it is the psychological orientation suggested in the prior quote that is the key point, presuming that the model is valid. If we do instinctively orient ourselves to the polar axis and to East and West, the model rests on a sound experiential foundation. Note that this orientation has been documented in various animal species, hence is likely to reside in the collective unconscious and thus in the subconscious part of the psyche. The fact that some of us learn to consciously orient ourselves to the cardinal directions may be beside the point.
However I must alert the reader to a major flaw in Rudhyar's thinking here. Note how he assigns only space to the houses, tacitly eliminating time from his model. In fact he went on to adopt the Campanus house division system as a result of this curious decision. The horoscope represents a moment of time, which seems frozen by virtue of the form of the diagram and how we view it. However the physical and psychological reality is that the moment is part of the space-time continuum. Abstracting it for study does not do anything real to it, merely presenting it as a diagram for decoding, analysis, and hopefully eventual synthesis of interpretation. Such symbolic manipulation is merely the means to an end, which is to obtain meaning. The performance of abstracting the moment is simply use of an intellectual device to get this result. The moment is not frozen ever, it merely seems that way in the minds of those who form that conception. Hence Rudhyar is violating the integrity of the moment by ignoring its temporal context. The dimensions of spacetime are integral to the whole, and scientific views and methods that consider spatial dimensions and time separately are pure abstractions. I gather it was to avoid such detachment from reality that Placidus based his house system on 12 equal time divisions of the diurnal cycle rather than the 12 equal space divisions surrounding the event that Campanus used centuries before.
Of course, playing the devil's advocate, I must concede one could accuse Placidus on the opposite count! To tell the truth, I'm not confident of my grasp of the issues involved here. I just know that the context is spatio-temporal, and therefore the psychological orientation in each moment must be likewise, and therefore the houses seen as indicating compartments of the psyche are based on a fabric that is inherently temporal as much as it is spatial. The vital metaphysical point here is that the context is the environment. Meaning of anything is given in relation to its context, and one could indeed cite this as a fundamental principle of relativity, which involves tacitly acknowledging that relativity really deserves to be seen as a body of philosophy in its own right. I'm not sure if Einstein actually went that far, although he seems to have intuitively reasoned accordingly.
We use horoscopes to depict events. The chart is a diagram of a moment at a particular place. Since the environmental context of an event is in fact the entire spacetime continuum, we limit this in practice to obtain relevance. We consider only the class of events that occur on the surface of our planet, and limit temporal context by means of planetary cycles and positions. Rudhyar notes in his preface that a "scientific astrology would be one which takes the whole galaxy as its frame of reference". (AP p.xiv) It seems to me that one could read too much into this - I have come across one substantial website involving a number of practitioners devoted to 'galactic astrology'.
A consistent interpretation of Rudhyar proceeds from the basis of individual experience to collective commonalities. We experience the galaxy as the entire starfield - all the stars we see any night are in our galaxy, and we cannot see any that are elsewhere (unless we use a very powerful telescope). However the cyclic changes that form our conception of natural time periods come from the movement of the Sun (primarily), Moon & planets through the zodiac. It is this intersection of the plane of the solar system with the galaxy where our experience of passing time is correlated with time periods in nature and the solar system. From an experiential and consciousness point of view this is all that matters. Likewise from the social point of view.
It is crucial for astrologers to understand that their primary frame of reference, the zodiac, is physically the band of stars defined by the planetary orbits: the area of sky where solar system and galaxy overlap. From an experiential point of view, this region of the sky is where we experience the time cycles of the solar system, and the galactic stellar background within the zodiac is the physically the context of planetary motion relative to life on earth. The point may seem obscure, or it may seem obvious to the reader. I am trying to stress that this frame of reference (the zodiac) achieves organic impact upon us by virtue of the planetary cycles. It functions as evironmental context. It can be seen as spatio-temporal fabric within that context. Consider the galactic field as a physical entity, and the solar system likewise: the zodiac is the physical arena of intersection of these two fields. It is defined solely on the basis of relativity, because the domain of intersection is purely as seen by observers on Earth. The meaning of the zodiac is thus best described as deriving from a functional combination of the two cosmic systems that contain us, relative to our home planet. Definitions of the zodiac that fail to explain this relativity, or to reference our functional relation to the natural holarchy of the local cosmos, are best described as historically redundant.
Rudhyar concludes his preface with his view of the contemporary purpose of astrology. "The goal of astrology is the alchemy of personality. It is to transform chaos into cosmos, collective human nature into individual and creative personality." (AP p.xvi) The application of astrology to individual people is meant to assist their individuation. [Rudhyar appears to use the term personality to include character, which is rather unhelpful and likely to confuse his readers in our times.] The intent is ideally to catalyse personal development via insight into one's inner nature and recognition of latent potential.
The first section of the book begins with a review of the origin and early development of astrology. Nomads and hunters prioritised the lunar cycle, then with agriculture the solar cycle became predominant. "The movements of the Sun and the Moon became the basis of the astrological system." (AP p12). The regularity of correspondence between phases of animal and vegetable life and those of the lunar and solar cycles proved to be vital learning and the basis for survival skills for humans from the earliest times. "From these solunar correspondences came by generalization the great 'law of analogy', which is the very foundation of all occult science. The Law of Analogy presupposes a universal agent permeating the entire universe - a life-substance or life-force filling in all space... The Earth is the microcosm; the universe the macrocosm. It is only later, in Alexandria and in the Middle Ages, that man, the individual being, is considered to be the microcosm. Then astrology is individualized. In ancient Chaldea and China it refers only to the Earth and to the State or community." (AP p.12)
Human society requires a pattern of social order to emerge from chaos, and this is more sensibly agreed upon when corresponding to the order in nature. Hence the social function of the astrologer... "An archetypal, divine world of Order is shown in the Heavens... then the need for an Ethical Law determining how man is to deal with and cultivate his own nature, his own earthly being; how man is to behave in relation to man within the framework of the State. The Greek historian Megasthenes (302 BC), describing the duties of the Brahmin astrologer, adds "The philosopher who errs in his predictions observes silence for the rest of his life." A list of the qualities expected of an astrologer, found in the old Sanscrit texts, is quite appalling." (AP p.13,15) Nowadays society does not expect astrologers to provide it with social order, so the requirement of accuracy no longer applies.
When the practice of making individual horoscopes developed, astrology soon fell "into the hands of commercially-minded people who came rapidly to be known as charlatans... [in Rome] just as in modern times, so much trickery or foolishness became connected with their practice that they were at times forced by imperial edicts to discontinue their trade." (AP p.21) Banned or exiled by the Emperor, who usually prudently retained his own astrological advisors at the same time! Such quality control of the market was apparently due to political conspiracies being promoted via astrological scenarios (see Cramer's "Astrology in Roman Law and Politics").
Thus we see that market forces provide an eternal dichotomy to the social impact of astrologers, depending on the extent to which they exhibit expertise. In the postmodern world of today, it is no longer politically correct to expect any astrologer to get it right. To err is human, and astrologers are expected to act accordingly. Relying on the expertise of one who decodes abstract symbolism is unwise. Interpretation of cosmic order requires that "astrology is always symbolical when properly understood. All depends on what is meant by symbol. Algebra is also purely symbolical, and yet algebra and higher mathematics have made possible modern science and the age of machines. Astrology is fundamentally the algebra of life." (AP p.18) Rudhyar here provides the perfect excuse for the incompetent modern astrologer: there may indeed be a cosmic order without, as within, but interpreting it is an inherently subjective process. Does astrology, like any language, rest upon an objective structure? Yes, but you won't get most modern astrologers to admit to the moral and ethical consequences of this!
He then proceeds to discuss the alchemical astrology of the middle ages, and reproduces this passage from Paracelsus... "It is an old saying that 'a wise man may rule the stars' and I believe in that saying. You believe that one man is more successful in the acquirement of knowledge, another in the acquisition of power... and you think that this is caused by the stars; but I believe the cause to be that one man is more apt than another to acquire and to hold certain things, and that this aptitude comes from the spirit. It is absurd to believe that the stars can make a man." (AP p.29/30) "The planetary influences extend through all nature, and man attracts poisonous qualities from the moon, from the stars and from other things; but the moon, and the stars, and the other things also attract evil influences from man, and distribute them by their rays, because nature is an undivided whole whose parts are intimately connected... The sun and stars attract something from us, and we attract something from them, because our astral bodies are in sympathy with the stars, and the stars are in sympathy with our astral bodies; but the same is the case with the astral bodies of all other objects." (AP p.30)
The interesting thing about such magical thinking is that we can identify the modern stance on free-will prevailing over fate, plus a fundamental principle of holistic philosophy that was verified by quantum physicists only half a century ago ("nature is an undivided whole whose parts are intimately connected"). The concept of rays proved too mechanistic to be feasible, and the idea that we influence the stars would also deter most people, but if we bypass the language in favour of the underlying meaning, the belief Paracelsus describes above can be seen to retain some validity. In current terms, resonance, bio-plasmic and/or morphogenetic fields, and an originating pattern common to both macrocosm and microcosm. Specifically, adverse or challenging patterns within the whole, emerging in a temporal nexus, can be felt, and simultaneously recognised in the 'sky' (current cosmic configuration). If you feel bad, or threatened, and you react by sending out bad vibes or paranoia, others may, and often do, sense it and react similarly. Paracelsus and others of his period perceived this as us influencing the stars via rays, but it is more suitable these days to recognise that it is the tides of time that wash us with moments and periods of ease or difficulty, and any mutual resonance we feel in response is conditioned and mediated by how we choose to handle our reactions.
Rudhyar notes that science uses mathematics to organise knowledge that is empirically obtained. This strategy enables general rules to be identified that can be applied to predict accurately. He writes "by defining astrology as the algebra of life we place it in the category of mathematical thought... The word algebra comes from an Arabian word 'al-jebr' which means: the reduction of parts to a whole." This comes from the Arabian root word meaning 'to bind together'. "Algebra has therefore as its basic function the binding together, or correlating, or integrating of elements into a formulated whole." (AP p.39) He notes that it uses symbols to achieve this result, as does astrology, but to deduce quantities. Astrology however uses the horoscope components as symbols "which it 'binds together' into a formula describing a living whole: the native. However these symbolic elements do not belong to the realm of quantity. They represent, on the contrary, universal life-qualities. Astrology is thus a kind of algebra of qualities; and these qualities are not mere sensorial qualities (such as white, blue, thick, heavy, painful, etc), but qualities which refer to living processes - whether on the physiological or the psychological and super-psychological planes." (AP p.40) I think he means physical, mental, and social.
Now anyone with a science education would reject the analogy with mathematics as over-stated - obviously the general failure of practitioners to demonstrate any predictive capacity in astrology is the flaw in his logic. However, this passage does see Rudhyar outline the defining characteristics of the astrological archetypes for the first time. These are represented by the symbols that together constitute the horoscope, and they are universal qualities of life that can be seen to manifest in physical, mental and social processes.
"In astrology, all measurements begin with the first point of independent existence; in the case of human destiny, the first breath." (AP p.49) Rudhyar introduces the philosophy of holism, with quotation from the Encyclopaedia Brittannica article by Smuts, who originated it. "For true astrology deals, exclusively and integrally, with operative wholes. It deals with them just at the precise moment when they emerge into the condition of wholes; when they become able to maintain independent operation as wholes at their own level of being". (AP p.58) In other words, if you want to get the right chart for something, you must correctly identify the moment that it begins. This is a point so simple and profound that most mundane astrology specialists have been unable to comprehend it.
Rudhyar is advocating a general holistic theory of astrology, which provides a rationale for using the horoscope of any event or process. At the birth of an entity, its parts have organised as a group to become fully integrated as an operational whole. We can focus on both a spatial factor "the structure of the whole, its morphology and the sum total of its specific characters; and a time factor - the moment of integration, of 'holization', when what was only a group of elements begins to operate as an independent whole." (AP p.58) It would have been better for him to have emphasized the functional point of view, as in process philosophy. A process starts to function at the moment that it achieves sufficiently empowered autonomy from its environmental matrix.
On its own, the language of holistic philosophy may seem too opaque... "First, the span of independent existence of any whole is intimately united to the character of the wholeness of that whole. Second, the quality of the moment when the group became an operative whole detemines the quality of the the wholeness of the whole." (AP p.59)
"Astrology is rooted in the mystery of time." (AP p.59) Indeed, and this makes Rudhyar's emphasis of the spatial dimensions of the horoscope somewhat suspect. "It is not exactly that time makes wholes, but that time conditions the making of wholes." (AP p.60) He conceives "'the quantum of duration', viz., the creative moment. The moment is creative inasmuch as it releases the power need to makes wholes." This is a conception both pragmatic and profound, in which moments are seen to contain an inherent capacity to release "that whole-making energy which is the inner-most reality of time." (AP p.61)
Smuts saw something that Darwin recognised only tacitly: evolution is characterised by the emergence of new wholes. Nature mass-produces natural forms, old and new, some seeming similar and some seeming unique depending on one's focus. Development schedules are part of this universal process of nature. The overall process contains a multitude of sub-processes, much as the entire sytem contains a multitude of sub-systems, depending whether you adopt a temporal or spatial perspective. Smuts and Rudhyar called these wholes (and their parts, sub-wholes). Though astrologers since ancient times had used horoscopes for events other than human births, Rudhyar's reformulation provides the first general theory to give a rationale for this practice.
"This fits in well with the old mythological symbolism. For Chronos-Saturn is the maker of individual souls, or individual selves, or personalities, or egos - according to the way these terms are defined. It is the god of cycles... the principle of limitation, of boundaries, of finiteness, of crystallization and form." (AP p.61) "Time, for archaic mankind, meant a line of successive modifications undergone by material bodies. Time was significant insofar as it seemed to cause the fateful disintegration of bodies and energies. Time was thus analogical with fate. Saturn was the god of fate and karma - the implacable ruler whose decrees meant cessation and death." (AP p.63). This has a sound basis. I have seen several times in various history books it stated that the average length of life throughout history was 30 years - the Saturn cycle. One mentioned that this still applied to most countries in the 19th century.
Rudhyar proceeds to a rambling discussion of time-perception which, remarkably, contains clear differentiating descriptions of the respective left and right brain functions a half-century before these were identified by science. He declares that "there are two fundamental conceptions of time possible: negative time is time conceived as the fatality of cessation. Positive time, or holistic time, is the power of whole-making." (AP p65/66) This imprecise description is elaborated on: a death and decay focus, contrasting with a development and integrationist perspective. A solely analytic approach is inherently negative: "It involves the use of a powerful intellect, which reduces all things to elements in order to assimilate them, which is absolutely un-creative because absolutely divorced from the holistic power of true time." (AP p.67) It "extols exclusively intellectual logic, and the analytical, causalistc attitude of the mind. In opposition to this we see the development of the faculty of intuition, which is the power to identify oneself with the whole-making power of time. Intuition begins with biological instinct. The latter apprehends every new situation and confrontation as a whole, and reacts to it instantaneously also as a whole." (AP p.67/8) He cites Jung's description of intuition. "The best definition would seem to us to be that intuition is holistic perception." (AP p.68) Precisely!
