Knowledge, Worldviews, Astrology and Kundalini Yoga
by Guru Rattana, Ph.D. - Issue #38, October 19, 2001
Search for Meaning
The goal of the New Millenium Being is to explore ways to expand our experiences, deepen our understanding of ourselves and bring more meaning to our lives. In these articles we use astrology to expand our knowledge of the Universe and our inherent unity with the natural world. We share Kundalini Yoga as a means to cultivate a direct experience of this unity.
Historically the role of philosophy, religion and astrology, was to give humans an intellectual understanding of their relationship with universal forces and the cyclical natural world. Spiritual paths provided both a cosmological roadmap to infinity, and the techniques to cultivate and expand one's experience of oneness with the Universe.
The problem today is that rational scientific materialism has invaded the areas of inquiry that are supposed to help us search for meaning. Furthermore, to a great extent, philosophy and organized religion have become divorced (even opposed!) to the techniques (meditation, yoga and internal martial arts), that have been designed to cultivate our experience of unity with universal forces. So instead of facilitating the fusion with nature, philosophy and religion (and modern science) are partly responsible for cultivating alienation from Self and separation from the Divine. Humans have been diminished to fearful, angry, isolated creatures, who have lost connection with their cosmic roots and own souls.
It is only through our own experience of the unity of all life that we find our own wholeness. The only real test of the efficacy of any path, whatever label, is its ability to provide us with meaning, and a continuous direct experience of unity and divinity. In order to give more than lip service to unity, meaning and creativity, we must consciously cultivate human wholeness and cosmic integration into our cells and psyche, through direct conscious experience. As our experience of what IS replaces our ideas of how we think things ought to be, we find happiness, health, and peace.
The transition from the Piscean Age to the Aquarian Age is not an intellectual matter. (The most common date given for the beginning of the Aquarian Age is 2012.) It is a question of willingness and openness to experience breakthroughs in consciousness. Kundalini Yoga is a powerful technology specifically designed to facilitate this shift in conscious awareness.
Back to Basics
To investigate how we search for meaning, we must first investigate how we acquire information and knowledge. It is useful to delineate between two basic worldviews or approaches to knowledge and indeed the human experience. An appreciation of two fundamental worldviews gives us a basis for understanding different attitudes towards all areas of life and problem-solving, including politics, economic development, human development and even astrology. I first worked out a system for analyzing worldviews with my students at Dartmouth College, in relation to international environment and development issues. It is interesting to revisit what we called the technical-statistical worldview, and the structural-systemic worldview in terms of astrology.
Ways of Knowing
There are four principal ways of knowing: 1. Thinking, 2. Observation, 3. Intuition, 4. Feeling
Each way of knowing utilizes a specific mechanism or faculty in the human apparatus:
- Thinking employs the rational, analytical mind or intellect
- Observation utilizes the five physical senses, which can be either:
- Externally and impersonally oriented or directed
- Internally and personally oriented or directed
- Intuition is a faculty in itself. The neutral mind helps us access our intuition
- Feeling is the language of the emotions. Emotions are accessed through feelings.
The four ways of knowing give rise to two basic modes of knowing: (1) the intellectual mode and (2) the intuitive mode. Below we will outline the basic characteristics of these two modes.
The Intellectual, Analytical Mode of Knowing
The intellectual mode acquires information through thinking and external sensation.
- Source of Information: From the outer world received through the senses
- Nature of Information: Measurable data from the material world, can be proven and objectively verified, reveals information about quantitative outer life
- Field of Inquiry: Specific details, contents and parts of the whole
- Mode of Inquiry: Systematic discrimination and classification of facts according to a certain logic
- Possible Bias: Conditioned by socio-cultural milieu, influenced by interaction of the observer
- Faculty: Logical analysis, rational intellect, mental skills
- Language: Verbal, precise words, quantitative formulas or numbers
- Causality: Direct and measurable
- Function: Means of determining physical causality, delineation, classification
- Usefulness: Precise measurement, prediction, control, manipulation
- Proof: Objective, statistical
- Attitude toward Change: Maintaining systems and static order, solving technical problems
The Intuitive Mode of Knowing
The intuitive mode utilizes intuition, internal sensation and feelings to obtain information and knowledge.
