Rudhyar - Photo2

Dane Rudhyar


Revolutions and wars have been fought in the tragic attempt to solve one of humanity's greatest problems: that of the relative value of individualism and collectivism. It is indeed a universal problem. All worlds and all conditions of existence are but varied answers to this question of questions. But while planets, trees and whatever may be meant by "angels" and the like are compulsive expressions of solutions defined by the Power that acts at the core of universal evolution, human beings find in themselves the god-like capacity to formulate and try out a variety of solutions. They can decide to quite a large extent - yet, not as large perhaps as many imagine!  - the relative intensity in lives of the trends toward individualism and toward collectivism. They can decide how great a value they will give to the rights of the individual, how deep their subservience shall be to the dictates of society or the state. And this possibility gives to all men a great responsibility - a tragic responsibility.

We discuss today the merits of a collectivistic attitude to life in the economic and political fields, and many people believe that the struggle between individualism and collectivism occurs only in these fields. But all life is a basic conflict between the forces which seek to isolate a number of different elements, then to integrate them into a relatively unique and independent organism, and the forces which attempt to break down the insulation of the individual entity and to make of this entity one of the many units within a vaster whole, to the rhythm and purpose of which they are subservient. All modern psychologists recognize the importance of this basic life-conflict between what we call today "individual" and "society"; and they seek to transform the conflict into a harmonious marriage, or at least a workable compromise.

The twelve-fold cyclic pattern of the zodiac is a remarkable tool for charting at any and all levels the different phases of the ever-renewed struggle between the trend toward individualization and the pull toward collectivization. This struggle gives to the periodic sequence of the seasons and to the yearly cycle of vegetation their essential meaning. Spring is the time when life seeks to become expressed in particular organisms as different from one another as the stage of their evolution allows. It is the season when all life-energies and chemical substances aim at becoming harmonized, blended or integrated within the exclusive field of a particular organism and an individual personality. And the summer solstice, the first point of the zodiacal sign, Cancer, represents the apex of this striving. The autumn, on the other hand, is the season when individualized characteristics tend to fade away with the fall of the leaves; when all that is not absorbed by the soil and the snow concentrates in the seed which is utterly dedicated to the task of preserving the collective values and energies of a species - every seed being the very expression of the species as a whole and of the species' will to immortality.

The spring symbols of the zodiac identify types of human beings which, each in its own way, fervently desire to reach the status of individual. These men seek the fullest possible differentiation from the average; they see as their ultimate goal the attainment of a condition of personal integration and of individualized selfhood. The Aries type seeks this goal by personalizing the power of new creative impulses or ideas; the Taurus type, by bringing up human substance and human energies to a state of maximum responsiveness to the fecundant spirit of "Man", or of God. The Gemini type seeks personal integration through an increase of mental awareness and an ambitious striving for new values and a new sense of relationship.

Then, the summer solstice comes. The tide turns. The sun symbolically "stands still" and reverses its motion in declination. The sunsets begin to occur farther to the south. Integration on an individualistic and exclusivistic basis has reached its maximum degree. In the Cancer type of human person we see in operation, both, the purest or most "rugged" of individualism - the greatest kind of insularity and isolationism - and a peculiar sense of fear and resentment caused by the inescapable realization that the tide has turned and that society and its collective power will win eventually over the individual. The Cancer person is most consciously individualized, yet most fearful subconsciously of the unavoidable pressure of the demands which life, society, humanity as a whole, and ultimately God, must and will make.

The most concrete expression of these demands is: the child - and the home which the child makes necessary. For a woman to be pregnant is to give up her hard won individuality of consciousness - and of physical structure as well. For a man to become a provider for a home is to have been caught into the wheels of social duties, social respectability and social normality. Life has won over the mother; society has won over the head of the family. There is no turning back for either, at least for a long period. Yet, this victory of collective life and society over the individual also brings these individuals to personal fulfillment. Always, indeed, the apex of a curve is also the beginning of its decline. This fact is the solution of the riddle which a typical Cancer person presents - to, himself as well as to others.

Cancer is the symbol of personal, private integration. It represents the will to establish a foundation of selfhood and consciousness on a particular set of values, limited, well-defined in verbal formulations, and exclusive of others. It represents the will to establish a clear but narrow focus for the operation of life and mind and, again, such a focus is exemplified by a child or a home - my child and my home, each one theoretically quite unique an expression of its parents' supposedly unique personalities!

Yet, what is actually unique about most children and most homes? Are they not rather the obvious proofs of the triumph of collective patterns and traditions over the individualistic dreams of earlier years? Do they not often betray the subconscious, yet just as potent, resentment of the individuals against the fateful subservience to social normality - a resentment which will turn back against the children in very subtle, possessive, almost revengeful ways, or flare up in later years as emotional conflagrations of an unsocial or even abnormal nature?

