Dane Rudhyar - Photo1

Dane Rudhyar


These are days when all set entities and even the most material of objects are seen dissolving into the dynamic fluency of the new world summoned before our minds by the magic of scientific revelations. From the most common chair, on which we used to sit unaware of the electromagnetic waves playing within its mass, up to the realm of the human personality, now intricately analyzed into drives and complexes, wherever our mind seeks to know reality it meets the modern emphasis upon rhythmic activity, wave-motion and electromagnetic interplay of polar energies. Whereas our ancestors used to dwell in a comfortably static universe in which everything had a well defined and rationally reassuring name, a form and a permanent set of characteristics, today we find change enthroned everywhere. No moment is too small to be analyzed into component phases and events; no object too minute to escape fragmentation and resolution into mysterious somethings which turn out half the time to be electrical charges in a strange game of hide-and-seek.

Against the classical concepts of permanence and identity the realization that all living is a dynamic process of transformation from which no entity escapes now stands backed up by the whole edifice of scientific research and theory. On the ruins of the world of thought dogmatically extolled by nineteenth century minds we witness the reappearance of ancient concepts which were for millennia the foundations of human knowledge. The universe is once more to be understood as an ocean of energies in which two vast complementary tides can be distinguished. Everywhere a dynamic and electrical dualism appears as the foundation upon which all reality stands.

We are very close indeed to the ancient concepts of the ebb and flow of universal Life, of the in- and out-breathings of the universal Brahma. We are practically on the same ground as the Sages of China who described in their great "Book of Transformations," the Yi King, the cyclic waxing and waning of two universal forces of opposite polarities, Yang and Yin. Likewise modern thinking has come surprisingly near to some of the most fundamental concepts of ancient astrology; at least when these concepts are seen, not in the light of a classical European mentality, but in terms of a philosophy which is both a philosophy of dynamic change and a philosophy of human experience. It must be a philosophy of dynamic change if it is a philosophy of human experience, because all that man does experience is a sequence of transformations bounded by birth and by death.

It is because astrology can be seen as a most remarkable technique for the understanding of the life-process of change in so many realms — and theoretically in every field — that its renaissance during the last two decades in the Western world is particularly important as a sign of the times. But this importance is conditioned upon a grasp of astrology which is truly modern. Nineteenth century approaches and classical or medieval biases should be discarded in the light of the new twentieth century understanding of physics and above all of psychology, in astrology as in every realm of thought. The emphasis should once more be placed on human experience, and away from the transcendent categories and the mythological entities belonging to an ideology which today is, in the main, obsolete.

Astrology was born of the experience of order made manifest in the sky to primitive man immersed in the jungle and bewildered by the chaos of life on the prolific and wild surface of this planet. The search for order is one of the basic drives in man. At a later stage of evolution this search becomes intellectualized into science; but it has deep organic and instinctual roots.

Instinct is an adaptation to, and an expression of the periodical order of natural phenomena. It is based on unconscious expectability; and when the normal expectancy of life-circumstances is violently disturbed — as when a college psychologist conducts a certain kind of experiments with white mice or pigs — the animal becomes insane. He is unable to stand the pressure of external disorder upon the internal order of his biological functions, and the latter themselves become disordered.

The constant effort of civilization can be interpreted as an attempt to bring man's understanding of his sense-experiences to the point where the same basic quality of order which he feels in his own organism is seen operating effectively in what appears to him as the outer world. Such an attempt may be called an anthropomorphic illusion by the modern thinker, but why it should be so can never be proven or made convincing to any one realizing that man can never know anything save what man (collectively and individually) experiences.

Man's experience is originally dual. He feels organic order within as such an absolute imperative that the slightest organic disturbance causes the most acute feeling of pain. Yet man also experiences what seems to him as chaos outside. All sorts of names have been given to this chaos, either to explain it away (as, for instance, Darwin's struggle for life, survival of the fittest, etc.), or to transfigure it into some kind of organic order (vitalistic philosophies), or to interpret it as one pole of a whole, the other pole of which is a noumenal world of archetypes, perfect Ideas and the like (as when the Hindus called it maya). Every philosophical system, every religion, every science, every act and every pattern of social organization is only one thing: an attempt to explain disorder and to reconcile it with man's inner organic order.