- Source of Information: From the inner world of the psyche
- Nature of Information: Subjective and personal, can't be proved or objectively verified, reveals secrets of inner life and qualitative experience
- Field of Inquiry: Nature of the whole system, order, harmony and patterns
- Possible Bias: Conditioned by personal experience and unconscious programming
- Mode of Inquiry: Revelation of insights and perceptions
- Faculty of Intuition: Conscious power of immediate knowledge and direct perception that transcends rational thought
- Language: Non-verbal, feelings, symbols, archetypes, the arts
- Causality: Spontaneous, organic expression of the whole, alignment, synchronization
- Function: Means of achieving a sense of universal order, wholeness and synthesis
- Usefulness: Source of imagination, insights, creativity and freedom, being in the moment
- Proof: Experiential, existential
- Attitude toward Change: Creating and facilitating innovation, and participating in the process of expansion and growth
Two Worldviews and Approaches to Knowledge
The Greeks' contribution to science and reason is considered the critical turning point in Western intellectual development. It is true that since the time of Plato, the two complementary approaches to knowledge have separated into antagonistic camps - the Atomistic School and the Holistic School.
The Atomistic School perfected the intellectual, analytical mode as outlined above. Terms applied to this approach include rationalism, scientific materialism and the scientific method. This is referred to as the technical, statistical, Newtonian or rational worldview.
The Holistic School is founded on the principles of the intuitive approach as outlined above. This is referred to as the structural, systemic, holistic or intuitive worldview. The Holistic School is characteristic of Eastern thought. It has been isolated and marginalized into occult and spiritual disciplines and has, until recently, taken a back seat in terms of social favor in Western Civilization.
After the famous discussion between Plato and Aristotle, Western civilization became more and more analytical and less and less inspired. However, if we were to go back and study the Greeks' contribution to human understanding of self and the Universe, I think we might conclude that instead of separating knowledge into two camps - the rational and the intuitive - and favoring the former, they espoused a natural synthesis of the two. Greek science discovered natural laws that apply to the material world. Greek philosophy explored the individual's inner life and development, with the goal of "Know thyself". Greek science was "not merely the collection of data in the hope that certain correlations could be discovered. It was rather a systematic search for the essential truths underlying life and nature, and an attempt to discover, not only natural laws, but also the universal metaphysical laws of life itself ... 'reason' did not refer merely to the computer-like calculations of the logical mind, but rather to an inspired (or inspirited) combination of analysis and intuition, founded upon ideals of elegance and symmetry".(1)
Application of the Two Approaches
Both approaches are essential in our daily lives. The most appropriate approach and methodology depends upon what we are studying, our goals, and the results we are looking for. Both approaches are valid in relationship to their respective areas of inquiry.
The intellectual, analytical approach is relevant to the abstract, objective, impersonal world. The intellectual mode is specifically useful in dealing with and discovering life exterior to ourselves. Mathematics and scientific models are the quantitative language of analytical, rational exploration. Mathematics is used to describe what can be measured and counted.
The atomistic approach is useful for dissecting, isolating and understanding parts of a system. It is useful for analyzing, explaining and defining concrete problems in the material world. The emphasis on critical analysis and rationalism is responsible for scientific breakthroughs, the technological revolution and material well-being.
The intuitive, holistic approach is relevant to the personal inner world of subjective experiences and feelings. The intuitive mode reveals the hidden meanings and qualitative nature of our inner life. Mythology and astrology are two languages used to symbolically describe our inner and outer realities. Archetypal symbols are the language of quality, and facilitate communication of the qualitative findings and explanations of the inner human experience.
The holistic approach is the most useful for understanding systems, organic wholes and for identifying forms and patterns. If our focus is our inner life, meaning of our experience, and the quality of our lives, the intuitive approach leads to more satisfying and appropriate understanding of ourselves. The holistic approach is useful when the mysteries of life must be illuminated. Understanding is reached through intuitive knowing, which penetrates the apparent, and reveals the transparent meanings and mysteries of life. The intuitive approach is essential to expand human consciousness beyond intellectual boundaries.
The Question of Proof
The two approaches to knowledge naturally have different criteria for defining and evaluating proof. The analytical, technical or statistical approach requires proof to be objective, measurable and quantifiable. The holistic or systemic approach looks for experiential, symbolic, qualitative, existential proof. "Proof" is defined in terms of value, significance and meaning.
