Ellen’s Masters Thesis

December 13th, 2013

Hi, everyone. Below is my thesis, submitted to complete my Masters Degree in Archetypal Cosmology & Conscious Evolution. It’s a long, academic read but an interesting look at the potential meaning of the moment of birth and the purpose of human life. I hope you can take the time to enjoy it, and let me know what questions it raises. I’d love your input!

THE BIRTH MOMENT AND THE EVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS

By

Ellen Longo

Submitted to the Faculty of the Archetypal Cosmology and Conscious Evolution Program

of The Graduate Institute in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the

degree of Master of Arts

April 2013

Abstract

This culminating project explores the moment of birth and its connection to personal, collective, and universal evolution. Using scientific, psychological/archetypal and spiritual lenses, it offers a theory to answer the questions: what is the birth moment? Does it have the power to portray the meaning or purpose of an entire lifetime? The hypothesis is that the natal moment is the link between personal evolution and the evolution of the universe as a whole, and as an individual integrates the archetypal challenges of their own personal evolution, they further the evolution of the universe. In other words, the evolution of the universe is achieved through the evolution of the individual. After examining basic concepts of time and evolution in the Literature Review, evidence is gathered from various sources to test the validity of the hypothesis using a primarily hermeneutic process of inquiry. The findings suggest that the hypothesis is valid, with certain caveats that slightly alter the original. The concluding section offers practical applications of the concepts.

Table of contents

Introduction.. 5

Literature Review… 8

Time and Space. 8

Time and space through the Scientific Lens. 8

Time through a Spiritual Lens. 11

Evolution. 15

Physical Evolution. 15

Evolution of Consciousness. 16

Involution. 16

Return to Consciousness. 18

Evolution of Humanity. 21

Summary. 22

Methodology.. 22

Methodology Overview.. 22

Applying the Methodology to Gather Evidence. 27

The purpose of human life. 27

The evolutionary path. 29

Life within the cosmic drama. 39

Analysis of Findings. 43

The purpose of human life. 43

The evolutionary path. 43

Life within the cosmic drama. 45

Conclusions and Implications. 46

References. 50


The Birth Moment and the Evolution of Consciousness

Introduction

The topic of this Culminating Project is the intersection between universal evolution, time, and the purpose of a human life. This intersection will be explored by combining and synthesizing the topic through three lenses: the emerging postmodern scientific lens; the archetypal cosmology lens of postmodern astrology; and an esoteric lens, especially drawing upon the perennial philosophy as outlined by the Kashmir Shaivism strain of East Indian philosophy.

In the last century, there was a breakthrough in the scientific view of the physical world, midwifed by Einstein’s theories of relativity, and grown through the contributions of such giants as Friedmann, Hubbell, Heisenberg, and Bohm. The atomistic worldview, which had its roots in ancient Greece, was shattered by emerging theories of quantum realities, the interdependence of time, space, and events, and the limits to predictability described by the uncertainty principle.

The spiritual systems of thought from Eastern philosophy have not undergone such changes as those described above, yet the introduction of this thought to the Western cultures and the growing acceptance of these world views has encouraged certain modern thinkers to consider that perhaps the wisdom of ancient systems may be applicable to recent scientific and psychological findings.

There has also been a revolution in the thought of the astrological community. After a few centuries of relative inactivity, astrology came into the modern age in the early 20th century. Pioneers Alan Leo and Dane Rudhyar began to consider astrology from a process standpoint, applying it to the overall development of a human being’s life rather than as the marker of a predetermined fate. This work has been carried into postmodern astrology through the development of archetypal cosmology by Tarnas, Perry, LeGrice, and others.

As astrology is normally taught, studied, and practiced, there is a great emphasis on the meanings of the signs and planets, and more recently, on the psychological/archetypal aspects of astrology. There has been relatively little examination of the birth moment itself. What is that moment, such that astrologers assert it has the power to portray the meaning or purpose of an entire lifetime?

All of these topics will be explored in future chapters, but the bottom line is that a new age has emerged, with new understanding throughout the realms of knowledge, and this new moment begs for a new perspective on what many regard as the most ancient field of knowledge, astrology.

One of the common denominators in all of these breakthroughs of the past century has been a radical reformulation of man’s understanding of time and space. Since natal astrology is based on the moment of birth, there is an opportunity to formulate a new understanding of that moment. The purpose of this research is to examine whether scientific, esoteric, and psychological/archetypal explanations of a moment in time can be integrated to develop a theory that gives a new perspective to the moment of birth in human life, a perspective that includes the postmodern sensibility and is useful to the practicing astrologer. Although the strains of research to be examined involve complex and theoretical topics, a simple thesis that can be communicated to astrological clients with an average grasp of these subjects is the goal.

Evolution will be covered as a primary aspect of this research, both the evolution of the universe as a whole and the evolution of individual consciousness. All of the authors quoted in this study have something to say about evolution, and within the topic of personal evolution, an attempt will be made to forge a link from individual evolution to the evolution of the universe as a whole.

The study will begin with a review of basic concepts of time, space, and evolution through three lenses: science, psychology, and mystical traditions. Since each field is vast,  important current voices in the respective subjects have been chosen. This literature review will establish  a common understanding of recent theories.

Next,  several methodologies that have been suggested as applicable to a study of this kind will be examined, and those that apply to the data will be chosen. In looking for a way to discern the truth of the theories and assumptions,  a hermeneutic method of research will be the primary methodology. The  methodology will be applied to the assumptions in a hermeneutic fashion to discern the validity of each. At the end,  the findings will be presented and thoughts offered on their practical applications.

With this short background, the thesis of this project may be stated: to demonstrate that humans are born in order to evolve and that the pattern of that evolution is shown in the natal chart (the pattern of the planets at the moment of birth.)  Further, this evolution is not only a personal evolution, but also an expression of the evolution of the entire universe. The natal moment is the link between personal evolution and the evolution of the universe as a whole. As an individual integrates the archetypal challenges of their natal moment, they further the evolution of the universe. In other words, the evolution of the universe is achieved through the evolution of the individual.

A note about astrology: it is not the purpose of this study to determine the veracity of astrological thought in general. Many fine minds throughout the ages have applied themselves to this question and have found it valid. As Isaac Newton responded to Halley when Halley doubted the validity of astrology, “Sir, I have studied it, you have not (The Complete Planetary Ephemeris 1950-2000 A.D., 1975)!”  This is not to say that every tenet held by astrologers is valid. If  the veracity of my thesis can be reasonably asserted, it could further the work of updating astrology to the new postmodern paradigms. It will further position astrology as a useful paradigm for this postmodern age. It will be uplifting, in that it places the individual life within a universal framework. And it will develop a tool for counseling astrologers to use in their day-to-day work with clients.

Literature Review

This Literature Review will explore three foundational topics: time, space, and evolution. By reviewing these topics from multiple viewpoints, I hope to show that there is not one definitive, agreed-upon way to understand them. This opens the door for further investigation and new points of view. My culminating project goal is to synthesize various ancient and modern ideas to arrive at a novel viewpoint, a viewpoint that, hopefully, will affirm my thesis. This Literature Review will examine the foundational ideas and authors upon which I will build my argument, forming a shared context for further reasoning later in the paper.

Various lenses will be used to examine these topics: the physical/scientific, the psychological/archetypal, and the spiritual, especially writings from the Indian continent. The review begins with time and space, broad  topics, to see what can be gleaned through these lenses.

Time and Space

Time and space through the Scientific Lens.

The scientific view of time has undergone a huge revision in the last one hundred years, initiated by Einstein’s theories of relativity. According to Hawking (2005), these theories precipitated a new and compelling viewpoint regarding space and time, and undermined the long-held belief in absolute time (p. 33). Before the 20th century, time was regarded as an independent entity, within which events happened, but was forever separate from and unaffected by those events (p. 48). These events, moreover, could be located in time, and the interval between events was fixed (p. 104). Space, as well, was considered a sphere outside the influence of time and events, a discrete entity, unchanging. People considered that space and time were both infinite; there was movement within space and time, as well as forces interacting on the bodies there, but space and time were fixed factors of reality (p. 48). As Hawking explains:

With the general theory of relativity, space and time are now dynamic quantities: when a body moves or a force acts, it affects the curvature of space and time and in turn, the structure of space-time affects the way in which bodies move and forces act (p. 48).

