Wittgenstein was not the only one who needed help. My continuous reading of his works was changing me. Soon I was as confused as Wittgenstein had himself admitted to be; as others, his disciples, were determined to deny; as still others, critics, cited and condemned him for. I couldn't stop reading him. My eyes felt like they were glued to the page. His work felt swollen, like an advanced pregnancy, never delivered. Like a vulcano, slowly imploding. Feeling his buried passion, my passion was aroused. I told my teacher: "So what if he's confused. I'd rather have a fertile confusion than a sterile clarity." That shut him up. He looked at me, cocked an eyebrow, startled.
Something was happening to me. I was becoming strange. The walls of the cage had thinned and dissolved. I was spinning out into the void, with no way out and no way through. Back then others called this experience a "nervous breakdown". But I knew, even then, that what I was undergoing was holy. That this journey into the beyond was a sacred initiation.
My worst fears had come true. There was no ground to stand on, no certainty, no security. Instead there were waves and lights and shocking insights, shuddering ascents and descents into realms that I knew not with my rational brain and thus could not describe, nor even remember afterwards. I was hungry for more, more. I went sailing through the universe attuning to stellar winds. But I didn't know it. I had no map and no guide.
Enter Rudhyar. Not that I ever wanted to read his books, or become an astrologer, or even think about it. I hated astrology. I was a philosopher, not a quack! All I knew was the popularized version of astrology, the veil with which our scientific culture has shrouded this most ancient and supreme language. Despite the fact that I had torn off the blinkers of left brain science, I was still looking at the world through narrowly scientific eyes, still avoiding what I thought of as silly superstition.
Rudhyar entered my life at a point when, despite a lingering prejudice, I was newly opened and thus vulnerable, receptive to the new. I had always been a seeker and now my search was leading me in a direction I had not anticipated. A friend set up my astrological chart and I was astonished to find myself asking: "Is this a map? Is this really a map? Will it help me to see? Will it enable me to go on?" When I asked how to read the chart, she handed me Rudhyar's Astrology Of Personality.
I date my own resurrection as stemming from the moment I picked up this book. From then on, what had been experienced as terrible, the uncertainty of having no intellectual foundation upon which to rely, became magical, the continuous playfulness of the transformed mind, at one with its own imaginative reach. With this transformation, the problem of certainty in knowledge, rather than being solved, dissolves - within a larger dimension. I had set out to discover certainty and instead, fell into the void. The void where Rudhyar lived. The terrible became the joyful, as I beheld and learned to live within the creative present, this infinitely fertile space which upholds and nurtures continuous transformations of form. Space as an electric, alive presence, the magical medium for emergence.
Rudhyar was a musician, a composer; he had no need for intellectual certainty. In music there is no place to stand, there is only change, the continuous contrapuntal play of moving harmonies. Rudhyar's writings in astrology reflected his musical sensibility; they were not written from within a left-brain framework. Rudhyar was inside what he was talking about, his focus of consciousness journeying through time and space, comfortable among the worlds, landing anywhere and viewing the cosmos from that vantage point, then taking off again. Moving with the music, becoming one with it and describing what he saw along the way. His cosmos was a divine orchestral performance with no beginning and no end. In this orchestra, planets and stars were the instruments, great Celestial Beings, and in the play of their continuous motion they were making love to each other, resonating in a vast and complex concerto expanding forever into larger and larger harmonies.
Rudhyar's was a universe in which every point opens into a space and every space is a mere point in some vaster realm. Where each and every point is central and all of them a continuous flow. Where each circumference traces the trajectory of some vast Being circled by others yet larger than itself. In Rudhyar's universe there was no one point to stand on and no need for one: in a continuously expanding universe every point is central. In Rudhyar's universe there is no fear, contraction, separation; instead one expands to sense one's communion with all that is. In Rudhyar's universe there is no huddling with one's back to the void, but a flying free within it, sailing within and between the points into larger and smaller spaces. The sense of dizziness that people feel when reading Rudhyar stems, I feel, from this multidimensional consciousness which both inhabited him and which, paradoxically, he knew he was but a tiny speck within.
Both Wittgenstein and Rudhyar make me dizzy - but with a vast difference. In Wittgenstein I experience the dizziness of confusion; I sense a stifling, but orderly world in the process of disintegration. And yet, for Wittgenstein, that disintegration was precisely what he longed for; he knew, in some part of himself foreign to his rational clarifying mind, that in the buzzing booming confusion of his body's stream of life lay his real life, an intimation of aliveness, a vibrancy that the mechanical orientation of scientific mentality had disallowed. In that longing, I feel at one with him and I feel for him.
In Rudhyar I feel dizziness as exhilaration, exaltation, a sense of an opening so wide that it takes my breath away; I have to stretch more and more, to encompass more and more. Wittgenstein's confusion was fertile, yes, a longing for something and yet a fear of it, a longing for love, for opening into a larger sense of things and yet an inability or refusal to do so. Wittgenstein makes me feel entombed, suffocating; I fight to get out. Rudhyar releases me.
