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THE BIRTHCHART AND THE PROGRESSIONS

Dane Rudhyar

 

Selfhood and Destiny

It is said that on the portal of the temple of Delphi in ancient Greece one could see inscribed these words: KNOW THYSELF. These words were truly indeed the keynote of an age and a civilization which, for the first time in human history, sought to raise the focus of man's consciousness to the intellectual level. The great life-problem for Greek civilization and for most of the European culture which unfolded from the seed sowed by the Greeks was the problem of knowledge: the nature, limitations and extension of knowledge. This led to a study of the process of development of the conscious and rational sphere of the ego; then, by complementary reaction, with Christianity, to the development of a system of devotional ethics which in turn modified itself into a system of rational ethics.

We claim that a new basic life-problem is confronting the "New World" of the West by which we mean, not only the races living on the American continent, but all men who are willing to emerge from the typical patterns of classical Europeanism and into a new realm of being. We believe that the American continent is the symbol of this new realm of being, but not the exclusive habitat of men that are born therein. The new life-problem for such men individually and for the American continent in a planetary sense is the problem of fulfillment. And thus we present the future builders of the temple of American "mysteries" with a key utterance, not new in itself, of course, but new as a focal point for the collective consciousness: FULFILL THYSELF.

Knowledge and Fulfillment: two words of tremendous importance when used as focal terms for whole civilizations! In a sense, at least, they can be seen to correspond respectively to two other mighty words: Space and Time. Knowledge is spatial in its essence because it is derived from the establishment of relationships of extension and contrast. Intellectual knowledge is based on analysis and objectivity, on the isolation of factors and elements studied apart from the whole to which they belonged, and from which they had been removed for analytical, experimental or even esthetical purposes.

On the other hand, fulfillment is durational and cyclic-holistic in its essence. It is a process which unfolds at the very core of duration, and is conditioned by the general laws of cyclic becoming. It is not analytical or ethical; not even rational or predominantly conscious. It cannot be charted by exact formula. It cannot be defined accurately so as to fit all particular or individual cases, even though it follows a well-definable rhythm with computable climaxes and critical phases. Moreover, this process of fulfillment does not deal with the parts of an organism or with the elements of a situation, as detachable factors. It must always be referred to wholes. The fulfillment of parts is bound to the fulfillment of the whole of which they are parts. There can be no isolated fulfillment of a part. It can be only a relative or illusory consummation.

Yet as each part is a whole, just as each whole can be considered a part of some vaster whole, there are relative moments of fulfillment: "life-transitions" during which wholeness operates within any fulfilled whole. After this occurs, this whole realizes itself as part of a greater whole and duration and its cycles of fulfillment go on, ever and ever more. But every fulfillment, though we may analyze it spatially and intellectually as purely relative in terms of some greater whole is, after all, an absolute. It is absolute inasmuch as wholeness is operating absolutely through every fulfilled whole, small or large. In fact, smallness or greatness are spatial, "knowledge" valuations. In terms of fulfillment, every fulfilled whole is actually and absolutely God. This is the realization often symbolized by the term "eternal now." We may call it a "mystical" realization. What it is called matters little. Experienced fulfillment has no need of intellectual definition. It is a subjective totalistic experience; and this experience is "one-with" the moment within which it occurs. Such a moment is what we previously called a "seed-moment" what the modern Theosophist expresses (and materializes) in a planetary sense as a "Seed-Manu."

We have already stated such ideas in the chapters: "Astrology Faces Modern Thought" and "Individual, Collective, Creative," etc. But it was necessary to reformulate them in a somewhat altered fashion, for this fundamental dualism of knowledge and fulfillment, space and time, is the key to the most important distinction which we encounter as we come to consider the practical applicability and utility of astrology. On one hand, we have what is called the radical birth-chart which gives us the symbolical pattern, or hieroglyph, of the individual being a spatial figure. On the other hand, we have what are called progressions or directions, which aim at determining the unfoldment of the individual being throughout the span of his Earthly life a time element.

The confused state in which astrological theory, as well as practice, is found today is due largely to the common lack of understanding of the relationship existing between these two realms of astrological determination: spatial and durational. Moreover, system after system of progressions or directions are propounded each apparently most satisfactory in many cases, most unsatisfactory in just as many others. Hardly ever is an attempt made to give a philosophical, coherent interpretation of what "progressions" really mean and of why they operate at all when they do. This and the next chapter will be devoted to the suggestion of such an interpretation, in the hope, at least, of elucidating several basic points and of offering solutions for confusing problems.

The birth-chart of an individual, indicating the pattern made by celestial bodies surrounding the Earth, in reference to horizon and meridian and in terms of zodiacal longitudes, is called also the radical chart, being considered as the root-factor in all astrological interpretation. The term "root" is somewhat inaccurate, and "seed" would be a much better word; for it is in the seed and not in the root that the "archetypal form" of the plant-to-be is focused. But the distinction is a purely philosophical one, with no practical bearing on the matters which we are now considering.

A birth-chart is the symbolical macrocosmic representation of the potential fullness of the perfected microcosm. It is the "blueprint" of the complete man. It is therefore nothing but a set of potentialities; and it defines by implication everything that could possibly be found in the perfected man. Because it refers only to potentialities, it is entirely abstract. Because it is a representation formed by macrocosmic factors (planets, horizon, etc.), it is purely symbolical. It indicates nothing factual; nothing concrete; nothing precisely "fated." It outlines what would be if the personality matured into the full likeness of the archetype, if actuality accurately matched potentiality. There is not one single precise event of a man's life to be found as such in his birth-chart. What can be traced are more or less definite types of potential eventualities, with varying degrees of "actualizability" at certain more or less accurately determinable times of his life.

