THE URANUS-NEPTUNE POLARITY
There are many ways in which a detailed study of the trans-Saturnian planets can be undertaken, as they symbolize complex types of activities. These activities inevitably have a complex character because they have to meet the extremely varied forms of resistance to any radical process of transformation which a human being develops. Both Saturn and Jupiter, at the social, ethical, and religious level, and Mars and Venus at the level of most personal responses to the challenges of everyday life, operate on the principle of inertia; that is, of resistance to change. Established patterns of behavior (habits) and of feeling and thinking (such as psychological complexes) rarely allow for smooth transformation whenever the validity of fundamental beliefs, paradigms, or taken-for-granted scientific postulates is seriously questioned. To whatever is enthroned as "the good," the "better" appears as a potential if not actual enemy, and the most difficult decisions are those in which a man must choose between an unfamiliar better and the traditional good. The essential characteristic of man is that, consciously and deliberately, he may always become greater. This is human majesty (from the Latin major, meaning "greater"), and this capacity for progressive self-transformation — for giving of body and mind, should always be interpreted as processes of personal growth, expansion of consciousness, and spiritual development — even if these lead to what seem, for the mind unable to reach beyond Saturnian normality and Jupiterian concepts of ease and success, to be failure, illness, or death. Apparently negative results, when reinterpreted in terms of galactic consciousness and of the relationship between events on our dark planet and the evolution of the star representing an individual's essential being, will be understood to be cathartic, karma-neutralizing, and thus liberating factors in the total process of soul-evolution leading to eventual perfection and conscious participation in galactic activities.
As one studies the operations of the trans-Saturnian planets, one should first realize that Uranus and Neptune stand as polar opposites. It is also significant that the two centuries which witnessed their discovery have also opposite, yet in a sense complementary, historical meanings — the eighteenth century being characterized by its brilliant but abstract intellectuality, the nineteenth by its romantic emotionalism, and the chaotic upheavals resulting from the Industrial Revolution and the release of new and transforming energies, psychic as well as material. Briefly stated, Uranus is the prophet of individualism and of the social togetherness of self-determined "free" man. Neptune symbolizes the often compulsive and unrecognized pressure of collective factors and mass-movements upon the individual, a pressure which tends to dissolve the integrity of the personality into the oceanic currents of emotions or imprecise, universalistic utopian feelings aroused by fascinating visions or charismatic personalities.
Individual and Collective constitute two poles between which all existential wholes oscillate, each alternatively waxing and waning in strength.(1) Within the heliocosmic field of activity bounded by Saturn, the individual factor is stressed by Venus and Mars; the collective by Jupiter and Saturn, the social planets. In its most essential aspect, Venus represents the type of activity that builds the archetypal forms defining the individuality of particular systems — biological species or individualized human personalities.(2) At the level of the transformative process leading from the sense of being "I" to the steady realizing of the spiritual "We"-consciousness, Uranus releases the spiritual light that for a moment may bring illumination to the Saturn-bounded mind; and when that transcendental light becomes more steady, the liberated consciousness begins to perceive the outlines of vast, nonexclusive patterns of organization, which are Neptunian in character. As the power of Neptune increases, the dominance of the spiritual brotherhood over the individual participant also becomes stronger. Unanimity (literally, "one-soulhood") supersedes individuality (or majority rule) in all basic decisions of the group. As a result of such decisions, cosmic patterns (rather than laws) are established or put in operation, which refer to the galactic aspect of Pluto.
1. Cf. in Rudhyar's Astrology of Personality (New York: Doubleday Anchor, 1971). the Chapter "Individual, Collective and Creative"; also, with reference to the cycle of the zodiac and the seasons, The Pulse of Life (1942).
2. We are told by many true occultists that the spiritual seed of conscious and independent human selfhood was, as it were, sown upon the earth some eleven million years ago by great beings from Venus, the Kumaras — such a process corresponding in Greek mythology to the daring act of Prometheus, giver of the divine fire of self-consciousness to mankind.
