Although many modern astrologers (as well as non-astrologers) are conducting statistical studies of astrological premises, we must realize that we cannot count on a statistical approach to explain everything; for many areas of experience and qualities inherent in life are not amenable to such a study. In fact, even when a statistical study does reveal correlations of great significance, they often still do not "explain" the operation of the phenomenon itself. For example, there are certain "empirical laws" in science which are found by experiment to be true but for which no rational explanation has so far been provided. The best example of such laws in astronomy is what is known as "Bode's Law." This relates to the distances of planets from the sun. If we write a series of numbers: 0, 3,6,12,24,48, 96, and if we then add 4 to each term, we get 4, 7, 10, 16, 28, 52, 100. Bode's Law states that the distances of the planets are in the ratio of these numbers; that is, if the distance of Mercury from the Sun is taken as four units, that of Venus from the sun is seven, Earth ten units, Mars sixteen, Jupiter fifty-two and Saturn one hundred. The figure twenty-eight originally had no known referent until the asteroids were discovered. By extending the law beyond one hundred, astronomers were able to predict the existence of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. The appearance of these trans-saturnian planets at the mathematically-appointed time and place forms one of the most thrilling chapters in the history of scientific discoveries. And this achievement is largely due to the intuitive perception of Bode, to which no analytical basis has been provided to this day. Hence, we must be cautious when we use statistical methods, lest our expectations of such an approach exceed its field of utility.
The primary limitation of the statistical method is that, while it is useful for dealing in generalizations, groups, and quantities, it is almost always rather irrelevant in relation to individuals and qualities, which are the primary focal points of a person-centered psychology or astrology. As psychologist Rollo May (1969) writes:
... if you take individuals as units in a group for the purpose of statistical prediction — certainly a legitimate use of psychologi cal science — you are exactly defining out of the picture the characteristics which make this individual an existing person. Or when you take him as a composite of drives and deterministic forces, you have defined for study everything except the one to whom these experiences happen, everything except the existing person himself, (p. 372)
Astrology is unique in that it includes both the aspect of wholeness and art, and that of details, precision, and science. But, as Dane Rudhyar (1964) writes, the emphasis is on "the art of interpreting the cyclic ebbs and flows of the basic energies and activities of life so that the existence of an individual person ... is seen as an ordered process of change, a process which has inherent meaning and purpose." Rudhyar (1968) goes on to say that the measurements in astrology are symbolic and have to be translated into human qualities:
You cannot measure quantitatively the love, the response to beauty, the character of a person — not unless you make of that person a computer-like machine; and this is what our present-day science is trying to make of individual persons.
Astrology deals essentially with, in Rudhyar's words, "a quality of being," and it is just such a qualitative language that transcends the domain of statistical studies.
The psychologist C.G. Jung has also written about the limitations of the statistical viewpoint. In his book The Undiscovered Self, Jung (1958) says:
The statistical method show the facts in the light of the ideal average but does not give us a picture of their empirical reality. While reflecting an indisputable aspect of reality, it can falsify the actual truth in a most misleading way. This is particularly true of theories which are based on statistics. The distinctive thing about real facts, however, is their individuality. Not to put too fine a point on it, one could say that the real picture consists of nothing but exceptions to the rule, and that, in consequence, absolute reality has predominantly the character of irregularity.
Scientific education is based in the main on statistical truths and abstract knowledge and therefore imparts an unrealistic, rational picture of the world, in which the individual, as a merely marginal phenomenon, plays no role. The individual, however, as an irrational datum, is the true and authentic carrier of reality, the concrete man as opposed to the unreal ideal or normal man to whom the scientific statements refer.
We ought not to underestimate the psychological effect of the statistical world picture: it displaces the individual in favor of anonymous units that pile up into mass formations, (p. 17 ff.)
The fact that astrology provides us with unique formulations and combinations of general, archetypal qualities gives it its eminent place as the ideal psychological tool. Although astrology does deal with archetypal principles (see Chapter 4), it also provides through the birth-chart a comprehensive symbol of human uniqueness and individuality. In fact, the reason that most astrology still uses a geocentric structure is that the earth-centered and person-centered aspects of astrological work are emphasized far more than any supposed "objective" framework. Although astrology has been criticized for this seeming misrepresentation, the fact remains that, for people living on the planet Earth, the earth is the center of their world, just as the individual is the center of his personal world.
