A TRANSPHYSICAL APPROACH TO THE GALAXY
In order to understand the full implications of what is here called a galactic approach to astrology — and by extension to psychology and the many forms of social organization — we have to return to the concept of a dialectic sequence of three great evolutionary periods in the development of consciousness: the archaic, the classical, and the holarchic periods. We are witnessing today mankind's slow and hesitant passage from the classical to the holarchic stage of consciousness; and it is as disturbing a process as that which transformed the archaic and early tribal type of awareness and approach to Nature into an individualistic and rationalistic consciousness, centered around the feeling-experience of being "I."
This transformation is far from being universally achieved, especially in its positive aspect, and it has produced a peculiar and inherently tragic cleavage between what is regarded as a higher and lower development of the potential of consciousness innate in every human being. The ideas expressed in this book and in several of my previous works open up the possibility of healing such a cleavage without implying the necessity of returning to the archaic attitude of man toward life and the instinctual biopsychic energies operating at the level of the biosphere.
In his archaic state of consciousness — whatever may be the physical and social facts of existence related to it — primitive man is enfolded by what, at a later period, will be called "Nature." He exists within the biospheric womb of the Earth-mother, moved by her life-rhythms to which his inner psychic being is just as closely attuned as his physical body. Man is able to survive because of a remarkable capacity for adaptation due to such physical factors as special hands, an erect spine, and a particularly sensitive nervous system. He also has even at that early stage, a mind capable of relating experienced facts, or generalizing from those facts, and, by means of symbolic gestures and sounds, of communicating his experiences to other human beings. He is endowed — perhaps uniquely — with the ability to interpret what he perceives in terms of some frame of reference from which he derives a sense of order.
Any concept of order arises either out of the interpretation of a deep and lasting feeling of order in the sequence of experienced events, or as a psychically necessary compensation for what at first seems to be unrelated, disordered, and unexplainable sequences of events. As primitive man was faced with what appeared to him as two basic realms of events — events which took place on an Earth of which he could only experience small and seemingly flat areas, and events of a totally different character which occurred on the dome of the sky — he came to the inevitable conclusion that in actual fact there were two worlds: the obscure and damp realm of jungles, forests, or swamps filled with unpredictable dangers, and the realm of the sky in which points and discs of light moved regularly and predictably on the mysterious background of the empty darkness of celestial space.
Considering what we know of the conditions prevailing on the Earth's surface, when mankind developed at a more-than-animal level of consciousness some millions of years ago, it is evident that man's first and most basic feeling-experience was one of almost complete subservience to the Earth-mother and to her energies in which he bodily shared. He felt the impact and inner compulsion of these life energies directly and forcefully, and he was swayed by their dark power. Yet whether it was when the deep fogs surrounding the flat Earth lifted, or when groups of men began to live in the open spaces of semi-desertic regions through which great rivers — the Nile, the Euphrates, the Ganges, the Yellow River of China — flowed, a moment came when the contemplation of the clear sky and the study of celestial motions assumed a basic importance, particularly in terms of agriculture and cattle raising. This sky had two aspects: a day aspect and a night aspect. The Sun totally dominated the former, while the latter revealed the movements of the Moon and the stars. Some of these stars became known as "planets" (meaning, wanderers) because of their erratic movements; others were eventually called "fixed," not because they did not move nightly and seasonally, but because they kept fixed distances between them.
Because the Sun appeared to be the source of heat and of light, capable of raising crops from the soil in the annual miracle of the rebirth of vegetation, this Sun became the central figure in the world of the sky. At the same time, the human male was taking an increasingly dominant role in tribal life, not only because of his muscular strength, but because of his ability to discover new ways of living, new processes in agriculture and in warfare. Such achievements very likely caused some especially gifted men to feel superior and different. This superiority and difference was at first interpreted as due to their being in "special" communication either with the life energies of the Earth-mother, or with celestial gods — or (in some societies) as being direct descendants of gods having long ago incarnated as men.