So astrology is based on the intuitive perception of an ordered relation between macrocosm and microcosm. "The conceptual quality of 'order' was latent in the unconscious. It was the psychological result of a yearning to find a compensation for the apparent chaos of everyday existence... the inner psychological factor and the outer perception somehow appeared as identical. One became the symbol of the other. All intuitions are based on symbols. What are symbols? They are representations of qualities which pertain to wholes. In contradistinction to symbols, enumerations and categories pertain to parts. Parts exist in a condition of co-extensive simultaneity - that is, in space. They are seen in juxtaposition, and they strike us basically by virtue of their differences; they occupy different places, are oriented differently, behave differently. They have distinguishing characteristics thanks to which the mind is able to define them analytically against the background of homogenous space, or against each other, by contrast. Parts therefore can be enumerated; they can be given quantitative values and causal connections; they can be classified into categories". (AP p.69/70) But with "wholes (whether as whole entities, or as whole situations) we are facing truly indivisible individualities which must be understood and lived as wholes." (AP p.70) "A psychic state is the result, in us. This state is purely qualitative." He cites the philosopher Henri Bergson (Les Données Immédiates de la Conscience; English title "Time and Free Will") that, for us, "pure duration is a "succession of qualitative changes"." (AP p.70)
Rudhyar proceeds to explain the implication of this for astrological practice. As "the ordered revolution of the celestial bodies is the great symbol of natural and cosmic order, it follows that the pattern made by these celestial bodies at any moment can be taken as the root-symbol of the wholeness (selfhood and destiny) of every whole born at that moment. The quality revealed by that root-symbol is the quality of these wholes. But the root-symbol (the astrological birth-chart) must be considered as a whole and through the faculty of intuition." (AP p.70) Thus meaning becomes evident to the interpreter, after the decoding process leads to the cognition of an overview. Left brain analysis, followed by right brain synthesis.
Chapter 2 of the book is merely a short discussion of astrology in relation to Jung's analytical psychology, which deals with synchronicity and the archetypes in all too superficial a fashion. It concludes with the substantial metaphysical relation between the primal oneness of the universe and the almost-as-primal dualism, best known via the ancient Chinese terms in the following quote from "The Secret of the Golden Flower" (R Wilhelm)... "Tao the undivided, Great One, gives rise to two opposite reality principles, Darkness and Light, yin and yang. These are at first thought of only as forces of nature, apart from man. Later the sexual polarities, and others as well, are derived from them. From yin comes ming, life; from yang, hsing or essence." (AP p.112)
Rudhyar notes that Wilhelm translates Tao as "'meaning'; but it has been translated usually as 'the way'." (AP p.112) This difference is merely apparent - the difference between the advisable psychological attitude to take to it, and the general philosophic orientation to it. As a consequence of natural development 'essence' and 'life' are separate: "To reunite them is the goal of psychological development." This means "to integrate consciousness (essence) and the energies of the collective unconscious (life)." (AP p.113) Rudhyar agrees with Jung that the mandala is a useful tool for achieving the psychological unity that results from the internal integration of these archetypal opposites. He notes that the zodiac has a mandala structure, and likewise draws his horoscopes accordingly (meridian always orthogonal to horizon).
In his 3rd chapter, Rudhyar outlines his philosophy of individual/collective relations. His main point is that these are mediated via creativity. Again, he begins with the observation by Smuts in his 1926 book "Holism and Evolution" that nature's universal process of whole-making "is a process of creative synthesis". (AP p.125) The life-process "involves two complementary motions", individuation and collectivization. These can be integrated via "'the creative'. The crux of the whole matter lies in the correct understanding of this third term." (AP p.126)
"Individuation.. is the process through which elements.. are gathered together and constitute a whole. So defined, the term is synonymous with integration." "Collectivization.. is the process through which characteristic features, faculties or energies which had been acquired by individuals as individuals become.. the property of groups." (AP p.126) From a functional point of view, it could also be noted that the parts of the psyche are bound together to form the whole person (individual character), just as the members of the group are bound together to form tribe or nation (collective character) - the same archetypal organising of parts into wholes is common to both, an illustration of Smuts' general principle. The binding function is traditionally performed by religion (root religio, 'to bind'). Civilisation "is the process of integration of collective elements." (AP p129) The generic human originates "from a mass of collective elements.. the matrix from which the individual will arise after a long process of individuation." (AP p.130) Rudhyar agrees with Jung that the collective unconscious acts as a reservoir for this emergence. "It has tremendous formative power." (AP p.131)
So "every moment of time is creative of a particular quality which is, figuratively, stamped upon any whole reaching the condition of independent existence at that moment. The quality of the moment and the quality of the wholeness of the whole are identical." (AP p.134) "It is exteriorized in the creative act as both energy and structure. The structure remains unchanging, as the blueprint does during a building operation." (AP p.135) "In other words, the idea of the building is the archetype. It conditions the building-operations - the creative act." (AP p.135) Rudhyar echoes Plato here, but 'idea' not the best word. It paints too simple a picture. What we are dealing with here is a detailed blueprint, that functions as a plan. "When the building-operations are completed, the blue-print has become substantialized into a concrete body." (AP p.135)
Although interesting commentary abounds, the rest of the chapter fails to construct sufficient theory to satisfy the initial promise. "The generic is the collective inasmuch as it represents features and attributes which are the common properties of the many." (AP p.137) It is only upon this basis that statistics can usefully be applied to astrology, but Rudhyar does not spot this implication. Sorting unique entities ('wholes') into categories based on possession of common features ('parts', qualities), and then measuring the resultant number in each category, is how left-brain hemispheres can process right-brain-identified material (for statistical measure).
"The ego is the principle of separateness, symbolized in astrology by Saturn. It is that which says "I am this particular unique entity and no other". It is the organ of variablity from the generic type. It rules over the first phase of the process of individuation." (AP p.140) This is differentiation, "during which the individual emphasizes his own differences from the generic norm". (AP p.140) Rudhyar calls the second phase assimilation, in which the contents of the collective unconscious are assimilated in individual form. Uranus, Neptune and Pluto "symbolize collective or unconscious forces." (AP p.146) He asserts that whereas "the progression of the axes of the chart refers to the development of the individual factors; the planetary transits refer to the strictly collective factors." (AP p.146)
Complexes and subconscious motivations reflect lack of balance and "inability to relate integratively and properly to adjust individual and collective. (Inherited tendencies toward such maladjustments are shown in retrograde planets. The relationship between the planetary pattern - especially the Sun - and the two axes of the birth-chart indicate future potentialities of successful or unsuccessful adjustment.) (AP p.146)
Rudhyar observes that "the philosophy of Time, which is the necessary background to a vital and holistic presentation of astrology, finds its expression essentially in two factors: the Moment and the Cycle." He says the essence of the cycle lies in "the three terms which in their trinity constitute its wholeness: beginning, middle, end". (AP p.149) In the beginning phase the seed of the cycle is released and germinates - "once the period of germination is ended.. the energy that was in the seed keeps operating. It.. has now become a process. This 'process' is the fundamental reality of the 'middle' of the cycle. By the term 'middle', however, must be understood the whole of the becoming: the entire series of moments that occur between the initial moment of emanation and the final moment of consummation." (AP p.117) Which seems somewhat contradictory. The process of development continues, then the cycle consummates in a moment of fruition. I have spared the reader all the Theosophical verbiage surrounding these few relevant points, and if the description seems rather threadbare, I can only agree. It seems that Rudhyar failed to conceive any theoretical extension, or even relevance. I intuited he might have meant to relate these 3 phases to cardinal, fixed, and mutable - yet he did not, and in traditional astrology these are not correlated to a cycle in the manner he outlines, merely to each quadrant of the zodiac.
Just as today we all still are required to balance the outer constraints of society with inner ego-driven demands for self-realisation, Rudhyar's focus was the process of "'creative integration', through which the conflict between individual and collective is solved." (AP p.150) This either is, or includes, "the concept of 'individuation' as presented by Jung.. a series of assimilations by the conscious ego of unconscious life-contents". (AP p.150) One could quibble with such imprecise language, of course. Seems to me that the ego assimilates only such archetypes as it finds suitable as vehicles - the hero, the sex-goddess (Venus), the guru, the mother, the warrior (Mars), the trickster (Mercury), the gate-keeper (Saturn), etc. All other assimilation from the collective unconscious appears to be by the self (not merely the ego), which also assimilates much more from social encounters, media, and culture.
He also writes that "the creative is that factor which links the end and the beginning of all cycles." (AP p.150) He seems to mean that creativity in inherent in the cycle; seen as development process, the cycle possesses latent potential to create. Inasmuch as fresh possibilities emerge, in theory, in each moment of passing time, and fresh developments are sufficiently frequently observed to occur, perhaps Rudhyar is just rationalising the obvious! In his closing summary for chapter 3, he observes "that the dualism of individual and collective - and its reconciling operative principle, the creative - can be traced at the roots of most, and possibly all, philosophical and psychological problems. Our claim is that it could serve as a basic formula underlying the more specialized formulas of all branches of knowledge, and thus as the keystone of an attempt at universal integration." (AP p.153) This could well be a valid claim, but I regret that Rudhyar did not manage to validate it with examples. A true innovator and visionary, he lacked the motivation to extend his theories into neighbouring fields via inter-disciplinary documentation. If he had put in the leg-work, he might have gained recognition as the great philosopher that his writing frequently indicates that he was.
In chapter 4 Rudhyar becomes more specific in addressing astrological symbolism. First is the question of how to perceive the profound meaning that we go looking for when we do astrology: "intuition, or holistic perception.. is the power to see universal life-patterns at work in the functioning of particular organisms or processes." (AP p.159) My interpretation of this is that he means the ability to see archetypes, or archetypal patterns, in correlation; in both the horoscope and what it represents (person, thing, or process). My typical reaction to a Rudhyarian profundity is here exemplified: he writes something that seems immensely evocative, yet fails to follow through with a clear explanation. I believe that is why so many astrologers either can't read Rudhyar's books or find them difficult to get through - his style is sufficiently vague, impressionistic, philosophical and opaque that he usually seems to promise more than he delivers. If you can intuit his intent, which I found I usually could, tremendous vistas of insight into the deeper issues of astrology become available. The downside is his tendency to waffle or expand in a spiritual direction that often ends up seeming irrelevant to astrology, when grounding his ideas would have made them much more accessible and useful to others.
"Every type of creative interpretation must be centred around the interpreter. The individual is the foundation for all creative interpretation. In astrology everything consequently is referred to the point, in time and space, of the observer, or of the native. A birth-chart is the universe seen from the point, in time and space, of the birth-event. The native whose birth-chart is interpreted is seen at the centre of his own universe." (AP p.164) Interpretation is indeed essentially subjective, but Rudhyar fails to note that it uses a relatively objective medium to convey this personal opinion: the language of astrology. Language is by definition a collective vehicle for conveying meaning between individuals in a community. Any such communal communications system lies outside the subjective world of the individual, hence is relatively objective in relation to any person. The second point he makes in the above passage correctly refers to the subjective and relative nature of meaning, a profound and subtle issue. The third point defines the horoscope as a picture (representing the moment and place of birth) of the view of the universe at the event. This view, of the whole (space/time), relative to the part (particular moment/place), is a diagram of the macrocosm in relation to the microcosm. It must be seen as an holistic diagram - of part in relation to whole - for the full meaning of the chart to become accessible to the interpreter. The 4th and final point Rudhyar makes in this extremely pithy passage is the most important of all. The horoscope must be interpreted as showing the subject at the centre of his/her world because that's precisely the only way we ever experience life. This basic fact of consciousness and experience is perhaps overlooked by psychology, to its detriment. If psychologists were able to admit that our locus of vision is a surrounding sphere, they would then be obliged to concede that certain physical and psychological facts follow, with substantial implications for how our minds structure our view of the world. Acknowledging that the circular horizon bounds our field of vision, that our binocular vision creates an orthogonal vertical axis of height as well as depth, and that our perception of (and interactions with) others occur on an apparently flat plane, might be a sufficiently revolutionary advance to enable psychologists to escape Descartes and the prison of the old science paradigm that the physicists already left behind 70 or more years ago!
Rudhyar notes that we have a first name (personal, individual), a second name (family, collective) that we sign with our own particular flourish (creative). This is impressive verification of the theory he outlined in chapter 3, so editorial direction ought to have relocated it there! He observes that "life is cyclic motion.. Motion, space and time constitute an old metaphysical trinity, which is as fundamental as can ever be conceived. 'Being' is the synthesis of all three." (AP p.162) Sounds like a metaphysical basis for a theory of cycles.
He differentiates "two types of motion: motion which does not involve displacement of the center of the being, and motion which does.. Every planet rotates around its axis (first type) and circles round the sun (second type)." He proceeds to correlate these with "the dualism of individual and collective. The first type of motion can be called 'motion in time' or 'subjective motion' as it does not create any change of location of the body as a whole. It is motion within the confines of the self; thus, by extension, interior or subjective motion. It symbolizes inner changes, and what Bergson calls real time or duration.. It refers to subjective being, to the individual. The second type of motion, on the other hand, is definitely 'motion in space' or 'objective motion', as it brings about change of location". Space "is a framework for the interplay of relationships of parts within a whole. It is the substratum for all relationships, for all interchanges." Through spatial motion "one gains concrete, objective experiences of others, one also becomes aware of the reality of the larger collective whole of which one is but a part." (AP p162/3)
"Thus we have exemplified in the main motions of celestial bodies our dualism of individual and collective. Our 'algebra of life' will use these two types of motion as the very foundation for its symbolism. Axial rotation and orbital revolution will be the two pillars on which the temple of astrological symbolism will rest.. Astrology is a study in significant motion. It symbolically interprets the motions of the celestial bodies and relates them to the movements of the life-force within all organisms and all cycles. These movements of the life-force are represented both by a series of states of consciousness and by a series of organic events; by what happens in the individual, and by occurrences having significance in terms of the collective." (AP p.163)
Rudhyar observes that "generic mankind is not affected by the axial rotation of the Earth "because day and night is a local experience and humanity is non-local as a whole because it spans the entire planet." (AP p.164)
Instead, "collective values which pertain to the behaviour of man as a racial and generic being will be referred to the orbital yearly revolution of the Earth around the Sun. It is this orbital revolution which constantly alters the relationship of the Earth to the Sun and to the planets. As the latter also revolve around the Sun, a complex pattern of planetary motions and of consequent relationships is produced. It is in order to be able to chart such a constantly changing pattern that the idea of the zodiac originated, or at least is to be used in an astrology reformulated at an abstract and symbolic level. The zodiac becomes thus a series of points of reference which enables us to plot accurately the position of all planets and of the Sun in relation to the orbital motion of the Earth. It is this motion which creates the cycle of the year." (AP p.165)
"According to astronomical-telluric facts, the North and South poles of the earth represent respectively the ingress and egress of cosmic magnetic energies. Interpreting this, esoteric tradition has always referred to the North Pole as the gates through which cosmic Power flowed into the Earth, and as the symbol of divine Consciousness. In this, very likely, a simile was established between the polar axis of the Earth and man's spine, which is the 'rod of power' through which the energy of spirit operates within man. The North Pole corresponds with the top of the head.. The polar axis, symbolically at least, is the 'I Am' of" the Earth. (AP p.166/7) Precession of the poles is a long-term cycle of the Earth in relation to the galaxy. Since the precession of the equinoxes derives from that physical cycle, the zodiac ages can be seen as planetary phases of development that human society is geared to by virtue of its effect as environmental context. "Thus the day is the unit-cycle of individual man.. The year is the unit-cycle of collective Man.. the 'Great Polar Cycle' is the unit-cycle of the planetary Individual, whose center is one with the center of the Earth." (AP p.167) Presumably his apparent need to distinguish a "planetary Individual" separate from the Earth is in reaction to the reductionist norms of his period of history, in which readers would naturally see the home planet as just dead rock with nature on its surface, whereas nowadays we call the other entity Gaia to evoke not just the biosphere, but also a theoretical planetary spirit of a living Earth.