Very often, when the trans-Saturnian planets begin to operate within the field of consciousness of man — whether of an individual person or a national-cultural organism — their operation at first takes on a destructive character. To speak in Jungian terms, they act in their "shadow" aspect. Uranus creates revolutionary upheavals in the psyche-mind, as "the contents of the unconscious" rush into the consciousness, overwhelming the protective barriers of common sense and rationality built by the ego, according to collective traditions. What, at the spiritual-galactic level, is the individually and consciously accepted unanimity of the Universal Brotherhood (the White Lodge) becomes the irrational, compulsive, and coercive power of a crowd, easily whipped into an emotional singleness of violent activity by a charismatic leader. At this shadow level, Uranus is the revolutionist, Neptune the mass-emotion he arouses, and Pluto the ruthlessness and cruelty of totalitarian or gang rule.
In the life of an individual struck by Uranian releases of galactic power, Neptune refers to the irruption of until-then unconscious, or repressed, ideas and impulses invading his consciousness, and in some instances causing an ecstatic state. The individual is thrown out of his normal cultural-rational state of mind by the Uranus impact, and he finds himself in a totally unfamiliar, perhaps frightening, perhaps exhilarating, psychic condition. In this state, his sense of "being I and only I" tends to dissolve into what he may interpret as cosmic consciousness. He seems to have reached the "unitive state" of which great mystics have spoken allegorically; or at least a high peak experience, such as the psychologist Maslow described.
The experience unfortunately does not last; and the individual usually finds himself once more sitting, perhaps bewildered and doubting of his sanity, within the familiar Saturnian ego-fortress. It is what happens then — how he interprets, or realizes in depth, the meaning of the transcendent experience — which gives it a constructive or temporarily destructive character. If the individual consciousness can assimilate the contents of the experience and, consciously or not, does not fear its reappearance, the experience should be eminently constructive. It can only be so if what it reveals can be referred to a philosophical world-view or a religious teaching enabling the individual to accept the possibility this revelatory experience is part of a legitimate process of spiritual unfoldment.
If the experience is understood to fit in a scheme which, even if unusual in terms of the lives of ordinary people, can be endowed with basic meaning and perhaps with great value, then it can be interpreted as — and therefore it becomes — a step on the Path of self-transformation. For this reason, as modern man is caught in a whirlpool of radically transformative forces, a frame of reference within which these forces can be given a constructive meaning is very much needed. It is in answer to such a need that this book has been written. Astrologers assign the constantly increasing upheavals affecting individuals, groups, and nations to Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, but most of them are unable to interpret these planets in terms of a realistic galactic frame of reference, because they do not understand the relationship between these three planets and the Galaxy. They believe them to be mere members of the solar system, as all the other planets are; they do not understand how the level of interpretation changes when the trans-Saturnian planets are considered "agents" of the Galaxy, and the Sun only one star among billions of other galactic stars.
Uranus is essentially the Awakener. Some three thousand years ago in ancient India, a group of Forest philosopher-mystics sounded a powerful call: "Awaken! Arise! and seek the Teacher."
Their subjective spiritual experiences had made them realize the identity of the individual self with the universal Self, of atman with Brahman; and they sought to share this realization with those who could be moved out of their traditional ruts by the belief that such a sharing was possible. Today, because astronomy enables us to see that our heliocosm (of which the Earth is a dark planetary component) is but a relatively small organic whole within the vastly greater cosmic whole of our Galaxy, we have in this fact a symbolic way to give a constructive meaning to traumatic experiences so frequent in the lives of modern individuals and nations. We can integrate these experiences within a rationally explainable and ordered process — a process which began with the many forms of Uranian awakening that aroused mankind to a new realization of the immense powers — galactic powers — latent within him.
What ancient Hindu seers envisioned and yogis sought to achieve by complex techniques of biopsychical control can now be given a new and cosmic formulation. An awakening to galactic consciousness is upon us. We can accept it and all its consequences, light or dark, according to an expanding astrology, provided we interpret what we have been awakened to see in terms of a frame of reference based on the concept of man's spiritual evolution from dark planet to radiant galactic star.
To be awakened by Uranus is not enough; we have to learn to use our true Neptunian perceptions. We have to go beyond the merely cogitative, analytical, and discursive mind, to the "seeing" mind. I have spoken of it as the clairthinking mind, the mind of the seer who can directly experience ideas, symbols, and archetypes that interpenetrate and whose scope is universal, or at the very least galactic. Faced by such galactic realities the consciousness can expand and realize perhaps not the identity of the individual self and the universal Self — for this may not necessarily be the ultimate fact of existence — but the interpenetration of all selves and all forms within an all-inclusive cosmic whole. This is the great Neptunian experience. Man must awaken spiritually as an individual; he has to be born "alone" into any new realm of existence and activity — even if surrounded by, to him, invisible presences assisting his emergence. But consciousness (literally, "knowing together"; con-scio) depends on interrelatedness. Conscious thinking requires some kind of language of symbols or images; and all languages are produced by communication between participants in group activity — even if the group is represented only by a pair of communicants.
