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The Poisoned Apple Part 1

Poisoned Apple by Roberta Tocco

The Poisoned Apple: the dialogue between Religion and Science and the formation of the modern world-view.

Image courtesy of Roberta Tocco Photography

Over a series of posts I will engage in an extended meditation on the dialogue of Religion and Science and the way that the relationship between the two has been crucial in the formation of the modern world-view.

Astrology and Psychotherapy (alongside Existential and Spiritual concerns) will be brought to bear on the analysis both as a perspective for understanding but also as part of the subject matter.

So, for example, astrology will provide perspective through analysis of birth charts, and themes of history through transits as well as being the subject of analysis itself; for example the differing ways that religion and science have attempted to engage with or deny astrology and its precarious status in the modern world.

Part 1 - Apple for Teacher

“Late that autumn of 1925, Robert did something so stupid that it seemed calculated to prove that his emotional distress was overwhelming him. Consumed by feelings of inadequacy and intense jealousy, he ‘poisoned’ an apple with chemicals from the laboratory and left it on Blackett’s desk… Fortunately, Blackett did not eat the apple; but university officials somehow were informed of the incident. As Robert himself confessed to Ferguson two months later, ‘he had kind of poisoned the head steward. It seemed incredible, but that was what he said.’”

Read more: The Poisoned Apple Part 1

Astrology and Witch Hunting

On the Tricks of Demons

witch trialsIn his 1563 book, On the Tricks of Demons, Johann Weyer, a Protestant physician, questioned the capacity of old peasant women to fly on broomsticks and become the sexual consorts of demons. He wrote, “Love men, kill errors, fight for the truth without any cruelty.” This sober, sincere and rather kindly man wondered if many of these poverty stricken old ladies were not just suffering from depression (melancholia) and mental illness; issues more than exacerbated by the prolonged torture they would suffer at the hands of their interrogators.

This appeal to sanity and compassion was not enough to stay the hands of Jean Bodin, whose On the Demonic Madness of Witches is an extended critique of Weyer’s appeal for moderation. Bodin points out how torturing and burning these old women was nothing compared to the eternal damnation that awaits them and which the general public, witness to this orgy of violence, needed rerminding of! Near his death, Bodin published Drama of Universal Nature (1597) in which he wrote: “There is nothing in the world...pleasanter to behold, or which more deliciously revives the mind, or which serves us more commodiously, than order.” The feminine is the antithesis of this dubious “order.”

“All witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which is in women insatiable,” says the Malleus Maleficarum and as Brian Easlea in his sensitive and considered book Witch Hunting, Magic and the New Philosophy writes, “Whatever else it is, the Malleus Maleficarum is a misogynists’s textbook.” This triumph of misogyny was published by two Dominican friars in 1486 in which it was argued that God allows a certain amount of evil in order to celebrate the triumphant response of the righteous in stamping out the cursed sections of humanity; more often than not, the feminine. The tricks of Demons tolerated in order to incite the treats of the righteous; a process for which they argue there can be no due legal process because of the inherently satanic nature of the accused...

Read more: Astrology and Witch Hunting

Florence and the Renaissance Man

AssagioliRecently I was fortunate enough to go to Florence. I turned this into a mini vacation, in Tuscany first (Pisa, Lucca and Montecatini Terme) and then Florence itself. Whilst the vacation was good, despite the crazy driving of the Italians (truly scary in their capacity to pull out of junctions and parking spaces at the side of the road with no indication) the real focus of the trip had come about through an opportunity created by a great friend who I trained in Psychosynthesis with from 1999-2002.

Already friends, training together, as the babies of the course (by age and therapeutic experience at least) far from wiping out the friendship as some on the training thought would happen - including the course director at times, mind you her comment when we turned up for the start of the second year was a surprised “Oh I didn’t expect you two to come back”! - Training together, alongside shared journeys into Kabbalistic magic, the Findhorn community in Scotland, Buddhism and writing (amongst other things…) cemented a shared creative drive. When as a student, I was struggling to complete my first homework in Evolutionary Astrology it was Keith that I turned too to help me think through the psychology of the birth chart on that depth level.