Eventually, when the Sun was worshipped as ruler of the sky and "Father" of celestial gods who had become related to the path upon which he journeyed each year through the sky, the zodiac, the concept of a "solar hero," developed. The solar hero was a man who had become like the Sun in his life and his deeds. As the Sun was the center of all the activities belonging to the conscious aspect of life — the day period — so the man who in his community was radiant and creative like a Sun could feel himself, and was venerated by others, as the center of the day activities of his social world. He occupied a unique role; he was the "one and only" Sun — at least while he lived. He assumed the role of Father to the tribe which he may have saved from disaster. From patriarchal ruler of a small tribe, he eventually became a godlike king around whom a complex society and its culture revolved. Eventually, the privileges once reserved for the solar hero or king were assumed to be the birthrights of every man. "Every man a king" was the political motto of a famous American demagogue. Tribal man had become transformed into an individual person, theoretically responsible, self-motivated, and centered in consciousness around an "inner Ruler."
What is implied in this process of individualization is the spread of the concept of centrality. This concept has been given many forms, religious, psychological, social. In the Orient, it became symbolized and pictured in the mandala. But the mandala as a symbol of human integration can be traced to the idea of the universal king, the Chakravartin, the ideal monarch before whom all lesser kings have to bow, and for whom mankind was a vast mandala of which he was the all-conquering, all-integrating and perfectly just, center.(1) It is on this concept that the Classical approach to existence and to the universe is based; and this approach found its expression in the heliocentric system — one radiant central Sun around which a group of dark planets revolve, reflecting as best they can its multifarious power.
1. Cf. Heinrich Zimmer, Philosophies of India (New York: Meridian Books), pp. 127-139.
The development of a heliocentric system and the growth of individualism in the Western world were synchronous processes. They were made possible by a special kind of development of the mind. Intellectual faculties of observation and analysis, plus a degree of inventiveness and skill, were required to make a clear and convincing heliocentric picture of the universe. Likewise, an active mind and the particular type of language it had built were needed in order to formulate, justify, and generalize the first intuitions (or feeling-experiences) of the existence in us of a centralizing and sustaining self to which every sensation, feeling, and thought-process could be referred.
The moment one speaks of "center" one is faced with new problems: What is the nature of the contents of the circle implied in the idea of center? What kind of center is it? The hub of a wheel is also a center, but, in a sense, it refers to empty space. On the other hand, according to the heliocentric theory, the center of the solar system is an enormous mass of energy-matter, dwarfing the size of the other components of the system. Unlike the central solar masses, these components are dark material globes. Thus such a picture of the solar system can be used symbolically to characterize and unconsciously to justify groups of entities in which the central one possesses most of the power of the group and radiates it upon the others who are deprived of power and totally subjected to the attraction of the massive and glowing center. Translated to the language of social organization, the heliocentric system justifies any totalitarian grouping, even though it implies that the central individual should be a beneficent paternalistic autocrat!
The reader might protest that the solar system is actually what the modern astronomer has pictured, after an enormous amount of careful measurements. However this is not a valid objection, because this astronomical picture owes its existence to the astronomer, who is a human being endowed with senses of a particular type, with a mind able to invent a particular kind of material instrument providing a certain type of data which he systematizes according to a certain basic assumption or postulate. Any living being is faced with a universe that answers to his need as an evolving organized system of consciousness and material energy. The Copernican Revolution came at the exact time when Renaissance man was developing a new type of individualistic self-assertion, and large human collectivities were being ruthlessly organized into national states dominated by powerful kings who "by divine right" possessed the entire country upon which they autocratically ruled.
This is why I called that stage in the evolution of human consciousness the classical period. It was dominated by twin concepts: centrality and rationality. These concepts were presumably developed during the classical period of Greek culture some twenty-five centuries ago, with probable antecedents in the short-lived reform of the Egyptian pharaoh, Akhnaton, and in the also actually short-lived experience of Moses, whose initial vision of God as the "I am that I am" was apparently at once deviated so as to adjust to tribal conditions which the vision could not supplant (no more than Woodrow Wilson's dream of world peace through international union could supplant the old patterns of national sovereignty and cultural pride).
