by Daniel Giamario, originator of Shamanic Astrology
This article is a follow-up to last month’s offering entitled Shamanic Astrology is Not Predictive. I have recently been rereading and reconnecting to some of my original sources of inspiration and guidance from the early 1970’s, when the foundations of my astrological and philosophical approach were forming.
Recently I reread a lucid and essential article by Alexander Ruperti from the publication called The Astrological Journal, Volume 17 Number 1, published winter of 1974. Ruperti was a colleague and friend of Dane Rudhyar, and their work cross-pollinated each other.
Here are some excerpts from the article, as these main points are still as relevant today, as they were back in 1974, if not more so!
So many of my deep views are expressed in this writing including:
(1) Uselessness of the statistical approach
(2) Irrelevance of a “scientific basis” for astrology
(3) And most importantly, the actual reasons for being an astrologer at this time
These masters, Rudhyar and Ruperti, have greatly influenced my approach and the approach of the Shamanic Astrology Paradigm. That is why the ultimate responsibility of a Shamanic Astrologer is to elucidate and animate their highest vision for their clients, while assisting them in aligning with a purpose that is uniquely theirs.
Although the astrologer cannot be attached to whether the client agrees, or ever carries it out, it’s important to convey this vision to each client seeking a Shamanic Astrology session. This is even more true now, than it was in the early 1970’s when this article was written, as there is an even greater immediacy and urgency to be as bold and authentic as possible.
If not now, when?!
Ultimately, every person has a chart that symbolizes their perfect set of instructions and circumstances for the fulfillment of their soul’s journey and purpose. Our responsibility is to help with this as much as we can.
Now, read the remarkable words of Alexander Ruperti from 1974…
Reflections on The Astrological Journal, Volume 17 Number 1, published winter of 1974
By Alexander Ruperti
In spite of the accent on techniques and their possible misuse in the world of tomorrow, the problems brought up are, at heart, philosophical and psychological. The danger of a utilitarian use or misuse of Astrology will stem directly from the way astrologers present the subject and its aims and from the level astrological knowledge is applied. The harder we try to fit Astrology into scientific techniques, the more likely we are to give up being astrologers for the sake of becoming scientific technicians.
One of the first things we have to do is to decide the nature of the principles that our understanding is to be based. If we really believe that the foundation of the correspondence between the cosmos and man is a mechanistic one involving the influence of the former on the latter, then there is no use talking about free will, self-discovery, and so on. And if we do believe in this interpretation of a manifest correspondence of “above and below”, do we really believe it because of certain esoteric teachings or rather because applied science still works on a casual basis? The interpretation is a mechanistic one whether we call the influences “divine energies”, “cosmic forces”, “electro-magnetic forces”, or whatever; the attitude of the astrologer will inevitably be that there is some sort of influence acting upon a person’s inner and outer environment and affecting the way collective human nature will operate in him.
Such an astrologer is what we call today “event-oriented.” For him, the birth-chart represents those influences that will mould the native, will help or hinder him—even in the most trivial ways—make of him a primitive or an evolved person. (In the Student’s Section, we read that the person with the majority of his planets in the first six Signs is less evolved than the person with the majority of his planets in the last six Signs—a statement that has no foundation in reality and will lead to numerous false appreciations of people). The “bad” aspects will show things he has to overcome, if he can (though if they refer to real influences it does not seem clear what anybody can do about it). Everything becomes a matter of willpower and discipline and of trying, thorough Astrology, to avoid unpleasant or dangerous experiences.
If the event-oriented astrologer is of a scientific mind, his attitude is inevitably empirical. He takes for granted that there is a casual relationship between the sky pattern and the earth events and expects that science will one day discover the nature of the medium that is the carrier of the external influences affecting the earth and therefore the events in a person’s life.
If the event-oriented astrologer has a theosophical bent, his attitude is conditioned by his belief in cosmic forces and the influence of karma on the newborn. For him, as for the scientific astrologer, the incarnating real person is outside the birth chart. The latter charts for him all those influences the soul will have to contend with during his Earth life—the pejorative human nature then must be dominated and disciplined. For him, the native must try and “rule” his chart to which he is supposed to be external and ascend progressively and painfully back to his divine source.
