Rudhyar - Photo2

Dane Rudhyar


Consciousness develops in human beings on the basis of experience and of the feeling stimulated by experience. It develops through formulations of various kinds; through words, through conventionalized and meaningful gestures, through concepts and, in general, through the infinitely varied relationships of human society.

The state of living in society is, we believe, natural to human beings; nevertheless, the development of a truly social consciousness is gradual, both in terms of the historical growth of human communities and with reference to the slow unfoldment of the child's and adolescent's mentality. What comes first is the development of a personal consciousness which is based upon instinctual drives and biological-generic experiences. This phase corresponds to the first half of the sequence of zodiacal signs, from Aries to Virgo - Virgo being a phase of readjustment and critical metamorphosis.

Aries and Taurus refer in astrological symbolism to those impulsions and urges - in which the unconscious bio-psychic powers of human nature find their expressions. They correspond to the dawn of human history, to the tribal stage during which man's consciousness strives to emerge from its undifferentiated state of subjective identification with the universe and the energies of nature. The result of these strivings toward a more objective perception, classification and organization of the experienced world is the phase of human development represented by the zodiacal sign, Gemini - the sign of intellectualized consciousness, of verbal formulations, and of all the mental activities through which the human being emerges as a more or less individualized person. The summer solstice symbolizes the acme of personal differentiation and the triumph of the will to be a separate ego, center of a small universe through the space of which it can spread in solar and self-sufficient glory.

While the spring quarter of the year symbolizes the trend toward individual differentiation and singularization, the fall quarter, on the other hand, suggests, by the very nature of the experiences it brings to men in northern temperate zones, the need there is for human beings to come together in terms of common requirements, collective aspirations, and communal cultural values. The fall is a time of withdrawal and ingathering. The fruits of spring and summer labors are collected to insure future livelihood. Work in the fields is brought to an end.

Then men begin to seek permanent shelter from nature - physical nature, at first, but also psychic-emotional nature. They realize that the fact of being drawn together so as to withstand better the cold and darkness of long winters brings about progressively a new type of experiences and realizations. Out of the sharing of shelter and of food, then of plans, ideals and values, social consciousness is born.

We see the first realization of it during the Libra phase of growth, as the symbolic joining of hands.

In Scorpio, the joining of hearts and creative powers is the substance of a new realm of experience; while, with Sagittarius, men reach the phase of the joining of minds. Social consciousness finds its own field of operation, and civilization emerges from nature. Within the framework of logic, concepts are abstracted from perceptions - as wine and intoxicants are extracted from the fruits of the dark earth, their fermentation held within resistant containers.

Philosophical and abstract concepts, ideas and systems are the quintessence of generalized experiences. They are made possible by the creation of language, of words which hold and release the power generated by men's reactions to common experiences. Through words, the results of experiences become transferable. These words make possible communication between men not immediately concerned by particular facts of their environment. Above all, language - especially once it is recorded - becomes the means to "bind time" (Korzybsky) and to overcome death. Communication between successive generations, as well s between men of distant lands, is made possible. Civilization develops, characterized by a constant and insistent urge to link the most distant factors in human experience, even those that are still wrapped in the womb of imagined futurity.

This preoccupation with the distant, the future and the abstract is the mark of civilization, in the strictest sense of the term. Civilization is necessarily the overcoming of nature, because nature is always absorbed in immediate action and reaction; it is localized and personal. Even where a natural action is often repeated, each performance nevertheless reaches the consciousness of the purely "natural" being as a new and single phenomenon. This gives vitality to the performance - a sort of life-and-death challenge - but it binds to the particular; the results of the "natural" experience cannot be transferred verbally or abstractly, except through the memory of unusual deeds.

Civilization, on the other hand, deals with the transferable essence of experiences, with those factors which escape time-determination and the singular character of unique facts. Civilization is the organization of generalities and universal values. It is man's common humanity raised to the level of consciousness and meaning, formulated in symbols which are significant wherever human beings live and experience the world of total reality.

The universalistic and timeless character of civilization has however negative possibilities. The one limitation imposed upon civilization is its very challenge to limitations. The fact that it deals with universals makes it potentially destructive of the health and sanity of particular individuals. Its timelessness makes it impotent and disintegrating whenever the living core of an individual's experience is at stake. The transferability of its values, standards and achievements make them inadequate in any dealing with unique occasions in the lives of single individuals. Because they fit everywhere, at any time, they touch nowhere and at no time that center of reality in the individualized person which is quickened by the spirit.

Spirit, in its deepest expression, deals with individual persons, in an individual way meeting individual needs. It speaks to human beings who have given an individual meaning to their humanity. It speaks within the soul. It is the One speaking to a one. All spirit-conditioned transfers are from the uniqueness of another self. The substance of the transfer belongs to all; it is universal. But the living act of transference is from individual to individual. There is no test-tube impregnation in the realm of the spirit! The gift of the deific power admits of no standardization. It is a personal gift - however impersonal the substance of the gift and the power bestowed.

These points should be stressed again and again to a humanity which has gone, often with fanatical vehemence, to the side of civilization and of universal - because intellectually abstract - ideals. Big theories and world-wide schemes can be, and have often been, destructive of the welfare and of the lives of individuals. The most universalistic religions have been the most fanatical in their proselytic zeal. The most embracing truths have crucified the greatest number of people who either were not ready for them, or demanded the right to experience and formulate these truths according to their own individual temperament.

