U niversal Principles

Multa renascentur, quae jam cecidere cadentque, Quae nunc sunt in honore (Much will rise again that has long been buried, and much become submerged which is held in honor today.)

What are these "universal principles" to which we've been referring? By definition, they border on the transcendant since they give rise to all manifestations and observable patterns in the material universe. Many scientists have come to believe that there is an invisible organizing pattern within living things, a sort of psychological pattern which guides and determines the form that energy will assume. This tendency toward patterns in nature can be seen in everything from evolutionary theory to the fairly predictable patterns of human physical and psychological development. Another word commonly used to describe this structural phenomenon is "form." The physicist-philosopher L.L. Whyte has written an important book called Accent on Form (1954) which deals with what he calls the "formative principles" in all life. In fact, he says that "the most comprehensive natural law expresses a formative tendency" (p. 137).

"Form" is one of man's oldest ideas. The Greeks had numerous theories of perfect forms, from Plato's eternal forms to Euclid's quantitative relations in space to Pythagoras' study of number and geometry. In the Middle Ages, each class of things was said to possess an essence {essentia or quidditas)\ and that essence was considered to be not a static quality but rather a source of activity. The deepest reality was seen to be composed of innumerable essences, and the task of philosophy was to apprehend those essences. The essence of anything was the ground of the thing's being, that which makes the thing what it is. And, for the Medieval philosophers, the forms observable in nature were not static entities, but incarnate ideas, in the sense of Plato's idea (Carre, 1949). The source of these eternal ideas was seen as the "universal mind," the domain and repository of the essences (or "archetypes") of all forms that could ever exist and of all ideas that could ever be thought. (The Universal mind, incidentally, is similar in many ways to Jung's conception of the "Collective Unconscious".) Modern physics, oddly enough, finds itself returning to such long-derided ideas; for what we see, we are now told, is only the outward form (or "wave form") of the underlying reality of vibration and energy. The material "particle" has become an extended pattern; the material atom is now seen as a field of energy. Perhaps there is now once again a need for such a concept as the universal mind, that which actively shapes all forms.

A study of form can perhaps reveal how formless energy is organized into functional wholes; and perhaps it can shed light upon these elusive essences within all things. L.L. Whyte (1954) states that "to understand anything one must penetrate sufficiently deeply toward this ultimate pattern" (p. 28). This is true because the formal pattern seems to determine the properties of its constituents, rather than the other way around, a fact which gives great support to a holistic approach to life. As Whyte (1954) writes, "In an atomistic universe how can regular forms develop? Would they not be at best highly improbable?" (p. 50). According to Whyte, a new understanding of the formative principles of the universe would not only help us to understand the theories of physics, biological organization, and the workings of the mind; but also they can provide man with a serenity that can be achieved in no other way.

For at this point the Western tradition recognizes the validity of an ancient doctrine of the East; the universal principle has to be valued above any particular expression, if serenity is to be achieved.

The time has come for a new elegance: a unity of process seen in all particular forms and reconciling their differences. A fresh stress must be laid on universal principles in order to restore a proper equilibrium, (p. 191)

It is just this unity of process seen in all particular forms that astrology provides man. In astrology, every individual is considered a whole and unique expression of universal principles, patterns, and energies. The Zodiac was considered by ancient astrologers and philosophers as the "soul of nature," that which gives form and order to life. Astrology is a language of universal principles, a way of perceiving form and order in the life of an individual person, a way of symbolizing each individual's oneness with universal factors. A modern approach to astrology cannot be based on the assumption that an individual human being is "merely" the sum total of universal forces which constitute his psycho-physical makeup; rather the individual is a unique form expressing a unique relationship of universal factors.

As L.L. Whyte (1954) states, "everything in this universe bears some relation to our own nature, its needs and potentialities. Every process mirrors some process in ourselves and evokes some emotion, though we may not be aware of it" (p. 31). Whyte's idea expresses what the ancient astrologers called the relationship between the microcosm and the macrocosm, i.e., the conception that the functions and factors within the individual reflect — or at least correspond with — universal processes and principles. In modern terms, we would say that, since the universe is one whole process ("universe" means turning of the one) and consists of innumerable interpenetrating fields of energy, the energy field of any individual man is related intimately to the larger energy field of his cosmic environment. One of astrology's greatest values is that, through an understanding of the universal factors operating in each of us, we can attain a greater understanding of the universal principles of life itself. Science today accepts fingerprints, cardiographs, and encephalographs as useful tools, all of which are relatively unique manifestations of human energies and rhythms. The astrological birth-chart is the graph through which the cosmos (or the larger whole) enables us to understand its energies and rhythms, particularly how they operate within each individual.

In psychology, the main body of work that deals with universal principles and formative principles is that of Dr. Carl Jung. Jung's "archetypes" are not physical structures, but rather, according to Jung (1959),

. . . might perhaps be compared to the axial system of a crystal, which, as it were, preforms the crystalline structure in the mother liquid, although it has no material existence of its own The Archetype in itself is empty and purely formal, nothing but a facultas praeformandi, a possibility of representation which is given a priori, (pp. 79-80)

Jung goes on to say that". . . it seems to me probable that the real nature of the archetype is not capable of being made conscious, that it is transcendent" (p. 81). Edward Whitmont (1970), a Jun-gian psychiatrist, has written of the Jungian archetypes as "dynamic transpsychological, hence transcendental energy configurations." Dr. Whitmont speaks of "archetypal fields" related to the astrological symbols of the planets and defines the archetypes as "universal, cosmic form patterns and dynamics." Hence, it is clear that the archetypes are identical with the formative principles mentioned by Whyte, and that astrological factors represent these very realities.

