One practices astrology by aligning the movement of her or his life with the qualitative aspects of time, as revealed by the patterns of the solar system. If you allow these dynamic, ever-changing patterns to organize and structure your awareness of self and other, if you learn to 'think' like the solar system, you will find yourself living in a 'participation mystique', or experiential at-one-ment, with both nature and cosmos. Or as the British essayist Thomas Traherne once put it: "You never enjoy the world aright till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars."
If we were all making some kind of effort to reconnect with nature, we wouldn't be in the perfect storm of ecological and societal catastrophes that we currently are. So for this reason alone, you might think that astrology would be at least tolerated, perhaps even appreciated, by our culture. But this is hardly the case. So why is this so ?Why does even the mention of the word instantly raise the blood pressure of almost every philosopher, scientist, and thought-policeman in the Westernized nations of the emerging global techno-culture?
The real answer to this question is not the one that usually gets rolled out: that astrology is nothing but pseudo-science; and to give it any credence whatsoever is delusional at best. In other words: we're to reject it on purely theoretical grounds as inherently unscientific. When the National Science Foundation released its 2014 list of Science & Engineering Indicators, and stated that "fewer Americans rejected astrology in 2012 than in recent years", the response published by Mother Jones became just the latest example of the quasi-religious belief that the specific kind of 'knowing' perfected by science is the only valid way for humans to acquire knowledge. The truth, however, is that the scientific critique of astrology completely misses the point.
Science, along with every other form of inquiry institutionalized in the West, is a by-product of the invention of the alphabet, and an expression of the particular form of consciousness that alphabetic literacy is responsible for. In its 20,000+ years of existence, astrology never has been what our culture understands by the word 'science'. Instead it's something much older than science, and therefore something entirely other than science.
The real reason that astrology has remained forever a 'stranger in a strange land' in the literate West is that the practice is essentially a time-capsule of sorts, handed down from a different paradigm of human consciousness and a different manner of human cognition. And because of this, astrology's pre-literate, analogical, participatory way of thinking remains forever a baffling anomaly to the objectifying, analytical, conceptual thinking of the Western-educated scientific and philosophical mind.
Over the course of the last 3000 years the psychology that accompanies the acquisition of alphabetic skills has systematically obliterated the pre-literate psychology from which astrological awareness originally emerged. As a consequence, the practice of astrology has been thoroughly colonized by the the thought-habits that have become synonymous with thinking itself during the literate phase of the history of Western consciousness. Few astrologers today seem to understand the implications of this hostile takeover since we all share thought-habits as well, and because of our complete lack of awareness as to how they have influenced the current understanding of astrological practice.
But now, thanks to the Digital Revolution, all the empires of literacy are disintegrating. One-by-one, its cultural institutions are sliding down into the dark, fecund waters of the Racial Unconscious from whence they originally came. The world as we've known it, the world built in the image of the literate mind, is rapidly coming apart at the seams as, in the words of the novelist Louise Erdrich, "Everything familiar dissolves into strangeness."
These same astrologers had another phrase to describe how a disappeared planet once again becomes visible as it leaves conjunction. I've borrowed this description for the title of my blog because it so aptly sums up the change in astrological awareness as we learn to better distinguish its unique reason for being from that of Apollo's gifts. And so, liberated from the objectifying constraints of philosophy, and from any need whatsoever to prove itself a science, a new post-literate understanding of astrological practice is now ‘emerging from the beams of the Sun’.
Everything that follows then is support for my conviction that the key to our common post-literate future lies not in the history of our literate entrainment, but in the mystery of our pre-literate origins. Therefore all these postings reflect a spirit that’s quite different from the one informing mainstream astrological practice today - both West and East. So be forewarned. Leaving 'the reservation' may prove hazardous to your literacy- conditioned understanding of this time-honored celebration of participatory human consciousness.