Keith, a Psychosynthesis Therapist working in a university and private practice, had the university support a trip to the Psychosynthesis conference in Rome in which he presented an excellent paper, Paradise Sustained, which can be read here - http://keithhackwood.com/paradise-sustained/

A paper that rather ruffled some of the expensive older Italian feathers: a Psychosynthesis community in Italy somewhat notorious for closed ranks. Will Parfitt (http://www.willparfitt.com/) who gave a keynote address at the end of the conference singled out Keith’s approach as representative of a future potential for the Psychosynthesis community. For those who wanted to there was a trip to Florence to the Psychosynthesis Institute, basically the old home and workplace of Roberto Assagioli. Keith had written to the conference organisers previously about his friend, an author and international speaker who could not make the conference but would love to see the homestead of Psychosynthesis (no actual lie…) and I have this good friend to thank for what turned into a profound encounter for both of us with the private papers of a renaissance man some of whose work has been wilfully concealed from the world. Even it appeared the very people who had trained us!

After an introduction and brief tour of the house by the group of women visiting and, it was revealed, organising a recently discovered batch of material from Assagioli’s private archive that had only been opened up because the attic room it was stored in had come in danger of water damage from a leak. These boxes were literally ordered into the basement to be stored away (the symbolism of the layers of the unconscious and the attempted repression is almost comical) and yet one writer in residence who was assisting could not help herself but have a look in the box. Thank you, Pandora.

Read more: Florence and the Renaissance Man

In Memoriam: Roger Woolger & James Hillman

In Memoriam

“Strong Son of God, immortal Love,
Whom we, that have not seen thy face,
By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove;

Thine are these orbs of light and shade;
Thou madest Life in man and brute;
Thou madest Death; and lo, thy foot
Is on the skull which thou hast made.”

~Tennyson, the first lines of In Memoriam, for the death of his friend.

Roger WoolgerThe end of 2011 saw the deaths of two figures whose work has shaped my understanding of the understanding of depth psychology and the realms of potential offered by expanding psychology into the realms of the transpersonal and the soulful power of the imagination. One was Roger Woolger whose book Other Lives, Other Selves opened up the doors of perception into the world of prior life regression in a way that was totally cognisant of the therapeutic power of such a perspective.

Woolger categorised four main vantage points for viewing the question of reincarnation and prior life experience and recall: the Psychic approach of mediums and visionaries; the Parapsychological approach of trying to bring empirical research methods into a scientific study of the field; the Religious approach of reincarnation as an aspect of faith or the journey of the Soul through union to God or Enlightenment; the Psychotherapeutic approach that utilises prior life understanding and experience in order to enact therapeutic transformation.

Whilst Woolger was articulate and respectful of the authentic efforts in all of those spheres, in placing the therapeutic approach as the central one he grounded the whole field in the principle of service to the individual’s healing journey and personal growth. This is an approach I have always followed and one that I feel cuts through the considerable intellectual suspicion and derision surrounding the field itself.

I have found this suspicion to be prevalent in amongst the therapeutic profession generally. So even the world of depth psychology has entertained a narrow view of prior life experience whilst remaining so committed to the Soul or Self of the individual in a number of other ways it has cut off from the aspect of memory as experienced by the psyche of so many individuals as if those prior experiences somehow manifested a resistance to the present moment in which the therapy was being experienced.

In Memoriam is for absent friends as I write this today, yet it is also for these aspects of the experience of Soul that are denied in even the most open minded of fields, that of depth or transpersonal psychology. If such an otherwise open minded arena closes itself off to these other realities what hope is there for understanding or validation of the experience of the individual?

For as I have recorded in Healing the Soul: Pluto, Uranus and the Lunar Nodes my first encounter with prior life recall in a client session occurred spontaneously whilst conducting a simple relaxation/grounding exercise. It was as if in the alchemy of the consulting room to relax and pay attention to the body in a witnessed and held space was for the individual concerned an opportunity to break through to an experience that both symbolized her struggles and possibly expressed one of the formative past experiences that underlies those issues.