The statistical-technical approach uses generalizations, quantities, ideal averages, statistics and abstract formulas. This approach is useful and appropriate for objective study of quantifiable situations.
The concept of proof in the holistic-systems approach is very different. In relation to spiritual practices, if after practicing any yoga exercise, meditation or internal art, one feels more alive, vital, and happy, that is proof enough that it works and is valid for that individual at that point in time. In relation to astrology, "If the situation produces results significant for an individual, then it must be considered valid for this individual. If, after having studied astrology and his exactly-calculated birth chart, a person for the first time realizes that the sequence of his life-events, which has so far seemed to him utterly chaotic and purposeless, makes sense - if as a result of his study, he is able to feel a direction and purpose inherent in his life as an individual, and how he had been blocking this realization of meaning, orientation and purposefulness - then astrology is 'existentially proven to be effective in this particular case".(2)
Problems of Polarization and Exclusivity
Problems arise when one approach is applied inappropriately to the other, or when one is pursued at the exclusion of the other when both are relevant.
The application of the technical-statistical approach, which has come to dominate our attitude toward problem solving, is fraught with problems when applied to the human experience. It is not appropriate for dealing with personal meaning because it defines out the qualities, feelings and uniqueness of people having experiences. When applied to humans, almost everything real is defined as an exception to the rule. (So why have the rule in the first place?) Furthermore, the technical approach "displaces the individual in favor of anonymous units that pile up into mass formations".(3) To think that we have to find statistical proof to validate life experiences is inappropriate, and cause of deep alienation.
The approach one takes in any study is both influenced by one's worldview and determined by one's purpose or goal of inquiry. Polarized, the two worldviews search for either more determinism or more freedom. The rational worldview seeks to manipulate and control our environment, each other and ourselves. The holistic worldview seeks freedom, openness and open-ended exploration of the infinite universe and our infinite souls. If our goal is social conditioning and behavioral adjustment, we will favor the rational, technical approach. If our goal is exploration, discovery and individualization, we will favor the intuitive, holistic approach.
If our goal is to explore life with a sense of wonder, we must identify intellectual straightjackets and emotional prejudices that limit our ability to perceive more comprehensive and unified life vistas. This inquiry leads us to observe that the strict application of the analytical approach to human development, at the exclusion of the holistic approach, has created serious problems. It has contributed to a limited view of human potential, growth and experience, emphasized social adaptability over individualization and creativity and, as a result, has been responsible for the creation of serious mental, emotional and psychological dysfunctions, both individually and collectively.
Logical positivism, the extreme application of the analytical approach to human experience, has resulted in a maximum of abstraction and a minimum of meaning.(4) It is meaning, however, that humans need to achieve health, happiness and wholeness. Meaning comes from within. Intellectual analysis cannot replace intuition, feeling and experience. The analytical approach can therefore never help humans feel satisfied, or to fulfill their inner spiritual needs.
The major dysfunctions that have resulted from the deification of the analytical approach, and contempt of the intuitive approach, is dissociation between body and mind, and the apparent separation between humans and nature. The application of static principles to nature and human behavior has lead to spiritual alienation, the ecological crisis and other breakdowns in our economic and social system. Nature, the Universe and all living beings are systems in continuous development and transformation. Any attempts to isolate parts of living wholes leads to breakdowns in the system(s). The separation of humans from nature deprives us of our connection to our spirit.
We can only fully understand ourselves by combining the objective knowledge we gain by observation of the whole, the parts, and their relationships with the subjective knowledge we obtain in our individual experience. It is the fusion of the two that allows us to function optimally in this world.
Meaning is found only when we find, acknowledge and experience the unity and relationship between ourselves and the Universe. The role of philosophy, religion, spirituality, and mythology, is to uncover the abiding unity of all life. To do so, philosophical and spiritual pursuits endeavor to uncover basic principles and essences, that explain the underlying nature of manifested things, and define archetypal reality. Archetypes represent universal principles, that underlie and motivate the psychological life of individuals and the collective. Archetypal language represents and communicates a profound understanding of qualitative human experiences.(5)
One of C. G. Jung's major contributions was to show "beyond any doubt that the primary life-motivating agents in the individual psyche, and the over-all psychological patterns in entire cultures, are manifestations of 'archetypal' factors in the human psyche. These archetypes are inherent in the psychological layer of life. Jung calls this psychic substratum the 'collective unconscious'".
