Dane Rudhyar


When this book was written, following a series of articles appearing in the magazine American Astrology which had just been published and edited by Paul Clancy, astrology interested relatively few people. It was associated in the public mind either with fortune telling of the most superficial type, or with Rosicrucians, Theosophists, or Hermetists. The most well known English astrologers, Sepharial and Alan Leo, had been occultists and Theosophists; and it was in such circles that I first heard of and studied astrology just fifty years ago.

Ten years later I received the first mimeographed courses on astrology by Marc Edmund Jones, and soon afterward became deeply interested in Carl Jung's depth-psychology and also in the book Holism and Evolution written by the great South African statesman, internationalist and philosopher, Jan Smuts. It occurred to me then that astrology could be used in close connection with depth psychology if it were considered in a new light and if many of its basic concepts were reformulated so as to fit the mentality and the experiences of the modern men and women of our post World War I society. I communicated my ideas to Paul Clancy whom I met in New York after corresponding with him for a couple of years, and he responded enthusiastically and offered to publish anything I wanted to write in his magazine. A few months later American Astrology obtained national distribution; the sales increased rapidly, and so did the size of the magazine and Clancy's request for more articles. A Psychological Section was started in the magazine, and I wrote at least two long articles every month. Later on I was asked by Grant Lewi to contribute to Horoscope also two articles monthly and other magazines followed suit as astrology grew in popularity.

The popularization of astrology had important implications. It meant that the magazines, the newspaper columns and even most textbooks had to emphasize the "Sun-sign" approach; that is, a type of astrology based on the birthday of individuals. As a result people began to say, "I am a Leo. What is your sign?" This meant that general yet definite psychological characteristics had to be given to the twelve signs of the zodiac and the Sun in a chart had to be considered as the most dominant or basic factor.

There is not, however, only one kind of psychology; and so the psychological interpretation of the signs and the characterization of twelve zodiacal Types of human beings could develop at several levels. Many astrologers were simply following the type of psychology outlined in old textbooks; some stressed a more "social" type of psychology. Quite a few have followed my approach in which I have tried to combine depth psychology and holistic philosophy (both of which emphasize the integration of the personality) together with some of the most revealing and fecund vistas of occultism and Oriental metaphysics.

Thus this book, The Astrology of Personality, came at a crucial time in the evolution of a modern astrology when, in answer to the popularization of this ancient "art," not only was a deeper psychological approach needed, but it became essential to gain a more sound perspective on how astrology was related to the new types of thought which had developed along the lines of philosophy and science. Today, thirty-five years later, as this book is about to reach a larger public, astrology faces a crisis; one might say a crisis in consciousness. This crisis is caused by the vast expansion of the interest in astrology, an interest which has touched both the new youth, and also college intellectuals.

The young people have become fascinated with Oriental philosophies and yoga practices, with transcendent experiences and all the new forms of "sensitivity training" and natural living. They hope to find in astrology not only answers to their poignant personal problems but even more some sort of inner security. Many of them, having broken away from their family traditions and refusing to participate in a culture increasingly dominated by a dehumanized and denatured approach to knowledge, to social organization, and to interpersonal relationships, long to discover their place and function in a more-than-human, universal or cosmic order. They want to know where they "belong," what they "really are" when the ego-games are played out. Alas, the majority of astrologers are still too close to the fortune-telling category, too obsessed by telling, "what will happen," to be able to answer the needs of the young rebels.

However, there is another type of young people who are fascinated by science and technology, by computers and moon-flights. They are aware that scientists are more and more concerned with the solar system as the "cosmic environment" of our planet, with solar radiations and even galactic forces. They are often familiar with statistical techniques and all kinds of psychological tests. They are intellectually curious, ambitious and, even if they find fault with our society, they are eager to get to the top of the social and economic ladder. They want to be progressive, future-oriented, builders of the glorious technological society which they see arising. They are more and more intrigued or fascinated by astrology; but they realize it has to become "scientific" in order to be acceptable to the intellectual Establishment and officially taught for credits in our colleges.

To this science-oriented group the approach to astrology promoted by the Irish astrologer and scholar, Cyril Fagan, and popularized by his monthly articles in American Astrology for the last twenty years, has a great appeal. It is Mr. Fagan's contention that the zodiac which has been in use in Europe since the days of the Greco-Latin civilization the tropical zodiac is inaccurate. He claims that the only true zodiac is the sidereal zodiac.

The tropical zodiac is based on the apparent motion of the Sun in the sky from one vernal equinox to the next. It refers to the annual cycle of the ever-changing relationship of the earth-globe to the Sun, source of all energies on this earth that is, to the cycle of the seasons. The "sidereal" zodiac also deals with the annual apparent motion of the Sun, but with reference to the constellations, i.e. to actual groupings of stars. Because of the phenomenon called "the precession of the equinoxes" a backward shift in the position of the equinoxes with reference to the nearly "fixed" stars these two zodiacs do not now coincide. They did coincide at a time variously estimated from around 300 B.C. to A.D. 500; the differences being due to the fact that there is no astronomical way to precisely define the boundaries of the heterogenous groups of stars called "constellations."

