ASTROLOGY FACES MODERN THOUGHT
Can Astrology Ever Become an Empirical Science?
Astrology, the algebra of life. Such a statement demands explanation; and in order to provide such an explanation we shall find it convenient at first to examine briefly the views of one of the most representative of modern scientists in reference to the characteristic evolution of scientific thought throughout the ages. These views are particularly significant, inasmuch as they show a remarkable parallelism between the evolution of natural science and the evolution of astrological thought as outlined in the last chapter. On the basis of such a parallelism it will be easier to understand the new developments of astrology, developments which — because of their symbolical and relational character — led us to define astrology-in-the-making: the algebra of life.
Writes Sir James Jeans in The New Background of Science:
"Reviewing the history of man's efforts to understand the workings of the external world, we may distinguish three broad epochs, the nature of which may be suggested by the words animistic, mechanical and mathematical. (Italic ours)
"The animistic period was characterized by the error of supposing that the course of nature was governed by the whims and passions of living beings more or less like man himself. Before our infant can distinguish between animate and inanimate objects, he is destined to pass through a stage of confusing the two. . . Because personality is the concept of which he has most immediate and direct experience, he begins by personifying everything.
"As the history of the individual is merely the history of the race writ small, our race did much the same in its infancy as its individuals still do in theirs. . . Then in Ionian Greece, six centuries before Christ, the human intelligence began consciously to apply itself to the study of nature. It felt very little desire to increase its factual knowledge of nature, so that Greek science consisted in the main of mere vague questionings and speculations as to why things came to be as they were rather than otherwise.
"It was not until the time of Galileo that science turned from cosmology to mechanics, and from speculation to experiment. The simplest way of affecting inanimate matter was to push it or pull it by means of muscular effort. So long as men could only experiment with objects which were comparable in size with their own bodies, they found inanimate nature behaving as though its constituent pieces exerted pushes and pulls on one another, like those we exert on them by the actions of our muscles. In this way the science of mechanics came into being. Pieces of matter were supposed to exert 'forces' on one another, and these forces were the causes of the motions of the bodies in question, or rather of the changes in their motion. And it was found that the behavior of every object was determined, entirely and completely, by the pushes and pulls to which it was subjected. . . " (pp. 33-34)
The author goes on to discuss the implications of this mechanistic view of nature, how it involves absolute determinism, how Descartes, in order to avoid some of these implications, "regarded mind and matter as entirely independent 'substances,' each existing in its own right apart from the other and of such essentially different natures that they could not possibly interact." However, in order to show the intimate correlation between our thoughts and the atoms of our world, Descartes insisted, as in a different way did Leibnitz at a later date, that at the first morning of creation a supremely benevolent God had miraculously arranged for a perfect and continuous synchronization between bodily and mental events.
Jeans goes on to say:
"Throughout the mechanical age of science, scientists had proceeded on the same general lines as the child and the unreflective savage. Out of the impressions registered through their senses, they had built an inferential world of objects which they believed to be real, and affected by events of much the same kind as occurred in everyday experience. They described this as the 'common-sense' view of science; and defined science as 'organized common-sense' . . . Then new refinements of experimental technique brought new observational knowledge, which showed that the workings of nature could not be explained in terms of the familiar concepts of everyday life. . . Mechanism, with its implications, has dropped out of the scheme of science. . . We are beginning to see that man had freed himself from the anthropomorphic error of imagining that the workings of nature could be compared to those of his own whims and caprices (animism), only to fall headlong into the second anthropomorphic error of imagining that they could be compared to the workings of his own muscles, and sinews (mechanism).
"Whether determinism has also been banished from nature is still a question for debate. . . But that those particular causes which seemed until recently to compel determinism have gone — this is hardly open to question." (pages 41-43)
It is easy to see how the three stages of knowledge which Jeans mentions (animistic, mechanical and mathematical) correspond to the three stages of astrological thought discussed in our preceding chapter. The "mechanism" of science is not basically different from the "vitalism" of astrology; the "push and pull" of the former corresponds in terms of material activity to the "yang and yin" principles of vital operations. In both cases a tangible dualism of forces is considered to be the substratum of reality; and if mechanism originated in a generalization of muscular action, then vitalism can indeed be traced to a similar generalization of the reproductive act — the union of male and female organs. In the new type of astrological vitalism, the stars and planets are considered as magnets or radio sets, and electrical action, being always of a polar nature, is the new name given to the "vital force" of older thought.
The third stage of thought is called by Jeans "mathematical." The main feature of it is that pure mathematical speculation is seen to fit perfectly the results of ever more complex and refined experiments; in fact it often precedes experiments. Mathematical theories are built, and as the physicist looks for a type of phenomena to which the theory might apply he often finds one, hitherto unexplained, which fits perfectly the purely abstract formulas. Moreover the striking thing is that a few symbols — as are all algebraic or mathematical letters or figures — are seen able to bring order and logical succession to the vast complexity of natural phenomena. In other words, a few symbolical relations (i.e. formulas) are seen to suffice for the ordering of the multitude of the world's events into a pattern, knowing which man will gain relative mastery over natural elements through the power of foreseeing.
Quoting again from Jeans' book:
"Einstein has written (Introduction to Where Is Science Going? — Page 13): 'In every important advance the physicist finds that the fundamental laws are simplified more and more as experimental research advances. He is astonished to notice how sublime order emerges from what appeared to be chaos. And this cannot be traced back to the workings of his own mind but is due to a quality that is inherent in the world of perception'. (This conclusion is disputed by many thinkers. D. R.)
"Weyl has made a similar comment, writing in (The Open World, p. 41): 'The astonishing thing is not that there exist natural laws, but that the further the analysis proceeds, the finer the details, the finer the elements to which the phenomena are reduced, the simpler — and not the more complicated, as one would originally expect — the fundamental relations become and the more exactly do they describe the actual occurrences.
"We have had ample evidence of this tendency toward simplicity in the present book. We have seen Hero's simple synthesis of the two laws of Euclid gradually expanding in scope until it embraces almost all the activities of the universe, and yet maintaining its original simplicity of mathematical form throughout. This refers to Einstein's recent 'Unitary Field Theory,' which, if it achieves complete success will remain valid whatever physical agencies are in action, so that we shall be able to combine all the operations of nature in one synthesis: they will have become shortest courses in a curved four-dimensional space' (page 126). Phenomenal nature is reduced to an array of events in the four-dimensional continuum, and the arrangement of these events proves to be of an exceedingly simple mathematical kind. . . This simplicity . . . seems to admit of a very simple mathematical interpretation and of no other, as though, in Boyle's phrase, mathematics is the alphabet of the language in which nature is written. The words of this language may or may not be mental in their meanings; the immediate point is that, even in the alphabet, we can discover no reality different in kind from that we associate with a mere mental concept. These mental concepts are not of the kind we associate with the work of the engineer or the poet or the moralist, but with the thinker who works with pure thought alone as his raw material, the mathematician at work in his study. . . For three centuries science had projected mechanical ideas on to nature, and made havoc of a large part of nature by so doing. Twentieth-century science, projecting the ideas of pure mathematics on to nature, finds that they fit as perfectly and as uniquely as Cinderella's slipper fitted her foot."
The phrase "projecting the ideas of pure mathematics on to nature" is significant. It shows that in such a science as physics or chemistry — and in general in all empirical sciences — three elements are to be considered: 1) natural phenomena or data; 2) ideas of pure mathematics; 3) a system of interpretations or "laws," which enable man to prophesy more or less accurately future natural phenomena. This is an important fact to consider; for thereby it is shown that a fundamental distinction exists between mathematics and the empirical sciences. Mathematics is used as the integrating factor in the building of the empirical sciences. In a sense the latter are applications of mathematical ideas. Mathematics provides the form of knowledge, empirical sciences the organized contents of knowledge.
This distinction is capital. For by defining astrology as the algebra of life, we place it in the category of mathematical thought — and not in that of empirical sciences. The results of such a conception are far-reaching.
The word "algebra" comes from an Arabian word "al-iebr" which means: the reduction of parts to a whole. The word "iabara," from which it is derived signifies: to bind together (Webster). Algebra has therefore as its basic function the binding together, or correlating, or integrating of elements into a formulated whole. The nature of these elements can be grasped when we consider the definition which Webster gives of "mathematics": "The science treating of the exact relations existing between quantities or magnitudes and operations, and of the methods by which, in accordance with these relations, quantities sought are deducible from others thought or supposed."
Two important points stand out in such a definition. First, mathematics is seen as a "science of pure correlation" (Bertrand Russell). Second, what it correlates are "quantities or magnitudes and operations." Algebra is a branch of mathematics, but besides correlating quantities it also deals with a category of conventional symbols which can be made to represent any element considered or the relations between any groups of elements. According to our conception, astrology is a kind of algebra, inasmuch as it deals with symbolic elements (planets, stars, segments of geocentric space, astrological Parts, Nodes, progressed positions, etc.) 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.
We shall discuss these statements step by step; but it seems necessary at first to emphasize what astrology is not, before we can specify what it fundamentally is. In other words, we have to show briefly that astrology is not an empirical science, as are for instance physics, chemistry, or even biology, zoology and history. These empirical sciences deal with experimental data which they organize by using mathematical formal concepts. Such experimental data are sensorially perceived — directly or by means of instruments which extend the field of direct sensorial perception. Then by a process known as "scientific induction" correlations are established between data which form the basis of empirical exact knowledge.
Scientific induction is the basic postulate of exact sciences. It can be formulated in various ways but, according to Bertrand Russell (The Analysis of Matter, p. 167), "it must yield the result that a correlation which has been found true in a number of cases, and has never been found false, has at least a certain assignable degree of probability of being always true." This definition is of great importance to us, for who, among astrologers, will claim that any astrological correlation for which a definite meaning has been recognized "has never been found false"?
But this is not all. The problem of making astrology "scientific" in the sense of an empirical science — even if not an "exact" science — is involved in the proposition, or belief rather, that planets or stars actually influence individual beings by the fact of their sending to earth radio-like waves, or rays, which affect biological and psychological processes. Now, even if these "rays" were discovered, and if it became clear that they act upon the atoms and molecules of earth-substance in definite and measurable ways, this would in no way prove the usual findings of astrology. A restricted kind of natal astrology might be evolved which might claim — after centuries of research — the status of an experimental science; but this would solve only a fragment of the problems involved in the sum total of astrological ideas.