With very few exceptions, centrality still means for human minds a concentration of power at the center; and such a concentration of power at the social-political level (or at the psychological level of will) in most cases produces drastic and often tragic results. As to the concept of "rationality," it is usually identified with an Aristotelian type of logic based on the principle of exclusion (no two objects can occupy the same place at the same time) and on the premise that the laws of our material universe apply everywhere at all times independently of who the observer is. Some aspects of these two principles have been developed much further by European thinkers from the fifteenth to the twentieth centuries; but recently new concepts have begun to undermine some of the old premises or paradigms. Still, the intellectual framework which these produced remains standing with an official stamp of authority, for the simple reason that it is still needed by human beings, having pushed to an extreme along materialistic lines the concept of individualism and individual rights.
What I am attempting to do here is to transform the concept of centrality by introducing a new one, that of galacticity. Properly defined in terms of a true fourth dimension whose keynote (as already stated) is interpenetration, this new concept would also transform the special kind of rationalism which our Western civilization has produced. Why the term "galacticity"? Because the emerging picture of our Galaxy, if interpreted in a new way, could provide us with a symbolic celestial representation of a type of human organization which is also beginning to emerge in the consciousness of a few future-oriented and truly creative thinkers — just as the picture of the heliocentric system provided classical cultures with an appropriate symbol of the higher possibilities of a paternalistic totalitarian type of religious and sociopolitical-cultural organization.
As already indicated, the transition from centrality to galacticity can be made by realizing that our Sun is also one of billions of stars within the Galaxy. This is the key realization. When man's proud and possessive feeling of "being I" — a feeling which seeks to perpetuate and reproduce itself by any available means gives way to the realization that this "I" is but one of a multitude of component parts within the "greater whole" of humanity; when, moreover, man's consciousness begins to operate in terms of concepts related to "light," rather than of the material values associated with existence on dark planets — then, the transition can be successfully made. It will lead man's consciousness from the third-dimensional realm of planetary materiality to a fourth-dimensional space in which all light-centers interpenetrate. It will lead to the truly holistic and hierarchic (thus "holarchic") stage of human evolution.
Modern astronomy as yet knows very little about the constitution of the Galaxy as a whole. The larger stars we see with the naked eye are relatively close to our solar system in terms of astronomical distances. Clouds of dark matter apparently hide from our sight the core of the Galaxy which is located in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius. Interpreted in terms of geocentric longitude, the galactic center at present is located at Sagittarius 26°30'. Astronomers nevertheless have deduced from long and careful observations that the Galaxy is a spiral system of stars and star-groups. It also contains vast "clouds" of hydrogen and many other substances scattered through the immense field of activity it covers. This galactic spiral seems to have five arms (a significant number in view of the archetypal meaning of No.5 which refers to mental-spiritual processes) and the solar system is at the inner edge of the Orion arm, the third one from the core of the Galaxy. The Sun is about 27,000 or more light-years from that galactic core (a light-year corresponds, in terms of distance, to about 5.8 trillion miles). The diameter of the whole Galaxy is now estimated to be more than 100,000 light-years; and the Sun appears to revolve around the galactic "center" — whatever it be — in 200 millions of our earthly years, though the exact path it is following is as yet not determined. It is moving in the direction of the constellation Hercules; and its motion at present points to what, in geocentric celestial longitude, is a point at 2°06' of Capricorn.(2)
2. Cf. Dr. Theodor Landscheidt, Cosmic Cybernetics (Aalen, Germany: 1973)
From this particular position inside of the Galaxy and far away from its center, it is extremely difficult for man to make a clear picture of this vast cosmic whole of which our solar system is a very small part. We can only perceive with any degree of clarity whatever is contained within a relatively very small section of the whole in which, in actual and concrete fact, we "live, move and have our being." The following sketch will give a general idea of the structure of the Galaxy as we are able to imagine it at present. What we know of the Galaxy constitutes only a very small area around the Sun. The star closest to our solar system, Alpha Centaurus, is 4 light-years (over 25 trillions of miles) distant from us.
The general spiralic form of our Galaxy is not a unique occurrence in the cosmos. There may be in our universe billions of star-systems, also confusingly named galaxies, though the word "Galaxy" (literally meaning "Milky Way") should be reserved to the "island universe" of which our solar system is a part. One of them, the Andromeda galaxy, is larger than ours, and is turned toward us in such a way that we can get a most beautiful picture of its overall structure, which presumably resembles ours. It is assumed that its distance from us is from 1,600,000 to 2,500,000 light-years; but we are now able to detect the presence of star-systems at least two-hundred times further away.