The universal principles embodied in archetypes are the main elements in both mythology and astrology. Mythology focuses on the patterns of cultural manifestations of archetypes. Astrology "utilizes the essential archetypal principles themselves, as its language for understanding the fundamental forces and patterns in both individual and cultural life". (6) Both show our relationship to universal reality, and serve to infuse our individual lives with meaning. Archetypes, whether they be the gods of mythology or the planets in astrology, represent living forces that infuse our very being, and universal principles that guide and form the fabric of our lives.
Jung believed that archetypes represent transcendental energies that form the foundation of all psychic life. He believed that they cannot be made conscious. Although archetypes represent very subtle energies that cannot be apprehended by the rational mind, I believe that the evolutionary goal of spiritual awakening is to become more and more consciously aware of these energies. One of the goals of spiritual practices is to help us discover, not only how these subtle energies interact in our lives, but also to facilitate the experiential realization that we are each a unique manifestation of these energies.
Spiritual awakening involves both the knowledge and experience of the dynamics of universal energies, forms and patterns. Astrology is the study of these universal forces which exist and influence us from within and from without. Astrological archetypes provide us with a precise symbolic language, that represents a comprehensive understanding of basic universal forces and energies operative at every level of existence. Astrology offers us a way to understand our fundamental nature, a means to discover our place in the Universe, and guidelines to live creative and fulfilling lives. Astrology offers us a usable methodology to live more consciously, by giving us an archetypal foundation that reunites us with our spirit, nature, and the cyclical and evolutionary process of the Universe.(7) Kundalini Yoga and other spiritual practices offer us the technology to cultivate a direct experience of these energies.
Universal principles are transcendent. They create and are embodied in all manifestations. They are invisible organizing patterns which guide and determine the form that energy takes. They are formative principles that underlie all patterns in nature, physical development and psychological behavior. The term essences is another term that was used in the Middle Ages to indicate "the ground of the thing's being, that which makes the thing what it is".(8) Essences, or observable forms in nature, are not static qualities, but living energies, sources of activity and incarnate ideas.
The source of these eternal essences is the universal mind, which is "the domain and repository of the essences (or 'archetypes') of all forms that could ever exist, and of all ideas that could every be thought".(9) The universal mind corresponds to Jung's planetary concept of a collective unconscious. Both contain the essence patterns that determine how formless energy is organized into functional wholes. Both contain the pure expression of archetypes, essences and patterns.
The collective unconscious is not to be confused with mass consciousness, which contains the current global expression of these energies. We have recently been rudely reminded (the events of 9/11) that mass consciousness is dominated by fear and anger. Our individual and collective goal is to shift our inner realities, so that we create a mass consciousness that is dominated by love and peace.
Astrology helps us understand the universal energies and principles, that operate simultaneously in each of us and throughout the Universe. An understanding of formative universal principles helps us tune into the potentialities available to us, and infuses us with wisdom, meaning and power.
Holism, Microcosm and Macrocosm, and Causality
Holism perceives the Universe as one whole system. The totality is made up of different levels of wholes. At every level, the functions, patterns and structures correspond exactly to those of the greater whole. The concepts of holograms, microcosm and macrocosm, and the principle of correspondences, are used to express the idea that at every level of reality, the same forces are expressed. Thus if we study the principles, patterns and cycles of the planets, we can understand the Universe as well as humans.(10)
The relationship between microcosm and macrocosm expresses the concept that the characteristics and dynamics in individual lives reflect universal principles and processes. Since the Universe ("turning of the one") is a whole process consisting of "innumerable interpenetrating fields of energy", the energy field of each individual is intimately linked to the cosmic energy field.(11) In fact, we are each a holographic representation of the universal whole.
Astrology is founded on the idea of unity, process and evolution. Every individual is considered "a whole and unique expression of universal principles, patterns, and energies".(12) Ancient astrologers considered the Zodiac the "soul of nature", because it gave form and order to life. "Astrology is a language of universal principles, a way of perceiving form and order in the life of an individual person, a way of symbolizing each individual's oneness with universal factors".(13) Each individual is a unique expression of universal factors with a unique relationship to universal forces.
