Astrology has its origin within the mists of ancient times, and was studied almost universally by most advanced cultures and civilizations. At an early age in history observers were able to distinguish between stars and planets, and chart their motion through the heavens. Cultures that kept accurate records were able to predict where the planets would be at any given time, and the horoscope came into being. Primordial images are basic to humanity, but the archetypes are fundamental to the culture that gave rise to them. In the Western world the early Greeks clothed the planets with mythical, god-like attributes, and the concepts of astrology took root.
Because planets are very real, and somewhat mysterious, there is something inherent in their nature that stirred a chord deep within the human psyche; the results were names and qualities that have been recorded and passed down through the ages. The Archetypal character of planets is a reality, and their distinct nature and workings are maintained within the collective unconscious.
The story goes that shepherds would lie on their backs at night and gaze up into the sky while tending their flocks. The brightest stars seemed to make patterns in a band of space that the planets travel through in their orbit around the sun called the ecliptic. This band of space was divided into twelve sections and named after the figures from their favorite legends, and it became known as the zodiac. These myths were projected upon the heavens as a product of the imagination. Planets are objective; the signs of the zodiac are subjective; they are not considered to have any physical cause-effect relationship between them as groups of stars, and us as human beings. As material for Archetypes they work within the collective unconscious, and synchronicity is the active principle behind them.
The relationship between the physical fact of the sun-planet system and our subjective mental states are often bound by an acausal connecting principle that produces “meaningful” results. When the archetypes of astrology become activated and take on numinosity, the chance of an acausal sequence of events corresponding to the psychic state becomes more probable. This probability becomes even greater if psychic contents constellate around an archetypal nucleus increasing the energy level to a “complex.” The astrologer pondering the depths of the horoscope has engaged the synchronistic machinery linking the contents of the archetypes.
The synchronicity theory lends itself to astrological forecasts since time is the prime factor of both. A Mars influence coming to bear at a given moment indicates activity that follows a linear path of causal events observed by its orbital path. Should an individual’s horoscope or star chart indicate this activity, then the line of events guiding that person’s life will intersect with the Mars activity at the forecast time. On a global scale, a line of events leading a country to a state of war [Mars] may configure another nation’s Mercury [messages] and result in a ‘call to arms.’ A person’s anger excited by Mars may lead to a dispute with a lover’s Venus. Two separate and unrelated lines of events intersect at the forecast period and highlight activities indicated by the astrological factors.
The principle of synchronicity is not separate from the mystical philosophy of the three hypostases. The Solar system, as a divine triad, (macrocosm) is an image of the human soul (microcosm); human nature is an expression of planetary and solar qualities that represent the Self. The horoscope is a blue print or image of the soul as viewed from the solar system. There is constant communication between the two, although it is seldom, if ever, on a conscious level.
The archetypes of astrology are never noticed or “felt” by the general population, and thus remain at the unconscious level. Archetypal contents never attain numinosity by individuals that reject or are unaware of astrological tenets. This is not to say that they are exempt from planetary influences, since all things on Earth come within our heavenly environment. Astrology becomes active and eventful when the archetypes rise to numinous energy levels. The study of astrology activates the archetypal content to a level of awareness that the astrologer or student can work with.
Most people can tell you their sun-sign. Depending on the date of birth, the sun will always be in one of the twelve signs of the zodiac. Some people come to know themselves very intimately through the characteristics of their sun-sign. It is not difficult to see psychic processes at work here. The most powerful image or archetype of the Self is the sun and its various symbols. The Self in seeking a perfect state of being or wholeness comes to identify with the positive characteristics bound up in ‘their’ sun-sign. Synchronicity is at work also in providing the verification that these characteristics are at work and thus confirmed. Furthermore, it is often not how a person relates to their Sun-sign characteristics, but how one perceives his or her own self-identity first, and then see a relationship in the sign. If circumstances are appropriate, and archetypal contents raised to the proper energy level, then synchronistic events will confirm the astrological relationships.