In other words, the birth-chart is a set of spatial factors which determine the archetypal structure, or form, of the whole man if he ever becomes whole. Nothing can indicate absolutely whether the man will become whole, or remain like most people a vague sketch, with ill-defined outlines largely absorbed by the collective racial background. However, from the whole chart there arises often an imponderable significance which gives to the astrologer with developed holistic perception (or with inherited "psychic" gifts) a clue as to the ultimate status of the native at the end of his life; in other words, how much of his life will be a success, how much a failure. But failure and success mean only this: Whether or not the actual life-performance has been true to the "score" of the individual selfhood and destiny; whether or not, speaking in terms of Hindu philosophy, the man has fulfilled his dharma.

Selfhood and Destiny. These two terms can be referred respectively to the radical chart, and to the progressions derived therefrom; also to space and time, knowledge and fulfillment. The self is to be known: Destiny is to be fulfilled. Both are abstractly identical in form. Yet the life of a man may be a mere caricature of his Destiny, or a mere sketch with blurred outlines. Destiny, as we understand the term, carries no meaning of absolute and factual determinism. It is a schedule of unfoldment for the purpose of manifesting concretely the blueprint which selfhood represents. We have already emphasized this point, but it needs repeated emphasis. Selfhood is a set of potentialities; at the most, a small architect's model of the finished building. But while the architect draws the blueprint and sets the schedule of operation and of delivery of building materials, he cannot tell whether an earthquake, a strike, a war or any such collective factor, transcending both architect and plans, will disturb the schedule. Yet if the building is completed, it will have to be an actual embodiment of the plans unless a spiritual tragedy occurs, such as the death of the architect.

Selfhood is a space-factor. Abstractly, this refers to the interior space of pure being, a factor of pure relationship containing as many "dimensions of space" as there are related elements. Concretely, this refers to the outer structure of the body that is to say, essentially, to the skeleton (the Saturn factor) and to the individual appearance, the Ascendant. Being a space-factor, selfhood is susceptible of being known, through form-analysis and significance-releasing synthesis. It is the seed-factor of manifested being. The monad the unit of energy, or life is the root-power. Destiny is the schedule of growth of the plant. It is the process whereby selfhood is made manifest. It is therefore conditioned primarily by the form of the self (seed-form: viz., the birth-chart); but also secondarily by the nature of the social and cosmic environment in the midst of which growth takes place.

In other words, while Destiny is essentially the individual schedule of growth, it is also subject to modifications which are not determined by the individual (his form or his past), but which are the results of the Destiny of the greater whole (race, planet, cosmos) of which the individual is a part. The basic internal relationship of this greater whole to the individual is indicated by various factors in the individual's birth-chart; but the transitory external pressure of the collectivity upon the individual is another factor belonging to the becoming (not to the being) of the greater whole. This is seen in what astrology calls "transits."

Destiny is selfhood in the becoming. Fulfillment is knowledge demonstrated and made operative through the whole of the knower's physiological and psychological organism. Thus fulfillment is dependent upon knowledge. The completeness of fulfillment is a function of the depth and extension of knowledge. Thus knowledge symbolically represents the east, fulfillment, the West. All knowledge comes from the East, but fulfillment occurs in the West. This is so, not only symbolically and astrologically speaking, but concretely as well. In every unit of civilization knowledge arises in the East, fulfillment is reached in the West. India was the source of the knowledge that was fulfilled in the East-Mediterranean world. Greek knowledge in turn was fulfilled in French integration. European knowledge is being fulfilled in America. Atlantic knowledge reaches Pacific fulfillment. All that is needed to complete the picture is to add that spiritual and regenerative power comes from the North and takes form as religion in the South, as is shown in the fact that all effete civilizations so far have been overcome and regenerated by the invasions of "barbarians" (regenerative men who are pure power without formed consciousness) from the North in India, in Europe, in Mexico. Moreover, most established religions find their permanent center in the South and propagate northward: witness Buddhism spreading from India to China and Japan; Catholicism established in Rome; Islam moving from Arabia to Persia, Northern India and Spain, etc.

The foregoing may thus explain the reason why we consider the birth-chart as the symbol of the knowledge and power (selfhood) of the individual, while progressions refer to the fulfillment, the religion (etymologically, that which "binds back") of his life. To interpret the birth-chart is relatively (most relatively!) simple because we are there dealing with a self-contained structure. Certain factors in the chart truly refer to the outside world and the collective inheritance and environment; but the reference is always to be considered in terms of the individual person. What is shown is not the state of the collective environment (as in transits and birthday charts) pressing upon the individual person, but the knowledge and power of adaptation of this individual to the collective within his total being.

In other words, everything found in the natal or radical chart refers to the native's total being; that is, to the sum total of potentialities this being contains. And we may here add that these potentialities, while they are definite as to their structure, are practically infinite as to the depth of their connections. That is to say, the form of my being my individual selfhood is basic; and change or development here means only an increasingly closer approximation of the outer "body" (or bodies) to the archetypal seed-form, which is changeless throughout an entire planetary cycle. But the contents of my being the sum of the connections I have established with the universe, the total of my assimilations are relatively unlimited. The limits are drawn only by the fact that the human person, being a part of the greater whole that we called the "planetary Individual," is conditioned by the harmonious development of this "planetary Individual." This refers to what the occultist calls the "Ring-Pass-Not."

