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Towards a Responsible Astrology of the Future


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Astrology as a model for consciousness evolution

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Towards a Responsible Astrology of the Future

  1. 1. Towards a Responsible Astrology of the FutureOur solar system as a model for consciousness development and a guide for co-creatinga positive futureWith Pluto now firmly in Capricorn, the time has come for people in a position of authority touse power wisely and responsibly. This applies to astrologers. We are in a position of power,not necessarily because we want to be, but because clients often put us there. In this article Iwant to offer suggestions on how we as astrologers are in a unique position to help co-create abetter global future.Many see astrology as a belief system or a form of divination. My view on modern astrologyis that it is neither of those. Taking the divination aspect, astrology can be used to look atwhich archetypes are active at certain times and can therefore be used as a tool to study thefuture or the past, as Richard Tarnas does wonderfully in “Cosmos and Psyche”.1 Thearchetypes provide a powerful model in the study of human nature including psychologicaland spiritual processes.However the astrological signs and planets can better be viewed not just as archetypes but asholons, to use Arthur Koestler’s term2, as they include all forms of matter and non-matter. Toquote Dennis Elwell, a well-known British astrologer “ well as the metal lead, Saturn wasassociated with the skeleton, gravity, the ageing process, and many other things besides.” 3The traditional view was that the planets were not merely planets, but “the whole area orsphere enclosed by a planet’s orbit – what today we might call a field.”4 I would go furtherand refer to them as the ‘morphic’ fields that the biologist Dr. Rupert Sheldrake5 has writtenso eloquently about.Astrology as a model of consciousnessThe view assumed in this article is that astrology, like morphic field theory or spiral dynamics(which will be discussed later), is not a belief system but a model, although certainly not asimple one. However, although astrologers themselves often use what happens to a planet tolook at levels of consciousness, this is less well documented and therefore less well-known.This idea fits best with the theory of ‘ Spiral Dynamics’, and I would like to expand on this inthis article with a view to using the depth of knowledge inherent in astrology to add to theresearch being done with levels of consciousness.We do have an effect!One way to approach this is to use the idea that looking at something, affects consciousness inthe sense of awareness. Sheldrake’s experiments with ‘the sense of being stared at’6 suggest1 Richard Tarnas, “Cosmos and Psyche, Intimations of a New World View”.2 Arthur Koestler, “The Ghost in the Machine”.3 Dennis Elwell, “Cosmic Loom, the New Science of Astrology”, p47.4 Dennis Elwell, “Cosmic Loom, The New Science of Astrology, p43.5 Rupert Sheldrake, “The Presence of the Past, Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature”.6 Rupert Sheldrake, “The Sense of Being Stared at and other unexplained powers of the human mind”.
  2. 2. Towards a Responsible Astrology of the Future ©Faye Cossar June 2009that our minds extend out and affect the objects of our focus. He sums this up with: “Ourminds reach out to touch everything we see. If we look at distant stars, then our minds stretchout over astronomical distances to touch these heavenly bodies. Subject and object are indeedconfused. Through our perceptions, the environment is brought within us, but we also extendoutwards into the environment.”7I take this to mean that when we observe something (or we are observed) our consciousnesschanges. We are aware of something that we were not aware of before. We also change theobject of our focus, even planets.Expanding our horizonsI want to use this idea in looking at the discovery of planets and other objects in our solarsystem. As we have become aware of these objects, our consciousness has extended outwardsfrom the earth literally, but perhaps also symbolically. So the planetary system may be seen asa model for the development of consciousness. I have even heard it said that in some people,new aura layers are developing. Perhaps trans-personal planets are becoming personal.The planets orbiting the Sun from Mercury out to Saturn have been used by astrologers forcenturies although it is unknown when the first men gazed upon them. However, thegenerally agreed dates for the discovery of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are documented, alongwith those for the newer objects Chiron, Nessus and Pholus, known as the Centaurs, and thedwarf planets Ceres and Eris. There are more objects, but I need to draw the line somewhere.The Uranus FieldOne way astrologers determine planetary meaning is to look at what is happening in the worldat the time of a planet’s discovery. Taking Uranus first, the credit was given to Herschel in1781 for the discovery. By this time the meanings given to the luminaries and planets as farout