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Friday, April 24, 2009

Science and Religion: Part II – CREDO LXX

In Part I of “Science and Religion” (CREDO LXVIII), I related that as a ten-year-old I lay out in a field looking up at the stars and declared that when I grew up I wanted to unite science and religion. Well, by now most of you know that I have been an astrologer for sixty-five years, having started out considering it, as many people do today, “superstitious twaddle for nincompoops.” I am grateful for this because I can understand the scoffers. However, when I had my chart done by Hermes, the one who introduced me the following morning to M, the epiphany was too profound. I went from the despair of thinking there was no answer to the conviction that there is an answer! What that answer is cannot be defined by the ego but only approached in the “vast certainty” intimated by the Self.

However, to share what I have come to understand calls for a new definition of astrology – what euphemistically people now term Cosmic Science, a far cry from Madame La Zonga and the popular predictions in newspapers. We don’t reject Shakespeare because you can find some of the same English words he used in the funny papers! And after years of studying Jung, I knew I was on the right track one great day when I discovered his serious interest in astrology!

Here is my definition: Astrology is really a symbolic language of archetypal processes. It functions in both the unmanifest and the manifest worlds and unites them in the Unus Mundus. As for the individual chart of a person: The chart reveals the unique way an individual is likely to process experience. It is a gift that we can become conscious of and that can help us psychologically and spiritually, or not. This is the way I have taught astrology’s usefulness at many Jungian institutes and centers. In that sense, and by virtue of my age of 86, I suppose I am considered by some to be a pioneer, but I studied with Marc Edmund Jones and read Dane Rudhyar, to say nothing of Jung, and honor all that I learned from them. Today, astrology is much more widely accepted as an adjunct to psychological analysis and a guide to spiritual growth.

Thousands of years ago, early humankind discovered the dual abstract processes of light and dark, expansion and contraction, birth and death, masculine and feminine, hot and cold, wet and dry, and so forth. They sensed that these were universal, therefore divine, and needed to be named. So they gave them the names of gods and goddesses. These names differed in different cultures and in different eras, but in all the millennia, the processes themselves have never changed! No one has ever said Mars is really Venus or Zeus is really Kronos.

Once anything is named, the next step is to personify it as an archetype with human attributes. It is then further reified by temples and rituals, and thus enters the manifest world, eventually becoming a religion yet so encrusted with material thinking that the process is virtually lost! Then the old religion is supplanted by a new “Age,” and a new cast arrives on the scene – but the archetypal processes they represent remain because you cannot kill an archetype! The worst that can happen is that one is banished and moves into a fairytale. An example is the masculinizing of the Holy Spirit (Hagia Sophia) into the Latin Spiritus Sanctus (which has a masculine ending!), thus rendering the Christian Holy Trinity all male! So feminine Wisdom took refuge in fairy tales and became the Fairy Godmother. Why is she always a helpful figure, mediating between the invisible and visible worlds and giving practical advice? Why is she called the Mother of God? The answer is that Wisdom is universally feminine in all other cultures. But the Virgin Mary is loved for her sweetness and compassion rather than her wisdom. The powerful feminine archetype, as in the goddesses Isis and Kali, was split and the negative projected onto the pagan “witch.” The root of the word witch is wisdom. Symbolically, Mary as archetype is a human goddess. But she presents a challenging model for many Catholic women who cannot be immaculate mothers in the flesh, as some have protested in writing – to say nothing of the exclusion of women from Roman Catholic priesthood. Nevertheless, I am personally deeply affected by the Virgin Mary, perhaps because my moon is in Virgo.

I will give just a single example of opposite archetypal processes, expansion (astrologically Jupiter) and contraction (astrologically Saturn), as they appear on different levels. Note that any process carried to excess can become negative, so the listed characteristics may be positive or negative.

  Expansion – Yes! We can!

Psychological: + extraversion, enthusiasm, optimism, positiveness, joviality; – inflation.

Mythological: Zeus, Jupiter, Thor, Indra, Ganesh. – Bacchus?

Religious:+ Pope, St. Peter, St. Nicholas, the Baal Shem Tov, the Dalai Lama, imams, rabbis, priests, preachers who are spiritually encouraging; – fraudulent gurus of all faiths.

Secular: + Santa Claus, “emperors,” CEOs, coaches. Falstaff, Winnie-the-Pooh! Thursday! – Midas, Elmer Gantry, dictators, Madoff.

Astrological: planet Jupiter, ruler of Sagittarius, ruling + religion, teaching, and preaching, wealth, succeeding, graduating, traveling, giving, enjoying; – boasting, gluttony, greed, excess of any kind.

Scientific: heat expansion, multiplication, growth, swelling, obesity, inflation, eruptions, surplus, thunderstorms, floods, hurricanes.

Culinary: cooking, boiling, roasting, feasting, celebrating.

  Contraction – No! Wait a minute!

: + introversion? logic, philosophy, rationality; – negativity, pessimism depression; caution, fear, denial.

Mythological: + Kronos, Saturn, Shiva; – Beelzebub, Satan, Mephistopheles.
Religious: + Moses, Solomon, Hammurabi, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle; – Judas, Savonarola , Inquisitors, Hitler, Stalin?

Secular: + judges, lawyers, philosophers, scientists, accountants, pathologists; – Silas Marner, Scrooge, Darth Veda, Eeyore.

Astrological: planet Saturn, ruler of Capricorn, ruling + manifestation, business, time, money, diamonds (reflect Sun most brightly), construction, frontiers, restraint, discipline, outlines, old age, grammar, philosophy, logic, law and justice, Saturday! – failure, poverty, debts, limits, imprisonment, sickness, death.

Scientific: structure, cooling, solidification, carbon, ice; geology, geography, proofs, skepticism, matter, material, weight, volume, lead, earth, snow, rock, caves, bones, foundation, limits, ends, results, accomplishment!

Culinary: + salting, cooling, setting as with Jello; – hunger, dieting, starvation.

(* This is not a description of a person born a Capricorn! Only the archetypal process as such. Capricorns are often serious as children and grow younger and more beautiful as they age.)

Here is a lovely description of the two processes in balance:
When you expand think of contraction and your work will have form. When you contract, think of expanding and your work will have the feeling of effortless ease.
     – Chinese advice to any artist.



ruth said...

once again ... i have so much to ponder ... thank you ... for giving the time to us (your blog readers)

Anonymous said...

thank you ao for this insightful piece. As a pisces with virgo rising...and the odd fortune of having saturn opposite jupiter in my chart..well your words rang out to me as I read them at 3:50am. Blessings to you

Lillith in Monterey California.

Joann Wheeler said...

I have read three of your books -- what a wonderful surprise to find you blogging here! Thank you so much.