Although the sun, moon, and planets participate as archetypal symbols, they are also a fact of existence. The objective side of astrology postulates that these bodies have an independent ‘influence’ on us. Many astrologers think electromagnetism may play a part, on the other hand, gravity is a universal force that pushes as well as pulls, and may be the mental medium acting on everything throughout the cosmos. The relationship between a solar system and Spirit may be thought of in its own unique way. Collin Wilson in this quote states:
“ . . . For if one planet moves his heart today, another will move his reason tomorrow, and a third his passion the day following. The humanitarian movement he launched under Jupiter becomes scholastic under Saturn and bloody under Mars. The heavens play scales upon his keyboard, and he cannot but sound the notes they touch.” 21
How this is to be understood in a scientific way is difficult to explain, since science and mysticism do not connect, but there is no problem in discussing an acausal connecting principle from the standpoint of soul, mind and intelligence. As Plato pointed out, Soul is an independent and self-determined principle. Astrological influences can be thought of in the same sense as Plotinus’ three hypostases. They are not spatially separate from each other, but present together everywhere. We live and have our being within these influences, and since these influences are inborn within us, we emanate a field of energy corresponding to the heavenly bodies around us. Our existence as spiritual creatures is a result of the sun-planet system; it would be odd to think of this special relationship as somehow unconnected. We are in them and they in us; Soul is identical in both, yet we are separate and uniquely different as physical beings. It would seem that our purpose is bound up with their purpose; in this case the expanding universe depends on similar relationships in which the proliferation of life is the dominant theme throughout the vast cosmos. The signs and planets are in heaven, and it is usual to think that people come to hope for celestial blessings that will complement and complete the fulfillment of their lives. It is not simply just a matter of fate; the soul has its work to do, and its operation is at the cosmic level.
The Archetypes of Astrology
The Jungian archetypes correspond to the Forms of Plato, and the Intellectual-Principle of Plotinus. As mentioned earlier, the Platonic Forms at the Ideal level are without content. They take form in particular things when called upon. Good deeds or good acts participate in the Ideal of Goodness. For Plato this world of Ideas or Forms constitutes a greater reality than the individual things of the world that merely come and go. Jung’s archetypes are similar to Plato’s Forms in that they are empty of content until activated in the psyche. An archetypal pattern, which is universal, is like the pattern a crystal will take when it begins to form; once formed the archetype becomes recognizable, active, and functioning in consciousness. The archetypes of astrology can be thought of in the same sense.
Within the Intelligible Realm [Second Hypostasis] the planets represent the full range of archetypal content that give character and quality to human beings. The spiritual state of the soul is fashioned in the image of the solar system. Focusing the essence that makes for an individuality within the human entity, we understand it psychologically as archetypal material. Individual souls are uniquely different yet share similar attributes. Solar and planetary fields emanate and blend their influences to mold the composite human soul in a form that describe its personality as a living spiritual entity.
Since many readers may not be familiar with what the solar system represents astrologically, the following descriptions should help.
Mars bestows certain qualities that find expression in human nature: boldness, daring, strength, stamina, drive, energy, determination, and a passionate nature. Mars can be contentious and give rise to anger, fighting, and violence. Mars also has an affinity for heat, fire, war, strife, riots, soldiers, surgeons, police, and weapons of war, especially explosive devices.
Venus represents the kinder loving side of human nature; compassion, charity; a cheerful and happy outlook; creativity in art and music. Venus is the beauty in our lives, and oversees social affairs, pleasure and romance. Mars and Venus are contra-polarities within the human composite and produce emotions of love-hate, and states of war and peace.
Saturn and Jupiter form the other contra-polar power in the human soul. Saturn is stern, hard working, cautious, and a staunch conservative. Jupiter is great fortune and easy-going, jovial, sympathetic, benevolent, honorable and just. Jupiter creates stepping-stones and Saturn stumbling blocks; Saturn makes us gloomy and sad--Jupiter happy and joyful. Saturn would have you poor, Jupiter rich.
The sun is the seat of the Soul, the center of the Self, and the life-giver. The sun denotes fortunate circumstances, fame, health, and positions of power. The inner light of the solar power shines forth on the path of revelation and union with the One. The archetype of the sun is found in mandala symbolism and suggests wholeness, completeness, and a well-integrated individuality. Popular astrology relates the position of the sun to the sign of the zodiac at the time of birth, and reads the character of the individual from the nature of the sign.
The moon is a strong influence on home and family; it rules fertility, growth, nurturing, and maternal instincts. The moon is receptive, versatile, intuitive, emotional, and an influence on the human personality. The moon rules the night by the reflected light of the sun, and is an important counterpoint in balancing the various planetary and solar forces as they vitalize the Soul.