If the archetypes are the foundation of all psychic life, and if they are indeed transcendent in themselves (i.e., too subtle or immaterial for immediate conscious apprehension), then it is especially important that we have a language to describe — or at least to point toward — their reality. And, if we can't know these realities in themselves, we can at least understand how they function and what they mean to us by studying the only science that deals with such forces: astrology. No matter what label might be used to designate these universal principles, whether archetypes, essences, or formative principles, the fact remains that such forces exist in the universe and influence each of us both from within and from without. This is the reason why some psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors have recently begun to use astrology as their primary tool for understanding the inner dynamics of their clients. Jung has said that he used astrology in many of his cases, especially with those people whom he had difficulty understanding:

As I am a psychologist, I'm chiefly interested in the particular light the horoscope sheds on certain complications in the character. In cases of difficult psychological diagnosis I usually get a horoscope in order to have a further point of view from an entirely different angle. I must say that I have very often found that the astrological data elucidated certain points which I otherwise would have been unable to understand.

In an interview with the editor of a French astrological magazine, Jung (1954) stated:

One can expect with considerable assurance that a given well-defined psychological situation will be accompanied by an analagous astrological configuration. Astrology consists of configurations symbolic of the collective unconscious which is the subject matter of psychology: the "planets" are the gods, symbols of the powers of the unconcscous.

In the same interview, Jung stated that the innate psychic predisposition of an individual "seems to be expressed in a recognizable way in the horoscope." In many of his writings, Jung emphasized that astrology includes the sum total of all ancient psychological knowledge, including both the innate predisposition of individuals and an accurate way of timing life crises:

I have observed many cases where a well-defined psychological phase or an analagous event has been accompanied by a transit (particularly the afflictions of Saturn and Uranus). (Jung, 1954)

Jungian psychiatrist Edward Whitmont (1970) writes along similar lines:

Applied in this broader sense, astrological techniques can become as valuable to the depth psychologist as dream interpretation. They would inform him, not of future events or even fixed character traits, but of unconscious basic dynamics and form patterns that a given person is "up against" and to which he continues to react throughout his life in his own peculiar, individual manner as the characteristic way his particular life is embodied in the cosmic whole.

Zipporah Dobyns (1970), a psychologist whom I mentioned earlier, has this to say about astrology's use as a psychological tool:

It offers, first of all, a personality system based on an external frame of reference which is therefore superior to the arbitrary systems manufactured in such abundance within the field of personality study, and which is almost certain to be the universal system of the psychology of the future. It offers a symbolic blueprint of a human mind and destiny which cannot be manipulated by the subject wishing to "fake good" or "fake bad" as it is relatively easy to do in many psychological questionnaires. It offers insight into areas of which the subject often knows little or nothing . . . repressions, values never consciously verbalized, ambivalences and conflicts projected into events and relationships and never consciously faced. It offers clues to unrealized potentials, talents, natural channels for integration and sublimation, etc. With its record of past and future patterns, it also offers clues to early traumatic events which the depth therapist might wish to explore and to future periods of stress when the individual is likely to need extra support It permits the "matching" of individuals, from therapist to patient to marriage partners to employee-employer, etc. It is my firm conviction that the psychotherapy or counseling of the future will use the horoscope as routinely as we now use the interview and background data on the subject.

Another psychologist, Ralph Metzner, who has published a book dealing with astrology and related topics called Maps of Consciousness, also uses astrology in his practice:

As a psychologist and psychotherapist, I have been interested in another aspect of this baffling and fascinating subject. We have here a psychological typology and diagnostic assessment device far exceeding in complexity and sophistication of analysis any existing system. . . . the framework of analysis — the three interlocking symbolic alphabets of zodiac "signs," "houses," and "planetary aspects" — is probably better adapted to the complex varieties of human natures than existing systems of types, traits, motives, needs, factors, or scales.

The system has the additional advantage of being entirely independent of any behavior on the part of the subject, hence free of response bias of any sort Unlike any other personality assessment device, the astrological pattern has an inherent dynamic: the horoscope interpreted by a skilled and practiced astrologer not only provides a synthetic picture of the person's hereditary inclinations and tendencies, but points to latent potentials, suggests directions of needed growth — in short, gives a symbolic map of the process of self-realization. (Metzner, 1970, pp. 164-165)

Metzner writes in the same article that astrology should be used as "an adjunct of psychology and psychiatry," and he defines astrology as "astronomy applied for psychological purposes."

Only a symbolic language is universal enough (especially one with external referents like astrology) and a-cultural enough to be useful with all people, young and old, rich and poor, from all educational, cultural, and national backgrounds. The great problem with the theories of "personality" in general psychology is that they are only useful for a small segment of any given population. Astrology, on the other hand, is the most complete theory of personality; and it unifies, and provides a foundation for, all the more specialized theories. In addition, whereas symbolic techniques other than astrology may be useful for some people at certain times, they have the disadvantage of lacking external referents and a precise, measurable framework. Astrology actually comprises both the mathematical and the symbolic languages of life, synthesizing both into one harmonic system the uses of which are far broader than any other system, mathematical or symbolic. Astrology proVes its comprehensive uniqueness not only by accurately describing types of consciousness, individual differences and uniqueness, and types of energy operating through the person, but in addition it reveals the operation of universal laws of harmonics, polarities, and psycho-physical energies.

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