No longer  is the universe seen to operate in a paradigm in which space and time are separate, inviolate structures of reality, but one in which actual events affect space and time. Events, space, and time are completely interconnected, affecting each other and affected by everything else. Time itself is no longer fixed; it is personally measured dependent on an individual’s motion and position, and its velocity varies – time slows down and speeds up (Hawking, p. 47).

Soon after Einstein’s General Relativity Theory, Friedmann posited that time and space have finite boundaries, which implies that time has a beginning and an end. This line of thinking led to the premise of a Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago. Out of an infinitesimally small point filled with infinite amounts of energy, the universe exploded into being, and with it space and time (Hawking, p. 68).

Hubbell’s work later proved that in addition to space and time, the then-current understanding of the universe itself was also inaccurate, which Hawking (2005) describes as “one of the great intellectual revolutions of the 20th century (p. 57).”  By recognizing that the distance between galaxies is increasing, Hubbell showed that the universe, once seen as static and fixed in size, is actually expanding and more recently, scientists have found that the rate of expansion is increasing (p. 66).

From the macro-universe point of view,  previous theories of space, time, and the beginning of the universe have been annihilated and replaced with radically different understandings. As if this was not enough, modern society is also faced with the ramifications of insight gained from looking at the smallest recesses of the universe, the quantum field.

The method used to prove or disprove scientific theories has historically been empirical measurement. However, in 1927 Werner Heisenberg, a German scientist, introduced the uncertainty principle, which states that, at the quantum level, precise measurement is impossible (Hawking, 2005, p. 91). This principle led to the theory of quantum mechanics, which posits that particles have a quantum state rather than separate, well-defined positions and velocities. The grail of  a definite result for any observation can no longer be achieved;  it has been replaced by a predictive likelihood of a given measurement. This theory shattered two of the foundations of scientific measurement: reliability and predictability. Hawking describes this as introducing, “an unavoidable element of unpredictability or randomness into science  (p. 92).”

Hawking (2005) reminds us that the uncertainty principle redefined the fundamental goal of science: instead of reliable testing and measuring, scientists now aim to formulate sets of laws that can predict events to a certain degree only; there is a limit to predictability set by the uncertainty principle (p. 135).

One more observation Hawking (2005) makes  may have application to  this study. He maintains that scientific theory is advancing so rapidly that scientists can only keep up with a very narrow field of inquiry. Even more challenging, he says, is the task of philosophers, whom Hawking calls, “those people who ask why.”  Trying to place philosophy within the newly emerging understandings of the universe may become an impossible task (p. 142). Taking his insight to heart as it applies to astrological philosophy, another angle on time can be examined, the mystical.

Time through a Spiritual Lens.

Time!  Thou art the ocean,

And every movement of life is thy wave.

It is our perception of time which passes, not time itself;

For time is God, and God is eternal.

Time and space are but the length and breadth of the infinite.

-Hazrat Inayat Khan (As cited in Darshan 115 Time Is the Absolute, 1996, p. 10)

The ancient Indian scriptures and more recent commentaries seem to identify four viewpoints regarding time. They extend from time as God, to time as the evolutionary force of the Self/Shiva, to time as illusion, to time as only existent in the present moment.

Time as God.

A modern day spiritual master of the Indian tradition, Swami Chidvilasananda, speaks of time as God, as the flow of consciousness (as cited by Slater, 1996, p. 3). She explains that time is an aspect of the highest heaven, beyond the realms of gods and goddesses, beyond the universe itself (Chidvilasananda, 1990, pp. 61-62). Describing the moment  labeled above as the Big Bang, she states, “When the primordial pearl is still, everything is in stillness. When the primordial pearl starts throbbing, everything comes into manifestation (p. 76).”  Another writer of the same tradition, Swami Gitananda (1990), affirms that there is a point of infinite density out of which the Big Bang explodes. Before the Big Bang, there is no time. He says, “The energy of the Big Bang itself is the power we call time (p. 11).”

Another viewpoint of time that arises from the Indian scriptures bears a striking resemblance to American physicist Bohm’s theories regarding an enfolded reality and unfolded order. Talbot (1991) explains in The Holographic Universe that Bohm asserted that the everyday reality people experience is the explication of a much deeper reality. This reality exists in a vast enfolded state which Bohm calls the implicate. The reality commonly experienced is an instantaneous unfolding into space and time of the implicate order; Bohm calls this the explicate order (p. 46). Time, in Bohm’s view, is this series of enfoldings and unfoldings, which suggests that as events become explicit in time and then return to the implicate order, they do not cease to exist but continue their existence unseen in this deeper level of reality (p. 200).

In a talk in Oakland in 1987, Swami Chidvilasananda (1990) expressed a similar view of time. She makes the distinction between two kinds of time: transcendental time, which she likens to eternity, which “pervades the uncreated,” and the daily time that is normally experienced. She explains that transcendental time in the uncreated is the hidden source responsible for creation. She notes that transcendental time is absolutely still, and when movement takes place, the created world comes into existence (p. 62). She also notes that “everything but time will come and go (p. 76),” which echoes the enfolding and unfolding suggested by Bohm.

Also echoing Bohm, Swami Shantananda (1997) tells us that the scriptures of Kashmir Shaivism picture the entire universe as coming into existence in a flash of creative illumination, and then disappearing in the next instant. From the entire galaxy to each subatomic particle to human beings, creation comes into existence as a unified whole, and retreats again instantly, still whole (p. 16).

Time as the evolutionary force of the Self – Shiva.

Swami Chidvilasananda (1990), however, also draws a personal connection between time and human life. She maintains that time is in everyone and everything, existent throughout the universe, and that the individual must come to know time as oneself (p. 75). Yet, in the Indian epic, the Mahabharata, time is referred to as Mahakala, or great time, and as such is an aspect of the highest God, Shiva (Epstein, 1996, p. 13). It is also said to be the force that impels the unfolding of karma (Vail, 1996, p. 16). Swami Gitananda (1990) explains that as a force more powerful than the forces of nature, the Kularnava Tantra states that one can stop the wind and the waves, but it is impossible to prevent the passage of time (p. 8).

In Kashmir Shaivism, time is referred to as a fire, or “kalagni,” because of its power to devour whatever it meets. It is also said to burn up ignorance through the events it brings to a person’s life (Gitananda, 1990, p. 13). The Maitri Upanishad states, “Time cooks (ripens) all things indeed, in the great Self (Epstein, 1996).”  This identification of time with the great Self, Shiva, and His power of evolution is also stated in the Vishnu Sahasranama: He becomes the universe without losing His nature as pure existence; Self of all beings; evolving and nourishing creatures (Chidvilasananda, 1990, p. 61).

Time as Illusion.

A third view of time in the Indian system maintains that time is an illusion. Lise Vail (1996), an Assistant Professor of Religion at Montclair State College, explains that Indian philosophies including Kashmir Shaivism say that maya, or illusion, causes the perception of time. She quotes one commentary as explaining that time is not real; it is imagined by the human mind as a definite system of regular sequence, inspired by the regularity of phenomenal happenings (p. 16). Swami Chidvilasananda (1996) also quotes an Indian poet-saint Sundardas as saying that time will vanish as soon as we realize the inner self (p. 40).

Only the present is real.

Following this vein in the unreality of time,  the fourth perception is reached, the perception that the past and future do not exist; that only the present is real. Swami Gitananda (1990)  explains that the Katha Upanishad declares that “now” is a deep perception of the truth, the eternal witness who watches the unfolding of time. Now is the only reality that does not change from one day to the next (p. 12). Joel Dubois (1996), Associate Professor of Asian Religions and Cultures at California State University, explains the meaning of time from the point of view of Patanjali, the compiler of the Yoga Sutras. Patanjali also teaches that hours and day and night are merely concepts created by the individual’s mind; it is only the present instant that is real. Furthermore, the instant is all man can ever completely understand; all other knowledge of time and space transcends him. Like an insight into a holonomic reality, Patanjali notes that “it is not instants that fill the world; rather it is the whole world that appears in each instant (pp. 50-51).”

To pause and recap: time and space have been examined through the scientific and spiritual lenses. From the scientific view, time and space are interconnected, affecting and affected by events. Time and space also have finite boundaries, with a defined beginning at the Big Bang. Additionally, fixed measurements of physical reality have ceded to unpredictability and randomness.