Scientifically speaking, we would say that, the number of brain and nerve-cells not being infinite, the sum total of their possible connections and correlations is therefore not infinite. But the ordinary man of today operates relatively so few of these possible connections that the possibilities of expansion of the contents of his being are practically unlimited even though the form of his individual selfhood remains a constant factor. Likewise, the skeleton is an almost constant factor in the human race, approximating ever more closely by very slow and cyclic progress (which includes regressive periods) what we would call the Archetypal Form of Man. Yet man may change the contents of his body by eating one kind of food or another (within the limits of what the Earth produces), by overeating or by starving himself, etc.

On the other hand, in "progressions" we are dealing with a very complex proposition, because we are dealing with the process of life itself. And this means perpetual change and thus, theoretically at least, imprevisibility. The process of life is the constant flux of the birth, fulfillment and breaking away of relationship. And it can never be absolutely and accurately charted. It contains necessarily, unavoidably, a coefficient of indeterminacy, which in numerical symbolism is the fractional value by which Pi (3.14159 . . .) is greater than 3, and in astrological Earth-symbolism the value of the fraction 365 (or 366&1/4) divided by 360.

Selfhood and Relationship are the two polarities of being, corresponding in astrological symbolism to the Eastern and Western horizons. The former constitutes the form of being; the latter refers to the contents of the manifested "body" at all levels of the being. Selfhood per se is changeless (throughout a cycle of the greater Whole in which it occurs). Relationship is in a constant state of flux; and is fundamentally imprevisible from the point of view of the self which is one of the multiple factors constituting this multitudinous stream of relations. The Eastern world has emphasized the element of selfhood; the Western world that of relationship two opposite viewpoints which can never be rationally reconciled, though they can be integrated in the creative behavior of personality.

This fact constitutes the general principle of indeterminacy which extends Heisenberg's special principle of indeterminacy stating that one can never accurately determine at the same time the location and the speed of a sub-atomic particle. Location here symbolizes selfhood, and speed symbolizes process: space and time, once more. In astrology, we have likewise to concentrate either on selfhood-determination or on prognostications. Each factor requires a special type of emphasis, and a special type of astrologer.

Birth-chart and relatively unchartable progressions. To some extent at least we must choose our polarization and allegiance. The highly individualized person will be usually more at ease with the determination of selfhood through natal symbolism; while the person largely influenced by, and an expression of, collective and racial factors will be more naturally attracted toward and more successful in prognostication, "horary astrology" and fortune-telling. The two points of view can, of course, be integrated in a highly gifted personality, but an emphasis of either one or the other will be always noticeable. The situation, in this respect, is similar to that referring to psychological introversion and extraversion. There is always an accentuation one way or the other; but the determination of the nature of the accentuation is at times made very difficult because "in every pronounced type there exists a special tendency towards compensation for the one-sidedness of his type, a tendency which is biologically expedient since it is a constant effort to maintain psychic equilibrium."(1)

The same is true in relation to the accuracy of a person's actual response to indications contained either in the natal chart or in the calculation of progressions and transits. Some lives will be most accurately charted by implications found in the birth-chart and in those "directions" which merely spread out in time the structure of the birth-chart. Others will seem accurately governed by transits, "secondary progressions," birthday charts, and will not seem to "fit in" very closely with a birth-chart interpretation.

The natural conclusion would be that introverts and highly individualized persons live true to their birth-chart and not so exactly to their progressions; while the opposite applies to extraverts and collectively influenced persons. But it is not always so. For a strongly introverted person, by virtue of his or her lack of ease of functioning in society, may be at the mercy of society helplessly conditioned outwardly by demands made by others, the more he or she withdraws inwardly and tries to be strictly an "individual." On the other hand, a typical extravert may be unconsciously pulled toward "spiritual" subjects to compensate for his extraversion, and he or she may be utterly helpless and compelled by whatever occurs in his inner self, and in his or her attempts to be "individual" and "different." Thus transits are often cruel to introverts, and "primary" or "radix directions" shattering to extraverts. The problem is as complex as life itself. Not to see why it should be so, and to depreciate astrology because it is so, are symptoms of poor judgment and of a total lack of understanding of the nature and function of astrology.

In order to understand thoroughly the way in which astrological interpretation can be built out of the various materials made available by the operation of astrological symbolism, we have to pursue a course which is not at first readily followed, but it seems the only way of bringing the conflicting factors of radical positions, of progressions, directions, transits, into some sort of integrated picture. If the reader will thus bear with us and follow us into the maze of usually unrelated concepts, we shall be able to summon before his mind a vision of the total operation of a birth-chart and of its consequences, in space and time a vision which undoubtedly is not easily held in mind, yet which, if referred to consistently and constantly, will bring order and significance where, presumably, there was before but chaos or vagueness.