Both Wittgenstein and Rudhyar discovered the void and that put them both beyond the pale, alone, each in a universe of one. For Wittgenstein, aloneness was experienced as alienation; he was both attracted and repelled by the void which, for him, was senseless, out or beyond all sense. He was outside, out beyond the walls of his cultural and linguistic cage, yet afraid of feeling even more separated and trying to get back in, to identify with what he had left behind by seeing it from up close. The more he tried to go back to normal seeing, the more what used to make normal sense kept sliding into something else. The void was not only out there, it was in here; there was no way to avoid it, this slippage, this lack of a ground to truly stand upon, this lack of certainty, of security. And yet, paradoxically, he also knew on some level, that this streaming would be his real home, if he could only learn to swim.
For Rudhyar, aloneness was experienced as unity, the all-one; Rudhyar was one whose consciousness included the vastness of the cosmos, where change and diversity were not only acknowledged and included, but gloried in. His consciousness was unitary and utterly spacious: his void was the space which continuously expands; was a sort of universal fluid, both underneath and within the many.
It's as if Wittgenstein represents both a recognition of and reaction to the loss of the scientific world of Cartesian certainty and Rudhyar follows on his heels, courageously opening to the eternally expanding Now. It's interesting to note that Wittgenstein as a security oriented Taurus was followed by Rudhyar's fiery Arian initiative. Both born during the time of the Neptune/Pluto-conjunction in Gemini, they represent the old and the new ways of experiencing the total transformation of consciousness symbolized by this conjunction. Philosophers and others of many disciplines, feel the tragedy of Wittgenstein; many of them too, one senses, fear to move beyond. Rudhyar has not yet found such wide renown, as his kind of courage is still rare.
Yet, despite my immense gratitude to Rudhyar for releasing me from the need for intellectual certainty, for introducing me to absolute relativity, I am still left with the original problem I first contacted in graduate school over twenty-five years ago: the split between my mind and body. Rudhyar lived in a different age. His concerns were celestial. Earth was merely one point in an infinitely expanding universe and the awareness of the astrologer was, potentially, all-inclusive. In Rudhyar's universe one's humanity is identical with that awareness.
For Rudhyar, to be a relativist was to be free to see from any point of view, any dimension of reality. This allows one to have a perspective which is continuously enlarging and diversifying. In principle, one can see relativistic thinking as the key to humanity's transcendence of factionalism and prejudice, breeding grounds for cruelty and war. Conversion to relativistic thinking appears to be necessary, if we are to create a transcultural milieu in which truly peaceful practice can be nurtured as the changed basis for human relations.
Unfortunately, however, relativity can also be and has been used as yet another weapon, to justify actions of any kind. Relativism in ethics can and has often become merely a cynical excuse for doing whatever you want and getting away with it. I feel that this is why most people have not embraced relativism intellectually. From an ethical point of view, its consequences appear to be disastrous. Intellectual relativism, in the absence of genuine feeling, becomes inhuman, a merely abstract exercise. Our transformed mind must be linked to a transformed heart for our actions to be performed with real consideration for others - or even for consideration of other aspects of our own selves - our emotional needs, our body's needs, our soul's needs.
Which brings me back to what I began with in this paper: 25 years ago I discovered that the search for intellectual certainty is a cover for the need for emotional security. Thanks to Dane Rudhyar, I then discovered that the proper function of the intellect is play, the joyful play of the transformed mind. Emotional security, however, remains an authentic human need. A need which I still feel. And I'm not going to get it through reading Rudhyar, or through anyone's intellectual study of the workings of the stars.
My ultimate goal is to integrate transformation in consciousness with a transformation in the way in which I inhabit my own body. Intuitively, I know that "true security is to be found within" - a saying that many people also subscribe to, but do they really understand it? Do they know what they are saying? I feel that most people think of this remark as "spiritual", i.e. once one has "peace of mind", true security will follow automatically. On the contrary, it is my feeling that true security, as long as we are human beings inhabiting bodies on the planetary body Earth, is to be found precisely in our bodies as sacred temples housing the Spirit. I want to learn to tune in to my body, to be capable of feeling the aliveness - and the consciousness of aliveness - in each individual cell. Then, focussing through my transformed body as medium, I want to learn to tune into Earth, the vibrant aliveness of Her body.
Through the integration of a transformed mind and body, I want to transform my understanding of astrology, to particularize it, by grounding it into the here and now - to this place in this time. Somehow - and this is an inchoate notion, only barely perceived and can only be formulated as a sort of guttural grunt, my finger pointing down, not up; not out there, but down here; not all of that, but only this - somehow, what Rudhyar talked about in the abstract, the need to see each point as a space and each space as a point, needs to be realized, made manifest, here in my daily life, in the ongoing experience of my own body.
I feel there is an understanding that we astrologers need to arrive at and I don't think we are going to reach it through abstract speculation. The direction lies inward, in our hearts. We need to attune to the rhythm of their universal beat in order to bring our minds and bodies together. We need to understand things by going through the Earth out into the heavens, rather than by lifting off it and pretending it's just our own little launching pad, nothing special. For if every point in the universe is the center of things, then so is this one, this point, this place where I live and you.
I don't fully understand what I'm saying here; I only know that for me, astrology has become too abstract, too intellectual. We need to learn how to embody astrology. We will do that through our bodies, each as a portion of the larger Earth body. Earth's body is the medium of our communion with the stars.
Copyright 1996 Ann Kreilkamp, Ph.D.
Kelly, WY 83011
Ann Kreilkamp, Ph.D.
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