Note: I am taking a break from writing my regular series of blog posts. I had a health crisis in March 2017 that necessitated my making major changes to my diet and lifestyle. For now, those changes are taking up most of my spare time and attention. I plan to resume writing later this year.
I think it is important, when practicing astrology, to examine and make explicit the worldview that your astrology assumes, and what kinds of values it implies. Since I am attempting to build a framework, I want to lay out the worldview I use, and the kind of values I think it expresses.
A Poly-Theistic, Multiple Viewpoint Model
The predominant worldview in Western society has been some form of Mono-Theism, or a single viewpoint, single standard model.
When it was still believed that the Earth was the center of the Universe, that was the single stable reference point. There was one Universe, one Earth at the center of it, one God in the heavens who created and ruled the whole show.
Switching to a model of the cosmos that puts the Sun at the center of our Solar system changed that drastically, and I think we are still working out the implications of that change.
Nietzsche was right – God is Dead, meaning the old, single-standard model of the universe Western society has used for so long, is no longer viable. Much of the history of Western thought in the last few centuries is a story of coming to terms with the implications of that change.
In a Heliocentric universe, the Sun could be viewed as the one measuring point, the one standard, so that you could build a one-worldview model that assumed a single pervasive set of values. One Sun, one solar system, one Reality.
However, our current model of the cosmos has the Sun itself in motion through the galaxy, and our galaxy itself in motion and so on, so that there is no single point that could be taken as the still point or standard to build a stable model. The Cosmos looks different depending upon where you are within it; point of view needs to be taken into account.
Any point anywhere within the Cosmos could be taken as the center. Every point is at the center of the Universe it inhabits.
Modern science also recognizes that the point of view of the observer needs to be taken into account even when measuring certain kinds of objective material properties.
We have a multi-point-of-view cosmos, and I think it makes sense to have a philosophy and astrology that allows for multiple viewpoints within a larger dynamic structure.
The Cosmos is Alive, Intelligent, Structured
I am deliberately using the word Cosmos to describe the whole rather than Universe. For me the word Uni-Verse, one word, implies a single order. The word Cosmos literally means a systematic, orderly, self-inclusive system – so an interactive system. We use the word cosmopolitan to mean a citizen of the world, a person used to functioning within multiple cities, societies and settings.
The world we live in exhibits the characteristics of a living being – order, pattern, cycles of growth, interaction, value and meaning. I think that astrology is one of the best models as a window into that pattern and meaning. I am convinced that the cosmos as a whole is alive and intelligent, and the systems within it also behave as living intelligent entities.
Holons – Wholes within Wholes
The word holon, from the Greek word meaning whole, was coined by the writer Arthur Koestler, and it means anything that is simultaneously a whole, and a part of a larger whole. Koestler maintained that everything we can conceive of in our reality is simultaneously a whole and a part.
This is reflected in a hologram image, where any single piece of the image contains the entire image.
It is also reflected in fractal patterning, where you have a single order or pattern that repeats at different levels.
In hermetic terminology this is reflected in the concept of the Microcosm or part containing the Macrocosm or whole. The human being as a totality is an image of the Universe as totality, and there is a sense in which the part contains the whole.
When we practice astrology, I think we need to keep the concept of holon in mind, to keep our models from becoming too narrow.
In traditional astrology, I am inside the chart – the chart describes the pattern of the universe around me, and I am contained within that pattern. I think that is true.
In psychological astrology, the chart is inside me – the chart describes the pattern of various qualities or parts of my psyche, and I contain the pattern within myself. I think that is true.
So in a psychological model there is a sense that you can say that I contain the planets. I think that is true.
I also think that, in a psychological model, there is a sense that even the planets within me are part of a larger reality, so that I do not contain them, but am affected by them. Even within my consciousness I am contained by a larger reality. I think that is true.
To really get a feel for the multi-level complexity of astrology, and of the cosmos it mirrors, I think it is necessary to be aware of all of those levels of meaning, to keep our models from being too narrow.
Multiple Models of Astrology
If we inhabit a multiple level, multiple viewpoint cosmos, I think it makes sense for our practice of astrology to welcome multiple viewpoints and models – not as conflicting with each other where only one is The Truth, but as complementing each other.
The modern astrology community seems to be very fragmented.
I think astrology today has splintered into a lot of different and limited approaches. There’s traditional, there’s humanistic, there’s evolutionary, there’s the cosmobiology/Uranian approach using dials and midpoints, there’s astrology concentrating heavily on asteroids, and so on.
All are interesting; all are valid; most seem to be convinced that they are the TRUE astrology; all are fragments that catch only part of the large and complex multi-dimensional order revealed by astrology. No single map is big enough to include all the dimensions.
Very often, when I read astrology books, I think, Yes, this is good, this is valid, but it is only part of the picture. I want to use this without being limited by it.
Too much of the modern discussion between different schools of astrology has been framed in terms of one school AGAINST another. Too often, in in books by excellent astrologers, I see statements something like – there is the old superstitious way of doing astrology, and then there is MY way. They are correct in what they affirm, and limited and false in what they deny and dismiss.
When astrologers criticize or dismiss other schools of astrology, I think they are mostly setting up Paper Dragons to destroy that have nothing to do with what the other schools are actually doing.
I think we need to grow past that for astrology to remain viable.
This website, and my work with astrology and philosophy, is an ongoing attempt to include many different schools and techniques of astrology – not to figure out which one is true, but to examine each for their characteristic strengths and limitations. I think that using multiple schools gives us multiple descriptions, multiple viewpoints, that will enrich our understanding of the multi-level complexity of the cosmos we inhabit.