Tracking the Soul
With an Astrology of Consciousness
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Preface to the Astropoetic Series
In my previous book, The Seven Gates of Soul: Reclaiming the Poetry of Everyday Life, I suggest that before we can talk in a meaningful way about the soul, we must speak a language that allows the soul to feel its journey pulse beneath its feet at every step. Such a language ideally recognizes in a non-judgmental way the value of everyday existence – this life in the here and now – as the focal point of the soul’s experience. It understands this life as a precious opportunity for trial-and-error learning, tending over the course of a lifetime toward a more conscious, creative and intimately personal embodiment of Spirit. It appreciates the suffering inherent in the human condition to be a primary catalyst for the learning process. It approaches an understanding of the soul’s experience, not with the rational, objective mind, bent on articulating an external reality we can agree upon, but through a more subjective fusion of sensory input, feelings, and imagery unique to the individual. It facilitates an intimate qualitative understanding of the individual’s purpose and place within the larger Whole – one that honors the color of the soul’s shifting moods, the taste of its obsessions, the sound of its pain and its joy.
I further suggest in The Seven Gates of Soul, that a modified form of astrology – called astropoetics – can potentially serve as the basis for such a language of soul. My word for this language is a composite of two references that I believe will prove to be a useful synthesis. The second half of the word, -poetics, is meant to suggest that the ineffable mystery of soul is best approached through a poetic language. A poetic language is one that conducts its quest for the truth obliquely – through simile and metaphor, image and symbol, suggestion and allusion, rather than direct, dogmatic statement of fact. The first half of the word, astro-, is meant to suggest that the soul can be observed in its movement through various cycles, which wax and wane in predictable rhythm, and are mirrored in the movement of the larger cosmic patterns that routinely coalesce and disperse in the sky. Since tracking these cosmic patterns and their relevance to the soul is the province of natal astrology, it seems natural to suggest that a poetic approach to astrology can provide a useful template for a viable language of soul. Such a language – born from the marriage of poetic sensibility and awareness of cycles – will empower the soul to dream and to awaken within the dream, to wrestle with and surrender to the archetypal forces at the heart of its most pressing dilemmas, and to create a life that shimmers with the potency of self-knowledge consciously embodied.
In discussing this possibility, I speak of astrology’s role in qualified terms, because before astrology can be truly useful as a language of soul, it must be liberated from certain bad habits absorbed through centuries of osmosis from religion, philosophy, science, and psychology, as well as through its own history of development. The astrology of the individual, as it is practiced today, co-evolved with these other disciplines, and although it is nearly universally disavowed by them all today, it nonetheless shares many of their underlying assumptions about the nature of reality, and about how reality might be known. These assumptions – as I demonstrated in some detail in The Seven Gates of Soul – present barriers to a true understanding of soul, whether sought by a spiritual seeker, a philosopher, a scientist, a psychologist or an astrologer.
The Astropoetic Impulse
Meanwhile, despite the vociferous rejection of astrology by these other disciplines, the central idea at the heart of the astrological quest – the notion that there could be a meaningful symbolic correlation between the movements of the greater cosmos and what is going on inside an individual human life – remains as compelling today as it was in the 17th century, when astrology was still taken seriously. As human beings, we long to know who we are – not just in human terms, but in relation to the larger patterns that connect us to the grand seemingly intelligent design that permeates this vast, unfathomable universe. I call this desire to know who we are in relation to the grand design, the astro-poetic impulse, because despite astrology’s shortcomings and the low esteem in which astrology is nearly universally held, no other discipline speaks quite as eloquently or with as much sophistication to this desire. When astrology is approached poetically – as a whole-brain contemplation of imagery and symbolism, reflected in uncannily descriptive ways by everyday life – it potentially holds the key to an understanding of soul that eludes these other disciplines.
For all the faith that we place in these other disciplines, especially science, they all seek an understanding of the human predicament that systemically excludes essential ingredients of the whole picture by which the grand design must be understood. Religion seeks to understand our relationship to God or Spirit, but generally looks upon our relationship to the material realm and the body with disdain. Science studies our relationship to the physical universe in great detail, but fails to acknowledge its spiritual dimension or the existence of soul. Psychology discusses the soul, either strictly within the parameters imposed by science – which is to say, not at all – or with reference to only the human dimensions of its experience. Only astrology – with its inherently poetic language animated by gods and goddesses, connecting earth and sky through their perpetually changing dance – seems broad enough to entertain the thought that earth, human, and cosmos could conceivably be part of a larger all-inclusive pattern. To the extent that astrology can be weaned from its bad habits – discussed at some length in The Seven Gates of Soul – it lends itself quite succinctly to an articulation of the astropoetic impulse.