Communication and all modes of information — from animal cries and gestures to the most complex forms of astrology and mathematics — imply at root group activity; and at the most metaphysical and universalistic level, the emergence of a new universe out of the undifferentiated and infinite "Ocean of potentiality" results from the operating of the cyclically developing relationship between the pair, Spirit and Matter, or in Chinese philosophy between Yang and Yin. At the level of the process of transformation which this book is studying, this relationship between the two ultimate principles of existence can be symbolized by the cyclic interactions of Uranus and Neptune. At the sociocultural level it is the relationship between inspired individuals (avatars, geniuses, heroes(3) and the social community out of which they have emerged. The character of this relationship becomes externalized by Pluto. The character of Pluto's activity is determined by the nature of the Uranus-Neptune relationship.
3. Cf. Rudhyar's Occult Preparations for a New Age (Quest Books, 1975), Chap. 8, "Two Polarities of the Spiritual Life,"
Pluto always tends to finalize and make irrevocable what Uranus began. It does this especially when, for some twenty years, Pluto comes closer to the Sun than Neptune — a period of "spiritual" fecundation of the collective Neptunian mentality; and we are now about to enter such a period. But "spiritual" here may mean destruction as well as construction; just as in Hindu mythology Siva is both transformer and destroyer, a symbol of the universal process of death-rebirth. If the Neptunian collective mentality of a society, class, or group has readily opened itself to the new vision provided by its creative personages (creative at one level or another), Pluto reveals a new center of integration vibrating with galactic consciousness and power. If Neptune has brought very little or nothing except fallacies, glamour, confusion, and degeneration, Pluto reduces everything to chaos, often after a more or less brief period of compulsive gang-like subservience to a darkly powerful and totalitarian leader.
Between these two extremes of spiritualization and decay, there are varied possibilities of Plutonian activity — as, for instance, the highly Plutonian Nixon administration and its debacle after Watergate. In its cathartic or disintegrative aspect, Pluto operates on the basis of the fear produced by Neptunian developments for instance, the social fear of Communism or the personal fear of illness or failure. This fear, as should be evident by now, is very often aroused by those forces that would use it for their own advantage.
Uranus: The Constructive Value of Inconsistency
The operation of the type of occurrences and of inner developments which can be characterized as Uranian can be further elucidated if we relate them to what is usually spoken of as "inconsistency." A series of events reveals a "consistent" trend (from the Latin con-sisto, meaning "standing together") when all these occurrences fit nicely together and none of them sharply points in a new direction. Likewise such a series is continuous when there is in it no break, no hiatus.
It has been said, however, that consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds; and this saying has often been used by minds thrown out of gears by emotional impulses to justify their changes of attitude or policy. As is the case with many words, inconsistency may have a positive as well as a rather negative or pejorative meaning. It should be evident that there are numerous instances in which a sudden (Uranian) break with a long-standing and taken-for-granted policy has a most constructive value, provided this break — this "solution of continuity" — is necessary. The reason why it is necessary does not need to be consciously perceived by the inconsistent actor or thinker; he may operate intuitively and/or spontaneously, and only later realize what justified the act or the thought — or even, in some cases, the feeling — appearing to be inconsistent with his previous behavior, thought-processes, or feelings. Justification here means that what seemed inconsistent seen from a narrow (Saturnian-Jupiterian) field of consciousness was actually relevant and logical when understood in terms of a larger frame of reference.
Every truly creative act implies some degree of discontinuity. It may mean, colloquially speaking, getting out of a rut. It may be called a mutation. Yet to the conservative, bound to an obsolescent tradition and refusing to recognize the necessity for basic changes, the creative, transforming act may seem inconsistent. It has been said that a conservative is a person who does not believe that anything ever happened for the first time. He fails to accept the fact that, within any particular cycle of growth, there must always be first times. There are always dawns which do not seem consistent with what had been known the evening before, because during the night some experience — most likely, unremembered by the waking consciousness — introduced an as-yet-unexperienced sense of contact with a greater reality or the realization of a wider, more inclusive purpose for living and acting.
