Dane Rudhyar, Musician, Artist, Philosopher, Poet, Astrologer, my friend and teacher since 1936, finished his life-task on September 13, 1985, leaving us with a great number of seeds which hopefully will germinate in the years to come.
Relatively few astrologers seem to realize the importance of his contribution to human understanding in this period of transition to a potential new world of values, capable of transforming radically our life on this earth. For many, Rudhyar was simply a philosophically and psychologically oriented astrologer, difficult to understand, but who gave them several new techniques to use while maintaining their classical approach to astrology, life and the universe.
Rudhyar's message to us is that as we are people living through an important transitional phase in the development of humanity, we should all try to think, feel and act in terms of a common new future which we must create together.
There is need for a new mind, a new way of thinking. There is need for the rise of new feelings, detached from the exclusivistic values of our particular cultures and geared to the needs and aims of humanity as a whole - understood as a spiritual being within which we all have particular functions to perform. There is need to act with a sense of purpose, not a purpose dictated by ego-desire, but the end purpose of our life as members of a global humanity. This end purpose is what Rudhyar calls: "participation in the Pleroma".
According to Rudhyar, the basic function of humanity in the entire evolution of our planet is: to be the process of transition between a state of existence rooted in the biosphere and a superhuman state where conscious unanimity prevails. Man evolves, therefore, from a tribal state of unconscious unanimity, through the experience of individual and cultural differences, to a new unanimous state in which the many "I's" act and will as "We".
We have reached the stage of emphasis on our individual differences which reflects in our emphasis on national differences. It is therefore important to concentrate our attention on the next reality: that of having to work towards the uniting (not the dissolution) of our individual and cultural particularities within a new frame of reference - the realization that the Earth is a whole, a Being, within which we all have our particular roles to play.
The discovery of three new planets during the last three centuries - and the probable discovery of a fourth, which Rudhyar has named tentatively: Proserpine, during the next century - is a sign and symbol of the vast importance of the present transition through which we are passing. There has been nothing like it in the past, therefore past values are inadequate to explain its meaning.
Rudhyar used astrology as a vehicle to reach the greatest number of people, just as Blavatsky used spiritualism to do the same thing. His message is not astrological in itself. But astrology, as he presents it, can be a means to help people orient themselves during the transition and undertake the necessary process of transformation of personal living into true transpersonal living. But the important thing, for him, was to induce people to change the quality of their living in terms of the present need of humanity as a whole for new values and a new purpose. This new purpose, new in terms of time only, is based on the realization that Man not only can become more than he is, but that it is his function to do so.
Due to the pejorative meaning usually given to "human nature", few of us know really what it is to be truly "human". To be human is to realize that one's dharma is to become more-than-human. Any lesser purpose is sub-human leading up to the fulfillment of the true human state. The full realization of the human state as a Self with a capital S, leads to the further realization that this Self is not separate but, together with all other Selves, constitutes what Rudhyar calls: Man with a capital M. In other words, as the French writer St. Exupery put it: "The individual is a path; Man alone counts who takes this path." This in a nutshell, is what is implied in the "transpersonal" state, which is in fashion today, though little understood by most people.
Rudhyar suggests that the basic realization a man or woman can have, is that birth gives to a human being the possibility to consider his or her whole life as a process of transformation; and then sooner or later, more or less consciously and deliberately, to live that personal life-span as such a process. A process is a series of interrelated motions and changes which have one source and one purpose to be fulfilled. A man or woman can perform this basic process (which the human condition constitutes) consciously and deliberately. This is human destiny, Man's dharma.
Plants or animals cannot live in this way. Man can, because he is free not to do it. This is human freedom - relative though it be. The meaning given to "nature" and to "human nature" has evolved greatly during our 20th century. This is one of the reasons astrological interpretation and the use one makes of it, also must change in relation to classical procedures and understanding. This interpretation and use can be raised today from the level at which material events are met as unrelated, fated and mostly meaningless happenings, to that at which they are understood as phases of a process - all interrelated, each necessary and significant, however difficult the meeting with these events. Life is to be seen as a whole process through which what was potential at birth, can be actualized.
In hundreds of articles and many books, Rudhyar has tried to unite the findings of depth and height psychology with the basic astrological symbols. The result has been a whole series of new techniques - as well as a new interpretation of old ones - on which the practice of astrology could be built at the new level of interpretation, required by modern understanding. These new techniques were based on the knowledge of the structural unfoldment of processes - for example, the lunation cycle, the progressed lunation cycle (direct and converse), the interpretation of aspects as phases of a cycle.