The reason for this is obvious. Let us admit that stellar or planetary rays produce physical and chemical changes in the substance of atoms and cells, and are thus able to condition psychological states. Let us suppose, moreover, that these changes are proven to be measurable in terms of the angular relationship of the planets (astrological aspects) and are affected by the section of the earth's orbit (zodiacal sign) or of the geocentric space at birth (house) in which the planets or stars are found. This in itself is an enormous order, which may never be filled. But even if all of it were scientifically proven — the following basic factors in astrology would remain most unscientific mysteries, as far as we can see.
Why should the first house represent matters affecting self and the structure of the body; the second house, finances; the seventh house, marriage, etc.? Why should zodiacal signs be related to certain parts of the body? Why should certain planets "rule" certain signs? Furthermore, how could "progressions" be "scientifically" explained? What could ever prove scientifically whether primaries are true and secondaries false, or vice versa; that the distance in degrees between two planets gives (usually) the number of years between birth and an occurrence which is characterized by the two planets' natures?
Then what of horary astrology, i.e., solving life-problems by interpreting the configurations of space and planets at the moment the problem arises in one's mind? "Scientific" astrologers may frown at horary astrology as being mere fortune-telling. Nevertheless it is easy to show that natal astrology (study of birth-charts) is a special case of horary astrology; for, as Marc Jones stated, studying a birth-chart is merely answering the question: "How is the problem of my life to be solved?" At least, this is just as logical a way of looking at the relationship between horary and natal astrology as the one formulated by saying: "A horary chart is the birth-chart of an idea." One may prefer the latter interpretation, but the former cannot be dismissed easily, and the truth of the matter must in some way include both approaches.
It is useless to add more "whys" to this already long list. We trust it will be apparent to everyone after some clear thinking on the matter that attempts at making astrology an exact empirical science by basing it on measurements of actual influences and rays are, if not doomed to failure, at least bound to explain or prove only a fragment of the entire body of ideas which constitutes and has always constituted astrology. Whatever science may discover concerning cosmic radiations, we do not believe that the philosophy of astrology can or should ever be the same as that of an empirical science, like physics or mechanics or biology.
There is, however, a somewhat different category of sciences which are based not on exact scientific induction and strict causality, but on statistical knowledge. Dr. A. Ritchie-Scott mentions as belonging to this type in the practical world "the whole theory of Insurance, Life-Annuities, the modern theory of heat, the construction of telephone exchanges, the Mendelian theory of inheritance, the study of Population Statistics, Blood Testing, sampling of ores, etc. . . . all based on the Theory of Probability and none the less valid for that." (American Astrology, July 1934)
Besides these examples, it is now well known that atomic physics is becoming more and more a statistical science, especially if Heisenberg's theories are proven to be correct; for they "give us a picture of a statistical atom whose properties and qualities are the average of the properties and qualities of all the actual atoms concerned in the emission of light." (Sir James Jeans, op. cit., p. 183). The new wave-mechanics "deals only with probabilities and statistical assemblies, and its apparent determinism may be only another way of expressing the law of averages. The determinism may be of a purely statistical kind, like that relied on by an Insurance Company, or the Bank at Monte Carlo." Jeans further asserts:
"This being so, there is no assignable reason why the apparent determinism of the wave-equation should not conceal a complete objective indeterminism. In the mathematical problem known as the 'random walk,' we imagine that a traveler walks 20 miles a day, but with no causal relation between the directions of his walks on successive days — we can, for instance, imagine his throwing a stick up in the air at random every morning, and letting the direction of its fall determine the direction of his walk for the day. A mathematical formula can of course be obtained to exhibit the chances of his being at various points at successive night-falls. If we now reduce the unit of time from a day to a second, so that his every step is indeterminate, we find that the probabilities spread out in waves, much as in Schrodinger's equation; the spread of the waves corresponds to a strict determinism, although the underlying physical cause is a complete indeterminism." (op. cit. p. 255)
"The only determinism of which modern physics is at all sure is of a merely statistical kind. We still see the actions of vast crowds of molecules or particles conforming to determinism — this is of course the determinism we observe in our everyday life, the basis of the so-called law of the uniformity of nature. But no determinism has so far been discovered in the motions of the separate individuals; on the contrary, the phenomena of radioactivity and radiation rather suggest that these do not move as they are pushed and pulled by inexorable forces. . . they are not controlled by predetermined forces, but only by the statistical laws of probability." (pp. 275-276)
These statements have a very direct bearing on the subject of astrology, and besides will bring joy to the heart of the convinced believer in the principle of freewill. While the subject is too vast to be discussed here, two basic points must be mentioned, for they have a capital importance in any solid philosophy of astrology. The first is that we shall always find in any type of thought dealing with life a fundamental interpenetration between individual values and collective values. The individual may be free, but that freedom is certainly bound by the magnetic field, or aura, of the collectivity to which he belongs — the "Ring-Pass-Not" of Oriental occultism. On the other hand, the collectivity is also influenced and fecundated by the creative activity of those of its members who act as individuals and not merely as photocopies of the collective pattern, or soul.
These two elements, individual and group, must figure preeminently in any astrological judgment; and this in various ways with which we shall deal succinctly as we go on in our study. It may be well, however, to state now that no astrological birth-chart can be judged with accuracy, if the general conditions of the group to which the native belongs as an individual, are unknown. This refers both to the social group (family, race, religion) and to that other grouping in consciousness which creates levels of being. The birth-chart will reveal individual tendencies, but these will manifest actually in terms of the condition of the family, city, nation, race in which the individual is born. A Chinese coolie may have exactly the same birth-chart as a European nobleman of a highly cultured family, born at the same latitude. And it is obvious that no one could infer accurately from the birth-chart alone what the Chinaman's life would be, especially if he were believed to be a European nobleman. For a life, and even an individual's character, are determined not only by the individual equation (birth-chart), but by the group in which these manifest. Group-values may be vaguely suggested in a chart, but only insofar as they affected the pre-natal formation of the individual.
Does the above invalidate astrology? We do not believe so; but it serves to define its sphere. A birth-chart as a whole refers to an individual as such (potentially or actually) and deals with individual values. But any separate astrological factor — as for instance the position of a certain planet or an aspect between two particular planets — has only a statistical value. And this is why no particular astrological factor does necessarily operate in the same very definite way in all individual birth-charts. It is only statistically accurate — or, as we shall see presently, symbolically significant.
Bertrand Russell's words concerning the statistical principle will add more clarity to the above statements:
"It might be thought that a statistical average is not very different from a rule with exceptions, but this would be a mistake. Statistics, ideally, are accurate laws about large groups; they differ from other laws only in being about groups, not about individuals. Statistical laws are inferred by induction from particular statistics, just as other laws are inferred from particular single occurrences." (op. cit. p. 191)
In other words, a science is no less "scientific" because it deals with statistical averages rather than with single occurrences; only it is to be clearly regarded as a science dealing with large groups and not with individuals.
From this it might seem that astrology could be considered as an empirical science of statistical type. But such a conclusion does not seem to be fully warranted. Astrology may utilize the statistical method to check up its statements, and will do well to adopt such a technique - which has never been used with any great degree of scientific accuracy and on a large enough scale. But to say that, is quite different from claiming astrology as a true statistical science. Statistics may show that among famous people the sextile Sun-Moon occurs in a 12 per cent ratio; while in ordinary human beings it occurs only in about 5 in 100 cases (the example is given by the French mathematician — astrologer Paul Choisnard). This might indicate a certain correlation between that aspect and "celebrity" (whatever is meant by that). But the inference is rather inconclusive. And even if it could be proven that 90 per cent of especially gifted musicians have a dominant Neptunian influence, and that as many prominent soldiers have the Sun in Aries, etc., it would merely mean that certain astrological statements are corroborated by statistical research. It would neither indicate how these astrological facts had originally been discovered, nor, I believe, the correct method of discovering new astrological truths; and still less why the statements are correct. Moreover, it would apply only to single separate factors in astrology and not to the quite different problem of interpreting an entire birth-chart as the symbol of an individual.
How are discoveries made in modern physics? The classical explanation is that a physicist observes a fact which is new, or ponders upon some flaw in an old theory, and formulates a new hypothesis which explains the new fact or solves the old unsolved enigma. The hypothesis is then checked by testing all the possible consequences thereof; and it becomes an accepted theory if it fits in with every known fact and is invalidated by none. We might assume that astrology originated in a similar manner. Some striking event coincided with an equally striking planetary conjunction. The hypothesis that both were related arose in the mind of an observer, who checked it up with similar occurrences — and after a few generations of checking up, this conjunction was definitely considered to bring about a certain event, or at least a certain type of event.
Whether astrology originated in such a manner or not can hardly be proved or disproved. If it did so originate, then we claim that astrology has reached a time when its value is to be keyed up to an entirely different plane of consciousness, to another mental level. In this, it would follow the course of development which mathematics and geometry have presumably taken. We may believe that men began to think of numerals purely in relation to concrete objects — two apples, three stones, etc.; or thought of a triangle as a class of objects having a certain apparent shape. Then the abstract idea of number, or triangle, developed in man's mind — yet always with some sort of concrete background not entirely separated from sensorial experience. Finally the modern stage was reached in which non-Euclidian geometries and the higher forms of algebra completely robbed number and geometrical form of any representative elements, and reduced them to strictly logical symbols.
Says Bertrand Russell (op. cit., p. 171):
"Propositions which form part of logic, or can be proved by logic, are all tautologies. — i.e., they show that certain different sets of symbols are different ways of saying the same thing, or that one set says part of what the other says. . . Such propositions, therefore, are really concerned with symbols. We can know their truth or falsehood without studying the outside world, because they are only concerned with symbolic manipulations. . . All pure mathematics consists of tautologies in the above sense. . . Our certainty concerning simple mathematical propositions does not seem analogous to our certainty that the sun will rise tomorrow. I do not mean that we feel more sure of the one than the other, though perhaps we ought to do so; I mean that our assurance seems to have a different source. . . It is obvious that, whenever it is actually useful to know that two sets of symbols say the same thing, or that one says part of what the other says, that must be because we have some knowledge as to the truth or falsehood of what is expressed by one of the sets. Consequently logical knowledge would be very unimportant if it stood alone; its importance arises through its combination with knowledge of propositions which are not purely logical.