In the holistic approach, causality is not the basic law of the Universe. If the Universe is one whole, nothing can really cause anything else. The holistic approach explains causality through the law of correspondences. The a-causal connecting principle of all energies and events is synchronicity. Popularized by Jung, he explains that "whatever is born or done at a particular moment in time inevitably bears the qualities of that moment".(14) Rudhyar describes this inter-relationship as sympathetic resonance of all parts of the universal whole.(15)
Every energy has its "positive," conscious, awake and light expression and "negative," unconscious, asleep and unillumined expression. Practically, this indicates that the more we align ourselves with universal energies and principles, the more we tap into our soul essence, manifest the highest expression of ourselves, and attract miracles and magic through synchronistic resonance. On the other hand, the less we align ourselves with universal energies and principles, the more we are subject to the energies and patterns of mass consciousness, and attract expressions of the current level of mass consciousness. As stated above, the more we align with the highest expression of universal energies, the more we participate in shifting the fabric of mass consciousness, from fear and anger to love and peace.
The astrological birth chart is a symbolic representation of how universal energies and rhythms operate in our individual lives. Our birth chart describes "the unique combination of universal factors operating within each of us".(16) Each independent factor in our birth chart operates in the context of a unified whole, which symbolizes the unique pattern of our personality, the energies that enliven us, and the potential of our human expression.
In Astrology for New Minds, (1969) Rudhyar explains: "Every individual person is a relatively independent organic whole in which a multitude of forces dynamically interact, according to an original and originating pattern, which established its life-purpose and its basic relationship to all other wholes in the Universe. This organic whole - the individual person - is essentially no different from the almost infinitely greater and vaster organized Whole, which we call the Universe. Indeed the individual person constitutes one particular aspect of the universal Whole, focused at a particular point in space, and in terms of the particular need for it at the exact moment of its emergence into independent existence. This is the moment of the first breath, because it is then that the individual's basic rhythms of existence are established within a particular environment".(17)
The horoscope indicates an individual's innate psychic predispositions, the basic dynamics of the personality, a blueprint of the present incarnation of the soul, and destiny path this lifetime. Examination of one's horoscope helps uncover unconscious values, unexpressed conflicts and ambivalences, repressed emotional patterns, and life challenges. It also offers insights into areas of growth, patterns of development, unrealized talents, potentials and natural channels for self-expression, creativity and integration. The horoscope is "a symbolic map of the process of self-realization".(18)
We are each born with our unique birth chart, with a pattern of mental, emotional and physical tendencies. The energies that we have to work with are given. How we express and use these energies is up to us and our use of free will. The more conscious we become, and the more we tune into and choose the highest expression of universal energies, the more our life aligns with the universal mind, and the less it is programmed by mass unconsciousness. The law of cause and effect is always operable. What we put out, we get reflected back to us. If we view ourselves as victims (which we are if we are asleep and directed by the mass consciousness, not to mention the mass media), then we will create circumstances that "prove" that we are at the mercy of outer forces and circumstances.
Our birth chart defines the parameters within which we develop, create and make choices this lifetime. Within these parameters we can find existential freedom, become responsible for our own lives, and find fulfillment in the ordered unfolding of our lives. When we understand our life-context in terms of the unfolding cycles, patterns and rhythms of our birth chart, we can live meaningful and passionate lives.
The Language, Measurement and Meaning in Astrology
Astrology is unique, because it includes both archetypal symbols that represent real universal energies, and ways to calculate the interaction of these energies in our lives. Comprised both of mathematical and symbolic language, astrology is a complete theory of personality. Astrology describes "types of consciousness, individual differences and uniqueness, and types of energy operating through the person". It also "reveals the operation of universal laws of harmonics, polarities, and psycho-physical energies".(19)
Measurements in astrology are symbolic representations of universal energies, that are translated into human qualities and experiences. Astrological symbols are a qualitative language, which are of value to the extent that they help us find meaning, order and connection in our lives. The question of scientific proof is irrelevant. What is important to an individual is the significance of the event or the experience. Rudhyar writes that only "existential proof" is valid for individuals.
