Conceptualizing Astrology, the Universe, and YOU

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The ancient Hindu and Buddhist scholars taught us that the external world is an illusion, Maya. Taken on an intellectual level, the concept is barely acceptable to anyone’s mind! We aren’t used to the notion that there’s no separation between ‘you’ and ‘me.’ In fact, the stability of our psychology rests on believing that this separation exists!  In other words, the experience of reality as ‘oneness,’ can be really destabilizing. At its worst, it can take you off the deep end. So let’s be kind to ourselves, and allow ourselves to be comfortable with this as merely a concept, for just a little while in order to examine it here as it relates to astrology. (A short story about Maya: http://www.eeedesign.com/stories/Maya.html ).

The Nature of Reality: Advaita

‘Oneness’ as the nature of reality is described really well by Advaita. Advaita is a sub-school of Vedanta, a Hindu school of philosophy.  Advaita says that there isn’t really a ‘you’ and a ‘me.’ There’s just one. All of consciousness, life, the totality of all things, is one. It is this understanding that is the essence of Advaita, nothing can be attained. The mere wish or desire for attainment or enlightenment shows a belief that there is a self that is separate from enlightenment, and this belief is incorrect according to Advaita.

Advaita, or Non-duality, is best explained at the following website named Endless Satang.  http://endless-satsang.com/advaita-nonduality-oneness.htm.   I strongly recommend you check it out before reading further. At this site, you will be walked through an experience of your hand that will help you get a better handle on what Advaita says about the nature of reality.

Perception and the Mind of Duality

Egoic consciousness means more than ‘I think that I am awesome.’ Ego is the way your brain/mind understands experience. It organizes reality into discrete parts with names or labels such as “me,” “you,” “this tree,” “my house,” etc. Ego is the perceiver that perceives these forms as discrete, separate, and distinct. There is also a cultural collective or cultural ego – the perceptions, beliefs, and notions of a society that are conscious and ‘acceptable’ including rules for behavior, reward…etc.

Duality itself is a construction of the small mind, or local mind– the limited mind (as opposed to the universal mind). Don’t write off the local mind too quickly though — it’s necessary. Virgo is ruled by the planet Mercury, the planet associated with the local mind, or immediate environment. In a person’s chart, the planet Mercury represents a person’s mental filter – the filter through which they perceive the world. It’s a neat thing 🙂 and a helpful thing – in its rightful place. (Stayed tuned, I’ll be writing more about Virgo and the upcoming new moon in Virgo on September 5th.)

Q & A

Question:  Could there be more than one way of looking at the universe? I mean, if Advaita is the true nature of reality and Maya is the false nature of reality, does that mean that I should just forget one of two contradicting ideas and pick the true nature in order to find happiness or enlightenment?

Yes, we all look at the universe differently; and we are, indeed, extensions of it as well. Which means, we don’t need to deny our subjective realities.

If the egoic mind or the local mind of consciousness is the only difference between you, me, the planets, and everything under and beyond the sun, then it must be pretty important in some way – and in what way is that?

Would you be surprised if I told you many?  In astrological terms, the planet Mercury represents the scribe, the text itself or message (not necessarily its meaning), short-distance travel, and data. In astrology, the planet Mercury describes the local mind, perception toward neighbors, siblings, and the person’s mental filter. The planet Uranus is its transcendent aspect, the Higher mind – and will not be discussed here directly.

The Bigger Picture

But for now, let’s get back to conceptualizing astrology, in terms of a bigger picture.  If all is ONE, then wouldn’t it be the same for the planets and the stars, the Earth underneath our feet, and everything all around us?  Oneness.  No separation. No distinction between you, me, the moon, Mars, the Sun, or even a far away galaxy. Nevertheless, we perceive these discrete forms as separate in order to learn about the true source – in order to have recognition. Now, does that make any sense? What is a mirror other than glass with a silver backing along with some other treatments for adhesion? What is re-cognition but another cognition? So, in the bigger picture what we see as things that appear different really are just a reflection of the source of all things – and you are it. Everything is a symbol of You. The true Self. See Alan Watt’s, “You are IT”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6S2zzAIBFA

Let’s scale it back down again, while simultaneously opening it back up again, for a moment, so that we can “travel” to other, multiple dimensions of this one reality…forget astrology… it’s just a metaphor – or is it?