Astrology is one of these attempts, the most ancient perhaps, or at least the one which has kept its vitality intact for the longest time, because the dualism of celestial order and terrestrial disorder is a universal and essential fact of human experience everywhere. In the sky, all events are regular, periodical, expectable within very small margins of irregularity. On the earth-surface (be it the primordial jungle, the countryside of medieval eras or the modern metropolis) there is relative chaos, unpredictable emotions, irrational conflicts, unexpected crises, wars and pestilence. Astrology is a method by means of which the ordered pattern of light in the sky can be used to prove the existence of a hidden, but real, order in all matters of human experience on the earth-surface.

It not only proves order by relating types, categories and sequences of events to the periods of celestial bodies (as moving points of light — and nothing else). It shows how events can be predicted and how fore-knowledge may be applied in social and personal matters. Fore-knowledge is the power to build a civilization out of the apparent chaos of earthly phenomena. All science is based on predictability. Astrology is the mother of all sciences, the mother of civilization; for it has been the first and most universal attempt by man to find the hidden order behind or within the confusion of the earthly jungle — physical or psychological, as the case may be.

Two Approaches to Life

There are two essential ways in which the dualism of celestial order and earthly jungle can be interpreted in terms of meaning and purpose. The first — the simpler and still the most popular — is to consider the realm of the sky as that of positive, inherently ordered, energizing and eventually controlling Powers which exert a constant influence upon the passive, receptive, inert and inherently chaotic (separative) realm of earthly activities, impulses, desires and passions. The sky realm becomes thus the "world of Ideas" or as medieval philosophers called it Natura naturans: active Nature, in contradistinction to Natura naturata, passive and earthly nature. "Human nature" in such a conception almost unavoidably acquires a pejorative meaning. It is seen as perverted by the original sin and requiring to be controlled by the will of celestial Powers and the reason of divine Intelligences, or to be redeemed by the sacrifice and compassion of a starry being — a "son of God."

Most religious and even classical philosophies have been based on such an interpretation featuring a quasi-absolute dualism of good and evil, spirit and matter, God and nature, reason and emotions, "higher" and "lower." The present catastrophic state of Western mankind is the result of such an interpretation which for centuries divided human experience in two parts fundamentally irreconcilable in spite of the efforts of human will and the sacrifice of divine love.

A different type of interpretation is possible, and at times has been attempted. Modern thinkers, from psychologists to physicists, are more than ever striving to build it on solid grounds; but as a more mature mentality is required to grasp its full implications, it is not yet popular, even among trained thinkers steeped in the old tradition of dualistic philosophy and in its transcendent escapes into idealism and absolute monism.

According to this "new" interpretation there is no opposition between the realm of celestial order and that of earthly chaos, because earthly chaos is merely an appearance or fiction. There is order everywhere, but man is blind to it while he is passing from one type of order to the next and more inclusive type. What he feels as chaos on the earth-surface is the result of his incomplete vision. When unable to apprehend the wholeness of a situation, man sees it as chaotic — as a jig-saw puzzle whose pieces are lumped into incoherent blocks. The picture cannot be seen while such a condition prevails. There can be only apparent chaos unless every piece is fitted to every other piece in the relationship which the "Image of the whole" determines and to which this Image alone gives meaning.

A human being, considered as a physiological organism, is an ordered whole. What we have called "internal order" is order within the closed sphere of the body — or of the generic nature; man, as a member of the genus, homo sapiens. This is the "lesser whole" the lesser sphere of being — and as long as it is not fundamentally disturbed by the pull toward identification with a "greater whole" or greater sphere of being, there is order and organic integration.

