Astrology is an art/science based on observations of a cosmic order that has been apparent since the very dawn of mankind. Professional astrologers today and throughout antiquity have perceived the universe as one united and interpenetrating system.
Cosmic events happening in our universe (eclipses, planetary transits, etc.) are not seen as causing events on Earth, but as synchronistic (C. G. Jung's concept of 'Synchronicity' ) signatures of events happening simultaneously, an archetypal signature of the moment, which is acted out in the heavens, within the structures which compose the physical world and which is also reflected sychronistically within our own collective and individual psyche. They are in fact interconnected and reflective of each other beyond the boundaries of space and time. As above, so below.
Many Archetypal Astrologers feel that all major cosmic events, such as eclipses and transits, are actually interactive in the most personal sense. These celestial events represent a process which is also taking place deep within our own unconscious, a process which sets the inner pattern or which is 'writing the script' at an unconscious level for our personal experiences in physical reality.
This ancient view of sympathetic astrological correspondence and Jung's modern concept of 'synchronicity' as an acausal connecting principle were provided additional affirmation with the introduction of Bell's Theorem regarding 'Non-Locality'. Many believe his discovery will change the face of science and how scientists understand the very nature of reality. In these experiments, a pair of particles separated by a few feet or billions of miles, display sympathetic correlations which occur instantaneously, exceeding even the speed of light. This research reveals a mechanism by which such things as Jung's theory of 'synchronicity' and an instantaneous sympathetic astrological correspondance may operate. These findings reveal that a unified field (as suggested by Einstein's concept of a 'unified field' ) obviously exists which operates beyond the previously accepted boundaries defined by science.
Additionally, this research confirms that a 'cause and effect' or mechanistic view of the workings of our universe and ourselves, falls far short of defining how the universe (and our own psyche) operates and at the least, forces science to reconsider the insights of astrology, transpersonal psychology, parapsychology, shamanism, alchemy, and Jung's theories of synchronicity, archetypes** and the collective unconscious.
In addition to the implications of 'non-locality', there are also the stunning revelations of 'Chaos Theory', relating a cosmic ordering of our universe, (as already previously defined in astrology as signs, planets, modes and elements) and still further, the possibility of other dimensions of reality as revealed in 'Superstring Theory'.
These discoveries hold far reaching implications for all branches of science and for our understanding of reality itself.
These amazing insights into the very nature of reality have been further articulated by noted scientists such as Fred Alan Wolf, Fritjof Capra, Michael Talbot, Basil Hiley, Will Keepin, Arthur M. Young, Victor Mansfield, Michio Kaku and many others.
This interconnectness which is operative beyond space and time, identified by Bell, was previously given a psychological perspective as revealed through Jung's work regarding the synchronicity displayed by the 'collective unconscious, astrology, dreams and other previously unexplainable psychic phenomena. The ancient view of an interconnected universe has been more recently confirmed by transpersonal psychologist Stanislov Grof. His research with altered states of consciouness has also confirmed that the mind is a field of energy which operates beyond the limits of time and space. From a biological perspective the research of Rupert Sheldrake concerning 'Morphogenetic Fields' has additionally redefined how we perceive and understand the mechanics of reality and how we operate within it. Sheldrake's findings biologically reflect Jung's concept of 'Archetypes' as encountered in the personal and collective unconscious. Sheldrake states;
The current evidence reaches beyond any one camp in the scientific community as evidenced by the diversity of systems and scientists offering very similar views regarding an interconnected universe.
In fact, these recent findings have left many physicists and other scientists sounding much like the alchemists, astrologists, shaman and mystics who have long held the belief of an interconnecting unity throughout the universe. These types of ground breaking observations are forming a common link between science and spirtuality, a link which may allow for a greater cooperative effort between these previously separate camps. We have arrived at that day which Jung asserted would surely come.
The view of mind as a 'field of energy' is reflected historically in the work of Plato, Ficino, and virtually all Hermetic traditions worldwide which span the annals of recorded history.
In the 'Ennead', noted alchemist Plotinus relates that astrological influence is based on a principle of cosmic unity. Everything manifests itself from a Divine Source, all things are interconnected with one another and as such are 'signifiers' (archetypes) of each other within a divinely regulated plan or system.
