As a former astrologer, I have concluded that we need new directions in astrology – and I believe these will lead to a remarkable relationship between astrology, physics and shamanism…Take what I offer here as informed, even channeled speculation – but it is by no means more than a beginning.
The New Physics As A Larger Theoretical Framework
Why does Astrology work? Almost everyone who has ever truly studied Astrology has concluded that it does. The explanation as to why and how seems may be found in other observed relationships such as weather, economic and sociological cycles.
These cyclical relationships point to a basic concept in astrology – the idea that human and planetary phenomena of our solar system, indeed that of our Milky Way galaxy, are all intertwined, embedded in one vast living energy field. What affects one element affects all the others in a variety of patterns which can be discerned and charted over time.
These considerations lead us to the field of quantum physics which has given us an image of space and time as two sides of the same coin – they are not separate dimensions but intertwined as space-time, a lacy “fabric” which conducts vibrational energy. In fact, this fabric appears to be both a physical structure and one of Mind, like the Mind-Body connections we have been (re)discovering in modern medicine. In other words, we are living inside an intelligent, responsive neurobiological universe in which our solar system plays its own unique role impacting on our natural environment, our bodies, and our minds as part of our larger Souls.
A new Shamanic Astrology would focus on this, the living Mind-Universe model, and our local solar system as a BioSolar System which naturally will affect each human being born on the planet Earth. To this of course we add a philosophical dimension, for we human beings seek existential meaning, not mere survival, as the purpose behind each lifetime here on Earth. That cannot be proven; it remains an assumption, as valid as any other.
One final thought: The causal arrows may run both ways – can the human being, embedded in his/her Mind-Body web affect the larger universe? Why not? A central teaching of the I Ching – or Book of Changes – is that the Human stands uniquely situated between Heaven and Earth. The Human Being is not just the metaphysical, but the biological, Center, the living Bridge between Heaven and Earth. This, of course, the Shaman always knew…
And somewhere in all of this we must assume that our magical DNA is playing a marvellous role in the transmission and communication of who we are, each time we return.
In the Beginning
It is thought that astrology originated in Babylon (modern Iraq), successor to the mysterious culture that was Sumer…From there, Astrology moved both East to Persia and India and West through the Arab world and Greece; it is quite possible that the great streams of Eastern and Western astrology were originally fed by the waters of Astrology flowing from Egypt.
In any case, Europe and India especially became the respositories of a (in my view) a quite garbled, “cargo cult” collection of observations, calculations, and speculations which have gradually evolved – East and West – into astrology. It likely did come “from the gods” of both Sumer and Egypt at some distant point in time. Whether we were originally given the real thing, or part of it, it seems we do not, today, have the whole thing.
Nevertheless, over the centuries astrology has maintained a tiny core of observable validity surrounded by a vast overgrowth of tangled pseudo-facts. It has become a shambolic shrine tended by the finest minds of Arab, Indian and Greek civilizations and passed to the Christian world eventually. And, for millennia, intellectuals, philosophers, and even religious authorities – East and West – took Astrology for a science, and perhaps the Queen of Sciences at that.
They had absolutely no doubt that all true science began with two Laws: “As above, so below“, and “As within, so without“…and something called correlative cosmology enabled a vast array of analogous connections to be made and passed along as the gospel of synchronicity, that personal , meaningful connections occur between events in one area of life and those in another.
And, despite the confusing, chaotic assemblage of fragmented knowledge astrology became, this principle of synchronicity is the kernel of Truth which lies buried inside most of what passes today for astrology.
For the ancients had already concluded what it has taken Western Science a thousand years to rediscover – that Astrology works like other forms of synchronicity because the whole universe arises from a “unified field” of energy – what Carl G. Jung would eventually see as the unus mundus.
And at last, from modern physics comes a description of space-time that echoes ancient wisdom in India, Egypt, and China, as well as nearly all of the indigenous peoples of the planet. The Space-Time continuum is seen more and more as a single Whole, and one that is akin to a cosmic neurological web of consciousness. This looks (and may behave) exactly like the “lacy web” which ancient shamans all over the world described. They used it as a ” Ladder” to ascend to the stars (described in Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy (Bollingen Series) the great classic by Mircea Eliade.
Westernizing Shamanism Meets Modern Astrology?
There are extraordinary implications here for both modern, westernizing Shamanism and a new Astrology: When the planets move, they create vibrations which send not only waves of movement, but pulses of “information” through a living, conscious fabric of Matter/Mind which is also an Intelligence. Thus the “realms” the ancient Shamans visited would include the solar system in which we are embedded, as well as the Milky Way galaxy, home to our solar system and Earth.
Astrology, as the study of our Humanity’s relationship with heavenly bodies, can thus be said to be theoretically based in the properties of Space-Time as a shared, living, responsive, Web of consciousness. This at least establishes a “scientific basis” for a necessary precondition for Astrology – that one part of the Web can be and is affected by other parts of it, regardless of the distance between. We also have reason to assume, based on modern scientific observations, that this physical “lacy web” of connectedness expresses the intelligence of the Mind out of which all Matter flows.