Mercury is thoughtful, congenial, and associated with the mind. Methods of communication, and means of travel are within Mercury’s domain. He was known as the messenger of the Gods in mythology, but is better known now as a source of new ideas, and of correct reasoning. Mercury has an influence on accountants, teachers, booksellers, secretaries, and writers.
Although Uranus, Neptune and Pluto have not been in the collective unconscious for very long, they seem to have found their place in astrology as if guided by an unseen hand. It is thought among astrologers that the human psyche has matured to a higher level, and expanded to accept these higher vibrations.
Uranus bestows a mind independent, original, and not easily controlled. There is an inclination toward inventiveness, and unconventional, altruistic behavior. This planet makes one intuitive, prophetic, philosophical, and scientific. Uranus is electric, magnetic, and unpredictable; it rules inventors, aviators, astrologers, psychologists, and metaphysicians.
Neptune is the planet of mystery and the mysterious, the planet of illusions, dreams, and fantasies. Neptune rules spiritual initiation and progress, artistic talent, intrigues, deception, fraud, and secrets. His domains mythically are the oceans of the world; all things of the sea; sailors, ships, and fishing. That which is hidden, transformed, or altered by drugs, comes within the sway of this planet.
Pluto represents death and rebirth, the end of an old era, and beginning of a new one, the Phoenix that rises from its own ashes. He is the ruler of the underworld, the keeper of souls of the damned, and Karmic debts, also wills, legacies and goods of the dead.
Since the Signs of the Zodiac have arisen from the human imagination, and lack any origin in physical form, their reality is strictly archetypal. The sun-sign readings so popular in books, newspapers, and magazines are of this nature, and generally known to the population at large.
It is not expected that people throughout the world should relate to the mythological content of Western culture. Astrologers of India, China, and other societies have their own astrological symbols and archetypal patterns that reflect their view of reality. This accumulated knowledge is founded on the heritage, cultural values, and national self-image of those cultures.
A well-balanced astrological foundation requires both an objective and subjective understanding of basic principles. The solar system exists for us objectively since we are in it, and subjectively since it is within us. Only through mystical, philosophical, and astrological understanding do the inner realities of the mind and outer reality of the universe come together in mutual equilibrium, and elegant symmetry.
The word “astrology” is one of the most familiar in the English lexicon, and also the least understood. Even astrologers differ among themselves about basic principles and fundamental concepts. To avoid misunderstanding about what astrology means in the context of this paper, what follows should answer the question of how the application of astrology ought to be understood.
Astrology is the study of planetary influences and their effect on the world and everything in it. Astrology is usually limited to human beings–their nature, and their affairs, although charts can be cast for just about anything. The horoscope is a blue print or pattern of the solar system drawn for a particular instant of time. It is from this ‘chart’ that astrologers base their interpretations.
The natal horoscope is a chart cast for the moment of birth to describe and understand the nature and makeup of the soul of the newborn as it takes residence in a physical vehicle or body. The human soul is a focal point of cosmic energy derived from the sun-planet system, and the horoscope is a means to self- realization and knowledge of its destiny in each life.
Astrology points the way to soul development and growth. The horoscope denotes the soul’s strengths and weaknesses. Life is an opportunity given to soul for its further enhancement. Death frees the soul, and the horoscope becomes a record of its past life.
Because the heavens are in constant motion, and because this motion is quite ordered and exact, it is possible to project the positions of the sun, moon, and planets for any moment of time. Astrologers use this information to derive the ‘influences’ that will affect the soul at that time. Astrologers usually do not predict actual events in the future. They can only say what might happen, or could happen, much like a weather forecaster predicting rain. Many psychics do make predictions, and astrology is often the tool they use to focus their abilities.
Another common feature of astrology is the comparison of birth charts to ascertain the compatibility of two people. This is a straightforward method used by over-laying one chart upon the other. The aspects or angles of the sun, moon, and planets are then analyzed to learn how the energy fields of each person blend together. Some couples form more harmonious bonds than others; fewer harmonious bonds offer a greater challenge for peace and happiness, and may be Karmic in nature.
Over the years astrologers have developed many techniques for expanding their ‘art’ to include a multitude of services that can only be evaluated upon the merit and usefulness of that technique. Astrology offers only so much; thus it is imperative that the individual soul strive to attain that which is considered spiritual progress and growth in this short life, and to regard any advice with great care.