The aim of astrological counseling became that of revealing meaning, rather than predicting events. The interpretation of the natal chart, instead of being a hopefully objective statement of character, became the revelation of what should be done in order really to be what one potentially is. All individual differences come from the use to which we put our human nature and the purpose of this use. The use and the purpose can be geared to biological rhythms, to sociocultural values, to individual aims and lastly to transpersonal necessities. The birthchart cannot tell us which. All depends on the level at which each of us is capable of functioning - and it is possible to function at all four levels in a given lifetime.
This means that there are no longer set, static meanings to be given to planets and signs. All astrological factors can be interpreted at the four levels mentioned and can be positive or negative according to the use we make of them. They are not positive or negative in themselves in any absolute sense. Nothing is set once and for all at birth. Birth is the beginning of a dynamic process which should be lived consciously and purposefully. Astrologically this means looking at the birthchart, its progressions and transits as a means to act always at the proper time and in the proper way in order to make potentiality a reality. And this potentiality is not simply that of becoming a "better" or more powerful person in sociocultural terms. It is the development of personhood as a means to the end, which is a superhuman condition.
The need to feel secure by seeing order in existence is man's basic need. Throughout history and at different levels, astrology has tried to answer this need. For many centuries astrology's perception of celestial order has been the basis of all culture, religion and science. But there is not one Astrology with a capital A. In each epoch, the astrology of the time was a reflection of the kind of order each culture saw in celestial motions, of the kind of relationship the culture formulated between heaven and earth.
Today, in view of the new kind of order seen by astro-physics, the interpenetration of all force-fields within the universe seen as wholes within wholes, we can say that our security can come from the realization that whatever has ordered and organized the solar system (the greater whole for the earth) and the motions of the planets, also orders the processes of existence on earth. There is no longer any need to rely on theories of planetary influences or energies to justify astrology. Our culture's perceptions of celestial order - the solar system - is for us a symbol of the greater whole in which we "live, move and have our being".
Signs of the zodiac, houses, planets, aspects, are all symbols derived from our culture's astronomical facts concerning celestial motions. They are means to understand how our earth and all that lives on it operates in relation to the greater whole (solar system), whose rhythms are synchronous with the cyclic processes discernible within human collectivities and the lives of individual persons. We are not influenced by the solar system. There is a greater whole of which the solar system is a part - the galaxy. Modern astronomy cannot as yet go any further in this holarchic view of the universe, but at every level the greater whole permits us to understand the basic principles and functional activities that operate everywhere according to parallel or corresponding rhythms. The rhythms discernible in the solar system with its planets are identical to the rhythms discernible in life on earth. We interpret this fact by saying that the planets "symbolize" this and that on earth and in human beings.
Each planet, our earth included, has a definite function to perform within the greater whole which is our solar system. Each human being has a function to perform within the greater whole which is humanity. Humanity has a function to perform within the destiny of our earth. Our job as human beings is to become conscious of these different functions and to act in accordance with them. Astrology, therefore, can be a very practical form of "occultism" enabling each of us to live according to the real purpose of our existence on this planet. Rudhyar's astrology is geared to this purpose and to those of us who are willing and able, according to our place in human evolution, to transform our ego-desires into the will to live purposefully.
The birthchart is not a personal possession describing what we are and how we differ from other persons. It is a snapshot of the universe when we were born, as seen from the place we were born. It symbolizes therefore the need of the greater whole to which we are a potential answer. It tells us what we are born for. The progressions and transits will show when and in what conditions we should progressively actualize those qualities of being and doing necessary to fulfill the need we were born to answer.
When we have problems and go to an astrologer, the latter's task in Rudhyar's view is to evoke the meaning of the situation in relation to the potential life purpose. This meaning is revealed by the phases of the cyclic processes which began at birth through which we are passing. The phases of the different cycles highlighted in the progressions and transits tell us what should be done at a given time if we are willing to do it. What "should" be done will be different according to the level and the aims of the person.
There is never only one level and one interpretation to be given to the "should". The astrologer has to be wise enough to feel, intuit or reason out the level at which the person can act positively, without introducing his or her personal values into the judgment. As long as a person is only capable of living on an egocentric basis along socioculturally acceptable lines, the astrologer must evoke possibilities on that level of living. That is what the classical astrologer does, because he lives on that level. But even then he should not present his interpretation of the situation in a way that makes the client feel that he has no alternative, that the stars make things happen the way they do. He should always present his suggestions on a man-to-man basis which leaves the client psychologically free to accept or reject them.