". . . In an advanced science such as physics, the part played by pure mathematics consists in connecting various empirical generalizations with each other, so that the more general laws which replace them are based upon a larger number of matters of fact."
Astrology Compared to Logic and Mathematics
This quotation contains several statements which are very important at this stage of our inquiry into the essential nature of astrology. Mathematics, it is said, is concerned with symbols, the truth or falsehood of which can be known without studying the outside world. Mathematical propositions, Bertrand Russell adds in another paragraph, are thus purely formal. He further makes clear that mathematics and logic are sciences in an entirely different sense from the sense in which, for instance, physics is a science. The former are analytical and formal; the latter is empirical. Yet physics without mathematics would lack the very power of correlating logically its generalizations.
If, now, we come back to our definition of astrology as the algebra of life, we shall make our meaning plainer by stating that astrology is to all the empirical sciences dealing with the formation, growth, behavior and disintegration of organic wholes what mathematics is to physics and in general to sciences of inanimate objects. We do not say that it is recognized as such, but that such is its true function. And this is to some extent a verifiable statement.
Astrology of itself has no more meaning than algebra. It measures relationships between symbols whose concreteness is entirely a matter of convention, and does not really enter into the problems involved — just as the symbols of algebra, x, y, n, are mere conventions. The astrologers use terms like opposition, conjunction, squares, exactly as the mathematician uses signs of addition and multiplication. Their "progressions" are also very much in the same category as the more complicated symbols of calculus — the function sign, etc. The revolutions of celestial bodies constitute in their totality a vast and complex symbol which, of itself, is made up solely of cyclically changing patterns of relationship. It does not matter in the least whether it is planets, or abstract points derived from planetary motions, or segments of orbits, or symbolical points of reference like meridian, horizon and the like, which are considered. Planets are significant and convenient vehicles for symbolical meaning because they bear relatively simple relations of distance, velocity, mass, period, to a central point of reference, the Sun — or rather to the Earth's orbit around the Sun.
In other words, the astrological realm of moving celestial bodies is like the realm of logical propositions. Neither one nor the other has any real content. Both are purely formal, symbolical, and conventional. They acquire real value only in function of the actual living experiences which they serve to correlate. Alone, astrology and mathematics are without substance. But they invest with coherence, pattern, logic and order whatever substantial reality is associated with them. Thus mathematics associated with physical experimentation produces modern physics. In a similar manner (yet obviously not identical) astrology can and probably should be associated with physiology, geology, medicine, history, sociology; and above all, with psychology.
The fact is that when astrology played a really vital part in ancient civilizations it was so considered — if not by the rabble, at least undoubtedly by the initiated astrologers. We saw in our first chapter that the function of astrology was to bring into the chaos of the natural world on Earth the supreme order of which celestial revolutions are so conspicuous and psychologically exalting a manifestation. Chaos and imprevisibility and blind chance on Earth; but above in the heavens, perfect order, previsibility, law. Astrology took its significance from such a contrast. The skies were regarded as a cosmic measuring device, an archetypal paragon of order, which could be juxtaposed with any system of natural phenomena. From this juxtaposition would result a new view of the system of natural phenomena: an ordered, coherent view, which would lead to the possibility of making prognostications as to the future behavior of the system.
This is not very different from what science does when measuring with a yardstick or timing with a clock a natural phenomenon. The complete set of planetary, solar, lunar and stellar revolutions, as seen from the Earth, has ever served in astrology as a complex many-dimensional yardstick and as a clock, in order to determine the periodical behavior of natural organisms — in fact, as we shall see presently, of any whole (the Earth as a whole, a living body, a human psyche, a nation, etc.).
Modern physics has rightly stressed the fact that such measurements involve certain difficulties and are relative to the position and motion of the observer. In order to measure a distance, one must put the beginning of the yardstick first at a definite point. In astrology, all measurements begin with the first point of independent existence — in the case of a human destiny, the first breath. The zodiac — (which, let us not forget, is only the orbit of the earth divided into twelve thirty-degree sections, and has little or nothing to do with constellations) — is measured as if beginning at the spring equinox, because at such a time a new cycle of vegetation begins in the Northern latitudes, where apparently astrology originated.
In other words. if we wish to investigate the laws of periodicity and of structural relationship which will apply to a human life starting on a certain day, we project on paper the state of our cosmic measuring rod (the solar system viewed from the place of birth) at that time, and measure with it the organism of natural elements which has just reached the condition of independent existence. Does the cosmic measuring rod and timepiece combined — the birth-chart — mean in itself anything substantial? Not in the least — no more than any yardstick or clock. It is merely a symbol of measurement. Unless we know first of all what it is we want to measure, we shall know nothing practical after having measured only a set of algebraic symbols on a wheel. If we do not know human nature, a birth-chart will give us no indication whatsoever on the nature of a particular human being. Unless we know about air-currents, atmospheric pressure, etc., an astrological chart will tell us nothing of the weather. Jupiter and Mars do not mean anything concrete whatsoever. They mean no more, no less, than 3 and 4, or a spiral and a straight line, or m and p. But if we say: Here is a newborn human body. It contains in itself the power to grow to full stature, the powers of blood-circulation, of food metabolization, of self-reproduction through sex, and many other life-properties which characterize this body as belonging to the human species — then we can attempt to bring order out of this apparent chaos of powers, functions and life-properties by juxtaposing our celestial symbols to them.
Jupiter will symbolize the power of expansion; Mars the power of out-going impulses; Venus the power of combining reactions to stimuli as conscious judgment and emotion, etc. But, if we dealt with atmospheric conditions instead of with a human being, Jupiter, Mars, Venus would of course interpret altogether different things — like atmospheric pressure and other telluric factors. Because the latter are as yet very little known and the planet Earth has not yet been understood and studied as an organic whole astrological symbolism is not very useful to meteorology and related sciences. At best, the astrologer will say that a strong Jupiter may indicate an intense state of expansion. But expansion applied to what? The "what" can be known accurately only when the organic behavior of the Earth as a whole is well understood; that is to say, when all the functions of this planetary organism are isolated. Then astrology can correlate and interpret these functions — just as mathematics correlates and interprets observations furnished by the microscope and electrical devices, bearing upon the inside structure of the atom.
To the above, objections undoubtedly will be raised. Textbooks on astrology will be shown, in which the planets, their positions and aspects, are given most definite and concrete meanings. Indeed, it is so; but these textbooks are merely popular presentations of traditional data concerning the correlations of astrological symbols to certain realms of experience which happened to interest men most particularly. They do not deal essentially with pure astrology, but with certain particular applications of astrological symbolism. These applications are based on traditional knowledge concerning such things as psychology and old-time government; and are valuable only insofar as this traditional knowledge is valuable.
The interpretations of astrological elements given by most of our contemporary textbooks on astrology are just as valuable as the traditional knowledge of human psychology and government was at the time of Ptolemy, in Alexandria. Insofar as human psychology and sociology have changed since that time, they are valueless. But as human nature is after all quite constant on the whole, the applications of astrological symbolism made by Ptolemy and his predecessors are still largely true today — but obviously quite false, or beside the point, or incomplete, in innumerable cases.
The fundamental point to grasp however — and it seems a difficult one for so many people — is that ordinary books on astrology today give merely the application of astrological symbolism to a few traditional subjects: character, health, happiness, and matters affecting the State, etc. These applications are based on a traditional common-sense view of the subjects involved, and stand or fall with this traditional view. If they fall it does not in the least imply that the principles on which astrology is based, as a science of symbolism, are wrong. No more than mathematics proved to be a failure when the discovery of the quantum upset the whole fabric of modern physics. Similarly, the discoveries of psychoanalysis, as well as the new social conditions prevailing today, have invalidated many of the traditional statements reproduced in modern astrological textbooks with regard to psychology and social behavior and professional abilities. But astrology proper remains untouched by such changes: for, just as Bertrand Russell says of logic: "We can know (its) truth or falsehood without studying the outside world, because (it is) only concerned with symbolic manipulations." Paraphrasing him further, we would add: Our certainty concerning simple astrological propositions does not seem analogous to our certainty concerning simple psychological facts, like the fact that a girl will fall in love some time in her life, or pass through an emotional crisis in her forties. Our assurance comes from a different source.
To try to define or at least suggest what this source is — such is our next task; a difficult one, because it involves a type of attitude to life and to consciousness which is quite removed from the official and normal one prevalent in our academic and intellectual civilization. We shall approach the subject first of all by studying briefly a type of development in modern thought which is at the same time new in its formulation, yet very ancient in its ancestry: we refer to the philosophy called "Holism."
The Philosophy of Holism
This philosophy is expounded fully in a remarkable book, "Holism and Evolution," written in 1926 by a still more remarkable man, General Jan C. Smuts, statesman, philosopher and scientist. An article in the latest edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica under the name "Holism," also written by General Smuts, gives a general summary of the ideas developed in the book. We shall quote somewhat extensively from this article:
"Holism is the theory which makes the existence of 'wholes' a fundamental feature of the world. It regards natural objects, both animate and inanimate, as wholes and not merely as assemblages of elements or parts. It looks upon nature as consisting of discrete, concrete bodies and things, and not as a diffuse homogeneous continuum. And these bodies or things are not entirely resolvable into parts; in one degree or another they are wholes which are more than the sum of their parts, and the mechanical putting together of their parts will not produce them or account for their character and behavior. The so-called parts are in fact not real but largely abstract analytical distinctions, and do not properly or adequately express what has gone to the making of the thing as a whole.