However, this state of lesser integration and narrow inclusiveness is never completely undisturbed. The "lesser whole" operates constantly within a "greater whole," and there is therefore a ceaseless interaction between the lesser and the greater. This interaction appears to the "lesser whole" as disorder and is felt as pain. It is seen by the "greater whole" as creative cyclic activity and is felt as sacrifice. What we call "life" is this constant interaction and interpenetration of "lesser wholes" and "greater whole." It is the substance of human experience; and human experience must necessarily be twofold or dualistic because human experience is always partly the experience of an individual and partly the experience of a collectivity.

The individual feels pain; but also as he tries to explain it, to himself or to some friend, he uses words. His feeling is individual; but his words (and the thinking which has conditioned their formation and their standardized use) are collective. Pain is individual as an immediate experience; but tragedy is social, because it involves a reference to collective values. In every phase of experience the individual and the collective factors interpenetrate each other. This "con-penetration" is life itself. It is reality.

Instead of two fundamentally separate realms of nature — one celestial, ordered and good; the other earthly, chaotic and dark with sin— we are now dealing with human experience as a whole and analyzing it into two phases. Man experiences what seems to him as jungle chaos and what seems to him as celestial order. In the first case we have human experiences conditioned by the pain felt by the "lesser whole" when relating itself in nearness and immediacy to other "lesser wholes," in the slow process of identifying its consciousness with that of the total being of the "greater whole" — the universe. In the second case, we have human experience when man is relating himself distantly, and through collective observations formulated into laws, with the "greater whole" — or with as much of it as he can encompass.

In both cases experience is one and fundamentally indivisible. We divide it by establishing two frames of reference; that is, by lumping together all painful, individual-centered, near experiences into one category — and all inspiring, remote, collectively integrated experiences into another category. We have thus two categories or classes. Each class refers to one direction of experience; yet both classes deal with human experience as a whole.

Every human experience is bi-polar. It is pulled by the attraction of the individual factor in experiencing, and also by that of the collective factor. These two pulls are of varied relative strengths. Education (a collective factor) gives more strength to the collective aspect of experience; thus an educated man may not go as wild under the stress of emotional disturbance as an uneducated person who will kill if jealousy possesses him. But the strongly individualized artist may lose his emotional balance faster than the business man who is steeped in social respectability. To the Romantic artist the world at large may appear thus as a grandiose tragedy; but the English gentleman will drink his tea while the Empire crumbles, unconcerned to the last moment with the impact of chaos.

From the point of view which has been described in the above paragraphs the substance and foundation of all is human experience. Every valuation is referred to it. All dualisms are contained within it. The sky is one aspect of human experience; the jungle, another. The Sage whose life is ordered and at peace, and whose love includes all forms of relationships possible to man (as today constituted), is a "lesser whole" who has reached a kind of integration sustained and measured by the organic order of the "greater whole." He is at peace with himself, because the peace of the "greater whole" is within him. He is at peace with other men, because his relationships to them are, in his consciousness, expressions of, and contained in his relationship to the "greater whole." They fit into a universal picture. Each piece of the jig-saw puzzle is where it belongs. The image of the whole is clear. There is no longer any question of the existence of chaos.

Chaos is the path to a greater wholeness of being and consciousness: a path, a transition, a process. The Sage is he who, first of all, understands this process, feels its rhythm, realizes the meaning of its polar attractions and repulsions. He is the man who sees all nature as a cyclic interplay of energies between "lesser wholes" and "greater wholes." Within him as without, he witnesses individual pain transforming itself into collective peace, and collective fulfillment sacrificing itself into the inspiration and guidance which those who are identified with the "greater whole" can bestow upon "lesser wholes" still struggling with the problems of their atomistic and painful relationships.