This same hermetic cosmology underlies Ficino's 'natural magic', a system based largly on the adepts inner action with the operative components of the psyche as revealed thru astrological symbolism, its timing and structure. This inner-active 'opus' was achieved through what was later defined by analytical psychology as, 'active imagination'. The imagination allowed access to a meaningful (in both the subjective and objective sense) inner image and allowed for a co-operative inner action with the image itself. This inner image was a bridge which sympathetically connected the adept to the underlying collective astrological archetype in order to achieve a harmonious expression of the collective archetype within the sphere of the adepts physical reality. This system of 'natural magic' became a means to provide an inner active access to the components of the personal and collective unconscious and which also provided a structure and timing for the psyche based on the astological archetypal model.
Notably, among the recent discoveries of quantum physics, is the necessary or unavoidable involvement of the observer at a sub-atomic level (ie., at a creative or a pre-formative energetic level in relation to physical manifestation), with whatever one is engaged in or observing at any given time. Quantum physics has shown that realtiy is maleable, a concept which was fundamental to the inner opus of alchemical traditions.
These new possibilities suggested by quantum physics in regard to the mind as a 'field of energy' not limited to the physical brain and which operates beyond the previously mechanistic boundaries of science, should begin to allow for a serious consideration of this ancient inner active astrologically based methodology.
Modern psychotherapists and the new physics have begun to merge with the beliefs of the worlds great alchemists, astrologers, philosohers and ancient eastern mystical traditions who have long held that all things are intimately interconnected and that our inner world is directly related to our experienced reality in the outer world. Astrology reflects this ancient wisdom and provides an archetypal map (and timetable) of each persons individual life script, while Jung's psychology provides us with a rich personal framework and proven contemporary techniques for allowing a direct conscious participation and heightened understanding of this dynamic process.
This quote by noted astronomer Victor Mansfield echoes the same ancient wisdom revealed in Ficino's astrological system of 'natural magic'. By combining techniques employed in analytical/Jungian psychology (personification, active imagination) with biofeedback and the structure, timing and archetypal landscape of astrology, we are afforded the means to harmonize, participate or co-create with the cosmic expression or archetypal signature of any given moment much in the tradition of the great alchemists themselves. As the alchemists surely realized, we do not need to feel 'fated' or helpless when dealing with stressful transiting aspects or by aspects found within the natal (birthchart) description itself. Equally this allows us a means to develop and bring to life the potential suggested by the flowing or harmonious aspect configurations in the natal and transit charts. The process of our own 'individuation' (coming to wholeness or connecting to our astrological archetypal foundations) and the ability to develop the fullest potential described by our birthcharts (and subsequent transits and progressions to the birthchart) is greatly enhanced through the application of these inner active techniques in ways normally reserved for alchemists, shaman and other spritual adepts. Joscelyn Godwin in her work, "Annals Of The Invisible College", relates;
Further, Frances Yates in her study of hermetic traditions and in particular commenting on the work of Renaissance alchemist and sage Marcilio Ficino stated;
As Jungian Analyst and noted Psychological Astrologist Liz Greene states relating to the work of Marsilio Ficino in her outstanding work, "The Astrology of Fate";
"Ficino's anima mundi bears a strong relationship with the 'objective psyche' as Jung calls it, the indefinable world-stuff which stretches across the boundaries between psyche and body, between spirit and substance, which belongs to both and to neither, and which is accessible to us through the images of our dreams and fantasies. Work on this stuff in accordance with one's natal pattern , suggests Ficino, and one builds the connecting link (or participates in a link which is already existent but unexperienced) between God and his creations, between Ideas and corporeal reality, between archetype and instinct, between freedom and fate."
"The planets, in Ficino's new astrology, are not only physical bodies in space but images within the psychic world of man and metals within the earth itself. ...The planetary images as Ficino conceived them are the bridge between worlds, through which the individual can slowly unite what is below with what is above, so that, in the worlds of the Corpus, the miracle of the One may be accomplished."