Multi-dimensionality

I highly suggest you check out this link from Nova because it really helps to get a look at what some scientists are theorizing right now, especially the mathematical concept of string theory.  There have been some updates, as CERN is starting up again very soon – this spring 2015. It also helps you to understand where all this is going, and from whence it came. What science points to is a new way to view the universe http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/imagining-other-dimensions.html. In fact, science isn’t really pointing out anything in particular, or conclusive; it’s really a just a method.

Is the difference between ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’ really a matter of perspective, or are these just two of many dimensions? How much does scale or size matter in witnessing the tiny dimensions that string theory theorizes? http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20600-quantum-magic-trick-shows-reality-is-what-you-make-it.html#.UiTouNIqiSo  This is a proverbial rabbit hole (or portal) and you will likely have fun! This is the stuff that scientists really can’t be certain about quite yet… but it’s hot, and researchers like Brian Greene are hot on the trail. There’s more to IT ALL!  And, it hasn’t been disproved.

Archetypes as symbolic language

Beyond the symbolism of mathematics– what other symbolic way do we have to describe the many dimensions of the universe? What might they look like? Do these dimensions have unique perspectives?

An archetype is a construct, which means it is created (not real), and it is created not just by a local mind but by a cultural mind. Archetypes transcend time and space, and minds! You find archetypes in stories, mythology – among other places, like astrology. They are ancient, universal patterns that are sourced in the collective unconscious. The archetype communicates across cultural lines: the trickster, the hero, the maiden…etc. In fact, archetypes can even function all by themselves. Jung got some of his ideas from Kant, Plato, and other philosophers. He pulled a tremendous amount of archetypal data from mythology, from dreams, across cultures, and from his own experiences. These archetypal identities of old exist in every tradition – oral or written. Check out archetypal cosmology (http://www.archaijournal.org/) it’s a field of study that researches the correlations between “discernable archetypal patterns in human experience and the structural order within the solar system.”

We can all thank Carl Gustav Jung for the breath of his resources, in order to develop his own work around archetypes. He influenced so many different ‘alternative’ disciplines because – quite frankly, I believe he delved into all sort of disciplines to get his information. Even if much of what he observed and reconfigured fell upon deaf ears, similar ideas sure show up in other disciplines, from anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, ‘unconscious infrastructures,’ to linguist Noam Chomsky’s ‘deep structure’, to even biologist Edward Osborne “E. O.” Wilson’s observation of epigenetic rules – or behavioral constructs evolving over time.  See the following link from a Guardian Commenter who noted these parallels in his article. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2011/jun/20/jung-archetypes-structuring-principles

The planets are archetypes

So how do archetypes fit into all this, and what do they have to do with astrology?

Check your experience. Honestly, check it out. The planets are archetypes. I don’t know the physics of how, nor can I pretend to. I can make other stories, though == planetary stories. Each planet has its own sort of energy or personality – Mars is passionate and fiery, while Saturn involves patience and discipline. One is fast and the other is slow. When I look at a chart – I can see a story as the planets (or energies or archetypes) interact.  The story can go a lot of different ways, but there is something that’s the same – that is the archetypes. A hero is a hero is a hero.  He sets out on a quest. We are all heroes in our own stories/journeys—just like we are all at the center of the wheel in our perception of the universe, and in an astrological chart. The central axis of the traditional astrological wheel is the earth – or “you.” Contemplate the center, which is your access point to all things. What I am pointing to in this article here is that your subjective experience is something to get to know as well as you can. People claim that Self-inquiry called Atma-vichara in Sanskrit, is the most important meditation practice in the Vedantic tradition. I’m not sure if I agree with that – as there are so many beautiful and fruitful practices. However, I do agree with the following statement from source below, and as many have been asking since their early years. “WHO AM I?”

The teaching of Self-inquiry is direct and simple, its literature is not as extensive as that of other yogic practices. In addition, the path of Self-inquiry demands a certain ripeness or readiness of mind that may require other practices to develop.