"The abstract line connecting the two poles of the Earth is the axis of rotation" which "symbolizes the line of power of the planet, just as the human spine represents the line of power of the human being. This power is the power to be an individual self, an 'I'. The polar axis is the line of manifestation of the 'I Am' of the planet considered as a cosmic being. Through this line flows the power to be an individual self." (AP p.169) "Therefore the cyclic motion of the Earth's globe around this axis must refer to the cyclic development of the individual selfhood of all beings" living on the planet. "This needs to be so because of the very principle of holistic logic - the logic of symbolism.. In astrological symbolism this axial rotation of the Earth is charted by means of the circle or wheel of houses. The twelve houses are twelve phases of this daily motion of the Earth." Rudhyar then likens this subdivision of the diurnal cycle to "the dial of a clock". (AP p.169) If he had consulted his dictionary he would have then been able to inform his readers that the root of dial is Latin for 'day', which of course the clock was originally designed and constructed to provide a model of, in order to tell the time. No doubt he would then have commented that the coincidence of both the clock and the wheel of houses having 12 equal phases as subdivisions is no coincidence at all, due to their common origin!
"As every cyclic motion takes on the significance of the center around which it occurs, it will be seen that the zodiac has the same fundamental meaning as the sun - just as the circle of houses has the same fundamental meaning as the polar axis of the Earth." (AP p.171) Thus the rationale for specifying the respective functions of the two primary axes of the horoscope... "The horizon (and especially the Eastern horizon: the Ascendant of the birth-chart) defines, limits, particularizes. The meridian or zenith (the Midheaven of the birth-chart) vitalizes, collectivizes, universalizes." (AP p.171) Further "the Sun represents the life-force. It is the vitalizing, integrating power which makes man whole.. and brings every living organism to a point of creative fulfillment." It also "represents the force that holds the entire solar system together." "The zodiac gives us therefore first of all a picture of the cyclic unfoldment of the life-force, both in nature and in man.. it represents the ebb and flow of the universal life-force throughout the year cycle." (AP p.172)
In ancient times people thought that "when the Sun 'entered' a constellation of the zodiac, its energies took on something of the nature of the constellation." (AP p.173) "To the modern mind however.. The zodiac is merely a symbolic device to define and measure the cyclic unfoldment of the life-force as it streams from Sun to Earth throughout the cycle of orbital revolution. What it helps to chart is the cyclic modifications of the relation Sun-to-Earth (that is, particular-to-universal; individual-to-collective)." (AP p.173) He reminds us of the holistic logic that forms the metaphysical rationale for this. Orbital motion "is the motion of parts within an organic whole. Every whole is composed of parts which move in relation to each other and, in the most perfect systems (such as solar systems and atoms) in orbits around a common center. Orbital motion is thus the rhythmical motion of relationship; whereas axial rotation represents the cycle of self-unfolding." (AP p.173)
Thus we have an alignment to our home planet that influences us all, and a transverse alignment to the Sun, and, by virtue of the planetary orbits all being approximately aligned along the zodiac, to the collective solar system. The equator lies in "the plane of the sun's greatest action.. along which the integrating forces" concentrate their influence. "It represents the maximum intensity of the collective energies of life." (AP p.175) "On the other hand the polar axis represents the most individual energies of the planetary life. Thus equatorial plane and polar axis symbolize opposites." (AP p.175) Rudhyar perhaps didn't notice that his logic provides good reason to assume that the equinoxes, when the Sun is over the equator, have a stronger influence than the tropics.
"Stars are thus points of reference enabling the astrologer to plot out the curve of the changing Sun-Earth relationship, and of all planetary relationships." (AP p.174) He means just the stars of the zodiac, of course. He observes that "the Earth's axis gyrates around the ideal axis of the Earth: the line of the poles of the ecliptic - that is, a perpendicular to the plane of the Earth's orbit." (AP p.175) Readers who have not learnt astronomy may not realise that our planet's orbit, the ecliptic, and the zodiac, are simply 3 different ways of looking at the same thing. The zodiac is the astronomical/historical frame of reference, of which the ecliptic is the line running precisely through the middle of the band, traced out by the annual path of the sun, which is the apparent solar motion relative to the stellar background that results from the Earth moving through its annual orbit. This relativity, that relates apparent motion to 'real' motion, often remains tacit in the explanations provided by astrology and astronomy books. What is 'real' in such a situation of relativity is merely the result of fashion (or convention) in science. In our times the fashion has been to deny the facts of direct experience and exalt an abstract view instead. That's why in school and university people are indoctrinated with a 'God's eye' view of the motion of the solar system. Science education remains Newtonian by convention in such basic respects - relativity, the more fundamental 'truth', remains beyond the comprehension of those who compile the curriculum. Paradigms shift very slowly in mainstream society, where the views of experts are normally regarded as incomprehensible.
"The creative is always the result of a synthesis and integration of elements. Thus the gyration of the Earth-axis is the synthesis of various factors which involve on one hand the gravitational pull of Sun and Moon.. and on the other the axial rotation of the Earth." (AP p.181) The latter is a physically correct statement (i.e. scientific) and the former metaphysical - yet (as Smuts demonstrated) a logical consequence of the holistic view of nature, and consequently seemingly as valid. This is a typical illustration of Rudhyar's endeavour of grounding his astrophilosophy on a sound physical basis when possible. The Sun and Moon are orbital collective factors, the Earth by contrast is individual in relation, and the precession consequent of the combination of their physical motions is the creative outcome of that synthesis of forces.
Chapter 5 is a short comparison of natal & mundane astrology, the two main consequences in practice of the individual/collective dualism, with horary also noted as "the astrology of the individual situation" (AP p.184).
"Natal astrology.. demands as a prerequisite absolute accuracy in the knowledge of the moment of the first breath - the moment when the human being reaches the condition of individual or at least independent existence. Such absolute accuracy is necessary to establish beyond doubt the frame-work of the houses - the very frame-work of the native's individual self-hood and unique destiny." (AP p.184) Obviously such precision would be necessary were astrology a science, but since it is not astrologers act accordingly. Working with erroneous data is quite normal, and the publication of wrong charts and the misrepresentation to clients of horoscopes falsely purporting to be of their births is quite endemic in practice. The ideal that Rudhyar propounds would only be feasible if collective constraints applied, and the ethics of malpractice translated into accountability disciplines, preferably enforced by social mechanisms. In postmodern society such a degree of collective competence and credibility is generally regarded as anathema, and the right of astrologers to delude their clients is recognised as just as valid as that of any other capitalist provider of goods and services.
Rudhyar says the purpose of natal astrology is "to release and increase the significance of an individual destiny and of a unique personality - thus enhancing its individualness and its uniqueness. Such a true natal astrology is therefore based essentially on psychological understanding. It deals with subjective interpretation of objective facts." (AP p.185) What objective facts? The birth data, I presume, if not the horoscope that results. If data and diagram are correct, the resulting reading is more likely to be "true" as he says, allowing that the perceived truth tends to be assumed by the astrologer and wondered at by the client. If the process is conducted with integrity, the client's faith in its truth may, and often does, seem justified. This is because they perceive an accurate correspondence between the picture of themselves (painted by the words of the astrologer) and the internal picture that they have built up of themselves from observation of their lives and attempts at self-understanding.
Mundane astrology deals with "the determination of vast influences moulding the temper of groups.. the collective moods of men and nations.. human collectivities, or human psychological changes in the collective". (AP p.186)
"The zodiac, in the Ptolemaic system, is a belt of creative fire surrounding the earth, this fire being focalized upon our planet by the disc of the Sun - the Sun being a mere lens through which the zodiacal Whole focalizes its twelve-fold energy upon the Earth." (AP p.190) He elaborates this ancient esoteric view: the term for the signs was 'cosmocreatores', together constituting a 'cosmic formative power'.
"The birth-chart is the key to the wholeness of an individual and of his outer manifestation - his destiny." (AP p.194) "It is the archetypal pattern, the symbolical formula, the Signature of the whole being. It is the blueprint of the building that is his perfected self-hood -and it also contains the time-schedule according to which the various phases of the building-operation will proceed in ordered sequence - what we call the destiny of the man." (AP p.194)
"We therefore face the human being through his birth-chart mostly as a psychological entity. He is a particular, unique being. There is no other being exactly like him." (AP p.195) Yet this "unique being is a particular combination of collective elements. What is individual is therefore the structural framework within which the collective elements are organized" in a particular unique pattern. The form of the self is individual; the content is collective. The psyche of a person is composed of elements from a "vast reservoir formed by the collective unconscious of mankind as a whole or of definite groups within mankind (races, tribes, nations, families, churches, etc.)" (AP p.195) The 'or' in that last statement reveals Rudhyar's tentative (at the time) grasp of how holarchies operate, since it should really be 'and'. Each collective has its own informational field that members access, whether consciously or unconsciously.
So while the houses represent "the structure of his individual self-hood. On the other hand the signs of the zodiac.. refer to the collective factor, the substance of his being. We shall now add that the planets refer to the energies which are generated by the constantly changing relation of collective to individual factors." (AP p.195/6) "Gravitation is the symbol of relationship" and it physically binds the parts of the solar system into a whole. "Planets are thus, in terms of their zodiacal positions, focal points for collective energies." (AP p.196) Rudhyar here provides a theoretical basis for reducing the planets to mere activating parts of a greater whole, rather than the relatively-autonomous archetypes of nature that I have preferred to advocate in my own theoretical extension of Rudhyar's work. Essentially the difference is one of emphasis, reflecting whether one prefers to focus on the influence of parts, or on the whole. When Rudhyar wrote this, fascism was the predominant form of the state, with even the nominally democratic governments of the time routinely compelling conformity and social regimentation, so the influence of the collective whole no doubt seemed overwhelming to him. In our times individual freedoms have escalated to the point of anarchy, so the effect of the planets as separate archetypes looms larger than that of the group in coordination.
Here's one of his few illustrations of how planetary 'energies' affect us. "Jupiter in the seventh house" suggests "the native will have associates and partners who will expand his viewpoint and his sphere of action." (AP p.196) In this chapter he also explains his peculiar view of personality... "What we today call 'personality' is a synthesis of patterns of behaviour. It is the sum total of all the outer motions and emotions of the human being.. The sum total of the planets including the Sun and the Moon - the planetary pattern, as we call it - represents thus the personality as a whole." (AP p.196/7)
Chapter 6 describes "the dial of houses". Rudhyar elaborates on his view of the horoscope as a model of the self. "The generic structure of all human individuals is fundamentally the same.. although the structure of houses is the symbol of individual selfhood, this structure is geometrically the same for all individuals. What brings a relative uniqueness to an individual is the way this twelve-fold framework is correlated to the zodiac." (AP p.201)
"What is below the horizontal axis is made invisible by the Earth. Whatever there is below the Earth must reach us through the Earth. It is the interior subjective realm. What is above, reaches us through the air. It is the outer, objective realm." (AP p.202)
"Each quarter is divided into three secondary 'houses', for each operation of life is basically threefold, including action, reaction, and the result of both (either consciousness or disintegration) - also, self, not-self and the relation-between. The cross of particular selfhood for man generates four basic modes of being, four fundamental operations in the process of living as an individual. These can be described (using C.G. Jung's nomenclature) as: Intuition, Feeling, Sensation, Thinking." (AP p.203)
One "should more logically consider the houses as the dial of a watch, a mere projection in space of a set of pointers (or numerals) recording a periodical motion which occurs really in time. In this case we must imagine the line of horizon moving counter-clockwise, as the hand of a clock. The cusps of the first and seventh houses represent the position of the horizon as it actually is at the time of the first breath. The line of the cusps of the second and eighth houses represents the position of the horizon two hours afterward; the line of the cusps of the third and ninth houses, the position of the horizon four hours afterward. Each house represents a two-hour interval." (AP p.203)
This 12-fold equal division of the diurnal cycle is therefore analogous to the zodiac, and both derive from the same mathematical concept: division of a cycle into 12 equal successive constituent phases. Just as the sun maps out this archetypal structure in its yearly transit through the zodiac, the horizon maps it out in its daily passage through the diurnal cycle. "The house-cusps give the successive positions of the Ascendant.. every two hours; just as one can see from the figures on a watch the points to which the small hand will point successively.. The astrological 'dial of houses' is a 24-hour dial with only one hand." (AP p.203) There is more to this analogy than Rudhyar apparently knew: the 2-hour divisions of the day are in fact the historical origin of the hours. Originating in Sumeria, these were known as the 'beru', and were inherited and used by the Babylonians. The later halving of these seems to have occurred in Egypt, no doubt resulting from one of the periods of cross-colonisation. Perhaps the Mesopotamian rule of dividing the day into 12 equal periods was misinterpreted by simply wrongly assuming 'day' meant daylight instead of day plus night. It is known that the Egyptians evolved a measure of daylight hours based on seasonal variation, with separate night-time hours.
Rudhyar consequently describes "the houses as a segmentation of the space around the new-born child into twelve sections of 30 degrees generated by two fundamental axes, the horizon and meridian." He sees the spatial structure as predominating over the temporal structure because the two orthogonal axes represent "space-quadrature - the cross of individual existence." (AP p.203/4) This implies a pattern of selfhood that is based on spatial orientation.
"The horizon is the line of awareness." (AP p.204) Above it is the domain of sensory (exterior/objective) awareness, according to Rudhyar's contrived imposition of Jung's categories, and below it is intuition (interior/subjective) awareness. "As the Ascendant is the seed-point of the lower-hemisphere, it takes on necessarily the meaning of pure self-awareness; the Descendant, being the seed-point of the upper hemisphere, is the symbol of awareness of others. Thus intuition and sensation are seen as two complementary factors, related respectively to East and West. One becomes aware of one's own existence as an 'I' by an interior process which is intuition, whereas sensation is the result of an awareness of outer causes attributed to sense-impressions." (AP p.204) "All sensations involve.. a relationship between object and subject. Thus sensation is truly ascribable to the Descendant." (AP p.204)
"Through intuition we become aware of that which we essentially are." (AP p204) Our spontaneous reactions to life situations produce feelings. "Likewise from sensations and their correlations is born a new process: thinking. Thought is the result of sensation, just as feeling is the result of intuition. What was abstract as intuitive awareness becomes concrete as feeling. What was vague, fugitive, impermanent as sensation, becomes established, relatively permanent as thought. More than this, what was a mere matter of awareness becomes actual concrete experience, having form and purpose - thus significance. Feeling involves experience, and experience manifests either as feeling (on the basis that it is subjective) or as thought (if the basis of it is objective)." (AP p.204/5) "Thus we grasp the significance of the vertical axis, which refers to concrete experience." (AP p.205)
So, to summarise, at the Ascendant we become aware of things, at the IC we feel them, at the Descendant we sense them, and at the MC we think of them. I found this Procrustean stretching of Jung's mandala model of these four capacities of the psyche quite arbitrary and unconvincing when I first read it 20 years ago and time has failed to improve it. I include it here because it is an essential part of Rudhyar's modernisation of astrology, recognising that there remain astropsychologists who believe in it. Acolytes tend not to doubt any law the guru lays down. To readers who find themselves as unconvinced as I was by Rudhyar's logic, I offer my own perception of how the axes function in the psyche...