A cyclic interplay of polar energies: in this phrase can be found the key to an interpretation of human experience which does not produce irreconcilable dualities and the ever-present possibility of schizophrenia and nationalistic or class wars. Life is a cyclic interplay of polar energies. Every factor in experience is always present, but it manifests in an ever varying degree of intensity. The waning of the energy of one pole within the whole of experience is always associated with the waxing in strength of the other pole. Two forces are always active. Every conceivable mode of activity is always active within any organic whole, but some modes dominate, while others are so little active as to seem altogether inexistent. Yet non-existence is a fiction, from our point of view. It should be called instead latency. No characteristic trait in the whole universe is ever totally absent from the experience of any whole. It is only latent. And latency is still, in a sense, activity of a sort. It is a negative, introverted kind of activity.

Such a philosophical approach to the problem of experience gives to astrology a meaning and a value which few contemporary thinkers suspect it to contain. Astrology can be seen, in the light of this world-philosophy, as a remarkable tool for the understanding of human experience considered as the field for a cyclic interplay of polar energies or attitudes. Astrology is a means to see human experience as an organic whole, a technique of interpretation, an "algebra of life." It uses the ordered pageant of planets (and to a lesser extent, of the stars) as a symbol of what can happen to a man who sees life whole. Every event in the experience of that man is part of an ordered sequence, as every piece of the jig-saw puzzle is part of a complete picture and — because of this, it acquires meaning.

It is not that the planets "influence" directly any particular person by flashing a special kind of a ray which will make the person happy or cause him to break his leg. The cycles of the planets and their relationships represent to man reality in an ordered state and in reference to the "greater whole" which we know as the solar system. Men are "lesser wholes" within this "greater whole." Men can only find peace and lasting integration as they relate themselves in consciousness to the "greater whole," as they identify their own cycles of experience with cycles of activity of the "greater whole," as they refer their meetings with other men to the total picture which only a perception of the "greater whole" can reveal. Every man is a whole — an individual. But to be an individual is meaningless except in reference to human society — or at the limit, to the universe. A man living on a desert island without any possibility of his ever being related to another man is not an individual, but only a solitary organism without meaning in terms of humanity. An individual is an individualized expression of collective (or generic) human nature. What he receives from the collective which existed before him, he must return to the collective which follows after him. No individual exists in a vacuum. There is no organic entity which is not contained within a "greater whole" and which does not contain "lesser wholes." To be an individual is a social status. Every man is in latency a universal — or, as the Chinese said, a "Celestial." To bring out the latent into actuality, to transfigure the sphere of earthly man with the light, the rhythms and the integrated harmony which is of the "greater whole" and which the movements of celestial bodies conveniently picture — this is the goal for man.

Astrology opens to us a book of universal pictures. Each picture is born of order and has meaning. Every astrological birth-chart is a signature of the cosmos — or of God. It is the image of the completed jig-saw puzzle. Man, by understanding such images can fulfill his experience, because he can thus see this experience objectively and structurally as an organic whole. He can see it as a whole, yet as integrated within the cyclic process of universal change which is revealed clearly in the stars and the planets, and confusedly in the nearness of his earthly contacts. Nothing is static, and no life is absolutely divided. Life is a process, and every process is cyclic — if we believe our experience, instead of imposing intellectual categories and ethical dualisms upon this experience. Astrology is a study of cyclic processes.

The Nature of the Zodiac

All astrology is founded upon the Zodiac. Every factor used in astrology — Sun, Moon, planets, cusps of Houses, nodes, fixed stars, etc. — is referred to the Zodiac. But the Zodiac need not be considered as a thing mysterious, remote and occult. From the point of view above described, the Zodiac is simply the product of the realization by man that experience is a cyclic process; and first of all, that every manifestation of organic life obeys the law of rhythmic alternation — at one time impelled to activity by one directive principle, at another by its polar opposite.