As they move, the planets, and all heavenly bodies, create ripples
in their own energy fields and those of the whole Web of space-time. It seems to matter what kind of patterns their movements create, for these have been shown to be predictably tied to patterns here on earth.
Two researchers, in two very different time frames, have looked at the evidence of not only the affects of other planets and stars on human life. The more closely we look, the more we also find evidence that these affects carry within them not only physical impact (i.e. on the tides of the seas) but existential meaning of psychological and spiritual significance for human beings, collectively and as individuals.
Vibrational Cycles * The Work of Edward R. Dewey
By the end of the Great Depression of the 1930’s a major piece of research conducted by Edward R. Dewey suggested that everything on earth – from animal populations and the opening of new stores to the rise and fall of shares on Wall Street occurred in repeating, though not entirely predictable cycles.
Dewey also noted the “synchrony of cycles” oddly occurring regularly at the same time, as well as the equally mysterious but predictable recurrence of certain numbers and their multiples.
There seems to be no exception to the rule of events occurring cycles. However, variation is introduced within larger cycles in the form of smaller “waves” within them, making “predictions” at times more complex and subtle than it sounds. We already understand these fascinating variations in terms of weather systems – which we describe with chaos theory, the tides and currents of the seas, and so on.
We have learned about complexity and the “genius” of a Cosmic Intelligence which (self)-creates as infinite variability yet within predictable patterns.
Here we pause to note that astrologers have always maintained that astrology cannot predict specifics, for these will vary, but that we can predict types or categories of events. Like chaos theory and weather, there are deep, repeating patterns (cycles), but inside them, if you will, the content will never look the same twice, as each tiny wave-variation is its own unique moment in time, and thus in consciousness.
As individuals, as societies, and as a planetary civilization, we all
have our cycles: births, high tides, low tides, creative times, quiet
times, times to begin, and times to end. Do these cycles coincide in ways which have spiritual and/or psychological meaning for human beings?
Enter the Archetypes * Cycles and Patterns In Human Consciousness
The cycles humanity experiences seem to be not only regular and predictable in their largest patterns but to indeed carry meaning. Here we find a possible convergence between repeating cycles in human and other Earth life and something very old – the concept of The Forms, or the Archetypes.
These have always been thought to be mysterious “gods and goddesses” who give dramatic form and meaning to human life. Now, through the new science of the intelligence embedded within space-time, and the evidence of recurrent patterns in cycles in human life, we have a better basis for understanding Archetypes and their shaping of human life.
The best way to describe an Archetype is as a large, existentially meaningful, life-generating template which manifests itself through individuals and collectivities in recognizable, yet ever-varying material and psychic forms. Some well-known examples are “the Cross, Water, Mother, Father, Hero, Martyr” and so on. Archetypes manifest not only in such well-known roles as Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Yoda, but appear to generate the Story itself. We can almost predict the way a story “will turn out” because at some level, we all recognize when Archetypes are directing the energy patterns.
But what evidence is there that these archetypes and their Stories have anything to do with the cycles in human life and the energy patterns of planets and other cosmic bodies?
In Cosmos and Psyche, Richard Tarnas put astrology to the test, looking at large repeating cycles of similar events in human history, and comparing these cycles to those of the larger, slower-moving planets in the solar system. He found a strong correlation, if not causation, in the historical events he charted and the Archetypal event/meanings we have assigned to planets and their mathematical (angular) relationships to each other.
What, if any, is the “science” behind such correlation between events, numbers, and Archetypes?
Mathematics, science, and Astrology all share the discovery of numbers and their special concordances with order and pattern in the Time-Space fabric or Web. In his work with cycles, Edward Dewey found that numbers often seemed to repeat in a predictable, orderly manner in relation to
cycles and in relation to each other. In fact, the “places” of the planets of our solar system appear ordered in a numerical, periodically structured sequence. The angles used in Astrology to measure relationships between planets are expressed in geometry which captures shape, or structure, as well.
If each number has its own vibration (as do the intervals in the
musical scale), it makes sense that waves (as events) emanating
from within a certain numerical interval in the Time-Space fabric would
be marked, as it were, with a special quality unique to that number. It would seem that the conscious Intelligence that is the Space-Time
fabric or Web is in some sense structured in numbers, which in turn
correspond to different matrices of qualities of Mind/Matter.
These variable sets of qualities seem to translate from the “number template” into the psychoid, humanly meaningful forms of the Archetypes. So behind
each Archetype we think of as a God” or “Goddess” lies an archetypal number. This knowledge has always been the foundation of ancient, occult reverence for numbers and for geometry, which has the power to create Shape, was considered a sacred science.