The Ascendant seems to endow the capacity for perception, and generates an internal self-image, much as Rudhyar suggests. I believe this has a physical basis: eyesight. It is where we look out at the world, but also where we endeavour to project our identity from. This effort, in an ongoing functional sense, then proceeds to form the personality - which, unlike Rudhyar, I see as merely the vehicle through which people socially present themselves in best light. Whereas Rudhyar seems to equate personality with character, I believe it is just a means of exhibiting one's character to suit the occasion. The Ascendant perceives our self in relation to the rest of the world, but this perception requires a domain in which to function, and the first house provides it.
The Descendant functions as perception of the other, in relation to the self. We see others as individuals there, and interact with them on a bipolar basis. The domain of this functional interaction is the seventh house, where one-on-one interactions generate relationships. Despite Rudhyar's use of Jung as leverage, the touching of others cannot be regarded as normal functional interaction. Perhaps other sensations? Verbal interaction, involving sound and sight, 'tis true. But now we have language as basis for interaction: a cerebral process. Thinking is forbidden by the Jung/Rudhyar doctrine till we get to the Midheaven. Also, we read the face of the other person as a normal part of the interaction, and intuitive right-brain perception comes from the other end of the horizon.
The lower meridian connects us to our place of belonging, to our home and family, local community and environment, ultimately to the Earth itself. Feelings specific to this connection may be generated, such as the security that comes from being where we belong, but the significance is via the functional interaction with domicile and locality that finds its outlet in the 4th house. Feelings in general, arising from reactions to changes in circumstance, are represented by the Moon, not the IC.
The Midheaven connects us to our place in society, and provides us with status, reputation, and a social role which we carry out as a function in the domain of the 10th house via career or vocation. The security that society endows us with, as a result, is consequential of the general recognition of our contribution, and proportional to the relative status of the part we play in the social scheme.
Rudhyar says the 10th house has the traditional meanings "honor, preferment, fame; public position; the mother". He also gives his understanding of its philosophical meaning: "Concretization of relationships. Base of operation in human society. Business, state affairs. The mother in whom racial consciousness and the national Soul are concretized." (AP p.210) This typical example shows how Rudhyar's astrology is so defined by his philosophy that practical application verges on the incomprehensible. Despite that 'career' is the most commonly agreed keyword for the 10th in modern astrology, he fails to specify it, and only hints at it by citing 'public position' and 'preferment' (an antique word meaning advancement and promotion). Fame and public honour are achieved by few people, thus can only realistically be deemed potentials of the 10th house function. God only knows why the mother is cited here, since everyone knows the mother is experienced almost totally via the 4th house, the home and family context. Rudhyar's rationalisation is readily seen as typical Theosophical gobbledegook that has no discernible basis in real life. State affairs may be appropriate for the 10th house in mundane astrology, or in the chart of a ruler, politician or civil servant, but is inapplicable to the general meaning of the 10th. Business likewise, since it is generated by the psychodynamics of the 8th house, and can only appear in a 10th house context in the chart of a businessman who has achieved social prominence that manifests as status. The typically Rudhyarian jargon phrase 'concretization of relationships' can without hesitation be dismissed as complete nonsense, since he fails to even attempt to explain or justify it. Analysis of Rudhyar's comprehension of the 10th house thus reveals a core of substance amidst the dross: public position, one's basis of operation in human society (social function), which both usually refer to career or vocation; and, by implication, the status, reputation, and general recognition or acclamation that can produce fame.
Similarly we find his capsule meanings of the other houses to be a mixture of right and wrong. The 1st house is given traditional meanings "Bodily form; personal appearance and outlook on life", all suitable. It is given the deeper meanings "Awareness of self; subjective viewpoint", both appropriate; "'The Sower'. Form Principle. The particular destiny." (AP p208) These are all inappropriate allocations. The 2nd house is rightly given the traditional meaning of possessions, and wrongly given health and the superfluous "gain and loss". (AP p.209) The modern 2nd house consensual meanings 'values and resources' are not mentioned. He instead cites as the philosophical meaning: "life-substance to be used by the self; the material to be redeemed.. social substance disposable to work out the destiny" along with wealth, food, heredity. (AP p.209)
Traditional meanings of the 3rd house according to Rudhyar: "Brethren, neighbours, short journeys, letters; lower mind." (AP p.209) To obtain the functional meaning of the 3rd, ask yourself why short journeys are typically undertaken, what motivations are common to interactions with neighbours and brethren, and what do all these things have in common with letters and the lower mind. The obvious answer seems to be communication processes. Rudhyar's philosophical meaning? "Relationship of personal self to physical substance, of Sower to the Soil: the Seed. The formative intellect synthetizing sense-impressions and bringing together individual destiny and social elements. The environment." (AP p.209) Nothing there of any substance or merit. Rudhyar had failed to understand that the function of the 3rd house is information-gathering and processing.
Similarly Rudhyar's grasp of the 4th house is demonstrably inadequate. No hint of the psychological roots of the self, the need of belonging that finds its function in the place of residence, the home and family life. He cites the traditional meanings as "Home and the parents; the Father; end of life. Affairs regarding land and estates." (AP p.209) His philosophical meaning: "Concretization of self; the Soul. Its base of operation. The father whose seed carries the astral pattern, the plan of the body." (AP p209) A load of junk, except for the home and land as base of operation. Our domain on the surface of the planet is the manifestation of the 4th house, and its experiential outlet extends from the bedroom of the child to the domestic estate of the wealthy. Belonging as a psychological function can extend from home to community, to local environment and province, to home-land, and even to the home planet. Rudhyar in 1935 evidently perceived none of this, and even wrongly allocated the environment to the 3rd house.
He fared better with the 5th: "Offspring, children, artistic creations; speculation, amusements." (AP p.209) He didn't explain the implied difference between offspring and children! His deeper meaning: "Exteriorization of self. Creative and procreative activity. Recreations." (AP p.209) The basic functions of the 5th seem to be play, self-expression, artistry and performance. Typical manifestations are fun and entertainment. Rudhyar implies creativity and gambling, two of the most accepted keywords of the 5th, and satisfactorily described the main functions of this house.
Rudhyar's description of the 6th, by contrast, is a disaster area. Traditional: sickness, servants and dependents, private enemies. His "philosophical interpretation": "Conflicts resulting from exteriorization of self. Enmity of other personal selves, including the cells of one's own body. Sickness. Relation between master and slave, employer and employees." (AP p.209) Given that the two primary traditional keywords for the 6th house have been work and health for most of the 20th century, one marvels at the struggle with self-restraint Rudhyar presumably had in order to stop himself citing them. Perhaps sickness was the norm in his personal experience, and health so rare an experience that it was not worth mentioning. And note that work, or the provision of service, is apparently not seen as either a psychological function of typical mundane activity corresponding to the 6th, but rather it is the hierarchical relation between a servant and an overlord or manager that he deems important here. Did he get this stuff from Marc Edmund Jones or Alan Leo? Note the strange allocation of 'private enemies', obviously because someone figured that the secret enemies traditionally allocated to the 12th are essentially public, and opposite houses supposedly produce opposite effects. Such perversions of logic can only be recycled by those bereft of empirical learning and unable to access any tradition of consensual knowledge.
The 7th is pretty hard to get wrong, and he doesn't. Traditional: "marriage and partnership"; his interpretation: "The sense of human relationship on a basis of giving and taking. Interchange of vital energies and ideas." (AP p.209) His 8th, traditional: "Death and legacies." Maybe everyone got legacies in those days. No sex though. His philosophical meaning: "Destruction of personal limitations as a result of human interchange. Enlargement of viewpoint. Regeneration and death. Practical occultism, also modern business based on contract and installment buying." (AP p.209) No sex for him either. Maybe it was too rare in those days.
The traditional meanings of the 8th we were taught in our period of history are pretty consensual and readily documented as such in the books and articles of astrologers: 'sex, death, and other people's money'. The deeper meaning can be identified, in principle, by discovering the underlying motivations these interests have in common. Sex and money have been in close association since money was invented, and seem to function on the basis of shared values. Sharing, mutuality and trust are therefore the best contemporary 8th house keywords, in my opinion, in respect of natal charts. My best guess is that death became correlated as a typical consequence of the failure of trust and sharing, due to a lack of real mutual value underlying any particular deal gone wrong. Legacies likewise may not materialise if the inter-generational sharing of value is more presumed than real. Finance and trading are also basic 8th house functions. Bonds, bonding, and bondage, are also worthy of contemplation as useful 8th house keywords. They come from a common root, yet have quite a variety of situational manifestations which can all be found to be based on ties that bind, and mutual interests. Occultism often involves sex, money and death, as well as bondage. The underlying mutuality that binds people into all these types of mutualism often seems hidden, but can be sensed. Exploitation and parasitism are the consequence when such tacit mutuality causes one person to become the resource of another. When what has been assumed or agreed as shared values and resources is revealed as deceit, this betrayal of trust often results in death.
Rudhyar gives the traditional 9th as "religion and philosophy, science, writings, distant travel." (AP p.209/10) His deeper insight: "The abstract mind and the sense of relationship between relations. World-wide contacts; mental adjustment to racial ideas and collective needs." (AP p.209/10) While the sense of all this stuff seems to evoke the meaning of the 9th, one is struck, as is often the case with Rudhyar, by the language problem. English offers many basic functional words that accurately describe archetypal functions. Too often Rudhyar fails to use any. Wisdom is what the natal 9th house function ought to produce, but if that seems too rare or elitist, we need only point out that learning, understanding and comprehension occur in the minds of most people. Whereas the 3rd house function is to obtain and process information, in the 9th the meaning must become available and integrated into the context of prior knowledge. Evidently these house functions mirror left & right brain functions. His use of the misleading term 'writings' presumably is intended to refer to literature - the reservoir of the social meanings of culture. Travel in foreign cultures enables people to identify pan-cultural similarities and thus learn more about archetypal human nature, collective motivations and social functions. An enhanced comprehension of morality and ethics tends to emerge from such experiences, making these useful 9th house keywords.
Rudhyar curiously gives the traditional 11th house as "Friends; wishes and hopes. Flatterers." (AP p.210) Another instance of spurious tradition, since no other traditional source cites 'flatterers'. His "philosophical interpretation": "Exteriorization of social position. The circle of acquaintances and the friends. New ideals of human and social relationship. The reformers dreams and efforts." (AP p.210)
This is close to the modern view of the 11th. Friends and acquaintances are encountered in the group context. This part of the social environment provides group psychodynamics as the medium of interaction, where social function is organised by the belief system that defines the group. Peer groups and associations tend to emerge organically as microcosms of the social matrix. They take form as organisations of communal activity based on a common purpose. Group membership and participation seems to be the basic function of this house. Any hopes, wishes, ideals, dreams that motivate someone to join groups are either personal projections, or, if genuinely held in common, secondary consequences of the social affiliations.
"The twelfth house signifies negatively the vanishing of our social ideals and our hopes - self-questioning as to the meaning of life. The prison of our dreams and illusions keeps us confined until we emerge with a new vision, or are forced back unenlightened into a new cycle of bondage. Or else it signifies the closing chapter of a period well lived and the transition to a new birth at a higher level of selfhood whose foundations will have been our altruistic work for society and our friends, inspired as it was by noble and magnanimous ideals." (AP p.208) We see Rudhyar here providing a nicely evocative picture of the karmic function of the 12th house, then basing it on the function of the 11th, as a natural consequence. This passage precedes the capsule house meanings I have been reproducing here. There he gives the traditional 12th as "Hidden enemies. Fate. Imprisonment." (AP p.210)
His philosophical interpretation: "Conflict with the inertial forces of society. The limiting power of the race's level of consciousness, and the rising above it by individual efforts of will occultly exerted. Karma, and the fatality of rebirth in a limited form of selfhood, either to neutralize failures, or in compassionate sacrifice. Forces which brought the self into incarnation. The overcoming of karma. Liberation." (AP p.210) Of all this, the only essential 12th house keywords are fate and karma. The potential liberation Rudhyar suggests is informed by a much better word: release. Self-undoing is typical of this house, and hidden enemies are selected from the social matrix in some obscure natural process to act as agents for the precipitation of karma. In other words, if we have done wrong, our efforts to avoid consequences will, in the 12th, produce unconscious compensatory behaviour that undoes our efforts. Our shadow may manufacture a hidden enemy to better achieve this undoing. Which all points to the basic function of the 12th: the processing of endings. This means dealing with consequences. Resolution is to be expected as the natural outcome. Typically these result from actions undertaken during long time cycles, most obviously Saturn in terms of negative outcomes and Jupiter for positive. Society has traditional places for negative consequences, most obviously prisons and hospitals. Isolation and secrecy are typical of the 12th. Places of retreat and solitude for convalescence and meditation help the resolution process.
So here we have outlined Rudhyar's understanding of the houses after 15 years of studying and practising astrology. Half a Saturn cycle brought it into the objective form of publication. Much later in life he published a much more satisfying version in "The Astrological Houses", 1972, but I believe it is instructive to observe the mish-mash of tradition (both true and false) and abstract rationalizations (both wise and ridiculous) and Theosophical interpretations and projections (both sensible and delusional) that are assembled in such ad-hoc form. Analysing it shows us just how weak and unreliable astrology was in a practical sense at that point of history. Rudhyar's expertise as a generalist enabled him to formulate a glorious vision of the subject, which inspired students and catalysed the snow-balling popularity of astrology in the latter half of the 20th century. Perhaps his practical grasp of applied astrology never managed to match that promise.
A comment on house theory in this chapter foreshadows how Rudhyar would interpret the houses in his later book. The "wheel of houses is inherently to be interpreted in terms of becoming rather than of static being. It is a time-pattern; a pattern of unfoldment, recording essentially a process. And this process is the great psychological process of individuation". (AP p212) Conceiving the houses as an archetypal development process facilitates the production of theoretical house meanings, since each can be interpreted as an archetypal function that is the logical consequence of the one before it, and the suitable precondition for the house that follows. The resultant theory then produces a logical flow of meaning right round the circle. Through his hemispherical division by the horizon into subjective/objective, or personal/collective, each house can be made to relate to the one opposite in archetypal meaning. Personal wealth in the 2nd, money that involves others in the 8th, for instance. In his later book Rudhyar would combine both interpretive strategies to produce more extensive house meanings.