Perspective View of the Galaxy, The "Auric Egg" of the Galaxy.
Our Sun is in the third arm at about 30,000 light-years from the center. (Orion Arm)
Astronomy by Donald H. Menzel (New York: Random House)
Star-systems occur in what astronomers call "clusters." Our Galaxy is part of a small cluster of seventeen such star systems, the Galaxy and the Andromeda system being diametrically opposed within an elliptical space whose longest apsis must have a length corresponding to 2 million or more light-years. Much more "populated" clusters of perhaps one thousand members have been discovered within many sections of the sky but incredibly farther away than the stars ordinarily associated with the traditional constellations. A cluster in the constellation Ursus Major is 700 million light-years away from us, and more distant ones are being discovered.
Such distances hardly make any sense; they can be conceived only as numerical abstractions. It is true that they can be reduced to a more understandable size, and all books attempting to popularize the recent discoveries of astronomers have done so, but this procedure does not solve the real problem which is: What do we mean by distance? Put differently, the question becomes even more significant: What do we mean by space?
In my book The Planetarization of Consciousness(3) I stated that we can only truly understand space in terms of relationship. The concept of space is abstracted from the actual experience of relationship. Two objects that are related appear to be in space, in the sense that they are at some distance from each other. This is why the principle of exclusion in classical logic states that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time. If there are two coexisting physical objects there must be space between them, however infinitesimally small the distance between them may be. An infinitely extensive space is required to account for an infinite number of relationships. Conversely, if there are no relationships — that is, if the universe is in a state of absolute unity ("one without a second" as the Hindu Vedanta describes Brahman) — space is reduced to the mathematical point, a point without dimension.
3. Published in 1971, and now in a paperback edition (Harper and Row, N.Y.).
Space therefore should be thought of as oscillating between a limited state of infinite extension and one of no-dimensionality, the mathematical point. In theory, neither state can ever be reached; just as in Chinese philosophy, Yang never completely overpowers Yin; or Yin, Yang. To say this, however, does not imply that space is the expression of one and only one kind of relationship. This is where the concept of multidimensionality comes in. One-dimensional space refers to a particular type of relatedness — that is, to linear relationships. Two-dimensional space refers to relationships having length and width; three-dimensional space, to the kind of relationships which we interpret as occurring among objects, persons, and other physically material entities. A true four-dimensional space would refer to relationships associating entities that exist in a transphysical state of materiality. In this state, all entities essentially "interpenetrate."
The concept of interpenetration can be illustrated in several ways. Think of the experience of hearing music performed by a symphony orchestra whose players are hidden from sight. If, as trained musicians, we know that the orchestral sounds come from various instruments constituting physically separate sources thus existing in physical space — we can identify the tones of trumpets, violins, flutes, or timpani. Yet what our ears actually and directly perceive is a series of complex sounds. At any moment of the performance only one sound reaches our auditory center, complex as that sound may be. It is a compound tone in which a number of sound waves — of fundamentals, overtones, and beat-tones — blend in a unified sensation. In other words, the tones produced by the many instruments of the orchestra interpenetrate. They are related in a four-dimensional state in which, to the ear that perceives them, there is no distance in terms of physical extension. If a sensation of distance is produced in the consciousness of the hearer, it is because of the stereo effect produced by the fact that he has two ears, or because he has learned intellectually to separate the different qualities of the components of the compound tone he hears.
A scientist-philosopher, Donald Hatch Andrews, a few years ago wrote a book entitled The Symphony of Life (Lee Summit, Mo.: Unity Books, 1966) in which he stated that "the universe is composed not of matter, but of music"; and the great physicist, Erwin Schrodinger, ended his oft-quoted small volume, What Is Life? by the challenging statement that what we know of the universe gives it the character of mind rather than that of what we traditionally understand as matter. Schrodinger also stresses the fact that what we actually observe is "form" (gestalt) and that "the habit of everyday language deceives us when it makes us believe that form must be the shape or form of something" and "that a material substratum is required to take on a shape" (Science and Humanism [Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1952], p. 21).