"Holism is therefore a viewpoint additional and complementary to that of science, whose keywords are continuity and mechanism . . . (Science's) mechanistic scheme applies even to living bodies, as their material structures determine the functions which constitute life characters . . . Life and mind are considered as derivative and epiphenomenal to matter . . . The scientific scheme has been seriously undermined by the most recent discoveries in physical and mathematical science.(1) . . . The value of the mechanistic concept for research is not questioned, but it can no longer be considered as a true index of the concrete character of the universe and its contents. Holism is an attempt to explore an alternative scheme which will yet avoid the pitfalls of vitalism.
"What is involved in the concept of a whole? In the first place, insofar as a whole is consisting of parts or elements, they cannot be fixed, constant, or unalterable. . . Whole and parts mutually and reciprocally influence and modify each other. . . The parts are molded and adjusted by the whole, just as the whole in turn depends on the co-operation of its parts. . . The concept of the whole as applied to natural objects thus implies two great departures from the orthodox scientific scheme. In the first place, matter, life and mind do not consist of fixed, constant and unalterable elements. And in the second place, besides the parts or the elements in things, there is another active factor (the whole) which science does not recognize at all.
"Evolution is the progressive complexifying of parts or cooperating elements, with a simultaneous increase in unity of pattern with which they are blended. It is thus a rising series of wholes, from the simplest material patterns to the most advanced. . . Wholeness, or holism, characterizes the entire process of evolution in an ever increasing measure. And the process is continuous in the sense that the older types of wholes or patterns are not discarded, but become the starting point and the elements of the newer, more advanced patterns. Thus the material chemical patterns are incorporated into the biological patterns, and both of them into the subsequent psychical patterns or wholes. . . Electrons and protons, atoms and molecules, inorganic and organic compounds, colloids, protoplasm, plants and animals, minds and personalities are but some steps in this movement of holism. . .
"The whole is creative; wherever parts conspire to form a whole, there something arises which is more than the parts. . . The origin of a whole from its parts is an instance of the more arising from the less, the higher from the lower, in a way which does no violence to reason . . . because the concept of a whole in relation to its parts is a product of reason. . . "
— Encyclopaedia Britannica: "Holism"
General Smuts explains further how the concept of purely mechanical causation is unsatisfactory and possibly a fiction, for if the effect is never more than the cause, if cause is and must always necessarily be an exact measure of effect, this cannot be a creative progressive universe. Holistic causation (where several factors contribute to the making of new wholes) is the real process, and makes possible the increase and advance which is actually the fact in nature. Also if the cause determines the effect completely, determinism is absolute. In the holistic universe freedom is recognized as inherent in nature.
The organic unity, which constitutes a whole, is the ultimate basis of individuality. Hardly noticeable in the inorganic realm, individuality increases throughout the organic world until it becomes the basis for the latest and greatest whole of evolution, the human personality. Out of the progressive evolutionary combination or integration of material, chemical, biological, and mental patterns, the complete personality is born, which constitutes and explains the unity and interrelations existing between these three sets of patterns.
The whole, looked at from an external mechanical standpoint, is what we call parts. But from an inner integral standpoint, the whole is the self. The relation of whole and parts is thus transformed into the relation of self to not-self, with which we are acquainted as the subject-object relation in psychology. Wholeness is selfness. The world-process tends from matter, through life, to mind and spirit; from necessity to freedom; from the externality of the elements to the inwardness and selfhood of wholes. Whole-making characterizes this process at every stage. This applies to psychological processes, in which there is an increasing building-up of higher patterns out of lower ones. Gestalt psychology has shown, for instance, that mental activity produces patterns or structures of experience which behave as wholes and enter into other experiences as undivided and indivisible wholes.
While the same is true with regard to social, religious and political structures, these are holoids rather than wholes; and the real wholes are always the personalities who have built these structures for the purpose of the growth and spiritual advancement of all human individuals. General Smuts does not believe that the individual is for the sake of State or Church, but vice versa. As to the possibility that the universe might be also a whole, he refuses to take a positive stand, saying only "this is not a completed universe, but a universe in the making; and there may be wholes great and small in the making beyond the comprehension of our limited faculties." And he concludes with these beautiful words:
"Although the theory of holism frankly accepts the material basis of the world and recognizes the natural order as idealism cannot, yet it fully justifies the claims of the spirits in the interpretation of the world. . . We are constantly confronted with the opposition between matter and spirit, between the temporal and the eternal, between the phenomenal and the real. Holism shows these opposites as reconciled and harmonized in the whole. It shows whole and parts as aspects of each other; the finite is identified with the infinite, the particular with the universal. Eternity is contained in time, matter is the vesture and vehicle of spirit, reality is not a transcendent other-worldly order, but is immanent in the phenomenal. To attain to reality, we need not fly from appearance; each little center and whole in the world, however lowly, is a laboratory in which time is transmuted into eternity, the phenomenal into the real. The wondrous truth is everywhere; the plummet let down anywhere will reach to unknown depths; any cross-section in the world of appearance will reveal the very texture of reality. Everywhere the whole, even the least and most insignificant apparently, is the real wonder, the miracle which holds the secrets for which we are groping in thought and conduct. There is the within which is the beyond. To be a whole and to live in the whole becomes the supreme principle, from which all the highest ethical and spiritual rules (such as the Golden Rule) follow. And it links these rules with the nature of things, for not only do goodness, love and justice derive from it, but also beauty and truth, which are rooted in the whole and have no meaning apart from it. The whole is in fact both the source and the principle of explanation of all our highest ideals no less than of the earlier evolutionary structures."
Astrology and Holistic Logic
The whole is also "the source and the principle of explanation" of true astrology. As we understand it, and as it has perhaps always been understood by those who probed its most essential significance, true astrology is the mathematics of wholeness. It is "holistic logic" in opposition to the "intellectual logic" of this present Western civilization. It deals with wholes. It studies the structural harmony, the growth, development and the disintegration or transfiguration of wholes — whether these be the usual biological organisms or more transcendent mental and spiritual wholes.
Intellectual logic deals with "parts;" holistic logic with "wholes." All intellectually logical propositions, as Bertrand Russell says, are essentially tautologies. They equate judgments concerning the realm of "parts." They see that parts fit well causally, one with the others. They are strictly analytical propositions and are perfectly adapted to the mechanistic conception of the world — which will always remain an essential factor in human knowledge. This concept, so strongly (almost exclusively) developed in the European civilization (and its Greek prototypes), is a marvelous instrument of knowledge, but only an instrument. It does not make us understand reality. It only establishes a basis of "intellectual honesty" for our approach to reality. It helps remove the parasitic growths of subjective emotionalism, which so easily corrupt any type of vital knowledge. It filters the waters of knowledge, so to speak; or in another sense, it is a scaffold which lifts up knowledge to a really human plane. Intellectual logic and the idea of strict causation (its result) are marvelous tools for the training of a crystal-clear, honest and un-emotional or un-devotional mind. They serve to root out the delusion of the miraculous, the fallacies of the religious, tribal mind. They are great cathartics. But while one may guess at the shape of a building by studying the scaffold used to build it — the scaffold is not the building.
The scaffold represents the outside view of the world, a view which deals with parts as if they were not integral components and, in a sense at least, products of the whole. But the moment the whole becomes an operating unit, parts cease to be merely parts; they become functional organs of the organic whole. We usually restrict the use of such terms as organism, organs, functions to what is now known in science as biological wholes. But in the holistic conception of the universe we extend the use of the terms, potentially at least, to all kinds of wholes. The fact that there is a whole implies the existence of parts which are more than what is known, from the mechanistic viewpoint, as mere parts. Again we may make a distinction between mechanistic and intellectually analyzed parts, and holistic parts; the latter being in all respects organs, cells or groups of cells, and agents of the whole.
Elsewhere we spoke at great length of the philosophy of Operative Wholeness (The Glass Hive, Hamsa series of articles bearing this title; 1929 to 1934). We feel that these two words "Operative Wholeness," which we used years before being acquainted with General Smuts' work or those of other English philosophers, are very significant. They at any rate give the keynote of a philosophy of astrology. 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; able also, at least potentially, to reproduce themselves through some sort of emanative or multiplicative process.
Here we are confronted with two definite factors: a space 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. The space factor has to be known independently of astrology. It belongs to those sciences which deal with spatial arrangement or structure — as physics, physiology and psychology. An astrological chart will never tell, of itself, whether the whole it characterizes is a man, a dog, a seed of wheat, or an idea. If one knows that the chart is to be referred to an entity of the species homo sapiens, and moreover to a particular race within that species (white, yellow, black, red), then a good deal of inferential knowledge may be had as to the individual variation of the type which the chart represents; nothing more.
This is one of the reasons why we compared astrology to pure mathematics; for mathematics does not give any information as to what its equations refer to. First, you have to have perceptual knowledge; then only can you use mathematics to give a new quality to that knowledge. Likewise in order intelligently to use astrology, you have first to know what kind of whole the chart symbolizes. Is it a human being? Is it a man or a woman? And, to some extent at least, what racial and cultural type of man or woman is it? Knowing these things, astrology can then be used to add a new quality to that knowledge. This quality is almost solely dependent upon values which refer to the essence of time — an almost entirely unknown factor in science. Astrology is rooted in the mystery of time.
Again let us restate our parallelism between logic and astrology. Logic is a method of testing the purity of the causal principle in any concept. The causal principle in turn is the foundation of the mechanistic theory, which refers, as seen above, to an external viewpoint from which the universe appears as a grouping of causally related elements in an abstract matrix which now is called space-time, or the continuum. In such a theory the essence of space completely absorbs the reality of time, which becomes merely a fourth-dimension of space. As Henri Bergson pointed out in his great work Creative Evolution, the time of science is purely mathematical and has no intrinsic vital value. He then tried to approach the reality of time, which he expressed by the term "duration."
Time and Cycles
In the holistic universe (generally speaking, and not necessarily as General Smuts sees it) time is very real indeed. And its reality is very much to be identified with the reality of the wholeness of the wholes. Not only does real time, or Bergsonian duration, become a function of the wholeness of wholes, but it enters, in a sort of meta-causal way, into the "holization" of any group of elements. Two factors are thus involved: 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 determines the quality of the wholeness of the whole.
