Into the Realm of the Gods

June 2010

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Following the Astropoetic Trail

In this series of posts, I have followed the trail of symbols from known to unknown, from a difficult natal aspect to a more instinctual realm where animal totems become the guides for approaching a difficult aspect in way that honors natural law. Natural law itself evolves out of a deeper awareness of the sacred nature of all life, and it is in this awareness that an astropoetic approach to astrology is rooted.

What this means in practice is that any difficult aspect in a natal birthchart, and indeed the entire birthchart itself, can be understood as an elaborate invitation to become more god-like in our way of being – to follow in the footsteps of a god or goddess, and in modeling ourselves after divinity to become an embodiment of the sacred. From this perspective, everything within a birthchart that we find difficult is merely the catalyst to a process of growth in consciousness, which we are free to heed or not, but which we ultimately ignore at our peril and ultimately the peril of the planet. When we take the call to consciousness seriously, then we gravitate into the realm of the gods, where our merely human lives serve the well-being of the Whole.

It is toward this end, that we will track the wolves and their raven companions a bit further into the unconscious story behind the symbolism of a seemingly innocent natal Mercury-Mars square. Again, quoting from The Seven Gates (pp. 368-372):

From Animal Spirits to the Realm of the Gods

"The trail does not end with this discovery of the association between wolves and ravens, or even the relationship between this natural symbiosis and my Mars-Mercury square, for there are additional dimensions of this puzzle yet to be unraveled. Wolves and ravens, for example, come together in the mythology surrounding the Teutonic god, Odin, who was often accompanied by both species – a raven on each shoulder and a wolf by each side. As pointed out by Kveldulf Gundarsson, “The name Odhinn means ‘fury’ or ‘inspiration’ and is related to the modern German wuetend and archaic English wood, both of which carry a meaning of ‘furious,’ ‘mad,’ and ‘wild.’ His name has been suggested to be roughly cognate to that of Vata, Lord of the Winds, in the Rig Veda” (223).

Fury, of course, can be associated with Mars, while Mercury is associated with the element of air, or wind – and Spirit. Fury comes from the body; it is a physiological response to danger, chaos, forces beyond control. Wind comes from Spirit, and is the force that animates the body, giving birth to the soul. All of this is apparently implicated in the relationship between my Mercury and my Mars, providing a fertile nexus of images that are at once personal and universal, in which I can find a meaningful reflection of my soul space. From this reflection, I can learn – not just how to handle situations in which I might potentially be broadsided, although that is one important practical application, but also something about myself – who I am as a soul, and what it is that I have come here to do.

Within the area of soul space associated with my Mars-Mercury square, I am in some way which cannot be entirely articulated, in resonance with the god, Odin – who incidentally, somewhere down the line was also likely the god of my German ancestors. It can sound somewhat contrived and presumptuous to make a statement like this, and in making it, I certainly don’t mean to imply that I am a member of some spiritual elite. Quite the contrary, we all have similar inner connections waiting to be discovered and more consciously assimilated. When I follow my Mars-Mercury trail through soul space, I land on Odin’s doorstep. Your trails will likely take you to other gods or goddesses. But we are all born of Spirit, and our awareness of the resonant connections to whatever gods and goddesses inhabit our respective soul spaces gives the soul’s quest a certain numinous intensity and a deeper spiritual context it did not have before.

This is not a rational process; it does not yield an objective truth that can be applied to anyone else; it does not describe a causal relationship between inner experience and anything in the outer world. It is not a truth that a scientist, a scientifically-oriented psychologist, nor even a traditional astrologer, would necessarily recognize as an orthodox interpretation of my experience. In some circles, it might even be considered hallucinatory or delusional. Following these threads of symbolic meaning through my Mars-Mercury story does, however, enrich my understanding of the subjective truth of my being. And hopefully, it also demonstrates how astrological symbolism can be used in an empirical way to bridge the gap between conscious knowing and the unknown opportunities for learning and growth to be found in soul space.

Making a Distinction Between Traditional Astrology and Astropoetics

In closing, I would like to reiterate . . . what has most likely become obvious by now: the approach to astrology that I have demonstrated here differs, at times radically, from traditional astrological practice in several important ways. . .

While traditional astrology understands the birthchart to be a signature of fate, an astropoetic approach to astrology understands fate to be but an elaborate opportunity for evolution of consciousness within the embodied state. This opportunity is a learning process that transcends traditional astrological judgments about good and bad placements, benefic and malefic signatures, and the relative ease or difficulty of birthcharts considered in their entirety. Astropoetics assumes that each chart is an expression of Creative Intelligence at work, delineating the optimum path to conscious embodiment for the soul to which it belongs.

While traditional astrology is largely a matter of rationally decoding signs that have become shorthand notation for known qualities, astropoetics is oriented more toward the discovery of the sensory and emotional correlates to symbols, and of the images that embody these correlates. The process is by nature a journey into the unknown, and the outcome is not something that can be predetermined according to standardized definitions for astrological symbols. Traditional astrology aims at an objective understanding of the symbolism; astropoetics assumes that the symbolism must be referenced to both an astrological context (the birthchart considered as a whole) and an intimately subjective life context that is unique to the individual soul, before it can mean anything at all. . .

Lastly, while traditional astrology – at least that which is psychologically oriented – strives toward an understanding of the human predicament and an alleviation of suffering through enlightened perspective, astropoetics aims a bit higher. Astropoetics strives toward an understanding of how the human predicament is thoroughly infused by the presence of Spirit. This is true, especially where the human predicament is most difficult, most painful, most intensely vulnerable, and where the seemingly intractable core issues that mark the embodied life are encountered. Without attempting to romanticize or otherwise dismiss the suffering inherent in such experiences, astropoetics aims toward a vision broad and deep enough to encompass them as the portals to a deeper, more conscious and more creative embodiment of Spirit that they ultimately are."

This is the last post in this series.

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