Following such a trend of thought, could we not say that space is relationship, or more precisely, the state of relatedness; and that we need not think of "entities" being related "in" space? Rather it is space that, by vibrating, produces what appear to our consciousness as entities. These entities — including human beings, with their feeling of centrality and individuality — are the results of interferences produced by the interplay of "space-vibrations." Thus, one may consider material entities not as "things" that vibrate "in" space, but as the products of the immensely complex vibratory state of space itself. Because the interplay of these space-vibrations occurs at various vibratory levels — each level referring to a characteristic mode of relatedness — we generally speak of three fundamental levels or modes of relatedness, which we call matter, mind, and spirit. Matter, mind, and spirit are the three most characteristic modes of existence traditionally conceived by our human consciousness. It may be that man can only imagine these three essential modes, immensely varied though their manifestations actually are.
It has been said that architecture is frozen music. In a similar sense, one could state that matter is "frozen" mind. In one of its main aspects, mind is matter-oriented; it is close to its freezing point. In another aspect, it is spirit-oriented and reaching to a state of incandescence or, as is traditionally said, "illumined." To man's consciousness spirit manifests as light. Light is a mode of vibration of space, and for man's consciousness it represents or symbolizes the state of relatedness which we call spirit.
Spirit is the state of "perfect relatedness."(4) The consciousness illumined by spirit "sees" the entire universe as all-encompassing Harmony — as a perfect Chord in which all vibrations blend. In this Chord space is "fulfilled" as a pleroma of vibrations. It is also a plenitude of consciousness, for consciousness is another term for relatedness. Where there is relationship, there also is consciousness; and as there are levels of relationship, there are also levels of consciousness — material, mental, and spiritual.
4. Tantric Hindu philosophy refers to the ultimate human achievement as the "Perfect Experience" — in Sanskrit, Purna (d. the well-known books of Sir John Woodroffe on the tantra).
In the same sense, we should think of "form" at three basic levels of existence or perception: in terms of matter (material bodies); of mind ("concepts" which are abstractions of data of experience in the world of matter, and "ideas" which reflect conditions existing at the level of spirit-relatedness); and of spirit the principle of form at the level of spirit operating in terms of what human consciousness calls Archetypes, Numbers, Platonic Ideas, etc.
The reader may regard the foregoing as purely metaphysical speculation. But any culture is based upon such metaphysical ideas. There can be no radical transformation of long taken-for granted ideas and mental pictures or basic feelings — like the feeling of being an isolated, self-sufficient, and irreducible "I" — unless new metaphysical concepts are born within a spiritually illumined consciousness. They arise as deep intuitive realizations of the imperative need to transcend the institutionalized pattern of the collective mentality characteristic of a society that has reached its autumnal phase of disintegration. These intuitions, or seed ideas, must be given a consistent, and — at least for minds that are open and eager for new light — convincing, mental formulation. All the new cosmological theories of modern astrophysics are essentially metaphysical formulations, even though they are anchored, often precariously and always uncertainly, upon the "facts" revealed by our even more complex and far-seeing instruments. What is needed today in our scientific age is a transphysical rather than a strictly metaphysical formulation.
Astrology itself has no basically valid meaning except as the practical application of an implied metaphysics. Unfortunately the ordinary astrologer is as unaware of, or uninterested in such a metaphysical foundation as the ordinary college-graduated technician is aware of, and interested in the metaphysical concepts of scientifically oriented philosophers and of the new group of "philosophers of science." Even those serious astrologers who are most eager to be of help to their clients, are often not deeply concerned with the questions of what astrology really implies, why it works, and how its use might psychologically affect the users. Again, they do not differ in this from technologists intent on making their inventions ever more effective, with no great concern as to what use their society will make of them — even, in fact, when it is quite evident that, in this present state of society, the invention will be used for destructive purposes.
As traditional astrology in most instances deals with events referring to the relationship between human beings acting on a material environment, it operates at the level where planets move as dark and solid masses of matter within what we picture as the heliocentric system. Even the central Sun at that level is seen as a mass of matter in a state of extreme heat which makes it a source of intense radiations. These radiations are interpreted as "particles" (photons), though they also ambiguously appear to behave as "waves." This ambivalence can be related to the double character of "Sun" and "star."