Astrology seeks specific understanding of the correlations between human experience and the patterns formed by planets, stars, and other astronomical phenomena. In this sense, it is potentially the ideal language for focused expression of the astropoetic impulse. But the astropoetic impulse itself – the quest to understand the larger patterns in which our lives acquire meaning – is not limited to astrological expression; it is intrinsic to human nature. This impulse is not completely unfamiliar, even to those who know nothing or could care less about astrology.
Artists of all persuasions routinely exercise an astropoetic sensibility in the creation of their art, although they likely do not call it that, whenever they depict the individual seeking to intuit his or her place in a mysterious universe beyond human comprehension. Psychotherapists not wedded to a medical model of psychology will exercise astropoetic sensibilities, as they approach a deeper, symbolic understanding of their client’s experience through dreams, projective tests, art and music therapy, or somatic modalities aimed at a holistic understanding of human behavior. Spiritual teachers, particularly those from indigenous or pagan traditions, often unconsciously use astropoetic imagery in their attempt to articulate the unknown, and draw it within experiential range of their students and followers – largely through ritual ceremonies that embrace the Sun, the Moon, the planets and the elements as co-participants in a dance of transmutation and release. Even many visionary scientists – from Aristotle to Einstein – who draw their inspiration from sources that transcend the mere facts they study, give expression in their own way, to the astropoetic impulse.
We do not necessarily recognize the astropoetic nature of these pursuits, because there is no explicit use of astrological language, no recognition of the relationship between signs, houses, or planetary dynamics and human experience that compose the vocabulary of the astrological worldview. The use of such language – except within the astrological community itself, and in certain New Age circles – is something of a cultural faux pas . Since the 17th century, serious discussion of astrology has largely become intellectually taboo, and few people today other than astrologers would dare use astrological language to seriously articulate their perspective. Our modern conception of astrology has been distorted by centuries of denigration by religious authorities and scientists, most of whom know little about it, and by the popular media, which tends to trivialize whatever it touches. However, this does not mean that the astropoetic impulse is not at work in our non-astrological attempts to make sense of our lives.
Making sense of our experience in terms of larger patterns is part of what it means to be human. We all strive to do this as a matter of course, every day – even if all we ever talk about is the weather and last night’s tv shows. Stripped of its jargon and the cultural baggage that has been heaped upon it, astrology is merely a useful language for articulating our relationship to these larger patterns. To the extent that we reach for this kind of understanding, by whatever means, our efforts are an expression of the astropoetic impulse. To the extent that giving expression to the astropoetic impulse is important to us, then a poetic understanding of astrology can be a useful place to begin.
Viewed dispassionately, astrology provides a rather sophisticated methodology to bring our astropoetic awareness of larger patterns into clearer focus. Like science, astrology strives to articulate interrelationships within the larger pattern. Unlike science, astrology is more interested in the symbolic implications of these interrelationships than their literal, material, or causal dimensions. Science attempts to understand larger patterns as they can be described objectively as part of consensual reality, while natal astrology attempts to understand and describe these same patterns subjectively, as part of the intimately personal reality of each individual. Astrology and science pose two very different perspectives, which under the best of circumstances, ought to complement and balance each other. Unfortunately, since the importance of the astropoetic impulse is not generally acknowledged, and science likes to present itself as the only legitimate worldview, the astrological perspective, potentially useful as it can be in giving expression to the astropoetic impulse, is in danger of being negated altogether.
While few non-astrologers would likely mourn the loss of astrology per se, the denigration of the astropoetic impulse is also being felt in less obvious ways, because of the dominance of science. Whenever a school cancels its art and music programs for lack of funding; whenever an insurance policy dictates that interactive forms of psychotherapy, not based on pharmaceutical intervention, are ineligible for reimbursement; or wherever religious dogmatism breeds an environment of intolerance and closed-mindedness, it will be because the astropoetic impulse – by whatever other name we might call it – is not recognized or valued. Wherever we stop sensing, feeling, imagining and intuiting our way into a recognition of larger patterns of meaning and purpose, beyond the reach of the strictly rational mind, we function at less than our full capacity as human beings. This is a great loss, regardless of how we feel about astrology.