Ficinos system of natural magic, in which astrology interphases with psyche thru the use of 'active imagination' in a dynamic and co-operative fashion, represents the most effective and essential application of astrological wisdom. This is where 'the rubber meets the road', in the most intimate and personal sense. This is where we begin to participate with the energetic template, in the form of an inner image, which shapes the various manifestations of our experiences in physical reality. Imagination brings astrology to life as both experiential and inner - active and moves astrology far beyond the function of merely informing the intellect.
I believe that combining science and some of its techologies with traditional wisdom affords us many new possibilities for actively engaging in our own evolution or what Jung qualified as the 'Individuation' process. One example is the use of biofeedback to facilitate the creation of the 'middle place' (alpha/theta brainswave levels are associated with enhanced imaginal capacity) as a point of interphase between the ego and the astrological archetypes of the unconscious as suggested by Ficino. The fundamental importance of this essential inner 'opus' was later re-emphasized in Jung's Depth Psychology.
Learning to still the mind, an important initial step which allows this inner focus and the subsequent personification of the astrological archetypes to develop, can be difficult to master in either an analytical or alchemical setting. As is often the case, the simple things can be the hardest to master.
The ability to access a deep meditative state was essential for the execution of the critical inner opus or natural magic performed by the alchemists. What the alchemists perceived as 'natural magic' was actually an interaction with unconscious components of the psyche through 'active imagination' while in deep meditation.
Today the process of cooperatively encountering the realm of our own unconscious is made much easier by combining inner-active techniques such as 'active imagination' with modern biofeedback technology. Biofeedback is essentially a consciousness training device which has been effectivly used in a wide variety of medical and psychological applications in order to learn or train the mind to achieve altered states of consciouness. This in turn allows for greatly enhanced inner imagery and focus. Some people have the ability to access altered states of consciousness more easily than others but the great majority have never developed this often dormant skill. I have found that almost anyone can develop this ability with the initial assistance of biofeedback technology.
Biofeedback systems are now a very reasonalbe and affordable option for anyone having difficulty (or not) attaining deep meditative states. Many excellent portable (can fit in a shirt pocket) GSR units from a variety of manufacturers, which 20 years ago cost more than a $1000, are now around $100 due to many recent technological advances. Many of the hundreds of clients I have worked with in clinical settings, who were unsuccsesful with more traditional systems of meditation, were amazed at how quickly this technology assisted them in developing rich inner imagery and focus, very often in fact, within the first few sessions. Again not everyone needs this type of assistance, but for many this can greatly assist this process.
I believe, and this is reflected in virtually all ancient hermetic systems, that we are in fact creating the conditions of our experiences in life in an alchemical dance with the archetypes (the planets and signs of the zodiac) in the personal and collective unconscious. The state of our conscious relationship to these archetypes and further, the relationship between the archetypes themselves at the moment of birth form the foundations for our experiences in life.
We receive continuous feedback about the conditions of our relationship to these archetypes (planets and signs) in a gestalt form (be it stressful or harmonious) when we encounter these archetypal figures within the reality of our dreams. As an element of and a process within our own psyche, we are provided with a direct means of engaging consciously in this alchemical dance with these astrological archetypes (the planets, signs, modes, and elements) on a personal level thru the creation of a 'middle place' between consciouness and its unconscious archetypal foundations.
Astrologers feel that specific heavenly events are enacted here on the Earth -- at the same moment ('synchronicity') as they manifest in the universe. Another way to say this is that we are an interactive part of the cosmos which interpenetrates and surrounds us and can play a part in that cosmic moment as cooperative participants since these cycles and planetary relationships in the cosmos are also acted out within the realm our own psyche.
Many Psychological or Archetypal Astrologers hold with the concepts found in Jungian psychology relating to the need and also our ability to establish a conscious connection with these unconscious archetypes (the evolutionary force represented by the planets and signs of the zodiac) thru the alchemical/analytical process of 'active imagination'.
By establish a conscious relationship with these archetypes, as they are represented (personified) in our own unconscious, a 'middle place' or bridge between the conscious and unconscious mind may be established, allowing us to harmonize with the universal moment and its greatest potential expression in physical reality.