In other words, whether a whole continues to exist as such a minute, a year or a billion years, is not merely a secondary matter. The span of wholeness cannot be isolated from the essence of the whole. The relation between both is not one of causation, but one of identity. Considered as a particular, living entity, a man is the length of his life: first proposition. A man is the moment of his assumption of the power of independent existence (first breath): second proposition. Such are postulates of a "time-philosophy."
Nevertheless these do not contradict the facts that a man is first of all an entity belonging to the human species, then to a particular race and physiological grouping. These facts determine a man's space-characteristics: his biological structure. But a man is not only a part of a collectivity (mechanistic view). He is an individual whole (holistic view). What is it that characterizes this individual wholeness? The moment of his first breath, and the span of his life — both being related values in real time.
Modern science has nothing whatsoever to say as to the quality of the wholeness of any whole; nor has it anything vital and real to say concerning the essence of time. Wholes are creatures of time. Parts, as causally related elements, are creatures of space. The term "creatures" may be somewhat allegorical; but the general idea is correct, for the relationship of time to wholes is of a genetic type. It is not exactly that time makes wholes; but time conditions the making of wholes. To return to our previous illustration, mathematics does not make physics, but mathematics conditions the making of physics. Mathematics makes physics a whole, through the process of logical correlation of data. Likewise time makes of groupings of elements operative wholes, through a process of correlation and "holization" of these elements. This latter process is not logical. In some cases we may call it biological; but in a more general sense it transcends what is ordinarily called "life." It might be named cyclological, because time is essentially cyclic in its manifestations.
Thus, the science of cycles (or, more accurately, the science of "cyclicity"). Cyclology is to the science of wholes what mathematics is to modern physical science. Mathematics analyzes space; cyclology analyzes time — real time, the time of the living and the whole. The former starts from a strictly causal, intellectual, external (in General Smuts' sense of the term) viewpoint of the universe, conceived as extended in an abstract space-time continuum, in which time is interpreted as an extra spatial coordinate. The latter starts from a synchronistic, holistic, internal view of the universe conceived as in-tensed in a cyclic psycho-biological time, the unit of which might be called the "quantum of duration," viz., the creative moment. The moment is creative inasmuch as it releases the power needed to make wholes. It is a sort of "photon," as it represents a unit of release of that whole-making energy which is the innermost reality of time.
If we refer again to General Smuts' ideas and see with him the wholeness of the whole as identical with self or soul (depending on these words' definitions), then we can realize that the moment is creative of selfhood or soul; that a soul can be determined in function of the moment at which the whole, of which it is the very wholeness, arises as an independently operating individuality. Time becomes thus the universal matrix of "individual souls." Each soul (or whole) has its birth-moment and its cycle of manifestation, both of which fully determine it as a soul, — i.e., as a wholeness of parts, which, in their ancestry as parts, refer to space.
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 ruler of the Golden Age (i.e., of the beginning of any cycle). It is the principle of limitation, of boundaries, of finiteness, of crystallization and form. This, because every whole must needs be finite; because wholeness implies finiteness, selfhood implies limitations and form. Yet the Golden Age is the age of innocence and bliss; for to live wholly within the limits and cyclic boundaries of one's own wholeness is true innocence and bliss; sin and tragedy coming only as one attempts to go beyond these boundaries in search of the "infinite."
In one of his letters to students, Marc Jones writes:
"There is no delusion so damaging to the spiritual growth of the seeker as the idea that infinity is something to be sought, and somehow to be gained. . . Infinity is a concept of finite mind, to get at something which it is not, and finiteness is a necessity for realization of infinity, paradoxical as this may seem to be. . . Fear is infinite, just as love is finite. Hate is infinite, as is a lie or a surrender of a soul to the immoral or the base; but divinity is finite, definite, that is. Finite means limited, infinite indicates a lack of delimitation. The utterly unlimited is wholly unknown, the whole defined is the absolutely known. God was finite to Jesus: his 'father.' Divinity is finite to the student who knows through the spiritual bounding, the initiatory limiting of his being. Paul calls himself a 'slave' of an immortal master, and in this 'bond-servant-ship' becomes likewise a real or immortal personality. Reality is finite, never infinitely gained. The quest for the real is really the quest for the finite absolute."
This easily brings us back to the revolution which Einstein accomplished in the realm of world physics by declaring the universe boundless but limited. Since this mathematical statement modern science has begun to deal with the universe as a whole — and also with the atom as a whole composed of very peculiar parts; all of which leads in the direction of Holism. But we would seriously question some of the philosophical ideas involved in Einstein's generalized theory. We would, for instance, say that space as such is unlimited because space deals with the causal extension of elements, of parts-to-be. And there is no limit to the possible number of and relations between elements. But time is limited; because it is the realm of whole-making; and wholeness or selfhood is, by definition, limited. Time, abstractly speaking, is the Cycle — whatever the apparent size of it may be. It is the "circle of wholeness"; the mythological-astronomical Ring of Saturn. That, which therefore makes space-time limited, is the factor of time. Infinite time is an absurdity. Eternity is not infinite time, but an immense cycle of time, or eon. Mystically speaking, it is the wholeness of any cycle.
In Gnostic philosophy an Eon is not only a cycle of time, but a divine Consciousness or cosmic Being — a cosmic Whole. This applies to every cycle, however small it may appear to be. A moment is an eon, in the sense that it is both a unit of time and a soul — or the formative matrix of a number of wholes that achieve then their wholeness. As to what is called the "universal Self," such does not mean an infinite Self, but on the contrary that which reaches perfect selfhood during every "quantum of duration," during every moment: viz., the whole that is whole in and through every one of the shortest moments, without any conceivable break in selfhood. It may be the smallest of the small, or the vastest of the vast. Dimensions do not count, because they belong to the realm of space. Nor does it matter whether a whole has this or that number of parts, small or tremendously large. The number of parts and the degree of extension in dimensions do not belong to the realm of wholeness — or time, but to the illusion of spatiality, the illusion of plus and minus, of intellectual logic and causation. Being is potentially whole at every moment. The supreme Being is He Who is actually whole at every moment, knowing not the disintegration that is death; Whose span of time is so full with uninterrupted wholeness that it is both the smallest of the small and the vastest of the vast.
Positive and Negative Time
All of which is undoubtedly very metaphysical; yet so intensely practical. It refers to one of the basic changes which characterize this period of transition of ours; a change very complex inasmuch as it at times appears to be directed one way, at others just in the opposite direction. Since the sixth century B.C. mankind has tried to repolarize itself in accordance with a new mental and abstract viewpoint. Its best philosophers and scientists have stressed the factor of "form." Form, which must not be confused with "body," is merely the synthetic result of purely abstract relationship. Form, however, when it becomes manifest in the ordering of material elements into a "body" (or object), implies extension in space. Thus space, as a cosmic principle, has been fundamentally emphasized during these last twenty-five centuries.
On the other hand, real time has been left in the background. 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. Cessation means emotion; and so does birth. All great changes, all moments when time seems to act with particular power and significance, are causes for intense emotions. Thus time-values appear, to the "natural" man, as emotional values. Time (Saturn) operates — as we shall see later on — through changes in feelings (Moon). The changes of the Moon mould the life of feelings of man, as the solar changes affect the operation of the basic life-force in all living bodies.
Time, thus connected with change, carries always with it the significance of cessation (cf. the Saturn symbolism); and thus that of the tragic inability to perpetuate consciousness, love, youth and all such symbols of perfectly functioning organic form. In other words, time, which at first was associated with the birth of things (Golden Age) and bliss, for many centuries seems to have been essentially linked with the idea of death and the fatality of not being able to maintain one's own identity (which means, to retain a definite form). Saturn-time has been regarded thus more and more (especially throughout the Christian era) as the power that opposes life; an anti-holistic power.
This in itself is highly significant. That which actually generates wholes and gives birth to souls has been almost exclusively considered as the cause of all destruction! It is, of course, both the cause of birth and the cause of death. But because "this world" was considered evil and illusory, birth did not seem a particularly joyful event — and, curiously enough, death was even more feared; which would be indeed quite illogical, were it not for the fact that death was taught to mean in so many cases the birth of hell! Occult philosophy and the deeper types of mysticism emphasized the teaching that while the ordinary man, identifying his selfhood with his body of earth-matter, was facing extinction of personal consciousness at death, the adept, having succeeded in transferring his selfhood from the body to the abstract form (or astral prototype), knew no cessation of personality at death. His material body would disintegrate under the sway of Saturn, but having established his selfhood in an abstract form, he was able to cheat Saturn. He remained the same self minus a material vehicle for expression. The wholeness of the whole remained, even though the operative power of the whole (in terms of earthly activity) was gone.
Thus the fatality of cessation was overcome, through the mastery of form. Man building his "form of immortality," or extricating it from the substantial elements which gave it body, was able to retain his selfhood in spite of all changes, in spite of time. Having built his own space-structure as an impregnable fortress, he could defy time. This could be done only by the use of mind. Various levels of mind would confer upon one various types of immortality. A great book remembered throughout the ages is a sort of personal immortality for its author. The adept, however, was able to gain an even more integral type of immortality by functioning beyond death in his "Christ-body" or "body of resurrection" or nirmanakaya body, etc.
Unfortunately, the creative type of mind (i.e., mind considered in relation to the process of whole-making) was soon obscured by the tremendous development of the logical type of mind, or analytical intellect. Through analysis, space lost its wholeness (i.e., its connection with the holistic power of time) and became mechanistic and strictly causal. It became infinite, thus meaningless. It was conceived as extending in all directions infinitely. Causality and mechanism led to the formulation of the laws of thermo-dynamics and to the idea of entropy. The universe was seen as "running down." Here also time was becoming the fatality of cessation — instead of the power of giving birth to wholes.
Of late, however, a tendency toward restating cosmology in terms not unlike the ancient Days and Nights of Brahma has come to the fore. Not only is the universe being conceived as a whole, but instead of being pictured as an exploding whole it is acquiring the power to regenerate itself, periods of contractions alternating with periods of expansion (Sir James Jeans; op. cit., p. 138). It seems probable that a new understanding of the essence of time may lead scientists to further and more satisfactory theories.