as Saturn were pretty stable, so I will begin by looking at the Uranus field. In one hugestep, Herschel’s discovery literally doubled the size of the known universe, so applying ourmodel means that a huge jump in consciousness is required. The Uranus holon is given thethemes of disruption, independence, rebelliousness, authenticity, technology, computers,change, individuality, lightning and awakening, to name but a few. The meaning has changedover time8 and taking the idea of a planet as a morphic field, my view is that this field is nowbecoming stabilised. The late 1700’s was a time of unrest. The declaration of independence isaround this time as is the French Revolution. There are big changes here in terms of science,with a major shift happening from Newton onwards. In fact astrology becomes an outcast atthis date, along with anything that cannot be proven. The traditional science of today hadbegun.That the field has become more stable may be seen by the fact that things fought for then, arenow commonplace. The baby-boomers have done much to stabilise this field, and many ofthem are now able to use Uranian qualities positively. Sheldrake himself is a good example ofsomeone who resonates with this field. He is a scientist who is authentic, not bending to theold norms and values of the scientific group. He is attempting to change the world view bybeing an individual and by being independent. He also uses technology to help him with hisresearch. He has a Promethean spark (many astrologers equate Uranus with Prometheus),7 Rupert Sheldrake, “Seven Experiments That Could Change the World”, pp.106-107.8 See paper Faye Cossar, ‘The Three Histories of Uranus’, at
  3. 3. Towards a Responsible Astrology of the Future ©Faye Cossar June 2009wishing to bring fire and light to the masses. Astrologers could do worse than to use him as arole model.Another major sign for me that we can ‘do’ Uranus in a more positive way is the winning ofthe US Presidential fight in 2008 by Barack Obama. On that day, the day the two GodsSaturn and Uranus confronted each other across the heavens, Uranus won the bout. Obama istruly a symbol of a grown-up Uranus holon. The Uranus field is not only becoming stable;we are seeing how to co-create positively with it.The Neptune FieldNeptune, discovered in 1846, is associated with séances, spirituality, eastern philosophy(Madame Blavatsky was an important figure around this time), hospitals, and later with art,compassion, music or anything that relates to another realm. Negatively it is also associatedwith addiction and victimisation. The link between all these is that they are areas where thereare no borders or boundaries. The way science is moving is an acknowledgement of theNeptunian theme, the idea that we are all one. That things that we cannot see affect us, thatimagination and thoughts have an influence on us.My view is that the generation being born now is the one that will stabilise this field. Ourgeneration may not have been able to reach the tipping point to change this field intosomething we can use positively. Children today are all happy with computers, technologyand the fact that they have rights and are individuals. It could be said that they have Uranus inhand. They are however suffering from our inability to provide schools for their sensitivity,also a Neptunian characteristic. Many children have allergies, or are thought to have attentionproblems, or are labelled borderline, perhaps because we don’t understand that they are on adifferent level or are learning how to be part of a global world and to use skills such astelepathy. Perhaps the levels of addiction amongst children will finally alert us to the fact thatwe need a global twelve step programme, a programme that actually emphasises positiveNeptunian ideas of letting go and trusting in a higher power. Alert us to the need tounderstand children in other ways and make major changes in our education system.Unfortunately, to quote Einstein, “The significant problems we have, cannot be solved at the samelevel of thinking with which we created them.” We need a new mindset or consciousness level.Pluto and Beyond…Pluto was discovered in 1930 and is therefore associated with gangsters, Hitler, atomic powerand control. Pluto is, to my mind, still a very unstable morphic field and we are mostly seeingthe negative side of power. There are few people with influence in the world who can usepower in an authentic and pure way. Mandela might be an example. Obama promises to be.Even though Pluto is now deemed a dwarf planet, the morphic field is still strong and beingadded to. The renaming is important because it puts Pluto on an equal level with the otherdwarf planet holons, but that will take time to stabilise. It could be said that the world valuesthe planets’ qualities more than those of the dwarf planets, and also that the dwarf planetcharacteristics are equal in importance to each other – i.e. the Ceres holon is now just asimportant as the Pluto one. It is therefore interesting that Ceres, known as a planet since 1801,then an asteroid and now again a planet, albeit a dwarf, is on the same level as Pluto. Ceres, agrieving mother, rules grain and has control over the seasons. She has a lot to teach us aboutglobal warming and genetic manipulation of food. Perhaps we need to honour her as much aspower (part of the Pluto holon), in today’s world. Astrologers take note! Eris is more of a