What happens during the "night of consciousness" may seem during the day an incomprehensible mystery to a mind filled with social activities structured by collective traditional patterns; yet if the remembered inner occurrence can be seen in the light of the possibility of taking a step ahead in one's evolution, a new sense of order and meaning will gradually and inevitably emerge. A new orientation — i.e., a turning toward a new orient, a new dawn-point — will be experienced and the resistance of the past will be overcome. The Uranian inconsistency will be seen to be the prelude to, or the dawn of a new and higher consistency — a galactic consistency.
Such a discontinuous and perhaps sudden change of level may demand of the individual that he takes a steep step at the threshold of the new field of activity. Thus he may, because of fear, impatience, or spiritual ambition, miscalculate the height of the step and either fall unconscious across the threshold or even plunge into the abyss his unpreparedness opened to him.
Inconsistency can also be symbolized by a waterfall — a deep "solution of continuity" in the river's normal flow toward the sea. Such a discontinuous or inconsistent step nevertheless can be used by the engineer to generate electric power, bringing light to a city and enabling men to work consciously during what otherwise would have been nights of unconsciousness — thus perhaps making possible a step ahead in the development of man's collective mentality. Here we have a symbol of the transference of man's center of consciousness from the purely "natural" to the "mental-creative" levels of activity and consciousness — a symbol also of the descent of galactic power seeking to reach through Uranus the level of Earthbound consciousness in man. Uranus focalizes the power of the Galaxy, somewhat as a lens focuses the diffused energy of solar rays and generates an area of relatively intense heat in which combustible materials may be inflamed. The work of great geniuses, of men of heroic will, and of great avataric manifestations of the Divine will and purpose, essentially consists in becoming focusing agencies through which what constitutes at any time "the next step" for humanity becomes visible and fascinating.
This principle of focusing energy and of release of creative Words (logoi) is at the root of any mode of existence, whether at the macrocosmic or the microcosmic level. Modern physics has revealed to us that releases of energy do not occur continuously, but instead in small "packages" or quanta. Existence is cyclic and discontinuous, even though man is intent upon stressing its seeming continuity, because he fears the unknown and whatever challenges what his security-haunted ego forces his consciousness to accept as normality.
In Asia where the process of inwardly turned meditation is widely accepted as a means to self-transformation and the exorcising of the dark ego-will, much stress has been placed upon the fleeting moments that may occur between continuous and causally consistent trends of thought. These are the symbolical waterfalls in the flow of consciousness, the unexpected pauses in the melody of the thinking mind. It is through these very brief moments, some of which may seem "timeless," that the consciousness may free itself from bondage to the world of cause and effect and repetitive living. It is at these "holes" in the bread of life — holes produced by the "leaven" of spiritual contagion from teacher to pupil, even at times from lover to lover, or friend to friend — that the transformative energies of the Galaxy operate. They operate because only that which has become empty of lower nature's contents can resonate to the voice of the Galaxy. This voice sounds forth continuously through every cell of our being; because we indeed "live, move, and have our being" in galactic space. But we cannot hear, as long as our attention is totally turned toward the Sun, our lord and master. To be able to levitate toward our star, we have for an instant to neutralize solar gravitation. We need not go anywhere or generate any power. All the power we need is here. We have only to break our bondage to the lesser forms of gravitation — terrestrial and solar. This means, first of all, to stop believing in the inevitability of our subservience to these forms, to become inwardly still, and to let the vibrations of galactic space impress themselves upon our consciousness in their purity, their simplicity, their transcendence.
To let it happen: this is the key. We must let Uranus' invisible light become radiance within our silence. We must accept the discontinuity, the inconsistency, the paradoxes of spiritual existence. We must consent to be "waterfalls," even though it means being deeply bruised by the rocks and the shock of plumbing into the depth, because what in us falls may be redeemed into light and illumine the minds of all men. Uranus demands of us the sacrifice of the waterfall, and we must let it happen. This is the supreme inconsistency: that the noise and passion of the waterfall is, to galactic ears, the silence that the Divine at last can fecundate. At the core of the hurricane there is silence and stillness — and so it is at the heart of all crises truly accepted and welcome. Welcome to Uranus, the heart of all crises of transformation!