This dualism provides us with a symbolic key to a clear understanding of the possibility of raising our consciousness of what constitutes reality from the level of centralized materiality to that of galacticity. It tells us symbolically what is the next step in this process of transcendence (I do not use the term transcendence in an absolute sense — as when the Christian philosopher speaks of God as "the absolute Other" and establishes an absolute separation between God the Creator and man the creature — but only as meaning a "stepping through" the long-accepted but no longer exclusively acceptable limitations of the state of physicality).
It seems logical and indeed inevitable symbolically to associate the transphysical level of consciousness with the concept of galacticity, because the Galaxy now presents to man's mind the new challenge to its capacity for cosmic imagining. But this challenge is not met when we consider galactic stars in the same (at least relatively) materialistic way in which astronomy pictures our Sun.
The two conditions of "Sun" and "star" should not be approached by our minds as if they existed at the same level. When man's mind is hypnotized by the physicality of his dark, unradiating planetary environment, he can only picture the Sun as a physical mass of extremely hot matter, and its power as resulting from nuclear reactions which we seem able to duplicate.
If we insist on remaining at the level of dark planets in need of a centralizing source of cosmic energy we may assume that this astrophysical picture is "true" — or, we should better say, adequate or valid. Still we should accept at least the possibility that the Sun, as a star participating in the vast wholeness of the Galaxy, operates at another level of existence where physical matter becomes transsubstantiated into music and mind. The rationale for such a transsubstantiation is to be found in the concept of space which has been outlined in the simplest terms in the preceding pages.
The Galaxy, according to this transphysical picture, is conceived as a pleroma of light-forms produced by the interplay of space-vibrations. The stars are the "children" of space itself, when space is set in whirling motion. They are condensations of light-space — or spirit — in formal relationship to each other. It is a formal relationship which, as I see it, does not obey the principles of centrality and rationality or exclusion. By this I mean that the galactic center is not occupied by an enormous mass of matter like a super-Sun, but could be better compared to the hub of a wheel. At the galactic core the cosmic force which in our physical world of dark planets we call gravitation — or its galactic analogue — must be condensed or concentrated. At this core, which may be what recently astronomers have thought of as a "white hole," spirit may surge outward from a higher dimension or possibly another universe.
This does not mean that the astronomers' tentative picture of the Galaxy and of clusters of various types of galactic star-systems is not valid. Theirs is an interpretation of what they perceive, when they carefully analyze the different testimonies of their instruments. But we can also interpret the facts as referring to the materialized reflection of "forms of vibratory relationship," forms that at the galactic level have a character transcending the nature of the relationships between each of the physical entities we observe at our planetary Earth-level of existence.
It will probably be said that if our consciousness is not able to operate at the level of "galacticity," it is useless for us to think in terms basically foreign to our awareness of "materiality"; but if this were a valid objection, then there would be no sense for men ever to proclaim ideals which we expect to act as determinants in our individual or collective living. There would then be no sense in any religious beliefs.
Archaic man interpreted the stars as the radiant bodies of gods. Modern scientists think of them as enormous masses of matter in the plasma state, within which unimaginably powerful chemico-atomic reactions take place. Each picture fits the particular level of the collective consciousness of the men who believe it to be "true." Each picture is adequate in terms of the collective human need which it is meant to answer. In a classical culture (especially in our classical European culture) men who, for a long time, had their collective mentality utterly conditioned by religious dogmas based on some assumed divine revelation, reacted to such a conditioning by developing a more analytical, objective, or empirical kind of mind. The nature of that mind made it especially apt at dealing with the world in terms of "materiality." It also produced, or was associated in man with a deeply stirring feeling of "centrality." As a result man increasingly operated in terms of egocentric impulses which he socially idealized as inborn rights, and justified as evidence of an immanent "divine" center, theoretically able to rule over the disparate elements of a personality torn between powerful biophysical instincts (or psychic urges) and what remained of his religious beliefs in gods or God. This is still the human situation today, except in relatively rare instances.