  4. 4. Towards a Responsible Astrology of the Future ©Faye Cossar June 2009worry. With her discovery we are bringing a bloodthirsty woman into consciousness. She is apowerful feminine archetype who loves war. Being new she has a very unstable field, but theparallels in the world can clearly be seen in our apparent lust for conflict and war. We need tofind the positive side of the powerful feminine.Where are we?It seems to me we have a number of people at different consciousness levels. Astrology hasno way of identifying these. If we look at a chart we don’t have any idea about wheresomeone is in terms of what might be called spiritual development. This is why I found themodel called Spiral Dynamics very exciting for astrologers. It was named by Don Beck9 whoused an original idea from Clare Graves. Ken Wilber expands on the model, which showslevels of consciousness, in his book “Boomeritis”10, sometimes very humorously. There arenow colours for the levels which unfortunately don’t seem to have any significance. Themodel itself, however, is very interesting. Although it is used mostly for business purposes atthe moment, it can also be applied to many other areas. By combining astrology with a modelthat is being taken seriously, we may be able to give astrology more credence, better press anda higher profile. I think that Spiral Dynamics can be taken as a metaphor for our solar systemwith the planets related to levels of consciousness.The Spiral Dynamics modelFirstly let me describe the model. There are two tiers containing different levels (memes). Themodel maintains, as do many other systems, that we are at the stage of a major consciousnessleap. The idea is that there is a certain percentage of the population at each level. Researchhas also been done11 to find out what the percentage of world leaders is at each level. InFigure 1, the colours of each meme are given with their names and qualities (very briefly asthey each contain a lot of information that matches better with the holon principle). ThePopulation/Power column gives the percentages of population at each level and an estimate ofhow many leaders are at that level of consciousness. The Years column shows an estimate ofhow long the level exists, and the planet column shows my attempt to match each level with aspecific planet.1st Tier Population/ Years Planet powerBeige - Survival Sense .1 % / 0 % 100000 MoonInstinctualPurple - Kin Spirits 10 % / 1 % 50000 VenusHarmony and safetyRed - Power Gods 20% / 5% 10000 MarsEgocentricBlue - Truth Force 40% / 30% 5000 Saturn9 Don Edward Beck and Christopher C. Cowan, “Spiral Dynamics, mastering values, leadership, and change”.10 Ken Wilber, “Boomeritis, A Novel That Will Set You Free”.11 Outside the scope of this article.
  5. 5. Towards a Responsible Astrology of the Future ©Faye Cossar June 2009Order and PurposeOrange - Strive Drive 30% / 50% 1000 JupiterStrategiseGreen - Human Bond 10% / 15% 150 ( around UranusCommunitarian year 1850)2nd TierYellow - Flex Flow 1% / 5% 50 (around year NeptuneIntegrative 1950)Turquoise – Whole View .1%/1% 30 ( around year ?ChironHolistic 1970)Figure 1 – Spiral Dynamics model with suggestion for planet for each meme12This table has since been updated to the table shown in Figure 213: Spiral Don Beck Describes Dominates MEME Dynamics update Most People the Planet (1996)1 (2002)2 (2003)3 (2003)4 BEIGE 0.1 % 0.4 % 8.6 % 6.2 % PURPLE 10 % 12 % 12.5 % 20.0 % RED 20 % 18 % 24.6 % 14.0 % BLUE 40 % 30 % 30.3 % 20.6 % ORANGE 30 % 27 % 18.8 % 35.2 % GREEN 10 % 9% 2.7 % 1.1 % YELLOW 1% 3% 1.7 % 1.6 % TURQUOISE 0.1 % 0.6 % 0.8 % 1.3 % TOTAL 111.2 % 100 % 100 % 100 % 1. D. Beck & C. Cowan, Spiral Dynamics: Mastering values, leadership and change, Blackwell, 1996, p. 300-301. 2. Email communication Don Beck, 29 Jan 2002. (Corrected for 100% total)12 Spiral Dynamics Model – Don Beck from the original idea from Clare Graves. Percentages from “SpiralDynamics”, pp300-301. The years from “Spiral Dynamics”, p50.Descriptions for colours taken from Ken Wilber’s ideas on Spiral dynamics model “Boomeritis”, pp23- 30Numbers for population and people in power at each level and number of years from Don Beck, “SpiralDynamics”, pp 300-30113