In emphasising the therapeutic approach to the issue Woolger was supporting people like me who are working with people who have prior life flashbacks, intuitions or recall. Even though I never met him, though through my association with his close colleague Patricia Walsh I may have if he had lived a little longer, I was helped by the integrity of his vision on behalf of his clients which I was able to extend to my own. For in making the client’s experience the central tenet of the process he removed the intellectual fascination and taboo with working out just what prior lives really are or mean.

James HillmanIn many ways the literal attempt to ‘figure out’ what is going on in the healing process or in the dreams and life of the Psyche (Soul) is one of the great traps for both therapist and client alike when journeying together. James Hillman, the other figure to pass away last year, was one of the great voices against what he named the ‘sin of literalness’, the failure of the imagination that he saw as evidenced by psychology’s great love affair with the medical model and its pseudo-scientific pretensions that were set in motion by Freud and have remained in the behaviourist, cognitive and clinical fields ever since.

Hillman saw the white lab coated dreams of the psychologists to be a central delusion in psychotherapy and constituted what he saw as a denial of Soul. He extended this critique into the realm of depth psychology through what he saw as its obsession with interiority, as if Soul was just to be found inside the head, or the heart of the person and not in the world outside, nature and even the building in which the therapy took place. In Suicide and the Soul he realized that in the true intimacy of the therapeutic encounter there is a karmic exchange, a mingling that animated by an archetypal light changes both the therapist and the client in ways that could not have previously foretold.

In Revisioning Psychology Hillman revisited the myth of Persephone as an image of naive anima, the Soul in a state of natural innocence, the rape of Pluto then becomes the first heat-break, the wound that renders the innocence of the Soul more present and in its openness to the shadows of the underworld ultimately more real. In Dream and the Underworld he urged therapists not to over interpret dreams but to let the primacy of the image speak for itself, as if the panther in the dream was not a symbol of your animal nature in shadow but it was a panther in your dream: the isness (ding an sich – thing in itself, Kant) of the panther was the power of the dream expressing through the dark lithe shape of panther acting directly on psyche. Image becomes its own power: Image is truth, truth is image.

The subtly and incredible range of Hillman’s work is breath-taking, and its mercurial twists and turns alienate some, just as they inspire many others. In The Myth of Analysis and Healing Fiction he expands the idea of the image as central reality, and that interpretation of a life story or the meaning of a symptom was in the image. An extrapolation from Jung’s idea that diseases are the unanswered gods of the psyche within, the unacknowledged capacities in our nature that if we do not honour them come back to haunt us. In The Soul’s Code Hillman then shows through the biographies of various figures how you can apply the process of reversal of meaning through the idea of the Oak Tree contained in potential in the Acorn. In one stand out example he reverses the idea that a famous bull-fighter who was bullied for being afraid of the dark as a youth was compensating for his past by being a stand-out hero instead by musing that he had a premonitory awareness of his own early death from the dark form of a Bull. This was clever trickery for some, but even at his most mercurial Hillman always had a useful response cloaked in such beauty and range of analogy that to read him was more like reading poetry than a psychology book.
Michael Ventura who co-wrote with Hillman the book We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy and the World is Getting Worse in a recent remembrance piece shares;

Weeks before he died, Hillman dictated to his wife, Margot McLean, these words for his friends: "We are following a middle road, neither upbeat nor downbeat. And I am more and more convinced that upbeat tends to constellate its counter, so before wishing for recovery in the old sense, one should think twice. It's what's going on now and not what the imagination conjures regarding a so-called future. I am dying yet in fact, I could not be more engaged in living. One thing I'm learning is how impossible it is to lay out a border between so-called 'living' and 'dying'."

There is the beauty and power of the present moment in which we can be truly alive even facing death. Yet the multi-dimensional nature of that moment, as Woolger shows, can contain many mysteries, of which prior life memory is but one aspect.

Hillman was in his eighties with an enormous and highly respected body of work, yet he was bright to the end. Woolger was much younger, only mid-sixties, yet he left an international school for his Deep Memory Process and an incredible facilitator of his work in Patricia Walsh author of Understanding Karmic Complexes. He was also a vital and adventurous man to the end.

I end this memoriam to two great men, and to the unacknowledged mansions of Soul with Tennyson again, who seeks even in grief for lost loved ones to experience the expansive potential of life;

“Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before,

But vaster.”