In The Seven Gates of Soul, I outlined the historical process by which both astrology and the dominant worldview became corrupted by the gradual loss of astropoetic sensibilities. I also began to explore what an astropoetic language of soul might look like once it had been recognized and liberated from its conditioning. In this book, and in the series of books that will follow, I wish to discuss the syntax of this language in some detail, and develop a cohesive methodology by which it might contribute to a deeper understanding of the human experience. In order to do this, I will borrow heavily from astrology, and at the same time, restore a broader foundation of symbolic logic to astrology that is intrinsic to the astropoetic impulse at the heart of its nature.
This specifically astropoetic form of logic, or astro-logic, as I like to call it, is not the same as the linear, analytical, left-brain logic developed by the early Greeks, which later came to serve as the foundation of both astrology and science. It is essentially a poetic logic of simile and metaphor, suggestive of possibilities, rather than descriptive of literal facts. It is an invitation to contemplate experience with the whole of one’s being – with the senses, emotions, and imagination, as well as the rational mind. It is a trigger for the intuition, stretching into realms of subjective awareness inaccessible to mere rational analysis. It is rooted in the power of the symbol to evoke visceral recognition, rather than a purely intellectual interpretation of data. It speaks not just to the mind, but to the soul, and attempts to place the soul within a larger, more cosmic context. It strives to reveal something universal in recognition of the whole of which we are part, even as it expresses itself through an intimate exploration of our uniqueness. It seeks to recognize and articulate symbolic correlations between the larger patterns unfolding around us (referred to by astrologers as the macrocosm) with the smaller patterns that weave through individual lives (the microcosm).
To reclaim the astro-logic that underlies the astropoetic impulse, we do not necessarily need to believe in astrology, nor encumber ourselves with knowledge of arcane, intellectual techniques. In fact, astrology itself has in many ways become less astro-logical – in the way that I am defining it here – as it is impacted by the same loss of astropoetic perspective that is affecting us all. Under pressure from critics both within and outside the astrological community, astrology has largely become too rational, left-brained, and analytical to adequately serve as a useful language of projective imagination. This book, and those that will follow, are intended to remedy this situation, and to promote a more basic relationship between the astrological language and the rules of astro-logic by which a more whole-brained, intuitive, and poetic expression of the language might evolve. Meanwhile, my broader purpose is to rediscover and elaborate the astropoetic impulse at the heart – not just of astrology, as it was practiced in some golden, pre-scientific age – but of our shared human nature, as it can be experienced in the here and now.
The Roots of Astro-logic in Symbolic Astronomy
Given that astrology is the language par excellence for exploring the astropoetic impulse, we might suspect that astrology had a more exalted position within the historical development of western thought than is generally acknowledged. Instead, those who know little about astrology or philosophical history often assume that it sprouted like a weed, a foreign opportunistic species that rooted in the cracks of our civilization, despite the fact that it was alien to our culture. Nothing could be further from the truth. Astrology grew up as the twin brother of astronomy, the right-brain echo of its scientific sibling’s left-brain focus on literal fact. Both astronomy and astrology studied cosmos – one with an eye toward measurement of its material parameters, the other toward an illumination of the mystery at the heart of our relationship to the infinite, incomprehensible vastness of space. A mere four to five centuries ago, both were practiced together as part of the same pursuit by astropoetically-inclined astronomers like Nicholas Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, and Tycho Brahe. These astronomer/astrologers attempted to describe, not just the mechanical workings of a material universe, but also the cosmic order, or grand pattern of the Whole, as it manifested in the movements of celestial objects. Until the 7th century, the same word – astrologia, meaning “logic of the stars” – was used to describe both.
While science has long since disavowed its relationship to astrology, the astro-logic at the heart of both astrology and astronomy was originally an expression of the astropoetic impulse. Science became increasingly uncomfortable with the metaphysical implications of astro-logic, and gradually divorced itself from all speculative concerns with meaning or purpose that might incidentally be found in the larger patterns it was attempting to study. Astrology became marginalized as the pre-scientific view, though it kept the flame alive. As discussed in The Seven Gates of Soul, however, it did so in a way that was inevitably distorted by science, the dominant paradigm – its bigger, stronger, bully of a brother – to which it was compelled to pay allegiance by cultural mandate.