He closes the chapter with a description of how to progress the horoscope. For kabbalistic reasons, the wheel is made to rotate in 28 years, which in his theory represents "the process of Individuation". "Each cycle represents a complete revolution of the entire "pattern of selfhood", ie of the axis of the birth-chart. This symbolical revolution is timed in such a manner that every seven years one arm of the cross comes to the position occupied at birth by the Imum Coeli, the latter to that of the natal Descendant, etc.. Theoretically, it is the entire axial cross which rotates in 28 years. For practical purposes, the revolution of the Ascendant is usually the most valuable to study. For the ascendant symbolizes the very essence of self, man's attitude and path toward himself. It represents that particular viewpoint on life, that particular quality of life of which the man, as an individual identity, is to be the representative." It "is the very centre of the whole consciousness. As it is seen to revolve throughout the 28-year cycle, one gets a most valuable graph of the sequential unfoldment of man's original or central attitude toward life". (AP p.217/8) Like most esoteric theory, since he wrote it this has gathered neither empirical validation nor an abundance of enthusiastic adherents.
Chapter 7 is devoted to the signs of the zodiac, which Rudhyar sees as "celestial hierarchies of Cosmic Builders. These hierarchies constitute collectively the Universal Mind, the operative creative energy of the macrocosm." (AP p.223) This antique Theosophical language may baffle the reader, but I believe it endeavours to convey some important points. The first is that the energy of the macrocosm achieves concentrated release via the solar cycle (year); although the macrocosm is the sphere of our surrounding cosmic environment, from a biophysical development point of view its energy affects us primarily via the Sun's path, and secondarily via the paths of the Moon and planets. The second point is that the signs operate as archetypes with a hierarchy of effects that cascade down through all the environmental and social wholes that are part of the solar system - in relation to us. The consequences have been well described by Dennis Elwell in his book "Cosmic Loom". The third point is that, although the Universal Mind may not be restricted to the zodiac as Rudhyar suggests, the zodiac as collective development process is certainly a major constituent of it.
The archetypal cycle structure is the same for the diurnal cycle (day), which Rudhyar says refers to the individual, as for the annual cycle (year) which refers to the collective. He notes the curious fact that at the poles the day, experientially, does in fact equal the year - daylight and night both being 6 months long. Perhaps this is a better metaphysical basis for the theory of secondary progressions than the traditional citation from the Bible. This polar 'day', however, is generated by the earth's orbit of the sun, not its diurnal rotation. "This shows that what is a year cycle (collective) in relation to the temperate zones, is a day cycle (individual) in relation to the poles. We may interpret this by saying that what is the collective for cells within an entire organism, is individual in reference to this organism as a whole. Individual and collective are relative terms. Relative to what? To the point of view taken." (AP p.226/7) Here we see that Rudhyar has become aware, via Smuts' holistic logic, that relativity is implicit in any contemporary theory of astrology that addresses the physical, environmental facts. These Janus-faces of parts and wholes in systems and sub-systems were later given a fuller description in an extension of holistic theory developed by the Hungarian philosopher Arthur Koestler.
He suggests that "the signs of the zodiac represent anatomical divisions of the Earth-body. However, it is not the material planet which is to be considered, but the planet as a field of relationships." (AP p.227) He is referring to "the magnetic field of the Earth, what occultists call the 'aura of the Earth', or the auric egg of the planetary Being. Abstractly, it is the realm where all relationships between all living beings on Earth are interwoven. It is the great matrix of the collective, energized and stirred rhythmically by the solar radiations and presumably also by cosmic rays.. The zodiac, as Western astrology uses it, is both an idea and a fact. As an idea, it is an expression of the combined movements of and relationships between the Sun, Moon, planets, and the Earth. It is an expression of collective being and of relationship between the parts or organs which together constitute an organic whole.. the Zodiac is the collective environment of the Earth, and thus of mankind as a whole." (AP p.227/8) The case he makes here is insufficient to persuade anyone with critical faculties or a science education. He really needed to point out that natural development is cued by the timing phases provided by the zodiac, and that our inner sense of timing no doubt evolved from this context.
He moves on to a consideration of the traditional correlation of the elements with the cardinal points of the solar cycle, and offers a modern rationalisation. "Fire is individual because it is the animating principle of all individual selfhood.. It is the fire of germination that propels the nucleus of the seed Sunward, toward the God-that-is-everywhere. Air is collective, because it is that which brings every separate individual and body into the subtle communion of the breath. Air links the lungs and blood of every breathing entity." (AP p.237) He endeavours to rationalise the ancient allocation. "At the equinoxes came the times of greatest momentum of life", with the fastest apparent solar movement and change of season. (AP p235) That's the only other credible point I could identify to reproduce: the rest is obfuscation. The real intellectual challenge is to justify the allocation of water to the northern summer tropic, but he fails to even reproduce Ptolemy on the question, let alone attempt to transcend the hemispherical bias.
After glossing over the fundamental matter he does however somewhat redeem himself with a substantial innovation. First he makes the metaphysical assertion that energy and form are just as important in a structured process as substance. Therefore "the zodiac is, most logically, susceptible to two other types of dfferentiation, referring respectively to energy and form." (AP p.239) The elements have provided the primary differentiation (into types) of substance. Energy "is substance activated and released, as modern physics has shown most definitively. Thus we can expect the principle of 'energy-diferentiation' to be similar to that of 'substance-differentiation'. Both are based on the the principle of polar dualism; of action and reaction. The energy-zodiac will thus be eight-fold, while the substance-zodiac is four-fold. According to T.O. McGrath (Timing Business Activity and the Sun, p.12): "It is known that all bodies such as the sun and its satellites are charged bodies and are surrounded by a magnetic field; that in any magnetic body having two poles (the sun and its satellites are such bodies), the magnetic currents circulate from the north to the south pole, become neutral at each 90 degrees, and reach a maximum intensity at each 45 degrees." If such is the case, it is evident that the points of maximum release of energy are to be found mid-way between equinoxes and solstices." (AP p.239)
Rudhyar then describes these 4 midpoints of the fixed signs, symbolised by the Bull, Lion, Eagle and Angel, as "the Four Gates of Avataric Descent. As an 'Avatar' in ancient terminology is in fact a release of cosmic energy... Each of them depicts a particular type of dynamic release". (AP p.240) This esoteric reasoning seems evocative of actual archetypal functions, but it must be said that astrologers have voted with their feet and the ensuing decades have consequently failed to provide consensual support for the notion. I personally see these midpoints as cyclic peaks of concentration of process. Rather than 'release', which seems more of a cardinal or mutable keyword in respect to process, terms such as sustained application, continuing or maintaining engagement, or concentrated development are more appropriate to the fixed mode.
Natural processes tend to involve systems that function by processing energy in particular forms. When the development of a process is geared to natural time cycles, we may reasonably expect a common archetypal structure. Rudhyar describes this in the terms of the prevailing mechanistic paradigm: "there can be no controlled and rhythmical release of energy unless there is some sort of engine through which this release is effected. All engines are 'forms-of-power"; that is, forms which control the generation, concentration and distribution of power." (AP p.241) He then interprets these three archeypal phases of natural process as action, reaction, and interaction. I find this correlation unconvincing.
Hence his description of the modalities. "Zodiacal signs of generation of power are called: Cardinal signs. Zodiacal signs of concentration of power are called: Fixed signs. Zodiacal signs of distribution of power are called: Mutable signs." (AP p.242) This has always seemed so to me. We should note that power here is a technical term meaning 'inherent capacity to produce a particular type of outcome' that is characteristic of the particular phase of the cycle.
He then proceeds to detail his version of the archetypal functions of the signs of the zodiac in accordance with the above logic. "Generative Fire is the starting-point of individual selfhood (Aries). Concentrative Fire refers to the creative release of self.. (Leo)", etc. (AP p.242) Many of these are in dire need of improvement. Usually this seems to be due to Rudhyar's theosophical projections displacing the application of his own logic in the terms of the above theory. Nonetheless one can easily remedy the situation via one's own innate recognition of the archetypes and any consequent discipline in the well-chosen use of keywords that accurately represent them. Rudhyar's logic does at least provide sufficient rationale for an archetypal interpretation of the ancient metaphysical subdivision of the zodiac, which the surviving texts from ancient times did not include.
It seems that Rudhyar had not gone so far as to conceive a general theory of cyclic development, but may have intuited the possibility. "In ordinary astrological works the zodiacal signs are presented as the basic factors of significance, and the houses model their meanings after them. But from our standpoint we find in the twelve-fold pattern of the dial of houses a basic formula of individual unfoldment; and it is this pattern - a purely abstract one - which establishes the most universal series of meanings." (AP p.242) The age-old question of whether chicken or egg comes first is best addressed to the inherent design common to both. "It is of course purely a numerological pattern dealing with the significance of the numbers from 1 to 12 inclusive; but the numbers are made significant by being projected, as it were, geometrically. This projection is the wheel or dial of houses." (AP p242) Jung was not to write of the number archetypes until a couple of decades later.
Rudhyar concludes by presenting a detailed table that juxtaposes his abstract sign meaning with "concrete and traditional" sign meanings. More interesting is the reiteration of the basic structure of the horoscope he provides before referring to the signs as analogous to the houses. The horizon "represents the dualism of self and not-self", the meridian "represents the dualism of experience: subjective experience and objective experience" - or of private and public behaviour". (AP p.246) We can see how the model can be formulated in more general terms - the relation between an entity and its environment. The horizontal axis provides the dimension in which image lies in bipolar relation to interaction. Animals interact on the basis of perceived imagery, and environmental impact results from the accumulation of bipolar interactions. The vertical axis provides the dimension in which environmental integration is achieved via status in the food-chain in bipolar relation to place of belonging and species roots in the local ecosystem. Such a general theory of cyclic process can in principle include the static case (moment, horoscope) as well as the dynamic (periods, cycles).
The intent of chapter 8 seems to be to explain how the planets motivate people through the vehicle of personality. "Personality, to us and presumably to men like General Smuts and most modern psychologists, is the whole human being in operation. It is not the whole human being in essence or abstractly, but in actual manifestation and to the extent to which it is perceptible to other personalities functioning at the same level of operation." (AP p.249) The understanding of personality in the latter part of the 20th century seems more akin to the ancient conception than Rudhyar's idiosyncratic version (whether he got it from Jung and/or Freud or not). It is the mask we wear for social occasions, plus the attitude we bring to social situations, plus the stance we adopt toward others generally. It serves as the vehicle through which we endeavour to present our self-image to the world, so perhaps it could be defined as functional identity. It reflects the character, but is coloured by personal selection of characteristics to be presented, and a stylistic enhancement to present that selection in the best possible light. It is in failing to acknowledge this 'gloss', the equivalent of the 'spin' that is put on a political news story to bias favourably the interpretation of the audience, that Rudhyar's description fails to capture the essential distinction between character and personality.
"No astrologer - and as well no psychoanalyst - can interpret a life and destiny at a higher level than that at which he himself functions." (AP p249) One might think this obvious, but it is the root cause of eternal public disatisfaction with the collective performance of astrologers. The marvellous capacity of astrology to function as a source of wisdom is limited by the number of wise people who are capable of accessing that wisdom and providing it to others. When civilisation is at the mercy of market forces, expertise will always be displaced by the lowest common denominator, simply because most people have no way of differentiating between someone who seems to be talented and someone who actually is. "Undoubtedly one of the greatest achievements of astrological technique is the power one acquires, through mastering it, to see in a birth-chart the blue-print of a total personality." (AP p.250) This mastery requires validation, normally via confirmation that a client's character and life correspond closely to the description the astrologer provides. Third parties can only have confidence in any agreement that this is so if they are in the position to establish it objectively via their own knowledge of the subject's life and nature. Astrologers do not collectively operate any such consensual validation process to obtain public approval.
One passage in this chapter provides an early view of Rudhyar's conception of the natal chart as a model of the psyche. "The continuous field of consciousness of any man is what is contained within the boundaries of his horizon, and by implications what, though below the horizon, will emerge into the field of his consciousness. In other words, the quadrature of the astrological chart (horizon and meridian - and especially Ascendant and Mid-Heaven) represents the form of the field of consciousness." (AP p.252) The Ascendant and Midheaven "determine the form which will have to be taken by the process of integration" of the components of the psyche represented by the other significant horoscope factors. (AP p.252)
The Sun is "the symbol of the integrating energies of the Self, which is described by Jung as the "center of the totality of the psyche". The pysche includes both unconscious and conscious contents. To integrate these contents - that is, consciously to assimilate the contents of the unconscious - is the essence of the process of individuation, of which the Sun is the active symbol." (AP p.251) "The Sun is the life-energy." (AP p253)
Rudhyar maintains that "the basic meanings of the planets belong to them by the logic of their positions in relation to the Earth and by virtue of their astronomical characteristics, such as speed of revolution and rotation, mass, colour, number of statellites, etc." (AP p.278) If he means the basic cultural meanings, he is simply stating the obvious. The basic astrological meanings derive, I suspect, solely from their orbits - in relation to the Earth, as Rudhyar points out. Their apparent influence, rather than being credited to imaginary rays, which provokes expectations of causal influence that science has discredited, is better ascribed to the timing effect of the orbits due to their particular relations as parts of the whole solar system. Due to the synchronicity inherent in this whole system, qualitative features of archetypal similarity manifest synchronously in each microcosm at particular phases of the orbits. From a configuration perspective, the important factor is the relativity of any configuration. Yet another illustration of the primal significance of relativity in the metaphysical basis of contemporary astrology. The phase relationships of the orbits are defined relative to the Earth, in respect of their generic class, and relative to a particular location for a particular moment or event.
Rudhyar alludes to this in the following passage. "All such cycles are really paths of circulating energy (or abstract correlations of motion - if one prefers to be more abstract). Whether they operate through the agency of a physical body such as our Moon, or through some flow of magnetic particles tidal in its effects - there is no difference as far as astrological symbolism is concerned. What counts in the cyclic activity is the 'something' that the astrologer can relate symbolically to a life-function (collective and social as well as individual). What the 'something' is, whether a solid planet or a tide of electric particles, or even an abstraction - this should be but of slight importance to the astrologer." (AP p.282) His closing thought there may be intended to be a reference to the Uranian and the Cosmobiology schools of practice.
Rudhyar writes that "when a planet is retrograde the function it symbolizes does not operate in the so-called normal way. The psychic energy used by this function goes in the direction of the unconscious. What will happen to it there depends upon all the other factors of the chart." (AP p.269) My guess is that he was first to conceive this meaning but, regardless, modern astrology has certainly formed an abundant consensus in support of this reasoning. Elsewhere he makes the point more explicit. "Retrograde planets symbolize the turning back of the libido (psychic energy or life-force) from the conscious into the unconscious. If a planet is retrograde, the function it represents is not activated for conscious operation. The psychic contents relate to this function, instead of emerging directly in the conscious and thus influencing directly our behaviour, are thrown back temporarily into the unconscious [where they] merge with other unconscious contents, then reappear later in the consciousness". (AP p.265) He suggests that they do this via the agency of the outer planets, but this seems wrong as a general case, applying only to people born with the outer planets linked by aspect to the rest of the chart.
