An in depth exploration of meaning and purpose through archetypal astrology. One of the most complete Internet resource sorting out the basics (and the beyond) of archetypal/psychological astrology and how it applies to your life.
We promote the study of the relationship between myths, theories and stories about the sky, and culture and the arts. Our prime concern is humanity’s relationship with the cosmos in all its forms, religious, political, scientific, social and mythological.
Archetypes and Myths
The planets and asteroids represent archetypal forces that we all contain within us. An archetype is an instinctual mental image, an imprint that resides deep within the collective unconscious and is common to all cultures. In modern times, the word ‘archetype’ is used to describe something that is the first of its kind; that sets off a new pattern and is used as a basis for further development. Our interpretation and recognition of a particular archetype is based upon our cultural and philosophical conditioning.
The Great Mother would be embodied by Mary for Christians, by Gaia for the Ancient Greeks, by Isis for the Egyptians. Whatever your belief system, you will be instinctively attuned to a particular set of archetypes. In astrology, the planets and asteroids each hold an archetypal resonance, and the prominence or inconspicuousness of each of these can be viewed as the weft and warp in the colourful, complex tapestry of your personality.(1)
Astrology is a cosmology for the soul. It is a psycho-poetics of heavenly imagery which sees through the rational surface of mundane life into the interrelatedness of internal and external worlds. It is a way of living life in accord with a unique, personal, and singular sense of meaning and destiny.
Archetypal astrology reminds us that we are (as C. G. Jung pointed out) held within psyche, rather than being passive containers of a soul. It celebrates the soul’s rich complexity and is a means by which we learn honor and live in accord with the archetypal patterns which inform the structural reality of our lives.
No two horoscopes are ever precisely the same, reflecting the idea that each act of creation is original. By focusing on the unrepeatable flash of inspiration which makes each single moment utterly sacred, it becomes possible to live in alignment with the archetypal patterns portrayed in our horoscopes, and freeing us to live our lives with compassion, courage and fierce imagination.
Psychological astrology is a specialized approach to the study of individual charts that focuses on personal and interpersonal psychological dynamics as represented by the chart archetypes. It is understood in this approach, that an individual’s birth chart contains a symbolic representation of that person’s psyche.
From the chart, one can get an understanding of aspects relating to the individual’s personality; his/her motivating needs, desires, and deep-seated fears; natural talents and limitations; dynamics involving the parents, which have become internalized as part of the individual’s psychological make-up; and lessons that the individual needs to learn in order to integrate all the factors of the chart in a way that is functional and healthy.
Predictive vs. Psychological Astrology
Psychological astrology is a relatively new approach to the way that an astrologer looks at a chart. Traditionally — and by this I mean in the Middle Ages — astrologers were trained to talk about the concrete way in which the planets might manifest in a person’s life. There was a lot of focus on lucky events that were desired and unlucky events that were to be avoided. With the development of humanistic or person-centered psychology, astrologers began to look at the chart as a symbolic representation of the individual’s potential and of his psyche. Psychological astrology, therefore, began to focus on the internal processes that characterize and motivate the individual.
While there are times when a deep understanding of the individual’s desires and motivations may result in predictions by the astrologer, this is not the objective of the approach. The objective is the healthy functioning of the individual throughout the whole life. In predictive astrology, the “hows” and “whats” are more important, in a psychological approach, the “whys” are what we seek to understand and change.
Foundations of Psychological Astrology
Alan Leo – British Theosophist and astrologer. One of the first astrologers to examine a chart from a psychological and spiritual perspective rather than from the traditional event-oriented lens.
Carl Jung – Depth analyst whose concepts of archetype, synchronicity and the collective unconscious lay the psychological foundations for modern astrology.
Dane Rudhyar – Considered by most to be the father of humanistic astrology. His work borrowed much from humanistic psychology of the 1960s incluing the work of Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow and Carl Jung.
Marc Edmund Jones – Known most widely for his work on degree symbolism (Sabian Symbols), he was a tireless lecturer and practitioner who promoted a self-directed approach to chart reading.
Charles E. O. Carter – Credited for bringing greater insight & depth to the field. He was also the first president of the Faculty of Astrological Studies in England.
Please browse the links on the left side of this page for more information on Archetypal Astrology.
(1) Excerpt from the book Understanding the Planetary Myths – Tenzin-Dolma