The role of astrology is not to define character traits, or to predict what will happen to us and when. Astrology has been used in this way in the past. This approach is deterministic, and tends to work to a certain extent when people are unconscious. Dane Rudhyar states that astrology is "the art of interpreting the cyclic ebbs and flows of the basic energies and activities of life, so that the existence of an individual person ... is seen as an ordered process of change, a process which has inherent meaning and purpose".(20)
"Astrology reveals the overall pattern of simplicity, order, elegance and form that operates throughout the Universe and, in particular, within every individual".(21) "The substantial elements or basic drives in every organized existential system are the same".(22) Since humans, the Earth, and planets are all part of the same whole, the cosmic language of astrology is relevant in understanding our way of being and functioning. Astrology helps us live more conscious lives. By gaining a deeper understanding of the factors that structure our existence, we can live more meaningful and fulfilling lives.
Astrology and Psychology
There are numerous psychological theories of personality, that attempt to define individual characteristics, and discover some sense of order and predictability to human nature. The problem is that these personality theories are inherently biased, because they reflect the dispositions of the person who invented the theory.
Astrology provides a cosmic framework and symbols, that represent archetypal energies that are present in every human being. Because these energies activate every human being, they come the closest so far to describing human nature. After years of experience, Steven Arroyo concludes that "astrology is without a doubt the most accurate and comprehensive means of understanding human personality, behavior, change and growth".(23)
The psychologist Zipporah Dobyns, who is working on the integration of psychology and astrology, believes that the myriad of personality systems in modern psychology will be superceded by a refined astrology, because it is the "only system in which there are external referents for the categories which are visible, predictable and capable of complexity, infinitely beyond any personality classification devised by psychology".(24)
Astrology is a cosmic psychology that defines our relationship with universal reality. It gives us a way to understand the fixed laws, underlying patterns, and dynamic evolution of the Universe, and our personal relationship and interaction with the above. Our individual experiences are infused with meaning. The parameters of our free will are defined; and road maps to freedom and happiness are delineated. We are no longer a bobbing cork on the ocean of life. We ride the waves as an integrated drop of the infinite whole.
Two Approaches to Astrology
Two basic approaches to astrology reflect the two basic worldviews, and approaches to knowledge, that we described above. The causal approach reflects the Atomistic School and rational, intellectual approach to knowledge. The holistic approach reflects the Holistic School and intuitive approach to knowledge.
The Causal Approach
The causal framework investigates:
- the relationship between humans and the electromagnetic field in the solar system
- the effect of these fields as they impact the human nervous system and
- the interaction between human psychological behavior and changing positions of the planets.
The causal approach is event centered, problem-oriented, and focuses on outer events that happen to individuals. It is often associated with in-depth examination of abnormalities, limitations, and problems with social adjustment.
The scientific mind is particularly interested in the causal approach. This investigation can uncover interesting and useful information. How we use the information depends upon our worldview. An inherent tendency in the causal approach is to use it to substantiate a static worldview of fate and determinism. If we view the world, indeed the Universe, as static, predictable and measurable, we will tend to take the fortune teller view of astrology. Our birth chart will be used to reveal predictable circumstances, and unalterable conditions and character traits, that define our human existence. This approach is founded upon the belief that forces and circumstances outside ourselves are responsible for our fate. This often leads to a victim mentality.
Note that many of the critics of astrology perceive the world from the rational scientific paradigm. They try to debunk astrology because they say it can't be used to prove exact correlations between worldly events and the movement of celestial bodies, or guarantee predictable outcomes.
The Holistic Approach
Holism sees everything in nature obeying the same universal laws. One of the goals of the holistic approach to astrology is to uncover these universal laws, and apply them to our individual lives. The premise of holism is that all of existence is organized as fields of interdependent activities. Astrology is a language that communicates the "form, structure, and rhythm of functional wholes".(25) The cosmic and planetary cycles, motions and rhythms are "structuring principles inherent in every organized system of activities; thus in every whole. It is not a question of literal, direct, external influence, exerted by some celestial body upon entities living on this earth. Astrology is a way of studying and understanding the arrangement of organization, of a few essential functions and drives in every organized whole of activity".(26)
The holistic approach is person-centered. The holistic approach to psychology and astrology focuses on personal experience and growth, and examines what kind of person has what kind of problem. It is also more concerned with exploring appropriate paths to self-realization and individualization, and how to activate potentials and creativity in individuals. The holistic approach uncovers opportunities to expand one's consciousness, to bring depth of meaning to one's experiences, to integrate deeper levels of being, and to shift from fate to destiny.