Rudhyar's description of particular planet functions ranges from barely adequate to totally inadequate; it seems that his comprehension of these was considerably limited by unsuitable Theosophical projections. "Mars symbolizes the initiating and impulsive power that starts all life-activities.. Jupiter symbolizes the power of circulation within every organic whole and that which expands them from within and which makes them whole. Mercury is the nervous system, and later the power of thought.. Saturn is the original power which starts every life-manifestation by isolating from the undifferentiated ocean of life a particular fragment thereof, and which, by building a wall around this fragment, enables it to be a separate independent entity." (AP p.279)
Rudhyar had not yet intuitively perceived the essence of the planetary archetypes (in the above passage only coming close when describing Saturn), else he would have been more succinct. Jupiter, for example, is the growth principle. Saturn is the structure principle, and/or the principle of limitation. Mars is the action principle: from a functional point of view it fuels a process and energizes activities. Mercury is the data principle: from a functional point of view it communicates concepts, ideas, information. Venus is the attraction principle, and Rudhyar's description was so misconceived and abysmal I could not even bring myself to reproduce it here. If he had reflected on several millennia providing a pan-cultural view of Venus as the goddess of love, perhaps he might not have tacitly denied such an awesome consensus!
"Mars retrograde indicates that impulses to action do not flow outward from the ego into spontaneous expression, but move back to the unconscious where they become united with some unconscious contents (often collective images). It is the power inherent in the latter which really impels the native to action. Action does thus not arise from spontaneous, clearly conscious impulses, but from a more or less unconscious motivation." (AP p.268) This all seems to make a lot of sense, but it is vulnerable to the criticism that more people act from unconscious motivations than those few born with a retrograde Mars. Nonetheless the differentiation Rudhyar specifies does provide a theoretical rationale for the function of retrograde planets that modern astrology has overlooked. It refers to the vital function of context as a mental frame of reference. Mars direct motivates actions largely in respect to the situational context in which one finds oneself, and in respect to one's goals and intentions at the time. Mars retrograde adds a third component to these two, and this tertiary component of the context is the collective unconscious. One might therefore expect to find the retro Mars native to be unconsciously motivated by traditional social images of the Mars archetype (typically, the warrior).
Rudhyar describes Saturn as "builder of the ego-complex. Through differentiation and isolation Saturn sets apart a certain amount of life-energy and binds it into a form." (AP p.265) Rudhyar follows Smuts in grounding his theory in nature, before explaining the consequence for people. Saturn develops individual structured systems that have a boundary separating their internal processes from the surrounding environment. It "sets up a system of defense against the outside world by emphasizing the separate characteristics of the ego." (AP p.265)
"Saturn retrograde will direct this pattern-crystallizing and wall-making power inward.. The person will yield outwardly but show a great power of resistance against inner, unconscious suggestions. He will fortify himself spontaneously against impacts coming from the collective unconscious, from race tradition and collective standards. He will develop a sense of destiny, separating him inwardly from his fellowmen.. he will be obdurately self-centred in his innermost self". This seems to be due to an internal demand to continue "strengthening his growing individuality. The differentiating function then works inward, strengthening the magnetic field of the Self and crystallizing its contents into a form as yet unconscious.. Such an astrological factor is found in persons who have to guard their individuality against psychic or religious or racial influences which are particularly strong in their immediate family environment. The enemy is in the unconscious, pressing from within. The past is menacing the present. The first psychological task is therefore inner self-protection". Thus "the Saturn function operates inward" rather than externalizing into social participation. (AP p.266) This could be unfortunate for someone occupying the role of an authority figure, yet lacking the natural tendency of rulers to exert authority by limiting the boundaries of the freedom of movement of their subjects. Rudhyar cites Russia's last Tsar as an example of natal Saturn retrograde, yet doesn't point out that the subversion of his regal authority in his family, his court and affairs of state by Rasputin serves as a classic example of the implied consequence.
Chapter 9 is a short treatment of nodal axes and the part of fortune. Planetary nodes are the points of intersection of planetary orbits on the ecliptic, i.e. the Earth's orbit. This angular relation between our planetary orbit and the others has a more fundamental relation to the Sun, since the variation between these orbits creates the transverse span of the zodiac (measured as celestial latitude). This provides the physical basis (in relativity) for Rudhyar to write "thus these points are taken as symbols of the relationship between the orbits of planet and Earth" in each case. "Astrology is an algebra using cyclic motions as its symbols." (AP p.288)
"The planet, of itself, symbolizes a particular and to some extent independent mode of life-activity. But its orbit is a representation of this characteristic activity, not as a thing in itself, but rather in relation to the Sun. The orbit signifies therefore the integrative aspect of the planetary activity, viz., this activity as it operates definitely within the organic whole and for the fulfillment of the central aim of integration of personality." (AP p.288) We see here Rudhyar describing the operation of the planetary archetype without yet being able to use that term. Jung's concept of archetypes as anthropocentric would limit perceptions of them for a further half a century. Despite the impressive effort of the Hungarian philosopher Koestler in extending and clarifying the theory of holism, the perception of archetypes within nature seems to have only become possible in the context of the ecological philosophy born decades later out of the environmental movement.
Rudhyar is also here providing a rationale for the interpretation of the planetary nodes. "The orbit of a planet represent the total cycle of dynamic activity of this planet in relation to the Sun. The Sun [functions as] integrator of the whole system, that which holds it together and represents its total significance.. What the relationship of the planet's orbit to the Earth's orbit will indicate is the part which the life-activity represented by the planet occupies, at any time, in the scheme of development of Earth-born mankind." (AP p.288) Mundane astrologers have thus-far lacked the historical perspective to document any correspondence between trends in the evolution of humanity and civilisation and planetary node sign positions, but this remains a potentially fruitful line of enquiry.
The function of a north node is integration; that of a south node is disintegration. "The former is a point of ingestion and assimilation; the latter, a point of release and evacuation." (AP p.289) His theory derives from the solar function, but when we consider the lunar nodes we must consider lunar function. "Without the Moon, there would be no interchange, no relationship between the inner and outer planets. There would be no flow of energies through the Earth." (AP p.280) This is esotericism, not science, but it does evoke the lunar function. Organic response is the essence of it, in my opinion. To be consistent with the ancient cosmological paradigm, which until the rise of science defined the sublunar realm as that below the Moon in which all changes occurred, we must define lunar function as symbolising life's inherent capacity of flowing with those changes. Thus the Moon is seen in the organic responses of an organism to environmental or situational changes.
We can incorporate Rudhyar's view on this basis. The "critical moments in the relation Moon-to-Earth are those which mark the Moon's entrance into and exit out of the realm.. bounded by the Earth's orbit; moments which correspond approximately to the last and first quarters of the Moon." (AP p293) At new moon Luna lies directly between Earth & Sun; at full Moon Earth lies directly between Sun and Moon. This monthly oscillation from within our orbit to without is seen by Rudhar as a modulation that relates the outer planets to the inner, with functional consequences. In terms of biological process; lunar function forms the systemic matrix in which solar fire (spirit) vitalizes, and planetary archetypes combine in contributing their particular effects. The developmental trajectory of the organism is incorporated in its inherent design (to which science has yet to identify a location, and it may actually be non-local).
We may therefore postulate an internal inherent alignment to time as a fundamental aspect of life. The trajectory has two poles: origin and destiny - where we come from, and where we are going to. "At the Moon's North Node we see Destiny at work; at the South Node, human will." (AP p293/4) Human will? Perhaps he could not conceive a term that made sense. Tradition or origin would suffice! The lunar nodal axis represents our developmental trajectory. "Why the particular ego was projected out of the ocean of universal Life - why we are born and what for. The line of the nodes is a sort of 'line of cleavage' which represents the first polarization of being. At one end of this line we see the past (South Node), at the other, the future". (AP p.294)
"The way an individual will orient himself along this line of Destiny will largely determine whether his life will be a success or a failure". (AP p294) To make progress toward our destiny, we often must abandon past habits and routine ways of handling situations, and approach them with a fresh stance. This means learning to recognise when "repetition of things so learnt that they have become almost automatic" is now so unhelpful that advance (in an evolutionary sense) is inhibited. When consciousness becomes bound to habits, the wheel of life/karma circles rather than spirals, and we get 'bogged down' in a rut. The fresh approach is required to achieve "a constructive step forward", and sometimes, as a consequence "the birth of a new faculty". (AP p.294)
"Every planet represents a particular quality of the whole life-process, and thus a psychological function." (AP p.295) However, the planetary archetypes operate throughout nature, not just in the human psyche. The Moon, for instance, rules biological function throughout the biosphere. For us, it primarily mediates the mind-body link. The feelings that we may become conscious of, and may export as emotions, well up from within, and science has confirmed that most of them come from our body. How we respond to our feelings is our choice, and it is here that the Luna archetype most directly relates to the psychological function of the lunar nodal axis. "The axis constituted by the Moon nodes deals most directly with the very process of individuation." This is effectively "a line of metabolic action, not unlike that tubular channel which stretches from mouth to anus. At the North Node life is being absorbed, the substance of experience is being ingested and reduced to assimilable material; at the South Node we assimilate the contents of life, automatically, effortlessly, and eliminate the refuse." (AP p.295)
Rudhyar notes that "Marc Jones calls the Moon's nodes axis 'the fate axis'." (AP p.295) Perhaps a long-term examination of transits in relation to major events might provide support for this. If so, any fated event would correlate on the basis of the subject's pursuit of destiny or adherence to tradition. "Progress is made at the North Node through exertion. Habit is established at the South Node through automatism, based on repetition." (AP p.296) Typically we can be torn between the demands of past and future in the form of traditional ties opposing an inner yearning for personal freedom and autonomy. Many people are bound to family or tribe with no option of freedom to choose a personal destiny as a global citizen. "If so, a psychological complex is bound to develop.. impotence will be the result. And we shall experience the tragedy of 'fate'." This remains the social norm in the Middle East and most third-world countries. "The past will have to die before the future can live." (AP p.297)
The dichotomy is not necessarily good/bad. "The South Node represents the work that has been done, the well-known accomplishment, the routine performance already gone through many times, perhaps - the easy way out." (AP p.296) Rudhyar writes that "when we consider the type of faculty characterized by the North Node's position, we find that life forces us in many ways constantly to develop it." (AP p.297) I think he is wrong to assert this as a generalisation - it is only likely to be true for those who are not inhibited by the constraints of habit and tradition.
He declares that "the Part of Fortune shows how the relation between solar and lunar energies operates in determining the individual's attitude to himself and to his Destiny." (AP p.304) He derives this view from the following rationale. Fortuna is defined as "the point of the zodiac which stands in relation to the Moon as the Ascendant is to the Sun." (AP p.301) Now "the relation Sun to Ascendant represents the relation of the vital, individuating force in man to the structural type of activity which characterizes his individual selfhood." (AP p.301) The angle between the two in the zodiac is by analogy projected from the Moon to locate Fortuna. Rudhyar seems to be suggesting that the analogy is not merely mathematical, but qualitative and structural/functional. If so, this is the metaphysical assumption upon which he based his reasoning. It is vulnerable to the criticism that the Ascendant has a pronounced and unreserved influential experiential basis (exact correlation with the horizon) whereas Fortuna is merely an abstraction correlated with nothing in the real world.
He quotes from M.E. Jones' course Professional Astrology: "the Part of Fortune indicates in any chart that department of life in which or through which the native either expresses himself to the best advantage, or is forced by life as a whole to express himself." (AP p.302) "In medieval astrology the Part of Fortune was said to represent the native's wealth. According to E. Parker, where the Part is found, in such a department of life will the native find his happiness; this especially in terms of house position. The three interpretations are quite definitely related. For man is happy in functioning according to his spontaneous personal reactions, and both happiness and spontaneity of personal reactions are usually much involved in money, or at least in social cooperation and credit (of which money is the symbol)." (AP p.302)
Modern interpretation of Fortuna tends to follow Martin Schulman's advocacy of the primary keyword 'joy', which is consistent with the above on the following basis. If one's internal synthesis of Sun, Moon & Ascendant results in integration, one's sense of self, and projection of it into circumstances, is likely to be satisfying, spirited, and natural. Joy is more likely to be experienced more often and wealth more likely to be accrued in consequence of achieving a social lifestyle based on natural responses, that demonstrates both vitality and an identity that is fully consistent with one's spirit.
Earlier Rudhyar described the zodiac's function as the cosmic collective context for the development of humanity, and in chapter 10 his focus changes to the individual degrees. "The zodiac, considered as a complete cyclic series of Degrees, becomes much more than a representation of collective energies." (AP p.309) The relationship between the durations of Earth's orbital and rotational periods (year and day) "is the mystical and creative meaning of Time". (AP p.309) "Time, thus understood, is identical with the great Chinese concept of Tao. The Degrees are units of creative Time." (AP p.309) Tao is normally interpreted as 'the Way', so justification of Rudhyar's assertion requires the explanation that we are here dealing with the archetypal basis of experiential time. When one lives intuitively and instinctively in the flow of time, one's naturally-developed sense of timing tends to lead to 'right action' which is in harmony with the Tao. Time in this richer sense is not only not merely the mathematical time we were educated to believe in, but also more than Bergson's organic duration since it is consciously experienced.
"The Degree is the most mysterious element in astrology, and indeed the key to all deeper astrological interpretation. For in the Degree come to a point of synthesis the two motions of the earth - and, symbolically, the two great principles of all life: collective and individual, universal and particular." He notes that a degree of the zodiac has a spatial as well as a temporal dimension: "the Degree is the space covered by the Earth in its orbital revolution while it effects a complete axial rotation." (AP p.307)
With such a solid theoretical basis we have good reason to expect zodiacal degrees to contain ascertainable meanings. Unfortunately, real life has failed to deliver any validation of the theory. Rudhyar records that "in the Alan Leo Astrological Manuals series, the booklet entitled The Degrees of the Zodiac Symbolized gives two sets of symbolic interpretations of the Degrees. The first, by Charubel, is quite valuable; the second, from a medieval source, seems completely useless. Marc Edmund Jones has given out another set which is by far the best.. The symbols are presented as quite modern pictures, thus in a garb more significant to the average student of today; but they are said to be derived from very ancient Egyptian sources." (AP p.310) But we know that esotericists always make such claims, usually without foundation. Charubel was the pen name of "John Thomas, the Welsh seer" (according to Jones) and his version was published in 1898 (the booklet referred to above). Jones used the clairvoyance of Elsie Wheeler, who he described as a "highly gifted psychic" and "spirit medium". His account of the method was given in a letter to American Astrology magazine September 1944. It took place in 1925, and described a picture she saw on a blank card, taken at random from a pack shuffled constantly by Jones. He had prepared the cards with the identifying degree sign & number on the reverse, invisible to both of them, and he quickly wrote the description on the card each time.
This process seems authentic, or at least the attempt was genuine on his part. Rudhyar lists each of the 360, following each with two lines of interpretation that appear to be summaries of the meanings that Jones eventually published in his 1953 book "The Sabian Symbols in Astrology". Rudhyar was later to reinterpret these and publish meanings that related each to the sequence of the whole ("An Astrological Mandala", 1973), which seemed to me most profound, as indeed most other astrologer friends of mine have found them. However my attempts to validate them by using event charts, on the rationale that the archetypal meanings would manifest in the nature and features of the event, resulted in a complete loss of confidence in the theory. The best that can be said is that many of us have found the degree symbols to be both helpful and significant in adding a further layer of meaning to our natal charts.