The process of Self-inquiry is so simple that it can be explained in a few words. To practice it you need only trace the root of your thoughts back to the I-thought, from which all other thoughts arise. This is initiated by the question “Who am I?”. By asking, “Who am I?” our thought current naturally gets focused on the search for the true Self and we forget about all other concerns and worries of the mind.

Mandala, an astrological chart

            What is the practical application of the knowledge of archetypal symbology?

A mandala is a circle or circle-like structure. This symbol is used by just about every tradition under the sun — Navajo Indians, South Asian Indians, Tibetan monks, etc.  It is used to represent an integrated view of the universe, and reminds us of our relationship with the totality of existence. An astrological chart functions like a mandala – it is a circular symbol, that when contemplated, helps our local minds “sit” more undisturbed in the universe. It unifies our experience of the archetypes, demonstrates the ease and tension in our psyche, gives us a viewpoint, and yields insight into the way we perceive ourselves in the universe. It can be a wondrous tool for your own evolution of consciousness –like a huge clock tracking repeating cycles of experience—and it helps us tie everything together in one beautifully integrated visual image, mandala.  I’m so grateful for astrology! See this page for more on mandalas and for free mandalas that you can print out and color 🙂  http://www.unh.edu/health-services/ohep/spiritual-wellness/mandalas-spiritual-practice

Have fun with this stuff!

(Photo is Mandala plate of Buddha Amitayus (TIbet; 19 century. Pigments on cloth, mounted on wood. copyright Rubin Museum of Art))

38 thoughts on “Conceptualizing Astrology, the Universe, and YOU

    1. Thank you, Julie. I had written this post last November, and I am still thinking about it. Back then I had a little bit more time to write and think along the lines of what I have been establishing for myself as my synthesis of all that I have learned, received, and explored. Namaste. Thank you for reading!!!

  1. You outdid yourself here Ka! Such an excellent article, incorporating so many topics and disciplines in order to expand awareness. You are one bright chick!

    Hope to correspond with you soon and also learn more about your style of evolutionary astrology ( Jeff Green’s philosophy right? )

    love,
    Linda

    1. Thank you, Linda. I wrote this almost a year ago. A kind friend ‘liked’ it, and I was inspired to re-blog. So many thoughts swimming right now, and soon I am expected to meet another at the park. Have a lovely weekend, and thank you for reading my synthesis of growing understanding that forms my philosophy. I hope to better encapsulate my understanding and improve my communication skills through the writing process.

      Lots of Love, Ka

  2. Pingback: The Transits are helping with Spring Cleaning & then some! | Fiesta Estrellas

  3. Really interesting post, Ka. As I have confessed previously, I don’t have much astrological knowledge at all, but I do know that in this universe we inhabit it makes sense that there be various influences, or perturbations. Because I think to one of your points above about us all being One, and yet seeking to differentiate, we need these perturbations, and we need to find these unique stances in relation to them in order to have unique experiences. So, it’s like there must be a system in place– a vast, grand system of larger scale than any human life– with an ever-shifting topography. And if our relationship from this side of eternity is unique, because of where we were plopped into the waves, then we have a profound tool for differentiation and Self-expression. That is how I have come to think about it.

    But I also think that no matter where we are plopped, we can develop the insight to reach back through the phenomenal to touch the cosmic unity, the undifferentiated One. And in touching that, recognize we are utterly the same, even as we are such diverse colors of the rainbow… 🙂

    Love
    Michael

    1. Hi Michael!

      As always, I so appreciate your thoughts and the way you put them in writing here. We are fortunate to have a big universe beyond this globe. I am grateful for the immensity of our universe. You and I have agreement about the plopping. Wherever one is plopped…the potential for cosmic unity. Love, Ka

      Here’s to celebrating our unique expressions 🙂

  4. So much to learn here! I liked that hand analogy too that you linked to on that other site. It’s neat in particular (for me) learning about the different energies of the planets. Your posts are about subjects I admit to knowing little about so I’m enjoying learning when I visit here 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for taking a moment to provide very helpful feedback about what you are interested in when you visit. Thank you for inspiring me to provide more content. I created a search box, in the upper right hand corner in case there’s a topic, say a planet or sign that interests you… you can type the word in the box and get results related to that keyword. Yes! Still very excited, and Happy Spring! xoxo