 

Steps in the Interpretation of a Birth-chart

A birth-chart can (and should) be regarded as a complex geometrical formula establishing relations between a number of points determined by astronomical observations. Fundamentally, there are ten "planets" (including Sun and Moon), twelve cusps and the Moon's nodes viz., twenty-four factors. A birth-chart is thus a formula relating these twenty-four primary factors in terms of their zodiacal longitude (to which declination distance North or South of the Celestial Equator is also sometimes added to determine what are called "parallels of declination"). To interpret a birth-chart is to extract out of these twenty-four factors all the significance which they contain, or rather, which the astrologer is able to perceive. This extraction of significance is done by means of a series of analyses, each analysis being theoretically complete in itself as it covers a whole field of being, yet all these analyses constituting only the raw materials out of which the final synthesis is built. As already said, astrology depends mostly, insofar as a life-interpretation is concerned, upon synthetic "holistic perception." But the latter is a purely individual factor; and in writing about chart-interpretation one must needs emphasize the analytical processes, which are necessary: 1) as a training for the development of basic knowledge; 2) as a means of checking up on the results of ''holistic perception;" that is, of a direct perception of the total interrelationships linking the twenty-four primary elements of the birth-chart and any other secondary factors that may be derived there-from.

These several analyses to which the birth-chart is subjected can be made in varying order, such an order being a purely individual matter. We shall indicate what they are, giving them in a sequence which is derived from the logic of the situation, as we have studied it in this book. But let us always keep in mind that our first task is to study the twenty-four primary factors above-mentioned (planets, cusps, Moon nodes). These factors are significant in terms of:

1) Their sign position.

2) Their house position (this does not apply to cusps).

3) Their degree position (symbols of the degree; also relation to planetary nodes).

This first stage of interpretation is an analysis of position in which each factor is considered independently of any other, and is followed by an analysis of relationships between these factors, thus:

4) The planetary pattern as a whole.

       5) The aspects between every two isolated factors.

Then comes another type of analysis, which may or may not be made use of. Two factors are being related to a third factor, which is ordinarily (but not necessarily) either the line of horizon or the meridian. This is a higher degree of analysis of relationship, and it reveals significance of a complex sort such as is related to man's social nature and to the processes whereby his own society of cells and nerves become ever more closely integrated toward the formation of a "spiritual body." This refers to the Parts.

In this last type of analysis we no longer deal solely with the human personality as it is archetypally or in "blueprint." We deal with the use to which this personality or any group of factors within the total personality can be put. We are now considering not only "being" and its structure, but also "purpose" and its axes of crystallization.

One step further, and we shall be studying not only axes of crystallization (or sensitive nexi of relationship), but we shall visualize the very crystallization of potential relationship into actual personality-occurrences. How shall we do so? By considering these same angular relationships between the twenty-four factors and more simply the arcs (distances) separating them, but considering them in terms of potential phases of maturation. In other words, we shall simply convert spatial values into time values. But we shall do so without having recourse to anything outside of our twenty-four factors; simply by a refinement of analysis such as to bring in a fourth-dimensional value of mathematical time, where before we had only three-dimensional spatial relationship.

To put it simply, we shall interpret our birth-chart in such a way that, by transposing our point of view of analysis, we shall obtain time-values (phases of the life-process) where before we had considered space-values.

In order to accomplish this result we have to cease considering the 360 degrees of the zodiac as indices to structural relationship of being, and to begin to regard them as symbols of phases of life-unfoldment. We have to transpose our analysis from the plane of geometrical measurements to that of clock-measurements. By doing this we are evidently entering the realm of progressions and more particularly of "directions." But there is a great difference between the ordinary progressions or directions and the procedure just stated even if the difference appears on the surface to be more theoretical than practical.

We shall be able to evaluate this difference more accurately as we presently study the foundation on which the complex weaving of progressions, directions and transits is built. But we must take one step at a time, lest we become hopelessly entangled in concepts which have grown in the field of modern astrological thought more like wild flowers than like cultivated productions. Our next step will consist in studying briefly what might be called the "time-analysis of the birth-chart."

 

Time-analysis of the Birth-chart

The procedure is a simple one. Consider Mussolini's chart. The Moon is placed on Gemini 850'; Jupiter, on Cancer 1833'. The distance (or "arc") between them is therefore 3943'. Let us translate a one-degree arc into a year of the life-process. In this case the relationship Moon-Jupiter, instead of being expressed by a 3943' arc (a spatial value), will be stated as a 39-year and less than 9-months' relationship. What is meant thereby is that the rapport between Moon (referring to the relation to the public, to the past ancestry, the feelings, etc.) and Jupiter (referring to the point of emergence of the Self, to authority, power, etc.), which exists, potentially and archetypally in the birth-chart, will be actualized at a time of the life which we postulated as 39 years and 9 months after birth. The Fascists' march on Rome, which gave Mussolini dictatorial power, occurred when Mussolini was 39 years and 3 months old. Other aspects made it occur somewhat ahead of the time above calculated.

The birth-relationship Mars to Sun can be expressed likewise by saying either that it is a 5251' relation of arc, or a 52 years and about 10 months' relation of period. In terms of aspect the relationship is balanced between an 8 degree plus semi-square and a 7 degree minus sextile. Does it mean "fate is hanging in the balance" for Mussolini in June 1936? Other indications might corroborate the possibility of that month being one of expansion (Sun in ninth house) and traveling involving aggressiveness and danger. But as Mars and Sun are the two so-called "rulers" of the chart (a point the meaning of which we shall discuss briefly later), there is a chance that the relationship may actualize itself as extreme increase of power; though it is undoubtedly a dangerous chance, considering the fact that an eclipse fell on his Sun July 29, 1935; a "transit" indication. At any rate, it will mark a turning point in Mussolini's destiny.(2)

The arc between Saturn and Jupiter equals 41. The age 41 was a very critical time for Mussolini, as the result of the Matteotti murder in which prominent Fascists were implicated. Yet he rode through the storm roused by the opposition; perhaps because Saturn was, at his birth, sextile Sun. So what might have been his doom fortified, instead, his position.