From the spiritual lens,  time has been described as God, beyond the universe, the force that impels evolution and the unfolding of karma. Additionally, time may be described as a series of enfoldings and unfoldings of the ultimate reality. Time as a system of regular sequence is also noted as an illusion and the present instant is claimed to be the only reality.

In the next section of this study, the topic is evolution: what exactly has been happening in all this time?

Evolution

After examining time as a concept, evolution is the next topic, both the exterior aspect of evolution as can be seen in the great ages and physical developments since the Big Bang, and the evolution of consciousness, as expounded by psychological and spiritual writers.

Physical Evolution.

Throughout modern society, there exists some sense of the concept of evolution. The American Heritage Dictionary defines evolution as “a gradual process in which something changes into a significantly different, especially more complex or more sophisticated, form.”  Hawking (2001) outlines the broad progress of physical evolution in the major events in the unfolding of the universe. First, about 13.7 billion years ago was the Big Bang and a fiery, inflationary universe. This is followed by a decoupling of matter and energy. Later protogalaxies form, and then galaxies (pp. 168-169). The formation of  the earth’s solar system with its orbiting planets dates from about 4.6 billion years ago. At first, the earth was very hot, but about 3.8 million years ago, the earth cooled and created an atmosphere that was able to support primitive forms of life. These life forms reproduced and multiplied, beginning a long process of evolution of more and more complex forms. These forms created an atmosphere hospitable to even more complex forms such as fish and mammals, with Homo Sapiens Sapiens (modern humans) appearing about 200,000 years ago (Wikipedia – Timeline of evolutionary history of life, n.d.).

Evolution of Consciousness.

During this physical evolution through time, many writers posit a concurrent evolution, the evolution of consciousness. This is inextricably tied to  a cosmology, a theory of the creation, processes, and structure of the universe (Shantananda, 1997, p. 14). As background, the concept of involution will be examined, a spiritual concept that explains the progression from an original unified state to a state of diversity. This progression will be surveyed through texts on Kashmir Shaivism, although this concept is embraced by many other mystical systems. This philosophy encompasses the physical evolution of the universe as described above. Swami Shantananda of the Saraswati order of monks, a leading  scholar on the philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism, will be the main exponent of this section.

Involution.

Swami Shantananda (1997) explains that the Agamas (revealed Shaivite scriptures) expound a theory in which the Supreme Lord, all-Pervasive Consciousness itself, becomes all of the forms of creation in a flash of divine illumination (p. 16). Another scripture of Kashmir Shaivism, a text written by the 11th century sage Kshemaraja, reveals how this creation is accomplished. Shantananda invites his reader to imagine an actor taking on a series of costumes, each which hides a little more of the true form of the actor (p. 19). However, he warns that his reader is not to imagine that any outside power is causing this; only the Lord binds himself and only the Lord liberates himself. This is called the play of divine consciousness (p. 15). The “actor” never changes but his perception of reality changes due to his self-enforced limitation (Shantananda, 2003, p. 95).

Many of the world’s spiritual philosophies expound some form of this progressive condensation of God’s consciousness and power into denser and denser forms until the densest form is reached, the plane of matter. As Shantananda (1997) says, “The Lord becomes more and more involuted until his free consciousness eventually assumes the concrete appearance of the physical world (p. 17).” Of note for this study, one of the cloaks the Lord assumes is kala, which transforms his sense of eternity into bits and pieces of time and eternal consciousness begins to think in terms of past, present, and future (p. 19).

Roughly sketched, in the Shaivite philosophy the descent of consciousness passes through 34 levels, which can be seen as particular steps in the process of manifestation. It provides a map of the various states assumed by consciousness as it congeals itself into the universe (Shantananda, 2003, p. 93). This “congealing” can be conceived into three broad divisions. First, there is the realm of pure creation, where all of perception is non-dual, ecstatic, and non-physical. This is the realm before maya appears which binds the perceiver into the notion of duality. The next division continues the progressive limitation of the Lord’s power, with maya bringing the perception of time and space into being, and limiting consciousness into mental, egoistic, and emotional modes of perception. It is said that the Lord covers his splendor and assumes ignorance (Shantananda, 1997, p. 18).

Involution continues, taking on more limitations as consciousness perceives itself to exist farther and farther from its original unlimited state. At the bottom of the scale are encountered the increasingly dense natural elements of fire, air, and water. When involution reaches its densest form, material reality, the process is complete. Since this is when Consciousness fully assumes a physical form, this stage of involution correlates to the entire process of physical evolution described above. More personally, it correlates to when consciousness takes a physical form, at the moment of human birth.

Return to Consciousness.

At this point, the reverse process begins – the process of evolution. Swami Shantananda (1997) explains the Shaivite view of this process as “laya yoga,” the path of dissolution. This is the process by which the supreme power dissolves its own maya-induced infatuation with each lower level, moving beyond matter to finer and finer levels of consciousness until it re-attains knowledge of its original undivided unity (p. 20). Of course, “its” attainment is identical with the path followed by each person.

Physical evolution was briefly described above. Through the work of Jenny Wade (1996), author of Changes of Mind, A Holonomic Theory of the Evolution of Consciousness, the return to unlimited consciousness will be examined. Many authors have written about the development of consciousness. From a psychological point of view, Piaget and Maslow have posited developmental stages and from a more spiritual point of view, the writings of Aurobindo and others have posited stages of spiritual development. Wade synthesizes scientific evidence with psychological and spiritual evidence to present a holistic view of the evolution of consciousness.

Beginning from the material stage, with matter at the densest level of involution, Wade (1996) introduces the concept that the evolution of consciousness is a reversal of the process of involution. She likens the spiritual path to a “psychological stage theory,” leading systematically to more advanced stages of consciousness (p. 17). She sees each step as a deconstruction of the limiting boundaries caused by the involution process, which had translated the Absolute unity into dualistic space/time conventions. This sense of bounded time and space are only “metaphorical assumptions” in specific stages of awareness (p. 200). She applauds linear psychological theories as useful for studying certain levels of manifestation, but cautions that these theories do not describe the highest stages (p. 270).

Wade (1996) quotes Wilber explaining that each evolutionary level unfolds an “expanded and extended consciousness,” which enables it to view wider and wider reaches of time, until the aspirant reaches the level where time itself is discarded, “a necessary but intermediate ladder of transcendence (p. 109).”  This correlates to the involution stage noted above, where time is a limitation assumed at a certain stage of involution (Shantananda, 1997, p. 19), and now it seems, transcended at a stage of evolution.

Here an expansion on the work of Bohm is useful. Wade (1996) sees Bohm’s view of the implicate/explicate orders as a way of linking reality as expressed in physical terms, bound in time and space, to the infinite, transcendent Absolute (p. 8). She explains, “According to the holonomic paradigm, everything in the material order has a double nature that is at once implicate and explicate (p. 11).”

Wade (1996) echoes the “Time as God” view explored above when she says that even though there is an apparent evolution in the manifest and unmanifest, the Absolute never changes (p. 266). She sees development existing in one mode, Bohm’s explicate order, side by side with ultimate consciousness in the implicate order. “No matter at what age or stage a person is in linear time, he exists simultaneously in Absolute space and time… (p. 260)” As a being progresses through the levels of evolution, the truth does not change, but perception broadens to include more and more of that truth.

Wade’s (1996) research conveys that consciousness evolves in step with the physical evolution of the brain, and her theory follows the progression from the reptilian brain, to the mammalian brain, to the neo-cortex of humans. As the central nervous system interacts with its environment, certain crises arise that force advances in awareness (p. 75). At each advance, the physical brain becomes more refined, “subtle, orderly, and whole (p. 220).” Each level adds to the preceding, retaining the qualities of all of the past levels, and integrating more and more of the neurological system (p. 260). No matter how focused on survival in the early stages, this process leads eventually to two simultaneous drives in human beings: the drive for individuation and the drive to transcend the self entirely (p. 60). This brings a person to a peak of creativity and self-expression, and at the same time to a willingness to let the sense of individual self go (p. 162).

Wade (1996) speaks of 9-10 broad stages of evolution of consciousness: the Pre and Perinatal, the Reactive, the Naïve, the Egocentric, the Conformist, the Achievement, the Affiliative, the Authentic, the Transcendent, and the Unity stages. These stages can roughly be compared in reverse order to the three broad stages of involution from Kashmir Shaivism outlined above. As awareness evolves back up the scale, Wade’s stages of Pre & Perinatal, Reactive, and Naïve are analogous to the lowest physical stages of the involution model. The ego then develops in turn the Egocentric, Conformist, Achievement, and Affiliative stages, which may be compared to the intellectual, egoist, and emotional stages of the involution model. Coming closer to pure awareness, but still maintaining identification with duality and the body, Wade’s Authentic and Transcendent stages are reached. At the top of the scale, Wade identifies the Unity stage, correlating to the Pure Creation stage of Kashmir Shaivism, when the delusion of duality is dissolved.