In other words, the world view behind this attitude is based on the ancient dualistic concept: on the one hand, Celestial Hierarchies of planetary gods, on the other, earth-nature; the former ruling the latter, but each belonging to totally different worlds. It may not be based consciously on this world view, but the meaning they give to Astrology implies it whether the tenants of the event-oriented attitude like the idea or not. Many people do not realize the extent to which they are subjected to the general world-view of their epoch, in determining the way they approach Astrology.
Since the event-oriented astrologer believes that he is dealing with actual, measurable forces, which he interprets on one level as being planetary or zodiacal, and on another as being due to the action of gods or divine beings working with the law of karma, a conflict between “heaven” and “earth” is active outside man and as well in his psychic nature. Some of these forces labeled “good” and others “bad”, according to whether they help man’s outer happiness and success and the domination of the soul over his human, too human, nature, or hinder such attainments.
But has such an event-oriented astrologer ever realized that this use of Astrology, in spite of the accent of a correct birth time, does not treat the individual as an individual, but only as a particular expression of human nature, thus, as a product of purely collective materials energized presumably by some sort of cosmic forces?
Consider the meanings given in most text books to planets and Signs. They give a very superficial, traditional point of view on character, psychology, health, and treat human beings on a social rather than individual basis. Of course, this is the level most people seem to live, since no one tells them of the possibility we all have to emerge from this sphere of compulsive and unconscious operation of “human nature.” Event-oriented astrology does not try to add anything new to human understanding. It treats things and people as they superficially are, tries now to fit them into statistical categories and so will tend to make people feel that they are more predetermined than ever.
What we need today is an Astrology that does not emphasize in this manner the power of the environment, cosmic and terrestrial, and of collective human nature, over the particular person. We need an Astrology centered in the person putting the accent on the particular set of birth-potentials revealed by the birth chart seen as representing the totality of that living person.
This brings us to what is now called “Humanistic Astrology”, first presented to the public in 1936 by Dane Rudhyar in his book Astrology of Personality. Humanistic Astrology is gaining ground very quickly among the younger generations of astrologers in the United States, but unfortunately has found little echo in Britain. There was even hostility towards it in the years before the war when I attempted to introduce Rudhyar’s concepts to the Astrological Lodge.
Humanistic, person-centered astrology does not try to tell people what is wrong with their human nature nor to predict possible future events. In such an Astrology, the birth chart does not reveal what necessarily is, but rather what should be. It does not try to reveal what the character is and how the person will behave, but rather how the person should behave if he would fulfill his birth potential and so become a true, whole individual, whatever the outer circumstances of his life may be.
These circumstances may be easy or difficult, bring happiness or sorrow, pleasant experiences or tragic crises. The humanistic astrologer does not attach importance to such alternatives and does not try to predict if or when one or the other is likely to occur. The astrologer seeks to make the person conscious of the meaning and whatever happens is in regard to the essential life purpose revealed by the birth chart, so that the person can make a constructive, courageous and wise use of their life circumstances, whatever they may be. The astrologer shows the person where they should concentrate their attention at a given time and which qualities they are to develop at the same time, if they choose to live a conscious and purposeful experience.
For the humanistic astrologer nothing is bad in a birth chart. Everything in the chart concurs to define the individual it represents. Through living out the whole chart, the native will attain full self-realization. This will never be attained through trying to be different from the birth chart, through interpreting this square of Mars as something to avoid and that conjunction of Saturn as some karma to be borne resignedly, and so on. Nothing in the chart is worthless or to be judged according to ethical standards. “Every birth chart is the ‘best’ for the particular purpose of the individual to whom it refers”. (Person-centered Astrology, page 50, by Rudhyar).
Such a use of astrology requires an aesthetical approach to man and to the universe, a holistic or harmonic approach. What is important is the attitude of the individual towards their own growth and self-fulfillment.
The emotional or ethical reaction to isolated factors in a chart will never enable the astrologer to see the native as a human person. They will only see forces trying to do them good or harm—a favorable Jupiter and an unfavorable Saturn, etc.—and events resulting from the operation of these forces. It is this attitude to astrology that can makes its use in society a danger.
Knowledge is power, as Charles Harvey rightly said. It will be misused only if we present astrology to society in a manner based on the event-oriented approach. Scientific research today is not interested in the human result of its discoveries and the people who exploit these results commercially care still less whether they will be beneficial or not.
The mass dissemination of so-called scientific knowledge or of astrological concepts has a very questionable value, unless it takes into consideration the possible effects of the knowledge disseminated. And here astrologers have a very grave responsibility. One way to offset the dangers of misuse and unfortunate reactions is to stress the philosophical aspect of the basic principles rather than statistical data and scientific research, as it is conceived today.