This connects nicely with the philosophy and science underlying Astrology, which uses both numbers and other symbols as Archetypes to capture the vibrational patterns and meanings arising from an event in a specific Time-Space interval. Having cast the birth chart Circle and divided its 360 degrees into 12 Houses, the astrologer must then match the astronomical positions of the heavenly bodies on a particular time in a particular space to those same numbers within the Circle.
The relationship of the heavenly bodies is expressed in geometrical terms of “angles”, and numbers continue to play a big role in assessing the relative emphasis of meaning in the configuration of the chart. The chart is considered to be a Map consisting of symbols and numbers, all of which have archetypal meanings, but also continue to manifest archetypal activity in the life of the person whose chart it is.
Two-Way Communication * The Basis Of Shamanic Astrology?
The I Ching, or Book of Changes, is one of the most revered books in the world – and the oldest known in China. The I Ching, like astrology, assumes that each space of Time has its own palpable quality and that events arising out of a particular type of space-time set of coordinates will always share certain
recognizable and predictable features.
The I Ching seeks to educate its user about these qualities of Time-Space – beginning with 64 basic hexagrams (Archetypes) – from which multiple variations of human situations and their permutations can be discerned to be arising from the cosmic interplay of Yin and Yang.
As we have seen, Astrology and the I Ching now find support in
modern science, which tells us that Time-Space is best understood as a Mind/Matter Web of conscious, communicative Intelligence. Within this Web, all of creation is embedded and finds its expression and existential meaning. Each event, whether the movement of a planet or a human thought-event, will cause a ripple through the fabric of Space-Time so that all of reality/creation is affected.
In Astrology, and in western thought generally, the assumption has always been that if causation, as well as correlation, is in play, this must only be one-way, that the causal arrow would point from the Heavens to the Earth.
Yet within a Space-Time fabric which is conscious Mind/Matter, pulsing with intelligence and meaning, the ripple effects of all events must surely be two-way, indeed multivalent.
So our human actions (in thought as well as deed) must affect, with implications for Theoretical Astrology (and for Theoretical Shamanism), the movements of the planets, and other heavenly bodies. The insertion of human consciousness into a given time-space event opens the door to its transformation.
Strangely, this very belief has persisted throughout history – that humanity is not a passive receiver of cosmic design but a participant in the ongoing
creation of worlds.
Indeed, 5,000 years ago, the I Ching embedded within it the most ancient gem of Chinese wisdom – the belief that humanity is the transformative Center between a living Heaven (Creative) and Earth (Receptive).
The Center is a vital concept in metaphysics, and indeed in psychology. Wherever we have a Center, of course, we also have an implied Circle – a Mandala – an area over which the Center exerts its magnetic, energizing, organizing, and synthesizing properties.
We can think of the Higher Self as the Center between Conscious and Unconscious Minds – and ultimately we see that a Center can function as a Bridge. And this mediating, transformative role is, of course, the core of the Shaman’s identity as a “Bridge” between worlds, realms, souls and bodies.
The Chinese vision of the Human Being as the Center between Heaven and Earth means that we create, by virtue of our very Being, a Circle, wherever we place our consciousness, and this becomes a living Mandala. The Shaman, as an example of the Human Center, is able to extends his or her consciousness influence over portions of the lacy Web of Space-Time.
This Web must be the physical and metaphysical basis of claims made by ancient Shamans, to travel between the stars and Earth via silky near-invisible milky strands of “rope-ladders”.
Mircea Eliade points out in his epic (and I still believe unmatched) survey of worldwide Shamanism that almost all modern Shamans insist: “In the Beginning” humanity traveled freely between Heaven and Earth.”
Even after this gift was lost due some kind of Fall from grace, the first Shamans were sent by compassionate Gods to keep the Bridge open. These First Shamans are said to have been far more powerful than Shamans now of living memory among their indigenous peoples.
What was our relationship with the heavenly bodies really like, once upon a Time? Are we on the verge of recovering it in the 21st century as we rethink science, Astrology and Shamanism?
We now see the “technology” which would allow the claims of Astrology and Shamanism to be understood in literal, rather than allegorical or mythological ways. And all of this returns Humanity to where ancient Chinese sages placed it, explained in the I Ching – as the Energy Center of each Hexagram Archetype, so that – quite simply – Humanity is – singly and collectively – a Shamanic Bridge between Heaven and Earth.
What does that mean? Well, that is a good question. It has enormous implications, for both Astrology and Shamanism, and no doubt for other areas of our lives as we learn more about our own nature as Human Beings.
But we can see that Shamanic Astrology will be transformative astrology. This leads us into the field of karma, grace, and reincarnation, where we tap into the Akashic Records, and work, as shamanic astrologers, with the very templates, the Archetypes, themselves. Here, the Journey may lead through the DNA, where the templates are stored, and where the transformation of karmic patterns – their release – must be effected.
© Carol Leigh Rice 2015 and 2021
I also present some of these ideas in my Shamanic Astrology and the Psychic Readings of Edgar Cayce