At a time when so much stress is put upon the signs, not the constellations, of the zodiac, in which the Sun is found at a person's birth, the claims of the "siderealists" upset most of the characterizations of the zodiacal Types. A great deal of confusion is thus created. But actually the issue goes deeper. What is at stake behind the controversy concerning the validity of a tropical or a sidereal zodiac is the basic attitude one takes toward astrology. The "siderealists" consider astrology an empirical science, whose one basic function is to predict the statistically measurable probability of precise events. This science is supposed to have originated long ago, perhaps in Egypt, and to have been developed further in Chaldea; and from there it was brought to the Hellenistic world. The siderealist claims that it was born strictly as a science of observation, relating the coincidence between actual events on earth to such celestial phenomena as the appearances of stars at the horizon, planetary conjunctions, etc. Gradually a body of classified recorded correlations would thus have been built in a true scientific manner. But confusion occurred in the first centuries A.D. when a seasonal, equinoctial frame of reference was substituted for the "true" pattern of constellations.

Anything presented in such a "scientific" manner is bound to appeal to many people today. This is not the place to discuss the validity of this siderealist picture, but it does not seem to accord with the way in which the archaic mind operated before, let us say, 1000 B.C., and one should always be careful not to project our present-day intellectual processes upon the mentality that produced ancient symbols and myths. The essential point, as I see it, is whether, considering astrology as such a kind of age-old empirical and essentially Events-Oriented science fills the Psychological need of our present humanity the need which has made astrology so popular today.

Because I do not believe that this type of astrology is what we need today, I have recently formed an International Committee of Humanistic Astrology (I.C.H.A.) which intends to link people who are interested in a different approach to astrology, a person-oriented approach. It is a "humanistic" approach, not in the sense of a traditional humanism often associated with atheism, but rather in accordance with the meaning given to the word by Abraham Maslow, founder of what is known as Humanistic psychology. This type of psychology is neither Freudian, nor Behavioristic or Clinical. For this reason it is also called Third Force psychology. It seeks to help and guide individuals regarded as developing, aspiring, self-actualizing persons who at times may reach moments of exalted spiritual consciousness in "peak-experiences."

In a similar sense what I conceive as Humanistic astrology is an astrology which assists individuals in the solution of their personal and interpersonal problems, and especially in actualizing more fully their birth-potential. In this type of astrology, no planet and no aspect is in itself "good" or "bad," Every birth-chart is as "good" as any other, in the sense that it symbolizes what the person potentially is and what he is meant to achieve, if he follows the "instructions" which, as it were, are "coded" in the pattern of the sky, as seen from the place and at the exact moment of birth.

Such an astrology is not an empirical science. It is a "language" which can reveal the archetype of what the total person (body, mind, feelings, etc.) essentially is the "Form" of his or her individuality. What we vaguely and confusingly call "destiny" is simply the process of actualization of the potentialities abstractly formulated in the birth-chart. Man, conceived as a transcendent Soul, is not outside the chart and having to "rule" it in order to lead a "good" life. He is, as an existential living and thinking-feeling organism, what the chart indicates he might be; indeed what he should be if he lives "in tune with the universe."

When I wrote The Astrology of Personality thirty-five years ago I was not quite aware of the problems that might confront the growth of astrology; and no one certainly expected that it would develop such a wide appeal to the modern mind. I still accepted some traditional concepts which even the pioneering mind of Marc Jones had taken for granted. Astrology has been essentially geocentric, even if it accepted some ideas belonging to the heliocentric picture of the solar system. I see now that when it deals with human beings as individuals, it should be "person-centered," for each individual is in a very real sense the center of his own universe. It is the way he orients himself to the universe as a whole that matters. In a deeper sense, he is the whole sky focused at a particular point of space-time. What differentiates him from other individuals is this particular space-time formula; what identifies him with every other being is that it is the same sky, the same Sun, Moon, planets and stars which constitute the substance of his being. Form differentiates; substance unifies.

Because my philosophical-cosmic and humanistic approach was not yet clearly defined in 1934-35, and because I was influenced by beliefs and images belonging to the Theosophical-occult tradition, there are in this book quite a few interpretations and statements which I would not formulate today in the same way. A detailed revision of this large volume would consume more time and energy than I have at this late stage of my life. Yet the constant demand for the book makes it imperative at this crucial time of the evolution of astrology that it should be spread widely through a paperback edition.

I should mention, however, the change in my approach to the fundamental character of the natal Houses, and I have discussed the reasons for such a change in a number of more recent books and articles. For a time, when I began to study carefully the meaning of all the tools used in astrology, I accepted the then widely used idea according to which the houses are produced by the daily rotation of the earth-globe; thus, the natal horizon is seen moving every day around the zodiac and the rotation of the globe around its axis defines the houses, just as the earth's revolution around the Sun defines the signs of the zodiac. Everything is in movement; and astrology deals with time values, with cycles.