Mussolini's planets being placed in relatively close grouping, the result is that nearly all of them can be mutually related by this "time-analysis" method. This indicates that the whole of the nature will be drawn out into actual and positive operation. Instead of calculating the arcs separating the planets, one could calculate arcs separating a planet from an aspect of opposition to another planet. The period so revealed would show a linking of the two planets, not in terms of activity (conjunction aspect) as previously, but in terms of awareness (opposition aspect). In Mussolini's chart this could probably occur only between Neptune and Uranus, at the age of 60. This would mark if he reaches that age a moment of great realization of the fundamental and spiritual significance of his mission and Destiny not in terms of something to be done, but of the meaning of something that has been done.

Linking through squares, trines, sextiles, may also be attempted. For instance, Mussolini's Sun and Mercury are separated from a square to Moon (in Virgo 850') by 3251' and 3320'. This brings out time-values of about 33 years and 33 years and one-half. He was seriously wounded in the war at the age of 33 years and 6 months.

These examples will have sufficed to give an idea of the procedure followed. It remains, however, for us to explain why the operation of translating space-values into time-values was based upon the equivalence of degrees of zodiacal arcs to years of the life. This much-discussed question will be dealt with from another angle when we study the theory of progressions and directions; but we may say now that the degree is the most convenient point of departure for such a translation of space-values into time-values, for, after all, it is the unit of zodiacal measurement, and the entire fabric of astrological symbolism rests more or less upon the degree.

As we already said, the degree is, as it were, a translation of time-value into space-value, for it is theoretically the orbital space which the Earth covers during the period of time it accomplishes a total rotation around its axis, viz., a (sidereal) day. Thus the degree is a day, in terms of spatial measurement along the Earth's orbit. From the day, we pass now to a year, saying, a day equals a year and thus a degree equals a year. Marc Jones states the matter most ably in his course Directional Astrology, as follows:

"The theory . . . is that movement upon any circle of celestial motion has an affinity with the movement in any other related circle of the same scheme, and that the expression of this relationship in any one of the circles creates in that circle an entity which has correspondence with the whole circle in terms of units. Thus, since there are two circles of the heavens used for the measurement of motion of the planets . . . the circles in which the diurnal (daily) and annual (yearly) motions of the earth are measured, it is said at the outset that a day corresponds to a year; and this is a correspondence familiar to symbolism of every sort (as a year becoming a day in the eyes of God). This means that a degree on the circle in one instance equals the whole of the other circle . . . and from this fact, by extension, the degrees upon either circle correspond to a year of life."

What complicates matters, where progressions and directions are concerned, is the fact that there are "more days than degrees" and that actually the day does not correspond to a whole degree but on an average to 59'8". We have discussed this point in our chapter on the Degrees of the Zodiac, and stated that with the degree, considered as the symbol of a fundamental release of creative significance, we are dealing with an archetypal value; and that the discrepancy between the 365 or, 366 days and the 360 degrees is an expression of the fundamental "coefficient of indeterminacy" which dominates in one way or another any attempt to translate factors belonging to one level or sphere of being into factors belonging to another level or sphere.

When dealing with phenomenal facts and concrete events as does the ordinary astrologer using directions or progressions there is a real justification in using the ever-changing value of the space covered by the Sun in one day (it varies from 057' to 11'), because, as we shall see, the idea back of these methods is that birth is a progressive event. But in the case of the "time-analysis of a birth-chart" the fact of birth (or rather of the beginning of independent existence with the first breath) is held to be altogether sufficient and definite. The birth-chart is the "seed-form" of the individual selfhood. Thus it is considered strictly as an archetypal pattern which is unchanging and entirely self-contained. It refers to "being," not to "becoming." Therefore all its values and all the analytical operations related to it should be considered from the archetypal level. The degree is thus to be used for time-analysis because it is a permanent archetypal value; and not the ever-changing factor of the daily motion of the Sun or any such factor which belongs to the phenomenal world.

The reader may now ask: If the birth-chart does not refer to "becoming," what is then the meaning of this "time-analysis"? Here again we are confronted with a somewhat metaphysical problem. It can, however, be made clear by referring once more to the illustration of the building of a temple. The birth-chart is the "blueprint" which gives the seed-form of the temple. Any architect looking at this blueprint will know without a doubt that, if the temple is actually to be built, the foundations will first have to be dug; that a certain class of working-men will have to be hired first, another later; that a certain type of material will have to be delivered on the grounds early in the operations, another later. If he knows the exact condition of the business world, he will be able even to give an approximate date as that of the completion of the building.

All these things he will know merely by analyzing the blueprints and by studying the requirements for the actualization of the structure, which he beholds in potentiality. He may not know them with the utmost exactness, of course, for much will depend on the ability of the human materials used (engineers, foremen, workers, etc.) and on the general social conditions which may seriously affect the building operations. But he will know enough to get a rather accurate picture of the various stages of operations and of the time each stage will last.

