Carl G. Jung, depth psychologist, was known quite simply to his friends as “the Shaman”. To Jung we owe a vast debt for his exploration of consciousness, including his own early bouts with what appears to have been borderline psychosis. He discovered, from Eastern philosophy, the Mandala, and used it extensively in his own seal-healing journeys.
Above all, Jung discovered the extraordinary role of the Mandala, in containing the Psyche within safe boundaries which made its creative life possible, and which also facilitated healing processes – within his own shamanic journey and in therapeutic sessions with his patients.
Here, I explore further the Mandala as a sacred vessel within which we gather our experiences here on Earth and then move them towards a Center – all this orchestrated by the Higher Self. As we gather in experience, we grow, learn, and transform in ever-higher stages of spiritual evolution.
In Shamanic Astrology, we see the Birth Chart as a Mandala, drawing all elements of Life and Psyche toward the Center. The Center is the Temple we find ourselves in when we meditate on the Chart.
The Mandala reminds us also of the Journey around the Circle, which is where the Experience and Explorations occur. Without such creative activity, there could be little to draw towards the Center.
So the Mandala is a mystical symbol of the Philosophy of Going Out and Returning, and the Wheel is not, therefore, a burden, but a gift.
The Circle and the Cross
The birth chart is divided horizontally by the equator or Ascendant-Descendant Axis, and vertically by the Midheaven-Nadir Axis. These divisions make it that most ancient of symbols – the Circle enclosing a Cross which divides it into the four sacred quadrants.
The cross inside a circle is said to symbolize the Self (as Ego and Personality) in the crucible of matter, time and space, journeying through the mystical cycles of life, death and rebirth. The Soul – in the form of the Higher Self, stands at the Centre of the Mandala, exchanging energy with the Ego/Self as it moves through the four quadrants.
As the Wheel turns, the Higher Self distills and integrates the fruits of each phase through which the Ego passes. This whole process is enfolded within an even larger version of the Higher Self – the Soul. Thus as it moves through life experience, the Ego receives sustenance and illumination from the Higher Self which, in turn, is the point of Light emanating from the Soul.
What follows is a delineation of the twelve houses and their life themes understood through the lens of a planet and the Sign it is said to “rule”…