"...astrological coincidences suggest that the universe can indeed be known by the human mind, because the universe's operative principles are principles with which human experience is directly and intimately familiar from within ~ that is to say, the universe's operative principles are archetypes which are both subjective and objective, simultaneously informing not only human experience but also planetary motions. As Plato affirmed, the categories of the human mind are also categories of a universal mind, the two minds being intimately connected.-- Richard Tarnas Ph D--"The Passion of the Western Mind"
The process for the expression of these archetypes is displayed by the aspects (both natal and by transit) formed by the planets in our own unique natal (birth) description. Using 'active imagination' to encounter these archetypes at the alpha/theta level affords us the opportunity for maximizing the inherent potential of easy or flowing aspects in, or by transit to, our own natal or birth chart. Additionally, this inner-active process allows us to harmonize the potentially disruptive effect of stressful aspects as well.
We interact with these archetypes in a symbolic gestalt naturally in our dreams and may learn to bring our conscious awareness into this process by using biofeedback or other meditative techniques to interact with these archetypes as they exist in our own unconscious, the place where the script for our life experiences are actually written. Resistance to the expression of the celestial and planetary (archetypal) energies, both natally (birth) and by transit, can set the stage for disruptive events due to our resistance to, or an unawareness of, this cosmic process. As Jung pointed out;
The inner-active technique of accessing consciously the unconscious elements of the psyche is a means for differentiating these components as Jung suggests. This has been emphasized and revealed as a powerful transformational process through the efforts of Transpersonal and Jungian Analytical Psychologists by having their clients pursue a very similiar alchemical process using 'active imagination' and other inner-active techniques to approach personified dream figures and other archetypal components of the psyche. The work of famed psychiatrist Roberto Assagioli established the importance and relevance of an inner-active approach to the components and process of the unconscious through his developement of a system he termed as 'Psychosynthesis'.
More recently the seminal and profoundly ground breaking work with altered states of consciouness done by Dr. Stanislov Grof, has revealed the powerful transformational effect realized through connecting the conscious mind to its archetypal foundations which actualizes the healing potential and wisdom of the unconscious. An inner-active approach to psychological astrology similarly connects us to these archetypal components as well, providing us with, as Dr Richard Tarnas of the California Institute of Integral Studies has phrased as, "A redemptive reunification of the individuated self with the universal matrix".
This inner-active process allows us to APPLY the insights afforded by psychological astrology by establishing a 'middle ground' or meeting place (the alpha/theta level of mind using biofeedback) for our conscious awareness to connect to our unconscious foundations through 'active imagination' and inner dialogue with these planets (archetypes as inner sub-personalities) in order to harmonize ourselves with the aspect relationships (the aspects between the planets or archetypes) found in the birthchart, both natally (birth) and by transit. A marriage of Jung's psychological methodologies and insights with the symbolism, structure and time table found in astrology greatly enriches our intellectual understanding of ourselves but we realize our greatest potential when we actually APPLY Jung's concepts in an inner-active encounter with our astrological archetypal foundations in order to bring the fullest transformational potential revealed by these archetypes to life. By personalizing our relationship to these archetypes through direct imaginal encounters, we participate in a rich and ancient heritage of self discovery and actualization in a fashion which closely mirrors the pioneering efforts of Grof, Jung and Ficino thru a direct experience of our unconscious dynamics.
One says hello, one says goodbye;
One says things I don't understand;
Makes me feel like half a man."
A little about Alchemy, its origins and its influence on Shakespeare and many other important historical figures such as Shelley, Yeats and Keats. Also a short biography of a most influential and remarkable man, Marcilio Ficino, who was instrumental in the re-emergence of a "natural magic" or alchemy in the west.
... On the basis of a self known by meditation and produced by alchemical means, Dorn "hoped and expected" to be united with the unus mundus ...
He created man, a "little heaven" that "bears in itself the reflections of many natures similar to the stars."
**Archetypes. The structural components of the collective unconscious.
"The concept of the archetype...is derived from the repeated observation that, for instance, the myths and fairytales
of world literature contain definite motifs which crop up everywhere. We meet these same motifs in the fantasies, dreams, deliria, and delusions
of individuals living today."