From the holistic perspective, everything that happens to us has a function and a place, and is part of our growth and individual unfoldment. To understand what is happening and why, we can investigate our feelings, thoughts and experiences in relationship to the whole system, or to the energies of the planets. We are always in harmony or apparent disharmony with universal energies. Rudhyar writes "The wholeness of the system is constantly working in polyphonic harmony with the life of the individual, which has become separated from the whole by becoming itself, a little whole, a little organism. Each time anything individualizes out from the whole, it remains part of the whole ... The idea of astrology is to relate all the functional activity of a human being to ten basic symbols, or planets, each planet representing a definite quality of activity. Taken together, they represent a blueprint of a person as a whole".(27)
The planets, the Zodiac signs, and their aspects are considered to be representations of universal principles, patterns and processes, respectively. The 4 symbolic alphabets - planets, Zodiac signs, houses and planetary aspects - represent the stage of human experience - the actors, their costumes, their arena and the nature of their interactions.
Astrological symbols represent universal energies.(28) These essential, subtle energies and energy patterns, symbolized by the planets and the Zodiac signs, operating through individuals, enliven and define us. Our goal is to understand the essence of these energies, to penetrate to their core meaning, and to uncover patterns of order that are ever present in infinite combinations of factors. By studying our birth chart we understand how they manifest in our lives.
The end result of the holistic approach is to demonstrate the existence of harmonic order within the Universe and within humans ourselves. The focus on universal energies helps us experience universal reality in our own physical, mental and emotional awareness.
Living more Conscious Lives
For those who experience life as a complex interaction of alive and ever-changing forces that participate in the dance of life, the role of astrology is a framework to understand the dynamics and potentialities of life. This non-static worldview is founded on the following observation - the ability to predict anything depends upon the level of complexity of the situation and the participants. The interaction of chemical compounds, for example, is predictable since there are few variables, and the "participants" do not have the capacity to alter their mode of reaction, i.e. they do not possess consciousness. Human beings are the least predictable. Our capacity of free will and ability to reason gives us the capacity to respond in an unlimited variety of ways; and the more conscious we become, the more unpredictable we become. Those who lack conscious awareness are more predictable, because they usually "need to experience a more definite and concrete outer circumstance in order to gain the same understanding" that a more consciously aware person could choose to learn from intuition and insight.(29)
Our goal is to use astrology to help us work with our natal energy, in a way that helps us achieve the highest expression of our individuality, and to participate in more satisfying and fulfilling ways with the cycles of life. The study of our birth chart helps those of us choosing to become more conscious, to use astrological information to help us make more conscious decisions, and to flow with the universal energies. Our aim is to tap our creative abilities, appreciate ourselves and each other, live healthy, harmonious lives, and liberate ourselves so that we can live to our highest destinies.
Understanding and Experiencing the Power of the Whole
Astrology provides us with a language of universal principles, and a context for understanding the significance of the parts that make up the whole. Astrology demonstrates the underlying pattern of the Universe, that ensures the harmonious co-existence of all aspects of the system. Astrology provides us with a comprehensive, universally applicable, cosmic framework that facilitates the awakening of and gives meaning to our souls.
To try to make astrology into a causal framework of statistical correlations is to miss the most important gift of astrology.(30) As the art and science of universal energies, astrology helps us become active participants in the rhythms of life and the cycles of nature. Astrology helps us escape from the straight jacket of scientific determinism. Astrology is both the intellectual and intuitive tool that releases us from the prison of our rational minds, and delivers us to the roots of creative consciousness, the freedom of vision and imagination.
Kundalini Yoga is a powerful technology that helps us move from intellectual speculation, to intuitive understanding, to actual experience. The practice of Kundalini Yoga frees us from the agony of separation to the realization of wholeness, coherence, and oneness with the Universe, others and our own souls. The practice of Kundalini Yoga can help us tap the restorative power of the whole, and open us to experience the integrative powers of universal energies. It helps us end the bondage of conditioned behavior, and delivers us to dynamic, passionate and purposeful living.
The Missing Link
In the Western scientific tradition, the five senses are used externally to ascertain information about the world. In Eastern spiritual traditions, the five senses are also used internally to obtain inner information. It is my view that we feel separate from nature, God and universal energies when we do not cultivate our inner senses. We remain in our minds and detached from our bodies. Our body is the instrument of our soul. We have to cultivate a sensory relationship with it, to have a direct experience of universal energies and our divine nature. It is through our physical sensations that we consciously align and synchronize with universal energies.