Man acquires first this sense of rhythmic alternation by reflecting upon his daily experience which presents him with a regular sequence of day-time and of night-time, of light and darkness. But human life is too close to such a sequence, and human consciousness too involved in it, for it to appear as anything save a kind of fatality. It does so, because man normally does not keep conscious through the whole day-and-night cycle. He is confronted by a dualism which seems to him absolute, because it is not only a dualism of light and darkness but one which, from the point of view of consciousness, opposes being to non-being. Thus man is led to use this day-and-night cycle as a symbol— to interpret the even greater mystery of life and death. The concept of reincarnation is nothing but a symbolic extension of the original experience common to all men of a regular alternation of days and nights; and so is the ancient Hindu idea of the "Days and Nights of Brahma," of cosmic periods of manifestation followed by periods of nonmanifestation — manvantaras and pralayas.

The cycle of the year, particularly manifest in the seasonal condition of vegetation in temperate climates, offers to man's consideration an altogether different kind of regular sequence. There is no longer any question of one half of the cycle being associated with the idea of absolute non-existence. Man remains active, as an experiencer, through the entire cycle. Indeed the year can be interpreted as a "cycle of experience" because the experiencer is experiencing through the whole of it — whereas the day-and-night cycle is not normally susceptible of such an interpretation, because during a large portion of it man ceases to be an experiencer.

The Zodiac is the symbolization of the cycle of the year. It is so, essentially, in the temperate regions of the Northern hemisphere where astrology was born. Zodiacal symbolism is the product of the experience of human races living in such regions: experience of the seasons, of the activities of nature and of man through the changing panorama of vegetation — vegetation being the very foundation of animal and human life on earth. As such races have been, during the last millennia, the active factor in the evolution of human consciousness, their experience has come to acquire a universal validity in the determination of cosmic meaning and human purpose. Civilization, as we know it today, is therefore centered in a Northern-hemisphere and temperate-climate kind of consciousness. It may conceivably not remain so in the future, but for the time being it is; and our present astrology interprets thus accurately its cyclic evolution.

The Zodiac which is used in our astrology has very little, if anything at all, to do with distant stars as entities in themselves. It is an ancient record of the cyclic series of transformations actually experienced by man throughout the year; a record written in symbolic language using the stars as a merely convenient, graphic way of building up symbolic images appealing to the imagination of a humanity childlike enough to be more impressed by pictures than by abstract and generalized processes of thought. The essential thing about the Zodiac is not the hieroglyphs drawn upon celestial maps; it is not the symbolical stories built up around Greek mythological themes — significant as these may be. It is the human experience of change. And for a humanity which once lived very close to the earth, the series of nature's "moods" throughout the year was the strongest representation of change; for the inner emotional and biological changes of man's nature did correspond very closely indeed to the outer changes in vegetation.

Humanity, however, has been evolving since the early days of Chaldea and Egypt. Such an evolution has meant basically one thing and one thing only: the translation, or transference, of man's ability to experience life significantly from the biological to the psycho-mental level. At first, mankind drew all its symbols and the structure of its meanings from biological experience. Man, experiencing life and change essentially as a bodily organism, sought to express his consciousness of purpose and meaning in terms of bodily experience. These terms were the only available common denominator upon which civilizations could be built. Even so-called "spiritual" teachings (for instance, the early forms of Yoga or Tantra in India) stressed sexual, and in general "vitalistic," symbols — and corresponding practices.

Progressively, however, leaders among men have sought to center their experience and the experience of their followers around a new structure of human integration: the individual ego. Thus the need has arisen for translating all ancient techniques of integration and their symbols into the new language of the ego — an intellectual and psychological language. It is because of this need that astrology came into relative disfavor and was replaced by Greek science, logic and psychology as a commanding power in Western civilization. The language of the ego features rationalistic connections and analysis; and in his eagerness to develop the new function of "rigorous thinking" Western man has tried in every way to repudiate or undervalue all organic experiences and all techniques which had enabled his ancestors to give cyclic meaning to their life and to deal with life-situations as wholes of experience. Transcendent idealism broke man's experience in two and created the fallacious opposition of soul and body.