Although these approaches are very similar, there is a fundamental difference between Wade’s evolutionary theory and the Shaivite theory of involution. Wade (1996) theorizes that the earlier stages of evolution, those stages closer to the birth of the infant, are close to the “Ground of All Being (p. 127).”  She perceives the ego taking on more and more aspects of illusion as it evolves through the stages, until it begins to drop them at the higher levels. In the theory of involution examined above, the stage of the elemental qualities of matter, which is the stage at which the infant birth happens, is the farthest from pure consciousness. According to Shaivism, there is not a close connection between the consciousness at this stage and the Ultimate Reality. The difference between the two states is the recognition of undivided knowing, which is absent from the infant.

Evolution of Humanity.

Following the exploration of the evolution of the material world and the evolution of individual consciousness, there is one more aspect of evolution to be examined, the evolution of humanity as a whole. The work of Jean Gebser addressed this concept. Allan Combs (2002) explains that Gebser conceived of evolution as waves of development in which large numbers of people progress together (p. 160). He posited five structures of consciousness: the archaic, the magic, the mythical, the mental, and the integral structures (p. 80). These describe the evolution of the consciousness of mankind as a whole, the various stages of progress since the earliest man. Each structure of consciousness achieved by man leads to a different understanding of the world. Humankind develops the ability to perceive more complex ideas of time and space  (p. 81), adding more and more dimensions to human awareness (p. 99). In kind with other authors, Gebser proposed that all of the various structures manifest from the original spiritual impulse of life (p. 81), and they are all leading toward a state “suffused with the light of the spirit,” the radiance of the origin (p. 101).

This concept can be linked to Wade and Shantananda above. Combs (2002) portrays the big picture of evolution and history, as well as humanity’s history, using three major stages: matter and body, with its subconscious, sleep-like state, evolve to the self-consciousness of mind and ego, which at some point evolves to the superconsciousness of the spirit (p. 135). In these stages, psychological development mirrors physical evolution as each develops more and more complexity (p. 185).

Summary

With this broad background, various aspects of the concepts of time and evolution have been examined. Since the hypothesis addresses both of these matters, it has been important to lay some groundwork and common understanding for the work that follows.

A few more words on time and its use in astrology: whether the astrologer believes that time is God, time is an illusion, or time is immeasurable, time forms the basis for all of astrological work and thought. Both the astrologer and the client can personally exist within the conceptions of time and space or beyond them, still trapped in time or containing time within their sense of self. In either case, time is a concept fundamental to astrology and of great use, as will be seen as this topic is further explored.

Methodology

Methodology Overview

For this project, several qualitative research methods were considered. The topics of the study: time, evolution of consciousness, spiritual theories of involution, and astrology, are not quantifiable; empirical research methods cannot yield a determined result. In fact, even in the hard sciences, the postmodern viewpoint is that it is almost impossible to reach certainty of knowledge in any field, given that any interpretation of truth cannot be produced outside of the worldview of the researcher. Further, the individual researcher is influenced by the assumptions of his culture  (Perry, 2006, p. 21). Perry holds that the postmodern perspective tells us that reality is chaotic: “complex, unpredictable…and intrinsically creative (p. 22).”

With this uncertainty undermining determinacy in the hard sciences, there is even less possibility that these research topics can be tested using quantitative empirical methods. So if conventional means of testing must be rejected, what are the methods that can reliably produce valuable knowledge? Perry (2006) suggests four qualitative methods that may be valuable to this type of study: the systemic, the phenomenological, the hermeneutic, and the case study methods (p. 22). Out of these, the hermeneutic was chosen as the most applicable to the project.

The hermeneutic method was originally developed to examine and interpret religious texts, but has been broadened to serve as a useful tool for many different kinds of inquiry. Since the data for this research project are primarily gained from textual sources, hermeneutics lends itself to this inquiry. Per Perry (2006), hermeneutics is interpretive; it is a method to examine and describe meaning. It is necessarily broad in scope, as the content being examined for meaning must be examined within the context of the larger whole. The tool for arriving at a correct interpretation is the hermeneutic circle. This is a transitioning of focus from hypothesis to evidence, examining each in terms of the former, a repeating cycle informing the next. As the researcher gains insight, these insights are applied to the next step in the cycle, deepening understanding and knowledge. It is important to remember that this method does not resolve the issue of the interrelation between the observer and the observed; the interpreter brings his world view into interaction with the meanings in the text. Over repeated cycles, a new meaning may be revealed  (pp. 26-27).

Rosemarie Anderson’s (2006) theories regarding academic research, as explained in her article, “Intuitive Inquiry: The Ways of the Heart in Research and Scholarship,” are useful for this study. Repeating Perry’s point, Anderson avers that in this world of flux and mutability, the notion of a static world separate from the observer is less and less viable (p. 33). Specifically perceiving this inter-penetrability as a strength, she developed a research methodology that includes the intuitive abilities of the researcher as an essential aspect of the research. She notes that most groundbreaking research is “more about … creative jumps and insights than about constructing theory upon another theory (p. 43).”  In fact, she asserts that intuitive breakthroughs are the most important part of the intuitive inquiry process (p. 28). She explains, “Intuitive inquiry joins intuition to intellectual rigor in a hermeneutical process of interpretation (p. 1).”

A colleague of Anderson’s, William Braud (1998), also addresses multiple ways of apprehending knowledge. He advocates treating data in all of the conventional, analytical ways, but also exploring data in various states of consciousness, “using many brains.”  He advocates applying different processing modes to the same data to achieve a broader perspective on the data. These processing modes might include meditation, deep contemplation, accessing dreams, imagination, and other methods of evaluating data. This is specifically to open oneself to synchronicities in one’s environment that can support the apprehension of meaning  (pp. 6-7). However, is there a way to test the reality of knowledge gained in this manner?

To address this question, a research approach from Ken Wilber (2011) as outlined in his book, Eye to Eye, may offer an answer. Wilber begins by describing an approach to knowledge based on the writings of Saint Bonaventure. Bonaventure asserted that men and women have three faculties by which to approach knowledge: the eye of the flesh, by which they perceive the physical world; the eye of reason, by which they gain knowledge of philosophy and logic; and the eye of contemplation, by which they perceive spiritual truth (p. 17).

Wilber (2011) reminds his reader that the modern scientific paradigm only validates knowledge gained with the eye of the flesh: knowledge that can be verified through scientific measurement, as developed by Galileo and Kepler (p. 22). However, logic, reason, and transcendence cannot be measured in three, or even four, dimensions. Wilber asserts that empirical insight may describe physical truth, but one needs philosophical and psychological insight to discern mental truth, and spiritual insight to investigate spiritual truth (p. 24). Each method unassailably functions in its own realm, but the researcher commits a “category error” if the researcher tries to apply any other methodology than the one fit for the realm of study (p. 21).

Following this formula of three eyes, Wilber (2011) asserts that there are valid methods of data collection and verification for each realm, and he outlines the proper methods to apply to sets of data originating in the physical, mental, or spiritual domains. He describes data as “any directly apprehended experience,” either through the senses, through mental faculties, or through spiritual illumination (p. 35). He explains that data gleaned through the senses succumbs to empirical analysis; data gathered from reason and logic yields to phenomenological, hermeneutic and other methods of analysis; and data gathered from direct spiritual experience can be explored using transcendental, contemplative, and similar methodologies (p. 42). However, he cautions that directly apprehended data in any of these realms can be apprehended incorrectly, if the cognitive instruments for collecting the data are imperfect (p. 38).

How then should the data be tested? Wilber (2011) asserts that there are three steps to test the truth of knowledge, and the same testing methodology applies to each of the ways of seeing (p. 37). The first is the preparation of the researcher. In whatever field of knowledge, enough basic knowledge must be gained in order to prepare oneself to apprehend the knowledge of that realm (p. 31). This might entail learning to use measuring instruments for the empirical realm; study of specific disciplines for the mental realm; and perhaps disciplined practices of meditation for the spiritual realm. In this way, the researcher brings himself to the point where direct apprehension is possible.