It is indeed easy for the civilizer and universalist to forget that the most exalted or most valid ideas must always reach the core of individuals' experiences, if these ideas are to be vital and spiritually radiant. To those who would thus forget the humanity of the persons they seek to convert to some great (or not-so-great) vision by any means available, the most essential gift which the spirit can offer is the gift of comradeship

Comradeship is the practice of cooperative and warm living with other human beings treated as human persons. It is the art of living together - with the accent upon the word "living". To be a comrade to other individuals is to meet them in terms of their individual needs and characters, at the level, not of abstractions or dogmatic beliefs, but of concrete, actual, everyday living. It is to meet them as unique persons through unique occurrences requiring unique forms of cooperation and understanding. It is to meet them creatively - the spirit in every one acting directly upon, and responding vitally and fully to, the spirit in all the others.

Etymologically, comrades are individuals who live and act within one room (camera). They may work in one room, or sleep in one room; but, whatever makes them comrades in name, the essential fact of comradeship is the sharing of common activities and common everyday problems of living within a well-defined space. The space may be a small room, a palace, a city, or the entire planet; but comradeship implies living together within boundaries of some sort - and, what is more, living together, not because of a common past or ancestry, but above all because of common activities and, ideally, because of a common purpose.

Men who live together within a confining space must learn to consider one another with essential respect and tolerance. More than anything else, they must consider one another as human beings, and not as automatons guided by abstract principles or dogmas, repeating blindly words, ideas and gestures. They must learn to understand each other as individual persons, not as servants of some social Cause or of a jealous God and his priests.

True comradeship operates at a level where fanaticism and narrow bigotry cannot exist. It operates where all relationships can be simple, direct and rich with an immediacy of response to human feelings and individual needs; where there is no pride of position, nor pride of sex, no psychological obstructions thwarting the flow of sympathy from individual core to individual core. The practice of comradeship is an art, one of the finest and most exacting of all arts, because it demands of the comrades a creative approach to human relationships, a keen sense of attention to details, an objective technique of mutual give-and-take, and a realization of meaning and purpose in those activities which have brought the comrades together in bed-room, army barrack, club, restaurant, factory, or Parliament.

Comradeship demands essentially that no one of the comrades takes anything for granted in their relationship, or in himself! This requirement alone makes of comradeship a most difficult among all arts. Just as the creative painter, when confronted with a landscape, is able to see every part of the scene as if he had never seen any such object before, with a fresh and direct response to the color and form of whatever he contemplates - so the real comrade is the person able to meet at every moment those who share his activities and his "living space" as if they were always new to him, always vibrant with fresh vitality, with unique facets of humanity, with significant vistas and energizing responses to the challenge of common living.

Indeed, comradeship is a most exacting art; and whoever acts according to set and conventional patterns, following rigid precepts or binding dogmas, or being stirred by fanatical devotion to gods or ideas existing of themselves outside the immediacy of the living situation, such a one cannot be a true comrade. He may be a remarkably effective partisan or a devotee capable of flaming martyrdom. He may be superbly efficient as an individual worker, a boss or a servant; but he cannot be truly a "comrade".

Comradeship is both the apex of social consciousness and the spiritual antidote against the negative aspects of an over-civilized society. To the constant drive of civilization toward abstract generalization and remote goals, contemptuous of the means used to reach these goals, comradeship answers with a profound respect for the dignity of every human person and for the values born of concrete interchanges and shared feelings. It always seeks to base the struggle for distant results upon the human foundation of neighborliness, friendship and a psychological understanding of those who are near. Comradeship is the glorification of the near in a world dedicated to the pursuit of far-flung goals and universal values. It is based on the intimacy of personal being in a society depersonalized by machines, apartment-houses, movies and chain-stores duplicated ad infinitum everywhere in the land. It is indeed the answer to the most poignant need of our Western civilization.

It is particularly the great gift of the spirit to whomever is filled with the impersonal intensity, the fanaticism or the ruthless efficiency so often associated with the type of behavior and consciousness signified by Sagittarius. The Sagittarian type of person may be, at times, jovial and fond of outdoor activities; but in a great many cases these expansive and social characteristics hide a stubborn drive toward the achievements of social, religious or managerial results at the expense of personal and human values. Social goals are found to be more important that the welfare and freedom of individuals. Abstractions (or even verbalisms and formulas) are given prominence over living beings. A religious leader may be willing to destroy human personalities in order to "save their souls" according to his concept of salvation and spirituality. A nation is preserved, but millions in it die of hunger. Abandoned Asiatic children are rescued across thousands of miles of water, but the slums a block away are taken for granted as parts of a traditional social system.

This is the ransom of civilization and of Western man's restless quest for that which is always beyond: the Sagittarian quest for God - or for gold. The Medieval period knew well this lure of the beyond. Its conquistadores and its Inquisitors came mostly from a Sagittarian land, Spain. Seeking God, they destroyed human values. Dreaming of spiritual life, they tortured their bodies and distorted their essential humanity. And today, on the whole, we too have forgotten the meaning of the simplest and most immediate human contacts, whether it be in our cities, our armies or our homes.

Once a prophet, whose voice rose at the beginning of an epoch of ruthless industrialization, sang to us of the West songs of comradeship and of faith in individuals. Walt Whitman is gone, but his magnificent voice still vibrates amidst our mechanized lives. The song of comradeship cannot, must not die. It is an essential gift of the spirit. It is a blessing that we should all receive with hearts fresh and warm, vibrant with eternal human youth. Ours it is to become adept in the art of living together as comrades and friends. Ours it is, at the dawn of the age of global civilization and atomic bombs, to radiate in our every day lives the love, the great love of the comrades; for however far man's mind may soar, it is the heart and the love of humans that is the indestructible foundation of creative tomorrows. Comradeship is the living substance of all civilization true to the spirit. It is the Divine singing at the core of human relationships.


An Astrological Triptych