To avoid such subconscious reactions, immediate or delayed, is the greatest need of the Cancer type of person; and always spirit is ready to fill the vital need, if only the cup is ready to receive the spiritual down-flow. To every need there is an answer; to every type of scarcity, a species of abundance which will utterly dissolve the shadow of want. But one must believe that the miracle of fulfillment is possible. One must not recoil before the entrance of divine beneficence, before the inrush of the spirit.

The need of Cancer like every other need can be met as the fear of the mysteriously oppressive idea of "losing oneself into a vast collective entity" is transformed into the realization of the Place one occupies, by one's individual birthright, on such an entity. To find one's place in the vast organism of society or humanity is to feel that one belongs; and so to feel means the eventual disappearance of even the most unconscious fears and resentments. 

This indeed is above all things the spirit's gift to the Cancer type of person: that he or she may know where he or she belongs. And this means not a merely intellectual brain-knowledge; but a knowing in the  roots of being, in the depths of feeling as well as in the heights of spiritual intuition. What is at stake here is not even the actual business of participating in the definite activities of one's group, community or nation; this experience of active participation will come later, even though it is implied in the spirit's gift to Cancer. What the individual needs essentially at this Cancer stage of human development is to feel through and through that he belongs, and to realize that he has a definite place and definite function, clearly his own, in the economy of society and in the life of whatever group is claiming him.

He needs to see clearly that place. He is no longer afraid of religion, if his church has a pew with his name inscribed on it. He ceases to resent traditional behavior and social tasks, if what he is expected to do can be imaged out clearly as belonging to a particular spot in the vast pattern of society. But if these expressions of inner security are wanting, the Cancer person clings stubbornly to his individualism, to his old standards and his personal possessions.

All of which means that the vague forebodings of losing oneself into a collective immensity can only be appeased if this type of person can find anchorage in a clearly defined situation, function or locality which he  can picture to himself. Therefore he has to develop the ability to make pictures; and this is the foundation for the psychic gifts of some of the Cancer personalities. Confronted with a new situation, they learn to visualize its meaning as a symbolic picture - which is what most types of clairvoyance or psychism are. The symbol shows where the situation "belongs" - and where one "belongs" in it. It locates the problem in reference to a definite set of values and symbolic experiences. The symbol is the gift of spirit. It is an island of meaning in the vast unknown ocean of collective universal life. It helps one to verify one's position and direction. It establishes a foundation for one's early security among the fears of a perilous voyage.

The home is such a foundation. Moral respectability is another. A schedule of work, a clock to tell the exact time, a sign-post in the desert - these also bring a sense of "belonging". Spirit in its wealth of kindness showers such "X marks the spot" upon human travelers who see their feeble individualities caught into the tide of vast open spaces without boundaries and without names. Men die of fear where there is no sound to be heard, no sight to be seen; where infinite duration cannot be hammered into time-patterns by the pendulum of a clock; where their egos feel themselves slipping into the sea of Nirvana. They must hold onto place and function, to form and name. They hold tenaciously with crablike claws - the symbol of Cancer. They hold on, as every man holds on to his achievements, in fear of the mysterious unknown in which he cannot distinguish his own position...even though the unknown might be God.

It is strange indeed how every fulfillment brings to us, human beings, a great fear - the fear that we might have to grow beyond it in entirely unfamiliar ways. We are willing to give up the growth rather than face the mystery which reveals to us as yet no definite place or standard. It is so painful, so terrifying for us all, to set our course only by the faith in our divinity. Is this not indeed proof that we do not yet feel that we "belong" to God.

If only each of us could realize, deep in his most essential roots of existence, "In God, I am. In God, I belong through any and all conditions..." it would be easy to meet the on-surging tide of the collective. Then, this vast tide would only mean the promise of our entrance into a state of enduring participation in ever vaster wholes of being. As  townsmen, we would know there is a place for us in the metropolis. As citizens of a nation, we would know there is a function for our national existence in the great global organism of Humanity. And as mortal bodies, we would know it is our privilege to assume our place in the company of immortal souls who have established themselves forever in their own conscious identities.

There would be no need to fear. There is never any need to fear, or be in want. Spirit is that which always answers with abundance and plenitude the empty heart and the clean, bare hands lifted up to the stars. All we need do is to lift up our hearts and our hands to the stars. All we need do is never set up limits to our fulfillment, never to stop in fear of the receding tide; for spirit is that which moves from crest to crest, even though it fills the deepest abysses. In spirit, heights and depths are as one. All there is is movement, rhythm and forever harmony.

The sun "stands still" in the solstitial hour; but man does not need to stand still. It is man's eternal destiny to move through all crests and all depths, to move with the rhythm and the creative power of spirit. Man is spirit. As spirit, man goes on, ever on. His path is glorious; for it is God's path made clear with consciousness, made fragrant with the scent of noble deeds.


An Astrological Triptych