Statistical research directed to artificial groups like “doctors”, “military men”, “artists”, “athletes”, etc., is of no practical use whatever to the astrologer’s work. As David Hamblin said in his article on Hot and Cold Murder, “there will be many different reasons and motivations for behaving in that way (i.e., like a murderer).” People become doctors or athletes or artists also for a variety of reasons, psychological and personal, something statistics will never show because, like all scientific procedures, they only refer to collective, group values. They will never have anything to say about individual variations.
Statistical and critical analysis of the traditional statements made in astrological textbooks would be of greater value than the type of correspondences usually looked for. If statistics show a link between “Mars conjunct Neptune” and genius, we cannot say, when we have to interpret a chart that contains this conjunction, then there will be genius.
Paul Choisnard established this link between “Mars conjunct Neptune” and genius; but we could go further and collect as many charts as we can with this conjunction and make a distinction between those where Mars is ahead of Neptune in the zodiac and those where Mars is behind Neptune. Then, through the case histories, we could try and find out all the different ways this conjunction can be seen manifesting in life. I realize that this is a difficult task but, to my mind, it is one of the only ways in which statistics could be made to serve astrologers in their practical work with people. In any case, our starting point should be the planetary configurations and not artificial categories of people.
If a scientific-minded astrologer reads a chart as a scientific presentation of how cosmic forces mold human character and life events in a statistically proven way, he is inclined not to take any personal responsibility for what he says and even less for the effect of his predictions on his client. He will feel himself to be a technician giving the facts as science has proven them to be. Rudhyar wrote once that we fail too often to recognize that the knowledge of facts alone acquires “value” only in relation to the person and the society that knows these facts. What matters, he said, is the relationship between the known and the knower, not the knowledge alone.
We astrologers must realize the danger of scientific trend and put a very strong accent on the personal responsibility of the astrologer toward the client. Otherwise, it is inevitable that the astrological “facts” will be used by some, even without their knowing it, in a way that could destroy the integrity of the client. Only the astrologer grounded in Jungian depth psychology or spiritual values, realizes fully how the knowledge of true facts can confuse and even kill as well as heal. This is why doctors, for example, more often than not, refuse to tell a patient that he has an incurable disease or will probably die within six months.
Rudhyar is of the opinion that the general intellectual climate being created today by the wholesale concentration of good minds on technological achievements and quantitative procedures, is working slowly but surely against spiritual values. Astrology could be an antidote to this trend if it remained faithful to its heritage and concerned itself with bringing harmonic order to the chaotic psychological life of modern individuals. But to do this, means putting the accent on the living individual person and using astrology to help him or her find and then stand at the center of his or her own particular universe. This is the aim of Humanistic Astrology: to clarify the meaning and purpose of what experiences and relationships of daily life bring to the person who is committed to significant and purposeful living; to help him work out consciously, honestly, his personal relationship to the universe according to his birth chart.
We often read that Uranus is the planet of astrology. If this is so, why is there so much conformism among astrologers? “We must give the public what it wants; if they want predictions, we must predict, etc.” We forget that the public wants what they expect astrology to give them. And they expect from astrology what astrologers claim they can give them.
If the public today expects mainly down to earth predictions it is because astrology has not made people realize yet that it can also function on a higher (or a deeper) level and in terms of more inner vital needs. It is up to us to build such a new and more worthy public image of astrology.
I will close with a quotation from Rudhyar: “Humanistic Astrology indicates essentially an alternative to the superficial game of fortune-telling, and to the serious business of statistical research and quantitative devices for chart interpretation. The term ‘person-centered’ is used to show the basic difference between my approach and the collectivistic geocentrism of zodiac-based astrology.”
My approach is oriented to the possibility of developing in every person a steady eagerness for self-transformation and independence from the socio-cultural patterns of the past. I stand on the belief that there is latent in every man and woman the power to be greater than they are, free, more creative, yet more deeply committed to the process of world transformation. By sounding the true ‘name’ of an individual one may rouse to life the divine within. Every person is a ‘celestial’, if only they gain the strength and they have the courage to stand by the truth of their being and to fulfill their place and function on this Earth by following the celestial ‘set of instructions’ revealed by the sky.” (My stand on Astrology, page 31, by Rudhyar).
Lausanne, August 27, 1974.