As we turn our attention back to astro-logic, we will explore the intimate connection between astrology and astronomy that engaged the earliest astropoetic astronomers. The literal facts of astronomy – not just those available to the ancients, but also those that modern astronomers have since discovered – will serve as one important source for the rules of astro-logic. Rather than take these facts literally, however, we will use them as a springboard for an intuitive assessment of relevant similes and metaphors. If the Moon appears to move through phases from the total darkness of New Moon to the haunting luminescence of Full Moon, we shall take this to say something – not just about the astronomical movements of Sun, Earth and Moon, but also about the metaphorical waxing and waning of our relationship to all things lunar – feelings, dreams, memories, and the mysteries of life, death and rebirth. If the Sun appears to rise, culminate, set, and anti-culminate, as the Earth rotates about its axis, we shall take this as symbolic evidence of the shifting focus of consciousness, as it is reflected in the rising and setting of the life force within us. And so on. In the realm of astro-logic, every astronomical fact will have its symbolic correlates, suggestive of various astro-logical truths.
The Roots of Astro-logic in Qualitative Mathematics
More fundamental to astro-logic than astronomy is the mother tongue of mathematics, which makes possible both astronomical and astrological calculations. Implied in the pursuit of science is the ability to measure, and implied in the ability to measure is the power of numbers to illuminate something about the object of measurement. Science assumes that what gets illuminated by numbers is a quantifiable fact. Astro-logic, however, is inherently more interested in the quality of experience – the similarities that make something part of a symbolic family, or the underlying sense of resonance that makes a given image an apt metaphor for a process to which it is otherwise unrelated. Science denies the qualitative nature of both numbers and the material objects that numbers are capable of measuring. But this is exactly the cornerstone cast aside that proves useful as a foundation for the rules of astro-logic we will explore. It is indeed the very essence of the astrological art.
The quality at the heart of numbers was of great interest to Pythagoras, and later to Plato and the Neoplatonists. Pythagoras is credited with discovering the mathematical underpinnings of music, and of harmony and discord, which reverberated throughout the measurable universe in countless qualitative ways. He and his followers believed that numbers were the key to understanding the Divine Order, the intention of the Creator, as reflected in the various ways in which He constructed the manifest universe. In this perspective, everything, which in some way, partakes of the nature of a given number, resonates on the same harmonic wavelength, or put another way, becomes part of the same family of symbolic gestures. Numbers become not just units of measurement, but far more importantly, organizing principles of the astro-logic implied in the manifest world. Since the embodied soul is also very much of the manifest world, numbers also become an organizing principle in the more internal logic of each individual soul – though not just in the literal, objective way that scientists would like to believe they do.
Though much of the Pythagorean system has been lost, the notion that numbers have symbolic implications, which in turn describe something of the nature of the soul’s experience is a central tenet of the astro-logic that we will seek to cultivate in this series. Everything astrological can be understood as a manifestation of the qualitative dimension of number – the twelve signs of the zodiac, the twelve houses, the four elements, the three modalities, the various angular relationships between planets, the harmonics that underlie those angular relationships, the larger planetary patterns that underscore certain harmonics, and the numbers associated with the duration, shape and permutations of each astrological cycle under scrutiny. Understood in the spirit of Pythagoras’ qualitative approach to numbers, these numerical relationships can be considered part of the astro-logic by which any birthchart becomes illuminated as a symbolic statement about the soul. Beyond the usual astrological uses of numbers, a qualitative assessment of numbers will also be useful in establishing a broader, metaphysical context in which to understand astro-logical information.
The Roots of Astro-Logic in Mythology
A third primary source of astro-logic lies in the inextricable relationship between astrology and mythology. As pointed out in some detail in The Seven Gates of Soul, no small part of the discomfort experienced by proto-scientists, when contemplating the astro-logic they shared with astrology, was the fact that this astro-logic was rooted in the mythopoetic culture science sought to supplant. Entangled in these roots was the mystical notion that the material bodies revolving around the Sun were the actual bodies of the gods and goddesses for which they were named. Venus was not just a neighboring planet, closer to the Sun than Earth, but also the literal embodiment of the Greek goddess, Aphrodite, and a symbolic harbinger of everything associated with the mythology of Aphrodite – an archetypal conduit through which experiences of erotic love, sensual pleasure, artistic passion, and the perpetual quest for a deepening relationship to beauty could find their place within human experience. The subsequent movements of Venus in relation to the Earth and the other planets was not just a matter of measurable orbits and gravitational forces, but also one of mythological intercourse with repercussions and corresponding melodramas within the realm of human affairs.
While early astrologers, particularly those who were magically inclined or versed in the Hermetic arts, often took these correspondences literally, it is the symbolic and experiential implications of the mythological dimension of astrology that will provide an opening to an articulation of the astro-logic that we seek. All things that resonate on some level in the mythology of Venus, will form the basis for a nexus of symbolic correlates to the appearance of the planet in the birthchart. By the same line of symbolic reasoning, the four elements, the directions associated with the angles of the chart, and the interplay of any combination of planets in mutual aspect to one another, among other possibilities, will all have their mythological correlates.