This is exactly what we mean by a "time-analysis" of the birth-chart. It does not deal with "real becoming" (or with what Bergson calls "duration") because it merely spreads out into a schedule of work seed-potentialities, which makes the process relate to "mathematical time," but not to "creative duration." As a matter of fact, such a "creative duration" is by essence imprevisible. Each moment is new and wells up from an ocean of infinite potentialities as unforetellable actuality.

What, then, is the astrologer to do? All he can do is to deal with probabilities and with statistical averages insofar as forecasting is concerned. He takes so many probable views of the unknown future process, from so many angles, that there will be little room left for the creative unknowable. But to sum up all these probable views will be a prodigious task; and even if the actual events are correctly foreseen, there will always remain a mysterious unforeseeable value: the value of significance. Granted that one knows every step of the future destiny of an individual, what significance will that individual have extracted from his whole life as he lies near death? No one can tell. God, even, cannot know. For God is made out of such "summing-ups of significance." This is God's becoming pure and creative duration: the unfathomable Mystery that is Life itself.

All that our "time-analysis" can do is to see the milestones on the road to personality-fulfillment. In some cases of supreme importance in the individual's destiny as in the case of the march on Rome in Mussolini's life the milestones mark a definite occurrence which of itself, objectively, is a crucial turning-point. But such cases are not many; and why should they be? In other cases, other types of factors which serve to determine the whole "life-process" may be more potent in precipitating actual events. The factors produced by the time-analysis of the birth-chart (and this time-analysis is susceptible of much more complex developments than have been indicated in this brief sketch) refer to the archetypal Destiny, to that which is individual selfhood in operation: operative wholeness. They deal with the self-contained manifestation of potential being. They are the most abstract, and yet the most powerful, in a life dominated by the seed-form of individual selfhood.

Before we come to investigate progressions and directions proper, one more point is to be stressed. It is called to our mind by the fact that some English astrologers are using this method of time-analysis, in various ways, under the name of "symbolical directions." This qualification, "symbolical," is most misleading, for it tends to make one believe that the usual progressions and directions are not symbolical. This is a grievous error. All progressions and directions are purely symbolical; and this fact should be well understood, for it is on this fact that the theory of planetary influences breaks utterly when the term "influence" is taken to mean the emanating of rays or waves which act physically or psychologically upon a particular individual.

Every word of this last sentence should be considered carefully, and no wrong or premature conclusion should be arrived at. All progressions and directions are symbolical, because the equivalence of a year to a day or to a four-minute period (in the primary directions) is purely symbolical. How one could fail to recognize the truth of this assertion is hard to understand. It is true that we may say that the individual man (microcosmos) is an image or correspondence of the solar system (macrocosmos), and that cycles of motion in the one cause analogical responses in the other. But if such a statement means anything at all, it means that the solar system is assumed to be the symbol of the individual man; and that the cyclic motions of the celestial bodies around the Earth correspond to cyclic processes of the life-force in any living organisms on Earth. Obviously, there is no difference between saying "correspond to" or "are symbols of." If anyone sees a difference between these two phrases, it is a proof either that he has not understood the vital reality of symbols especially of collectively valid symbols such as the "primordial images" or "archetypes" of which Jung speaks or that he uses the term "correspondence" without entering into the real meaning of such a term, often so loosely used by students of occult philosophy.

All progressions and directions are symbolical; and that is why any system "works" so well for the astrologer who has identified himself with it (who believes thoroughly in it), and not so well for one who is not used to the "feel" of it. In medical practice, likewise, a drug cures much more readily a patient who has "faith" in it than one who takes it half-heartedly and by "faith," I do not mean merely a conscious belief that the medicine will cure, but rather an unconscious yearning to be healed which fastens upon the medicine as upon a symbol of salvation. The same is true also with regard to spiritual healing, religious conversion and all instances of profound "life-metamorphosis." They occur because the deep powers of the inner life (call it "unconscious" or whatever you will!) have become concentrated around a "symbol," an image of salvation or of self-renewal. Not an abstract idea, let us well understand, but a concrete, visualizable, sensorially evident image. Thus the validity of the "personal God" idea, or of the guru or "spiritual teachers" all images and symbols of operative wholeness, viz., of healing and salvation.

Trouble begins when the symbol is taken as a material reality, because then the person begins to believe that an external entity is influencing him from some outside basis of tangibility. "Saturn is crucifying me!" clamors the astrological devotee. "A black magician is persecuting me!" sobs the frightened would-be occultist. And fear creeps in and disintegrates the personality. Neither Saturn nor the black magician has any meaning for any person, save as a symbol of a phase of the life-process through which every human being must pass, at this or that level of being.

In other words, the frightening "square of Saturn to Sun" or the "black magician" are happenings that have reality within the sphere of the personality. That is why sane books on occultism say that the "black master" is not incarnate, but functions on the mental plane. This is a way of saying according to the peculiar terminology of occult philosophy that such a nefarious Power is a symbol (or archetype) which, at certain periods in the process of individuation, is activated within the psyche. Likewise, at a certain period of the worm's life its outer skin hardens, and, within what has then become a chrysalis, a process of utter organic disintegration occurs, until the chrysalis is only a hard skin filled with a jellied substance. But out of this apparently inchoate jelly the butterfly will soon form the glory of wings.