The Unlived Life

“You know, Hitler wanted to be an artist. At eighteen he took his inheritance, seven hundred kronen, and moved to Vienna to live and study. He applied to the Academy of Fine Arts and later to the school of Architecture. Ever seen one of his paintings? Neither have I. Resistance beat him. Call it overstatement but I’ll say it anyway: it was easier for Hitler to start World War 2 than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas.”

From "The Unlived Life," section of Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art.

Steven PressfieldPressfield, the author of the Legend of Bagger Vance and a historical novel on the battle of Thermapolyae is making the extreme point that what emerges from the depths of ourselves that we do not live out creatively, will ultimately turn instead to destruction. Steven Forrest posted a link to a news page on Facebook today that asserts "nearly forty per cent of Europeans suffer mental illness." This is of course a masterly example of the caution (nearly) and bold co-existing and the marvellous use to which statistics can be put as this list includes those suffering from dementia and alcoholics just as much as it does people being medicated for depression (as a salient commentator on the posting suggested we may indeed pathologize the normal issues and stresses of life to a nonsensical level). 

Read more: The Unlived Life

New Book Announcement!

Hello everyone. I'd just like to make a quick announcement. I've been working on a book for the last few months, and I'm excited to announce that the major work is complete and the book is now in the editing process. The book is tentatively titled: Healing the Soul: the Lunar and Planetary nodes in Evolutionary Astrology. We're hoping to release the book near October, just before the next Evolutionary Astrology conference this fall.

Pluto the Goat

“My idea, then, is that a great work of art often has at its center a long floating leap, around which the work of art in ancient times used to gather itself like steel shavings around the magnet. But a work of art does not necessarily have at its center a single long floating leap. The work can have many leaps, perhaps shorter. The real joy of poetry is to experience this leaping inside a poem. A poet who is ‘leaping’ makes a jump from an object soaked in unconscious substance to an object or idea soaked in conscious psychic substance.”

mountain goatSo wrote Robert Bly in a pamphlet in the 1970’s reissued recently in Leaping Poetry, a magical essay on art, interwoven with many of his free flowing translations of poetry from around the world. This is his statement of the meaning of freedom, of a spacious movement inside one’s being that resides at the heart of a poetry that has the capacity to move us. This is the space, the impulse towards soaring inner freedom, that I propose lies at the core of the Capricorn archetype, a principle normally associated with the structures of society and consciousness and the nature of conditioning: within the heart of the home of Capricorn lies the deep seated yearning for inner freedom.

So powerful is this need that many defenses (Saturn) are created by the psyche under the aegis of Capricorn, many armoured layers of protection against this potential leap of consciousness, this impulse for freedom. One part yearns for the leap, another part, fearful of chaos and all that might ensue in the new life (born free) generates restriction, born from anxiety. In this way we psychologically chose to participate in the strictures of conditioning that appear around us. By implication just as we chose them through fear, we could un-chose them as an act of liberation.

Read more: Pluto the Goat

The Problem of Evolution

In recent posts I have been discussing the issue of lack of meaning in the modern world and that Evolutionary Astrology in its radicalism (claiming insight into the nature of the Soul’s desires and the present and past life selves it manifests to explore those desires) can only be understood by a return to meaning implied by the understanding of symbolic correspondence epitomized by the hermetic maxim, “As above, so below”.

Now I wish focus a little on the meaning of the term ‘evolutionary’ and by exploring that as a theme in and of itself, how that might illuminate the context overall of a truly Evolutionary Astrology.

Henryk SkolimowskiI was recently introduced to Henryk Skolimowski, a Polish professor of Ecological Philosophy, in whose writing I’ve discovered a free-thinking, mystical utterly reverent radical viewpoint about the spiritual dimension of our current struggles as a civilization.