Rudhyar provides some rationalisation for subdivision of the zodiac. By analogy to the horoscope, where horizon divides "outer and inner", and the meridian refers to "the element of 'power'", quadrature results because "the number 4 is the number of formation. The ordinary zodiac, symbolizing also as a whole the universal 'power of formation', had therefore to be divided into 4 sections". In other words, that's why nature makes 4 seasons. Trisection of these quarters requires further rationale. "Significance is based on the type of spirituality which constantly 'reconciles the opposites'. It is, in an absolute sense, the source of this activity; in a relative and concrete sense it is the result thereof. Its keynote is therefore 2 multiplied by 3; the number 3 referring to the principle of essential manifestation, or individuation. In other words, in terms of significance, we find the cycle divided into 6 phases. Each phase is the spiritual reality of what the occultist-theosophist calls a 'Ray'. Each Ray, as it manifests concretely, has to subdivide itself into 4 parts: the crucifixion of the Ray." (AP p.312)
I reproduce this only as a classic example of esoteric reasoning. Initially evocative of profound meaning, the passage degenerates into the usual arbitrary imaginary constructions of the mind. Rather than deductions from analysis of natural forms, esoteric flights of fancy attempt no correspondence with, or meaningful relation to, the collective reality, whatsoever. Rudhyar's tendency to ground his astrophilosophy in nature is inclined to give way to such escape into theosophical fantasy. I suspect this happened whenever he sensed that the logic of his reasoning was getting too weak to be substantive.
Nonetheless, posterity will at least judge the above passage as evidence of tacit use by Rudhyar of the number archetypes to identify the archetypal structure of cycles, even if tentative. Once one conceives that cycles are structured by the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 12 as active and formative agents, one needs no such inventions as imaginary rays to make sense of time cycles.
Two further comments of his are worth noting. The first addresses the eternal question of why the real year is 5 days longer than the archetypal year: "360 must be taken as the archetypal number measuring the relation of individual to collective on Earth.. The realm of significance is the archetypal realm; and no concrete manifestation is ever a perfect replica of its archetype." (AP p.315) Quite so. Nature builds to a pattern, but the resulting form is not exact. If it were always, one can readily imagine the consequences. Every human would have the same face (!) and there would be no mutations, thus no new species would ever evolve. We can therefore deduce a metaphysical meaning for the difference between the lunar and solar years. Twelve lunations is the archetype. The real year has 11 or 12 more days, plus the lunations are not phase-locked with the seasons, so solar and lunar functions constitute relatively independent dimensions of our temporal context. The creates more variation in experience than would be so if Luna were entrained in phase with Sol. Thus our reality has an environmental context in which days are more qualitatively different than they would be if the same day of the solar calendar each year found the Moon in the same sign of the zodiac and in the same phase of its lunation cycle as it was the previous and all other years.
I suspect that systems theory would state the general case thus: the more active agents in the system, the more degrees of freedom are inherent, and the greater the complexity of systemic behaviour. No matter how complex composite motions in a gravitational system become however, mutual entrainment via resonance creates stability of structure and function characterised by regular cycles. Focus on these basic structural features reveals archetypal forms. Focus on differences and details reveals variations and deviations from the ideal due to the accumulated influences of all involved active agents (planetary perturbations of orbits). Much as chaos theory has suggested, the forms of nature are created at the boundary between order and chaos. Individual variation is but partially harnessed by the forces of collectivity; the freedom of the individual is relative to collective constraints.
The remaining point worthy of comment is that the degree symbols "are the expression of a span of activity, a cycle, the significance of which is released at once, the moment it begins." (AP p.316) The day is what is being symbolized. We think of each as just a mathematical subdivision of a sign of the zodiac, but every year the world turns through it on one particular day. The tacit hypothesis here is that each day has an archetypal meaning that is vitalized once a year by the Sun. Furthermore, Rudhyar is emphasising that this meaning is actualised at the very start of the day. This is the essence of cardinality. This doctrine, which I have always agreed with in principle, contradicts the experience of those astrologers who believe that zodiacal influences blend into each other across the cusps of the signs. If there is an archetypal sub-structure to time cycles, phase changes must bring qualitative changes at the time that the phase actually changes. Cardinal fire (Aries) turns instantly into fixed earth (Taurus). This can be tested, should the reader be sceptical. Find a natal Mars at 29 Aries 59 and you will observe a lively, energetic person quick at getting things done, good at taking the initiative and making fresh starts. Find a natal Mars at 0 Taurus 01 and you'll observe a determined, persistent individual, with a tendency be physically active with material things, and to keep doing something until they are finished. The same logic, in theory, applies to the degrees if they do indeed have distinctly different archetypal qualities.
In chapter 11 Rudhyar gives a general outline of aspect interpretation, based on the metaphysics of holism. The premise is that any aspect configuration is normally interpreted in the unique context of a horoscope, which is the diagram of the archetypal form of what is born in that moment. "Form is, generally speaking, the element of being which defines the particular out of the universal. Every particular manifestation of life has a form which essentially and spiritually characterizes it..." (AP p.354) A good way to transform this from the abstract realm of logic to a practical example for illustration is to consider how we recognise a face in a crowd. Our right-brain hemisphere performs this function almost instantly. It totally ignores all the generic features of facial form in doing so - it performs identification from all the unique distinctive features instead. Then, considering all the different parts as a whole, it recognises the pattern they form. "Form is an abstraction. It signifies the essential patterning or relationship of parts within a whole by means of which this whole is defined as a particular entity. Form is a complex of relationships: a total formula of relationships of parts to parts and parts to whole. The individuality of this whole is thus totally defined and made significant by this form." (AP p.354)
One can readily see how essential holistic philosophy is to fully describe things. Science is gradually accepting this, as astrologers would if constrained to adopt a contemporary format for astrology. Nature consists of processes which build systems out of component materials. Whether solar system or human being, the parts are organised and bound into the particular form that characterises the whole. "Form is abstract. It is the blue-print of the skyscraper defining its structure generally and all its details of functioning.. The form defines the significance and purpose of the body. One can conceive of a realm of pure form inoperative and unconnected with substance or materials: a realm of blue-prints and algebraic formulas. This, in a sense, is the world of archetypes and ideas - except that energy is always associated with what are called archetypes of ideas, whereas there is no energy ordinarily connected with the concepts of algebraic formulas or blue-prints." (AP p.355)
Rudhyar then distinguishes between ideas and concepts, making this interesting contradiction with the dictionary... "The idea is vital and charged with potential life-energy; the concept is purely intellectual.. an idea is a seed at the psycho-mental level. It is a seed, because it is both form and energy. The idea will eventually germinate and become a body.. On the other hand, the concept is a mere intellectual structure, form as yet un-charged with life-energy. A concept becomes an idea when a being - human, superhuman, or divine - identifies himself with the concept and pours energy into it. Thus we have the basic trinity: energy, form, substance.." (AP p.355) These combine in natural systems to produce, as a natural consequence, the fourth fundamental: activity. Activity, or process, is the behaviour of a system.
Rudhyar identifies the process of a person as personality. "When activity becomes truly creative in an individual sense, real personality is born. But we have previously used the term personality as meaning "a pattern of human behaviour"; and so, inasmuch as we are considering primarily the psychological aspect of astrology, we can use the term personality as the fourth term, in which energy, form and substance are synthetized." (AP p355/6) Regardless of the merit of broadening the meaning of personality as he does, the consistency of his metaphysical analysis must be acknowledged. Students of modern physics are usually materialistic rather than philosophical, but I believe any who are inclined to seek general principles in the operation of nature will find Rudhyar's insights here surprisingly helpful. Despite the tendency of leading 20th century theoretical physicists to branch out into philosophy, and consequent popularisation of this in new-age circles, a consolidation into contemporary metaphysics remains to be achieved. Rudhyar's analysis of nature usefully extends Smuts' holism; the four archetypal categories are compatible with modern physics yet transcend it because they are qualities, so we have here essential components of any contemporary metaphysics of science.
Later in this chapter he demonstrates his early grasp of the psychological function of polarity. "In order to understand oppositions, one has to grasp fully the meaning of polarity. The Ascendant and Descendant, the Zenith and Nadir, in every chart, are points in zodiacal opposition. Consciousness, which is integrated awareness, is the result of such basic opposition. Again, all depends on whether or not the individual has the power to 'reconcile the opposites'; whether he will pull together or be pulled apart. If the former, then his consciousness will expand and objectify itself; if the latter he will experience psychological confusion and will not be able to know which way to go. And so he will sit and suffer, torn by doubt." (AP p.372)
Then, just to illustrate Rudhyar's inadequate grasp of the subject at this stage of his career, consider his description of the trine. "The trine is an aspect of 'vision' and 'perspective'. It refers to the birth of ideas or viewpoints, to the initial phase of a new plan and a new purpose." (AP p.373) It does no such thing, of course, and this description is complete rubbish. Interestingly, he does not say where he got it from, nor does he attempt any rationale that might justify it. Astrologers have a consensual meaning of the trine - essentially an easy flow of energy - that bears no relation, and have apparently totally ignored Rudhyar's early idiosyncratic deviance.
His descriptions of the other aspects are a mixture of good and bad, and from a theoretical point of view are compromised by his anthropocentric perspective. In his later books he managed to transcend this somewhat, to issue a more general theory of cycles and aspect interpretations, but never enough to make the archetypal basis explicit. In contrast, he had an early grasp of some essential principles of horoscope interpretation: "no aspect is fortunate or unfortunate. Each may be seen as a positive or negative phase of the personality. What is more important still, no single aspect is of any real significance unless it be seen as an integral part of the total planetary pattern." (AP p.375)
In chapter 12 Rudhyar assays a theoretical basis for the use of progressions. Rather than do it justice via extensive quotation and commentary, I'll simply recommend it for consideration on the basis of its rarity (other astrologers are careful to avoid any such intellectual endeavour) and note one or two points as illustration. For a start, destiny does not mean determinism, but "a schedule of unfoldment for the purpose of manifesting concretely the blueprint" that the natal chart represents. (AP p392) "But while the architect draws the blue-print and sets the schedule of operation and of delivery of building materials, he cannot tell whether an earthquake, a strike, a war or any such collective factor, transcending both architect and plans, will disturb the schedule. Yet if the building is completed it will have to be an actual embodiment of the plans". (AP p.392)
Then he tries another analogy, in which the pattern that generates the form is contained in the seed. "Destiny is the schedule of growth of the plant. It is the process whereby selfhood is made manifest. It is therefore conditioned primarily by the form of the self (seed-form: viz., the birth-chart); but also secondarily by the nature of the social and cosmic environment in the midst of which growth takes place. In other words, while Destiny is essentially the individual schedule of growth, it is also subject to modifications which are not determined by the individual (his form or his past), but which are the results of the Destiny of the greater whole (race, planet, cosmos) of which the individual is a part." (AP p.392/3) This applies one of the fundamental principles of holism he got from Smuts: the developmental trajectory of any part is geared to that of any whole which contains it. "The basic internal relationship of this greater whole to the individual is indicated by various factors in the individual's birth-chart; but the transitory external pressure of the collectivity upon the individual is another factor belonging to the becoming (not to the being) of the greater whole. This is seen in what astrology calls 'transits'." (AP p.393)
"The birth-chart is the 'seed-form' of the individual self-hood. Thus it is considered strictly as an archetypal pattern which is unchanging and entirely self-contained. It refers to 'being', not to 'becoming'. Therefore all its values and all the analytical operations related to it should be considered from the archetypal level. The degree is thus to be used for time-analysis because it is a permanent archetypal value; and not the ever-changing factor of the daily motion of the Sun - or any such factor - which belongs to the phenomenal world." (AP p.403) Rudhyar endeavours to provide his symbolic logic with a physical basis. "It remains, however, for us to explain why the operation of translating space-values into time-values was based upon the equivalence of degrees of zodiacal arcs to years of the life." "As we have already said, the degree is, as it were, a translation of time-value into space-value, for it is theoretically the orbital space which the Earth covers during the period of time it accomplishes a total rotation around its axis, viz., a sidereal day. Thus the degree is a day, in terms of spatial measurement along the Earth's orbit." (AP p.402)
Yet he knows he has a serious problem here. He disputes the promotion of "symbolical directions" by some English astrologers in preference to "the usual progressions and directions.. This is a grievous error. All progressions and directions are purely symbolical; and this fact should be well understood, for it is on this fact that the theory of planetary influences breaks utterly - when the term 'influence' is taken to mean the emanating rays or waves which act physically or psychologically upon a particular individual." (AP p.405)
He continues "the equivalence of a year to a day or to a four-minute interval (the primary directions) is purely symbolical.. It is true that we may say that the individual man (microcosmos) is an image or correspondence of the solar system (macrocosmos), and that cycles of motion in the one cause analogical responses in the other. But if such a statement means anything at all, it means that the solar system is assumed to be the symbol of the individual man; and that the cyclic motions of the celestial bodies around the Earth correspond to cyclic processes of the life-force in any living organisms on Earth. Obviously, there is no difference between saying 'correspond to' or 'are symbols of'. If anyone sees a difference between these two phrases, it is a proof either that he has not understood the vital reality of symbols - especially of collectively valid symbols such as the 'primordial images' or 'archetypes' of which Jung speaks - or that he uses the term 'correspondence' without entering into the real meaning of such a term, often so loosely used by students of occult philosophy." (AP p.405/6)
Like Kepler, Rudhyar sees clearly that other astrologers are prone to conceive astrology as a system of magical thinking, rather than one that uses the logic of symbols; he consequently seeks to confer respectability on it by grounding it in the real world. Most astrologers are quite happy that it remain an arena of fantasy, and feel threatened by any requirement that astrology be made credible. However we must acknowledge that both Rudhyar and Kepler remained captive to that most unscientific form of logic, analogic reasoning. Like Jung, Rudhyar accepted that symbols worked via their own logic, and used analogical reasoning to explain how. Neither, however, managed to sufficiently distinguish subjective meaning from objective meaning. It is the latter that provides the entry to scientific respectability. Citation of the archetypes (as above) confuses them with the symbols used to represent them. Jung's writings reflect the inner confusion of the author on this point, with relative clarity emerging later in life, and perhaps the same could be said for Rudhyar. Unfortunately, differentiation between the archetypes in nature and those in the psyche was not achieved to more than a minimal extent by either of them.
"All progressions and directions are symbolical; and that is why any system 'works' so well for the astrologer who has identified himself with it (who believes thoroughly in it)". He then suggests that a medicine will work better for someone who has faith in it for the same reason, due to "an unconscious yearning to be healed which fastens upon the medicine as upon a symbol of salvation." (AP p.406) He has correctly identified the subjective factor in astrological practice that ensures astrology could never be a science.
Chapter 13 is merely a discussion of progression techniques, in which Rudhyar includes transits. Strangely, the progressed horoscope, which seems to have been the sole method used by Alan Leo, is not included. Secondary progressions are described without reference to the progressed axes (almost as if to emphasize the strangeness!), but his description of primary directions is rare in its lucidity. He presents no historical background, nor rationale, other than the usual symbolic equation such as 'a day for a year'. The moral for the student? Don't wonder why you are doing it, just do it. Conformity to mindless roboticism is exhibited in this section of astrology in exemplary fashion, guaranteed to alienate the intelligent investigator of the subject. Rudhyar proves to be capable of no more than any other astrologer who purports to explain progressions, then immediately fails to do so.
