“In my Father’s house are many mansions.”
I rarely ever read my horoscope in the daily newspaper. Born on the cusp of Taurus and Gemini, I’m usually undecided about which sign is more influential in my life. Most likely Gemini, as I tend to avoid making decisions and simply do what’s obviously needed in the moment.
In considering the astrological influences of zodiac signs and planetary alignments in our lives, the question naturally comes up as to how much control we have individually and collectively over our lives and the unfolding of global events. A friend recently responded to my previous post addressing this very question.
When I consult someone regarding their astro-chart (which I do occasionally) I always preface what I say with advice that there is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ astrological influence, although, through personal interpretation/judgement, such opinions are often made. I say things like, “You are the master of your own ship”. The focus on mastery/maturity allows for proper conscious behavior as these cosmic influences ebb and flow around our little ‘ship’ of being. Cymatics is an interesting subject in this respect which confirms that there are larger patterns within which we live and have our being. We don’t control the larger pattern of life, our sun/solar system/universe…we can only align with this reality, or continue to try resisting it, to our eventual demise! One wants to ‘go with the flow’ here…or expect a capsized/cataclysmic experience. — Donald White
Don echoes the words of the poem Invictus:
“It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”
Richard Tarnas bumps up against the issue of free will and determinism in his research into the history of planetary alignments and their impact on the human psyche, which he published in 2007 in his epic book COSMOS AND PSYCHE, Intimations of a New World View. I think he addresses the issue quite thoroughly: (Emphasis mine)
Free Will and Determinism
Because the question of free will and determinism has long been the most existentially and spiritually critical issue in all discussions of astrology, I will offer a few preliminary remarks here.
There is no question that a substantial part of the Western astrological tradition supported a relatively deterministic interpretation of cosmic influence (a tendency even more marked in Indian astrology). For numerous schools and theorists of ancient and medieval astrology, the horoscope revealed a person’s destined fate, and the celestial powers governed human lives with a more or less rigid sovereignty. The widespread reemergence of Western astrology in the course of the twentieth century, however, arising in a new context and at a different stage in the West’s cultural and psychological evolution, brought with it a deeply transformed vision of both the human self and the nature of astrological prediction. The most characteristic attitude among contemporary astrologers holds astrological knowledge to be ultimately emancipatory rather than constricting, bringing a potential increase of personal freedom and fulfillment through an enlarged understanding of the self and its cosmic context.
In this view, knowing the basic archetypal dynamics and patterns of meaning in one’s birth chart allows one to bring greater awareness to the task of fulfilling one’s authentic nature and intrinsic potential, as in Jung’s concept of individuation. The more accurately one understands the archetypal forces that inform and affect one’s life, the more flexibly and intelligently responsive one can be in dealing with them. To the extent that one is unconscious of these potent and sometimes highly problematic forces, one is more or less a pawn of the archetypes, acting according to unconscious motivations with little possibility of being a cocreative participant in the unfolding and refining of those potentials. Archetypal awareness brings greater self-awareness and thus greater personal autonomy. Again, this is the basic rationale for depth psychology, from Freud and Jung onward: to release oneself from the bondage of blind action and unconsciously motivated experience, to recognize and explore the deeper forces in the human psyche and thereby modulate and transform them. On the individual level, astrology is valued for its capacity to articulate which archetypes are especially important for each person, how they interact with each other, and when they are most likely to be activated in the course of each life.
But in addition to the psychological evolution of the modern self with its increased sense of dynamic autonomy and self-reflective interiority, perhaps the most significant factor in the emerging emancipatory understanding of astrology is a deepening grasp of the nature of the archetypal principles themselves, the subject to which we now turn.
So, let’s have a brief look into the nature of archetypal principles—and the first thing to do is define what archetypes are. For that, we have Richard Tarnas to fill us in on the history of archetypes, at one point considered by the Greeks to be gods who populated an enchanted Universe. In other words immortals embodied by material forms, such as planets and constellations. In the more contemporary mind, the archetype is the prototype that informs things and events, the immanent “form” that makes things what they are and shapes their behavior. Tarnas explains the concept within its historical context giving us a view into the evolution of the word “God.” (Emphasis mine)
The concept of planetary archetypes, in many respects the pivotal concept of the emerging astrological paradigm, is complex and must be approached from several directions. Before describing the nature of the association between planets and archetypes, however, we must first address the general concept of archetypes and the remarkable evolution of the archetypal perspective in the history of Western thought.
The earliest form of the archetypal perspective, and in certain respects its deepest ground, is the primordial experience of the great gods and goddesses of the ancient mythic imagination. In this once universal mode of consciousness, memorably embodied at the dawn of Western culture in the Homeric epics and later in classical Greek drama, reality is understood to be pervaded and structured by powerful numinous forces and presences that are rendered to the human imagination as the divinized figures and narratives of ancient myth, often closely associated with the celestial bodies.
Yet our modern word god, or deity or divinity, does not accurately convey the lived meaning of these primordial powers for the archaic sensibility, a meaning that was sustained and developed in the Platonic understanding of the divine. This point was clearly articulated by W. K. C. Guthrie, drawing on a valuable distinction originally made by the German scholar Wilamowitz-Moellendorff.
Theos, the Greek word which we have in mind when we speak of Plato’s god, has primarily a predicative force. That is to say, the Greeks did not, as Christians or Jews do, first assert the existence of God and then proceed to enumerate his attributes, saying “God is good,” “God is love”and so forth. Rather they were so impressed or awed by the things in life or nature remarkable either for joy or fear that they said “this is a god” or “that is a god.” The Christian says “God is love,” the Greek “Love is theos,” or “a god.” As another writer [G. M. A. Grube] has explained it:
“By saying that love, or victory, is god, or, to be more accurate, a god, was meant first and foremost that it is more than human, not subject to death, everlasting …. Any power, any force we see at work in the world, which is not born with us and will continue after we are gone could thus be called a god, and most of them were.”
In this state of mind, and with this sensitiveness to the superhuman character of many things which happen to us, and which give us, it may be, sudden stabs of joy or pain which we do not understand, a Greek poet could write lines like: “Recognition between friends is theos,” It is a state of mind which obviously has no small bearing on the much discussed question of monotheism or polytheism in Plato, if indeed it does not rob the question of meaning altogether.
In one perspective, “monotheism” and “polytheism” can be understood as one and the same reality. “Out of one many,” as we are reminded of this oneness on our currency by the words “E Pluribus Unum.” The Master Jesus stated this truth in his final words to his disciples before his departure: “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” Today we call these “mansions” levels of Consciousness. Consciousness is, in reality, all there is. One Consciousness with many levels, or differentiations. Out of the One God spring many “gods,” or points of Light, focal points that differentiate the One Light of Love, of Truth and of Life. And so, we have one Sun in our solar system that focuses the Light of the Galactic Center, which focuses the Light of the One Consciousness for creation in this corner of the Universe. Is this differentiation perhaps the foundation upon which the concept of archetypes is based?
This, in my view, is all indicative of the process underway of remembering the “Truth” that makes us free of our current limitations in consciousness and awareness. We are remembering that we ourselves are focal points of the One Light of Love, of Truth and of Life. We are awakening to the larger cosmic context of our journey through time and space as angels, if you will, or gods, in our Father’s House of many mansions.
I will continue with this discussion in my next post. Until then,
Be love. Be loved.