  6. 6. Towards a Responsible Astrology of the Future ©Faye Cossar June 2009 3,4 Email communication Alan Tonkin, Chairman: Global Values Network, 18 Feb 2003. Based on QuickSCAN survey of 639 respondents, 80% of which favour GREEN/YELLOW/TURQUOISE.Figure 2 - Updated version of percentages at each level as of 2003Since 2003, Coral (otherworldly and enlightened) and Teal (as distinct from Turquoise!) havebeen added after Turquoise but little has been said about them other than they might be ahigher version of Red and Blue. The suggestion is that the system is open ended and will keepdeveloping as human consciousness develops.This implies that only an estimated 2.5% (2003) of the population are at the second tier, i.e.that the jump in consciousness necessary to take us to an integrated global, holistic view in theworld can be achieved by very few people. 6% of people in power are ready to do this. Iimagine Obama might be one of these. The highest proportion of the population and leadersare at what I have called the Jupiter and Saturn levels of Blue and Orange, so I willconcentrate on these levels and above. However I will mention that the Red level is a goodmatch for Mars! One colour they got right. The Blue level is almost text book Saturn with itsgood and bad properties. That we are still at this level can be seen by what is happening as Iwrite this (June 2009) with the measures being taken for the pandemic Mexican Swine Flu(not to mention the global financial crisis). The fear that is being created and the slaughteringof the poor pigs who are getting the blame, the isolation, the science, the restrictions on trade,all show very strong Saturnian qualities. We are still operating under the auspices of this levelof consciousness.The Orange level which I have associated with Jupiter is not such a good fit, but it does havea lot of similarities with the planet. I think Green also has some Neptunian qualities as well soif I had made the model I would have changed it slightly! Anyway back to Orange andJupiter. It should of course be as old as the Saturn level, although perhaps Saturn being themost distant known planet for a long time, had more attention, and was therefore a biggerfield. The SD model is only a theory; perhaps we astrologers know better!Am I Orange?Ken Wilber in Boomeritis says of Orange “I want to achieve and win and get somewhere inmy life. I like to play and win and I enjoy competition. …Gather the data, build a strategicplan, go for excellence.”14 We are still operating at this entrepreneurial level, striving anddriving for bigger and better things but perhaps on a personal level. The negative qualitiescome to mind. Greed and judgment, religious stubbornness, scientism. And dare I mentionpolitics? Orange of course, like Jupiter, has some great qualities. Seeing the big picture,global strategies, hope and faith and we are seeing these too.Or maybe Green since I am an astrologer!Green, Wilber associates with the Baby boomers, hence the title of his book. This is thegeneration, I believe, tasked with getting to grips with Uranus, ready for the leap we are nowin. The dates do not fit well with the discovery for Uranus, however this is just an estimateand I would suggest that a field takes a while to take hold. Wilber on Green: “We can allcome to understand who we are and how wondrous it is to be human if we will only acceptthat everyone is equal and important. … Each spirit is connected to all others in our14 Ken Wilber, “Boomeritis”, p 88.
  7. 7. Towards a Responsible Astrology of the Future ©Faye Cossar June 2009community; … Groups of people working together are the best way to advance knowledge.”His summary says, amongst other things: “Promote a sense of community and caring;promote gender equality, children’s rights and animal welfare; basis of value communities.”15Although some descriptions are a bit Neptunian (refresh spirituality and bring harmony to allbeings of Gaia), most sound pretty Uranian to me. Perhaps it is encouraging to think that 15%of our leaders already operate from this level.The leap into the FutureThe second tier. Is this Neptune consciousness? Or higher? Or to quote Wilber again, “Theleap into hyperspace of integral awareness”? Yellow and Turquoise are combined in Wilber’sbook as holistic or integral. Second tier understands the Spiral and that we are operating atdifferent levels. Each meme is important and still relevant. It is a tier that “works for both theenjoyment of self and the good of the entire Spiral of development” and “discovers personalfreedom without harm to others or excesses of self interest.” 16 It does sound like anintegration of Uranus and Neptune with perhaps a bit of Chiron thrown in. The date forTurquoise does roughly match the discovery of Chiron. Holistic is a term often used inassociation with Chiron or to quote Melanie Reinhart17, the Shamanistic ‘Soul Retrieval’ – tobecome whole again (after something being cast out). Interesting in the myth is that afterChiron arrives on the scene, Prometheus (read Uranus, read astrology) gets reinstated to hisrightful place amongst the Gods – some hope there…So why is all this important for astrologers?We know, as no other can, about the positive qualities that Neptune, Pluto and with increasingability, Chiron and Ceres, can offer at these levels of consciousness. Not only can we affectthese planetary morphic fields by what we say and write about them but also, if new science isto be believed about where we place our attention, by what we think about them. Do we nothave a duty within the astrological community to negotiate with these heavenly bodies to getthe best out of them? To make the fields positive? Can we not help our planet by passing onour unique knowledge with positive messages to our clients about how they too can use theseenergies? This way we can co-create both with our clients and the heavens, a better world.15 Ken Wilber, “Boomeritis”, pp 95-96.16 Ken Wilber, “Boomeritis”, p 104-5.17