Yet an "occult" tradition kept alive throughout the cycle of European civilization. It tried to re-interpret the symbolism of astrology, and of similar techniques of human integration, at the psychological level. Alchemy and Rosicrucianism were outstanding examples of such an attempt, which had to be veiled in secrecy because of the opposition of the Church. A bio-psychological kind of astrology developed in obscure ways, in which four functions of the human psyche answered to the four seasons of the year and the symbolism of the Gospel became mixed with that of "pagan" lore. And all the while the old traditional forms of astrology, as codified by Ptolemy, kept in use, but mostly as a means to satisfy the curiosity of individuals and the ambition of princes or kings.

Today the remarkable rise to public attention of modern psychology offers to astrologers an opportunity for reformulating completely astrology and its symbols. Astrology can be made into a language, not of the individual ego, but of the total human personality. And, in a world rent with conflicts and made meaningless by the passion for analysis and differentiation at all costs, astrology can appear once more as a technique enabling man to grasp the meaning of his experience as a whole: physiological and psychological experience, body and psyche, collective and individual. Without fear of persecution — it is to be hoped — astrology can use the old vitalistic symbols of ancient astrology, the images derived from the serial changes in the yearly vegetation and from man's experiences with the powers latent in his generic and bodily nature.

These images are rich with the meaning of feelings and sensations common to all men since the dawn of civilization on earth. They are steeped in collective wisdom and organic instinct. They belong to the Root-nature of man, to "Man's common humanity," the foundation upon which the later-date individual achievements of a rational and over-intellectualized humanity are built. Without the sustaining power of that Root foundation man must ever collapse and Disintegrate. And the very spectacle of such a collapse and disintegration is before our eyes in these dark days of mankind — days nevertheless pregnant with the seed of a new integration of human experience.

It is the purpose of this book to integrate in a brief and suggestive, rather than exhaustive and didactic, manner the ancient symbolism of the Zodiac with the basic images and concepts which have been produced of late, especially by progressive psychologists. Our hope in so doing is that men may be helped to meet more consciously and as a whole the integral experience born of our stressful civilization. They can do so, particularly if they cease to think in terms of static categories and set systems, in terms of entities being either one thing or another; if they begin to face the universe of their experience with other men and all living things as a "greater whole" in which they are ready to participate; if they succeed in having the vision of an integrating and integral evolutionary Purpose in which they may fit their lives jig-sawed by the meaningless ambition of being different at all costs.

What the study of the Zodiac will teach us is, first of all, that, while there are always two forces in operation in every situation and in every experience, understanding and decision are never a matter of "either-or," but of "more or less." There is dualism; but the dualism of a dynamic process in which both opposites constantly interpenetrate and transform each other. Because of this, no entity and no experience is either good or bad, constructive or destructive, light or dark. Everything is in everything. What changes is the proportion in which the combination occurs.

In order to understand what the combination is, and to be able to give it a valid meaning, the several components of every experience must be measured. They can be measured in terms of their relative place within the boundaries of the whole. They can be measured in terms of their relative intensity; and the intensity of any factor depends mostly upon the moment of its cycle at which it operates — whether it represents the "spring" or "winter" of that cycle, whether it is young or old, in its waxing or waning phase. etc.

By enthroning the "more or less" concept in the place of the either-or" man can completely renew his attitude to life. An experience which, in the mind of the experiencer, is good and is not bad leads only to conflict and to bondage. If understood as a combination of more light than darkness, the experience can be referred to the entire cycle in which the two forces, light and darkness, are constantly interacting. The whole cycle can thus be seen at the core of the partial experience; and man can operate as creator of meaning — for meaning resides in the whole, not in any single part.

Every phase of the zodiacal process — every Sign of the Zodiac — represents a state of human experience in which more or less of two basic forces are active. These forces, universal and protean as they are, can be given any number of names. Here, however, because of our attempt to reformulate astrology in terms of the simplest common denominator of human experience, we shall refer to these two cosmic forces in constant interplay throughout the year-cycle as the "Day-force" and the "Night-force." Such names not only concur with the most ancient terminology of astrology, but they are natural and logical expressions of the fact that during one half of the year the length of the days increases and the length of the nights decreases correspondingly; the reverse process taking place during the other half of the year. It follows that when the days grow longer the Day-force, the positive tide of solar energy, is on the increase; whereas when the days grow shorter and the nights longer, the Night-force is becoming more powerful while the Day-force wanes in power.