The next step is the direct apprehension of the data, in whichever realm (Wilber, 2011). For the empirical realm, this may be conducting an experiment. In the mental realm, direct apprehension occurs at the moment of recognition, when various lines of reasoning merge to become one’s own. In the spiritual realm, direct apprehension may be the “aha” moment, in which the meditator breaks through to a new level of illumination.

The third and final step is the sharing of the apprehended material with the community of seers, those who have seen and can confirm the truth of the apprehension (Wilber, 2011). In the empirical and mental realms, this may be the professor, other scientists, or the jury reviewing the thesis; in the spiritual realm, this could mean checking the spiritual insight with the Master or illumined texts.

The overall structure for the methodology in this paper has been taken primarily from Wilber’s work. The topic is definitely not empirical; it is based on reasoning, and examines psychological and spiritual theories. The means for examining the topic included daily contemplation in the liminal space between sleeping and waking, insights gleaned while going about daily activities, especially running; and meditation on the topics. In addition to continually exploring the topics in these ways, there was concurrent reading in related spiritual, psychological, scientific, and astrological literature. In the true hermeneutic fashion, the deeper the subject was explored, the more avenues of information were revealed, and as more details were understood, there was revision or extension of the original assumptions.

Therefore, the first two steps from Wilber have been accomplished: through interested formal and informal study of all of these topics, the researcher reached a point of apprehension. Through contemplation and reasoning, apprehension followed and the construction of a set of statements to support the hypothesis. The next section attempts to fulfill step three, using two means. First, there will be a search  for verification or falsification in extant literature from experts in the various fields, those who have demonstrated their ability “to see.”  Second, the findings will be presented to the community in the presentation of this project and feedback will be gathered to further refine the theory.

The hypothesis is broken down into three statements, which represent the directly apprehended data. In the rest of this methodology chapter, the data will be tested by searching for evidence in the extant literature for the following statements:

Statement 1.       The purpose of a human life is to further the evolution of consciousness by realizing one’s identity with the Absolute.

Statement 2.       The natal moment, with its planetary patterns, describes the evolutionary path of the individual.

a.                   Each new moment expresses the furthest reach of evolution.

b.                  Each moment contains archetypal dynamics that are described by planetary patterns.

c.                   Human beings evolve by integrating the archetypal dynamics of the planetary patterns of their natal chart.

Statement 3.       As a person integrates the archetypal challenges of their own life, they further the evolution of the entire universe. The evolution of the universe is achieved through the evolution of the individual.

Applying the Methodology to Gather Evidence

The purpose of human life.

Statement 1.       The purpose of a human life is to further the evolution of consciousness by realizing his identity with the Absolute.

As was examined in the evolution section in the Literature Review, there are three interacting rivers of evolution. There is  the evolution of the universe moving through time. Further, there is the evolution of humanity’s consciousness, moving through broad stages. Finally, there is the evolution of each individual consciousness. Evolution is like a roiling, rolling river, with everything contained within it moving into more differentiated and increasingly complex states.

Standing back and looking at this, a question arises: is there purpose to this moving river? Perry (1992) suggests that the drive toward unity consciousness, or self-actualization, is a general law governing all of nature (p. 339). In fact, Perry notes that the Indian philosopher and teacher Aurobindo said that the power apparent in the evolution of both the physical universe and human consciousness suggests that the evolutionary intent of the Absolute actually drives the evolution of the individual (p. 352). Perry affirms, “…the same principles of evolution apply whether we are looking at the evolution of the whole (Universe) or of the part (human consciousness) (p. 322).”  Life itself has moved through purposeful evolutionary stages which have resulted in “more complex, more autonomous, and more aware” forms and consciousness (p. 308). In common with Wade, Shantananda, Gebser, and Combs, Perry asserts that union with the original source, with the divine ground, is the overall purpose of all evolution (p. 338).

Accordingly, the return to source, cited by all of these authors, is the underlying evolutionary intent of all of reality, concurrently playing itself out in the material universe, collective human consciousness, and individual humans. How does the individual participate in this evolutionary impulse? First, it seems, by choosing to be born. A contemporary scholar of Kashmir Shaivism, Swami Chidvilasananda (1999), tells her students:

Originally, you came to this earth plane knowing there was something you could attain only here and nowhere else. You knew this with absolute certainty. You took birth on this planet, realizing that you have something to offer, something you could accomplish only here and nowhere else. Your being on this planet is a choice you have made (p. 3).

The sages of India have always maintained that a human birth is rare and difficult to obtain (Muktananda, 1981, 1989, p. 6). They maintain that the breathing process begins at the moment of birth when the light of consciousness enters the infant (Muktananda, 1981, 1995, p. 6). Combs (2002) maintains that consciousness created the human form to fulfill its striving toward “maximum freedom of expression (p. 68),” and Muktananda (1981, 1989) agrees when he states that  only in this human form can a being experience that divine consciousness is his own identity (p. 6).

Kshemaraja, the Shaivite sage, tells us that the exact same principles form the human body and the universe (Shantananda, 2003, p. 90), and a contemporary brahman priest Vedamurti Vivek Godbole (1993) writes that all of the powers of the universe reside in the human body (p. 34). Muktananda (1981, 1989) asserts that, like the universe, the body is a living temple, in which God dwells in the form of the Self (p. 7).

These sources synthesize to suggest that the human chooses to be born as a temple, a vehicle for the manifestation of Consciousness, with a specific purpose in mind for which he is uniquely suited: to further the evolution of the universe by realizing his identity with the Absolute.

The evolutionary path.

Statement 2.       The natal moment, with its planetary patterns, describes the evolutionary path of the individual.

a.      Each new moment expresses the furthest reach of evolution.

Time and Events.

Before examining the natal birth moment, consideration will be given to any moment and any event. Examining the event and the moment without its connection to astrology may help to illumine their essence.

In the Literature Review it was mentioned that Bohm asserted there is a vast enfolded state that unfolds into space and time as a series of events (Talbot, 1991, p. 46). Wade (1996)  confirms that she interprets Bohm to mean that everything in reality has a dual nature, one explicit in time and the other existing in timelessness (p. 11). Hawking (2005) defines an event as a point in space-time, specified by its time and place (p. 150). Talbot (1991) explains that at the quantum level, what physicists formerly considered the tiniest bits of matter actually are not objects at all and possess no dimensions. These “quanta” can exist as particles, waves, or clouds of energy spread out over space  (p. 33), intermittently flashing forth as events.

This implies that events create time; without recognizable events in space, there is no existence of time. Just as there is no rhythm to silence until a drum beats, when matter flashes forth from the unformed implicate, a moment in time is created. Jung said that ‘time in itself consists of nothing’ and is only ‘qualified’ or defined by events (Tarnas, 2007, p. 498). In fact, as was learned from Hawking, events, space, and time are completely interconnected. Each affects the other and is part of the other; each creates the other. Every event is a manifestation of the undifferentiated implicate order, the infinite, universal consciousness entering into, and thereby creating, a moment in time. As Swami Gitananda (1990) said, “Every moment carries eternity within its womb (p. 15).”

Qualitative Time.

Per the above,  the very existence of a moment in time is only plausible when it has manifested as an event in space/time. One way to think about this is to consider that each current moment carries the furthest event in time since the Big Bang. For 14 billion years, time, space, and events have existed and each “now” is at the leading edge of that arrow of time and space. In this context, time is another term for the evolutionary river of events in the universe. Physicist Ilya Prigogine (1999) states,

We may safely assume that everything in our universe is evolving in the same direction as time: rocks…, stars, galaxies, supergalaxies, all objects evolve in the same direction….It is an open world in which the direction of time plays a central role (Conclusions Section, para. 3).

This elicits an interesting question. Are all moments in time equal, or must it be said that the farthest moment, the most recent moment, is qualitatively of a higher order than any other moment that has preceded it? One could argue that since all time and every event is a manifestation of the infinite, there can be no qualitative difference between one moment and the next. It seems plausible, however, to posit a qualitative advancement in each moment in time, given the increasing complexity in the universe and human consciousness over the course of time. If so, then it must be asserted that events born more recently exhibit a higher level of evolutionary complexity than any events in the past. There may be bifurcations and regressions in the evolutionary process, but generally, as time advances, evolution advances, and vice versa. Since evolution was defined as the universal impulse toward unity, it follows that the most recent moment expresses the most advanced stage of this impulse.

b.      Each moment contains archetypal dynamics that are described by planetary patterns.