Neptune: The Deconditioner Dreamer of Great Dreams
Most people do not sufficiently realize how we are conditioned since birth by the scenes surrounding us, the feeling in the words we hear, the examples we instinctively imitate, the language necessary for our potential intelligence to develop, and all the explicit or implicit, consciously or unconsciously accepted traditions of our society. In order to free ourselves from this protean impact of our physical, emotional, psychic, and intellectual environment, we have to experience an often long, tedious, or catharic process of deconditioning. Neptune, which in one of its aspects represents the power of the collectivity over the individual, also symbolizes, in its higher aspect, the process of deconditioning. This may seem paradoxical but, as already stated, all spiritual processes involve paradoxes and the transmutation of a lower into higher order. Such a transmutation may result from a repudiation of — or, negatively, an escape from — what has conditioned us; but, as the Tantric way of life in part of India and Tibet taught, we may also consent to experience some of the conditioning factors in a non-egocentric and ritualized (i.e., impersonalized) manner, realizing that we only are totally free of anything when we are able to experience it without any personal attachment and motivation; for thus not only are we no longer its slave, but we also fully and existentially "know" its meaning and strength, having matched this strength with our own and having overcome its compulsions.
This Tantric process undoubtedly is dangerous, and it has led to wholesale failures. In order to succeed, it requires a powerful capacity to visualize the ideal, super-personal, and cosmic reality of what is behind the conditioning. It demands an outstanding and rarely found ability to see the whole in the part, the universal in the evolving particular, and to identify one's inner self and consciousness with the transcendent future even at the very moment one experiences the legacy of the past — accepting this past as a necessary prelude to the future and thus not shrinking from the experience because inwardly free from its binding power.
In order to identify one's consciousness with the future one must make a singularly powerful image of this future; or rather this image must be powerfully and ineradicably stamped upon the conscious mind by the power of the "greater whole" within which we live, move, and have our being. The stamping process often takes the form of a "great dream" — a dream which to the awakened consciousness has the character of a transcendent reality, a "divine" revelation. In this sense, Neptune refers to the great dreams of men who have not only envisioned, but have felt inwardly compelled to try to establish within, or at the fringe of our society what ordinary people often dismiss as "utopias." Yet such utopias, even though they may not withstand the pressures of the present-day society and the scorn of its sheep-like votaries or ambitious predators, are heralds of a more or less distant future. The great dreams of Neptunian visionaries become the reality of freer and more glorious tomorrows. They serve a potent purpose because mankind can never become what some men at least have not envisioned. Nothing can ever take place in concrete, actual reality that at least two or three men have not previously imagined and formulated in at least tentative outlines.
The Neptunian paradox is that freedom most often has to be reached through the experience of bondage — not apart from it. To put it differently: the higher collectivity is already implied, though latent and unrecognized, in the lower social group. The former operates in a freedom which actually transcends what at the social level we think of as freedom because it actually is a higher form of inevitability or necessity; while what today we call "freedom" is bondage to the dualistic world of alternatives between which the conscious mind and ego-will has to choose after hesitations and inner conflicts. The being who is truly free is he who is beyond choice, because having been totally and irrevocably identified with one way of life he simply cannot choose any other way. The Bodhisattva, who has reached a pure spiritual and all-encompassing state of consciousness, cannot not be compassionate. He is compassion. At a lower level of evolution, the dreamer of utopias whose life is totally consecrated to his great dream, must seek to actualize it. He has really no choice, because he has become the agent of the Neptunian dream. He is the dream-become-act. He is Mary having received the Annunciation; the avataric life within her womb could not be ignored or even less dismissed. Neptune is Mary — or mare, the sea. It is the human sea moved ineluctably by galactic winds of destiny. These play havoc with the Saturnian structures of "merely men," men caught in the pressures of the past determining what we call today, and unable to even dream of a "tomorrow that sings."(4)
4. This phrase, once famous, was uttered by a member of the French Underground just before being shot to death and defiantly proclaiming that his death would usher "les demains qui chantent."
Neptune was discovered when the Industrial Revolution had shown its power to transform simple peasants into proletariat whose lives since childhood had become blighted by wage-slavery. A few visionaries then began to dream utopian dreams of regenerated society pervaded by Christ-love. The dreams, in practically all cases, failed to become lasting realities, yet the vision remains and is now being revived in many ways; and, unsuccessful though it be, it remains and indeed is bound to multiply as a witness to the potentiality of galactic realizations in human natures. Nevertheless, there can be no concrete and lasting realization as long as the deconditioned process in individuals whose consciousness has become illumined by the Neptunian dream has not been thorough and irreversible. It is to this irreversibility that Pluto contributes. It may contribute to the purification in a fanatic and dictatorial manner, leading to one kind or another of totalitarianism; it may also lead to those deepest catharses following which there can be no return to the oppressive and egocentric past.