Such is the symbolical story of the soul, as known to millennia of human endeavors toward the spiritual state. The worm might well say: "0 horrible fate! Saturn conjoins my Sun, and see how my soft skin hardens'" And a little later might cry in utter anguish: "Help me! My progressed Sun is coming to Neptune, and see, all of me is dissolving into a jelly!" Indeed Saturn and Neptune would be adequate "figures of speech," valid symbols of what is happening. Chemical symbols might just as effectively be used to describe the occurrence; or a symphonic sequence in which the normal tonal structure would give place to an atonal and dissonant development. All are symbols symbols of the rhythm of the life-process which brings alike to galaxies, to worms or to human psyches calculable periods of transformation. Astrological progressions or directions are symbolical means of calculating the time of occurrence, and the duration, of such periods; and as such are extremely valuable for the man who wishes to live in terms of conscious significance. They are utterly or spiritually valueless for any other purpose. Nothing is to be done about them, or with them, save to understand and to be more conscious. All else is illusion.

 

The Formation of Progressions, Directions and Transits

Progressions and directions are based on an analysis of the actual motion of planets or cusps after the moment of birth. They are based on the idea that birth is not a final gesture and that the act of birthing prolongs itself in time, spreads over a period of hours (primary directions) or days (secondary progressions), and in doing so affords a means to foretell the actual occurrences that will become objectivized during the whole life-span.

This is a most important point, not usually understood. All progressions or directions involving the study of actual planetary motion after birth (first-breath moment) imply that the individual is not yet a complete personality by virtue of his first breath. Individuation is not completed then. And it takes some time more, more breathing, before it is completed. Thus living is seen as a process of fulfillment. This process, from a cosmic or spiritual point of view, reaches as perfect a completion as the individual can reach in the body just beginning to live as an independent organism, in a few hours after birth, and in a few weeks after birth this according as we put ourselves at the level of the individual factor or at the level of the collective factor.

This may seem a difficult point to understand; yet it is very simple, if only we realize that man as a personality (body plus psyche) is the result of the interaction of individual and collective factors. These factors can be considered separately, for each class operates at a certain level of being; or, let us say, has its own rhythm of being. Now the rhythm of being of the individual factors is related to, and symbolized in astrology by, the axial rotation of the Earth: the day-and-night rhythm. On the other hand, the rhythm of being of the collective factors is related to and symbolized by the orbital revolution of the Earth: the rhythm of the seasons.

Thus we start with the idea: The first breath is not sufficient to establish fulfillment of personality. Next point: When will this personality reach relative fulfillment? In order to answer this we have to analyze personality into its component factors; and we shall answer:

1) The individual factor will reach relative fulfillment in a few minutes or hours.

2) The collective factor will reach relative fulfillment in a few days or weeks.

3) And the organism, in and through which these two factors are related as actual behavior in the midst of the larger whole of human society, will operate as an organism (i.e., as body and psyche) for so many years or decades.

Fulfillment in the individual factor seems fastest because it is related to the axial rotation of the Earth, and not (as is the collective factor) with the orbital revolution of the Earth. But let us not forget that we said, a few pages back, that fulfillment is relatively absolute and does not depend upon values such as big or small, short or long. If you place yourself looking at the horizon or at the meridian, you will see all the zodiac pass before your eyes within 24 hours; and astrologically speaking, that means that you have reached total fulfillment for the zodiac symbolizes the circle of perfect wholeness.

But, from the point of view of orbital revolution and of the rhythm of the seasons, you will see the whole zodiac pass in the line of the relationship Earth-to-Sun (which symbolizes the collective, organic and vital factor) only after one year's time. Thus you will reach perfect wholeness only after a whole year. But wholeness is wholeness irrespective of the size or duration of the whole in which it manifests. So, from the point of view of wholeness, a complete cycle of axial rotation (a sidereal day) and a complete cycle of orbital revolution (a solar year) are analogical because they both represent the experience of the whole zodiac.

To experience the whole zodiac, for the individual self, is to progress through 24 hours of "in-breathing" after birth. It is to breathe-in the whole zodiac as seen from the point of view of the Earth's rotation.

To experience the whole zodiac for the collective-organic being is to progress through a complete cycle of solar and seasonal changes, a full year. It is to experience the full cycle of vegetable life for this collective, organic being in us is, archetypally speaking, a plant or a tree; a point the discussion of which is outside of the scope of this book.

We can carry the analogy further and consider the cycle of gyration of the Earth's axis, the Great Polar Cycle (precessional cycle) of 25,868 years. This, too, constitutes a whole "cycle of experience:" and it is "zodiacal" at least in the sense that every meridian of our planet during that cycle comes, by precession, in conjunction with every degree of the zodiac in turn. (This is the same as saying that the vernal point comes in contact successively with every meridian.)

We have thus three cycles, each of which represents a fullness of zodiacal experience; each of which can be said to be symbolically equal or analogical to the others: the sidereal day, the solar year, and the Great Polar Cycle. They refer respectively to the individual factor, the collective factor and the planetary factor. But we saw previously that when speaking of the planetary factor we referred to the life of the "Planetary Individual" whose "I amness" is symbolized by the axis of rotation of the earth: the polar axis. Thus a whole Great Polar Cycle is the cycle of fulfillment of the individual factor in the Planetary Being, whom we may call the "Planetary Logos" or "God." And here we are confronted with a very interesting, if rather puzzling situation. If the reader refers to our study of the Great Polar Cycle (Chapter 4), he will see that we produced two alternatives of subdivision for this cycle. If we divide it according to the vibratory periods referred to as "nutation" we have a division of the whole cycle into, let us say, 70 periods of 370 solar years (20 cycles of the Moon's nodes). But if we follow what H. P. Blavatsky claims to be the "esoteric calculation" (presumably substantiated by the quotation from the Kabbala), we have instead a division into 370 periods of 70 years.