There is one small beacon shining through the murk here. It takes the form of an example, demonstrating that inadequate theory may be compensated for somewhat by empirical discovery that a method works. Remembering that the Dragons' head (north lunar node) "is a point of future destiny" Rudhyar declares that on 30 October 1922 the transiting Sun "was in exact conjunction with Mussolini's North Node at the very end of the day. At the end of the day he reached Rome, summoned by the King to assume full power." (AP p.424) Alas, this correlation is a success for transiting, not progressed, planets!
Chapter 14 discusses principles of interpretation, but there is nothing impressive here that has not been dealt with earlier. Rulerships is the part of traditional astrology that most induces delusional behaviour in astrologers, so it is instructive to see how Rudhyar attempts to explain the concept. "The principle of planetary rulership rests upon the idea that the basic modes of biological and psychological activity (planets) have various types of 'affinity' for the basic types of life-substance (signs of the zodiac). Affinity of such kinds have been determined in traditional astrology, for reasons not always clear or philosophically evident." (AP p452) We see here Rudhyar bending over backwards in an attempt to be charitable. Of course, he is performing this contortion primarily in defense of his own use of rulerships! If, like me, you have always been impressed by Rudhyar's considerable intelligence, you may likewise wonder at such evidence to the contrary. The explanation lies in Rudhyar's unquestioning adherence to esotericism. In fact, there are no "reasons not always clear or philosophically evident", and we can be sure that Rudhyar would have delighted in specifying them had there been any. His literary artifice is mere pretence, to mask his evasion of the truth of the matter.
Rulerships as we know them derive from Greek popular religion. The planets were gods, and seemed, in their nature, more at home in some signs than others. Ptolemy constructed some of these correlations into an ordered scheme, and contrived some others to complete it. There is no archetypal basis for the correlations, which is why his and other rulership schemes were mutually contradictory, and why the planets were correlated with different signs in different cultures. There never has been any reality underlying rulerships, and any astrologer with sufficient integrity to learn their historical origin would discover this fact. Rudhyar and others who continue to use rulerships impose a tremendous handicap upon themselves when it comes to horoscope interpretation, because the language of astrology is most effective when it is derived from the archetypal basis of the planets and cycle phases. The use of rulerships clouds the perception of the astrologer, preventing the accurate identification of the particular archetypes involved in any particular matter and selection of the correct keywords to be deployed in its description.
This book concludes with a lengthy epilogue that addresses the use of astrology, containing many thought-provoking passages. At a time in history when we are seeing nations losing their sovereignty to the emerging global civilisation, led by the western culture that exalts the freedom of the individual, Rudhyar's vision seems retrospectively prescient. "The fact that the validity and power of astrology depend primarily on the manner in which it is made to serve the universal goal of 'more wholeness' - the goal of individuation for the particular man, and the goal of Living Civilization for humanity as a whole." (AP p.465) This envisages application of astrology to produce harmonious integration of people and communities - nice sentiment, but more dream than reality!
"As a system of coherent symbolism, astrology is a most fascinating intellectual study; as a system of divination, it is a remarkable tool for scrutinizing the fringe of future events.. yet, unless astrology is put to use as a revealer of vital significances and of patterns of organic (or generally, holistic) relationships, as a means of probing the secret formulas of all beginnings with the view to leading us to a better consummation.. it remains a merely intellectual speculation.. or else a dangerous game of fortune-telling." (AP p.465) Astrology must be used to decode time and events, rather than remain an arena for projecting the personal fantasies of astrologers. Cosmic wisdom can be obtained, but only by those with both the intent and capacity to do so.
He observes that "applied astrology, being an art of interpretation based upon: 1) scientific data; 2) a logic of symbolism - it deals essentially with the artistic approach to life, rather than with the scientific." "Analytical psychology is not a science, but an art of interpreting facts scientifically collected and analyzed. The term science should be reserved for so-called 'exact sciences'; applied science becomes an art whenever the element of individual interpretation enters in." (AP p.466) In view of the continuing pretence by some that astrology is a science, I must support Rudhyar's stance here, whilst noting that the matter is not as black and white as he presents it. Entire books have been published in recent decades in the attempt the clarify this issue.
Rudhyar identifies the tremendous advantage that astrology has over psychology: "the main difference between the astrological and the psychological approaches is that while the latter sees nothing but the 'process of becoming whole' as it unfolds in Bergsonian duration through myriads of transformations, the former claims that the ultimate wholeness reached at the end of the process is already there at the very beginning of the process, but only as an abstract ideal and a mere potentiality." (AP p467)
He comments further on the relation between Jung's psychology and his view of astrology. "Analytical psychology takes the point of view of substance, as all empirical sciences do. It deals with the ever-changing process of relationship between individual and collective. All psychological conflicts, repressions, sublimations and assimilations are results of the working out of this process; all evolution likewise. But the initial quality, which antedates the process, does not fundamentally change. The individual structure exteriorizing this quality does not change during the span of the cycle. The wholeness of the end is latent in the monad of the beginning. It is not only latent. It is actually at work within the very heart of the process as the central power of individuation." The archetypal plan (quality, structure, blueprint) guides the development of the self. "Thus, in a definite sense, the wholeness of the future whole is acting upon the progressive building of this whole. Past and Future as one operate within the present. The finished end of the process is latent in the beginning; but only provided the process is successful." (AP p.468)
The plan is more than an archetypal pattern of structure and qualitative features; it incorporates a temporal schedule. This is because each moment exists in the context of the continuum of passing time: it is a microcosm of that macrocosm. But Rudhyar is here just focusing on the pattern of consequent structure, to establish the correspondence between plan and end-product of the process. "It is as if Time held a bag of seeds, from which at every moment seeds would drop which would be formed in the likeness of the nature of that moment. Each seed is a dynamic and structural potentiality of being. Each drops, as in individual unit (monad) into the soil of the collective; just as moments drop into the past. All these seeds are acted upon by a multitude of influences, which either help or hinder the process of their development from potentiality to actuality, from seed to fulfilled and blossoming plant.. Myriads of seeds begin to develop whose growth is stunted, thwarted or ended by the unsuccessful working out of the relation between their individual selfhood and the collective." (AP p468/9)
Rudhyar comments that "no one can tell whether a particular acorn will become an oak" (AP p.469), but we know it won't become any other type of tree. People likewise develop according to their inherent plan, seems to be the implication. Perhaps this analogy overstates the case as it takes no account of the uniqueness of people compared to generic similarity. Rudhyar sees relevance to the dimension of personal autonomy... "Freedom is the inherent capacity of fulfilling the potential characteristics of one's individual self-hood." (AP p.470) In this dimension of choices, the polarity of fate and free-will can be seen, and experienced, as complementary influences.
Attitude is the key to optimal outcomes, even more for users of astrology than others. Rudhyar observes that "whenever a person feels that planets are entities that influence him and cause things to happen, good or bad, such a person is psychologically hurt by such a belief." (AP p.474) Why? Because this attitude enhances the relative 'influence' of things external to the self, thus relatively reducing the effect of one's will-power in handling situations, and making one's choices seem less fortunate. As Rudhyar suggests, this has a similar self-defeating consequence as giving power over oneself to anyone else (for instance sexual partners or gurus).
In the next passage Rudhyar sums up how he understands the issue of any 'imprint' or cosmic 'influence' on us at our birth. "When we read the chart of the heavens we merely read the symbolic structure of the moment - and therefore of our own spirit, if the moment considered happens to be our first moment of independent existence.. what 'influences' us is only the moment, and above all our first moment of selfhood. We can read the characteristics of this moment by interpreting the pattern constituted by the celestial bodies surrounding the place of our birth; this pattern represents the visible structural projection of the universal Whole, insofar as this Whole - of which we are a part - concerns us. But no material celestial body affects us as an individual. What acts upon our personality - body and psyche - is the creative power of the moment." (AP p475)
Readers may find this opaque, or self-evident. Readers familiar with the avante-garde metaphysical notions introduced by the late leading theoretical physicist, David Bohm, may be impressed at how ahead of his time Rudhyar shows here that he was. He is advocating that the active agency that brings about the archetypal pattern (that we prefer to see as imprint or influence) is inherent in the fabric of space/time itself, but with the enclosing whole system functioning as midwife. In Bohm's terms, reality emerges from the realm of potential in each moment, as the holomovement unfolds. The structural patterning occurs locally via the cascading downward coordination of the relevant enclosing cosmic systems (galaxy, solar system, home planet). The details of the pattern are due to relative orientations of the systemic orbits and axial alignments. So, in Rudhyar's words, "what is established by astrology is merely a holistic correspondence and a synchronistic relation of process between macrocosm and microcosm.. The life-process, in other words, runs through the universal at the same time as it does through the myriads of particulars." (AP p.475) Because the archetypal pattern is common to both realms (above & below) in each moment, relative to the locality, the configuration of the enclosing cosmos above signifies the archetypal nature of what is born then and there. It may seem like an imprint, or cosmic influence, but that's just how we prefer to perceive or describe it. A deep mystery like this will always seem more accessible using familiar language and concepts, so it is understandable that most astrologers prefer such descriptions. Readers hopefully will appreciate that such language of convenience merely approximates the reality, and that a more up-to-date view is now available. And we can marvel that Rudhyar had clearly intuited this view by 1935.
The span of time from birth to death is constituted of moments that "add contents to our personality; but they do not basically alter the archetypal structure of our individual selfhood. These moments of the life-process are symbolized in astrology by the transits." (AP p.476) Current moments have the capacity to modify our character - remembering that Rudhyar mis-uses the term personality to mean character - but, he writes, this "is not fate!". I agree. Fate, to me, is what one encounters. I suppose one can also see fate as the outcome, retrospectively. "Each moment provides us with 'psychic foodstuffs' (or more generally, experiences), the nature of which we can ascertain from a general study of the pattern of celestial bodies at that moment." (AP p.476) Some of this intake is not assimilated, of course. "Yet this does not mean fate; for in proportion as we are originally whole (healthy), so shall we be able to extract from the food of every experience the psychological elements which we need in order to complete the process of life-fulfillment and individuation." (AP p.476/7) He goes on to declare that, to that extent, we are not constrained by our cosmic environment.
"But what if we are not whole and originally healthy? This then refers to our monad and its karma; and karma is nothing more mysterious than the archetypal structure exteriorizing the particular quality of this monad, which quality in turn is an expression of the first moment of individual selfhood.. This then is our 'fatality'.. My sense of being oppressed by fate is part of what I am." (AP p.477) A typically opaque bit of Rudhyar here, summarised to convey the essence. He seems to mean reincarnational karma, and perception of fate in reaction to circumstances that characterise the incarnation. "In other words, selfhood and destiny are two aspects of the same whole, which, to use modern terms, is a time-space continuum within the greater time-space continuum which is the universe. These two continua interact at every point; just as the whole and parts interact at every point of the organism." (AP p.477/8) Here we have holistic philosophy looking like modern systems theory. A subsystem, part of a whole enclosing system, is conditioned and coordinated via its interactions with that greater whole, the (systemic) environment. Operational process of the system develops in time geared to, and cued by, the time schedule of that cosmic environment. Translating this principle into the astrological belief system, Rudhyar is saying that being and becoming, meaning structure and function, meaning selfhood and destiny, are the two most fundamental features of a person from a metaphysical point of view. The horoscope informs us of both, indicating archetypal potential character as the guide to our inner nature (houses, planets, signs), and a trajectory for development symbolised by the Dragon (lunar nodal axis).
The horoscope cannot say if someone will be good or bad; success or failure; achiever or slacker, leader or victim. "Astrology does not deal primarily with life-contents, but only with the structure of individual selfhood. It is, strictly speaking, as formal a system of knowledge as algebra. Its formulas apply to any contents - therefore they do not embody fate. For this reason, astrology needs psychological analysis, which deals with empirically determined personal contents. Astrology is the male element: that which gives the formula. Psychology is the female element: that which gives the substantial contents. Thus they complement each other". (AP p.479)
The cultural function of astrology in our times never gets adequate examination, but some things never change. "A little astrological knowledge is one of the worst things that can come to one who is not altogether solidly established in his own selfhood. The usual beginner in astrology often gets the queerest notions. He has not, as yet, digested the fundamentals of astrology - how few people really have! - and he is handling promiscuously, at home and in the company of friends, psychological acids and explosives. That more harm is not done is due only to the fact that even those who read about or vaguely study astrology do not really believe in it in any vital sense. They are therefore protected by their relative unbelief." (AP p.480)
During the decade that he wrote this book, Rudhyar stayed with Roberto Assagioli, the founder of Psychosynthesis. Psychology had hitherto focused on analysis, and the two obviously agreed that the focus needed to move from differentiation to integration. "Thus we substitute the vision of the unity of a life-process for the psychological vivisection of man into symbolic fragments." "Astrology deals with the integral Form of Man, with the symbols of his wholeness of being, with the archetype of his destiny on earth. It is the means whereby the Image of the soul can be interpreted, outlined, and made manifest to the outer personal consciousness." (AP p483)
Rudhyar expands Alan Leo's famous dictum that 'character is destiny'. "The astrological birth-chart.. is the signature of the birth-moment, the form taken by universal Life according to a particular set of time-space values. It pictures the seed and general structural plan of growth of the human being: his destiny. It defines the basic relationships which determine man's identity and character". (AP p.482) The birth-chart of an individual "is the symbol of that which he must strive to become." Self-creation is the goal. The archetypal essence of our personal nature "is not however actual, until this archetypal Form is made into a substantial organism - both at the physical and at the psycho-mental level." (AP p.484)
It is interesting that the Jungian analyst James Hillman, who has taught psychology at Yale and several other universities in the USA and is the author of more than 20 books, published in 1996 essentially the same theory that Rudhyar summarised in the above paragraph, minus the astrology. He does not credit Rudhyar with the concept. Could he really have been ignorant of several decades of dissemination of the concept, that has seen the majority of astrologers in the past 30 years in western countries (English-speaking) practising and publishing Rudhyar's modernisation of astrology in their own words?
The jacket of Hillman's book describes him as 'the originator of post-Jungian psychology'. It points out that he offers a third alternative to the nature/nuture dichotomy: the pattern of life comes from a third source, along with genetics and environment, an inner plan. It refers to "his utterly unique and compelling "acorn theory", which proposes that each life is formed by a particular image, an image that is the essence of that life and calls it to a destiny". It is not unique. As we have seen, Rudhyar was the real originator of this model 60 years earlier. We have even seen that he used in 1935 the exact same image Hillman named his theory after (the acorn/oak image, p.469). Was this a case of independent conception of the same theory, with the additional coincidence of using the identical key image? Was it plagiarism, or did Hillman (unconsciously or otherwise) simply expand in his own words an idea he got from somewhere else earlier in his life? While multi-disciplinary development of a good theory benefits us all, it would be preferable to also see credit given where it is due.
All rights reserved © 2002 Dennis Frank