Today I would like to share with you some thoughts on 3 basic questions regarding astrology:
1. what do we mean by Astrological archetype?
2. what is the relation between astrology and free will?
3. why does astrology work?
I would like to do it using the words of a great astrologer: Richard Tarnas. I will therefore summarize some of his thoughts about this three issues.
1. First, what is an astrological archetype?
An archetype is a universal principle that affects human experience: astrology is based on the idea of archetypes. As an example, the moon represent the archetype of the Mother: the emotional world and the experience of caring for other people and be taken care of; Jupiter represents growth, development, prosperity, wisdom, faith, optimism; Saturn represents the archetype of the Father or the Old Man: rules, authority, boundaries, stability, search for security and continuity, serch for recognition.
An astrology basic principle is that the archetypes represented by the the 10/12 “planets” and the 12 signes operate in everybody’s life in different ways depending on who their natal chart is designed.
In Tarnas words “Archetypes can be understood and described in many ways, and in fact much of the history of Western thought from Plato and Aristotle onward has been concerned with this very question. But for our present purposes, we can define an archetype as a universal principle or force that affects–impels, structures, permeates–the human psyche and human behavior on many levels. One can think of them as primordial instincts, as Freud did, or as transcendent first principles as Plato did, or as gods of the psyche as James Hillman does. Archetypes (for example, Venus or Mars) seem to have a transcendent, mythic quality, yet they also have very specific psychological expressions–as in the desire for love and the experience of beauty (Venus), or the impulse toward forceful activity and aggression (Mars). Moreover, archetypes seem to work from both within and without, for they can express themselves as impulses and images from the interior psyche, yet also as events and situations in the external world. ”
2. The issue of free will vs. determinism in astrology:
“It used to be believed that astrology revealed a person’s destined fate, that the birth chart was rigidly deterministic. Properly understood, however, astrology can serve to greatly increase personal freedom, rather than limit it. Partly this is because awareness of the basic archetypal structures and patterns of meaning in one’s birth chart allows one to bring considerably more consciousness to the task of fulfilling one’s deepest potential, one’s authentic nature. But astrology’s emancipatory character also derives from the fact that the more deeply we understand the archetypal forces that affect our lives, the more free we can be in our dealings with them. If we are unconscious of these potent forces, we are like puppets of the archetypes: we then act according to unconscious motivations without any possibility of our being intelligent agents interacting with those forces. To the exact extent that we are conscious of the archetypes, we can respond with greater autonomy and self-awareness. Astrology’s great merit is that it seems to reveal very precisely which archetypes are especially important for each person, how they interact with each other, and when and how they are most likely to be expressed in the course of each life. ”
From this point of view, the birth chart is not the deterministic structure of our inexorable fate, but defines the potential of our personal development and suggest the personal gifts and talents and the trials and challenges we are given for this lifetime. Astrology illuminates the condition of our lives, which is rather different form saying that they absolutely determine our lives.
3. Finally, why does astrology work? Astrologers do not believe that planets exert an influence on people. The usual question asked by skepticals “How can Pluto, such a remote celestial body, can influence life on earth?” is a bad question.
Modern astrology is about a “relation” between the cosmos and the individual and not about a causal effect.
In Tarnas words: “The issue of causal mechanism, or why astrology works: It seems unlikely to me that the planets send out some kind of physical emanations that causally influence events in human life in a mechanistic way. The range of coincidences between planetary positions and human existence is just too vast, too experientially complex, too aesthetically subtle and endlessly creative to be explained by physical factors alone. I believe that a more plausible and comprehensive explanation is that the universe is informed and pervaded by a fundamental holistic patterning which extends through every level, so that a constant synchronicity or meaningful correlation exists between astronomical events and human events. This is represented in the basic esoteric axiom, “as above, so below,” which reflects a universe all of whose parts are integrated into an intelligible whole.
From this perspective, the planets themselves are not “causing” anything to be happening in our lives, any more than the hands on a clock are now causing it to be 7:30 PM. Rather, the planetary positions are indicative of the cosmic state of the archetypal forces at that time. The fact that the planets constantly seem to indicate these things with such accuracy simply suggests that the cosmic order is much more profound and pervasive than our conventional beliefs have assumed. But the relationship between a specific planetary pattern and a human experience is best seen as one of meaningful correlation or correspondence, not one of simple linear causality.
But why should the cosmos have established a systematic correspondence between planetary patterns and archetypally patterned phenomena in human lives? There are many possible answers to this question, not the least of which might point toward an overflow of cosmic intelligence and delight that reveals itself in this continuous marriage of mathematical astronomy and mythic poetry. But in more pragmatic, human terms, my sense of astrology is that the constant coincidence between planetary positions and human lives exists as a kind of universal code for the human mind to unravel, so that we can better understand ourselves and our world, rediscover our deep connection to the cosmos, and be more complete human beings. ”
How can this affect your life? Find it out now!