We miss the connection when our attention resides in our thoughts and outside ourselves. Our mind performs two basic functions - analysis and focus of attention. When we are constantly thinking, we lose the ability to focus on our sensations, as a means to attain information and to be present to energetic reality. One consequence of loosing connection with our sensations is that we think God is outside us. When we are not consciously connected to universal forces, we feel afraid and alienated. Developing an internal, personal relationship with our physical sensations, is the missing link between the intellectual and intuitive approaches to life.
The holistic approach points to the reality that we ARE one with the Universe. It helps us understand how asleep we are and how shut down we have become. When we are unconscious we feel disconnected. When we are disconnected, we miss the most obvious energetic realities of existence.
Why can we still hear the Greek dictum, "Know thyself"? Because to know thyself is to know the Universe. To align with ourselves is to align with the Universe. The implications of holism are simultaneously sobering and exciting. If we are truly microcosms of the macrocosm, then we can know all by knowing ourselves. Investigation of the self no longer seems frivolous or selfish, and we no longer believe the dictums of patriarchal structures, that try to control us by leading us to believe that God is outside ourselves. Experience of the Self becomes our primary tool for cosmic connection.
At first it may be scary to contemplate the phrases, "It is all about me", "You create your own reality", and "You are responsible for your own life", because in the holistic approach they are true! The inspiring and encouraging news is "We create our own reality", "It is all about me", and "We are responsible for our own lives".
To live in a holistic, connected reality in a meaningful way, we have to wake-up and stay awake. We have to become consciously aware of our energy and how we use or misuse it. We have to align with who we really are. The more we synchronize with our essence, the more we synchronize with universal forces. The more we align with universal forces, the easier and more meaningful life becomes. We know what computes for us and what doesn't. We can adjust our actions, thoughts and intentions to become more and more aligned.
Knowledge of astrology and our personal birth chart gives us knowledge about what we are working with, formulas for connection and for success in life. Our goal is no longer social adjustment and learning how to fit in with the crowd, but self-realization and aligning our will with Divine Will. Spiritual practices including Kundalini Yoga facilitate our personal alignment with our soul, universal energies and our destiny this lifetime.
References and Footnotes
Astrology, Psychology and the Four Elements, Stephen Arroyo, CRCS Publications, Davis, CA, 1975.
Astrology for New Minds, Dane Rudhyar, Lakemont, GA, CSA Press, 1969
1. Arroyo, p. 16
2. Arroyo, p. 25
3. Arroyo, p. 24
4. Arroyo, p. 17
5. Arroyo, p. 27
6. Arroyo, p. 28
7. Arroyo, p. 29
8. Arroyo, p. 30
9. Arroyo, p. 30
10. Arroyo, p. 40
11. Arroyo, p. 32
12. Arroyo, p. 31
13. Arroyo, p. 31
14. Arroyo, p. 40
15. Arroyo, p. 43
16. Arroyo, p. 50
17. Arroyo, p. 50, Rudhyar, p. 27
18. Arroyo, p. 35
19. Arroyo, p. 35
20. Arroyo, p. 23
21. Arroyo, p. xv
22. Arroyo, p. 50, Rudhyar, p. 27
23. Arroyo, p. xv
24. Arroyo, p. 21
25. Arroyo, p. 41
26. Arroyo, p. 42
27. Arroyo, p. 49
28. The generic term energy is totally inadequate to describe the subtle manifestations of universal forces. As Stephen Arroyo points out, "light energy, if considered as an octave, is only one of about seventy-five octaves in the frequency ranges of the recognized electromagnetic spectrum." (Arroyo, p.xiv)
30. Arroyo, p. 25
By the way, reality is not a question of belief. What exists, exists independently of what we might want or be lead to believe. What we believe, however, does impact how we live, how we align, our ability to heal ourselves and the depth of our experiences. Even the new physics documents the dynamic, fluid nature of reality. Modern physics now conceptualizes particles as extended patterns, and material atoms as fields of energy. Pere Teihard de Chardin defines truth simply as "the complete coherence of the Universe in relation to every point contained within it." (Arroyo, p. 18)
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