Neptune has been called the planet of ecstasy, for it refers to what seems to be man's never-ending yearning for that which can take him out of his limited, isolated self and his narrowly defined ego-stance (ex-stasis). The Neptunian path may lead us to the unitive state of the true mystic, in which all separating differentiations have ceased or have been forgotten, and all is — or seems to be — "one." Man wishes to forget so many things that bind, oppress, or weary him. He has found many ways of doing so. But to forget is not to be free from the temporarily forgotten pressure or solitude. All the drugs men have used since time immemorial, from alcohol to psychedelics, can only provide temporary surcease or illusory liberation. Wherever there is existence there must be duality. All life requires polarization. Unity is a "great dream," if we look for it in the manifested universe. Yet this dream is necessary to polarize and stimulate our existence, if we are to move, step by step, on the path to an ever-higher consciousness and reality — galactic, metagalactic, universal. The term universe is revealing, for it means "turned toward unity."
The use of the phrase "unity in diversity" has recently become widespread; it should really be "diversity seeking unity." The many are yearning for the state of oneness; but to speak of a state of oneness is to indulge in Neptunian illusion. All that man may reach is a consciousness of unity; dualism remains the actual fact, except perhaps at the most metaphysical level. In terms of existence, we should speak of wholeness, not of oneness. Life moves from lesser whole to greater whole, from atom and cells to man and galaxies; and this movement is illumined by the great dream of unity. For everything that moves, unity can only be a great dream, a nonconceptual concept, a "not this, not this. . . " Even Sankaracharya's most metaphysical system of philosophy spoke of the ultimate condition as advaita) which means "nondual" this is a negative statement. It signifies a dynamic urge to go beyond duality as duality is being experienced at any level of existence. What is implied is a summons to take a step ahead on the path to an ever-wider realization of the wholeness of universal being. No one can ever "reach" unity and remain one.
In this sense, unity is an "illusion" (from the Latin, ludo "I play") and the universe is the Play of Brahma, the Creative God. But Brahma is not unity; He is only a one — the immense One from whom our universe issued in its multiplicity. Nevertheless for whomsoever belongs to the realm of multiplicity, unity is the necessary illusion without which there could be no progress, no material or spiritual evolution. Without the incredibly varied forms of glamour which life presents to its living organisms, there could be no reaching beyond the narrow uncreative wholeness of the Saturn-ruled organic unit bound by skeleton and skin.
Life's most characteristic glamour is that of sex, or (in the widest sense of sex) of what we call love. Without this glamour, there could be no evolution. The glamour of human love and motherhood makes the perpetuation of the species possible. Neptune is the symbol of glamour — thus of the necessary accompaniment to the process of evolution from lesser to greater whole. What we call "compassion" is also glamour in its highest mode; for the great Compassionate Ones are beings who, having achieved the perfection of their cycles of existence — the threshold of Nirvana — are "glamourized" into refusing this Nirvana and identifying compassionately with the failures and waste products of the cycle. Thus a higher form of wholeness — a new universe along the spiral path without conceivable end — may be reached.
The glamour of Christhood! If Christ, as Rudolf Steiner claimed, was a "Solar Archangel," did He not come to redeem mankind and impregnate the Earth with the high vibration of His shed blood, in order that the transformation of Sun into galactic star may be accomplished and man may find his consciousness opened to the galactic dimension of existence?
We speak a great deal today of charisma. But what is this mysterious capacity some human beings have to impress and fascinate others if not the ability powerfully to evoke great images that inspire the imagination of people? I once spoke of Neptune as "evocator extraordinary." The Neptunian individual evokes images that have transforming power. Words can be images with transforming power; so are mutating seeds. The whole psychic life of a human being is involved in and moved by images. Modern psychology of the Jungian type — especially as developed by Ira Progoff, and even by Fritz Kunkel and Erik Berne — deals with psychic images. But there are all kinds of images: images that lull to sleep and to aimless dreaming, as well as images that stir to greater action and wider consciousness; images that intoxicate and may even madden the unwary, as well as reveal new forms of order or new values and feelings; images which are concentrates of woe or joy; images which dissolve the ego into the weary death of feelinglessness, or bring an ecstasy that heightens feeling to a pitch of creative intensity.