Patterns

Everything that comes into form comes into the preexisting evolutionary environment that has been building since the beginning of time and space. Even when the planets and galaxies formed, they came into a preexisting physical universe. Every moment, except the instant of the Big Bang, is an extension of preexisting moments of evolution.

What can be said about this preexisting environment? Given the broad outlines of universal evolution visited above, patterns seem to be extant throughout the cosmos. Patterns can be defined as recurrent events that repeat in a predictable manner. Some of the many patterns found in the natural world are symmetry, trees, spirals, meanders, waves, and crystals.

In the psychological realm, Maslow and others have theorized hierarchical patterns of needs (Perry, 2009, p. 23). Jung (1959, 1969) posited patterns in a layer of consciousness deeper than the personal unconscious. He called this layer the collective unconscious, which he described as structured in patterns of primordial and universal behavior. He called these patterns archetypes (pp. 3-4). Archetypes are familiar; some examples are the archetype of the warrior, the parent, justice, and the sacrificial lamb. Conforti (1999) explains that the archetypes, as Jung understood them, are like fields that manifest their inherent patterns in either the psychic realm or the material realm (p. 50). Combs (2002)  points out that Jung understood archetypes to reflect the fundamental layer of reality itself, beyond “the distinctions of space, time, mind, and matter (p. 215),” and Tarnas (2007)  contends that archetypes “arrange the qualitative patterning in the flux of events (p. 499).”

As stated previously, Gebser posits structures of consciousness, each with its unique patterns of perception of time and space. Archetypes also pervade layers of consciousness close to the transcendent realms. Shantananda (2003) speaks of different perceivers at various stages of consciousness, each with particular patterns of perceptions.

To summarize, events and time are mutually dependent for their existence, and they both are simultaneous manifestations of the implicate order. It was also noted that the further one moves along the arrow of time, the further evolution progresses. This implies that the most recent moment is the most evolved moment. Therefore, every event born of any moment is the most evolved event to that point in time. Further, the perspective was examined that time and events occur in all realms in patterns, which Jung identified as archetypes.

Archetypal Dynamics and Planetary Patterns

The focus of this study can now turn to the earth’s corner of the universe, the solar system. This solar system also functions in a patterned arrangement. All of the planets rotate around a central axis, as well as revolve around the central sun. As each planet’s orbit around the sun takes a different amount of time, the planets are constantly forming new patterns with the other planets and among the planetary system as a whole. Like a giant clock in the sky, every moment can be described by the pattern the planets make at any instant. As Rael and Rudhyar (1980) explain, this pattern provides “a special method of measuring time (p. 5).”

Every event occurs simultaneous with a pattern formed by the planets. Tarnas (2007) asserts that this planetary pattern demonstrates the archetypal dynamics that describe the qualities of the moment in time (p. 103). Some of these archetypal dynamics, especially those based on the Sun and Moon, are easy to observe. Everyone understands and responds to the archetypal expression of duality inherent in the division between day and night. The seasons, with their archetypal dimensions of birth, growth, harvesting, and death are also easily observed and their impact on life is undeniable.

In Cosmos and Psyche, Tarnas (2007) states that “different periods of time are informed by tangibly different archetypal dynamics (p. 489).”  He shares his opinion on why this might be: “I believe … that the universe is informed and pervaded by a fundamental holistic patterning which extends through every level, so that a constant synchronicity or meaningful correlation exists between astronomical events and human events (p. 3).” It would appear that any moment in time is born out of an archetypal field, and Tarnas affirms that the archetypal field can be read through the positions of the planets at that moment.

It was asserted above that the furthest moment in time describes the furthest state of evolution. It was also asserted that every event occurs with a distinctive planetary pattern. It follows that the patterns of the planets at that moment may, in fact, describe the current state of evolution.

Richard Tarnas, philosopher and cultural historian, tested correlations between the planetary cycles and the archetypal patterns of world history. As Keiron LeGrice  (2009) explains in his doctoral dissertation, Tarnas’ study presents convincing evidence for these correlations in every dimension of human life: “social, political, cultural, artistic, philosophical, scientific, and spiritual.”  Tarnas found that the course of world history from the Axial Age to the present day demonstrates the traditional astrological interpretations of the meaning of the patterns formed by the planets. The most significant correlations between world events and the planets were found when two (or more) planets created a classic geometric pattern between the planets and the earth, such as a square (90 degrees) or opposition (180 degrees) (p. 13).

Tarnas also found that succeeding alignments of the same planets, even if separated by many years, exhibited “a close archetypal and often historical association with events occurring during preceding and subsequent alignments …as to suggest a distinct unfolding cycle.”  He recognized that historical events seem “decisively impelled forward (p. 149),” which implies unfolding evolutionary progress and movement toward resolution of issues described by the planetary positions. Moreover, although Tarnas’ Cosmos and Psyche primarily describes world history and events, Tarnas specifically states that he found that the same principles apply to the study of natal charts (p. 126).

There are specific and differing archetypal meanings to each planet, which Tarnas (2007) asserts are “transcultural (p. 89).” He found that significant geometrical relationships between two or more planets indicate “a distinct mutual activation and interaction of the corresponding planetary archetypes (p. 105).” If the purpose of evolution is to regain the state of unity, then perhaps the reason for the mutual activation and interaction of the archetypes is to provide the environment in which the differing archetypes can come into harmonious functioning. The integration of the archetypes then can serve as a step toward an ultimate state of unity.

Perry (2009) uses psychodynamic theory to explain the relations between the planets, which he sees as representing various parts of psychic structure (p. 16). When there are aspects between the planets, the manifestation of the aspect evolves over time toward integration (p. 17). Although the planets may represent archetypal challenges, such as domination in the psyche by one archetype, “gradually, over time, these processes tend to resolve themselves in the direction of a balanced wholeness (p. 18).”  Eventually, each planetary archetype exhibits more fully developed attributes and harmony among the activities of each, tending toward a state of unity.

Indeterminacy.

Although the explicate order seems to operate in archetypal patterns, there is also indeterminacy of expression. Tarnas names this seeming inconsistency “archetypal coherence and concrete diversity (p. 129).”  He found that the specific archetypal meanings of the planets manifested concretely and consistently in historical events, yet he observed “a kind of improvisatory cosmic autonomy (p. 129).”  This may be related to what Combs (2002) asserts about evolution: that although life is always reaching back toward the spirit, the form that path takes is open to the creativity of the spirit itself (p. 157). It seems there is an implicate order expressing itself in time, in certain patterns, but retaining a freedom to express a full range of events, as long as contained within the pattern. The pattern is determined, but the exact expression of the pattern is undetermined. This infers that the implicate order contains a pattern, or at least the tendency to manifest in patterned ways when explicate. Bohm called this tendency of the implicate to manifest in a pattern an agenda by which reality itself is organized (Combs, 2002, p. 268). Therefore, a moment in time, on becoming explicate, joins the preexisting pattern, yet retains independence.

Since it was established above that in each succeeding moment the planets are at the furthest edge of evolutionary time, it can be inferred from Tarnas’ study that the archetypal pattern of the positions of the planets at a moment in time represents the state of the evolutionary impulse of the universe as a whole, the furthest extent of cosmos and psyche. And this moment in time becomes the birth moment of the human being and the corresponding chart of the planets at that moment.

c.       Human beings evolve by integrating the archetypal dynamics of the planetary patterns of their natal chart.

The Birth Moment.

It was asserted above that the pattern of the planets indicate the archetypal dynamics of a moment in time. Rael and Rudhyar (1980) see personal evolutionary progression as a series of steps, with the pattern of the natal chart portraying where the universe is when someone is born, as well as the next steps that need to be taken to further both personal and universal evolution (p. 5).

As Wade (1996) suggested, there is a personal trajectory of evolution for each person. Higher and higher levels of awareness and scope are available, and almost everyone passes through several levels, even if they do not achieve the highest.

It was maintained above that any present moment is the furthest in time, and therefore represents the furthest extent of evolution. Every person is born into the most recent moment in time; each person is the pinnacle of evolutionary development of both matter and psyche. The birth chart is a picture of the solar system at the moment the infant, by drawing its first breath, joins this evolutionary moment. Rael and Rudhyar (1980) describe the birth chart as “a stop-motion snapshot of a moment in the flow of the life of the cosmos,” and remind their readers that an infant inherits a world “already in progress (p. 5).”