This is most interesting in reference to our present problem; for we have here two values (370 and 70) which can be taken as the archetypal lengths of the human personality-cycle. Both are true, only they refer to different things. Seventy years (three-score and ten) constitute the karmic period of individual manifestation in personality (i.e., the cycle of our individual relationship to the Planetary Individual). Three hundred and seventy years constitute the period of manifestation of archetypal personality: personality as a spiritual organism, as a perfected permanent structure ready to become a cell of the Planetary Being.

The subject cannot here be discussed fully, but we had to bring it up inasmuch as it leads to the recognition of this "esoteric" cycle of 370 years which is the true cycle of fulfillment of the personality. Obviously, no ordinary personality (since the time of the Patriarchs) reaches such a length of manifestation in the body; but this is the very reason why no ordinary personality, at this stage of planetary evolution, reaches fulfillment as a personality.

And this is just what astrological progressions point out; for by their traditional equating of "a day after birth, or 4 minutes after birth, for a year of the life-process" it is seen at once that no cycle of progressions or directions is ever fulfilled. In other words, the individual factor in man does not experience the whole zodiac, but only, let us say, 70 degrees of it measured on the cycle of the Earth's axial rotation. The collective factor, likewise, experiences 70 degrees of the zodiac measured on the circle of the Earth's orbital revolution. And the personality can "keep body and soul together" for only 70 years out of a cycle of total fulfillment of 370 years.

We have, in other words, three cycles of fulfillment: the sidereal day, the solar year and the personality-fulfillment cycle of 370 years. These can be considered as analogical (or "equal") in terms of fulfillment. A unit in one cycle corresponds to a unit in the other cycles. The unit of the sidereal day (axial rotation) is a 4-minute period during which the meridian moves the space of one zodiacal degree. The unit of the solar year (orbital revolution) is the solar day, during which the Sun appears to move on an average of 59 8'. And these two units are said to correspond to a year of the personality-life.(3)

The "day equals a year" calculation is backed up by the fact, often mentioned already, that for the "polar axis" which symbolizes the planetary "I AM" a year is like unto a day (6-months daylight and 6-months darkness, theoretically). So if four minutes are analogous to a day, and a day is equal to a year, therefore four minutes correspond also to a year as is understood in "primary directions."

The main points to grasp in such a complex problem are: 1) that "primary directions" refer to the cycle of axial rotation of the Earth and to the individual factor in man; 2) that "secondary progressions" refer to the cycle of orbital revolution and to the collective factor in man; 3) that both are related expressions of the fact that birth does not mean the fulfillment of personality, and that therefore birth is a continuing process which goes on at three levels: individual, collective and organic (personality); 4) that each of these three levels, or factors of being, has its own rhythm of development, which relates it respectively to a cycle of fulfillment. Thus the phases of development of the individual factor can be determined from planetary positions, after birth, along the cycle of axial rotation. The phases of development of the collective factor can be determined from planetary positions, after birth, along the cycle of orbital revolution. And the phases of development of the personality, insofar as it is determinable by social and planetary environment, can be computed from the positions of the celestial bodies year after year i.e., along its 370 year cycle of fulfillment. Such positions are what are called "transits."

This, then, gives us three basic methods of determining the phases of the life-process which continues, prolongs and leads to the relative fulfillment of the human being, the structural pattern of which is shown in the birth-chart: Primary directions, secondary progressions, transits.

In these three cases the same procedure is used, generally speaking; planetary positions are calculated for any period of time desired, and the new positions thus obtained (progressed, directed, transiting positions) are compared to the radical or birth positions; or, in some cases, are considered in their new mutual relationships. "Aspects" are thus determined which define or characterize the life-process or the general life-conditioning in a given year, month or day of the life. In every case new planetary factors are generated by the use of these methods, which either supersede, or more ordinarily modify, the significance of the twenty-four original factors constituting the birth-chart; whereas in the previously studied method of the "time-analysis of the birth-chart," the only factors used are these twenty-four primary factors, or else secondary factors produced by the combination of the primary factors.

From what has been said throughout this chapter, a more or less definite understanding of the value and the relative meaning of the basic methods used in astrology to express the factor of time and of becoming has presumably been acquired. We shall, however, return to this complex question as we sum up our discussion concerning the use and interpretation of birth-chart and progressions (generally speaking) in relation to the great goal of the integration and fulfillment of personality. But before we reach this point it seems necessary to give some more attention to the technique of progressions, directions and transits, so that the reader may become more familiar with them and with their relative importance and significance.

1. Cf. C. G. Jung: Psychological Types, p. 10.

2. This was written in 1935. The proclamation of the new "Roman Empire" came in May 1936.

3. In another sense, they correspond to a 70-year period of the Great Polar Cycle, during which the equinoxes move about the space of one degree. Every human life and its 70-year life-span is thus seen as a "unit of action" in function of the Planetary Being: a brief cellular gesture!

 

The Astrology of Personality

 

Mindfire