The main point for us to grasp, however, is 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. The first view is subjective and emotional. It says: "Here I am, whole, alive, conscious; and it is all going to end! Each change is a step toward death, and thus all is suffering and all in vain." Thus speaks the individual, who has seen that individual selfhood is a mirage. "All compound entities decay," said the Buddha. From which follows logically that the only wise attitude to take is to withdraw one's consciousness from all changing compounds and to dwell in pure "abstract form," in pure wholeness beyond (or within) all wholes. This is the Nirvana state.
The positive conception of time sees time as the eternal birthing of wholes which do not necessarily die as such but may keep combining with each other, forming in the process ever greater wholes. Through participation in consciousness the individual may become an organic part of a greater whole, and thus achieve immortality within that whole, as a functional agent of the wholeness of the greater whole. This kind of immortality differs in meaning from strictly personal immortality, because it is not based on the overcoming of time, but on identification with the creative power of every moment.
Man should live fully every moment, and first of all his fundamental birth-moment and his entire Destiny. As he ceases resisting time, but on the contrary accepts the creative message of every moment, every moment is seen as a birth. Man, as he lives creatively, lives in a constant process of whole-making. He is not trying to escape the limitations of any one moment by rushing off into space, but he fulfills the space and the form determined by the potency of every moment; and by so doing he constantly renews his wholeness. He creates, with the same ease and joy, in the moments which define his wholeness as that of youth as in those other moments which define his wholeness as that of maturity, old age, or death. All these time-definings are equally creative opportunities for whole-making. At every moment he is a whole combining with all other wholes within the universal Whole. When the space-structure known as his body is no longer able to define new series of whole-making, the structure is resolved into its elements, which recombine within the Whole to carry on the joy of birthing in other modes. But at the very moment the body structure loses its holistic power and breaks down, in that same moment myriads of structures are born in the universe. A star may be born, and he who has fulfilled time and identified himself with its cyclic tides is carried thereon to immediate birthing according to the fullness of the whole-making power he had developed within his then ending space-structure (i.e., species, race, family and groupings of all sorts).
Intuitions and Symbols
The new type of Astrology, which we discuss in this book, is founded upon this positive conception of time. And it involves therefore the use of a faculty which had no place in minds weighed down by the negative concept of time, its determinism and its fears. According to the negative concept of time, every whole is dying at every moment in its parts. Thus the only thing the whole can do is try frantically to get new parts, and so master the causal laws of relationship between parts that, by engineering skill, the fateful disintegration may be made as slow as possible, and the space-structure may be preserved. As in war offensive is the best means of defense, so self-preservation is best accomplished by means of self-aggrandizement. Which leads to imperialism and greed, on a constant background of fear. At the limit we have the symbol of the "black magician," who feeds on the death of all things, who in absolute fear preserves his formal perfection by destroying all things and sucking their life-power. Such is the supreme manifestation of negative time. 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.
This is perhaps only a symbol, but it indicates the consummation of the process which extols exclusively intellectual logic, and the analytical, causalistic 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.(2) The latter apprehends every new situation and confrontation as a whole, and reacts to it instantaneously also as a whole. Thus there is perfect adjustment of whole to whole, and perfect fulfillment both of all relationships involved in the confrontation and of the moment itself.
Intuition is the same power at the psycho-mental level. C. G. Jung speaks of intuition as follows:
"Intuition is a kind of instinctive apprehension, irrespective of the nature of its contents. . . Through intuition any one content is presented as a complete whole. . . Intuitive cognition possesses an intrinsic nature of certainty and conviction which enabled Spinoza to uphold the 'scientia intuitiva' as the highest form of cognition."
The best definition would seem to us to be that intuition is holistic perception. It can also be defined as awareness of self. It is the faculty which enables us to be aware of the self (the wholeness) of any whole. It is thus opposed to sensations, which are always fragmentary and therefore need the causal logic of the intellect (or the equivalent biological power of association of sensations) to co-ordinate them. Intuition is not based on causal logic, yet has a definite type of logicalness, to which we referred as "holistic logic." The certainty derived from intuitive realizations is not of the same type as that derived from simple mathematical propositions; and yet the intuitive realization is, in its own way, a kind of tautology.
A tautology was defined by Bertrand Russell as a proposition showing "that certain different sets of symbols are different ways of saying the same thing." In other words, the process is that of identifying two symbolical representations. The intuitive realization is similar to this because through it a whole (be it an individual or a situation) is identified with a quality. One knows intuitively that a man is honest, let us say. This means that in a peculiar way the man and honesty have been realized as identical. The quality, honesty, has superimposed itself to the concept of the man, and become one with it. We believe that all intuitions can be explained as sudden identifications of particular wholes with basic qualities held, as it were, in the unconscious. When a person (or a whole situation) becomes the subject of an intuitive realization, one or several of these basic qualities are suddenly pulled out of the unconscious and so at-one with the mental image of the person (or the situation) that the latter becomes completely significant in terms of these qualities.(3)
Astrology is based upon one of these intuitive realizations identifying "order" and "the celestial motions of the stars." 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. Moreover, man observed that there was a striking regularity in the movements of Sun, Moon, stars. Then 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 orientated differently, behave differently. They have distinguishing characteristics thanks to which the mind is able to define them analytically against the background of a homogeneous 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, compartments, etc. But when we come to wholes (whether as whole entities, or as whole situations) we are facing truly indivisible individualities which must be understood and lived as wholes. In order to do so we have to establish a current of "sympathy" between ourselves (as a whole) and them. Our wholeness meets and at-ones with their wholeness. A psychic state is the result, in us. This state is purely qualitative; for, as Bergson shows in his book, Les Donnees Immediates de la Conscience,(4) psychological states are in themselves purely qualitative, and pure duration is a "succession of qualitative changes."
Thus, briefly speaking and avoiding lengthy metaphysical arguments, we may say that every whole as it is experienced by us at any particular moment is pervaded by a quality which represents the "genius" of this whole, the genius of the situation as a whole: its significance, its "soul." How can this soul or significance be conveyed? Not merely by an enumeration of the parts constituting the whole, but by a "symbol" which, as a "sign," reveals the significance of the whole.
Time-values, soul-values, whole-values — all similar terms — cannot be communicated directly. Intellectual analysis and its related mental operations are of no use whatsoever to convey the wholeness of a whole, the genius of a whole situation, of a whole moment. Intuition, based on identification and perfect sympathy (or perfect attunement), can alone bring us to the realization of that wholeness or genius.
But how can we arouse this state of identification? Only by formulating a situation or image which, in an actional dramatic manner, will exteriorize the quality of the whole — and moreover will tend to arouse the experience of that quality in others. Let us suppose that a man is living in a thick jungle, so thick that he has never seen a night-sky filled with stars. In the jungle, he constantly experiences fear and attacks from hostile living things. Jungle-life seems to him an awesome chaos of brutal instincts. Then a superior being comes to him who takes him to a mountain peak from which he can watch the orderly pageant of stars. He is taught the rudiments of astronomy and the ordered laws of celestial motions. For the first time the wholeness of him faces the wholeness of the universe, and he experiences the reality of order and harmony. Even jungle-life, he now realizes, is ruled by some vast mysterious harmony.
Then he returns to his jungle, his whole being filled with the experience. He tries to communicate the meaning of order to his jungle-fellows — without success, of course, as there is no sensorial experience of theirs which can give to them the "symbol" of order. Finally, he leads them to the top of high trees and they contemplate the clear night-sky. They see, night after night, the pageant of stars. They can sense the reality of universal order, for now they have seen a "sign" thereof. And whenever, later on, if unable to climb the high trees and oppressed by the dark chaos of the jungle, they feel lost in this chaos, another man can tell them: "Remember the stars. There is order in the world." And the despairing men may again experience the reality of order through the power of the symbolism of the stars.
Likewise a tiger becomes a symbol of fear; a strongly built house a symbol of protection. In other words, a life-situation which, in the more or less universal experience of mankind, is spontaneously identifiable with the quality of a particular psychological state, becomes the symbol of that state. It is that state exteriorized as a symbolic image, the image being further abstracted at a later stage of evolution into a word or a sentence or a work of art.
What makes of the image or dramatic action a fit symbol is, first of all, the fact that it constitutes a whole situation. It must be experienced as a "whole of action"; otherwise it would not release in another person a wholly determined psychological state. Then, it must be related to the past experience of that person, either directly or at least indirectly. No symbol is really significant to anyone who has not experienced the "whole of action" it pictures. A tiger is not a symbol of fear to anyone who has never experienced a tiger, either directly or vicariously by partaking of the experience of other persons. The more vicarious and remote the experience, the less significant the symbol — because the less power it has to rouse the psychological state with which it is meant to be identical.
We said that all intuitions are based on symbols. But so, in a different way, are instincts. An animal faces a situation and reacts instinctively to it. If, in the past, no identical situations had been experienced by his species as a whole, there would be no such reaction — certainly not as perfect a behavior. The fact that the situation had been experienced many times before made of the configuration of elements constituting it, a symbol. It became a sign for a psychological-biological state which compelled immediate adaptation. The instinctive reaction is not only immediate but a perfect adaptation of experiencer to situation. This is so because the symbol has absolute significance and therefore absolutely compels, without any reservation or perversion, the proper vital or biological behavior.
In a modern human being, on the contrary, hardly any life-situation is ever endowed with absolute significance as a symbol, because modern man uses his analytical mind to such an extent that he can no longer realize a situation (or himself) as a whole. He is not whole in his reactions — unless under the stress of a few all-compelling biological feelings. He does not see people or situations as wholes. Therefore they do not become immediately identified by him with "qualities," of which they become symbols. Because they are not realized as symbols of qualities, fully and wholly experienced in the past, they must be analyzed, bit by bit. The result is at best a delayed reaction; or a wrong reaction. Neither instinct nor intuition analyzes a man or a situation bit by bit; but they apprehend them whole and at once. They see them whole and as identified with one or several qualities, which determines a correct reaction.