In 1980, Rudhyar introduced a transpersonal way of interpreting birthchart, progressions and transits. This new approach in a way parallels transpersonal psychology, but goes much farther in its implications. We have already spoken of transpersonal as being a step beyond the prevalent individualism, as a level of being when the individual becomes conscious of the function he has within the greater whole. To be transpersonal, therefore, is to let the purpose of the greater whole manifest through one. This entails a process of transformation and transcendence.
For this reason, to interpret the birthchart, progressions and transits at this level, means that every astrological element must be seen as a means to transform the inertia of one's past, of social and mental habits, which we all tend to repeat - even if in superficially different ways. A transpersonal interpretation will evoke how to use every circumstance, event, tension, crisis, as a means to overcome this inertia. It seeks to evoke the vertical relationship possible between a person (lesser whole) and a greater whole (in one sense humanity and the planet Earth, in another the spiritual Quality and the Soul Field which represents our true identity).
In another sense, transpersonal astrology is a way of knowing how, in one's particular case, one can transmute karma into dharma. The reading of a birthchart as character, with its strengths and its weaknesses, is an appraisal of a human being in terms of his conditioning or karma. As I just said, karma represents always the sum of the past, on any level, the results of actions badly performed or left undone in a past cycle.
Rudhyar's astrology interprets karma on four levels; it is the inertia of the past in the form of patterns and currents of energies emerging
The action of dharma on karma is the reason for our many crises when we reach a certain level of evolution. Dharma constantly challenges us to stop acting as a creature of the past and to become, together with all other true individuals, a creator of the future. On strictly personal levels, it is the challenge to work to become a focusing agent through whom humanity (or the Soul Field) is able to fulfill a particular, limited purpose.
Rudhyar interprets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto as representing the three basic steps or stages on the transpersonal way:
However, if we have gained a perspective on history through Rudhyar's magnificent study of the longer planetary cycles referring to collective changes and transformations, we will realize that these cycles help us to understand the present purpose of the larger whole, humanity and earth, which inevitably conditions our personal purposes at any given time in history.
It is because we tend to live and act solely in terms of personal desires and purposes that we find life today so difficult (National desires and purposes are the collective equivalent). Personal and national behavior should be in terms of humanity's needs. Because humanity is in a phase of transition, we as individuals should realize that we are also in a phase of transition. We would not have been born now, unless we were individually capable, potentially, of helping humanity to make the right decisions during this crucial period. Anyone who, through inertia or fear, fails to align himself with the potential trend toward a new future to be created together, as individuals and nations, is a force for evil, an enemy of mankind.
Science has given us a global perspective which did not exist in the past, except in rare individuals. Occult-esoteric principles are no longer occult or esoteric. They are publicly available thanks to translations, which have permitted an interpenetration of all cultural values, whatever their source. It is these principles which are behind all cultures, religions and philosophies which, for the first time, can enable anyone, anywhere, to give structure, objectivity and clarity of understanding of the evolutionary processes which govern the universe.
For Rudhyar, therefore, the ONE essential requirement for collective or individual transformation is the development of a new mind, a new mentality capable to meet the future because free from the "ghosts" of the past. We are all still too much conditioned by our culture, its paradigms, symbols and images, in everything that we think, feel or do. Also, we tend too much to think that in order to become true and free individuals, we should substitute an alien culture's values for those of our natal culture: It is fashionable to follow Hindu or Buddhist or Zen ways of living.
The most important thing to know is where we stand - now, and to accept this position as a starting point. One can move forward only from where one stands, although some positions make forward motion easier than others. But more essentially, for Rudhyar, rather than to move forward, we should be prepared to move through whatever life presents to us. We are always fighting against things, trying to discipline and overcome. But growth in consciousness can only come through the experience of all opposites. Consciousness is throughness, says Rudhyar. It is born of thoroughness of experience.......
Having experienced to the full, man is "through" with this particular field of experience, because he has gained consciousness of himself, the experiencer....Overcoming is a passing through, not a dismissal. Nature is not to be dismissed before the experience; it is not to be shunned and fearfully avoided....The only solution of the contest with nature is for man to pierce through nature and emerging from the experience, to continue his path toward an ever more total fullness of being.
I hope these pages will help readers get a better perspective on Rudhyar and his contribution to astrology. I have been in contact with him since the publication of Astrology Of Personality in 1936. He has enriched my life and my understanding immensely.
I only hope that others may get a similar inspiration from the books he has left us and will feel the necessity to live more fully according to their birthcharts, consciously and willingly,
Copyright 1996 Alexander Ruperti
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