Our inner life is entirely dependent on images and symbols. Religion uses images as great myths to inspire collectivities; it is an integrated whole of images centered around a highly imaginative Founder whose "eidetic" consciousness is able to encompass the wholeness of existence from a standpoint as yet unattained by most human beings. Images, even more than ideas, rule the world; for, in order to achieve convincing power, a transformative idea has to become clothed in an imagery able to evoke in human beings the near-possibility of new and inspiring developments.
While the Saturnian type of intellectual consciousness deals with concepts linked by logic, the Neptunian type of consciousness is "eidetic" because it is based on often a-logical, and perhaps irrational, sequences of images — images that interpenetrate, images of the dream state, or the state between waking and sleeping. A few modern psychologists make a significant use of "reves eveilles" (waking dreams) which unfold in a state bordering the waking consciousness — a state in which images flow of their own momentum, yet can respond to external or conscious guidance. Such a state is typically Neptunian in its open-endedness and often its confusion and formlessness.
Astrology can also be used in a similar manner, using the birth chart as a means to evoke images in the mind of the person to whom it refers — as Dr. Raaum has done with significant success.(5)
5. One of the strange ideas carelessly accepted by most present-day astrologers is that astrology is ruled by the planet Uranus. Considering the sudden, violent character of Uranian upheavals, such a rulership seems totally unwarranted; while the rather confused and imprecise — because vast and all-inclusive — nature of astrological concepts and symbols, plus the glamourous fascination they so often exert upon the idealistic and aspiring person, fit very well the character of Neptune.
What happened was that people somehow confused the Muse, Urania, to whom astronomy was attributed, with the great god, Ouranos who was the symbol of undifferentiated and universal space before the appearance of Saturn and Jupiter, who dethroned him. The modern Uranus has no direct relationship with the mythological Ouranos — unless we associated Ouranos with the Galaxy, of which, Uranus is only an agent. Yet such an association would betray the essential meaning of the Greek cosmological myth.
Asiatic techniques of meditation often use those complex yet centered images called mandalas in order to stimulate the process of personal integration. The Tarot cards have served similar purposes, evoking archetypal images which have universal meaning for human beings. The Sabian Symbols in astrology constitute a cyclic series of more modern images which can be referred to the factors found in a birth chart, or used as oracular means in a way similar to that offered by the ancient Chinese I Ching.(6)
6. Cf. Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformation and Its 360 Symbolical Phases (New York: Random House, 1973, hardbound and paperback).
To the man living within a sphere of activity totally bound by Saturn and animated by the energies of Jupiter and Mars — with their inner life polarities, Mercury and Venus — the images evoked by Neptune are a constant challenge to transformation and to the realization of ego — and tradition-transcending values. It is often a subtle challenge whenever Neptunian glamour meets Venusian magnetic attraction, or any Mercurial play with familiar concepts and memories. While the action of Uranus' forces can be referred to "solutions of continuities" and "waterfalls" in the flow of our feelings, thoughts, and behavior, what Neptune evokes is the deep-seated longing for, yet also the awe-inspiring experience of the sea.
All rivers lead to the sea. Everything returns to the vast impassive expanse of oceanic being. We long for this kind of return, once we are no longer yearning for a return to our mother's womb. It may be the same deep desire of the individualized consciousness and the much battered and alienated ego, but it is desire at two widely different levels, and it is unwise to reduce the former to the latter. If we do it, as a reductionistic type of psychology has done with unfortunate results for a couple of generations of Western individuals, it is because we have refused to accept the possibility of rising above the level of a disintegrating and fundamentally disruptive society that proclaimed in words Neptunian ideals which it disregarded in everyday practice — a society rather well symbolized today by the tragicomedy of Watergate, duplicating any number of similar, though less publicized forms of hypocritical behavior.
It is against such situations that Pluto acts with relentless vigor; and it seems to do so particularly well when — as it does today Pluto matches Neptune's speed in the solar system and penetrates Neptune's orbit, causing havoc with glamour and myths — even perhaps the glamour of living and the myth of death.
The Sun is Also a Star