Life as the Means to Evolve Natal Patterns

Natal astrology, as practiced by most astrologers, is concerned with the life of the individual. Dane Rudhyar (1991), one of the most respected astrologers of the 20th Century, updated prediction-oriented traditional astrology to include the psychological and scientific insights of his time. He named this astrology, Humanistic Astrology, and said that its purpose is to “assist individuals in the solution of their personal and interpersonal problems, and especially in actualizing more fully their birth-potential (p. xi).”  The purpose of Humanistic Astrology is not to predict events but to bring a message of the underlying order and patterns of the universe to a person struggling with self-actualization  (p. xiv), or  personal evolution.

Perry (2004) maintains that the goal of the psyche is to bring about an effective and balanced integration of the zodiac energies. He describes the zodiac as a process “tied to the growth and evolution of the individual (p. 12).”  Rael and Rudhyar (1980) also see the process of growth at the root of the human experience, one in which humans work out the complex relationships of intra-psychic factors within themselves, as well as between themselves and everyone and everything else (p. 3).

Evolution on all levels seems to advance through overcoming challenges. Per Perry (1992), crises in the physical or psychological systems create the environment that brings about change (p. 178 & 338). In physical processes, there may be only limited ability to address a crisis and progress the system toward greater wholeness, but humans can directly participate in the evolutionary process (p. 348). Crises arise when the archetypal impulses within a person, or between the person and their environment, clash; evolution is a process of integrating these impulses toward greater harmony and mutual enrichment (Perry, 1992, p. 346).

Muktananda (1988) speaks of the crises that arise in spiritual life. Noting that in the spiritual pursuit, the student meets one obstacle after another, he encourages his students to keep trying. He states, “Failure can be a great instrument in the process of evolution (p. 40).”  He states elsewhere, “Learn even from your failures. A wrestler becomes great only after being knocked down many times (p. 11).”  Swami Durgananda (1988) of the same tradition notes that all progress in life is an obstacle course, and only by overcoming these obstacles does growth appear. As examples, she cites children learning to walk after falling down many times, students struggling with mathematics before breaking through, and adult tests involving relationships, financial worries, and illness. She says, “…as we face obstacles, we are honed and purified. Like steel, we are tempered. We grow in confidence and strength. We become wise (p. 1).”  The archetypal challenges inherent in the natal moment are resolved as the individual repeatedly meets them and eventually overcomes them.

Life within the cosmic drama.

Statement 3.       As a person integrates the archetypal challenges of their own life, they further the evolution of the entire universe. The evolution of the universe is achieved through the evolution of the individual.

Picture a train moving at top speed carrying a carousel. The carousel is moving round and round, but also being carried along by the train. This is an analogy of the solar system moving on the arrow of time since the Big Bang until the present moment. Now imagine a person jumping onto the carousel, going round for a number of revolutions, and then jumping off. This is a good analogy for the human life. The point the person jumps onto the carousel is the moment of birth.

The train keeps moving, time keeps unfolding, evolution continues. The courageous person rides the various horses, meets others on the carousel, gets lost in the colors and lights and sometimes forgets that they are on a train. This image of train and carousel is a fitting image for the birth moment as the link between personal evolution, collective evolution, and the evolution of the universe as a whole. As Tarnas (2007) says, individuals are “embedded participants in a larger cosmic drama (p. 491).”

Personal, Collective, and Universal Evolution of Consciousness.

The fire of yoga is a phrase commonly used for the struggle to evolve consciousness. As Swami Chidvilasananda (1996) reminds us:

When you burn in the fire of yoga, you obtain true worthiness. When you don’t allow yourself to burn in the fire of yoga, you are half-cooked, you are good for no one – not even for God. When you do let yourself burn in the fire of yoga, you become good for everyone, especially for God (p. 45).

Swami Chidvilasananda implies that as a person evolves, they serve everyone.

Rael and Rudhyar (1980) link individual evolution and collective evolution, which they define as “long-range cultural and historical developments,” similar to the focus of Tarnas’ survey (p. 2). Rael and Rudhyar say that the individual challenges represented by the birth chart connect the two realms and portray the next steps that will further both the individual and the collective (p. 17). In this way, people’s lives unfold processes full of evolutionary purpose (p. 3). They assert that, just as the birth chart portrays a day in cosmic time, so the person’s life is a step in overall human development (p. 16). As such, the birth chart expresses a specific purpose that must be fulfilled by the person born in that time and space (p. 15).

Rael and Rudhyar (1980) place the challenges of individual life in the context of individual and collective cycles of time and evolution (p. 15). They see the inter-connection between individual and collective unfoldment as the source of meaning in human life (p. 2). They maintain that, while it is fruitful to examine the birth chart from the point of view of individual psychology, it is also important to understand the individual’s place within the collective development of humanity (p. 17).

This can be taken one step further than human history and culture. Looking back at the involution and evolution theories examined in the Literature Review, there can be posited one more definition to human birth. Since manifestation on the earth plane is the most dense and final step in the involution process, the assumption of the earth element in the form of the body is a manifestation of the implicate expressing itself in time. Since the earth element is the most dense and final stage of involution, it is also the first step in evolution back to wholeness.

According to Wade (1996) and Shantananda (2003), consciousness progresses from this most dense, completely self-centered infantile state through a series of expansions. In stages, the developing consciousness begins to recognize its place among others: first, the family, then in interpersonal relationships, and, with the right conditions, to a place within society and humanity as a whole. This accomplishes the “personal and collective” stage of Rael and Rudhyar. However, Wade and Shantananda both posit stages of evolution when even these limited foci are transcended and a truly spiritual viewpoint is attained, a viewpoint in which consciousness recognizes itself as the source and destination of all evolution. As Perry (1992) notes, “Psychological wholeness is not an end in itself, but a means to transcend ego in exchange for an identification with the whole of Universal Life (p. 337).”

Life as Service to the Whole.

How can individual evolution affect the evolution of others, and the universe as a whole? In biological terms, the work of Rupert Sheldrake sheds light on this question. Sheldrake posits the existence of morphic fields, which are “non-spatio-temporal fields of information.”  As members of a morphic field learn new skills, the information is stored in the informational field, available to all members. As the information continues to be accessed, it builds a habit in the field, which translates into more and more members assuming the habit (Conforti, 1999, p. 4). Sheldrake (2005) explains it as follows:

The fields organizing the activity of the nervous system [of animals] are … inherited through morphic resonance, conveying a collective, instinctive memory. Each individual both draws upon and contributes to the collective memory of the species. This means that new patterns of behavior can spread more rapidly than would otherwise be possible. For example, if rats of a particular breed learn a new trick in Harvard, then rats of that breed should be able to learn the same trick faster all over the world, say in Edinburgh and Melbourne. There is already evidence from laboratory experiments … that this actually happens (Morphic fields in biology section, para.8).

Sheldrake has also shown that morphic fields affect mental communications. His experiments suggest that these morphic fields affect members of the group outside of spacio/temporal limitations. It can be inferred  that as one member of the group evolves up the evolutionary ladder, this simplifies the steps the other members need to take in order to learn the same skill.

Kshemaraja, the Shaivite scholar noted above, explains that there is reciprocity between the subject and the object. Depending on how each individual relates to the world, both the person and the world are altered. In a holistic universe, everything that surrounds a person affects him, and he, in turn, affects everything else (Shantananda, 2003, p. 70). Swami Chidvilasananda (1997) affirms, “That which is within you is also within the universe. That which is within the universe is also within you (p. 29).”  In another passage, she explains that when a person accepts the truth of his being, he supports thousands of others (Chidvilasananda, 1999, p. 71). And again, she says, “Life is not a private matter of the individual – it is how we use God’s time in God’s world (as cited by Ishwarananda, 1990, p. 53).”  As an individual uplifts himself, he uplifts everything else; he furthers the experience of unity throughout the cosmos.

At the moment of birth, the person takes on a planetary pattern that manifests in three different realms: the personal, the collective, and the universal. Human life feels personal because most people have not reached the transcendent stages of evolution. Shantananda (2003) tells us, “The very nature of yoga is inner expansion. As we go within, our own consciousness begins to extend beyond the body and the mind and to take into itself all that it encounters (p. 284).”  In this way, the individual gains the perception of the evolution of the whole, rather than the evolution of the personal. It is at this attainment that the evolution of the universe is achieved through the evolution of the individual.