    1. Thank you so much Barbara for visiting and reading! I know you and I share that enjoyment of life, for sure 🙂 We are fortunate indeed. There’s this song/phrase that’s been re-playing in my head recently: “We’re so fortunate that the infinite will take care of it.” Thank you for you! ❤ Ka

  5. Wow, what a comprehensive look at these fascinating topics. This whole notion of oneness is a big one to grasp. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it for sometime. But more recently, it’s come up in yoga and in a conversation with my instructor who boiled it down to how our actions impact others. She pointed out that our personal yoga practices –.the merits of our practice — can be used in service towards others. And when she explained this something sort of clicked for me. Still working it out though… it’s a huge concept, and quite unfamiliar to our culture as you put (so well) in your post. 🙂

    1. Yes, Elysha. I’m so glad that we can share the merits of our practice with each other. Thank you for your comment, your kindness, and sharing your practice.

      I’m reminded of my Evening Aspirations, from Plum Village Chanting from the Heart book:

      “Reciting the sutras, practicing the way of awareness, Gives rise to benefits without limit.
      We vow to share the fruits with all beings. We vow to offer tribute to parents, teachers, friends and numerous beings who give guidance and support along the path.”

      Blessings, joy, and gratitude, Ka

  6. An excellent post… I much enjoyed the reading and the way you explained each one of the topics… I particularly enjoyed the excerpts related to the external world as an illusion, and to Mind and its dualities. Thanks for sharing! Happy week ahead. Aquileana ⭐

    1. Thanks so much, Aquileana. I’m so glad that you appreciated what I wrote, coming from one with a lovely blog tagline such as, “El Mundo Visible es Sólo un Pretexto” 😀 Cheers to you, friend! Thank you for leaving me a message to tell me. xo K

  7. I think a large flaw in modern psychology is that it seeks to heal the “ego,” or the illusion that we think is the separate self. This is a flaw, because that illusion can never be healed. True healing comes from redefining all that is not who we are and all that is not true, and the end result is that understanding of oneness and inner peace.

    1. Good point, Bethany. Healing the “ego” is healing an unreal thing.

      Namaste. Thank you for contributing your thoughts here. We truly heal when we allow the mending to happen of its own accord, lovingly, and patiently – anyway that it comes. Acceptance. True sight.

  8. This was indeed a fascinating , and if I may venture to add, a multi-disciplined, multi track musing.

    Of course, quite a bit of it continues to dwell in our conjecturing minds. I particularly got ‘bowled over’ by the Quantum mechanics ‘trick’ which seems to suggest the ‘Reality is what you make of it’. For me , that is powerful. For I come from the school of thought that believes in the Reality Illusion. Which essentially means that the occurring of a situation would of necessity be different for each one of us who are seeing it. I have found this awareness extremely powerful in my own life as it allows me to understand conflicts, limit my natural reactive personality and improves the quality of my responses.

    A while back, I had dwelled on the allied aspect of our consciousness and I provide the link here, should you or any other readers be interested.

    http://esgeemusings.com/2012/02/15/entropy-and-the-age-of-consciousness/

    Regards

    Shakti

    1. Dear Shakti,
      Thank you for contributing your link. I will be viewing it very soon. I also appreciate this understanding you shared, to quote from your words in your comment: “the occurring of a situation would of necessity be different for each one of us who are seeing it.” Excellent. The word ‘necessity’ is very important to highlight, as for each individual that ‘necessity’ of perception/experience may be different.
      Thank you friend,
      Ka

  9. So many thoughts swirling around. I should write them down as I read, so I can refer to them as I comment. I caught one and will set it down here: When I look out, I am seeing myself in All That Is, and when I see one looking back, it is myself looking back, as we are not even doing that, since it is the simple illusion of doing.

    Another thought. We are the heroes in our journey, and also the villains;

    Another thought I have always carried with me: The Sun is a symbol for Life, I shall call it The Source, and as I have thought, I am a spark of this which takes me out, being a vehicle to see through the experiences I have, but I am still also The Source. Thus, having met you, I have really met myself.

    I loved reading this post! I will look further at the links. So much as gone into this. I love that information flows.

    Blessed Be! May we find ourselves in the others we meet along the way.

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