He offers a supremely optimistic counter to the lack of vision implied in the idea of world-as-machine that is so implicit in our technological fantasies and waste. As part of this vision Skolimowski honours the importance of evolution, the problems it poses to our understanding in the face of its scale and the joy of the life force that, in its dynamism and variety, shine forth:

“Yet we have a problem with evolution. It is so large. It cannot be contained in any definition. It is expressed in everything, but it cannot be expressed in words. In wanting to catch evolution in a net of words we are chasing the continually evasive phantom of becoming. How can we comprehend the totality of evolution, while we cannot express its meaning in crisp definitions? By pointing at this Enormous Phenomenon of Life in its various processes becoming. The glory of evolution is the slimy little amoeba beginning to react to the environment semi-intelligently. The glory of evolution is the first eagle stretching its wings. The glory of evolution is the first monkey using a stick as a tool. The glory of evolution is the Vedic hymns conceived in silence and expressed then in ecstatic rapture. The glory of evolution is the monumental Principia Mathematica Philosophia Naturalis of Newton, attempting to express all visible nature in quantative laws. The glory of evolution is our reflective mind reflecting on the glory of evolution."

Read more: The Problem of Evolution

March 2011 Interview

Guiding Stars Radio Show

Listen to this interview with Mark from Kristin Fontana's Guiding Stars Radio show March 2011
{audio}FontanaInterviewMarch092011.mp3{/audio}

The Intentional Map

"(Some people think that the) movements of planets in the heavens cannot influence the lives of men on earth. It would be rather a crude definition of astrology which said that they could; the real interpretation is more vast and more profound: that the entire universe is one tremendous harmony, that the same forces are at work in the macrocosm and the microcosm, the cosmos and the individual, that the tendencies in a man and the events in his life flow to the same rhythm as the planetary movements in the skies; that, although the intricacy of the arrangement would make a mathematician's mind reel, no individual can be born except at the moment when the position of the heavens is such as to mirror his nature and destiny. It is a typical misunderstanding which led some people in camp to argue that a man's character is not formed by the positions of the stars at his birth but by heredity. Actually, it is never said that the positions of the stars form a man's character but that they indicate it; and heredity is one of the influences which they indicate. It often happens that several members of a family are born at about the same time of day or have birthdays at about the same date, and both of these are varieties of family likeness which would show in a horoscope, though, of course, by no means the only ones. "

-From My Life and Quest by Arthur Osborne

Ramana MaharshiIn my previous post I addressed the problem of meaning. In a necessarily brief but I hope important way, I suggested that the issue of meaning and purpose is critical to both the individual and to the collective if we wish to co-create a more harmonious world. I then posited that astrology is one the great gifts of symbolism that allows us to participate within a Cosmos that has presence, or meaning in and of itself and for us. In the quote above, Arthur Osborne, the great follower and interpreter of the teachings of the sage Ramana Maharshi, describes what I see as the essence of the role of Evolutionary Astrology. That is that it presents a method for interpreting the symbolism of the perfect cosmic accord between the mathematics of the movements of the planets at the precise moment in space and time of the birth of an individual consciousness and how that symbolic map of the sky is in resonance with the karma of the individual coming into being.

Read more: The Intentional Map

To Be Or Not To Be? - The Problem of Meaning

Man's search for meaningIn Man’s Search for Meaning, dictated in the months following his release from a concentration camp, Victor Frankl delineated one of the seminal theses of the modern era: he noticed that people’s loss of a sense of meaning was the critical precursor to their death. Of course the camps were a machinery of death - Eichmann’s accounting was in essence the mathematics of evil and statistically millions were to die: the dice evidently were loaded. Yet Frankl saw something unfold in his experience that taught him about the inner workings of that process as it happened to individuals around him: as young women had their head shaved and in so doing are robbed of their beauty and femininity, as others could not cope with separation from their loved ones and fear of the fate that might have befallen them, their ‘will to be’ faded and within days they would pass away.

Frankl himself, separated from his wife (whom he would discover only after his release had died in another camp), was of course highly stressed but his moment of confrontation with this inner precipice came at another moment. When a guard bullying him tore apart his jacket, revealing his dissertation - on which he had spent years of his life researching and writing, sewn into the lining - he destroyed it, shattering Frankl’s will in the face of the loss. Frankl saw before him an emptiness which if he gave way to, he would die. Something inside him, some other aspect of his will was lit and he walked away from the loss and chose not to find it meaningful enough to die for. Instead the torch paper inside him burned with a new sense of meaning and purpose, something inborn and inherent arose in him, the life force celebrated for its own sake, dis-identified from any one form. And he was able to live on that fire for the rest of his incarceration.