While western astrology is traditionally rooted in Greek and Roman mythology, the mythology of cultures throughout the world, as well as that from post-mythological cultures, folklore, literature, art, music, theatre and film, might all potentially provide source material for the astro-logic implied within a given astrological symbol. Indeed, once we identify the rules of astro-logic by which these threads weave their patterns, the patterns themselves will be recognized to pre-exist in places where even veteran astrologers might not previously have thought to look.
The Flowering of Astro-logic in Subjective Experience
The most obvious and critical place to look for the proliferation of astro-logical patterns is within the life stories of the individuals in whose birthcharts these patterns are described. The rules of astro-logic extracted from a symbolic consideration of mathematical, astronomical and mythological truths will provide a lens through which we can more skillfully glimpse the patterns that compose a life, but the patterns themselves will take on nuances and, in some cases, entirely unfamiliar personas that are intimately unique to the individual. Each life has its own inherent astro-logic, and often this more subjective patterning of symbolic elements is discovered only when the rules of astro-logic are applied with an open mind that is prepared to be surprised in discovering something new that the rules could not have prepared one to anticipate.
Essential to understanding how the astro-logic of any life reveals itself, is a process of self-observation. Everything astrological evolves through some cycle – whether the daily rotation of the Earth about its axis, the annual revolution of the Earth or any other planet around the Sun, the movement of two planets in relation to each other, or some more esoteric cycle less tangibly measured. Each of these cycles represents an opportunity to observe and collect information about the astro-logic of the various factors converging to create the cycle. A Mars-Venus cycle, for example, is an opportunity to learn something about Mars and Venus and the way they interact. The passage of a planet through a sign or a house is an opportunity to learn something about how that planet functions within that sign or house. A Saros cycle, or series of related eclipses, is an opportunity to learn something about the astro-logic that ties the series together as a symbolic whole.
Astrologers routinely build their collective pool of astrological knowledge through their shared observation about events and processes that occur simultaneously, or synchronisticly, with the unfolding of various cycles. The same principle can be applied within the context of an individual life. Indeed, the evolution of a cogent language of soul will demand it, for it is only this more subjective form of self-observation that yields a true understanding of the soul that is living the patterns reflected in the birthchart. Many beginning and intermediate astrologers assume that the principles of astro-logic alone are sufficient to describe the soul in question. They are not. It is not until the principles of astro-logic – culled from mathematical, astronomical and mythological correlates, and from the cumulative observations of the astrological tradition – are observed within the unique context of an individual life, that the astropoetics of that life will reveal itself.
Thus, a deeper, ultimately more intensely personal and potent source of what we might call esoteric astro-logic will evolve through the application of the familiar exoteric astro-logic of tradition within the context of a real life story, observed and understood cyclically. This esoteric astro-logic – infused with the subjective wisdom of the individual soul – will only emerge slowly, over the course of many years of self-observation.
Since most of us begin the process of self-observation somewhere in mid-stream, penetrating to the heart of this more esoteric form of astro-logic also involves a process of self-remembering. The freshest information will always be that which can be gleaned in the moment. But also of great importance are memories related to key moments in the cycle under observation. Ideally, the effort to remember can best be undertaken while a given cycle is currently being activated, and consequently ripe for observation. Remembering is also greatly facilitated by keeping a personal journal, to record significant thoughts, feelings, events and processes, and to map them to various cycles.
Memory is a tricky affair – selective at best, often blocked, frequently distorted by pain, creative reconstruction, wishful thinking, or denial. Likewise, observation can be skewed by biases, blind spots, and false beliefs. The subjective quest for truth is necessarily flawed, because we are flawed as observers and rememberers. But if we are to get at the truth of our soul’s existence, discover our purpose in this life, and find our place within the larger scheme of things, we can only do so from within the context of our own experience, however imperfectly perceived or remembered. If we are sincere in this attempt, and our intentions are clear, the rules of exoteric astro-logic will provide us with a set of tools to help us more clearly perceive the esoteric astro-logic at the heart of our experience. If we just start where we are, the process will gradually deepen, and take us where no mere exoteric astro-logic can possibly go.