The American Indian, even today, usually reacts at once to a person never met before. This person's voice or the quality of his silence, or an indescribable something becomes for the Indian a clear symbol of the person's real selfhood (i.e., wholeness). And he acts accordingly with true judgment — on his intuition. The white man, on the contrary, usually does not meet a stranger as whole meeting whole, intuitively; but begins to analyze this and that feature or characteristic. And seeing more or less unrelated parts, instead of a significant whole symbol of qualities, he frequently reacts to the stranger in a way which proves wrong.
Intuition is thus the power to read every whole as a symbol of a basic quality of life. This actually means to see the soul in every thing, the wholeness (quality) in every whole. Through his instincts the animal lives in a world of unconsciously apprehended symbols which compels his biological functions to react in perfect patterns of behavior. The wholly intuitive man lives in a world of consciously perceived symbols, in a world of souls, full of significance. The combination of all these symbols at every moment constitutes another symbol, the seed-symbol of the moment. This seed-symbol reveals the significant quality of that man's soul as it sees itself revealed in the fulfillment of the moment.
Cosmically speaking, every moment of the universe can thus be realized as a cosmic symbol revealing the quality of the moment, and the soul of the Cosmos — call it God if you wish. Every moment thus realized, however, is that moment in relation to the perceiver on earth; and, at the limit, to the whole of mankind.
As we saw that each moment is a birthing of numberless wholes, it follows that, by law of cosmic inheritance, the quality of that moment determines the basic quality of the wholes issued there-from. And 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. For analytical intellect is of no avail in realizing holistic symbols; and if the birth-chart means anything vital and real, it can only be as a symbol — therefore as a total configuration, as a whole. The wholeness of the celestial pattern at birth and the wholeness of the selfhood and destiny of the native are identical; and both are expressions of the wholeness of the moment. In intellectual logic we have the formula: If A = B, and B = C, then A = C. Holistic logic gives, however, a different meaning to the symbol = than intellectual logic; a genetic meaning, as it were.
We must now add that the revolutions of Sun, planets and stars are not the only material which may be used as symbols for an intuitive revelation of the soul of the moment. Theoretically everything can serve as a basis for symbolism, provided: 1) that the interpreter is able to meet every symbolic situation as a whole with the wholeness of his own selfhood, thus with fully developed intuition; 2) that this intuition, if it is to be communicated, operates according to the principles of "holistic logic"; principles which may be briefly described as of functional coherency.
This is where the intellect finds its proper place. In instinctive behavior the "functional coherency" is unconscious and biological. For instance, certain motions and attitudes in animal courtship are symbols of the biological urge that leads to mating. But the animal cannot fail to interpret correctly, i.e., with holistic logic, the meaning of these motions and attitudes. His instinct knows with certainty what the dance of the male or the flight of the female means in terms of the biological function of propagation. His unconscious, unerring interpretation is "functionally coherent" because the "mind" which does the interpreting is absolutely one with the vital principle, with the wholeness of the moment. Spring, as the mating moment, compels absolutely the animal's interpretation of the symbols of the dance of mating. The animal perfectly fulfills the moment. The soul of the moment and the self of the animal are identical in significance. Therefore the intepretation, unconscious and instinctive, cannot be false.
But with man's attempts to get an intuitive realization of his individual selfhood and destiny at every moment, the problem is more complex; because such realization has to find its foundation in the conscious mind. And the conscious mind (or the thinking function) does not at first operate upon wholes but upon parts. Thinking develops from sensations, which are discrete and separative. It rationalizes sensations or associations of sensations; and unless a new faculty re-energizes the mind, it deals first of all with space-values or form-values, rather than with positive time-values and holistic principles. To deal with the latter requires the collaboration of the feelings which, as we shall see in a later chapter, react naturally to whole situations.
The union of the feelings' whole-reactions and of thought-logic leads the mind to a new attitude or polarization. It begins then to function in terms of wholes rather than in terms of parts; in terms of psychological evaluations rather than in terms of physical intellectual concepts. It becomes holistic rather than mechanistic. It ceases to be bound to material objects and to the task of enumerating and classifying them by their space-characteristics. It turns inward, after having achieved this liberation, and begins to "feel" the living power of the moment. Then the wholeness of the moment begins to speak; and such utterances are symbols.
It matters not whether such symbols are dreams or mystical visions or omens or occult "signatures," or any one of the forms of life-interpretation and even divination that have been used for millennia. The point is that all life-encounters become endowed with significance. Man becomes thus Interpreter and Seer. He lives in a world of souls, in a world of significant wholes, because wholeness, or holism, operates through his consciousness. In the animal, wholeness operates through the physiological organism. In the man with a repolarized mind, wholeness operates at the psycho-mental level — thus consciously. When the operation becomes perfect, there is in the intuitive interpretations of the symbols of the moment the same certainty that exists in the biological instincts; a certainty which the intellect can know only in logic and pure mathematics — the certainty of a tautology; a certainty that comes from evident identity. The animal interprets the mating dance with certainty because he has become identified with the mating urge within the moment. Only he does not know it. The perfect intuition is also the result of an identification (of absolute "sympathy," as Bergson wrote) between the perceiving individual whole and the perceived whole situation. This identification occurs within the moment, to the whole-making energy of which the individual is now fully open.
To such a perfected intuitive man no particular system of symbolism is necessary; and astrology is of no special value. But he cannot communicate his intuitions to others. Communication necessitates a system of interpretation; a set of symbols which can serve as spatial-mental "bridges" between the wholeness of the moment and all perceivers. It thus needs a language. Astrology is such a language, just as the series of hexagrams of the Chinese Yi King is such a language. And it is in the formation and use of such a language that what we called holistic logic and the principle of functional coherency come into operation.
The true foundation of astrology is such a holistic logic; and as already said, not a compilation of data or statistics, even though the latter may have great value in helping to make abstract interpretations more concrete and precise. This holistic logic, based on the perception of the wholeness of the material used as symbolical elements and of its functional coherency, is for the truly intuitive man as logical as intellectual logic. But it is not as rigid and set, at least in appearance, because it is creative. It is a function of evolving life. Like the logic of instincts, it adapts itself to new situations and to new levels of being. It is protean — and yet in a mysterious way it inheres, unchanging in its essence, in all varieties of formulations.
The Foundation of Astrological Symbolism
These unfamiliar thoughts may become clearer as we indicate briefly the manner in which astrological symbolism can be arrived at.
The problem of astrological symbolism is that of correctly (i.e., significantly) identifying the order manifest in the cycles of celestial bodies in relation to the earth-observer, and the order which is usually not manifest in human nature and human life, but for which man psychologically yearns; and which becomes an actual inner reality to the spiritually awakened individual. The man who is enmeshed in the continual warfare of primordial and natural elements finds in life nothing but chaos and chance; from which results fear. The man who sees these elements as functional parts of a cosmic whole, harmonized by outwardly complex, yet inherently simple laws of "functional coherency," overcomes fear. Having conceived and realized the universe as a whole, his life as a whole, his psyche and his body as a whole, he is able ultimately to identify himself with the wholeness of these wholes; and to stand in the abstract and "mystical" relation of wholeness to whole. This does not mean standing outside of the whole-nature, or above it. It does not exactly mean what is ordinarily called considering one's nature and destiny objectively. It means retaining a constant position or state of equilibrium at the "center of gravity" of this whole-nature and destiny. It means not being thrown out of equilibrium by (i.e., involved into) the intensification of anyone functional part of this whole. It does not mean withdrawing oneself from such an intensified function.
Here it may be well to refer to the scientific concept of "energy" which is determined in terms of acceleration of momentum, rather than in terms of a mysterious "force" residing in the object. Psychic energy, likewise, is produced by the intensification of a psychic-organic function; by the fact that the "quality" it represents so increases its significance in relation to the entire organic equilibrium that it becomes a dominant factor in the consciousness. For instance, the function of feeling may take such an overwhelming value that the consciousness is almost entirely filled with a feeling of hatred. In such a case the self, the "I AM," becomes usually involved in, thrown out of the psychic center of gravity by this hatred. And the whole being cries out: "I hate," which means: "I am hatred."
The man who remains equilibrated may feel hatred arise, but he will not say: "I am hatred," but: "There is an intensification of hatred in the whole of me." He will not cut himself off from the function of feeling, because of that; for this would be self-mutilation. But he will marshal, as it were, all his other functions and balance with them the intensified feeling-function. If he succeeds in doing this, he, the self and wholeness of the whole, will retain his position of equilibrium at the center of gravity of his whole-nature. He will have thus managed not to be swept away from this center of gravity by the energy generated by the intensification ("acceleration") of one of his part-functions, yet without withdrawing from this function and thus accepting a mutilation.
It is very likely that one cannot speak of "psychic energy" unless one or more functions become thus intensified. The powerful self depends for its power upon such intensification; and thus his equilibrium is always unstable and dynamic. There is a constant and alternating increase and decrease of the intensity of all functions. Yet the self remains always at the center of gravity of the whole, acting upon the parts whose relationships are constantly altered — but whose total equilibrium is never lost.
The harmony of the whole-nature can thus be pictured in terms of dynamic relationship between parts. Man as a whole is a complex of dynamic relationships between functional parts. So, in fact, is every organic whole. There is, therefore, in every organic whole a dynamic order which can be established in terms of cycles of alternate intensification and inhibition of functions. But such a picture can easily be related to that of the solar system as a whole, if intensification of function is connected with various sets of characteristics derived from the various types of planetary relationships (relationships of position in space, of distance to the Sun, of mass, velocity, stage of cosmic evolution, etc.).
The important point to realize is that these symbolical connections must always be based upon an interpretation of the two related wholes which is functionally coherent, and grounded on concrete and incontrovertible facts of experience. In other words, any correlation established between, say, Saturn and a particular psychological function must derive from a consistent interpretation of: 1) the solar system as a whole; 2) the human psyche as a whole. If a principle of correlation is established giving to one planet a symbolical significance in terms of its distance to the Sun, then all planets must be given their respective symbolical significance in the same way. If a strictly geocentric attitude is taken, then all symbolic interpretations must be derived from it. There should never be any mixing up of planes of interpretation. Many such planes of interpretation may be used successively, each in relation to a corresponding level of being. But there must not be any confusion between the types of concrete data used as bases for the various sets of interpretation. Each set of interpretation must use its own type of concrete data, and this one exclusively.