Idealizations, rationalizations, and transcendent justifications belong to the realm of "myths"; and myths are essential to the development of human consciousness, just as utopias are indispensable factors in the growth of man's social consciousness. Mankind can only become what a few visionary individuals have been able to envision, what they presented as fascinating ideals pervaded with charisma, and perhaps at least in some cases, what these men's lives actually demonstrated to be possible in the "here and now."
It is in the light of the preceding statements that we have to reconsider much of what astrophysics presents to us as facts. They are facts in terms of our belief in the physicality of the star-realm; but facts only relative to the type of outer events our limited material senses can perceive directly or with our instruments' help. Because man has an inherent need for order as a basis for a sense of security, our minds, obsessed with the concept of physical materiality and eager to make entities out of what he observes, build a cosmic type of order on the basis of cosmic "constants." The speed of light, the force of gravitation, the speed of some atomic processes, the red shift in the light-spectrum of distant star-systems,(5) are some of these constants. We believe in their constancy throughout universal space and at any conceivable time. Such a belief is certainly a "myth"; yet this does not mean, I repeat, that it is not "true" relative to our present level of consciousness. It simply means that this belief represents an ideal which, at our present level of evolution, most human beings are compelled to accept as valid and necessary in order to feel secure. Any concept which upsets that belief menaces our sense of security — of universal "law and order" — and is at once called irrational and revolutionary.
5. As the distance of a fast-moving object from an observer increases, the frequency of the sound or light vibrations emitted by that object appears to decrease. If we study the spectrum of the light of a star receding from us, we find that the characteristic lines of a few typical chemical elements (for instance, hydrogen) — in comparison to those of the light from a known laboratory source — are shifted toward the lower-frequency red end of the spectrum. This is what is called the red-shift. The faster the speed of the receding star, the farther it is from us.
Unfortunately for modern man's sense of security, the science in which our Western mentality placed its faith when the old medieval system of religiously revealed truths began to collapse, has now produced a picture of the universe which is increasingly upsetting because it seems to expand our world in an increasingly unimaginable way, in relation to both the nearly infinitely small and nearly infinitely large. Could it be that such near infinitudes result from the fact that once we leave the realm of planetary materiality and solar centrality we can no longer significantly conceptualize our previously observed data in terms of the universal constants we still doggedly believe in? Could it be that, if we could operate at what I call the galactic level, we would not deal with infinitely vast distances in the space of physicality, because we would now be thinking and functioning in the space of galacticity — and also in galactic time, the time of the greater Whole in which we merely are very small existential wholes?
"Could it be?" Of course this is a hypothesis; we cannot be sure, unless in some manner man's consciousness can emerge upon the plane of galactic being, or at least resonate to (or reflect) the type of consciousness associated with the kind of relatedness constituting galactic existence. If such a hypothesis can be made to act as a factor impelling us to proceed more consistently and securely on the Path, that, after many radical transformations, will lead us to the galactic level of consciousness, it becomes a myth. It exerts a fascination upon our minds. It compels our consciousness to expand from the sphere of physicality to the four-dimensional space of galacticity, from planetary darkness to stellar radiancy of light.
It is a myth, just as man's belief in gods — or in God — is a myth; yet this myth has been and remains indispensable because it has been driving human beings to an often heroic transcendence of their physical limitations and their Saturnian egos. In so doing, man has realized his essential nature as a human being. What I am trying to say in this book is that mankind today apparently needs such a galactic myth; and the popularity and extraordinary spread of astrology, even at its lowest level of validity, bears witness to the existence of such a need. If we understand what the need is; if we can truly meet it by a convincing analysis of what it is that man's consciousness must now transcend — the concepts of physicality, centrality, rationality, and egocentrically interpreted freedom and equality — then the facts revealed by astrophysicists may be so transfigured and transsubstantiated that out of them an inspiring picture of the Galaxy may gradually emerge. This picture, evoked by the image-making faculty of a few seers and "imagineers,"(6) may inspire new generations to achieve a radical transformation of consciousness and of society.
6. This word "imagineer" — a combination of "image" and "engineer" — was coined during World War II by a perceptive Californian newspaper writer, whose name I have forgotten.
The Sun is Also a Star