Analysis of Findings

This culminating project examined the significance of the moment of birth, its archetypal dynamics, and whether an overall purpose could be gleaned from them. It approached the topic through the use of three statements. In this chapter, each statement will be analyzed to discern whether the original hypothesis was confirmed.

The purpose of human life.

Statement 1.       The purpose of a human life is to further the evolution of consciousness by realizing his identity with the Absolute.

Here  it was posited from the Literature Review that there are three interacting rivers of evolution: physical evolution, humanity’s evolution, and individual evolution. The question was asked whether there was a purpose to this flow through time, and it was discovered that the cited authors  contend that the same principles of evolution apply to all three branches of the river of evolution. Not only do the same principles apply, but the intent of evolution is a return to the source of all, a divine ground of consciousness that creates and is responsible for the evolutionary cycle.

It was further claimed that humans incarnate with a purpose to fulfill, and they fulfill that purpose in the same way the universe fulfills its purpose: through evolving into more complex and broad states of awareness until identification with the absolute is attained. These findings support the hypothesis posed, that the purpose of a human life is to further the evolution of consciousness.

The evolutionary path.

Statement 2.       The natal moment, with its planetary patterns, describes the evolutionary path of the individual.

a.      Each new moment expresses the furthest reach of evolution.

To examine this hypothesis, there was a survey of several authors regarding the relationship between time and events. According to this reasoning there is a dual nature to all phenomena, an explicate order existing in time and space, and an implicate order existing in timelessness. The interrelationship of time and events was then examined and it was contended that time does not exist without its corresponding event, and that every event is a manifestation of the implicate order, or infinite, universal consciousness.

This led to and examination of the present moment, and it was understood that the most recent event conveys the furthest moment in time, which in turn presents the furthest state of evolution, the impulse to return to unity consciousness.

b.      Each moment contains archetypal dynamics that are described by planetary patterns.

Next, the research examined the preexisting environment into which every event emerges, and it revealed that patterns exist throughout the universe, which Jung called archetypes. Basing understanding primarily on the work of Richard Tarnas, it was confirmed that the archetypal dynamics of a certain moment in time could be discerned based upon the patterns of the planets at that moment. Further, there seems to be a sequential progression to the expression of the archetypal dynamics that infers a movement toward integration of these dynamics, leading to further unification of consciousness.

However, it was also noted that although patterns and their archetypal dynamics are extant throughout the universe, there is also a freedom of expression retained in the concrete manifestation of these dynamics. It was clear that although each moment contains patterned archetypal dynamics, it contains as well an inherent indeterminacy of expression.

c.       Human beings evolve by integrating the archetypal dynamics of the planetary patterns of their natal chart.

To review this statement, the suggestion of a personal trajectory of evolution for each person was revisited, as well as the structured series of steps to be taken by the individual.

The purpose of astrology as practiced by most modern and postmodern astrologers was reiterated, which is to provide support for resolving personal and interpersonal problems. The role crises play in evolving systems was examined with the resulting understanding that learning is a result of overcoming obstacles. In this way, it was confirmed that a person evolves by integrating the archetypal challenges of their life, as shown by the pattern of the natal chart.

Life within the cosmic drama.

Statement 3.       As a person integrates the archetypal challenges of their own life, they further the evolution of the entire universe. The evolution of the universe is achieved through the evolution of the individual.

The study then considered the question of whether personal victory over obstacles has an effect on others. Various authors are supportive of the idea that individual evolution supports the collective development of humanity. However, other authors contend that there is a further development, beyond the psychological development of the individual or the collective, which links humanity to the evolution of all. This places individual evolution within, and perhaps impelled by, the overall intent of the source itself to regain unity consciousness.

To complete the research, there was an evaluation as to whether there is any evidence that one individual’s evolutionary progress could actually affect the progress of others. The scientific theory of morphic fields suggests that there is an impact outside of spacio/temporal limitations, and further confirmation was gained from mystical writers that the individual is not different from the universe as a whole. Uplifting the individual self is no different from uplifting the entire universe. As the individual moves up the evolutionary ladder, he/she overcomes the limitation of the egoic sense and realizes their participation in the evolution of all. This confirms statement three and the general hypothesis.

Conclusions and Implications

The original hypothesis was that the natal moment is the link between personal evolution and the evolution of the universe as a whole, and as an individual integrates the archetypal challenges of their own personal evolution, they further the evolution of the universe. This hypothesis has been supported through synthesizing the writings of several theorists from various disciplines.

The conclusion was achieved through applying a hermeneutic circle of inquiry to a series of insights gained from various lines of study and intuitive perceptions. After an initial period of reading and gathering information, it was the writing process itself that clarified, furthered, and deepened the inquiry process. As the chosen methodology was applied to the original thesis statements, the issues that needed to be examined and explicated became clearer. In true hermeneutic circular fashion, the additions and deletions of various issues continued to clarify the overview of the topic.

Several new perspectives with resulting unanswered questions were encountered. The role of indeterminacy was an intriguing issue throughout the study, since astrological knowledge is firmly rooted in patterns of behavior. The theory of archetypal consistency with concrete diversity is a familiar concept. However, it is unclear as to whether indeterminancy applies to the moment of birth itself, and to whether all individuals must take up the task to evolve. Given free will, it is possible that some people may refuse the task. The extent to which human beings actually have choice in the matter is unclear. It is also worth considering whether the archetypal dynamics of the moment of birth are the only, or even the primary, factors influencing personal evolution. Like the unique pattern of a snowflake formed according to given environmental conditions, there may be many factors that affect personal evolution, including the ongoing archetypal dynamics of the unfolding planetary patterns over time.

Above it was stated that each moment in time is more evolved than any preceeding moments, and therefore each person is born at the pinnacle of evolution to date. This does not account for persons born in the past who were seemingly more evolved than certain people today. This issue was not resolved through this research, and it may be beyond any methodology to resolve it. It may be that it takes many kinds of people to actually push evolution forward, to bring about the crises that can elicit true progress. Some may play a role that seems less advanced, but how can their level of evolution truly be comprehended?  In this extremely complex and interconnected universe, it is certain that the whole picture cannot be grasped through any single part.

Each child is born into a family and culture steeped in their own levels of understanding; even if the infant is born into a highly evolved environment, they still have to work out the issues of the planetary patterns at that given level of consciousness. This implies that archetypal dynamics and the need to address and integrate them exist at every level of consciousness, perhaps until the perception of time and space are transcended. The astrologer must be conversant about various levels of consciousness, because it is likely they will encounter these various levels in the practice.

This thesis is being developed at Christmas. Christians and others are used to thinking of Jesus’ life as one filled with an ultimate purpose, “to save us all from Satan’s power, when we were gone astray…”  However, this thesis posits that all people are born to lives with ultimate purpose, that of expanding personal perspective and thereby uplifting all others and the cosmos itself. It could be said  that a person becomes responsible, throughout their life, for reconciling and integrating the particular dynamics of their birth moment. Those points in space and time, with their archetypal dynamics, are to be shepherded by the person for the extent of their life, whether that is a few minutes or eighty or more years. The integration of these archetypal dynamics is what a person attains in this life, and what they offer to life.

Another conclusion from the study concerns the role of the astrologer in the client relationship. If the astrologer introduces the concepts of this study, the astrologer conveys the perspective that the client’s life has ultimate purpose and the client is performing a service for all. This perspective directly addresses the perceived separation between the person and the cosmos. All astrology has the potential to lift the perspective from personal time and place to a view that includes the solar system; this thesis lifts that perspective to the universe as a whole, and to the underlying ground of that universe, Consciousness itself. At that level, the understanding is gained that there is no truly personal life; all lives serve All. From this viewpoint, there is an intimate connection between the individual life and the evolution of the universe as a whole. Individual evolutionary progress serves All.

As a practical matter, counseling astrologers can begin each session briefly reviewing the three statements with the client. This will bring the session into a context for the client that can form a backdrop for the more particular and personal review of the natal chart. It can address the questions of why: Why were the planets in this configuration? Why was I born at this moment? Why do I experience these particular challenges? This perspective of personal evolutionary potential within an evolving, sacred universe, in service to everyone and everything, can help the client glimpse the importance and value of their life.

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One Response to “Ellen’s Masters Thesis”

  1. Maintain the good job and producing in the crowd!

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