Whenever there are two forces alternately waxing and waning in relative strength, four critical, basic moments must of necessity be found. Thus:

1. At the winter solstice (Christmas) the Day-force is at its weakest and the Night-force at its strongest level. This is the beginning of the zodiacal Sign: Capricorn.

2. At the spring equinox (around March 21) the Day-force which has increased in strength while the Night-force decreased, equals in power that Night-force. Zodiacal Sign: Aries.

3. At the summer solstice (around June 21) the Day-force reaches a maximum energy, the Night-force its lowest ebb. Zodiacal Sign: Cancer.

4. At the fall equinox (around September 21) the two forces are again equal, the Night-force having grown stronger ever since the beginning of the summer. Zodiacal Sign: Libra.

In studying a cyclic process the first difficulty encountered is that of determining the starting point of the cycle. In ultimate philosophical analysis there is no starting point, yet for practical purposes the mind must select a beginning in order to interpret significantly the process in terms of human experience. This selection of a starting point establishes a "frame of reference"; and it is not to be considered, in any sense, a haphazard selection. The selection is imposed upon the experiencer by the meaning which he gives to his experience of the cyclic process.

From the point of view of physical experience with nature — "human" or otherwise — and as long as the Zodiac is considered as a dynamic process of chance, it is clear that one of the four climactic points above defined should logically be selected as the beginning of the cycle. Moreover in a philosophy which does not give a basically higher valuation to any phase of experience at the detriment of the opposite and complementary phase, it is equally evident that it is more befitting to start the cycle at a time when the two forces alternately waxing and waning are of equal strength; thus at one of the equinoxes. The spring equinox has been selected as the beginning of the Zodiac because man naturally identifies his experience, first, with the realm of growing things and sunlight, and only later with the more hidden realm of values which the seed and winter life symbolize. The spring equinox in the temperate regions of the Northern hemisphere is what astrologers call the "first point of Aries" — and we have seen that the roots of our civilization are to be found in these regions which are the cradle of our astrology.

The Day-force and the Night-force

One cannot understand significantly the beginning of any cycle unless one knows the general meaning of the whole cycle. By the very definition of the term "cycle," the beginning of a cycle marks also the end of the preceding one. Beginning is conditioned by end, as the new vegetation is conditioned by the seeds which were the product of the preceding yearly growth. To know the general meaning of a cycle is to know the nature of the two basic forces which are at play throughout its course. We must therefore define, first of all, the characteristics of the Day-force and the Night-force; and our definitions will center around concepts of a psychological nature, because it is the purpose of this book to establish astrological factors at the new level at which modern man is now consciously and deliberately operating: the psycho-mental level.

The Day-force is a personalizing energy. It forces ideas, spiritual entities, abstractions into concrete and particular actuality. It energizes the "descent of spirit into a body" to use a familiar, though dangerous, terminology. Thus it begins to grow in power at Christmas, symbol of spiritual Incarnation; but becomes only clearly visible in Aries, symbol of germination — and in man, of adolescence. It is fulfilled in Cancer, symbol of "coming of age" and of personal fulfillment through marriage and home-responsibilities. The natural result of the action of the Day-force is the stressing of that individual uniqueness of human being which is known today as "personality."

The Night-force is an in-gathering energy. It brings personalities together. First, in Cancer (the home) it integrates a man and a woman; in Leo, it adds the child; in Virgo, the servants, nurses, educators. But integration becomes public only in Libra, the symbol of social activity, of group activity toward the building of a cultural and spiritual community. With Scorpio, business and political enterprises flourish; with Sagittarius, philosophy, printing, long journeys. The Night-force reaches its apex of power with Capricorn, symbol of the State — the organized social whole. The natural result of the action of the Night-force is to emphasize all values related to "society."