Read more: To Be Or Not To Be? - The Problem of Meaning

A Life Boat In Years to Come

“Tradition indicates that three levels of consciousness are available to us: simple consciousness, not often seen in our modern technological world; complex consciousness, the usual state of educated Western man; and an enlightened state of consciousness, known only to a very few individuals, which is the culmination of human evolution and can be attained only by highly motivated people after much work and training.”

Don QuixoteSo says Robert Johnson in the first words of his book Transformations and he goes on to explore Don Quixote (literally Sir Codpiece) as an example of simple consciousness and Hamlet (a text penned within a few years of the Cervantes marvel) as the entrance into the dilemma of modern consciousness. The possibility of an enlightened view is represented for him in Goethe’s Faust. Don Quixote literalizes his own perception and imagination and his resultant magical thinking is his joy and his exuberant downfall. He charges ‘giants’ that are windmills spinning in the sun in order to please his princess, a local peasant girl. Hamlet receives the message from the unconscious, from the archetype, the ghost speaks to him of hidden truth and yet this information sends him into the crisis of how to act to return the natural and correct order of things. He is crippled by the terror of the rotten state being also his family, the lingering smell of death on the family bedspread, the trauma of the primal scene as conceived of by the sensitive and absurdly youthful Freud – the thought of our parents in the act that made us. The modern man like Hamlet is anxious about his origins and at times terrified about the future: every ache is a potential cancer, every commute another joyless surrender to auto-pilot, a state that threatens to lead us for more of our lives than we may feel entirely comfortable in.

Read more: A Life Boat In Years to Come

Red Arrow to the Galactic Center

The position of our Galactic Centre is at 27 degrees Sagittarius and so if we were to fire a red arrow (like a good Centaur) from the earth pointing at 27 degrees Sagittarius we would meet eventually the super massive black hole at the center of our Galaxy. In 2006-2007 Pluto transited this point, the author’s natal Ascendant is on this point and Mars is transiting this point as I write and post this in December 2010. The galactic center, as perceived from earth is in Sagittarius. What might this mean?

The ArcherI have shown in my previous writing my enthusiasm for the Archetypal perspective – a view that I will endeavor to follow here. To begin with the archetype of Sagittarius, the Centaur, we find a creature part horse part man/archer in which the embodiment of the animal self and the human self (with its aspirational shot at the future) are combined. Here we find the correspondence to a state that Ken Wilber in his ongoing anatomy of consciousness aptly refers to as the ‘centauric stage’ in which the naïve persona has encountered shadow (that which it denies about itself) and in its initial dialogue with this shadow has begun to transcend initial limitations to forge a relative mind-body unity.

To further meditate on the Archer/Centaur we find that from the union of man with nature celebrated in the form of the horse (the untamed spirit and nature co-operating with man as helper) leads to the archer pointing his bow to the stars, a bow-bough to the lights above.

Read more: Red Arrow to the Galactic Center

The Impersonal Planets

Every couple of months I get sent the Mountain Astrologer and the great majority of the time it gathers dust in a little box I have for the purpose of retiring copies of the magazine. It is not that it is not a great magazine, I would not get it otherwise but I am lazy, I get sent a lot of professional therapy literature (much of which gets even less attention) and in trying to develop my own approach from my client work and my previous astrology studies I figure I am not always looking for more input, no matter about quality. Recently, Richard Tarnas and Caroline Myss interviews and the essays of a conference buddy and another lady working to fuse astrology and therapy who had sent me a prior version of her essay led me into reading more of it. Often when the weather was good with a cup of tea on the decking at the back of the house, on one such peruse I came across the following passage:

“The outer planets, however, are forces outside our personal experience as individuals. We can neither embody nor master these energies. When we encounter these energies, all we can do is surrender to them, keep our heads down, and ride out the storm.”