This is true, yet there is also space; and I believe, that which remains constant in every human being. Every person is inherently an individual self, with a particular rhythm (or "tone") of being and with an orientation to the universe which defines what I call now his "individuality," the "seed pattern of his individual being." This is his "place in space." It is the way he becomes aware of his own self and of his capacity for relationship with other selves. Every human being is born at the center of his own space; and it is that space to which the circle of houses refers.

The circle, of course, turns in time, and we can speak of the "wheel of houses". But there is a fundamental space-orientation which remains as a permanent "Image" of individual selfhood, and this is the most important factor in an astro-psychology that deals, not primarily with external events, but with the innate potential of individual existence in every human being. Let me repeat that the purpose of this astro-psychology is to help the person to actualize this innate potential, to bring what is only possible to an at least relatively complete state of fulfillment. It is clear that the vast majority of human beings, not only do not experience such a state of fulfillment, but remain in nearly total ignorance of what one may call, using a phrase popularized by Zen Buddhism, their "fundamental nature."

The reader will find such ideas expressed in this book, but perhaps not as clearly as should be. I now conceive the natal houses most definitely as 30-degree sections of the space surrounding the natal act of individualization, i.e., the first breath that establishes the individual rhythm of the newborn. The houses are not in the zodiac; but it is the signs of the zodiac and all celestial bodies which find their location in this or that house. As a result, the Placidus system of house-determination, which is still mostly in use, does not fit in with such an approach, for it is based on a time-factor. The Campanus system, on the other hand, is a space-based method of calculating the longitude of the cusps of the house, and I am therefore using it and finding it more and more revealing in astro-psychologicaI practice, even though it is certainly not the best possible system.

Before I conclude this new Preface and lest my attitude toward "astrology as a science" be misunderstood, let me say that I have very little doubt that sooner or later a new science will be built that will deal with cosmic electro-magnetic fields, cosmic vibrations and their effect upon the earth's biosphere. It may be that some of the younger astrologers who try so hard to be "scientific" are working toward such a goal, but I do not think that when such a science is established it will be any more what has been traditionally known as "astrology" than modern chemistry is alchemy. A truly "sidereal" and scientific astrology would be one which takes the whole galaxy as its frame of reference and which, for instance, deals with the ever-changing relationship between the earth-equatorial plane and the plane of the galaxy. It would substitute actual star-groups and their relative motions for the old type of zodiacal mythology that relies solely on pictorial and symbolic man-made constellations. We may learn, of course, from the archaic past of humanity; but it should be the whole of humanity, including, for instance, the Chinese and Mayan cultures.

Besides, it is my belief that each great culture inevitably develops its own approach to the universe, its own cosmology and astrology; and I do not see why our Western civilization, with its roots in the Greco-Latin and the Hebrew tradition, should not have developed its own approach to astrology. This Western civilization may very well be nearing the end of its cycle, and I feel that both the protesting Hippie youth and the technologically oriented young college-graduates are contributing to a new civilization. Ever since I was sixteen years old my life has been polarized by an irrevocable decision to serve in any way I could the forces building such a new civilization.

Thus I have no quarrel with any attempt at developing a true and really new "cosmobiology" or "cosmecology" on the basis of recent discoveries in astronomy, cosmic physics and such scientific approaches. But an "astrology for the individual person" is an altogether different type of study, even if, in time, it proves related to the former. As I see it, the first and immediate purpose of astrology is not to predict events in terms of statistical probability, but to bring to confused, eager, often distraught persons a message of order, of "form," of the meaning of individual life and individual struggles in the process of self-actualization. We live indeed in a new jungle, social as well as psychological; and, as our archaic ancestors faced by everyday dangers and uncertainty looked to the magnificent and ordered pageant of lights revealed by the night-sky, so we should, in our more abstract modern way, seek to discover in our own individual birth-sky and its progressive transformations a truly cosmic peace and certitude, regardless of outer chaos.

In closing may I stress the fact that in this book the word "personality" has not the negative or lower-level meaning that esotericists and New Thought people usually attach to it. I am using it as the philosopher Jan Smuts and the psychologist Carl Jung use it. Perhaps the following few sentences, which were included in the Prefaces of the first and second edition of this book, will make this point clear.

"Personality, in the largest sense, is the organic whole in which the physiological and the psycho-mental natures of man are progressively integrated. Therefore it represents the wholeness of the human being as a microcosm; man as a whole solar system operating on the background of, and in constant relationship to the zodiac or the galaxy. Astrology. . . is an art of life-interpretation and it provides us with a technique for the development and fulfillment of "personality." Its aim is to transform chaotic human nature into a microcosm. When man becomes truly a microcosm, he demonstrates personality to the fullest extent and manifests as a living Person, or as a great Personage. . . The goal of astrology is the alchemy of personality. It is to transform chaos into cosmos, collective human nature into individual and creative personality."

D. R.


The Astrology of Personality