Personality and Society — such are, indeed, the two polarities of the actual experience of human beings ever since we can trace the historical development of man. The two terms are the concrete manifestations, at the psychological level of modern man, of the two still more general concepts of "individual" and "collective." In every human experience these two factors are present with varying relative strengths. That this is so should never be forgotten. No man acts and feels solely as an individualized personality, or solely as a social being. It is never a question of "either-or" but of "more-or-less." It is a matter of point of view.

In a somewhat similar manner we may speak of our Sun as a "Sun" or as a "star." It is a "sun" if considered as the center of an individualized and separate cosmic organism (a solar system); but it is a "Star" if considered as a participant in the collective being of the Galaxy. In the first case, he is alone on his throne; in the second case, he is constantly related to his fellow-stars within the boundaries of the "greater whole," the Galaxy. Man experiences the Sun as light-giver — as a "sun" — during daytime. At night, modern man realizes that this giver of light, this All-Father, is but one "Star" in the companionship of the Galaxy. Overcome by light and heat, we worship the "sun" in devotion; in the silence and peace of the night we commune with the brotherhood of "stars." It is the same reality always, but we change our angle of approach to it — and the one reality divides into two phases of experience, and again into many more phases. The limit to the divisibility of our experience is only our ability to remain integrated as a person under this process of differentiation — our ability to remain sane; which is, to give an integral meaning to our experience as a social personality.

The dualism of personality and society becomes in another and more strictly psychological sense that of "conscious ego" and "Collective Unconscious." The realm of individualized consciousness is the realm of day-time, the realm of "Sun." The realm of the Collective Unconscious is the night-realm, the realm of "stars." An understanding of these two realms is necessary in order to see how the waxing and waning of the two cyclic forces operate in a psychological manner.

To say simply that the Day-force begins to wane after the summer solstice does not give an accurate psychological picture of what happens within the human person. It is not only that the Day-force becomes less strong. More accurately still, the waning of the Day-force means that what was a positive, active force is becoming more and more withdrawn from the field of objectivity. It becomes increasingly subjective and introverted; also more transcendent. It operates from the point of view of unconscious motives, rather than from that of conscious ones.

Human experience is not only to be referred to consciousness and to the individual ego; for, if we do so, we have to give an ethical valuation to many of our experiences, which divides our total being into two conflicting entities. Thus some of our acts may have to be explained as proofs of our evil personality, others as manifestations of our heroic or saintly individuality; they must be given such interpretations if they are referred only to the conscious ego. But if we realize that our actions are partly the results of conscious endeavors, and partly the products of motivations emerging from an unconscious which is not "ours" (in an individualized way) but which is an ocean of racial and social energies unconcerned with ego-structures, ethics and reason — then we can explain human actions in another way; and man may know himself integral and undivided, a center of universal Life in its process of cyclic change

From such a point of vantage man can see consciousness constantly interpenetrating unconsciousness, rationality rhythmically playing with irrationality — and not be disturbed, or frantically striving to be what he is not. Human experience is forever the outcome of this interplay of consciousness and unconsciousness, of individual and collective. Cyclic life pulsates through every human action, feeling or thought. Reality has a rhythmic heart. The systole and diastole of that heart create these beats of becoming which are birth and death, winter and summer, increase of light and crescendos of darkness. Gloriously, the dance of experience moves on in the hallways of nature's cycle. The Sage looks on, yet every phase of the dance pulsates through his awareness. He is spectator, yet he is partner to all protagonists in the universal dance; every lover knows him as beloved and his mind experiences the throb of every human heart. His vision encompasses all birthing and dying. Upon all things born of the pulsing and the dancing of cyclic Life, he bestows Meaning. And in that bestowal of Meaning, Man, total and free, creates reality.


The Pulse of Life