This is from an essay by an astrologer I had never previously come across, a perfectly well written piece which as I ruminate upon in the pages of this website I in no way wish to single out for any kind of special treatment, negative or positive. Rather this quotation, ostensibly as part of an argument for classical rulership (ignoring any of the discoveries of the planets outside of Saturn when assigning rulers for the Signs) got me thinking about the planets beyond the personal and what kind of relationship we can ever have to such energies as represented by Pluto, Uranus and Neptune – planets that even as words have the capacity to evoke the far flung and cold outer reaches of the solar system.

Read more: The Impersonal Planets

Secret Code

Whilst watching a documentary on the breaking of the enigma code in the second world war (after the initial heroic efforts of Polish mathematicians something done by the British at an old manor house at Bletchley house) I discovered that the German high command created the ultimate encoder, with 10 separate encoding cogs, and they called it: secret writer.

Ironically a rather simple and profound image, the writer, in secret, the writing that is itself secret… and in this sense they created a phrase that seems oddly apt for the whole concept of the birth chart, and astrology itself. Surely in symbolic form a secret writing, not from one Nazi leader to his general staff, not at all, but from life to life itself. The birth chart is a hieratic language, a secret language, on one level because you have to really stay with it to even understand a little part of it… with the secret writer the encoder its messages were so complex that the British and Americans generated what was essentially the first computer, the aptly named Colossus (this was no notebook) just to play out the different potentials of meaning within the code and make decisions about which lines might hold real meaning.

Now if you approach astrological information on this purely linear level you might yourself find that you require a Colossus, or at least a colossal effort in order to even begin to understand the many ramifications of the symbolism of the birth chart. Indeed such an effort is almost always present in the initial phases of a person exploring astrology, or other corresponding symbolism. Yet it cannot remain a purely linear knowing, this code is a non-linear message, a container of multitudes… like an encoding machine, with 12 sets of cogs or wheels the birth chart rotates this 12 possibilities in endless unique ways in order to create a fractal of potential meaning of a particular moment in space and time, the birth of a human being.

Astrology and Transpersonal Therapy: Hand in Hand

September 14th, 2009

“I am dealing with…constructing thought forms which will embody the new techniques and ideas. These – during the next two centuries – will change the face of our civilization and inaugurate a period in human history in which methods will be tried and principles established which remain as yet totally unknown to the majority. This period will lead the race into a civilization and a mutual, co-operative interplay which will bring to an end the present era of selfishness and competition.”

-From July 1935, a message given to Roberto Assagioli (the founder of Psychosynthesis) by the Master Djwahl Kuhl who also channeled the material collected by Alice Bailey for the Lucis Trust.

“We must remember that Astrology only correlates to reality, it does not cause it. Remember also that Astrology only operates relative to the observed and existing realty of anything – societies, world events and individual people. To accurately understand the past that has conditioned and defined the moment is to understand the probabilities of inner and outer future events.

Most Astrologers recognize that we have begun the movement into the Aquarius Age. And as we move into the Aquarius Age it obviously means that the Pisces Age is now beginning to culminate. Anytime an Age comes to culmination, the opportunity and evolutionary intention is for the cycle of history relative to that Age to stop repeating itself. In order for this to occur, all the dynamics that are part of that Age come to a head within a relatively brief amount of time. This phenomenon thus creates a period of time in which the psychological experience of reality becomes one of condensed intensity, both individually and collectively.”

-Jeffrey Wolf Green in an essay Pluto in Sagittarius published in Pluto 2 – The Soul’s Evolution through Relationships.

Dane Rudhyar, the great Astrologer and philosopher who was a close friend of Roberto Assagioli and who was a mentor of my Astrological teachers has a concept which he called – seed people – people who would bring the new paradigms and scatter them amongst the fields of as many open minds as was humanly possible. As Astrologers or Therapists (or both) in this cusp between the ages it is our job to sew seeds, to impregnate the soil of the collective with as many possibilities as we can contain.

While Pluto moved through Sagittarius the world had to come to terms with its conflicting notions of what it calls ‘truth’ and how much of that so called is just junk and lies and how much it is a touchstone for living a life unafraid to make relationship with the real, the deep and abiding natural laws that for countless ages have shaped the growth of plants and the stars, that has led the evolution of the earth, beasts, men and the angelic hierarchies (or devachon).

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