Astro-logic and the Evolution of Consciousness
Implied in this recognition of esoteric astro-logic is the understanding that the meaning of any birthchart depends in part on the consciousness that is channeled through it. In The Seven Gates of Soul, I argue that consciousness is the preeminent expression of Spirit functioning within a body, and the mechanism for a trial-and-error learning process through which the soul gradually learns to more fully embody Spirit. At different times, each of us will bring varying degrees of consciousness to the task at hand, and it is this variable – more than anything overtly astrological – that will determine the most relevant meaning of the correspondent symbolism in any birthchart.
Seen astropoetically, an astrological birthchart is a thing of great beauty. It is an aerial photograph of the interior landscape of the human psyche, a landscape I like to refer to as soul space. For those with eyes to see, it also describes the shape, texture, scent and tone of an individual life, echoing in countless ways through the real life experience of the native inhabitant of the soul space that it describes. Translated in temporal terms, it outlines an evolutionary timetable for the various shaping influences that will forge the soul in the crucible of its experience. As cycles interweave with cycles, and the wheel of time turns around the birthchart as its axis, the soul comes into more conscious being as an astropoetic articulation of its symbolism. No two charts are alike, and even for souls born in adjacent hospital beds at exactly the same moment, the colors and the nuances of expression that breathe life into the chart, will mark each as a unique signature of singular majesty, divine genius, and rare beauty.
As beautiful and compelling as the birthchart is, it must be considered an abstract portrait of potentialities until the being whose actual life is mirrored by the birthchart enters into our consideration of it. Everything astrological can be understood to function on multiple levels of possibility, and interpretation of a birthchart – according to the most common approach to astrology – is nothing more than educated speculation about possibilities. The best astrologers speculate with ample input from the client about whom they are speculating, realizing that without the client, the birthchart would be nothing more than an elaborate algebraic equation.
A generation ago, seminal astrologer Dane Rudhyar suggested that “astrology is fundamentally the algebra of life. But its applications are as numerous as the types of life it coordinates, integrates, and to which it gives the significance of order” (The Astrology of Personality 18). Although Rudhyar was speaking of a broad range of applications – including not just natal astrology, or the astrology of the individual – it is nonetheless a corollary of his statement that its application to a given soul depends upon the “type of life” that individual is living. The type of life an individual lives, in turn, will be a function of the consciousness that individual brings to life, evidenced perhaps most clearly at each juncture, by the choices that she makes. If this is so, then an understanding of these choices is necessarily a prerequisite to understanding any birthchart.
The choices that we make at the important junctures of any cycle will determine which of the many possible meanings for the astrological correlates to that cycle are most valid – not in an exoteric sense as a statement of generic fact, but in an esoteric sense as an expression of subjective truth. One person with Saturn square the Sun will experience the Saturn-Sun cycle as a series of frustrating ordeals, perhaps like Sisyphus, endlessly pushing that rock up the hill, only to have it roll back down again. Another person with the same natal aspect will more effectively rise to the occasion, and through the Saturn-Sun cycle gradually evolve a solid sense of increasing competence, commitment, integrity, and personal authority.
One might argue – and some astrologers have – that astrological context (sign and house placements, other mitigating natal aspects, concurrent transits to each juncture of the cycle, etc.) is sufficient to account for the difference. I tend to believe that it is more fundamentally a matter of consciousness, and that consciousness is something that we bring to the birthchart, not something inherent within the chart itself. Unless we know how a given soul has responded to the symbolism through the choices made in relation to it, we simply cannot know what the symbolism means.
With this understanding, the exoteric astro-logic presented in this series of books will be built upon a model that recognizes various levels of consciousness upon which any symbol – from the smallest detail to the birthchart as a whole – might manifest. This model will encompass the astrology practiced by most astrologers – based on an understanding of the symbolic implications of number, astronomy and mythology, and rooted in our cumulative tradition. It will not depart significantly from the common understanding of basic principles, nor will it attempt to rewrite the language in some foreign tongue. It will instead strive toward the application of astrology within a spiritual context – as a template of possibilities amenable to the exercise of consciousness – that allows its more intentional development as a language of soul.
 Thankfully, this has been slowly changing due to the pioneering work of Project Hindsight and ARHAT in translating classical astrological texts from Greek and Latin into English; the degree programs in astrology being offered by Kepler College in the Seattle area and Bath Spa University in England; and the inroads into academia and professional circles made by pre-eminent astrologers like Liz Greene, Nick Campion, Demetra George, Patrick Curry, Glen Perry, Richard Tarnas and others. But this recent development is still in the nascent stages and will no doubt take at least a generation to begin to bear fruit that is noticeable and acknowledged by the mainstream.