The validity of astrology can be demonstrated most clearly by a type of proof which is relevant to its intrinsic character. The real question to be answered in any inquiry into astrology is whether, and to what extent, astrology is significant and of essential value to human beings, and, in the domain of psychology, whether astrology is helpful to the psychologist and to the client. Any other question of "proving" astrology is purely academic. When we see an increasing number of psychologists and psychiatrists, as well as a large percentage of the general public, using astrology and finding in it something of great value to them, we must assume that it is indeed "useful." To those who know the value of such a technique, the question of proving or disproving astrology never arises. In psychology particularly, the actual practitioners of various types of psychotherapy have for the past forty years always been years ahead of the theoreticians; so we should not expect the scientific and academic establishment to come up with "proofs" for the validity of astrological premises. For the sake of completeness, Appendix A lists statistical and scientific studies that have bearing on astrology. But there is yet another kind of proof, which astrologer-philosopher Dane Rudhyar calls "existential proof."
According to Rudhyar (1970), only an "existential proof' can be relevant to truly individual situations:
An existential proof cannot be based on general categories. It can only derive from the personal experience of an individual in a particular situation involving a complex, and never exactly duplicated, set of relationships. If the situation produces results significant for an individual, then it must be considered valid for this individual. If, after having studied astrology and his exactly-calculated birth chart, a person for the first time realizes that the sequence of his life-events, which had so far seemed to him utterly chaotic and purposeless, makes sense — if as a result of his study, he is able to feel a direction and purpose inherent in his life as an individual, and how he had been blocking this realization of meaning, orientation, and purposefulness — then astrology is "existentially proven" to be effective in this particular case. (p. 7)
To many modern astrologers, the attempt to make of astrology just one more science of the traditional type, i.e., to establish statistical correlations upon a purely causal framework, would mean the sacrifice of much in astrology that is unique and deeply significant. In fact, according to this view, to do so would necessitate the neglect of the holistic, cosmic framework from which astrology derives its usefulness and comprehensiveness. Those who seek to create a modern science of astrology (that is, to formulate it in such a way that it would be acceptable to the critical, materialistic mind) are overlooking the fact that astrology's greatest strength comes from its being the most comprehensive and universally-applicable cosmic language known to man. The "scientific" aspect of astrology surely exists with regard to precision of measurement. But that is only the raw material for the art of astrology; and it is this art, this technique of creatively applying the scientific factors, that can never be understood in a statistically-based, objectively-verifiable astrology. Not only would much of the subtlety of astrology be eliminated, but the deeper meanings to which the soul of man responds would be absent. As Anna Crebo (1970) writes, to try to do so would be "attempting to force a cosmic language to express itself within the framework of our present limited concepts. It is possible that this language is translatable to us only in terms of 'images, visual relations, gestures, qualities.' " (p. 81)
The Swiss physician Alexander Ruperti (1971) expresses a similar opinion:
Unfortunately, the scientific attitude has tended to increase the chaos at the psychological level, because it destroys the value of the individual and because the type of city and machine-controlled existence it has produced has also destroyed man's sense of participation in the rhythms of life and nature. Modern man tends to forget that science's main concern is the establishment of collective laws for general application only. The environment science offers to man does not present him with any human meaning or purpose; merely cold, intellectual facts which are supposed to be unchangeable but which, from any long perspective, may easily change according to the rhythm of vast cosmic cycles.
What is the value of trying to fit astrology into the straight-waistcoat of scientific knowledge, when its technique and basic philosophy enable one to escape from the prison into which science has put man's mind? Would it not be more worthwhile for us to build up astrology on its own foundations and thus present it as a means to complement the scientific emphasis and to reorient the consciousness and thinking of our modern civilization which has lost contact with its vital roots in the creative rhythms of life? . . . Science gives us knowledge, nothing more. It has nothing to say concerning the why of the universe, and everything dealing with the understanding and the significance of individual human values and goals is outside its domain. ... astrology's gift to mankind is its capacity to solve and explain that which science cannot and does not attempt to do. We need more vision, more constructive imagination, if we would free ourselves from our present bondage to analytical and mathematical details, to statistical methods. The whole is always more than the sum of its parts and no collection of separate data, however complete, on the outward behavior and characteristics of a person, will ever reveal him as a living human being with a life purpose of his own. (p. 7)
Before we can more deeply appreciate the role of astrology in a newly-formulated psychology, we must examine the universal and archetypal factors which underly all life and influence all attempts to understand experience.
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