The following may be taken as a most significant example: In archaic times men's concrete and significant experience of celestial bodies was solely in terms of the light they gave. The concrete data at the disposition of astrologers were that the Sun was in all appearance the source of life as well as of light and heat. Man's life was divided into periods with sun-experience (days) and periods without sun-experience (nights). Jungle nights are full of fears and tragedies and deaths. At once life became subject to two interpretations, depending on the presence or absence of the Sun and of its light. Then, in temperate climates, it must have soon been remarked that the seasons and the corresponding changes in vegetation and in the biological characteristics of animals and men were all correlated to and functions of the various angles at which the sun-rays struck the earth, which angles seemed to regulate the intensity of light and heat as well as the even more obvious relation between the lengths of days and nights; thus the four basic points of solar change, equinoxes and solstices.
The Moon was experienced as a mysterious helpmate of the Sun in giving light. It was also presumably noticed very soon that its cycles corresponded to that of physiological change in women, etc. From these and related concrete and significant data of experience, the Moon took on a very definite symbolical meaning. All the celestial bodies were seen as pin-points of light and called "stars"; but some retain a constant relationship to each other and were called "fixed stars." Their constant relationships, i.e., the patterns they made on the darkness of space, became endowed with significance just because, almost alone of all things in nature, they remained constant. They therefore became symbols of constant life-qualities, of Ideas of organization or Archetypes — as constellations.
The stars which, like Sun and Moon, changed their positions periodically with reference to the constellations, were called "planets." They acted like the Sun, with respect to their periodic motion; yet they emitted only a tiny amount of light. So they became, naturally and logically, significant as "attendants of the Sun." As such they were given attributes symbolized by the intensity of their light, by the average distance they kept from the Sun and the manner of their appearance. Venus, for instance, being the star of the evening and the star of dawn in turn, was given a dual significance. From another standpoint the color of fixed stars and planets served to make of them symbols of qualities — as the redness of Mars and Antares, etc.
All these facts were concrete and significant data of experience. The intuitive man envisioning the skies as a cosmic whole distributed significances to their component parts in terms of experienced facts. Each part became the vehicle of an organic function within the cosmic whole of the heavens above and below. All these experienced facts were of course based on a geocentric interpretation of the cosmos. The Sun symbolized the most important function, that of being the very source of the life-force, not because it was the center of the solar system (a notion incongruous to the geocentric viewpoint), but because it was the source of light and heat, and the cycle of life on earth seemed to follow exactly its cycle of change. The Moon had then no significance as the satellite of the Earth — because that also was entirely irrelevant in a geocentric system. Moreover, planets like Uranus and Neptune, not being visible to the eye, can hardly enter into such a system based on actual experience.
Nevertheless in modern astrology the geocentric and the heliocentric viewpoints are hopelessly mixed, and the basis of symbolism is lost sight of. The result is utter philosophical confusion. Most of the concepts of geocentric astrology are retained; Sun and Moon are called the "lights"; the term "fixed stars" is used for valid reason, and these fixed stars are given archaic meaning in terms of the old geocentric concept of "constellation."
If we wish to use a heliocentric basis for our astrological symbolism, then many of the traditional concepts, phrases and denominations of ancient geocentric astrology must go overboard. For they are illogical in terms of our heliocentric knowledge. What, however, complicates matters is of course that we do not experience, actually and sensorially, the fact that the Sun is the center: a system of which the Earth is but one planet. At least most of us do not. Scientists who make experiments to prove the heliocentric system may come close to experiencing it; but ordinary mortals take it for granted on mere intellectual grounds. Only a small minority among men are far enough developed mentally to be said to experience mentally the facts of the heliocentric system.(5)
Thus we find ourselves confronted with two definite types of interpretation of the cosmos, each of which may be taken as a basis for symbolism. If we wish to use both, we must be careful to use them separately, each one being made to correspond to a distinct level of human consciousness — let us say, the vitalistic and the mental (or ideistic, or abstract) levels. How different will be the results obtained by changing our basis of symbolism will readily be seen as we draw logical conclusions (holistically logical, that is) from the data deriving from the heliocentric point of view. Such data, let us say at once, have very little to do with what some people call today "heliocentric astrology." By geocentric viewpoint we do not mean that which relates all celestial motions to an observer on Earth — for in every case we must obviously do that very thing. We mean the attitude which interprets celestial phenomena in terms of their actual sensorial appearances. The heliocentric viewpoint is that of modern scientific astronomy, which interprets the apparent motions of celestial bodies according to a theory proved by scientific experimentation — that is, according to an intellectual type of knowledge.
From the heliocentric standpoint, the solar system is obviously to be considered as a whole, the nearest star being remote beyond the possibility of belonging to the systemic whole. In other words, the solar system appears as a closed unit, the only known links between it and the outside world being comets. This cosmic whole, the solar system, is also apparently a part of some greater cosmic whole, which is either our galaxy the Milky Way, or a fragment of this galaxy, or a group of such galaxies — the point being still more or less in doubt, on strict scientific grounds (as far as we know). However that may be, we have a somewhat accurate knowledge of the solar system as a physical unit (with the possibility of yet unknown planets, probably very remote); and that knowledge must be the basis of our symbolism. No extraneous elements should be retained, such as would follow from a purely geocentric viewpoint.
The Sun, as the center of the system and the source of all the planets, is obviously to be considered as the origin of life, the fountain-head of the life-force. We "know" scientifically that we, the Earth and its inhabitants, revolve around it. We are subservient to it, and its power (gravitational or otherwise) is the cause of our cyclic motion, following which we are compelled to see the universe from a series of successive viewpoints. This series of viewpoints constitutes the psychological (or consciousness) reality of what physical science calls the orbit of the earth. This orbit as a constant series of viewpoints is what we, in heliocentric symbolism, call the zodiac. Constellations are quite meaningless in themselves in such a symbolism. They have value merely as convenient points of reference. We "know" scientifically that they correspond to nothing real. The distance of the stars is such that they can hardly have any significance for us, except insofar as the galaxy to which our solar system belongs is concerned. But ancient constellations have nothing to do with our galaxy. At best they can symbolize the various viewpoints which we get from our successive orbital stations in our annual revolution around the Sun. They symbolize, to be more accurate, vistas of universal space which the Earth and man experience as a result of their ever-changing relationship to the Sun. They are symbols of the space created by the revolution of the Earth around the Sun.
The planets of the solar system have significance, in the heliocentric symbology, in terms of their relation of position, distance, mass, velocity, density, etc., to the Earth and the Sun. They are, first of all, to be divided into planets inside and planets outside of the Earth-orbit. As this orbit introduces, as far as we are concerned of course, a line of cleavage between inner and outer, we may expect a sort of balance or symmetry between inner and outer planets. Thus we pair Venus and Mars, Mercury and Jupiter — and, in a somewhat different way, Sun and Saturn. It may be that there is actually an intra-Mercurial planet Vulcan, which should be paired with Saturn; in which case, it would necessarily carry a part of the significance now given to the Sun. Vulcan may be understood also as the Sun's photosphere. For the photosphere would, in symbolical logic, balance very accurately Saturn. The interior of the Sun would balance symbolically all planets which could be found outside of Saturn's orbit.
The Moon, as the only satellite of the Earth, would be put in an interesting position. Perhaps the Biblical symbolism of the creation of Eve out of Adam's rib might help us to understand her significance! Besides the planets, all other symbols used in astrology, from this true heliocentric viewpoint, have to be also interpreted in accordance with the facts of the heliocentric theory. The Earth's revolution upon her axis creates the ever-changing horizon; this axis creates a North Pole, a Pole Star, and other points of interest. Symbols combine with symbols to give symbols of "second degree" as it were — and so on, theoretically ad infinitum. But any symbol, the significance of which is not justified, on the grounds of holistic logic, by the concrete data it synthesizes, must be discarded as irrelevant.
This irrelevant quality has nothing to do with statistics and tabulations of cases which "prove or disprove" the significance of the symbol. It stands on a logical basis — even if it is not the logic of intellectual and mathematical analysis. The truly intuitive person will recognize the absoluteness of this logic on internal evidence. But few are the men who, at present, possess such a perfectly developed faculty: the faculty of holistic perception, the power to identify themselves with the wholeness of the wholes, and to release the significance of these wholes in terms of true and compelling symbols. Great creative artists, of course, have such a faculty, but developed only in a certain direction. When the creative artist begins to create with life, then he begins to live in a world of never-ceasing and ubiquitous significance, for he becomes, as it were, "geared to the moment." Then his utterances become rooted in universal significance, the very images of the moment. They become pregnant with the power of life itself. Such Creative Artists were Buddha, Lao-Tze, Jesus.
1. This is especially true of the quantum theory which is perhaps the deepest basis of scientific Holism, insofar as it pictures the universe as functioning by means of wholes of "action" — quanta. The theory opposes the view of continuous movement, giving thus a discrete appearance to the universe. The philosophy of the quantum theory is yet to be formulated. (D.R.)
2. Henri Bergson defines intuition as instinct become conscious of itself, set free from slavery to the exigencies of action and able to reflect upon what it sees. The essential nature of both instinct and intuition is defined by him as "sympathy." Intellect at its highest puts into our hands the key to the comprehension of matter; intuition may lead us to the very depths of life itself. Intuitive philosophy is a type of knowledge akin to art but having for object life itself. It operates by establishing a sympathetic relation between us and other living beings. Intuition transcends intellect, but it is by means of intellect that it has grown beyond the limitations of mere instinct. Without the cooperation of intellect it must — as instinct — have remained attached to some special object of a practical utility, and have spent itself in outward act. (Cf. Creative Evolution, Ch. 11.)
3. Cf. next two chapters for a further discussion of these "qualities" and "primordial images" of the unconscious.
4. Translated into English as Time and Free Will. Cf. Chapters 1 and 11.
5. This was written in 1935, before the exploration of the space surrounding the earth began. [Editor]
The Astrology of Personality